David Gborie [Interview]

We have been spending a whole lot of digital time and space in the world of comedy lately, and even more specifically in the world of comedy podcasting. And god dammit if we don’t have a PERFECT interview for you lucky son of a bitches today! A few months ago we had a delightful digital conversation with one of my favorite comedians working today, the brilliant Sean Jordan. And shortly after, wouldn’t you know it …he appeared on a brand new podcast, and I felt compelled to give it a listen.

What I would hear would be the greatest podcast to emerge within the last year known as All Fantasy Everything. I would also soon be hipped to a couple new voices I was ashamed to not have already known. The first would be the show’s host and creator Ian Karmel, a man who hails from the greatest region on the planet and one of the two neighborhoods I would frequent as a youth to go dumpster diving in the rich areas (FYI, This would be the greater Portland area of the Pacific Northwest, and those neighborhoods would be Beaverton & Lake Oswego, Ian hailing from the first)….and there was that other voice. That sweet sultry and seems to only have the ability to be charming and hilarious, no matter what the topic.

I am talking about David Gborie, of course. The AMAZING David Gborie! The man who had the gull and genius to pick the theme music of a Mazda commercial as a “Summer Jam”, and another astonishingly surprising pick which he will mention below. While David is not exactly a “co-host” of All Fantasy Everything, he has appeared over half the show, and is a god damned delight on it. In fact, I can not think of another podcast where I go through the motions on the iPhone app, and become GENUINELY excited to hear that the same two “guests” will be appearing. Yes, while the world is crumbling around us, and all hope seems to be dissipating into a vast darkness of despair and misery….we can find solace in knowing that Ian, Sean, and David will be around on alternating weeks to tell us a perfect Taco Bell menu.

Seriously, if you haven’t gotten around to hearing the magic that is Ian, Sean, and David, please stop what you are doing and check out this great episode of All Fantasy Everything, also featuring the very funny Chris Carpentier, Episode 36: Band Names from the HeadGum Podcast Network.

And as per usual, David’s involvement in AFE has led me to dive in and research some of his stand up work. And wouldn’t you bloody know it, his natural off the cuff brilliance on a podcast translates brilliantly on stage! Catching every video I could on line, I can easily state that Mr. Gborie is one of the finest young comics working today. And if ever given the chance to catch a live show, you can bet your sweet ass I will be down in front getting buck with laughter as he throws out one giggle worthy line after another.

I seriously can not say enough great things about this cat. I hope you enjoy these great words from a man I truly do hold in very high regard in the comedy world. He’s one of the best and brightest in the game, and he tends to surround himself with fellow brilliant individuals. I have a sincere feeling that if you are not aware of the work of David Gborie, simply wait a week. If you are a fan of comedy, somebody is bound to throw his name out there at ya. So ladies and gentlemen, please enjoy some amazing words from the great David Gborie!

When did you first realize you were a hilarious human being, and you owed it to the world to share your brilliance with people across the land as a stand up comedian? What were some of your earliest influences?

Ah man I don’t think I ever thought directly that I was hilarious but I know that sometime in high school I decided that humor was the most important thing to me. Probably around the first time I saw Old School, I just really liked that these kinda dumb normal looking dudes used humor to be the coolest guys in the room. I felt like that reflected how I liked living my life and the kind of people I liked to be around. As far as stand up, I never really liked it that much growing up or anything like that. I honestly kind of thought it was corny. But then after high school my main man Sam Tallent started doing it and I slowly started seeing it wasn’t lame. Then I got a dui. Then I started standup.

I’ve learned that you began your stand up career in San Francisco, but do know that you are from a city that is renowned for being great for comedy, The Mile High city of Denver. After the success and the fan base that you have created around yourself, what is it like to go back to your hometown to do stand up? Are you still getting old high school chums coming out to see what you have been doing with yourself?

Well I’ve been going back and forth to Denver at least 3 times a year for extended stays since my first year in comedy so it sort of feels like I started there too. It’s always great going back! I’m good about staying away long enough to make sure I have new stuff every time I come back so it’s always exciting. Plus you can get real high a lot there which is fun. A few friends from high school come out and get too drunk sometimes and it’s always a bunch of fun. Those guys are great. It’s always nice to have them see that I’m doing good and that I’ve gone  totally hollywood. JK I’M ALL THE WAY REAL.

Since beginning as a stand up, you have managed to work all across the land making people laugh all over. What have been some places you have performed at that some people may not realize is a brilliant city to see a stand up show? Anywhere off the wall that you can remember having a wonderful time at?

I really enjoy traveling so it’s all pretty great to me. Going to a place for 4 days with no responsibilities other than talking about your dumb dick for 45 minutes a night is probably the best way to see the world. Everyone one is usually pretty nice and excited to show you all the cool parts of their weird little town so you basically just get the hits. I’ve found that I always have a really good time in Reno if that means anything.

