BEFORE THE SCENE WITH
DORFF Stays Frosty
VOL. 6, ISSUE 6 • November/December 2015
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Micah Haley CREATIVE DIRECTOR Erin Theriot ADVERTISING ART DIRECTOR Kelli Binnings STAFF WRITER Carlos Meredith GRAPHIC ART DIRECTOR Burton Chatelain, Jr. SALES M. Tess Toboggan
he New Orleans Film Festival continues to impress year after year as it grows under the leadership of Jolene Pinder and the New Orleans Film Society. In addition to great films and panels that feature authoritative speakers, NOFF is functioning as a culture hub that offers creatives a chance to connect with entrepreneurs. Pitch Perfect, a pitch competition, gave up-and-comers an opportunity to present their project to a panel of film industry professionals. Featuring a student competition and an open call, Pitch Perfect was not only an opportunity for exposure, but an opportunity to refine creative ideas into something more: a product to sell. Another great panel was Music Through the Making of a Film. Festivalgoers and other attendees received insider
8 | November/December 2015
perspectives from music supervisors, composers, musicians and a film producer and director. Although music is a concern too often left till post-production, the panel provided insights that will hopefully get more filmmakers into planning for music earlier in the filmmaking process. Perhaps the most important panel was dubbed The New Distribution Frontier. As filmmaking has gone digital, so has distribution. And it has provided new opportunities for innovation along the way. Never has the link between tech and film been more important, and that’s something every entrepreneur should be excited about.
MICAH HALEY EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Randee St. Nicholas, Bruno Calvo, Alan Markfield, Kelli Binnings, Alx Bear, Russ Harrington, Ben Fink, Brandon T. Willis, Sean Richardson CONTRIBUTING WRITERS AJ Buckley, Aaron Williamson, Jacob Peterman, Susan Ross, Elizabeth Glauser, Arthur Vandelay, Lauren Kornick, Meghan McGee, Elizabeth Glauser Scene Magazine At Celtic Studios Baton Rouge 10000 Celtic Drive • Suite 201 • Baton Rouge, LA 70809 225-361-0701 At Second Line Stages 800 Richard St. • 4th Floor • New Orleans, LA 70130 504-224-2221 email@example.com • www.sceneent.com Published By Scene Entertainment, LLC For Scene Entertainment, LLC CEO, Andre Champagne President, AJ Buckley Vice President, Micah Haley Display Advertising: Call Scene Magazine for a current rate card or visit www.sceneent.com All submitted materials become the property of Scene Entertainment, LLC. For subscriptions or more information visit our website at www.sceneent.com. Copyright @ 2015 Scene Entertainment, LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be used for solicitation or copied by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying or recording by any information storage or retrieval system, without the express written permission of the publisher.
ON THE COVER
ON THE SCENE
H&M OPENS IN NEW ORLEANS
BROKEN LIZARD LIVE AT THE CIVIC THEATRE
photo by Sean Richardson
BEFORE THE SCENE WITH
NBA ALL-STARS IN NOLA LSU BASEBALL
ABOVE THE LINE
Stephen Dorff in Sex, Guaranteed
BEFORE THE SCENE
A Conversation with Dan Fogler
SCENE IN TEXAS
Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2
Fun Fun Fun Fest and Day for Night
MUSIC/SOUND SPEED The Voodoo Experience 2015
HoN haNKs oRS W Wii VeteRA NS
Lenn Kravity z
HEALTH SCENE 52 Aaron’s Story
BEHIND THE SCENES
the simplify HoLi seasoN dAy G if ideASt BehiN
D th SCeNee
Drews Bree iana’S
Emin Em • Wolf Kiss • Ja moth nE’s a Er • flamddiction ing li ps
Shane McGoey’s People
THE UNSCENE 60
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10 | November/December 2015
010 CH 2
THE FASHION ISSUE
NEW YEAR, NEW LOOKS
COMING SOON 14 SCENE IN GEORGIA
steV LAWMeN seaGa AN l
Voted #1 small city to live and work as a ďŹ lm maker in 2015 by Movie Maker Magazine
by AJ Buckley
Dan Fogler is a Tony Award-winning stage and screen actor. His numerous credits in comedic films include Balls of Fury, Good Luck Chuck, Fanboys and Take Me Home Tonight. His other film credits include Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock, Scenic Route and Europa Report. He’s also contributed voice work to Horton Hears a Who! and Kung Fu Panda. He can next be seen in the independent comedy Sex, Guaranteed and the new Harry Potter movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. He also rarely gives a straight interview.
I just watched this movie. Didn’t know it existed and it turned out to be amazing. It was called Europa Report. How did you become a part of it? You found it on one of the far moons of Saturn, did you not? You were like, “I didn’t know this movie existed until I’ve dug deep down into the ice to find it.” And then it was good. My agent said, “Man, this is a cool sci-fi movie. You were thinking of doing something that wasn’t totally comedy. Why don’t you go in there and totally f*** this movie up?” In a good way. I went in there and I played a very scientific, very cerebral character. A scientist astronaut, a physicist. I was the white Neil deGrasse Tyson. “The cosmos is just singularity mixed with a little bit of butter.” What am I talking about?
Ha! The movie is a big departure from your other comedic works. Was it nice playing it straight for once? For once? Haha! You’re like, “Playing it straight for once, Fogler?” Geeze. Yeah, I did. You know, I did Chekhov and Shakespeare in college. I was Hamlet! Just kidding, I wasn’t Hamlet. I was some guy with tights on. But the experience was fantastic. Obviously, I’m a silly person and I have an affinity for comedy. But Europa Report was a far cry from Balls of Fury.
Tell me about this movie, Sex, Guaranteed. Tell me how much you love this movie, Dan. I’ve obviously come right back, headfirst, nosedived into comedy again with Sex, Guaranteed. I love this movie, mostly because it’s hysterical. The Barnes brothers are excellent directors and the camaraderie on set is great. The party energy on set is infectious and we’re hoping that the audience will find that as well. I know they will. I just know they will in my heart, in the green Chakra. I play Carl and he is a sex maniac. He loves to party. He loves his drugs. He used to be a frat boy and now he has a job and he’s gotta be a 9-to-5 kinda guy. So, he lets out some steam at this annual party that Hank (Stephen Dorff) throws, which is like Playboy mansion-style insanity.
And sex is guaranteed, obviously. Yeah, that’s part of the invitation. It says, “RSVP to Hank. Sex guaranteed. BYOB.”
12 | November/December 2015
Have you had any fun in New Orleans? None.
It’s understandable. I love New Orleans. I’m having so much fun.
Have you been down before? [singing] “I’ve been down before, I’ve been up before, I’ve been on the rocks, I’ve been on Dina Shore.” Yeah, I’ve been to New Orleans twice for business, once for pleasure, but they all seemed like pleasure. So, it’s just all a blur. I don’t even know where I am right now.
