Category Archives: Movies and TV
It was the right song at the right time.
Since leaving the band Driveblind, singer Terry McDermott says he looks for any opportunity to make music, and often writes just for the sake of the craft. But when the opportunity came to collaborate with friend Todd Burman on a few songs, there was only one thing that could stand in the way.
McDermott first met Burman when Driveblind was on tour with Burman’s band Juke Cartel, and the two struck up an immediate friendship. But as people in touring bands often do, the pair eventually went their own separate ways. It was a mutual friend who would later reconnect them, but the reunion would be short lived as McDermott was already gearing up to compete on NBC’s ‘The Voice”.
After finishing second on the show to Cassadee Pope, McDermott once again reached out to Burman to complete the hook-laden single, “Pictures”; a song well worth the wait and one which immediately rose to #1 on the iTunes Rock Singles chart less than a week after it was written, recorded and mastered. With a second single already waiting in the wings to coincide with an EP and European tour, McDermott shows no sign of slowing down.
I spoke with McDermott to get the inside scoop on “Pictures” as well as his time on The Voice and what the future holds.
How did the song “Pictures” come together?
Todd had sent me a few pieces of music to introduce me to his style of writing [he was already aware of mine from my bands Driveblind and Lotus Crush]. On one of the pieces he sent, I heard something that really pricked my ears. But by that point, I was already committed to going on “The Voice”, so I told him we’d need to back track for a little bit and then meet up after it was over.
He was a big supporter while I was on the show, and the first thing I did when it was over was call him, and we picked up right where we left off. We went to his house in Hollywood and sat there with a guitar and solidified everything really quickly. I remember we both had a similar vision of what we wanted the song to be about, but from different angles. I was looking at it more from the point of a lost love or girlfriend, and Todd was looking at it as more of a family member.
How did you get on The Voice?
I was looking forward to doing a summer tour with Lotus Crush, but found out that Candlebox also had planned a summer tour that year. [Members of Lotus Crush included some who were also involved in Candlebox]. So I was looking at a seven-month gap where touring wouldn’t be possible. Around that same time, I got a phone call saying that my name had come up with a producer asking if I’d be interested in being on the show.
What was the process and blind audition like for you?
There were a lot of layers of performing to go through before you actually get to the blind audition round, but one of things I remember most about the live round was that no one turned around until the very last second [laughs]. I was actually looking into the air holding a note and the last thing I saw was that none of the chairs had turned. There were only a few seconds to process it, but by that point I remember being resigned to the fact that I was going home. But then I looked down and there were three people facing me [Adam Levine, CeeLo Green and Blake Shelton].
There’s something special about the whole process of the show. It’s a serious business and can build careers, but there’s also an element of fun about it. It was exciting. For me, regardless of what happened I knew there was a set amount of time before the roller coaster ride eventually came to an end. So I was determined to enjoy every step of it. From the moment the chairs turned onward.
Was there a reason why many of the songs you performed on the show were classic rock?
That style of music is what inspired me growing up and made it very easy for me to enjoy my time on the show. Many people were also excited to hear that kind of music so it was great to go out and perform songs that I love so dearly.
Cassadee Pope went on to win the competition. What was your relationship like with her?
Cassadee and I became fast friends very early on. Our musical backgrounds are pretty similar, so we had a lot in common. She came from a signed rock band that had toured extensively, and once I heard her sing, she instantly had my respect. She has a great work ethic and the right attitude to succeed.
Was singing something you always wanted to do?
When I was young I really wanted to be an astronaut. I always was (and still am) passionate about space. My father and mother were both in the Royal Air Force and I used to think about how someone from the British Royal Air Force could wind up in space.
But then I heard The Beatles’ Sgt Peppers album for the first time and began having “terrestrial” dreams as opposed to “extraterrestrial” ones [laughs]. Once I started thinking about music and it got under my skin, there was no turning back.
What’s next for you?
I’m heading off to do a European tour next month and will be releasing an EP. We also have another track that’s been completed and we’re going to tie the release of the single with the launch of the tour. My new band has David Rosser (Afghan Whigs) on guitar; Eric Bolivar on drums and British bass player Alex Smith (World Leader Pretend). It’s a killer four piece. My goal is to take the band and go out and impress people, and much like ‘The Voice’, the only way to do that is to get in front of them and perform.
You’ve been hearing me rave about Director Carrie Carnevale’s short film Beside Her; a love story and fictional portrayal of the true human condition. Now here’s your chance to see the film for yourself.
‘Beside Her’ is part of the FirstGlance Short Online Contest powered by FESTIVAL GENIUS. A competition where YOU get to choose the winner.
34 short films are in competition for over $2000 in prizes and the opportunity to premiere at FirstGlance Film Fest Philadelphia in October 2013! Anyone who registers on the FirstGlance website is eligible to watch and vote. The contest runs April 15th – May 14th. You are limited to only vote per day, per short film.
I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with Carrie as well as all of the actors from the film: Ashley Watkins, Erika Flores and Owen Conway. Check out my article below then head over to watch and vote for Beside Her!! Help support independent film making and the amazing cast and crew who did such a beautiful job on this short.
While watching “Beside Her”, you quickly forget that the lovers you see on-screen are female and become more enthralled with the deep love and connection they both share with each other.
Along with the amazing talents of actors Ashley Watkins , Erika Flores and Owen Conway, director Carrie Carnevale delivers a film that contains all of the elements that make up a great story: there’s love, tension, drama, passion, suspense and even a twist in the end for good measure!
