Interview: Actress Diana Bang

When Thomas Middleditch isn’t pitching Verizon to you on TV commercials, he starts in interesting movies such as Entanglement. Diana Bang stars alongside Middleditch in the movie. I spoke to Diana about the film, her role and working with Middleditch.

What attracted you to the role and script of this film:

DB: Definitely just driven to the story and script. When I read it I was like oh this is a good script, I like it, I think for me for whatever reason being in a rom com indie film has been always high on my bucket list. So that already was a check for this film. The twist was really surprising and compelling to me. It was the story that drew me in.

What did you take away from the questions the film poses:

DB: Yeah, I mean what I got out of it is that we need each other. For me it’s kind of a story about self-love. My interpretation, I don’t know if it’s true or not, is that Hanna and Tabby are different versions of him.

REAL TALK:

It was easy to grasp that Diana definitely has a definitive quirky fun personality. I can totally see why she’s ideal for comedy films, especially romantic comedies. It was interesting to hear about her experience working alongside Middleditch. She described his acting as dark, depressing, interesting and playful. That’s a thoughtful and unique description that I wouldn’t have expected to have heard. Usually you’d hear something like hilarious or sarcastic, but dark and playful is an new one to me.

I had no idea she was into dancing and takes classes for it. This is the kind of information I enjoy learning about actors, as some of their hobbies off-set. Diana’s honesty and straightforwardness is refreshing and appreciated.

As far as the film goes, it’s one of these films that’s a bit out there. Just the questions it poses and approach it’s interesting as it is strange. Worth checking out for sure.

ENTANGLEMENT is out now in select theaters, Digital and On Demand

Interview: Actor Chris Mark

Kill Order (out now on DVD & VOD) is an sci-fi action flick from James Mark, starring his brother Chris Mark. Chris is a former stunt performer that’s appearing in dozens of film. He makes his leading role debut in this film. I spoke to Chris about the transition from stunt work to acting and more. The entire audio of the interview can be found below.

You’ve had a background in stunt work background, but what made you want to do this:

CM: Working in the stunt industry for so many years, I started to develop an interest in acting. I have since found a passion and goal of mine to act and do my own action. My brother who was the director of the film, his goal was to produce and create his own films, so we kinda had a common goal. He wrote the role with me in mind.

What was the transition into the acting for you:

CM: It was an interesting transition, I had already started doing acting while I was a stunt performer just for the sake of having that ability, while doing stunt. It’s actually good to have that ability because you’re always doing a little bit of acting doing stunt performing, that’s where I grew a real interest for acting.

REAL TALK:

I have a lot of respect for Chris and his journey from stunt man to actor. I can only imagine how physically taxing and potentially dangerous stunt work can be. These performers don’t get their proper due. Chris does nice work, especially in a leading role. His fight scenes were reminiscent to me of those 80’s and early 90’s martial arts movies.

The man talked to me on his lunch break, so props to him for trying to multitask talking to me and eating a sandwich. I was hoping to get some scoop about the upcoming X-Men movie he’s working on, but understandably he couldn’t say much about it. Looking forward to see what his next project will be. The film is worth a look, even though it’s silly to believe Chris plays a high school kid. That’s a man folks, he’s no kid, especially the way he kicks ass in the film.

KILL ORDER is available now on DVD, VOD and Digital HD

Trailer: Submission

The debut trailer for Richard Levine’s Submission looks plenty interesting. A stellar cast with Stanley Tucci, Kyra Sedgwick and Addison Timlin. This looks sexually charged with questions about morality, lust, power and boundaries. It sure looks like a movie that’s a conversation starter. Check out the trailer for the film below and share your thoughts.

Submission is slated to release in theaters in NYC on March 2, 2018 and in LA and other markets on March 9, 2018

Interview: Actor Toby Sebastian

If you’re not familiar with Toby Sebastian, you certainly will soon. Sebastian is an up-and-coming star. Sebastian stars in The Music of Silence is out in select theaters, VOD and Digital HD on February 2. The film is based on the incredible real story of famed opera singer Andrea Bocelli. I had a chance to speak to Toby abut playing the iconic Bocelli in the movie and a lot more.

How did the role come about:

TS: I got a meeting audition through my agent. In England at the time. I went in and it went well, I ended up meeting the director Mike Radford, it was lovely. Then it was the usual process of auditioning. I went off and shot another film, at that time I thought my chances at Bocelli had gone, because I hadn’t heard in a couple weeks. Then after the whole shoot of the TV show I came back and they were like we want to get you back in. 

What was it like after you secured the role:

TS: When I landed the role, it was an overwhelming feeling. I wasn’t too scared when I first got the role, until I actually got out and started to think what I had to do. I had seven weeks, if I had it my way I’d have a year or two, but I had seven weeks to watch enough footage as I could.

