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:

Bill Grundfest [Interview]

Why hello there old comedy loving friends. As you may have noticed in the last few months, we have grown quite fond of the world of stand up comedy lately. It is an ever-loving passion we have had for quite some time, but we have worked to bring to to an all new light lately. And today we have a perfect guest to help put us directly on top! Today we are speaking with the legendary comedian/writer/founder of the acclaimed Comedy Cellar in New York City, the great Bill Grundfest.

If you are any sort of fan of stand up comedy, or truly funny in general, there is no possible way you are not aware of the the legendary Comedy Cellar. It has appeared in just about every project that took comedy even remotely serious, including the recent De Niro fronted film The Comedian, which I have I recently watched on a plane, and have to say was actually pretty damn entertaining. Anyway, our main man Bill is the man who’s ass you should all be proverbially kissing, because he is the man who developed the original concept, and created the now legendary Comedy Cellar.

And what is more interesting….he left it all. He developed a comedic empire, and then simply gave it away. Why the fuck would you do that, you may ask? Well, when the end result would eventually be to become a Golden Globe award winning television writer on the coast with more sunshine, it probably wouldn’t seem so crazy. And that is exactly what he did. A man like Bill Grundfest is loaded with so much talent that it is almost unfair to his peers. He has had an incredible career that has spanned decades.

And we are so damn excited that he was gracious enough to share a few words with us here at Trainwreck’d Society today! We have had some legends in the past, but having Bill here today feels absolutely surreal, and we are so damn happy to have him! So please enjoy some great words from the amazing Bill Grundfest!

What was some of the earliest material you can remember performing when you first began telling jokes?

My first joke was when I was 5, and my audience was my Post World War II immigrant, barely-speaking-English parents. It was the Knock Knock, who’s there?, banana/orange joke. If you need me to write the joke out, forget it.
When you decided to develop the now legendary Comedy Cellar, what made you think it was going to work out? And could you have ever imagine what it would become shortly after you opened it, and what it became after you moved on from it?

I knew it would work, I just didn’t know it would last 35 years. Nobody and nothing in New York lasts 35 years. Neither me nor Manny imagined the level of success it achieved, especially under Noam and Estee’s execution after I left and Manny passed. I know he’s smiling from behind an oud in heaven.

You made one of the craziest decisions I have ever heard of when you decided to leave your successful career running the Cellar to pursue a career in the world of writing for television. In retrospect, you obviously made a perfect decision as you have had some amazing success in this business. But, what the hell, man? What made you decide you wanted to take such a crazy risk? What compelled you to leave such beautiful conformity?
I was 34, had had a radio show on NBC, a couple of cable specials, but I wasn’t becoming a star, and could see 40 looming. I wanted to be in the major leagues of television and if it couldn’t be as the star of a sitcom or talk show, then as a writer/producer would be fine. Rule #1: If you are willing to do literally anything to achieve a clearly envisioned goal, the odds are actually pretty good you’ll achieve it. Most people aren’t willing to do literally anything. I was – starting with being brutally honest with myself about my chances of becoming a star.
I recently heard you explaining to Barry Katz on Industry Standard about how you first kicked off your career in television by handing out spec scripts to whoever may take them. This is probably a pretty dated concept these days, but it obviously worked. What would you consider to be the modern day equivalent of these acts? What do you believe a new writer has to do today to break into the business?
It would work still today. New anythings in this business need to step outside the norm and do something crazy. You must break out of the safety of the “norm.” Failure to become a success is what’s normal in show biz. If you want to succeed in anything, you have to risk looking like an idiot.
What have you noticed to be the biggest change in the “writer’s rooms” and television writing in general since when you first began in the business, up to now? Besides the lightening of the wallets of course. And despite less pay, do you believe the quality of television has gotten better, or worse?

There’s an amazing amount of good TV out there. My only complaint is: can we stop with the “anti-hero” bullshit? It’s not funny, not cool, it’s really coarsening the culture and destroying the very idea of a “value system.”

Mad About You was one of those shows that has always stood out to me personally as a reasonably beloved show by both critics and audiences, although it was against some serious competition during its run. In your obviously much more knowledgable opinion, what do you believe it was that made Mad About You stand out amongst the crowd? 

Writing a sitcom is like writing a song – to be a hit you have to write a great song and have a great performer sing it. As writers, our staff was among the best in TV, and we had Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt to sing what we wrote.

