Bri Pruett [Interview]

Hello Folks! And a happy Wednesday to you all! Today we have some wonderful words from an even more wonderful comedian. It’s Bri Pruett! I first came to notice Bri’s comedy when she appeared on the first episode of one of my favorite podcasts, Who’s Your God? which happens to hosted by our dear friend and past guest Amy Miller, and at the time co-host and past guest as well, John Michael Bond. She is an absolutely hilarious human being who is a god damned delight to see perform. I am utterly jealous of anyone who has had the opportunity to see her live and in person rather than just YouTube rabbit holes as I tend to do when I feel the urge to laugh alone in an empty dining room. But alas, however you can find your way to Pruett’s delightful material, I cannot recommend it enough.
Bri also happens to hail from my beloved homeland of Portland, Oregon, although she has rightfully moved on to “greener” pastures (such irony that LA being physically WAY less green than Portland), much like our friends like the aforementioned Amy Miller, as well as another amazing comic we are so honored to have had on the site, the one and only Sean Jordan. And then it all comes around to the fact that Bri and Sean are actually on an episode of yet another favorite podcast featuring several guests we have had grace our digital pages, which is Doug Loves Movies. And in a strange bit of coincidence (I promise it is) their episode went live today! So definitely check that out, and follow Bri on Instagram to find out when she will be in a city near you!

And now, please enjoy our wonderful interview with one of the greatest comics working today, the great Bri Pruett!

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When did you first discover that you were a hilarious person, and that you could make people laugh for living? I understand you started in the world of improv and theatre? What prompted the shift to stand up as your primary art form?
I was involved in theater as a youth, but I was always pretty dramatic and serious. My freshman year of college I took a comedy class, where we worked in all different mediums; I tried stand-up then, but really thrived in sketch and characters. A local sketch team plucked me from that class, and that was my first foray into comedy. My sketch and improv teams were great places to experiment, but when many of my teammates started new jobs and families, I realized I needed a solo medium to work as hard as I wanted to. I also wanted a platform to find my voice as an individual. There, that’s my very unfunny answer about my beginnings in comedy.

What was your very first paid gig as a stand up performer? And did you happen to learn anything from this set that still affects your work today?
Applebee’s, it was an Applebee’s. The coolest Applebee’s actually, the manager wanted to try and make it a hot spot – they had poker and stand-up comedy nights. My friend Alex Falcone, the most industrious person I know, started the gig and hosted. I was paid $30 and a menu item for 15 minutes. I bombed so, so hard. I was extremely blue when I started, and I remember families listening to these jokes. It was a good lesson for the middle part of my career where I was doing pretty undesirable gigs; you need material that works during that period, for survival. I’m not scared of bad rooms like that anymore. Give me any damn Applebee’s, Denny’s, or IHOP.

You hail from my beloved homeland known as the Pacific Northwest. Specifically Portland, Oregon, which still holds a dear place in my heart. Unfortunately, I was not around during the period in time in which yourself and so many other hilarious people (such as our friends and past guests Amy Miller and Sean Jordan) were killing it in the local scene. So I am curious to know what that scene felt like? How was your time performing in your homeland as part of best classes of comedy that Portland has ever produced?

The Bridgetown Comedy festival made the local comics into stars – local papers and national industry started paying attention after that. Bridgetown is 100% responsible for the scene in Portland; I hope there’s enough momentum to keep it going for a while now that it’s over. The festival brought audiences out and taught them how to enjoy stand-up, and they continue to come out because of that legacy. The scene was also bolstered by the comedy club, and the early success of comics like Ian Karmel and Ron Funches who left and made it.

 

I have learned that you have a very interesting and unique show in which you co-host in L.A. called High Priestess, which sounds very intriguing. Many of our past guests on the site, including the aforementioned Amy Miller as well as Lydia Popovich, David Gborie, and Laurie Kilmartin, have appeared on the show. So, I am curious to know about how the idea of this show was conceived? And can you tell our readers a bit about how they can check out the show?

 

High Priestess is a cannabis and tarot card themed comedy show; we book mostly women/non-binary comedians, and include male comedians who are also POCs and/or LGBT+. The result is a very femme, magical experience. To give you an idea, we have had medicated beverage sponsorship, ritual chanting, and up until recently, the show has typically taken place outside during full moons. Sara June is a very funny Austin (now LA) comic who I shared mutual friends with; she knew of my witchy proclivities and approached me about doing a spin-off to a San Francisco based show called Witches Brew, which is a fantastic show. We brought in Sara’s dear friend Tess Christy aka Sybil the divinatrix to co-produce and read tarot cards at the show, and it just evolved from there. All three producers are water signs (Pisces, Cancer, and Scorpio respectively), and we’re very in sync about the kind of experience we want to create for people. There are plenty of comedy clubs where folks can hear a white dude over a beer and chicken fingers; at High Priestess you can smoke a joint, see your future, and hear femmes be real!

