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CHRISTINA APPLEGATE - BAD MOMS

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CHRISTINA APPLEGATE - BAD MOMS

Christina Applegate hit it big in ’88 in her role at age 15 on the hit television series, “Married With Children”, playing one of the most popular roles on TV at the time as Kelly Bundy, the dumb blonde and slutty daughter of the dysfunctional Bundy family. Applegate continued in comedy, winning an Emmy award for her guest appearance on the hit television show, “Friends”, and played the hilarious role of the ambitious new anchorwoman who throws co-star Will Ferrell’s character, Ron Burgundy, for a loop in the hit 2004 comedy film, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.

Then in 2008, Applegate was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent a double mastectomy, yet dove back into Hollywood with her voice on several of the Alvin and the Chipmunks film franchise, and 2010’s Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, before co-starring with funnyman Will Ferrell once again in 2013 in the comedy sequel, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. In between the comedy, Applegate entered motherhood in 2011 with the birth of her daughter, Sadie, with husband Martyn LeNoble.

2015 saw the blond beauty take on the side-splitting role of Debbie Griswold in the remake of the comedy film favorite, Vacation. As a veteran mother to her now five-year-old daughter, Applegate takes on the manic role of Gwendolyn with ease, as a very “bad” mom in this year’s hit comedy, Bad Moms.

STRIPLV: Have you ever encountered a mom in real life that’s as terrible as your character, Gwendolyn?
APPLEGATE: I’ve come across the spirit of Gwendolyn in some moms that I’ve crossed paths with in my years of being a mother at a school. So she’s sort of an amalgamation of a lot of different people that I’ve come across—because I don’t have that in me. I don’t have like that alpha mom who has to kind of control everything. So I really had to sort of pull from what I’ve seen. Not that anyone I’ve ever met has been this awful, but sort of that need. And I’ve just seen it. So it was easy to kind of pull, and then come up with sort of this other worldly person, as well, who I don’t understand—who’s like incredible wealthy, and incredibly lonely.
STRIPLV: Tell us about how your character is struggling in the story.
APPLEGATE: She’s grasping for air! This school, these mothers, these kids, the PTA, is all she has. It’s all a ruse. And it’s not put upon, it’s like this is her air. This is how she’s breathing. It’s where she finds her biggest joy, because it can take her away from what her reality is. And her reality is not good. It’s dark. Her home life is not great.
STRIPLV: What is one of the most difficult tasks in this film for your character to have to handle?  
APPLEGATE: Amy [Mila’s character] challenging her. She’s not used to her challenging her. But she also envies her. She envies sweet, young, wonderful, energetic, broken, you know, mis-stepping mom. She wishes she could be that. And that’s for me, what I’m using as looking around, going: “God, I would love to not have to curl my hair everyday, or put this on. I would love to go get wasted with my girlfriends, and not feel like I have to have everything so perfect.” I mean that’s tiring. And I know people who are very controlling in life—and their exhausted, because if one little piece is out of whack, then the whole thing falls apart. And I think she really, really wishes she could be in with these girls. And that’s when she gets resentful and jealous, and then she starts to see that this is what all the moms really want, is to just be accepted for not being perfect. And that’s killing Gwendolyn. It kills her.
STRIPLV: What was it like working with Mila and all of you six talented women working together?
APPLEGATE: We all lucked out with her as our ringleader. She’s gracious, she’s kind, she’s professional, she’s funny. She’s such a good actress. She’s lovely, she’s adorable, she’s pretty, she’s teeny, she’s awesome. I love her. But I have to say, working with six women, that I don’t know what that could be like, had the stars been aligned in a different way. But these particular six women are so incredible, and kind, and loving, and supportive. And we’re all moms, and so we completely relate to one another. Everyone’s rooting for everyone else. There’s nothing, you know… I know the world wants to think, like: ‘Is there anything catty?’ No, it’s completely opposite. These are the most down-to-earth girls that I’ve ever worked with in my life. So we really lucked out. Really lucked out.
STRIPLV: And how was it on set with directors Jon and Scott?
APPLEGATE: They were wonderful. And they also really trusted our instincts, you know. They didn’t try to like tell us how these women would be feeling, you know, because they really trusted that we knew; that we understood the characters that we were playing, the story that we were telling, and the moral of the story, and also capturing the fun of it, as well. I really liked the fact that they just were like (gesturing hands reeling someone back in), you know, when they felt like they needed to kind of guide us for whatever reason they did, but it was never about the core, because they trusted that we got it. We got this!
STRIPLV: How do you personally relate to the moms in the movie?
APPLEGATE: I went through that for a while where I wouldn’t even let anyone do anything. And it was like, you know: get up, do the morning routine, (which was an hour-and-a-half of crazy town), drop her off myself, rush back home, try to get some exercise for myself, not shower, rush back down to get her, go to pick up the lunch, then go to soccer, then get her to the playdate, get home finally to take a shower. Now I’ve got acne because my sweaty… sweat has been sitting there. And it did end up with me in a crying heap on the floor. And my husband’s like, “You’ve got to like let me do drop-off, and let me do things, because you don’t need to be doing this to yourself.” And I was like, “Yes. You do drop-off, and when you leave, I’m gonna watch “Live with Kelly”, and I’m gonna be happy… all by myself.” It’s really hard to let go of though. It took me a long time.
STRIPLV: What are the main themes of the film?
APPLEGATE: It’s about balance and figuring it out, and then trying to take care of you, too, which is difficult. It can be difficult, and make a living, you know, and work and do all the stuff you can. And there’s no such thing as balance. Everyone says: “We try to balance it out.” Well, there’s no balancing. There’s always gonna be something that loses in the end, but you can try to just give your attention as much as you can. I try to stay in the moment. That’s my whole new thing, is like, ‘Don’t get overwhelmed with everything,’ you know?

