On the Set of FX’s New Dark TV Comedy MARRIED

by     Posted 5 days ago

married-set-visit

It’s really fucking windy.  One gust snaps a branch off a large tree.  The branch crashes to the ground about two or so feet away from a crewmember near ‘video village’ (set jargon: for where the crew can watch the scene-at-hand being filmed).  Needless-to-say, soon thereafter, a couple crewmembers move the monitors and director’s chairs far away out of tree line.  This actually doesn’t help much – as the wind is a capricious dick determined to inflict physical damage onto some poor shmuck.  That moment comes later on when one of the publicists for my set-visit (also coincidentally named Tom) is hit in the head by a wayward branch.  The man is fine (thankfully) and shrugs the whole ordeal off like it was no big deal – but this does little to alleviate my naturally worried state.  When the question is posed whether or not I would like to continue watching the shoot or go inside a small portable home to conduct interviews, there really isn’t much deliberation: I go inside.  Hit the jump, to continue reading.

Nat Faxon Talks Surfing, Marriage, and Fighting Dinosaurs on the Set of FX’s New Dark Comedy MARRIED

by     Posted 6 days ago

nat-faxon-married-interview

“The first couple table reads, I was barely getting any laughs”, Nat Faxon chuckles to himself, “I was totally in my head, [thinking] ‘I suck. I’m going to get fired…’”  Faxon is in between takes of shooting the series finale of Married’s first season when he offers this particular bit of self-deprecation.  Obviously his fears were unfounded – and rightly so.  Faxon has proven himself to be one of the funniest and most eccentric leading comedy actors on television.  With his big toothy grin and aw-shucks demeanor, it’s impossible not to instantly root for the guy (as apparent on Faxon’s unfortunately short-lived sitcom Ben & Kate).  On FX’s new dark-comedy Married, Faxon plays against type, using his naturally likable demeanor in the service of a character who’s a bit of a shit.  Faxon stars as Russ, an unhappily married man, whose lackluster sex-life leads him to seek alternative means of ‘satisfaction’. There’s something sickly funny about watching seemingly the nicest person on earth reveal himself to be as base and amoral as all the rest of us.  So rest assured, Nat Faxon, you are still very funny.

In the following on-set interview with Faxon, he discusses how the married life of his character compares to his own, the differences between Network & Cable TV and his involvement in the character’s season long arc.  For the full interview, hit the jump.

Brett Gelman Talks the “Darkness of Life”, Drawing from Personal Experiences, and Breaking Away from the Rigidity of “Jokes” on the Set of FX’s MARRIED

by     Posted One week ago

brett-gelman-married-interview

They shoot really quickly on the set of Married.  The use of practical locations and natural lights naturally lends itself to a super quick turn around.  As such when the actors aren’t filming a scene, they’re usually rehearsing for whatever brief amount of time they have until the next set-up is ready.  On the day of my set visit for the upcoming series, co-star Brett Gelman (Go On) was especially busy in the midst of shooting his climactic moments on the show.  Gelman co-stars as AJ, a recently divorced lawyer, whose life slowly starts to unravel in a whirlwind of drugs and alcohol.  Have I mentioned yet that Married is a comedy?

Gelman was too busy during filming to speak with me on location; but a week later, the gregarious character-actor was more than kind to hop on the phone and chat with myself and a couple other journalists about his time on Married, breaking away from the rigidity of jokes and finding the comedy in the darkest of moments.  For the full interview, hit the jump.

Jenny Slate Talks Being Typecast as the Bitch, the Restrictions of Network TV, and Her Own Marriage on the Set of FX’s New Series MARRIED

by     Posted 8 days ago

jenny-slate-married-interview

Jenny Slate is having a hell of a year.  The perennial guest star – stints on Bored to Death, Parks and Recreation & House of Lies – has finally found her own lead role on TV. “It’s really nice to have an actual home” Slate confides, “I like my other [shows] a lot but I like having a real place where everyone knows me. I’m a family gal.”  I’m on the set of the new FX relationship comedy Married in mid May about two or so months before the show is set to premiere this week and a month before Slate’s own indie feature Obvious Child will become a surprise critical and commercial success.

On the day of my visit, Slate seems infectiously eager to chat in-between takes about her character Jess, best friend to protagonist Russ (Nat Faxon).  Married follows a trio of friends (Faxon, Slate & Brett Gelman) as they experience the highs and lows of (you probably already guessed it) married life.  The personal subject matter of the show naturally lends itself to more intimate questions with the talent, Slate (herself recently married) confiding what she drew from her own personal life for the character.  In addition, Slate discussed her confusion with always being typecast as ‘the bitch’ and the restrictions she felt on Network TV.  For the full interview, hit the jump.

