Sunday, November 23, 2008

Weakends Episode 3: Growing Weaker

Sorry for all the freakin delays with this. I had a shit ton of technical difficulties* when making this. It was actually recorded Wednesday, the 19th. This week Tom gets down and dirty with some upcoming Summer releases before he and G.Rett (myself) get to

The Top 5 Stories for the Weak of 11.14.08 - 11.19.08
3. War Monkey's is going to be Crazy!

As always, you can check out the podcast here, or head direct to the episode in the sidebar. Let us know what you think of the show in the comments. If you have any suggestions or would like to e-mail us some comments, do so at filmadelphiablog [at] and we'll be glad to read em on the air!

*if anyone knows where I can get a free GarageBand upgrade for OSX I would much appreciate it. Right now it only lets me edit up to 30 minutes of sound.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The /filmcast listens to Weakends!

It's true. Don't believe me? Check out their latest episode and listen up for their discussion of the recent announcement that Ridley Scott will be directing Monopoly. That's right a movie based on the board game. So this is a board movie? Or shall we say a bored movie? Cause that's what I imagine.

Anyhow, we're obviously big fans of the /filmcast. (We even tried to steal their podcast format like a couple of Silicone Valley pirates!) Some of you might remember that over the summer I would post a weekly request to be on their show right here, but I doubt we were on their radar at that point. That being said, we'd like to give a big thank you and huge shout out to Dave, Devindra, and Adam for throwin some publicity our way. Every little bit counts. And we'd still love to be on the show!

Check out the /filmcast, broadcasting live every Monday at 9pm eastern!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Weakends Episode 2: A New Format

Filmadelphia is finally trying to get on the ball! Since we've found ourselves far too busy to update the ol blog throughout the week, we've changed the format of Weakends a little bit. Instead of blatantly ripping off the /filmcast, we've decided to do our Top 5 Stories of the Weak. We round up all the news for the week and pick our top five and talk about em! Sounds exciting right? It gets even better, G.Rett and Tom have finally decided on a schedule and should actually be updating every Friday! (Maybe Thursday, any opinions on that?)

Also, we haven't given up on the blog. Although Tom is far too lazy, G.Rett is still going to try and make an effort to put some posts up throughout the week. Have no fear, filmadelphia is going to return in a big way with Weakends.

Check out the new episode right now!

Let us know what you think of the new format in the comments!

Show Notes:

Top 5 News Stories for the Weak of 11.7.08 - 11.13.08

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Kevin Bacon Movie Club!

Please watch this. If you thought playing 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon with your friends made for some hilarity (as well as odd movie connections), then your head is about explode. Dig it.

See more Kevin Bacon videos at Funny or Die

Monday, November 10, 2008

Kevin Smith @ Batman: Cacophony Signing

On Saturday, November 8, I drove out to Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash in Red Bank, NJ for the Batman: Cacophony signing with writer Kevin Smith and artist Walt Flanagan.  First of all, I had a blast despite the fact that it rained most of the afternoon.  Many of the other attendees were members of Smith's infamous message board (shout outs to the guys I stood in line with!) and had attended his Q&A the night before.

The line extended around the block, although the people I was standing with told me it seemed like a pretty short line compared to the previous signings they'd been to at the Stash.  I got to meet a bunch of really cool people from Smith's board, including two dudes who take the Askewniverse very seriously:

Apparently at the Q&A the night before, Kevin tried to convince a couple in the audience to head to the hotel after the night was over and get to fuckin'.  They arrived at the signing late in the afternoon, pulling up as if they were celebrities.  I'm telling you right now that goofy lookin dude didn't get laid the night before, but the two of them ate up the attention. Here's the supposed seductress competing with our devoted duo:

While in line I also had the chance to meet Cohee Lundin, the fingercuffs guy himself, John Willyung who was running the door all afternoon. In a somewhat hilarious turn of events, I also got to witness John try and turn the VP of DC Comics away from the store.

Smith was extremely gracious to his fans who waited all day in line, giving each person a few minutes of his time for conversation and book signings. He seemed quite disappointed with the Zack and Miri box office, but hopeful that it would have a strong life in theaters.

