Monday, May 31, 2010

Interview with... Mike Farrell.

When I started this blog it was purely to review movies I liked. Especially movies which may not have been all that well-known to the general public.
Hence the name, Straight 2 DVD.
As you know, since then I have moved into conducting interviews. I've been priviledged to interview some wonderful people previously.
I do not mean to discredit them, but this interview takes the cake.

Mike Farrell became a house-hold name on the TV series M*A*S*H as the humble, funny, charming family man BJ Hunnicut.
Please do me the honour of reading my interview with Mike and you'll come to know as I do, he's a fantastic person and all-round gentleman.
With some interesting things to say too!

1. What was it like to play John F. Kennedy in JFK: A One Man Show?

Playing JFK was the realization of a long-held ambition, so it was ultimately a wonderful feeling. However, when first approached by David Susskind, the producer, I was deeply intimidated by the prospect. David was very understanding, very supportive and very confident that I was the actor he wanted, so after much discussion I agreed with two conditions. I said I’d need to work with a good dialect coach to ensure that I had his speech pattern down correctly and I’d need for him to provide a wig-maker who could give me the distinctive JFK hairstyle. He agreed.

If took a lot of work, but with a terrific script and the great support of the director, Frank Perry, I think we turned out a piece that did credit to the man.

And, I will say, after the first screening a close friend of the President, a man who knew him intimately and had worked with him in the White House, gave me a wonderfully gracious vote of confidence and appreciation, saying it was the best portrayal of JFK he’d ever seen.

2. How did you feel coming into MASH, once the major characters had already been assembled?

They had not only been assembled, but had already worked together for three seasons, so I was thrilled at getting the job but scared I’d be regarded as an interloper, first by the cast and then by the audience.
Fortunately the cast was wonderfully welcoming and very generous and, months later when we went on the air, the audience was as well.

3. Did you have any say into establishing the character of BJ Hunnicut?

Yes. What I knew in the first interview was that I didn’t want to simply become Trapper John. I didn’t think that would work.
Fortunately, the producers agreed and said they wanted to fashion a new character who was married, had a child and intended to be faithful to them, not a womanizer like Hawkeye and Trapper. I thought that was great.

But we had to fill out the character together. They did it be learning about me and I helped by making choices as an actor and offering thoughts as they came up. It was a wonderfully collaborative adventure.

One example of what they picked up from me was BJ’s interest in motorcycles. I ride cross-country bikes and have for years. In fact, if I understand your address correctly, I once rode across your country - and back.

4. Providence was a great show. What was it like on set?

Thanks. I think so too. I’ve been very fortunate in the work I’ve been able to do. The show was a dream, for the most part. Melina is a wonderful, very talented woman, too beautiful for words but with her feet firmly on the ground. Paula, also beautiful, has a great comic touch and loads of talent. Seth also is a terrific talent. I always thought of Paula as a young Lucille Ball and Seth as a young Jack Lemmon. Concetta Tomei, who played my wife, is a pro who made me laugh as she complained about having to wear the same dress in every episode (because it was the one she was wearing when she died).

The producers, with one exception, were very hard-working, very involved and very supportive. The set was great fun.

5. How do you find voice-over work, as opposed to shows such as Providence, and Desperate Housewifes?

I’ve always enjoyed voice-over work, but I don’t do much of it. It’s a kind of closed community, it seems, and I haven’t had much luck breaking into it.

6. MASH demonstrated that shows which are known for comedy can also have a place in a dramatic setting. Which do you prefer, comedy or drama?

I like intelligent scripts. I’m not fond of the division between comedy and drama because I think life includes both. That means, for me, that any good show should include both elements. MASH certainly did, to its great credit. I think it’s fine to do a comedy, but I look for an element of reality somewhere in it. The purely silly shows don’t interest me.

7. Is there any event/charity/production you would like to bring to my readers' attention?

I’m involved in many social justice efforts, some here in the U.S. and some around the world. My current focus in the U.S. is the abolition of the death penalty, a barbaric punishment that I find it embarrassing, frustrating and infuriating that the U.S. continues to use. The organization I chair is Death Penalty Focus and your readers can learn about it by going to

For those who are concerned about other human rights concerns, I work with Human Rights Watch, the largest American-based human rights organization in the world. Information about it can be found at


Mike Farrell

I hope you enjoyed reading this interview as much as I did conducting it. And honestly, I had a ball.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd ever get a chance to interview Mike Farrell. But it just goes to show you, if you want something enough, and are nice enough, anything can happen.

I sincerely thank Mike for all his time he has given for this interview.
Needless to point out though, didn't I tell you he was a nice guy? :)
As always, I wish you all the very best, and I look forward to any feedback I may receive in this regard.
What did you think of this interview? Please comment, or email me directly at
Until next time!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Interview with... Veronika Bellova

You all remember when I reviewed Hannibal Rising, right?
Well, I got in contact with Veronika Bellova, who starred in the film, and I was lucky enough to interview her.

Turns out she's a very interesting woman.
Have a read...

1. It seems these days that everyone wants to be a professional actress, singer, or songwriter. What professional training have you undertaken to become an both an actress and a singer?

I have graduated from the Singing Academy in Prague (Konzervator), I also studied acting at the London's Academy of Live and Recorded Arts and at New York's Gregory Abels's Training Ensemble and the Film center many classes here and there.

2. What can you tell us about your movie career?

I am still working on it

3. What can you tell us about your singing career?

Kind of on hold - but also still not done with it just yet

4. You were involved in the Hannibal Rising movie, which is part of the hugely succussful Hannibal Lecter movies. What was it like to be involved?

Simply amazing

5. You've concentrated yourself on European movies to date. Do you have any US-based work in the pipe-line?

I am still in touch with US based directors, artists, musicians...many people I work with are living in Europe and the US - traveling back and forth. An American movie The Pagan Queen is going to be released on DVD in the US at the end of June. It's a movie about a Czech pre medieval time and I play one of the supporting characters

6. In terms of movies, is there a character or franchise (for example, James Bond) you would dream of being involved in?

I have many dreams, but the best thing is just to live and see what happens

7. What's coming up next for you?

I dont like to talk about things before they are finished, so ask me in a few months

Thanks Veronika! I look forward to seeing what project you're involved in, in the next few months.
So there you go everyone. Hope you liked this interview.

