Author Archives: James Wood

Journey’s Neal Schon Talks Rock Hall of Fame Induction and New Projects

Photo: Schon Productions

Photo: Schon Productions

Neal Schon has a lot to be thankful for.

Last year, the longtime Journey guitarist—and the band’s only remaining founding member—celebrated another season of touring and was reunited with his longtime friend and mentor, Carlos Santana, for the Santana IV album and tour.

The new year is already off to a memorable start for Schon. In addition to the assortment of solo-related projects he’s working on, it was recently announced that Journey–whose current lineup includes Jonathan Cain (keyboards, vocals), Ross Valory (bass, vocals), Steve Smith (drums) and Arnel Pineda (lead vocals)—will be inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April alongside Yes, ELO, Pearl Jam, Joan Baez, Nile Rodgers and Tupac Shakur.

I recently spoke with Schon about Journey’s induction, his upcoming projects and more.

Did you ever think the day would come when Journey would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
I didn’t really think about it. We were up about 17 years ago, and when we weren’t nominated, I kind of forgot about it. One of the main things that got us in was our fans voting so hard. The fans and the music are the main things for me. They spoke and the Hall listened. It’s an honor to be in there and get the nod for some of the staples and cement we’ve made.Do you see Journey’s induction as a stepping stone for other “classic rock” bands to eventually get a nod?

I really can’t say because I have no clue what the voting process is. Personally, I’d love to see it be more fan-based. A hall of fame is about different artists and bands and the legacies they’ve left. Even if the people deciding don’t care for a certain type of music, the artists that have the credentials and sell millions of records deserve to be there.

Read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Neal Schon by Clicking Here.

Actress Sara Castro Discusses ‘Christmas Eve’, Upcoming Projects

Photo by: Gaylord Hill

Photo by: Gaylord Hill

“A botched robbery leads down a destructive path for a police officer, an amateur photographer and a strung-out mall Santa as they all converge in one explosive and deadly night.”

With a cast that also includes Eric Close (Nashville, Without A Trace), Adrian Paul (Highlander) and Mary-Margaret Humes (Criminal Minds, Dawson’s Creek), Sara Castro’s next project, “Christmas Eve” is sure to be one of the most talked about independent films of 2017. The film reunites the beautiful actress with director Richard Friedman, who worked with Castro on the critically acclaimed “Halfway To Hell”.

In “Christmas Eve”, Castro plays the role of Kasey Edwards, a mother trying to manage her husband’s alcohol recovery while caring for her sick daughter.

Castro has also earned praise herself for her powerful work in the film, “The Shift” aa well as the genre-defying, award-winning horror/sci-fi, “The Dark Tapes”.

Although “Christmas Eve” won’t be released until next year, I recently spoke with Castro about the film and more in this exclusive new interview.

How did “Christmas Eve” come about for you?

I had the pleasure of working with Richard Friedman again on this project. Richard has a lot of experience as a director and is always putting together interesting things. But it wasn’t a role that was just given to me. I liked the fact that I had to work for it and earn it. It makes you want to work even harder so you can show them they made the right decision.

What was it about the script that piqued your interest?

It was having the chance to work with Richard again, the story and the role. The fact that it had such good names attached to it was another factor because you learn so much from them. Eric Close (who plays my husband, Randall) has been in a lot of series and just finished Nashville. It’s always cool getting to work with great people. It validates why you do what you do.

How would you describe the story of “Christmas Eve”?

It’s a story about a robbery that leads down a destructive path for a police officer who’s reconnecting with his estranged mother. That leads to another story about an amateur photographer and his vindictive fiancé. From there, it connects to a strung-out, mall Santa. He’s my character’s husband and is a recovering alcoholic who’s having a hard time keeping a job. My daughter is very sick and needs assistance, so we really need the money. I’m a nervous wreck trying to make sure the stress isn’t getting to him but at the same time I have my own demons.

What else can you tell me about your character, Kasey?

Kasey is the strong one in the family and has been through a lot with her daughter being sick. She’s trying to keep everything together and under control.

Is there a certain way you like to prepare for a role or scene?

I always try to put together a backstory for my character: where she came from and what’s led her to this point in time.

What do you enjoy most about the creative process?

I love the process of discovery and surprising myself as well as giving the director different takes. That’s the most fun and beautiful part of the process. It can be a bit nerve wracking when you just throw yourself into a scene but you’ll always be pleasantly surprised and find things you never expected. The unpredictability makes it fun.

