Lindsay Anne Williams [Interview]

 

 

Hello Folks! We are back with another wonderful interview with an absolutely incredible actress. It’s Lindsay Anne Williams, Everyone! Lindsay has done some amazing work, especially in the world of horror, both on and off screen alongside the likes of filmmaker Miles Doleac. Her latest venture would be a film that we discussed earlier this week with actress Alli Hart, which is the incredible film The Dinner Party. Her past work includes films we have covered here at TWS in the past such as Hallowed Ground and Demons. Both are incredible, and obviously amplified by her inclusion.

So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the brilliant Lindsay Anne Williams!

 

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What inspired you to get into the world of entertainment? Was it something you had wanted to do since your youth? Or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?

I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t interested in performing arts of some kind.  It began with my desire to be a dancer, but we couldn’t afford dance classes so that didn’t really come about until I went to an arts high school and was able to study dance for free. But as a little kid, my dad was the principal and teacher of a small parochial school, and he was a very ambitious educator, so he had us doing plays all the time.  My first role was as a Dancing Bear in The Greatest Show on Earth (I don’t even know if that’s a real show or if my Dad just made some shit up).  I had stopped acting and was focusing on dance and trying to figure out my career path when I met Miles, and he introduced me to the New Orleans acting scene.  So I guess it’s a little bit of both, I did want to do something akin to this for my whole life, but circumstances also kind of landed me here.

 

What was your first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still affects your work to date?

First paid gig, ever?  I can’t even remember.  But I would say that my first paid gig as an adult actor would probably be the Historia Films production of The Historian, for which I served as Costume Designer and played a character called Dawne. It was Miles’ first film as a director and we both learned a great deal. My lessons from that first re-entry into the world of entertainment were many, but the one I think is most important is to stick up for myself and to claim my space not just as an artist, but as a human being. It’s amazing how much more fun you have and how much more creative you can be when you’re not worried about proving you belong there.

I recently had the pleasure of seeing your incredible performance in the film The Dinner Party. It’s a truly brilliant piece of horror. Can you tell us a bit about this project? Why should people be excited to check this one out?

Thank you for saying that. A lot of work went into this and all our films, so it’s nice when they land, when someone “gets” it. The Dinner Party is a horror/black comedy film, wherein a playwright and his wife are invited to the home of a wealthy and influential doctor with the hopes that they’ll impress him and his friends enough to bankroll his next project to Broadway.  The characters, are rich (both stylistically and literally quite wealthy) and twisted.  Everyone has their own psychoses that come to light throughout the course of this ill-fated dinner party.  I play Sadie Nichols, a woman who doesn’t necessarily fit in with the rest of the group.  She’s obviously wealthy and eccentric, but we know very little of her back story and what brings her to the table, something she shares in common with the lead, Haley Duncan, the young, seemingly innocent and out-of-her-depth wife of the playwright Jeffrey. The stories, backgrounds and hidden demons of each character at the table come to the fore and intertwine in unexpected and sometimes sinister ways.

 

 

While it’s not the only genre you have worked in, you have managed to turn out some wonderful performances in one of our favorite genres of film, which would the world of horror. I am curious to know what you enjoy the most about the world of horror? What is it that sets this genre apart from others you have worked on?

Horror allows me to participate in one of my truly favorite activities: screaming at the top of my lungs. Sadie doesn’t quite have cause to scream as loudly as I would prefer, but I got some cathartic screaming off-screen done, don’t you doubt it.  I love the flexibility horror has, it can be serious or funny.  It can be surface and cheeky, or you can couch a real, even profound, message within the story.  And who doesn’t love to play in blood and fake guts?  You get to play like a kid every day on set.

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

I am great lover of history, and have a couple of degrees in it, actually.  My particular brand of history, however, is that of the ancient and early medieval variety (I’d totally want to be Honoria, the sister of Roman Emperor Valentinian III who wrote and “proposed” to Attila the Hun in order to free herself from her brother’s clutches and a disappointing engagement, thereby inviting him to come and invade Italy).

I’m not very passionate about any particular figure in American History, though I do think Carry Nation (1846-1911) is a pretty interesting character.  She was an activist and staunch supporter of the temperance movement (a movement I don’t subscribe to myself) and used to raze bars with a hatchet. She’d go in and flip tables and hack open kegs, upend cash registers and basically create total mayhem in an effort to save people from alcohol. What a trip!