Any interesting places you’ve eaten? Or music? I ate the most delicious music the other day. It was like a fried jambalaya of music, and it had grits in it and it sopped up all the music and then when I ate it, I pooped music. I love New Orleans. Poop music.
So, Jazz Fest is right after you wrap this movie. Will you poop music at Jazz Fest? Yes, I’m pretty sure everyone will.
That’s actually not that far off because Jazz Fest is held on a horse racetrack so when it rains, it’s not mud you’re walking around in. It’s literally horsecrap. It’s like Woodstock.
But it’s a good time. You made another great movie called Scenic Route. And I heard the weather was crazy during filming. It was. You ever see the movie Enemy Mine? It was like that. We were in Death Valley and one minute, it would be like, “Oh, it’s beautiful! I could live here. It’s like 70 degrees outside!” Like five seconds later, it would be like whipping winds, dust devils, 20 degree scariness. Floors open. Underground military bases would come out. Aliens, stuff like that. It was crazy.
You also have a graphic novel out called Moon Lake. Holy crap, yeah. Moon Lake, man. I make graphic novels. Volume one and volume two are out there. It’s based on a movie I directed called Hysterical Psycho, which is also out there and you can get that. It’s basically Twilight Zone on acid. A little Tales From the Crypt on THC. You down for that kinda stuff?
That’s pretty terrifying. I’m actually a big Tales from the Crypt fan, so you totally have me interested. Well, you do a lot of drugs? It is pretty scary.
No, but I am a big fan of artistic products from people that do drugs. Yeah, me too. You know what I think, the majority of people out there making stuff are wacked out of their gourd, especially out in Hollywood.
So...tell me about the Barnes Brothers. Nice segway! [Laughs] Yeah, I like the two of them. They work together really well. It’s kinda like meeting the Coen Brothers in the early part of their career. They were raw and they were hungry, but they were also really nice. And they were stylish. And, they were tall.
A partner in Scene Magazine and the president of Scene Entertainment, AJ Buckley has starred for the last eight years on the hit CBS show CSI:NY. Originally from Dublin and raised in Vancouver, he has spent the last twelve years in Los Angeles acting, writing and directing. He starred in and produced the film Home Sweet Hell, which is now available on video-on-demand. After appearing in Steven Bochco’s Murder in the First, he can now be seen in the Netflix series Narcos. Find out more on Twitter @AJohnBuckley and at www.ajbuckley.net.
photo by Sean Richardson
I didn’t know the Barnes brothers until the two of them met with me and they acted out the entire movie for me. I was like, “Show me your stuff.” And the two of them directed each other, and they did all the scenes. They were just like all over the place. At the end, I was like, “I am on board! You guys are geniuses! That was like Cirque du Soleil on acid.”
BEFORE THE SCENE
Had you seen their film The Locksmith?
sceneent.com | 13
by Ben Adams
LEGEND - NOV. 20
The film tells the story of the identical twin gangsters Reggie and Ronnie Kray, two of the most notorious criminals in British history, and their organized crime empire in the East End of London during the 1960s. 131 min. Rated R.
CAROL - NOV. 20
Set in 1950s New York, a department store clerk who dreams of a better life falls for an older, married woman. 118 min. Rated R.
THE NIGHT BEFORE - NOV. 20 Daniel Craig as James Bond
photo by Susie Allnutt
SPECTRE - NOV. 6
A cryptic message from Bond’s past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE. 148 min. Rated PG-13.
In New York City for their annual tradition of Christmas Eve debauchery, three lifelong best friends set out to find the Holy Grail of Christmas parties since their yearly reunion might be coming to an end. 101 min. Rated R.
SECRET IN THEIR EYES - NOV. 20
A tight-knit team of rising investigators, along with their supervisor, is suddenly torn apart when they discover that one of their own teenage daughters has been brutally murdered. Rated PG-13.
LOVE THE COOPERS - NOV. 13
THE DANISH GIRL - NOV. 27
When four generations of the Cooper clan come together for their annual Christmas Eve celebration, a series of unexpected visitors and unlikely events turn the night upside down, leading them all toward a surprising rediscovery of family bonds and the spirit of the holiday. Rated PG-13.
The remarkable love story inspired by the lives of artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener. Lili and Gerda’s marriage and work evolve as they navigate Lili’s groundbreaking journey as a transgender pioneer. 120 min. Rated R.
BY THE SEA - NOV. 13
YOUTH - DEC. 4
Set in France during the mid-1970s, Vanessa, a former dancer, and her husband Roland, an American writer, travel the country together. They seem to be growing apart, but when they linger in one quiet, seaside town, they begin to draw close to some of its more vibrant inhabitants. Rated R.
A retired orchestra conductor is on holiday with his daughter and his film director best friend in the Alps when he receives an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II to perform for Prince Philip’s birthday. 118 min. Rated R.
MAN UP - NOV. 13
MACBETH - DEC. 4
A single woman who’s mistaken for a stranger’s blind date, leads to her finding the perfect boyfriend. 88 min. Rated R.
THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY - PART 2 - NOV. 20
After being symbolized as the “Mockingjay,” Katniss Everdeen and District 13 engage in an all-out revolution against the autocratic Capitol. 137 min. Rated PG-13.
Macbeth, a Thane of Scotland, receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders his king and takes the throne for himself. 113 min. Rating TBA.
KRAMPUS - DEC. 4
A boy who has a bad Christmas ends up accidentally summoning a Christmas demon to his family home. Rated PG-13.
MORE COMING SOON 14 | November/December 2015
Brad Pitt in The Big Short
Will Ferrell & Mark Wahlberg in Daddy’s Home
IN THE HEART OF THE SEAS - DEC. 11
DADDY’S HOME - DEC. 25
DON VERDEAN - DEC. 11
JOY - DEC. 25
Based on the 1820 event, a whaling ship is preyed upon by a sperm whale, stranding its crew at sea for ninety days, thousands of miles from home. 121 min. Rated PG-13. Hired by an ambitious small-town pastor to find sacred relics in the Holy Land, a self-proclaimed Biblical archaeologist comes up short and his attempt to cover up his failure fuels a comic conspiracy from the filmmaking team behind Napoleon Dynamite and Nacho Libre. Don Verdean stars Sam Rockwell, Amy Ryan, Jemaine Clement, Leslie Bibb, with Will Forte and Danny McBride. 90 min. Rated PG-13.
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS - DEC. 18
A continuation of the saga created by George Lucas and set thirty years after Return of the Jedi. 136 min. Rated PG-13.
SISTERS - DEC. 18
Two sisters decide to throw one last house party before their parents sell their family home. 118 min. Rated R.
