Interview with Sebastian Stan AKA The Winter Soldier

While we were in LA a few weeks ago, we had the opportunity to interview some of the cast of the new Captain America: The Winter Soldier movie, including Bucky himself.  Most comic fans will tell you that there are two characters that NEVER come back to life- Uncle Ben and Bucky Barnes.  Even I know that!  So what’s it like to break ‘da rules, and risk the wrath of fanboys and girls everywhere, Sebastian Stan?  (It’s cool!  Most of them are over it- the comic cam out quite awhile ago.)

bucky 2

Question- Was it difficult to switch roles from Bucky to The Winter Soldier?

Sebastian Stan: Well, yes and no. I would say no in the sense that everything is so spelled out for me in the comic books that I sort of feel like I have that to follow as a guide. Yes, in that certain things from comic books often aren’t so easily translated to the screen. There were things visually that were new that we had to discover about the character.

I mean in the comic books there was a lot of information but in terms of how the Winter Soldier moved, how he behaved, what his presence was like on screen, those were all things I had to discover once I was in the outfit and we were actually shooting the movie. And that was more difficult I suppose. At the end of the day the most difficult part was playing someone that’s very different while at the same time the same person.

Question- How do you mentally prepare for a role like this in terms of playing someone who doesn’t even know who they are?
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The New The Tom and Jerry Show

There is a new Warner Bros. Animation series, The Tom and Jerry Show coming out soon!


The series will be premiering Wednesday, April 9 on Cartoon Network.  Entertainment Weekly just debut a trailer for the show yesterday which you can check out here:

As you can see the cat and mouse grudge match between these two continues with the same brand of slapstick humor that made Tom and Jerry two of the most beloved characters in animation history.  In addition to their familiar suburban house setting, each 11 minute short of the new series will expand Tom and Jerry’s never-ending game of cat-and-mouse to include more fantastic worlds, from a witches cabin to a mad scientist’s lab.

Voiced with comedic stars such as Simon Helberg (The Big Bang Theory) and Jason Alexander (Seinfeld) leading it’s talented  cast, the show should be a hit with kids.  Here is what Jay Bastian, the WBA creative executive had to say in an interview with me last week.

Q1- Have you always been a Tom and Jerry Fan?

Jay Bastian– Who isn’t?  I always loved watching Tom and Jerry cartoons with my father, since he would laugh just as much as I did at them.

Q2-  Who is your favorite, Tom, or Jerry?  (And why)

Jay Bastian– This is a debate I have been in both at Cartoon Network and at Warner Bros. for years.  People are entrenched on one side or the other and can speak at length about their respective stance.  I guess I always root for the underdog, so I’ve always been firmly on Jerry’s side.

Q3- How is the new The Tom and Jerry Show different the the older cartoons?

Jay Bastian– Hopefully the characters, their relationship and the slapstick violence will still feel like what was established in the classic shorts.  The newest thing we’ve added in this series is the reoccurring scenarios of the science lab, the witches’ house and Tom and Jerry’s detective agency.  The idea was to keep them the same characters they have always been, but add in new locations and things to throw at one another.
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Interview With Anthony Mackie, AKA “The Falcon”

anthony mackie

While on our visit to LA, we were able to chat with the very funny Anthony Mackie.  I was laughing so hard I was holding onto my chair so I wouldn’t fall off of it (yes, I’m graceful) and was gasping-breathing.  Read on to hear him talk about his hatred of diets, his insane workouts for this film, his sad breakup with Jack Daniels, and why flying sucks.   This is my kind of superhero.

Question- How was the whole Falcon costume experience?

Anthony Mackie: It was no fun. The hardest working actors in Hollywood are flying superheroes. I said it, I don’t care what Thor says with his hammer. I don’t care what Wolverine says. If you fly, it sucks.

I loved my costume, I loved everything about it. I love doing stunts. I have the best stuntman in the business. We’ve done like five movies together. And literally it’s like that Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny cartoon, where like the missile is coming and Bugs Bunny’s like paused and then puts Daffy in. And he just takes the brunt of every hit for me. And I love it. [LAUGHS] There’s nothing natural about flying to humans. There’s nothing we do that’s like flying. So my first day on set I walk in, I’m like, “What’s up, yo. Falcon in the building, what’s up?” Right.

And so I get up on like a 60 foot platform. And I’m like, all right, let’s do this. You know, brother in the building. And they said, “All right, stand on the edge of the platform, there’s a jet coming at you. We want you to stand up, turn around, shoot your guns and jump back backwards head first, into this mat.” From 60 feet in the air.

And I’m like, “Whoa!” The first day is usually like walking down a hallway, or eating or something. You know, just to break you in. Not jumping off the platform to your death.