It was a great day all in all.  I recommend you take the time to head out to his store as Red Bank is a beautiful little town, and the store really is quite awesome. Leave some comments!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Bruce Campbell Interview: Full Text

Few B-movie actors have been able to acheive mainstream recognition like Bruce Campbell has. Beginning with his starring role as Ash in the The Evil Dead series, Campbell has made a career out of sticking to his guns. His cheesy, low-budget guns. When he wasn't directing and acting in episodes of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess, Campbell was accepting his fate as a B-movie action star and taking parts both big and small in B-classics like Congo and Bubba Ho-Tep.

In preperation for the release of his upcoming film My Name is Bruce which he both directed and starred in, Campbell will be coming to The Ritz Theaters on Nov. 5 to screen the movie and participate in a Q&A session with the audience.

I chatted with Bruce via cell phone about brining his new movie to the big screen, his life long relationship with Evil Dead and Spider-Man director Sam Raimi, and what it was like trying to get a part in a big budget action flick.

G: Bruce, thank you for being here with us and congratulations on the upcoming release of your new film "My Name is Bruce."

B: It was a long time coming.

G: How long have you been working on this film?

B: Two years. That's what happens when you have a television show that you're doing at the same time.

G: Right, you're working on "Burn Notice" right now, correct?

B: Exactly.

G: How did you get hooked up with that show? In research for this, I actually watched the first episode of the first season last night and it was really good. I was really impressed.

B: It's a cool spy show. It came outta nowhere, like a lot of good things do. It just came down the pike, and I hadn't done television in about eight years -- for a reason: TV's kind of a pain in the ass. And I read it, and I liked what it wasn't. It wasn't a cop show, a doctor show, or a lawyer show.

G: Yeah, it's got a really unique feel to it.

B: Yeah, so that's what appealed to me. And we're gonna go back in March for our third season.

G: Yeah that was just recently announced I think, that you guys would be on for another sixteen episodes or so.

B: Correct.

G: Excellent. You sit really well in that TV format. You were really good. So I just watched "My Name is Bruce," and I thought the film was a lot of fun. I especially liked the script, which I believe was written by Mark Verheiden. And he wrote the story for "The Mask" and he's worked on "Battlestar Galactica." It's a really witty script, full of a lot of references to your previous work as well as other genre movies, and I was wondering if you were involved at all with the writing of the script.

B: I was very involved. I was involved in the original story, to make sure we wanted to tell the same story. And then, after Mark did a couple of drafts, as a filmmaker I took over and then went "Alright, I'm doing one draft just to adjust for the production needs." The reality from going from someones concept to actually shooting it, fitting it and changing it to the locations around it and stuff. Then I did another pass of, just stuff that I wanted to do or say. It was my chance -- you know in a low budget arena, if we don't have money, I want creativity. So it was a nice situation because then I could take it and make it my own from there, and shoot it.

G: Was it always your intention for it to be a low budget film?

B: Well, ya know, here's the reality: Every filmmaker will accept as much as they can get. We can get a low amount of money without any hassle. So, I was happy to take it. You never obviously go "Oh, we can't spend more than this much money."

G: Right. So this is your second feature film, technically. You've done two documentaries before, and some TV. But as far as feature film goes, this is your second. How is this different at all from "The Man with the Screaming Brain?" (Campbell's first film, a Sci-Fi Channel made-for-tv movie I'm not sure if I found the right numbers, but I read somewhere that the budget for "Screaming Brain" was about two mil, and you had 1.5 for "My Name is Bruce?"

B: I actually don't know what the budget for "Screaming Brain" was, because they would never tell me. This is a completely different situation. Like 180 degrees. First of all, I refused to make it out of the country. I went "I'm not gonna shoot in goddamn Bulgaria ever again."

G: You had a lot of great Bulgaria references in the movie too.

B: Look I made something way down in Bulgaria because the Sci-Fi Channel said "You're shooting in Bulgaria." So, you know, I didn't have a whole lot of choice. On this one, Mike Richardson, my producing partner, the guy who put the deal together -- basically he's from Oregon as well. I live in Oregon. Mark Verheiden's from Oregon. We went "Let's make this an Oregon production." And so we did everything in our power to make sure that it happened in the state. And so we got a rebate from the state; they got a production deal going there. Not a great one, but they gave us a little rebate for shooting there. Production wise, it worked out very well. Because for the first time in ten years I could finally sleep in my own bed while making a movie. So I built that town on our property.

G: Yeah, I read in the production notes that you actually used trees from your own back yard to build the town.