We always have to ask our statue holding friends this one question: Where do you keep your Golden Globe? And does its physical location have any sort of significance to you?

It’s in a shrine my mother has to her sons, in between my 3 Emmy nominations, and a Peabody award.

So what do you have coming up that our readers should know about?

I’m attached to a couple of pilots and am very big in China, where we adapted Mad About You for a Chinese cast and audience – and were the number one show for our run with hundreds of millions of views.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

BMy kids. They love me. Go figure.

Just so you know, Bill was not over exaggerating about the impact of Mad About You in China. Check out this amazing insight from The Wall Street Journal:

Katie Burgess [Interview]

We have a pretty awesome interview for you fine readers today. Recently I was passed along a screener for a nice little indie horror flick entitled Gremlin. It was a fun film to watch, but when I finished it, I was left with one large question….who is this amazing young actress who plays Anna? That young actress turned out to be the amazing Katie Burgess. And while I know I can’t be the first to say this, I still feel so compelled to say it…this is a young woman to look out for in the future. She is an amazingly talented actress who absolutely stole the show in Gremlin.

While looking into the work of Ms. Burgess, I soon learned that it was not just dumb luck and pure talent (which she definitely seems to have been born with) that made her performance in Gremlin so amazing. No, Katie has been doing this job for quite some time despite her young age. And dammit she is good at it! Again, if you are not yet familiar with the work of Katie Burgess, I am absolutely certain you soon will. That being said, we are so happy that she has been generous enough to share a few words with us here at Trainwreck’d Society. So ladies and gentleman, please enjoy our interview with the amazing actress, and the woman who has officially knocked out our old friend Tara Lynne Barr as our youngest interviewee to date, the wonderful Katie Burgess!

You’ve been acting for quite a long time for someone who is so young. When did you decide you wanted to be an actress? And what compelled you to join the world of acting?

When I was much younger (around 7) I was very shy. My mom decided that bringing me to an open audition for a local musical would be a good way for me to overcome my bashfulness. I ended up actually getting cast in the musical(Seussical the Musical) with a friend and that was the beginning of my journey. Around two years and 4 productions later I decided that I wanted to try my hand at film acting. My mom worked hard to find an agency in Oklahoma and scheduled an interview for me. I signed on with an agency soon after and booked my first commercial the next day. It’s always been so much fun for me which is really important in any business. You have to really love it.

What is the acting scene like in Tulsa? And are you still living around there? Any plans to ship out to one of the coasts to work?

The acting scene in Tulsa has always been pretty slow to be honest. The business in Oklahoma has only just started to pick up in the last few years, which is great! I’m actually moving to Malibu for college at the end of August as I’ll be attending Pepperdine University. I hope to continue acting there as well as learn about the business from all perspectives.

I recently watched the film you appeared in called Gremlin, and honestly have to say that your performance truly blew me away. You went through a lot of crazy dramatic turns with that character. What sort of preparation went into making this character come to life? And how was your experience in making this film?

Gremlin was a wonderful experience for me! It was a very professional environment where everyone was very passionate about and dedicated to their jobs. As far as the character, Anna is a 16 year old girl struggling to find herself and cope with life-altering news. Because I was exactly her age during filming, I could relate to her struggles. Every kid gets frustrated with their parents and, as a teenager, it’s easy to feel very isolated and lost so I channeled my own past feelings and allowed myself to go to those dark places Anna is trapped in. You have to be very aware of emotion during such intense scenes. It was important to me that I channeled multiple emotions at once and conveyed them authentically. Humans are really complex, so in order to make a situation as realistic as possible, you have to know how to be afraid, distraught, and angry all at once.

You also worked with the legendary Academy Award winning actor Louis Gossett Jr. in the family drama The Lamp. What was it like working with a legendary figure like Gossett? Did he have any wisdom to pass on to you?

I was pretty young when I worked with him so I don’t think I fully understood just who I was working with. He’s such sweet man and he’s giant! His stand-in had to wear platform shoes just to reach his height. He loved to tell stories. There were a lot of kids on that set so he entertained us with funny stories between takes. I look back now and I wish I could have picked his brain more about his experience in the business, but as a ten-year-old, I just saw him as a fun grandfather figure.

What would you consider to be your dream role?

