Category Archives: Movies and TV

‘Agency Of Vengeance': Actress Brigitte Kingsley Discusses Dark Rising Series

AOVActress/producer Brigitte Kingsley and writer/director Andrew Cymek’s original intention was to create a horror film. Instead, the creative team came up with a Sci-Fi comedy that’s taken on a life of its own.

Since its original Canadian release in 2007, Summer Vale and the Dark Rising series has developed a cult following that’s continued to grow – as evidenced by the latest U.S release of the Dark Rising series, “Agency of Vengeance”, which is now available on DVD and all On Demand platforms, including iTunes and Amazon Instant.

“When the “Rising Dark Agency,” a black ops division of the Government headed by Colonel Haggerd (Michael Ironside), suspects that a sudden surge of supernatural activity and violent attacks on Earth are the work of an evil Demon-God, it must call upon the services of super soldier Summer Vale (Brigitte Kingsley) to solve the mystery and prevent the coming apocalypse.”

“Agency of Vengeance” stars Brigitte Kingsley, Landy Cannon (American Psycho, Catwoman) Michael Ironside (X-Men: First Class, Total Recall, Top Gun), Julia Schneider (American Pie Presents Delta House) and Angel Williams (aka Angelina Love) of TNA Wrestling fame.

Written and directed by Cymek and produced by Kingsley, the film (with the Canadian title “Dark Rising 2: Summer Strikes Back!”) was nominated for two Canadian Comedy Awards: Best Film and Best Female Performance (Kingsley).

With exquisite cinematography and special effects, “Agency of Vengeance” is one in a series of Sci-Fi comedies created by Kingsley and Cymek that also includes “Bring Your Battle Axe”, “The Savage Tales of Summer Vale” and “Warrior of Worlds”.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Brigitte about “Agency of Vengeance: Dark Rising”, her career and a few of the new projects she’s currently involved with.

What can you tell me about your character, Summer Vale?

Summer is a Warrior Princess who has a good heart, but grew up in a demon dimension. She doesn’t always understand how the world works and tends to punch first and reason later [laughs]. She’s a killing machine but in the world of love and life, she still has a lot to learn.

Brigitte Kingsley (Summer Vale) & Landy Cannon (Jason Parks)

Brigitte Kingsley (Summer Vale) & Landy Cannon (Jason Parks)

How would you describe the story of “Agency of Vengeance”?

I like to describe it as the story of Summer Vale and a group of misfits who bind together to try and save the world from imminent doom.

What was the filming process like?

We shot up in a small town in northern Ontario with a group of people who really enjoyed working together. Our team has worked together quite a bit, so there’s a lot of good chemistry. Everyone does a little bit of everything on set and we all trust each other. Andrew [Cymek] did an amazing job. In addition to writing and directing, he was also the cinematographer and was involved in the editing, color timing and special effects (along with Doug Lentz). He spent a year and a half making this film look pretty in post-production.

You wear a lot of hats on your projects (actress, producer, crew member). What are some of the challenges you encounter?

One of the real challenges about wearing multiple hats is that you don’t get to sleep all that much [laughs]. You’re always running around doing everything. So when something like a piece of wardrobe is missing, you’re the one driving to the mall in full make-up and costume during your lunch break to pick things up. You’re always solving problems as you shoot but because our team is so collaborative, everyone wears multiple hats. It’s one of those sets where it really was a family. It’s challenging and very difficult at times, but also a lot of fun.

Brigitte Kingsley (Summer Vale)

Brigitte Kingsley (Summer Vale)

What other projects are you currently working on?

We’ve just finished work on an original psychological thriller called “Night Cries” that’s now in post-production. It has a lot of the same creative behind the scenes people in it and also has Colin Mochrie, Mishael Morgan and Angelina Love involved in it as well. It’s an interesting and beautifully shot film that tells the story of a man’s journey to find his wife in a post-apocalyptic world.

This fall, we’ll start work on a country musical called “Country Crush” starring Jana Kramer. Then in the New Year, we’ll be launching a completely new franchise called “Rayven Rose”. It’s in a genre that’s very similar to Dark Rising.

Did you always know that you wanted to be an involved in entertainment?

I think so. Even as a kid, I remember begging my parents to let me go out and do it. They were always extremely supportive of me and would drive me around to auditions when I was in high school.