OLIVIA MUNN - PSYLOCKE

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STRIPLVINTERVIEWS

OLIVIA MUNN - PSYLOCKE

The talented beauty, Olivia Munn, certainly has her chops—crossing over with ease in both dramatic and comedic film genres. With her wonderful wit and stunning Asian-blend looks, Munn has also had a successful career in modeling, though she is only 5-foot 4-inches, and has been one of the favorites within Maxim’s Hot 100 women since 2008. She’s been an on-air TV personality: as a sidelines reporter/interviewer for Fox Sports, hosting G4’s entertainment and technology news series, Attack of the Show, the network’s Formula D (a show about Japanese “drift” racing in the U.S.) and The Daily Nut podcast, and as a correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. She’s also authored a book in 2010, “Suck it, Wonder Woman!: The Misadventures of a Hollywood Geek” – a humorous look at geeks, gadgets and Hollywood, wrapped up in Munn’s trademark sexy hilarity. 

Interestingly, just a couple of years later, the comic book-style geek landed a role in Jon Favreau’s Iron Man 2—but that was just the beginning. 2016 has been a great year for the girl with the smart and sexy tongue, finding Munn in two big films: Ride Along 2, the action-comedy starring opposite funnyman Kevin Hart, and from the Hangover film series, Ken Jeong.

Then this spring, came the role she was made for: Marvel’s dazzling telepathic Martial Arts Ninja warrior superhero, Psylocke, in the mega-hit film, X-Men: Apocalypse. 

Munn sat with us to discuss her new role in the Marvel blockbuster, freely opening up about her true ‘geeky-ness’ as a big fan of the comic book series that she was so elated to portray on the big screen.

