Interviews

The Skeleton Twins is a hard movie to peg to just one genre.

On the one hand, the critically acclaimed film stars two of America's funniest comedic actors and has moments of genuine humor.  On the other, it deals with weighty issues like depression, infidelity, and suicide.

So which is it, a comedy or a drama?

"As long as they do not call it just a comedy, and as long as they do not call it just a drama," Kristen Wiig said in a roundtable interview promoting The Skeleton Twins, which opens in theaters September 12th.

"As long as they do not call it shit," quipped Bill Hader. "That’s good."

Both Hader and Wiig are basically national treasures.  Two of the most talented performers ever to grace Saturday Night Live, they've proven their cinematic chops in movies such as Bridesmaids and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs; they even played husband and wife in Adventureland.

With The Skeleton Twins, both actors demonstrate a dramatic range that neither had the opportunity to show prior.  In the film, Hader plays Milo, twin brother to Wiig's Maggie.  The two haven't spoken in a decade, but after Milo attempts to kill, himself, the formerly close twins are reunited, slowly reconnecting and discovering that they may just be able to help each other repair their lives.

Actress Judy Greer recently published her first book entitled I Don’t Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-Star. Well, with all the high profile film projects Greer has coming up in the next few years, you’ll definitely soon know exactly what you know her from!

The in-demand supporting actress has roles in the upcoming films Ant-Man, Jurassic World, and Tomorrowland, as well as possibly returning for the third Planet of the Apes movie. Not to mention her latest film Jamie Marks Is Dead, which opened in theaters on August 29th. Greer first gained attention as Bluth secretary Kitty Sanchez on the cult classic TV series Arrested Development. She has gone on to appear in such popular films as The Wedding Planner, 13 Going on 30, Love and Other Drugs, the Oscar-winning The Descendants, Jeff, Who Lives at Home, Carrie, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, where she plays Cesar’s wife Cornelia. She can also be currently seen on the new FX comedy series Married, as well as the wonderfully bizarre Sprint “Framily plan” commercials. 

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with the absolutely delightful Judy Greer during the Jamie Marks Is Dead premiere after party, and I had a chance to talk with her about all of her highly anticipated projects. While the actress was quite cryptic about her upcoming films, she briefly discussed when she begins shooting Ant-Man, her role in Jurassic World, if she has any scenes with dinosaurs, working with director Brad Bird on Tomorrowland, not having any scenes with her Descendants co-star George Clooney, getting to kiss Tim McGraw, and that she hopes to return as Queen of the apes in the next Planet of the Apes movie. 

John Hawkes is truly an actor’s actor! He is the actor that many other actors want to work with the most because his work is always so excellent.

Hawkes has been working steadily for almost 30 years and has appeared in countless film and television projects including From Dusk Till Dawn, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, The Perfect Storm, and Miami Vice, as well as TV’s 24, Lost, and Eastbound & Down. But his big break came from playing Sol Star on HBO’s popular Western series Deadwood. Since then, he has made a string of critically acclaimed movies such as American Gangster, Winter’s Bone, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Lincoln, and The Sessions, which earned him his first Golden Globe Award-nomination for Best Actor. Now Hawkes can be seen opposite Jennifer Aniston in the new film Life of Crime, which opens in theaters on August 29th. 

Life of Crime is based on the novel The Switch by legendary author Elmore Leonard, who also wrote Rum Punch - the book that Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown was based on. In fact, Hawkes, Yasiin Bey (formally Mos Def), and Isla Fisher play the roles that Robert De Niro, Samuel L. Jackson, and Bridget Fonda played respectively in Jackie Brown. However, Life of Crime is in no way a prequel to the underrated Tarantino film, or a remake of the ‘80s comedy Ruthless People as the trailer might suggest. 

In the movie, which was written and directed by Daniel Schechter (Supporting), two common criminals named Lois and Ordell (Hawkes and Bey) get more than they bargained for after kidnapping the wife (Aniston) of a corrupt real-estate developer (Tim Robbins) who shows no interest in paying the $1 million dollar ransom for her safe return. In addition to Hawkes, Aniston, Bey, Robbins, and Fisher, the film also features Will Forte (Nebraska), and Mark Boone Junior (Batman Begins). 

I recently had the absolute pleasure of sitting down with the great John Hawkes to talk about his work on Life of Crime, as well as his impressive career. The acclaimed actor discussed his new movie, the work of Elmore Leonard, why the film is NOT a prequel to Jackie Brown, never actually seeing the Tarantino classic, working with Bey and Aniston, not realizing that he is admired by so many other actors, working with Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln, his admiration for the former President, his recounting of actor David Strathaim’s experience with Day-Lewis on that film, and why he always stays on set for other actor’s close-ups.

I think at this point everyone on Earth has heard of JWOWW!

Even if you’ve never watched a minute of MTV’s groundbreaking reality series Jersey Shore, you’ve heard of Jenni “JWOWW” Farley and her fellow cast members including Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi. I mean even the President of the United States has mentioned them in a speech!

