SideKickBack Radio

Tag Archive: acting

Episode 46: Play the Diamond with Matias Ponce




Sidekickback returns with a midnight special! My friend and former co-star Matias Ponce hopped off the Mark Taper Forum stage on Tuesday night to come over and chat with me about the wonderful revival of Luis Valdez’s Zoot Suit going on at Center Theatre Group. Matias stars alongside Demián Bichir as Henry Reyna in the critically acclaimed production that has received an unprecedented third and final extension at the Mark Taper. We chat about his humble beginnings in Toledo, Ohio, his unconventional journey as an actor doing “the LA thing,” and the pretty positive turnout of his first understudy assignment.

Grab whatever Zoot Suit tickets you can at Center Theatre Group’s website!

Episode 44: Director of My Own Journey with Rich Delia

One of the first steps in the filmmaking process is the somewhat mysterious, often underappreciated art of casting. On the latest episode of Sidekickback Radio, I sit down with Casting Director extraordinaire Rich Delia.  You can see his fine work in such films as Dallas Buyers Club, Short Term 12 and currently in theaters, Lights Out. We chat about how he transitioned to casting director from acting, what it takes to find that perfect actor for the role in the casting process and some suggestions for actors strugglin to break through

Coming soon, Rich’s upcoming projects include:

Transpecos – with Clifton Collins Jr. and Gabriel Luna, directed by Greg Kwedar, 2016’s SXSW Audience Award winner tells the story of three border patrol agents that make an unnerving discovery revealing possible betrayal amongst their own unit.

Fist Fight starring Charlie Day and Ice Cube as two high school teachers who have a score to settle…in the parking lot, after school.

To the Bone – from previous guests of the podcast, Mockingbird Pictures, To the Bone stars Lily Collins as a young woman dealing with anorexia who meets an unconventional doctor (Keanu Reeves) that challenges her to face her condition and embrace life. Written and Directed by Marti Noxon.

The Masterpiece – directed by James Franco, the star-studded cast includes Seth Rogen, Josh Hutcherson, Bryan Cranston, Sharon Stone and Franco himself as they recreate the behind the scenes “magic” that led to the cult classic that is considered to be one of the worst movies ever made, Tommy Wiseau’s The Room.

Stay up to date with his IMDb here!

Episode 42: Persistence Pays Off with Julie Lynn and Bonnie Curtis

About a year and a half ago, I had the great pleasure of attending the world premiere of Last Days in the Desert at the Sundance Film Festival 2015.  Written and Directed by Rodrigo Garcia, this stoically beautiful, captivating film features an incredible performance by Ewan McGregor in two roles (Jesus and the Devil), mesmerizing natural light cinematography from Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki (winner of the last three Academy Awards), and this week I got to chat with the two amazing ladies who helped bring it all together.  Julie Lynn and Bonnie Curtis of Mockingbird Pictures have been making movies long enough to know how to make a damn good one, and with some incredibly exciting projects in the works this is one juicy episode that I hope will inspire you to check out/stay tuned to their work…you will not be disappointed.  We talk about the effect that digital media had on their business model, what their favorite part of moviemaking is and which one of them is “Spendy Wendy?”

Last Days in the Desert is in select theaters now! Head to www.lastdaysinthedesert.com for more info.

Also coming soon from Mockingbird Pictures…

Wakefield – in post-production, starring Bryan Cranston as a man whose nervous breakdown causes him to leave his wife (Jennifer Garner) and live in his attic for several months. Written and Directed by Robin Swicord.

The Sweet Life – premiering at the LA Film Festival, this romantic dramedy road trip film stars Chris Messina and Abigail Spencer as two depressives who first meet by chance in Chicago and form a pact to travel across the country to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge together. Written by Jared Rappaport and directed by Rob Spera. Also might feature a cameo from yours truly 🙂

To the Bone – in post-production, Lily Collins stars as a young woman dealing with anorexia who meets an unconventional doctor (Keanu Reeves) that challenges her to face her condition and embrace life. Written and Directed by Marti Noxon.

Julie and Bonnie are also producing Life alongside David Ellis of Skydance Pictures. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds and Rebecca Ferguson, Life tells the story of a crew on the International Space Station discovering life on Mars.

Episode 40: Keep Your Eyes Open with Jessica Howell

My guest on this weeks episode is the lovely actress, writer, producer Jessica Howell. She’s been a part of such great projects as Eleanora: The Forgotten Princess, the phenomenal stage production of Re-Animator: The Musical and Showtime’s Masters of Sex. Her latest short film, Susie Sunshine, will be premiering at the LA International Women’s Film Festival on March 25th. We chat about running a successful Indiegogo campaign, the quality of life in Los Angeles vs. New York, and how we have both always been old people.

Grab your tickets to Susie Sunshine at LAWIFF here!

Episode 39: See You at the Maccabi Games with Jessie Kahnweiler

This week’s episode of SideKickBack Radio features Jessie Kahnweiler, creator, writer, director and star of The Skinny. Her well-crafted, dark-comedy web series premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and it’ll take you places you might not expect.  Jessie and I chat about why listening is better than trying to change people, why being rejected as oneself is more important than being accepted as someone else, and man bun executives.

Check out The Skinny at Refinery29 here!

Episode 38: Band of Robbers with Adam Nee

In the triumphant return of SideKickBack Radio, I sit down with half of the writer/director/editor team behind the superb and fascinating film known as Band of Robbers. Adam Nee…oh and he also stars in it too…and I chat about the odd yet ballsy process of financing this independent film, the nuggets of wisdom he would tell his younger self, and the food groups of model.

Rounding out the cast of Band of Robbers  is Kyle Gallner, Melissa Benoist, Hannibal Buress, Matthew Gray Gubler, Stephen Lang and Eric Christian Olsen.  This modern retelling of the adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn should not be missed! Available on VOD now 🙂

Episode 36: Let it Play/Let’s Switch with Sasha Spielberg

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Upon my return, I sat down with the lovely Sasha Spielberg…a marvelous musician, writer extraordinaire and all-around goof.  We chat about her band Wardell and their west coast tour with Ryan Adams, what it’s like to pioneer a new media format with Literally Can’t Even on Snapchat, and why our generation might forget to procreate.

Check out Wardell on Soundcloud and on iTunes here!

 

Episode 35: Let Us Stumble with Chris Aquilino

My latest chat features Chris Aquilino who has appeared on Jane the VirginBones, House of Lies, and will be seen on Amazon’s Bosch and in the upcoming Mockingbird Pictures independent feature film The Sweet Life (starring Chris Messina and Abigail Spencer). We chat about what success looks like, being swept up in the do-it-yourself generation, and what food truck offerings appear on a TV set after success at the Emmys.

Check out Chris’ website here!

Mind Blown: The Dirties

I’m not sure if this next installment is influenced by current events, perhaps its basic coincidence, but I guess that’s another way of saying it was simply meant to be. I recognize that when I watched The Dirties on Sunday night, the timing of seeing it was an important factor but perhaps that is the point.  Shot in a found-footage, documentary-like style (be prepared for some very shaky-cam) this festival darling follows two high school students making a home movie about taking down the bullies at their school, Quentin Tarantino style, guns a-blazin’.  As the film progresses, one of the young men takes the joke to uncomfortable heights.

I first heard about The Dirties during a Kevin Smith interview in which he also gave a shout-out to Blue is the Warmest Color. I mention this because while these two films are so different in so many ways, they have one very important thing in common that makes them fantastic: as Mr. Smith puts it, the feeling of watching a camera being dipped into real life. Two very different stories, two very different styles, one very overwhelming and sometimes physical response.

In The Dirties, writer/director/editor/producer Matt Johnson stars as Matt alongside his best friend Owen, played by Owen Williams; already reality has become a head-scratcher. The film opens with a purely accidental scene between Matt and two real life passerby kids asking about the movie that’s being filmed. There are scenes in which Matt sits down to edit the very movie we are watching.  There are the sudden moments of frighteningly real bullying, the kind that is psychological and paralyzing.  Going into watching the film, I knew there was a mixture of real people and actors partaking in the action and it is absolutely impossible to distinguish who or what is real or fake. Sometimes, catalyzing events happen that I felt like I missed because it wasn’t set up in a way that the camera could catch it perfectly, leaving me to wonder if it was staged or not.  There is a constant changing of mood and tone; one moment Matt is being his usual zany jokester self and the next he is reading Columbine by Dave Cullen; one of several incredibly brilliant and sobering ways Johnson reminds us of the anchor that holds this whole story in the real world.  The never-ending questioning and shifts lead me to feel perpetually unsettled by every person and everything they did, wondering if life is imitating art or vice versa.  Who is going to be the one that pushes this narrative over the edge?  I felt as though the story was going to betray me, that the harsh truths of bullies and school shooters would end up on my screen in a very unsettling way no matter how bad I wanted everyone to get along.  It was a unique feeling I don’t think a film has ever given me before.

The Dirties is a riveting, provocative and bold film made for very little by some very daring people and it brings to light just how bad we can be to each other at our most sensitive and volatile ages.  At a time when school shootings are the source of incredibly heart-breaking frustration, The Dirties offers a no-nonsense view on the matter that feels just too damn important.

 

Episode 33: Sometimes Magic Happens with Naomi Grossman

The latest episode of SideKickBack Radio features the incomparable actress Naomi Grossman, whom you might recognize (with some difficulty) as Pepper from American Horror Story. We chat about her high school reunion, the difference between “making it” and “doing it,” and large Argentinian hats.

Check out Naomi’s website here!