But Beside Her is much more than a love story between two women. It’s a beautiful film about the human condition and the deep connection we all share but are often oblivious to.
Beside Her tells the story of Dr. Rachel Moretti (Ashley Watkins) and Sofia Rios (Erika Flores) and how, in one brief moment in time, their love for each other is measured beyond the norms of their everyday lives.
Tell me a little bit about the film’s origin.
CC: I wanted to write a story about the human connection; about the ways in which human beings connect with each other. Whether it be someone you’re dating, someone you’re married to, family, friends or even strangers; we’re all connected all the time. The problem is we tend to get distracted by the hustle and bustle of everyday life, that sometimes we forget that.
I wanted to concentrate this story on two people who are in a relationship because I think that type makes for a very complex and compelling situation. There’s an unspoken connection that two people in love share with each other that makes the connection a lot deeper.
Were you concerned at all about the content and subject matter of a love story between two women?
CC: No, not at all. Even when people initially read the script, they were glad to see that it was a story about love rather than a story about being gay. Showing that gay or not, love is love and we all have those same feelings of connectedness.
The musical score for the film is amazing. It perfectly complements the love scene and the ending as well.
CC: It really does. The song we chose for those scenes are an absolute match. Lyrically, it’s great and the mood it sets is just so powerful and amazing.
How did you get started in film making?
CC: I’ve always had a love for film making. I went to film school and spent time in the independent scene in the San Francisco Bay Area. Because of those years of work, I was able to learn so much about day-to-day production. I learned what to do and what not to do.
Along the way, I met some fellow artists who would hire me to work on their pieces, which I was honored and proud to do. In the past couple of years I felt it was time to start telling my own stories and producing my own projects and Beside Her was my first and I could not be more proud.
Ashley Watkins (Dr. Rachel Moretti)
It’s a project where it was the right time and the right place. Everything about it just felt natural!
How would you describe Beside Her?
Ashley Watkins (AW): It’s a story about love and that intuitive connection we all have and listening to it.
We all go about our lives every day not really paying attention to that “little turn in your stomach” or the “ring in your ear”. It’s instinct.
What attracted you to this role?
AW: I’m very supportive and totally believe in equality for everyone. As an actress, there are no limits to the types of roles that I’ll play as long as I’m portrayed respectfully, and/or not exploited. If I can play something that emphasizes the common good for people and it’s something that I believe in, I love to do it. I was fortunate to get the opportunity to do that with this project and Carrie just has so much passion for the film.
Erika Flores (Sofia Rios)
It’s a story about two people who have a strong connection and in the end, there’s a twist. You don’t expect the ending at all.
Were you concerned at all about the subject matter?
Erika Flores (EF): No, not at all. I like portraying raw, challenging characters. I loved the idea of being connected and really showing the relationship.
What was it like working with Carrie on her first short film?
EF: It honestly didn’t feel like it was her first film, because the entire process was professional and handled so well.
What did you like most about the experience of filming Beside Her?
EF: Challenging myself with this role was fun. I also loved the location in Malibu where we shot my scene. That was beautiful.
If you had to briefly describe the story of Beside Her, what would it be?
EF: It’s a slice of life between two people and the relationship that they share. How their connection is so powerful that they can actually feel each other.
Owen Conway (Jeffrey)
What attracted you most to the role?
OC: It was a role that I really wanted to play. Jeffrey is a heavy character with a lot of desperation. It’s not something that you get to play very often.
Tell me a little bit more about Jeffrey.
OC: Jeffrey is a “street” person who definitely has some issues.
But the thing that struck me the most about him was the fact that he’s so young. For him, it’s just about survival.
What was the experience of filming Beside Her like?
OC: The entire shoot was fantastic. I remember seeing the final product for the first time at a screening a few months ago and being really moved by it. The whole thing came together beautifully.
For more info on Beside Her, check out 17films Facebook page.
Last summer, I had the pleasure of speaking with the amazing Julie Piekarski Probst. Although her name may not ring a bell, chances are if you were a fan of “The Mickey Mouse Club” or “Facts of Life” back in the day, you’ve seen her.
Now, the beautiful actress and dancer is embarking on a journey to get on this season’s ‘Dancing With The Stars’ and I’m doing a re-visit of that interview to help her on her quest.
Julie is no stranger to the art of the dance, having honed her chops from a very young age performing in front of huge audiences at The Muny, the nation’s largest outdoor theater located in St. Louis, Missouri. She took time off from perfoming in the mid-1980′s in order to raise a family, but is now ready to enter the biggest ballroom in prime time.
In just the short time that we spoke, I found Julie to be a warm, infectious person with a love of life and the arts. She would be awesome on the show.
1. Julie would be the first Mousketeer to appear on the ABC show, which coincidentally also owns Disney.
2. With another ‘Fact of Life’ alum, (Lisa Whelchel) having made a successful run on the TV show ‘Survivor’, a “Facts of Life’ battle for TV ratings could be in order.
3. As a side note (and in another odd twist of fate) Julie and Lisa were BOTH Mousketeers and first worked together on ‘The New Mickey Mouse Club’.
You can read the rest of my interview with Julie here
Please help me help Julie by clicking this link and letting producers from Dancing With The Stars know you want Julie on the show. You can point them to my article if you like, but let’s make it happen. It would be very cool to say we played a role in getting Julie on the show and then cheering her on to victory!