THE BIG SHORT - DEC. 23
Four outsiders in the world of high-finance who predicted the credit and housing bubble collapse of the mid-2000s decide to take on the big banks for their lack of foresight and greed. Rating and runtime TBA.
16 | November/December 2015
A mild-mannered radio executive strives to become the best stepdad to his wife’s two children, but complications ensue when their freewheeling and freeloading real father arrives, forcing him to compete for the affection of the kids. 96 min. Rated PG. Joy is the story of a family across four generations and the woman who rises to become founder and matriarch of a powerful family business dynasty. Rating and runtime TBA.
THE REVENANT - DEC. 25
In the 1820s, a frontiersman, Hugh Glass, sets out on a path of vengeance against those who left him for dead after a bear mauling. 151 min. Rated R.
POINT BREAK - DEC. 25
A young FBI agent infiltrates an extraordinary team of extreme sports athletes he suspects of masterminding a string of unprecedented, sophisticated corporate heists. Point Break is inspired by the classic 1991 hit. Rating and runtime TBA.
THE HATEFUL EIGHT - DEC. 25
In post-Civil War Wyoming, bounty hunters try to find shelter during a blizzard but get involved in a plot of betrayal and deception. Will they survive? 182 min. Rating TBA.
chillers delivery & pick up power washing & debris removal misters & fans layout board & stair protection flooring
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by Arthur Vandelay
HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY â€” PART 2
he epic series comes to a close. The box office record-setting Hunger Games film series ends when the final film hits theaters on November 20, just in time for Thanksgiving. Anchored again by mega-star Jennifer Lawrence, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 is directed by Francis Lawrence, who took over directing duties from Gary Ross after the first film. This will be director Lawrenceâ€™s third time at bat, having previously directed Catching Fire and Mockingjay - Part 1. Alongside JLaw returns Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland and Elizabeth Banks, who will also be returning soon as director for the next installment of the Pitch Perfect series. After significant defeats in Mockingjay - Part 1, Katniss Everdeen and the rest of the rebellion must rally to take back the Capitol from the autocratic President Snow. Peeta, Gale and Finnick join Katniss in her fight to save District 13 - and all the districts - from their facist oppressors. Filming on Mockingjay - Part 2 took place primarily in Atlanta, Georgia. Then filming continued for several weeks in Paris, France before concluding in Berlin, Germany on June 20, 2014. Actor Philip Seymour Hoffmann, who portrays Plutarch Heavensbee, passed away before completing his final week of filming for Part 2. Rather than digitally recreate the lauded actor, director Francis Lawrence and the producers decided to rewrite his final scenes to accomodate for the lack of footage. Join the rebellion when Hunger Games hits theaters on November 20. 18 | November/December 2015
photos by Murray Close
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YOU HOLD THE KEY TO FREEDOM
by Elizabeth Glauser
FUN FUN FUN FEST IN AUSTIN
oming off the momentum of Austin City Limits is Austin’s 10th Fun Fun Fun Fest featuring music, comedy and extreme sports. The three day festival takes place November 6, 7, and 8 at Auditorium Shores in Austin. Take it from Bill Nye, who announced the lineup online, FFF Fest is the most fun in the land. Headliners include rock royalty Jane’s Addiction. The alt band’s frontman, Perry Farrell, is a festival legend, having created one of the country’s most renowned festivals, Chicago’s Lollapalooza. Farrell’s festival sensibilities will head south to round out the show on Saturday. Nostalgic rap favorites will make appearances including Wu-Tang Clan and the recently resurfaced D’Angelo. After over a decade away from the spotlight following his breakout single “Untitled (How Does It Feel),” D’Angelo returned with a new critically acclaimed album, Black Messiah. The many members of revolutionary rap group WuTang Clan are set to take the stage in support of their latest album, A Better Tomorrow, a celebration of the group’s twenty-year history. Synthesizers will show their versatility with groups like CHVRCHES and Chromeo. Electro-funk has become a thing thanks to Canada’s
DAY FOR NIGHT IN HOUSTON
he minds behind Free Press Summerfest are trying to make magic happen again with a Winter festival for the Bayou City. Described as, ‘a visually immersive art and music festival,” bringing digital artists and musicians together for a futuristic sensory experience. Headlining the eclectic event is critical and commercial hip hop star Kendrick Lamar. If his solo fare isn’t familiar, the artist’s many collaborations are sure to ring a bell including the Taylor Swift “Bad Blood” remix which heavily features the artist. He’s also a favorite among his peers, garnering support and praise from Lil’ Wayne, Eminem and Prince. Joining Kendrick Lamar will be Grammy-nominated R&B artist Janelle Monáe bringing her signature tuxedo style and soulful sound. New-wave and 80s favorites New Order round out the headliners. Other performers poised to take the stage include Dillon Frances, Flying Lotus, Death Grips, Nicholas Jaar, Madeon and more. Day for Night will have its inaugural run December 19-20 in Houston at Silver Street Studios. Catch this fest before it blows up like FPSF. For more information visit DayForNight.io.
20 | November/December 2015
Chromeo. CHVRCHES’ electronic sound is often categorized as synthpop and will bring an energy that appeals to the masses. The two groups are a break from the EDM sound that has been dominating festivals of late. And if there was ever a doubt of FFF Fest’s fun factor, Mr. PartyHard himself Andrew W.K. will be on hand to perform his library of party anthems. Other acts appearing include Cheap Trick, NOFX, ScHoolboy Q, Gogol Bordello and Grimes.For more information, tickets or a full lineup, visit FunFunFunFest.com.
The first independent green studio in New Orleans with three stages built to industry standards. Green Lantern • The Mechanic • 21 Jump Street • Looper • Django Unchained Bullet to the Head • Killing Them Softly • Killer Joe Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter • The Butler • Old Boy
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BEHIND THE SCENES
PEOPLE A NEW FILM FROM DIRECTOR SHANE MCGOEY by Micah Haley photos by Wesley Barker and Kyle Kaplan
hot in New Orleans, director Shane McGoey’s featurelength debut is called People. The film is a series of six vignettes, each pitting people against each other in everyday situations. When tensions build, secrets, flaws and weaknesses are revealed, along with potent doses of dark comedy. After pulling off an impressive feat - completing a feature-length film on a short shooting schedule earlier this year — McGoey and his producing team moved into post-production. The result of their efforts is a cinematic meditation on existential philosophy, buried within believable characters on the edge of implosion. While all of the performances are strong, the standout is Mustafa Harris, who delivers a solo home run amidst the film’s most complex camera moves. The sequence itself is one of People’s great strengths. It’s a scene that would be difficult to execute on any budget. Here, it’s expertly executed. The result is both visually compelling and emotionally resonant. It’s a film that will do well on the festival circuit. People stars Greg Homer and Christine Lekas, Dino Dos Santos, Jake Wynne-Wilson, Rane Jameson, Mustafa Harris, Allen Frederic, Patrick Shannon Spears, Baldwin Justice, Renso Amariz and Margot Beinvenu. Eric Winder Sella and Harrison Huffman produced the film. Trey Burvant served as executive producer.
Dino Dos Santos
22 | November/December 2015
BEHIND THE SCENES
Christine Lekas as “Rainey” sceneent.com | 23
BEHIND THE SCENES
ON THE SET OF PEOPLE
Jake Wynne-Wilson as “Richard”
Patrick Shannon Spears as “Brandon” and Allen Frederic as “Steve”
24 | November/December 2015
BEHIND THE SCENES
ON THE SET OF PEOPLE
hane McGoey makes his feature length directorial debut with People. His previous efforts include the short film Sweetheart, which he also wrote and executive produced. People was written in the wake of another film’s implosion. While on the phone with producer Eric Winder Sella, the core concept for People emerged. The new script would set aside earnestness and sincerety, two emotions in short supply after their prior project’s collapse. “We were jaded and disaffected filmmakers,” McGoey says in a statement about the film. “Satire was the only aesthetic path left for us to take.” Joining McGoey on set was director of photography Carlos Bible, a fifteen year veteran of the film and television industry. Together they shot People in only six days, with one vignette completed each day. And by that, I mean each night. Their shoot imperiled by working long hours after sundown, the cast and crew stretched themselves to create a finished product that should have taken weeks to produce. The result is a feature film that’s ready for its debut at a film festival, and already fit for distribution soon after that. Director Shane McGoey
Director of photography Carlos Bible frames up Christine Lekas
26 | November/December 2015
BEHIND THE SCENES
Margot Beinvenu as “Taylor”
BEHIND THE SCENES
ON THE SET OF PEOPLE
sceneent.com | 28
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ABOVE THE LINE
DORFF by Micah Haley photos by Sean Richardson
tephen Dorff is a veteran. His feature film career stretches back twenty-eight years to 1987. Quite the feat for a man in his early forties. Along the way he has starred opposite greats John Gielgud, Dennis Hopper, Kris Kristofferson, Melanie Griffith, and Christopher Plummer. He’s also starred opposite his excellent contemporaries, including Christian Bale, Johnny Depp, Reese Witherspoon, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Norman Reedus. Long a recognizable name, Dorff has alternated between lead roles and memorable characters. They have often been rough around the edges. Dorff transcended those characters in 2010 with Somewhere, director Sophia Coppola’s film about a big budget actor just going through the motions.
30 | November/December 2015
He reexamines his life when his eleven-year-old daughter pays him a surprise visit. The film won the prestigious Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. Now in post-production, Sex, Guaranteed is a new film from Brad and Todd Barnes, whose previous efforts include The Locksmith and East Nashville Tonight. It stars Stephen Dorff as Hank. Alongside him are Grey Damon as Kevin, Bella Dayne as Zade, James Debello as Steve, and funnyman Dan Fogler as Carl. Sex, Guaranteed is set in New Orleans, where it was shot on location. I spoke with Stephen on set late one night in a mansion on Esplanade Avenue, the edge of the historic French Quarter. He took off his character’s headband and sat down, exhausted from a long day’s work.
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ABOVE THE LINE MH: I would love to hear how you became a part of this film. SD: It was really Dan Fogler, who plays Carl in the movie. I think he mentioned me to the producers. It was very last minute. I don’t do many comedies in my career. I did a little stuff with Sandler over the years and I’ve done bits of comedy in movies. But I got the script and I just loved Hank. I didn’t know too much about the filmmakers but I did a Skype call with them and heard that they had won a big award at Sundance a few years back for a smaller film they did. I knew they had some shorts in Sundance. Once I researched the Barnes brothers and talked to them, I thought they seemed really smart and interesting. The script was very funny. A couple of weeks before, I was offered another film in Louisiana that was a comedy that I didn’t think was as funny. That had some pretty good comedic talent in it but this one I thought was just really original. It had a real, sweet message, and at the same time was the dirty kind of R-rated comedy that I grew up loving. MH: How did the character of Hank influence your decision to do the movie? SD: He’s an amazing character. At the same time also, Hank was a great opportunity to bring in a lot of influences that I liked growing up watching comedies. The kind that I think are missing out in the market place. It was also a chance to do a comedic role in a real way. So I think I jumped on that opportunity. There were also a lot of people - friends of friend - that knew the producers and the Barnes brothers, that knew A.D. Coffman, who casted the film. It all just kind of fell into place and it has been a real cool adventure playing this character. And I love New Orleans because you’ve great music. MH: You’re working everyday. On this movie, you’re in it to win it. SD: Definitely this week! Because we’re in Hank’s house. You’re in his bedroom right now in this amazing mansion that were shooting in the Quarter here right on Esplanade. So yeah, the big set up takes place here. The movie starts on the roof and ends in a similar place. It’s a great location we got for such a small film. We’ve gotten a lot of great people around New Orleans that really have helped us and really believed in the material as well. There’s a lot of small films that come in and people do favors but this one it seemed like a lot of people really want to see us win. I felt that when reading it. I think we’ve got great production value for the amount of money we’re spending. MH: Describe the character of Hank as he appeared to you in the script. SD: Hank is a lovable train wreck. When we meet him, he’s a very rich, incredibly wealthy man that is probably not from New Orleans but has been living here for a while. He’s about to have a three-day rager. What we realize about him, without giving too much of the story away, is that he’s very depressed as well. Like our main guy Kevin. He’s lost his true love. So, basically, underneath all the dirty jokes and all the dirtiness, there’s a message about love. Everybody in the film is missing that connection. Hank’s idea is, “Let me do one last great thing.” Hank really becomes 32 | November/December 2015
obsessed with getting Kevin laid. It becomes more about getting his one true love back. In a way, Hank has created a love story, an imperfect match between two people. And maybe Hank’s gonna get a second love. He’s a mixture of a lot of different comedians that I loved that I’m kinda stealing things from. I’m just kind of creating this guy that I want to be iconic. One of those great characters that you remember for years to come, I hope. MH: Who are some of the comedians you’ve looked to for inspiration? SD: Hank’s got a lot of early Chevy Chase in him. He’s got a bit of Jack Nicholson in him. I think he’s got a bit of Bill Murray from Caddy Shack and movies like Stripes. There were a lot of the great comedies when I was growing up. I don’t laugh as much at comedies now. There’s guys like Will Ferrell and people like that that still make me laugh but for the most part, it’s really in the writing. I feel like comedy now is usually forced. Maybe I laugh once or twice in a comedy. Maybe. I haven’t seen a really, really funny movie in a long time. This movie and this script made me laugh out loud because you play it straight. You play it for realism and, to me, comedy is all about tone. These directors completely know what they’re doing when it comes to tone and that’s really important. You can be in a slap stick, broad movie more like Sandler does a lot or you can be in a film like Sideways which has incredible comedy but is played more straight. This is like a mixture of the two. And I really like the way they’ve told the story. I look forward to seeing it. I haven’t seen anything but people seem to be laughing so that’s always a good sign. MH: Sex, Guaranteed seems like the tightly scripted kind of comedy from the 80s. There were a lot of comedies that came out in the 80s with big stars like Chevy Chase and they had excellent scripts that were very tight pieces of work. They were less improvisational. SD: To me, comedy has now become almost like SNL vignettes stretched into a whole movie. But once the joke is out, it kind of becomes redundant. With this film, what you have are real characters, a real story and the jokes just play. They keep coming and coming and coming. I don’t read comedies everyday because I usually do dramas. So, for me, it’s a bit of a new frontier. I look forward to doing it more. MH: Is there any amount of improvisation on set? SD: Yeah! With a character like this, the Barnes brothers have given me freedom to add lines. I obviously look to them for their judgment and I’ve hopefully come up with some funny stuff. Me and my friend Mark have come up with some funny stuff. We’ve hopefully just added to what’s already really original and funny in the script. They totally give you room to improv but the scripts so tight that I find when you improv in this movie, you’re killing the jokes that are there. I feel like this script is so tight, you can just play the script and it will work. Once in a while, I’ll add a few more little tag lines or funny exit lines or things that the script didn’t have, just to bring it up a notch in those scenes. But for the most part, I’m just playing the character as written.
