Georgina Reilly [Interview]

 

Hello Folks! And welcome back to another wonderful week here at TWS. Today we have an absolutely wonderful performer to share some words from. It’s Georgina Reilly, Everyone! If you all can bring your thoughts to the beginning of the year, you may remember a Sunday Matinee we ran for the incredible new biopic Goalie that is now available all over the place. We praised the film quite a bit, and specifically Reilly’s harrowing performance. And now Folks, we are so excited to have her grace our digital pages today to tell us a bit about her time working on this wonderful film, and so much more about her illustrious career thus far.

O’Reilly has done some amazing work in the past beyond just Goalie, and will soon have a reoccurring role in an upcoming ABC series that she discusses below and you should all be looking forward to. In relation to our past guests here at TWS, Georgina appeared in an episode of There’s Johnny!, which was co-created by our dear friend and past guest David Steven Simon. And another close tie-in: the aforementioned upcoming project, The Baker & The Beauty, features direction from one Mark Polish, who if you go way back into our catalogue (7 years!) you’ll find a mention of him when we spoke with his creative teammate/brother, Michael Polish. It’s all just great talent working together to create wonderful art, all the time!

If O’Reilly isn’t a household name in the coming years, there is absolutely something wrong happening. Her talent is undeniable. Based on her work in Goalie alone, I would argue that she is one of the best in the game right now. So Folks, please join in with us here to enjoy the honor of having one Georgina Reilly on the site today! Enjoy!

 

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

Art was the family trade. Mainly music for most of my family, so it was something I ended up naturally falling into. I had a regular childhood and education but music, acting, dance were very prominent. Once I finished high school I knew I wanted to be an actor, and thankfully my parents were very supportive of this choice. That being said , my career has gone through many changes, parallel to my life, the reason and purpose behind it shifts but the one thing that has always stuck was just the joy it brings to play pretend. If you get good at creating realities, I think it’s easier to see ways to shift your own into something better.

 

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

Technically my first paid job was at the age of 10, singing the title track for a cartoon on the BBC. I did the recording in my pjs at the home studio. My first paid acting gig was a commercial for a toy called ROBOBOT. It was my first time on a full set, watching how many people contribute to making something. Learning everyone’s names, and understanding what they do is something that has always stuck with me, it’s a team effort to make something. There have been times where I wasn’t very welcomed on set, and it didn’t help me do my job better. It’s important to make everyone feel seen and validated. Basic manners but it’s amazing how many people don’t use them! 

 

You gave an absolutely amazing performance in the recently released Terry Sawchuck biopic Goalie. I am curious to know what drew you to this project? What was it about this story that made you want to take on the role of Pat Morey?

Thanks so much! 

I love period pieces, working with hair, makeup and costume to build the character and time. I thought Pat was actually a very strong female character despite her situation and I wanted to tell her part of the story. There are many women who stand behind their men, and are a huge part of why they succeed in their careers, we should tell their stories more. 

 

 

 

 

 

And now that the film is out there in the world, hitting theatres all over the place, what are your thoughts on the final product? Can you tell our readers why they HAVE to see this film? I’ve already told them, but in case they missed it.

Oh gosh, I try to not have too much opinion on final products I’m in. It’s hard to step back when you know the inner workings of it all. But I am proud of it, I had a wonderful experience making it. I love Adriana (our director) and I hope to work with her again.  I think they should see it because supporting independent film is important. Also it’s not your regular sports flick, it shows the darker side of being an athlete, these guys sacrificed a lot for the future of the game. 

 

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

Dolley Madison’s story would be really interesting to see and Josephine “Chicago Joe” Airey. Both badass women during their time.

 

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

I’m finishing up a show for ABC called The Baker & The Beauty. It premieres APRIL 13th 10pm after the new season of The Bachelorette. I play Piper, the best friend to the beauty. It’s a warm, fun show! 

 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My daughter. She’s an endless source of delight.

Michael Boatman [Interview]

Pictured: Michael Boatman as Julius Cain of the CBS All Access series THE GOOD FIGHT. Photo Cr: Patrick Ecclesine/CBS ©2017 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 

Hello Folks! And a happy Friday to you all. As we lean into the weekend, we have an incredible interview with a wonderful performer who is about as recognizable as they come. The great Michael Boatman is gracing our digital pages today, and I could honestly not be more excited. Boatman has been a figure in my life, especially on television, for as long as I can really remember. In fact, during my formative years of middle & high school, Michael was in two shows (at the same time) that would, in different ways, be also very formative to me in very different ways. We discuss this all below, and I think you are going to love what he has to say about his work on shows like Spin City and Arli$$.

But, what is most captivating and wonderful about Mr. Boatman is that he never seems to let up. Whether it’s starring in current hit TV shows like the The Good Wife or The Good Fight, or bringing his brilliant acting chops to the stage or to films like Charles Burnett’s controversial and legendary film The Glass Shield, or the recent Peter Segal directed romcom Second Act, there is literally NOTHING that this man can not accomplish as a performer.