B: Yeah, I mean we shot it literally in my backyard. So it was pretty convenient as well.

G: I actually, and maybe it was only because I read those production notes, but I was really impressed with the set design. I thought it looked really good, really real. It was really nice.

B: Well we had to build it big enough, you know? If you built it too small, there were gonna be problems. We got this guy who was a former, kind of back lot guy, and he helped us get the scale right. The trick was finding all the materials. So that was its own kind of joy ride.

G: So getting back to the writing a little bit, you play yourself as a self-absorbed version of yourself. Was that something that was in the script from the beginning, or something you kind of chose to do as you were developing it?

B: Well basically, I'm a big fan of redemptive stories. And in order to have someone -- you know, the character Bruce Campbell is hopefully, by the end of the movie, a little bit less of an asshole. And so, that's the trick, is to give him somewhere to go. If you make him a moron at the beginning, at least you got a journey there. So yeah it was pretty clear to make him almost an unbearable character.

G: Yeah, absolutely. My roommate was actually laughing; he was having trouble watching you. He was like "Is this guy really this much of a dick?" And I was like "I don't think so. I read his book; he seems nice."

B: [chuckles] Well see that's the beauty of it: What this movie's gonna do is it's gonna completely confuse fans, which is part of the fun as far as I'm concerned. You know, there will be people who will think that I do live in a trailer and I feed my dog whiskey. I can't help that.

G: [laughing] Absolutely. So in the film, a teenager requests your help because to him, you embody this heroic persona that fighting off an evil demon requires. And I was just wondering, you've played some really heroic characters throughout your career: Ash in "The Evil Dead," obviously, even the Daring Dragoon in "Jack of All Trades," have you ever been offered a role in a big budget action flick?

B: I tried once. I tried to get in the movie "The Phantom," years ago. Like, whenever, fifteen years ago. And I realized that -- the pursuit of that role had so little to do with acting. It was all about politics, and meeting producers, and casting people, and choosing Joe Dante, the director. It was, I thought it was kind of a disappointing and depressing process. So I went, "No, this isn't really my bag. I just wanna do what I wanna do. I don't wanna fit in somebody else's idea of what my career trajectory should be. So I decided just to keep doing my thing and not get into that world. Cause you know what? If I really -- if I took myself seriously, I'd be doing soap operas.

G: [laughing] Right.

B: So I dunno, I like playing the anti-hero rather than the hero. Cause I think more viewers can relate to an anti-hero, someone who's sort of like them.

G: Do you think maybe that's part of your appeal? I mean in a sense you might be considered an A-list B-movie star, if that makes sense?

B: There ya go. Yeah that's a good term. I haven't heard that one before.

G: Do you think that kind of success has stemmed from playing anti-heroes and accepting the fact that you may be a B-movie star?

B: Uh, yeah. Because I don't really have a problem with it, because I feel that B-movies are kind of where it's at as far as creativity goes. And let's not kid ourselves, all the A-movies are freakin B-movies now. I mean c'mon, if you dress around like a bat and fly around in a place called Gotham City, I got news for ya: That's a B-movie. You get bitten by a radioactive spider, that's a B-movie.

G: Even things like the "Death Race" remake that just came out I feel like is really schlocky.

B: Oh they're all B-movies. But those idiots are making a mistake because they're spending too much money. It's fine to come up with a dumb idea, but don't spend 200 million on it.

G: Right, cause you're just wasting somebodies money.

B: And time, in my opinion. So I dunno, that's why I don't fight the B-movie label. In fact, even in television I do B-television cause I'm on cable. I'm not on, even a network. So I'm just a B-guy all around.

G: That was something that I really liked about your first book, the autobiography "If Chins Kill." I read that when I was really young and it kind of turned me on to the idea of DIY film-making and things like that -- turned me on to the "Evil Dead" movies and stuff. The one story that always sticks with me there is you guys going door to door, asking for money to make your movie. I feel like that is just a really excellent work ethos that could only come out of B-movies.

B: Well you know, I think the trick to success is basically rooted in hard work. Sam Raimi's a very inspired filmmaker, but basically we all just worked really hard on those movies. And it shows.

G: Absolutely. Speaking of the Raimi's, one of my favorite parts of "My Name is Bruce" was Ted Raimi's multiple performances.

B: Oh yeah, I put Ted in my movies to make me look like a better actor.