Be sure to look out for Veronika, especially in Hannibal Rising. It's great! :)

What did you think of this interview? Please comment, or email me directly at
Until next time.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Interview with... a Little Rascal. Jean Darling.

I can quite honestly say this interview is a highlight for me. A huge highlight.
Everybody knows the silent era serials, The Little Rascals.
Jean Darling was an original Rascal.
When Jean was working on the serials they were referred to as Our Gang.

Here's a photo of Jean around the time of Our Gang.

I believe it's more famous for the title The Little Rascals.
Either way I feel very humbled and honoured to bring you my interview with Jean Darling.

You spent three years on the “Our Gang” serials. What can you tell us about that?

As our school teacher, Fern Carter, thought I was too young for lessons, Joe Cobb took it upon himself to teach me to add and write in joined up letters. We arrived at the Hal Roach studio at 8 and left about 7PM. I know it seems a long day --- it was. However , the Board of Education stated a child could work only 2 hours a day --- four hours school and two hours rest and 2 hours before the camera. The other time was taken up with make-up lunch --- publicity stills, etc.

“Our Gang” remains very popular to this day. Do you get many calls from fans for autograph signings, or conventions?

I am often at Sons of the Desert Conventions, Silent Film Festivals (if you wish to hear me sing in 2008 go to You Tube and key in Jean Darling “The Cinema Kiss” and Jean Darling “Mr Moving Picture Man”.) When I am at these outings photos and autographs are fast and furious!!!

What advice do you have for people requesting your autograph?

Just ask! As so many young performers of today don’t realise, it is the autograph seeker who pays your salary --- not the producer. If nobody wants your autograph nobody wants to hire you.

Having a scholarship to the New York Municipal Opera Association, it’s save to say you have a great love for singing. What drew you to singing?

Seeing Lily Pons in I Dream Too Much at Pantages Theater in Hollywood when I was about 14.

For some, Broadway is just something of a dream. What can you tell us about your time on Broadway, and in particular, Carousel?

When rehearsals began I was to have 6th billing but in the out of town runs in New Haven and Boston my part grew bigger and when Carousel opened in New York I was as delighted as a dog with two tails to see I had been given 3rd billing!

Alongside singing and performing you have written many mystery stories. What can you tell us about that?

Sick of being an ingénue and having no wish to endure the awful stress of trying to stay young I decided to do something I could do on three wheels and a crutch and still make money, hence a career in writing short mysteries. Then as Aunty Poppy I wrote and read stories for children on RTE radio and TV here in Ireland for 8 years. Also, I wrote a number of plays for radio which is far better than TV. We have unlimited budgets in our imaginations to call upon when reading or listening.

In my corresodence with Jean I have come to realise how much of a sweet heart she really is.
We have been in touch since the interview (as it takes me a while to actually get these blogs up online), and I think Jean's asked me just as many questions about me as I have of her!

Jean, I hope you read and enjoy this blog entry.
Please note that I will be in touch shortly, and honestly if there is ever anything I can do for you you need only ask.

I thank you for your time and your patience with my interviewing skills. They can take some getting used to I'm sure.

I wish you all the very best, always.
I hope my readers enjoyed this interview. I did!

What did you think of this interview? Please comment, or email me directly at
Until next time.

Interview with... Seregon O'Dassey

Seregon has been in the movie business for 15 years now, and I can just tell she has the makings for a superstar.
Seregon O'Dassey has done movies, TV, a documentary about her career to date, as well as falling (or tumbling) into the art of stunt work!

So it gives me great pleasure to bring to you, my interview with the lovely Seregon O'Dassey.

1. What can you tell us about, “Are we there yet?”

Actually, it's listed incorrectly on IMDB. It's a TV show by Tyler Perry based on his film of the same name. I was only on one episode, as a bartender.

2. How did you become a stunt performer?

Well, doing independent films means that sometimes a person has to wear more than one hat. I personally have a background in sword fighting and fencing, so when I was cast for Cleric, I immediately started training for the role.

3. How do you prepare for each role you take on?

After I've read the script and highlighted my lines, I try to come up with a background for that character. Where is she from? What is the history between her and the other characters. It also depends on the role. If it is physical role, I hit the gym and start practicing my sword fighting moves and/or martial arts moves. If there's an emotional scene, I put myself in the same mental state as the character. I listen to sad music or think of something that makes me sad if I have to cry. Yes, I do a lot of method acting ;)

4. Which do you prefer, TV or film?

I prefer film, as it allows me more time and "wiggle room" to create a character, but I do like the challenge of theatre. It keeps me sharp and it's where I learned to memorize lines fast. The sign of a good film actor is whether or not he/she can do theatre.

5. What’s coming up next for you?

I've just been cast in two new features. "Love Heist" is a dramedy and "Gunner's Rift" is a drama/mob type film. I am the lead in both. Recently I've been on episodes of One Life to Live and As the World Turns, and I was featured on the show "No Reservations" with Anthony Bourdain.

I sincerely thank Seregon for her time with conducting this interview. I hope she likes the way this blog has turned out.

It has been an honour being in correspondence with her. She truly is a gem, folks.
I wish her all the very best.

What did you think of this interview? Please comment, or email me directly at

Until next time.

Interview with... Marco St John

You may not have heard of Marco St John, but I can bet you've heard and seen the films he's appeared in.
Runaway Jury
The Punisher
Thelma And Louise
Yep, I thought so.
Marco St John is who I like to refer to as an actor's actor. He's done it long enough, he's made a career out of it, and he's damn good at it.

So it is of course my honour to bring to you my interview with Marco St John

What was it like to be a part of the filming for Thelma And Louise?

Filming Thelma & Louise was filled with good feelings. We all knew we were part of something special. Plus we enjoyed filming very much because we were in the most beautiful country, Canyonlands and Arches National parks along the Colorado river close to Moab, Utah.

You’ve appeared in some major cult TV hits, such as Gunsmoke, Bonanza, and In The Heat Of The Night. How do you feel about this, from an actor’s point of view?

They were a lot of fun and all big long running hits, so I still have people stop me and recognize me from them.

What experiences can you tell us about the filming for Runaway Jury?

