Wes Johnson [Interview]


Hello Folks! We have an absolutely wonderful interview for you fine folks today! As avid readers here at TWS may know, we are obsessed with the world, lure, and creativity of the world of Fallout. From Fallout 3 to the latest release, Fallout 76, it has been a wonderful world to literally play around in. So fun it is, that we have showcased several of the fine voice over actors who have worked on these projects. The number of how many we have spoken to escapes me at the moment, but they all have been wonderful.

And today I feel as though we have hit the proverbial mother load! Today we have some words from the brilliant Wes Johnson! Wes is so great that Fallout may not be his greatest accomplishment as a performer, but it certainly tops our list here at TWS! You know and love him as The Silver Shroud in Fallout 4, as well as so many other amazing voices over the last 10 years. D.C. residents, and basically hockey fans alike, will probably recognize this genius even more for his close to two decades of announcing for the Washington Capitals. And, well, just SO MUCH else.

Wes is genuinely wonderful human being, and we are so excited to have him grace our digital pages today. So without further ado, I will end my babbling and turn it over to some wonderful words from the man of a thousand voices, Mr. Wes Johnson!

When did you realize that you wanted to join the world of the performing arts to make a living? What initially drew you to this world?

I was called up onto the stage during a magic show while I was in grade school by a magician. I’m not sure if he was any good really, I was just a kid. As a magician, he could have been truly shite, but real magic DID happen that day. I got a few laughs from the audience, and it changed my world. We started putting on shows in the neighborhood, and I would write in to the local horror movie host Count Gore De Vol on a regular basis, thrilling when my letters on toys I sent in made it on the air. It wouldn’t be until my freshman year in high school that I’d set foot on a real stage in front of a packed house, but the moment I stepped on that stage playing a physically comic role and got big laughs, I was a goner. There was nothing else for me in this world other than performing.

I understand you started your career working in the world of stand up comedy and improv. I am always curious to know what folk’s early years are like in these types of performance. So how did you get into this world, and what were those early years like?

Stand-up comedy for me was a way to find a stage and perform characters and voices in front of a live audience. My start was not the smoothest. On my very first Open Mic Night in Washington, DC, I followed a juggling comedian named Kevin Lee up onto the stage. Kevin had just KILLED IT. The audience was primed when I got up, and the host set the egg timer to 5 minutes – that’s all the time I would have. I ran out of material and ways to handle drunk hecklers after about 40 minutes (it was actually only about 2 minutes in). After another minute of struggling, which took a sweaty lifetime, I grabbed the egg timer, forcefully turned it to 5, heard it ding and said “Oops! Looks like my time is up. If anyone if looking for me, I’ll be home hanging in the closet.” It was my first real laugh of the night.

I would go on to do sketch comedy with comedy and improv troupes Fresh Victims, Gross national product and The Loyal opposition. One of our Fresh Victims sketches, “The William Shatner School of Acting” made it onto Funny or Die. Willian Shatner saw it. His reply? “Sounds more like Cagney.” 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7tqfrzx6WE

In 2004 you appeared as the hilariously named “Fat Fuck Frank” in John Water’s brilliant comedy A Dirty Shame. Waters is a renowned mad genius in the world of film, who has created some very original and enlightening films. So, how was your experience working under the guise of one of the kings of weird? What was it like to work on a project like this?

That was one of the best experiences of my life. It was such a friendly set, and having a chance to work with John Waters and legendary Dreamlanders was, well, a dream come true. I absolutely adored Mink Stole, and getting a chance to work with Tracey Ullman, Johnny Knoxville, Chris Isaak and the amazing Selma Blair – what’s not to like? How many people have been blessed to inhabit a character created by John Waters and designed by the legendary resident Ugly Expert Van Smith? The atmosphere on set reminded me most of high school drama department days. I couldn’t wait for each new day (or night) to begin so I could come out and play with my friends in John Waters amazing sandbox full of sex addicts. I count so many of them as my dearest friends, especially Susan Allenbach who I’ve known since we were just starting out as wait staff in a performing night club. And really, now many people get to say they were Selma Blair’s biker boyfriend in an NC-17 film? Good times 


We have showcased several VO artists from our beloved Fallout franchise. You’ve done several roles in both Fallout 3 and 4. So how has your experience been working with Bethesda in the Fallout universe?