And for these reasons alone we would be excited to have him on the site today. Fortunately, he is also just a hell of a nice guy who gives a wonderful interview. We are so excited to have him on the site today, and for you, our dear readers, to get to know a little more about a guy we know you are all already very aware of after he has graced stage and screens for over 30 years. So Folks, please enjoy some incredible words from the even more incredible, Michael Boatman!

 

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When did you first discover that you had a passion for performance? Was it something you had always wanted to do since your youth, or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?

Before high school I had never even considered stepping on a stage. I was a very shy, withdrawn and socially awkward kid who loved books, science and The Six Million Dollar Man. But in high school, a guidance counselor dissuaded me from pursuing a career in the sciences. I was terrible at math, and when he saw my math scores he suggested a career as a plumber, or possibly something in the military. I was the child of a busy single mom and didn’t know how to fight back against authority. I’d wanted to study the stars or the oceans, and he just killed that dream. I think I became something of a class clown after that, cracking jokes that some of my teachers actually appreciated. A couple of them persuaded me that I had a sense of humor, which led me to audition for the next school play. I did it mostly to meet girls but, to my surprise, I actually landed a part. I loved the process of putting a play together, and when the curtain closed on that first performance I never looked back.

 

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

My first paid gig was in a McDonalds commercial starring James Brown. I was the usher at a concert featuring the Godfather of Soul, only to abandon my post when a bunch of hungry concert- goers take off to score some Chicken McNuggets. I’d auditioned almost on a dare, and I got the part during the summer break my sophomore year of college. Until that point I had been planning to tour the Midwest after graduation, trying to work the regional theaters and sketch comedy circuit, before settling down to get a Master’s degree and a teaching job. The residuals actually helped pay my way through college, and that was when I learned that I could actually make money as a young actor.

 

When I was growing up, Spin City was one of my favorite sitcoms. I tried with all my might not to miss a week of it (because we had to do that back then!). And you were phenomenal, especially with Carter’s back and forth with Stuart that I still think about and laugh regularly. So, I am curious to know how your experience was working on this now legendary series? Was it as much fun to be a part of as it was for me to watch for all of those years?

What I remember from my Spin City days was the raucous, continuous laughter. I discovered a camaraderie there that remains a part of my life to this day. I’m still close to several members of that cast. Michael J. Fox and I have worked together on the The Good Wife, and on the current spin off, The Good Fight. Alan Ruck and I speak often. Alexander Chaplin and Richard Kind remain annoyingly present in my life, and Charlie Sheen became one of my closest friends. For six seasons we spent every week figuring out ways to crack each other up on the set while also rehearsing a hit television show. When they turned the cameras on for the Friday night show, that energy just continued in front of the live audience. It was a dream job, and remains one of the highlights of my professional life.

 

 

During the same time, you were also appearing on the legendary HBO series Arli$$, which happened to star our dear friend and past guest Richard Wuhl. Now, I got into this one later, for obvious reasons such as me being fairly young and more susceptible to the likes of Spin City at that time. But, I did eventually enjoy the program very much. Same sort of question mainly, how was your experience working on this project? What set this project apart from the plethora of other projects you had worked on prior, or even since?

Arli$$ was a whole other kind of fun for me. The camaraderie among actors who love their work has always been very important to me, and I was lucky enough to be a part of two shows where that camaraderie was constant. Robert Wuhl (Arliss Michaels) loves actors, so he made that set incredibly welcome and open to creativity. Since we were on HBO we were also allowed to run down some crazy story paths: adult situations, darker themes, sex, and lots of F-bombs. I also met the great Sandra Oh (Rita Wu) and the insanely brilliant Jim Turner (Kirby Carlisle), both of whom remain dear friends. We had many late summer nights, shooting crazy scenes with some of the greatest athletes in the world. It was glorious and hilarious at the same time.

 

In your career spanning over 30+ years, you have done some wonderful work in the world of television, film, stage, and beyond. When it comes to actors, I am always curious to know which form of performance takes all the proverbial cake? If you were destined to only work in one field for the remainder of your career, which would it be?

The live audience format of a multi-camera sitcom is hard to beat. I love comedy. I also love a live audience. Theater is my first love, because the immediacy of the audience creates a kind of tightrope tension, a dark chasm just beyond the footlights, waiting to absorb you or reject you. The audience wants to comfort you, and to commiserate with your character, whether the circumstances are tragic or comic. The tension and energy of a live audience is addictive, and performing for a live television studio audience is the greatest thrill of all.

 

If you were handed the chance to portray any legendary figure in in American history in a biopic, who would it be?

Currently, I’m obsessed with the voice of the great jazz singer, Johnny Hartman. He was, in my opinion, an overlooked performer who found some popularity when two of his songs were included in Clint Eastwood’s The Bridges of Madison County. I’m told we have a similar vocal quality, which blows my mind because his voice is truly epic. I’m not a singer. I can carry a tune well enough, but I would learn to sing properly  if I could bring Hartman’s story to the screen.

 

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

I’m also a writer, so I’m always looking for the next story idea to kick me in the face. I recently sold a short story to an anthology of fantasy stories about Africa called. The story is called Thresher of Men. It’s  about what happens when a forgotten African goddess discovers the last of her believers in a small racist town in the Midwest. The anthology is called Dominion and it’s coming out later this year. So I’m excited about that. I’m also kicking around a few screenplays and television ideas. There are so many platforms these days and they all need content. So I’ve got a few irons in that fire. I think it’s probably time to direct something too.