You have been appearing consistently across the country, performing all over the place. So, I am curious to know about some places that you may have performed at that some folks may not realize are wonderful places for comedy?
Bloomington, Indiana – they have a great club called the Comedy Attic. Go Bananas Comedy club in Cincinnati was also great. Here’s one more… While I didn’t perform there, I watched a stand-up show in Barcelona, Spain, in spanish. Now, I don’t speak spanish, but I enjoyed the hell out of the show, the comics were active and nuanced and different. It’s exciting to see how stand-up is exploding as a medium all over the world.

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?
My podcast should be launching soon, but folks can currently listen to the High Priestess podcast, and follow-me on social for giggles; my IG stories are where the good stuff is.

What was the last thing that made you smile?
I smile all damn day long. I really don’t know what I’d do without the ridiculous, hilarious details of this life. One specific thing that comes to mind, I met a physical therapist today who asked me about my comedy festival t-shirt and I told him I was a stand-up. His response: I won’t ask you to tell me a joke, because I know you get that all the time. I smiled. God bless that man.

Luenell [Interview]

 

Comedienne and actress Luenell is having a moment! The self-proclaimed “Original Bad Girl of Comedy,” is a comedic force of nature. The stand-up comic is best known for her breakthrough role as the “hooker with the heart of gold” in the  2006 Oscar-nominated, blockbuster comedy Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. She also appears in the Oscar-buzzy film A Star Is Born with Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, plus, she’ll be in the new Eddie Murphy film, Dolemite Is My Name, coming out this year on Netflix. 

In addition to her film roles, she’s also making a splash in Las Vegas. After wrapping up a three-month Las Vegas residency at the SLS hotel in Sin City, she’s now doing a limited run at Jimmy Kimmel’s Comedy Club at The LINQ Promenade in Vegas. Plus, she’s also touring the country as a stand-up comic, and tickling the funny bones of many from one comedy club to another. Trainwreck Society had a chance to catch up with Luenell, and chat with her about comedy, her work and upcoming projects.

 

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When did you first discover that you were a hilarious human being, and that you wanted to make people laugh for a living?

Well, how I became a professional comedienne is a long and complicated story; but, I come from a very large family, and being the youngest of eight children and seeking attention definitely had something to do with it! Or maybe it was being bullied at home and school, which made me want to speak up. It’s probably a combination of both.  Still, I landed on stage by accepting a dare. Never in my wildest dreams did I foresee a “career” in comedy or making a living at it. 

When I began my career in comedy, there was no ComicView or Def Comedy Jam. And the only African Americans I knew really making a living at it were Richard Pryor, Red Foxx, LaWanda Page, Flip Wilson, and Bill Cosby. Plus, there wasn’t a lot of women in the game. But TV exposure with the various comedy shows changed that.  I decided that instead of comedy being a hobby, and “something to do” to vent my frustrations, I felt I could make a decent living doing this. Basically, I made a commitment to make people happy because I didn’t ever want anyone to feel how I use to feel growing up. To this day, that is still my driving force to get on a stage every night and tell a joke. It’s not for the money. It’s a passion. If you do what you love and are passionate about, the money will come.

What was your very first paid gig as a comedian or actor that you can remember getting? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still affects your work today?

I can’t exactly remember my very first paid gig; but, I remember the timing of it. I had just met a young comic – that is, DL Hughley, and a guy named Quinton introduced us; so, we could do some shows together. This was before DL became the original host and familiar face on BET’s “ComicView” (1992-1993) and one of the Original Kings of Comedy. I believe some of the first money I received was like $25, and maybe a drink or a chicken dinner. Not Both! LOL And when the pay went up to $50, you couldn’t tell me shit! LOL.

 

 

We have had the pleasure of having many stand up comedians on the site in the past, and I am always curious to know about life on the road. Specifically, I am curious to know what are some cities that you love performing in that some folks may not realize are wonderful places for comedy, simply because they may not be on one of the coasts?

Well, I’m from the South. I was born in Tollette, Arkansas. So, being a Southern girl, I get lots of love when I’m there. I love to play Arlington, Texas. They support me to the fullest. I usually perform to a sold-out crowd, and they love to show up and show out! Also, Baltimore definitely turns up when I come to town. Great crowds. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention Cincinnati. They get me. 

And of course, I get mad love from the city that raised me and taught me everything I know about life, and where I really sharpened my comedy teeth – that is, Oakland, California. Actually the entire Bay Area, including San Jose, San Francisco and Sacramento, but Oakland is my heart. I got my start in showbiz, hosting a local cable show, called “Soul Beat,” run by Chuck Johnson. The show ran from 1978 to 2003, and discovered all the major Oaktown artists like Digital Underground, MC Hammer and Too Short. I credit that experience and the connections I made to that show — back in the late 1990s — to making me a “hood star” before landing in Los Angeles. They say if you can make it in New York you can make it anywhere; but that also applies to Oakland as well.

 

You’re absolutely incredible and hilarious role in the now legendary film Borat, which was absolutely incredible. I am curious to know what it was like to work on such a strange project. And when you were working on it, did you get the idea that you were working on something that would become such a cult favorite film for years to come?