I went to University for theater and once I graduated I quickly realized that I wasn’t going to just be handed my dream job or a lead role in a TV show. I knew that if I really wanted to do these cool projects I was going to have to work hard and produce them myself. So that’s what I did. I spent the next several years figuring out how the business worked by hopping on a lot of planes and knocking on a lot of doors. I got a lot of rejections during that time but if you wake up every morning and keep knocking on doors, eventually you’re going to get your movie made. That’s how it all came into play. It was a passion for acting that eventually got me into producing.

Be sure to follow Brigitte Kingsley on Twitter @beekingsley

Agency of Vengeance: Dark Rising

Genre: Sci-Fi / Comedy
Writer / Director / Cinematographer: Andrew Cymek
Producer: Brigitte Kingsley
Exec. Producer: Mihkel Harilaid
Produced by: Defiant Empire Corp. and Black Walk

‘Begin Again’: Actress Shannon Maree Walsh Discusses New Film, Music

Shannon Maree Walsh

Shannon Maree Walsh

Shannon Maree Walsh’s introduction into the world of entertainment may not have been by conventional methods, but the champion gymnast turned actress is certainly making a name for herself in the new film, “Begin Again”.

Directed by John Carney (“Once”), “Begin Again” tells the story Dan Mulligan (Mark Ruffalo), a struggling record label exec living in New York City. One night, while drinking at a bar in the East Village, he encounters Gretta (Keira Knightley), a fiercely independent young songwriter whose music captivates him. Walsh plays nerdy musician Rachel, a cellist in Gretta’s band.

Following its World Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2013 and closing this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, the film was released theatrically on July 2nd.

Walsh has been a national gymnastics champion four times, but recently shifted her passion to acting with great success. Her first role was in Wes Craven’s “My Soul to Take” and other credits include Law & Order: SVU and The Michael J Fox Show.

In addition to finishing up her degree at Georgetown, Walsh also currently finds time to play in Suite 27, a musical group featuring members of the band from “Begin Again”. The band recently performed at the film’s premiere and have future plans to gig in and around New York City.

I recently spoke to Walsh about her role on “Begin Again”, her music and what’s next for the aspiring young actress.

What attracted you to this project?

At the time of my audition I found out that Keira and Mark were already cast. I love period films and am a huge fan of both of them. I also happened to watch “Once” (John’s first movie) and it was insanely good. With that in mind, I knew immediately it was a project I wanted to be a part of.

How would you describe the story of “Begin Again”?

I think some people might go into it thinking that they’re going to get a rom-com [romantic comedy], but that’s really not was this is. It’s a story about how music develops relationships between people. The foundation of the relationships and romances between the best friends is music. The best part of this movie is that the comedy doesn’t just come from humorous lines that are written. It’s the situational things in life that make it spontaneously funny.

What can you tell me about your character, Rachel?

Rachel is the top of her class. A very nerdy cello player who is sick and tired of playing only classical music. She’s a bit skeptical about joining the band in the beginning, only because she has no idea who these people are or why they even chose her. Then she discovers that she really loves playing this music. It’s all original and nothing that she’s ever played before. It helps her come out of her shell, get loose and go somewhere that she’s never gone before.

What was the filming process like?

I have to say that this was the coolest set experience I’ve ever had. John [Carney] is hysterical and creates such a trendy and relaxed environment. From the first day, the atmosphere was like “Let’s just go with it and see what happens!” It was amazing and our band really bonded a lot. By the end of it, we had forgotten that the camera was rolling and it was just like hanging out with friends. The chemistry you see is very real.

You actually had to learn how to play cello for this film. What was that like?

I already had experience playing the violin, but I remember going in John asking me if I could learn the cello. So for the next four weeks, my journey of three-hour a day, private cello lessons began. It was challenging, but very rewarding!

Your band “experience” actually continued after filming was complete.

Yes, that was one of the coolest parts of the whole experience. None of us in the band had ever known each other before. We’re all people from different backgrounds and places who immediately connected. It’s the most hodgepodge mix of people with a huge age range.

After filming was complete, we all kept in touch and then this past spring one of the band members said, “Let’s make this a ‘thing’ and do some gigs together” – and everyone was immediately on board. So we all got together and just started playing. It was so much fun that we ended up playing at the premiere after-party. We’ve even launched a KickStarter campaign trying to get the band to play around the city and actually do what we did in the movie. We’re called “Suite 27”.

Can you tell me a little about your transition from gymnast to actress?