ABOVE THE LINE
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ABOVE THE LINE MH: I know you’ve shot in New Orleans before. SD: Yeah, a couple of times, but not many. MH: One movie in particular that I would love to see... SD: Tony Kaye’s movie? MH: Yeah! Black Water Transit. I’ve heard so much about it but it’s never been released. SD: The $30 million Tony Kaye movie that’s never come out. Yeah, I’d like to see it, too. I saw a rough cut. I mean, Tony is crazy, but he’s a great filmmaker. This cut I saw was a visual masterpiece. It didn’t make much sense but it’s definitely worth seeing. Unfortunately, that movie, along with a David O’Russell movie and a bunch of other movies, are stuck in this lawsuit. I don’t know, but maybe one day when I’m sixty, it will come out. I forgot what part I played. It’s been seven or eight years ago. I’ve made a lot of movies since then. MH: It was a big movie, and it’s just never surfaced. When you came back to New Orleans for this film, was there anything you were looking forward to visiting in New Orleans? SD: I just remember New Orleans being such a fun town.I like being at a bar and being able to take your drink to go. That’s pretty cool. I’m also a fan of just the characters that you find. Talented musicians that you see on the street. Walk by and there is some sixteen-year-old girl playing the violin and it’s amazing. I like the quirkiness of the town. I like the people. For the most part, people are friendly and passionate. They don’t like change much. They’re very loyal to what the vibe is, which I think is great. Cause it’s an old city and it should have that feeling. I love the restaurants, the food, the music, going to Frenchmen Street, hearing the music. It seems like every weekend, there’s a different event, whether it’s French Quarter Fest or Jazz Fest or WrestleMania. A couple of weeks ago, there were wrestlers everywhere! It’s a kooky place but I like it and then you can leave it and go up Magazine and it becomes a different world in Uptown. It’s got flavor. I can imagine worse places. I did a movie in Cleveland. That wasn’t fun. But New Orleans is fun and I always like going to the places that we’re shooting a movie in. I think what’s great about this film is that it was written for here. Brad Barnes has been here for like eight months writing and prepping this comedy, which is a long time. He got to really know the city and I think that’s smart. I’m not a big fan of coming to Louisiana and then trying to make it New York or another other town. I always find that to be terrible. I believe you should be in the city that you’re supposed to be in. If you’re for London, you go to London. If you’re in Peru, go to Peru like my last movie. If you’re in New Orleans, let’s do it in New Orleans. But obviously there’s a lot of tax breaks here and people are shooting tons of movies here, so it’s really become the back lot of the South. MH: There are a lot of films shot here and sometimes people try to do something here that doesn’t really work. SD: If you’re doing stage stuff, it doesn’t really matter. But the great thing about this movie is that not many movies are shot right in the French Quarter. We’re doing stunt scenes and 34 | November/December 2015
some pretty crazy stuff right here off Esplanade and Chartres. That felt pretty cool. You see all the characters driving by right near Port of Call so you can go get a burger if you get hungry. MH: Stephen, I see you spent time here…because you’re pronouncing everything right! SD: Yeah, man, I know the good spots. Bacchanal in the Bywater, that’s a new spot that I’d never been to. It helps that I have some friends here. Mark, my buddy, he lives here and most of the time he keeps a place here. He’s done so many movies here. He showed me some spots I didn’t know because I prefer the non-touristy spots myself. I like to check out the cool New Orleans spots and that we have done. MH: Frenchmen Street is a great place to start. SD: Yeah, that’s a fun place. You really wanna hit it when there’s some great bands playing. Some nights are more commercial than others. I’m actually doing another movie right after this here so I’ll be coming back. I’m hoping to get Jazz Fest in, either the first weekend or the second, because I’ve never been for that. MH: What’s the next film? SD: It’s kind of an experimental film that I’m doing with a director named Nick Love. He’s kinda coming up over in England. He did a movie called The Sweeney with Ray Winstone. He does gangster movies in England. He’s real tight with Guy Richie and he’s young and this is his first American foray. It should be good and it’s really a big idea and a smaller, intimate story that’s character-based. It’s like Trainspotting meets Chronicle. It deals with a character that has powers but he’s not from a different planet. He just can do certain things that normal people can’t and it’s a pretty experimental thing. Right now, we have a very big treatment but the script is being formed as we speak. I really liked him and he brought his whole team from England. I’ll have some people hopefully from this one crew of people that I’ve worked with and go shoot that for five or six weeks from May till the end of June, I think. I’ll be here in the heat. MH: It definitely gets hot. SD: Yeah, it gets kinda sticky. I’m not the biggest fan of humidity, but we’ll give it a shot. MH: There are drive-thru daiquiri shops. SD: Drive thru daiquiri shops! I’m not usually driving so that’s a good thing. The reason my eyes are this red for this onset interview is that I’m on my third day of my binge party here at the house. So I’m supposed to look a little messed up. MH: I’m a really big fan of Blade. And comic book movies are unbelievably big now. That movie struck a note that I think has set the tone for the modern comic book movie. What were your conceptions of that film at the time? Did you have any idea what it would become? SD: I knew it was the first Marvel movie made and I knew it was based on a comic that wasn’t that popular. Deacon Frost in the comic looked more like Whistler, Kris Kristofferson’s character.