Last winter you busted your proverbial TV nut with one of the best Conan spots I have seen in a LONG time. It was absolutely fantastic! So how was your first experience doing a late night TV spot? What level of nervous were you before going on?

Man that shit was pretty crazy. Even after I started I’m not sure if I ever fully bought into the idea that a dude like me could get on tv. I had been sleeping on couches for a little over three years straight the year before I did Conan so it was really dope to finally feel like all that had been leading to something. I wasn’t too nervous about performing because I had been practicing the set for a few months but then they let me add an extra joke the day of and I started freaking a little. I played it pretty cool though. That’s how I get down.

I am a HUGE fan of All Things Fantasy Everything, as it is one of the finest podcasts available now. How did you manage to hook up with my former homeland’s own Ian Karmel, our old friend & past TWS interviewee, the bean burrito king himself, Sean Jordan, to become the best “Throuple” in the podcast game? How did this amazing team of hilarious superheroes form?

It was all pretty organic. I’ve known Ian for years from stand up and twitter and stuff and knew Sean tangentially through the same shit. I think it was sometime after Bridgetown that Ian told me he was starting a podcast and he wanted me to be a frequent guest on and around the same time Sean Jordan moved to LA and we all had started hanging together a lot. Then we wrote and filmed Ian’s comedy central pilot and really bonded over that and now we get too buck together on the reg.

After so many appearances on AFE, what would you say has been your best pick, in any category, thus far?

I’m definitely proud of picking the Star Spangled Banner on the one hit wonders episode. People really went nuts over that one. I think it’s because it was a very creative pick from a swashbuckling risk-taker and people tend to find that kind of thing sexy.  I think that solidified me as the bad boy of AFE.

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our reader(s)?

The future holds more AFEs more standup dates and a few more tv appearances and stuff. Follow my twitter and I’ll keep you updated. I promise

What was the last thing that made you smile?

I accidentally spilled a bunch of ground up marijuana on my naked body after my shower this morning and I laughed so hard I got lightheaded, which feels kind of like being high anyways so I like to think of it as a win-win.

Check out David’s now infamous appearance on Conan, courtesy of Team CoCo right here:

Sarah Wise [Interview]

 

Today’s interview is a real combination of aspects of the world of entertainment that I seriously enjoy just so much. One of them is brilliant writing, as we have showcased several times in the past. Another would be the exhilarating television show that has developed a very unique and deserving popularity, From Dusk Till Dawn. And on a more important note: I love to hear stories of bad ass women who are killing it in the world of television writing.

And as I mentioned, today’s amazing interviewee is involved with or excellent at being ALL of these things! Sarah Wise is an amazing young woman who has paved her own way in the world of television, and is absolutely amazing at what she does. Fans of From Dusk Till Dawn will definitely know what I am talking about. And what a story she has! On a proverbial wing and a prayer, Sarah made a courageous jump to reach the level she is at now.

And I will get to letting her tell you all about it! So ladies and gentlemen, please enjoy some great words from the amazing writer, Sarah Wise!

How did you get into the world of television, and more specifically, television writing? What made you want to get into this way of life?

I’ve always loved writing and television, but it wasn’t until after college that I considered writing for television as a possible career path. I was working at The Walt Disney Company in Internal Communications during the era of Lost, Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives and decided to try my hand at writing a spec script. At the time I thought I wanted to be a comedy writer, so I took a stab at writing a spec of How I Met Your Mother. Ultimately I quit my cushy, regular, old office job and took a job as an Office Production Assistant on Raising Hope.

My next job was as a Writers’ Assistant on In Plain Sight, followed by Writers’ Assistant jobs on The Client List and From Dusk Till Dawn. I wrote a pilot script that was a good sample for From Dusk Till Dawn and gave it to our showrunner, Carlos Coto, to read. He liked it and promoted me to Staff Writer the following season.

You’ve been working on the television adaptation of From Dusk Till Dawn for a while now, and it is some of the best television I have seen in quite a while as well. And to most of us, it is obviously the writing that makes it so great. What is the writer’s dynamic like on this show? What you believe it is that is happening behind the scenes that makes it work so well?

First off, I have to give an immense amount of credit to Carlos Coto for fostering a wonderful space for the writers to create and for always driving us toward brilliant character moments and storylines. The original film was so unique and engaging and it gave us a lot of material to expand into a bigger universe.  I think all the writers on the show felt passionately about the characters and the Dusky world they inhabited and we always strove to put those characters in dark, challenging, funny and fresh circumstances. It was a very open room where every writer was allowed to voice their opinion and make suggestions to improve storylines.

When you are working for/with a person like Robert Rodriguez who happens to run the network in which a show will air, does it feel a bit more freeing than working for one of the major cable networks? Is there a noticeable difference?

Robert Rodriguez is sort of the tastemaker of the El Rey Network. In a regular major cable network, I don’t think you write as much toward one person’s preference, but you write a show that hopefully fits the brand of the network, and the network executives are there to help you hit that mark. Our showrunner got notes directly from Robert so we got very specific feedback if a story we were working on jived with his sensibilities.  It definitely streamlined the process to have a direct line to Robert.