My experience working on the Academy Award-nominated film “Borat,” was just that … AN EXPERIENCE! One, I will never forget.  What you may not know is that we shot some of that film in Bucharest, Romania. Not exactly my vacation destination spot, but it was a wonderful trip! We were also in very uncomfortable situations, like dancing in the country bar and going to peoples very proper, Southern homes, dressed like a hooker. Sacha Baron Cohen is a mad genius! So is the director, Larry Charles. It really shook people up and I’m proud to have been a part of that madness.

 

 

And how was your fan interaction around the time Borat was released? I imagine it was a bit strange? Any weird stories?

It’s funny, but I didn’t have much fan interaction after the film was released because everyone who saw the film and didn’t know me as a stand-up comic and actress really thought I was a hooker! I was actually under a gag order for months, per my contract, which meant I couldn’t talk about the film and I couldn’t correct people and let them know I was actually an actress. This went on for about a month or so. It was a little awkward sometimes, being in public, like waiting for a friend of mine at a bar alone, and I could hear the whispers and feel the stares. Very awkward to say the least. I’m sure people were saying, “There’s that black hooker from that movie!” LOL

 

I understand you have a new album out right now titled, Luenell Live: I Only Drink at Work. Can you tell our readers a bit about the new stuff? What can we expect to hear this go around?

Well, I wouldn’t call it my new CD because it’s been out for a minute now.  But, my latest one, I Only Drink at Work, talks about kids and relationships. My family is a constant source of material. I deal with universal topics that everyone can relate to. In fact, I pride myself on actually being relatable to ALL audiences and everyday people. 

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

My future is looking pretty bright! I’m excited about the new Netflix film, Dolemite Is My Name, dropping in October, and starring THE GREAT EDDIE MURPHY! I have a lovely role in that. I am currently in collaboration with Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx on some projects for myself. Plus, I am enjoying an eight-week run in Las Vegas at the Jimmy Kimmel Comedy Club. In addition, I just signed on for a role in a huge sequel to a movie that people know and love.  HINT: Comic legend Eddie Murphy stars in that film too! My current tour – that is, the “Easily Annoyed Comedy Tour” — is doing very well around the country. And I’m ready for anything else God sends my way!

 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

It’s hard to pin down the last thing that made me smile because I smile a lot. My daughter makes me smile … when we’re not trying to kill each other). Her little puppy makes me smile. Flirting with cute men makes me smile. Watching the faces and reactions of my audience makes me smile. Needless to say, I like smiling … and l Iove laughing … out loud!

 

For more about Luenell and her touring schedule, visit www.HeyLuenell.com.

And be sure to follow Luenell on Instagram (@Luenell) and Facebook.

 

 

Sunday Matinee: Danger God [Film]

 

“Professional stuntman Gary Kent has made a hard-earned name for himself in over 50 years of falling, burning, jumping, fighting and breaking himself for some of the most cherished independent and B-movies of the 20th Century. This is his story, from the anything goes days of the drive-in era, including his run in with Charles Manson and his infamous family, to his personal battles and triumphs with health, alcoholism and love. Features interviews with Monte Hellman, Duane Eddy, Richard Rush, Marc Singer and more.” – Wild Eye Releasing

 

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When I think about the world of stunt performers, I will admit that I am not that well-versed on the subject. Which would usually be a good thing I perhaps, as they are meant to appear to be a whole different actor. In fact, prior to seeing Danger God, the only stunt performer I would probably ever be able to put a face to a name would be the great Zoë Bell, but that is just coming at it as a huge Tarantino fan. But now, thanks to this incredible documentary, I know the name Gary Kent, and honestly, I feel like a better person all around. Gary Kent is a man who has no reason to be alive, if I am being perfectly honest with you. The shit that this man has endured for the sake of his art (yes, it is art. No debates allowed) is absolutely mesmerizing. His skill and love for the world of film is absolutely uncanny. And lest we forget, he’s also a damn good actor! And writer! Director! All of it!

 

 

Yes, from 60’s westerns & psychedelic films, the 70’s exploitation, right up to present day working in our beloved world of B-horror and beyond, Danger God takes us on a journey through one man’s life that is not only heart-warming and saddening at the same time, it is also very well-crafted. Director and producer Joe O’Connell has created something very special for us, and we should all be very thankful. And Gary Kent is one of the last man’s man from old Hollywood still kicking around. Long gone are the days where a performer could scare the shit out of Charles Manson and make him fix his golf cart (this is not an analogy, it ACTUALLY happened, watch this film!). Again, this is a very special film, and I honestly didn’t want it to end. I may never get to know Gary in real life, but thankfully, I will always have Danger God.

Danger God is available now on VOD, and will be available on DVD on September 17th, 2019.

 

Renoly Santiago [Interview]

 

Hello Folks! Today we have a very special interview to share with you all. I have actually been attempting to have this incredible artist grace our digital pages for quite some time, as I have been a fan for quite some time. It’s the acclaimed actor & musician & more Renoly Santiago! And let me tell you, Renoly is the absolute real deal and such a sweet person. In recent years, you may have caught him on wonderful series like Netflix’s The Get Down, Hulu’s Difficult People, or HBO’s The Night Of, or even more wonderful projects! And if you live in a nostalgic time capsule as I tend to do sometimes, you will definitely know him for his work on two of the greatest films to come out of the 1990’s, for VERY different reasons, which would be his role as Raul Sanchero in Dangerous Minds, and good ole Sally-Can’t Dance in Con Air! And you will remember that Renoly is AMAZING in both of these films, and even more!