STRIPLV: Tell us about your character.
MUNN: I play Psylocke and I’m one of Apocalypse’s Four Horsemen, and my job is to fulfill his plan to end the world.
STRIPLV: And how do you see your position within the X-Men Universe?
MUNN: It was really important to me when I was bringing Psylocke to screen that she have a fight scene, because if we’re introducing Psylocke to the world, there’s no better way to introduce her than with a fight scene, because that is what she’s so known for. She’s one of the most lethal characters in all the X-Men Universe.
STRIPLV: So we hear you’re quite the fan of the X-Men comic books, is that true?
MUNN: I’m a huge X-Men fan. I grew up knowing the comics and loving the world and of course, the movies. So I was really excited that they were bringing in the Apocalypse storyline, and also Psylocke, ‘cause she has always been one of my favorite X-Men characters.
STRIPLV: What do you personally love about your character, Psylocke?
MUNN: You know Psylocke. You know that her storyline is very diverse and layered, and she’s a fascinating character. But simply, she is a telepath, telekinetic mutant. And she has this amazing ability to create anything with her mind, which is something that she uses when she creates her sword with her hands. The thing I’ve always loved about Psylocke is that, unlike a lot of superheroes and even villains where they don’t want to kill but they will if they have to—Psylocke, I think, has always enjoyed it, or has no problem doing it. She can create anything with her mind to stop someone, so she could kill from afar, like Storm or Magneto, but she chooses to create a sword with her hand, so she can kill up close. That’s a very intimate way to kill someone. That’s why Psylocke has always been one of the fiercest superheroes out there, and fiercest in the X-Men Universe—because she is very lethal. She’s an amazing fighter. She’s got Ninja assassination skills, and she’s not afraid to get her hands dirty.
STRIPLV: So you went through some rigorous training for this particular role?
MUNN: I started training. I’d never done sword before, and I started doing all the sword work, and then wire and stunt training, and going and doing Tai Kwan Do, and Karate, and boxing. I spent a lot of time training for the fight scenes. And pushing myself physically to that level was really exciting.
STRIPLV: Where does your character come into play in the movie?
MUNN: Apocalypse is collecting his Four Horseman, myself being one of them. And Apocalypse has a mission, and that is to eradicate the Earth of X-Mutants or non-Mutants. The Four Horseman are Magneto, Angel, Storm and myself. Apocalypse needs the Four Horseman the same way the Four Horseman, you know, were used in the Biblical sense. You know, if Apocalypse is the Godfather, then we’re the Capos. So that’s kind of the easiest way to explain it. He needs us to do his bidding.
STRIPLV: Tell us about the dyamic between Apocalypse and X-Men’s leader, Charles.
MUNN: Charles has the strongest power, which is, you know, he can get into people’s minds. And Apocalypse wants that. It’s very simple. I would want it, as well.
STRIPLV: Tell us about the process of creating your gorgeous costume.
MUNN: When we started doing the costume for Psylocke, we didn’t have much time before shooting. And there was a moment where they said: “We need to get the look right,” which is very important because, when you’re doing these costumes, they have to fit you like a glove, and they have to be a second skin. So it takes a lot of fittings, a lot of practice, a lot of people working hard to make it fit. Now, latex comes in black—like a standard black color. So the option to make her a version of purple of blue was on the backburner. It was like: ‘If we have time.’ And I got on the phone with Bryan and I said: “Bryan, I understand that there’s an element of: ‘Let’s take inspiration from the comics, but also create her in our own way.’” And that’s what they do for all the characters. But specifically for Psylocke, I feel like the way that she looks is so indicative to who she is and so iconic in the X-Men Universe and the people who love that world that, if you’re going to create this character, then you have to give the people what’s in their head.
STRIPLV: What was it like working with Director Bryan Singer?
MUNN: Simon Kinberg is ‘The Man.’ He is so clever and so smart, and he’s such a good guy. Bryan is such a collaborator. He’s so wonderful and he’s a really great storyteller. And he’s always down to make the fans happy, which I truly appreciate. 
STRIPLV: This film brought X-Men to a whole new level in the franchise, hasn’t it?
MUNN: This X-Men is the first time we’ve faced an opponent like Apocalypse that is so formidable and has truly the ultimate power. It is an epic movie. It’s an experience unlike any other X-Men that you’ve been part of. As soon as you sit down you’re engulfed in this world, in this story, and you’re left wanting more in the end.

MEGAN FOX - Out of the Shadows

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MEGAN FOX
OUT OF THE SHADOWS

Ever since Megan Fox hit Hollywood, she has been the talk of the town as one of the most seductive actresses of the Millennium. Since her start in modeling and through her acting career, there’s not much that she can do without literally sweating sex appeal.
 
Though she may be best known for her roles in the first two installments of the Transformers series, Transformers (2007) and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009), true fans of the stunning siren agree that one of her most vivacious roles and best performances of her acting career was in the 2009 dark comedy supernatural horror film, Jennifer’s Body, starring opposite another beautiful temptress, Amanda Seyfried, and written by stripper-turned-screenwriter, Diablo Cody (Best Original Screenplay Oscar winner for Juno). In the film, Fox’s character becomes possessed and turns into a flesh-eating zombie, which of course, revives her totally hot body and face to “hottie” perfection every time she devours a soul. The movie’s snarky sass toward the often shallow existence of high-schoolers became so popular within the dark comedy cinephile community that you can find it posted all over the Internet, with social media sites dedicated to film, like the Tumblr account, FuckYeahJennifersBody. Fans just can’t seem to get enough of that sexy sass.

Always wanting a family of her own, Fox was granted that wish immediately when she married Beverly Hills 90210’s Brian Austin Green, who brought his son, Kassius (age 14) from a previous relationship. Between films, at age 27, Fox gave birth to her first son, Noah, and hasn’t stopped since, with son Bodhi born one year later, and now a bit of an unexpected third child announced eight months after the couple actually filed for divorce last year. Their relationship of more than 11 years together was mostly strained from arguments over Fox’s heavy work schedule, yet they’ve been seen together as a family often since the announcement of the new baby to come. Their children are absolutely adorable, and Fox has been quoted as saying she’ll be happy with having another boy, and just as pleased if it’s a girl.

Fox now returns to the big screen as the popular character, April O’Neil, in the film reboot of the animated family favorite, TMNT franchise, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows.

Stunning as always, with a mom-to-be glow, Fox took a moment to discuss her work on the sequel to the ever-popular comic, revealing her true nerdy love for the original television series as a child; her take on why the Turtles have become so popular; and what it was like to work with the Turtle cast and crew.

STRIPLV: What is it about the Turtles, do you think, that has made them so popular all over the world?
FOX: So I have theories on this. My theories are that the four Turtles were based on the four Greek temperaments, which are basically four different psychological types that every person would fall under. So it’s easy to find one that is sort of reflective of your own inner self. And we all love ourselves, right? At heart, we’re all narcissists, and so we want to see ourselves on screen. And that’s what’s happening. Or you see your brother or your mother or whoever. It would be weird to see your mother in one of the Turtles, however, it is possible. And then it, in combination with the fact that they were born out of turtle irreverence, like, that’s where the Turtles were created to make fun of comic books, basically. And so because there’s always… everything is sort of done with a wink, it’s fun and it’s without burden, because it’s so lighthearted. 
STRIPLV: I’ve understood you’ve had your own, very personal attachment to the Turtles?
FOX: I grew up watching the movies because I have an older sister. She’s twelve years older. And I wanted to do everything she did. And she watched the movies and I just loved them. I just took to them.  

“I was very small—I mean, three, four, five years old, and we were watching them [TMNT] on VHS, on a tiny, like 17-inch television. And I just… I loved, I don’t know… how sort of like campy, and silly, but exciting and weird and like this sort of dark world that they lived in, but they were such a little bright light in that little world. I just loved it.”  

STRIPLV: Do you think it’s a large difference for kids to experience the Turtles on the big screen in comparison to their television show?
FOX: Well, when I was a kid, I didn’t know any different. That tiny television was the best! The fact that we even had a television, I was like, so excited, because we lived somewhere where most people didn’t even have televisions. But yeah, seeing them on the big screen is definitely a very different experience.
STRIPLV: Do you think the new movie captures the essence of the cartoon and its characters?
FOX: So, the new movie definitely falls in line, I think, with the ‘90s cartoon. I feel like totally that’s where it lands. And then we see a few new villains. We do have Shredder in this movie, but we also have Bebop and Rocksteady, which hard-core fans of the cartoon comic would know. We also have sort of the master puppeteer, which is Krane. And he is an alien brain creature who lives inside the stomach cavity of a humanoid robot that he built.
STRIPLV: Where do we find your character, April, in this sequel, and what has changed since the last movie?
FOX: So, we find April still working for Channel 6, and she’s doing some sort of what seems like undercover work. And she’s communicating with one of the Turtles the whole time, and you realize that they’re sort of aiding her in locating targets and doing the research that she’s doing. She’s more focused on just her relationship with the Turtles. She’s like a bridge for them between the sewers and the rest of humanity and sort of helping them try and fight their turtle crime. 
STRIPLV: What was your approach to your character, April, this time around?
FOX: This April that we had, at least in the first movie, was sort of a mixture of lots of different manifestations of April. I can’t say that any one, particular version influenced me. I think just interacting with the boys influences me, because they give you so much to react to, and you end up loving them so much, because they were all so perfectly cast as their characters, that I feel like that sort of brings their relationship to life.
STRIPLV: What appealed to you the most about doing a sequel from both your personal and your character’s perspective?
FOX: I mean, I think just being able to work with the same guys again, and all the guys that play the Turtles are super talented, and everybody involved in making this movie really loves it. Yeah, this time around, April isn’t so much chasing her career. She’s more chasing, you know, whatever it is that’s moving her in the moment and what she’s passionate about, which is something I sort of relate to.
STRIPLV: Tell us about Casey Jones.
FOX: A lot of people love Casey Jones. So, Casey is that character, sort of like, he’s irreverent, he’s very like New York-y in-your-face. He’s a vigilante; sort of wreckless. And there are some of those elements that still exist in the Casey that we have in our the movie, as well, who’s played by Stephen Amell.
STRIPLV: Tell us about how your character, April, meets Casey Jones?
FOX: April has broken into TCRI, which is where Baxter’s documents lab is, and she’s stolen something she shouldn’t have, and she’s being chased by the Foot Clan, and cornered and stuck, and the Turtles haven’t come to rescue her yet. And all of a sudden a hockey puck comes flying in and takes down one of the Foot soldiers. And at the end of it all, standing, is Casey Jones. 
STRIPLV: Comics always have some of the best villians. Who is the new threat that faces the Turtles in this movie?
FOX: Well, aside from the main villain, Krang, who has unleashed a plot or device that potentially destroy the world—basically, they’re also fighting Bebop and Rocksteady and trying to shut down a device that is opening up over New York City that poses a threat to the entire world and human existence.
STRIPLV: How about that set for the Turtles’ lair—incredible, huh?
FOX: The lair is amazing. That’s one of the best sets I’ve been on, and I hope they never tear it down, because it’s so intricate and colorful and inspirational and creative. That’s one of my favorite sets I’ve ever been on. I think it’s like an award-winning set.
STRIPLV: Tell us about Tyler Perry.
FOX: Tyler’s a really like, gentle, kind, polite, wonderful human being. And he does a lot of really great physical stuff with his character, like the way that he walks. You know, he walks with this sort of little, wounded… like he’s got a limp. He’s a really interesting actor and a great guy.
STRIPLV: And what’s Will Arnett like on set?

“[Will] is our comic relief—and he’s that way when the camera’s rolling and when it’s not rolling. And that’s much appreciated on those super long days where everybody’s exhausted. You need somebody there who’s gonna make you laugh, and he does that for us.”

STRIPLV: It was your first time working with director Dave Green. How would you describe working him?
FOX: Dave’s really compassionate and soft-spoken, like, mild-mannered and patient. Those are things you don’t usually find in a director. So he sets a wonderful tone for the movie, because it allows the rest of us to be relaxed and comfortable, and that’s when people do their best work.
STRIPLV: After all your hard work that goes into putting a movie together, when you finally get to see the movie, is it more of a relief to you that it’s over and you can breathe, or more fun and surprising to see the end result?
FOX: Yeah, it’s fun to see the movie, because so much of it is done in post. But also, it’s crazy to see, because you shoot so much footage, and the movie can only be so long. So it’s interesting to see what ends up on the cutting room floor, and then what actually makes it in. And then all of this new stuff that you never even imagined all of a sudden is in the movie along with you.
STRIPLV: What do you love most about the TMNT franchise?
FOX: I love that it spans so many different generations. You have people in their forties excited to see it, because they grew up with it when they were younger teenagers. And then you have little kids who have been introduced to it through Nickelodeon, and the cartoon that’s on now. You know, you have four-year-olds, three-year-olds, that want to see it. That’s such an interesting thing that you don’t usually get when you make a movie—to reach so many different people.
STRIPLV: Can you reveal some of the biggest differences that this movie has that the first one didnt?
FOX: It’s definitely a lot bigger. There’s a lot more action than the first one. It’s also way lighter. They focused a lot on the comedy and the relationship with the Turtles. There’s just more Turtles. More action.  More spectacle.
STRIPLV: Is there a scene or sequence that stands out for you?
FOX: I think all the stuff they shot in Brazil is pretty insane. It’s just gorgeous. They shot at the falls and it’s sort of mind-blowing, the scope of that and to watch it, for me, because I also loved the cartoon when I was a kid, watching the final sequence with Karen and the Turtles is pretty exciting. It just reminds me, and makes me feel like a six-year-old again.

BRYAN CRANSTON - The Infiltrator

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BRYAN CRANSTON - THE INFILTRATOR

The True Story of One Man Against The Biggest Drug Cartel in History

The incredibly talented Bryan Cranston has held our hearts and our fantasies of being truly badass in the palm of his hand, through his legendary role as Walter White, the high school chemistry teacher whose diagnosis of inoperable lung cancer motivates him to manufacture and sell meth in order to secure his family’s financial future.  

But few fans know how truly badass this actor really is—not only in his outstanding roles that he portrays on camera, but in real life.
 
Cranston has run four marathons, taken a stand against child abduction and exploitation, and produced a Kidsmartz video along with his fellow Malcolm in the Middle crew members in 2000, in order to help teach elementary age children learn how to stay safe. Not badass enough? In his younger years, Cranston could be found out on the open road on his motorcycle with his brother, traveling across the U.S. As a part-time job, when in college, he became an ordained minister, and at one point, he considered becoming a police officer (I wouldn’t want to get caught speeding by him!)

Named one of the “Eight Actors Who Turned Television into Art” in New York Times magazine’s cover story in 2011, Cranston has certainly garnered much respect in both Hollywood and with his fans as an actor, writer and director. He took home four Emmys for his performance on AMC Network’s seven-year mega-hit series, Breaking Bad. Cranston’s talent has been appreciated in the form of voice character work in the Batman animated franchise; live on stage, winning the Tony for “Best Actor in a Play” for his 2014 performance in All the Way; and in the strikingly suspenseful film, Argo, which took home the Oscar for “Best Picture” in 2012.

Now the deep, powerful voice of Cranston has taken command in his newest film, The Infiltrator, where he is on the opposite side of the drug trafficking fence, playing the role of FBI agent, Bob Mazur, who goes undercover to take down the drug trafficking regime of Pablo Escobar. Cranston’s character infiltrates the drug cartel by taking on two different personas—one of them being a businessman who works for the mob, which he plays with an intense bravado throughout the film’s heated and suspenseful ride, directed by Brad Fuhrman.

Taking out a moment to sit down and discuss the new film, The Infiltrator, based on the electrifying book written by real-life Federal Agent, Mazur: “The Infiltrator: My Secret Life Inside the Dirty Banks Behind Pablo Escobar’s Medellín Cartel”, Cranston shares stories through his wonderfully dry sense of humor, while discussing the great respect he has for his fellow actors and the fun he had while filming the drug-soaked thriller.