Not to much, I just worked a couple of days on the film and that was cut down to just a small bit, although they did film it with four cameras going at one time. But I enjoyed working and talking with Gene Hackman again with whom I had done a movie with in Chicago "THE PACKAGE".

You appeared in a film I just loved, The Punisher. Online there are people who love it, and also people who hate it. How do you feel, from an actor’s point of view, when there is such division over a film you are a part of?

I personally like action films and find them a lot of fun, cinematically this was not CITIZEN KANE but it was fun, Also of interest was that they shot tons of film the film would have been much longer if they had included all they shot. Some parts that were felt did not advance the plot were cut down to just a shadow of what they had been (including mine) so as to move the film along...

What was it like on the set of The Punisher?

Very professional and again quite fun to be in...

What can you tell us about Dead Of Night?

The script is very good...and everyone does a good job in it. It has a first class production team led by Gil Adler who produced SUPERMAN RETURNS. Brandon Routh the star of both those pics does a very good job. I think it will be in the top ten when its released, if not # 1.

What are you currently working on?

I just finished a horror movie, RITES OF SPRING and I have a recurring role in the HBO series TREME playing the father of one of the leads Steve Zahn. It's one of the best things I've seen made for TV.

So there you go. You learn something new everyday, hey?

I hope you had fun reading this interview. I sure did have a hoot conducting it, and thrilled to each of Marco's responses.

What did you think of this interview? Please comment, or email me directly at
Until next time.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Interview with... John Coppinger

Did you know a Wookie built Jabba The Hutt?
I didn't, until I interviewed the multi-talented and very nice John Coppinger.


Jabba The Hutt is such a revered character. What was it like to build him?

It was probably the best job I ever had in terms of new ideas for mechanisms and materials. Everything about Jabba needed to be discussed, tested and / or experimented with. The only thing that was really traditional was me doing his original sculpt in clay! Tom McLaughlin developed new foam chemistry so we could fill all the large moulds and cook all the pieces in one operation. Bob Keen and Jez Harris built radio controlled eyes and face movements and I designed artwork and forms for the eye interiors. A lot of new people had joined the film industry for 'The Dark Crystal' and Jabba was one of the most complex puppets attempted at the time, with up to nine people operating him. Animatronics in the UK really took off from there.

What process do you go through in building the Star Wars characters?

If it's a new character we start with drawings or small maquettes from the Art Department concept Designers. If we are re-making an existing character, as we did on 'Phantom Menace', we have pictures and sometimes originals from the Archives to work with. As many of them are major players, often with speaking roles, they have interact with other actors. So they need to be more subtle than just monsters or aliens and how they 'live' that much more realistic. There's discussion about what they have to do, how they must move and speak, and the mechanisms start from there. So from sculpting to casting in foam latex or silicone rubber there's a 'skeleton' to build, mechanisms to fit into it, possibly fur or hair to be applied to the skin, costume and finally rehearsals.

What influence did you draw on for Jabba The Hutt?

As a starter I had a small plaster maquette that was made by Phil Tippett at ILM. I used that to sculpt the basic form of the beast. Then we looked at amphibians, snakes, slugs and various creatures to decide how he would look and move in detail. His tail moved more like an elephant's trunk than a snake and was probably the most difficult mechanism to design and build.

People love the Wookies. What do you think is their appeal?

I guess they represent the original Wild Man, with a touch of the Hero thrown in! Or maybe it's your favourite hound, man's best friend, that's grown up and learned to speak. They are certainly my favourite characters and one of my best days in films was being on set as Senator Yarua.

How does someone become a builder in film productions?

That's always a difficult question. The best assessment I've read is on Cliff Wallace's 'Creature Effects' site - and I'd recommend anyone wanting to work on films to read his advice there.

You have a distinct style. How has this changed over the years?

Hopefully not too much! I guess it was mainly influenced by working at the Natural History Museum and working out how fossil animals, particularly dinosaurs, might have looked. I've always believed form was much more important than detail for film creatures - The camera is usually moving round the 'horizons' of a body so the volumes and shapes need to be right from every possible angle. Of course the details of a face and the eyes and teeth are also very important for the close-ups.

What are you currently working on, and is it Star Wars related?

I'm mostly making props and demonstrations for the Royal Institution christmas lectures and similar (some models for Deafness Reseach for instance) so I'm back to my old interest in using Art to demonstrate Science. I'm also doing some portrait sculpts and getting back into drawing.

Do you have a production/event/charity you would like to bring to our attention?

Thank you for that - I've been invited to Celebration V, in Florida this August, so I'm looking forward to that happening. And the main charity I support is the 'Tibet Society'.

This closes up my Star Wars related interviews for the moment. I loved each and every interview I gave, and the people involved have been brilliant.
Being the last Star Wars related interview, I felt discussing Jabba and the Wookies was a sure fire blaze to go out on.

As always I'm very interested in knowing what you think of all these blogs.
I have a few more interviews to put up, and trust me, they're doozies!

It's 11pm though, and I'm off to bed now.
What did you think of this interview? Please comment, or email me directly at
Until next time!

Interview with... Roger Christian

I tell you what my fellow bloggers, you're in for a treat here!
I've lined up an interview with Roger Christian.
He's worked on Star Wars, Alien, and directed Underworld, and Battlefield: Earth.

When I wrote you were in for a treat, I meant it!

What was it like to work on the Star Wars 1 and 4?

The first, A New Hope was both ground breaking and really hard work. We didn’t have enough budget to make the film conventionally, so for all the Set Dressings like the interiors of the ships and the Tatooine locations I invented an entirely new cinema technique by buying up scrap airplanes, breaking them down and using the parts to make the interiors from. I hated the plastic and sterile look of Science Fiction before this, so it was a chance to make ships and weapons and props old and used and real looking for the first time. I handmade from old Stirling sub machine guns the very first gun on the film, using car weather stripping and army surplus night vision sights stuck on with super glue. I also hand made the very first laser sword like this after finding the Graflex flashguns.
I made the first R2D2 with a wood frame and plywood skin and a lamp top for his head. Then stuck in aircraft parts and carved his accessories myself. This is how we developed the movie. Was very tough as most of the crew disliked Science Fiction, and thought the movie was a children’s film and would never be seen. I grew up with myth and legend so knew what a powerful piece it was, and had the privilege to work with George Lucas developing the look of the film for four months before we started proper pre production with the crew. George’s thank you to me for standing by his side throughout the film as only four of us really did was to finance my first short film as a Director Black Angel and play it as a programme with Empire Strikes Back in Europe and Australia.