It certainly feels that although it is 2017, and times should have changed, that women are severely outnumber and underrepresented in the world of film and television when it comes to writers, directors, cinematographers, and more. In your professional opinion, as someone who is actively working in this world, what do you believe it is that is continuing to guide this old school “Boy’s Club” mentality? What needs to change?

Oh man, I wish I had a punchy, smart answer for this. I think people tend to gravitate toward people who are like them, and there seems to be a lot of older men in entertainment mentoring and hiring younger men that remind them of themselves. That’s why it’s wonderful when someone like Ava DuVernay has an opportunity to hire directors for her series, Queen Sugar, and she hires a bunch of “untested” female indie film directors. There’s a self-perpetuating cycle in Hollywood where you can’t get hired to work on a project unless you have experience, but obviously you can’t get experience unless you get hired to work on a project.

People have been aware of this underrepresentation for many years now, but clearly awareness is not moving the needle in a significant way. I think a proactive move to give more opportunities to female creators might start to nudge the door open. That doesn’t mean mandating that 50% of all films or TV shows should be written and directed by women (though that would be nice), but I’ve heard anecdotes of studios putting together potential director lists for upcoming films that don’t include a single woman. If you don’t even give a woman an opportunity to interview for a job, she’s clearly not going to get the job. That absolutely needs to change.

What is next for you? Any projects you can tell us about and that our readers should be looking forward to?

I’m shopping around a TV series concept – I can’t speak to specifics at the moment, but hopefully I will have some good news soon!

What was the last thing that made you smile?

I finished the first draft of a new pilot this morning!  After many weeks of eating, breathing and dreaming in that world, it’s an incredible feeling to have a completed script.

Sunday Matinee: Mighty Ground [Film]

“The film takes an in depth look of how African American homeless people are treated in our world today and our broken system of race and economic class. The film follows homeless singer Ronald Troy Collins as he struggles throughout his days by singing to people on the streets of downtown Los Angeles and showcases his journey from the streets to uplifting people with his gift of song. This is the second documentary feature from multitalented African American female director Delila Vallot (Can You Dig This, LAFF award winner 2015).”

 

Grab the tissues folks, you are in for a wild emotional ride with The Mighty Ground. Homelessness is not a secret to anyone I am certain, but this amazing documentary shines a whole new light on a seriously dark subject matter. The story of Ronald Troy Collins is one of specificity and unique qualities, yet his situation is not uncommon and is a matter that needs to be discussed more in our common society. Director Delila Vallot does a fantastic job in combining the specificity with a true problem that affects so many people.

There are some documentaries that are able to viewed as “impactful” and “powerful” simply based around the subject matter. And Delila had the opportunity to cash in on this simplicity, but I am here now to say that she definitely DID NOT do so. Her stylized imagery and up close and uncomfortable look into the world of Collins is unprecedented and a thing of real beauty. When Ronald sings to the common passerby, you see all of him. You see his soul. You see the painful struggles of man and the beauty that lies within all of us if we are willing to look hard enough. I would be a damned liar if I didn’t say that I was choking up at moments, and finished the film feeling as though there is some good in the world knowing a piece of art like this can exist.

(SPOILERS) After a few bumps in the proverbial road, we can say full confidence that Ronald has found his stride and is now putting his talents to good use. He recently performed with the Urban Renewal Project on July 13th at The Federal Underground in Long Beach. And is only continuing to flourish in his career. I hope everybody gets a moment to check out this film, and feel the sort of hope filled joy that I experienced, and for more information on what Mr. Collins may have coming up, Like his artist page on Facebook!

Check out a nice trailer for The Mighty Ground that was created for the L.A. Film Festival right HERE:

 

 

Marc Jaffe [Interview]

 


Regular TWS readers are sure to notice that we have developed quite a fascination with the world of comedy over the last year. Especially in the world of comedy writing. It is without a doubt one of the most fascinating gigs we have invested time in and hope to continue to do so with regularity. And today is another great day for comedy fans, as we have the brilliant comedian and writer Marc Jaffe in the digital house!

Mr. Jaffe is naturally funny cat who had a great stint as a writer on a little show you may have heard of called Seinfeld. Like his TWS predecessors Peter Mehlman and Steve Skrovan, Marc is one of the geniuses who made this legendary program what it is today. Marc has also written everything from television pilots to plays to brilliant memoirs.

Perhaps one of the most fascinating aspects of Marc’s life is his work in the world of Parkinson’s research. For very personal reasons, which he will explain below, Marc Jaffe and his wife Karen have done some amazing work with their organization. They have raised a literal shit ton of money for Parkinson’s research through the Michael J. Fox Foundation. And they have a lovely event coming September 9th with Dominik Farinacci and Shenel Jones, with comedic hosting duties from the great Jimmy Dunn at the legendary Playhouse Square in Cleveland, Ohio. If you are anywhere near this event, I can not recommend this brilliant night of entertainment that supports a great cause. Check out Shaking With Laughter’s WEBSITE for details and tickets!