ABOVE THE LINE
But Steve Norrington was the guy that sold me on that. To be honest, I had done a lot of independent movies before independent cinema became so trendy and I was not really interested in high concept movies. When Blade came along, it was the first huge paycheck. A big studio movie. It was a great character but I thought it was going to be the end of my career to be honest. I thought I was like a major sell out for doing it because I was really interested in art movies. When I was younger and working on Bob Rafelson movies and working with Harvey Kaitel and Nicholson. All these great actors I got to learn from. So, I thought doing this movie with fangs and blue eyes and… I though, “What the hell am I doing here?” I didn’t realize that I was turning a character into something that I still hear about every day if I walk down the Quarter. MH: How has the legacy of the film surprised you? SD: It’s crazy. We made it and it came out end of 1998-1999. It’s fifteen years ago. That’s pretty weird that people are like “Deacon
Frost!” They’re still tripping but that’s a credit to the film. That was definitely an interesting time. I would put the first Matrix in there as well. I think Blade and The Matrix were definitely ahead of their time when it comes to effects. The groundedness of a comic book, where it doesn’t have to be so fantastical and I think that’s what made movies like Iron Man strong, too: putting Downey in that character and grounding it somewhat. Always in the end of those movies, they always get so fantastical. I feel like they always go too far with the fight scenes, spaceships and they start to lose me. MH: I think that’s one of the real strengths of Blade’s finale. I remember seeing footage of what the original computer generated Frost at the end was supposed to be, and it jumped the shark. SD: Yeah they spent like $8 million on this blood monster that never worked.
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ABOVE THE LINE
MH: And at the end of the day, the solution was a character solution. SD: A huge fight scene. A nasty fight with the two guys. That’s all you need. You just wanna have it come to a head and this blood lava lamp thing they tried to do was just silly. The whole movie was hard, so why are we going silly at the end? I think it was hard for New Line and Bob Shaye to have to swallow that $7 million dollar waste of money but in the end, I think he made the right call. The movie was incredibly successful and spawned two sequels.
audience is a different movie audience. You have your genre movie audiences that will talk about Blade and Felon and then you have artistic people who will be like, “Somewhere was the greatest film.” I always get hit by different people and I believe as an actor you wanna hit different genres. I actually texted Sophia and said, “I’m doing a comedy. I’m playing this guy Hank. I think you’re gonna like it.” And she was like, “I’m so excited you’re doing comedy.” She’s always telling me I should do more comedy, so we will see how Hank Landry turns out.
MH: You also did an amazing movie with Sophia Coppola called Somewhere. SD: Yeah I love that movie.
MH: Somewhere’s a great film and it’s a certainly different side of you as an actor. It’s great to see you go from horrendously terrifying villain in Blade to action star in Public Enemies. And then Somewhere just came out of nowhere. SD: I just try to mix it up. After Somewhere, I did Immortals as a commercial play, which obviously did really well and was Relativity’s biggest film. But after that, I wanted to do something intimate, so I did The Motel Life which got incredible reviews. I wish it would have done better and had more of a release but the work was awesome. That movie will become very famous in a few years. It might just take a little time but Emile Hirsch is in that with me and that was just a great experience. It’s just about mixing it up. I don’t wanna do the same thing all the time.
MH: I love all of her films. They’re incredibly poignant. SD: She’s the best. I think she’s a total original and Somewhere came at a time that was perfect for me to play that kind of character. She just embraced me in a way that really was out of nowhere. I was doing good films and was working. I had just done Felon, which seemed to get really popular after it came out. I did Public Enemies and World Trade Center. I was working with all of these great directors on more character kind of parts. And then Sophia just landed me after Felon. It was just an incredible experience working with her and winning the Golden Lion [at the Venice Film Festival]. And then I hear about that movie a lot, too, so obviously every 36 | November/December 2015
Sex, Guaranteed is now in post-production.
VOODOO IN REVIEW 2015
photos by Kelli Binnings
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VOODOO IN REVIEW 2015
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VOODOO IN REVIEW 2015
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CAGED NO MORE MAKING A FILM WITH A MESSAGE by Micah Haley
hot in Baton Rouge, Caged No More is the new film from the co-producers of God’s Not Dead, Jarred Coates and Lisa Arnold. Jarred Coates is producing the new drama, while Lisa Arnold writes and directs in addition to producing. Caged No More depicts human trafficking, the modern day enslavement of women and children across the world, including in the United States. Before the film’s release, I reached out to Coates and Arnold to learn more about their film - and to learn more about the real world problem at its center. This movie has a powerful message at its core. How did you shape the film to honor that message? Jarred Coates: Caged No More is a fictional story about human trafficking, but we included true statistics about trafficking and are exposing our audiences to the fact that it is happening everywhere. We carefully and strategically crafted the content of the movie to suggest things and not show them so parents could take their young teenagers to the film and, in a nonthreatening way, introduce them to the dangers of trafficking. Lisa Arnold: We’ve achieved making a film that is not only a compelling thriller, but calls audiences to be champions in the fight against human trafficking. We are grateful for the support of churches, women’s and youth groups, and the 600+ anti-human trafficking 44 | November/December 2015
organizations that are partnering with us and also recognize the potential this film has to reach beyond the screen and inspire greatness! We ended slavery once before and we can do it again if each of us uses our influence, raise our voices, lend our resources and say, “No more!” How did this project come to you and why did you want to be involved? Jarred: We were connected to Molly Venzke, the writer of Caged, the novel because of another project that Lisa did which faced the injustice of leprosy victims. Lisa and I look for projects that can be transforming beyond the screen. We want to encourage, inspire and even challenge our audiences to greatness. We felt compelled to be involved in Caged No More once we learn about human trafficking and particularly how prevalent it is here at home. Lisa: When we first began working on the script for Caged No More, human trafficking was not trending. No one was talking about it in the general public and we were warned to not make this movie. However, once you hear the statistics, you talk with organizations that are fighting this grave injustice, you can’t walk away. We knew we had to step out in faith and use our gifts and talents to do what we could to bring an end to human trafficking. That should be the calling to all of us. We can each make a difference in our own way.
