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Hanging out with celebrity (and real life) Moms from hit ABC television shows

 

ABC Cocktails with Moms

From Left to Right – Alexis Carra (“Mixology”), Patricia Heaton (“The Middle”), Frankie Shaw (“Mixology”) and Ming-Na Wen (“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”)

I’ll admit it. I get a bit giddy when I know I’ll have the opportunity to interview a celebrity. I can get so star struck that I forget the questions I want to ask. I’ve even been known to stumble over my words.

Never in a million years would I ever think that I would one day have the opportunity to meet famous people.

Most of the time I get to meet celebrities in what I call “controlled situations”. Usually it’s at a press junket with other media/press people and we can only admire the celebrity from afar and if we’re lucky we have the opportunity to ask the a few questions directly. The celebrities are also super busy and don’t have time to stop for a photo. It’s not that they don’t want to – it’s more so that they are just so busy and they can’t stop.

DON’T GET ME WRONG!!!! I love and appreciate every opportunity I get. :-)

On a few occasions I have been lucky enough to attend after parties for red carpet premiere events. There you can have the chance, if you are lucky, to steal a few moments with your favorite celebrity. You have to keep in mind that there are usually a dozen or more people fighting for the opportunity so you consider yourself very lucky when you have the chance to chat with your favorite celebrity – even if it’s just for a few minutes.

Most recently I attended the red carpet after party for Muppets Most Wanted. I had wanted to meet Tina Fey and Ricky Gervais but they were the stars of the night and it was impossible to get within ten feet of them. That’s OK. I did get to meet and briefly talk to some people I was anxious to meet. One of them was Josh Groban. Swoooooooooooon!!!! I love his voice. He has the most beautiful singing voice. I had imagined him as a kind, soft spoken person. In real life he’s just that. I was blessed to have a few minutes to chat with him about music and the influence it has on children. He even posed for a picture with me.

I took my picture with Josh Groban but I didn't like how I looked so I cropped myself out of it.

I took my picture with Josh Groban but I didn’t like how I looked so I cropped myself out of it.

Prior to this event I also attended the after party for Frankenweenie where I had to opportunity to have a very long conversation with Tom Kenny (the voice of SpongeBob and many other characters). I had interviewed him on the phone and truly enjoyed talking to him. It was wonderful to have that opportunity again.

When I meet a celebrity the conversation is always about their television show, movie or new book. I never have a chance to ask them what I really want to ask them. Still, it’s always a thrill to meet someone that I admire. :-)

When I was out in Los Angeles a few weeks ago, ABC gave me and several other wonderful bloggers the opportunity of a life time – to have cocktails and a casual conversation with several fabulous women who play moms on television (most are moms in real life too). The ladies were looking forward to meeting and chatting with us as we were with them.

Imagine… sitting around chatting with your favorite celebrity while enjoying appetizers and cocktails (I was drinking water and soda). We could talk about anything. We didn’t have to focus primarily on a show or movie. We could finally ask questions we really wanted to know the answers to. How awesome is that?

In attendance was…

  • Patricia Heaton (“The Middle”)
  • Wendi McLendon-Covey (“The Goldbergs”)
  • Jami Gertz (“The Neighbors”)
  • Toks Olagundoye (“The Neighbors”)
  • Amanda Fuller (“Last Man Standing”)
  • Malin Akerman (“Trophy Wife”)
  • Frankie Shaw (“Mixology”)
  • Alexis Carra (“Mixology”)
  • Ming-Na Wen (“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”)

I have to admit I was super excited to meet the ladies, especially Patricia Heaton because I LOVE “The Middle”. I have also adored Jami Gertz forever (Lost Boys, “Still Standing”) and I think Wendi McLendon-Covey is so funny. I loved her in Bridesmaids. Malin Akerman was also someone I was looking forward to meeting (actually I looked forward to meeting everyone). She was the guest stars of the talk show “The Chew” last year when I was in the audience.

To make things easier the bloggers were broken up into groups and the ladies were rotated around each group so that everyone had a chance to take with the ladies. Sadly it didn’t work out exactly as planned. I never had the chance to meet Malin, Frankie, Alexis or Ming-Na.

 Patricia Heaton The Middle

The first lady I had the opportunity to chat with was Patricia Heaton. She was great in “Everybody Loves Raymond”, but like her best as Frankie from “The Middle”.

Patricia is a mom. She has four sons. They range in age from 15 – 21. One of her sons is the same age as my son (her youngest) and she has another son that is the same age as my daughter.

Patricia and I had the opportunity to chat, one-to-one, for a good 5+ minutes. It was surreal! Here I was talking to one of the stars of one of my top 5 television shows. It took me a good minute or two to get over the initial shock, then it was super easy to talk to her – as if I’ve known her for years. Suddenly she wasn’t Frankie from “The Middle”. She was Patricia – mom, wife, actress.

Patricia told me that she and Eden Sher (her TV daughter Sue from “The Middle”) are very close and they do a lot of things together. She told me that she considers herself Eden’s mentor. She told me that actress Linda Lavin was like a mentor to her. Patricia and Linda stared in the series Room for Two back in the early 90′s.

I learned a little bit about her TV sons too.

Charlie McDermott (Axl on “The Middle”) is very shy. I found that hard to believe, but she told me it was true. It wasn’t until we met him on the set of “The Middle” that I realized that he really was very shy. It’s hard to believe that, especially since many of the episodes he’s running around in just his boxer shorts.

Patricia told me that Atticus Shaffer (Brick fro “The Middle”) is a fan of “The Walking Dead”. So it Patricia! For Christmas she gave Atticus a gift basket filled with “The Walking Dead” action figures and books. This was good to know because I had a chance to chat with Atticus a few days later and I had mentioned that I knew he was a “Walking Dead” fan and we chatted about how much we love the show.

The Middle Patricia Heaton

Patricia Heaton (“The Middle”) and Me.

I still can’t believe that I met Patricia Heaton! Every time I watch “The Middle” I can’t help but think back to the Cocktails with Mom opportunity. Visiting the set of “The Middle” was equally as awesome.

After Patricia I had the chance to have a lengthy conversation (at least 10+ minutes) with Wendi McLendon-Covey. Wow! Wow! Wow! She is super sweet and SO EASY to talk to. Maybe I was more relaxed after talking to Patricia, but I wasn’t “star struck” with Wendi like I thought I’d be – even though I was overjoyed to meet her.

The cool thing about talking with Wendi is that she was more interested in asking ME questions then the other way around. She was interested in learning more about my blog and my family. It seemed like “I” was the celebrity being interviewed. LOL!

Wendi McLendon-Covey ("The Goldbergs") and me.

Wendi McLendon-Covey (“The Goldbergs”) and me.

Wendi and I talked about how times have changed since we were kids and how the world is a more scary place. She doesn’t have children yet (her cats are her babies. :-)). She tells me that she would probably be very cautious about everything her kids did like I am (I gave the example of how I used to watch them walk downstairs to get the mail – and it’s only 3 short flights of steps downstairs).

I also had the opportunity to meet and chat with Jami Gertz. I have liked her since I saw her in the movie Lost Boys. She also stared in one of my favorite sitcoms, “Still Standing”. The show is no longer on the air but I can catch it in syndication from time to time.

Jami Gertz ("The Neighbors" and me.

Jami Gertz (“The Neighbors” and me.

When our daughter was little she looked a lot like Jami’ daughter on the show, Tina. Her TV daughter (Soleil Borda) is about the same age as my daughter too (Soleil is two years older than my daughter). I told Jami about how my daughter was Soleil’s doppelgänger. She thought that was pretty cool.

Jami’s personality and mannerisms are the same as they are on TV. Her perkiness is the same in “real life” and she was always smiling.

Jami stars on the ABC series “The Neighbors” along with another lady who was at the event who is also fro the series, Toks Olagundoye.

I’ll be honest. I never really watched “The Neighbors” before. I would flick on it from time to time, but I never really watched an episode form beginning to end. After chatting with Jami and Toks I have made it a point to watch the series every opportunity I get. It’s silly and funny. It’s about aliens trying to adapt to living on Earth. Jami and her husband are non-aliens who are friends with their alien neighbors. It’s funny because the aliens take things so literally. Toks plays the alien Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

Toks Olagundoye ("The Neighbors")

Toks Olagundoye (“The Neighbors”)

Lastly I had the opportunity to chat with Amanda Fuller. She plays the role of Kristin Baxter on the ABC series “Last Man Standing”. She’s Tim Allen’s oldest daughter on the show. She’s been acting since 1993 and has appeared on dozens of televisions shows and movies. She mentioned that this is not the first time she’s played a teen mom (on the show she had a baby when she was a teen). She’s been a teen mom a few other times on TV.

My husband and I watch “Last Man Standing” every week so it was a thrill to meet Amanda too.

Amanda Fuller ("Last Man Standing")

Amanda Fuller (“Last Man Standing”)

Sadly I didn’t have the chance to meet or chat with the other ladies at the event.

All of the ladies were more than happy to pose for photos, but individually and as a group.

Combine with yummy appetizers and cocktails, this was an amazing evening.

I want to personally thank ABC for putting this event together. It was one of the highlights of my trip to LA. It was amazing to have the opportunity to chat with these lovely women one-on-one and in a group about anything we wanted to (within reason of course – ha ha). Having the opportunity to get to know these ladies gives me a new appreciation for their television series. Now every time I see them on TV I smile and think back to Cocktails with Moms. It was a once in a life time experience that I’ll never forget.

“The Middle” airs Wednesdays at 8:00 EST / 7:00 CST. Facebook & Twitter.

“Last Man Standing” airs Fridays at 8:00 EST / 7:00 CST. Facebook & Twitter.

“Trophy Wife” currently on hiatus. Facebook & Twitter.

“Mixology” airs Wednesdays at 9:30 EST / 8:30 CST. Facebook & Twitter.

“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” airs on Tuesdays (a 2-hour event scheduled for 4/14/14 @ 8:00 EST / 7:00 CST).  FacebookTwitter.

“The Neighbors” currently on hiatus. Facebook & Twitter.

“The Goldbergs” airs Tuesdays at 9:00 EST / 8:00 CST. Facebook & Twitter.

To learn more about the shows or to watch full episodes visit http://abc.go.com/.

PHOTO CREDIT: ABC

PHOTO CREDIT: ABC

Kimberly

*I was not compensated for this post. My travel expenses to the event were covered.

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Interview with Sebastian Stan – “The Winter Soldier”

 

Sebastian Stan

Have you seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier yet? If not you might not want to continuing reading this post. It contains a major spoiler – who the “Winter Soldier” truly is.

If you have already seen the film you know that the Winter Soldier is someone that Steve Rogers (Captain America) holds near and dear to his heart – his best friend Bucky Barnes. This comes as a huge surprise to fans of the comic book series.

James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes (the Winter Soldier) is played by Sebastian Stan. He played the part in the original Captain America film too. Sebastian Stan also stared in one of my favorite television series on ABC, Once Upon a Time. He played the role of Jefferson (“Mad Hatter”).

Here are some highlights from a group interview I participated in with Sebastian Stan and several other wonderful bloggers.

Q: What was your reaction when you found out that you were coming back as a soldier?

Sebastian: I always played that moment in my head over and over again. I was going to get that phone call no matter where I was at the time I was probably thinking I was going to  be somewhere in New York, on a crowded street,  regardless I was going to  scream and I was just going to have this big reaction. It was actually the opposite. I just sort of was quiet and still and was trying to replay the conversation in my head and was just really excited. I mean for me it’d really been two years of sort of not knowing what was going to happen next.

Q: Was it difficult to change form from Bucky into the winter soldier?

Sebastian: Well, yes and no. I would say no in the sense that everything is so spelled out for me in the comic books that I sort of feel like I have that to follow as a guide. Yes in that certain things from comic books often are  not so easily translated to the screen, and so there were things visually that were new that we had to discover about the character. I mean in the comic books there was a lot of information but in terms of how the winter soldier moved, how he behaved, what his presence was like on screen, those were all things I had to sort of discover once I was in the outfit and we were actually shooting the movie. And that was more difficult I suppose. At the end of the day the most difficult part was playing someone that’s very different while at the same time the same person.

Q: Talking about the outfit, the training for your part and then working with your metal arm in the movie, was that difficult at all?

Sebastian: Yes, the training is really hard for me. I mean I was never really used to that type of training before. Some of the diet and the working out that was happening six months before we started shooting was really difficult at times. And then you’re learning to fight - it’s basically just like going to dance class. I mean with the person and the thing is you just have to have patience, and it’s really hard, you might get it quickly and you’re excited, you see the stunt guys are just phenomenal and you just want to jump in and do it but the whole thing has to be so planned out and detailed. You can’t have a lot of room for errors because people can get hurt. So, just practicing that and repeating that everyday for about two to three months I’d say was hard, but the results were always very gratifying.

The Winter Soldier

Q: How do you mentally prepare for a roll like this in terms of playing someone who doesn’t even know who they are?

Sebastian: Well, it’s funny the way things happen in life. Sometimes when you pay attention to certain things that happen in life [LAUGHS] I just don’t want to get too down here or anything, but my stepdad has been dealing with Alzheimer’s, and he’s been going through that for at least the last two years. And so it was interesting because while that sort of process was very painful as an observer, I kind of found it to be very helpful for me - to observe somebody going through Alzheimer’s. What their behavior is like because even though they don’t know certain things anymore, who they are per say, there is still that struggle within them to want to try and kind of know things. They respond to certain things they see or sounds or a song Something kind of triggers a memory, and so it’s a very weird internal battle.

I watched him a lot for sort of some references. Some of the things of how I was going to translate that on the screen I didn’t really know until we were doing literally when we were on set.

Q: Some of the action sequences that you were a part of, was there one piece that you were just like enjoyed doing?

Sebastian: Any of the fighting stuff, once we had it down and we were in the costumes. Any of the stuff that was shot outside which was in Cleveland I mean was really exciting because there was no CGI green screen. It was literally long sequences that all the car explosions, people sort of falling and being shot and then us jumping into that one on one combat. That was all really fun because it was really all happening around you. You don’t often get that when you work on these big movies, you always have to deal with the green screen.

Q: What was your most memorable moment while filming?

Sebastian: Any of the stuff that I had with Robert Redford was pretty memorable. I really remember telling myself to just like be here, be present. Take him in. On set it was like suddenly I was in a situation where the whole reason for me going to acting school and everything was sort of here. I was with this man and he was being very generous as an actor with me even though he’s obviously who he is. And then off set sort of just wanting to kind of like see if there was anything I could pick his brain about in terms of like people he’s worked with.

Q: Who’s your favorite superhero and who’s your favorite villain?

Sebastian: I don’t know if I have one, I mean I’m so biased, you know. With these movies now especially now that I’ve gotten to know the Captain America storybook so well, I’m kind of biased and they’re sort of my favorite.

If I had a choice and they were to come up to me and go “Would you want to be a character in the Captain America storyline or the Ironman storyline or the Thor storyline?” I would definitely pick the one that I’m in.

As for favorite villain, though I’ve had a few, the T-1000 was always somebody that I thought was an incredible villain. The Joker was  phenomenal. Gary Oldman as Leon in The Professional. That’s a great villain, he’s played quite a few. Terminator Two was another one. Those were all really great villains.

Captain-America-2-Official-Photo-Winter-Soldier-Sebastian-Stan-close-up-570x350

Q: What is your favorite scene to see on the big screen?

Sebastian: I think the car chases are really great. That whole sequence with Nick Fury um, the one with the Winter Soldier. Those were great sequences.

Q: When you were first cast as Bucky in the first movie, you hadn’t read any comics before then you started reading them. Did you know that Bucky would come back to like as a winter soldier later? Or did you think he was dead?

Sebastian: Well I didn’t because I hadn’t read anything and there was no script for Captain America when I was auditioning for Steve Rodgers, not Bucky. Actually all I really had was a scene between Steve Rodgers and Bucky and I was auditioning for Steve Rodgers. I looked up things about Steve Rodgers but I never looked up anything about Bucky and then I didn’t get that and then you know I sort of  thought that was that. And I actually on purpose didn’t want to read any of the comic books or anything going into the audition process because I wanted to have a fresh perspective. But then when I talked to them about Bucky after that they educated me on the story.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is crushing it at the box office. It’s grossed over $100+ million already and it opened less than a week ago. I have heard a few people that I know say they have been to the theater TWICE so far to see the movie – they loved it that much.

Feel free to check out the interviews with other cast members – Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans and Anthony Mackie – as well as the film’s directors, the Russo brothers, and the President of Marvel Kevin Feige. Simply type in the name of the person in the search box on my site (top right) to pull up their interview.

You can check out the film’s official Facebook page as well as the Twitter page.

Have you seen the film yet? If so, what are your thoughts? How do you think Sebastian Stan did as the Winter Soldier?

Bucky-Barnes-The-Winter-Soldier-Poster

Kimberly

*I was not compensated for this. I attended a press junket. My travel expenses were covered.

 

 

 

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Interview with Captain America: The Winter Soldier Directors Joe and Anthony Russo

 

Russo Brothers

Joe Russo (L) and Anthony Russo (R)

The just released film, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, is kicking some major butt in theaters across the country. It’s the top grossing film with an April opening of all time. I had no doubt that the film would do exceptionally well in theaters. I know a lot of people who were anxiously waiting for it’s release.

For all those die hard Captain America fans, and new fans of the series, the third Captain America film is slated for a May 2015 release. Yeah!

A few weeks ago a blogger group I was in had the wonderful opportunity to interview some of the talent from the film – Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson and Anthony Mackie. We also have the opportunity to interview the President of Marvel, Kevin Feige. If you are interested in any of these interviews, or my review of the film, simply type in Captain America in the search bar on my site (upper right side on the side bar).

Another interview we conducted that day was with Joe and Anthony Russo (“the Russo brothers”) who directed the film. Below is some highlights from their interview.

Q: As brothers who work side-by-side every day, what do you find challenging and do you work off each other’s strengths?

Anthony Russo: Without question. There wouldn’t be a great partnership unless we compensated for each other - helped mitigated each other’s,  weaknesses and complement each other’s strengths. We’ve been doing it for a long time now - about 15 years. There’s a real shorthand that we have. It’s not a very formal relationship, like the Coen Brothers (No Country for Old Men, O Brother, Where Art Thou?) who divvy up producing and directing. Ours is less defined than that. We always say that if you’ve asked one of us a question and you get an answer then you got an answer from both of us. We share a lot of the same influences, obviously, we grew up together. We’ve read the same comics, we read the same books, we watched the same movies, watched the same television shows, so all of our influences are very similar. So when we look at material we tend to look at it in the same way and it seems to make it very easy for everybody.

Q: You guys are primarily known for comedies (You, Me and Dupree, Community). What was it about this - did you want to start something new or really interested in getting into the Marvel?

Anthony Russo: If you had asked us before we got started if we would ever be known as comedy directors we would have never guessed that. I mean, we didn’t start off our directing career necessarily intending to be comedy directors. We loved comedy. We started down that road because we wrote a comedy called “Welcome to Collinwood” that we ended up directing. But our  tastes run everywhere. We shoot all kinds of things. We shoot TV, we shoot films, we shoot commercials, we shoot TV pilots and episodes. Our tastes run all over the map. We like to explore everything as filmmakers. The action genre is something that’s been on our agenda for a long, long time.

Joe Russo: Well, it was a double whammy for us.  I started collected comic books when I was 10 years old and one of the first books I ever got was a Captain America and Falcon team up. When Marvel came to us and said, “Listen, are you interested in making Captain America – The Winter Soldier?” it was a 30-year dream come true for me to be able to make a comic book movie.

Helicarrier Captain America Winter Soldier

Q: What were your favorite scenes to work on, and the hardest scenes to work on?

Joe Russo: Favorite scenes? I love the relationship between Chris and Scarlett in the movie. I think that’s the real heart of the film. They were extremely integral in the interpretation of those scenes, both Chris and Scarlett. They wrote some of their own dialogue. They’ve been working together for so long. I think this is their fourth film together and they’ve been really good friends for years. And so they brought all that energy and chemistry to the movie and I think it really is the spark of life in this film. Those are the easiest and funnest scenes to work on, where it was anytime we had the two of them together.

Anthony Russo: I would also add the scene with Robert Redford when he and Chris Evans are in Nick Fury’s office. I loved working with Robert Redford. It was certainly a career high. Secondly it’s just such a great scene to just watch those two play chess with each other through that scene and watch Captain America be put in a position where he has to lie to somebody who’s like basically his commanding officer. It was just a really exciting and interesting scene. I’ll just never forget that experience.

Joe Russo: The hardest scenes are the action scenes, obviously. There was a scene where the Winter Soldier attacks Cap and Natasha and Sam in a car on the freeway. We had to shut down a freeway in Cleveland for two weeks to shoot that scene. If you could imagine in your own town if a filmmaker came in and said, “Hey we’re going to shut down your major freeways for two weeks, what do you guys think?” Have fun getting to work, right? [LAUGHS] . There was a lot of pressure on us because there was no room for error. It was a very complicated sequence. We had to get all that work from the time he lands on their car till the time his mask comes off. All that work has to be done in a two-week period. So he and I worked around the clock 14-days straight. We had multiple units to make sure we got it. That  was, that was probably the toughest thing we did in the movie.

Captain America Winter Soldier

Q: Knowing that this was a Marvel film, was there any pressure with the fan base and make sure you got it right?

Joe Russo: There’s always pressure with the fan base. It’s an intense fan base. But what something that we’ve learned in our career is that  you cannot predict what people are going to like. You can only make the movie based on how you feel and what you feel you would want to see. And then you hope everybody else likes it too. We’re comic book fans and film geeks. Our approach to the movie was, “I’m finally getting the opportunity as a fan boy to make a comic book film?’ What do I want to see in a comic book movie?” And then we put all of that into the film. And, like I said, you just keep your fingers crossed. You know you’re never going to make everybody happy.

Anthony Russo: It’s like Joe mentioned. It’s important to remember that the fan base does not speak with a single voice. You find the entire spectrum of opinion.

Q: You said you were a huge comic book fan and you’ve been reading since Captain Falcon Team in the 1970s - what was your reaction in the comic books when Bucky came back as a Winter Soldier?

Anthony Russo: We thought it was genius… It’s so rare that you get a villain who has such an emotional connection to the hero. That’s a gift as a storyteller – because you know, there’s an old adage that the hero is only as good as the villain and it’s so true. And you think about – your favorite hero/villain movies, the villain is always a very Seminole figure. So basically to have your doppelganger or your this sort of antithetical Captain America character, he’s got a robot arm that’s as strong as your shield. You know his strength is equal to your strength. He’s fighting for principles that are opposite of your principles…

Joe Russo: … yet he’s your best friend.

Anthony Russo: We couldn’t have been more excited to make this film.

Q: What was your favorite completed scene to see on the big screen?

Anthony Russo: There were so many of them but I would have to say there was a particular thrill to watching the climax - the battle with the helicarriers sort of finally completed. Because that was such a long road. It was computer graphics. That scene didn’t really come together until the last couple months. Other scenes, like Fury’s car chase, or the fight on the bridge with the Winter Soldier, those things we had  edited back in September. The final climactic battle is something that came together at the very end of the process because of all the graphic work for it.

If you haven’t seen the film yet, what are you waiting for? LOL! :-) Seriously, it’s an awesome film. The action and special effects will blow your mind.

You can check out the film’s official Facebook page as well as the Twitter page.

Have you seen the film yet? If so I would love to hear your thoughts about it. Feel free to leave a comment. I always love to hear from my readers.

Captain-America-The-Winter-Soldier-Poster

Kimberly

*I was not compensated for this post. The opinions expressed are my own unless otherwise noted. My travel expenses to the press interview were covered.

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Interview with Anthony Mackie – “Falcon” from Captain America: The Winter Soldier

 

Antony Mackie Falcon

Have you seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier yet? If not, what are you waiting for? LOL! The movie just opened this past Friday (April 4, 2014) and grossed a whopping $96 million making it the biggest April opening of a film in history. That’s awesome! The movie was predicted to do exceptionally well. It even surpassed what was anticipated.

In case you missed it here is my review – Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

In addition you might like to read the interviews with Chris Evans (Steve Rogers / Captain America), Scarlett Johansson (Natasha / Black Widow) and the President of Marvel, Kevin Feige.

The blogger group I was with also had the opportunity to interview Anthony Mackie who plays the part of Sam Wilson / Falcon in the film.

I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Anthony a few years ago at the press junket for the film Real Steal. He was HYSTERICAL! He had us all laughing so hard in that interview that my sides were hurting from laughing so much. I had a feeling he wouldn’t disappoint us with this interview either. He is hands down one of the funniest people I have ever had the opportunity to interview.

Here are some highlights from our interview with Anthony Mackie, aka “Falcon”.

Anthony shared with us that when he first started acting he wanted to do two things – be a superhero and act in a Western. When he got the call about getting the role of Sam Wilson/Falcon that really put things into perspective for him.

Q: When you found out you got the role and that you’ve worked with somebody like Hugh Jackman (they worked together in Real Steal), who’s been a Marvel film (Wolverine), did  you call him and ask for any pointers? 

Anthony: No. I did not want to mess up my experience. I completely wanted to come into this naïve, ignorant and like my virginal eyes not knowing anything.  Sam (Samuel L. Jackson) has done like fifteen Marvel movies. And Chris (Evans) and Scarlett (Johansson) have done like six each. And you know, Sebastian (Stan) has done three. So I was like, don’t kill my vibe. I’m having a, a good time, we’re doing a Marvel movie, we get the best craft services.  You know, we’re in California.

You know, we basically shut down the city of Cleveland. You know, so it’s like, wow, I know how Denzel feels. I was soakin’ it up.

Chris and I have a very good relationship. And it literally got to the point where we would show up on set and we were like seven-year-olds.  I mean, we had that first day where it’s like, deal with 35-year-old men in costume. We’re losers [LAUGHS]. And then the next day we started making fun of each other. And then it just turned into this thing where it became infectious.

It’s fun when you go to work knowing you’re going to make a quality product. Because as actors there’s so many people with, you know, daddy issues that mess up movies. It’s like “Oh I’m going to edit it this way” or “I didn’t have a girlfriend in high school so I’m going do this.” Dude, just make a movie!  Working with Marvel is one of those studios where you go to work and you know everybody leaves their stuff at the door. They just want to make a good project. Once we got over our suits, we had a good time.

Q: What did you do to train and prepare for this film?

Anthony: Salmon, chicken, tuna fish, asparagus and a cup of brown rice at noon. Every day for three months.

When I played high school football we used to do these things called “two a days”. Basically at 6:00 AM you wake up and you get ready and go to the gym for a hour to do cardio. Then you come home and you just rest and eat every three hours. At 7:00 PM you go to the gym and literally lift whatever you can find for about a hour and a half. Then you go home and go to sleep. Then you wake up and do it again, for three months. It’s a lifestyle. Fitness is a lifestyle. You have to eat a certain way. You have to do a certain thing. You have to live a certain way. Me and my homeboy Jack Daniels stopped talking. No more pizza and all the things I love. Me and my girlfriend Haagen Dazs broke up.  She’s French, it was crazy.

I just had to contain myself. Then I show up and Chris looks like a Greek god. I’m feeling good about myself. I’m Spandex ready and I show up and he’s like, Captain, you know, with a tiny butt. And I’m like, “Dude, how’d you get your butt that small?”  Then I put my costume on and everybody was like, “Damn, we got to let out the air.” But I made it through it. [LAUGHS].

So yeah, it was a grueling three months.

Q: How do you feel about not being the first African-American superhero? 

Anthony: It’s funny you should ask that.  When I was a kid I really didn’t have that person I could look at, other than my dad, and be like, “Hey, I want to be that guy and fly through the window.”  You couldn’t be like seven years old and say, “Who do you want to be for Halloween?” Shaft,” you know. So it’s really exciting.

Looking at it, it always makes me emotional.  I mean, when I first got this role I just cried like a baby because I was like, “Wow, next Halloween, I’m going to open the door and there’s going to be a little kid dressed as the Falcon.” And that’s the thing that always gets me.  I feel like everybody deserves that. I feel like there should be a Latino super hero. I feel like Scarlett does great representation for all the other girls.

There should be a Wonder Woman movie. I don’t care if they make $20.00, if there’s a movie you’re going to lose money on, make it Wonder Woman. Do you know what I mean? Because little girls deserve that. There’s so many of these little people out here doing awful things for money, in the world of being famous. And little girls see that. They should have the opposite spectrum of that to look up to.

#CaptainAmericaEvent

Q: How was the whole Falcon costume experience?

Anthony: It was no fun. The hardest working actors in Hollywood are flying superheroes. I said it, I don’t care what Thor says with his hammer. I don’t care what Wolverine says. If you fly, it sucks.

I loved my costume, I loved everything about it. I love doing stunts. I have the best stuntman in the business. We’ve done like five movies together. And literally it’s like that Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny cartoon, where like the missile is coming and Bugs Bunny’s like paused and then puts Daffy in. And he just takes the brunt of every hit for me. And I love it. [LAUGHS] There’s nothing natural about flying to humans. There’s nothing we do that’s like flying.

On my first day on set I get on a 60 foot platform. And I’m like, “All right, let’s do this.” And they said, “All right, stand on the edge of the platform, there’s a jet coming at you. We want you to stand up, turn around, shoot your guns and jump back backwards head first, into this mat.” From 60 feet in the air. And I’m like, “Whoa!” The first day is usually like walking down a hallway, or eating or something. You know, just to break you in. Not jumping off the platform to your death.

So once we did that, in the scalding heat of the day, I kind of knew what I was in for. And it just got worse from there. It was really painful and exhausting. But Aaron Toney, my stuntman, literally, he fell out of a car at 40 miles an hour. He got messed up on this movie. So kudos to him. [LAUGHS].

Q: What was it like the first time you put the costume on?

Anthony: It was great. The first time I put that costume on, I couldn’t stop smiling. I was running around the room. It’s one of those moments where you just have to allow yourself to enjoy it.

My costume was 45 minutes to get in it and it was like five minutes to get out. But it was fun. I really took every moment to enjoy being a super hero. It was a good time.

Q: There must have been lots of guy talk on the set. What was it like to have Scarlett Johansson around?

Anthony: You know, Scarlett is just a regular chick. Like it’s weird, you expect her to be a diva or high maintenance or catty. Or just so — an actress. But she’s a regular chick and she’s really low maintenance and cool and fun to be around. She just goes with the flow. I guess that comes with being extremely talented. I feel like a lot of people compensate for not being talented with being bitchy. But she’s really talented. She’s a very really down to earth, fun, cool, just regular chick.

Q: The Falcon goes back to the ‘60s. Which versions of the Falcon did you go back to for the character to draw on?

Anthony: I commend Marvel for putting the Falcon in this movie because the Falcon’s history is something very unique to the comic book world. Usually in comic books they’ll introduce a character, if it doesn’t hit they’ll just let him fall off into the sunset. But with the Falcon, Marvel made a unique choice to get him right. So he had about three or four different incarnations in the life of the comic book.

I tried to stay away from the source material because I felt what the writers gave me with this was the introduction to the Falcon. So I just took what I had in the script, and worked primarily on that. I felt like the military history he had, and the relationship he has with Steve in this movie, is much more important than who he was in the comic books. Because I felt like if that relationship was grounded in truth and it worked, the rest of the movie would work.

I really just focused on, what exactly are the side effects and repercussions of PTSD [Post-traumatic stress disorder]? How exactly do you overcome that? And when it’s overcome, is it like drugs, is it a work in progress everyday? Or is it like something, once you’re over it you’re over it and I’m good. Or is it person to person stuff like that?

I just asked a bunch of different questions along those lines. A lot of my research came from soldiers I’ve met during Hurt Locker and from doing charitable work with the Navy and stuff. So I just emailed a bunch of guys and got a lot of stuff online, a lot of videos. Lot of depositions with soldiers coming back and just talking about their experiences and where they are now. I just used that stuff and tried to ground him in the history that was him, as opposed to the history that was the comic book.

This was a super fun interview. Anthony cracked a lot of jokes and had us all laughing hysterically. He even took the time to pose for smaller group photos instead of just one big group photo.

Anthony Mackie Falcon #CaptainAmericaEvent

Anthony also shared a funny story with us about the time his sister saw Falcon posters in her local Michael’s craft store and how Anthony thought it would be great to autograph them as a freebie bonus for whomever purchased one. The manager was not too pleased that he did that (he didn’t believe that he was really “Falcon” for the film) so Anthony ended up purchasing about sixty posters from the store. LOL!

Anthony is a lot of fun but at the same time you can tell that he’s really down to Earth. He also “brings is’ to his role of Falcon. I think Anthony was correct in saying that this Halloween there is going to be a lot of little kids dressed as Falcon knocking on people’s doors. I have to agree with him on that one. I’m sure Falcon is going to be a super popular Marvel character thanks to the huge success of this film.

You can check out the film’s official Facebook page as well as the Twitter page. The official hashtag is #CaptainAmerica. To  hear what other bloggers have to say about the film check out the hashtag  #CaptainAmericaEvent.

Check out this cool action clip that gives you a little glimpse inside the character of the Falcon.

 

Kimberly

*I was not compensated for this post. I am posting this for the enjoyment of my site readers. The opinions expressed are my own unless otherwise noted. My travel expenses for the press junket were covered.

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Interview with Scarlett Johansson about Captain America: The Winter Soldier

 

Scarlett Johansson Capatain American Winter Soldier

A few weeks ago I had an opportunity that I am sure most guys only dream about – I had the chance to interview the lovely Scarlett Johannson about her role “Black Widow” in the upcoming film Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The film opens in theaters nationwide tomorrow (April 4, 2014).

I can see why men adore her. She’s beautiful and very well spoken. She also kicks some major a$$ in the film. :-)

Q: When are we going to a Black Widow movie?

Scarlett: The thing about working with Marvel… how loud the audience voice is, kind of resounds in their ears. I think because Marvel, and particularly Kevin Feige, is such a fan of the source material himself and understands that the fans are kind of what drive this train. If people want that, want to see that film, I’m sure that we can get something together.

Q: In this film she’s like cupid?  Why the transition?

Scarlett: Well first of all when the character is talking to Loki, you know, she’s kind of putting up this front.  She’s not, as we come to realize, being completely honest with him.  It’s partly for her widow face that she wears.  And in this film we really get to see a lot more of  Natasha. Natasha has a romantic side.

She’s been really damaged.  I think that very early on in the past (she) probably learned to not care too much about people because they could be easily taken away from her and used against her. She probably didn’t want to hurt the people that she loved the most.  And so she never needs them or never invested too much in them knowing that  it would probably put them in danger.

I think that she hopes that for someone like Cap, particularly Steve. I think she sees someone who could have sort of have his life enriched by sharing it with somebody.  That she sees someone that kind of yearns for that, but, you know, is also scarred by the series of events that have changed his life.  And maybe she’s kind of sees in Steve a little bit of herself and wants something more for him.

Q: Do you enjoy having your character mature?

Scarlett: Yeah, it’s been interesting. Of course when I went in to do Avengers, after having done Iron Man 2 which, you know, you kind of don’t know a lot about the character, you sort of see her in widow mode.  I met with Joss and we started talking. He did a bunch of research.  Because now at this point we’re invested in this character. I didn’t know if the character would work, or the audience would like her - Like my version of her. Once it became clear they did and I got the opportunity to explore more of her back story in Avengers, it really started to carve out what my kind of version of Natasha, what my reality could be.  I mean obviously it’s one of the oldest female superheroes. Probably the oldest one, and she’s got this vast library of source material and has had many incarnations and many different people have their hand in her stories. She’s made all kinds of connections and love interests and failures, and she’s been good and bad in everything.

 #CaptainAmericaEvent

Q: Tell us about the stunts you did.

Scarlett: Well first of all my stunt girlfriend is this wonderful stunt woman by the name of Heidi Moneymaker – that’s her real name. She’s awesome. This is our third (movie) and she’s played the widow every time along with me. We have really worked together from the beginning to develop this fighting style that you see.  We want to keep the consistency of it. It’s such a fun - it’s such a playful kind of fighting style. It’s badass but it’s kind of sexy. It’s a little bit flirtatious. And it’s balletic giving a kind of a little nod to her past gymnastics. It’s also a bit of a nod to Heidi’s past. The Muay Thai and whatever else she would have learned with her kind of global experience. In Iron Man the fight sequences were really fantastic.

In the Avengers there was a lot more kind of gun play and stuff like that - wielding all kinds of crazy alien guns, and that was a mess.  This time around a lot of the fighting was pretty gritty.  A lot of handheld weapons and full on kind of fighting.

It actually made it a lot easier for me. First of all the crazy acrobatic stuff that you see I start and finish, and then Heidi does ridiculous things with her body that I could never do. Even if it was my job. She’s amazing. She deserves most, most of the credit. A very brave and very inspiring person. I just basically wound myself trying to emulate whatever she does. I want to be involved as I can.  And the stunt guys  let me do it because they’re nuts. [LAUGHTER]  There’s a big insurance policy on the film.

Q: Tell us about the Black Widow costume.

Scarlett: The Widow costume is, I have to say, is probably the most comfortable of the superhero suits because it doesn’t require a built-in air conditioning unit, like Hemsworth does (referring to the movie Thor). I don’t have under armor. I don’t have a huge leather cape, headdress, whatever, all that stuff.  It’s pretty straight forward.  It’s kinda like a wet suit actually. Sort of this one piece. I’m always amazed when it goes on and zips up. I’m like, wow – it’s on.

It’s totally empowering because once you get the belt, gloves, bracelets, guns and the boots it looks great.  It’s badass, It sells it. It’s kind of a superhero thing. It changes the way you stand. It changes your posture. You’re more aware of your body, obviously. I’ve grown to love it.  First I was terrified of it. And now I embrace it because it embraces me, actually.

I work hard to get into it and I’m proud to wear it. It’s fun. Kids love it which is great because it looks very superhero-esque. It’s kind of  utilitarian but it’s got the feminine thing going to it. It’s fun for them to have that to put on as opposed to like the tiny little skirt.  [LAUGHTER] A little cover-up with a tutu, stuff like that.

When I say Scarlett Johansson’s character, “Black Widow”/ Natasha kicks butt in this movie, I’m not kidding. Check out this brief clip staring Scarlett’s character from the film, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Not only does she kick butt she still has a very feminine quality about her.

 

I sure wouldn’t want to get on her bad side. LOL!

Captain America: The Winter Soldier opens in theaters tomorrow, April 4, 2014.

You can check out the film’s official Facebook page as well as the Twitter page.

Do you plan on seeing the film? Who is your favorite superhero and/or Marvel character and why? I always love to hear from my readers.

CaptainAmerica

Kimberly

*I was not compensated for this post. I attended a press junket in order to participate in this interview. My travel expense were provided for.

 

 

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Interview with President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige

 

Captain America Winter Soldier Poster

Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with several other bloggers to interview Kevin Feige, the President of Marvel Studios. He is also the Producer of the film Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which comes out on Friday, April 4, 2014.

I knew he was the producer of the film. I didn’t know at the time that he was also the President of Marvel Studios. That’s pretty neat.

Here is an excerpt from the interview where Mr. Feige not only touches up on Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but also discusses upcoming movie releases from Marvel Studios that I’m sure many fans will be excited to know about.

Q: Can you tell us what comes next?

KF: We’re spending a lot of time now in the cutting room on Guardians of the Galaxy, which comes out August 1st. We just released the teaser for it recently. In about two weeks we start filming Avengers: Age of Ultron. That’s coming up very fast and that will be the next movie up in May of 2015.  In about ten weeks, we start filming Ant-Man with Michael Douglas and Paul Rudd. That comes out in July of 2015.

We haven’t announced what comes after that in 2016/2017 but we’re actively working on any number of things and are beginning to hone in on sort of exactly what the movies will be in ’16 and ’17.

Q: Is it intentional that you always incorporate older superheroes?

KF: Well I think its indicative of our development process. We just believe that’s the best way to bring the villains into it. It’s more personal in this movie than in any other movie because of who the Winter Soldier is.

Q: Are there perks with working with celebrities?

KF: No.  The only favor I want is for them to do the movie and to do an amazing job in the movie and they have done that up to this point.

Q: Talk about the controversy around Winter Soldier.

KF: Comic fans always knew sort of two things - characters die and come back to life in comics, like in soap operas. But there are two characters in the Marvel Universe that are never going to come back to life - Uncle Ben and Bucky Barnes. About 10 years ago a comic book writer, Ed Brubaker, went to publishing.  I didn’t have anything to do with it. He went to publishing and said, “I have an idea to bring Bucky Barnes back.” And I’m sure they’re like “what are you talking about?  You can’t do that.” And they pitched the idea and it was great. And it was the Winter Soldier idea and it was done so well. I think fans went “No, you can’t – Oh that’s great, we love that.”

Q: Talk about the difference in the tone.

KF: Well it was two things.  I mean one was we always want our movies to feel differently. We have two movies a year coming out. If they start to feel redundant, they start to feel like cookie cutter, you know, off the same assembly line, people are going to lose interest. And we will lose interest. I’m not interested in making the same movie over and over again. So it’s very important to us that we mix them up and that they feel very unique, each of the films.  We had a wonderful opportunity where you have a character whose origins were in the 1940′s (referring to Steve Rogers from Captain America). At the end of that movie we reveal that he’s now alive in the present day.  He’s got a brief adventure in the Avengers film but doesn’t have a lot of time to think about his current stay where he’s living, He’s got to stop this horrible event from happening.

So now this was the movie where we got to say OK, here’s Steve in the modern day, let’s do something totally unique, and that led us to the notion of doing the Marvel Superhero version of a ’70s Action Movie, a ’70s Political Thriller. He doesn’t fly and he doesn’t go visit other planets, so that gave us an opportunity to do the kind of action that we haven’t necessarily done before in our movies which is a ground base and visceral, you know, car chases and hand to hand combat. What Steve’s super power is other than sort of his strong moral foundation is he’s a super soldier. We wanted to showcase him in this movie. And we wanted to put him up against somebody that is equal to that, which is what the Winter Soldier was in a bad guy.

I’m glad people are responding to how unique the tone of this movie and how different, not just from the first Captain America film but from any of our movies that it has.

Q: Is there any hope to get other characters with other studios?

KF: No. I think we’re all busy. SONY’s busy working on Spiderman movies. Spiderman II is coming out very soon. Fox is working very hard on X-Men and they’ve got an X-Men Movie coming out very soon. And we clearly are spending a lot of time doing our two movies a year. I don’t want to say never say never necessarily but I don’t know that that would happen any time soon, and we’re certainly not planning for it.

President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige

President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige

Q: Talk about casting people.

KF: It varies.  I mean sometimes we do (cast people they know/already worked with). And sometimes it’s auditioning actors. Sometimes it’s a case where we (knew who we wanted). Frankly, with Anthony Mackie (they knew they wanted him). That’s who the Russos wanted. We thought he’d be great and he agreed. Sometime you know.

Getting a call from Mr. Redford’s agent saying do you have anything that might be good for him and we went Holy Mackerel, we sure do.   And we made some adjustments to that character - to increase his stature and to make it worthy of Robert Redford playing it.

Often times it’s just meeting with people and finding people who are interested. Michael Douglas on Ant-Man and Paul Rudd - both were  sort of first choices in terms of the characters they’re playing for us.

People seem to be excited about joining us and seem to trust that they’re not going to look silly in a costume or talking to a comic book character. They realize we take this very seriously and when somebody like Robert Redford or like Anthony Mackie or any of our actors sign up, that’s a big responsibility for us the film makers. We have to bring our best to the script and to the production and to the final product.

Q: With the backlog of Films, do you find this to be a challenge or is it easier?

KF: I don’t know if it makes it easier. It’s a bit of a challenge but it also is just fun. You know the challenge frankly as I sort of eluded to before is not to overdo it. As you know until the movie comes out, we’ll reveal that there are goings on at Shield and we want to say “Hey, what if a US Senator was part of this?” Well we have a US Senator and he was in one of our movies, Gary Shandling, so let’s bring him back. Let’s see if he might be willing to do it and he absolutely was and he flew to DC and shot that for us. Now that we’re approaching a dozen movies now, it is fun to go back and connect dots, in ways that you would do anyway.

Q:  What are you most excited about?

KF: I am most excited about how the world reacted to that teaser which I’m very, very happy with because that teaser, you know, represents the tone and the vibe of the movie quite overtly. So we were sort of leading with our most unique and different element, which is not always what movie markers do. We were leading with what the most unique elements of the movie are which I’m very happy with and more happy that people seem to be on board with it.

As we’ve been talking about today, each Marvel Studio’s movie needs to be unique, needs to feel like its own fresh entity, but Guardians takes that to the extreme. It really is more different and a fresh original movie. It happens to be based on a Marvel comic book but for all intensive purposes though, from an audience who has no idea who those characters are from the comics, it is an original movie.

Summer where there are a lot of sequels. There are a lot of remakes, so I hope people are as excited as we are to see something wholly new and wholly original.  That’s what I’m most excited about.

Q: Do you hope that Guardians becomes a series of films?

KF: Well sure. I mean, it takes place on the other side of the galaxy but at the same time, there are elements in it that quite directly link it into the other movie so it absolutely is a part of our cinematic universe. The truth is we don’t make every movie one at a time so we’re putting everything we have into that first movie. There other stories to tell - are there ways we could take them on other adventures?  Absolutely.  But we never find ourselves going “Oh, this is a great idea.  Let’s save this for Part 3?” No if you don’t put it in here, there won’t be a Part 3.  You need to put all the great ideas in the movie at hand. So that’s where all of our energies is going right now into Guardians.

For your entertainment here are the trailers for Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.

Look for my interview (tomorrow – April 3, 2014) with Scarlett Johansson and Friday, my review of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

 

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy 

 

Kimberly

*I was not compensated for this post. I did attend the press junket. All my travel expenses were taken care of.

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