So without further rambling, please enjoy some amazing words from the brilliant Marc Jaffe!

When did you first decide that you wanted to become involved in the world of comedy? Was it always a passion of yours from an early age, or did it just sort of happen?

I loved comedy as a kid. I would get comedy albums by Bill Cosby and Flip Wilson and Woody Allen. (At least one of those didn’t have scandalous sexual behavior.) I was always writing humorous poems or skits for school assignments or assemblies. Of course, I didn’t realize it could actually be a career until I was in graduate school for business and thought I wasn’t going to make it in a suit every day so it better be a viable career.

We have spoken with some of your fellow Seinfeld writers, Peter Mehlman and Steve Skrovan, and have had their take. But, how was your experience working on the show? Was it as pleasurable of an experience to work on as it was for the viewers to watch?

It was a privilege interacting with such great comedy minds as Jerry, Larry David and Larry Charles. I learned a lot and in retrospect I am humbled to look back on it and think that my work was worthy enough to be a part of theirs. When I was on staff, the very first full season, it was supposed to be a mid-season replacement show, so there wasn’t the time crunch many shows have. We were working on shows in September for January air, so it was relatively relaxed. (Larry David wouldn’t say he was ever relaxed.) There weren’t the staying up all night doing rewrites atmosphere. Larry and Jerry wrote together. That would change after the first season when new scripts were being worked on the same time as one was being produced so Jerry wouldn’t have time to write and act.

It was a great time to be there, with everyone kind of figuring out what this show was going to be. Then, most nights I would accompany Jerry to the Improv or other comedy clubs and work on and critique the stand-up bits that were going in the show. It was fun getting to hang with Jerry and meet other name comics in the clubs.

And in your own personal opinion, what do you believe it is about the show that has made it a full blown classic, and still completely relevant show today?

I think it’s about growing up and how hard that is, and how we wallow in our personal angst and our own little quirks and peccadilloes and in a way let them define us even while they keep us from having meaningful relationships. While the setting is specific and the characters are of a certain upbringing, the feeling and challenges of single 30 year olds in Western society is pretty universal, so it resonates today.

With all of the changes that have been happening in the world of comedy, with so many new arenas to enter like Netflix, podcasts, etc., what are your thoughts on the world of comedy these days? Do you believe things have worked for the better as more opportunities are brought upon those who wish to enter this world?

There is definitely more opportunity to get your stuff out there to find an audience. I have old videos and audio tape of things I did just starting out with friends who have gone on to be known comedians and directors, that we were just hoping to have as a calling card or entry to a producer somewhere. Now, that stuff would have been up on YouTube or on a podcast and we could have garnered a following and some income immediately which would have led to something else.

The downside is, much of what is put out there isn’t really ready and we benefited in the long run by being able to grow outside the public eye and without the responsibility of having to produce content. Though I would say the way it is today, because people who wouldn’t normally get an opportunity are able to, is much better.

The tough thing I can’t imagine trying to do now is keep up with the number of outlets there are. As a comedian, I used to get a video once every other year to send to producers or club bookers to get work and TV spots. When I came up with funny stuff it was for something to get paid – stand-up, magazine article, book proposal, TV show, movie. Much of what I wrote ended up going nowhere. Now, that stuff ends up on a blog or twitter and is necessary just to keep a public profile. I don’t know how people keep up. And I don’t know if it’s better to have all that output available where we have to sift through for the gems, or to have all that stuff be in the file cabinet where only the gems get out.

Can you tell us a bit about your organization Shaking with Laughter? What sort of things have you done with this noble non-profit to help with Parkinson’s research?

When someone you love is struck with a degenerative disease like Parkinson’s, you want to help, but there is little you can do to stop the progression. One thing you can do is help the research to maybe find a cure. That is done by participating in clinical trials which I have done, and by raising money for research. When my wife Karen was diagnosed about 10 years ago, I thought I could do that by putting together a show with some of my comedian and musician friends I’ve made over the years. (We kept her diagnosis a secret for 3 years so it took a while before we got it together.) I was figuring on a one-time show and thought maybe I could raise $20,000. I asked my old friend Dave Coulier if he would do it and he said yes. I also asked Wayne Cotter who I had worked with when he was the host of Comic Strip Live and he said yes, and I asked guitar great John Pizzarelli who I had met on the road, and he said yes. So it was an amazing show with two great comedians and the fabulous Pizzarelli quartet all doing it for free and we raised around $130,000! We called it Shaking With Laughter – my wife’s shaking, I’m laughter.
Once we we’re so successful we realized we had to keep doing this and on Sept. 9th we will present our 6th one and we expect it to bring us over the $1 million mark in funds raised. All our talent has been kind enough to donate their time for the performance and we are so grateful to them. Comedian-wise we have had Jake Johannsen, Wendy Liebman, Brian Regan, Moody McCarthy and this year Jimmy Dunn in addition to Dave and Wayne. It’s a really fun evening with great spirit and we really feel like great things are on the horizon in terms of a cure.
All the money we raise goes to the Michael J. Fox Foundation. They are creative, innovative and smart about leading research to the goal of a cure. Their goal is to close their doors and thus don’t have an endowment – every penny goes directly to research. Karen is on th Patient Advisory Council of the Fox Foundation.