STRIPLV: The era of this film is one that’s really fun for moviegoers to see. There’s something about the ‘80s and Florida, in particular. Can you talk about the setting and the costumes, and where this film takes place? And was that fun to play in, for you?
CRANSTON: Lovely. Florida ‘80s, early-‘80s, leftover from the ‘70s, you know, with the polyester clothes and the Pooka shells, and things like that. In the ‘80s it became the big hair, the shoulder pads in all the clothes, mens and womens. It was the Miami Vice kind of look, with the pastel T-shirts, and the sleeves halfway up. It was also, you know, they had the symbol of virility. Men wore the Italian pepper. It was a phallus, and they wore it around their neck. You’d recognize it. It was a little pepper, and it looked like a gold pepper on there and it would be unbuttoned-down to here (pointing to halfway down his chest), and you know it was like (disco-dancing with his hands) still the disco age was going on, and Flock of Seagulls, and all that stuff.  
STRIPLV: You’re like lighting up talking about it.
CRANSTON: Yeah, it was good times! Good times. You know Michael Jackson was still rocking it and it was great. It was also the “Me Generation.” It was cocaine lines… I went to an audition once, on a Saturday, and there was cocaine on the table and I was asked if I wanted to do a line… at an audition! In 1980-’81.
STRIPLV: Do you remember what the role was for?
CRANSTON: Oh, no. (suddenly serious) Can’t tell you about that.
STRIPLV: Oh, okay. Got it.
CRANSTON: But after I did the line… 
STRIPLV: (laughter)
CRANSTON: But that’s the wild, wacky “Me Generation”. What’s in it for me, me, me? And there were pagers and phone recording machines the size of suitcases. And those who did have a cell phone, where it looked like a huge brick, and they carried a suitcase with them… They’d say, “Hey, it’s cool. Look at that” (miming an enormous brick next to his ear, looking super suave)  
STRIPLV: (laughter)
CRANSTON: It was a different time, you know. The hostages were just released in Iran, and it was all that period, and it was cocaine, and it was heroin, and it was a lot of you know, trafficking of that, and guns, and Pablo Escobar, and some nasty business.
STRIPLV: Scary and extravagant.
CRANSTON: Yeah, excess.
STRIPLV: Tell us about the many different personas that your character portrayed as a U.S. Customs official who uncovers a money-laundering scheme involving Colombian drug lord, Pablo Escobar.
CRANSTON: There’s basically three distinctive characters in one: His normal self, Bob Mazur, who is really very calm, and a committed family man to his two children and his wife, and lives a very ordinary middle-class existence; and then there’s the characters that he needs to take on, the personas that he needs to wear the robes of and be able to convince bad guys that he is that guy. And one character, early on, is a character named Bob Mangione. He always stayed with “Bob.” He wanted to be Bob Mazur, Bob Mangione, Bob Musella—because, in the heat of the moment, when someone calls the name, Bob… he might turn around. And that’s for that very reason you want to keep the same name, if at all possible, for the first name. And Mangione was more of a sad, old, street-level kind of crook persona. Musella, who is the majority of the story, is a more flamboyant businessman, whose cover is that he works for the mob, works for the family. And they had some intel, knowing that the Godfather movies had already come out, and everybody was enthralled with that. You know, “Fugget About It, ” and all that kind of New York mob kind of thing. And it went international. And the Colombians were affected by that. They thought that was cool. So by taking on a guy who was a little more flamboyant, and worked for the mob, kinda worked for them. They kinda liked that.  
STRIPLV: Tell us about how you personally perceived your role to be?
CRANSTON: What I really responded to with this character is that he’s a family guy. And how does he have this dangerous and yet exciting life in his work world? You know, where he’s taking on this character, he has a pocketful of money, he’s spending the government’s money to have private jets, and go to strip clubs, to go to great restaurants, and the best wines…and playing the big shot in order to play that character. And then he puts that aside and goes home to his middle-class life. And yet, while he loves his wife, and he loves his children, and he absolutely wants to maintain that, there is something about the excitement in his work world, that he can’t bring excitement home to him. He has to buffer it somewhat. And his wife says: “How’s it goin?” And he says: “Oh, fine.” He can’t really be honest about it.
STRIPLV: What’s it like working with John Leguizamo on set?
CRANSTON: John is great. It was the first time I worked with John. He is a joy. He brings such a positive energy to the set—a lightness. And yet he’s not light in his work. He’s very grounded in his work. But he presents himself like an affable and is flexible. Johnny is wide open. He is a guy who you could see his emotion on his face. He doesn’t cover, which is great. As an actor, he comes into it wide open. There was a scene where Amy Ryan threw an adlib out at him. And he said to her, looking at passports: “There’s no stamps on these passports.” (falsified passports) “It looks like… It says, ‘Hey, I’m a cop!’” And she says, “Actually, yours says, ‘I’m an ass-clown.’” And I looked at him, and for a moment, he was really taken aback. He was like, “Huh?” His feelings were hurt, for just a beat. And then she walks off. And I talked to him afterwards, and I said: “I think that hurt your feelings.” And he goes: “It kinda did,” (laughing) “...you know, like, that’s how she sees me.” But he can improv with the best of them, and we did a lot of that. 
STRIPLV: Anything specific?
CRANSTON: Yeah, well we stole the scene in the cemetery. It was on a Sunday. We didn’t “officially” have it (motioning air quotes). It was our DP Josh, and Brad, and we took our sound guy. I did my own hair and I did some makeup—because we could not bring people. And we hopped out of a van, and we go: “Go, go, go, go, go. Let’s set up. C’mon, come on! Hurry, hurry, hurry.” We were about gonna get kicked out, because we didn’t have permits. That scene was on the chopping block of getting lost. It was like, we were gonna have to cut it out of the script because we just don’t have time to shoot it. And I said to Brad: “We’ve gotta have that scene.” And Johnny is going: “We gotta have it!” And Brad said: “I know! I know! I know!” So we just did guerilla style. We went out there, we knew basically what we were gonna say, the specific things we needed to get, the two names that had to come out—and how we got them off the gravestones. But all the other stuff was adlib. You know: “Do the math,” and when he says: “Yeah, that’s a good name—it’s sexy.” “Who cares about sexy?” “Yeah, I care about sexy.” (chuckling) That’s all us just goofing around. And it’s fun.
STRIPLV: What was it like working with Benjamin Bratt and Diane Kruger?
CRANSTON: Two very seductive, sexy, charming different people, in different ways. Well, actually, the same way, just male and female. That scene where we’re on the airplane, I watch the two of them basically making love to each other, and I’m watching this going: “Wow! I feel like a voyeur.” She’s seducing him; he’s accepting it—and brilliant! And it was important to the story, so that Bob Mazur sees the value of Diane Kruger’s character, and what she brings to the table. And Diane did it so effortlessly.  