So once we did that, in the scalding heat of the day, I kinda knew what I was in for. And it just got worse from there. It was really painful and exhausting. But Aaron Toney, my stuntman, literally, he fell out of a car at 40 miles an hour. He got messed up on this movie. So kudos to him. [LAUGHS]

anthony mackie 1

Question- What did you do to train and prepare for this film?

Anthony Mackie: Salmon, chicken, tuna fish, asparagus. And a cup of brown rice at noon. Every day. For three months. When I played high school football we used to do these things called two-a-days. Basically at six a.m. you wake up, get ready, go to the gym for an hour. And you do cardio, just like Jane Fonda s*it. And then you come home, and you just rest and eat every three hours. Then at 7 p.m. you go to the gym, and literally lift whatever you can find. For about an hour and a half. And then you go home and go to sleep. And then you wake up and do it again.

I did that for three months. Fitness is a lifestyle, you have to eat a certain way. You have to do a certain thing, you have to live a certain way. So you know, me and my homeboy Jack Daniels stopped talking. You know, no more, pizza. Me and my girlfriend Haagen Dazs broke up. She’s French, it was crazy.

And then I show up and you know, Chris looks like a Greek god. And I’m feeling good about myself, I’m like Spandex ready, you know. And I show up and he’s like, Captain Tiny As$. And I’m like, “Dude, how’d you get your as$ that small?”
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Interview With Scarlett Johansson #CaptainAmericaEvent

A few weeks ago, I was able to interview Scarlett Johansson about her role as “The Black Widow” in the New Captain America movie.  She came in, all dressed in white, and acted like a normal person, which was pretty cool.  She was as pretty in person as she is on screen, which was pretty annoying  😉 but we can let that slide.  The movie was awesome, and comes out on Friday- make sure you check it out.  Black Widow was a cool character in it, I can’t imagine too many people who won’t like this flick.

Here is an excerpt from the interview. Read on.

scarlett 2

Question- So when are we going to see the Black Widow movie?

Scarlett Johansson: Um, two years… [LAUGHS] don’t print that. The thing about working with Marvel is that how loud the audience voice is. Marvel, and particularly Kevin Feige is such a fan of the source material himself that he understands the fans are kind of what drive this train. If people want a Black Widow film, I’m sure that we can get something together.

Question- In The Winter Soldier, the Black Widow’s like cupid, talking all about love and relationships with Captain America. Why the transition?

Scarlett Johansson: That’s interesting. First of all, when the character is talking to Loki [in Avengers], she’s kind of putting up this front. She’s not, as we come to realize, being completely honest with him. It’s partly for her Widow face that she wears. And in this film, we really get to see a lot more of Natasha. I like to think that Natasha has a romantic side.

You know, she’s been really damaged. I think that she very early on in the past probably learned to not care too much about people because they could be easily taken away from her and used against her. And she probably didn’t want to hurt the people that she loved the most. So she never needs them or never invested too much in them knowing that it would probably put them in danger.

But I think she hopes that for someone like Cap, I think she sees someone who could have his life enriched by sharing it with somebody. She sees someone that kind of yearns for that, but, you know, is also scarred by the series of events that have changed his life. Maybe she kind of sees in Steve [Rogers] a little bit of herself and wants something more for him.
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Interview with President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige


A few weeks ago,  I was able to interview Kevin Feige, the President of Marvel Studios and producer of the film Captain America: The Winter Soldier, coming out in theaters this Friday, April 4, 2014.

Here is an excerpt from the interview about Captain America, his filming experiences, and the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy. 

captian america producer

Question: Can you tell us what comes next?

Kevin Feige: We’re spending a lot of time now in the cutting room on Guardians of the Galaxy, which comes out August 1st. We just released the teaser for it recently. In about two weeks we start filming Avengers: Age of Ultron. That’s coming up very fast and that will be the next movie up in May of 2015.  In about ten weeks, we start filming Ant-Man with Michael Douglas and Paul Rudd. That comes out in July of 2015.

We haven’t announced what comes after that in 2016/2017 but we’re actively working on any number of things and are beginning to hone in on sort of exactly what the movies will be in ’16 and ’17.

Question: Is it intentional that you always incorporate older superheroes?

Kevin Feige: Well I think its indicative of our development process. We just believe that’s the best way to bring the villains into it. It’s more personal in this movie than in any other movie because of who the Winter Soldier is.

Question:Were you worried about any fan controversy surrounding the Winter Soldier, like there was when he (Bucky) first showed up in the comics?

Kevin Feige: Comic fans always knew sort of two things – characters die and come back to life in comics, like in soap operas. But there are two characters in the Marvel Universe that are never going to come back to life – Uncle Ben and Bucky Barnes. About 10 years ago a comic book writer, Ed Brubaker, went to publishing.  I didn’t have anything to do with it. He went to publishing and said, “I have an idea to bring Bucky Barnes back.” And I’m sure they’re like “what are you talking about? You can’t do that.” And they pitched the idea and it was great. And it was the Winter Soldier idea and it was done so well. I think fans went “No, you can’t – Oh that’s great, we love that.”

