Category Archives: Hollywood Insider

Cheech Marin, Hollywood Vet Still Going Strong, EM Interview by Cathy Areu Jones

As part of Cheech and Chong, the comic duo which rejoiced in a world of marijuana-smoking and ignorance, Mexican-American actor Cheech Marin, 55, and his partner Tommy Chong, were the counter-culture icons in the 70s and early 80s. The duo won a Grammy Award in 1973, put out records that went gold, and made six movies (which are now top weekend movie rentals). In 1984, the pair, which had met in a Canadian topless bar, split up. What happened? According to Marin, it

Sean and Mandy, A Interview To Remember

The nerve of Mandy Moore. After a brief but memorable turn as the one-dimensional vixen supporting Garry Marshall’s “”The Princess Diaries,”” this chart-topper-cum-actress has gone and landed herself the type of role most teen actors would scrap their series on the WB for.

Moore signed on to play Jamie Sullivan – a reverend’s daughter who falls for an “”other side of the tracks”” boy – in the cinematic version of Nicholas Sparks’ best-selling book, “”A Walk To Remember.”” Just don’t act too surprised by this bubblegum diva’s transformation, as Mandy warns, “”I think this character is a lot more like me than most people asking that question think sometimes.”” Do tell, Miss Moore. Do tell: EM I watched the trailer for “”A Walk to Remember”” before a screening a few weeks ago, and hardly recognized you. Was this makeover a conscious effort to ditch the perception of “”Mandy Moore””?Mandy Moore: It was not a conscious effort. I had a small role in the “”Princess Diaries”” this past summer, and I just figured I would continue to do supporting roles until I felt really comfortable, to kind of venture out and do a part like this. But I was such a huge fan of the book, that I knew I couldn’t let this opportunity pass by. Forget it, I love this story, and I may not know as much about movies as the next actress, in terms of what constitutes the good script, but I knew scripts like this were few and far between.EM So you didn’t run the script by anyone for final approval? MM No, I loved the book so much and I was like, forget it, regardless of whether it’s going to be successful or not, I have to be a part of it. EM It certainly is a big step, jumping from one supporting role to your first leading role. Did you feel any pressure to succeed, that this film was sitting squarely on your shoulders?MM Oh, absolutely. I mean, it was a completely different type of film, and obviously having a bigger role (laughs) kind of adds a little bit of pressure. Initially getting over that shock was kind of hard, but after that, everything was fine. I got to that point where it all felt really comfortable. Plus, I colored my hair. I got rid of being Mandy for two months, and that definitely helpful.EM But you didn’t have a Garry Marshall in your corner this time out. Was he missed?MM Well, I went and met (the director) Adam Shankman, and I had lunch with him long before I even went and auditioned for the part. And I knew that finding someone who was as passionate about conveying the message of this story was going to be tough. But once I met Adam, I was like, “”Wow, this is someone who reallygets it, and who’s really excited to share this movie with everyone.”” And so I knew that I wanted to work with him. And Adam, truthfully, helped me so much on the movie. Especially in the beginning, getting me to some of the places. But once we got through the first three or four days of shooting, you just completely … you’re there.EM So how familiar were you with Sparks’ novel before you even heard they were going to make a movie out of the material? How far in advance were you involved?MM Probably a year.EM And you claim to have related to the Jamie character, even when you were reading the book the first time through.MM There’s a lot of me in Jamie, and a lot of Jamie in me. I think the fact that at first, I’m kind of a shy, introverted person when I first meet people. And I think that’s how Jamie comes across, because she doesn’t feel the need to kind of express herself all the time, and have many friends. I think the fact that we’re both kind of spunky, too. People describe Jamie as spunky, and I’ve been described as spunky before. I like that. That adjective is kind of fun.The thing that I wanted to learn through this movie, or get out of playing Jamie, was that she was so comfortable in her own skin, [and] that’s something I haven’t