REAL TALK:

I swear the first sentence that came out of Toby made me think I was talking to Henry Cavill, they sound so alike. I found Toby to be well-spoken and eloquent. It’s such a great role and it was a bit surprising to hear he wasn’t even scared or intimidated initially when he got the role. Toby does a fantastic job making things look so seamless when he’s singing in the movie. It looks as if he’s belting out the songs. Clearly he has musical and singing talent, even though he’s like the all of us that can’t sing like Bocelli.

It was so interesting to hear Toby talk about meeting Bocelli and sharing a few days together. That must be one of these once in a lifetime memories he will cherish forever. It was nice to hear how Bocelli treated him well and made him feel comfortable.

This movie really had me invested and interested. The Bocelli story is so fascinating and inspiring. Toby does a phenomenal job playing Bocelli, they even both look so much alike, it’s uncanny. The Music of Silence is a fantastic movie, that is enjoyable for anyone, especially Bocelli fans.

The Music of Silence is out in theaters, VOD and Digital HD on February 2, 2018

Movie Review: Den of Thieves

If Sicario is widely considered to be one of the best crime thrillers of recent years, then Den of Thieves deserves to be right alongside it on that list. Den of Thieves is one of the most pleasantly surprising films in the past year. It had all the potential to turn into a stereotypical overly predictable shoot em’ up cops vs gangster crime genre flicks, but instead it did everything right.

LA’s top County Sheriff Department goes on the hunt for LA’s top bank robbery crew as they try to be the first to take down the Federal Reserve Bank. Leading the charge for the LA Sheriff’s is “Big Nick” Flanagan (Gerard Butler), who isn’t the kinda guy you would want to cross in any way, as evidenced by Nick’s constant bullying of an FBI agent ‘Lobbin’ Bob’ (Jordan Bridges) that keeps interrupting on his crime cases.

Gerard Butler stars in Den of Thieves

STX Films

On the other end, Pablo Schreiber plays the bank robbers lead dog, Merrimen. He’s exactly the kind of guy you also don’t want to mess with, unlike Nick, Merrimen is ruthless and unforgiving. The man in between linking both of these crews is Donnie (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) who is part-time bartender and driver for Merrimen’s crew, but he’s forced into helping out Flanagan’s team. Jackson Jr. can have the “Jr.” removed from his name because he’s big time and proves that he’s a legitimate actor, not just Ice Cube’s son.

There are a lot of moving parts and plot points, it’s why the two hour and twenty minute runtime is actually fitting. There is a twist midway through that changes the events and adds stake to the impending Federal Reserve Bank heist. Yet, another unforeseen twist awaits at the very end of the movie that will leave you gasping. The twists are a major bonus to a already spectacular film.

Writer and first time director Christian Gudegast crafts a smart and edgy movie that’s loaded with tension filled moments. The main characters have a backstory and home life outside of the crime world. Flanagan deals with marital issues and separation from his two young children. Donnie is stuck in between the law and crime, as he teeters on the edges trying to survive.

One drawback was the lesser emphasis on the supporting characters. I wish 50 Cent’s character Levi Enson was given more emphasis and backstory. There is a hint of his home life in a scene where his daughter is getting ready to head to prom and Enson gives the kid a “pep talk”. It’s one of the funnier scenes in a rather serious movie.

What quickly stands out is the raw gritty feel and look that this movie has. The authenticity that the film projects is uncanny. These characters are tough and living moment to moment on the edge that instill fear from a distance. The gloomy locales of the tough neighborhoods of LA are depicted as areas these characters would undeniably be roaming around.

This is by far a return of Gerard Butler to prominence after a run of bad movies. This is the kinda movie and roles he should be taking on predominantly, because it brings out the best of his talents. His interactions with Schreiber’s character are so slick and convincing that only a look or facial expression say all you need to know. It’s this subtle interaction that’s spot on.

den_of_thieves

STX Films

There are no moments where the action and plot become stale or redundant. Everything about this movie is gripping and it sucks you into this fascinating dangerous world of high stakes crime. The intensity and tension is on at all times. It’s all you can ask for in a movie of this genre.

Fans of Michael Mann’s Heat will notice some similarities in Butler’s and Schreiber’s characters in comparison to those of Al Pacino and Robert De Niro in Heat. Both strong, though, no nonsense alpha male characters, especially in the “good guy” roles. Seeds are planted early on for the eventual showdown between Flanagan’s men and Merrimen’s crew, that scene is fairly lengthy but in all the right ways, it takes into the “den” to witness the face-off that’s brutal and action filled.