I was a gymnast from the ages of 3 to 17. I was always very competitive but once the time came to start applying to colleges I realized that my heart was just not into it anymore. I had run my course with the sport. I decided that I wanted to do something that at the time seemed like the opposite of gymnastics and for some reason, that thing was acting. I was a senior in high school when I started acting.

What other projects are you working on?

Right now, my focus is on getting my University degree. I have six more classes before I graduate. The plan is to get the degree and then settle in New York to concentrate on acting. That’s my number one priority!

Follow Shannon on Twitter : @shannonmaree22

Halloween: The Complete Collection Box Sets Coming to Blu-Ray!

Halloween Box SetBefore there was Jason, Freddy and Jigsaw there was…Michael Myers.

Last year, the horror film classic “Halloween” celebrated its 35th anniversary. Who could have ever had imagined that what writer/director John Carpenter had envisioned and what Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasence helped bring to life in 1978 would go on to become one of the most iconic horror film franchises of all time.

Over the years, audiences have relived the terror of Michael Myers through ten feature films (including various re-edits and alternate versions). Until now, the complete saga of Michael Myers could only be told in pieces — on individual DVD and Blu-ray releases. Through an unprecedented collaboration of rival home entertainment companies, Anchor Bay Entertainment and Scream Factory have announced that “Halloween The Complete Collection” Blu-ray box sets will arrive September 23rd.

For the legions of die-hard Halloween fans, the Deluxe Edition boasts 15 discs containing ALL of the Halloween feature films – Halloween, Halloween II, Halloween III: Season of the Witch, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, Halloween H20, Halloween: Resurrection, Rob Zombie’s Halloween and Halloween II.

The set also contains hours of new bonus features, including interviews with cast and crew from the entire franchise! The collectible packaging will include a newly commissioned illustration on the outer case and each film will be in its own black Blu-ray™ case with the original theatrical one sheet as the key art.

There is also a separate 10-disc Edition which includes the original theatrical versions of the Halloween films as well as select bonus features.

For fans of the franchise, these packages are the ultimate must haves for your horror collection.

Actor Vinicius Machado Discusses Starz Original Series: POWER

(Photo: Isaac Sterling - Stylist: Tiffani Chynel - Suit: Francisco Van Benthum - Shirt: Reiss)

(Photo: Isaac Sterling – Stylist: Tiffani Chynel – Suit: Francisco Van Benthum – Shirt: Reiss)

If Vinicius Machado looks familiar, it’s most likely because you’ve seen him some place before. The versatile actor has been gaining a solid reputation within the film and entertainment industry. Machado’s credits include being cast in films like the Golden Globe award-winner, “Monster”, “The Celestine Prophecy”, “Get Smart” and “Sunken City”. He’s also appeared in numerous hit television shows like “The Shield”, “Cold Case”, “Flash Forward” and “NCIS”. Machado is now set to star in the highly anticipated STARZ Original Series, “POWER”.

From executive producer Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and show creator Courtney Kemp Agboh, “POWER” follows the life of James “Ghost” St. Patrick (Omari Hardwick), the owner of a popular New York City nightclub. In addition to his role as club owner, Patrick is also a major player in one of the city’s biggest illegal drug networks. Machado plays Nomar Arcielo, a Latino member of the Soldado Nation gang. Having been blackmailed by the FBI, Arcielo becomes Counter Intelligence in their pursuit of their most wanted “Lobos” (Boss of my Boss). As he straddles those two worlds and walks a fine line, danger ensues and the threat of his life is inevitable.

“POWER” premieres Friday, June 6th on STARZ. I spoke to Machado about the show as well as some of his other upcoming projects.

How would you describe “POWER”?

The concept of the show is that it’s based around a New York club owner who’s living a double life, but there’s so much more to it than that. If I could describe the show in one word it would be – meliorism. The idea of pursuing something that’s bigger and better. We all have that natural desire, but then there’s also the price that you have to pay for it. What price are you willing to pay for whatever it is that’s bigger and better for you? That’s the overall premise of what POWER is all about.

What attracted you to the script?

It’s not your typical crime drama. This is beyond that. There are elements of humanity that you don’t always get to see within the characters and it was something I definitely wanted to be a part of.

What can you tell me about your character, Nomar Arcielo?

He’s a human being with faults just like everyone else. He’s a gangster but deep down really cares about the people that he attaches to.

What was the filming process like?