I’m rarely happier than I am behind the microphone in a small darkened studio bringing characters to life created by the feverish minds of developers at Bethesda Game Studios. From the early days of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind to Fallout 76, it has been a working partnership that I cherish. Todd Howard has assembled such a remarkable group of creative minds and talents there. Getting to work with sound designer Mark Lampert, writer Emil Paglurilo, and so very many other talented souls there is simply a joy. The characters I’ve played remain near and dear to my heart. In the Elder Scrolls I love Sheogorath, Lucien Lachance and Hermaeus Mora… I feel very close to them. Love EVERY character, but those are special. Playing the Arena Announcer in Oblivion actually helped change the way I call Washington Capitals games for the NHL as their Arena Announcer. As to Fallout, it’s been so much fun playing Protectrons, Super Mutants (especially Fawkes), Moe Cronin, The Silver Shroud and so many more. I loved Fallout 1 and 2, so when Bethesda took over, it was a real honor to be involved in the new incarnations.  I take it very seriously (and yet, have so much fun).  I actually play many of the games I voice, so it’s a weird extra level of involvement in games that are already super immersive. Can’t wait to start playing Fallout 76  ☺.

 

While on the subject of the Fallout franchise, I know that this world has some very devoted and die hard fans. I know this because I am one of them. Anyway, I am curious to know what your fan interaction has been like over the years? Whether it is at conventions, or just possible random encounters, how has your experience been with the Fallout fans?

I’ve had a GREAT time interacting with fans of all of the games I’ve voiced.  It’s such a solitary job when voicing, just you, the director, perhaps a writer.  Then you play by yourself to experience the in-game world.  So when you finally get a chance to meet people who have SHARED that experience, it’s a beautiful thing. It’s fun to see the look in someone’s eyes when a voice they’ve heard on a daily basis for years on their consoles starts coming out of me. It seems very weird, I’m sure. I’ve had people who seem far too old to be saying that they grew up listening to me in Fallout, or Oblivion, or Skyrim. I mean, I’m way too young for that, right?  Haha. But it’s super rewarding. And it’s always the best when someone shows up cosplaying as one of your characters. I’ve seen a good number of Silver Shrouds in the past few years. Not many Protectrons or Sentry Bots. Perhaps that cosplay is a bit pricey, haha. But I’ve seen some remarkable Sheogorath and Lucien Lachance cosplays. Erin and Paul Clark do a great Sheo and Dark Seducer combo, and @britishcosplayer does a cool Lucien on Instagram. Just one word of caution – don’t get too authentic when playing Lucien AFTER Applewatch (spoilers).

 

I understand you are also a current and legendary figure in the world of sports announcing in the D.C. area. How did this work come around? And how have you enjoyed the work? Were you a pretty big sports buff prior to taking on these gigs?

I’ve always been a big fan of the DC sports teams, and in a way, even though I’m in my 19th year as the Arena Announcer of the NHL’s Washington Capitals, that’s still what I am. A big fan. Although I get to be louder because I have a mic ☺. And now of course, I have a championship ring after the Caps won the Stanley Cup Championship last season. 18 years wait for me personally and it was so worth it! A magical time for the entire city, and I was right there singing “We Are The Champions” along with them. Good times.

 

I have called Washington Bullets then Wizards seasons in the past as well, and have three Championship rings from the Washington Kastles, DC’s professional WTT Tennis team. I consider myself very fortunate to be doing this, as I never started out to do it.  I was doing morning radio in the DC area and took an award certificate that our show received into the Washington Bullets office for Juwan Howard, who was a regular on our show. As I was leaving I jokingly said “Hey, let me know if you ever have an opening at PA Announcer.” I was joking because I grew up listening to the guy they had calling games for the past 20 years. I wasn’t expecting her to respond with “The guy who was doing it just retired and we are doing auditions next week – do you want to sign up?” Right place at the right time with the right question. I auditioned, got the job, and never looked back. It turned out to be a great occupation for me, and I love UNLEASHING THE FURY at Caps games.

https://www.facebook.com/wesjohnsonvoice/videos/vb.1186502437/10217049765974770/?type=3 

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

More hockey games. More video games. More films. More TV. More announcing for the National Hot Rod Association. More writing and cartooning. Finishing my children’s book. More of being a husband, Dad, and pet couch to a shedding Himalayan cat and a spoiled rotten Chiweenie. I love my life, and I’m not ready to give any of it up. No matter how many aspiring PA Announcers keep cutting the brake lines on my car.

