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October 2017

Wingman Wednesday

David Lim

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Photo By: Gary Fitzpatrick

The upcoming CBS series “S.W.A.T.” has a number of factors going for it that puts it in a position of achieving network success. It has a built-in brand without being based on an existing group of characters or universe, a rarity in a landscape where every great idea has been mined ten times over. It is tackling topical subject matter that is prevalent in the daily conversations of viewers. And quite possibly best of all, it has David Lim, the California-born actor who brings an indefinably cool James Dean-like presence to every scene he’s in.

We recently sat down with Lim to discuss his premiere plans, how it feels more like a movie than a series, and why his contribution to “S.W.A.T.” will hopefully inspire a future generation of Asian-American actors.

TrunkSpace: “S.W.A.T.” premieres this week. What’s going through your mind – nerves, excitement, a combo of both?
Lim: You know, not really nerves, more excitement. We filmed the pilot, it seems like, ages ago – back in April, so it’s been six months in the making. I’ve seen some of the rough cuts of some of the upcoming episodes and how great these episodes are turning out and so I think for all of us, we’re just very excited to finally be able to share it with audiences.

TrunkSpace: Do you have any premiere plans?
Lim: Yeah, a couple of the cast members and myself, Jay Harrington who plays Deacon and Alex Russel who plays Jim Street, we’re going down to Santa Monica at Rock’n Pies. Jay’s buddy owns the place, and we’re just gonna bring out a bunch of our friends and they’re gonna shut down the restaurant for a couple hours and we’ll be able to enjoy it with each other and all our friends.

TrunkSpace: That sounds awesome. Great way to celebrate the launch of a series that could have easily taken a more standard procedural approach, but instead, it feels a bit like a hybrid between a network series and a cable show.
Lim: Yeah. I think it’s really gonna set itself apart from just your standard, let’s say, network procedural. I think there’s gonna be times when you’re like, “What am I watching? Am I watching a movie or am I watching network television?”

TrunkSpace: And you’re tackling some pretty heavy, relevant subject matters throughout.
Lim: And we’re excited about that as well. From the get go we’re talking about Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, we get into human trafficking, we get into cyber bullying. I think it’s stuff that’s very topical and relevant to what’s happening in the world today. And we’re not gonna shove it down anyone’s throats, how you should think about the matter, but we’re just gonna approach it from both sides – the police side and the community side. And that’s what’s exciting and hopefully we’ll be able to start some discussions.

TrunkSpace: And you mentioned that it will feel like a movie, which is helped along by the fact that Justin Lin’s creative fingerprint is definitely on the project. You can see it in the action sequences.
Lim: Yeah, when we were shooting the pilot it definitely had that kind of cinematic feel. You have Justin Lin directing this thing and I have so much respect for him and what he’s done. I’ve been a fan of his since “Better Luck Tomorrow,” and obviously “The Fast and the Furious” franchise and “Star Trek: Beyond,” and so when we’re working with him, when we were shooting the pilot, it never felt like television. It felt like we were on the set of a movie. At times it felt like we were doing “The Fast and the Furious” when we’re doing some of those car chases and when we’re blowing up cars. I definitely think his fingerprints are all over the pilot and you’ll kind of see it throughout the series as well.

TrunkSpace: Can you walk us through where your character Victor Tan falls into things and what his journey is?
Lim: You’ll sort of find out more about him as the series goes on. They created this role for me. There wasn’t a Victor Tan in the pilot when it was originally written, so they created this character. I was originally on as kind of a recurring role and then a few episodes in they bumped me up to a series regular and then they really could start delving into my character and writing for my character. So come probably later December or early January, when we get seven, eight, and nine episodes in, you’ll really start to get a sense of more of who this guy is. It’s kind of blue sky because they didn’t have him initially in the pilot, so we could really go anywhere with him. I’ve had a few conversations with the writing staff and where we want to take this guy. He’s got some kind of former CI’s in the community that he deals with who may or may not also be love interests – just some really interesting stuff.

TrunkSpace: Because you started as a recurring and then your role was expanded, were there things that surprised even you in terms of how Victor has progressed?
Lim: How they originally wrote him was as a guy who grew up in Venice Beach – a surfer/skater who eventually became a part of LAPD. As we started filming and they got more of a sense of who I am and what I brought to the role, I think they kind of went away from this surfer/skater thing because we haven’t touched on that at all.

We’re filming an episode right now, which is going to be the ninth episode of the season I believe, and we’re really starting to get into Victor Tan’s backstory, which like I said, kind of involves a former CI who could be a love interest as well. I’m very curious to see where they take him.

TrunkSpace: From a performance standpoint, is it interesting to to get the scripts each time out and sort of learn about Victor as you go?
Lim: Yeah, I think it’s great. When each new script comes out, you’re looking for little bits and pieces, the little clues, and you’re like, “Okay, well I had originally kind of created this backstory for this character and now I’m getting this new piece of information…” And it’s really cool because as the scripts continue to come out, I think all of us are really starting to settle in to the characters as we get more pieces and more of our backstory. Obviously you know you can do a ton of homework and make stuff up for yourself, which a lot of the actors do, but it’s nice to get a new script and see what they write for your character.

TrunkSpace: Now that you’ve seen the inner workings of how police and specifically, S.W.A.T., operate, do you have a different point of view if you’re driving and you stumble upon an officer or team in the midst of an operation in your day to day life? Do you look at things differently now?
Lim: So differently. As we’ve worked with some of these guys and got to know some of these S.W.A.T. officers, just the level of respect – I already had a great respect for law enforcement and what they do, but it just ups the ante in terms of respect for what these guys do. We went down to LAPD S.W.A.T. just to take a tour of the facilities and they got a call when we were taking the tour and we got to actually see them roll out. It was like a caravan of 10 vehicles going out on a call and it was unbelievable to see. So now, definitely that we’ve been dealing with these officers or we’re filming all this stuff with the vehicles, every time you pass a situation or something you’re like, “Oh, there’s S.W.A.T. right there and there.” But just huge respect for what these guys do and we want to do our best to try to bring the authenticity and the realism to the show.

TrunkSpace: We saw that you had a degree in Electrical Engineering. Is that something you hope you never have to use?
Lim: When I graduated college, I knew I wasn’t really cut out for engineering. I didn’t really have an interest in getting into it. When I started to pursue acting and got into my first class and really fell in love with the craft and realized that this is something I want to do as a profession, if I could do it until I retire, that would be incredible. But in the back of my mind I’d always tell myself, “If acting doesn’t work out and if I’m not able to make a living at it, I do have this engineering degree that I can always fall back on.” So that’s always there. Do I hope to fall back on it? No, I hope I don’t have to get a job as an engineer. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: (Laughter) It’s a nice safety net though, right?
Lim: It’s not a bad safety net, but it’s been like 10 years since I graduated. (Laughter) I don’t even know if companies would still even look at that and take that seriously.