Den of Thieves takes you on a thrill ride from start to its mind blowing ending. It will literally keep you on the edge of your seat and hyped up. Gudegast hits a home run in his directorial debut. He mixes all the elements of action, characters development, outstanding acting, plot intrigue, authenticity, intensity and exciting tension to create this must-see movie. Welshly Arms “Legendary” is the end credits theme song that is perfectly fitting, because this movie has the makings of something legendary.

‘DEN OF THIEVES’ SCORE: 100%

(One of the best crime thrillers in years)

Interview: Actor Alex Roe

The first major romantic movie of the year is out now. Forever My Girl (out in theaters) tells the story of a famous country singer returning back to his small hometown to fix the past he left behind. The movie stars up and coming young stars Alex Roe and Jessica Rothe. I had a chance to speak to Alex Roe about the movie and he even shared his favorite romantic movie.

How did you become familiar with the character even though you’re from England and this character is a country star from the Louisiana? 

AR: It was really important to me that I did the best I could with it. Just studying country singers and develop a sound with Brett Boyett for this guy. I’ve never sung before so it was definitely daunting, and I definitely never sung in an American accent, particularly any country music. 

How did you approach the bringing out of the fatherly traits needed for the scenes with the young daughter:

AR: I think I was really lucky. Obviously I’m not a father, my kinda relationship with Abby, who plays Billy, I was trying to figure out how to work with an 8-year-old kid, I’ve never really done that before. I was figuring out how to work with Abby and develop some sort of chemistry and have fun with her on set and kinda keep her infused and energetic, not that she didn’t bring those things to the table anyway. During filming I was learning in the same way Liam was learning.

REAL TALK:

I was excited to talk to Alex. Originally, he was scheduled to be on a press tour in Chicago and I was supposed to interview him in person, but the tour fell through, it happens. Alex seemed like a very chill cool guy. This role of playing Liam Page was a far removal from what he’s done previously, it was bold of him to take on this challenge. It can’t be easy to learn an American southern accent, much less play and instrument and sing, and he’s a British guy.

While it wasn’t a standard Nicholas Sparks romance (it was more of a drama), the romantic aspect did come through and it was fitting to the plot. So the plot was fairly predictable, but it didn’t focus solely on the romance between Liam (Alex’s character) and Josie (Jessica Rothe), it incorporated the little girl Billy (Abby Ryder Fortson).

As a guru of romantic movies, I had to ask Alex about his favorite ones. He said that the Before Sunset series with Ethan Hawke were some of his favorites. Good choice. We also discussed Me Before You (my personal all-time favorite romance), which was cool to find out that he’s seen it also. Wish I had a little more time to talk to him about other topics, but I enjoyed the time I’ve had.

Forever My Girl gets my romantic stamp of approval. Good romantic movie to start to the year.

Forever My Girl is out today in theaters in Chicago and all across the country. Check your local listings for times. 

Interview: Actor Josh Wiggins

Josh Wiggins hasn’t been around the Hollywood movie scene for a long time, but since his 2014 debut in Hellion. Wiggins has risen fast in the industry, starring alongside Aaron Paul, Josh Duhamel and now Matt Bomer in Walking Out. I spoke to Josh about working with Bomer and the challenges they faced in filming Walking Out.

What did you like about this story:

JW: I’ve always liked this survival kinda stories. It is that underneath this awesome story of father and son, estranged father and son. Through their terrible experience they grew their relationship, so that was unique. You don’t always see survival stories that are that intimate, so that one of the the big reasons I wanted to do the part. 

How did the location play into your character and overall feel of the movie?

JW: We shot at Big Sky and the mountain areas around there. In the movie you’re supposed to be miserable and hating the environment in ways it wasn’t very hard to act, because you have great disdain for the mountains elements, but also for the respect of everything it contains. In itself it’s definitely a character in the story because it brings so many different elements to the table. It’s a pretty complex character.

REAL TALK:

There was a lot to take away from the discussion with Josh. Obviously the conditions shooting the film were pretty reflective of the conditions in the film. Even though he’s from Texas, him saying those were the coldest weather conditions he’s ever had to experience while shooting.

It was fun to hear how he bonded with Matt on set. Hard to believe that Matt went to the same high school as Josh’s mother! What are the chances of that happening? They basically grew up in the same town, now that’s a bonding thing in Hollywood.

Josh said some interesting things that I took notice to. He prefers working in a smaller cast, that’s an interesting tidbit, my feeling was that actors would prefer to work in a larger group, at least from my experience in acting. He was pretty realistic and candid about the possibility of having to “take one for the team” roles. He’s had a nice run so far with quality roles and movies.

What was I thinking assuming he was a Houston Texans fan? Of course he’s a Cowboys fan, who isn’t in Texas?

Walking Out releases on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD on February 6, 2018