 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Watching my daughter complain about my inability to finish Game of Thrones…just now.

Sarah T. Cohen [Interview]

 

Hello Folks! And a happy Friday to you all. Today we have a wonderful interview for you at all with a star on the rise that you absolutely need to know. It’s Sarah T. Cohen, Everyone! I recently caught Sarah in the wonderful, and recently released, indie-horror film Cupid from director Scott Jeffrey (who coincidently was involved in a film we unexpectedly loved from last year entitled Pet Graveyard). While the cast was great as a team, Cohen really stood out to me as somebody I should be following, as the sky is clearly the limited for this insanely talented performer.

Regular readers here at TWS know that we are obsessed with the world of horror around here. And while it’s not the only world that Sarah works in, she absolutely excels within it. We were very excited to talk to her about this, the release of Cupid, and much more. She turned out to be an absolutely wonderful interview subject and was gracious enough to take some time out of her busy schedule to share a few words with us here. So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the great Sarah T. Cohen!

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What inspired you to get into the world of entertainment? Was it something that you have aspired to do since your youth? I understand that you may have had a bit of influence growing up, but when was it that you personally decided to get into this world?

Back in Primary School, the cool thing to do was to take part in the Christmas Pantomime. Everyone auditioned each year, but they really only gave out roles to the children in their final year. When Year 6 rolled around, I managed to get the role of the Evil Queen in Snow White. I’m not sure if its something to brag about, but I was the first kid at the school to ever get booed. After that, I caught the acting bug. I always knew I would do it for fun, but I’m the practical sort, and when deciding what to study for university, I was leaning towards law, as I knew it could guarantee me a reliable income. Ironically, it was my parents (both of whom were computer programmers) who encouraged me to pursue acting as a career. They said it was the only time of my life I could really give my dream of acting a proper go. As always, they were right, so I applied to New York University for acting, and never looked back.

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

I was incredibly lucky to get my first paid job while I was still at university. It was only my third audition, and I went in for the role of Young Cathy for the Amazon Pilot called The Interestings, based on the infamous book by Meg Wolitzer. I get a call a couple days later, and they asked me to audition for the role of Ellen Jacobson instead. She was the older sister of the main character, and was fantastically cruel. I went into the audition, and was surprised to see not only the casting directors, but the amazing writers (Lynnie Greene and Richard Levine), and the renowned director Mike Newell. It is undoubtedly intimidating to be in a room full of the industry greats, but I went in, guns blazing, and threw a middle finger into the scene just for fun. The following week, I found out I got the part. I will forever be grateful to Barden / Schnee Casting for taking a chance on an unknown actor like me. It was a dream come true. I was flown out to LA, and I got to work with some of the most talented people I’ve ever met, whom I had looked up to my entire life. I thought my career was set, and I would never have to worry about getting jobs again. Boy was I wrong. After that, I only got two more auditions for an entire year, and the pilot did not get picked up. That was my biggest lesson. Learning how to deal with the mental struggles of the industry. I had assumed that auditions would land in my lap, after already bagging such an amazing role. When I subsequently got so few opportunities, I put so much weight on each potential role, and I think that ended up sabotaging the quality of my work. I had to come to terms with the fact it would still be a hustle, and to cope with lack of opportunities. I learned to be proactive, but realistic, and not simply expect things to be handed to me. That has stuck with me ever since. And more importantly, I learned to not take the acting world too seriously. At the end of the day, it’s meant to be enjoyable, I learned to have fun with all aspects of my work, to do justice to the role, and worry about nothing else. It allowed the joy of acting to stay alive.

I really enjoyed one of your latest films, Cupid, and you were absolutely fantastic in it. I am curious what drew you to this role? What was it about this particular story that made you want to work on this project?

Thank you so much, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Cupid has been one of my favourite movies to date. I particularly enjoy working with the Proportion Production team. Scott Jeffrey and Becky Matthews are infinitely talented, and the quality of work they produce on the budgets they have is mind-blowing. I had already worked on Clown Doll with them, and knew I adored working with the team, so when they approached me about Cupid, I was ecstatic. The role of Elise was just glorious. I’ve always found the unlikable characters the most fun to play; they are so layered, and you get to say and do things you would never usually get to in real life. Elise takes the cherry for unlikable characters, she is straight up awful, egocentric, a bully, and I love her. As an added bonus, Scott (the director), let me throw in improv here and there, which made her even more fun to play. There was a lot I really liked about the story too, 1) high school drama, 2) fun characters, 3) an evil Cupid, and 4) the script didn’t take itself too seriously – it allowed for hammy acting, and hilarious one liners, which is a B-Movie dream. On another note, I liked that Cupidtackled the issue of bullying, showing the psychological impacts it can have, and the extremes people will go to on both sides. Bullying is still far too prevalent, especially in schools, and I think Cupid helps shine a light on that.