Since Jersey Shore, Farley has appeared on the popular spin-off Snooki & JWOWW, and is currently featured on the series Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars with her fiancé Roger Mathews. In fact, Farley gave birth earlier this summer to the couple’s first child, a baby girl named Meilani Alexandra Mathews. She has also acted on the long running soap opera One Life to Live, and in the popular Farrelly brothers film The Three Stooges, along with the rest of her Jersey Shore co-stars. Now the reality superstar has gone behind the camera to executive produce her first film entitled Jersey Shore Massacre, which opens in theaters on August 22nd, and VOD August 26th. 

Jersey Shore Massacre is a horror comedy that spoofs the popular reality series. In the film, a typical weekend down the shore takes a bizarre turn in the New Jersey Pine Barrens as six girls and five obnoxious fist-pumpers become the unsuspecting targets of a deranged killer. The movie was written and directed by Paul Tarnopol (Girl Gone Dead), and stars Danielle Dallacco (TV’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit), Giovanni Roselli (The Wrestler), Chris Lazzaro (Catch of the Day), and The Howard Stern Show’s Sal Governale and Richard Christy, as well as porn legend Ron Jeremy

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with the absolutely lovely Jenni “JWOWW” Farley about her work on Jersey Shore Massacre, as well as her life after Jersey Shore. The reality star turned executive producer discussed her new movie, how she got involved with the project, what she learned from producing her first film, spoofing the series that made her famous, her love of horror films, how Jersey Shore changed reality television, her place in pop culture, President Obama saying her name in a speech, her friendship with Snooki, forever being connected to the cast of Jersey Shore, what they have in common with The Beatles, acting in The Three Stooges, and if she would like to do more acting in the future or just focus on producing. 

Opening in theaters on August 29th is the new horror adventure thriller As Above, So Below from sibling filmmakers John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle

The movie is based on a script written by both brothers, while John Erick Dowdle directed, and Drew Dowdle produced the project. Their previous films include Quarantine, as well as Devil, which John directed and Drew executive produced. They are currently in post-production on their next film The Coup, which stars Pierce Brosnan (The November Man), Owen Wilson (Free Birds), and Lake Bell (Million Dollar Arm), and is scheduled for release on March 6th, 2015. 

As Above, So Below, which was produced by Legendary Pictures, follows a team of explorers led by archaeologist Scarlet Marlowe (Perdita Weeks). Their adventure leads them into the catacombs beneath the streets of Paris. They soon uncover the dark secret that lies within this city of the dead. In addition to Weeks, the film also features Ben Feldman (Cloverfield), Edwin Hodge (The Purge: Anarchy), and Francois Civil (Frank). 

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with director/co-writer John Erick Dowdle, as well as his brother co-writer/producer Drew Dowdle about As Above, So Below. The sibling filmmakers discussed their new movie, coming up with the concept, how Legendary Pictures’ Thomas Tull helped them combine one of their older character ideas with setting the story in the catacombs, their writing process together, how much time they had to actually write the script before they began production, casting Scarlet Marlowe, the challenges of making a found footage film, and how they share filmmaking duties while on set. 

With Life of Crime, Jennifer Aniston heads to the seventies, a decade known for some regrettable styles.

"It’s a tough look," the actress and international superstar commented. "It was awesome for the time and a lot of fun to wear all of that polyester and the handkerchiefs around the neck. My favorite piece of wardrobe was the sunglasses."

"I basically looked like my mom," Aniston quipped. "I pulled out a lot of her old pictures and tried to rock the old Nancy Aniston 1970s look."

Her outdated costuming was part of creating the period look and feel of Life of Crime, which is based on an Elmore Leonard novel first published in 1978.  Leonard, a master of American crime fiction who died almost exactly one year ago, was known from crackling dialogue, sharp humor, and unforgettable characters in a world of bad choices and worse consequences.

One of his many indelible characters is Mickey Dawson, played by Aniston.  A Detroit housewife, Mickey goes on an unconventional journey of self-discovery when she's abducted by a pair of first-time kidnappers.

At the Los Angeles press day, Jennifer Aniston shared her enthusiasm for Life of Crime, saying, "I was so excited because I’ve always loved Elmore Leonard. I had read The Switch, which was the actual name, but we had to switch because I was already in a movie called Switch about best friends making a baby. Then I read the book and I love how he writes his characters. They’re all so interesting and detailed. Also his bad guys aren’t the brightest, yet they somehow always make it happen and they’re actually lovable."

A star is born … and his name is Luke Bracey!

