Interview.final

Lee Majors - A Seasoned Veteran Reinvents Himself

By Brian Taylor


Lee Majors plays The Figure in Nicholas Gyeney’s Matt’s Chance.  I spoke to Lee in between shots for his latest appearance on the TV show Raising Hope. 

Lee Majors is best known for The Six Million Dollar Man, The Fall Guy, and The Big Valley; and has been in the business now for 50 years. He began his career as a “cowboy actor” (as he called it) and has continued to work steadily throughout the years and is lately more interested to continually push himself to explore new characters and new genres. He spoke about appreciating the opportunity he has now to play very different characters in projects throughout the years. He is thankful to have worked in many different genres, and being able to push the envelope rather than stay locked in on one role for a long stretch anymore.
Lee-Majors-the-big-valley-7986278-654-446
In this darkly comedic film about love, revenge, and human nature, Matt’s Chance, Majors serves as Matt’s (Edward Furlong) barber and inadvertent therapist of sorts, and we later discover he has an agenda. He listens to Furlong plot revenge against his fiancée and her new lover after walking in on them in his bed the evening of his birthday. Majors’ character provides Furlong’s character “the opportunity to have one redeeming quality and encourages him to turn his life around.”
The film also includes an array of characters including an eccentric pawn-shop owner played by none other than Gary Busey, and an aging stripper played by Margot Kidder.

Majors had nothing but praises for Gyeney and the experience he had while shooting Matt’s Chance. “Nick is a very talented director . . . I received the script and initially thought, ‘This was not my thing. It’s not in my zone.’ It was such a dark, violent, and tragic comedy, but then it grew on me, and now after watching the film, I was really drawn in, and it holds my attention. Each character had their own journey that makes the film progress, and it really held my attention.” 

He also had nothing but positive things to say about working with Furlong. “Eddie did a great job. He’s a great talent, he’s a hard worker, and it was great to work with him.”

 When asked if he had any advice for rising actors, Majors responded, “Keep your nose clean, and study your craft. Know your lines, and be nice to everyone as you hopefully move up, because you may see them on the way down, too . . . don’t give up. . . . Pound your agent on the head if you have to in order to get auditions . . . Auditions are not bad; everyone has to do them.”

He encouraged continually working at your art, studying, and doing whatever you need to in order to get your talent out, and striving to meet anyone who could hire you one day.
When asked if he has noticed any changes to his life or process as an actor through the years, Majors noted that technology has been a major factor. “Sure the films nowadays look amazing, but the process is a lot different how you make them. When I first started out in the 60s and 70s, the director could not see what he shot until he got it in the editing room. You’d shoot a scene, and the director would then turn to the cameraperson, and he’d nod his head and you would move on. Now, you shoot a scene, and with the amazing advancements, everyone gathers around over in a tent somewhere to watch the take and then discuss it, and then maybe you’ll shoot it again, or maybe you’ll move on. That intimacy is now gone between the actor, the director, and the camera operator. Honestly, it seems like it’s a big waste of time and everyone has an opinion, but it seems to be the style that’s here for now.”
When asked what career path he would have pursued if he hadn’t become an actor, Majors quickly responded, “Coaching football.” He said he would have been content coaching college-level football. He attended Indiana University on a football scholarship, but was sidelined after an injury and later turned down an offer to play in the NFL for the St. Louis Cardinals. Majors’ passion and love for football was evident, but did not outweigh his thankfulness for the career and life he carved for himself throughout the past half century.
Majors appeared to be a warm-hearted gentleman with a strong work ethic, curious to try new things and continually push the envelope. He also was thankful for his longevity in the business and for the opportunities he has had throughout the years. He noted his willingness to reinvent himself as the secret to his success. “In the beginning I was type cast as the cowboy actor, but now I am able to do lots of different kinds of projects and various types of characters, and I love it.” He also went on to say, “When I go to the movies, I want to leave with the feeling that I watched something really good progress. . . . I am not interested in the franchise action films. Once you’ve made something like that and know how it’s done, it’s really not that interesting to me to watch.” He also seemed to be uninterested in the recent zombie craze.
Matt’s Chance will have a theatrical release opening on Christmas Day and is sure to provide moviegoers with an alternative to mainstream offerings. 

Click here to read Brian's interview with the director, Nick Gyeney

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Interview.final

Lee Majors - A Seasoned Veteran Reinvents Himself

By Brian Taylor


Lee Majors plays The Figure in Nicholas Gyeney’s Matt’s Chance.  I spoke to Lee in between shots for his latest appearance on the TV show Raising Hope. 

Lee Majors is best known for The Six Million Dollar Man, The Fall Guy, and The Big Valley; and has been in the business now for 50 years. He began his career as a “cowboy actor” (as he called it) and has continued to work steadily throughout the years and is lately more interested to continually push himself to explore new characters and new genres. He spoke about appreciating the opportunity he has now to play very different characters in projects throughout the years. He is thankful to have worked in many different genres, and being able to push the envelope rather than stay locked in on one role for a long stretch anymore.
Lee-Majors-the-big-valley-7986278-654-446
In this darkly comedic film about love, revenge, and human nature, Matt’s Chance, Majors serves as Matt’s (Edward Furlong) barber and inadvertent therapist of sorts, and we later discover he has an agenda. He listens to Furlong plot revenge against his fiancée and her new lover after walking in on them in his bed the evening of his birthday. Majors’ character provides Furlong’s character “the opportunity to have one redeeming quality and encourages him to turn his life around.”
The film also includes an array of characters including an eccentric pawn-shop owner played by none other than Gary Busey, and an aging stripper played by Margot Kidder.

Majors had nothing but praises for Gyeney and the experience he had while shooting Matt’s Chance. “Nick is a very talented director . . . I received the script and initially thought, ‘This was not my thing. It’s not in my zone.’ It was such a dark, violent, and tragic comedy, but then it grew on me, and now after watching the film, I was really drawn in, and it holds my attention. Each character had their own journey that makes the film progress, and it really held my attention.” 

He also had nothing but positive things to say about working with Furlong. “Eddie did a great job. He’s a great talent, he’s a hard worker, and it was great to work with him.”

 When asked if he had any advice for rising actors, Majors responded, “Keep your nose clean, and study your craft. Know your lines, and be nice to everyone as you hopefully move up, because you may see them on the way down, too . . . don’t give up. . . . Pound your agent on the head if you have to in order to get auditions . . . Auditions are not bad; everyone has to do them.”

He encouraged continually working at your art, studying, and doing whatever you need to in order to get your talent out, and striving to meet anyone who could hire you one day.
When asked if he has noticed any changes to his life or process as an actor through the years, Majors noted that technology has been a major factor. “Sure the films nowadays look amazing, but the process is a lot different how you make them. When I first started out in the 60s and 70s, the director could not see what he shot until he got it in the editing room. You’d shoot a scene, and the director would then turn to the cameraperson, and he’d nod his head and you would move on. Now, you shoot a scene, and with the amazing advancements, everyone gathers around over in a tent somewhere to watch the take and then discuss it, and then maybe you’ll shoot it again, or maybe you’ll move on. That intimacy is now gone between the actor, the director, and the camera operator. Honestly, it seems like it’s a big waste of time and everyone has an opinion, but it seems to be the style that’s here for now.”
When asked what career path he would have pursued if he hadn’t become an actor, Majors quickly responded, “Coaching football.” He said he would have been content coaching college-level football. He attended Indiana University on a football scholarship, but was sidelined after an injury and later turned down an offer to play in the NFL for the St. Louis Cardinals. Majors’ passion and love for football was evident, but did not outweigh his thankfulness for the career and life he carved for himself throughout the past half century.
Majors appeared to be a warm-hearted gentleman with a strong work ethic, curious to try new things and continually push the envelope. He also was thankful for his longevity in the business and for the opportunities he has had throughout the years. He noted his willingness to reinvent himself as the secret to his success. “In the beginning I was type cast as the cowboy actor, but now I am able to do lots of different kinds of projects and various types of characters, and I love it.” He also went on to say, “When I go to the movies, I want to leave with the feeling that I watched something really good progress. . . . I am not interested in the franchise action films. Once you’ve made something like that and know how it’s done, it’s really not that interesting to me to watch.” He also seemed to be uninterested in the recent zombie craze.
Matt’s Chance will have a theatrical release opening on Christmas Day and is sure to provide moviegoers with an alternative to mainstream offerings. 