As to appearances – I plan to be at MAGFest in Washington DC January 3rd through 6th (www.MAGFest.org), and NOT CON AT SEA in the sunny Bahamas with Duke Nukem, GlaDOS, Sniper, Spock and Gob February 15th through 18th (www.NotCon.us ) and hopefully AWESOMECON in DC come April, but that has not been confirmed. But even if I’m not there, you should go because TIM CURRY WILL BE THERE. The antici…PATION is killing me! (http://awesome-con.com/ )

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My son Max’s animations that he creates at the Savannah College of Art and Design. I see big things in his future. And big laughs for us all.

 

Advertisements

Vas Saranga [Interview]


Hello Folks! We have a very exciting interview for you all today with a brilliant young actor who is taking over hearts and minds on a daily basis. His name is Vas Saranga (or “Sarah” if you’re autocorrect won’t just let it go, haha), and he plays opposite Hayden Christensen in the  upcoming film Little Italy that is truly intriguing. I was immensely pleased to have Vas on the site to learn a little bit more about him and will definitely be following his career even closer in the future. In fact, I was just catching up on Season 2 of The Handmaid’s Tale…and who do you think I saw! Very exciting stuff. He is such a kind and talented actor, and we are so excited to have him grace our digital pages today!

So without further babbling from me, please enjoy some wonderful words from the brilliant Vas Saraga.

When did you first decide that you wanted to work in the world of acting? Was it an early ambition, or did you simply find yourself in this world one day?

The first time I saw Back to the Future I knew wanted to be in movies. I gave it more thought in high school when I started making student films, but I didn’t really jump into it until college.

One of your earliest roles was actually in part of a wonderful franchise that I have followed since its inception (almost 20 years ago!), which is American Pie. You were in 2007’s Beta House. How was your experience working on this project so early in your career?

The experience was one of the most memorable of my career because it was such an extravagant over the top comedy, so I got to improvise a lot, and just really have a ton of fun on set. Working with Eugene Levy was the icing on the cake.

If you were handed the opportunity to create and/or star in a biopic about any person of note in world history, who would it be?

I would absolutely love to play Preet Bharara, the former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York. He was known for prosecuting nearly 100 Wall Street executives for financial crimes. I think his life story would be riveting on film.

I understand you will be appearing in a very interesting film coming out soon entitled Little Italy. Can you tell us a bit about it? What can audiences expect to see from you?

Little Italy is a modern take on Romeo and Juliet set in the world of rival pizzerias. It’s a romantic comedy that brings the laughs, but with extra heart. It stars Emma Roberts and Hayden Christensen as well as a talented ensemble cast that includes Andrea Martin, Danny Aiello, and Alyssa Milano (among many others). I play a character named Jogi who works at Vince’s Pizzeria with Hayden’s character Leo. I’ll just say that Jogi gets into some really funny situations because of the rivalry between the pizza shops and his desire to be a ladies man!

What does the future hold for you?

I’ve co-written a feature film that’s currently in development, I’m pretty excited for it to get made. I’ve set my sights on acting in projects that I’ve written so hopefully the future holds lots of movies and maybe a TV show of my own.

Anything else you would like to plug to our readers?

If you’re catching up on The Handmaid’s Tale I have an appearance this season.

7) What was the last thing that made you smile?

My dog Freddy!

Alana Johnston [Interview]

Hello Folks! Today is a one of the classically amazing types of interviews, in which I immediately become a huge fan of somebody and their work. Today that somebody is the absolutely hilarious Alana Johnston. And she is amazing.

I have heard feedback from some of you fine regular readers in the past about how we manage have truly unique people come to be featured on the site and we manage to ask about one very specific project that they may have worked on, and then a few more very general questions. While others we ask about multiple projects and get a bit more specific. And this is a valid opinion. Facts, really. Sometimes we (or “I”, if I’m being candid) here somebody on a podcast or see that somebody showed up on a show or film that was absolutely amazing, and want to know more about it. So we reach out to the people involved. Today happens to be that very case with our new friend Alana Johnston, who was involved in the latest comedy special for a person we have revered many times over the years, one Trevor Moore. This was how we learned about Alana as she was hilarious in it, so we reached out.

This is simply evolution, Folks. See something, say something, right? I know that’s not the right reason for that phrase, but it sorta works! We saw Alana’s amazing performance, and wanted to learn more about who she was. And, as it tends to happen just about every time, we became huge fans of Johnston and the amazing works he has done and just her wonderful spirit as a person. It always tends to be that if they were willing and had a whole damn wanting to be a part of a project created by somebody else that we already know and love, the chances are high (about 100% at this time) that we are going to be digitally meeting somebody very cool.