Are there any other projects you’re working on?

I recently attended another of “The Dark Tapes”. Michael McQuown (Director) has told me that he has plans to do a spin off of it. I believe we’ll be shooting that in February.

What are you most looking forward to about the 2017?

I’m really excited for 2017 and with the help of my team feel I’m getting closer and closer to my goals. The momentum is going so well and it’s only going to get better!

Actor Michael Nardelli Talks ‘Christmas In Homestead’ and Upcoming ‘Dark/Web’ Series

Photo credit: Patrick Maus

Photo credit: Patrick Maus

After making his professional acting debut as Stradivarius Helberg on the television show ‘Quintuplets’, actor Michael Nardelli went on to star alongside Zac Efron in the independent film, ‘Derby Stallion’ as well as the comedy ‘Grassroots’ with Jason Biggs. He’s also had recurring roles on such shows as  ‘American Crime Story: ‘The People Vs. OJ Simpson’,  ‘CSI: New York’, and ‘Nashville’.

But as 2016 comes to a close, Nardelli’s creative prowess is really starting to heat up. Beginning with the new Hallmark film, “Christmas in Homestead’.

In ‘Christmas In Homestead’, Jessica (Taylor Cole), one of the most famous actresses in world, heads to the Christmas-obsessed town to shoot a holiday-themed film. While there, a romance brews between Jessica and a local innkeeper. Nardelli plays the role of Ian Cooper. An aggressive paparazzo who makes his living by chasing down celebrities and getting the dirt on their love lives.

In real life, Nardelli is currently producing, writing and starring in a new digital series called ‘Dark/Web’ that’s slated for release early next year. Each episode consists of a portion of a serialized tale and a stand-alone science fiction / horror short centered around technological themes.

I recently spoke with Nardelli about ‘Christmas in Homestead’, ‘Dark/Web’ and more in this exclusive interview.

How did “Christmas in Homestead” come about for you?

It came up with an audition. My agent sent me the request and I taped it. Nowadays, a lot of auditions (and even callbacks) are put on tape rather than in room. I actually never had to audition in a room with anyone. The glory of modern technology [laughs]!

What was it that attracted you to the script?

I’d just come off several really dark, challenging roles so to run off and make a Hallmark Christmas movie felt like going on holiday! I liked the idea of doing a feel good romantic comedy. I also liked Ian’s arc a lot. Going from someone very self-centered to someone who realizes he must become a better person to keep someone he cares very much for in his life.

How would you describe the story of “Christmas in Homestead”?

It’s an old fashioned, fish out of water Christmas story. “Christmas In Homestead” is about a Hollywood production that goes to a small-town in Iowa to film a Christmas movie. There’s lots of hijinks and clashing of morals: big city folk kind of rediscovering their values in this small town where things like family and tradition are more important than fame and fortune.

What else can you tell me about your character, Ian Carter?

Ian Carter is a paparazzo and makes his living chasing down the big photo and the big exclusive in Los Angeles. When we meet him, he’s very bottom line driven and doesn’t have a lot of sympathy for others’ privacy. He’s been chasing one of the biggest actresses in the world, Jessica (played by Taylor Cole) and follows her to Homestead to get the big scoop on whether or not she’s getting back with her ex. Along the way, he meets a local Innkeeper who kind of changes his entire world.  

What can you tell me about your new series, Dark/Web? 

I really like stories that deal with the human condition and also what it means to be alive today. And “today” means technology and social media. We’ve opened these doors in our lives that will never close again in terms of the Internet and connectivity, and most of us don’t really know its impact on our daily lives and our future. “Dark/Web” came out of that. For this project, I teamed up with my brother, Tim Nardelli and Mario Miscione.

How would you describe the series?

It’s a scary, fresh, relevant take on where we are today with technology and the dangers of a world that is “always on.” It’s reminiscent of “The Twilight Zone” in the way it tackles modern issues we’re all dealing with thematically, but hides some of that in stories that are meant to be entertaining, scary and thrilling. The show has an anthology aspect to it, so a cool variety of filmmakers and actors pop in and out for episodes. There’s also a serialized portion of the show though that spans across the eight episodes and kind of ties everything together. It’s the kind of show where the more you watch the more you see how everything is connected.

Do you have a timeframe as to when it will be released?

We still have three episodes to film in February and we’re hoping to release it in spring 2017.