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

I’ve been taking a bit of a breather lately.  I realize many people are staying home, reflecting on a lot of things right now, big and small. And I’m doing just that and working in the house and yard, being grateful for my health, my husband, and our brood of vicious dogs. I had been the president of a community theater for several years and had just resigned my post when we began filming The Dinner Party. During this time of quarantine, Miles and I are completing the music video for “Ash Wednesday,” a song from the film that he co-wrote with our amazing composer, Clifton Hyde.  Other than that, I don’t have anything in the pipeline, but rest assured, neither Miles nor I can remain quiet for long, so we’ll undoubtedly begin writing many more projects!

What was the last thing that made you smile?

I have five dogs.  They are the biggest goofballs in the world and they all have such beautiful infectious smiles.  They love their parents a whole lot and it’s pretty hard not to smile when a 75-lb Pitbull or a 16-lb Powderpuff Chinese Crested mutt comes running to give you a kiss.

Alli Hart [Interview]

 

Today we have some wonderful words from a brilliant up and coming actress that you all should be on the look out for in the coming future, should that still be a thing we are able to look forward to in these trying times. It’s the brilliant Allie Hart! Alli recently appeared in one of my favorite films of 2020 thus far, the wonderful film The Dinner Party that is truly incredible and just so damn much fun!

Alli was kind enough to take some time out of her busy schedule to tell us a bit about The Dinner Party, why she got into the world of performance, and much more. And we are eternally grateful for her to do so.

So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the great Allie Hart!

 

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What inspired you to get into the world of entertainment? Was it something you had wanted to do since your youth? Or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?

Growing up in a small town in Texas, I’ve always been the weird extroverted creative one who discovered so much of my passion in theatre and entertainment. It was a place I felt not only a calling to but a belonging. I had always felt misunderstood or that I was too hyper, too much or too big-so characters and creativity was a way to escape and transform those feelings in a vibrant way that was very cathartic for me. I was a slave to this passion from the time I was in middle school. Wishing on every star and working every little job to graduate and move to Los Angeles to truly pursue it.

Ha. I wish I woke up in this world. I had to work (still am) incredibly hard for many many years to be where I am. Nothing about my Journey has been easy… and maybe that’s the point. To have this arsenal of experiences that make my colors deeper and richer to paint with as I portray another human being.

What was your first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still affects your work to date?

Oh wow. Probably My Haunted Mansion where I played a ghost girl.

I wouldn’t say that it affects my work but definitely something that bled into my audition process. I had so much fun in the room and committed 1000% to a character that was screaming and crying and banging her head into a wall. That was the point where I realized “I am going to make fearless decisions as an actress in that room. I am going to disturb them with truth.”

I recently had the pleasure of seeing your incredible performance in the film The Dinner Party. It’s a truly brilliant piece of horror. Can you tell us a bit about this project? Why should people be excited to check this one out?

Thank you so much! That project was such a special one for me. It was my first on location film and also my first lead in a feature… so it definitely has its own space in my heart and I think it always will.

The Dinner Party was shot in Mississippi on one location. We shot through the night for 3-4 weeks. We’d go to set at 5PM or so and come home at 6 or 7 am. During that time I was so present with the journey of it, I had felt like I instantly adapted to where I was staying and who I was spending time with like I had been there for a year haha. Everyone became family on this intimate project.

The director, Miles Doleac, got me a combat trainer in Los Angeles to train with for about a month or so before filming. The fight scenes were some of my favorite scenes to shoot. Though I woke up covered in bruises! Haha.

This film was shot oh so beautifully and the talent is absolutely incredible and riveting. The storyline takes me back to good ole horror that I loved growing up with, like Rosemary’s Baby -but to cut to the heart of it the performances in this movie really are something else. I love experiencing each character. They are all so unique and different and I’m just in awe watching them come alive with their barrage of complexities and eccentricities.

 

 

While it’s not the only genre you have worked in, you have managed to turn out some wonderful performances in one of our favorite genres of film, which would the world of horror. I am curious to know what you enjoy the most about the world of horror? What is it that sets this genre apart from others you have worked on?

Ah! I love that recognition haha.