And such is the case today! Alana Johnston is absolutely hilarious in this interview, and with her constant work in the Upright Citizens Brigade, and we are so damn excited to have her here today. So Folks, please enjoy some words from our new friend and TWS family member, Alana Johnston!

When did you first discover that you were a hilarious human being, and that you were destined to make a living by making people laugh?

I grew up in a very funny, over the top household so comedy has always been a part of my life. Everyone in my family is funny in different ways so I had to work extra hard to get laughs out of people because it was tough competition! It was my older brother Jason (quite possibly the funniest person I know) that officially got me into comedy in high school when he started the improv team at our school and I joined it a few years later. After that I knew comedy was a done deal for me and I could never turn back. Who doesn’t want to get paid to act a fool and make others laugh????

What was your very first paid gig in the world of comedy? And was there anything from that experience that you learned that still sticks with you in your work to this day?

My first paid gig in the world of comedy was in an interactive dinner theatre show called Tony and Tina’s Wedding and it was actually my brother who got me the job! I guess I owe him my life??? I played one of the caterers and really milked it even though it was truly the smallest part in the entire show. Classic Alana move. That show really taught me how to make the most of any role no matter how small (which is why I could never be a background actor because I am WAY too much with no apology!)

 

 

We have spoken with quite a few folks who have worked in the legendary UCB universe, specifically in L.A. and experiences have been varied. I am curious to know about your involvement with UCB. How did you begin working with this illustrious sketch company? And what have you enjoyed while working in this world?

I’m currently a regular performer at UCB doing sketch shows and solo characters as well. I got involved a few years ago when I first moved here. I basically took a class and then auditioned to be on one of the sketch teams and was lucky enough to get on. I then went on to write my own solo shows, host some shows and produce some variety shows as well. Wow seems like I really love to say the word “show”. The thing I’ve enjoyed most is the friends I’ve made because a) Funny people are the most fun and b) Those funny people will go on to get paid to do funny things and then they will give you a job. EVERYONE WINS!

Recently you appeared in, and were fantastic in, Trevor Moore’s special The Story of Our Times. This entire project was so damn fun to watch. I am curious to know how your experience was working on it? Was it as fun to be a part of as it was for the fans to watch?

I had THE BEST time working on the show! Trevor is so talented and funny and really let me run wild with my character. I had worked with the director Nicholas Goossen before so he really knew how to pull the best performance out of me. We shot all the interstissals in one day and got a lot of hot inside jokes rolling on set which is always the best part of any shoot. I was so happy with how it turned out and think Trevor should have a million of his own TV shows!


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

Well I was thinking of going for a walk later to get a roasted chicken so I guess my future seems pretty promising at this point. I’m guessing I’ll be the star of all the shows on tv within the year so GET READY. Maybe I’ll replace the lead in The Good Doctor and they’ll rename the show to The Bad Doctor and my character will be a doctor that refuses to take off her leather jacket with a hot catch phrase like “I don’t play by the rules, I AM the rules”. I post most of my show promos and character vids on Instagram and twitter so I guess I’ll plug those? Is that what people are supposed to do?? My Instagram is @theonlyalanajohnston and my Twitter is @alana_johnston. Prepare to be underwhelmed!

What was the last thing that made you smile?

The last thing that made me smile was my 2 yr old niece (baby Elise) on Facetime. She loves to hold the phone and put it so close to her face that I only see her eyes and forehead. Seems like we’ve got another future comic on our hands…

Pat Proft [Interview]

Happy Monday Folks! It is another legendary day here at Trainwreck’d Society, as we have a man on the site today that is so legendary I dare use the same word in the same sentence like the clown that I am. It’s the great Pat Proft! First off, this is a guy who just KNOWS what it means to be funny. For as long as I can remember, I knew this man’s name to be in the beginning credits of so many of the movies I knew and loved, especially when I was “coming of age”, or of the “age when you’re always coming”. Seriously Folks, the term “spoof” would be meaningless if this guy wasn’t around to keep the genre going over the last 30+ years. He’s one of the best in the game.