Did you always know that you wanted a career in entertainment? Was it something you always aspired to do?

Yes. I grew up watching old movies and TV shows with my mom and  always wanted to be up on stage or in front of the camera (or behind) doing the same thing. In middle school, I’d write, direct and act in little shorts that my classmates and I would make. I’d always ask if I could put a little film together instead of writing a paper and sometimes even got my wish! I did all of the theater I could in high school and college. Because I didn’t grow up in Hollywood or New York and didn’t have family in the entertainment business, it was an unconventional decision to make. But there was never any other option for what I wanted to do!

Heart’s Nancy Wilson Talks ‘Live at the Royal Albert Hall’ CD/DVD

Photo by: Christie Goodwin

Photo by: Christie Goodwin

Heart’s epic new CD/DVD/Blu-ray, Live at the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, captures the band’s first performance—ever—at the legendary London venue.

The sold-out show, which took place in June, was highlighted by hit after hit—from “Crazy on You” and “Barracuda” to “Magic Man” and “Dreamboat Annie”—plus tracks from the band’s engaging new studio album, Beautiful Broken.

Besides Ann Wilson (vocals) and Nancy Wilson (guitar/vocals), the band that night included Ben Smith (drums), Dan Rothchild (bass), Craig Bartock (guitar), Chris Joyner (keyboards) and, of course, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Nick Davies.

I recently spoke with Nancy Wilson about the Royal Albert Hall performance, gear and the stories behind some of the band’s biggest hits.

When and how did the idea for a performance at the Royal Albert Hall originate?
We had been pushing the concept of bringing the band over to the U.K. and doing some shows for some time. That was when someone who had been handling big shows at Royal Albert Hall got wind that we were coming over and asked if we’d be interested in doing a World Symphony show. And we were like, “Uhm, yeah! I think we could manage that!” [laughs]. It all fell together very naturally.

What was the process like in terms of putting orchestration behind the band’s iconic songs?
It was a cool thing because we already had some standard charts from Paul Buckmaster, who worked us on Beautiful Broken. But we didn’t want to give it a pastoral kind of sound. We wanted more of a rock-symphony sound. We came over and had one day with Nick Davies looking over the charts and talking them over. We perused through them together and decided what to add and what take out.

The same day as the show was the only day we actually rehearsed with the orchestra. They’re so insanely talented. Once we got out there and saw how great it sounded in the room, we knew right away it was going to work. That’s when we said, “Ok, let’s go have some fun!”

Read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Nancy Wilson Here!

Actor David Banks Puts on 20 Pounds Of Muscle for New Role and Says, ‘Sayonara Skinny’

Photo by: Gaylord Hill

Photo by: Gaylord Hill

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 –who’s credits include more than 100 commercials as well as the features “The Dark Tapes,” and “CUT!” chooses to shine by doing things his own way.

Case in point. Banks’ upcoming project, “Preacher Six” required the wisecracking funnyman to gain more than twenty pounds. To reach his goal in the quickest amount of time, Banks hit the weights hard and supplemented his routine with Optimum Nutrition products.

I recently spoke with him about his dramatic transformation and his upcoming projects in this exclusive new interview.

“Preacher Six” required you to gain some weight. How were you safely able to put on 20 pounds of muscle?

My character is one of those heavily caffeinated, fast-talking lug types. I’ve been the skinny, twerpy guy for a long time. So when they asked me if I’d be ok with putting on ten pounds I said, “Why not go for twenty?” Robert Corbett and the guys at Optimum Nutrition really helped get me get on the gain train! Their gainer shakes and Amino Energy quickly became my new best friends.

What was your exercises routine like? 

I went the resistance route. Lifted heavier than normal and whenever I wanted to stop, I did two more. I got to the point of excitement that I’d hit the scales just to see how much heavier I was than the day prior. I also set my alarm clock to wake me up in the middle of the night to devour tuna and protein shakes.

What can you tell me about “Preacher Six”?

The minute I picked up the script I literally couldn’t put it down. Tracy Ray [screenwriter] is onto something really big here! “Preacher Six” is the story of a small town preacher who’s summoned to the big city where he ends up fighting evil. The characters he meets along the journey are something special and unique! The film also stars Naomi Grossman (American Horror Story), Zach Galligan (Gremlins), Kyle Hester (The Chair) and Bill Oberst Jr. (Criminal Minds). Kyle and I have been talking about working together for years, so I’m excited it’s finally happening. He is an absolute talent.