So, what does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

I’ve been doing some stand-up again and will continue to do so sporadically. You can see me here Marc Jaffe, I wrote a play based on an interesting part of our journey with Parkinson’s that has had some runs, but I’m open to future opportunities with that. You can read a condensed version of it that appeared in the New York Times, Modern Love column here Finding Equilibrium in Seesawing Libidos (Updated With Podcast) And I’ve got an hysterical game show that we are trying to sell called BONK. (Doesn’t have the same meaning in the States) We call it Jeopardy meets the Three Stooges. You can learn about that here. http://www.bonkshow.com/ And, finally my book about my life with my wife before Parkinson’s, when she was a working OB/GYN is available on Amazon. It was picked up by Danny DeVito’s production company to be a sitcom but didn’t get past the pilot stage. The book is still a lot of fun though. You can find it HERE.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

With my wife in a park that had a playground. We got on the teeter-totter (see-saw). We turned into kids again. So much fun seeing her so happy.

Nick Brimble [Interview]


There are few mythical tales out there that really hit the way that Robin Hood does. It is an absolutely brilliant moral driven legend that I have been fascinated with since I was a young boy. And for me, at this time, it was the film Robin Hood: Princes of Thieves that really struck me as the greatest depiction of the Robin Hood mythology. I’m certain that some could argue against this, but no one can argue that it is a fantastic film, and a brilliantly told story of Robin Hood. And one of my favorite characters of note from the film was the man with a bit more common sense than the rest, the wonderful Little John. And wouldn’t you know it, I have a man here today who just might know a thing or two about this character, as he is the brilliant man who brought it to screen!

That’s right folks! Today’s interview is with the legendary actor of screen and stage, the wonderful Nick Brimble. Now, I may have just given a long winded introduction about Robin Hood before introducing Mr. Brimble, but as regular readers will know, that was only the kicker. So often I become intrigued by an artist for some piece of work they have done, and then I quickly realize that they have been a part of some other amazing works of art as well and are continuing to wow audiences in a career that is nothing short of stellar. And that is definitely the case with the brilliant Nick Brimble. He is also a very versatile actor. BBC viewers will recognize him from his work on Granchester, and horror fans may be familiar with his work in Roger Corman’s brilliant take on another creature of mythology in Frankenstein Unbound. And he has done just SO much more.

Obviously we are very excited to have Nick Brimble on the site today! So let me stop the babbling and let you all get on with some great words from the brilliant actor, Mr. Nick Brimble!

I’ve come to learn that you studied philosophy and English Literature in college. Which isn’t so far off from acting, in some respects. But, how did the transformation into acting come into play? When did you realize you wanted to perform for a living?

The one thing you know after completing a degree in Phiosophy is that you don’t know anything. That disqualifies you from almost every profession….. except perhaps being an actor!

My father was a keen amateur actor in Bristol where we lived and I used to go to rehearsals, take him through his lines and occasionally take part if they needed a kid. He also did some radio drama work and again I would sometimes take part.

I was also given a season ticket to Bristol Old Vic, our local repertory theatre and went to every play from the age of 11 until I went to University at 18. The standard was very high and I got to watch some fantastic actors (including a young Peter O’Toole) doing all sorts of work.

When I was in my mid-teens my father also took over the management of a French/Czech troupe of High Wire Artists (called the White Devils) when they were touring England, and for three summers we toured with them.

He would do the commentary and I would sell souvenirs. One year he arranged a blind-fold crossing of Cheddar Gorge which was a pretty big event at the time. At the end of the English tour I was sent with them touring through France, helping put the equipment up and living in the back of a truck . When it was time for me to go back to school they would give me my trainfare and I would find my own way home. It was huge fun.

All of this background meant that a steady job didn’t really appeal to me.

After leaving Sussex University I got a job as Lecturer in English at the University of Baghdad. The ex-pat life style appealed to me as a young man and I might well have continued on that path but at the end of my first year in Baghdad the Six-Day War broke out and I was forced to leave.

Finding myself back in England I took a job teaching at a large London School for a year before deciding to try something in theatre.

I was offered a job as “Youth Theatre Organiser” at a theatre in Canterbury. My job involved organising tours of plays to schools in the area, as well as performing in them, driving the van, helping build the sets for the main theatre productions and playing any small parts that were available in main theatre.

