“I Often Joke That I Eat Elephants For A Living:” A TDQ Q&A With Director Brad Douglas

Brad Douglas

Brad Douglas, living the dream. Wearing all the hats! No, not real hats. Read the article.

This week’s TDQ Q&A is with writer/director/producer Brad Douglas. Brad spoke to us about his latest project, “Bestment,” all the hats he wore while making it and the joys of making movies in Oregon. Here is this week’s TDQ Q&A with Brad Douglas:

The Daily Quarterly: What made you want to be in show business?

Brad Douglas: I grew up in small town Oregon with my grandparents. It was a pretty sleepy existence for a kid. I watched a lot of TV and movies and was enamoured by the medium. Spent some time doing back yard 8mm stuff and eventually video, but it has always been something that I love. Maybe because of the glamour of doing something you love for a living but mostly the process of creating.

TDQ: Who was your favorite writer/director growing up?

BD: I didn’t really pay a lot of attention to who wrote and directed films until I was in my late teens working at a video store. That was in the 80s so the regular suspects like Scorsese, Carpenter, Spielberg, etc. were prominent names that I associated good films with. I still don’t know if I have a favorite, but there are several that are damn good at what they do.

TDQ: What was your favorite movie growing up?

BD: I really loved “Saturday Night Fever” when it came out and also “Every Which Way But Loose” with that God-damned ape LOL. Then came “Star Wars”….need I say more?

TDQ: What was the best advice you ever got?

BD: My grandmother always told me to bite off more than you can chew and keep chewing. How relevant is that to the movie making world in a nut shell?

TDQ: What was the worst advice you ever got?

BD: I had some pretty negative Nellie’s in my family that told me I was foolish to think I could ever get into the business. If I would have stayed in that small town and listened to that s—, I probably never would have, but I didn’t and neither should anyone who believes in themselves.

TDQ: Who are your influences?

BD: That’s a great question that has many answers. I’ve looked at a lot of work from all types of directors over the years and for sure do have an influence on my creative. However, no one film maker is all 100% all good or all bad. For example, Spielberg teaches you to drive the movie with the story and the audience will forgive weaknesses, Lynch shows you how to mind screw your audience and not be ashamed that it makes no sense, Kevin Smith shoves a wild premise right down your throat (“Red State”) and like it. By learning successful elements from each you can essentially create a movie like a good soup. And everyone loves soup.

BradDouglas, <em>Besetment</em>

Look at how many times “Brad Douglas” appears in that credit block! That’s a lot of hats! No, not real hats. Read the article.

TDQ: Tell us about the latest movie you directed, “Besetment”

BD: I was living at a mountain resort in Oregon when I wrote it. It started out as a short but I just kept writing and pretty soon it was feature length. The story of an unemployed girl in a small town had a lot of relevance at the time. I had visited the town of Mitchell, Oregon earlier and decided I wanted to make a movie there so I intersected the two and ended up with “BESETMENT.” It’s a disturbing story that could very well be true I guess. I mean what’s really scary in life? Monsters or deranged people? I say the latter. I wrote the role of Mildred specifically for Marlyn Mason who in my opinion kills it! She took the movie to a whole other level. Abby Wathen came into my life on another film that fell apart so we were trying to do something else that summer and I just so happened to have the script on my shelf. She was a hell of a trooper through some pretty uncomfortable conditions. She was just what the role needed and I’m so glad she made me make this movie! I really enjoyed using a lot of characters along the way and a very diverse locations list. That’s the beauty of Oregon. Pick a location and write a movie around it rather that the opposite. There are many to choose from and you don’t need a back lot studio to do it. Plus the people are very welcoming of filmmaking, unlike a lot of Californians where they’re sick of it. And trust me, it’s not hard to get LA actors to spend a month in Oregon. It really is beautiful.

TDQ: You also wrote and produced “Bestement.” Did you find it a positive experience wearing so many hats on a project, or do you think it’s easier to just have one single role in making a film?

BD: I’m not going to lie, writing, producing and directing is an enormous amount of work but I did it out of necessity. Especially directing. I often joke that I eat elephants for a living and there’s a lot of truth to that. Thank God I had such a good cast so I could just concentrate on fundamentally shooting the film. I made some mistakes that I deserve to be pointed out for, but that’s what first films are for and I learned a ton. Near the end of fimling, Chuck Greenwood (DP) and I were really clicking and when we started the next film in December of this year we picked up right where we left off. Producing is super important and though I have a lot of support from my producing crew I am involved a lot. Pre-Production is crucial for principal to work. I haven’t written any more scripts mainly because I’m so busy in production. But it’s a love hate job. Maybe I’ll write the sequel to “Besement.” I think there’s enough there for it. Let’s see how the public likes the film before I lock myself in my head for a month LOL.

TDQ: What project are you working on next?

BD: I produced and directed a film in December called “Between the Trees,” written by Sam Klarreich, about a guy having relationship troubles taking his buddies up to a remote hunting cabin where they find out the real troubles are in the trees that surround them. It’s another twisted little flick. I am also in development on a script about the dark side of horse racing. Veteran writer, Michael Kane wrote it and Abby somehow got a hold of it and sent it to me. I have been racing thoroughbreds for most of my adult life so it seems like a good fit. It’s drama though, so we’ll see. Dramas scare me!

TDQ: Where do you see yourself in five years?

BD: Ha. Check with me in 5 days. Seriously, though I hope to knock out a couple films a year as long as we keep getting distribution and it pencils. The business changes so much year to year that it’s hard to see if this is going to be a viable endeavour and for how long. Let’s hope so because I’m having a blast.

Check out Brad’s Facebook page.

“In Indie Film You Often Can Try Things And See What Works:” A TDQ Q&A With Actress Abby Wathen

Abby Wathen

Hey, everybody, it’s actress and Best Tall Tale winner Abby Wathen!

This week’s TDQ Q&A is with actress Abby Wathen. Abby spoke to us about her upcoming film,”Besetment,” how her grandfather inspired her and the biggest difference between working on soap operas and movies. Here is this week’s TDQ Q&A with actress Abby Wathen:

The Daily Quarterly: What made you want to be in show business? 

Abby Wathen: When I was little I used to round up the neighborhood kids and make them put on plays with me. We would invite all the parents and put out chairs; you know, the real deal. I remember fighting with my sister during one of our “rehearsals” and she threatened to quit. At that moment, I knew that whatever she wanted me to do I would do for her not to walk away. I needed to do that play. Shortly after that, I convinced my parents to enroll me in an actors camp at the local children’s theater. I was hooked. There has never been a back up plan. It was always performing. Also I watched “The Sandlot” and decided that I should be Mike Vitar’s girlfriend and what better way to do that than become an actress.

PS: I was never Mike Vitar’s girlfriend 

TDQ: Who was your favorite actress growing up?

AW: Growing up, Julia Roberts. 

TDQ: What was your favorite movie growing up?

AW: “The Music Man.” 

TDQ: What was the best advice you ever got?

AW: Always reach for the stars because you’ll never just get a handful of mud. My grandfather always said that to me. He made me believe in magic 

TDQ: What was the worst advice you ever got?

AW: Have a back up plan.

TDQ: Who are your influences?

AW: My dad, he has such peace; even in hard times, that man has found inner peace. I strive for that. My grandfather, he believed in the magic of rainbows and nature, he was a storyteller. We used to have Tall Tale contests. I even have a plaque that says, “winner of the best tall tale.” He encouraged me to use my imagination and tell stories! He’s a big reason why I do what I do. Michael Beckwith, he’s a minister and a really beautiful person. Audrey Hepburn not only was she an amazing actress she was a humanitarian. Michelle Obama. And you can’t leave Oprah off the list. 

Abby Wathen - Besetment

Look for Abby Wathen starring in Besetment which is film about how difficult it can be for Millenials to find a job in today’s economy and the fear of taking the wrong job out of desperation.

TDQ: Tell us about your latest movie, “Besetment.”

AW: “Besetment” is about a woman who is basically out of options job-wise, she’s in a bad situation with her alcoholic mother and is uneducated, so the options are limited until she gets an offer to work at a small hotel in the middle of nowhere Oregon. It’s the perfect situation, until it isn’t! “Besetment” is a twist of “Psycho” meets “Misery.” I had the best time shooting that film. We shot on location in Oregon. It’s gorgeous there. I literally want to do a sequel just to hang with the cast and crew again! We became a family and I hope to work with each and every one of them again!  

TDQ: Besides movies and primetime TV shows, you also have appeared on “All My Children” and “The Young and the Restless.” What’s the biggest difference between working on soap operas and other projects? 

AW: Working on soaps is very different. It’s fast. Like, really fast. After the hurry and wait, once you get on set you move quickly. It’s a different thing. I do love working on soaps. It works a different muscle. I have the utmost respect for the actors that do it everyday. Working on indie films, which I mostly do, gives you more time to explore the character, you have options and there is more creative freedom in my experience. I love to play with dialog (as Brad Douglas will attest to). In soaps you cannot do that. In fact, in TV you can’t either. But in indie film you often can try things and see what works. 

TDQ: What project are you working on next? 

AW: I have a few things that I am working on. Brad Douglas and I have teamed up with an incredible writer Michael Kane, he’s old school and so interesting. He wrote a beautiful script about the back side of a horse track and we are working on putting that together.  I would play this incredible character, very gritty, she uses her sex appeal to get what she wants, she would be completely out of my wheelhouse, and it’s something that I am very much looking forward too.  

TDQ: Where do you see yourself in five years?

AW: Five years hmm that’s always a hard question. I am so open to what this adventure brings, and it usually is something out of left field. Five years I would love to have several more features under my belt. I would love to have a steady gig on a primetime hour show. Also I want to produce and jump into that side of things. My husband and I also want to start a family. I’ve always wanted to be a mom. So I guess the next 5 years are going to be pretty busy!!! 

Be sure and follow Abby on Twitter and check out her website

Holy Bad News: Adam West Dies At 88

Adam West

Adam West, right, first met RECOiL writer/director/actor Brian DiMaio in an alternate filming of the Batman pilot episode or, co-pilot, as it is called in the biz. In the end focus groups found Burt Ward’s take on Robin more preferable. DiMaio played the character “too seriously” with a low gravely voice while in costume as The Boy Wonder.

Los Angeles—Actor Adam West, best known for playing “Batman” in the seminal, campy 1960s TV version as well as the big screen version that hit theaters during the show’s run, died Friday following a short battle with Leukemia. He was 88

On the big screen, West appeared in such films as “Voodoo Island,” “Zombie Nightmare,” “RECOiL” and “Monster Island.” 

Besides portraying the Caped Crusader on TV, he was also in shows like “Family Guy,” “Batgirl,” “Murder She Wrote” and “Tales from the Crypt.” 

He is survived by his third wife, Marcele, six children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, 

A Proposal To Make Columbus Day “Goonies Day”

Goonies DaySo I was watching “The Goonies” the other day with my 15 year-old daughter, (you know you’re doing at least one thing right as a parent when they enjoy “The Goonies” ) when she said to me, “They should have a ‘Goonies Day. Like they show ‘A Christmas Story’ annually on Christmas Eve.” And damned if that wasn’t a great idea. 

Thus this was born. Also, a hat tip to “The Big Bang Theory,” who had the gang, in an earlier episode, watch a marathon of Chris Columbus films on Columbus Day. But I mean, let’s be honest. The only movie of his that truly deserves its own day, a la “Star Wars” Day and 24 hours of “A Christmas Story” is “The Goonies.” Sorry, “Home Alone.” (Hashtag hot take.)

Now we just need to petition somebody, whoever is in charge of these things, to make Columbus Day into “Goonies Day.” And with all the negative publicity Columbus Day has gotten the past several years, this makes the holiday much less controversial. 

So let’s go to Twitter, as one does nowadays when they want to start a movement, to get this going. I know Sean Astin is on Twitter. And so is Chunk. I found what looks like a Kerri Green fan page on there, but I don’t think it’s really her. It didn’t have a blue check mark. And she’s earned one, hasn’t she? Did you see her in “Lucas?” Also, I don’t know about Brand, but I know he’s still got some clout.

Speaking of which, I watched him in the latest Cohen Brothers flick “Hail, Caesar” the other night. And, I have to say, it’s no “Raising Arizona.” 

But still, I bet he’d be up to supporting this. And it doesn’t look like Chris Columbus himself is on Twitter, so if any of our readers out there can get ahold of him, that would be great. Just pass along this piece to him, tell him to get ahold of us. We’re easy to reach.

And check back here in October, to see how this campaign has fared. 

You are now informed. Go and do likewise. 

“Let’s Just Say I Am Not The Biggest Kanye Fan:” A TDQ Q&A With Actor Steve Stanulis

Steve Stanulis

Look for Steve Stanulis in Long Shot Louie on Amazon and The Fifth Bourough on Netflix.

This week’s TDQ Q&A is with actor Steve Stanulis. Steve spoke to us about his upcoming Netflix series “The Fifth Borough,” his unique beginning in movies and his admiration for Arnold Schwarzenegger. Here is this week’s TDQ Q&A with actor Steve Stanulis: 
 
The Daily Quarterly: What made you want to be in show business?
 
Steve Stanulis: When I worked with the NYPD I started working security with some A-list actors. One night I was at a party and was asked if I ever played football. When I told him I played in high school he told me he was shooting a film called “The Replacements” with Keanu Reaves and Gene Hackman. Two weeks later I was on set as Keanu’s back-up QB and the rest is history.
 
TDQ: Who was your favorite actor growing up?
 
SS: My favorite actor growing up was Al Pacino. I must have watched “Scarface” 100 times as a kid.
 
TDQ: What was your favorite movie growing up?
 
SS: I would say “Scarface” and “The Outsiders”
 
TDQ: What is the best advice you have ever gotten?
 
SS: If you want to make it in this business do not give up and make yourself indispensable. Do not be one of those actors to sit and wait for the phone to ring.
 
TDQ: What is the worst advice you have ever gotten?
 
SS: I was at lunch with pretty well-known studio producer. I was so excited to meet him he said to me do yourself a favor and “do not get involved with this crazy business.” I remember leaving there so disappointed. Years later, he worked for me on one of my projects… so never give up.
 
Steve Stanulis

Steve Stanulis guarding the body of close personal friend Kanye West.

TDQ: Who are your influences?
 
SS: My influences are not what you might expect. I did not aspire to be in this business until later on in life and being a kid from Staten Island, movies were just not realistic. If I had to pick one I would say, coming from a bodybuilding background it would have had to have been Arnold Schwarzenegger. He came to this country, couldn’t speak English, became Mr. Olympia, to the biggest action star in Hollywood to Governor, then also married a Kennedy… how is that for the American dream?!  
 
TDQ: What can you tell us about your latest film “Long Shot Louie,” available on Amazon Prime?
 
SS: Long shot Louie is “Boogie Nights” meets “The Wrestler.” It is based upon my time as a Chippendale’s dancer. It is about a certain dancer I used to work with who had everything: great looking, great body, best performer etc., but as much as he made is as much as he would spend on drugs. He just had no value of money. But as time went on he got older and kind of got stuck in this world and became a mockery towards the end of his career with other dancers and all of the ladies.
 
TDQ: Tell us about your upcoming Netflix series “The Fifth Borough”…
 
SS: “The Fifth Borough” is a new series which I play the lead role of Nico. The cast is one of the most talented casts I have had the pleasure to work with: Vincent Pastore (Big Pussy from “The Sopranos”), Cathy Morality “Raging Bull,” legend Richard Grieco, Marc John Jefferies, Joseph Donofrio and Vincent Young. It is “The Sopranos” on Staten Island and the message is there is nothing you would not do for your family…definitely a great show and I’m looking forward to working on this one. 
 
TDQ: You used to be a bodyguard for Kim and Kanye. What did you learn from that experience that you can talk about and isn’t covered by a non-disclosure agreement?
 
SS: Ahh the Kim and Kanye saga. That story literally went global last year. Let’s just say I am not the biggest Kanye fan.
 
TDQ: Where do you see yourself in five years?
 
SS: Hopefully in Season 5 of “The Fifth Borough” on Netflix… I see myself continuing to work and hopefully continue to have to ability to pick and choose what I want to work on.
 
Check out Steve’s Facebook page and follow him on Twitter