 

 

While it’s not the only genre you have worked in by far, but you have done some amazing work in our favorite genre of film, the world of horror. I am curious as to how you enjoy working in this realm? What is it about the world of horror that sets it apart from the other genres you have worked in?

As a viewer I always enjoyed scary movies, I love the adrenaline rush you get from watching them. It was interesting switching over to actually being in the movies. I think working in horror Is an actor’s dream. It allows you to put yourself into the most extreme circumstances, and truly test yourself as an artist. Life and death scenes are certainly the most demanding to portray, and scary movies have those in bucket loads. I still love working in drama and comedy, but horror often has elements of these and more. Horror is certainly more technically challenging to shoot than most other genres – you have to find angles and effects to make the gory scenes look realistic, so it is a lot more of a puzzle piece to film than other genres I’ve worked in. That being said, I’ve always loved a challenge, so horror is right up my alley.

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

What a great question. You know what, I would actually love to play Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Ruth may be more of a recent figure than you had in mind, but portraying her would be an honour.  She is just such an incredible woman, a pioneer, and an inspiration. Furthermore, I think from an acting perspective she would be fun to play. She has a lot of specific mannerisms, and a very distinctive way about her

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

There are some really fun things coming up. My recent films Clown DollHellKat, and Awakening the Nun will all be coming out over the next few months. I’m also going to be filming a shark film, and a dinosaur film, currently titled Deadly Water and Jurassic Island (although the titles are likely to change). I am very excited about these. I’ve never worked with CGI before, so I’m pretty pumped.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

I love this question. Just before this interview, my friend sent me a picture of her dog looking out at a view of Chicago from his potential new apartment, and proceeded to point out his “lil adorable poot poots”, or as the general public calls them, ‘paws’. I genuinely laughed out loud.

 

Scott Marcano [Interview]

 

Hey Folks! Happy Monday to you all! I have to preface this interview by stating that this is an interview that I have been hoping to get since I began this site in that lonely Mississippi hotel room almost 9 years ago. Today’s amazing interview subject, Scott Marcano, is a man who was involved with a certain film that shaped not only my childhood, but my interpretation, for better or worse, of what adulthood could possibly be, even if it wasn’t the path I would myself follow. As we will learn in the text below, Scott worked on the absolutely incredible and highly underrated film Bio-Dome, which I simply could not get enough of when I was a kid of a certain age. On a much smaller scale, I am a 90’s Pauly Shore movies that aren’t Son-In-Law loyalist in the vein of the Star Wars prequel loyalists, with Bio-Dome being the absolute pinnacle fo them all. I feel like I relate to these categories because we can see the faults, but goddammit they mean SO much to us. I was an innocent. And Mr. Marcano created a highly original film that was just so damn much fun, in a time when we could still imagine that fun was something we could put on a screen.

I will not apologize for my love of this film, and I have no reason to apologize, only pride, in the fact that we have the incredible Scott Marcano gracing our digital pages today! As per usual, I learned that Scot has been involved with a plethora of amazing projects throughout a decades spanning career, including work with a new friend of ours. Details are below. You’re going to love this, Folks. A huge thank you to Marcano for joining the TWS family. We are honored to have you here.

So Folks, please enjoy some incredible words from the brilliant Scott Marcano! Enjoy!

 

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

I’ve always been interested in storytelling, ever since I was very young, it’s just been something I understood and knew how to do.  I was shy as a kid, but one of the things that got me out of my shell in middle school was telling ghost stories to my friends. By the time I was in High School, I was making my own little comic books and writing short stories.  I didn’t think I could actually get a job in the entertainment industry until I was in my second year at UC Santa Cruz and I started taking film classes, then I applied to the film program at NYU – to my shock I got in and that’s when I focused full time on working in the entertainment industry.  Things went full circle for me as several years after I made it as a successful screenwriter I was able to start my own comic book company, so now I find myself back to where I was in High School, making little comic books!  

  

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

My first gig was when I was hired for $600 to write a script for two producers who had a deal at Fox.  I was still in film school at the time and I was thrilled to be paid anything to write. I was recommended for the job by a buddy of mine who was already writing big studio projects – he thought the money was ridiculous, but I was like—yay! Pizza money!  It turned out to be a big deal as the script was picked up by MGM and later become Bio-Dome starring Pauley Shore. I still get checks for the that silly film. The lesson I learned is never turn down a paying job (or cool job for that matter). You really never know where it will lead.  That little writing job started my whole career.  

 

While I know that some people may take issue with me saying this, because the term gets tossed around a bit too much….but the 1996 project you co-wrote entitled Bio-Dome is an absolute CLASSIC in mine eye. Granted, I was 11 years old when the film came out, and I was in love with it, but I still continue to love it to this day. So, that being said, I am curious to know what drew you to working on this zany buddy comedy that defined a generation (in my opinion)? And what are your thoughts on the legacy of the film?  