From this I was, to my surprise, offered a job as an actor in the Northcott Theatre company where I worked for three years before going on to work for the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company and in the West-End

As a man who has mastered the craft of acting in the world of film, television, and stage…what would you say is your favorite type of production to be a part of?

Well, I wouldn’t claim to have mastered my craft, part of the fun is that you are continually learning and reinventing yourself.

Initially I only considered theatre…. it didn’t occur to me that I could work in film or television, but once I began to be offered screen work I found I really enjoyed it.

Wessex Tales was one of my early “film-for-tv” jobs. I remember being taken to a field where the art department had created a fabulous Inn. The scene involved me meeting the girl I was in love with. I watched as she came over the brow of the hill in a stage coach pulled by white horses…. it was a marvellous sight.

The director called “Cut”, then told me that I had done a really good job which confused me because I hadn’t done anything…. just watch.
That was the beginning of learning about screen acting.

In 1990, you performed as the legendary Monster in Roger Corman’s Frankenstein Unbound. What was it like to take on the role of such an iconic figure? What sort of preparation did you do for this role?

I tried to create a different physicality for the Monster. He had been created to be better than a normal person, he was stronger and had more sensitive hearing and could speak and reason.

I got help from a movement teacher and worked on walking without opposing movement of the arms and legs. Then we developed a loping run with both arms moving together. I used to practice this run early in the morning on Wimbledon Common near where I lived… and scared a few early morning dog-walkers!

The prosthetic make-up was designed by Nick Dudman and I spent hours with his fabulous team each day applying it all. The final bit was the eyes, which were rigid pieces with art work showing that different eyes had been stitched together for the Monster. This gave me very limited vision and I had to be helped on set. I was told that on no account should I get any dirt in my eyes….. So, naturally, the first scene I shot had me running behind a the horse-drawn carriage while a wind machine blew handfuls of dust in my face.

We had the best fun making that film. I spent most of my evenings in fabulous restaurants in Milan eating, drinking, laughing and arguing with John Hurt and Raul Julia.

A truly unforgettable time!

Roger Corman is a legendary filmmaker and producer with a very specific way of doing things in the world of cinema. What was it like working under the guise of a man like Mr. Corman?

Roger is a very conservative seeming gentleman….. but with his own wild ideas.

In one early scene we shot, The Monster has gone into the town where a fiesta is taking place. The noise of fireworks hurts his sensitive ears and in his distress he frightens some children. A nightwatchman runs up blowing his whistle which makes him even more distraught. He grabs the nightwatchman, plunges his fist into the man’s chest and pulls out his still beating heart which he holds up in front of him. Seeing this the poor man dies!

As we prepared to shoot I had a tube running up my arm which was pumping sticky artificial blood through the throbbing prop heart in my hand.

Roger came up to me and said, “Nick, at this point over-acting is impossible”.

1991’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves will not only go down as my favorite Robin Hood story of all time, but one of my favorite films of all time. And you were freaking Little John! What was it like to work on such a iconic film, and what are your thoughts on the final cut of the film that we know and love?

I grew up on the Disney live action film with Richard Todd as Robin and James Robertson Justice as Little John. I saw it several times in the cinema.

There was a stream near my house and as a kid we would act out the fight in waterfall. What a treat to get to act it out again – this time in a hugely popular modern version!

The actual shoot was chaotic and hard work….. we had no idea it would be such a success. Our fight in the waterfall was shot in Aysgarth Falls in Yorkshire…. in November. And let me tell you, it was cold!

It took three days to shoot that sequence – what you see in the film is a small part of what we actually shot. We were in the water first shot to last shot, for three days, fighting on treacherous boulders in fast moving water, and because of the fighting we couldn’t wear wet suits under our clothes.

But I feel so lucky to have been part of something that people know and love.

After being in the world of acting for over 5 decades, what is it that keeps you in this business? What is it that you still adore about the profession of performance?

You never know what you will be asked to do next. That is priceless.
Getting an early call to be driven out to some exotic location to meet your fellow cast members and crew never grows old.

So, what is next for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

I’m so lucky to still be asked to do things. Currently I’m in the third series of Grantchester which is a joy to work on. Set in the 1950s, James Norton is the Anglican Vicar of Grantchester and Robson Greene the local policeman.

I came into the first season in a guest role and immediately felt at home. I was asked back to do a couple of episodes in the second season, and now in the third, I am a potential romantic interest for the vicar’s house-keeper played by Tessa Peake-Jones.

Who could have predicted that!

What was the last thing to make you smile?

I just heard that after a five year hiatus there is a new series of “Curb Your Enthusiasm”.
Can’t wait!