I feel it is only right to say that Pat has actually brought so much more joy into my life than I can truly express. Just last week we had an interview go up with the brilliant actress Brenda Bakke, who was one of the stars of a film that Pat help create that was entitled Hot Shots! Part Deux. This film, and so many others that he has done have always been very special to me for a couple of reasons. One: because they are funny as hell. Which is a term I will never understand, but I like it. Two: My Dad. My father has always been one of the most hilarious people I have ever known. And since I was old enough to actually even remember timelines of events, I have trusted his judgement on what was funny. And as the years progressed and I started to become a fully formed human being, I would learn that he was always right on with what I thought would be hilarious. It was because of my dad that I saw films like Hot Shots and The Naked Gun and Kentucky Fried Movie and knew that THIS was what it means to be funny. And Folks, it was Pat Proft who managed to write these amazing stories that built the bond that I have with my father.

That’s some deep shit, right? I promise you it is all true. So believe me when I say that I am very excited to share with you all these words from the brilliant Pat Proft that I am so damn excited to have grace our digital pages. And I don’t know why I didn’t expect it, but I learned prior to doing this interview that Pat was actually a stand up comedian prior to becoming one of the greatest comedy screenwriters in the world. Fuck yeah, right? So let’s get into it!

So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the brilliant Pat Proft!

What was your experience like the first time you heard your words/ideas brought to a screen, be it television or film? Was it eventful to you? Do you remember the first time you saw your work almost literally come to life?

Neal Isreal and I pitched Police Academy to Alan Ladd Jr. at Warners. Alan took us into the head of the studio, “We’re making this movie!”  No script yet. But he wanted it. In fact he put it on the calendar and gave it a release date. My first screen credit was amazing to see. Comedy is all I ever wanted to do…ever. And here my name was on a film. A world wide hit. Cool times 100.  I am a comedian who writes comedy. At the opening of Naked Gun the laughs were amazing. They rolled over the audience. It felt like I was up there saying those words. Weird, but wonderful feeling.


An extremely reliable source (Wikipedia) has told me that you began working at The Comedy Store in the early 70’s. For comedy fans, we all know this the Mecca of west coast based comedy, but was it always so? What was your experience like working there during the club’s early stages?

The Comedy Store was a great place..wonderful place..to be seen showcasing comedy.  In the beginning the room was raw, raucous, fabulous. I was on stage three times a night. Doing my solo stand up. A double act. And improvise with the Comedy Store Players. And on several nights I’d MC. This place was a test for me. Scope out if I’m as funny in LA as I was back in Minneapolis. And I was.  So this boasted my confidence big time.  I miss those days.  Made a lot of good friends. And so nice to see so many of them go on to mountains of success. Huge thanks to Sammy and Mitzi Shore. And Rudy DeLuca.

You were also involved very early with the Zucker Brothers and Kentucky Fried Theater. How did you become involved with them? And what were those days like? Any good stories to tell?

Met ZAZ at the Comedy Store. A fourth member had quit the group. They were scouting comics to see who could join Kentucky Friend Theater. They liked me. I joined the theater.  KFT was one of the hottest comedy tickets in town. Revue comedy is what I did at the Dudley Rigg’s Brave New Workshop in Minneapolis. It was an easy fit. We worked together a lot over the years. Same senses of humor. Midwestern humans not tainted by either coast. Working with them as ZAZ or David and Jim on scripts was a shit load of laughs. At the end of the script I felt great that now the director, Jerry, Jim, or David, would be someone who could put this on the screen.


The masterpiece of a comedy Bachelor Party, which you co-wrote with the Israel Brothers, is absolutely astoundingly funny  and it was actually my first interaction with sexuality in any way as a young child. That last bit has nothing to do with the question, I just felt you should know that….anyway, what are you thoughts on the impact that this film has had on the world of comedy? And what were your thoughts on the final outcome of the film brought to the screen?

I wrote Bachelor Party with Neal Isreal. Bob Isreal didn’t write. He was given story credit.  And produced it. The film has a nice spine, “am I really ready to marry?”  The stuff we hung on it were incidents that attack Rick’s readiness..am I really mature?  That was kinda cool Neal and I went after as many situations as we could that would give us laughs. But stay within the lines scratched out for each character. Tom Hanks!  Two words that made the movie work. He legitimized the plot, and outrageous moments in the film.  I’m always taken aback a bit when someone says a moment in a, or the movie I’ve written changed them in some way.  I get that a lot for another script I wrote with Neal Isreal, Real Genius.  The time the film came out it was a “young time”  MTV had just come out.  New music. Uninhibited behavior.  The film speaks to that time.  And it’s funny. You got to be funny or none of this means jack.