I really love Bio-Dome.  I got a lot of stick about it when it first came out because it was so zany and there was a big anti-Pauly Shore backlash right after it came out.  The critics hated it, but I always thought it was just a lot of good clean fun and they were being way to harsh about it. I also like it because, unlike a lot of comedies, it really did have a point to make about the environment.  It was a total blast to write. I was drawn to the pitch about making an environmental comedy and also the prospect of actually being paid to write – it wasn’t a lot of money, but I was very flattered at the time to be paid anything to be creative.  Me and my writing partner Kip Koenig would just hang out in my tiny apartment, trying to make each other fall over laughing as we wrote jokes for the script. We never thought it would lead to anything at the time, which really freed up our minds to just to be whacky and crack each other up. 

Later on, when it was being filmed, it wasn’t as fun as the writing part was mostly over and we were just spectators as it was being filmed, but still it was a good time hanging out on the set. One of my favorite memories, was Pauly Shore calling me up in the middle of the night to complain about a line he thought was misspelled.  The line was “If we stay in this Bio-Dome any longer we’re going to turn into the Doner Party!” We were referencing the Doner Family that ate eat other when they were stuck in a blizzard in the Sierra Mountains in the 1800s. But Pauly I guess had never heard about them. He kept insisting that I had misspelled “dinner party” – I tried to explain it to him over and over again, but he just didn’t get it.  I finally had to change the line to make him happy. Funny enough, that film has really aged far better than anyone thought it would. As I said, I still get checks for it all the time because it’s always on TV. I think the legacy of the film is very satisfying. I’m really happy people like yourself enjoyed the film and it put smiles on a lot of faces. I’m very proud of it, even if it is a bit zany to say the least.  

 

The year prior you were also involved with another project that I absolutely adore still to this day, a film written by our dear friend and past guest Rich Wilkes entitled Glory Daze. How did you manage to become a part of this project? And how was your experience in doing so?    

Me and Rich were close friends from UC Santa Cruz and we were roommates while I was studying film at USC.  Rich had sold the script to Glory Daze when he was still at AFI, so he was making some big bucks as a screenwriter when I was still in grad school.  He’s actually the one who threw me a bone by recommending me to the Bio-Dome producers. Rich didn’t need $600 to write a script because he was making bank at the time (still is!), so he told them to hire me.  Really nice of him to do that. Glory Daze was about his senior year at Santa Cruz and all our friends. Rich was going through a lot that year with a ex-girlfriend and really didn’t want to leave college, so he wrote this kick-ass script about all his coming-of-age angst.  I wasn’t there senior year to console him because I had transferred to NYU, but I knew all the people and events he wrote about, so I had a really keen sense of the story he was going for. I read the script many times as he worked on it and told him I thought it was excellent. 

I wasn’t involved in the filmmaking most of the time, however, other than to offer encouragement and recommend to Rich that he cast our mutual friend “Vinnie” as the character based on him. I’m actually kinda glad I wasn’t around on set with those guys because I heard all the war stories of how the shoot went up in Santa Cruz and it sounded like things got really crazy.  I’d tell you how crazy, but I took a vow of silence to never reveal all the details. I’ll just say, those guys had a lot of fun. I did manage to get my toe in the production in a funny back-door sorta way. Me and Rich were playing together in a punk band at the time and one day Rich asked me to help him record an old drunken beer song he’d written back in college called “Sports Pack” that he wanted to put on the soundtrack.  It was a total blast, Rich got a professional recording studio for us and talked one of the members of the Vandals to be the producer of the song. It came out pretty good I must say, a classic punk song about shot-gunning beer. I should get out my Glory Daze soundtrack and give it a listen again soon. I haven’t rocked out to it in awhile. 

  

You tend to wear a lot of proverbial hats in the world of filmmaking, filling many different roles from writing and producing to directing as well. I am curious to know which one you prefer the most? If you were only able to work in one of the fields for the rest of your career, which would it be?

I’m kind of a jack of all trades by necessity.  I started out studying to be a director, but I was pegged as a writer because that’s how I broke into the business.  Later I had to start producing in order to get some of my projects off the ground. I definitely find producing to be the least satisfying, but most necessary of all my skills.  I really enjoy writing because that’s where the rubber meets the road in terms of creativity, it’s just you and a blank piece of paper. Everyone else gets to work with something (namely a script), but the writer has the most challenging job, I think because they have to initiate everything and make it work.  I love the challenge of that. As I’ve gotten older, however, I’ve become more interested in directing because I really enjoying managing the film from the beginning to end. At this point, I’d love to direct if I had to choose one thing to do the rest of my career.  

 

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

Funny you should ask, I’m actually fascinated by this rather obscure figure from history, a conquistador named Martin Lopez who was with Cortez during the conquest of Mexico.  I’m working on a script about him as we speak. I’ve always found the whole story of the war between the Spanish and the Aztec Empire to be the greatest saga of history that’s never been properly told.  Martin Lopez was a mere carpenter working for Cortez, but he was a very brilliant man and his ingenuity turned the whole conflict in Cortez’s favor (for better of worse). I won’t give it all away, but his story is one of these great tales of a smart guy who changed the whole world by using his brains, not brawn – it’s the story of the a regular person who for a few months became the most important man on the planet and changed the lives of millions of people, and then was largely forgotten by time and circumstance. 