Click here to read Brian's interview with the director, Nick Gyeney

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Interview.final

 

The Brit, The Boxer and the Lost Boy

An Interview with Actor, John Campbell Mac

By Bridget Brady

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Why Wes Anderson’s So Damn Good

(Or At Least A Partial Explanation)

By Leo Ziegler



banner-grand-budapest-hotel-film mobile

Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel is due out in theaters early next year. The Texas born writer/director has been inviting us into his peculiar, idiosyncratic world for nearly 20 years. From its recently released trailer, this newest film promises a view into another part of Anderson’s storybook.

How, exactly, did this world begin?

wes-anderson-bill-murrayWith every auteur, every project builds upon previously established themes. Noah Baumbach (occasional Anderson collaborator) and Darren Aronofsky, along with other filmmakers who have started their careers around the same time as Wes Anderson and have equally unique voices, have had varying degrees of success – critically and commercially. A few who had started off with a fiercely independent voice eventually found their way to studio films, such as Baumbach writing DreamWorks’ Madagascar 3 or David Gordon Green directing Pineapple Express and The Sitter

Somehow, Anderson has been able to tell his stories in his unique style, continually pushing the boundaries he already established, and has been rewarded not only with critical success, but commercial success as well. It’s almost as if he walks into a studio executive’s office and says, “Oh, you thought that last film was a little off? Wait until you hear about this one.” And, somehow, they give him money and let him do exactly what he wants. It might not hurt that, early on in his career, Anderson befriended James L. Brooks – Terms of Endearment, Broadcast News and, oh yeah, The Simpsons. I guess, with that sort of clout backing you, you get a bit of a free pass.

Even the most benevolent mega-producer or director will pull back the reigns  if his investment wesmoonriseisn’t making any money.  (Those Simpsons bucks only take you so far.)  Worldwide: Anderson’s films have grossed more than $273 million.  The average summer blockbuster often costs that much and struggles to make a profit. (Unless, of course, it’s directed by Christopher Nolan or Joss Whedon.)

Now, I can break down Anderson’s career film by film. What would that prove, though? Yes, he is a quirky filmmaker that boarders occasionally on cartoonish. Filmmakers like that are a dime a dozen. They debut at Sundance to huge acclaim, maybe make a couple of bucks at the box office, and bomb with their sophomore film. After that, they either fall farther down the rabbit hole of bizarro indie films or jump from network to network directing the latest shows. 

12-Bottle-RocketYes, Anderson did debut his short film Bottle Rockets to much acclaim at Sundance. After adapting Rockets into a feature film, Anderson surrogate Jason Schwartzman took us farther down the rabbit hole. Rushmore introduced us fully to the world of silly names and character-defining costumes only previously hinted at.

Costumes will claim the center stage in The Royal Tenenbaums, and there they will stay. Whether it’s Ben Stiller’s tracksuit or Adrien Brody’s oversized glasses in The Darjeeling Limited, these visual shortcuts help to ground the viewer in these  often-peculiar worlds.

The costumes, the off-kilter sets and locations, the silly names: These all buffer often dark stories of loss and obsession. If it weren’t for this sort of childish mise-en-scène, The Life Aquatic would be even more depressing, and the Romeo & Juliet story Moonrise Kingdom would be a rather disturbing film about an abandoned child clinging to whatever love he will allow himself.

Perhaps that’s why we love his films. The dichotomy of incredibly intense stories in a fantasy, childlike world allow us relate to the characters but, at the same time, distance us from them. That’s the educated perception of why Anderson has been so successful; maybe the film-going population just need a cinematic sorbet between giant-robot movies and dumb action movies. 

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