You’ve recently stepped away from commercials to be a little more involved in films. Is there one you enjoy doing more than the other?

I’ve always had a strong love for commercials and enjoy the process of it a little bit more. It’s fascinating with everything that goes into a simple thirty-second spot. 

David Banks - (Before)

David Banks – (Before)

What’s the biggest compliment you’ve heard so far about any of your commercials?

“Wow, you were so annoying!” [laughs]. I think the minute I stop being the aggravating, irritating and imbecilic idiot next door is when I know it’ll be time to quit.

You have two other movies coming out soon, “Half Magic” and “Bornless Ones”. What can you tell me about them?

“Half Magic” is Heather Graham’s directorial debut and was an absolute blessing to be a part of. She really put her heart into this one and is one of the most giving actresses I’ve ever worked with. I also got to work alongside Chris D’Elia and it was non-stop laughs.

“Bornless Ones” will be out sometime in early 2017. Alexander Babaev [director] is absolutely going to be huge! I’m excited about that one as well.

 What do you enjoy most about the creative process?

I’d have to say my favorite part is witnessing how it all comes together in the editing process. I also tend to lean more towards the seriously dark and depressing characters in a film and am fascinated by the ability one has to turn on the “crazy” switch.

Have you ever given thought to your next writing / producing project?

Absolutely! I had so much fun watching my last writing adventure; “CUT!” come to life. I’m already working on a new film even more twisted [laughs].

Glenn Hughes Talks New Solo Album, Gear and Black Country Communion

glennhughes

Glenn Hughes is an elusive artist with an uncanny ability to jam with Stevie Wonder one night and rock out with Disturbed the next. But perhaps no album showcases the real Glenn Hughes better than Resonate, his first solo album of new material in eight years.

With its groove-oriented, Detroit-style sound, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has made the album his fans have been longing for. Tracks like “Heavy,” “Landmines” and “Flow” spotlight Hughes’ limitless swagger, while “Long Time Gone” is acoustic and secretive.

I recently spoke with Hughes about the new album, his gear, Black Country Communion and a some of the more memorable moments of his career.

Resonate is your first solo album in eight years. Why such a long wait?
I’ve written three Black Country Communion albums, a California Breed album and bits and pieces with others artists. As I was recovering from double-knee transplants earlier this year, I was bedridden for a while and wrote this album. But I didn’t go in to write a solo album. I did it for cathartic/therapy reasons. If you know anything about me, you know I’m always writing.

To me, this album is one long song with 12 breaks. It’s a meaningful record because I sing about the human condition and what gets us through. I’m singing about my father’s death and I’m pissed off, but I’m also sensitive and you get to hear that in the tone of my voice in certain songs.

Read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with Glenn Hughes by Clicking Here!

Guitarist John Roth Discusses Gear and the Roth Brock Project

roth-brockGuitarist John Roth first met vocalist Terry Brock in 2009 while working on Giant’s Promised Land record.

The pair immediately developed a musical bond, not to mention the songwriting chemistry that would eventually lead to their infectious debut album, Roth Brock Project.

For Roth—who gigs with Winger and Starship Featuring Mickey Thomas—and Brock (Giant, LeRoux, Strangeways), the 11-song collaboration of thundering guitars and powerhouse vocals pays homage to the inspired songwriting and style of Eighties arena rock while showcasing the talents of two seasoned veterans.

I recently spoke to Roth about the Roth Brock Project, his time with Starship and Winger, gear and more in this new interview.

How did your musical relationship with Terry Brock begin? 

In 2009, I did a record with Giant called Promised LandDann Huff was the lead guitar player of the band, but he was too busy to do the record. He knew the guitar community, and I got the call to come in and do the record. Terry was the lead singer and he and I did some co-writing for the record and really hit it off.

How would you describe the Roth Brock Project in terms of its sound?

It’s classic, arena rock and roll. It’s got an Eighties vibe but with new gear and new recording technology. I wanted to deliver a record that has the elements of Winger, Starship and Giant. It’s inspired by that kind of sound.

What’s your writing process like? 

I’ve written a few songs from musical ideas, but most are inspired when I hear a melody or lyric in my head. I’ll usually hear the chorus in my head first and then write what would go behind it and then move on to the verse and bridge. For me, it really comes chorus first.

You can read the rest of my
gw_logoInterview with John Roth by Clicking Here.