You may not know the actor by name right now, but you soon will as he has several high profile projects that will be released over the next year. On October 17th, Bracey (who up to this point is best known for playing Cobra Commander in G.I. Joe: Retaliation) will be seen in the romantic drama The Best of Me, based on a book by Nicolas Sparks. But the actor’s most anticipated upcoming film is Point Break where he will play the iconic role of Johnny Utah, which was portrayed by Keanu Reeves in the original. Bracey is currently shooting the remake now, which also stars Edgar Ramirez (Deliver Us from Eviliam), Ray Winstone (The Sweeney), and Teresa Palmer (Warm Bodies), and is scheduled for release on July 31st, 2015. But first, Bracey can be seen going up against former James Bond Pierce Brosnan (The Love Punch) in the new spy thriller The November Man, which was directed by Roger Donaldson (No Way Out) and opens in theaters on August 27th. 

The November Man is based on the novel There Are No More Spies by author Bill Granger. The movie follows ex-CIA operative Peter Devereaux (Brosnan) as he is brought back in on a very personal mission and finds himself pitted against his former pupil, Mason (Bracey), in a deadly game involving high level CIA officials and the Russian president-elect. In addition to Brosnan and Bracey, the film also stars former Bond Girl Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace), and Bill Smitrovich (Iron Man). 

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Luke Bracey about his work on The November Man, as well as Point Break. The talented young actor discussed his latest film, working with director Roger Donaldson, shooting guns at James Bond, what he learned from working with Pierce Brosnan, the father/son relationship between Peter and Mason, Point Break, status on filming, how his Johnny Utah will be different than the one Keanu Reeves played, and acting opposite Edgar Ramirez and Ray Winstone

George Takei is not just a legendary actor but also an American icon and a national treasure. Oh, my!!!

Takei has appeared in such films as The Green Berets with John Wayne, Larry Crowne with Tom Hanks, and the animated films Mulan, and Free Birds, as well as popular TV series like Will & Grace, Heroes, The Big Bang Theory, and Hawaii Five-0. But it was his role as Hikaru Sulu on the original Star Trek series and in the first six Star Trek films, including Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, that made Takei a household name. However, a whole new generation knows him as the official announcer for The Howard Stern Show on Sirius XM Radio. 

A survivor of the Japanese American Interment Camps of the ‘1940s, Takei came out of the closet in 2005 and became an activist for LGBT rights, eventually marring his longtime partner Brad Altman in 2008. The actor now has over 7 million Facebook fans and his popularity just seems to be growing. A new documentary entitled To Be Takei highlights the incredible acting and activist career that Takei has achieved. The film opens in theaters, VOD and iTunes on August 22nd, and was directed by Jennifer M. Kroot (It Came from Kuchar). 

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with director Jennifer M. Kroot about her work on To Be Takei. The accomplished filmmaker discussed her new documentary, the incredible life of George Takei, his experience growing up in the Japanese American Interment Camps, why it took him so long to announce that he was a gay man, interviewing his Star Trek co-stars, the tension between Takei and William Shatner, how The Howard Stern Show reignited his career, and his cultural impact on society. 

The Giver finally arrives in theaters this weekend, but Jeff Bridges was trying to adapt the novel years ago.

Since its publication in 1993, Lois Lowry's book has become a staple, showing up on required reading lists and introducing heady, challenging concepts to the febrile minds of young readers everywhere.  The novel, which won the distinguished Newbery Medal, predates the current boom in dystopian young adult fiction, having been influential on many popular books and their cinematic counterparts.

Bridges, an Oscar-winner and American treasure, almost immediately seized upon the novel's potential.

"I originally wanted to direct my father, Lloyd Bridges, in the film and I wanted to make a movie that my kids could see. They were all young kids at the time," the actor revealed at the Los Angles press day for The Giver.

"I was looking at a catalog of children’s books and came across this wonderful cover of this grizzled old guy," he recalled. "And I thought, 'Oh this is great.' I read it and I was knocked out on a kid-book level but also as an adult. I thought, 'Oh this is a movie I’d love to see.' It turns, out, that Lois took that photograph of the guy on the cover."

Jake Johnson isn't quite a household name just yet, but given his scrappy everyman charm and inimitable comedic timing, it's only a matter of time.

He's probably best known as Nick Miller, a cantankerous scene-stealer on the Fox series New Girl.  On the cinematic side, Johnson has proved his value as a supporting player in movies as varied as 21 Jump Street, Ceremony, No Strings Attached, and even A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas, in which he briefly played Jesus.

He proved he has more than mere comedic chops with this turn in the great Safety Not Guaranteed and his starring performance in Drinking Buddies last year.

With Let's Be Cops now playing in theaters, Johnson leads a summer studio comedy alongside his New Girl compatriot Damon Wayans Jr. (The Other Guys). The movie, which opened nationwide on Wednesday, follows Ryan and Justin, a pair of losers who really commit to impersonating LAPD officers after a successful costume party, buying a Crown Vic and responding to 911 calls.  Utterly unqualified and totally irresponsible, they're living a Quixotic fantasy in which they inadvertently get tangled up in a criminal conspiracy.

At the Los Angeles press day for Let's Be Cops, Jake Johnson discussed his merciless physical preparation for the role, improvisation, Natasha Leggero, the odd saga of Wayans on New Girl, and how he once spurned his co-star like an angry former lover.

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