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[personal profile] froodle
I would always really character myself up like when I went in for, well I don’t know if you’re aware of “Foreverware”; did you ever see Eerie, Indiana? I did two Eerie, Indiana’s, both for Joe. There were two segments and the first one was called “Foreverware” and it was this really funny segment about people who preserve themselves in Tupperware, or “Foreverware”, as in the story. We had to sing and all this stuff and it was just crazy, okay? When I read it I called Joe up, after the audition when I got the part, and I said, “Look, if I’m going to do this I’m going to have to have a wig” and he said, “Why would you have to have a wig?” and I said, “Because I can’t play this character as me. I have an idea, just please I have to have a wig.” He says, “You don’t need a wig.” I said, “Joe, would you just please let me do this?” So he finally agreed, and I went to the hair department and I told them exactly what I wanted. To make a long story short when I was in college back in the day my roommate was Heather MacRae; and if you know Heather MacRae at all she had those blonde bangs with the straight blonde hair, you might remember her from Bang the Drum Slowly; she was wonderful in that. Anyway, she was an old friend of mine and I wanted to play her because she characterized this character for me. So I got this blonde wig that was just like her and I had wardrobe wardrobe me in this sort of lime green A frame dress and white go-go boots, et cetera. I walked on set and Joe takes one look at me and he almost fell over he was like, “Oh my God”. Well, the producers fell so in love with this character that they, two episodes later, brought my character back and gave me a set of twins; and it was in the one called “Hole in the Wall Gang” with Hoyt Axton and they had me standing in the bank with my daughter and she’s dressed with the little blond wig and the green A frame dress and white go-go boots and it was really visually very, very funny.

So, Joe always allowed me a lot of creative freedom; but I always had to audition for him except for in The Howling.
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[personal profile] froodle
Director Joe Dante speaks to Eve Jackson about the success of "Gremlins", parodying Donald Trump and why making scary horror movies today is so hard ahead of his Paris retrospective at the Cinematheque Francaise.

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Dans un bled du Midwest (Eerie, Indiana, le titre en V.O.), deux gamins enquêtent sur des phénomènes paranormaux.

Autre série tuée dans l’œuf faute de spectateurs, une merveille encapsulant parfaitement l’esprit Amblin, et la matrice secrète de Stranger Things.

"Deux auteurs, Karl Schaefer et José Rivera, étaient venus me voir avec ce super concept : deux gamins se rendent compte que leur petite ville de province est le centre secret de plein de phénomènes occultes, impliquant aussi bien Bigfoot qu’Elvis ou les soucoupes volantes. C’était un X-Files junior… mais avant X-Files ! Vraiment charmant, très en avance sur son temps. NBC était tellement emballé qu’ils l’ont programmée le dimanche soir face à 60 Minutes. Soit l’émission la plus populaire d’Amérique ! Forcément, ça s’est planté. Ils nous ont coupé les vivres. On a quand même eu le temps de tourner un dernier épisode méta, dans lequel le personnage principal se réveille et découvre qu’il joue dans une série sur le point être annulée. Je jouais mon propre rôle. Assez mal, d’ailleurs, malgré une vie entière de répétitions… Quelques années plus tard, ils ont rediffusé la série le samedi matin et là, ça a été un triomphe. Les gosses adoraient ça.

Dommage que le négatif n’ait pas été conservé, on ne pourra jamais proposer une édition blu-ray digne de ce nom."

Séances : le lundi 6 mars à 17h, le samedi 25 mars à 20h.

So, no bluray for us ever, I guess. Still, oh my God I would love to see Eerie in a movie theatre surrounded by other fans.
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Dante: People hire me for various reasons. But when you sign on to do a TV series, you must adopt the style of the TV series. Now I can shoot the stuff any way I want. But I know that in TV, you do your cutting. You hand it in. And then you see it on TV. And it’s always different. Because the show runners come in. And they change it to the style that they prefer. So you shoot a lot of long takes. But you just have to give them enough material for them to turn it into what they want. It’s never an expressive job. You don’t really feel you’re putting yourself into it. Although as much as I could, I stuck myself into it. And I stuck people who were familiar to working with me in the show. And it was, I think, a little bit different. A little bit offbeat from the usual episodes of the show. But the problem with doing a show like that, there’s an overarching storyline that happened before you came and that’s going to continue after you’re gone. So there’s really not a lot of space for you to insert yourself. Because you’re doing a job of work. And you’re not the auteur of the show. The auteur of the show is the writers. Because they’re the ones who are mapping out this entire scenario. The great thing is if you can get in on the ground floor and get in on the pilot.

Correspondent: Yes.

Dante: If you do the pilot for the show, which I did for Eerie, Indiana, then you get to not only choose the cast.

Correspondent: You set the aesthetics.

Dante: You set the aesthetic and you get to influence the way the stories go and which direction they go. And even sometimes who’s hired to direct them. So that’s very creative and interesting and fulfilling. Doing one-offs is financially rewarding and a chance to work with a lot of talented people that you probably wouldn’t get to see otherwise. But it’s never like making a feature. It’s never like saying, “Okay, this is my movie.” And that’s why I prefer on TV to do anthology shows. Because it’s much more like doing a short film than it is to coming in and doing it. Illustrating an episode of somebody’s series.

Correspondent: Is it also a way of staying in shape so you don’t atrophy?

Dante: Well, it’s also a way of paying the mortgage.

Correspondent: (laughs) That’s true. That’s really the reason you did the CSI: New York episode.

Dante: Uh, I did it because it would be fun. But also, yeah, I did it because I wasn’t working. The great thing about Eerie, Indiana was that if I was going a feature, I could do that. I could go away and then do more Eerie, Indianas. But then it went off the air. And then I couldn’t do that anymore. So the trick is to try and find a way to keep yourself employed that doesn’t turn you into a hack. Basically. I mean, I always try and do things that — for movies, my yardstick is I don’t make movies that I wouldn’t go see. And I think if more people did that, we’d have better movies.
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But of Joe’s films if you asked me my favorite I would have to say all of them. I just love working with Joe because it was always fun. Even in ‘Eerie Indiana’, once he let me have my wig (laughs). Without my wig I would have been dead, by the way. I would have felt too exposed. That wig gave me a character from which to work, you know?

There I was on an episode of 'Eerie Indiana’ called ‘Foreverware’ that Joe wanted me to do (I did have to audition) and when I got the part I thought, “Oh, gosh, this was so unlike me” so I said, “Joe, please, could I have a wig?”

He said, “What are you talking about?”

I just said, “Please, let me have a wig, I really need it.”

At first he kept asking me, “A wig? What do you need a wig for?” and went through his whole kind of conniption before he finally said, “Okay, sure, go see the hair lady.”

So I go into the hair lady and I say, “Look, I kind of want to do a tribute to my ex roommate from college Heather MacRae and I wanted to get this wig with blonde bangs and straight blonde hair and wear this lime green A frame dress with the white go go boots. This is what Heather looked like when I went to college with her so here I show up on set in this wig and outfit and Joe and the producers completely drop to the ground. They loved that character so much that they brought her back for another 'Eerie Indiana’ and gave me twin girls, actually they were used one at a time, as my daughter and gave her a blonde wig to match mine and the A frame dress and white go go boots (laughs).

These are how characters are made. Like I love creating those characters
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ETA: Okay, I can't get this to embed or play for me at all, blargh!

Anyway, here is the blurb for it from the Mythbehaving website!

What a treat to have Michael Cassutt on the podcast! Author, screenwriter, producer, Michael brings a wealth of information to our newest episode. I first met Michael at a book festival in Southern California through our mutual friend, Tim Powers. Michael's extensive experience, with over thirty years in the TV and publishing industries, make for some great stories and fun times. Please join us for his fabulous interview on our newest episode! Michael Cassutt Michael Cassutt is a writer of fiction, non-fiction (fourteen books, thirty short stories, two-hundred articles), and over sixty television scripts. His most recent novel is Heaven's Fall, with David S. Goyer (Ace paperback, August 2014), the last of a trilogy already sold to Warner Studios as a feature film series. His short stories, largely SF and fantasy, have appeared in Asimov's SF Magazine and The Year's Best SF. As a writer of non-fiction, his specialty is the American and Russian space programs. He co-authored a pair of astronaut biographies (Deke! and We Have Capture) and contributes to Air & Space/Smithsonian. He has also made several appearances on The History Channel. Among his television credits are The Twilight Zone, Max Headroom, Eerie, Indiana, Beverly Hills 90210, and The Dead Zone. He is currently Co-Executive Producer of SyFy Channel’s forthcoming Z Nation, premiering in September 2014. And he is collaborating with George R R Martin on an original concept for HBO. Michael is also an adjunct professor at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. Read on for more about Micheal and his exciting career... Excerpts from Episode 33 Michael on having original ideas for writing: "The idea you think is brilliant, unique and original is being pitched at the same time by somebody else who you've never met or heard of." Michael on getting his start as a writer: "What a lot of people my age started writing were science fiction short stories and getting them published in the magazines and anthologies back in the 1970s." Heaven's Fall Twenty years have passed since the mysterious Near-Earth Object nicknamed Keanu appeared in the night sky and transported an assortment of humans from all over Earth into its interior. There they discovered that Keanu was an immense long-range spaceship—and they were not its only inhabitants. They joined forces with the aliens called the Architects, who had come from a distant galaxy to seek help in fighting the vicious Reivers. And they defeated them—or so they thought.Now Keanu has reestablished contact with Earth—and discovered that the Reivers have, in fact, taken over the planet, placing most of the population under their dominion. A few scattered pockets of humanity, constantly in danger of being assimilated, have mounted a resistance. As the Reivers prepare a devastating strike against the Architects, Rachel Stewart, who grew up in Keanu, leads a small band of human survivors in an attempt to infiltrate the massive Reiver fortress in the American West. But their only hope for victory may yet be somewhere inside the NEO. If the men and women still in Keanu cannot find it, humanity will be finished. And the galaxy will be next.


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Eerie Indiana

September 2017

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