felt. Despite all of the stereotypes, and judgement against her in school, it didn’t change the way she felt about herself, and I thought that would be amazing, even to kind of just pretend I had that going for me for a couple of months. EM It’s also a rare quality to see in a teenage character. Unfortunately, teen characters seldom are portrayed that way.MM Right, especially someone who is the “”outcast”” of the film. You typically see that she’s self-conscious, or that she – or even the boy in the film – has to physically transform themselves in the end to gain acceptance and appease the person that they’re in the relationship with, or whatever. It was nice to have a female heroine, or even a guy, who didn’t have to go through that. No one did. In fact, I was the only character in the film that was consistent with who she was and what she did with her life throughout the entire movie, and it was kind of everyone around her changing.EM The book is set in the 1950s, but the film is not. What did the film lose or gain by updating to the ’90s?MM There are things I think it lost, but it would have been a completely different film if it were set in the ’50s. Besides the obvious, I think its a little more reasonable for people my age to go see it. It would have been a cuter movie, and a littlesweeter, to see it set in the ’50s.EM Would you have attempted the role if it were set in the ’50s?MM (Emphatically) Yes, because I just loved the book so much.EM But would it have been as effective?MM To teenagers? No. I don’t think it would have been as effective if it were set in the ’50s then if it were set here.EM Perhaps the studio could have marketed it to adults, in that case.MM Yes, but I think adults are still going to want to come see this film, because they’ve read the book and the main story and the main message is still there. EM Now, the message “”Walk”” delivers does resemble that of other teen movies – poor girl meets popular guy … How do you differentiate your film from the competition?MM We don’t have to rely on selling ourselves as having sex, drugs and rock & roll in a teen movie for once, which is great. There’s actually something to learn from this movie. You’re going to walk out and not feel like you’ve wasted an hour and 45 minutes of your life, watching the same old, same old. I was so moved by the book, and I was hoping that the movie could capture that, too. And I really think it has. Maybe in a different way, because there are some differences, but I just know teens are going to walk out and think about faith. And not necessarily in a spiritual connotation, but just faith in general. Like in each other. And in love. Especially young love. SO It’s a unique theme, faith.MM And it’s so taboo in Hollywood to even mention it. Anything to do with spirituality or religion has been so “”not politically correct”” to talk about. It’s nice that it’s done in a way that’s not forced [in this movie], and it’s not preachy and in your face. Like, “”This is what I believe in, and if you don’t, then you are very, very wrong.””EM The film shot in Wilmington, N.C., a hotbed for Hollywood activity. Any run-ins with the “”Dawson’s Creek”” crowd?MM Shane [West, Mandy’s co-star] did. Shane ran in to Joshua Jackson a lot. Ashley Judd came down for my birthday, to wish me a Happy Birthday. She was in [Wilmington] filming the “”Ya Ya Sisterhood.”” And Vince Vaughn and everyone, filming “”Domestic Disturbance.””EM So, no bar fights?MM I was not out that night (laughs). I think I was actually out of town. But it got a little crazy. Some of the locals were unhappy that there were these hot young actors there. Tempers flared … it was crazy. But still, I love Wilmington so much.EM It’s becoming very popular:MM We call it “”Wilmie-wood.”” My goodness. Outside of N.Y. and L.A., it’s like the biggest epicenter for making films. I would do another movie there in a heartbeat. In fact, I’ll read a script extra carefully and make sure I found something that I loved about it if I knew it were filming in Wilmington.EM Really? What’s the selling point?MM The town, and the charms that it has. The fact that people understand that we’re here for, well, sometimes a long amount of time filming a movie. And they’re very accommodating. You feel like you’re in the South! You can go get some sweet tea. It was so right up my alley. The food … the shopping, wonderful restaurants. It was like a vacation for two-and-a-half months.By Sean O’ConnellJan. 18, 2002