McNally Sagal [Interview]

Today’s interviewee is somebody extremely special to the TWS world, and someone we have wanted to talk to for a very long time. A few years ago we had the fortunate experience to receive some great words from actors like Christopher Reed and Michael Ornstein, both known for their brilliant performances on the hit TV series Sons of Anarchy. And today we have reached a whole new level in the SoA universe. Today we have the brilliant McNally Sagal on the site! McNally as you will definitely remember portrayed the brilliant Margaret Murphy, the doctor who wants to help all the wrong people, probably because she has a few secrets herself. She was absolutely brilliant in this role, and was definitely a major highlight of the program.

Now, as per usual, McNally Sagal is a brilliant actress who has managed to not be pigeonholed into being known for one performances. Since SoA, McNally has been a regular on the hit series Secrets & Lies, and has appeared on other great shows like Scandal and Jane the Virgin. And even before SoA, McNally appeared in another project that has been very special to us here at TWS, the brilliant indie classic film SLC Punk, directed by our old friend James Merendino and featuring our new friend Michael Goorjian. And that is all without even mentioning the fact that she appeared in one of the most underrated comedies of all time, a classic in my book, High School High. As well as a break out role in Clive Barker’s horror masterpiece, Night Breed.

Yes, McNally Sagal is a brilliant actress who has been proving for decades that she has the goods and is one of the greatest in the business for very obvious reasons. And we are so very excited to have her as our featured guest here today at Trainwreck’d Society. So please enjoy some great words from the amazing McNally Sagal!

When did you decide that you wanted play pretend for a living? Was it always an aspiration of yours, or did it just sort of happen?

I grew up in the middle of 10 children outside of Chicago, IL. My father is a reconstructive plastic surgeon. He clearly loved his work and his hope for all of us was that we found something we loved to do and make a living doing it. His often repeated phrase was, “Convert your hobby to your job and it will never feel like work.” I was an excellent student in high school, and thought that my parents might have their hearts set on my going into dentistry or medicine. I was shocked when I told them I wanted to study theater and they just said, “Great!” I graduated from Boston University, and then moved cold to NYC.
And after all of these years in the business, appearing on dozens of the best television shows and in some amazing films, what is it that you still enjoy about the business as it evolves into what it is now?

I love that I never really know what I will be doing or where I will be as the days unfold. I look forward to getting an audition for something that I know nothing about…then I work hard on it…and lo and behold, some days I get the opportunity to experience a whole new world that had never crossed my mind until that moment. For example, I had not seen The X Files when I got an audition for the show…it was 2 full days of multiple call backs…then the next day I am on a night shoot, standing on top of a flying saucer, holding an infant, with wind machines blowing and cursing at the top of my lungs! Ya know, things like that.

This might be a bit of a specific stretch here….but, Nightbreed is one of my favorite horror films of all time, and what I still consider Clive Barker’s most honest work. And it was one of your first on screen roles, according to my little research. So I am compelled to ask about what it was like working so early on a film like Nightbreed? Was it a positive experience overall?

I love Clive Barker! I was pretty scared doing the role actually….screaming my head off as a severed head is plopped on the counter and I am getting stabbed in the chest. I so enjoyed his sense of humor. He cast me again in Lord Of Illusions as what he described as a lip stick lesbian. We spent a lot of time together actually. I went to his home with my then 3 year old son, Boris. There was Clive’s artwork displayed all around the house, and my son was in awe….and then he said, “This is scary pretty.” Clive encouraged me to submit a story for his Hellraiser series of comic books for Epic Comics and I had a story published. That was pretty cool…although it is a pretty gruesome story about stand up comics in hell being pulled apart on stage when the audience yells for , “The Hook!”


How long was it into your career when you realized…I am an actress! When did you realize you were living as a working actor in the business? Was there a specific project or time period where it really hit you?

Well, uhhh, I moved to NYC right after graduating from college…and beleive it or not…I was offered a role in Amadeus on Broadway, 3 weeks after my arrival. So, yeah, I figured I had gambled correctly. Although, I was sure that I had nowhere to go but down. I did that job for a year and a half…so I was able to save some money and support myself as an actor ever since.

We have had the fortunate experience of talking with fellow Sons of Anarchy alum Christopher Reed and Michael Ornstein about their experience with the show. And you were absolutely AMAZING on the show, one of the major highlights in my opinion. So what was it like working with this strangely complex and conflicted character? How was the experience overall, and how much of the characters personality was of your own creation?
First off…shout out to Chris and Michael. They were great in their roles and really fun to work with!
I came in to audition for Kurt Sutter for a role where I had to literally turn myself inside out with grief and horror at the death of my teenage daughter. I totally lost it (as my real daughter was the same age as the daughter in the show) One of those times when I think the casting director thought maybe they should call an ambulance. Kurt told me there in the room….”I can’t see you doing this….you will not get this role….but I have something else in mind.”  Then of course, a year goes by and I let it go….