I love acting and I hope to continue to be able to do this and tell interesting stories and play interesting characters. I think “S.W.A.T.” is such a great vehicle. It’s got the name brand and I just think it’s such a great vehicle for me in particular to bring a cool, bad ass Asian-American character to television because growing up I never saw any. We didn’t have a lot and we still don’t have too many. And to be able to do that and maybe start a larger discussion – maybe people see this and they start to bring more cool roles for Asian American guys.

TrunkSpace: And perhaps a young Asian-American kid will be sitting down to watch the show, see your performance, and be inspired to pursue is own dreams.
Lim: To me that’s what it’s all about – if I can inspire some kid or if he can even just see me on the screen and say, “Hey, maybe acting is possible. Maybe I can become an actor.” When I was growing up, I never saw anyone who looked like me playing a cool role, so I didn’t think it was possible to become an actor. And so if we can do that and at the same time entertain, because at the end of the day it’s about entertaining, and people can get lost in our show, that’s awesome.

“S.W.A.T. premieres Thursday on CBS.”

Featured image by: Gary Fitzpatrick

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Next Up

Karl Kristian Flores

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Name: Karl Kristian Flores

Hometown: San Francisco, California

Current Location: Los Angeles, California

TrunkSpace: When did you know that you wanted to act for a living?
Flores: I didn’t wake up one morning and decide acting was what I wanted to pursue as a career. It was sort of this slow, prolonged realization that there was nothing the world could offer me that was more important than acting. It was an epiphany. I acknowledged in high school that walking into a classroom, I had a stronger desire to entertain my classmates than to actually “learn.” But to me, I was learning. I knew if I were to have a regular day job, I’d probably get fired trying to make my boss cry and co-workers laugh.

TrunkSpace: Was there a particular performance or actor/actress from your childhood that you remember being drawn to and inspired by?
Flores: There was always something special about watching Johnny Depp. Now, I hate even writing that because when I see him on screen, I know it’s not him. He’s not an “actor playing a character well” but solely that character. His ability to transform into another being with no false notes anywhere made me say, “Oh yeah. That’s it right there. I’m gonna do that.” A particular performance that inspired me was from a television show called “Teen Wolf.” This actor’s name is Dylan O’Brien and for some reason, I saw myself in him. I was this kid in school goofing around wondering if I was alone and so O’Brien’s character really resonated with me with his comedy.

TrunkSpace: How did you decide to approach your career as an actor? Did you formulate a plan of how you wanted to attack what is known for being a hard industry to crack?
Flores: It’s interesting. It went from a lot of thinking to no thinking at all. I knew how many people were out here, but ultimately knew that for some mad reason, it didn’t matter to me. People say that they “love” things or people, but the word “love” is so overused that people neglect its value. For me, at least, love is unconditional and it came to the point where I loved this so much that everything in my path disappeared. An actor definitely needs the “do or die” mentality and if you don’t have it, you either don’t love the craft or just want to be famous – or both.

My plan was to say yes to everything. However strange the role was the better. Being a Filipino-American, you don’t see many actors of my ethnicity on screen and so getting the courage to pursue this career knowing that was probably the hardest thing. But my key was to make it not about my race, but my talent and work.

TrunkSpace: When did you decide to move away from your home and pursue acting as a career? How old were you at the time?
Flores: I am pretty young. Being 17, I just graduated high school and am currently pursuing my acting career and getting training at the University of Southern California School of Dramatic Arts. My mom was supportive after the many breakdowns in the car I had explaining to her how important my passion was to me.

TrunkSpace: Was that move an easy transition for you initially? How long did it take you to feel at home and find a good support group of friends and peers?
Flores: If you want to get better, it’s necessary to surround yourself with people who have the same interests as you. It is not a town to go through things alone. A person can learn so much from others who have the same level of dedication that they themselves have. With that being said, Los Angeles is a network-based city and so it’s actually kind of hard to find friends who don’t just use you with the intent of getting work. I understand for some actors moving to LA that they may find themselves slipping on ice, afraid and confused as to why they are there, but my advice is: if there’s no other place for you in the world, you belong here. So embrace the traffic and nail that audition.

TrunkSpace: What has been been your biggest break in terms of a particular role or project thus far?
Flores: I had a few lines on a television show on Comedy Central that got me my IMDb page (and first paycheck). An actor getting their first television credit is a HUGE deal, so that credit and my rather short-lived experience on that show was how I marketed myself. I think I would tell casting directors who asked what I was up to that, “I wrapped up shooting for the second episode of a show on Comedy Central” even two months after it was over.

TrunkSpace: Is there a specific type of role you’d like to take on or a specific genre that you feel more at home in?
Flores: Absolutely not. I feel that specificity disregards the value of the limitless possibilities that a screenwriter or playwright could think of for a character. I’d say the more complex, the better. If you know you can play a role, what’s the challenge? It can get boring playing characters that aren’t somewhat peculiar. I do enjoy comedy a lot!

TrunkSpace: What would you say is the greatest strength an actor/actress can have outside of acting ability itself?
Flores: The greatest strength an actor can have outside of the craft is reading. Some people don’t associate literature with acting, but to me, it is essential. If you don’t like to read, you can’t be an actor.

TrunkSpace: What is your ultimate dream when it comes to your acting career? Where would you like your path to lead?
Flores: My ultimate dream is to be able to be an instrument that tells a story that I am in love with. It is difficult to give your all in a project that doesn’t make you feel anything. The goal is quite simple – tell great stories and be a character entirely and truthfully. In the process, I pray that Asians, Hispanics, and other races realize that it is possible to break in. Let’s get lead roles where the actor isn’t white, but YOUR race. It puzzles me how Hollywood, though we’re getting better at it, will try to tell a story about the world and not have actors from all around the world take part in the project. Apart from that, I hope my path leads me to being a part of some great films. If you have a goal, you might as well go for the top. I aim to act in some of the most important movies of all time. And it’s about the message, not the budget. A story will attract the audience, not the actor. So to be a part of a meaningful project means so much more to me than a high-budget blockbuster. Now that I think about it, I grew up loving movies, but have always been drawn to television. I think it’s because you start to care more for the characters. Watching a TV show, the hours you spend on it makes you feel truly a part of the story. I’m not saying movies cannot do that, but definitely a unique relationship is formed through television that movies cannot achieve.

TrunkSpace: What advice would you give another young aspiring actor/actress who is considering moving away from home to pursue their dream?
Flores: Ask yourself why you want to be an actor. And disregard the first answer. Ignore the second. Keep on asking and asking until you really, really know. Understand that absolute certainty of why you want to pursue acting is required if you want to get work. Moving away can be scary, but your urgency to perform must be larger than the fear of letting go. Also, have fun in every risk you take. My favorite way to live life is by finding some way to laugh! Have levity, but maintain professionalism.

TrunkSpace: Where can people (and casting directors) learn more about you?
Flores: How lovely! I am very active on Instagram @darthvaderbutt. You can check out my IMDb page (Karl Kristian Flores) or shoot me an email at kmanflo@gmail.com.

I hope my answers provided some insight on the life of an actor, and pray you enjoyed a glimpse of the wide spectrum that is art!