Stryper Celebrates 30 Years of ‘To Hell With The Devil’ With Music, Memories in Stone Pony Performance

thwtdFirst, a little bit of perspective.

It was my senior year of high school in March of 1987 when rumors surfaced that Christian rockers, Stryper were coming to town. The band, which had already been generating a healthy buzz in both the Christian and secular/MTV worlds with the songs “Calling On You,” “Free,” “Honestly” and the title-track from their ‘To Hell With The Devil’ album, was out on tour supporting the release and would soon be rolling into The State Theatre in Easton, Pennsylvania.

My hometown.

Easton is a small town that borders the western end of New Jersey and lies somewhere in between the metropolitan cities of New York and Philadelphia. With a population of 26,000, the highlight of a night in Easton in 1987 consisted of listening to the freight trains rumble through the downtown or hanging out at the local McDonald’s on South Third Street.

Needless to say, when word got out that Stryper was coming to town it was a pretty big deal. And for a seventeen-year-old punk who had his own visions of rock stardom, it was also a dream come true. I had already worn out my cassette copy of THWTD learning it at guitar lesson, and now I had the chance of seeing the band perform it at a place within walking distance from my home. I immediately scrounged up every last dollar of lawn mowing money and the loose change from the sofa cushions and camped out in front of the venue. My reward? A single, front-row ticket to the show!

Stryper - Easton, PA 1987

Stryper – Easton, PA 1987

I remember the band’s performance that night was amazing. Stryper– Michael Sweet, Robert Sweet, Oz Fox and Tim Gaines—wore their classic yellow and black uniforms, threw bibles into the audience and sang songs about positivity with soaring vocals and an infectious dual guitar attack. That show and tour remain one of the biggest highlights of my teenage years.

Fast-forward thirty years. I am now a middle-aged man, but still a punk-kid at heart. Dreams of rock stardom have been replaced by coffee, deadlines and a word processor. I may be a little thick in the middle now and my hairline may have receded, but my love of guitar and all things metal is still overflowing. So much so that last night I drove two hours outside the safe confines of Easton to catch Stryper performing the 30th anniversary of ‘To Hell With The Devil’ at The Stone Pony in Asbury, NJ.

Photo courtesy: Dale Wilson

Stryper – Asbury, NJ 2016. Photo courtesy: Dale Wilson

Oh sure, I’ve heard the band perform many of the songs from ‘To Hell With The Devil’ over the years –including most recently last April at the famous Whisky a Go Go in Los Angeles, but never in a celebration-style format of the entire album being performed in its entirety from front to back by those same original members, and I was not disappointed.

From the opening sounds of The Abyss (which kicks off ‘To Hell With Devil’) to the title-track, “Calling On You,” “Free” and “Honestly”, it was a time capsule of youth and music. Some of my other favorites from the album included “Holding On,” “More Than A Man” and the always emotional, “All of Me”.

As if seeing the band perform their biggest album in its entirely wasn’t enough, Stryper also went into an additional set of songs from their 33-year musical arsenal. Tracks like “Yahweh,” “God,” “Soldiers Under Command” and “Caught In the Middle” were fist pumping and magical, while the band’s infectious versions of Black Sabbath’s “Heaven and Hell” and KISS’ “Shout it Out Loud” were met with equally enthusiastic response.

The band ended their two-hour performance with the dual encore of “Reach Out” and “Makes Me Wanna Sing”, both from their ‘Soldiers Under Command’ album and capping off a celebration that included a little bit of everything.

In fact, about the only thing missing from Stryper’s Stone Pony set was their monster hit, “Always There For You” from their 1988 album, ‘In God We Trust’. But after experiencing the band many times over these last thirty years –both from small towns to the big cities–I can honestly say that it made no difference.

For me, Stryper will always be there.

Stryper Set List (Asbury Park, NJ)

Abyss (To Hell With The Devil)
To Hell With the Devil
Calling on You
Free
Honestly
The Way
Sing Along Song
Holding On
Rocking The World
All Of Me
More Than A Man
Battle Hymn of the Republic (pre-recorded)
Yahweh
In God We Trust
Heaven and Hell 
(Black Sabbath cover)
Shout It Out Loud 
(KISS cover)
God
Revelation
Caught in the Middle
Surrender
Soldiers Under Command

Encore:
Reach Out
Makes Me Wanna Sing

Actor Justin Swain Discusses His Role in The Netflix Series, ‘Luke Cage’

justinswainBold, relevant and entertaining are just some of the adjectives used to describe the new Netflix original series, ‘Luke Cage’.