We are seriously honored to have Renoly with us here today, and I know you are going to love the incredible and informative responses he has for you all today. So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the great Renoly Santiago!

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What inspired you to get into the line of work that you are in? Was it an early aspiration that you have had since you were young, or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?

I always had a deep desire to be a part of this field since I was very young after watching movies like E.T. and the film Fame, where I saw people singing and dancing and acting and singing cool songs. Then there was the TV show Fame that got me thinking about it at a young age. I always dreamed about being an actor and a singer, at the time it seemed a universe away so I started trying out early on, even though I felt oddly out of place. Lol.

What was your very first paid gig in the business? And were there any sort of lessons learned that still affect your work today?

My very first paid gig in the business was a musical named Sueños (which means dreams in Spanish). I was 14 at the time, I played a blind boy from a poor country and I sang a solo song and was part of the chorus where we sang rhythmic latin songs and did African dance it was awesome and wild. A lesson I remember learning was on opening night when my character was guided on stage by someone else we had never rehearsed me going up the stairs so when I was guided on stage I deliberately stumbled on the step a little and then felt my way up with my blind stick. The older actors complimented me on it and said that maybe  I could really have a career at this. It gave my confidence a needed boost and I learned about how spontaneity is part of acting and along with rehearsing how to always stay in the moment and allow realism in.

In 1997 you appeared in one of the most ridiculously entertaining films of all time, the action packed film Con Air. To this day it can be the feel good bit of violence I look for when comfort is needed. With that in mind, I am curious to know what it was like working on set during the production of this film? Was it as pleasurable to work on as it remains for me to watch to this very day?

Thank you, thank you so much. Yes it was and the more time goes by the more special those memories become. We were an automatic family a wild and crazy Mötley Crüe. I was the automatic baby in the group that everybody loved and at times the most mature. Lol These guys love to play like kids one time a few guys bet money on a race with Nicholas Cage and Nic actually won the race. We spent a whole lot of time sitting by the pool in our hotel sitting under the sun on a deck drinking lots of beers and listening to music. I remember I had the radio and we played a lot of salsa music too. The guys always tried to keep me drinking beer like a tough guy. lol Our view from the deck was a baseball field and then it was just desert. We were just hanging having good times together. And on set it was awesome, the guys had great stories about life including John Malkovich. It was 115 in the shade when we were filming. It was like a 9 month shoot, with like 3 of those months in LA on a sound stage and a two weeks in Vegas to film the ending. Great times miss everyone so glad people love the film.

 

 

And of course there is the 1995 drama you were absolutely incredible in known as Dangerous Minds. This was a pretty powerful film at the time it was released. You were pretty young and fresh in the game playing Raul Sanchero, the “man with the jacket”. So how was it working on a project like this as your first film work? How did you manage to ease the tension behind the camera on such a film with such serious subject matter?

Thank you it was a real dream come true. I was 19 when I got the film and had been working & studying acting for a few years so I’m grateful I began early and learned so much in the New York theater. I’m always grateful for having gotten the opportunity to work with Elizabeth Swados who passed away a little over three years ago, she is a real theater legend who knew so much about acting and music and staging and truth. She has always been my source at, least my biggest source of inspiration in my work. So when I got Dangerous Minds, it was like such a big breakthrough spiritually because I had worked so hard already and really didn’t know if  I would ever get a chance. I knew my work was touching people on the live stage but when I got the chance to break into film it was like being hit by lightning. I couldn’t believe it. Of course I cried & fell on the floor, lol, and it was such a special moment for my family and friends.

To this day I am still so beyond grateful to have gotten that opportunity. We had so much fun making that movie I can’t express it in words. We all got along really great it was a wild bunch too. There had been some tension with some of the kids from LA being annoyed that so much of the cast was from New York but when everyone got to know each other it was the best time ever. It was like being on the best vacation for three months with other people your age and having our own hotel rooms, room service, pools and jacuzzi. We went out and drove around, went horse back riding and got paid to be wild bad kids. Lol most of the heavy dramatic scenes involved just a few of us so most of the time it was being rowdy and fun. There was an element of danger but I guess we were the danger so it was ok lol. I also was the only person in the cast who was completely opposite in a real person to the character I played so that was really interesting because I’ve always been more of a very soft tender hearted person but I do it deliberately so it’s out of strength so I can also kick some ass and regulate when needed lol. But for some reason I can really tap into how other people feel so I can create these characters that are so different than myself. That film was a huge realization for me in that way because not only was I playing this role in a film but the character was so different than I. Although again there are some powerful things we share in common. It was an actor’s dream come true and Michelle was just as amazing as the young cast. Everything was done in one take because everyone was so focused and the cameraman was so on point.