I enjoyed Underworld. There's no question here, I just wanted to thank you.

Thank you, I loved making Underworld. Larry Bishop who wrote the script is Rat Pack Joey Bishops son. He modeled the leads on Sinatra and Dean Martin. Quentin Tarantino wrote Reservoir Dogs after reading Underworld.

What was it like to direct Battlefield Earth?

Battlefield Earth was a really tough film to make as again we had far too little money for the budget, yet were determined to make an epic. I ended up making the film for about 11 million dollars and just fewer than nine million dollars for all the CGI and post. The Los Angeles Times critic still calls me delusional, as they know the movie cost 75 million dollars. It looks like that but our entire budget was 44 million dollars. Most went on Actors and Producers and above the line costs. So I think it was a remarkable achievement by the crews and talent in Montreal in Canada where we filmed it. I guess that he thinks that is a backhanded compliment to me for pulling off a film that looks that expensive. Also the miss conception just because Ron Hubbard wrote it that it has anything to do with Scientology. It doesn’t. I am not a member of the church, only John Travolta out of all the crew is. Not that it matters. it was made in a democratic country, and most crews are either Jewish or Christian and their films are never condemned because of religious beliefs. It is actually a metaphor as a story for greed and corruption in America versus the purity of natural life and simplicity with love at its heart, and I think this is an admirable philosophy. Enough people who actually saw the film responded at how much they enjoyed it, and certainly peers in the industry who I admire did also. It is a democratic country so people can think what they like and are entitled too. It’s filmed like a comic strip, a graphic novel and we were an early aspirant of this genre. Was hard but fun to make. Again inventing new techniques and finding innovative ways to pull of this epic. Steven Spielberg used my ships re clothed in a different outer look for his craft in Minority Report, a little know fact.

You're writing a book. What is it about?

My book is called Cinema Alchemist. It is actually my story about making Star Wars and Alien, Life of Brian and directing my first Short film Black Angel and Dollar Bottom which won an academy award for best dramatic film. How I was able to think outside the box and help make Star Wars as George envisioned it, a real and natural experience with sets and locations that looked like we had simply rented an old spaceship for the Millennium Falcon etc. My story was not included in the making of Star Wars though there is a picture of me in it, and it is written that I was the third person hired on Star Wars. David West Reynolds who wrote a lot of the Star War books, maintain that I have the last untold story and the missing link to much of the information still being guessed at, and that it has to be written. Also Alien as it’s the 30th anniversary this year and not much was written about the actual making of the movie.

So there you go folks. Talk about getting the inside goss, hey?
Thank you for this opportunity Roger.

What did you think of this interview? Please comment, or email me directly at
Until next time.

Interview with... Rose Duignan

Okay, more Star Wars interviews!
This time I have for you Rose Duignan, who worked in the Miniature And Optical Effects Unit for Star Wars: The New Hope.

Rose was also the Production Supervisor for Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.

Rose has some interesting things to say about these two productions. Let me know what you think afterward.

How do you obtain a position working in The Miniature And Optical Effects Unit?

If someone were interested in working in miniatures today, I would have to advise them to learn computer graphics as well as physical model making skills. The workload has shifted almost 100% to cgi I am sorry to say.
There are only three or four companies still producing physical, practical miniatures any longer for film and television projects. CGI has completely taken the dominant role and very few directors are now choosing to use action miniatures. ILM used to use many miniatures and now they are only calling upon our skills very rarely. Mostly we just shoot elements for their shots; debris, dust, smoke, fire, water. So, I wouldn't advise young people to make a career in physical miniatures at this point.

What advice can you offer for people wanting to become a Production Supervisor?

A career path to become a producer or production supervisor, is to start as a production assistant and work your way up. You need to have keen organizational skills and be a great communicator. Production is the hub of information and this department needs to be very flexible and adaptable to change, since the creative process isn't neat! It's messy as hell! It is the goal of production not to waste peoples time and money, so it is critical that information is correct and flows smoothly to those that need to know. Getting the creative decision maker to focus on decisions in a timely way is key to saving time and money. This is a delicate skill the producer must have; to keep things moving and avoid wasting time.

What was it like working on the Star Wars Films?

Working on Star Wars was just plain FUN. I think the average age of the workforce at the first ILM in Van Nuys warehouse, was maybe 26! I turned 25 while I was there. We were entirely focused and dedicated to delivering a very complicated picture. The team had great parties and comraderie overflowed. We loved working on such a different type of picture and doing such groundbreaking work. I am still friends with many people who started their film career at ILM.

Do you have any advice for people wanting to get into the film industry?

If you want to break into the film industry you need skill, commitment and more perseverence than the other guy. You must volunteer to work on people's films for free when you are a student to build your resume and figure out what role you want to play, and what you are best at. There are many jobs in the visual effects industry and it's growing every day. If you are good and persistent, you can get work in this field.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently helping Kerner Studios evolve from being a miniature effects facility into a fully functional 3-D movie studio and also expanding our services from just physical models into a hybrid approach that will incorporate digital destruction as well as action miniatures. Our goal is to become the MASTERS OF DESTRUCTION!

And there you have it!
Thanks a bunch Rose. I hope you enjoyed this blog. I had a ball interviewing you.
I look forward to reading that you thought about this finish product.

What did you think of this interview? Please comment, or email me directly at
Until next time.

Interview with... Corey Burton

Okay, so Jamie Alcroft wasn't all that involved with Star Wars, but Corey Burton certainly is!

Corey is a voice over artist who has worked on many productions. From Disney's Hercules Wolverine And The X-Men, Duck Dodgers, to Batman Beyond, if you're looking for Star Wars material, he voiced Count Dooku in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Personally I hate the villainous Count Dooku, but I'm rapt to be able to interiew his voice, Corey Burton!

1. Have you had any professional voice training, or are you a self-taught artist?

I'm basically a natural-born mimic, with an obsessive interest in sound and character voices - but I was not an Actor until I started attending regular workshop sessions with Daws Butler. It took years to become fluent in the craft, and a long time working in the business, to finally fully comprehend and develop the artistic aspects of acting, and be able to easily access any kind of characterization as a natural form of vocal expression - so long as the character is "present" in the scripted material.