However, I also have had a passion project for years that I want to get produced about Rube Foster, the legendary black pitcher who founded the negro leagues. Foster changed the lives of a generation of African Americans and made Jackie Robinson’s heroics possible. He was an absolute genius who worked tirelessly to fight racism and prove African Americans were not only the equal of whites on the field, but also in business. His story is phenomenal and he was an incredibly complex, colorful figure, imagine Eddie Murphy, Notorious BIG and PT Barnum all rolled up into one – that was Rube.  I’d love to get my project about him off the ground one day. 

 

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

 I have several really great film projects that look like are going into production soon.  One is a film I wrote, Mort In Sherman Oaks, that is set to be filmed later this year. It’s a dark comedy (along the lines of She) where in the future they can tell you your exact “death date” – and this shy mortician named Mort finds out he has a year to live and tries to fall in love before it’s too late.  It’s one of my favorite scripts I’ve written. Keep an eye out for it!  

 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

 I try to smile a few times every day no matter what, but my kids just made me smile a little while ago – they were doing an impression of me, imitating my booming voice as I babbled on about something and picked my nose.  Very accurate I must say. 

Bambadjan Bamba [Interview]

Photo by Cecile Boko

Hello Folks! Today we have some incredible words from an absolute star! It’s Bambadjan Bamba! Yes, he is an incredible actor that you know and love from projects like is reoccurring role in the beloved hit series The Good Place, to one of the finest Blockbuster films of all time, Black Panther. But, while these were the types of projects that initially drew me to have him featured on the site (especially because getting someone from The Good Place on the show would make my 14 y/o daughter think I’m “just, so cool!”), I was excited to learn more about this spectacular performer. And that was when I discovered that Bamba has not only also done a plethora of voice over work, but he has actually gotten by the camera as a writer, producer, and director. To learn that a man who has seemed to master his craft is willing to push beyond the stronghold of the creative forces that be and make his own way in this industry is not only impressive, it’s downright admirable! Bamba is one of those artists that you can tell takes his craft serious, which is a wonderful breath of fresh air amongst the smog of reality.

So Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the absolutely brilliant Bambadjan Bamba!

 

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What inspired you to get into the world of entertainment? Was it something that has been ingrained in you since you were a child from influence, or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?

At the heart of it I would have to say that I got into the world performing arts for acceptance from my peers. I was kid in 5th grade with no friends who barely spoke english and one day in assembly hall someone handed me a mic and asked me to sing and I sang Michael Jackson’s “Will You Be There” song and all the sudden I had friends.

 

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

My first paid gig was in 2005 was a short film called ” Battlescars” it was an independent short film about a young revolutionary rapper. Here’s a link https://vimeo.com/9680738

The lesson is to never despise small beginnings. This short film gave me my first acting reel, which helped me get my first agent who I’m still with 15 years later. I’m also still in touch with the filmmakers who are doing big things now.

The current craze that is sweeping through my household is the truly original and unique series The Good Place, in which you regularly appear in. I am curious to know what personally drew you to this project? And how has your experience been working on the show over last 4 seasons? What has set it apart from other projects you have worked on?

What drew me to the project was the opportunity to become a series regular and to play an African philosopher on network tv. Not to mention the fact that Mike Schur created the show and wrote a character specifically for me and asked me if they could use my name. In what world does that ever happen???

It’s been delightful working on the show. It’s probably the most heavenly television set i’ve ever been on. The crew should also be actors on the show because just like the actual Good Place No ego’s or attitudes just good times and hard work.

 

 

We have showcased quite a few folks from the world of Voice Over work, especially in the world of video games. You happened to have worked on one of my favorite video games of the last decade, the brilliant L.A. Noire, from Rockstar. I am curious to know how you enjoyed the world of voice over work? And did you ever play the game itself and bizarrely hear yourself whilst enjoying it?

I do V/O work on a regular bases or should I say I audition for v/o on a regular bases while booking a couple every year. I love it because it’s pretty much the same as acting without the camera element so no hair, makeup wardrobe, lights, room tone, etc. I’ve always played video games so I was so hyped when I bought the game and saw myself in the actual game! Such a surreal experience. Since working on Black Panther I’ve definitely been up for more war video games so I hope one day I’ll be in Call of Duty.

 

Scrolling through your IMDb credits, I noticed a project that I am sadly unaware of, but very intrigued by. It is a short film you wrote, directed, and produced entitled Papa. Could you tell our readers a bit about this film? What made you want to get behind the camera and tell this story?

So Papa is a short film I wrote and directed years ago. It started out as a monologue I did around NYC with a traveling theater group for act risk youths. The father and son element of the monologue resonated so much with young men that when I moved to LA during the writers strike I decided to challenge myself behind the camera to stay busy.

Papa is based on my experience as a teenager growing up between two cultures and the challenges of trying to be American in a home with a stern African father. You can also watch it for free https://www.snagfilms.com/films/title/papa
If you were handed the opportunity to create & star in the biopic of any legendary figure in American history, who would it be?