I have been a horror fan all my life. I wasn’t allowed to watch it in my house as a little girl so maybe I got addicted to the act of rebelling and sneaking a scary movie at 2 or 3 in the morning when my mom was asleep haha. Started with It by Stephen King.. then all the Screams, Chucky, Freddy Kruegar, Jason, Texas Chainsaw, etc.. 🙂

So maybe I like it because I wasn’t aloud to like it but I also always felt that I could be scarier than anyone in the movies and I love to test that. (You should see me in a haunted house, you’d think I was at Disneyland)

To put it simply, I resonate with FREAK and CREEP. Ha!

I want you to feel in my movies – “is she going to kiss me or kill me?” Maybe I should put that on a shirt haha.

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

Oh why do you gotta do this to me hahah!

Honestly, without thinking, Angelina Jolie, and I think anyone close to me would tell you the same thing. Since I’m a girl and it can’t be Jim Carrey. Two people who influenced my work since the beginning.

I have always connected to her and identified with her intensity. Her fire. Her sexuality. Her ability to make people uncomfortable with just how damn honest she is. She was misunderstood, too. I’ve always seen that. But, her evolution throughout time is extraordinary. She became so much softer after becoming a mom, much like myself. After I had my daughter, I had no longer a desire to self-destruct and I stopped romanticizing pain. Plus, we both like to keep blood in vials 😉 I imagine we love deeper than most. Which is synonymous to a lot of other things.

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

I know what I want. And that’s to continue creating wildly beautiful stories with wildly beautiful humans. With my daughter and my family right along with me. I’m willing to be surprised by life. Show me what you got.  Make it interesting 😉

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Your last question. The future makes me excited!

 

 

 

Sunday Matinee: American Trial [Film]

 

“AMERICAN TRIAL: The Eric Garner Story is an unscripted, hybrid fiction-documentary about the case that never happened. A mock trial with the real players (with the exception of the actor who plays Pantaleo), the film depicts the trial that would have followed Garner’s death had Pantaleo been indicted. In the pursuit of accuracy, balance and unbiased accountability, the film uses former New York State prosecutors, real attorneys and actual witnesses, all to present to the jury – in this case, the audience – the facts necessary to determine Pantaleo’s guilt or innocence. No script. Only real people and real testimonies in a courtroom setting through a cinematic lens.  In a unique, interactive experience, viewers will then be asked to vote on the charges at the end of the film via an embedded ballot.” – Passion River Films

 

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Folks, I would dare say that we have one of the most original films we have ever had on the history of this site. The description above tells you exactly how it works, but it simply cannot convey the surrealism and emotional journey that the film takes you on. I know it probably goes without saying, but it’s just so damn REAL. If there is any biasness to be had, it’s only in the fact that the film was even made. But, the evidence brought forth on both sides of the courtroom is jarring and has such a very realistic feel to it, that thoughts of biasness should really be taken off the table. As I stated before, this is truly one of the most original ways of filmmaking that I have ever seen. A full on dramatic depiction of the events surround the tragic death of Eric Gardner could have been done, but I believe in my heart of hearts that this was the exact way to get a very troubling and very serious point across.

I know it can sound corny to say, but American Trial is absolutely more of an experience than a film. The film guides you through what exactly might have happened if the justice system in our country had prevailed and did the god damn job, if I’m to be brash. And I’m not trying to give any spoilers here, but I simply must admit that the inclusion of Garner’s widow, Esaw Snipes Garner, was just about the most heartbreaking and brave things I have ever seen a person do. She is a commendable human being, and I cannot convey just proud of a person who I have never met. The courage she showed was incredible. And I also feel the need to add that filmmaker Roee Messinger may already be one of the most original minds of this generation. And this is their first feature film!

I can say with all honesty and sincerity that American Trial: The Eric Garner Story is my favorite film of 2020 thus far. And that it is going to take a lot to move the film out of the number one spot by the end of the year.

 

AMERICAN TRIAL: The Eric Garner Story opens virtually in theaters May 18-21. A live-streamed Q&A with director Roee Messinger and Eric Garner’s wife, Esaw Snipes Garner, will take place on May 21, where the audience jury verdict will be announced.

Please visit the AMERICAN TRIAL website for more information on theaters, tickets and the Q&A: www.passionriver.com/AmericanTrial

 

 

Annie Gaybis [Interview]

 

Today we have some amazing words from an absolutely legendary actress. It’s Annie Gaybis, Everyone! She is a renowned performer of stage and screen, as well as an accomplished dancer for close to 50 years. She has was so kind to tell us a bit about her career leading up to today’s time, and we are so excited to share what she has to say.