You are also obviously a one of the great knights of the round table when it comes to film spoofs with your work on franchises like The Naked Gun, Hot Shots!, and Scary Movie (Not to mention High School High, which is another amazing masterpiece that doesn’t receive enough credit, I believe), so how do you do it? How do you decide what is going to work in a “spoof” film? Basically how do you know that you have some golden hilarious mockery on your hands when you are writing a film like these?

It’s hard not to see an action genre without coming up with jokes for it.  Naked Gun was cops. Tons of cop films. Tons of cop TV shows. It first was a 6 and out tv series, Police Squad. Which was a take on the detective shows all over the place on tv. Iconic scenes in all of these shows. That lured us in with comedy bits. The tough talk. The loner cop who needs love. I always wrote Frank Drebin as if her were Bogart.  A great character. Played by the great Leslie Neilson.  This show was better suited for movie screens. Naked Gun had the same feel plus a bit of Bullitt. And Eastwood’s tough assed Dirty Harry series of films. And always one step behind falling in love. Finding the right woman. Hot Shots! After seeing Top Gun was a comedy no brainer.  That movie was perfect to spoof. Jets. Pilots. Love triangle. Sadam Hussein. Ships.  Every joke we ever had watching any of the war films. Loved these two films.  High School High was in response to an abundance of teens in trouble movies. Several set in High Schools. Interesting world to tackle comedically.  It always easier to spoof a film that takes its self way too seriously.

Given the expertise and experience you have garnered over the years, how do you feel the business of film and television writing has changed? Is it mostly positive or negative? 

I don’t worry about what’s being written. I write everyday. I focus on my ideas, and scripts. I work on many things at once. I just love to write comedy. Been a huge admirer of Rowan Atkinson. And others in the UK, French and Saunders. Shows like The Young Ones. Monty Python. Physical humor. And done to perfection.  Silly, funny, belly laughs.  Nothing wrong with silly. Silly is missing. As is physical humor. So there to that.

What do you have coming up in the near future that we should definitely be wetting ourselves with excitement over?

David Zucker, Mike McManus and I are trying to get another Naked Gun going. Script is in the works.  It has the world of silly, belly laughs, and physical humor. I wrote a tv idea for myself. I’m going to pursue that. More comedy stuff on the way.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Alot of things make me smile. Right now I’m listening to the Beatles…I’m smiling.  Waiting for the Stand Ollie movie, makes me smile. My wife. My son.  Grandsons.  A residual in the mail.

So there to that.

Sunday Matinee: Lalo’s House [Short]

Lalo’s House, inspired by true events of child trafficking in Haiti (as well as its pervasive spread throughout the US and around the world), follows the relentless courage of Manouchka,’ a 14 year-old Haitian girl, and her little sister, Phara, who are abducted and thrown into an underground prostitution network posing as a Catholic orphanage. Forced to grow up prematurely, Manouchka must fight to save Phara and escape the villainous Sister Francine (portrayed by Garcelle Beauvais) who holds them captive.” – Integrated PR

Wow. Just. Wow. I have watched some pretty riveting and nerve-racking films in the past year alone, but I have to say that Kelley Kali’s brilliant short film Lalo’s House really reaches an emotional depth that conjures up feelings of pain, sympathy beyond expression, and mostly just some straight up disgust. With extremely powerful performances throughout the film and fact based story lined that is simply shocking to the core when you think about the fact that this sort of thing is happening on a daily basis.

Newcomer Jasmin Jean-Louis proves herself to be a natural talent in conveying pain through the art of performance. Her eyes alone carry the story line through such horrific events in a brilliant manner. And legendary actress Garcelle Beauvais gives a powerhouse performance in a way that I have never witnessed. To describe Sister Francine as simply “villainous” may be a bit of an understatement. This woman is evil in human form, and Beauvais plays it absolutely perfectly. And to be perfectly frank, I had the biggest crush on Garcelle in the 90’s, and now hear I am wishing the worst upon Fancy from The Jamie Foxx Show. Damn, she is so good!

Filmmaker Kelley Kali may be new to the world of filmmaking, having recently graduated from USC with a Student Academy Award and DGA Student Award in hand for this incredible film, but she obviously has pariah like level of talent that is on a whole different level than what we are used to seeing in storytelling on the screen. She has created magic with Lalo’s House, a film that is guaranteed to leave you wondering what the hell is wrong with the world. And hopefully inspire you to assist in combating such evil. Kali is “motivated to create content that addresses issues within often marginalized communities by using the art of filmmaking to create dialogue and action towards positive change”. And I have a great feeling that this is something is will absolutely be doing in the very near future. If Lalo’s House is just one example of the greatness she can accomplish, there is nothing this brilliant filmmaker can not accomplish.