JACKASS PRESENTS: BAD GRANDPA .5 Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 15 days ago

jackass-bad-grandpa-.5-blu-ray-review

The problem with alternative comedy cuts is fairly self-evident: they’re made up of footage deemed less than what was actually released. Thus by their very make-up, they are less funny than whatever original preferred version preceded them.  Bad Grandpa .5 makes a valiant attempt to overcome these short-comings (at least for the first half) by being less a collection of unused footage and more a behind the scenes making of.  Hit the jump for my Bad Grandpa .5 Blu-ray review. 

Showrunner Scott M. Gimple Talks THE WALKING DEAD Season 4 and 5, the End Game of the Series, the Upcoming WALKING DEAD Spinoff, and More

by     Posted 24 days ago

The-Walking-Dead-season-5-Scott-M-Gimple-interview

At the Saturn Movie Awards this past Thursday, The Walking Dead went home with a number of awards – Best Cable Television Series, Best Supporting Actress (Melissa McBride) & Best Performance by a Younger Actor (Chandler Riggs).  The fourth season of The Walking Dead – in particular the pared down second half – has felt like a real renaissance for the show.  Four seasons in, the biggest television show on air found itself by telling decidedly smaller and more intimate stories.  Zombies became a backdrop for a downbeat parable on the effects of survivor’s guilt.

Much of the credit for the success of the season can be laid at the feet of showrunner Scott Gimple – who has been a writer on the series since season two.  After the award show, Collider chatted with Gimple about the structural choices of the fourth season, the upcoming Walking Dead spinoff series, his favorite episode, The Walking Dead season five, and the ‘end-game’ for the series. For the full video interview and transcribed highlights of Gimple’s answers, hit the jump.

Michael Ealy, Meagan Good, Romany Malco & Taraji P. Henson Talk THINK LIKE A MAN TOO, Musical Numbers, Stripping and Fighting on Screen, and More

by     Posted 24 days ago

Michael-Ealy-Meagan-Good,-Romany-Malco-TarajiPHenson-think-like-a-man-too

Right before I was set to interview Michael Ealy, Meagan Good, Romany Malco & Taraji P. Henson at the Think Like A Man Too junket, I overheard Ealy ask a nearby publicist if ‘Las Vegas had put any money into the picture?’  The publicist looked at Ealy and shrugged. ‘Good’ he quickly replied, ‘because they’d take back any money they’d given after they see these interviews I’ve done today.’  A good deal of the fun of Think Like a Man Too hinges on the interactions between the cast and the ‘Sin City’.  Much of the film was shot in actual Vegas locations – the hotel rooms, the club scenes, the strip joint, the jailhouse… It adds a certain sense of verisimilitude to the picture – and allows the cast to really interact with their surroundings.  There’s just an unquantifiable x-factor to knowing that the stripper pole used in the film is an actual bump-and-grind working pole, much perhaps to the chagrin of the actual cast members.

In the following interview with Ealy, Good, Malco and Henson, the foursome discuss musical numbers, stripping & fighting on screen and the uncomfortable indignities of shooting in Las Vegas. For the full interview, hit the jump.

Kevin Hart, Jerry Ferrara, Terrence J & Gary Owen Talk THINK LIKE A MAN TOO, Improvisation on the Set, Working with Tim Story, ENTOURAGE & RIDE ALONG 2

by     Posted 32 days ago

think-like-a-man-too-interview-Kevin-Hart-Jerry-Ferrara

At this point there’s no denying the ascension of Kevin Hart as the premier comic working today.  The man is omnipresent – even before going to see a film he’s not in, there he is – in a pre-show commercial – endorsing some Vitamin Water product.  Just this year – he’s already had two unexpected hits: the buddy cop comedy Ride Along and the Mamet-Lowe/Moore redux About Last NightThink Like a Man Too further cements Hart’s rise to comedic dominance.  In the (first) Think Like a Man, Hart was a supporting character, peppering in brief appearances throughout, commenting on the various character’s travails; here – in the sequel – he is very much the focus, most of the conflict in the film stemming from his antics.  Typically in a comedy, there is one ‘straight man’ asked to react indignantly to all the eccentric characters surrounding him (think Bradley Cooper in The Hangover films). Think Like a Man Too may be the only movie to reverse this ratio, having four ‘straight men’ (Romany Malco, Terrence J, Jerry Ferrara & Michael Ealy) reacting indignantly to one character (Hart) – proof of just how strong a comedic persona Hart has crafted.