It was intense but such a great experience. I learned so much from everyone that I worked with. The whole cast and crew was on point — emulating and embracing the heart and culture of New York City. Every step that you take in the city is a whole new world and that’s what we tried to get across.

What was it like working with “50 Cent”?

It was amazing. He’s a busy guy but very much involved in the project. He had nothing but encouraging words to say. I’ve always been inspired by his life and the choices he’s made about his career. It was a privilege to get to know him and be a part of his show.

Was there a particular moment when you decided acting would be your calling?

I don’t think it was necessarily one specific moment. It was more a part of just accepting the process of the calling. Originally I was going to be a soccer player, but once I got into high school I was cast as the lead in the school play and from there I started getting into it more and more.

What other projects are you currently working on?

I’ve just completed a feature called “Misfortune” and have another one called “Sunken City” which is available on pay per view and digital download. I also have a horror film that I’ll be self-producing called “Abandoned”. It’s the story of an ex-marine who was supposed to have been left for dead in the war but who’s spirit is very much alive and pursuing the people of the town.

What do you enjoy the most about acting?

I love everything about it. From the waiting at the audition to preparing for a role and the transformation into character. It’s a world that I love to dig into and discover.

POWER – a STARZ Original Series Premieres Friday, June 6th

Crossbones: Actor Henry Hereford Discusses Adventurous New NBC Series

Henry Hereford (Photo by: Mara Casey)

Henry Hereford (Photo by: Mara Casey)

In the year 1729 on the secret island of Santa Compana, Edward Teach, better known as the notorious pirate Blackbeard (John Malkovich) reigns over a rogue nation of thieves, outlaws and malcontents. Blackbeard has his eyes set on a longitude chronometer, an invention that will ultimately change the world. Set in a world where one can never be sure just who is hero and who is villain, “Crossbones” is a compelling new one-hour drama that’s filled with extraordinary action, adventure and intrigue.

Actor Henry Hereford plays the role of Frederick Nightingale, a clockmaker who finds himself thrown into a world that’s out of his control. But Hereford’s acting prowess extends far beyond his work on “Crossbones”. His resume includes appearances on HBO’s ‘True Blood’ and TV Land’s “Happily Divorced”. He’s also appeared in the films “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and the Lifetime movie “Liz & Dick”.

Hereford also holds the rights to the theatrical version of “Festen” (based on the successful film “The Celebration”) and is currently searching for the right opportunity to stage it. I spoke to him about “Crossbones” (which premieres May 30th on NBC), his acting career and some of his other upcoming projects.

As an actor, how excited do you get when a new show gets close to an air date?

I get really excited. Especially when you consider that this is such a great show. It’s amazingly well-written and cast. I get excited because I know people are really going to enjoy it.

What attracted you to the role of Frederick Nightingale?

What’s interesting is that the character is sort of a fish out of water. He has an amazing mind and has created this machine which everyone is after. As a result, he finds himself thrown into a world that he doesn’t really fit into and has to cope. It’s fun to play people who are out of their comfort zones.

How did you get involved in the show?

My agent had pitched me for the role of Frederick Nightingale, but the casting director was based in New York and requested a video submission. I had never gotten a role by self-taping but a few weeks after my submission I received an email offering me the role. Coupled with that, I had to hop a plane to Puerto Rico two days later to begin filming. It’s an actor’s dream to be able to film in the Caribbean and it was just an incredible experience.

What was the chemistry like on set?

Amazing. I couldn’t have asked for a nicer bunch of actors to work with. It’s a real family. There were no egos and everyone just got along really well. Cast and crew would sometimes work eighty hours over the course of a week and then spend even more time together on weekends. It was a special time and people were very supportive and respected each other.

What made you decide to pursue a career in acting?

I enjoy the process of telling stories as different people and have been lucky enough to keep going at it. I also enjoy working on projects with many different and exciting people.

Tell me a little about your passion for the play, “Festen”.

It was originally a Danish language film called ‘The Celebration’ that was very successful. After it won at Cannes in 1998 everyone in the US was trying to get their hands on the rights to remake it into an English language film. But at the time, they wouldn’t let anyone remake it. Then a theater producer in London approached the company about turning it into a play. They agreed and it was put on in London and did amazingly well. It’s an incredibly powerful story and quite intense. I’m trying to find a place to do it and do it the right way.

Do you have a bit of advice for up and coming actors?