 

 

In the world of entertainment, you have done some amazing work on avenues like film, television, even the stage. You are also an accomplished musician as well! And you do amazing work in all of them! With that in mind, I am curious to know what avenue of artist expression is the most rewarding to you on a personal level? If for some reason, you were forced to only work in one avenue for the rest of your career, which would it be?

Thanks again. I honestly don’t have a preferred form of performance, all I can do is be so grateful that God has given me the ability to express myself in those ways. I love acting and storytelling because it’s such a spiritual transcendence it’s like you’re on a cloud in a way and it’s a very scary place because there is a chance you might fall so you’re like floating in a space of grace and gratitude and creativity and you know what you say, what comes out of your mouth has an affect on people. It’s so engaging you have to let go of any physical or mental insecurities you may have and just let the work come out of you. Music and singing is so vibrational and I just love love love to sing it actually feels good in the neck chest and mouth and ears such a blessing. I love dancing too and feeling rhythm in my body and muscles so it would be like choosing one child over another. Thank God I don’t actually have to choose! Lol.

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

Yes, I am really excited to begin work on a new House music record with an awesome well known producer and writer John Spinosa and his team. I’m also very excited about my new tee shirt line called Renoly NYC coming out soon the designs are sick. And I’m getting ready to star in an Off Broadway play with a well known director called Ominous Men, I play a Native American spirit that wrecks havoc. I’m writing scripts and developing projects too.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My doggies Pocket Diva and Comet, my family and friends! ️

 

Sunday Matinee: Stuck [Film]

 

“Taking place over one fateful day on a New York City subway, a group of strangers from different walks of life are unexpectedly brought together in an uplifting celebration of life and kindness through music.” – newswire.com

 

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I will be the first to tell you Folks, I am NOT a musical guy. It’s just never really been my forte, but I do understand why they are beloved in a way that is very different from other genres of film. That being said, I absolutely LOVED this film. And not in an “except for the music part” sort of way. No, this certainly added to the experience of watching this absolute masterpiece of a film. I simply cannot get enough of a simple setting of a film being completed amplified and taking you on an emotional adventure. I call it “Breakfast Clubbing”. I think that could catch on, right? Anyway, with Stuck, you get some incredible character development, accompanied by amazing performances, and a brilliant story penned by writer/director Michael Berry. Yet, the majority of the film takes place in a simple Subway train. It’s truly incredible how much talent is involved with this film!

 

 

And in way of performances, it was pretty much a given that Giancarlo Esposito was going to absolutely blow minds with his role, because that’s what he does! He has always been an absolute crusher. I’ve always said the sign of a brilliant performer is if you cannot even fathom another person in that role, they did their job superbly. And Esposito did just that with Stuck, and with everything he has ever appeared on. What I will admit is that I wasn’t sure about, or at least had never experienced, how one of my childhood crushes from the music world, Ashanti, was going to do in the world of acting. And Folks, I am now kicking my own ass for even doubting for a second that she couldn’t do it. I bought in hard on her role as the brooding and intelligent character Eve. I did however find it ironic that in a film with so many musical numbers, the Grammy winning, multi-platinum R&B singer…..doesn’t sing? It doesn’t take a single thing away from the film, but damn would it have added to it, don’t you think?

Overall, Stuck is an absolute delight of a film and a testament to what can happen when we stop recognizing each other by our differences, and recognizing why we are alike. Check it out Folks! You wil not regret it!

Stuck is available now on VOD and will be available on DVD on September 17th, 2019.

 


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/351284330″>Stuck_TRAILER_PG13_MPAA Approved</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/visionfilmsinc”>Vision Films</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Saturday Special: Seeds [Film]

 

“After a night of debauchery spirals out of control, Marcus retreats to his family home along the New England coast. Solitude is disturbed when his brother asks Marcus to look after his estranged nephew and niece. As days pass, solace escapes him; he feels baited by a dark force. Is he losing his mind or has something terrible burrowed deep within him? Incubating. Waiting until the climate is right. Haunted by his deepest fears, Marcus struggles not to succumb as he fights to protect Lily, his beloved niece from a monster that lies in wait.” – Uncork’d Entertainment

 

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Strap in Folks, because we have a real WEIRD one for you today. Seeds, while billed as a “horror” film, is frightening as it declares itself to be, but not in a traditional way. Right from the beginning, it gets really strange. It’s almost infuriating how hard it is to describe what takes place in this film without too many spoilers. Suffice it to say, Filmmaker Owen Long has a bit of a Lynchian inspired way about him. I mean this to say, and do not finish this sentence if you don’t want a slight spoiler….the physical manifestation of our darkest fears and deepest desires comes to play, and it is absolutely shocking. It is so hard to feel one way or another about the character Marcus Milton, and I feel as though that is what Long and co-writer Steven Weisman. And if they weren’t, well, that is my interpretation I guess. And I gotta say Folks, I dug it. A lot.