In the following interview with Kevin Hart, Jerry Ferrara, Terrence J & Gary Owen, the foursome discuss the group dynamics at the heart of Think Like a Man Too, their working relationship with filmmaker Tim Story and the improvisational feel of the movie. In addition, Kevin Hart gives an update on Ride Along 2 and Jerry Ferrara discusses the Entourage movie.  Hit the jump to watch.

Pete Docter & Jonas Rivera Preview the Opening of Pixar’s INSIDE OUT (Plus a Sneak Peek of the Latest Pixar Short LAVA)

by     Posted 32 days ago

inside-out-pixar

It’s simply astonishing how effortlessly Pete Docter is able to condense massive amounts of plot & exposition into the most accessible and comprehensive manner possible.  Take a gander at the opening of Docter’s previous film Up, distilling an entire life span and romantic relationship into just ten minutes.  The filmmaker’s latest Pixar venture Inside Out – set for release a year from today – (on paper) could seem almost unbearably convoluted, but in Docter’s deft hands it all becomes so very easy to follow.  Set inside an adolescent girl’s mind, Inside Out focuses on the ‘emotions’ – Anger, Joy, Sadness, Fear & Disgust – that control the personality and actions of their host’s body.  Think of the film sort of as the Disney version of Being John Malkovich.  The genius of Docter is to mix the art-house cerebral ideas of that film (e.g. the existential quandaries of identity) with more traditional Disney sentimentality (the importance of the familial unit is front and center here).

At a special Pixar event tonight, Docter and his producing partner Jonas Rivera gave an exclusive presentation of Inside Out, including a preview of the opening five minutes of the picture.  In addition, the Pixar short film Lava (which will play before Inside Out) screened to the attentive audience.  For highlights from the presentation, Inside Out and Lava, hit the jump.

Gabrielle Union, Regina Hall & La La Anthony Talk THINK LIKE A MAN TOO, Performing ‘Poison’, Shooting in Las Vegas, Third Film Possibilities, and More

by     Posted 33 days ago

Think-Like-A-Man-Too-Gabrielle-Union-Regina-Hall-La La Anthony slice

About midway through Think Like a Man Too, the female half of the ensemble enter into a plush Vegas club, sit down on a cushy couch, look directly into the camera and belt out Bell Biv DeVoe’s 1990’s jam ‘Poison’.  At first it’s pretty jarring that a traditional studio comedy would turn into a fourth-wall breaking music video, but that quickly passes as the sheer sense of fun the cast seems to be having infectiously overwhelms. The moment itself is emblematic of the sequel’s looser structure (there’s hardly any semblance of a plot), enabling the cast to let loose and bounce off one another seamlessly. It’s as if someone looked at the cast from the first film – Kevin Hart, Regina Hall, Michael Ealy, Taraji P. Henson & Gabrielle Union – and thought ‘Hey – just let them do their thing.’ And the movie’s all the better off for it, the cast reveling in any and all Vegas related hijinks thought possible.

In the following interview with a trio of the female half of the cast (Gabrielle Union, Regina Hall & La La Anthony), they discuss the Poison ‘music video’, how the looser structure led to more natural performances and where they would like to see a third Think Like a Man sequel take place at.  For the full interview, hit the jump.

Revisiting NAPOLEON DYNAMITE 10 Years Later

by     Posted 36 days ago

napoleon-dynamite-slice

There’s something strangely anachronistic about Napoleon Dynamite that helps it avoid the usual pratfalls of nostalgia.  Recently there have been a string of articles across the web celebrating the anniversary of an assortment of questionable films – Speed, The Mighty Ducks – all hinging on the writer’s relationship and/or fondness to the film-in-question as it was released.  These write-ups work (if they do at all) not only because they celebrate a particular film, but more so because they remind the reader of a specific period in time and by proxy a point in their own lives.  Hit the jump, to continue reading.

Composer Gwendolyn Sanford Talks ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK Season 2; Calls it ‘Darker’ and ‘Pretty Heavy’

by     Posted 47 days ago

gwendolyn sanford orange is the new black season 2

The end of the first season of Netflix’s critically lauded Orange Is the New Black left its lead character in a fairly dark place – Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) seemingly transformed from a straight-laced innocent into an impulsive miscreant.  It was hard not to wonder if Piper was headed down the same path as former Jenji Kohan lead Nancy Botwin (played by Mary-Louise Parker on Weeds), who began that series as the ‘everywoman’ protagonist only to later become the destructive antagonist by series end.

