“It Kind Of Encapsulated All Of My Interests And Kinda Blew My Young Mind:” A TDQ Q&A With Writer/Director Jay Weisman

Shockwave Darkside

Shockwave Darkside, written and directed by Jay Weisman combines the mystery of space, along with all the feelings of camaraderie and adrenaline brought about by just war against a common foe all wrapped in a video game cut scene like presentation that makes the viewer eagerly waiting for their turn to join in. That was my take, anyway.

This week’s TDQ Q&A is with writer and director Jay Weisman. Jay spoke to us about his latest film, “Shockwave Darkside,” the difference between directing movies and TV and how he stays grounded. Here is this week’s TDQ Q&A With Jay Weisman:

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

Jay Weisman: I come from a long line of storytellers. My dad is quite the raconteur and so was my grandfather – who acted in Yiddish theater when he came to this country – so on one hand, it was a natural interest. On the other, I was always into space travel and technology – so those passions kinda merged into wanting to be a filmmaker, I guess. Specifically being a science-fiction filmmaker because I figured if I couldn’t have NASA send me to the moon, I could do the next best thing and just get a set together and put myself there!

TDQ: Who was your favorite director growing up?

JW: I guess it depends at what point in my life you asked me! I had a really great film education growing up, so I went through my Lucas and Spielberg phase, then Coppola and Kubrick and then I started learning about some of the great directors of the 30s and 40s like Michael Curtiz and Howard Hawks.

Then there were directors like James Cameron, David Lean and Ridley Scott who also had a huge influence on me. I’d have the equivalent of director mix tapes where I’d binge-watch seminal movies from their body of work and try and see how their style developed, what where their recurring themes and how they grew in ability.

Shockwave Darkside

Jay Weisman’s take on war in the stars is probably exactly what it will be like in the inevitable future.

TDQ: What was your favorite movie growing up?

JW: “Star Wars” – the original. Hands down! That movie had such an impact because it kind of encapsulated all of my interests and kinda blew my young mind. There were so many ground-breaking things in that movie – but it also was the first time I could look at something that I might be able to do someday. It’s like a first love.

TDQ: What was your favorite TV show growing up?

JW: Classic “Star Trek” and “Twilight Zone.” It’s interesting – the older I got, the more I realized that these shows had a real depth to them. So when I was younger, I’d tune into all the space battles and Captain Kirk derring-do of “Star Trek,” and twist endings of the “Twilight Zone” – but as I got older, it would start occurring to me that these stories were actually about so much more than seemingly what was presented on the screen. That, to me, is really the power of science fiction.

And if you see “Shockwave Darkside,” you can definitely see those influences in the film. I think those shows managed to become really great cautionary tales about our flirtation and adolescence with technology – and through that they could comment on things like religion, politics, civil rights and science in a way that was pretty innovative.

My dad was a also a huge fan of both of these shows, so I that was really our thing as I was growing up. Some fathers and sons have baseball, and we had Rod Serling and Gene Roddenberry.
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Flags In Hazzard County Are Being Flown At Half Mast; James Best, AKA Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane, Has Died

James Best

James Best, left, first met RECOiL writer/director/actor Brian DiMaio, right, on the set of Kansas Raiders in 1950. The two bet that if they were still in the business in 40 years they would collaborate.

Hickory, NC—James Best, best known as bumbling Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane from “The Dukes of Hazzard,” died Monday night due to complications from pneumonia. He was 88.

Before landing his most famous television role, Best appeared on such television classics as “The Twilight Zone,” The Andy Griffith Show,” “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” and “The Rifleman.”

Besides his prolific work on television, Best also appeared on the big screen in films like “The Killer Shrews,” “Ode to Billy Joe,” “RECOiL” and “Return of the Killer Shrews.”

He served in the US Army Air Forces during World War II.

He is survived by his third wife, Dorothy Collier; his son, Gary; daughters JoJami and Janeen; and three grandchildren. Continue reading

Gentle Giant Bond Villain Richard Kiel Dies At 74

Richard Kiel

Richard Kiel, right, with RECOiL writer/director Brian DiMaio, left. Keil’s scenes from RECOiL were, regrettably, deleted because it was discovered too late that his head was cropped out of frame in most of his scenes.

Fresno, CA—He survived being left in space by James Bond and getting a nail shot in his head by Happy Gilmore, but 7 foot 2 actor Richard Kiel died last week in a Fresno hospital at the age of 74. The cause of death hasn’t yet been determined.

Born with acromegaly, Kiel mad a name for himself playing huge characters both on TV and in films. He was best known as the henchman Jaws in two James Bond films, “The Spy Who Loved Me” and “Moonraker.”

He also appeared in the films “Happy Gilmore,” “The Longest Yard,” “RECOiL” and “Silver Streak.”

On the small screen, he played the title character in “The Paul Bunyan Show” and “Lassie.” He also tried to *SPOILER ALERT* cook the entire world’s population in the classic “Twilight Zone” episode, “To Serve Man.”

He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Diane Rogers Kiel, sons Richard, Bennett and Christopher; one daughter, Jennifer; and six grandchildren. Continue reading

He Sang The Body Electric; Ray Bradbury Dies At 91

Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury collaborated with Author/Play-write/Actor/Architect Brian DiMaio on the novel RECOiL 3815. The experience was so positive Bradbury said he would never do it again. When pressed on what 3815 meant Bradbury revealed it was the temperature at which gunpowder burns.

Los Angeles—Prolific science fiction and fantasy writer Ray Bradbury died Tuesday night after a lengthy illness. He was 91.

Born in 1920, Bradbury found fame writing short stories that were originally published in EC Comics, and later published as short stories. Several adaptations of his early works were made and turned into episodes of such television shows as “The Twilight Zone,” “Tales of Tomorrow,” “Lights Out,” and “Alfred Hitchcock Presents.” He said once he decided to become a writer, he wrote at least 1000 words every single day of his life.

Other well-known works of Bradbury’s include “Fahrenheit 451,” “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” “I Sing the Body Electric,”  “RECOiL 3815” and “The Martian Chronicles.” 

From 1982 through 1992, he hosted a syndicated anthology television show, “The Ray Bradbury Theater.”
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