Here are a few clips from Julie’s career:
Julie on The New Mickey Mouse Club
Here’s Julie from Facts of Life:
Julie on the show, Quincey M.E
Julie Returns to Walt Disney World:
Nothing is as it seems as an ex-con and aspirant filmmaker set out to manufacture a horror film by scaring real people. However, when things go too far and someone actually dies, the pair decide that killing for real on film is the way to make a truly terrifying movie.
The premise for CUT! is a unique approach to the genre of horror film making. Director David Rountree (along with actor and writing partner David Banks) bring forth a one of a kind “suspense thriller within a horror film” and along the way, manage to pay homage to one of the classic horror films of a generation.
With an amazing storyline, an ensemble that includes Dahlia Salem, Sam Scarber, Suze Lanier-Bramlett, Gabrielle Stone and Academy Award winner Victoria Sampson at the helm for sound editing, CUT! is sure to be one of the most anticipated horror films of 2013.
I had the opportunity to speak with both director David Rountree and Dahlia Salem, the beautiful actress who plays Chloe Jo in CUT!.
Director David Rountree
What’s the current status of CUT!?
DR: We were originally planning for a Halloween release, but then we had Victoria Sampson come on board to do post audio. She’s an Academy Award winner who’s work includes films going back to ‘Return of The Jedi’, ‘Pirates of The Caribbean’, ‘Donnie Darko’ and ‘Bad Boys’. She has about 200 films to her credit and won the Academy Award for ‘Speed’. When she signed on we pushed our release date back a bit.
How did you and David come up with the idea for CUT!?
DR: David and I had written a comedy script a few years ago and were looking to start filming it during the summer of 2012. I wasn’t a fan of just sitting around so while we were waiting we came up with the idea of making something while we were in pre-production. We started talking about movies like ‘Blair Witch’ and ‘Paranormal Activity’ and came up with the concept of two guys that live together and want to make a cheap movie just to have fun. The goal was they would be very professional but then as it unfolds, things go wrong.
We figured we’d have a quick turnaround time and could get it out there and have fun doing it. So we started planning it and really spent a lot of time working on the opening scene. Once we shot it, our distributor looked at it and was very excited. He told us that if we can do this, we’d have a real shot at knocking it out of the park.
Our production immediately turned upside down and we really set this project into motion. What began as a straight forward horror movie became more intelligent during the process and is now a film that makes you think a little along the way.
It’s become a solid suspense thriller inside of a horror movie.
What’s the story of CUT!?
DR: The original idea of the movie is for the characters Lane and Travis to make a horror film. But when things go bad and someone actually dies, they have to make a decision. The footage they have is so amazing that either they turn themselves into the police for murder or run with this plan.
Tell me about the connection of the film to “The Hills Have Eyes”.
We created the role for Suze Lanier-Bramlett where she plays herself as a former actor turned director. Originally, the plan to have both she and Dee Wallace Stone. Both of them were in the original ‘The Hills Have Eyes’. Dee was involved in another film at the time but we were lucky and her daughter, Gabrielle Stone came on board.
What’s your next project?
DR: I’m working on a baseball story with the Orem Owlz, a minor league team in Utah. I’ve been collaborating with the owner there about doing a story similar to Bull Durham, about a real life of a baseball player in the minor leagues.
Dahlia Salem as Chloe Jo
How did you find out about this role?
DS: I was introduced to David Rountree by a mutual friend, Mike Simon (who also plays Adam in the film). David told me about the film and I thought it was interesting and very creative. It was also a labor of love for both he and David Banks and I wanted to be a part of that kind of collaboration.
What did you like most about the script?
DS: What I liked most about the script was the concept of it being a horror film within a horror film, and it was unlike anything I ever worked on. My character (Chloe Joe) is an accessory to the vision and deception of Travis (David Rountree) and Lane’s (David Banks) plan.
These guys take things to the extreme for the risk and excitement, as well as the potential success they can receive for what they’re creating and getting away with! Chloe Joe I imagine, was attracted to their drive and goes along for the ride!
What was it like working with David Rountree?
David Rountree is a consummate professional, as well as fun and easy to work with! David is such a good director in that he allows each actor the freedom to create what they want in the moment. It was very raw, and each character in CUT! fits in like a puzzle. I’m really excited to see the end product.
Are you a fan of horror movies?
DS: I certainly am! It’s a fascinating and mysterious genre. I’m a huge fan of John Carpenter’s Halloween, my favorite horror film of all time.
What other projects are you currently involved in?
DS: I just finished working as a guest star on the ABC drama, ‘Body of Proof’. I play an assistant district attorney and there’s a chance that she can return which is pretty exciting. The episode will most likely air sometime in March.
I also do a lot of voice over work. I do narration for a show called ‘Big Rich Texas’ on the Style Network. It’s a different animal all together not being on the camera side. You can be very creative with your voice. I love that kind of work as well.
What do you like to do when you’re not acting?
I love yoga, tennis and teaching acting to children. A friend opened a children’s weekend acting program in Orange County, and I was a guest teacher. To watch kids come out of their shell to create and learn, was such a great experience for me.
I’m also doing a bit of writing, collaborating on a script I wrote loosely based on true events in my life. It’s a “dramedy” and I hope to create it into a TV or Web series. We’ll see, it’s feels pretty challenging! I have to really commend David Rountree and David Banks in wearing so many hats for CUT! with writing, acting and directing! They truly inspire me.