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Trunk Gaming

Game Review: Evil Within 2

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Initial Release Date: October 13, 2017

Developer: Tango Gameworks

Publisher: Bethesda Softworks

Genre: Survival Horror

Platforms: Playstation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows

Every October we look for something truly horrifying and entertaining to watch, read or play to help get us in that very special Halloween spirit that would make even the Great Pumpkin proud to grace our pumpkin patch. This year that special something turned out to be “Evil Within 2,” the sequel to Shinji Mikami’s original “Evil Within.” Shinji is to the survival horror genre what George A. Romero was to zombie horror films. You may have heard of his past work on a little franchise called “Resident Evil,” the first video game that any of us can recall having a reaction to similar to a scary movie. (Don’t tell us you didn’t jump when that first zombie dog jumps through the window, or the first time one of the zombies grappled you and sunk their teeth in you like a deep fried Twinkie at a fair.) This time Shinji let John Johanas and the Tango Gameworks team take the directorial reins, but he oversaw the project along the way. The transition is seamless and something very special to play. So, grab a mason jar of that green goo and see what we had to say (or scream!) about this gaming experience.

“Evil Within 2” brings back protagonist Sebastian Castellanos, as if the poor guy didn’t go through enough in the first game. The MOBIUS corporation has returned along with his partner, Juli Kidman, whom double crossed him in the previous installment. MOBIUS is seeking out Sebastian to help them. You’re asking, “Why in the hell would he ever help them after what they put him through last time?!” Well, they have what would be any father’s weakness… his daughter that he thought was dead for the past three years is alive and at the core of the STEM system MOBIUS is using. The catch? She is missing and Sebastian must reenter the nightmarish world that he barely survived before to find his daughter. It sounds simple-ish, right? TOTALLY WRONG! Once you’re put under and enter STEM, things begin to unravel quicker than Freddy Krueger’s sweater.

One of the things that really impressed us about “Evil Within 2” was how immersive it was. The first two chapters of the game you don’t actually fight anything – you are quite simply taking in the story and watching the setup of a cinematic horror movie, but you’re in control. The credits even scroll as you control Sebastian on screen. In a way, you are the director of this scary movie. You choose your actions and how to handle situations. Sure, there are confines of the game, but you really don’t notice them all that much. You might walk into a relatively small house or simple room, but when you open one door it may lead to a mental hospital overrun by creatures or you may find yourself on the receiving end of a madman’s Polaroid. Without giving too much away, we will say that you not only have to worry about the zombie-like creatures and freakishly-demented boss battles, but also a crazed killer snapping photos and creating “art” of the victims he kills. It freezes the moment in time and suddenly you’re watching an Instagram-style Boomerang video of someone’s brains being scattered across the room. Even more chilling is when you see portions of his art gallery that contain multiple heads attached to one another, bodies held together with barbed wire and things done with saws that would make even Jigsaw cringe with terror.

The actual act of fighting in the game can be a bit tedious and difficult to navigate at times. You want your character to move like Batman from the Rocksteady Studios games, but instead he is a little stiff. At first it was frustrating, but we soon adapted and really enjoyed a different take on the fight scenes. You see, instead of going into a room full of zombies, guns blazing, you should look around first. There may be an oil barrel you can kick over and shoot to ignite them all in an inferno. Or maybe they are standing in water, bust out that electrified crossbow and zap them all together. Another fun and nail-biting way to play is to sneak up on the zombie creatures and try to get the drop with a stealth kill. They are very unpredictable and never act the same way twice, so you don’t know if you will be caught or not, but it’s a riot to try. It’s really a survival horror game that makes you think and problem solve. We also liked breaking out car windows and honking at zombies, then running away. What can we say, we’re easily amused at times by teasing the undead!

There is an upgrade system similar to “The Last of Us,” where you collect parts, tools, etc… then, at various points you can upgrade your weapons, fabricate bullets or health items. We preferred drinking that magical coffee at the safe houses that somehow restores your full health. Make ours a double! You also collect red and green goo along the way and hidden keys. These can all be used in STEM to upgrade your abilities in a Matrix-like fashion. You collect the stuff, then cash them in to be injected with abilities. A word of advice… the FIRST chance you get, you’re going to want to use the “bottle upgrade” that allows you to smash bottles on undead that grab a hold of you. This happens a lot, and it’s better to smash a bottle on their head than to take damage. While there are ways to get your health back, such items are pretty scarce along with limited ammo.

One last thing we have to mention, because it’s done so well, is the environment. The detailing and textures in the game are really gorgeous. Nothing was left unfinished. It’s such a cool sight to see the fractured portions of a small town floating in the background or when you near an edge of an area. Because you are in this dream world, reality becomes blurred in odd ways. It feels very authentic, because the environments are so realistic. One minute you’re running down the street from a zombie, and you dart into a house, only now it’s not a house. It’s a mental ward or demented art gallery. It’s an effect seen in horror movies, but when you are actually playing and experiencing it, the sensation is goosebumps-inducing!

 “Evil Within 2” is like “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “The Walking Dead” and “Silent Hill” put in a blender and then poured out in video game form for the most bizarre and enjoyable horror survival experience ever to splatter across your screen. Our advice is to wait until dark, flip off the lights and give yourself as much time for the first portion of the game as you would to watch a movie. After Halloween is over, and you’re missing those haunted houses, just fire this game up and you’ll definitely get your fright fix!

 

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Wingman Wednesday

Juan Riedinger

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Photo By: Noah Asanias

Juan Riedinger may not be on his best behavior as Teo in season 2 of TNT’s “Good Behavior,” but getting the chance to play in the gray with a character is always a fun prospect for the Alberta native. He’s been keeping audiences on their toes both as an actor and as a filmmaker since first falling in love with the craft while attending college and has contributed his talents to everything from the Netflix hit “Narcos” to the popular Canadian series “The Romeo Section.”

We recently sat down with Riedinger to discuss how taking an elective to round out his course load led to a career, why being a director makes him a better actor, and what the most memorable aspect of working on “Good Behavior” was.

TrunkSpace: If you take a look at your filmography, one thing is very clear – you work a ton. Do you love the work itself or do you have the kind of personality where standing still isn’t an option?
Riedinger: It’s definitely a combination of both. I mean, standing still is definitely not an option, but it’s also important what you’re filling your time doing, and it needs to be something that you love as far as I’m concerned. I love everything about being an actor and a filmmaker as well. I direct and I edit, but my focus these days has definitely been acting, and I can’t complain. Things have been pretty good.

TrunkSpace: What first drew you to the industry?
Riedinger: It all started out in an acting class that I was taking in university. I was studying to, at first, to be a veterinarian, so I was majoring in biology, and then I volunteered at a vet clinic one summer and, as much as I love animals, I just couldn’t see myself in that position doing that for the rest of my life. So I kind of shifted gears and started to take English classes, literature, with the idea of potentially pursuing being an English professor or something along those lines because I was always good at writing essays and I enjoyed that, but, again, it was not something that I absolutely loved.