A teacher once told me that you should always be the most attractive version of yourself. As actors, we’re often told to be diverse but in reality, you need to know who you are and what you’re bringing to the table. A lot of actors might get frustrated and try to be something else. Always stick to who you are.

What other projects are you involved with?

An exciting, independent movie that I did a few years ago is being released this week. It’s a fun, romantic comedy called “Man Camp”. It’s the story about a guy who is fairly useless with women and gets trained up in a “man camp” with his friends. I play a random German who appears at different points. Dean Cain plays a great role in it and it’s going to be fun to watch.

Crossbones premieres on NBC Friday, May 30th at 10pm ET

Actor/Musician David Banks Talks New Movie – CUT! / Commerical Work

Actor/Musician David Banks

Actor/Musician David Banks

They say actors can always just sit and wait around for the right roles and auditions to come along. But David Banks was never about the status quo. Instead the actor, musician and metal head chooses to shine by doing things his own way.

Together with longtime friend and director David Rountree the duo wrote, developed and star in what will likely become one of the most talked about indie horror films of 2014 — CUT!

In CUT! nothing is as it seems as an ex-con and aspirant filmmaker set out to manufacture a horror film. But when things go horribly wrong and someone actually dies, the pair decides that killing for real on film is the only way to make a truly terrifying movie.

The premise for CUT! is a unique approach to the horror genre and Banks and Rountree create a “suspense thriller within a horror film” scenario and along the way (with the casting of Suze Lanier-Bramlett and Gabrielle Stone – daughter of legendary actress Dee Wallace) they also indirectly pay homage to one of the classic horror films of a generation – “The Hills Have Eyes”. CUT! also stars Sam Scarber, Dahlia Salem, William McNamara and Chris Moir.

In addition to his film work, Banks has racked up an impressive resume of commercial work as well. His list of credits include being the original Tru Moo Milk guy for years and is currently commercial spokesman for Allegiant Air. I caught up with him to get an update on CUT!, his commercial work as well as his musical background!

How did the CUT! project come about?

David Rountree and I had this amazing idea for a film and decided to bring it to life. I saved a big chunk of my money from commercials to help fund the project. It’s been a fun-filled race…. well more like marathon! We recently found a nice home for the film which was super exciting! It will be everywhere very shortly.

Tell me about you character, Lane Hayes and the CUT! story.

My character is an ex con with an addiction to drugs and violent tendencies towards women. Rountree plays Travis Simon, a guy who’s spent years in film school trying to become a director but has only managed to find work renting out equipment to other filmmakers. With access to everything we need to make a movie, the idea is born to just scare people and capture the footage. However, something goes horribly wrong and the first person in this attempt is killed for real. After reviewing the video to help cover our tracks, it is decided that we have such shock value in the real kill, that maybe that is what we need to do. The story takes off from that point as every gut wrenching authentic death “scene” is captured on film and I do all the “dirty work”! [laughs].

What are some of the challenges you discovered during the filming process?

When you do so much with a small crew, everything is on your shoulders. Paying for actors, sound, locations and crafts service can quickly add up! I remember shooting until the sun came up on many occasions. There’s something about driving home after shooting all day and night with your eyes half-open and watching other pass by who are just starting their day. In fact, I don’t know how Rountree does it. We would finish shooting and instead of sleeping, he would immediately start editing. He’s always been an inspiration and it was an absolute pleasure to collaborate with him on this project.

Banks1Tell me about your musical background.

I was raised with music around me at all times. My mother and father both played the piano and were rocking me on their knees to Fleetwood Mac as a baby. For some reason, I didn’t have the patience for the piano and thought it would be much more fun to hit the keys with wooden mixing spoons. Guess it was my way of telling my parents I wanted a drum set….. NOW! [laughs]. As a child, I’d often lock myself in my bedroom and play the drums to my Ozzy, Rush, Whitesnake and Iron Maiden albums. I was also the kid who wore all black and would usually leave school at lunch to go play with my band – who were all much older than me and had no idea I was still in school.

When did you know that acting was going to be your calling?

I was around the business from an early age and even remember my father staying up late every night bouncing ideas back and forth with my mother. He worked for an advertising agency that was responsible for commercials for companies like Levi’s, Bank Of America, Dole, and California Raisins. After losing my father to a heart attack at just 53, I remember having this strong urge to want to be like him. He was everything a father was supposed to be and I really wanted to make him proud.

