Long before Greg Pak became known for his comics, he was a successful film director and screenwriter. He recently released a brand new short film, Happy Fun Room, which can be viewed on YouTube (as part of the Futurestates.tv storyworld). Pak happily indulged my curiosity to email him a slew of questions for him to answer regarding this latest project. Enjoy.
Tim O’Shea: In what ways do you feel more confident as a short film writer and director with Happy Fun Room, as say compared to your 2011 effort, Mister Green?
Greg Pak: That’s an interesting question. A number of smart people have said that directing is basically deciding. A director has to make dozens of decisions every day in order for everyone else working on the film to be able to do their jobs. If a director can’t decide, everything grinds to a halt and the film eventually falls apart.
Once one learns that film scholar/bloggerMark Fertig has authored Film Noir 101: The 101 Best Film Noir Posters, a new Fantagraphics coffee table book, there is only one logical option. Interview him about it. Enjoy Fertig discuss the book and much more about film noir. I wish all my interviews were this content rich. Speaking of content, when discussing certain films, Fertig was kind enough to share links to his blog, Where Danger Lives, pleasebe sure to click on all the links for even more great reading.
Tim O’Shea: You dedicated the book to your late mother. Did she live long enough to know you became a film scholar?
Mark Fertig: Unfortunately my mom passed away when I was still in my twenties; at the time I was slogging it out as an adjunct graphic design professor. However she remains the driving force behind my interest in classic films. Anyone who has ever cultivated a passion for old movies can tell you that it’s difficult to find others out there with the same interests. For me, that person was my mother. We spent countless hours watching dusty VHS tapes and discussing everyone from Alan Ladd to Zasu Pitts. Remember Mia Farrow in those last few moments of The Purple Rose of Cairo? That was my mom.
Tim O’Shea: When did you and Jennifer realize you were interested in offering these romcom location tours?
Erin Carlson: SideTour first reached out to Jen about leading a tour based on one of her pop-culture books, but after a lengthy Facebook conversation about the amazingness of You’ve Got Mail, she pitched me the idea of an 80s/90s romcom-themed jaunt through Nora Ephron’s Upper West Side. I said yes immediately.
Apparently AT&T hired Werner Herzog to documentary about the dangers of texting and driving, available on YouTube, called From One Second to Next. Not surprisingly, the film legend does a damn good job with it, taking four stories ranging from the perspective of victims and those texting. It is haunting, just as described by the Slate post that made me aware of it.
I am guilty of checking email as I drive, I will admit that. I need to stop because my luck is going to run out someday. I could have been in this documentary.
Roger Ebert’s death yesterday caught me by total surprise. I did not realize his Tuesday column was, in essence, his farewell.
I will try to write a tribute or an essay of some kind. But for now, I will save his one-of-a-kind 2011 TED Talk. To hear him “speak” of saying his last words and not realizing it was his last spoken words, is heartbreaking.
Right after I got there, I was staying in the Beverly Hills Hotel. I saw John Wayne in the lobby, and I was gawking at him. He said, “What’s your name?” He’d just seen Alfie. Wayne became a friend. He gave me advice, like: “Talk low, talk slow, and don’t say too fucking much,” and “Never wear suede shoes, because one day, Michael, you’ll be taking a piss, and the guy next to you will recognize you, and he’ll turn toward you and say, ‘Michael Caine!’ and piss all over your shoes.” I couldn’t make this shit up.
Dean Haspiel is a great writer and artist. I have thought that for years. But the foundation of this great storytelling partially lies his mother and father, as revealed back in January via interviews and articles recently posted at Trip City.
Mr. Surtees, who lived in Carmel, was also the cinematographer for “White Dog,” Samuel Fuller’s controversial film about a dog trained to attack black people. Made in 1982, it was not officially released — on DVD — until 2008 because of the studio’s fears that it was inflammatory. (The film, which stars Kristy McNichol, Paul Winfield and Burl Ives, is ardently anti-racist.)
And yeah, I am not going to lie–I am utterly fascinated in a pop culture sense that McNichol and Ives made a film together.
The next two months are going to be quite busy for actor Terence Bernie Hines. First up, on March 9, A Thousand Words, a comedy-drama Eddie Murphy film will open, featuring Hines among the supporting cast. Then, in April, Rushlights, a murder-mystery movie with a cast featuring Beau Bridges–and including Hines as well–will be released. In anticipation of these two new films, Hines was kind enough to entertain a series of questions in an email interview about the creative process in both projects.
In your next film, A Thousand Words, you are part of a cast that includes Eddie Murphy, Allison Janney, and Jack McBrayer. How did you land the role–and who are most of your scenes with?
I auditioned for the part and was initially cast in a different role; but when I met with the director Brian Robbins on set, he felt I would better fit the role as a friend of Eddie’s in his office. So everything I do is with Eddie – and we definitely had fun!
What were some of the benefits of getting to work with a director like Brian Robbins?
Brian has been in the business since he was a kid and has done literally hundreds of shows as an actor, producer or director, so he has a great sensibility for working with actors. And when he sees something that works, he just lets you go with it, which is always nice.