Lalo’s House is currently dominating in the film festival circuit. Be on the lookout for an official release date that will be coming soon.

Chris Obi [Interview]

Hello Folks! We are wrapping up the week with another wonderful interview from a truly amazing actor who happens to be a star in one of the finest television programs available today known as the Starz Original Series American Gods. He is also a master of the world of film and stage and is just an overall delightful person who we are so happy to have grace our digital pages today. It’s Chris Obi, Everyone.

We were so fortunate to be able to steal some time away from the man who has brought characters like Anibus in American Gods and T’Kuvma from Star Trek: Discovery to the world, for him to tell us about these projects and more. Obi is one of the finest actors working today and has been astounding in everything he has done to date and is only moving up the proverbial ladder. And we are so excited to share some words from this acting mastermind with you all today.

So Folks please enjoy some wonderful words from the great Chris Obi!

What drew you into the world of acting? Was it a life long passion you have had, or did you just find yourself in this world one day?

Actors like Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen really excited me about acting and films like The Godfather and ‘Taps’ got me into the world of film making.

I never really considered being an actor as a kid. I always saw it as something ‘those types’ did. I did a play when I was 14 and that was the first time I got that rush as a performer.

I absolutely loved your performance in the first season of American Gods. What was it about the story of this film that drew you in? What compelled you to become involved in this project, and the character of Anubis specifically?

I loved the fact “Anubis’ is a historical deity, thus it made me connect to something that was real/tangible to play.

Bryan Fuller was my main inspiration whilst working on the 1st Season. He is a brilliant man and was so complimentary about my work that I was inspired to achieve levels that I may had not if I’d worked with someone else.

Actors often talk about a transformation when playing certain roles, I definitely felt a shift from my everyday person whilst portraying ‘Anubis’.

Chris Obi in “American Gods” as Anubis, available on Starz

 

We have spoken with a lot of folks from the different worlds of Star Trek over the years, and in 2017 you became a part of that world as well playing T’Kuvma on Discovery. What was it like to jump into this legendary world? And what was it like to be in the costume and make up? How long did it take you to get made up for this character?

It was Bryan Fuller who asked me to play ‘T’Kuvma’ and by this time I was enthralled by his genius, that I would of played any character, in any show he offered me. I was not a ‘Trekker’ so I was not totally aware of the enormity of the responsibility of playing such an iconic character. Once I stepped on set and first saw the Sarcophagus, I was truly overwhelmed and then the fans started getting in touch and they were so supportive and excited. You can’t helped but be blown away by the legend that is and that will be ‘Star Trek’.

I loved wearing ‘T’Kuvma’s’ costume designed by the incredible Gersha Philips. It immediately gave you the feeling of being Regal.

The incredible prosthetics led by Glenn Hetrick and Neville Page and their wonderful team of artists took two and a half hours daily! I loved it.

The Star Trek franchise has one of the most loyal fan bases in history. So, I am curious to know what your fan interaction with the Trekkies since you made your appearance on their beloved program?

I simply love the ‘Trekkers’ and I had empathy those who weren’t first blown away by the Klingon look because they were passionate and cared about ‘Star Trek’. I have not been to a ‘Star Trek’ convention yet but surely look forward to attending one in the future.

If your were handed the opportunity to portray any famous figure in world history, at any time period, who would it be? 

Hard to chose between Jesus Christ and Michael Jackson. Jesus, because he had this air of ‘knowing’ and ‘acceptance’ and Michael, because his whole frame was filled with incredible talent. I’d like to channel Jesus’ and Michael’s talents.

When you are not on set, where would a random encounter with Chris Obi likely occur? Basically, when you’re not working, what do you do for a bit of “me time”?

I was born and live in Notting Hill in London and I love my neighbourhood so I can be found on her streets.

Also, i just started a new yogi group linked to a practice called ‘Satori’ which is Japanese and translate as ‘an awakening’.

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

I have just shot two episodes of Strike Back for Cinemax/Sky and I have two animation projects coming out soon; 3 Below created by Guillermo Del Toro and his incredible TrollHunter team and a movie called Watch the Skies directed by the wonderful Mark Byers.

I am also writing a feature film called The Chaperone which I am so excited about.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Looking at my girlfriend’s son’s pretty eight year old face!

