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Wingman Wednesday

Laura Monaco

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Welcome to the seventh (and final) installment of our MYSTIC COSMIC PATROL WEEK ongoing feature!

Debuting yesterday at Funny or Die, “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” is a nostalgic sitcom romp of mystical proportions. Created as an homage to kid-friendly shows like “Power Rangers” and “Ultraman,” the fast-paced webisodes combine monsters and comedic mayhem to create a parody worth every bingeable minute.

We recently sat down with series star and producer Laura Monaco to discuss how ‘fun’ was always at its core, the joy she discovered in wearing multiple hats on the project, and how hugs may be in store for any future cosplayers who choose to dress up as her character.

TrunkSpace: From an outside perspective, it sure seems like the “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” experience was just as much fun as it was work?
Monaco: Yes. Absolutely. It’s a very, very fun project. Early on, Gavin (Hignight) and I talked about our goal, which was to just have a job that we could go to work and laugh every day, and feel good coming home and wrapping up. We definitely did that. It was a lot of work, but we definitely did accomplish that goal. We had such an amazing team around us. Everyone who worked on it was just as excited to be there, so it made it a really uplifting experience.

TrunkSpace: It just seems like a show that would not cost a network a fortune to produce, and yet, because of the nature of the series, the smaller production budgets wouldn’t hurt the look and tone of it either. A network could get a franchise at a relatively affordable price.
Monaco: I love that you get that. I’m very curious to see where it goes.

TrunkSpace: The trick there is, you don’t want to show them that you can make it for basically nothing because then they will give you basically nothing. (Laughter)
Monaco: (Laughter) Yeah. We can get away with some tricks, but we still need money.

TrunkSpace: You’re a producer on the project as well as starring in it as the yellow Mystic Cosmic Patrol member. Did you view your two separate jobs through a different set of eyes on set?
Monaco: For sure. It was an idea that Gavin had. We were working on another project together and I just got so excited about it. He and I would meet, and it started from there. The more we would talk about it, the more I just had so much I wanted to contribute creatively on both sides of it. It’s a little blurry for me where things kind of stopped and started with producing and acting, but it was just so amazing to be able to jump in creatively on both sides. I really enjoyed that.

TrunkSpace: Did you enjoy the problem solving aspect of producing? Putting out the fires that crop up on set?
Monaco: Definitely. And trying to find on the fly what’s going to work.

We kind of had an idea for some stuff and had creative discussions about how it was actually going to go down. Luckily, I had such a great team of producers that when it was time to act, I could really just go do that and enjoy being in that role and know that everybody else was running everything smoothly. We really had a good family on this.

Monaco in Mystic Cosmic Patrol

TrunkSpace: Because “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” isn’t grounded in reality, were you able to approach performance from a different perspective than previous projects you’ve worked on?
Monaco: Yeah. I mean, it’s kind of funny because early on we had a few rehearsals and we had all of these ideas for different character work and things that we wanted to do. At one point they were just like, “Just be you.” I was like, “I don’t know if that’s good or bad that you just think it’s me living my life here.” (Laughter)

For us, it had to be reality. I basically am a girl who likes to be feminine, she likes to dress up and do all of these things, and she really takes her job seriously, too. Whether she’s good at it all the time or not depends, but she’s trying to do good in the world.

TrunkSpace: And getting to work with those costumed creatures, both in creation and in performance, must have been so much fun.
Monaco: It was unbelievable. The ideas that we have are one thing, but when Cig Neutron came on and created them, and then seeing Stewart put on the costume and moving around in it, I was just like, “What is happening right now?” (Laughter) It was so crazy.

TrunkSpace: The series is streaming on Funny or Die, but as far as long-term is concerned, are you hoping that it finds a home at a major network or on another platform?
Monaco: I could definitely see it on a network, but it’ll be interesting to see what Funny or Die has to offer and how this really goes down. This is the first time I’ve done anything in that format with them. It’ll be interesting to see what’s possible. But really, the way everything seems now, content can live in more places than it ever used to. It doesn’t seem like there’s anything quite so typical anymore.

Monaco with Potty Mouth on the set of Mystic Cosmic Patrol

TrunkSpace: And it’s a great show for what people need now more than ever… escapism.
Monaco: Yeah. It’s such a serious time, and there’s so much that people are trying to figure out, big issues in life… it’s so nice to escape to something that is totally silly. You can just really go into another world, play around for a little bit, and not take things too seriously. I feel like it’s a good time for that, for sure.

There’s heart behind the show as well, which I really appreciate. There’s silly humor for sure, but there’s heart involved, too. I think if anything, that will just keep growing.

TrunkSpace: If the series takes off and becomes a huge hit, and in a year from now you see someone cosplaying it up as your character at a convention, what would you think about that?
Monaco: That’s my dream! I would love if people were just having so much fun that they would want to dress like that and be part of it for a little while. I’d probably just want to run up and hug them, but I love that idea. So awesome!

“Mystic Cosmic Patrol” is available now at Funny or Die!

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Wingman Wednesday

Cig Neutron

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Neutron and Gavin Hignight with Potty Mouth monster.

Welcome to the sixth installment of our MYSTIC COSMIC PATROL WEEK ongoing feature!

Debuting yesterday at Funny or Die, “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” is a nostalgic sitcom romp of mystical proportions. Created as an homage to kid-friendly shows like “Power Rangers” and “Ultraman,” the fast-paced webisodes combine monsters and comedic mayhem to create a parody worth every bingeable minute.

We recently sat down with special effects makeup artist Cig Neutron to discuss Grinch smiling, embracing goofiness, and what you’ll find beneath the skin of his creatures.

TrunkSpace: Because the project wasn’t tied to a specific studio or network, there were a lot of “ifs” involved in “Mystic Cosmic Patrol.” Does working on an independent project require a leap of faith and what was it about this particular project that made you take that leap?
Neutron: Yes, it absolutely requires a leap of faith. A lot of projects like this come my way and I only take the ones I truly believe in. From the first time I met Gavin, I could tell that he had the creative fire, and those are exactly the types of people I want to work with.

TrunkSpace: Potty Mouth is an amazingly fun character. How quickly did he come together design-wise?
Neutron: Gavin and I are pretty much on the same page style and influence-wise, so as soon as he described the character I knew exactly what he wanted. When you work with people who are just as excited as you are, it doesn’t take long to arrive at an end result.

TrunkSpace: Does your process involve extensive sketching and planning or do you work directly from your brain?
Neutron: I actually don’t do very much sketching. For Potty Mouth, there were no preliminary designs. I just jumped right in and started fabrication. Gavin had enough faith in me that he actually didn’t see the full character together until the day it was supposed to shoot!

TrunkSpace: If “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” has a long future and turns into an ongoing series, would the longevity be part of the fun for you – getting to explore so many different designs within a single universe?
Neutron: Absolutely!! The genre and inspirations for the show are near and dear to my heart, so if I have a long run of making Kaiju, I’ll be Grinch smiling the whole way.

TrunkSpace: What are the aesthetic factors you have to consider when designing creatures meant to fit into a world inspired by “Power Rangers” and shows like it?
Neutron: It’s hard to describe to someone who hasn’t grown up with the genre, but there’s just a certain magic to the aesthetic. Even when the genre takes itself seriously there’s always an air of goofiness. That’s why MCP is so much fun. It is self-aware and really embraces that goofiness, which opens up the door to really push the limits of the style.

TrunkSpace: As the designer, are you the first person to take a suit like Potty Mouth out for a test drive?
Neutron: Designs that seem like a good idea on paper, don’t always translate to the physical world. It’s very important to try on pieces of the suit to make sure the actor can move, breathe, see, etc… because you know, those things are somewhat important.

TrunkSpace: How do you personally know when a design is finished? Are your creatures ever truly complete or do you view them as works in progress to be tinkered with as inspiration hits?
Neutron: Time is our most precious resource. As artists, we’d love to spend forever on making something pristine, but that’s just not realistic. Me personally, I need to constantly move from creature to creature because if I spend too long on one thing, I’ll get bored. I’d rather populate the world with an army of crazy critters, than just one immaculate creation.

TrunkSpace: Where are you the hardest on yourself as a creature designer?
Neutron: Probably anatomy. I’m a real stickler for anatomy that looks like it actually functions. Sure I bend and stretch the rules, but at the end of the day, if you asked me to peel off the skin of any of my creatures, I would have a fully functioning system of muscle, bone, and organs underneath.

TrunkSpace: As a creature designer, was (and is) Halloween your favorite time of year?
Neutron: Halloween is and always will be my favorite time of year.

TrunkSpace: Do you have a costume design for yourself in the works for this All Hallows’ Eve?
Neutron: Whenever anyone finds out what I do, the first thing they say is, “Oh, you must have THE best Halloween costumes!” Actually, it’s quite the opposite. My costumes are usually lame because all my time is spent getting hired to make other people’s costumes. Which is totally rad… but also kinda sucks.

“Mystic Cosmic Patrol” is available now at Funny or Die.

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Wingman Wednesday

Chris Masterson

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Masterson in Mystic Cosmic Patrol

Welcome to the fifth installment of our MYSTIC COSMIC PATROL WEEK ongoing feature!

Debuting today at Funny or Die, “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” is a nostalgic sitcom romp of mystical proportions. Created as an homage to kid-friendly shows like “Power Rangers” and “Ultraman,” the fast-paced webisodes combine monsters and comedic mayhem to create a parody worth every bingeable minute.

We recently sat down with series star Chris Masterson to discuss the high cost of red, embracing the more affordable blue, and reacting to a puke-inducing toilet.

TrunkSpace: What personality traits are required to lead the Mystic Cosmic Patrol? And why do most leaders of monster-fighting groups wear red?
Masterson: An inflated ego and a lack of awareness on how others view your actions. Well, this leader wears blue, but only because red was more expensive and Jack is nothing if not thrifty.

TrunkSpace: How did you become involved in the project and what drew you to it?
Masterson: The concept was brought to me by our executive producer, Tommy Meyer-Klipsch. I loved the concept of a “Power Rangers” type of a show starring six people with a mean IQ of 108, being tasked with defending Earth from evil space robots.

TrunkSpace: You’re also serving as producer on the series. What are your ultimate goals for it? Do you have a network home in mind that you believe best serves the project?
Masterson: I just want people who are fans of the genre to see it. Funny or Die has launched several of my favorite shows and characters so I’m pretty happy we found a home there.

TrunkSpace: You’re no stranger to comedy, but a lot of the humor you have delivered via previous roles was firmly rooted in reality. What was it like performing in a piece where anything, including a toilet creature named Potty Mouth, is possible?
Masterson: Pretty much the same for me. I think actors generally try to react realistically to whatever situation is presented to their characters, but from the point of view of the person they’re playing. In our case it’s through the eyes of a guy who’s pretty full of himself and is pretty certain he knows more than everyone else, but almost never does. And the world he’s in is just the world to him. The same way you or I might react to a neighbor’s dog getting loose and chasing us down the street is the way he’d react to being attacked by a puke-inducing toilet with arms, legs, and an attitude.

TrunkSpace: Flash forward a year from now and you’re walking the floor at a comic convention. You spot someone cosplaying as your “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” character. What goes through your mind?
Masterson: What the f@&k?!

TrunkSpace: It’s a great time for content creators, but more content also means that viewers are spreading themselves thin and DVRs are filling up with shows people mean to “get to eventually.” How does a show like “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” rise above the noise and find an audience?
Masterson: I hope we’ll have a pretty clear demo that’ll be sure to watch, regardless of what else is on because if you’re a fan of kaijū, the “Power Rangers,” and badly video’d 90s afternoon television (and if you have a sense of humor), you’re not gonna get much closer to that than us.

TrunkSpace: When do you feel the most energized and inspired as an actor? What is it that excites you about the craft?
Masterson: When it all starts coming together. When the various pieces that have been planned and rehearsed start to gel and I can tell it’s just starting to become something. That’s when I’m most excited to be doing it.

Masterson in Mystic Cosmic Patrol

TrunkSpace: Where are you the hardest on yourself as an actor?
Masterson: I’m never hard on myself as an actor. I generally give it all I have and when I feel I fell short, I think, “Ha, well that didn’t work out!”

TrunkSpace: You played Francis on “Malcolm in the Middle” for 151 episodes. If “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” gets picked up and finds the kind of success that enables it to stay on the air that long, would you be happy playing a character again for such an extended period of time?
Masterson: Absolutely.

TrunkSpace: Potty Mouth sets a nice table of villains to come. What other kind of villains would you like to see the blue patrol member lay the mystic cosmic smackdown on? It seems like it is an “anything you can imagine” situation, which leaves the door open for some character-creating fun.
Masterson: I’d like to see some sort of a human centipede inspired space robot that feeds off of Earthlings it appropriates into its “circle”. That or a giant walking Zoltar machine who shouts fortunes at people, which come true the next morning, but they’re always terrible, terrible fortunes…

“Mystic Cosmic Patrol” debuts today at Funny or Die.

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Wingman Wednesday

Tim Russ

TimRuss_Bonus_Wingman_wednesday

Welcome to a surprise BONUS edition of our MYSTIC COSMIC PATROL WEEK ongoing feature!

Debuting today at Funny or Die, “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” is a nostalgic sitcom romp of mystical proportions. Created as an homage to kid-friendly shows like “Power Rangers” and “Ultraman,” the fast-paced webisodes combine monsters and comedic mayhem to create a parody worth every bingeable minute.

We recently sat down with sci-fi icon (sci-con?) Tim Russ to discuss what drew him to the series, performing without a body, and being the mystical mentor to the entire world.

TrunkSpace: You act. You write. You produce. You direct. You compose music. You have countless projects in production and in development. With such a busy schedule, what drew you to “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” and committing yourself to helping bring the comedic world to life?
Russ: I have known Gavin (Hignight) for a number of years. I’ve followed his various projects along the way, and when he was working on “Mystic Cosmic Patrol,” he asked me about playing one of the roles. I’ve always liked doing comedy whenever I get the chance, and this role seemed like something different and a lot of fun.

TrunkSpace: The series parodies the types of shows that many people grew up with like “Power Rangers” and “Ultraman.” Those worlds were extremely fantastical in their storytelling, but when you add an intended comedic element into things, does that heighten the fantastical storytelling even further? Are you able to approach the performance aspect from a completely different perspective seeing that “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” is not grounded in reality?
Russ: It’s that very fact that the show is a comedy based in a broad fantasy world, that opens the door to a lot of possibilities with this character’s direction and range.

TrunkSpace: You’re playing Gorgon, the mystical mentor who is a floating head. From what we’re told, actors love to do things with their hands/self during a performance… create actions for themselves that are organic to the scene. How do you approach a role when you’re only able to use your head in the performance? Does it change things, even on a personal level?
Russ: Not having a body with arms and legs, just means I have to play a lot of nuance with the character using more of my voice and facial expressions. Having done a lot of voiceover work, it makes it easier to accomplish this.

TrunkSpace: Heavy question alert! Imagine if you will… you are the mystical mentor head to the entire world. What advice would you give to people on how to live their lives and how to live with each other?
Russ: Realize that you are not alone… there are billions of other people living with you, all needing to use the same dwindling resources. The focus needs to be on preserving our home planet, and getting along with each other. Using our energies, technology, and wisdom to focus on the human condition… not personal profit.

“Mystic Cosmic Patrol” debuts today at Funny or Die.

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Wingman Wednesday

Minae Noji

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Welcome to the fourth installment of our MYSTIC COSMIC PATROL WEEK ongoing feature!

Debuting today at Funny or Die, “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” is a nostalgic sitcom romp of mystical proportions. Created as an homage to kid-friendly shows like “Power Rangers” and “Ultraman,” the fast-paced webisodes combine monsters and comedic mayhem to create a parody worth every bingeable minute.

We recently sat down with series star Minae Noji to discuss the freedom in playing evil, the fun in carrying a scepter, and the grooviness of wearing bunny slippers to work.

TrunkSpace: You’re playing the big bad in “Mystic Cosmic Patrol.” Was it surreal to play such an over-the-top role surrounded by costumed characters and puppets? Is there a moment where you experience a, “Where am I?!?!” when you’re trading lines in that kind of environment?
Noji: I loved it. And I’m an only child, so I grew up with a lot of imaginary, crazy, characters and creatures all around me. It felt like home!

TrunkSpace: How did you become involved in the project and what drew you to it?
Noji: The producers of MCP knew my work from “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” both on screen in the film and from the animated show, so I guess they saw that villainy was in my blood! (Laughter) I was drawn to the project because I grew up watching “Power Rangers,” “Kung Fu,” and “The Twilight Zone,” and was obsessed with sketch shows like “The Carol Burnett Show,” “MADtv,” and “The Kids in the Hall.” “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” is the perfect mix of sci-fi, martial arts, and crazy comedy, so I was sold immediately.

TrunkSpace: What was the most enjoyable part of playing a character within this hyper-reality type of world?
Noji: Definitely the freedom to really play with a character and have a good time! Rutina is so deliciously evil, it was a blast to really go for it with her. Oh… and the wardrobe. For the love of God, I’m wearing horns and holding a gigantic, long scepter. And who doesn’t like a long scepter? Right…

… Hello? (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: Why does Rutina have issues with the Mystic Cosmic Patrol? What is her backstory and why is she so EVIL?
Noji: Rutina is tired of the MCP constantly thwarting her plans to take over the earth. She’s an ancient, evil being who consumes the energy and resources of planets to replenish her youth. Destroying and devouring worlds is one of her beauty secrets. Who needs Botox when you have the universe as your fountain of youth!

Noji and Alexander Ward in Mystic Cosmic Patrol

TrunkSpace: When do you feel the most energized and inspired as an actress? What is it that excites you about the craft?
Noji: There is nothing like working on a project that brings laughter into the world. As a child, I would grab a Hot Pockets pizza and my favorite blanket and just immerse myself in comedy shows on television. Laughter was my medicine. So as an artist, I am most energized and fulfilled when I have the opportunity to work on a comedy. It feels the closest to flying… without the airfare cost or needing wings.

TrunkSpace: You spent over a decade working on “General Hospital.” Soaps are known for their breakneck schedules. Has that kind of working environment prepared you for pretty much anything you’ve come across production-wise?
Noji: With soaps, you typically get only one take for each scene and the pace is very, very, fast. So when I get the opportunity to work on a project where I get more than one take. it feels like I just won the lottery! Soaps are a fantastic place to really work the craft and learn to breathe and trust in a high-stake situation.

TrunkSpace: You also do a lot of work as a voice actor. Do you approach a voiceover performance in the same way you would an on-screen role?
Noji: Yes, the prep is pretty much the same. I guess the only difference would be, sometimes with voiceovers, you don’t have a lot of time to study, so the preparation may not be as elaborate. But otherwise, it’s very similar.

Oooo…. except for the part where in voiceovers you can show up to work in your pajamas and bunny slippers! How groovy is that!?!

Mystic Cosmic Patrol” debuts today at Funny or Die.

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Wingman Wednesday

Chris Candy

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Welcome to the third installment of our MYSTIC COSMIC PATROL WEEK ongoing feature!

Debuting Thursday at Funny or Die, “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” is a nostalgic sitcom romp of mystical proportions. Created as an homage to kid-friendly shows like “Power Rangers” and “Ultraman,” the fast-paced webisodes combine monsters and comedic mayhem to create a parody worth every bingeable minute.

We recently sat down with series star Chris Candy to discuss misidentifying salmon, the power of comedy, and sharing his iconic father with the world.

TrunkSpace: Steve Buscemi’s character was unhappy about being Mr. Pink in “Reservoir Dogs.” How do you feel about being the pink Mystic Cosmic Patrol member?
Candy: I think Carl is more of a salmon colored patrolman. Like the fish, it’s the mightier color pink. Joking aside, I love it. Pink is a great color. It is very empowering!

TrunkSpace: How did you become involved in the project and what drew you to it?
Candy: I was sent over the scripts from friend and one of the show’s producers, Tommy Klipsch. He had seen some of my work and thought I would be a good fit for the team. When I read the scripts, I just loved the world the characters lived in. It was very creative and absurd, a solid combination for something funny.

TrunkSpace: What was the most enjoyable part of playing a character within this hyper-reality type of world?
Candy: Carl is a bit of a brute, so putting that type of energy in outer space while wearing a pink jumpsuit is just funny to me. I mean, one of his mystic cosmic powers is firing a laser beam from his crotch. It’s goofy. I am also a bit of a noob to the modern day sci-fi scene, so for me it was fun to learn about all of the unknown sci-fi genres that were getting a little Mystic Cosmic satire.

TrunkSpace: The great thing about a project like “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” is that it’s nostalgic escapism, which in the current news cycle filled with so much negativity, escapism seems more important than ever. In your opinion, is comedy more than just laughs? Does it do something for the end user that can’t necessarily be qualified?
Candy: Great question. Comedy and laughter have always been incredible for a quick escape. Whether it’s satire or topical humor, everyone could always use a good laugh. Gavin Hignight, the writer/creator/ fellow patrolman, did an amazing job creating a new world filled with lovable lowlifes. They are so fun to watch and the show works incredibly well as a quick little escape from all of life’s realities. And in this day and age we could all use a good laugh!

TrunkSpace: When do you feel the most energized and inspired as an actor? What is it that excites you about the craft?
Candy: Different jobs bring about different pleasures for me as an actor, but in general I love connecting the dots of a character. Stretching the creative muscles and seeing what works and resonates with an audience. Creativity is such a beautiful thing to me. I simply love performing. It’s also a real treat when the cast and crew are solid. Everyone on the show was lovely to work with.

TrunkSpace: Where are you the hardest on yourself as an actor?
Candy: If I don’t get to the beach enough I’m pretty frustrated with myself.

TrunkSpace: You grew up with a perspective of the industry that a lot of people who pursue a career in Hollywood don’t have. Did that unique point of view and look behind the curtain help shape your career approach?
Candy: Sure. With my father and his incredible talent, I was able to see from an early age how much drive is needed in this business. You don’t just sit around and wait for things, your career and your craft start from yourself. My dad had that and I was able to apply that to my career.

TrunkSpace: Your father’s film, “Planes, Trains, & Automobiles” has became a tradition for people during the Thanksgiving holiday. His contribution to pop culture as a whole has touched countless people. What has it been like sharing your dad with the world and have your thoughts on it changed or evolved over the years?
Candy: Well, I am happy to say that is a similar tradition for me. I love watching that film the night before Thanksgiving, and have been doing it for some time now. PTA is one of my absolute favorites of his. He is so wildly hysterical and vulnerable. When I was younger, I had a hard time sharing him with the world, he was my dad and I didn’t have a good understanding of the difference between my father and the celebrity/characters he played. As I’ve gotten older and listened to all the lovely people who share with me how important he was and still is to them, it just warms my heart.

“Mystic Cosmic Patrol” debuts Thursday at Funny or Die.

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Wingman Wednesday

Tim Jo

TimJo_MCP_Wingman

Welcome to the second installment of our MYSTIC COSMIC PATROL WEEK ongoing feature!

Debuting Thursday at Funny or Die, “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” is a nostalgic sitcom romp of mystical proportions. Created as an homage to kid-friendly shows like “Power Rangers” and “Ultraman,” the fast-paced webisodes combine monsters and comedic mayhem to create a parody worth every bingeable minute.

We recently sat down with series star Tim Jo to discuss serendipitous locker room run-ins, costume tightness, and how he experiences fearlessness during a performance.

TrunkSpace: “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” is a comedic take on popular shows like “Power Rangers” and “Ultraman.” Within those shows, the human hero characters are often based on specific archetypes. Does your red patrol member fall into a specific archetype?
Jo: There are definitely some strong personalities within our cast of patrolmen. While our characters do adhere to some archetypes, they are definitely not the archetypes you see in traditional ranger shows! I think one of the funniest parts of the show is seeing how this crazy crew of patrolman come together to save the world.

TrunkSpace: How did you become involved in the project and what drew you to it?
Jo: I have always been a huge fan of toku, especially “Kamen” Rider and Sentai ranger shows. My friend mentioned that he knew a group of people working on a ranger comedy series and I remember thinking, “OMG, I GOTTA get in on that!!!” He passed my name along and one day, I was in the locker room at the gym when someone tapped me on the shoulder. “Are you Tim Jo?” “Uhh yes?” “Sorry, I’m Gavin. I created Mystic Cosmic Patrol, I heard you were interested?” “Hell yeah!!!” A possibly awkward moment turned into a glorious one!

TrunkSpace: You’ve worked on a lot of comedy projects over the years. From a performance standpoint, how did “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” differ tonally in what you have done in the past?
Jo: I actually think that tonally it is very similar to “The Neighbors.” I really feel like fans of that show will just love this one. There are lots of fun gags but the humor is really smart and there is a lot of heart. I hope that people who tune in to watch MCP will be able to feel the genuine love we have for the source material that inspired it.

TrunkSpace: What was the most enjoyable part of playing a character within this hyper-reality type of world?
Jo: The patrolman suits! I wasn’t lying when I said I was a big fan of this genre. I was SO excited to wear the costume each and every time. The skin-tight grasp on my groins did not bother me for a second – I felt like a real hero wearing that suit!

TrunkSpace: Those Mystic Cosmic Patrol suits did not appear particularly forgiving given their tightness and brightness. Does one need to avoid the crafty table on the days when one knows the suits will be a part of the wardrobe?
Jo: Very tight and very bright. The colors were actually quite beautiful in person. Our costume designer found perfect shades of each color for our spandex suits. As for the tightness – we actually took training pretty seriously. Even though this is a comedic series, it needed to be balanced with the belief that we could really defeat some nasty monsters. We took some personal lessons from Noah Fleder, who played our big robot Gigantus-6. He is a world class martial artist,  taught us how to fight and really made that robot kick some serious ass.

Jo in Mystic Cosmic Patrol

TrunkSpace: When do you feel the most energized and inspired as an actor? What is it that excites you about the craft?
Jo: Watching live theater usually gets me fired up and super inspired. I love the intimacy and intensity from live performances that you don’t quite get from watching things on screens.

As an introvert, acting is the only time I feel fearlessness. I get a free pass to explore myself and others without the fear of judgment or consequence. That’s why I love acting.

TrunkSpace: Where are you the hardest on yourself as an actor?
Jo: I’m always hard on myself and never walk away from a scene feeling like I got it. But I think that is what is also what keeps me going. I’ve always been a jack-of-all-trades, master of none. I would pick up new hobbies every other week and once I got good enough, I would move on to another. With acting, I don’t think I ever got good enough. That’s why 10 years later, I’m still trying to get better.

TrunkSpace: We loved your character Reggie Jackson’s innocence in the series “The Neighbors.” How did you approach playing that character? Did you view him as an emotional fish out of water?

THE NEIGHBORS – (ABC/PETER “HOPPER” STONE) IAN PATRICK, TIM JO

Jo: I had such a strong connection to Reggie because with that character, I was basically wearing my heart on the outside. I played him with every ounce of optimism, purity and love in my being. My personal life at the time was a bit of a wreck, so playing such a bright character was quite therapeutic. He was totally an emotional fish out of water because he had yet to be tainted by the world. He had no emotional guards or walls because he never had a need for them prior to meeting the human neighbors.

TrunkSpace: Life is weird. You played a character named Reggie Jackson and then starred in “Pitch,” a show about baseball. Are there any other coincidences or strange career occurrences that you have experienced?
Jo: Meeting the creator of a dream project in the gym locker room is right up there. But honestly, every step in my career has felt like divine intervention, so I am extremely grateful for all my opportunities.

TrunkSpace: We believe you spent more time with Reggie Jackson (the character) than you have with any other role. Could you see yourself spending just as much time as a member of the Mystic Cosmic Patrol and what would be the most exciting aspect about playing a spandex-wearing hero for that long?
Jo: I would love nothing more! They say the real success of a project comes down to casting and I think we hit it out of the park with ours. Everyone that worked on this project has become a dear friend and I would love nothing more than to continue making episodes of MCP for years to come. And really – I love spandex. It just hugs you in all the right places.

“Mystic Cosmic Patrol” debuts Thursday at Funny or Die.

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Wingman Wednesday

Gavin Hignight

GavinHignight2_MCP_WingmanWednesday

Welcome to the first installment of our MYSTIC COSMIC PATROL WEEK ongoing feature!

Debuting Thursday at Funny or Die, “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” is a nostalgic sitcom romp of mystical proportions. Created as an homage to kid-friendly shows like “Power Rangers” and “Ultraman,” the fast-paced webisodes combine monsters and comedic mayhem to create a parody worth every bingeable minute.

We recently sat down with “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” creator and star Gavin Hignight to discuss the inspiration for the series, fighting rubber monsters in cardboard cities, and the power of the word “kaiju.”

TrunkSpace: Is “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” for young adults who watch shows like “Power Rangers” or is it for the parents who are now forced to watch those shows with their kids?
Hignight: Well you know, I think for me, the idea of the show really came from seeing stuff like “Big Bang Theory.” The characters in that were labeled nerds, and there was this expectation that, “Oh, this is a show for nerds.” I never felt like that. I was like, “No, this is what the mainstream thinks nerd culture is like.”

I wanted to make a show that really was like a sitcom for the Comic-Con crowd and I’ve always loved stuff like “Ultraman,” “Power Rangers,” and “Kamen Rider.” All the good Tokusatsu stuff.

TrunkSpace: So it comes from a genuine place of love for the source material?
Hignight: I’m an especially big fan of “Ultraman.” I thought, let’s make something for all these people who are our age now who grew up on two plus decades of “Power Rangers” kind of stuff. Let’s make something that’s funny to them now when they’re in their thirties and forties, but at the same time, let’s not alienate the kids. I wanted to be clever with our humor so Mom and Dad can enjoy the sitcom of it, while kids can enjoy robots beating up monsters and vomiting on each other.

TrunkSpace: You mentioned the monsters. We would have to imagine creating those for the show would be one of the more genuinely exciting parts of the gig?
Hignight: Oh, totally. Laura Monaco, my co-producer and I, there was a point when we were just kind of day dreaming when I was starting to write this. We looked around and we said, “You know, there’s people in this town that have fun and get paid for it. Let’s be those people.”

And that evolved into us thinking that the best kind of day would involve fighting rubber monsters in a cardboard city and calling it work, so we started putting it together. Resources are always slim when you’re starting something out and I didn’t know where to go for our monsters. Through a friend we found Cig Neutron, who had just come off of his first run on “Face Off.” And I was just thinking, we can’t afford this guy. He’s on this show, he’s really talented, and he’s working. And I just said the word, “Kaiju,” and that was it. He was like, “I’m on board.”

So he sculpted the head of our robot hero and he sculpted and worked on arguably our favorite monster, which is Potty Mouth. And it was exactly what you’re talking about. It was hard to call it work because we were having so much fun.

TrunkSpace: When you see Potty Mouth come together, are you all fighting over who gets to give the suit a test run?
Hignight: (Laughter) Well, I wanted to find somebody who could actually fight in the monster costume, so that costume was very custom tailored to my friend, Stewart. I have known him for years through the martial arts community. We want to make more, but we also want to have Potty Mouth make a return, so I was like, “Stewart, don’t put on any more muscle, dude. I don’t know if the costume will still fit!”

TrunkSpace: (Laughter) So what can people expect from the episode run that they’ll find on Funny or Die?
Hignight: What we’ve done is, we’ve crafted them as webisodes. With the resources we had, we were able to make four of them. And then we have another two or three down the line, which are a probably a few months off. We hope to maybe release them as a Thanksgiving Special or something really stupid that doesn’t match. So the initial rollout is just four weeks of episodes and each storyline is two episodes long. The first one is “Potty Mouth” and then “Potty Mouth Part 2”, and then “Time Crisis.” And we did that for a reason, because in an online Funny or Die type platform, people just want to get in and have some laughs and move on four or five minutes later.

TrunkSpace: So is the relationship with Funny or Die a permanent home for “Mystic Cosmic Patrol” or are you hoping it is a springboard to another platform?
Hignight: We’ll see. Their format is really cool. Sometimes they embrace stuff, and you know, take it under their wing. It all comes down to the rights, which you still own.

TrunkSpace: And that’s extremely rare.
Hignight: Yeah, which is super rare and very cool because if it’s not for them, it doesn’t exclude you if it’s for somebody else. And our hope with doing this little micro-season is to find someone who’s excited and wants to see us make more monsters and fight in more cardboard cities.

TrunkSpace: You can’t beat a cardboard city!
Hignight: Totally! We made a very conscious effort to emulate the quality of those kids shows. Technology has changed and we very easily could have gone the extra mile on some of it, but we made a very conscious decision to say, “No, let’s emulate the kind of effects that we saw in those.” It’s purposely low budget in some ways. There’s a scene in one episode where they’re fighting Time Bats and when you see those fishing lines, it was not an accident that those were left in. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: That gives it a great nostalgic look and helps the audience feel like they’re in on the joke.
Hignight: I hope so. And it saves a little money while we’re at it. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: One of the most difficult things in the world to create is a hella catchy opening theme song. You guys nailed it. That song is gold.
Hignight: Thank you! I wish I could take credit for it. I guess I can take credit for finding and sweet talking Wordburglar, who performed it. He is interesting. He’s, as you can tell, just an insanely talented musician. I discovered him because he made an entire concept album and the whole album is about G.I. Joe. He’s known as The Rap Viper. Every song on the EP are just these incredible rap songs and then if you dig in and really start listening to the lyrics, it’s like, “Oh, wait, he’s talking about Cobra Commander and G.I. Joe!” I knew he was the one for us. I swear I said the magic word “Kaiju” and he was like, “Japanese monsters? I’m in!”

TrunkSpace: It sounds like “Kaiju” can open any doors in Hollywood.
Hignight: It’s like our secret handshake.

TrunkSpace: Well, we can say one thing is for certain and that is that we hope to one day have a Potty Mouth figure sitting on our desks here at TrunkSpace.
Hignight: You and me both, my friend! If I can hold a Potty Mouth vinyl figure or action figure, I think that would be a true measure of success.

Mystic Cosmic Patrol” debuts Thursday at Funny or Die.

 

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