So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the great Annie Gaybis!

 

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

I was inspired by a woman who was as close to being “Auntie Mane” as one could get. Her name was Debbie London who immediately sensed something in me and brought me into her world of show business. She ran a dance studio that morphed into a Creative Arts Workshop where many went onto professional careers on Broadway and as Dancers/Choreographers themselves.  My Aunt brought me there after my mother passed. I was very young not more than seven.

I was (so I’ve been told) shy and a bit withdrawn from the bewildering experience of losing my mother. My Aunt brought me there to watch her daughter dance in an in-house recital.. Well, when I saw my very own cousin make magic with her dancing….and besotted by Miss Debbie with her flaming red hair and artsy ways…who had a talented daughter exactly my age who became one of my best friends. I thought I was the luckiest girl in the whole wide world and I wanted to part of all of it. All of it. She introduced me to many things outside the studio. Art festivals, concerts…She brought in movies like The Red Shoes where we sat on the dance floor in one of the studios and watched in awe. Guest teachers like the renowned dance artistes Dave Harris and Jack Pottigher who luckily noticed how much trouble I was having at pointe work . He had me take off my shoes one day and saw my feet were not meant for pointe work and immediately after that when the ballet class went to put their toes shoes on I went off to a private tap class and probably that was the greatest thing for me for tap has provided me with many opts.

She had such a great staff including a theater director Ed Golden who said I had the worst regional accent…. he was from Boston and he was going to save me from proceeding with it as I continued in life and I am so grateful for that. So it started from there and morphed into getting my AEA (Actors Equity) card as a child performing in children’s roles or small ingénue roles in a Union Rep Company…Center Stage….and being the youngest in a semi-professional dance company The Wally Saunders Dancers. Wally Saunders was another of those dynamic personalities who had trained many including his most famous dancer Goldie Hawn who performed with his company for years.  When I entered his studio and saw photos of Goldie and saw the caliber of dance I entered and having Wally Saunders encourage and mold me I went into a whirlwind of performances from half-time games to local television, operettas to full-scale productions. And I was so young I was often driven home by both he and his mother Irene who was the perennial receptionist and looked out for me.  It was amazing I had time to do my homework.  It was always the dynamics of the individuals that I met that cultivated my interest because they were so interesting to me…and I felts lucky that they wanted me included into their exciting whirl. I was thrilled.

What was your first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any sort of lessons learned from it that still affect your work to date?

Really cannot remember.

You appeared in one of my favorite films of all time, the Dolly Parton-fronted film The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. I am curious to know how your experience was working on this now cult-classic of a film? Was it as entertaining to work on as it has been for me to go back and watch every now and again?

Well, Whorehouse was already filming in Texas. I happened by a casting agent whose name escapes me on Hollywood Blvd for an appt. I found myself sitting with two other dancers. All three of us being interviewed at the same time. We hadn’t been sitting there that long when his phone rang, [and he] forget about us. Maybe this was a “work” call for someone. Well talk about being in the right place at the right time. He took the call, put his hand over the mouthpiece and said, “You all three dance, right?” We nodded.  He said, “They need three dancers on the set of Whorehouse. Three walked out when they found out that they had to do nudity. I can get you double scale and then some. What’d you say?”. Well, two days later there we were. The agent had never even seen us dance. We landed in Austin and went right into rehearsals with the wonderful Tony Stephens ….now some of the other female dancers didn’t take kindly to us because we replaced their pals. But Colin Higins the director came over to where we were frantically rehearsing to catch up that first couple of days and was so kind to us and when we were on the set and doing the small very small amount of nudity he made us all feel very relaxed and eventually the other “femme” dancers got to ease up on us when they saw the director going out of his way so by the time we got to the backlot of Universal everything was better.

I do remember the first day I saw Dolly Parton. We had not filmed anything with her as yet.  She was on the set early one morning and it was exciting to see her. There were several of us on set but …she walked directly over “to me” and said just as sweet as can be “I saw the dallies last night. Your the girl with the pretty titties.”

That was my introduction to Dolly Parton.

 

 

You have done some incredible work in what is one of our favorite genres of film, which would be the world of horror. I am curious to know how you enjoy working in the world of horror? What do you believe sets it apart from the other genres you have worked in? 