What were those early years like?

The first few years of auditions were brutal. Getting excited about a callback only to discover even more people there than the actual first audition. Then there are the auditions you go on where you’re required to take off your shirt. You get there and find yourself surrounded by 25 other shirtless guys – half of them look like Mr. Olympia and the other half are showing their ZED cards [a portfolio card with several pictures] with four different looks of them with their shirts off [laughs].

It’s an amazing roller coaster ride filled with ups, downs and occasional stops. But when you land a big campaign it’s a great feeling! I was the original Tru Moo Milk guy for years and am now the commercial spokesman for Allegiant Air. I feel extremely blessed for things like that.

Do you have any advice you can give to up and coming actors?

They say man becomes what he thinks about. Write it down and look at it every day! Eat, breathe, sleep and live for what you believe in!

David Banks Official Website * Facebook

For more on CUT! Click Here!

 

 

 

Actress Alison Wright Discusses “The Americans”

AlisonWright1Multi-talented television, film, and theater actress Alison Wright is making a name for herself in the entertainment industry. The British born Wright currently stars as Martha Hanson, Matthew Rhys’ semi-clueless, yet confidential informant at the FBI on the hit FX series, “The Americans”.

Set during the Cold War period in the 1980s, “The Americans” tells the story of Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Philip Jennings (Matthew Rhys), two Soviet KGB officers posing as a married American couple living in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.

Although a newbie to series television, Wright is no stranger to entertainment and the performing arts. Her first acting job was at age 11 in Catherine Cookson’s ‘The 15 Streets’ at Newcastle Theatre Royal. She then went on to train professionally at Newcastle Centre for Performing arts in the UK, and later in New York City at The Barrow Group, Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, and HB Studio, Her favorite medium may be the stage, but Wright’s talent extends all formats.

Wright’s film credits include roles in “The Nanny Diaries” with Scarlett Johansson and the short films “Nights”, and “Braaains”! Her stage roles include off-Broadway productions of The New Group’s Marie & Bruce (opposite Marisa Tomei) and Rafta Rafta, as well as regional performances in Educating Rita, Godspell, The Little Mermaid and Bye Bye Birdie.

When she isn’t acting, Wright is an avid world traveler; having already been to six continents and visiting everywhere from Buenos Aires and Australia to Abu Dhabi and Morocco.

I spoke with Wright about her role on “The Americans” and more in this exclusive interview.

How would you describe the story of “The Americans”?

Essentially, it’s the story of a marriage and all of the difficulties that go on within the relationship between two people who just happen to be KGB spies [laughs].

How did this project come about for you?

It was very out of the blue. I remember I was at the theater and during an intermission I was checking messages. I got one from my manager who told me that he had a great audition opportunity, but I needed to have it turned around, taped and back in LA in ten hours. I finished watching the rest of the play, read the scenes on the drive home and we filmed it at ten o’clock the next morning. I had one more audition after that and then it was done.

What initially attracted you to the role of Martha Hanson?

It was an exciting character that I could easily connect with. I could imagine putting myself in that position quite easily. Sometimes when you read things you immediately know that you have a take on it. I felt that way about this one.

How would you describe Martha?

Martha’s changed quite a bit now that we’re coming to the end of season two. She’s a sweet lady who only wants to believe good things about people. Basically, she’s happily in love with this guy who unfortunately (just like the essence of the show) happens to be a KGB spy. But as far as she’s concerned, she has the perfect relationship.

What’s the chemistry like on the set?

Most of my scenes are with Matthew. It’s awesome and hilarious. He’s from Wales and I’m from England so we just constantly banter back and forth: stupid voices, stupid jokes. For us, it’s great!

Alison Wright (Photo: Elise Gannett)

Alison Wright (Photo: Elise Gannett)

You also did a few scenes with Keri Russell.

That was a total surprise to have one with her. It’s so fun because our paths don’t cross too often and when they finally do, she’s this weird character wearing a wig and glasses playing Clark’s sister. It’s very fun to get to be with her when it happens.

As an English actress, do you find it difficult to give your character an “American” accent?

I grew up in England being exposed to a lot of American television. It’s a very familiar sound that I’ve been used to hearing from an early age, so it’s easy to copy. It’s like a switch you can just turn on.

Coming from the theater and film world, are there any differences doing a television series?