G: [laughs] He's great. He's so funny. And you know when he first came on screen I knew I recognized him, but I wasn't sure from where. And when I hit the IMDB I realized it was from his performance in the Spider-Man movies as Jameson's lackey.

B: Yeah, Tim and I realized that we've been in about 11 movies together.

G: Just in various roles, not even intentionally, necessarily?

B: Right, and not even in the same scene, but in the same movie.

G: So I was wondering, is the character of the agent that he plays based on a real agent at all?

B: Yes it is. His name Mills Toddner is an abortion of two other names. So yeah, he's based on a real idiot.

G: [laughing] A real idiot? Was he an agent you were forced to work with at some point?

B: No. Mike Richardson and Mark Verheiden that they both had that they thought was just a jerk and an idiot. So they tweaked his name a little bit and put it in there. And you know, that's the beauty of making a movie that is a little close to the truth. That you can do things like: I have a whole sequence outside the sound stage where I talk to those dudes, and I kick the guy in the wheelchair. There are some lines of dialogue in that sequence that are verbatim from real conversations. So what matters is -- in the movie, I get to react to fans how I want to, not like in real life.

G: Yeah, I thought it was hilarious when someone asked you if being on Ellen turned you gay. That was a really big moment for me.

B: Good, you did. I'll tell the guy, I know the actor.

G: [chuckles] Excellent. So, another one of the things that was great about this movie was the cast, which if I understand correctly was a lot of locals from Oregon?

B: They sure were. We did the whole home-spun kinda deal. Because you know, on a low-budget money you don't have a lot of money to bring people in. And I thought, "Doggone it, lets just try and find somebody locally." And Grace Thorson who's in it, she's babealicious in my opinion.

G: Oh absolutely. She was fantastic too.

B: When she showed to audition, I'm like, "Man, where did you come from?" And the kid I thought was good too, Taylor Sharpe. These are people from Medford and Ashland Oregon. You know, they drove their car to work everyday. That was a lot of fun, to be able to find people locally. Cause the local people never had a bad day. They were happy to be on that set all day long.

G: That's great. I thought, especially Dan Hicks and Tim Quill were really funny as "The Couple," as we can call them I suppose.

B: Yeah well that happened on the first day of shooting. They were just sitting next to each other, and I just saw their two grizzled faces of these two kind of rough and tumble guys. It just seemed logical to have them hands at one point. [laughs] We did it as a gag and then we realized then, since that was the first day of shooting, that we officially just made them gay on the spot. And they kinda were like, "Huh?" We're like, "Hey, don't worry about it. It's fine. It'll give your characters identity."

G: I thought the reference to "Broke Back Mountain" was just fantastic.

B: [chuckles]

G: So one of the other things I wanted to talk about is a little aside from your new movie. I really love your cameo at the end of "Darkman."

B: [chuckles]

G: I just bought the trilogy for like $9 the other day, having never seen it before.

B: Nice.

G: I didn't even know there were sequels. But when you showed up at the end, my friends and I -- you know, we were watching the movie and kind of going, "Man, this seems like somethings a little off here." And then you showed up at the end and it was just a total turn around for us on the movie. It was great.

B: [laughs] That I am Darkman.

G: Exactly, the whole time it's been you. One of the things that had me do though was I went back into your book, cause I remembered there was talk about "Darkman" in the book. You talk about how there was a little bit too much studio control with the film, and that was kind of, maybe what turned it into what it became.

B: Oh yeah. I saw a three hour version of that movie; I saw a revenge version of that movie; I saw a love story version of that movie.

G: What do you think was Raimi's initial intention with the movie? Was it the three hour cut? Was it the love story? Where do you think his actual cut would've lie?

B: I think there were a lot of issues throughout. Their original script was something like 150 or 60 pages.

G: Wow, that's long.

B: Which, I have to say, for something that's supposed to be kind of a... kind of like a B-movie, it's supposed to move quickly, and this and that. And what happened is, you know Sam shoots a lot of footage, I think when they finally put it together it literally was three hours. That -- I saw a three hour version. It was pretty cool because it's an intricate plot line. So this guys goes here, Darkman goes here, he takes this guy out, you know -- a lot of it was tied together. And what happened is, when they started to cut the movie down, whole chunks, whole scenes would pop out. You'd watch it again and go, "Where'd that bald guy go?" You know, the characters were sort-of disappearing cause they had to take their death sequences out, for whatever reason. And then they had to go back and re-shoot stuff to make sense out of what no longer made sense. So it was a big, it was a big Mulligan pretty much throughout. But it wound up being a pretty successful movie for Universal, so they were pretty happy.