2. How did you get the roles in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, GI:Joe, James Bond Jr., Transformers: Animated, Batman: The Brave And The Bold? (my God, you've been in some top shows!)

Well... They all came through the normal career routes: Establishing credibility and contacts through agents, auditions, and the occasional stroke of good fortune. The original Transformers series was the first regular TV animation gig for me, which led to audition and casting for the G.I.Joe series; which led to the opportunity to work on the James Bond Jr. shows (director Sue Blu was a fellow performer with me in those Hasbro/Sunbow series); and all those years later lending "a leg up" in the initial casting process for Transformers:

And my association with the WB shows began with my first experiences working with Andrea Romano on Chip'n'Dale Rescue Rangers, who helped me gain casting advantage for incidental character voices when she established herself as Warner Animation's primary voice/casting director. And Andrea was the initial casting director for the current Clone Wars series; although I began working with the Star Wars franchise as a "utility" sound-alike voice actor a very long time ago, matching the voices of Mark Hamill and Alec Guinness for Disney Storyteller records, and in more recent years beginning with LucasArts video games as Christopher Lee's Count Dooku - which led to working on the first animated Clone Wars series of "mini episodes" on Cartoon Network. One thing does lead to another, once you establish a track record of reliable work with good producers, writers and directors as they move up through the ranks of show business from project to project.

3. Are you a fan of Count Dooku? He's a pretty intriguing character.

Very much so. I love polite and dignified villains who casually toss thunderbolts of calamity into unsuspecting crowds. He's like a "Bond Villain" on an operatic scale; and I think it's my favorite Christopher Lee role. Even better for me personally, since George gave us voice actors license to "make it our own" characterization (in concert with Dave Filoni and the episode writers, of course).

4. Have you been to many Sci-Fi conventions? What experiences can you tell us about this?

The only convention events I've been to have been Disneyana, NFFC and ASIFA gatherings. Like many performers, I'm socially "awkward" and painfully uncomfortable in a crowd; and have no real desire to be "in the spotlight" as myself. And though many voice actors really get a kick out of the experience, what I hear about some of the larger Sci-Fi/Fantasy conventions and festivals makes me shudder with anxiety. I might still be convinced, but it would have to be under some very reassuring circumstances for me to step foot in such a formidable swarm of passionate eccentrics.

5. What's it like working with Mark Hamill?

I've known Mark since meeting him during ADR for Empire Strikes Back; but despite the many times we've worked on, or auditioned for the same projects, I can't recall much actual "same room" performance experience (other than the fact that he's a solidly reliable voice acting pro, who'll do a top quality job with anything handed to him).
What I know best is that he's a fantastic guy to hang out with, as an incredibly knowledgeable, entertaining, and enthusiastically warm and friendly fellow showbiz veteran. After the initial thrill of "meeting Luke Skywalker" all those years ago, I became far more impressed with his genuine "personability", and the spirit of fun and creativity that he always generates. As the old saying goes: He's a Good Egg.

6. What's coming up next for you?

I never know what's around the corner... and can't reveal much about projects that are "in the works". I guess I can mention that I'll be playing Cap'n Hook again for a new Playhouse Disney series called "Jake & The Neverland Pirates"; and I believe it's no secret that the Clone Wars series will be in production for several more seasons. And the new Kingdom Hearts game will be released sometime this year, I think (or maybe early 2011?), in which I play a stack of characters.
And then there's always the dizzying assortment of Voice Over bits for commercials and movie trailer/promo pieces, and I never know when and if anything I've auditioned and worked on will actually "see the light of day" in public. I'm happy that the commercials for the new Toyota Avalon have made it to prime time TV - they came out very well indeed!

If you have a production/event/charity you would like to bring to my attention please let me know and I'll make mention of it in my blog.

The charity effort I'm most closely attached to is the Camp Millennium Pumpkin Patch; which is an annual homemade theme park attraction in Roseburg Oregon - where funds are raised for a special kind of summer camp experience for kids who are battling cancer. Mike and Mary Kuhnert have been incredibly heroic in devoting extraordinary personal time, effort, and property (including fully-restored authentic relics from Southern California's classic original "Santa's Village" theme
park) to make this charmingly nostalgic Halloween time experience a continuing success, against all odds and challenges. I wholeheartedly endorse it - and am proud to lend voice to all their operational and P.R. projects.

Thank you Corey!!!!

That was one brilliant interview. I could not be happier with how that went.
What did you think of this interview? Please comment, or email me directly at
Until next time.

Interview with... Jamie Alcroft

I hope you guys are enjoying all the Star Wars-related interviews I'm dissing out for you.
This time I'm interviewing Jamie Alcroft.

Jamie is a comedian who has worked on a slew of Star Wars video games.
I hope you enjoy what Jamie has to say...

1. You have your visual comedians, and your vocal comedians. Which type of comedian would you describe yourself to be?


2. How long have you worked on your act to become the professional you are today?


3. Being a movie review blog I need to ask, how long before we see your comedic stills up on the big screen?


4. What advice can you give to wannabe comedians?


5. How did you land the gig on a Star Wars video game?


6. Have you ever been to a Star Wars convention?


If you have a production/event/charity you would like to bring to my attention please let me know and I’ll make mention of it in my blog.


Okay, so maybe there weren't THAT many Star Wars questions, but hey, I had a good time interviewing Jamie.
I thought he was a great sport for allowing me this opportunity.
Keep in touch if/when you can, okay Jamie?
What did you think of this interview? Please comment, or email me directly at
Until next time.

Interview with... Neremiah Persoff

Neremiah Persoff started his acting career in 1948 in The Naked City. Since then he has gone on to star in 194 productions for both television and movies.
From The Untouchables tv series, to Marty, Rawhide, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and also Some Like It Hot, I don't have to tell you what an honour it is for me to be able to present to you my interview with Neremiah Persoff.

Your career in television reads like the best of the best, with roles in shows such as Mission: Impossible, Hawaii Five-O, Magnum, P.I., and Wonder Woman. What can you tell us about these shows?