 

 

Ozark’s Trevor Long gives an amazing performance as the film’s lead, but Andrea Chen is definitely no slouch in the film and holds up her key role in what appears to be an effortless fashion. I will admit that despite having over a decade in the game, I was unaware of Chen’s talents, but you can bet your proverbial bottom dollar that if I see her name attached to anything, I’m watching that! Of course, as we always say, a brilliant performance is wasted without a good story to tell, and a good story with a shitty performance is wasted. But when the two powers combine. Magic! And that is what Seeds is to me. Magic captured ever so brilliantly (physically by cinematographer Eun-ah Lee, actually) on screen that has a re-watchability to it and I highly recommend that you do! Watch Seeds, watch it again, and tell all of your friends!

 

Seeds will be in select theaters on September 13th 2019, and on VOD on September 24th , 2019.

 

Michael Nardelli [Interview]

Photo by Ryan West

 

Hello Folks! And Happy Friday to you all! Today we have an incredible interview to share with you all. Today we have some wonderful words from the brilliant writer, producer, actor, and so much more, Michael Nardelli. Michael has been in the game for a while working in the world of film and television, but most recently he has been the mastermind behind one of the finest television series I have seen in such a long time. Nardelli is the executive producer, writer, producer, and star of the Amazon Prime Original series Dark/Web, which is absolutely fantastic. If you need a comparison, it’s Black Mirror with some narrative. And more importantly, it’s so fucking good. It may very well be one of the best shows to hit the streaming waves over the last decade. I seriously cannot recommend it enough. It’s brilliantly written, and beautifully shot, and Michael was the man who made it all possible.

So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the absolutely amazing jack of all trades in the world of film and television, the absolutely incredible Michael Nardelli. And be sure to check out Dark/Web. I promise you are going to love this series!

 

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What inspired you to get into the world of acting? Was it an aspiration you have had since your youth, or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?

Thank you for having me! I wanted to act since I was born, basically. I grew up watching old classics with my mom like The Wizard of Oz and Rear Window. TV shows like Dick Van Dyke, The Twilight Zone, etc. She showed me all the Doris Day and Marilyn Monroe movies. My uncle also introduced me to old serials like Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon and westerns like Shane. All of that influenced me and I just love storytelling and the idea of experiencing different worlds and point of views by playing a character. I moved a lot growing up as well, so I was always observing new people and interactions and new environments trying to figure out how to fit in.

 

What was your very first paid gig in the world of performance? And where there any sort of lessons learned from this particular project?

My very first job was a McDonald’s commercial. I was thrilled to have booked it as it gave me my SAG card. I think the only big lesson was just realizing how complicated the process of booking any kind of job in the entertainment industry is. I say that because I had no dialogue in the commercial – I literally just had to turn and react surprised as a happy meal flew by my face – and yet I had to go through an audition AND a callback to secure that. It made me realize, especially for commercials, they’re looking for something specific in each actor to complete their whole picture. It also set the tone for my future in acting, just in realizing that any job, small or large, usually won’t come so easy or quickly in film and television and you have to fight for it a bit.

 

Can you tell us a bit about your new Amazon Prime series Dark/Web? What drew you to this project? What made you decide this was a story that needed to be told?

I grew up loving all things sci fi. So, anthology shows like The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits. X-Files was a huge inspiration for me. My favorite sci fi is the kind that’s used to really dive into topical and relevant events in a unique way. You can really mirror the human experience and talk about hot button issues without being too alienating or on the nose, as can sometimes be the case with traditional drama stories. Me, Mario Miscione and my brother Tim Nardelli all wanted to collaborate again after we had a successful experience on our film Circle, which was acquired by Netflix. I had this loose idea of an anthology show that would be connected by a larger storyline. Where, the more you watched, the more you saw that everything is in fact connected in some way. It’s an unconventional format or structure, but we like the idea of doing something new since so much of film and television nowadays is about remakes, or reboots, or exploiting nostalgia.

We landed on the dark web being the focal point for the series because it fascinated us and had so much story in it. And it’s a real thing, as scary as that is. But we also wanted to explore the web itself generally as a “dark” place. And we felt our contribution to this story was unique because we’re the last generation that will remember an analogue world, and we’re the first generation that started dipping their toes into what is now a massively digital and tech-crazed landscape. We’re at an important point in history where we’ve accepted technology into our lives – literally into our bedrooms and kitchens – out of convenience, but should be asking questions about how it changes things like privacy and even our own day to day interaction as humans.

 

 

And now that the show has been out in the world for a while, how have viewers been reacting to it?

I think people seem pretty excited and happy with the show for the most part! I’ve loved getting messages on social media from new fans who’ve found the show and already binged it, sometimes twice. We had a great launch at Comic Con – an official panel and then a two-night premiere where a ton of people came out. It’s still quite surreal for me and all the filmmakers on the show that it’s now this live thing that exists out in the world and people can watch with one click. We got so used to reviewing it on private screener links or drives that now, when I’m clicking through my Amazon Prime Video app and I see our key art, I’m like “Oh my god! Is this real life!? How did we do this!?” And then, the internet also keeps you humble, which is good. Anytime you do something sci/fi horror, people will go into it with their own expectations of what it should look or feel like, so you can’t please everyone, and I’ve seen a little bit of that. That’s ok though – I’m frankly just grateful for anyone who gives it a chance in this crowded marketplace with new content popping up every other day.