BIC MEDIA’S NEW PROJECTS FOCUS ON STORIES OF REDEMPTION STORY AND PHOTOS BY BIC MEDIA SOLUTIONS
IC Media Solutions’ next book, Rock Bottom & Back, will chronicle the experiences of 12 men and women who overcame From left, BIC Alliance’s Earl Heard seemingly insurmountand GreenLit Entertainment’s Heather Evans and Lauren Michele view Rock Bottom & Back. Rock Bottom & Back is able adversities to bebeing shopped to TV networks as a pilot come successful in their for a potential series. business and personal lives. Rock Bottom & Back will feature individuals such as Gabriel Alvarado, a CITGO fire chief who was burned in a refinery fire in 2009 and now speaks to workers about safety issues; Troy Duhon, a successful car dealership owner and philanthropist who endured severe damage to his Louisiana business in Hurricane Katrina and now shares the word of God through God’s Not Dead and God’s Not Dead 2; Jerry Strickland, founder and former CEO of AltairStrickland and author of the inspirational book Turnarounds, and his son, Whitney Strickland.
Jerry Strickland, left, founder and former CEO of AltairStrickland, sits with his son, Whitney Strickland, during a filming segment for Rock Bottom & Back.
Rock Bottom & Back will also be adapted into a 30-minute film segment that will be shopped to TV networks as a pilot for a potential series. The initial segment will feature two or three of the individuals who appear in the book. BIC Media has retained Susan Mustafa, who co-wrote the New York Times-bestselling true crime thriller The Most Dangerous Animal of All with Gary L. Stewart, to write Rock Bottom & Back. BIC Media is also partnering with Mascot Books on Rock Bottom & Back. To nominate an individual to be featured in Rock Bottom & Back or for more information about sponsorship opportunities, contact Earl Heard at firstname.lastname@example.org or Rose Gladner at rose@ bicalliance.com, or call 800-460-4242. ISSUE FIVE 2015
LOUISIANA FILM & VIDEO MAGAZINE 79
On the set of Caged No More
How has making this movie impacted you as individuals? Lisa: We have never been thanked so many times for making a movie and our lives will be forever changed by this project. It has been an honor and privilege every step of the way to meet the organizations that are rescuing these victims and spending years restoring their lives. No one’s life should be taken from them in such a violent and horrific way. Jarred: As a father of three kids, which are all of an age highest at risk for being trafficked, I had to do something. Every parent will go to the ends of the earth to protect your child so I was profoundly touched by this film’s message and movement. I am grateful that my children now are educated about the dangers and therefore can recognize the warning signs of being targeted. You’ve worked with Kevin Sorbo before. How did he become a part of this project? Lisa: When I was casting this film, I knew I wanted like-minded people who had a passion for our cause and for using this film to make a great difference in the fight against human trafficking. Jarred and I had worked with Kevin on two other projects, God’s Not Dead and Christmas Angel, and knew he could take on the polar opposite roles of Jack and Richard DuLonde in Caged No More. Aside from his great talent as an actor, we knew that Kevin would lend his voice to our movement to end human trafficking.
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Jarred: Kevin is a team player and always brings his A-game to our projects. We have a great relationship with him and his family. He is a phenomenal actor and advocate, and he takes on so many causes and puts his influence behind each one. Casting is a big part of making a film financially viable. How did the pieces of this cast come together? Lisa: We always cast in Los Angeles and Louisiana, but what was shocking about casting Caged No More was the amount of interest that we received from powerful actors and personalities. We had an outpouring of talent desiring to be a part of this project because of the beautiful script and the cause that was attached. We were blown away by their support! One in particular was Cassidy Gifford. She had missed our L.A. auditions and I had just offered the part to another actress when I received the most heartfelt email from Cassidy explaining how she felt compelled to fight for this role. She was introduced to trafficking when she was fourteen years old. Her family was visiting a Dream Center in L.A. and she met a girl that was her same age, height and color of hair. They looked so similar yet Cassidy came from a loving and privileged family and this girl had been trafficked at the age of twelve. Cassidy shared that she had never forgotten that encounter and was drawn to this role so she could somehow make a difference. Luckily, the other actress fell through and Cassidy, who was meant to play the role of “Skye,” joined our cast. There were so many actors and personalities that reached out to us. We have cameos from Kathie Lee Gifford, Gretchen Carlson, Gov. Bobby Jindal, Pastor Chad Veach and contemporary Christian Artist Natalie Grant, who has been fighting trafficking for over a decade.
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On the set of Caged No More
Jarred: We were very blessed to have a cast that was not only gifted but that cared deeply about our greater mission and that is bring awareness about human trafficking. If we can get Americans especially to understand that trafficking is happening everywhere, then we can start having conversations in the home, in our schools and churches and educate our children so they will be aware and stay safe.
happening in our country, in our cities and in our own backyards. Human trafficking affects twenty-seven million people and is the fastest growing crime in the world. As men, we have to understand that we are the root of the problem. The demand for pornography leads directly to trafficking. As men, we need to be accountable and most importantly teach our sons that women are to be valued and cherished, not objects to be sold.
Kathie Lee Gifford makes an appearance in the film and has also been very supportive in the media. What are some of the ways she has supported the film? Lisa: First off, you should know that Kathie Lee volunteered to help us with the movie any way she could before Cassidy was cast and before we created a cameo for her. She is a strong advocate in the fight against human trafficking and has worked with organizations like International Justice Mission for years. We are so grateful for her continued support!
Lisa: Every thirty seconds someone is trafficked. Can you fathom that? Here in the US, girls from the ages of twelve to fourteen years old are at the greatest risk, along with boys eleven to thirteen years old. Our children are disappearing right before our eyes. Trafficking crosses gender, race, economic standing and education. There is no one formula for how kids are taken. Although runaways and foster children are among the highest at risk, we have to understand that kids are targeted online and at schools, malls, concerts, restaurantsâ€” anywhere our youth hang out. We have got to start having the conversation in our homes about trafficking and educate our kids on the dangers. Just knowing signs of targeting can help keep them safe.
Jarred: Kathie Lee has already spoken about Caged No More on The Today Show multiple times and launched the release of our movie trailer in October. She also hosted a VIP screening of the movie at their family home in Connecticut. She is one of our strongest advocates for the film and its mission! What are some facts about human trafficking that people in your audience might be surprised to learn? Jarred: Itâ€™s amazing just how many Americans have no clue that it is 48 | November/December 2015
How can we help? Jarred: Go to cagednomoremovie.com and register to partner and promote the film. Spread the word to your circle of influencers across the US. Parents, take your kids to see this film and encourage your youth groups to come. The more people that see this film, the greater impact we can have in the fight to end human trafficking.