A legendary figure in American history would absolutely be Sidney Poitier. He personifies everything that I hope to be as a leading man in the industry and activist for a greater cause. I remember watching Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner as a child and how his monologue at the end of the film asking his father to get off his back impacted me. It was probably the first time it ever occured to me that you can put your father in his place. I still use that monologue for theater auditions.  I’m sure you can tell that I have a lot of unresolved daddy issues…lol

 

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

I had a recurring role as a bad ass called Remi Toussaint on Amazon’s Bosch season 6 and it drops in April 2020. I’m also prepping a short film called For Teetee about an undocumented  father who tries to protect his daughter from his worse nightmare. Should be in festivals late 2020.

Stay tuned: Twitter: @RealBambadjan IG: Bambathegreat

 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

The last thing that made me smile is my wifes response when I told her I wanted to try being vegetarian for awhile. She said too bad I just made some okra stew but it has fish in it. I said perfect why don’t I ease in as a pescatarian.

Billy Wayne Davis [Interview]

 

Hello Folks! Today we have another incredible interview to share with you all today. Billy Wayne Davis is another absolutely outstanding stand up comedian gracing our digital pages today. Billy is somebody that I came across on a personal level not unlike our very recent guest, fellow comedian Allen Strickland Williams, in that his name is brought up often on the plethora of comedy podcasts I enjoy. This would in turn lead me to checking out as much of his work that I can and truly loving everything he is doing with his act. And that, Folks, is just called marketing!

Davis is hand’s down one of the most original comics I have watched in a lot of years. He is a southern boy with liberal views, which seems like a unicorn all in its own, but even when discussing “liberal” issues, it doesn’t play out to be anything like a crutch. He is just really, really, funny! There are no gimmicks with this cat. He just has hilarious stories and jokes that will guarantee to make you smile. I truly believe that there is a difference between being self-aware, and being self-aware to know that standing out for being a great comic is more important, and ultimately more rewarding, than standing out for the sake of standing out.

So Folks, please enjoy some incredible words from the insanely hilarious Billy Wayne Davis!

 

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When did you first discover that you are a hilarious human being and you wanted to make people laugh for a living? Is it something deep-rooted, or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?

I liked making people laugh and laughing since i can remember. My parents always enjoyed good comedy, but they were teachers, i had to seek out the comedy world. It felt right for the jump.

 

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

I got $50 to do 15 minutes at the Baxter Tennessee Street Fair. I learned that the crowd will always side and laugh at the smart-ass child heckler.

 

You’ve been in the game for quite a long time, and have had some great success. With that, I have been hearing some great stuff about the city in which you started in, Nashville. I am curious to know how things have changed around there since you first started? Is the rise in popularity of the city a good thing in your opinion?

I think Nashville tricked itself out like a filthy whore. Anything to the highest bidder. It was once an interesting gritty little city that fostered weirdos, the righteous, and sinners alike. But now its DERP VEGAS. An opportunistic fire sale of working class culture squeezing out every last cent it can. But there’s still some dope people and places I love to visit there just not for as long.

 

And how about the world of comedy in general. With the rise in popularity of stand comedy from things like podcasts and YouTube, how drastically do you feel the comedy scene has changed over the years? And is the amount of content available a good thing to you? Or do you believe it is becoming oversaturated?

Everything is oversaturated because we haven’t mastered or even begun to understand our new technologies yet. Whether thats good or bad, YES.  Its both good and bad. New excites some, and new scares others. I’ve found that as long as i’m being creative, i can find the funny in any new medium. Some just don’t interest  me. And thats OKAY!

 

I always love to ask people who travel a lot performing music or comedy or what have you, what are some of your favorite cities to perform in that people may be surprised to find out are great to do comedy in? 

Dublin, Ireland.

Humbodlt County, California.

Bloomington, Indiana

Vancouver BC

West Virginia

Anchorage Alaska

 

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

Keep doing stand-up until i can’t. I’d like to write more for television. I’m currently working on several podcasts. Look out for those.

 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My 1 year old son, and his ten year old brother eating breakfast together this morning.

 

Catch Billy Wayne Davis bringing his comedic joy to a city near you! Head over to bwdtour.com for tickets!

 

Upcoming Shows:

Thursday, Feb. 27th @ The Siren Theater in Portland, Oregon

Sunday, Mar. 8th @ Dynasty Typewriter in Los Angeles, California

Wednesday, April 1st @ Loony Bin Comedy in Wichita, Kansas

Friday, April 3rd @ The Paramount Room in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Saturday, April 4th @ Blackbird on Pearl in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Friday & Saturday, April 17th & 18th @ Club Comedy Seattle in Seattle, Washington

Friday & Saturday, May 29th & 30th @ Savage Henry Comedy Club in Eureka, California

Wednesday, June 17th @ Zanie’s Comedy Club in Nashville, Tennessee

Friday, June 19th @ Club 337 in LaFayette, Louisiana

 

 

 

Lone Scherfig [Interview]

(Photo by Yu Tsai/Contour by Getty Images)

 

Hello Folks! We have an absolutely incredible interview to share with you all today. When I first moved to the UK in late 2016, I remember being in downtown London seeing a plethora of advertisements for a film that was coming soon entitled Their Finest. By poster alone, I was intrigued. So I did some research, and anticipated its arrival. During this time, I was working on a celebration of Women in filmmaking special I wanted to do, and I discovered that the aforementioned film was almost entirely made by women. I was intrigued to say the least. So, I attempted to secure an interview with the film’s director, but she was understandably busy at the time, but directed me to the film’s screenwriter, Gaby Chiappe, and she made for a wonderful inclusion in the series. That generous filmmaker was indeed the one and only Lone Scherfig. And if you couldn’t guess, she’s finally gracing our digital pages today!