G: Absolutely. I feel like that movie has taken on a certain cult status as well.

B: It has. It was fun to watch it like a fly on the wall, so I could just watch all the goings on. My favorite scene got cut out by an executive. There were some really interesting things that got cut out.

G: That's sad. I mean, I guess that's what happens when you try to put too much money into a B-movie, as you were saying before.

B: I'll give you a quick example, real quick. The guy who plays the slick developer, Colin Friels. Well after Darkman got blown up at the lab, Julie starts to date him. Cause he's very suave and sophisticated, very nice guy. Which, so she thinks, you know. But the issue is, what happened is then, they didn't cut to an apartment and the developer comes out, just by himself, he's alone at night in his apartment. He comes out, he's just taken a shower, he's just wearing a robe around his waste. He grabs a box and he opens the lid of it and you see a shimmer of gold on his face. He empties the box contents out onto his bed and its gold coins. And then, you cut behind him, and he drops his towel, and he is completely naked, and he dives onto the bed, and he's writhing in the coins. He's making love to money. And then they cut to the next day and she shows up to see him, and now the audience members in their heads are going, "Oh wait, don't go for him. He's a creep. This guys a weirdo." And what happened was, the audience found it to be an uncomfortable scene to watch. And so in the early testing, you know that's one of the things they ask, "Which scene did you like the most or not like?" And that one got mentioned as on that they didn't like because it made them feel uncomfortable. So the executive, instead of heralding the fact that the filmmaker succeeded in making people feel uncomfortable and not like that character, they just made him take it out.

G: Yeah, that's ridiculous.

B: That's the kind of -- that's studio management, and that's why I make low-budget movies because I don't have to deal with any of that crap.

G: Yeah you'll never have to worry. So as we're winding down here, I feel like I have to ask this question: It's been about fifteen years since you guys completed work on "Army of Darkness," and at Comic Con this summer, if I'm reading things correctly, Raimi announced that he had been talking to you about work on a 4th "Evil Dead." Is there anything you can tell me about that?

B: Sam's a funny guy. Yes, I think he did say that. And he does wanna do it. But, you know, he just signed up for another Spider-Man, and those things take two to three years each.

G: Yeah and I hear they might do the next two back-to-back. Which is really gonna hold up his schedule I'm sure.

B: Yeah, so it's kind of like, "Forget it." Look, everybody's well interested in doing it. But it's an attention span. Those movies really take a long time to make, and they're very difficult to make. We're willing to do it when we're sittin around twiddling our thumbs. But, you know, contractually I gotta finish my TV show, and Sam's busy. So that's really just it. We're just busy guys.

G: Right. I had one question about it: If you guys were to make a 4th one, would you stick with the low budgets of the first three or would you maybe go bigger budget now that Sam's a bigger name?

B: Well, because Sam's involved all bets are off. I dunno, I mean try and take his toys away now.

G: [chuckles] Yeah, true.

B: I mean me, personally? I would do hand-held, 16mm with an absolutely no-name cast.

G: Right. Go right back to the original set-up.

B: I would go -- right. And I would just tweak the FX so that you can't see garden hoses and things like that.

G: Right. Just do some post-production.

B: But I would do low-budget FX. As well I would do physical FX. I wouldn't do as much digital stuff.

G: Yeah, absolutely. You know, I think that's what's missing from a lot of modern film-making, is the physical effects. That tends to ruin movies. So real quick, before you have to go, what can we -- what's next for Bruce Campbell?

B: I'm gonna tour for two months. That'll keep my busy for a while. And then I'm gonna take a little break before "Burn Notice," then I'm just going back to "Burn Notice." So I'm hoping to make another movie in the fall of next year.

G: Another movie that you direct?

B: Yeah.

G: Excellent sir. Well we look forward to that. Thanks for your time. We really appreciate talking to you.

B: Thank you, I appreciate it as well.

G: Yeah, it's been great. Good luck with the movie. I hope it gets a good reaction cause I thought it was fantastic.

B: Alright, thank you. I appreciate it.

G: No problem. Have a good one Bruce.

B: Thank you. Bye-bye.