I love a good challenge. A character with different sides and a deep story is always fun. It’s thrilling to me to be thrown into a situation I would probably not experience in my life and find ways to make it real and interesting. Probably someone very different from who I actually am.


So what is next for you? Anything you would like to tell our readers about that you have coming up?

I just filmed another movie with the makers of Gremlin called The Jurassic Games. I’m super excited for this film so definitely stay tuned for more information! I play the main antagonist, which was so much fun as I was the youngest person on set. Ryan Bellgardt is such an amazing director so getting to work with him and his crew twice was a privilege.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

That is a really hard question haha. I smile literally all the time. This is going to sound really creepy, but I love observing people, especially kids. I love watching interactions between people because I just think they are really interesting. I actually think this has helped a lot in my acting, knowing how people react to certain things or interact with each other. I would say the last time I smiled was probably when I was listening to a conversation between little kids at the pool. They’re so funny! It really makes me miss being little.

Check out this trailer for Gremlin featuring Katie Burgess which is available on VOD now:

Philip Anthony-Rodriguez [Interview]

Today’s interviewee is another amazingly talented on screen and voice over actor working today. Philip Anthony-Rodriguez has had regular on screen appearances on TV shows like Grimm, The Secret Life of an American Teenager, 24, and so many more! And in the world of video games, Philip is a voice you will all surely know and love in projects like Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Halo: Reach, and so many more.

But as many of our regular readers will know…if we are have an acclaimed voice over artists featured on the site, there is a 110% chance, they were also a part of a dearly beloved video game series here at Trainwreck’d Society. And you all would be absolutely correct. Mr. Rodriguez is the man who was responsible for bringing to life the smooth-talking, hard-working, name-reminiscent of a biker town in South Dakota, the great Sturgis! His Sanctuary’s own handy helper is with us today, and we could not be more excited to have him. And as an added bonus, Philip has also appeared in episode of the TWS acclaimed television series Becker, so you know we had to ask him about some of that magic. If there is one thing you could call us here at TWS, it is persistent. We know what we want, and we know what we love. And we love the work of Philip Anthony-Rodriguez!

So please enjoy some great words from the amazing actor and voice over artist, Philip Anthony-Rodriquez. And as he mentions in the interview itself, find Philip when you are making the rounds at this year’s San Diego Comic Con. Enjoy!


When did you realize you wanted to become an actor? Was it a passion from a young age or did you just sort of fall into it? 

It was a little bit of both. I’ve always been a fan of TV and film. But when I was 9, a woman named Jeanne Niederlitz came to my hometown community center in Brooklyn with a summer theater troupe for kids. It was called Acting By Children (ABC) and we’d put on original musicals all performed by kids: costumes, rehearsals, audiences, the works!  I was instantly hooked! Later, Jeanne went on to be my very first manager. I then went on to do commercials, small parts in movies, TV shows …and the rest, as they say, is history.

What was the first film/television show you can remember having your name appear in the credits? Do you remember what you were doing at that exact moment when you first saw it?

I was cast as the lead guest star on one of Dick Wolf’s early hit shows called New York Undercover. This show had the actor credits at the beginning of the show. My heart skipped a beat and I got choked up seeing my name up on the screen. And it was even more special because I believe I was on screen when my name appeared.  I felt like I had finally “made it” as an actor (hahaha). It was a dream fulfilled!

You had a solid run on the hit television show Grimm. What was it like working on a show like this? And how did you enjoy my homeland up there in the Pacific Northwest?

Oh boy! This was a real treat working on for many reasons. It reunited me with my uber producer David Greenwalt from my days starring on Jake 2.0, which incidentally was a GREAT series that wasn’t given the chance it deserved to remain on the air. ;). But with Grimm, I was joining an established hit show and I got to have in on the fun and be a part of something really special. I also got to play a reeeaally slick but evil, Bond-esque, “Euro-Villain” name Marcus Rispoli. This was awesome for a few reasons. A) I wasn’t pigeonholed into being (solely) a Latino character with a Latino surname (nothing wrong with that, by the way) so it was nice to not be “Latino Phil” for something. B) He was an absolute badass that wore expensive suits and could kill you with his steely, death stare! Lol. And C) It gave me the opportunity to perform the character with the quasi-British/Mid-Atlantic accent I had worked on for years and SO wanted to “unleash” it onto the world. 🙂

The show’s cast and crew were top-notch as well as was your “homeland”. They and the city of Portland welcomed me with open arms…and sometimes a hug as well!   I always looked forward to flying up there from LA to work. And can I just say, “Portland, man! SUCH an awesome foodie town!!” I mean it, I had some of THE best food while I was there. So much so that I’d often find myself saying, “Eat your heart out, Paris, New York and L.A.!!” Portland is on the map for food glory these days!