Then, in my third year of university, this was all in Calgary, by the way, I took a theater class because they asked me to take an elective to fill my course load. I’d never done that before and I figured, “Oh, it sounds like it might be an easy credit.” I just remember we had to do monologues in front of the whole class, and I was the first one selected to do it. I didn’t get to see anybody else do it. I just kind of got up and did this monologue that I had prepared, and it was just… that’s definitely the moment that this spark ignited in me because I just realized, “Holy cow, what an amazing thing to be able to do!”

It was definitely more of a gradual process to sort of commit to doing that as a full-time career, but that’s, to answer your question, that’s where the spark started.

TrunkSpace: It was probably a bit of a gift that nobody went before you because you had a clean slate and didn’t have to compare internally. You just did your thing as you envisioned it.
Riedinger: Absolutely, and if I had gone out to party instead of put the time into learning that monologue and I wasn’t fully prepared for the experience, that might have put a bad taste in my mouth and my entire life course could have gone in a completely different direction based on that singular moment, which is just, to me, blows my mind.

TrunkSpace: You mentioned how you’re also a director. Does being a director make you a better actor and vice versa?
Riedinger: I like to think so, yeah. One general rule that I’ve stuck to is, I never cast myself in any of the projects that I’m directing because I like to keep them very separate. When I’m directing, I like to focus entirely on that. Having directed the projects that I have, it’s really opened my eyes to what it is to work with an actor, which has sort of taught me, when I’m acting, what it is that a director is trying to tell me.

It’s just a different kind of language, and I feel like it’s definitely sharpened my skill as an actor being on the other side of the camera, and the same with editing. Being an editor, what it’s taught me is that not every single moment is as precious as we tend to make them out to be as actors. If you have a little moment where you’re just not feeling it or it didn’t go the way you planned it to, that’s okay because that’s what editing is for. I feel like it’s really allowed me to not make things so precious and to trust the fact that, in the end, everybody’s going to be doing everything they possibly can to make this as true and as authentic as it possibly can be.

TrunkSpace: Does that make you more open to taking notes from a director and applying them to your performance?
Riedinger: Absolutely, yeah, and it also depends on the director that you’re working with. You get directors of all shapes and sizes and experience levels and the levels of talents for the craft of directing. I think that a big part of the director’s job is to gain the actor’s trust, and, once they do that, then I think an actor will become much more malleable and open to adjusting the performance in ways that maybe that actor didn’t originally envision.

TrunkSpace: You’ve joined the cast of “Good Behavior” in season 2. For those you have yet to catch up, can you give us a sense of who your character is and where his journey will take him?
Riedinger: I play a character named Teo, who’s kind of this mysterious figure who appears. He’s a childhood friend of Javier’s, played by Juan Diego Botto, and also of Javier’s sister, Ava. He sort of appears in their lives after many, many years, and you don’t really know what his intentions are at the beginning. You don’t know if he’s up to good, if he’s up to bad, and that’s something that just sort of begins to become clear as the story progresses.

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TrunkSpace: It’s got to be fun to play in the gray and keep people guessing.
Riedinger: Yeah, you don’t want to reveal too much early on. You want to keep the audience on the edge of their seats that way.

TrunkSpace: From a character stance, did you know where we was going when you signed on or was that a learn-as-you-go experience for you as well?
Riedinger: That’s funny, because I spoke to the creator, Chad Hodge, before we started shooting, and he actually gave me the option. He said, “Some actors like to know every little thing about the course of where the character is headed and some actors don’t want to know anything.” I think I am more in the middle. I like to know kind of the broad strokes and then just sort of fill the gaps as we go along. I did have a general sense of what we were going to be doing with Teo, but there were also a lot of surprises along the way.

TrunkSpace: Performance-wise, what was the most memorable aspect of playing the character for you?
Riedinger: I was acting in two languages, which I haven’t had the chance to do a lot. Teo is from Argentina, and so, even though I speak Spanish, my mother is from Peru, I haven’t had the chance to act in Spanish a lot. And not only Spanish, but Argentinian Spanish. It’s something that I definitely wanted to get right, and so we had a dialect coach. She was originally from Argentina, and she was helping us with that. Also, I was getting help from my fellow actors who were also Argentinian. So it’s getting the Argentinian Spanish, but then it’s also getting the dialect when you’re speaking English because the Argentinian accent is very different actually than, say, Mexican Spanish.

For me, that was a very big challenge, but everybody seemed to be happy with it. I felt happy with how it went in the end, too. I got to watch a lot of movies from Argentina, which opened my eyes to filmmakers from a part of the world that I wasn’t familiar with. Yeah, that’s definitely something that I got to take away from that experience.

“Good Behavior” airs Sundays on TNT.

Featured image by: Noah Asanias

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Trunk Bubbles

Dan Mendoza

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Name: Dan Mendoza

Website: http://www.zombietrampcomic.com/

Favorite Comic Book Character Growing Up: The Hulk

Favorite Comic Book Character Now: Hellboy

Latest Work: “Zombie Tramp” and “Dollface” are under Action Lab Entertainment. “Zombie Tramp” has been an ongoing series since 2010 and “Dollface” debuted January 2017.

I am now self-publishing under my own label, Still Ill Princess. My first title is called “Sad Girl Psycho Baby.”

TrunkSpace: How would you describe your art style?
Mendoza: My art style is more on the European and Anime side. When I was a teenager, I read an article about these new styles that looked like Manga and American mixed together, calling it Neo Manga, so that’s what I call my style today.

TrunkSpace: How important were comic books in your life growing up and is that where you discovered your love and inspiration for drawing?
Mendoza: I’ve been drawing all my life. I used to make my own comics all the time with folded and stapled paper. I bought my first comic at age 12. It was called “Dynamo Joe.” The comic was a mech-styled genre just like the shows I would watch on TV, “Robotech” and “TranZor-Z,” but this was Americans making the books. After that was a bunch of artists from Marvel saying that they were leaving to do their own thing, which became Image comics. This inspired me the most to want to make my own comics for the world to see.

TrunkSpace: Was there a particular artist or title from your childhood that you remember being drawn to and inspired by?
Mendoza: I was always more inspired by stuff from Japan rather than American comics. Shirow Masamune of “Ghost in the Shell” fame and Yukito Kishiro from “Battle Angel” I’d say influenced me the most.

TrunkSpace: How did you decide to approach your career in comics? Did you formulate a plan of how you wanted to attack what is known for being a hard industry to crack?
Mendoza: When I was young, I would submit my page samples or wait in line at conventions for portfolio review. No one liked my style back then. I kept cracking at it though and ended up going to animation school at CalArts. After graduation and working at a few studios, I went back to my love for comics. I decided to just make my own book and submit it to studios as a portfolio piece representing my work. That comic was called “Zombie Tramp.”

TrunkSpace: What was your biggest break in terms of a job that opened more doors for you?
Mendoza: Self-publishing comics with my friend Jason Martin was great! We accomplished a lot together. My fan base kept growing and growing. The first break was with Action Lab. Signing with Action Lab helped me get my books into a lot of stores and helped me increase my fan base.

TrunkSpace: A lot of people say that breaking into comics is the hardest part of working in comics. How long did it take you before you started to see your comic book dreams become a reality?
Mendoza: From the time I was 17, I would submit my work to studios and get rejected. It wasn’t until I decided to make my own books at age 33 that it all started to happen for me. It goes to show what persistence and believing in yourself can do.

TrunkSpace: Is there a particular character or universe you always find yourself returning to when you’re sketching or doing warm-ups?
Mendoza: It’s always “Zombie Tramp.”

TrunkSpace: Is there a specific title or character that you’d like to work on in the future and why?
Mendoza: It’s funny, as much as I’m known for drawing pretty girls and stuff, I’d love to draw the Hulk or Conan.

TrunkSpace: What is your ultimate dream when it comes to your career in comics? Where would you like your path to lead?
Mendoza: I’d like to have my own movie, TV/animated series.

TrunkSpace: What would you say is the greatest strength as an artist?
Mendoza: The greatest strength is to have “Ganas.” I love Edward James Olmos movies. The movie he made about math teacher Jaime Escalante, “Stand and Deliver,” stood out for me when he would tell his students to have “ganas,” meaning the will and the desire to do something. Keep that ability to self-drive yourself. Constantly be drawing. Believe in yourself and treat the craft like an addiction. Keep at it.

TrunkSpace: How has technology changed your process of putting ideas/script to page? Do you use the classic paper/pencil approach at all anymore?
Mendoza: Since I have bought a Cintiq, my whole world has changed. I mostly work digital now. It’s quicker and cleaner. But I still draw on paper here and there so I don’t lose that traditional craft.

TrunkSpace: What advice would you give another young aspiring artist who is considering a career in the comic industry?
Mendoza: It’s a hard road, just like every art career. What stands out to me again is that word, “ganas.” Arnold Schwarzenegger is a hero of mine. His career, from nothing to legend, is incredible. He came up with the six rules of success. Look up these six rules and be inspired by them. My favorite rule is rule # 5 – work your butt off. Make your dream a reality through hard work. If you’re too busy talking about doing something and going out every Friday night, having fun, there is someone out there with that same idea who works on it every day and night. He will get that idea out there before you do.

TrunkSpace: Making appearances at conventions: Love it, leave it, or a combination of both?
Mendoza: Me and comic book conventions have a strange relationship. On one hand, I love them. I love meeting my fans and talking with them and drawing for them. On the other hand, I have bad anxiety problems. Overly crowded areas and traveling eat at my brain, but I power through it because my fans mean everything.

TrunkSpace: What is the craziest/oddest thing you’ve ever been asked to draw as a commission?
Mendoza: Okay, this is a bit gross but here it goes… I was asked to draw that one Spider-Man image where Peter Parker has his back to the wall and he is dodging a bunch of Dr. Octopus’s arms. Not that bad… but then, switching Peter Parker to his friend’s face and all the Dr. Octopus’s arms into veiny penises.

TrunkSpace: What else can fans of your work look forward to for the rest of 2017 and into the new year?
Mendoza: 2018 is going to be a fun year. We got the coming of “The Death of Zombie Tramp” story arc and my first solo published title, “Sad Girl Psycho Baby” coming out. The Kickstarter campaign began yesterday and can be found here.

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Wingman Wednesday

Karimah Westbrook

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Photo By: Nate Taylor

It is no easy feat to to be a standout in a cast that includes Matt Damon and Julianne Moore, but Karimah Westbrook does just that in “Suburbicon,” the latest film to be directed by George Clooney. In the small town thriller based on a true story, the Chicago native plays Daisy Myers, who along with her husband William (Leith M. Burke), discover that the idyllic American Dream of settling into a peaceful suburban existence is not all that it is cracked up to me.

We recently sat down with Westbrook to discuss the secrets of the suburbs, why the film’s message is so timely, and how Daisy Myers never let hatred harden her heart.

TrunkSpace: The cast is amazing. The creative team is the best in the business. The story is compelling and timely. With so many great factors involved in your new film “Suburbicon,” what do you think the biggest draw is?
Westbrook: I think the biggest draw for the film “Suburbicon” is that it’s an interesting play in regards to what the suburbs is supposed to be, in the sense that, everyone thinks that the suburbs is the safest place to live, right? This movie turns that on its head in the sense that you find that there is murder, deceit, betrayal, and racism all happening in this one town. It’s just the unique play on the world, the suburbs, and how people look at the suburbs and what actually happens there.

TrunkSpace: So, how people present themselves face to face and how they respond in a completely different way behind closed doors?
Westbrook: Absolutely. It’s what happens behind closed doors, and in this case, some things people aren’t trying to hide exactly – how they feel. In particular, with the Myers family, they were the first black family to move to this all white suburb, which is based off of a true story of what happened with Daisy and William Myers in 1957 in Levittown.

TrunkSpace: The film is set in the 1950s. For a lot of younger people, visually it looks like an alien world, and yet the subject of race relations and the conversations we’re having now are not dissimilar to what they were having back in that time period.
Westbrook: Absolutely. I think that racism has always existed, but I think now with technology, we have the ability to really shine a light on it. We’re able to capture a lot of moments, as before a lot of things went hidden because we didn’t have the technology that we have today. I think it will be good for the youth to see exactly where we were during that time, and look at where we’re at now, and to really see how much has not changed. Hopefully they’ll be able to make decisions of wanting to do something completely different moving forward.

TrunkSpace: Now it seems it’s not about how people behave behind closed doors, but how they behave behind avatars and their digital devices.
Westbrook: It’s so much easier for people to hide behind avatars online and spew all types of hate and malice. We’re living in some really, really interesting times. The internet definitely makes it easier for people to be more vocal about how they actually feel, but at the same time, hide their identities.

TrunkSpace: Do you feel like a film like this, releasing at this particular time, is more important than ever?
Westbrook: I think so. I think this film will garner a lot of social commentary, especially in the sense of, like I said, seeing where we were, and seeing where we’re at right now, and really seeing how much things have not changed. A lot of times seeing it on film, in this movie and the full story, you really get a chance to see just how ridiculous it was and how unwarranted these behaviors were during those times. It’s the same exact thing right now. But, I think that this film offers you a full story in the sense of, you could really see how it was unwarranted and unnecessary.

TrunkSpace: It seems like a lot of people who are disconnected from the subject of race just sort of thought race relations was something that resolved years ago, but as recent events have shown, that is not even remotely the case. A film like this, it becomes a matter of art imitating life, and helps to present a different point of view.
Westbrook: Absolutely. That’s the power of media, film and television. You get to tell stories, and a lot of them change the world, or could change the world and change people’s thought process about things, and definitely shed light on what things were and how they are now. That’s why I really love filmmaking and creating movies, because art imitates life on a lot of levels a lot of times.

TrunkSpace: The Coen brothers wrote the film. They’re known for having a very brand-specific artistic point of view, often times handling serious or dark subject matter in a humorous way. Is that creative fingerprint on the film as well?
Westbrook: Yes, I do feel that you will see the Coen brothers in the film – their writing and their style. George definitely has his own style as well, so it’s a little bit of a combination of the two. I think hardcore Coen brothers fans will be able to see the difference, and also see the similarities for sure.

TrunkSpace: As you mentioned, you’re playing a woman who actually existed and walked this earth. Does that put added pressure on you from a performance standpoint?
Westbrook: Yes, absolutely. Portraying someone who actually lived is a unique challenge. It’s an exciting opportunity, because for me as an actor, I want to get it right, for lack of a better word. I want to stay true to whoever it is, in this case, whoever Daisy Myers was. I did a lot of research. It was important for me to give an accurate depiction of who she really was and how she really lived through those times. It was exiting, rewarding, and definitely a bit of a challenge because you want to be as close to the truth as you possibly can to who they really were.

TrunkSpace: Does it make you second guess choices you may make? Do you stop and say to yourself, “Would Daisy react this way?”
Westbrook: She had written a book too, which was very helpful. “Sticks’N Stones: The Myers Family in Levittown.” That gave me a wealth of insight as far as how she felt and how they approached things. That gave me enough to really feel like I had a good understanding of where she was and where her heart was. I felt pretty confident on living her, as far as understanding who she was. I felt like I had a pretty good grasp on who she was as a person, so I didn’t have any hesitance.

TrunkSpace: What a gift for you as a performer to have a book, written in her own words. That must have been a great tool for you?
Westbrook: I was shocked because after reading the book, you see how they didn’t let that experience harden their hearts. They actually went through a lot. It was very eye-opening in the sense of, just the level of love that they had regardless of what was being done to them. It was very insightful.

“Suburbicon” arrives in theaters today.

Featured image by: Nate Taylor

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Wingman Wednesday

Laura Vandervoort

LauraVandervoort_Halloween_Wingwoman_wednesday (1)
Photo By: John Bregar

Horror fans are committed to their genre. Some love the suspense. Some love the gore. Others fall skull over calcaneus (heel bone) for a franchise that puts the terrifying fate of both elements in the hands of a charismatic celluloid psycho. There were plenty of those rising up from their own credits-rolling ashes throughout the 70s and 80s, from Freddy Krueger to Jason Voorhees, but recent years have only given viewers a small handful of newly-minted madmen to keep them up at night.

John Kramer, aka Jigsaw, is one such character.

No stranger to rabid fandoms thanks to memorable turns in “V” and “Smallville,” Laura Vandervoort is set to get her feet wet within the horror genre with a starring role in the latest installment of the Saw franchise, “Jigsaw.” As captivating in conversation as she is on screen, the Toronto native recently wrote a letter to her younger self in Backstage, sharing her discovery of confidence and self-acceptance in a career where so much of a person’s individual success can be decided upon by both fate and other people.

We recently sat down with Vandervoort to discuss that perfectly-penned letter, how the person she was writing to would have handled her current experience with “Jigsaw,” and why she had a difficult time finding an understanding in her character’s horrifying actions.

TrunkSpace: We read your recent letter to yourself that was published in Backstage. It was very personal. In the process of writing it, did it all just pour out of you or did it involve some self-discovery as well?
Vandervoort: I would say it was a bit of both. When I started writing, it just poured out, but as I went, I realized a lot about myself that I guess I really hadn’t given myself an opportunity to think about, or things that I knew I should have been doing more of that I hadn’t been. As I was writing, it was sort of cathartic for me and it was important because, only in the past five years have I found a new way to approach this business.

I started when I was a kid. I’m sure there are books out there, but there’s no real manual on how to get through the process as a child growing up and becoming an adult actor and being a female in this business and the rejection and the pressures and all of that.

TrunkSpace: And now with social media being such a big factor, it must add an entirely new dimension to it all.
Vandervoort: Oh, 100 percent! I mean, first of all, social media has become a separate job, I think, for a lot of people in this industry. It is a way to promote things you believe in, your work, organizations, but also, it can be evil. You can go down that rabbit hole of negativity so quickly. If you’re in the business or not in the business, it’s not the healthiest thing, but it’s sort of a necessary evil in a way. On the positive side, it’s a way to connect with fans, talk to people, and put out a message that you believe in.

And I think for young women, too, it’s dangerous for them to compare themselves to things online, in general. We can say it a million times, but you just learn as you grow up. You discover who you want to be, not who people want you to be.

TrunkSpace: That’s what drew us to your Backstage piece. You don’t have to be an actor to relate to it. There was a section in there where you talked about not always having to be perfect in what you were doing, and for many people, that resonates regardless of the industry.
Vandervoort: Yes, and that can be on many different levels. I was specifically writing it about the auditioning process. You don’t have to go in and have a polished performance. Again, this is my opinion and experience, but I used to just kill myself over trying to get everything word perfect and exactly what I thought that they wanted to see. That’s not the case. You can go in and you can discover while you’re in the room, and you can hold the lines in your hand. I just think, in a way, there’s something more interesting in that because they’re seeing an unpolished human, which is more interesting to watch than someone who’s got their shit together. It just makes you relatable.

But, it could also be seen in that, as a woman in the business, you don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to be exactly like everyone else. Everyone has their own look. Everyone has their own style and that’s what makes you interesting as an actor. That’s what you put into the character – you. Because, like I said in the article, that’s something that you have that no one else has. You.

TrunkSpace: Perfection is an illusion that everyone is chasing.
Vandervoort: Yeah, you’re constantly going to be chasing that unachievable goal and you’re going to either exhaust yourself, just give up, or you’re going to have a frustrating journey.

Just accept that you are you, and you are the way that you’re supposed to be, and you find your own path and you perform the way you want to perform. But again, it takes time, too. You can’t just read something that someone wrote and go, “Okay. I get it.” You have to go through the process.

Vandervoort in Jigsaw. Photo by Brooke Palmer – © 2017 – Liongate

TrunkSpace: So would the Laura you are speaking to in that letter, would her experience on “Jigsaw” have been different for her than it was for you today?
Vandervoort: Yeah, but really, only in what I’ve learned over the years. I didn’t know that I could relax and have fun on set. I didn’t know that it was okay to laugh. You don’t have to be serious all the time. You can find your own moments in those scenes. You can disagree with someone.

As a kid, everyone always said, “You’re so mature. You’re like a grownup.” And I always thought that was a great thing until I realized I didn’t have any fun. All those years went by and I didn’t joke around. And now, I do. I take time out of the day to just be where I am, not to be so tunnel-focused and just enjoy the experience and the process, the ups and the downs.

I really wish I hadn’t been like that. I think I could have had so much more fun.

TrunkSpace: Because for us, the viewers, we remember the end product. But for you, the memories are going to come from the experience, right?
Vandervoort: Exactly. And I couldn’t tell you a lot of the experiences growing up as a kid on set, because I only thought about my scenes, and the directors, and what the director said. I remember bits and pieces of things, like moments with actors. Caroline Rhea, when I was on a Disney movie with her, she had a heart to heart with me, but that rarely happened as a kid. And now, I’m making long, lifetime friendships with actors and producers and directors, and being my true self.

TrunkSpace: You mentioned having fun on set now and taking the time to enjoy the process, but looking at the trailer for “Jigsaw,” your character seems like she’s in some really serious situations and sort of, more or less, focused on survival. From a performance standpoint, does that force you to remain in a heightened fight-or-flight mode?
Vandervoort: Yeah, the majority of the scenes in “Jigsaw” were high stakes. I definitely still had to be in a somewhat focused head space for some of the particular scenes that you’ll see in the movie, that I as a human being couldn’t quite wrap my head around. I mean, some of the things that my character has done, they were hard to shoot those scenes. And, when I was in the traps, obviously it’s very physically and emotionally draining. But that’s what it needed to be, and all the other actors all just went for it. And then, in between takes, we joke around and get back to it.

I used to think that that would hinder a performance if I relaxed, especially with a movie like this, but I actually think it helped because it would refresh your mindset and you go back to the scene and something different would come forward. You’re not just in this robotic state, doing the same thing.

TrunkSpace: Is it hard not to bring that heightened level of performance – the racing heart experience – home with you at the end of the day?
Vandervoort: I tend to not take that stuff home. With this character, with any other intense characters, I do mentally prepare and prepare with my script weeks in advance and however much time I have, and sometimes will come up with a playlist that I think that the character would relate to, or that helps me get into that mindset. But the minute that you’re done, you’re done. That’s the end of the day. You go home and that’s you. That’s your life and then you get back into it the next day.

TrunkSpace: One of the things that the Saw franchise has always been good at is being inventive within the genre itself. In a place where fans have sort of seen everything, what does “Jigsaw” have that people may feel like they haven’t seen before?
Vandervoort: Well, one of the things I was excited about, aside from being a part of the Saw franchise, which is one of the biggest franchises out there and I’m a huge fan of, was Michael and Peter Spierig, the directors. I was already a fan of their work. I watched “Predestination” recently and thought it was just brilliant, and visually they’re so talented. They’re just incredible directors to work with, and I knew that before even meeting with them. And so, I think that the fans of the franchise will get everything that they’ve always loved about the movie – Kramer and the traps, and people making amends and apologizing for their behavior and whatever they’ve done in society, but with Peter and Michael, I think just visually, this is going to be a different film. They delve deeper into characters and their pasts. You really get to see more of a glimpse into why they did what they did, why they deserve to be there, and they have more, I think, of a note on humanity than the other ones might have. To me, it’s just a different style of the feature. They have their own take on it, but it still has all of the things that people will expect as well, it’s just a heightened version of it.

TrunkSpace: From a performance standpoint, did you have to go anywhere with the character that you didn’t anticipate when you first signed onto the project?
Vandervoort: They were a little secretive about the character when I first signed on. I had a rough idea of who she was, what she might have done, but the big reveal of what she truly did didn’t come until I got the script. And they actually only released pages that were necessary for the actors to see. So, because I had a rough idea, I knew what I was in for. But when I read it, it was sort of horrifying. It’s something that I had to think about once I read it. “Do I really want an audience to see me do this?” And then I thought, you know what, I’m telling a story. For what she’s done, she had a reason. I just tried to understand her reasoning because I was going to be playing her.

It was real f’d up trying to get on her side to play her, to understand why she felt she had to do this, so that was an adjustment, for sure. And once people see what it is, they’ll be like, “Okay, I can see how that was a little odd.”

Jigsaw” opens October 27.

Featured image by: John Bregar

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Wingman Wednesday

Brad Beyer

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We geeked out over the series “Jericho” when it first premiered on CBS back in 2006, and although its potential was cut short due to what many believe was a premature cancellation in season 2, the doomsday drama helped set the stage for many Internet Age fandoms to come. What it also did was introduce us to a wonderful ensemble cast, including Brad Beyer who played the emotionally-driven Stanley Richmond.

Currently the Wisconsin native can be seen in the new drama “Thank You for Your Service,” based on the heart-wrenching biography by David Finkel. Exploring the difficulties experienced by a group of U.S. soldiers attempting to integrate back into civilian life, the film had a lasting effect on the actor who portrays real-world serviceman James Doster, who unfortunately died in a roadside bombing in Baghdad on September 29, 2007.

Thank You for Your Service” opens nationwide today.

We recently sat down with Beyer to discuss the importance of the film’s message, the responsibility in representing the soldiers and their loved ones in a positive light, and what he experienced when seeing the movie for the first time.

TrunkSpace: Your series “Jericho” feels like one of the first shows to have really established that sort of modern, Internet Age fandom. It was canceled after only two seasons, but it lived on it comic books and maintained that fandom, which is pretty amazing.
Beyer: Yeah, you know, I think that show really got cut way too short. I think it sort of laid the groundwork for a lot of shows that are out now and that have been coming out, and I think it was ahead of its time. It’s really too bad that it didn’t go further. I loved that show and I loved that character.

TrunkSpace: Had social media been as prevalent then as it is now, it feels like it could have been pushed forward and stayed on the air.
Beyer: Yeah, I think so too.

TrunkSpace: Does it surprise you when a project does or does not resonate with an audience?
Beyer: You can never really tell when you’re doing it. When we were doing “Jericho” it felt special and everybody in the cast loved one another and they loved what they were doing, but we had no idea that the fans would be so loyal and so passionate about it. That’s what you want as an actor and as an artist, is to have something you do resonate with people, but you just never know. There’s things that you do that you think are going to be great and that people are going to love that just come and go. It’s very hard to tell.

TrunkSpace: Your new film “Thank You for Your Service” opens today and it seems that the film’s message is more important than ever with everything that has been going on in our political world.
Beyer: I think the movie is very powerful without being political. It takes the stance of the soldier and it’s pro soldier. It’s not really to the right or to the left. It’s just telling a story about how our guys are coming home and they’re suffering and they’re not getting the help that they need with PTSD. I mean, 22 guys a day are taking their own lives, which is insane.

It’s a book by David Finkel, “Thank You for Your Service,” and it came out a couple of years ago. He followed this group of infantry guys, the 2-16 Infantry Battalion in Iraq, and then followed them home, and it’s telling their story of what emotional things that they’re dealing with after. They call it the After War and how much of a struggle it is for them.

TrunkSpace: And it’s really impossible to get a handle on what those men and women go through once they return… the adjustment that they must make both in their personal and professional lives due to the emotional impact of everything they have experienced.
Beyer: Yeah, I mean these guys are seeing horrible, terrible things. As soldiers, they go over there, they fight, they see death, they see children dying. Then they’re supposed to just come home and be normal. There’s no reintegration process for them into civilian life. It’s a really tough transition and it’s a thing that a lot of people don’t know about. I think this movie is shedding a light on it in a way that will open some eyes, hopefully, because our guys are dealing with a lot.

Beyer with Miles Teller in “Thank You for Your Service”

TrunkSpace: When you’re working on a project like that, which has such real world connections, do you feel like you take on more responsibility to handle the material in a particular way?
Beyer: Yes, absolutely. I think first of all, I was playing a real guy by the name of James Doster and he passed away. The movie deals with how his death effects these other guys coming home. I had the opportunity to spend time with his wife and his children in Kansas before I started filming. It’s a huge responsibility. You want to get it right. I wanted to make sure that James’ legacy is upheld and Jason (Hall), the director, did too. Everybody in this movie wanted to get it right because these are all real people with real stories and you don’t want to mess that up.

For all of the other guys that come home and are suffering from PTSD, you’re telling their story as well. The stakes were very high for all of us.

TrunkSpace: In a lot of ways, the film also doubles as a PSA in that regard.
Beyer: Absolutely. The first time I saw the movie, it wasn’t like any other movie I’ve seen. I had no idea. Your experience of making the movie and the movie itself are often very different. We were all very dedicated to doing the best we could and getting it right, but when I saw the movie, I mean, Jason made an incredible movie. It’s remarkable. It’s almost like you’re not watching a movie – it almost feels like you’re watching real life happen, which you can’t say that for a lot of movies. You go to a movie and you know you’re going to a movie, but this film grabs you from the very beginning. It’s like a freight train of emotion. It’s really something else.

TrunkSpace: And it’s great to see that because films haven’t really been saying much these days. It’s been mostly about tentpole entertainment for a long time.
Beyer: Yes, that’s the other thing. It reminded me of a movie that was made in the 70s. It’s very gritty. It’s hard to watch, but it just grabs you from the second you start watching it. And yeah, a lot of the movies now, they’re superhero movies, they’re comic book movies and those are great – everyone loves to go escape and watch those kind of movies and have a good time, but this is telling a very important story and it’s very character-driven and it’s all based on real people. It’s a whole different ballgame.

TrunkSpace: More often than not, for actors, the experience tends to be more memorable than the end product, but it sounds like for you, the film itself really had an impact?
Beyer: Yeah, when I sat down and saw the movie for the first time, when the movie ended, I was just kind of paralyzed sitting in my seat. It was so powerful and so raw. The thought of Amanda Doster, who’s played by Amy Schumer in the movie and who does a fantastic job in one of her first dramatic roles – she’s amazing – the thought of her sitting there watching that movie, it really did something to me. For any of these real people to sit there and watch this replay, it’s got to be very difficult and very emotional.

Thank You for Your Service” is in theaters today.

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Just Another $@!#*? Column

1-900-ODD-LIST

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Everyone’s got a TOP WHATEVER column. You know the type… a list of arbitrary best ofs, worst ofs, or does it really matter ofs. Well, TrunkSpace didn’t want to be left out, so we decided to come up with our own JUST ANOTHER $@!#*? LIST COLUMN. Whereas other lists on other sites may have a point, rest assured, ours will have none.

This time out we’re getting our parents’ permission, picking up the receiver, and dialing from our rotary phone for…

THE TOP FIVE MOST RIDICULOUS 900 LINES OF THE PAST

1-900-454-HULK

That’s right you little Hulkamaniacs, long before he was a reality star-turned TMZ headline, Hulk Hogan was landing atomic leg drops on the ears of America, much to the chagrin of parents forced to pay the charges. Sure, Macho Man had Slim Jims, but the Hulk had pre-recorded messages that surely told kids everywhere to eat their vitamins. (We’re pretty sure we skipped them for Slim Jims though.)

1-900-909-FRED

Why a murderous madman who haunts the dreams of teenagers would somehow transition into our reality and open a 900 line for a “special get together” is beyond us, but here’s the really real world truth – we actually called it way back in the day, and we’re sad to say, we were not selected at random to talk to Freddy live. Pleasant nightmares indeed!

1-900-490-FREAK

Another Freddie to make the list, Freddie Freak was, well, apparently a party freak who liked to get his freak on with strangers in a totally pre-recorded way. And for only a freakish $2.00 a call, you could get really freaked out by this freaky voice and then hang up. Honestly, the jingle in the commercial was the only thing of value Freddie Freak every did in his freakish life.

1-900-909-5100

A commercial with more sexual innuendos than actual substance, this Warrant hotline was apparently HOT. The only problem is, it gets really creepy when you tell listeners they are going to get the “warm, HARD facts on” your personal lives and that your fans “always COME first”, only to then suggest that kids get their permission before calling. ICK!

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Sure, this Junior Vampires of America club MAY have made sense had it been around in the 60s when “The Munsters” was actually on the air, but why in double hockey sticks Hell was it started in the 80s when Grandpa Munster was more like Great Grandpa Munster? And no, Grandpa, we do not want to hear about all of your monster friends! We think we’d rather dial Warrant and then take a long shower.

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Trunk Gaming

Game Review: Cuphead

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Game Title: Cuphead

Initial Release Date: September 29, 2017

Developer: Studio MDHR

Publisher: Studio MDHR

Designer: Jared Moldenhauer

Engine: Unity

Platforms: Xbox One, Microsoft Windows

Every now and then a game comes along that is so eye-popping, stylistically gorgeous, that you just can’t put it down no matter how hard you try. In years past we would say that list of games would include “Mark of Kri,” “Comix Zone” (Google it kiddos), “Zelda: Wind Waker,” “Bioshock,” the list goes on. And now the list has another groundbreaking and original visual treat – we’re talking about “Cuphead!” The 1930s style animation is so captivating to play and interact with and the watercolor backgrounds are as immersive as they are beautiful. Seriously, the visuals in this game are such a sweet treat, our eyeballs have contracted contact diabetes. Pull up a gaming chair and get ready to drink up this review of Cuphead with our Trunk Gaming crew!

A word of warning for those gamers who are controller throwers, and you know who you are! You might want to duct tape the controller to your hands, because this game is toon-crushingly relentless. There are no checkpoints and no way to regain health. The design of this game is such that everything is random. You have no control over where something like a platform may be in the exact same point of the game you were previously playing. In other words, you might just get killed by sheer chance that things did not line up just right for you. Though this can be frustrating, it’s still a blast to play and the swanky style of this game kept us coming back for more.

There are three basic types of gameplay you experience in “Cuphead.” You have left and right platform gaming similar to “Super Mario Bros.,” if Mario was packing heat. The second style is like a throwback to classic arcade side scrolling spaceship shoot ‘em ups. The third and most exciting style of gameplay are the platform battles that feel almost like a fighting game at times, blurring the lines of what you would expect to see and play. You can unlock special abilities that you will need to play around with to accomplish different tasks. This can prove vital to moving along your gaming journey instead of the try, try again routine.

All in all, “Cuphead” is not only a visual treat, it’s also a gaming delight. We showed up for the visuals of this game, but we stayed for the gameplay and enjoyed every minute of it. This game will have you oohing and awing, laughing and cursing (more than once), but after all the animated smoke settles, you’ll find yourself wanting to go back again and again. We finished our “Cuphead” and can’t wait for a refill!

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