Fans of the Marvel universe already know know that “Luke Cage” follows the story of Carl Lucas (Mike Colter); a former convict with superhuman strength and unbreakable skin who now fights crime. It’s the perfect complement to other acclaimed Marvel themed Netflix shows like “Daredevil” and “Jessica Jones”.

Actor Justin Swain plays Bailey in “Luke Cage”; an NYPD police officer who plays a pivotal role in tracking down the criminal mastermind responsible for the most recent crime outbreak. The series also stars Simone Missick as Misty Knight, Bailey’s NYPD colleague.

Already an accomplished actor and playwright, Swain has also written for film and television and is currently producing his first feature film, “Penance”.

I recently spoke with Swain about his role in “Luke Cage”, his career and more in the exclusive interview.

How did you become involved in “Luke Cage”?

It was pretty funny because Marvel is so secretive about everything they do that I didn’t even know I was auditioning for Luke Cage because the sides weren’t labeled. It was right before Labor Day weekend and I was heading out of town to visit my family when I got a call from my agent saying I booked it. I still didn’t know it was Luke Cage until I got an email later welcoming me the Marvel Cinematic Universe! I showed it to my wife and she was like “wait, what?!” [laughs]. Then I realized it was for Luke Cage. I was super excited because I’m a big fan of all the Marvel shows as well as the films. I was grateful to be a part of it.

What was it about the script that attracted you to the project?

When I went in for the audition I remember thinking, “these pages seem like a procedural cop show, but these lines have kind of an edge to them.” I think the writers did a great job of blending the Marvel Universe with a slick, edgy, grounded tone. Not only is it entertaining but I also think Cheo Hodari Coker [series creator], Marvel and Netflix have created a piece of art so relevant and necessary to today’s cultural conversation.

What can you tell me about your character, Bailey?

Getting the chance to play Bailey was so cool. The role grew as the season progressed and each time I was sent my pages it was an exciting surprise to see where the writers were taking it. He’s an analytical guy and I think that is a good balance and challenge for Misty who tends to go with her gut. I think he also wants to protect Misty; in little subtle ways Bailey is trying to make sure she doesn’t self destruct before they they are able to understand what is really going on with the whole Luke Cage situation.

One funny detail was his glasses. Early on I got some pages that said he wore glasses, so I quickly grabbed my wife’s glasses as I left the house. When we started shooting the scene, I was wearing the glasses and looking at the computer screen. It was my wife’s prescription so as I stared at the computer screen I started to feel sick. I couldn’t wear the glasses for too long so I had to take them off during the scene and it started to become a little Bailey character thing [laughs].

What was it like working on a Marvel production?

Just getting a chance to work with talented actors like Simone Missick, Mike Colter, Rosario Dawson and Karen Pittman was a gift. It was also awesome to work with the showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker and the whole writing staff Jason Horwitch and Aida Marshaka Croal. They were so gracious and accessible during filming and are just incredibly creative and talented people. Then they brought on amazing directors like Paul McGuigan to do the pilot, Steven Sujik, and then Clark Johnson directed the finale. Just a really great group of people to work with.

What was it like getting to work with Simone Missick?

She’s an amazing actor. I thought she did a fantastic job stepping into an iconic character and making it her own. She was really fun to work with, always accessible, a really kind person. She was very giving as a scene partner. Working with her made my job very easy!

Did you always know that you wanted a career in entertainment? Was it something you always aspired to do?

I acted in plays when I was kid and pursued it into high school as well. I think for me, it was a way to connect to people and, coming from such a small town, I really cherished that. When it came time to pick a college I remember my mom asking me if I wanted to go to school for acting or visual arts, because I had also grown up painting as well. I think that’s when I made the choice. I said, “I want to go for acting.” That was it.

What are some of the differences between doing a series like Luke Cage as opposed to doing theater or a feature film? 

Shooting a series like Luke Cage seemed to me to be more like shooting a film. The set was loose and sometimes you could throw in some ad-libs and — if you were able to come up with something good– they would keep it. Theater is a completely different animal; it’s more athletic in a way. You have to be on for it every night. To use a racing analogy, I’d say doing film/TV work is like sprinting — you have to go hard, fast and be precise. Theater is more like endurance work — you have to buckle in and maintain the character straight through for two hours every night.