 

If you were handed the opportunity to create and star in the biopic of any legendary figure in American history, who would it be?

What an interesting question. I feel a kinship with Kurt Cobain. I was just sort of getting into music when Nirvana broke out in the 90’s. They kind of defined my generation. I appreciate his stance on art and would love to go down the rabbit hole and really live in his skin and his mind. Explore his anger and his hurt. A biopic about Kurt would be a dream. Selfishly, it would also give me a chance to be in a musical of sorts, which is also a fantasy of mine that maybe could be a reality if I stop singing like a lunatic in the shower and actually hone some vocal skills.

 

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

Right now, I’m just making sure we get the word out about Dark/Web to as many people as possible. It was a labor of love (sometimes more labor, than love) for almost four years so I want to make sure we give “our baby” the best chance in the world that we can. Some people don’t know that we made the entire season ourselves, independently, before it made its way to Amazon. We’d love to do a second season and have ideas for it, if there is a demand from viewers. I just finished a play in LA, which was nice. And I’m writing a new feature, auditioning again, and we’ve talked about a sequel to our Netflix film Circle.

 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

I just had an amazing trip to Portugal. I’d always wanted to go. And once we launched Dark/Web, I escaped for a week and it was the first time I’d felt really relaxed in quite a while because I’ve been so responsible to this show from its conception right up to the sale and the marketing. So, I had a nice big sigh of relief and a big smile as I walked through all these beautiful, ancient European streets and listened to my music. It feels great to get reinspired and fill up your creative well again!

 

Dark/Web is available now on Amazon Prime.

 

Myk Watford [Interview]

 

Hello Folks! We have some amazing words from an incredible actor. It’s Myk Watford Everyone! Myk has managed to appear in what seems like the biggest hit TV series of the last 20 years. Seriously, from The Sopranos, to Breaking Bad, to a reoccurring role on the third season of True Detective. Often times you will see him as a cop of some variety, but not all the time. But it is certainly understandable as to why he would land several roles as some sort of law enforcement. He has the dashing sort of look and dare I say, an “unfuckwithable” sort of grace about him.

Recently, Watford can be seen in the very interesting film The Kitchen that I have not had the pleasure of checking out, but most definitely will be doing so soon! He stars alongside the likes of Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish, and Elisabeth Moss, and it is sure to be an absolute delight. We get into it a bit in our words below, and so much more. So let’s get right into it, shall we? Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the brilliant Myk Watford!

 

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What inspired you to get into the world of entertainment? Was it something you aspired to do since you were young, or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?

A little of both. I had always been an athlete, and figured sports was my future in one way or another. One day, I was probably about 15, my sister showed up with a huge trophy for winning the state High School Dramatic Interpretation competition. I had no idea there was such a thing, or that my sister participated in it… And I definitely didn’t know that they gave out huge trophies for it… I was intrigued. A few weeks later, her drama class did the musical “Fame”. I sat in the auditorium, and it was like the sky opened up and light shined down… I thought “I can do that!” I just knew. After that, I had a series of very good luck… Scholarship to study with the late great Kenneth Washington at the University of Utah. Another to study Shakespeare in DC with Micheal Kahn. Then, probably my first big break, I got an agent in NYC. Next thing you know, I was a (sometimes) working actor in NYC. At some point you kinna look back and say… “How the heck did I get here? I was gonna be a football coach…” But I’m happy with the way it worked out.

What was your first paid gig on the world of entertainment? And where there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still affect your work today?

First time I ever got paid to act was playing the role of Connie Rivers in The Grapes of Wrath at Pioneer Memorial Theatre in Salt Lake City, Utah. I was certain my next role would be on Broadway… but that took a little longer than I anticipated.

I learned many lessons in that production, but probably the best one was when the Director, Charles Morey, stopped a rehearsal to call me out for upstaging the actress playing Rose of Sharon. I had no idea I had been inching upstage in the scene, making her turn her back to the audience. He really let me have it, and made an example of me. I never forgot that. I am still very aware of where the other actors are in relation to me and the camera or the audience. It was a great lesson. Albeit a little embarrassing.

 

 

I am very intrigued by a recently released film in which you appear in entitled The Kitchen. It looks fascinating. Can you tell us a bit about your role in the film? And how was your experience working on a such a unique story such as this?

Sure. The Kitchen is a film Directed by Andrea Berloff, based on the DC/Vertigo graphic novel of the same name. It centers around the wives of three small time Irish mob bosses in 1970’s Hell’s Kitchen, and their struggle to keep the business going after their husbands have been thrown in prison. I play Little Jackie, who is given control of the business. Little Jackie is a guy who has always struggled for respect… always struggled to be taken seriously. Once he assumes power, he is determined to keep it at all costs. This puts him at odds with the women, as they don’t feel they are being taken care of.

The Kitchen was an incredible film to work on. Andrea is a truly gifted artist, and her vision for the film was quite inspiring. The cast was unbelievable as well. Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish,  and Elisabeth Moss… what more could you ask for? And getting to step back in time to 1970’s New York City was incredible. The clothes, the cars… And they did an amazing job recreating that setting. New York is a real character in the film, and it just doesn’t get any cooler than New York in the 70’s.