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Interview with Captain America AKA Chris Evans


My husband is a huge geek.  He loves all things comic book, sci-fi, and uber weird.  That said, having married into geek, I know more then I ever thought I would about superheros and the origins thereof.  Normally I can take or leave these movies, but having seen this one (thoughts on that later) I can tell you that the latest Captain America movie is really awesome.  Like actually awesome- I think you will like it a whole lot even if you don’t like superhero movies.  If you do- well, bring an extra pair of pants, you are going to mess yourself.

Having recently gotten to interview Captain America, AKA Chris Evans, about his role and his character (and his thoughts on both), I thought I would share a snippet with you all today.

chris evans

Here are some of the interview highlights:

Question- What qualities in Captain America do you find in yourself?

Chris Evans: Aww, how do you answer that question? He’s such a good guy. All right, what do I find in myself? I think he’s always trying to do better. I don’t think I’m as good of a man as he is, but I think as good of a man as he is, he’s always trying to improve. So the one thing I am working towards on a daily basis is just trying to find ways to evolve.

Question- Do you find that a character like Captain America plays like a role model?

Chris Evans: Oh, completely. There’s a kid that I grew up with named Charlie. Charlie Morris. He’s like, the best kid I know. He was an Eagle scout. And being an Eagle scout is not easy; you’ve got to really do it for a long time. But he’s just such a good man, and he genuinely, genuinely puts himself last. He does the right thing even when no one else is watching. He lives by a code.

And so when I took the role, I told Charlie, “Listen. I’m modeling this after you.” And it’s such a great character to aspire to be.

Question- What was it like seeing yourself as Captain America for the first time?

Chris Evans: Terrifying. I think the first time I saw it was back when I was still pretty insecure and a little apprehensive about taking the role. So, it was a real dichotomy. There was simultaneous joy, but at the same time, a deep fear. That’s eroded over time, and now it’s very familiar. It feels very comfortable. It feels great now, and damn, if I had said no, I would have been the biggest fool on the planet.

Question- If you had a second choice for a superhero role, who would you choose?

Chris Evans: You know, I’ll say it: I miss Johnny Storm. I liked the Human Torch. He was a fun guy to play. I liked, you know, I would say someone like Iron Man, but no one can touch Robert Downey Jr. It’s fun to play someone with life. It’s fun to play someone who enjoys embracing their abilities, and Johnny Storm was a lot of fun to play. And that costume was comfy. It was like a wetsuit. It was perfect.

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Interview with Bret McKenzie, Muppets Music Man

While we were in LA, we spoke with a lot of the folks behind the Muppets Most Wanted movie.  One of which was songwriter Bret McKenzie, who was pretty cool to listen to.  He even took a few seconds to answer a phone call from his wife- she called twice in a row, back to back- because he was worried something could be wrong.  Nice guy, good dad to make sure all was well and not just leave a phone on silent.  Gotta respect that.  Also, he was really funny, poking fun at himself, the making of the movie, and the people in the room in a lighthearted way.

aussie songwriter from muppets movie

Here is a snippet of our interview-

You won an Oscar for your song “Man or Muppet.” While working on the music for Muppets Most Wanted did you feel pressure to meet that kind of standard again?

BRET MCKENZIE: Yeah there was a lot of pressure because of the Oscar, but really what could I do? I had to get on with the job and just, you know, forget about that. I didn’t work on the last Muppet film to win awards. 

While working on the music for this film did you have any pressure to try to meet that kind of standard again?

BRET MCKENZIE:  Yeah I was, obviously yeah there was a lot of pressure because of the Oscar and, um, but really what could I do? It was, there’s always gonna be downhill, so, uh, I just had to, you know, I mean I was appreciative but then I had to get on with the job and just, you know, forget about that. ‘Cause I didn’t, I didn’t work on the last muppet film to win awards, you know. Yeah. That’s all we got? Okay, let’s go.You have a t-shirt as well, oh my God. This is like the Muppet Club.

What is your general creative process like?

BRETT: They send me a script with the idea of a song and it’s usually quite a loose idea. For example, the ballad. It was originally called “Love Ain’t Easy,” and it was a Piggy ballad. And first of all I was nervous because Piggy is a great comedic character, but not a great singer. I was worried about her carrying an emotional ballad because there’s only so much of her voice that the audience wants to hear.

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An Interview with Muppets Most Wanted Director James Bobin


Muppets Most Wanted opened just last Friday, March 21. Have you seen it?  Have you seen it again-again?  Do you know what I’m talking about?