Then I got a call to come play a role on SOA…it was a very short scene in the hospital with Maggie Siff who played Tara on the show. I thought that was going to be it…I am a team player/trooper…just go where I am hired…had no more expectations. But then my character kept popping up, and the story and character arcs were so fun and amazing. I never knew what to expect or what might happen…I would just open my email to see if I was in the episode or not and what was going on. One day I was reading a script and I kind of made a yelp squeal and almost fell out of my chair….because I found out that my character literally had a “Back story”…and that I would sport a full back tattoo, get kidnapped, tied up in an attic, shoot a gun, get punched and strangled, kicked in the chest and thrown to the floor, black eyed, past heroin use, punch others in the face, lie on legal forms, lie to murderers, lie to the cops…you know, that kind of stuff. It was a blast!

Another close tie in we have is our relationship to the filmmaker and cast of the film SLC Punk, in which you had a wonderful role in as well. What can you tell us about set life on an independent flick based around the world of punk rock? Was it a memorable shoot for you?

It was very memorable because…and as I said earlier, why I love what I do…..I got a call at 9 p.m. one night, from a frightened, soft voiced, young woman….she was whispering….I could barely hear her. She said, “I have to be quiet because they are shooting a film on set. I don’t know if you remember me, but I used to work for your agent. I am here in Utah doing this movie, I am P.A…..and Julie Haggarty is very sick and unable to play a role…it works tomorrow in Salt Lake City….and um, as everyone was freaking out about who could play the role, all of a sudden…I kind of said that you could do it in a heartbeat…and so, now they want to hire you. But, um, now I am really nervous and my job depends on this. so, um, can you really do it? and can you leave RIGHT NOW?” I jumped on a plane and basically ran on the set and did that fun scene with Mathew Lillard and Christopher McDonald.

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?
My son is going to be a senior in high school next year…one more year before I have an empty nest! Who knows where he will go to college…or where I will be? Or what the future holds? That’s what makes it fun and keeps me on my toes!

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Well, thank god, I smile a lot…and have lots to be happy about. But, a few months ago, I was visiting my daughter who is in college in Boston. I was sad to say good by, and kind of sad that I would be flying home to LA during the Academy Awards….I got a txt that said my flight was cancelled. They re-ticketed me for the next morning and said they would cover my hotel and dinner that night. I was so happy to call my daughter…who came running into the hotel room and we put on the white robes and had room service and wine and watched the Awards on TV. Fun, unexpected joy! And…. then the whole Warren Beatty thing….we were in ecstasy!

Bad Frank [Film]

“Headlined with a true Breakout Performance by Award-Winner Kevin Interdonato, and featuring electric support from Amanda Clayton (Bleed For This), Tom Sizemore (Showtime’s Twin Peaks, Saving Private Ryan, HEAT), Brian O’Halloran (Clerks 1 & 2), and boxing icon Ray ‘Boom-Boom’ Mancini, Bad Frank has become a majorly sought after Film this year, and acquired by heavyweight Foreign Rep, Lotus Entertainment.

Frank Pierce (played by Interdonato) leads a seemingly normal life, but when a disturbing past re emerges and something precious is taken from him, his mask of sanity loosens and unearths the urge to be violent once again.”

I wasn’t exactly sure what I was expecting when I went into Bad Frank. It was definitely an intriguing sell, and definitely seemed worth the watch. For one, I always try to make an effort to see everything that Brian O’Halloran ever works on. Even if the part turns out to be minimal and underwhelming, he always does it so damn well. Such is the case in Bad Frank. And the addition of the legendary bad ass Tom Sizemore definitely jumped at me and made me think, “Alright, let’s see what this is about.” And dammit if I am not enthralled that I gave it a shot.

Bad Frank is a brilliant indie blood darling of a film. It is a brilliant tale about how the demons inside of us are sometimes impossible to sustain, and that the past is always there to haunt us even if we attempt to avoid any acknowledgement of its presence. Kevin Interdonato gives a truly gut-wrenching performance as the lead man, and is definitely a force of nature that we should all be looking out for. And Lynn Mancinelli was a sleeper act that really brought the whole thing together. And dammit if legendary Ray ‘Boom Boom’ Mancini didn’t pull of a brilliant performance that he seemed to be born to do. Also as I already mentioned, we had the great Brian O’Halloran and his continuous brilliance.

Overall Bad Frank is a deeply disturbing story told extremely well with a cast that is top shelf. It is also a film that will leave you with a few “What If’s” on your mind. Especially, “what if they just had more money?”. I know I ended the film thinking just this. I was left with two thoughts: 1.) It is amazing what a talented filmmaker like Tony Germinario can pull off on what appeared to be a shoestring budget, and I want to know more about him, and 2.) It is plain sickening that more brilliant ideas like this aren’t being given the fair treatment they deserve. For every god damned Marvel movie that comes out every year, 50 brilliant films like Bad Frank could be coming out. But, that isn’t the way the cinema world works I’m afraid. No matter the budget though, there was nothing stopping me from enjoying Bad Frank for exactly what it is, a damn good story featuring damn good actors.

Check out this trailer for Bad Frank, available NOW on VOD: