Tonight in Seattle:  

Interviews

Imaginary Interview with Kimberly Peirce, Director of Carrie {2013}


Kimberly Peirce, Chloë Moretz, and Julianne Moore on the set of Carrie

As a horror fan, I was worried that the recent "re-imagining" of Carrie on screen would either be a regurgitation of DePalma's film, or completely disappointing like the 2002 television movie. But with Kimberly Peirce in the Director's seat, this vision of Carrie turned out to be pretty damn entertaining. Peirce, who also wrote and directed both Boys Don't Cry and Stop-Loss, stays true to the heart of Stephen King's story while infusing it with her own voice. I sat down with Kimberly last week and talked with her about storytelling and the powerful symbolism of Carietta White. 

{FYI: there are a few spoilers below in the questions and answers} 

TIG: Was re-telling the story of Carrie White something you've always wanted to do? 

Kimberly Peirce: I probably always wanted to do it, and I didn't know it. I was approached, and I was amazed at the opportunity. I had read Carrie as a kid, and I loved it! And I am always looking for great American fiction that was entertaining. I love The Godfather, I love Jaws -- I mean, I love this kind of classic pulp fiction. Nowadays, I'm desperate for good stories. If you can just give me a good story, I'm in heaven … and you run dry on that. 

So, they [MGM] came to me and they said, 'how would you like to re-imagine Carrie?' And at first, I was like, "Oh, let me think about that." because I love the Brian DePalma original; I think it's fantastic. I'm not necessarily for or against remakes -- I love the original Scarface from '33, and I love the new one. I love Imitation of Life; the two different versions. I don't have a prejudice about it. My feeling is: take great source material, do something great with it, make it as many times as you want as long as you do something good. 

When they came to me … I just had to look more deeply into the material and when I did, I was actually astounded at how much more I loved it than what I remembered. I think it's timely, timeless, and more relevant today that it was then. 

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Imaginary Interview: Cockneys Vs Zombies director Matthias Hoene

Cockneys Vs Zombies Directed by Matthias Hoene

One of the most fun films I saw at SIFF this year was the Adventure/Horror film Cockneys Vs. Zombies, and I got to sit down and talk to Director Matthias Hoene (my people!) about the making of the film, which was REALLY AWESOME. Really, really, really awesome. Like, I could talk to this guy all day about horror films awesome. Why don't you live here, Matthias? SERIOUSLY. 

Anyway, Cockneys Vs. Zombies was released on VOD August 2, so you can still find it there -- and Matthias said he "hopes" the DVD will be out by Halloween. Fingers crossed! 

TIG: Let's get into your inspiration for the film! Did you grow up loving zombie films? 

Matthias Hoene: Well, my love of zombie movies started when I was given a grubby old VHS tape, which only had "Dead Alive" written on it … 

TIG: YES!!!! 

Matthias: ... And it was a film at the time that was sort-of banned, so I watched it "illegally" in my living room after my parents had gone to bed. And I was just so blown away by how gory, yet funny, it was. And I really loved the film! 

And of course, Evil Dead 2 was one of my big influences. I loved all the Sam Raimi films -- even Army of Darkness, I thought was great. So I think it was those films that inspired me and made me really want to do a zombie film. So those were my early influences, and then later on I really loved films like Terminator and Aliens, and Delicatessen … which had sort of this quirky meets big blockbustery thing. But when it came to making this film, I was more thinking about the Dead Alive and Evil Dead-type movies. 

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Imaginary Interview: talking about peer pressure, excess, and music with The Bling Ring's Katie Chang and Israel Broussard

{The Bling Ring opens in Seattle on Friday, 6/21, and is screening at SIFF Cinema Uptown, The Guild 45th, AMC Pacific Place, and Oak Tree Cinemas} 

Sofia Coppola's new film, The Bling Ring, screened at SIFF for this year's Closing Night gala. The film is about the real life "Bling Ring": a group of teens who robbed celebrity houses and then flaunted their scores all over the Hollywood club scene and Facebook. It's a story steeped in excess, and Coppola based the screenplay heavily on a Vanity Fair article called "The Suspects Wore Loubitons" by Nancy Jo Sales, and footage from the E! reality show Pretty Wild, which featured two of the ring members, Alexis Neiers (played in the film with eerie attention to detail by Emma Watson) and Tess Taylor. 

I was lucky enough to get an early peek at the Director's take on what happens when a group of spoiled rich kids takes their love of celeb culture and designer duds to a new level, and even luckier to get to sit down with the film's stunning leads,Katie Chang (Rebecca) and Israel Broussard (Marc) to chat about teen peer pressure, the culture shock of L.A., and working with Sofia. 

The two young (goodlord does spending time with an 18 and 19-year-old make me feel like an OLD lady!) actors were remarkably composed, polite, and accommodating. They even indulged my request for a Bling Ring-style selfie at the end of the interview! Hey, Katie and Israel? I LIKE YOU. And I hope I get to see you in more stuff soon. 

TIG: First off, I was curious if you two grew up like the characters you play in this film. Or, if not, did you know kids like that? Basically, how familiar were you with that world? 

Katie Chang: Well, I grew up in a pretty affluent part of Northern Illinois, right north of Chicago. So the way that I grew up was very much mid-western small town, but you go a couple minutes East and you're on the lake, and I knew a lot of kids on the lake. So I wasn't unfamiliar with kids who were both rich and bored. 

Israel Broussard: No, I grew up about a block from the trailer park in Mississippi, so I was not at all familiar with it until I first got to L.A. 

Katie: NOTHING can prepare you for L.A. 

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Imaginary Interview: Much Ado about Nathan Fillion and Clark Gregg

{Much Ado About Nothing officially opens in Seattle this Friday, 6/21, and is playing at various theaters around town, including The Harvard Exit}

You guys remember how excited I was when SIFF announced that Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing would be the Opening Night film, right?!?! RIGHT?!?!?!! Okay, well. Imagine how much I was flipping out when I found out I got to actually SIT IN A ROOM with and TALK TO Whedonverse faves Nathan Fillion* (who plays Dogberry) and Clark Gregg (who plays Leonato) about the film.

I gotta say that both of them were the funniest, kindest, and most charming guys ever. And yes, for those wondering, Fillion IS that handsome in person. I'm not sure how I survived, but I credit the ladies with me in the round table interivew (Taylor Johnson from The Happy Girl Experiment and Allie Hanley from Geekscape) with helping me stay upright. Some of their questions are intermixed with mine, below.

Taylor Johnson: So, we heard about Joss Whedon's legendary Shakespeare brunches. How does that work? You get a call "Let's have some French Toast, let's read a little Shakespeare. . ."

Nathan Fillion: It's an email that says "We're doing it again. Who can make it?" and then everybody starts replying all and you get to read everyone's smart comments. From that we get a cast list and this is the play we are doing, this is the version we are doing. These two characters are going to be one character, this one character is going to be a girl instead of a guy. Brunch starts at 11..."

Clark Gregg: Don't tell Clark. 

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Latest comment by: Imaginary Amie: "Oh! You are so right. I am changing this right now, Anon. Thanks for the correction! "

SIFF Interview: Teddy Bears (part 2) - Cast Members David Krumholtz, Melanie Lynskey, Gillian Jacobs, & Zachary Knighton

{Teddy Bears screened at the Seattle International Film Festival on 6/1 and 6/2 -- and will hopefully get a wide release soon! I was super lucky to get to sit down and talk with the cast and crew. This is part 2 of my interview with Cast Members Melanie Lynskey, David Krumholtz, Zachary Knight, and Gillian Jacobs. You can find part 1 with Directors Thomas Beatty and Rebecca Fishman here

Oh man. You guys. DREAMS DO COME TRUE! I can't believe that I not only got to spend a long time talking to the Directors of Teddy Bears (Thomas Beatty and Rebecca Fishman), but I also got to sit down and talk with the cast -- which includes some of my favorite actors, ever. 

As you can imagine, having four awesome people in one room was HILARIOUS, and made it hard to stick just talking about the movie. We did manage to get there … eventually, [SPOILER ALERT! Just FYI] but we started out talking about Vine videos, specifically one that David Krumholtz made about a surprising "cheese" discovery that morning. (PS: There's even a little shout-out for Scarecrow Video near the end!) 

Zachary Knighton: Did you make a Vine last night? 

David Krumholtz: I deleted one where I have my shirt off. But … I did one this morning. I got that cheese that I bought on my shirt. 

Gillian Jacobs: What cheese? 

David: Last night, when I came in with bread, I had a chunk of cheese too. I had goat gouda. Which is THE BEST.

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Latest comment by: imaginary embracey: "

What a fun interview. I hope the film gets a release, too - I've heard some wildly mixed opinions and wanna see for myself.

And yes, agreed, it'd be great to see the Duplasses' Togetherness pilot go to series.

"

SIFF Interview: Teddy Bears (part 1) - Directors Thomas Beatty and Rebecca Fishman

{Teddy Bears screened at the Seattle International Film Festival on 6/1 and 6/2 -- and will hopefully get a wide release soon! I was super lucky to get to sit down and talk with the cast and crew. This is part 1 of my interview with Directors Thomas Beatty and Rebecca Fishman. Look for part 2 with the actors soon} 

TIG: I was just reading that you guys are married, and that the script for Teddy Bears, while not exactly what happened, is closely related to something that actually happened in your relationship. Can you tell me a little bit about that? 

Rebecca: Well Thomas wrote it. We had gone through kind of a  difficult time when we first moved in together … Thomas kind of had a little bit of a breakdown. 

Thomas: Mmm… more like a full breakdown. [laughing] 

Rebecca: It was really a rocky time. And we always go out to Joshua Tree with our friends for New Year's. We've been going out there for like 5 or 6 years now. It was during that kind of rocky time we were out there, and Thomas was …. lying on the bed I believe? And … 

Thomas: It was kind of after. We had sort of come out of the rough time. 

Rebecca: Yeah, we had. That's right. And ... you can tell the rest of the story. 

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Imaginary Interview: The Redwood Plan

The Redwood Plan celebrated the release of their second album, Green Light Go, at Neumos on February 15. Adding electronic elements to their dance-punk sound, Green Light Go is more textured, more dynamic, and if it’s even possible, more energetic and fun than their debut Racing Toward the Heartbreak. We were lucky enough to chat with their powerhouse front-woman Lesli Wood before the band took off on a Midwestern tour to support the new album.

TIG: How was the CD release show at Neumos?

Lesli: It was a little overly ambitious to try to have our CD release show there, but we worked really hard, and of course having Head Like a Kite on the bill made a big difference because they’re a headlining band. Everything just came together really well, and everyone was super responsive. I spent the weekend completely elated.

TIG: Do you DIY everything?

Lesli: I brought on Riot Act Media for publicity on this album. It gave me a chance to focus more on tour booking. Otherwise, everything is completely “do it myself.”

TIG: Beside the electronic element, was there anything else you approached differently on the new album?

Lesli: With the first album we didn’t really know what our sound was going to be. Over the years, everyone created their own distinct voice in the band. Syd, the guitarist, has a very distinct guitar style, and Betty is a machine on the drums, and Larry is this amazing Mike Watt-style bassist. Incorporating all the electronics, I was writing a lot of parts on my own and hadn’t really left a lot of room for individual voices. That was something for me to learn, not just psychologically giving everyone space, but actually making room within the song for another bass line. The songs ended up really showcasing everyone’s individual sounds to create what is now the Redwood Plan.

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Imaginary Interview: Kontinuum

What happens when a black-metal kid grows up and expands his musical horizons? If he’s Birgir Thorgeirsson, you get Kontinuum. Recorded at Sigur Rós’ Sundlaugin Studio, Kontinuum’s genre-bending debut Earth Blood Magic draws from influences as varied as neo-folk and industrial. Somehow these sounds that shouldn’t go together all melt into a dark, intense, atmospheric beast that just might rip your face off. I met Birgir in a Reykjavík coffee shop, where we talked about his new band and dished on some of Iceland’s biggest musical exports.

TIG: Maybe just start with the background.

BT: Yeah, that’s a really short story because we are so recent. I moved back to Iceland in 2010 and I didn’t have a working band. I had been working on ideas and searching for something; like a frustrating search for a voice. I kind of felt that I found something I believed in; because you really have to believe in it to dedicate everything to it and for it to be something you’re proud of. Then I just called up my drummer and we started on the album right away.

TIG: So where were you before?

BT: We were in a band called Potentiam which was a kind of underground, black metal band. It was one of the first bands in Iceland to release albums internationally – well in this genre – and all the other members had other bands. We have a long list of bands that we used to be in.

TIG: Are you all just focused on this project now?

BT: I think drummers are excluded from the question because there are always too few drummers. Our drummer’s in another project, but I think we are all quite focused on this now. You know, it was quite a good start. We got signed with a label that’s quite known and so we have an opportunity to do something.  

TIG: You really hit the ground running.  

BT: You could say that, because it’s a new name. But you know, as individuals [we] haven’t been the most productive people on earth. We should have been doing this in 2004. But I think with this one, it came just like when you are a lot, lot younger; when you’re somewhat obsessed by it. It’s kind of hard to explain. You just have that overwhelming feeling that you have to do it. We didn’t really expect anyone to like it, actually. That’s the funny thing. It’s kind of a diverse thing. But I never really imagined that people would like it and we’d get signed and get all this…we’ve had a fair amount of attention already, so maybe there are more people like us out there.

TIG: A lot of cross-genre bands sound jumbled up, or else it’s like, “Here’s the metal song and here’s the indie song,” but Earth Blood Magic is very cohesive.

BT: I don’t know how to explain that. Someone asked me this before. It’s not that conscious. It’s not a clinical process. You just end up with a mix of a lot of things in your head, and stuff you want to say, and mixed with your own style it comes out. I just can’t really explain how.

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Countdown to Wintersong: an imaginary interview with Shelby Earl

So, we'll jump right in. I follow you on Instagram, and I remember a series of posts not too long ago from the Bani Love (Columbia City Theater's recording studio, run by Gary Mula). How's the new album coming? When's the release date? What can we (as your fans) expect so far as the sound goes -- a continuation of your existing trajectory? A totally new direction? Fill me in!

{Shelby Earl at KEXP / by Victoria VanBruinisse}The process for making this new record has been quite different from Burn the Boats. Last time there were numerous sessions (and upwards of fifteen different players involved) over a year’s time. We tracked and re-tracked and layered and removed layers -- over and over until we got exactly what we wanted. It all happened very honestly and I love the finished product, but it was a long process of trial and error. This time around, Damien Jurado produced and he had a very definite plan about how he wanted to do things going into it. I’ll go into more depth about “the big plan” when the record comes out, but the short version is that he wanted me LIVE (on vocals and guitar), in a big room, with very few “do-overs” -- which is exactly what we did. We did track at Columbia City Theater with Gary engineering and recorded everything in a week. Most of it consists of live, first takes with my band, and then we added keyboards, cello, backing vocals and various other overdubs later (all done in a week though!). The resulting sound is quite different from my last record and I think some people will be shocked. It feels and sounds a lot more dangerous and raw, but there is just so much life in it. It’s astounding. Damien nailed his vision perfectly and we really did capture a “moment in time.”

No definite release plans yet. We’re just finishing up mixing and then I’ll be shopping it to labels for a bit before I decide how and with whom to release it. Stay tuned!

How was Damien to work with? I appreciate him as a recording / multi-faceted artist, and I'm curious as to what he was like in that role.

Working with Damien was spectacular. We didn’t know each other well at the start, and I respect him immensely as an artist too, so I was pretty nervous going in. But he was incredibly supportive and encouraging and such a strong leader in the studio. He put me at ease right away. He’s opinionated, but at the same time so respectful of my artistry that I never felt clobbered. He only suggested changing song feel or arrangements when he really felt strongly about it. And I can tell you this: he was right in every instance. He has a wonderful gut sense about things so it was easy to follow his advice. I trust that dude a lot now -- both personally and artistically -- and I think he has an awesome future in producing ahead of him. I’m so excited for people to hear what we made together.

{Shelby Earl, John Roderick and Cristina Bautista / by Victoria VanBruinisse}How did the experience differ from the previous process -- didn't you work with John Roderick on that album?

Yes! Roderick produced Burn the Boats. We, too, had a fabulous working relationship and Roderick’s imagination was wide open in the studio. It was exciting! I was about six months into making BtB when he came on board and he really helped to bring the whole project into focus and to completion. Eric Corson engineered that one and the thre of us made a great team (lots of experimentation and lots of silliness in those sessions). John helped to add so much of the character of the album, which is what I think ultimately set it apart from other songwriter records. I am so proud of BtB and will be forever indebted to J-Rod for investing in me at that stage of my career.

On a related note, a lot of people have asked me “why work with another songwriter instead of a more seasoned producer?” I’m sure I’ll get the same question this time around with Jurado. But here’s what I can say about that; other artists understand what it’s like to stand behind the microphone themselves, and these two dudes in particular have walked ten miles in my shoes as singer-songwriters. They know the ropes, they know the fears, they understand the vulnerability required to put your heart on tape, and BOTH of them know how to do it right. Jurado summed it up perfectly when he said to me “It took me ten records to figure out how to do this right, let me save you some time.”

Tell me about how you hooked up with the Team Up for Nonprofits / Gigs4Good folks. How did that collaboration come to life? What's the driving force in working with them / what strikes you about their organization?

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Imaginary Interview: 1860

When I met Óttar Birgisson and Hlynur Hallgrímsson on a Sunday afternoon in Reykjavík, they were quite literally wiping sleep out of their eyes – sleep and greasepaint. They were recovering from a Halloween party the night before; Hlynur had attended as a bust of Socrates, and the white stage makeup still lurked on his eyelids. Óttar was No-Face from the Hayao Miyazaki movie Spirited Away. He was surprised how many people didn’t get it, “Yeah, it’s a cartoon, but it won an Oscar.” Displaying shaking hands, Óttar considers whether a single night of heavy drinking could cause DTs, and announces that their next album will be titled, Too Old for Headbanging. “We might still be drunk,” he adds.

We were there to talk about their band, 1860, and its current album Sagan. Their drummer Andri Jakobsson showed up briefly, ostensibly to help us stay on track. But staying on track wouldn’t be nearly as much fun with a pair whose conversation references Bob Ross and Elizabeth Gilbert while namechecking bands from Mumford & Sons to Cradle of Filth. The conversation ranged from American holidays {Halloween good, Valentine’s Day bad} to Honey Boo Boo {in America, if you are dysfunctional enough you get your own TV show} to Icelandic attitudes towards alcohol {Icelanders drink like American teenagers}. But I’ll try to keep the write-up related to the music. In the words of Inigo Montoya, “Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.”

“None of us actually listen to Cradle of Filth, or really Mumford & Sons, either,” says Óttar. “That was just to be funny in an interview.”

“No, Gunnar used to listen to Cradle of Filth a lot,” Hlynur contradicts.

In fact, 1860 are an ensemble folk-pop band composed, like Tilbury and Of Monsters and Men, of multi-instrumentalists who all join in on infectious sing-along choruses. Notable for using mandolin (don’t call it a ukulele!) on most of their songs, they would fit on a bill with Fleet Foxes and Hey Marseilles. So basically, they are awesome.

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