Article first published as A Slice of CUT!: David Rountree and Dahlia Salem Discuss Unique Horror Film on Technorati.
Charlie O’Connell and Natasha Alam have some serious chemistry going on in HUFF, a twisted take on the fairy tale classic “The Three Little Pigs”. O’Connell is creepy in the role of Huff, an unfaithful husband and abusive step father to three teenaged daughters living in poverty in California.
When a drug deal to set him up for life goes awry and the daughters leave with the money, Huff takes out his anger on those around him in a mad attempt to retrieve his loot. His only weakness? An asthma induced need to use an inhaler which may give the girls a fighting chance of survival.
Natasha Alam is amazing in the role of Laci, Huff’s beautiful mistress. Her sexiness and charm is equaled by the way she is freely able to express emotion on-screen during troubling situations; particularly when she is being threatened by Huff.
“HUFF” (being released internationally as “Big Bad Wolf”) also stars Marie Bollinger, Elina Madison and Elly Stefanko.
I spoke with Charlie and Natasha about their experiences working on “HUFF”, a film set for world-wide release next Spring.
What did you like most about the role of HUFF?
CO: I’ve always loved horror and slasher movies. I normally play a really nice guy or a jock, but definitely not a villain, so getting the chance to do that with “HUFF” was something that I really liked. Also, in some horror movies (ones with a Jason or a Freddy Krueger), those guys wore masks. I enjoyed the fact that I got to play a really evil guy who didn’t wear a mask. I didn’t have anything to hide behind, except for the inhaler that I had to work with.
How was it working with such a great cast?
CO: Everyone did a great job. Elina (Madison) has done a few of these types of movies before and played it like a veteran. Marie (Bollinger) was great as well, particularly in the scene where I’m in the bedroom with the youngest daughter (Elly Stefanko) and she steps in to protect her. That was a great scene.
Were there any challenges to shooting the film?
CO: We were shooting close to Valencia, CA and I remember it was so cold. Those last scenes where I had to run around with my shirt off could possibly have been the coldest days of the year in LA [laughs]. The weather was probably the hardest thing to deal with.
Any funny stories to share?
CO: I’d have to say the scene where Marie carries Elly on a huge, long trek was the funniest.There’s a quick cut in the scene which works perfectly because she just couldn’t carry her anymore. I had already wrapped for the day but wouldn’t leave because I wanted to see it. I remember taking bets on when she was going to drop her. She must have carried her at least 500 yards that day. But that’s the kind of trooper Marie was. And when she finally did get finished, Paul (Morrell, Director) said: “Great! Can you do it one more time?”.. [laughs]
What’s your favorite scene?
CO: Probably the one where the guys come to the door to get the drug money. When it comes to horror movies that may not have the biggest budget, it’s the little things that become the most important: the editing, finding out what works and what doesn’t work, the death scenes. That particular scene flew so well. It was such good violence right off the bat. But that’s what kind of movie this is. It’ a bloody/slasher/thriller. When you see that scene you say, “Holy S%iT! I’m in for something here!”
The scene of you with Shay (Elly Stefanko) near the hay stack is pretty creepy too.
CO: Yes, the crossing from far and then coming up on her! Elly did a great job. It was the first film she’s ever done and she put a lot of work into it.
What do you liked most about seeing the completed film?
CO: One of the things I enjoyed the most was seeing which takes were chosen and which ones were left on the cutting room floor. I really like to see what works and what doesn’t make it.
We also did quite a few screenings of the film at festivals and I found myself crouching at times because it was so creepy. Paul did a great job.
What attracted you most to the role of Laci?
NA: It was a great chance for me to really showcase my acting skills and give me the opportunity to do more action and drama.
What was the audition process like?
NA: It was awesome. I felt really good about it. Initially, there was another actor auditioning for the role of Huff who was a lot shorter than Charlie. He was a great actor, but just didn’t look right for the part. When Charlie came in, we complemented each other so well.
Were you at all inhibited by the risqué’ bedroom scene?
NA: Not at all. Prior to this role, I had worked on ‘True Blood’ which has very racy, skin showing/revealing scenes. That was my first experience into sexiness and being racy and it made my scenes in ‘HUFF’ that much easier.
How are you able to “turn on the tears” so easily?
NA: Before I actually had a child of my own, I couldn’t feel that emotion and know how to play those kind of roles. It just didn’t feel natural. But, after having my daughter and now having those feelings, it was an amazing discovery. To play a role like this you need to have some kind of experience of what it might feel like to lose someone. For the scenes where Charlie wasn’t letting me go, I based that upon past bad relationships. You usually can dig into your past and re-live that emotion again.
How did you get started?
NA: I was going to school at the University Uzbekistan (my home country where i was born and raised), but civics and mathematics didn’t really agree with me [laughs]. Although I am interested in that now, back then I wasn’t interested at all. I was more drawn to fashion, acting and being a designer; something that was creative. So I was studying at University and at the same time going to college to study fashion design.
After about a year and half, the opportunity came along for me to go to Milan and become a model. I quickly jumped on that and went out to discover the world.
What projects are you working on now?
NA: I just finished a guest-starring role for an episode of ‘Body of Proof’ which was a wonderful experience. The episode should air sometime next year.
I’ve also just finished writing a pilot for a fast paced spy show called ‘Canary’. It’s like Mr.and Mrs. Smith Meets Alias /Kill Bill and Bond movies all mixed together. It’s action loaded and I’m really excited about it.
Article first published as HUFF: Charlie O’Connell And Natasha Alam Discuss New Horror/Thriller on Technorati.
Whether she’s playing the role of a teenage friend (Edge of Salvation), rocking out at a hair metal concert (RATT music video) or running for her life from a drug-dealing step father (HUFF); Jenna Stone is an actress who can do it all. In real life, she’s one of the most talented and down to Earth people I’ve ever met.
2013 will be a good year for the beautiful, young actress. With two films already slated for release early in the New Year, there’s no denying Jenna Stone is an actress you need to keep your eye on.
In this cool interview, Jenna talks about her role as Styx in the soon to be released horror/thriller “HUFF” as well as story line for the feel good movie, “Edge of Salvation”. We also discuss her “metal head” connection and the multiple music videos she’s appeared in over the course of her career. One that’s just getting started.
How would you describe the story of “HUFF”?
JS: It’s a twisted version of a fairy tale based on “The Three Little Pigs” where Charlie (O’Connell) plays Huff (the Big Bad Wolf) and Marie (Bollinger), myself and Elly (Stefanko) are his step-daughters (the three pigs): Brixi, Styx and Shay. Everything starts off innocently enough with Huff and the girls having a family moment reading scripture together, but you quickly find out that this is not a normal household.
Huff is actually a drug dealer and our mother (Elina Madison) is unaware of the abuse he’s been taking out on his step-daughters. When she does find out, she decides to take his drug money and give it to the girls so that they can run off and start new lives. Huff of course, is not too happy when he finds out about it and so… bloody pursuit ensues! [laughs]
How did the role come about for you?
JS: I was originally called in for the audition. During the call back, I went in a did a chemistry read with Randy (Blekitas), who plays my boyfriend, Woody. That went extremely well. From there, I went to the table read. I was a bit nervous at first because it was such an intense script, but everyone there was so cool and relaxed. It was a lot of fun.
What can you tell me about your character, Styx?
JS: Styx is definitely the free-minded one. She’s independent and strong and does her own thing. I really love her attitude. Through all of it, she just stands her ground. She has very strong beliefs about what should and should not be done in certain situations.
Some of your scenes in ‘HUFF’ were pretty physical. How do you prepare yourself for that?
It varies from scene to scene. As far as Styx the character goes, I was able to connect with her easily so that helped a lot. For the more physical and scary scenes, everyone was on the same page as far as not wanting to be prepared for what was coming next. It was exciting to not know certain aspects of what was going to happen (like where Charlie would be coming from when he was chasing me). What physically took a toll, aside from how cold it was while we were filming was the hair dragging. But I wanted it to be as real and genuine as possible, so we just did it. For me, it’s about the moment.
Tell me about another one of your recent films, ‘Edge of Salvation’.
JS: ‘Edge Of Salvation’ is the story of a family who is losing their home and at the same time adopting a young boy who lost his parents. It’s about how the emotion and dynamics of a struggling family are affected when a new family member in introduced. It’s a faith-based, coming together story that’s very honest and real.
When you see yourself on-screen, are you able to separate yourself from the performance or do you critique it?
JS: I try to sit back and just take the story in as a whole. It’s always interesting to see which scenes they choose for the final cut.
Jenna Stone Music Videos
What do you find most intriguing about doing music videos?
JS: Music videos are always fun to do because they’re their own unique thing.
* The Spill Canvas: Staplegunned
How did this video come about and where was it filmed?
JS: I was called in for an audition and told what the video was going to be like. It was filmed in this old, creepy house that had been used for horror films.
What’s the story behind this video?
JS: For me, I think they took the words from the song and made it more on the darker, almost morbid side as far as imagery goes. It created the mentality of kids that age and why they feel the way they do about someone they love. It gets kind of crazy sometimes. [laughs].
* The Fray: Heartbeat
Were you already a fan of the band prior to this video?
JS: Their first CD was one that my Mom and I would blast on repeat when we would drive from Dallas to LA. I had worked with the director before on another project so when he told me who it was and asked if I had heard of them I said, “Of course!” [laughs]
What did you like most about this video?
JS: I like that it’s two different stories, so it kind of has the double meaning. The scenes we shot were all pretty much candid and real. It was a really fun shoot.
* RATT: Eat Me Up Alive
JS: This video is supposed to be a live, concert-styled performance and I was one of the people in the crowd. It was a lot of fun. I got to meet the guys in the band and they were very cool.
What was it like when you first decided to become an actor?
JS: I remember my parents were a little surprised when I first told them that I wanted to get into acting. But we started doing research and I began taking acting and modeling classes. Eventually, I met a manager who encouraged me to come to LA and since then, I’ve never looked back.
While growing up, Elina Madison recalls being at her grandmother’s house watching TV and being so enthralled with what was on that she turned to her grandmother and told her that she wanted to become an actress. From that moment on, she’s never looked back or lost sight of her dream.
Elina found that there weren’t a lot of opportunities to act in her home state of Wyoming so she eventually made her way to Los Angeles where she has since become a sought after model and actress and been awarded the title of “scream-queen” based upon her memorable roles in the realm of horror.
In one of Elina’s latest projects, “HUFF” she plays Lorelei, the dysfunctional wife of Huff, an abusive and asthma suffering stepfather who’s involved in a lucrative drug deal. Seemingly oblivious to the abuse that’s going on around her, Lorelei (a stripper by trade) delivers one of the most memorable lines in the entire film:
‘We need the money and the pole’s not going to dance by itself.”
Lorelei eventually comes to her senses and realizes that she has to get her children out of there. She secretly takes the money intended for the drug deal and gives it to her daughters to flee and start better lives for themselves. This series of events triggers a chain of rage-induced asthma attacks as Huff attempts to locate the three runaways and recover his money. Elina’s amazing, emotional scene on the couch with co-star Charlie O’Connell (Huff) sets the mood for the entire second half of the film.
“HUFF” will be released domestically in April and under the title “Big Bad Wolf” for international markets.
Elina’s resume includes roles in “Halloween Party” (a dark comedy available now on DVD), Barracuda, and The Corporate Cut Throat Massacre. In addition, you can also find Elina playing the Mother in the promo / trailer for Alicia Keys’ children’s educational app: “The Journals of Mama Mae & Lee Lee.”.
Elina’s next film role will be as the wife of the Prince of the undead in Creep Creepersin’s Dracula.
Aside from her beauty and acting prowess, Elina is one of the most down to Earth and coolest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of speaking with.
gJg: What’s the premise of HUFF?
EM: HUFF is actually a twisted version of the story of “The Three Little Pigs” with Huff being the wolf and the daughters being the three little pigs. Huff also has asthma which goes along with the lines of the story of “huffing and puffing”. Huff is up to no good and making a deal with drug money that’s not his. My character finally has had enough and realizes that she has to get her children out of there. So she steals the money, gives it to them and tells them to leave. It’s because of her actions that there are some unbelievable consequences.
How did you prepare for the role of Lorelei?
EM: Lorelei is just so caught up in her own little world. She’s an alcoholic mother in denial about what’s going on between her daughters and Huff. I’ve done some crazy characters before, but never one this complex. Getting into that kind of mindset took some work.
Tell me a little about your next film, Creep Creepersin’s Dracula.
It’s a different spin on the classic story but it’s also more about the perception of Dracula and the reality of everything. I play Francine, his wife who you don’t know whether is a “good” wife or an “evil” wife up to no good. Everything is taken completely different depending on how you’re looking at it. It’s scheduled to be released in January.
What other projects are you currently working on?
EM: Right now I’m shooting a show for Spike TV called ‘Urban Tarzan’. I play a well to do wife who didn’t go to college and got married for money and have been enjoying a life of leisure. My husband and I live in a big house and we’re going through a divorce. He wants me to take this horrible deal and I wind up fighting him for the house. He ends up putting a crocodile in the swimming pool hoping i jump in and don’t notice. [laughs]
It’s funny for Spike and has that crazy element to it.
THIS GIRL IS ON FIRE
Elina Madison is a rising star who will be seen all over the world in the coming months! Her career is truly on fire.
- In April 2013, she’ll star as the desperate mother and abused wife Lorelei in Huff (with Charlie O’Connell).
- She plays an edgy, flirtatious Cave Girl in Halloween Party a twisted comedy (just released on DVD).
- In January 2013 Elina stars as Francine, the beautiful and loyal wife of Dracula in Creep Creepersin’s Dracula.
- Look for her in the highly acclaimed film Barracuda, starring opposite Christine Oldham as the well to do socialite “Lisa.”
Also coming in 2013 Elina plays the lead Alana Wilson, a caring mother and housewife in Ramone Menon’s psychological thriller The Black Tape.
Article first published as A Conversation With Actress Elina Madison on Technorati.
A work of art. That’s what best describes both actress Cortney Palm and her latest movie, “Sushi Girl”. Whether it’s the beautiful cinematography or the element of surprise that keeps you guessing until the very end, Sushi Girl (releasing world-wide on DVD February 19th) is a story and film worthy of the big screen.
Sushi Girl tells the story of Fish; a newly released convict who has spent the last six years in jail successfully not ratting out those involved in the diamond robbery that sent him to prison. On the night of his release, he and the four men he’s protected celebrate his freedom with a Nyotaimori, a meal consisting of a lavish array of sushi served off the naked body of a beautiful young woman (Cortney Palm). Sushi Girl must appear catatonic, and is trained to ignore everything in the room regardless of the danger. But there’s more than meets the eye in this crime thriller. Old wounds are opened among the thieves amid accusations of what became of their missing diamonds.
Palm is more than comfortable in her own skin, and for her role as Sushi Girl she has to be. Appearing nearly nude the entire time, she’s more than convincing in the role, leaving almost nothing to the imagination.
Sushi Girl also features memorable performances by Tony Todd (Candyman), Mark Hamill (Star Wars), James Duvall (Independence Day), Noah Hathaway (The Never Ending Story) and Andy Mackenzie (True Blood).
I had the pleasure of speaking with Cortney about her work on Sushi Girl. We also discuss her role as the ill-fated Maria in the horror film, “Silent Night” as well as the significance behind some of her amazing tattoos.
Cortney Palm is laying the foundation for a long and fruitful career. Her performances thus far are worthy of praise, and I’m excited to see what the future holds for this amazing actress.
gJg: What attracted you most to the role of Sushi Girl?