With less than 48 hours until the premiere of the second season, Orange Is the New Black Composer Gwendolyn Sanford, at a panel hosted by Netflix, briefly discussed the darker tone of the impending season and how that reflects upon her work.  “Season Two is much darker in terms of music and story” she confided “It gets pretty heavy. It’s definitely harder to take watching a scene where somebody you really love is getting beat up and then having to underscore that moment again and again and again.”  For more on the making of the show and how the composer got involved in the first place, hit the jump for our interview with Gwendolyn Sanford for Orange Is the New Black season 2 interview.

Sigourney Weaver Talks the Longevity of the ALIEN Franchise, Her Initial Trepidations to Play Ripley, and Whether She Would Return for a New ALIEN Sequel

by     Posted 50 days ago

sigourney-weaver-alien-sequel

The Alien film franchise stands out in stark contrast from the majority of horror series, which tend to extol their iconic villain over their more bland heroes.  For Friday the 13th, nobody cares for the anonymous teens, all sympathy and audience-support ultimately sides with mass-murderer Jason Voorhees.  The same is similarly true for Nightmare on Elm Street (Freddy Krueger), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Leatherface), Saw (Jigsaw) and Halloween (Mike Myers).  The Alien Quadrilogy is one of the rare exceptions – a horror franchise where the iconic character isn’t the villain but the hero.  Ellen Ripley, seemingly the doomed third-lead of Alien, emerges as the de-facto hero of that picture.  Over the course of the three following sequels, Ripley would become a potent female action icon, a doomed tragic heroine and ultimately an existential anti-hero.  In the capable hands of Sigourney Weaver, Ripley’s four-film arc though feels of one piece.  She quite simply is the glue that keeps the Alien franchise together.

Last night, The Hero Complex Film Festival honored Ellen Ripley and the actress who plays her with a double feature of Ridley Scott’s Alien and James Cameron’s Aliens.  After the screening, Sigourney Weaver herself was on hand to discuss the enduring popularity of Alien, the iconography of Ripley and whether the character will ever grace the big screen again.  For highlights from the Q&A, hit the jump.

James Cameron Talks TERMINATOR, TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY, Casting Schwarzenegger, SPIDER-MAN, TERMINATOR: GENESIS, and More

by     Posted 51 days ago

terminator-genesis-james-cameron

The brash excessiveness of Terminator 2: Judgment Day coupled with the low-budget moxie of it’s predecessor The Terminator make the series one of the great one-two punches in action/horror hybrid cinema.  This in addition to the various underlying thematics of both pictures – the malleability of identity, fatalism versus free will, man versus machine – has helped the series endure over time, growing in acclaim with each passing year.  We’re in the thick of the summer movie season now – and Terminator 2: Judgment Day is still the blueprint for what-to-do when making a big budget tent-pole film; whereas The Terminator remains a hallmark of independent filmmaking, proof of just how much is possible on a relatively shoe-string budget with a little nerve and creativity.

The Hero Complex Film Festival celebrated these two movies with a double feature last night, followed by an interview with the man behind them: filmmaker James Cameron. During the post-screening Q&A, Cameron reminisced on coming up with the Terminator concept, casting Arnold Schwarzenegger in the title role and the iconography of the Sarah Connor character. In addition, Cameron gave his thoughts on the upcoming Terminator sequel/reboot (Terminator: Genesis) and how he wanted to do a Spider-Man movie.  For all these highlights and more, hit the jump. For Cameron’s revealing thoughts on the writing process behind his soon-to-be-in-production Avatar trilogy, click here.

James Cameron on Writing the Three AVATAR Sequels Back-to-Back-to-Back

by     Posted 51 days ago

james-cameron-avatar-sequels

Last night at the Hero Complex Film Festival, filmmaker James Cameron was on hand to discuss his seminal action/sci-fi masterpieces The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The course of conversation took a turn though to Cameron’s new hopefully equally seminal-in-the-making action/sci-fi trilogy: Avatar. Cameron hired three writers to collaborate on each of the three upcoming sequels (Josh Friedman, Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver and Shane Salerno), in an effort to get all the films ready to be shot back-to-back-to-back later this year. Last night, Cameron delved into the process behind writing these three sequels simultaneously. For Cameron’s revealing thoughts on the matter and how television gave him the idea in the first place, hit the jump.

Click Here