Let me tell you a little story about one of the films I did. There was a film released in the 70’s with “‘the Orson Welles” in the lead.  It was called Necromacy.” It didn’t do too well from what I understand.  So in the early 80’s they were going to cut it up add scenes add characters in other words re-edit the whole thing and re-release it as The Witching.

I had gotten the role of “The Spirit.”  I was excited. An Orson Welles film. Soooooo, I remember I was at a home in the Valley which in LA talk means over Laurel or Coldwater Canyon….being wardrobed and made up  and then doing some test shots with the cameraman who had worked with Orson many times…..They had to clear all this with Orson …the reshooting…the re-editing …since it was in his contract I guess for any changes…….so since this man…I am sorry I do not remember his name was going over the hill….if you lived in “the Valley” thats what you called going into Hollywood and beyond…he was going to meet him at Trader Vic’s for dinner….I too lived “over the hill” in West Hollywood and he asked me “Would you like to come along and meet Orson Welles? Would I?  Plus having dinner with no strings attached at Trader Vics which was this restaurant that was in a very prestigious Bev Hills Hotel that was an in spot that looked well how do I describe it, like a luau had blown up and landed. Tacky chic.  We both take our cars and give them to valet and walk into the entrance of Trader Vics. He tells them he is having dinner with Orson Welles. The maitre-d tells him “Mr. Welles is already seated.” And we join him at his table. Orson Welles was an immense figure with his own aura. After we sat, Orson said, “Lets order.” This was like the first thing out of his mouth. So, fine with me, we ordered. They talked for a couple of hours. I ate and had an exotic drink or two, hoped we had their famous Poo-poo platter, smiled, spoke a bit about my role and myself.

I have to say he had very kind eyes and I wish I could say more. I held back my fascination at meeting him, at least I hoped I did.  It was a business dinner about percentages and stuff I cannot even remember in regards to the film and then he took the papers to sign, bid us “A Good Evening” I remember him saying that he wished me luck with my role, and left.  Soon after the film editor asked for the check. I was sitting across from him. I sort of noticed his eyes bulge out of his head. I thought, “Gawd how much was those Mai-Thais I had” He said to me “I think they brought me the wrong check.”  He called the waiter in his Tommy Bahamas wardrobe (before there was a Tommy Bahamas) and showed him the check.

The waiter calmly said “No Mr.- this is the correct amount. Mr. Welles ordered a full dinner with a bottle of wine before you both came to join him.” So Mr. Welles had eaten and drank a full meal before he ordered with us. And he ate and drank heartily with us, and consumed an entire  second bottle of wine ….I’m sure that bill was a horror to the production company that was operating on a limited budget.

I still am very impressed how Orson Welles managed to pull that off in one smooth maneuver.

Sing “Smooth Operator.”

In your very impressive career, you have managed to do some great work both on the big screen as well as the silver, and on Broadway and stages across the country. With that, I am curious to know what your favorite way to perform? Between film, television, stage, etc., what is your favorite setting to be in as a performer? 

I LOVE ALL OF IT!!!  I guess what I as well as any actor/performer yearns for is an appreciative audience. A nod from them is so fulfilling. In a theater role, where you have to be new and fresh and discover you character and reaction nightly, no matter what has happened to you emotionally that day. Whether your fatigued or feel like you’re fighting off getting something, you realize that there is an audience out there paying good money to see you perform and take them into another world away from their daily thoughts and jobs. A listening audience. Ahhhhhh!!!!!

Performing in Cabaret, corporate dates are wonderful because it’s for one night, your far and away from the audience, and usually have a full back up. Now, more intimate cabaret work, sometimes, and just that odd sometimes, there is someone in the audience who has had too much of “whatever” trying to have a little of the spotlight on them by thinking they are being funny but “not”. They can annoy you by putting their feet on the rim of the stage [which is] very uncomfortable for the audience and as a performer singing and dancing it messes up the rhythm and focus  that you have tried to create with what you bring onstage.

On a movie set sometimes I have to say you almost feel like your self-directing your role and your character because the director just expects you to do your best but shooting a film out of sequence sometimes is hard to realize where your character is at because if the ending of your role happens to be on the location that they scored for that day you can start off shooting your ending before you even get to your beginning. It’s the location that sets up the movie sequences not the script.  When you’re on location or on a studio lot since when you are shooting a film and your presence or a TV show you are required to be there for many consecutive days, weeks or months….so the crew and actors become one tight family and it’s a wonderful feeling

Everything comes with a price but there is nothing that compares to doing something you love and manage to make it a career.