CP: I really liked the way the story was written and the way my character was portrayed on the page. She had something really good to offer. She was subtle and powerful and I really enjoy playing characters like that; women who are strong or have a purpose.
gJg: What was it like for you working with iconic actors like Mark Hamill and Tony Todd?
CP: Tony was amazing. He just brought 110% every day so it was much easier for me to just play off of him. We shot the film primarily in chronological order and you could just feel the emotion and the buildup. For Mark, I remember being a little nervous at our table read when he showed up. But at the same time, we’re all there for the craft. Sometimes it may be kind of unnerving being around actors who’ve done so much and are so iconic, but you have to stay true to your character and true to your art.
gJg: Mark’s character, Crow is definitely no Luke Skywalker.
CP: Mark is such a smart talented actor who’s done a lot of theater and film work. He really made that character come to life.
gJg: How would describe the story of Sushi Girl?
CP: It’s a crime thriller where something is going on and everyone wants to get to the bottom of it. But it’s also a story of revenge. We like to say revenge is a dish best served cold and that’s really the epitome of what the film is all about.
gJg: One of the best elements of Sushi Girl is the beautiful cinematography.
CP: Aaron Meister, the director of photography really makes that film what it is. He and Kern (Saxton, Director) had a great vision and just projected it beautifully. It’s a great film, and cinematically it’s perfect! I will never look at my body the same way again. [laughs]
gJg: Let’s talk a little about your character Maria in “Silent Night”.
CP: When I mentioned that I’m drawn to powerful women..she’s not. But, she has to fight to survive and that’s what makes it fun to play. I love expressing human emotion in films and with ‘Silent Night’, there’s plenty of that! [laughs]
gJg: Tell me about the infamous wood chipper scene.
CP: That was a fun scene to film. We really had a great team of people. Steven (Miller, Director) had a great vision and Joe (White, Cinematography) was right alongside of him making it work with me running through the trees.
gJg: Are you a fan of horror?
CP: I am a fan of the genre. I like movies like “The Ring”, “Mirrors” and “Silent Hill”.
gJg: What projects are you currently working on?
CP Right now, I’m working on ‘Fringes’ where I play a rabbi’s daughter. It’s the story about a Jewish community and a Catholic community at odds with one another, but when things start to break down around them they have to rely on each other to get through. It’s a brotherhood story.
gJg: Tell me a little bit about your tattoos.
CP: I have several and all of them are real. On my inside right arm I have the quote “For peace with justice in harmony with nature”. On my wrist I have a gecko with the initials “LP” for Lake Powell. It’s significant to me because that’s one of my favorite places to go. The gecko also represents strength, agility and conservation. That’s important to remember in our world and our lifestyle. We need to conserve the land and enjoy what nature has to offer.
On my side I have the quote “Float Upon Sturdy Waters”. Even though water isn’t really sturdy (because you sink down into it) you can float upon the surface and make it sturdy. You choose your own destiny.
Article first published as Actress Cortney Palm Discusses New Crime Thriller, “Sushi Girl” on Technorati.
Once upon a time there was a cool director named Paul Morrell who had a vision to direct a horror/thriller based upon the story of The Three Little Pigs. Together with a talented cast and crew, his vision of creating a twisted version of the classic fairy tale exceeds all expectations. The result of his efforts, “HUFF” contains all of the scares, screams and sexiness that make for great thrill ride.
“HUFF” stars Charlie O’Connell as Huff, an abusive stepfather to three teenage girls living in poverty in California. While on the verge of making a lucrative drug deal that will give him the money he needs to escape to Mexico with his sexy mistress, Laci (Natasha Alam), Huff’s plans unravel when his battered wife Lorelei (Elina Madison) secretly gives the money intended for the deal to her daughters and tells them to run away and seek better lives. The events that follow triggers a chain of rage-induced asthma attacks, as Huff attempts to locate the three runaways and recover his money.
HUFF also stars Marie Bollinger, Jenna Stone and Clint Howard and will be released in April. The film will also be released internationally under the title, “Big Bad Wolf”.
I spoke with Paul and got the inside scoop on “HUFF” as well as his next film project, “Casket County Massacre”.
How did the project for HUFF begin?
Paul Morrell (PM): We really wanted to write something that would hold up, so we came up with the concept of using The Three Little Pigs; an age old story. It was also great timing. I had done a film called ‘Filth To Ashes’ that had received quite a bit of press, including a mention in The New York Times. The film even had a better opening weekend than ‘Paranormal Activity’. From that, we were able to sign some really great actors.
There are quite a few innuendos with The Three Little Pigs.
PM: Some of the innuendos are quite blatant, like the use of the inhaler and Charlie’s character’s name (Huffington). In our research, the story kind of got neutered over the years. In the original story, the wolf actually eats all of the pigs. [laughs]
Tell me a little about the cast: Charlie O’Connell.
Charlie is known for comedic roles so this role was a bit of a challenge, but he came with great input. His comedic chops really shine without taking away from the story line. We ended up with a villain who’s both likeable and hate able at the same time.
PM: Natasha was extremely comfortable on set. She’s not just a model. She’s super professional and her acting chops are top notch.
I wish we had her on set for longer. She was fantastic. We had originally written an enormously longer scene but the way she executed the scene was great with her eyes and her emotion was perfect.
Isn’t there a story behind how you got in touch with Marie Bollinger for the role of Brixi?
I have a really close friend, Sarah Zurell, who was in a movie with Marie called ‘Pelt’. When I sat down to watch the movie, I was immediately distracted by her. There was just something about Marie that was perfect. We wound up connecting with each other through Facebook.
What was the filming process like?
PM: When we were shooting some of the night scenes it was very cold and windy. It was abnormally cold for southern California. Jenna Stone (Styx) sat in the side car with that “bloody” face for almost three days. All night long while shooting, it was freezing cold. I was all bundled up in boots and heavy jackets and was still cold. The girls were out in the cold in little bitty tops wearing a blanket in between takes. They were troopers.
Any funny stories you can remember while filming?
In the opening scene, when Charlie is reading to the little girls, we had him actually reading a nursery rhyme to them while we were shooting their faces to get laughs out of them. Then, right in the middle of telling Goldie Locks and The Three Bears he goes into HUFF dialog, changing his voice and everything to “They were raped!!…” It was incredibly funny. [laughs]
What are some of your favorite scenes?
PM: I really love the opening scene where Charlie is out chopping wood and then goes inside to read a bible story to the girls. I love how that turned out. So creepy. I also love the fight scene with Elina when she and Charlie are sitting on the couch.
Another one of my favorite shots is where Charlie is holding Marie’s character down and pressing that knife into her chest. They were both so into the moment, she’s screaming and he’s holding her down. That scene was great.
What project are you working on now?
PM: We’re working on an horror/icon film called ‘Casket County Massacre‘. We’ve got Kane Hodder (Jason Friday The 13th) and Tyler Mane (X-Men, Halloween). We’re also working with Charlie and Clint Howard again. The plan is to start shooting in January. We’re excited about it.
What’s the story of ‘Casket County Massacre’?
The legend of Casket County is, there were three brothers (The Garlock Family) who took over the town and slaughtered everyone in it while looking for gold. When they couldn’t find any, their ghosts were stuck there forever. An all-girl rock band cruises into town with plans to shoot a music video. When they get there, the ghosts are there and all hell ensues.
Article first published as Director Paul Morrell Discusses Latest Horror/Thriller HUFF on Technorati.
One of the tag lines for the new horror/thriller “Silent Night” is a bit foretelling as to the carnage about to be unleashed on the small town of Cryer, WI.
Directed by Steven C. Miller (The Aggression Scale), ‘Silent Night‘ is a loosely based remake of the cult horror classic ‘Silent Night, Deadly Night’, a controversial 1984 film that fell victim to mass protests due to the fact that the serial killer dressed up like Santa Claus. In a world where real-life death and destruction is shown round the clock on every news network, it’s almost laughable how a fictional horror film could have caused such a stir.
In ‘Silent Night’ veteran actor Malcolm McDowell (Rob Zombie’s Halloween) and the beautiful Jaime King (Mother’s Day) star as a small-town sheriff and deputy on the hunt for a murderous Santa Claus taking out people who are doing wrong on Christmas Eve. The film also stars Donal Logue (Shark Night 3D, Blade), Lisa Marie (Sleepy Hollow), Brendan Fehr (Final Destination), Ellen Wong (Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World) and Cortney Palm (Sushi Girl).
McDowell is somewhat ornery in his role as Sheriff Cooper, but appears to have the town’s best intentions at heart. And King, who was amazing in her role of Beth Sohapi in the ‘Mother’s Day’ reboot, is equally as good here as emotionally troubled Officer Aubrey Bradimore.
‘Silent Night’ contains all of the essential ingredients that were paramount in 80′s horror films: Strong characters, a sense of not knowing what’s coming next, the gratuitous nudity/sexuality and of course, the recreational drug use. (Naughty! Naughty!)
And whereas the original ‘Silent Night / Deadly Night’ fell victim to picketing for using a serial killer dressed like the guy in the big red suit, ‘Silent Night’, does its own little bit of envelope pushing by utilizing something else normally considered taboo in serial killer horror: the death of a child (albeit a bratty, potty-mouthed one).
Miller though, isn’t worried about any backlash that may result from the scene.”People may be concerned about it, but it actually sets the tone of the movie”, he says. “Once you see it, you realize that at this point all bets are off and anything can happen!”
Aside from some really cool weapons, ‘Silent Night‘ breaks no new ground in terms of what’s already been done in horror but really, who cares? The movie is a fun ride of terror and carnage with perhaps one of the best kill scenes in recent memory involving a topless woman and a wood chipper. Need I say more?
When asked to describe what makes for the perfect horror movie, Miller is quick to respond. “Atmosphere and tone. If you can get the atmosphere right for whatever time and place you’re in, the audience is automatically drawn in.”
It’s hard to argue that point because the film looks and feels like it belongs on a big theatrical screen; with a tone and quality that rivals many of the classic 80′s slasher films. The real strength of ‘Silent Night’ lies in its use of cinematography and credit should be given to both Miller and cinematographer Joseph White for taking a small budget film and making it appear larger than life.
The best horror balances the suspense with the scares and mixes in a little bit of humor to release the tension and in both cases, ‘Silent Night’ succeeds. Horror fans who’ve been longing for something other than the typical “found-footage” style format of recent films may want to consider asking Santa for ‘Silent Night’ in their stocking this holiday season. It sure beats a visit from the big guy in person carrying a flame thrower.
Or as Miller himself is quick to point out, “We need these kinds of holiday slasher movies. There aren’t enough of them.”
Article first published as Movie Review: ‘Silent Night’ Brings Horror Home for the Holidays on Technorati.