Series 7, Reality TV To The Extreme, by Michelle Alexandria

Series 7″” will be one of the most controversial and talked about films of the spring movie season. This dead on spoof of reality television, asks and answers the question, “”how far will reality television go?”” “”Series 7″” stands for a weekend marathon of a fictional television show called “”The Contender””. Each week on the “”Contender”” five people are selected at random and given guns. The object of the game – simple, “”kill or be killed””. The contestants are forced to hunt each other down. The winner lives to appear in the next episode, while the losers, well… Many will watch this film thinking there’s no way television would ever do something like this, well guess what? There is talk of several take offs on a “”Series 7″” type of show already in pre-production. Of course people will not be killed in real life, but the variations on this theme are eerily similar. Several months ago we conducted a fun wide ranging interview with “”Series 7″” director Daniel Minahan and the movie’s star Brooke Smith who many will remember as the kidnapped girl from “”Silence of The Lambs.”” The two were gracious enough to give us their time for an exclusive, unfortunately our tape of this interview mysteriously disappeared, therefore the interview below is an detailed in-depth interview that Daniel conducted for the “”Series 7″” press kit. If we ever track down the allusive tape that contains our exclusive, we will bring that to you as soon as possible. In the meantime enjoy this excellent Q and A.

THE CONCEPTIONQ: What is a “”series 7″”?A: It

Mark Dacascos – The Accidental Star, by Michelle Alexandria

Mark Dacascos is the son of Al Dacascos, Moriko McVey, and his stepmother, Malia Bernal. His father is of Filipino, Spanish, and Chinese ancestry. His mother is half-Irish and half-Japanese. Mark’s cosmopolitan mixture makes him, in his own words, a typical Hawaiian “”local boy.”” His parents ran a Martial Arts school.Many people may not know his name or even recognize the face of the Mark Dacascos, but this hot young star has starred in several projects that have garnered him rabid cult followings. Editor’s Note – Because of Mark’s recent appearance in Cradle To The Grave, I thought it’d be fun to rerun this exclusive interview that I did.