Are there any other projects you’re currently working on?

I’m currently looking into working on a virtual reality project. I’m also finishing up the development of a new series about a group of fishermen in Massachusetts who are over regulated by the government so they turn to smuggling to survive.  There are lots of opportunities on the horizon!

What excites you the most about this next phase of your career?

Luke Cage was a great experience and I have no idea what the rest of the series is going to look like. They are doing The Defenders now and Luke Cage is part of that gigantic Marvel world. It’s also all intertwined with Jessica Jones and Daredevil. Marvel has big plan for the whole Marvel Universe so I’m excited to see where it’s going and what is happening next!

‘Night Cries’: Actress / Filmmaker Brigitte Kingsley Discusses New Psychological Thriller

Written and directed by Andrew Cymek, “Night Cries” is a psychological thriller about a man searching for his wife in a post-apocalyptic world.

The film took home the Best Screenplay award when it premiered at the Blood In The Snow film festival last November, and for good reason. Cymek and his partner, Brigitte Kingsley have become masters at delivering multi-layered stories with beautiful cinematography and passionate musical scores to all of their projects. “Night Cries” is a thought provoking film that plays on the ultimate question we have in life, and just how far we’d go to find our one true love.

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The beautiful Kingsley plays the role of Sara Morgan in “Night Cries”. A strong, defiant wife and mother who finds herself lost in a world she doesn’t recognize. The film also stars Andrew Cymek, Colin Mochrie, Lauren Williams and Jacob Blair.

Night Cries is available now for pre-order now in various packages and will be shipped on December 14. This will be followed by a world wide digital release in the New Year.

I recently spoke with Kingsley about “Night Cries” and more in this exclusive interview.

How did the Night Cries project originally come about?

I first met Andrew back in 1999 when he and I were both in school. He was doing a ten-minute short called “Night Cries” that was inspired by these characters. We shot the short and I remember thinking that it was a really cool story. Now fast forward to 2012 when we started our company, Good Soldier Films. We were trying to figure out a good pilot project to launch the company with and decided to create a “Night Cries” feature. Andrew had already worked out the characters in his head. He wrote the feature and we jumped into it.

In your opinion, what makes the story of “Night Cries” so special?

I think the main push is the cyclical feeling you get when you watch it. There’s so much thought that went into the imagery and ideas behind the story and you see that in various ways throughout the production. It’s a very in depth look at life and death. Andrew wanted to forward the idea of the end of the world, but he also wanted to go more into a personal apocalypse when someone’s world ends. There’s a lot of layers to it and that’s what makes it so cool.

What was the casting process like?

A lot of the characters were written with certain people already in mind. Colin Mochrie was someone we instantly knew we wanted to work with. He has so much depth to his acting but doesn’t often have a chance to do things this sinister. We thought he’d be great fit for the role of The Hat. A lot the other actors, like Lauren (Angel) Williams and Jacob Blair, we had worked with on other projects before.

You mentioned Colin Mochrie. What was it like working with him?

Colin is one of my favorite people in the world. He’s so defined as an actor and comes extremely prepared. He was only out for a few days but was such a pleasure to be around.

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A lot of attention is paid to the music and cinematography in this film. Can you speak a little as to how these are important to you?

They’re both very important to us. We’ve worked with Josh Fraiman (cinematographer) for several years on various projects. Although we had a small crew we made sure to take the time to give him the beautiful shots he wanted. When it comes to the music, Emir Isilay (our composer) is an extremely talented guy. Andrew sent him the ideas of what he had in mind and when the music came back the first time around he had tears in his eyes because it was exactly what he had envisioned. Going from one world to another and bringing sense to a certain level. It was epic and beautiful.

What are some of the other projects you’re currently working on?

“The Man In the Shadows” is another film that’s available for pre-order. It’s a story by Adam Tomlinson that’s based on the real phenomenon of shadow people. Adam had experienced a man in a hat and coat that that had haunted him a few times. He looked into it and found that it’s actually an apparition that happens to many people around the world. He wrote a script that’s partially based on his experiences and the people he had spoken to. “Country Crush” is also coming out in the New Year. It’s a country musical that stars Jana Cramer, Madeline Merlo and Munroe Chambers.

As a filmmaker, what satisfies you the most about seeing a completed project?

As a filmmaker, the thing you want is for your work to mean something. So when a stranger comes up and tells you that your work touched them or made them realize something they hadn’t thought about before, that’s what matters.

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