Hawaii five-o I always enjoyed my visits to Hawaii and renewing my friendship with Jack Lord. He worked very hard on keeping the quality of the show up and relied on the guest stars for help. I enjoyed working with him as well as Jim McArthur Kam Fong , Al Harrington and the other Hawaiian actors. same with Magnum and Tom Sellek

The Untouchables has now obtained the status as a cult classic TV show. What was it like to be a part of that?

Long hours but much fun playing the bad guys

Having worked on Some Like It Hot, may I ask, what was it like to work on a film starring Marilyn Munroe?

She was not on the set when I worked, but I knew her, she was a simple and at the same time a very complicated conflicted lady.

The TV shows you have been a part of now have amassed a fan-base unheard of previously. What experience have you had with these fans?

Many of them like and buy my art work.

What currently keeps you busy?

I paint almost daily

I hope you guys dug that interview.
I sure did love Neremiah's responses. Maybe I should've asked some more?
Either way I had fun. I hope you did too.
Thanks Neremiah. You're a good sport.
I wish you all the very best.

What did you think of this interview? Please comment, or email me directly at

Interview with... Christie Sanford

Now for a fun interview.

Actors working in the horror genre are always fun to talk to. They're so excited about their work!
None more so than Christie Sanford.
I hope you guys enjoy the interview....

You’ve been in film for around 10 years now, and in that time you’ve developed a cult fan base. How do you feel about this?

I love my fans! It is so exciying to get emails from them and sign autographs. A few fans have actually become pretty good friends, on Facebook, Myspace, by email and the good old phone, too! It feels great to know that the work one does is appreciated by others!

Do you have any fun stories concerning your fans?

A couple. One day I was getting on a train which I had never been on before. I wasn't sure I was getting n the right train, and was a tad panick stricken. I decided to ask someone if I was on the rght train. I asked a nice looking young man sitting in front of me reading a paper.He looked up at me and said "Christie?" Another gal was having some difficulty in her life and I gave her my number and she called me. We had a great conversation and we talk quite a bit now.She surprised me by putting up a page for mySister Madeline character on MYSPACE! I just love it!

What drew you to work in the horror genre?

This was really Dante Tomaselli's doing. I went to my first film audition with a monologue from a Chekov play. It was an evil type of character. I guess Dante liked it, because I got the part and have been working with him ever since!

Have you been to any horror conventions? I hear the fans can be pretty loyal, and vocal.

Yes I've attended a few at the Meadow Lands in N.J. Sold a few DVD's, signed a few autographs, met alot of the people, and took pictures with them.They were great- and it was alot of fun.

What would be your dream role?

Something like Sissy Spacek's mother in Carey, or a female Jack Nicholson in The Shining. I also love anything Kathy Bates does- she can be so oddly terrifying!

What’s coming up next for you?

Gearing up to begin rincipal photography on TORTURE CHAMBER with Dante at the helm, starring Vincent Pastore, Lynn Lowry and Ed Neil. Can't wait!

Thank you Christie!
I'm just sorry I could only interview you once. You were a fun person to correspond with. Feel free to contact me anytime.
And, of course, I wish you all the very best.

What did you think of this interview? Please comment, or email me directly at

Interview with... Scott Capurro

I always get excited with I interview people involved with the Star Wars films.
Scott Capurro did some voice over work for Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. However he also worked on Mrs. Doubtfire, and that's REALLY exciting!

I hope you dig my interview with Scott Capurro

Star Wars fans are pretty loyal and vocal. Have you had any experience with them?

I've attended a signing or two. Tokyo was fun, I spent 5 days in sci fi shops signing posters and toys. You've never met a REAL nerd til you've met a japanese star wars nerd. Fragile, so pale and kind and adorable. Who knew grown men could be so weepy?

There’s more call these days for voice-over work. What advice can you give to people wanting to get into the business?

Work on your regional accents. They're very trendy right now.

What’s coming up next for you?

I'm currently hosting a live chat show at the Vauxhall Tavern in central London. it's celeb heavy and so glamorous. I might jump into a West End play. And there's always the sauna.

If you have a production/event/charity you would like to bring to my attention please let me know and I’ll make mention of it in my blog.

Just spend money on your kids' education. Please.

Mrs. Doubtfire was such a huge film. What was it like on the set?

Great. It was my first film experience, and I was fortunate to be on set with two comics, harvey and robin. And that was it! No torturous extras in the way, asking for advice, which I so obviously and so painfully clumsily had none to give. We three spent a week trying to make each laugh. i was enthralled.

WOW! Thank you Scott!
I hope you guys enjoyed that as much as I did conducting it.

Thanks again for all your help with this interview Scott. I couldn't have done it without you! :)

What did you think of this interview? Please comment, or email me directly at
Until next time.

Interview with... Aaron Sims

If you've been to a good looking movie in the last few decades no doubt it's because of the art direction of Aaron Sims.
Aaron has worked as either the Art Director and/or Concept Designer for such films as Men In Black, 30 Days Of Night, I Am Legend, The Incredible Hulk, even the recent Clash Of The Titans.

So of course it gives me great pleasure to bring to you my interview with Aaron Sims.

1. Your company has handled concept designs for some of cinema's modern blockbusters. How do you feel about this?

Nothing could have prepared me for this career, which I didnt even know existed before I came out here after high school. Im just so happy to be working at what I love doing.

2. Where do you see this side of the industry in the next 5 to 10 years?

I think design will be a much more integrated part of the storytelling at an earlier stage. Also the designer may have a lot more to do with the overall process of physical and VFX creation as well. At least I hope so!

3. Which concept design has been the most rewarding for you?

I tend to fall in love with whatever Im working on at the moment - which I think a lot of artists do.

4. What advise can you give the someone wanting to get into Concept Design for the film industry?

Get to Hollywood and take whatever jobs you can. Keep working on everything you can to get that break.

5. What's coming up next for The Aaron Sims Company?

We are working away on Planet of the Apes.

That last little nugget of info, about the new Planet Of The Apes, blew my mind when I read it.

I conducted this interview on the 17th of April, which was (I believe) just before the news broke online about the new Apes movie.
At least, I hadn't read about it online until I did this interview.
So as you can imagine, I'm super excited about this new Apes movie.

Thank you VERY much to Aaron and his team at The Aaron Sims Company. I wish them all the continued success.
What did you think of this interview? Please comment, or email me directly at
Until next time!