I know it has been a long time, and it was only one episode, but you appeared on one of my favorite television sitcoms of all time, the amazing Becker. So I am obliged to ask, how did you enjoy being on that set? Was it a memorable experience in any way?

Oh wow, that is going back a bit! But hey, Becker…what can I say? Got to work with the legendary Ted Danson as well as the rest of that stellar cast. It was a short but sweet gig. But it was also special because it was a Christmas episode…those are ALWAYS fun! It also has the virtue of being THE first sitcom I worked on. What better way to get your feet wet than by being on a winner like that?

What would you say are the pro’s and cons of voice over work as compared to your on-screen work? Do you have a preference between the two?

Well, the pros are many with voice over work. I do it with just as much frequency as I do with my on-screen work. And it is the “bread and butter” work for me…from said frequency perspective. But you’ve also heard other voice talent mention the obvious perks: You can just roll outta bed in your jammies and into the recording booth if you want…because no one can see you. But that’s kinda gross. I like to at least wear jeans and a tee shirt! 😉 But seriously, doing voice over work is typically more “exotic” work for me. As in you typically perform unusual characters that you don’t often get to play on screen. With voice over work, I’ve gotten to play a “Spartan” super-soldier in Halo Reach, a homicidal super-cyborg in Metal Gear, an immortal shaman and rebel leader in Rise of the Tomb Raider and a member of an alien races of all shapes and sizes countless times. THAT’S pretty cool, in my book. There’s also that extra special goose-bumpy feeling that occurs when you see YOUR voice put to an animated or computer generated image of your character. It is…fascinating, to say the least. Some of the cons are that voice work CAN put a strain on your voice. Especially when we’re working on high octane, action-filled, single-shooter type games. Nothing that a couple days’ rest can’t fix, though.

And then you have screen work. Which can be a totally different beast altogether. That has its merit and uniqueness to it too. I know for me, I still get a kick out of seeing myself on the screen. Especially if, as I’ve said before, I’m doing something cool I don’t always get to do in real life. Again, I think it’s pretty cool. How many people get to say that?? That’s why I don’t buy it when you hear some actors say, “Oh, I don’t watch myself on screen!” Why the heck not?? That always sounds a little pretentious to me sometimes. Enjoy it. Revel in it! Be proud of it. You can do that without making it seem like you’re gloating or full of yourself. 🙂

How was your experience working on Fallout 4 as the go-to fixer of Sanctuary Hills, Sturges? Was it exceptional to other projects you have worked on in any way?

You know, it’s funny how the whole Sturges thing panned out for me. This was yet another situation where I got to go “against type” for me. A rockabilly, Elvis-inspired, do-it-all Mr. Fixit with a southern drawl for the ages! I mean, I’m a Puerto Rican kid…from Brooklyn, for cryin’ out loud! And here I am, suddenly thrust into a hit game AND franchise. Actors never see the forest for the trees with regard to how well a video game is going to be…or how popular. We just go into the booth and once there, the sessions are very methodical–in the sense that there is a lot of information and words you must dole out. BUT you also have to create and instill the performance aspect to it and bring that character to life. That’s why gaming and performances are SO “cinematic” these days. With the advent of CGI, motion and face capture, designers are always looking for solid and experienced actors to work on these games. That’s why you have stars like Kevin Spacey showing up on your most recent version of Call of Duty. You would’ve never seen this happen say, 25 years ago. Again, Sturges for me was exceptional in the sense that I got to play someone I’d probably never get to play on screen. And that,in itself, is special.

What has the fan reaction been like since Fallout 4 was released? Do you find Fallout fans to be a bit more fanatical (no pun intended) than other projects you have worked on?