Those projects include “”The Crow: A Stairway to Heaven”” which was quickly building a huge fan base in syndication, when due to corporate politics the show was inexplicably cancelled. While his films include, the overseas cult classic “”Crying Freeman”” and now his latest film “”Brotherhood of the Wolf””, an international hit that is now coming to these shores. He’s built himself quite an impressive list of credits and his future looks bright. Mark is a man who seems to be both content with his career and his family life. Not bad for a man who had no ambitions on becoming an actor and was actually discovered while walking down a street in China Town. Ironically enough the man who discovered him was Chris Lee, who then went on to run Tri-Star Pictures and produce the film Final Fantasy. You can actually read an interview that I did with Chris last year. I recently conducted an interview with Mark, who called me from his California home. The interview went a little something like this:EMOk, let me start by asking you my standard, overly broad question, who are you and tell us why we’re here?MDMy name is Mark Dacascos, and I play the character of Mani in a new film called “”The Brotherhood of The Wolf””. Mani is a “”mythical”” warrior who fights for what he believes in and he represents the balance between man and nature. EMYour life and background, much like this film seems to defy categorization. How would you describe this film?MD It’s a mix of a lot of different genres, including Mystery, Suspense, Horror, 17th Century French Period drama. Director Christopher Gans has created a film that is truly originaland is a visionary masterpiece. What’s even more amazing is, the basic premise of the film is based on real life events. Their really was a “”Beast of Gevaudan”” that scared the King and caused political unrest in 17th Century France.EMWhat was your impression when you first read the script?MDI signed on to this project before I Christopher Gans even wrote the script. We went out to dinner one night and he told me about this idea that he had for this movie. Through the course of a 2 1/2 hour meal he laid out the entire story for me and what my character would be doing I was blown away by it. It seemed to work so well at blending all these various genres. He did such a great job of selling me on this film that I signed on, even before he started the script. When I finally read it, I couldn’t put it down and the ending was a real surprise to me. EMYou were the spiritual heart of the film. Yet you didn’t really say that much in it. How difficult was it to play a part like this?MDWhen you are not working with much verbal dialog, it forces you as an actor, to become more in tune with every other part of your physical body. How you move, your facial expressions, everything. The slightest gesture or look that you make ends up speaking volumes. I worked with someone from the Indian Tribe and she [Editor’s note, I don’t want to butcher the name of Mark’s Trainer, so forgive me for not mentioning it here] taught me a lot about their beliefs and how they feel about the nature and interact with their surroundings. I really felt like I became part of their culture.EMHow did you end up meeting her?MDI met her through my agent.EMDid you get a chance to visit any real reservations? What were your impressions?MDNo, I didn’t. But I would certainly like to visit one someday.EMWhat kind of performance do you find harder? One like you had in “”The Crow: Stairway to Heaven””, where you were the star and had a lot of dialog, or a film like this where you are not the star, but the spiritual heart of it?MDI think they both have their strengths and weaknesses. When playing a part like Mani, you are forced to pay more attention to the nuances of your performance than you do when play a part like Eric Draven [The lead character in “”The Crow””.] The fun thing about doing “”The Crow”” was learning how to play the guitar, working with a large cast, learning new lines, etc.EMDo you think doing a role like this improves your acting?MDYes, definitely. EMHow would you compare this experience with Christopher Gans to the last time you worked with him?MDThey were both the same. The only real difference was the larger budget, our editor was from Holland, our fight choreographer was from Japan, etc…We had a large international crew working with us. EMWould you categorize him as more of an Actor’s Director or a Technical Director?MDHe’s definitely both. He works really well with the technical crew, and knows how to handle actors. He’s the type of guy who loves to have fun on the set and loves what he’s doing.EMIn a recent interview with Christopher Gans, he said that he wrote this part specifically for you. Why do you think he did that?MDI don’t know, we worked well together in his first film “”Crying Freeman”” and I think there are lots of similarities between myself and Mani. EMTo me the character of Eric Draven in “”The Crow””, and Mani are similar yet different. In terms of how they view life it’s from completely different perspectives, but in their interactions with people it seems the same. Would you say this is true? If so, are you like this in real life?MDI would say there are similarities. Both characters are extremely spiritual beings. When Mani takes off his clothes and only uses a knife, while others are putting on heavy armor, he’s trying to become one with nature because he feels that it’ll make him a better warrior. He has a deep connection with a higher being. I’m someone who loves nature and would like to think that the best parts of each of these characters personalities, are reflected in me as well. I like to believe that, I do bring a little something of myself to each character that I play. Both characters are also Martial Artist.EMHow long have you practiced Martial Arts?MDMy parents ran a Martial Arts school, so I’ve been training since I was a young boy.EMTime flies when you’re having fun, looks like it’s time to end the interview, let me ask you two really quick questions. What happened to the television show? Are there plans to bring it back? What are your future plans? Ok, it’s actually three.MDI don’t know what happened with the show. Our ratings really started to go up when there was a shakeup in the Network. The new brass wanted to have a clean slate, so our show got unexpectedly pulled at the end of the first season. There was talk a few years ago about possibly bringing it back, at the time I was interested in such a prospect. Recently I heard rumors that it may come back yet again; unfortunately it’ll have to be without me, as I’m pretty content with the direction that my life is going right now. I wish them well, and hope they succeed in bringing it back. EMI hope so too, I thought it was just hitting its stride when it was cancelled. What are you going to be doing for the next few years?MDI currently don’t have any immediate plans, just waiting to see what the reaction is to Brotherhood and looking for other fun and interesting projects to do.EMLet me squeeze in one more question before you have to leave. Brotherhood is starting to generate some really good buzz. What are your expectations for this film?MDI really don’t know, it’s such a strange mix of genres, that I’m curious myself to see what the American reaction is.by Michelle AlexandriaJanuary 23, 2002