Sometimes doing the job is reward in itself. That’s what it was like for me to talk with Greg Nicotero. From DAWN OF THE DEAD to BREAKING BAD, from ARMY OF DARKNESS to OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL, from HOSTEL to SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR, his vivid and creative makeup effects work has brought the fantastic, the grotesque, and the sometimes-just-plain-realistic to a dazzling kaleidoscope of film and TV projects.
That includes THE WALKING DEAD, the blockbuster TV series which scooped up a couple of primetime Emmy awards for Nicotero’s work in bringing the flesh-hungry walkers to gruesome… uh, life? Death? Anyway, in honor of the release of the complete fourth season on DVD and Blu-ray this Tuesday, we got some time with Greg to talk about the finer points of zombie nurturing and care. Click on the player to hear the show.
It’s raining sharks, hallelujah! Or maybe whether you’re making that exclamation depends on how highly refined your appreciation of irony is. Yes, SHARKNADO 2: THE SECOND ONE is here, moving the mayhem to New York (to the producers’ credit, largely the real New York), larding the proceedings with copious cameos (hallloooo Andy Dick, Perez Hilton, Al Roker, etc, etc.), and wasting no time in throwing airborne maneaters at hapless victims (why are there sharknados? Who cares — look, SHARKS!).
One of the major players trying to avoid becoming shark bait is Dante Palminteri, son of Chazz and making his major(?) film debut with this role. In this exclusive interview, he takes us behind the scenes of this landmark cinematic event, certain to be the most monumental film of Summer 2014. Okay, my ironyometer just shorted out, sorry. I’m going to go watch HARLAN COUNTY, USA to recover.
Even in the anything-to-get-your-adrenaline-pumping world of Hong Kong cinema, RIGOR MORTIS stands out. The story of a famous actor, Chin Siu-Ho (played by actual famous actor Chin Siu-Ho — your heard us), who has to contend with a seedy apartment building whose walls reverberate with echoes of his most famous film, the hopping vampire horror-comedy MR. VAMPIRE — including mysterious spirits, a mystical warrior-cum-resterateur (played by MR. VAMPIRE cast-mate Anthony “Friend” Chan), and, yes, a hopping vampire — the film plays as both a tribute to, and a dark and dizzyingly intense reimagining of, a beloved sub-genre. Director Juno Mak makes his feature film debut with this visually stunning, shockingly violent, and at times surprisingly moving, effort, and we were eager to discuss the roots of the project in the legendary MR. VAMPIRE franchise, and the challenges of creating this effects-laden feast. Click on the player to hear the show.
The speaker of the Louisiana State Senate. An agoraphobic starfish. Two copies of Playboy with their centerfolds torn out. These are probably the only things actor Doug Jones hasn’t been in his variegated career. In makeup and out, whether playing an amphibious scholar, a benevolent alien, or a mute, demonic organ harvester, Jones has managed to create roles that have been at once vivid, evocative, and memorable.
It happens to be a good time for Jones. Not only was there the recent video release of the ultra-violent grindhouse action film, RAZE — in which Jones plays the entitled overseer of an all-female death-match — but the complete third season disc set of FALLING SKIES, where Jones is the alien ambassador Cochise, has just come out, and now Jones appears as a wandering (and canny) minstrel in the dizzyingly eclectic post-apocalyptic/ROAD WARRIOResque/alien invasion/western, DUST OF WAR, which just became available on VOD. We’re thrilled to be able to talk with Doug Jones about all of this, and more, as we kick off our second season of THE CFQ INTERVIEW. Click on the player to hear the show.
These are dark days indeed for US Marshall Chris Monsanto (Chris Elliott). He’s devastated over the loss of his partner, Brett Mobley (Brett Gelman), in a tragic wood chipper incident, and forced to deal with the suspicions of his colleague, Susie Wagner (Maria Thayer), that he was responsible for the death (because he was). But duty calls, there are criminals and terrorists to catch (or more likely, just to shoot dead), and not even incriminating post-mortem memory scans, global warming, or the fact that headquarters seems to be transforming, Cronenberg-like, into some kind of giant organism intent on absorbing the older members of the force into its walls, can stay Monsanto from his crucial mission.
Adult Swim’s cop-show satire, EAGLEHEART: PARADISE RISING, has returned for its third season, complete with a dramatic, new subtitle and an ambitious, season-long narrative arc. Which doesn’t mean that the stars are any less trigger-happy, the crimes any less rococo (a counterfeiting operation relying on the regenerative abilities of starfish?) or that the producers have stinted on the surreal humor (they actually seem to have doubled-down). I got to sit down with director Jason Woliner and co-creator Andrew Weinberg to discuss tight shooting schedules, mistimed gore effects, and occasional tangents into classic stage drama. Click on the player to hear the show.
Continuing its mission of lowering the standards of higher education, Adult Swim’s CHINA, IL is presently offering up its second season every Sunday night. Now expanded to a full half hour, the larger canvas has allowed creator/producer/composer/voice talent Brad Neely and executive producer Daniel Weidenfeld room to expand the adventures of the faculty and student populace of possibly the worst college ever, which doesn’t mean that things have gotten any less weird: Already, desperate professor Frank Smith has discovered himself capable of HIGHLANDER-like transformations; his brother Steve has gotten himself immersed in the Furry Underground, feline division; and sweet-natured, perennial undergrad Baby Cakes has decided to start up his own line of oddly flavored power bars. Things are definitely getting odd on the quad.
I got to talk with Neely and Weidenfeld about the show’s genesis; the challenges presented in its new, 30 minute running time; and the complexities of meeting each episode’s musical demands. Click on the player to hear the show.
And you thought stop-motion figures taking swift kicks to the crotch defined the work of Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, the people behind Adult Swim’s ROBOT CHICKEN and TITAN MAXIMUM. Not quite, Chuck-o — the studio is turning out an increasing variety of shows, including its most recent, FRIENDSHIP ALL-STARS OF FRIENDSHIP, a web series that tracks the genial relationships between such BFFs as John Lasseter and Luis Guzmán, and Batmen Michael Keaton and George Clooney.
The most high-profile face behind Stoopid Buddy is Seth Green, but joining him in piloting the company are Matthew Senreich, Eric Towner, and John Harvatine IV. I got to speak with Matt, Eric and Harv (as his friends call him) to discuss FRIENDSHIP’s sunny worldview, the pressures of Emmy season, and the Freudian implications of show titles.
For all that the world was going to Hell on the third season of THE WALKING DEAD, viewers had no shortage of reasons for jubilation: Finally the series had found its footing, logging in episodes that managed a sweet mix of zombie-ripping mayhem and post-apocalyptic drama. Two of the prime contributors to the quality boost were the introductions of Woodbury — a cozy little stronghold in Georgia where the residents struggled to maintain a facade of normality while turning a blind eye to the moral rot eating away at their community — and the Governor, Woodbury’s psychotic rotter-in-chief.
Aiding and abetting the Governor’s brutal reign was Milton Mamet, a former scientist who helped carry out the Gov’s dictates, including performing experiments intended to discover glimmers of sentience in walkers. As played by Dallas Roberts, Milton was a prime example of THE WALKING DEAD’s moral ambiguity, a man trying to find his way in a world where the quality of humanity was rapidly yielding to the simple needs of survival.
In connection with the homevid release of THE WALKING DEAD’s third season on Blu-ray and DVD, Roberts sat down with us to talk about his work on the series. The !!!SPOILER-FILLED!!! discussion brings us some insight into Milton’s tortured existence, as well as giving us a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the production of the show. Click on the player to hear the interview.
It’s an old cliche, but worth repeating: Comedy is serious business, even when we’re talking about the nut shots and fart jokes of ROBOT CHICKEN, even when we’re talking about the gentler, youth-appropriate rowdiness of Cartoon Network’s MAD. Kevin Shinick knows about that — he’s copped an Emmy writing for CHICKEN and not only writes but produces and a heavy contributor to the voice population of MAD. I got to sit down with him to discuss how these shows come together, explore mutual geekly passions, and discuss the aborted STAR WARS comedy show.
Australian brothers Cameron Cairnes and Colin Cairnes are making their feature film debut with 100 BLOODY ACRES. A black comedy in which a group of young concert-goers run afoul of a couple of brothers (Angus Sampson and Damon Herriman) whose blood and bone fertilizer business has seen a significant uptick in fortunes with the addition of human corpses to the mix, the film manages to subvert the typical TEXAS CHAINSAW set-up through an uncanny ability to zig when the audience is expecting a zag, and the Cairnes’ willingness to push relationship moments to the fore in the midst of all the gore.
I got an opportunity to talk with the Cairnes about their approach to horror and how they came up with Angus Sampson’s beard. Click on the player to hear the show.