The fan reaction has been unprecedented… at least for me. Like I said before, actors don’t know how well something is going to be until it’s released, gained some momentum with fans and then has that snowball effect in popularity. I LOVE how fans react to a game’s success (or failure). It’s always cool to read official fan Twitter feeds and how fans always refer to you by your character name when asking questions or posting game related tidbits. They really are savvy enough to know when something works and is clicking for them. If it’s entertaining enough and whether it holds its own as compared to other games, the buck ALWAYS stops with fans in terms of how successful a game is going to be…critics and game magazine reviews, be damned.! So, as a game designer, you better make sure you’re putting out a great product. Fans and true gamers can smell out a stinker. lol. It’s strange though what fans zero in on with characters on projects I’ve worked on. I’ve been on a few GTA series and it’s hilarious to me that I always get recognized for Maurice Chavez…a radio personality and voice you ONLY hear on the radio during game play. Too funny.

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

Well, for the immediate future, ComicCon Conventions. So, check out a ComicCon and gaming conventions near you. I’ll be attending the mother of all conventions in July, San Diego ComicCon with a signing booth! I am stoked, to say the least. I’ll be signing photos, memorabilia and action figures from Star Wars Rebels, Grimm all game projects I’ve been a part of over the years. Sooo, if you plan to be around for the festivities, I’d love it if fans would drop by and say, “whassup!?”. I also have a Guest Star role coming up on the Season 2 of Queen of the South for USA Networks. For the long term, I am super proud of the fact that I am a dad again! My wife Cindy and I are the proud mama and papa of a beautiful and totally awesome baby boy! So, that for me is my greatest adventure. But I’m sure you’ll be seeing me up on the big screen and/or the virtual world in the very near future! 😀

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Seeing my baby boy being born! And when he looks up at me…and smiles. (sniff, sniff!) Gets me all the time! 😉

Check out this video courtesy of Luridus for a great example of Philip’s work on Fallout 4 as Sturgis:

Sunday Matinee: Leftovers [Film]

“I live a pretty good life, so I have no complaints. Nothing.” These are the words of a man who is in physical pain every damn day. A man who literally depends on the help of a Meals on Wheels program in order to live a life of pain that he considers “pretty good”. And when he can, he donates some of the little money that he may have to foundations that feed children. In just few brief moments in this film, he manages to show the world what great people should look like. And wouldn’t you know….he lives on the brink of starvation. And furthermore, we don’t seem to give a single solitary shit about him.

When I started to watch Leftovers, I had a feeling it would be a very impactful film, simply based on the subject matter. But, I honestly had no idea just how incredible emotional and on the brink of tears it could make me, on a subject I had honestly NEVER thought about before.  I just want to be real with you good readers. I was honestly under the impression that Meals on Wheels, and other organizations that feed the elderly, were more of a nicety than something that was so important and absolutely necessary. I was aware of food banks and types of programs that feed the children….but, I never considered the elderly. And I don’t believe many people really do. I know I personally never thought about how shitty we as a nation are treating our senior citizens. This is the main reason that Leftovers may very well be one of the most important documentaries I have ever seen. It is a gripping, beautifully produced, and damned inspiring film. First time filmmaker Seth Hancock truly knocked it out of the proverbial park on his first time out. He’s tackled such a specific and dangerous problem that absolutely must be dealt with accordingly. And an amazing film like Leftovers may be just the tool necessary to bring about some serious change. I know he got at least one heartless blogger to re-consider his lifestyle and seek to find what he could do to help.

Seriously Everyone, I am finding it hard to completely describe just how important and impactful this film truly is. You absolutely MUST see this amazing film. And after you do, find out how you can give back. Look into your local Meals on Wheels program, and figure out how you can help support the over 5 million Senior citizens who are going hungry every day. “There is enough food in this country to feed every man, woman, and child, we just the courage to do it.” This is NOT a line we should have to hear in a film, but sadly enough it is absolutely true. We shouldn’t need “courage” to fucking feed people. It should NOT be a courageous act to give people the nourishment they physically need to survive.

Unfortunately, because hunger has become acceptable in our nation, it is indeed a courageous effort to help people simply not die. As pointed out while Seth was visiting in Texas, it was easier to receive a concealed weapons permit than it is to receive food stamps. Our priorities are fucked, people, and it has to be stopped.
Please, watch Leftovers, and find out what you can do help the fattest nation in the world spread the wealth a little bit and help those who truly need it.

Leftovers is available now on VOD, and will be available August 29th, 2017 on DVD. Check out the trailer for this amazing film here: