Jacob’s Banter!

 

Jacob Latimore, The “Sleight” Interview, with Kam Williams, young breakout star, promising talents, Collateral Beauty, Ride AlongJacob Latimore

The “Sleight” Interview

with Kam Williams

Jacob’s Banter!

Jacob Latimore has been hailed by Variety, Indiewire and The Wrap as a young breakout star. Having emerged as one of the most promising talents of his generation, his upcoming films are from Academy Award-winning directors and writers where he stars alongside actors of that same caliber.

Jacob was most recently seen among the ensemble of celebrated thespians in the holiday season film Collateral Beauty, directed by Oscar-winner David Frankel. The picture follows the story of a once-successful businessman played by Will Smith, who has slipped into severe depression following a personal tragedy. His friends, played by Edward Norton, Kate Winslet and Michael Pena, show concern when he begins writing letters to various objects on themes like time, love, and death which then show up as people played by Latimore, Keira Knightley and Helen Mirren.

Jacob just completed production on a yet-to be named crime drama with another Oscar-winning director, Kathryn Bigelow, and her Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker screenwriter Mark Boal. That movie chronicles a police raid in Detroit in 1967 which resulted in one of the largest citizen uprisings in United States’ history. Also upcoming is the film Krystal, where Jacob joins William H. Macy, Felicity Huffman, Kathy Bates and Rosario Dawson in a romantic dramedy directed by Macy.

Earlier in his career, Jacob was featured in a couple of 2014’s biggest box office hits, playing Ramon in Ride Along opposite Ice Cube, Kevin Hart and John Leguizamo, and in the sci-fi thriller The Maze Runner. The year before, he starred as Langston in Black Nativity, working with alongside Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Tyrese Gibson, Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige and Nas. And prior to that, he made his feature film debut in a lead role in the post-apocalyptic thriller, Vanishing on 7th Street.

Besides acting, triple threat Jacob is a dancer and established R&B singer. After a number of hit singles, his debut album, Connection, was released last December.

A native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Jacob currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia. Here, he talks about his latest movie, Sleight, where he stars as a street magician who starts dealing drugs to support himself and his sister after the death of their single-mom.

Jacob Latimore, The “Sleight” Interview, with Kam Williams, young breakout star, promising talents, Collateral Beauty, Ride Along

Kam Williams: Hi Jacob, thanks for the interview.

Jacob Latimore: Thanks for having me!

KW: What interested you in Sleight?

JL: Sleight is the kind of film you dream about. Sleight balanced the genres of science fiction, romance, family and reality in one story. I was completely drawn into the character and the complex issues he faces. It’s not often you get a script that allows you to stretch your own ability as an actor and I saw the ability to do that with this film.

KW: How would you describe the film in 25 words or less?

JL: It’s a genre-bending superhero origin story. Although it focuses on a street magician, Sleight ultimately is a story about the lengths a person will go to protect his family.

KW: How would you describe your character, Bo?

JL: Bo is a guy who is passionate about magic and in his own way strives to do something with his magic that has never been done before. He’s determined. Due to his parents deaths, he needed to grow up faster than he anticipated because he has to raise his younger sister. And what he learns as a grown-up affects everything he does.

KW: This was your first lead role. Did you feel a little extra pressure on the set knowing you were playing the protagonist.

JL: Not at all. Because I had to perform at a young age onstage and in the film Black Nativity among others, I have never been nervous about the roles I’ve taken, on or off the set. I’ve always been confident in my ability and I hope I bring that confidence to the set and to the characters I portray.

KW: What message do you think people will take away from the movie?

JL: That’s a hard question. I’m not sure. I can tell you that I hope they will take away the importance of family and your individual role in the family unit. And I hope it inspires people to pursue their dreams in spite of adversity.

KW: You’re a triple threat: actor, singer, dancer. Which is your favorite?

JL: Had you asked me that question a year and a half ago, I would have said music. However, after working with Will Smith and Kathryn Bigelow and absorbing all that great experience from people who have done this for years, it’s more of a balance. I love performing and, whether it’s music, acting or dancing, I’m happy. I feel at home.

KW: You recently released your first album, “Connection.” How would you describe yourself, musically?

JL: Musically, R&B music has sort of always been the foundation of who I am as an artist, due to the influence of my dad and my uncles. At the core, that’s who I am, and I definitely wanted my first album to reflect it.

KW: You’re just 20 years-old. What’s been the secret to your success at such an early age?

JL: At the end of the day, it really comes down to your passion and what you are willing to do to pursue your dreams. You Jacob Latimore, The “Sleight” Interview, with Kam Williams, young breakout star, promising talents, Collateral Beauty, Ride Alonghave to be consistent, just like doing homework everyday. It’s practicing your craft to make yourself better. An important part of that is family support, which I’ve always had.

KW: Harriet Pakula-Teweles asks: With so many classic films being redone, is there a remake you’d like to star in?

JL: Miles Morales’ Spider-Man movie. I’d love to do that.

KW: The music maven Heather Covington question: What was the last song you listened to?

JL: Migos’ “T-Shirt.”  https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01NAQ6SHR/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20

KW: What is your favorite dish to cook?

JL: I know how to cook several things. I’m great with breakfast, like some really good eggs with a little garlic seasoning and salt and pepper on lightly-toasted bread.

KW: The Morris Chestnut question: Was there any particular moment in your childhood that inspired you to become the person you are today?

JL: When I was younger, music was an inspiration from Michael Jackson to my family. Although I did love to watch great television like the Cosby Show and actors like Denzel and Will Smith, I always loved great films, and I think that overall inspiration prepped me for what I do today.

KW: Sherry Gillam would like to know what is the most important life lesson you’ve learned so far?

JL: Be kind to EVERYONE!

KW: If you could have one wish instantly granted, what would that be for?

JL: Very easy. World peace.

KW: Larry Greenberg asks: Do you have a favorite movie monster?   

JL: Michael Myers [Halloween franchise]

KW: Thanks again for the time, Jacob, and best of luck with the film.

JL: Thank you so much, Kam. I really appreciate your taking the time to talk with me.

Source:  GIG News

Rapport with Moore!

 

Shemar Moore, "The Bounce Back” Interview, Derek Morgan, Criminal MindsShemar Moore

“The Bounce Back” Interview

with Kam Williams

Rapport with Moore!

Shemar Franklin Moore was born in Oakland, California on April 20, 1970 to an African-American father and a mother of Irish and French-Canadian extraction. Shemar spent his early years abroad with his single-mom in Denmark and Bahrain until the two returned from the exotic locales in 1977.

They settled in Palo Alto, where he graduated from Henry Gunn High School before studying Communications and Theater at Santa Clara University. While still in school, he started modeling on the side to help pay the bills.

Since college, Shemar has flourished both as an actor and as a fashion model. He’s probably best known for playing Derek Morgan on the TV-series Criminal Minds for 11 seasons and for the 8 years he spent prior to that as Malcolm Winters on the popular soap opera, The Young and the Restless.

Here, he talks about starring opposite Nadine Velazquez and Bill Bellamy in the big screen release, The Bounce Back.

Kam Williams: Hi Shemar, thanks for the interview. I’m honored to have this opportunity to speak with you.

Shemar Moore: Well, I appreciate your taking the time to show me love and to talk about the movie, Kam.

KW: What interested you in The Bounce Back?

SM: It was the sweet, fun script that had been around about a decade. But it’s all about timing. 10 years ago, I was just getting my feet planted with Criminal Minds. It didn’t work out with my schedule back then. Fortunately, the script came back around. I thought it was a silly, fun, sweet story.that people would like. To be honest, in the beginning, I knew that the transition from Criminal Minds was on the horizon, so I started thinking about the next steps I could take as an actor, going forward with my career. After unsuccessfully shopping the script around, I seized upon the opportunity to produce the film myself. I said, “Why not go the independent route?” I felt that I could identify with the Matthew Taylor character. I just needed some help with the others. So, I went and found Bill Bellamy who I’d so much fun and chemistry with on The Brothers years ago. I knew he could deliver the jokes and bring the relationship of being my best friend and manager to life. He liked the idea and we knew Nadine Velazquez from within our circle of friends. We showed her the script. She was interested, and pieces kinda of fell into place from there. And the next thing you know, here I was executive producing the picture, and raising $630,000 through my fan base. I call them my Baby Girls. It was a great hug and pat on my back that they believed in me and were so loyal to me. I’m very proud that we not only made a movie, but got it out into theaters, and that my Baby Girl Nation was a part of it.

Shemar Moore, "The Bounce Back” Interview, Derek Morgan, Criminal Minds

KW: How similar are you to your character, Matthew Taylor?

SM: As an actor, I find the essence and elements of myself in any character I play. I think I believe a little bit of Matthew’s philosophy and a little bit of Kristin Peralta’s (Nadine Velazquez’s character’s) philosophy. One can’t exist without the other. Love is a tricky, beautiful, exciting, complicated, elusive entity. But it hits when you least expect it. Matthew Taylor figured it out, and so did Derek Morgan on Criminal Minds, towards the end. So. now it’s Shemar Moore’s turn. I’m a romantic, and I believe in love.

KW: The Bounce Back has a nice twist at the end.

SM: What I love about this movie is that we didn’t try to reinvent the wheel but we did find an original way to tell a love story about falling in love, the heartache of being betrayed and still having the courage and faith to fall back in love, and from both the male and female perspective. It illustrates that relationships are about standing strong, and about making compromises, too.

KW: What would you say is the movie’s message?

SM: Don’t give up on yourself. Don’t forget to smile and have fun.Celebrate today. Be open to love, because it doesn’t come easy. But when it does, it’s so beautiful. It’s a magical feeling! Another thing I love about this movie is its diversity. There’s a bunch of color in it, but it’s telling a colorless, universal story. It’s a story that everybody can relate to, regardless of how old or what color you are. It’s a movie that gives you a sense of hope and makes you feel good about who you are.

KW: Are you more interested in movie than TV work now? TV series are very demanding.

SM: Everybody’s ultimate goal is to be a movie star like the Brad Pitts, the Matt Damons, the George Clooneys and the Tom Cruises. of course, I’d be lying, if I didn’t admit that I’d like to see my career materialize in that way. But The Young and the Restless was like high school. Criminal Minds was college. Now, I’m ready for grad school. It’s a blessing to be on a hit show. But, you’re right, it’s a grind. That’s something people don’t realize, unless they’re in the business. 9 to16 hour days for 8 days. And day 9 is day 1 of the next episode. It’s a grind for 10 months out of the year. But a beautiful grind. Am I still willing to do television? Yes. Am I intrigued by cable TV? I am. True Detective, Game of Thrones and Ray Donovan are some of my favorite shows. I just want to see what the next chapter is in terms of my telling stories. But I’m also having fun wearing this producer hat. To me, producing is paying attention to detail, connecting dots, understanding actors’ chemistry, putting all the parts together, and bringing the story to life. So, I think you’re going to see me doing a little of both, although

Shemar Moore, "The Bounce Back” Interview, Derek Morgan, Criminal Minds

I’m definitely chasing Mark Wahlberg, Jamie [Foxx], Denzel [Washington] and those other guys. I want to get on the same train they’re on. I’ve been doing this thing for 24 years, and I hope to do it for another 30, and those are the type of footsteps I hope to follow in. I’m excited and inspired by them.

KW: Harriet Pakula-Teweles asks: With so many classic films being redone, is there a remake you’d like to star in?

SM: I can’t think of one off the top of my head. But a lot of people say I should do Harry Belafonte’s life story. That would be quite the honor, if it ever came my way. I want to do films like Jason Bourne, The Equalizer, Begin Again and When a Man Loves a Woman. Films with great content. Plus, I’ve got a few projects in the pipeline that I’d like to produce. This is just the beginning. I’m still finding out what’s out there for me to do.

KW: Ling-Ju Yen asks: What is your earliest childhood memory?

SM: My earliest childhood memory? Wow, that’s interesting! I remember kicking around a soccer ball when I was barely able to run around yet. I also remember leaving my Curious George doll that I loved in a taxi when I was about 3  We’d gotten out of the cab quickly because my mother was in a rush. I literally screamed, “My George! My George!” as I watched the car drive off, and my George was gone forever. I don’t know why, but I still remember the tail lights of the taxi as it pulled away. It broke my heart.

KW: What is your favorite dish to cook?

SM: I’m not the best cook, but I like to bake. I can make basic stuff like tacos and a brown paper bag pork chop. My cousin’s mom showed me how to do that. But I’m more of a sweet tooth guy. So, I’ll make some cheesecake, oatmeal cookies or chocolate chip cookies.

KW: What is your guiltiest pleasure?

SM: Ben & Jerry’s ice cream with home made chocolate chip cookies. I’ll put a little fudge on it and sprinkle a few walnuts on top. That’s a party in your mouth!

KW: The Viola Davis question: What’s the biggest difference between who you are at home as opposed to the person we see on the red carpet?

SM: I’m very blessed to be in Hollywood, but I refuse to be Hollywood. I’m just a regular dude with extraordinary circumstances. For the red carpet, you put on your outfit, you flip the switch, you flash the smile, and you swag it out. For me, it’s work, but it’s not work. It’s more like play time. I feel so grateful that I never take it for granted that I have the opportunity to be in this line of work. I’m so fortunate to be able to attend these events and to hobnob and have your picture taken with some of the most talented and interesting people in the entertainment industry and in the world. I’ve met some fascinating and phenomenal people. And  I’m always star-struck to a certain extent. I pinch myself and say, “Wow! This is really my life.” And away from showbiz, I’m a homebody. I’m in sweats or jeans and a t-shirt. I love my two bulldogs  I take care of my mom, my partner in crime. She drives me crazy, but that’s my momma. I listen to music… I watch sports… I hang out with friends… I’m a pretty normal cat. People who know me a long time see that I haven’t changed. My circumstances have changed, but I’m the same old guy I was before Hollywood.

KW: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?

SM: You know what I look for when I look in the mirror? I make sure the little kid in me is still alive and still has a smile on his face. I make sure that that little innocent boy is being taken care of. I don’t let life get to me too tough. I don’t celebrate myself too tough. And I don’t get down on myself too tough. As corny as it may sound, I tell my fans that what they’re witnessing is the journey of a dreamer. And I look to see if I’m taking care of myself. I can tell when I’m tired. I can tell when I’m feeling good. I just check in with myself and tell myself everyday to tell the truth, have fun, and go for what you want by any means necessary.

Shemar Moore, "The Bounce Back” Interview, Derek Morgan, Criminal Minds

KW: I know you’ve lived in a number of foreign countries. How many languages do you speak?

SM: Yeah, but I was a kid. Technically, my first language was Danish, but it was broken Danish. I was in Denmark from 6 months to 3 years of age. So, I only remember the word for “move,” although my mother, to this day, speaks it fluently. My mom grew up outside Montreal. My maternal grandmother was French-Canadian. She’s passed away now, but she was born in Quebec City. She would always greet me in French. So, I took French when I was in 7th and 8th grade to impress grandma. I still remember a little broken French, but I don’t speak another language fluently.

KW: Who loved you unconditionally during your formative years?

SM: My mother, Marilyn Wilson Moore, was my mentor. I didn’t grow up with my father, but I did have different male role models along the way. My mother’s brother, Uncle Steven Wilson, was like a rock for me. And later on, my high school baseball coach, Melvin Harrison, who’s up in heaven smiling down on me,  was like a father to me. Those three were the foundation for me to feel love and guidance, and to grow up and believe in what I was capable of.

KW: The Anthony Mackie question: Is there anything that you promised yourself you’d do if you became famous, that you still haven’t done yet?

SM: One thing I was able to do was to buy my mother a home. I bought her a beachfront condo in Redondo Beach. That’s one of the things I’m proudest of that I’ve ever done in my life. On my Bucket List was becoming successful enough to be able to give back to my mom.

KW: Finally, what’s in your wallet?

SM: [LOL] You’re fun! Let’s see… my driver’s license… a Starbucks card… a Best Buy card… a AAA card… a gift card to a place where I like to get massages… and 63 dollars. I need to go to the ATM because New York City is no joke. [Chuckles]

KW: Thanks again for the time, Shemar, and best of luck with the film.

SM: Alright, Kam. Appreciate you, man.

Source:  GIG News

Architecture in America That Would Make Frank Lloyd Wright Proud

 

Architecture in America That Would Make Frank Lloyd Wright Proud

by Amy Lignor

There is a brand new headline when it comes to an innovative new building; a building that the creator hopes to construct in America. It is a design that looks stunning on paper, however, it is also a design that is ‘far right’ of, well…even Wright’s own ideas.

A conceptual design by Oiio Studio proposes “the Big Bend” as Manhattan’s longest (not tallest) residential building. Photo: Oiio Studio.

Manhattan, as everyone knows by now, is the King of the skyscraper business. They are also always striving, along with Seattle, Chicago and others, to own the tallest building in America, let alone the world. Greek architect Ioannis Oikonomou and his firm, Oiio Studio, may just be the ones to give Manhattan this glory.

Not only could he break the “tallest” record with his idea, but he would also create one of the most interesting, beautiful, yet slightly supernatural looking building in all the land. This would be a U-shaped tower that’s along the lines of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis or the first big drop on a roller coaster as far as construction is concerned. It will also be the “longest” structure and has already been assigned the name, “Big Bend.” A skinny skyscraper bent in half, if you measured from end to end it would be approximately 4,000 feet. The stretch running from the sidewalk to the building’s peak directly in its center would make it 200 feet taller than One World Trade Center was; thus, creating the longest/tallest skyscraper.

It already has a place, of course. If everything were to go perfectly and investors signed on to the project, “Big Bend” would be built on the south corner of Central Park. You know the area as Billionaire’s Row.

It is not a stretch to say that this is a design that very well could come to fruition. And although it would come in as the longest skyscraper, it would not be the “strangest” architectural site that America has to offer. You see, almost every state can claim one site that is so beautiful, unique, or just simply odd that tourists go to see them every year.

Just take a look at a few…

In Alaska, the “Dr. Seuss House” can be found in a place called Willow. Although this is an unofficial name, the beloved author would be proud to see it. The 12 stories, that sat untouched for ten years and was only recently completed, resembles the illustrated homes that Seuss was famous for.

In Arkansas, A stunning architectural work of art comes in the form of Thorncrown Chapel. Wood and stone were used to create the structure, yet a wandering eye that wandered too quickly would see it as just a chapel sitting in the middle of the forest completely abandoned. But don’t let the eyes deceive, because this is one chapel that is not “buried in overgrowth and weeds.” Up close, it is actually enclosed by huge glass panels on all four sides and is truly a sight to behold.

A favorite of many can be found in the state of Connecticut. Gillette Castle is an awe-inspiring site, whether seeing it on land or from a boat staring up at the hill it sits upon. This is a very odd stone monstrosity that was commissioned by William Gillette, who was an American actor best known for playing the role of Sherlock Holmes. He was also a man with a sense of humor and a whole lot of bad luck. In his Will, he stated that the castle was never supposed to be owned by (and I quote): “a blithering sap-head who has no conception of where he is or with what surrounded.” Seeing as that the state now owns it, seems that Gillette did not get his wish after all.

For those who love their canines, in the state of Idaho you can find The Dog Bark Park Inn. Locals call this structure “Sweet Willy” and the building is two stories built and painted to look like a beagle. Best dog-themed B&B out there in America. A real “treat” for both you and your special friend.

In Michigan you are granted a look at the Earl Young Mushroom Houses; in Oklahoma, the “Arts & Crafts” House (AKA: The Bavinger House) is also something you’ll never forget. Oddly enough, when it comes to alien beings, it is not Roswell, NM but actually Signal Mountain, Tennessee where you must go to see “The Spaceship House.” Built in 1972 for his son, the owner created this UFO-shaped home with interior décor that is totally round (even the furniture) and a drop-down staircase that allows you to “climb up” and enter the alien transport from the ground below.

But you really can’t speak about “odd” architecture without at least throwing in the name everyone knows. In Dodgeville, Wisconsin, “The House on the Rock” may have a bland name, but the oddities of the building came from the minds of builder Alex Jordan Jr., and designer Frank Lloyd Wright. This is a rural home, but inside you will find everything from the world’s largest indoor carousel to something called ‘The Infinity Room’, which is cantilevered and projected out over 200 feet beyond the actual rock the house sits on. Talk about a view, aye?

It will be interesting to see if investors jump at the chance to construct “Big Bend” in Manhattan and give the already beautiful spot even more cred. But even without it, take some time to research the stunning architecture that has been a part of the U.S.A. for a long time – some are even in your neck of the woods. Because even with the mastermind Wright gone, at least we can be proud that “over-the-top” designs continue to be a part of our architectural universe.

 

Source:  GIG News

Caro on the Straight and Narrow

 

Niki Caro,  "The Zookeeper's Wife” Interview, New Zealand, Director/screenwriter, Whale Rider, North Country, Holocaust, Jessica ChastainNiki Caro

“The Zookeeper’s Wife” Interview

with Kam Williams
Caro on the Straight and Narrow

Director/screenwriter Niki Caro is one of the most successful filmmakers to emerge from New Zealand. After completing a BFA at Elam School of Fine Arts in Auckland, as well as a Postgraduate Diploma in Film from Swinburne in Melbourne, Australia, Niki wrote and directed a number of highly-acclaimed shorts.

Sure to Rise screened at the 1994 Cannes International Film Festival, and Footage was shown at the 1996 Venice International Film Festival. Her first full-length feature, Memory & Desire, focused on a Japanese married couple and was selected for Critics Week at the 1998 Cannes International Film Festival. It went on to win four New Zealand Film and Television Awards, including Best Film.

Niki’s sophomore offering, Whale Rider, explored the Maori community of Whangara on New Zealand’s East Coast, and made an impact globally. Whale Rider was seen by millions of people and won over two dozen prizes around the world, including top honors at the Toronto (the People’s Choice Award), Sundance (the Audience Award), Rotterdam, San Francisco, Maui, and Seattle (Best Film) Film Festivals. The film’s star Keisha Castle-Hughes landed an Academy Award nomination for Best Lead Actress, becoming what was then the youngest nominee ever in the category.

Niki next directed North Country, a drama set on the Iron Range in Northern Minnesota. The film starred Charlize Theron, Frances McDormand, Sissy Spacek and Woody Harrelson. Theron and McDormand were nominated for Oscars in the Best Lead Actress and Best Supporting Actress categories, respectively.

Continuing to illuminate real lives and real communities onscreen, Niki directed the sleeper hit McFarland, USA, starring Kevin Costner. Set in California’s Central Valley, the inspirational docudrama chronicled the real-life exploits of an all-Latino cross-country track team.

Here, Niki talks about her new film, The Zookeeper’s Wife, a World War II biopic starring Jessica Chastain as an intrepid heroine who saved hundreds of Jews from the Holocaust.

Niki Caro,  "The Zookeeper's Wife” Interview, New Zealand, Director/screenwriter, Whale Rider, North Country, Holocaust, Jessica Chastain

Kam Williams: Hi Niki, thanks for the interview. I’m honored to have this opportunity to speak with you.

Niki Caro: Oh, that’s very kind of you to say, Kam.

KW: I love all your films. In fact, your last one, McFarland, USA, was #13 on my Top 100 list for 2015.

NC: That’s amazing! You’ve made my day.

KW: I was really moved by it, as I was by this one. I went into the theater a little skeptical about the plot. Even though it’s true, a story about a woman saving both zoo animals and hundreds of Jews during the Holocaust just sounded a little farfetched. Yet, you had me weeping by the end of the picture.

NC: Great!

KW: What interested you in The Zookeeper’s Wife?

NC: The radical humanity of the Zabinskis.

KW: Was that from reading the book?

NC: No, I’m ashamed to have to admit I hadn’t. Neither had I ever heard of Antonina Zabinski [played by Jessica Chastain], let alone of the role she played in history. Here was this intriguing story in script form that I couldn’t believe was true. And yet it was. I felt it offered a really new way to talk about the Holocaust, a way that really spoke about heart, hope and humanity. And about feelings too.

KW: The movie has many tasteful touches of humor. How did you manage to do that without offending the audience? How do you know what humor will or won’t work when you’re dealing with such serious subject matter? It must be hard making sure you don’t cross a line.

NC: Well, I always take my inspiration from the true story, which in this case was Antonina. It was wonderful to me that her instinct to nurture and protect animals translated so effortlessly to the human species. And the way she created a sanctuary was so feminine. That influenced the filmmaking in a very big way. It’s a very feminine look at the Holocaust. It certainly speaks about war in a very feminine fashion. Of course, war didn’t just happen to men, as many war movies suggest. It also happened to women, to children and to animals, and I felt that this film uniquely gave them a voice. And it gave women, in particular, a way to express femininity as strength.

KW: Absolutely! I definitely don’t remember ever seeing war presented so intimately from a woman’s perspective.

NC: Well, there you go. We’re still somewhat unfamiliar with stories being told from a female’s point-of-view. So, i hope that makes this story kind of fresh.

KW: It sure does. After I saw the film, I couldn’t help but wonder why the movie wasn’t released during awards season. This movie has Oscars written all over it.

NC: That wasn’t my decision. There are a whole lot of factors that are weighed in determining when a movie’s released, and none of those determinations are made by the filmmaker. [Laughs] But I’m really happy it’s being released now.

KW: I point it out only because you’ve already directed three actresses to Academy Award nominations, and Jessica Chastain does such a terrific job, here. I just think the film would get serious Oscar consideration, if it were released in November or December.

NC: It still could. And if that is the case, it will really have earned it, because it will have stuck in people’s minds.

KW: What is your secret to coaxing Oscar-quality performances out of actresses?

NC: Gosh! the first secret is in casting really great actresses with whom I can have a genuine collaboration, and remain open to their contributions and their brilliance. I try to create an environment on set where they feel very secure and very supported, so that they can take risks and do what I hope is some of their best work.    

KW: When did you develop your interest in directing? Were you one of those kids who was constantly playing around with a video camera as a child?

NC: No, playing around with video cameras was not from my generation. [Chuckles] I never even saw a movie camera until I was in my late teens. I loved movies, but I didn’t necessarily think I could make them. Growing up in New Zealand, I thought of movies as something that Americans made until I saw a film by Jane Campion.

KW: The Piano?

NC: No, her first film, Sweetie. That movie knocked me sideways. I couldn’t believe it, because I recognized it. And I must admit it’s super-weird. But, for the first time, I saw something I recognized from my own world. That gave me a huge amount of confidence. And I remain incredibly inspired by her.I’m a great, big fan of hers. 

KW: Who are some of your other favorite directors?

NC: Back then, I felt very similarly about the work of another New Zealand filmmaker, Vincent Ward. Now, in terms of what I’ve seen recently. Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight was absolutely stunning. And so was Damien Chazelle’s La La Land. I love musicals. He’s adorable, Damien. A lovely person. And so talented.

KW: Ling-Ju Yen asks: What is your earliest childhood memory?

NC: I remember the joyousness of sitting in the bath at the age of 3, listening to the radio with my dad and singing “Me and Bobby McGee” at the top of my voice.

KW: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?

NC: Oh God! [Chuckles] I see myself.

  

KW: Is there any question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would?

NC: Sorry, I’m drawing a blank. I’ve been asked so many questions.

KW: Larry Greenberg asks: Do you have a favorite movie monster?   

NC: I want to see that new Kong movie, but monsters isn’t so much my preferred genre.

  

KW: What is your favorite genre?

NC: I love drama, obviously, especially when it’s really human, when it’s funny, and when it lifts me out of my world. And I love documentary, too.

KW: Tell me a little about your upcoming film, Callas. I assume that’s about Maria Callas.

NC: Yes, it’s a project I’ve been working on for a very long time, and won’t be making in the near future, because I’m moving on to Mulan. But Maria is very special to me.

KW: Finally, what’s in your wallet?

NC: I have two passports, a picture of my mother, my brother and me on a very unremarkable-looking beach. And some pictures of my kids, and a bunch of airline cards.

KW: Thanks again for the time, Niki, and best of luck with the film.

NC: Thank you so much, Kam. Have a good evening.

Source:  GIG News

2017 Hobbies That Bring You Serenity

 

2017 Hobbies That Bring You Serenity

by Amy Lignor

 

Origami. Memory albums. Quilting. What do these have in common? Well, at one point or another in time, they have represented the “hottest” hobbies in the United States. Taking up hobbies are not only a fun thing to do for the “artistic/creative” type, but they also help to reduce stress. Even the AMA has cited the fact that taking up a hobby can produce a calming environment that helps the heart and engages the mind. People who immerse themselves in a hobby that’s fun for them can ease the negative effects that daily stress puts on the shoulders of everyone.

 

Origami. Memory albums. Quilting. What do these have in common? Well, at one point or another in time, they have represented the “hottest” hobbies in the United States. Taking up hobbies are not only a fun thing to do for the “artistic/creative” type, but they also help to reduce stress. Even the AMA has cited the fact that taking up a hobby can produce a calming environment that helps the heart and engages the mind. People who immerse themselves in a hobby that’s fun for them can ease the negative effects that daily stress puts on the shoulders of everyone.So, what are the hobbies that people are being ‘drawn’ to in 2017? Well, the first actually comes from the world of painting. Watercolors are a whole lot of fun. No, you do not have to be a “master” to have a good time. This is not a stressful art; in fact, there are a great number of people who are looking up various pics on Google and illustrations on Instagram and creating these in watercolors in their very own ‘studio’ at home. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish by simply looking at the numerous free tutorials available on YouTube. You may even get so into the hobby that you end up moving forward with art classes, and the supplies to begin will not take a bite out of your budget.

 

There is always a hobby/art located in the world of sewing that springs up from time to time to engage the mind. 2017 looks to be the year for bringing back embroidery. This is an art that allows people on a very limited budget to purchase the supplies and make pieces that are truly beautiful. If you have ever had the pleasure of watching “Antiques Roadshow” on PBS, you can see how far back embroidery was established and utilized in this country to make true pieces of Americana that have lasted a good, long time. By taking up this hobby, there may just be a few out there who not only find they are excellent at the craft, but also produce works that become a part of history.

 

One very popular art form that has come back into the world is handwriting. In a time period where computers have taken over and schools are actually (if they haven’t all done so already) taking penmanship out of the curriculum, it is wonderful to see people taking up everything from hand-lettering to calligraphy. Now, computers do come in handy for this hobby because thousands of tutorials can be found all over the Internet that allow people to really learn and gain this amazing artistic talent. And when it comes to supplies, stationery stores, Hobby Lobby, even Walmart can supply the future calligraphy artist with everything they need. Handwriting is necessary, and the world needs those future scribes.

 

Origami. Memory albums. Quilting. What do these have in common? Well, at one point or another in time, they have represented the “hottest” hobbies in the United States. Taking up hobbies are not only a fun thing to do for the “artistic/creative” type, but they also help to reduce stress. Even the AMA has cited the fact that taking up a hobby can produce a calming environment that helps the heart and engages the mind. People who immerse themselves in a hobby that’s fun for them can ease the negative effects that daily stress puts on the shoulders of everyone.Some out there may want to delve into a more industrial/physical hobby. Not a problem, because there are many coming back that have been gone far too long. One is blacksmithing. Woodworking is a special talent and with blacksmithing all you have to add on is a fire/furnace, an anvil, and exchange the wood for some steel to make a piece that has the entire neighborhood talking.

 

Yet another hobby that has actually turned into a business for many and has allowed them to bring in the cash, comes in the form of brewing beer. Not only is the trial and error a whole lot of fun, but it’s also a real thrill when you can create a new beer and share it with your friends. For anyone who wishes to begin, the American Homebrewer’s Association at homebrewersassociation.org is a great place to start. Who knows? Maybe you will be the one to come up with the “perfect” brew that people really enjoy.

 

One hobby that comes and goes is photography. Now, with all the cool digital equipment on the market, this is a slightly more expensive hobby to take up, but also extremely relaxing. Snapping those spectacular photos calms the mind and sets people in various environments that offer up serenity – like heading out on a hike and ending up at the perfect waterfall to catch on film.

 

Speaking of waterfalls…one very big hobby that is appearing this year from coast to coast comes in the form of fly fishing.
Going up into those woods, or finding that perfect, calm lake or stream armed with just the rod, a line, a fly and a whole lot of patience – fly fishing is all about peace and harmony with nature. Landing the best trout that has ever been seen is also an added extra bonus if the day goes really well.

 

So if you’re wishing to graduate and move on from those adult coloring books, or looking for a hobby that appeals to your sense of fun and tranquility, start researching now. In 2017, there is a whole buffet of hobbies to choose from.

Origami. Memory albums. Quilting. What do these have in common? Well, at one point or another in time, they have represented the “hottest” hobbies in the United States. Taking up hobbies are not only a fun thing to do for the “artistic/creative” type, but they also help to reduce stress. Even the AMA has cited the fact that taking up a hobby can produce a calming environment that helps the heart and engages the mind. People who immerse themselves in a hobby that’s fun for them can ease the negative effects that daily stress puts on the shoulders of everyone.

Source:  Rocky Mountain Weekly

Badinage with Brother Hodge!

 

Aldis Hodge and Janelle Monae in a scene from Hidden FiguresAldis Hodge 

The “Underground / Hidden Figures” Interview

with Kam Williams

Badinage with Brother Hodge!

Aldis Hodge is perhaps best known for his role as Alec Hardison on the TNT series Leverage which nabbed a People’s Choice Award in 2013, in addition to his role as MC Ren in  Straight Outta Compton. Furthermore, he starred in the Amazon pilot The After and enjoyed a recurring role on the AMC Revolutionary War drama Turn: Washington’s Spies.

Aldis appeared opposite Alexander Skarsgard and Ellen Page in the eco-terrorism thriller “The East.” And he appeared in A Good Day to Die Hard, the latest installment of the “Die Hard” franchise.

Aldis started his career at 3 as a model for print ads and commercials. He made the transition to the small screen when he and his brother Edwin were cast on Sesame Street. Later, they joined the Tony-winning revival of Showboat on Broadway.

During that period, he parlayed his success on stage into a movie career, debuting in Die Hard with a Vengeance, before making Bed of Roses, The Stone House, Edmond, The Ladykillers and Big Momma’s House. Aldis’ television roles include the critically-acclaimed series Friday Night Lights, Supernatural, The Walking Dead, Girlfriends, American Dreams, City of Angels, Bones, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, ER, Cold Case, Charmed and Boston Public.

Born in Jacksonville, North Carolina, but raised in New York and New Jersey, Aldis is an avid scriptwriter, designer and painter in addition to acting. Here, he talks about playing Levi Jackson in the Oscar-nominated Hidden Figures and about reprising the role of Noah on the television series Underground about the Underground Railroad which just started its second season on the WGN America network. 

Kam Williams: Hi Aldis, I’m honored to have this opportunity to speak with you.

Aldis Hodge: I appreciate your time as well, Kam.

KW: Congratulations on the second season of Underground. What first interested you in doing the series?

AH: I enjoyed the way the story was written. I was intrigued by the narrative showing people rising up and fighting for their freedom. 

KW: What can we expect to see new this season.

AH: I’ll put it like this, brother. Everybody thought it couldn’t get crazier or more dangerous, but it does. Last year, everyone was focused on this idea of freedom and just getting off the plantation without contemplating the harsh reality of what that really meant. At the end of the season, we were pretty much split up. Now, you get a pretty introspective view of each character. We’re all dealing with the consequences of what transpired last season in our own way. My character, Noah, was learning what it meant to try to be a leader. This season, he’s learning more about who he is as a man. Right now, the strength of his love for Rosalee [played by Jurnee Smollett-Bell] is more important to him than freedom, whereas last year was purely about survival.

KW: What’s it like acting opposite Jurnee?

AH: She’s awesome! That’s my road dog right there. Our characters go through so much together this season that we have to depend on each other emotionally as actors. We didn’t share a lot of scenes together because our story focuses on Noah and Rosalee’s trying to get back to each other. We see that their love transcends their situation. There’s still a very powerful connection between them, and we had to develop that. So, we had to take a different approach, and Jurnee was there 100% of the way. She is an absolute beast!

Aldis Hodge, The “Underground / Hidden Figures”, Interview with Kam Williams

Aldis Hodge and Janelle Monae in a scene from Hidden Figures

KW: What’s it been like working a real-life icon, Harriet Tubman, into the story?

AH: It’s great that we get to honor Tubman’s legacy through a real-life representation, although we’d already paid tribute to her last season. It’s not really a different approach. The only thing that’s changed is that we have a fantastic actress in Aisha Hinds materializing Tubman. Aisha does a fantastic job of enabling us to explore who Harriet Tubman was.

KW: Congratulations on Hidden Figures’ win at the Screen Actors Guild awards. Were you surprised?

AH: It was a huge surprise. We were all blown away. The girls [Taraji P. Hensen, Janelle Monae and Octavia Spencer] were all crying, and I think I might have dropped a tear or two, too. The film has gotten so much love. It was awesome because this award was coming directly from a pool of several hundred thousand actors. Our peers! So, we were very grateful. 

KW: Why do you think Hidden Figures has made the most money of all the movies nominated for the Best Picture Oscar?

AH: It’s absolutely because of the message. Granted, a big part is that people will go to the theater and enjoy it. But I think the primary reason it’s been so effective is that it represents the antidote to some of the cultural issues we’re still dealing with as a nation. It illustrates what can be accomplished when you look beyond the prejudices and stereotypes and allow equality to win out overall. These women accomplished what they did in spite of segregated bathrooms, and not having equal pay or the right to vote. That made it an inspiring film for both little girls and boys. It’s exactly what America needs right now.    

KW: Your mom is from the South and your father is from Dominica. Did they ever talk to you when you were growing up about any racial discrimination they experienced?   

AH: Yes,my mom experienced racism. She was harassed by the KKK several times. And I experienced racism myself, growing up. In New Jersey, we had trash thrown on our lawn every day. And we had the lines to our Christmas lights cut three years in a row. We just stopped putting up Christmas lights after that. That’s probably why I still don’t put up any lights during the holidays. People talk about Jim Crow as if it’s dead. Jim Crow isn’t gone. It’s adjusted. Look at the disproportionate sentences meted out to blacks caught up in the criminal justice system. There’s a problem when people profit from putting and keeping African-Americans in prison. We need to do a better job as a nation understanding the real values the country’s built upon in terms of fairness, equality and equal opportunity. That’s why I like being a part of projects like Hidden Figures and Underground. They illustrate mistakes of the past we need not repeat, as well as the beauty of the progress achieved when everybody cares about the underprivileged.    

KW: Editor/Legist Patricia says: I recently saw Hidden Figures and I loooooved it! I even started to read the book before there was talk about releasing the film. Were you familiar with the role these women had played in the NASA space program before you got the script?

AH: Yes, but I didn’t know much beyond the fact that there were these black, female mathematicians who had accomplished this great feat.

KW: Patricia continues: You write scripts. Is there a story special to you that you would like to see turned into a film?

AH: Yes, I have a few projects that I’m already working on right now that I have to keep under wraps. I also think the Emmett Till story needs to be told, because his accuser just came out and admitted that her story wasn’t true, and because his murderers bragged about lynching him after they were acquitted, since they couldn’t be tried twice. Again, problems with the legal system.

KW: Lastly, Patricia says: Your parents served in the U.S. Marine Corps. Did you travel a lot with them growing up? If so, was it useful in your up bringing?

AH: Yeah, when I was younger, we moved from North Carolina to Hawaii, and then from Hawaii to New Jersey. Nowadays, my job keeps me traveling on a regular basis, and I think my childhood did prepare me for it.

KW: Finally, what’s in your wallet?

AH: [LOL]  What’s in my wallet? Just my business card.

KW: Keep up the good work, Aldis, and I look forward to speaking with you again soon.

AH: Likewise, Kam. Thank you.


Source:  GIG News

Re-Thinking Those Home Décor Ideas

 

Re-Thinking Those Home Décor Ideas

by Amy Lignor

 

For those of us who have seen the “regrets” of home decoration choices up close and personal, it seems fitting that all homeowners get a feel as to the ideas that should be absolutely avoided when re-decorating those spacious areas. Most home decoration choices, bad décor, do-it-yourself, regrettable, impressions, fads, decor & childrenespecially, if you are actually re-decorating your home in order to put the listing on the market; if this is the fact, the choices you make need to be the right ones.

There are homes where you bring the children with you (because they’re invited, of course) and end up staring into a room filled with alabaster white seats. For the mother of those particular children, the fear runs through you. Especially if you’ve stopped at a fast food chain on the way to “the party” and the kids delved into some melting chocolate concoctions. Just think how the homeowner feels? Yes…let us think about that. White upholstery is something people think is a crisp, fresh look; a look that allows you to decorate the surroundings and paint the walls, etc., with any color you choose because the furniture doesn’t get in the way. Trouble is, if choosing this look make sure that slipcovers are also part of the décor, because you will be dealing with chocolate stains sooner than you know it.

 

Staying with the children angle, walking into those homes with strange tables and chairs – perhaps those modern-art designs with edges as sharp as scissors – is a bad décor idea. Not only are you talking a safety issue but, as a homeowner, you are also talking about investing in a massive amount of insurance and a whole lot of prayer.

 

It is a big thing to ‘do-it-yourself’ when it comes to fixing up around the homestead. But more than one family member (usually the wife looking at the husband) will complain when that proverbial “project” goes halfway and no further. If you don’t have a real professional who knows what they’re doing running around the house, then getting someone who is becomes a must – especially if you want to sell.

 

Sitting down in a dining room once can become a major, unforgettable experience in your life…all because of the wallpaper. The term “busy” is one thing, but the term “what were they thinking?” is another. What happens when you are led into a dining room where the wallpaper boasts a fox and hound scene with more than one furry corpse hanging from the saddle of the horse that the well-dressed hunting equestrian is riding? Trust the fact that this is not something someone can see out of the corner of their eye while trying to digest food. Yes, it is a fact that some have bad taste and that a buyer of a home can certainly tear wallpaper down if they do not want it there. But taking the time to rethink the possibilities of your bare walls would be far easier. Also try to remember that a coat of paint may always be the right thing, seeing as that you can simply paint over it when the next re-decoration project comes around.

 

Now are those little extras that are thought about constantly when it comes to “finishing” a room. It is necessary to understand that a shag carpet went out in the 1970’s. Not only is it an eyesore, but it’s also extremely hard to clean and everything your favorite family pet loses on a daily basis from their own coats gets trapped in it. When it comes to colors, again, the pure white choice is not the right one – unless, of course, the room will be decorated and sealed from all visitors at all times, even your own pet.

 

When it comes to your windows and doors, the idea of having an “open” scheme to give the impression of a larger area is just fine, but not having even the faintest hint of some sort of curtains makes it feel not only open but still being worked on. Heavy curtains are not necessary; neither are screens or shades. But if you want to give that added color, there are swaths of ideas that can be chosen from the curtain arena.

 

In the end, make sure to really think about those home décor decisions before sinking time and money into the project. That way – whether wanting to update or wanting to sell at some point – the choices you make can never be regretted.

 

Source:  GIG News

Vibrant Art is Alive in Paducah, Kentucky

 

 

Vibrant Art is Alive in Paducah, Kentucky

by Amy Lignor

 

Everyone has seen a quilt, but many do not understand that these are literal works of art. Some are handed down from generation to generation; some provide a patchwork of pictures that cover all aspects of one’s life. There are quilts in the world that represent entire families and date back to their own “crossing” to the United States; quilts that represent a time when they came to this country in order to be a part of the “patchwork quilt” of diverse people who made America great. There are even those who have taken the time to learn this art form, and are now able to create absolute masterpieces that all have the opportunity to view. That is where the lovely state of Kentucky comes into play.

National Quilting Museum, Kentucky, highest rated tourism destinations, travelling exhibits, Ohio River, workshops, educational opportunitiesArt is protected. Works are housed in many locations across the globe where people can walk through enormous, exquisite buildings and simply stare up at masterpieces decorating the gilded walls. But there are other art forms not given the “glory” they rightfully deserve. When speaking about quilts, however, we can all be thankful that in Paducah, Kentucky there’s a museum that has not only kept the craft of quilting alive to support quilters, but also advances the art of quilting by displaying exceptional quilt and fiber art exhibits.

It is the 25th year that the National Quilting Museum has been a part of this nation, and all should note the vast number of resources it provides. From workshops to educational opportunities, the National Quilting Museum plays a hugely significant role in the art community as a whole. Every year visitors from all fifty states, as well as over 40 countries thus far, come to Paducah, Kentucky to enjoy the National Quilting Museum. Both onsite and travelling exhibits are actually viewed by over 110,000 people per year, with over 6,000 youth and adults participating in the programs NQM offers.

 

It was Bill and Meredith Schroeder of Paducah that began this extraordinary museum. Being quilting enthusiasts, their goal was to build a place where people could both admire and celebrate the art of quilting, especially those who had not been able to experience this particular art form in the past. This couple chose to build their dream in Paducah in order to give back to their own community. In the end, their hard work and love of quilting turned into a $2.2 million facility (the largest facility in the world dedicated to quilting) built just two blocks from the Ohio River in historic downtown Paducah.

 

The collection has grown by leaps and bounds over the years. The day the facility opened just 85 quilts were able to be seen. Now that collection has grown exponentially – over 500 works of art can be viewed. With exhibits changing many times over the year, visitors are always able to enjoy a unique experience every time they visit. The Museum’s popularity continues to expand, which has allowed the educational programs it provides to expand just as fast.

 

Participants of all ages come from all over the world, with some of the most recognized quilters holding workshops in Paducah. As part of the youth educational programs, the Museum offers all kids the chance to use their creativity and learn basic skills about this art form and the community of quilters that continues to balloon in size.

 

Three galleries of extraordinary quilt and fiber art can be seen in this museum that is among the highest rated tourism destinations (TripAdvisor), and has even won the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence four consecutive years. Not to mention, with the never-ending menu of programs for kids (Quilt Camp, Kidz Day in the Arts, Junior Quilters, and Textile Artists Club) the Museum has been able to add to the art programs of many schools during a time where budget reductions have caused cuts to the most creative course children truly want.

 

The National Quilting Museum is most definitely on a mission to introduce the work of today’s quilters to new audiences worldwide, while shining its brilliant light on the vibrant beauty that’s born from the art of quilting.

 

For more information about this amazing organization, head to www.quiltmuseum.org

 

Source:  GIG News

Updating the House for Spring

 

Updating the House for Spring

by Amy Lignor

 

As with all areas of business and industry, the interior decorating realm has also focused on the 2017 “trends” that will allow you to create the perfect renovation and/or update for your home. After all, winter will be over (even though there are days when that feels like an impossibility) and spring will be here. So as you sit and look at those drab, dull areas of the home, understand that it’s time to plan for that perfect “facelift” that will usher in the warmer season with flair and a whole lot of fun.

First of all, let’s start with those silver, gold-plated and horrific brass fixtures, vases and even flatware that are just hanging around the house. It is time to usher in a little copper shine. In fact, copper accents are at the top of interior decorator’s lists for 2017. It will not only add that extra fashion to any area, but it will also lighten things up and capture the feeling of spring.

When it comes to painting, designers want to let you know that dumping those colors for 2017 would be a very good idea. One of the biggest sellers will be wallpaper – marble wallpaper, as a matter of fact. So many want the real thing, but let’s face it, marble is not exactly an inexpensive update to the home. However, marble wallpaper has seen a 300% increase in interest ranging from Pinterest to Twitter to Facebook and beyond. People are talking about this being the perfect stylish accent to any room. Burying the drab, dark paint colors with that new marble wallpaper offers a perfect touch of class and brightness.

If you are a homeowner stuck on the idea of paint and nothing but paint, however, interior designers are stating that it is time to turn away from black, and choosing navy blue instead. The “go-to” black and white color scheme has faded into the background, whereas the navy and other deep blue tones are making homes shine for spring. Even try adding a high-gloss navy blue statement wall to lift that dark, heavy mood that comes from the black-and-white world of 2016.

If you are looking at updating a smaller space, the décor that’s flying off the shelves at Home Depot and others come in the form of acrylics. Acrylic décor has seen an upswing of over 50% this year already, and see-through acrylic furniture allows a small space to be “opened up” and give the area a look of freedom that it would not normally have if choosing something rustic.

 

Speaking of rustic…. When it comes to larger spaces, there are those that still love that cabin-‘esque’ feel, whether the weather outside is delightful or frightful. One great thing about 2017 is the fact that wood tiles are coming in all different

shades, and are offering a chic look when utilized on everything from the islands in the kitchen to the tiles surrounding the fireplace in the living area. Subway tile has gone down in popularity this year, and focusing on wood will most definitely become a 2017 trend for spring decorating.

And when it comes to that added dash of ‘living’ decoration, the vases full of roses are out the door for 2017. Instead, interior designers are turning to climbing plants to elevate and add style to any room. Not a surprise, when you consider Pantone’s Color of the Year is green. Therefore, decorating your world – whether it be big or small – with lush greenery, like flourishing vines and climbing plants, will rejuvenate your home after the cold winter weather moves away.

So start planning now! By following the trends for 2017, you will most definitely breathe new life back into those old, stuffy rooms.

 

SOURCE:  GIG News

Ice Cube in a Mellow Mood!

 

Ice Cube   

The “Fist Fight” Interview

with Kam Williams

Ice Cube in a Mellow Mood!

Born O’Shea Jackson in Compton, California on June 15, 1969, Renaissance man Ice Cube is an actor, writer, producer, director, rapper, philanthropist and father. N.W.A., the rap group he co-founded with Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, MC Ren and DJ Yella, was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2016.

Cube made his feature film debut in 1991 in Boyz n the Hood, and proceeded to parlay his critically-acclaimed performance into an enviable career. He has become one of the most bankable names in Hollywood as a writer, star and producer.

His production company, Cube Vision, has been making memorable films for over two decades. And his movies have cumulatively grossed over a billion dollars at the box office. Here, he talks about his latest outing in Fist Fight, a comedy co-starring Charlie Day.

Ice Cube, The “Fist Fight” Interview, with Kam Williams, Boyz n the Hood, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Kam Williams: Hey Cube. How you been, brother?

Ice Cube: I’m good, good. How about you, Kam?

KW: Great, thanks. What interested you in Fist Fight?

IC: I thought it was a great concept based on a funny premise. And when they started filling in the pieces with Charlie Day and Tracy Morgan, I just knew we were going to have a great time and hopefully shoot a funny movie.

KW: In this film you play a teacher who is sort of like a bully. Did you ever have a teacher like your character, Mr. Strickland? And were you either bullied or a bully when you were a kid?

IC: In my neighborhood, you were either one or the other. Going back to my memory bank, there were teachers who were no-nonsense and intimidating. Most of them were coaches or gym teachers.But a few were classroom teachers who just didn’t take no mess. I just went over the top with it, because we were having fun with the comedy.

KW: Growing up, was there a spot where kids would settle their differences after school?

IC: There wasn’t just one spot. But it had to be out of sight of teachers, like behind a building, which is where most fights took place. There was never one particular area where we always got down.

Ice Cube, The “Fist Fight” Interview, with Kam Williams, Boyz n the Hood, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

KW: Who came up with the idea of flipping the script by having the after school fight be between two teachers instead of two students?

IC: Well, the script was brought to us by [director] Rich Keen and New Line Cinema. I don’t know exactly who came up with the concept, but that’s what made it funny to me. It’s unusual to have two teachers going at it, instead of two students. That unique premise was one of the things that hooked me.

KW: How did you and Charlie Day go about generating the bully-nerd anti-chemistry that the story called for? How did you know how mean to be without going over the line and ending up looking cruel?

IC: It’s a dance. We had a mutual respect for each other’s skills. And when you have that mutual respect, you’re more giving actors. You’ll make sure he shines where he’s supposed to shine, and vice versa. The key is to not get in the way of the character, and to be honest and true with it. Still, real personalities creep in every now and then. It’s all about knowing the script, and understanding its ebbs and flows. So, we worked well together. I think we’re going to end up doing a few more movies together.

KW: Well, you already set up the sequel to Fist Fight in the closing scene.

IC: Yeah, without a doubt! Without a doubt!

KW: You guys had a terrific supporting cast: Dennis Haysbert, Dean Norris, Christina Hendricks, Kym Whitley, Jillian Bell and Tracy Morgan. Was this Tracy’s first film since the accident? I don’t remember seeing him in anything.

IC: Yeah, this was his first movie back. It was great to have him. I’d worked with him before in a movie called First Sunday. It was cool to see him again, to be able to hang, and to just have him here. That accident he was in was horrible. It was great to have him around again.

Ice Cube, The “Fist Fight” Interview, with Kam Williams, Boyz n the Hood, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

KW: I’ve interviewed him several times, and he’s one of those rare people who’s just naturally funny.

IC: Yeah, he doesn’t have to tell a joke. All he has to do is talk. He’s just a funny dude. God blesses some people with a gift.

KW: Fist Fight was Richard Keen’s first full-length feature film. It’s pretty impressive considering it was a directorial debut.

IC: Without a doubt! He did a great job. And he’s the one who really sold me on the movie. He cut together a trailer showing what the movie would look like by cutting Charlie and me into pieces of other movies. That sold me. I said, “Dude, if you make this movie that you’re showing me, then I’m in.” and he definitely went above and beyond expectations.

KW: He certainly was able to keep it exciting by setting the film in a high school on Senior Prank Day. That way, all sorts of surprises could pop up during lulls in the action.

IC: Yeah, it’s cool, because people think it’s just a fight, but there are a thousand other things going on. [Chuckles] It’s nice to have a lot of surprises in a movie like this.

KW: What message do you think people will take away from Fist Fight?

IC: I think it’s really talking about the school system, and the underlying problems  that the society’s facing when it comes to educating kids. Do we just coddle them or do we really try to hold them accountable for what they learn?

KW: What do you think of the Academy Awards nominating a half-dozen black actors after none the previous two years?

IC: I don’t really know what they’re going through, but I’m pretty sure the nominees deserved it, and that’s all that matters, that our work is recognized. We don’t want any quotas. Just recognize good work.

KW: Last year, it was unfortunate that your biopic, Straight Outta Compton, was only nominated for Best Original Screenplay. And your scriptwriters were all white.

IC: It ain’t no thing. At least I don’t make movies for no Oscars. i make movies for the people.

KW: Finally, what’s in your wallet?

IC: What’s in my wallet? [LOL] Not too much. An I.D. card. That’s it. [Laughs some more]

KW: Thanks again for the time, Cube, and best of luck with the film.

IC: Take it easy, Kam. Catch you later.

Source:  GIG News