Being as insanely busy as Lone is, we are so incredibly fortunate to have gotten some wonderful words from her. She is an absolutely brilliant filmmaker. Her 2009 film An Education is one of my favorite films from the last 20 years. We were able to discuss this film, Their Finest, and much more in this incredible interview below. Again, we are so very honored to have her join the TWS family. So Folks, please enjoy some incredible words from Lone Scherfig!

 

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

I remember in my teens slowly realizing that watching films was something you could actually do for a living. So, not unlike what Jenny dreams of in An Education,  I smoked, watched French films, and then went to Paris to study. I wrote about Italian neorealism, the films I still feel most closely connected to.  Later I studied in Copenhagen, then went to film school there. When I got out, a director at only 24, I began working as a 1st Ad and script supervisor.

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

The summer I left film school, The Love Boat came to Copenhagen and I got a job. We only had one television station here then and nobody knew the series, which ran in 103 other countries.The actors were unknown here and almost felt invisible when walking the streets of Copenhagen. They were euphoric.  One day, when we were shooting on the rain, the gaffers build an entire cabinet of lights for me, where I could stand and be heated. I almost melted and have never stopped loving gaffers and grips. In the evenings, we sat on the deck of the Pacific Princess and played a brand new board game, they had brought. Trivial Pursiut it was called.

The 2009 film you directed known as An Education is one of my favorite films from the last 20 years, it’s truly a masterpiece. I am curious to know what made you want to bring this story to the screen? What was it about the story that made you want to work on this project? And what are your thoughts on the final product that world knows?

The script had been on the black list, so I may have been the 25th director to read it. I remember falling for David, Peter Sarsgaards character.  The man in the marroon four door Bristol, who offers to take Jenny’s cello out of the rain. I was deeply attracted to the meticulous description of coming close to and being abused by a sociopath, something most of us at some point experience. Lynn Barber, the real Jenny, very accurately remembered David’s not very good jokes and countless moving details, without ever being sentimal. Nick Hornby had made very precise choices and had a deep understanding of Jenny, who reminded Nick of his real life sister. Nick Hornby’s tone was and still is something I feel very familiar with and felt I could take through the film machine without damageing it.

Little by little, post war London had unfolded for me and the film got more and more layers. I wasn’t too worried about anything but protecting the tone and achieving authenticiy and quality. I had already directed a few films, but except for one they were all in Danish, so I was almost treated like a beginner when I arrived in London. The first day the producers gave me a bus pass which was a massive step down from my life at Zentropa Studios in Copenhagen. I decided to chose my battles and just focused on doing my very, very best in every single part of the process, but also never guildening the lily, the story about a series of losses of innocense. I kept reminding myself that, to quote Danish film director Niels Malmros, “on film it can be as engaging to see a girl’s dress get torn as a hundred soldiers get shot”.

 

Photo by Nicola Dove

 

Another film you directed that is an absolute favorite of mine, is one that happens to be written by our dear friend and past guest Gaby Chiappe, entitled Their Finest. Same sort of question, really. What drew you to this tale? What was it about this tale that made you want to bring it to life on screen?

Gaby’s script, adapted from Lissa Evans’ novel, had the same combination of humour and emotion. Amanda Posey, who first decided to film An Education, produced that as well.  This time I was more aware of portraying a young girl with ambitions of becoming a writer. Jenny from An Education, Emma from One Day, Lauren from the Riot Club and Catrin from Their Finest have a lot in common. It’s only when I list them, I know that I am like them as well. Catrin from Their Finest is the warmest of them and the one who is struggling the most, losing everything she has overnight during the London blitz.  Catrin works in film, so I had easy access to understanding the characters and their arena. The cast is phenomenal, even in the smallest parts. The producer Stephen Woolley is a complete expert on British film history and gave me many shortcuts into the incredible British WW2 films, Their Finest is inspired by. The film is the best technical challenge I’ve ever had, combining all formats from real footage of Dunkirk to our mock up 35 mm technicolour film within the film, which Catrin has written.

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

Rose Tremain has written a masterpiece about the court of Danish King Christian the 4th, Music and Silence. But in general, I am not a fan of biopics. There are excellent ones, but I like fiction better and I’m in awe of the writers who write completely original material.

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

I’ve spent most of 2020 writing and will continue this spring. I’m also reading, hoping find a project with a strong plot and a strong production budget. Both would be such a luxury. I think I may have my best work ahead of me, though I think The Kindness of Strangers which is released on the 14th, has the humour, depth, originality and quality I aim for.

What was the last thing that made you smile? 

Thinking about Bill Nighy in a restaurant scene, when I wrote about the cast in Their Finest. He has unbeatable timing in The Kindness of Strangers too.