Interview with.... Sandra Syn

Don't let your wives or girlfriends know, but I lined up one of Canada's biggest online porn stars.

Talk about luck!
Here's my interview with the ever desirable Sandra Syn....

What prep work do you do for each film?

I sometimes will tan a few days before so I have a nice healthy glow and get waxed (yes everywhere and everything)

How did you get into this business?

I got into this business about 5 years ago with my husband , we thought it would be fun going on cam then we decided screw the cam lets start our own business. We started Bm internet services and that grew and grew in till I became the biggest Porn Star in Canada.

You certainly look fit. What is your exercise regime?

I honestly do not exercise all that much but when I do it's wii work out's and bowflex.

Do you suck? :) You don't have to answer that one if you don't wish to -

haha I do b/g/ but only with my husband so yes I suck ;)

What's coming up next for you?

oh soooo much!! I am currently working on a dvd which has pre sold over 2500 copies already and this summer I will be working on a huge project with a really big member of the porn world Sunny Leone. I will also be working on a song with some great artist Zukhits and celesis911.

You have your own website, as well as a Twitter, MySpace, and a Facebook account. How do you feel about having this direct link to your fans?

I love my fans , I love the fact that they can write me emails , talk to me whenever they want and I always try to write everyone back . I also have a blog sites so my and

You recently joined the community, started shooting in Freeones gear, and linking some of your shoots to the site. How did all of this come about?

I was just asked to be on there website and wear some of there clothes but I think its a great way for people to look at some of my vid's and pictures for free

Your husband features in most of your movies, and various situations (Christmas, Delivery Man, Pizza Dude, etc.) calls for him to act in costume. What does he think about this?

he loves it! he never has to dress up in anything stupid so it's just more fun sex for him ;)

You mentioned working with Sunny Leone, is there anyone else in the industry who you would like to shoot a scene with?

I honestly would be happy to work with any woman that has a great vibe about them. I could care less if they have a name in the industry like myself as long as there pleasant to work beside.

Boy oh boy, now THAT was a fun interview!

Of course, like all the celebrities I interview, I wish Sandra Syn all the very best.
What did you think of this interview? Please comment, or email me directly at
Until next time!

Interview with... Denny Delk

Whether you know Denny Delk directly or not, I'm sure by the end of this blog you'll be saying "I remember his work, and boy did I love it!"

Denny has worked on numerous Star Wars video games, the Howard The Duck movie, and as Wicket W. Warrick in the Ewoks cartoon.

It is my pleasure to bring you my interview with Denny Delk.

You’ve done a lot of voice over work for the Star Wars video games. How did this come about?

I had worked with Lucas on movies, as an on camera actor and doing ADR and looping, so I was known to the folks at LucasFilm. When they came along, LucasArts was an early adopter in the video game world. They figured that folks would love to play the game associated with the movie. The first Lucas game I did was a spin off of the Indiana Jones franchise. It was just a step above Pac-Man. And the game producers in those days were very technically oriented and knew little about how to tell a story. The actors helped make the business what it is today, as we helped educated the producers on how to tell the stories. When we started doing the Star Wars games, the gamers really responded. Obviously there were games that weren’t associated with films, like Sam and Max, Day of the Tentacle and the Monkey Island series. There were others, too. But Star Wars really had legs. Someone wrote to me that he had gone to the original Star Wars movie as a college student, and his grandson was now playing the games. Is that iconic?

Have you been to any Star Wars conventions?

I have been to a convention, but not as a presenter or autographer or anything. It was pretty overwhelming.

What was it like to be involved in George Lucas’ film, Howard The Duck?

Howard was a really great time for me. There were a lot of very good (and then very young) actors involved. Lea Thompson, Tim Robbins. I loved the comic book the film was based on. Like many of the films based on a comic series, it was a difficult thing to bring to the screen in a way that satisfied both the fans of the comic and the general theatre audience. But those I know involved in the production had a good time and really threw ourselves into the fantasy.

The Ewoks are beloved by legions of fans. What do you think is their appeal?

Hey, they’re armed teddy bears. What’s not to like? Honestly, the courage and spirit of the (literally) little guy in the face of great odds and big bullies is the stuff of legend. I mean, they had a hand in beating Darth Vader. That takes some sand. No wonder people love ‘em. And when we did the Saturday morning cartoon show, we were able to mix that sense of adventure and daring with some fun. I loved that show.

Thank you Denny!
I hope you guys enjoyed that. I certainly found it very interesting.

What did you think of this interview? Please comment, or email me directly at
Until next time!

Interview with... Scott Allie

Scott has been the Dark Horse editor for many a year now, steering the comics in many fantastic directions, all at the same time!
He's been with the company in the time of both Hellboy movies, of which he edits the comic book series.
I take this great pleasure is interviewing Scott, and I hope you enjoy.

1. Since the Hellboy movies were such huge hits, how has this affected your role as editor for Dark Horse Comics?

Only in that the movies helped create more demand, so we increased our publishing schedule. But that's the only direct effect the movies had on us. Sold more books. It's not like I have to deal with studios, like you do on licensed books.

2. How does one become a comic book editor?

Everybody I know came at it a different way. I was working at a literary magazine, saved some money, self-published some comics for a while, and turned that into a job at Dark Horse. I don't know if anyone else went down a road like that. A lot of guys at Dark Horse interned in the department, did a great job, and got hired as assistants. Most editors start at the bottom, without much previous experience, and work their way up. Some come from other areas of publishing or even other areas of comics—Sierra Hahn was a publicist at Vertigo when I recruited her to come edit at Dark Horse. So everyone has their own story.

3. From Hellboy, to Buffy, to Star Wars, Dark Horse has gone from strength to strength. What do you think is the underlying appeal of these properties?

Well, I think the trick is that each of those have their own appeal. I don't think there's an underlying appeal, the way all superhero books appeal to a certain male teenage power fantasy, among other things. Dark Horse publishes a wide range of projects, and we publish what really turns us on. And like everybody out there, each of us as individuals, and certainly Dark Horse as a company, has a range of tastes. Like I'm a horror geek, that's sort of my main fan jones, but I love Bob Dylan and 30 Rock. What's the underlying appeal of Like a Rolling Stone, Tracy Morgan, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre? I don't know, but they all really work for me. Certainly Star Wars, Buffy, and Hellboy are a more narrow selection, and probably have more common overlapping than the things I mentioned, but we prefer NOT to try to load the schedule down with books that look a lot like Hellboy, or every other big space opera we can find, just because Star Wars is a strong seller. I love that we have a broad range of properties, but it definitely presents marketing challenges.