Brenda Bakke [Interview]


Hello Folks! We have a very special interview for you fine folks today. We have some words with a truly inspiring actress and novelist that has done some amazing work, of which you are probably already familiar with. Actress Brenda Bakke is a 30 year veteran in the world of acting, and has been in some of the most notable work of the last 30 years. from the smash hit film L.A. Confidential, to the brilliant series American Gothic, her plethora of stage work, to other television series like Grey’s Anatomy, Criminal Minds, Supernatural, and beyond, Brenda has continued be a beacon of light in the world of acting that we all love and admire here at Trainwreck’d Society.

Now on a personal level, and still a huge project I may add, Brenda Bakke performed in two films that truly shaped my childhood as a kid growing up in the 90’s. The first would be Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, but we don’t really get into that one too much in the interview. I just really, really, loved this “intense” (for the 90’s) action flick so much, I just felt I had to mention it. But, the second, and which we do get into a bit, is the brilliant comedy Hot Shots! Part Deux. I promise that I am so far from lying when I say that I literally wore out the VHS tape that my father purchased from Hollywood video from watching this hilarious film. In the world of spoof movies, this one will always reign supreme to me. And Brenda is absolutely amazing in it. And I am so honored to have somebody here today that was involved with a daily reminder in my life of what it meant to laugh and enjoy life as I did watching this film. So so much thanks goes to Brenda for being with us here digitally today!

Brenda has a wonderful novel out now entitled Driving in LA, which is very autobiographical and also very dark. She tells us a bit about it in these wonderful words below, so let’s just jump right into it, shall we? Folks please enjoy some wonderful words from the brilliant Brenda Bakke!

When did you first decide that you wanted to join the world of acting? When did you decide that this what you wanted to do for a living?

I started imitating comediennes Lily Tomlin and Carol Burnett when I was really little…probably around 3 years old, and realized later in life that it was truly to distract my very unhappy family. I was always a very dramatic child.

I really decided to pursue it as a career in High School…had a great Drama teacher that helped me arrange to audition for The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, to which I was later accepted and attended.

My short novel, Driving in LA is truly written in a character’s voice, but covers my life from pretty much age 16-20 and explains a lot of the somewhat amusing but tragic details regarding this!

I have learned that you hail from my beloved homeland of the Pacific Northwest, a stone’s throw from the wonderful city of Portland, Oregon. When you began acting in the City of Roses as a youth, what was the acting/theatre company like then? Was it a community that you can remember fondly that led you to move on and work as a professional actress?

I wasn’t part of any theatre company other than doing shows in High School. Again Driving in L.A. pretty much makes fun of being an Oregonian…however I now realize how lucky I was to live there! But at that time: Fondness…no…getting the hell out of there, yes!

In 1993, you had a brilliant role in what is still my personal favorite parody comedy film of all time, the brilliant Hot Shots! Part Deux. I am so very curious to know what it was like to work on such a hilarious film? Was it as much fun to work on as it was to watch?

Oh yes, it was just fun to go to work every day! We would come up with silly things to throw in for fun, and most of them ended up in the final cut!

Like in the bedroom scene at the end where I’m firing the gun and swinging the cowboy hat, everyone on the crew was yelling “Throw the hat!” And it landed smack on top of the camera!

It’s also the only film I’ve done where I was truly spoiled! I’m a lucky girl to have experienced that!

I understand you can put novelist down as one of your many talents with the release of your book Driving In LA. that was released last year. Can you tell us a bit about the book and where people can find it? What inspired you to take on this project?

As I mentioned before, it is told in a character’s voice but covers my life up until I turned 20…it covers being raped twice, once by two young men, cocaine addiction, a short bout of prostitution and survival in L.A. I had to change names and a few circumstances for libel, but all the stories are true. I first started writing it to get it out of my system but later realized it could help other people NOT make the bad choices I did. It’s available on my website www.brendabakke.com for autographed copies. Or Amazon, Kindle, etc.

Having had great success in just about every form of performance that you can do, from film to television and beyond, I am curious to know what is your favorite way to perform? If you were only able to work in one single field, what would it be? 

You are too kind!

I would say theatre is my favorite…love raw response and total control of oneself in a performance…also the growth that happens along the journey.

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

Well, Billy Boy was recently released and a film called Foster Boy should be released next year, I hope!

But I really hope that people will want to read my book! It does have some great reviews and will give you a little glimpse into my darkness ;).

What was the last thing that made you smile?

A bird on my fountain…