Huge differences. This show is my first step into television and it’s a whole different ballgame. There are a lot of things to learn about and consider. The language, lingo and what’s needed. Luckily, I work with Matthew who has plenty of experience and can help me if I need it.

Did you always know that you wanted to become an actress?

I think so. I started at a dancing school when I was four and that led to performing in big regional theaters before I was ten. It was a natural move to transition to acting. I was working theater in England and when I finished college I came here to go to school in New York to study method acting. I’ve been here ever since.

Do you have any other interests outside of acting?

I really like art and scenic design. That kind of visual design and decoration – I really love that. I also like to travel. I’ve spent a few summers in Paris and then when Paris shuts down in August, I’ll sometimes head down to the south of France and Summer there. It’s awesome!

What can fans expect from the season two finale of “The Americans”?

I remember when I read it for the first time and finished the last page, I was shocked. I certainly didn’t see what was coming. It’s going to be a very cool and exciting finale.

Ready Steady Go!: Drake Bell Releases New Rockabilly Album with Brian Setzer

DrakeBellGuitarist Drake Bell wasn’t made for these times.

The actor/musician, best known for his work as teenage rocker Drake Parker on the Nickelodeon TV show Drake & Josh, actually grew up listening to the likes of Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, the Beatles and Stray Cats.

On Bell’s new album, Ready Steady Go!, he pays homage to those roots by teaming with one of his biggest musical influences — Brian Setzer — for a tastefully inspired collection of classic rockabilly favorites and new material.

In addition to Bell’s catchy original, “Bitchcraft” are his take on songs like “Crazy Little Thing Called Love (Queen)”, “Still Rock And Roll To Me (Billy Joel)” and a haunting version of Setzer’s own “I Won’t Stand In Your Way”.

I recently spoke to Bell about Ready Steady Go!, his guitar work and more.

GUITAR WORLD: What made you decided to do a project like this?

This is the music I grew up on. My first guitar was a Gretsch 6120, and I just loved listening to artists like Elvis, Chuck Berry and Stray Cats. But when I wanted to go make records, it was hard. I couldn’t really be on the show [Drake & Josh] and then go in and do a three-piece rockabilly-type record of Fifties music.

How did the collaboration with Brian Setzer come about?

I’ve been a fan of Brian’s for such a long time and had the opportunity to go backstage and meet him from time to time. It got to the point to where I started becoming a familiar face backstage. I still remember when I first presented the idea for this album to him. He was confused at first and said, “Wait a minute — you mean you want to make a rockabilly record?” [laughs]. I said “Yeah, this is what I’ve always wanted to do!”

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Read the rest of my Guitar World interview with
Drake Bell by Clicking Here!

A Letter To Mickey Rooney

RooneyDear Mr. Rooney,

I woke up this morning to the sad news that you had passed away. While I suppose I really shouldn’t be all that upset (considering you did live to the ripe old age of 93) I can’t help but feel a sense of emptiness inside whenever I think that you will no longer be here.

No, you do not know who I am but I certainly know you. Years ago, my grandmother told me all about how she loved watching your performances as Andy Hardy in “A Family Affair” and “Love Laughs at Andy Hardy”. Films that were well before my time.

For the next few days, I’ll be reading obituaries from people and publications who will try their best to memorialize your life and body of work. Most of them will remember you for things like your honorary Oscars, hanging out with Judy Garland and Audrey Hepburn or being one of the last real heroes from Hollywood’s Golden Age. And I’m sure the gossip columns will once again bring up your failed marriages (including a short one to legendary actress Ava Gardner) or claims of elder abuse.

But me? I will always remember you for just one thing. Not for Andy Hardy or Mr. Yunioshi from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” or even the mentally challenged Bill Sackter, the role that won you a Golden Globe and Emmy Award. On the contrary, I will always remember you as Santa Claus, the clay mation character you portrayed in those wonderful 1970’s Rankin Bass specials that I enjoyed watching every year as a child.

Because whether you know it or not, you taught me valuable lessons in your performances as Kris Kringle. Important, philosophical things like:

How to put one foot in front of the other:

And most importantly, how to believe in Santa Claus.

Whenever I watch these specials (even all of these years later) I am young again and you are still here.

So as you go forth on to your final destination, take comfort in the fact that generations of children (even forty-five year old ones like me) will always think fondly of you at the end of every year.

Godspeed Mr. Rooney.