4. I’ve noticed that a lot of women seem to be getting into comics these days, and it’s becoming more socially acceptable. How does this make you feel, as an editor?

I love it, since I met my girlfriend when she came to work at Dark Horse. I think it's great. It's progress. And it brings something wonderful to the mix, and hopefully will diminish the misogyny that so dominates the mainstream of comics. You know. Eventually. There's always been women involved in comics—Marie Severin, ladies and gentlemen ... but as more of them occupy positions of power in companies, and there's more of a presence of women in every aspect of the business, things will have to change. It's hard to push that old shit when you're surrounded by smart women that you respect and have to deal with face to face.

5. What can editors, and the comic industry in general, do to have fans return to reading comics?

All about making better comics. There's a million other things we can do, bells and whistles, but the main thing is to just do better comics.

6. What’s coming up next for Hellboy, and the B.P.R.D.?

Ohhhh, man, so much. Liz is about to blow up the world, and there will be repercussions. Hellboy is about to make a major sacrifice in order to confront the Queen of Blood. Things are changing for these characters. It's not gonna be pretty. And we've got more Richard Corben, so even if the characters are miserable, the readers, and me and Mike, have cause to rejoice.


Now if this doesn't get you rushing to the comic book store to pick up some Hellboy gold, I'll be sure to do be doing it anyway!

Thank you VERY much for your insights Scott.

I wish you all the very best.
What did you think of this interview? Please comment, or email me directly at
Til next time.

Interview with... Linda Purl

From Happy Days to Murder She Wrote, Matlock, The Love Boat, all the way to The Office, it is my great pleasure to bring to you my interview with Linda Purl.

1. You’ve appeared on some big TV shows over the years. What was that like?


2. The Happy Days was such an assemble cast, and certainly appeared to be very close-knit. What was it like on the set?


3. Matlock, and Murder She Wrote are such a departure from Happy Days, and The Love Boat. Which do you prefer, drama or comedy?


4. The Office is different to Happy Days in that there was an audience for Happy Days. What pressure does this put on you as an actress?


5. What pressure does a comedy like The Office, without an audience, put on an actress such as yourself?


6. Do you prefer audience-based, or closed set productions?


7. Do you have any fun experiences to share with us about Mighty Joe Young?


8. What’s coming up next for you?


There you go.

I hope you enjoyed.
Please join me in thanking Linda for her time.

I wish her all the very best.
What did you think of this interview? Please comment, or email me directly at
Until next time.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Shallow Hal

You've got to love it when a movie comes out and everyone jumps on it, claiming it's offensive and immoral.
Have you actually watched this movie? It's actually a very well put-together film!
(It's funny too)

Here's the movie poster, and here's the trailer.

If you've just watched the trailer I don't really need to go into the plot, do I?

Here we have Hal (Jack Black)

Dating Rosemary (Gwyneth Paltrow).
He can only see the inner beauty. Everyone else just sees a fat girl.

Especially Hal's friend Mauricio (Jason Alexander).

Now I can see why people get upset by this movie. Judging from the trailer itself the comedy can and does lend towards fat jokes. However after watching the film you'll see there's a whole lot more going on here.

Do you really think such a nice guy like Tony Robbins (playing himself in the movie) would be a part of something so crass?
I didn't think so.
The Farrelly Brothers (Dumb And Dumber, There's Something About Mary) wrote and directed this, and it's a real credit to them for showing not just the humour a movie like this can lean towards.

The film is actually a very interesting play on people's opinions and misconceptions of beauty.

But if you're just in the mood for some silly fun, and a few crass jokes, this works too.
Shallow Hal

It also has a pretty kickin' soundtrack
Shallow Hal

All up I give it 8 out of 10. I've watched this film numerous times and each time I find more and more to like about it.
Especially Gwyneth Paltrow. She really nails it with comedic timing.

What did you think of this review? Please comment, or email me directly at
Until next time.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Nude Bomb

The Nude Bomb was an attempt by Universal Pictures to bring Maxwell Smart into the 1980's.
Whilst they were at it they tried to sex him up.
The result was this movie, originally titled The Return Of Maxwell Smart.

I watched this a few weeks ago, and it's taken me that long to form an opinion on it.
Ultimately, I didn't enjoy the movie.

Here's the movie poster.
If you don't want to go any further, here's the trailer

For the most part the humour remains the same as the TV series, however the film sees Maxwell Smart as a bachelor, and a swinging one at that.

Running alongside him (but without him seeing her) is Agent 34 (Sylvia Kristel).
Agent 34 is funny in her own right (to a certain extent), but the sexual humour feels off to me.
Being a fan of the TV series, as I'm sure a lot of people are, it's difficult to see a then 57 year old Maxwell Smart try to get into the pants of any female Control agent who comes along.
This humour was not Don Adams strong point.

The plot is fairly simple. Sauvage (Vittorio Gassman) has a succession of bombs designed to rid the world of fabric; rendering everyone nude.
In exchange for not dropping the bombs he wants money from the governments of the world.
Now, a guy with a mountain hide-away, an army at his disposal, and a lot of bombs can't be too shy of a nickel, right?

Edward Platt had passed on before The Nude Bomb filmed, so his role as The Chief was taken on by Dana Elcar.
Dana does a commendable job, however my wife commented it was hard to see someone other than Edward Platt as The Chief.
I disagree. It was hard to sit through this entire movie.

To her credit Barbara Feldon opted out of appearing in this film.
And good for her. Get Smart was good clean fun the whole family could watch and enjoy.

The Nude Bomb is catering for a more adult crowd.
And there's nothing wrong with that mind you. Just from the point of view of the Get Smart series it seems an odd direction to take.
Anyhow by all means don't let that stop you from checking it out.
The Nude Bomb
Despite my less than glowing review it does have some funny moments, and from a nostalgia perspective it is interesting to see Don Adams once again as Maxwell Smart.

So all up I give this movie 5 out of 10.

What did you think of this interview? Please comment, or email me directly at
Til next time.