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Alan Powell and Christos Vasilopoulos on the set of Caged No More
Lisa: All of us have influence through social media today, so use your influence to help get the conversation started. Parents and grandparents, talk to your teenagers about the dangers of trafficking. Businessmen and women, use your resources to help those organizations that are in the trenches fighting this horrific act. Volunteer your time and talents to make a difference in this battle. Become a warrior. Become an abolitionist. Caged No More will be released in theaters on January 15, 2016. It was filmed on location in Baton Rouge, Athens, Greece and Fox News Studios in New York City. Caged No More is the first part of a trilogy. Director Lisa Arnold works with her actors
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AARON WILLIAMSON CAN LIFT YOU UP by Micah Haley
ou may not know his name yet, but you’ve seen the work of Aaron Williamson. As a professional fitness advisor in the film industry, Aaron has helped craft the physical transformations of Jamie Foxx in Django Unchained, Zac Efron in The Lucky One, That Awkward Moment and Neighbors and Josh Brolin in Oldboy. He’s also worked with fitness legends Sylvester Stallone and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. A former United States Marine from Daytona Beach, Florida, Aaron now lives in New Orleans, where he works in the film industry. His journey hasn’t been easy. No story of inspiration ever is. “I had a little bit of a rough childhood,” says Aaron. “I had no direction.” After high school, one option was the military. “Two weeks after I graduated, I was on the yellow footprints at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina. I was eighteen.” “I traveled the whole world and found myself in some really cool places. And I found myself in some really not-so-great places,” says Aaron. “Fitness was huge. No matter where I was - Europe, Iraq, Afghanistan - everyone always knew me for one thing and that was fitness. For me, it was a sanity thing. In the most difficult times, the gym was literally all I had. It was my sanctuary. I was able to turn to it when I didn’t have anyone.” During his service, Aaron worked in Washington, D.C. at the Marine Barracks and the Pentagon, traveling with and providing security for General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Throughout his public and private service, whether in Washington or Iraq, he found a way to stay fit. “You have to be very creative. At the State Department or one of the embassies, the accommodations are a lot better,” Aaron says. “But if you go out to combat outposts or forward operating bases, you might be using sandbags or water jugs to get your training in.” Finding a gym, or making one, wasn’t the only challenge. “Nutrition was pretty tough out there,” Aaron says. “I found myself buying a lot of what I needed from places in the States and just having it shipped over to me. People would send me care packages, a lot of protein bars, protein powders, all of my vitamins. When it came to eating in the chow halls, some of them serve good food and sometimes not so good. No one that I know looks forward to eating an MRE, but you’re not over there for a fitness competition, so there’s a reality check in just being out there.” “Over there becomes a new reality. I knew that I needed to get out,” Aaron says. After years of service around the world, he wanted to return to the States. “I got offered a position with the Component Command for the Marine Corps, which was based in New Orleans. It was a leap of faith coming here because I didn’t know anyone. I’d never been here.” After relocating to the Crescent City in June of 2009, Aaron found that funding cuts had eliminated his position. “It left me in a pretty bad place. But I went back to the mindset I had throughout my entire Marine Corps career: when I didn’t have anywhere to 52 | November/December 2015
turn, I always had the gym. I started working out trying to keep myself sane and in shape. And then, one day at the gym, I ended up meeting an actor who showed me a glimpse of the film industry.” The actor was Zac Efron. The High School Musical star was in New Orleans to film The Lucky One, in which he plays a Marine home from Iraq. “We met through the trainer he had at the time, Logan Hood,” Aaron says. “Logan’s a former Navy Seal who trained the cast for 300.” More recently, Hood has worked on The Expendables 2 and the reboot of RoboCop. “From the production’s standpoint, there was a need to get Zac into the character of being a Marine. Zac and I connected, we hit it off and he told production about me,” Aaron says. “I met with production and I became part of the crew as his military advisor. I helped Zac become a Marine for that film. Walk like a Marine. Talk like a Marine. I
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shared what it’s like to be over in Iraq. Towards the end of the film, we jumped into the training a little bit and to this day, Zac and I keep in touch. I help him through all his movies with his training and his fitness consulting and nutrition.” Aaron had a great story, but he wondered if his skillset could become a career. “After Zac, I really wasn’t sure what to expect,” he recalls. “Two weeks later, I met with a director named Anthony Hemingway, a supervising producer for Treme. He liked the physique I held and wanted to try and obtain that.” Throughout the winter and spring, Aaron trained Hemingway. When Treme wrapped, the Red Tails director had some advice for him. “He recommended I should come out to California because I could make this a career,” Aaron says. And Hemingway wasn’t the first to suggest a move to the West Coast. “But there was something that kept me here.” “Two weeks after he left, I got contacted by the production of GI Joe: Retaliation,” Aaron says. “Sylvester Stallone called me. Josh Duhamel called me. And Zac came back in town for The Paperboy. That’s when I realized, ‘Wow, this is something bigger than I thought.’” Aaron would soon work with Sylvester Stallone and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, men known the world over for their physiques. He also worked with Jamie Foxx on Django Unchained, and achieved the almost unbelievable transformation of Josh Brolin for Oldboy. “We fluctuated Brolin’s body weight roughly sixty pounds over the course of a couple weeks. It had never been done before in film.” “Dwayne Johnson’s probably the greatest guy I’ve worked with so far,” Aaron says. “I was his training partner. A lot of people talk about him being my client and he wasn’t my client. I trained the rest of the cast for GI Joe, but Dwayne knows his body. He knows how to train. We have the same mentality when it comes to our appreciation for fitness and the gym. It’s more of sanctuary and a place of solitude. You go in there, put your headphones on and tune the world out.” Aaron Williamson has become one of the foremost fitness experts in the film industry, training clients who are filming in New Orleans and advising clients throughout the world. You can now follow his journey in each issue of Scene Magazine. For more of Aaron Williamson’s inspiring story, and the same health and wellness tips that actors bet their careers on, go to health.sceneent.com and aaronwilliamson.net.
54 | November/December 2015
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58 | November/December 2015
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THE UNSCENE SEAS OF CINEMATIC CHANGE While little has changed in the last six months, the perception of change has been immense. Seeing through political nuance is at best seeing through a glass darkly: itâ€™s difficult at close proximity and impossible at a distance. Those at a distance in California, still the seat of film development, see only stormy seas in Louisiana. Their decisions on what to shoot and where to shoot it are made with a three-month lead time. Our reality now was determined by perception three months ago. So, how will perception now determine our future in 2016? There will be a correction, with films swinging back to Louisiana, after discovering that Georgia has many assets but lacks a broad crew base. While great studios and a stable incentive program are very attractive, a local crew base cannot be created overnight. It takes years of stability and success to convince veteran crew members to relocate. Louisiana has the experience, the facilities and the crew to allow film and television projects to maximize the value of our incentive program. Will the lead be recaptured by Louisiana, the state that began the hunt for cinematic riches? That decision is still in the hands of the people of Louisiana and the politicians that represent them. So stay informed and tell the next governor what you expect before he gets into office. The UnScene Writer Submit tips to email@example.com. Anonymity guaranteed.
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