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Danny Trejo

Wingman Wednesday

Jake Short

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This week we’re taking an extended look at the new movie, “#Roxy,” a modern romcom-reimagining of “Cyrano de Bergerac” starring Jake Short, Booboo Stewart, Sarah Fisher and Danny Trejo. The adaptation with a cyber age twist arrives on digital HD tomorrow.

First up we’re chatting with Jake Short to discuss tackling a historical great, the complexity that exists within the character’s motivation, and why he loves acting more now than he did when he first started.

TrunkSpace: “#Roxy” is a classic story with a very modern take. Lots of fantastic actors have played their own version of Cyrano de Bergerac over the years. Did you go back and look at any of them or did you want to go into the film with a completely fresh mindset?
Short: I read “Cyrano de Bergerac” and watched Steve Martin’s take in “Roxanne,” but applied my own little twist to the character of Cyrus.

TrunkSpace: Is there pressure – the kind you put on yourself – inhabiting a character that has such an incredible history in the performing arts, even if your Cyrus is only loosely based on the original?
Short: With little theater background, it’s really new to tackle a historical character, but I try not to put more pressure on myself than what already exists. Since it’s such a modern retelling of a classic story, I concerned myself with having fun and grounding the character in the new world.

TrunkSpace: In terms of becoming Cyrus for the course of the production, what was the most difficult aspect of your character discovery? What part of him required extra work or focus?
Short: The complexity behind wanting to be loved by someone through another person never crossed my mind. Trying to understand his longing to be loved without the willingness to love himself presented a new, useful challenge.

TrunkSpace: Digital communication plays a big role in the plot of the film. What is your own personal relationship with social media? You have a digital presence, but is it more a necessary evil than a passion?
Short: Social media started picking up before I was even a teenager, a part of my growing years. I enjoy social media for laughs and connecting with people, but not when it takes us out of the real world. I try as much as possible to keep my phone in my pocket when I’m out in the world or around people. It’s necessary, but not evil – certainly not a passion. However, it’s really useful to connect with fans and people who want to see you thrive. THAT is brand new and super special.

TrunkSpace: For the audience, the most enjoyable part of a movie is the movie itself, but for those involved in the project, we would imagine it is the experience. For you, what will you take away from the production that will stay with you?
Short: We had some unforgettable nights out with the cast and crew. Those will never escape me. Also, I spent an hour in makeup every morning. Will NEVER forget that.

TrunkSpace: You have been acting professionally since you were a young kid. Do you still love it as much today as you did the first time you set foot on a set?
Short: I think I love it even more now. There’s a new appreciation you find for things as the years run on and I know so much more about my industry now. I learn something new every time I put myself around fellow thespians. Being on set makes me fall in love all over again.

TrunkSpace: As you’ve gotten older and have lived more life, do you view the craft differently now? Does your approach to performing and discovering a character look very different than it did 10 years ago?
Short: Absolutely. You start to understand why people choose words, what makes them tick, how people react to those words. More English also helps. As time progresses you understand other people and yourself, which remains one of the most useful tools in acting.

Short with Sarah Fisher in “#Roxy”

TrunkSpace: What has been the biggest highlight of your career thus far, the “pinch me” moment that still makes you pinch yourself?
Short: Probably the first movie I was cast in, “Shorts” directed by Robert Rodriguez.

TrunkSpace: It was announced back in May that Jimmy Kimmel would be playing the older version of you in the ABC series “Man Of The House,” which sounded like a really fun show with a stellar cast and incredible creative team behind it. We have since not heard anything, so we have to ask, is that still moving forward?
Short: We did not get picked up for a season order, but it was a great team of producers and a wonderful cast.

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
Short: No. As much as it would be nice to know what happens, as much as I would want to take the shortcut, I wouldn’t. The journey to get there, you learn so much. Would you watch the first scene of a movie and then the climax? You don’t see what the character learns, what brought them to that peak.

#Roxy” is available on digital HD November 6.

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Death Race: Beyond Anarchy

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Title: Death Race: Beyond Anarchy

Rated: R

Genre: Action

Release Date: October 2, 2018

Run Time: 1 hour 51 minutes

Directed By: Don Michael Paul

Starring: Zach McGowan, Frederick Koehler, Christine Marzano, Danny Glover, Danny Trejo

Reason We’re Watching It: If you’re feeling the need for speed, action-packed fight scenes and a plethora of explosions, then “Death Race: Beyond Anarchy” is a cinematic highway leading you straight to it! The cast is another great reason to tune in. Zach McGowan is quickly climbing the ranks in Hollywood with his hard-hitting performances, and just so we’re clear, we’ll watch anything that has Danny Trejo or Danny Glover in it. How could we not?

What It’s All About: After an attempt at taking down the inmate known as Frankenstein goes awry, black ops badass Connor (McGowan) enters the prison to join the illegal Death Race and take on Frankenstein himself.

Whoah! Rewind That!: This is not the type of movie where you can only pick just one action-packed moment to play again and again, because frankly, there are a lot of them. Though there were less actual car-based scenes in this installment, the hand-to-hand combat was very well-choreographed and worth a second look.

Watercooler-Worthy Tidbit: Lists (Frederick Koehler) is the only character to appear in all of the “Death Race” movies. He seems to know how to survive in a post-apocalyptic world.

And that’s why we’re giving it…

 

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Wingman Wednesday

Audrey Walters

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Photo By: Sara Harris Photography

Although she didn’t pursue a professional acting career until she entered her third decade of life, Audrey Walters never felt like she missed out on any opportunities. In fact, focusing on family and her own personal growth throughout her 20s put her in a position to fully inhabit her characters and understand exactly who they are.

Her most recent project, the western “Big Kill,” costars Lou Diamond Phillips, Jason Patric, and Danny Trejo, opens in theaters on October 19.

We recently sat down with Walters to discuss the legacy of the western as a genre, why her character breaks the madame mold, and what it was like to have George R. R. Martin show up on set.

TrunkSpace: Your new movie “Big Kill is a western. From a performer’s standpoint, in terms of inhabiting an imaginary world, there’s got to be nothing better than a western, just because it’s so “classic Hollywood”? Between wardrobe and the set, it must be easy to escape into that?
Walters: Oh, absolutely. That film was a blast. And you said it all – the wardrobe that I got to wear was phenomenal. I just couldn’t wait to go to set each day and see what was hanging in my trailer.

TrunkSpace: And as far as genres go, it’s been around since the start of the medium. It holds a special place in the world of pop culture.
Walters: Yeah, that’s right, and especially because the place we were filming is a historic film set, right outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico. So it was kind of cool to look around and know that the amount of films that have been made there. There was definitely something sort of sacred about it.

TrunkSpace: The cast of the film is great, too. If this came out 20 years ago, it would have received a big theatrical release. Now there’s so much quality content circulating everywhere with great casts.
Walters: Absolutely. Yeah, the people that we worked with, we had so much fun. It’s always different to be on location when you’re making a film anyway, because it’s kind of like being at summer camp – only it was freezing. I have to say that. It was freezing. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: It’s not supposed to be freezing in a western. Well, at night is okay.
Walters: (Laughter) Yeah, exactly. But you know, whenever you’re filming, you’re just in this whole different world. You’ve been through this huge experience together, like I said, that’s why I can relate it to summer camp. And then when you say good-bye to everybody and everyone goes back to their lives, you’re kind of like, “Aww…”

TrunkSpace: It’s a bit like you’re living in a bubble for that period of time.
Walters: Exactly. And we were all staying in the same hotel, so on our days off, it was like, “Okay, what are you guys doing? What’s going on? What can we do around here?” It was a lot, a lot of fun. I’m really grateful that I had the experience, for sure.

TrunkSpace: What did you enjoy most about inhabiting your character, The Madam?
Walters: I loved how strong this madame was. You hear madame in the whorehouse and you think, “Okay, I can pretty much know what that’s going to be like.” But the character I played, she ran things. She ran things around there. And she definitely had some power, and it came through in a lot of the scenes that we had.

TrunkSpace: What for you was the most memorable moment for you throughout the shoot, something that you’ll carry with you through the rest of your career?
Walters: Oh, it was so many. I would say the collaboration involved in this project. Everyone had each other’s back. There were no huge egos on the set, even though there could have been. There really could have been! All the stars who we were working with were kind and generous and super down to Earth. And the leadership. You know, the leadership on the set always sets the tone for every single person there, and I just felt like they were all really amazing role models.

TrunkSpace: And that must be really beneficial when you’re on location.
Walters: It was. It definitely was. And you just create these friendships, too. It was just a really special moment. Another neat thing is George R. R. Martin came to visit our set one day. We had a lot of fans on set. He was there just hanging out. He wanted to see how things were going. That was a pretty memorable moment too.

TrunkSpace: And then of course, after that, every character in the movie has to die off, because you know, his presence.
Walters: (Laughter) But of course. I think it was a day where we had a shoot out.

TrunkSpace: There you go! He’s like the grim reaper for fictional characters. (Laughter) Is it exciting to be working today, acting, when there is just so much great content available to not only viewers, but to the performers working in them?
Walters: Oh, absolutely. There is so much content out there, and so much high quality content. So, there are a lot more opportunities than there have ever been. And in particular, for me personally, being someone who’s kind of a middle-aged woman, you would think that there isn’t that much for me, but there really is. There’s a lot out there. I love that a lot of the content that’s being created too has a lot of mature characters.

TrunkSpace: And as you get older, those characters must get more intesting.
Walters: Oh, absolutely. I didn’t start acting until I was in my 30s. I had so much more life – so much more life experience than I ever could have imagined, if I had started acting in my 20s. I just don’t know if I would have as much to bring to all the characters that I do.

TrunkSpace: And as we all get older, we get more confident in ourselves and our abilities. When you’re in your 20s, it would probably be easier to take the rejection side of the business personally.
Walters: Yeah, no kidding. Having a life, having other things going on in my world, I just don’t take it personally anymore. If I end up not getting something, I’m like, “Okay. Oh well. All right. I got other things to do.” I worked with a lot of kids, who are kid actors, and I’ve coached a lot of kids along the way in the years, and that’s one of the biggest parts that I try to explain to them and advise them on is just, “Try your best not to take these things personal.” Because you just never know. And there’s also just a lot of faith that has to go into having this career path for yourself. I mean, like you said, there’s so much content out there, and I just kind of have to have some faith that the right project will come my way.

Big Kill” arrives in theaters on October 19.

“Arizona” opens August 24.

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Survivors Guide to Prison

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Movie: Survivors Guide to Prison

Rated: Not Rated

Genre: Documentary

Release Date: February 23, 2018

Running Time: 1h 42m

Featuring: Susan Sarandon, Patricia Arquette, Danny Trejo, Jesse Williams, Ice-T, Quincy Jones, Tom Morello, Danny Glover, and more

Directed By: Matthew Cooke

Written By: Matthew Cooke

Reason We’re Watching It: Featuring commentary and insight from a who’s who of high profile activists and social commentators from the worlds of film and music, including Sarandon who not only executive produced the film but narrates alongside of Trejo, the brutally honest documentary is a pull-no-punches look at the American justice system and the overcrowded prisons that exist from sea to shining sea.

What It’s About: By delving into the stories of two men who were wrongfully convicted of murders that they didn’t commit, the film serves as an informational tour guide into the inner workings of our criminal checks and balances. As Trejo offers up at the start of the film, the United States may be the land of the free, but there are more people imprisoned here than anywhere else in the world. In fact, there are so many laws on the books that, according to a terrifying tidbit by the Wall Street Journal, the average American commits three felonies a day without ever realizing it. If you end up being wrongfully (or rightfully) sentenced for a crime that you didn’t (or did) commit, “Survivors Guide to Prison” breaks down the 411 you’ll need to get through life on the inside.

Whoah! Rewind That!: Some of the not-so-fun facts that are shared throughout the course of the film are, at times, hard to come to terms with and often require a rewind just to make sure you heard them correctly. For example, did you know that 13 million Americans are arrested every year? That’s more than the combined populations of Los Angeles and New York City. Most people would agree that’s far too many Miranda Rights in need of being read, but what solution can be reached? Is there one? And if so, how do we clean up the mess we’ve already made?

Watercooler-Worthy Tidbit: Prior to beginning his acting career, Trejo spent a span of 11 years moving in and out of cells, including a stint in the infamous San Quentin State Prison in California. He knows firsthand how the system works, adding an extra layer of credibility to the core concept of the film and its unfiltered honesty.

And that’s why we’re giving it…

 

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