Your friend,

Jimmy

Flowers In December: Actress Gabrielle Stone Discusses New Film Project

Wallace-StoneWhen writer/director JT Mollner first sat down to write “Flowers in December” a few years back, his main inspiration was his friend, legendary actress Dee Wallace.

Having seen flashes of her real character range in films like “The Frighteners”, Mollner wanted to write something equally dark, but much more realistic for Wallace. But what started out as a sort of one woman show quickly evolved into an ensemble piece featuring other interesting characters and a dark, complex love story. A story that Mollner himself says is one of the most interesting and compelling things he’s ever written.

Flowers in December tells the story of Hannah, a hard living “bad girl” in her mid 50’s who gave up on life years ago when she lost her one true love to uncontrollable circumstances. Now, meandering through her days on auto-pilot, she lives a gritty, yet stable life in a West Texas trailer park with her new husband and 22-year-old daughter, Holly. Even though on the surface it seems she’s picked up the pieces, a deep obsession with her lost love still consumes her, and she will stop at nothing to reunite with him. Even if it means the destruction of her new family, madness, or worse.

The film stars Dee Wallace (E.T, Cujo, The Frighteners) along with her real-life daughter Gabrielle Stone (CUT!, Speak No Evil, Zombie Killers), Robert Craighead (Children’s Hospital, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) and JB Blanc (The Count of Monte Crisco, Breaking Bad).

Mollner, along with producer Chris Ivan Cevic have recently launched an Indigogo campaign to help turn their vision into a “cinema ready” film. With typical film projects, everything is already panned out. But the cool thing about Indigogo is that everyone who contributes becomes more personally involved in the film’s success. Here’s your chance to help make that happen.

As a “thank you” for contributing to the project, there are numerous rewards available. Everything from Executive Producer Credit to signed DVD’s, autographed posters, a chance to visit the set and even a rare opportunity to be the only featured “extra” in the film.

I spoke with actress Gabrielle Stone about her role in the film and how fans can help.

How did you become involved in “Flowers In December”?

I signed on after JT sent me the script. I’ve done two shorts with him before, both that were winners at The Hollyshorts Festival and received distribution. The script was fantastic and he had an amazing cast assembled that drew me to the project.

What attracted you to the story?

I love the theme of the script. It’s all about the positives and negatives of love and relationships. How love can trap us in unhealthy circumstances as well as set us free. In a short film, it explores numerous different outlooks in various relationships.It’s the story of a woman’s undying love for someone and how it affects her and those around her.

Flowers in December Cast (l to r: Robert Craighead, Dee Wallace, Gabrielle Stone, and JB Blan)

Flowers in December cast (l to r: Robert Craighead, Dee Wallace, Gabrielle Stone, and JB Blanc)

Tell me a little about the Indigogo project and how fans can help!

You can simply go to the website and select how much you’d like to contribute. They’ve set up a bunch of perks you can receive. There are some great photos and videos being released every few days for people to check out as well.

Let’s discuss another one of your upcoming projects. What can you tell me about your role in “Zombie Killers”?

I play Nikki Slater, the main characters girlfriend. She’s a tough chick with a good heart. It was definitely an awesome role to bring to life.

As an actress, do you feel any added pressure having to work with your mom?

Not at all. I love my mom and she’s my best friend, but on set she’s just another co-star I’m working with. We had a great time shooting our one scene together. It was the first time we had gotten the chance to work together. She plays my boyfriend’s mom in the film.

What is your favorite movie that your Mom has made?

“Cujo”. I still think she should have been up for the Oscar for it. After that film I knew I would always be safe…cause my mom could kick ass with a shotgun! [laughs].

What else are your currently working on?

“CUT!” should be out later this year and “Speak No Evil” just got picked up by Lionsgate and will be releasing later this year as well. I’ll be shooting “Stray” starting in May for three weeks in Pennsylvania. I get to work with my Zombie Killers co-star Dan McLaughlin again so I’m looking forward to starting it. Then a week after I wrap on “Stray” I’ll be in NYC shooting ‘Once When I Was Dead’, a festival short with Scott Perry.

How early on in life did you know that acting was going to become a passion?

I always thought I wanted to be an actress because I watched both my parents do it growing up. But it wasn’t until I did my first short film (which was with JT Mollner) that I realized I never wanted to do anything else.

For more info on Flowers In December and how to contribute Click Here!
(Even if you are unable to make a financial contribution please help
spread the word with others on social media, email or by word of mouth!)

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