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

I am looking forward to the release of a movie I co-starred in called D.O.A. 

If that sounds familiar to you because it’s an adapted remake. An adapted complete remake of the original film that is a cult favorite that starred Edmond O’Brien.

It’s a horror story if ever there was one. The lead played by the actor John Doe who was wonderful to work against. He is a private investigator and I play his client Mrs. Phillips kind of a Gena Rowlands type of character circa 1949. In the storyline our lead gets poisoned and has a week to live. He does not know why he is poisoned and tries in that week to find out the answers and gets himself into some heavy scenarios. I am as evil as they come.  It was directed by Kurt St. Thomas. Shot in bxw, Film Noir style. The original location was San Francisco. They replicated it in St Augustine.  From what I understand it is now being edited so I have no idea when and how it will be coming out. It was such a great role….and some fabulous location shooting and wardrobe with the period hats and gloves….and hey…no nudity.

On stage I will be doing later this year the role of Maxine in The Night of the Iguana for City Repertory Theatre.  This is exciting for me because I was lucky enough to be mentored by the Academy Award Winning Actress Shelly Winters who originated the role on Broadway. And the original director ,Frank Cosaro, who for many years headed the legendary Actors Studio. I was lucky enough to be directed by him in Faust at The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

Big shoes to fill and looking forward to it.

What was the last thing that made you smile? 

I just read the final draft of my husband’s memoirs. Its called Five Minutes…Mr. Byner: A Lifetime of Laughter. My husband, John Byner is an American comedian/ actor/ impressionist and I, who love bios, laughed out loud at some of his many stories working  the clubs, television and film with everyone from Henry Fonda to Barbara Streissand to Fred Astaire. Highly recomend. And not just because he’s my husband.

 

 

Daniel Zirilli [Interview]

 

Hello Folks! Today’s interview subject is with the brilliant filmmaker, writer, & producer Daniel Zirilli. Dan broke out onto the creative scene directing some of the finest hip hop videos you know and love.His work included videos for artists such as Montell Jordan & Skee Lo, and he continued on into the world of film in many different genres, with a strong footing in the world of action with films like Asian Connection and Hollow Point, the latter being co-written by our old friend Chad Law. He’s a sweet, sweet man, and you are going to love this.

So Folks, please enjoy some words from the great Daniel Zirilli!

 

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When did you first realize that you wanted to work in the world of entertainment? Was it something you have wanted to do since your youth, or was it something that you just sort of fell into?

Growing up in La Jolla California I never thought the film biz was viable. I thought I was going to be a lawyer, and went to Pepperdine University in Malibu. I started taking screenwriting courses, and worked my way up from the bottom.

 What was your first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still affects your work to date?

While I was at Pepperdine, I took an internship with a “producer” in Malibu Colony. She talked a lot about herself and had me taking out her dry-cleaning and other nonsense. I learned how not to treat people from her. The first paying work was in production of Music Videos. I eventually represented other music video directors. After a couple years I realized I was doing all the work and someone else was taking the money and credit. So I started my own company, directing music videos. I have many stories, but always learn what NOT to do as what TO DO in this business. One of the key elements if finding people with good character and talent. Not just stepping on people on the way up. I still get stepped on, but never give up.

 

Early in your career, you directed several wonderful music videos for some of my favorite artists of the time. One specific video is absolutely to me, and that would be Montell Jordan’s remix for “Somethin’ 4 da Honeyz” featuring Redman. I am curious to know how your experience was working on this project? And how was your experience working on it?

Thank you. Interestingly enough Montell and I lived in the same dorm at Pepperdine for a semester before he was famous (from “This is How We Do it” onwards). At Pepperdine, it’s required to take two classes on religion, and Montell used to break down the Parables in the bible for me and a hilarious “street” way… he was fun to study with and very smart.  So cut to a few years later and I was directing a bunch of Hip Hop/Rap music videos, many #1 on MTV, The Box,  etc. and Montell’s record company reached out to me after we both had some success. It was great reconnecting.

 

 

In 2016 you worked on the action-packed film Asian Connection, featuring the legend himself Steven Seagal. I am again curious as to what drove you to bring this story to film? And now that it is out there in the zeitgeist, what are your thoughts on the final project?

Thats a long story…. Actor Tom Sizemore and I wanted to work together, and he was always talking about this idea he had called “Two Americans” that he said he and his buddy Thomas Jane wanted to make, about crossing the boarder into Mexico and robbing banks, so that Toms character could run away with his girlfriend and retire. After his partner is killed, he and his GF become sort of a Bonnie & Clyde. I encouraged him to write it, but after years of not doing that, I finally put him with my longtime co-writer, Glase Lomond, and had him just videotape Tom for an hour taking down his ideas. From there we developed the script into “The Mexican Connection”… and later a distributor wanted to make the movie, but in Thailand with Steven Seagal, to open up the Asian market more, and call it The Asian Connection. The timing did not work out to have Tom in it, but I called him and explained we can “get the movie made and we will buy you out, or I’ll turn it down and wait for you”. He said, and I quote, “Fuck you Danny I love you, I’ll take the cash!”.

The good news is I was able to get the rights to sequels and remakes, so I will be making the original Mexican Connection at some point, hopefully with Tom and I’d love to work with Thomas Jane, so we shall see. Seagal and I worked well together, though I want to do a film with him in a bigger true leading role, and make it great. I also was an Executive Producer on End of a Gun with Seagal, and we are talking about more films together.

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

ERNEST HEMINGWAY. My 100% greatest literary influence and the standard for me that all else follows. He was an adventurer and fisherman, (like me) who wrote and lived much of his life on an Island, and was born in Oak Park, Chicago, as I was too. His advice is legendary, including “in order to write about life, first you must live it”. I’m not comparing my work to Hemingway, but I am indeed living an adventurous life, and using that for my stories. I do NOT think he has been portrayed well in film At All at this point. Even that Woody Allen film had him all wrong in my opinion spouting his own quotes in a silly manner.  Hemingway always said just to “write one true sentence”. I don’t feel Hemingway has been portrayed in a TRUE way on film yet… though some amazing actors and directors have tried.

Also I like ZANE GREY, though not as solid as Hemingway, but Zane made a million bucks, bought a huge Yacht and fished around the world sending in stories from each port. JACK LONDON did the same before him. Made money, hit the ocean. So there are three actually I’d like to make movies about. I have chased down these three authors around the world in places they worked, lived and fished. I have a Hemingway related project I’ve been working towards for 20 years, and I used to represent the Zane Grey Estate, so I know much about these subjects and they are amazing.

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

My films- Hollow Point is out now, and Invincible will be released later in the year. I have a few new films on the horizon such asInternational Waters, The Gunrunner, and Combat Medic and others in the works I can’t disclose yet. BUT I hope I am given a chance to make the films I really want to make. That takes a bit bigger budgets and certain actors / actresses I want to work with…   but I’m always writing and developing and I encourage everyone to do the same. Write.

Also- PLEASE follow me on  INSTAGRAM @DanielZirilli   I’m just getting started spending time on Insta with very few followers, and will answer most questions there, and post updates.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

I smiled watching my son play electric guitar on FaceTime, then went down to the beach and walked with my pack out wild dogs I take care of. Crazy dogs bring a smile to my face, and of course my children always.

Leif Tilden [Interview]

Hello Folks! Welcome to another Friday (it is Friday, btw). Today we have a wonderful interview with a legendary figure in the world of entertainment. It’s the great Leif Tilden, Everyone! Leif has done some incredible work in some pretty revolutionary costumes. And beyond the world of performances, he has also worked as a location scout on some of the biggest projects that you all know and love. On screen he has done some pretty amazing work in the world of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the cult classic series Dinosaurs. As a location scout, he brings some pretty wonderful insight into America with the beautiful film Selma, and so many more.
So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the great Leif Tilden!
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What inspired you to get into the world of entertainment? Was it something that you had yearned to do since your youth, or did you just happen to find yourself in this world one day?  
For the sake of transparency, I would say probably this desperate need to be seen. When I was seven years old I stood in the doorway of my mother’s room and watched her commit suicide with a gun to her face. This was a loss not only of my mother but also my best friend who used to rock me back to life after my father used to beat me senseless. Performing was not really the intention but I enjoyed the rehearsal process. The putting together the idea.  The exploration.  What was fascinating was the look inside because I had so much to give in this regard.
What was your first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still affects your work to date?
My first paid gig was a play I did with Sam Shepard and Joseph Chaikin at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco.  We developed the play through improvisation.  I moved around the space while Sam played all different types of percussion instruments.  It was called, The Ways of Seeing, based on the book by the same name written by John Berger.
In 1990, you appeared in the absolutely incredible film, one that is beloved by our dear friend & colleague Bryan Bales from the Blue Tiger podcast, who is very curious to know, what is your fondest memory from working on this revolutionary project? When you look back on this experience from over 30 years ago now, what still makes you smile to think about from your work on this incredible film?
 
Hi Bryan…I wish we could step into a time machine together and I could show you around.  The first stop would be at the old Henson Creature Shop in London.  We would step into this larger warehouse where all these idiot servants who worked on films like The Dark Crystal and Never Ending Story would be hunkered down designing creature from clay while others would be designing how to move them.  I would tap you on the shoulder and point at Falcor’s head laying in the corner.   I would point to another corner and there would be Jim Henson playing with some strange object on his hand trying to give it life.
Bryan also would like to know…through the process of filming the 1990 TMNT, there were obviously a ton of props laying around. I am curious to know if you were able to take anything home with you? Anything special, in a physical sense, that you were able to take away from this project?
 
I grabbed a bunch of Bo staffs, some of which were made by the special effects guys and some that the chinese stuntmen made.  I also still have Donatello’s skateboard.
And while I am also a big TMNT fan, it would be remiss of me to not acknowledge that Donatello takes a back seat to my favorite reptilian character you have done. You also portrayed the wonderful Robbie in the cult classic favorite series Dinosaurs. There is not a week that goes by that I don’t think about that episode where they find vegetables in Robbie’s sock drawer, and don’t laugh either to myself, or to anyone who is willing to listen and is unaware. So, I am curious to know what it was like to work on this truly original project? Anything interesting that you would like to share with our readers?
 
Robbie was Gay.
In recent years, you have worked as a location scout on some pretty wonderful project, as have some of our other wonderful guests of the past. This seems like an incredibly rewarding profession that I am always curious about. From projects like the now classic Justified, to the recent wonder Cherish the Day, how has your work in this field been for you? And what are some of the most interesting locations you have helped to find for a project?
 
Location Scouting can be a very creative experience if the Director is actually creative himself/Herself. Justified was a nightmare.  A lot of egos battling for supremacy. Cherish the Day, on the other hand, is lead by Ava Du Vernay who is a very intense truth teller.  I love working for Ava because she takes no prisoners. When I worked with Ava on Selma it was like opening up this country with pliers to reveal just how fucking racist it still is.  The United States is not united.
 
 
What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?
 
Well at the moment my wife and I are inside our home getting fat.
What was the last thing that made you smile?
 
This interview.

Saturday Special: Cry For The Bad Man [Film]

 

“When a small-town widow is grieving in isolation, she receives a deadly ultimatum from the privileged sons of a local land developer to sell her beloved property. With 24 hours to decide and her pleas to the town’s corrupt sheriff falling on deaf ears, she realizes she must take matters into her own hands. Her quest for justice turns into an all-out battle and grisly confrontation.” – October Coast PR

 

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Hello Folks! Today we are sharing a truly wonderful and suspenseful film that may just surprise the hell out of you if you’re not careful. Cry For the Bad Man is a lot of things, but one thing it is not is subtle. It’s a bloody story of extortion and will power, and holding on to what is rightfully yours by the powers that would not only take it from you, but are willing to let you die in the process. Writer/Director Sam Farmer is a new name for me personally, but it is for sure one that I will be on the lookout for in the future.

 

 

Cry For The Bad Man invokes a lot of emotion and demands strict attention throughout, in my opinion. Of course a lot of this could have to do with the presence of the horror legend herself, Camille Keaton. Camille continues to prove that after 40 years in the world of horror, she knows EXACTLY what she is doing. And while she is obviously wonderful in Cry For the Bad Man, I have to admit that it was the trio of would be villain brothers that truly intrigued me the most, especially Scott Peeler’s performance as Wayne. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something about his character simply scared the shit out of me. It’s likely simply a combination of a great performance and well written character, but I feel like there is something even more to it than just that.

I’m telling you Folks, if you are looking for a suspense thriller with enough twists to fill a year, yet takes place over a couple of nights, you are absolutely going to love Cry For The Bad Man. As I would usually say, I cannot recommend it enough.

 

Cry for the Bad Man is available now on DVD and VOD from Uncork’d Entertainment.