I still say we start a petition and get the Muppets Show back on TV.  They deserve a weekly slot.  Stand up for Muppet equality!  There is WAY too much garbage on the television right about now, Kermit and the gang can save us from the mundane.  Down with the Bad Girls Club, up with Muppets!  Muppet power!  Who’s with me?

OK, more Muppet Power later.  I recently had the opportunity to interview the Director of Muppets Most Wanted, James Bobin.  He also directed the Muppet Movie in 2011 as well as the comedy series Flight of the Conchords. He co-wrote Muppets Most Wanted  with Nicholas Stoller, who wrote the Muppet Movie with Jason Segal (who also played “Gary” in the movie).  Who’s on first?

James Bobin

James Bobin

Here is some of that interview with James Bobin-

Q: When writing The Muppets did you take any inspiration from your funny show Flight Of The Conchords? And then do you think that adult humor and children’s’ humor are closer than we think?

James Bobin:   [LAUGHS] Good questions. Uh, adult humor and, I’ll do them in the reverse order. Adult humor and child humor, yeah they are kind of different but they can be the same. I mean, we’re all big kids, really, I am, I know for sure. And so often I find things like, things falling over, I will find that funny forever. Like Tom and Jerry makes me laugh as much as my kids might laugh. And that’s always going to be that way. But sometimes it’s useful to have a thing that works on two levels, that they like it for some, a reason, and we like it for a different reason.

Often that’s because we’re putting clever words into the mouths of puppets and so they see a blue thing with a funny nose and white hair, which is funny, but we hear them say smart words. And I love it, that idea works for both adults and children.

(In reference to Flight of the Conchords) I think whenever you make anything you can’t help but put an imprint of yourself in it to a degree. So when you do like a show like Concords and move into Muppets you can’t help but bring a bit of that, your personality, with you.

Especially when you have half [LAUGHS] of the Conchords working on the movie with you. Brett writes the songs and so Brett and I worked together. And so be it set out on the streets of New York and Conchords or set on the streets of London and Muppets, there’s some of it’s Bert in many ways. And then, you know, in many ways the Conchords Muppets aren’t that different, they’re both quite innocent.

I don’t know but Conchords is the quite accessible innocent, sure they’re very kind of likeable innocent people. And the Muppets are also [LAUGHS] very innocent, likeable people. So it didn’t feel like a huge leap going from Conchords to Muppets, so. Yes?

group 2Q: So who is the most difficult Muppet to work with?

James Bobin: [LAUGHS] I’ll let you guess who the most difficult Muppet is who I work with. None of them, they’re all a total joy to work with. I’m a huge fan. I grew up watching the Muppets as a kid, so working with them for me is like working with my heroes.

Q: So what is the difference between shooting the first movie and then the second movie?

James Bobin: The first movie I’d never worked puppets before, so it was a very big experiential learning curve of how to frame shots, how to make this world feel realistic, that these puppets were alive, breathing people who are interacting with humans and the world’s just, the world we live in, the recognizable world we live in happened to have puppets in it. That idea I love, and that’s a very important part of it.

And that was quite, the training of the first movie was just getting, I think just getting to that level for me was an achievement. I could make a movie that worked on that level. And so for this one I just wanted to push that a bit further. Because the last movie is kinda set in the theater for a lot of the final act. And the last, you know, most of it was and so I thought this time, well, we should just get out and about a bit more and just do some slightly more adventurous, bigger stuff. And, obviously, the fact that the movie’s kind of a caper movie with some criminal stuff in it, feels like you can do bigger action sequences.

Obviously, you never want to put the words “puppet” and “action sequences” in the same sentence [LAUGHS] as a director, because that is very hard. But I like the idea of trying difficult stuff. It’s ambition about the movie I really like about it, it feels like a very different film to me. And the way I love both movies equally, but this film I feel like has slightly more ambition which I love about it and I think that’s when you’re doing a sequel there’s all sorts of things you have to deal with. One of them is you want to try and make a different movie. You don’t want to make the same movie twice, and that’s very important. Yes?

pic8Q: How much filming do you actually do?

 James Bobin:  A lot, I mean, it’s the principal photography, which is 95 percent of the film, was in London. We shot on the stages at Pinewood, which is just about a half an hour outside London, and then even places like Berlin and Madrid are also shot in or around London. Because going to Berlin with the entire Muppet cast and crew would’ve been a very expensive endeavor in doing it. And London is, as you know, a very ancient historical city, and therefore has lots of different architectural styles in it.

So you can kind of get a rough idea, “this looks a bit like Madrid,” ” this looks a bit like Berlin,” and certainly enough with some, you know, added set dressing and stuff, you could really feel like you’re there. And so most of the movie was shot in London, and in or around London. Which is kind of nice because the Muppet show back in the ’70s, uh, was made in London and not many people know that, you know. I mean, it feels like a thing that just, well it felt very much like a homecoming for Muppets.
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