We are huge fans of the world of horror here at TWS, and you happen to appear in a damn fine horror flick, directed by the very much missed horror genius Steven Goldmann, entitled Trailer Park of Terror. I am curious to know how your experience was working on this bloody film, as well as the horror genre in general? What do you believe sets the world of horror apart from other genres that you have worked in?

First of all, let me say that the world lost a lot of great art when Steven passed. Steven was a visionary. And he was just getting started. To think of the amazing art he would have created had he not been taken so soon… its tragic.

Playing the role of Roach was one of the great experiences of my career. I know it may sound odd coming from a guy who has been in some really huge movies, but it’s true. I mean, a guitar slinging, redneck, rockabilly demon zombie? Hell yes. Alan Brewer and Matt King created some amazing music as well, and I loved being able to sort of narrate the movie as Roach with the music. It was dark and hard and very explicit. Everything you want in a horror soundtrack. I had a lot of fun playing that role.

 

 

The makeup was pretty amazing as well. We had the best in the business working on it -the multiple Oscar winning artists from Drac Studios, who, sadly, are now split up. It was four hours into makeup and 2 hours out every day. Some people hate that kinda thing… I loved it. It was fascinating for me to see the character being created. We would listen to Rob Zombie and a lot of hard, dark music getting into makeup. It really helped the process, and got us pumped up. By the time we were on set were ready to raise hell…

If you were handed the opportunity to portray any historical figure in American history, who would you want to portray?

Johnny Cash. Without question. I’ve been a hardcore fan most of my life. Read all his biographies, even wrote a musical about his life -which I hope you get to see sometime. I also have a Johnny Cash tribute band called Big Cash and The Folsom 3. His music changes the landscape of country and rock and roll. His life was an epic story that is almost beyond belief. Johnny was an icon, and a maverick. But he was also a deeply flawed man who made many mistakes over the course of his life. Like Kristofferson said, “He was a walking contradiction. The living embodiment of antithesis. Not to mention the only man I know of who punched an ostrich in the face and lived to tell about it.”

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

My band, Stumpwaller will be doing some shows in the near future, starting September 7th in LA at The Federal. I also have a cool horror flick called Portal coming out in October. Otherwise, catch The Kitchen in theaters everywhere while you can!

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Watching my 5-year-old daughter singing to herself in the mirror when she thought no one was looking. Priceless.

 

The Kitchen is theaters across the glove now.

 

Also get more information about Myk from his WEBSITE, as well as Stumpwaller’s WEBSITE. And if you live in the LA area, catch them at The Federal in North Hollywood, CA, September 7th, 2019.

 

 

Sunday Matinee: The Power of Grayskull: The Definitive History of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe [Film]

 

“From Randall Lobb and Robert McCallum, THE POWER OF GRAYSKULL : The Definitive History of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe chronicles the beginnings and blockbuster-success of ‘80s toy sensation He-Man in an exhaustive, captivating 95 minute documentary that melts back the plastic on Eternia’s best-kept secrets!’

In the early 1980s He-Man arrived on the scene and hit the world with a punch as powerful as the character himself. Designed in the wake of Conan the barbarian and under the shadow of Star Wars, He-Man‘s surprising popularity spawned a multi billion dollar empire that included toys, comic books, cartoons, live-action movies and a literal sister spinoff show – She-Ra – and continues to appeal to a ravenous fan-base today. Watch as artists, creators and collaborators dig deep, tell tales and share the surprising developments of an unlikely, unparalleled pop culture success in this Definitive History of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Do you have the power?” – October Coast PR

 

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So this is a film that hits seriously close to home. As a 90’s kid who grew up on 80’s syndicated television, I was well-versed on many thing related to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe series. But, I have to be honest, and I had NO idea how the whole concept came to life. I had no idea that this was one of those strange instances where it was the toy that inspired the TV show, rather than vice versa as per usual. But I certainly know a lot now after exploring the beautifully crafted documentary The Power of Grayskull. This is an absolutely brilliant doc with so much more heart and warmth than you would probably believe at first glance. As entertaining as it is informative, The Power of Grayskull is perhaps one of the best documentaries of the year.

 

 

Seriously Folks, filmmakers Randall Lobb & Robert McCallum really get into it all with this film. I was especially keen on the back story of the making of the live action film, with some wonderful antidotes from Dolph Lundgren and Frank Langella themselves. It was a fascinating peak into something that has been a part of my life before I can even remember. I can actually say that for the entire Masters of the Universe world. Is it all a bit corny? Sure. But it damn well should be! It brought millions of kids joy and hours upon hours of play time. We used to do such a thing! In those dark pre-internet days, we played. And if you ask any old hack in their late 30’s or early 40’s, there is a damn good chance that they had a He-Man or She-Ra figure. Probably both. And again, the film is so well made that it will leave you wanting more. I cannot recommend this film strongly enough. Go get on it, Folks!

The Power of Grayskull will be available on DVD and Digital on September 3rd, 2019.