“I think [Diane] maybe has seduced a man or two before. (Cranston pulls a “breaking the fourth wall”, speaking directly to the camera) (very seriously) What?  What did I say?"

STRIPLV: (roars of laughter)
CRANSTON: And she’s very seductive, and beautiful, and a talented actor. So it wasn’t hard for Brian to be attracted, and to see that sensibility, and for us to do our dance. And hopefully it comes across that at that pivotal time of after the murder of a character, that our embrace was out of necessity and a need to comfort, as opposed to a sexual transition.  

“And Benjamin Bratt… you know what? I’d do him (smiling). He’s a sexy guy."

STRIPLV: (roars of laughter)
CRANSTON: ...and talented, and very aware of his presence and the energy that he presents, but very flexible and open to how other people work. It was a great cast, and I was very fortunate to have these people to work with.
STRIPLV: What is it that really drew you to this film and your character?
CRANSTON: I just liked the idea that there was a man who was committed to trying to do the right thing—trying to improve his country, his society. And in order to do that—he had to become very good friends with some very bad people.  
STRIPLV: How would you describe this film to interested audiences?
CRANSTON: The Infiltrator is a story that will take them on a journey. It took me on a journey just reading it. The Infiltrator is many things: it’s a bit of a thrill, it’s a personal journey, and a family drama, in that sense, about a man’s character and his drive to achieve something of great benefit. It’s intrigue, it’s dangerous. There are some crazy, unreliable characters that you would imagine to be in the drug trade. So you have it from all sides, which was nice, in a nice, balanced experience.

13 HOURS-Interview with Dominic Fumusa +Real-LIfe Soldiers

0716 13hoursmosaic

13 HOURS
THE SECRET SOLDIERS OF BENGHAZI

INTERVIEW WITH DOMINIC FUMUSA

+REAL-LIFE HEROES
MARK "OZ" GEIST
JOHN "TIG" TIEGEN
KRIS "TANTO" PARONTA
 
Riveting. Absolutely riveting. And if it weren’t a true story, with real, honest-to-goodness heroes, movie buffs everywhere would be celebrating the film, 13 HOURS: THE SECRET SOLDIERS OF BENGHAZI, calling it the “Platoon” for the millennials. But it’s a real story, with real men, brave men who were forced to face an unfathomably hellish enemy—without the backup that they deserved.  

Six elite ex-military operators fought to protect the CIA against overwhelming odds when terrorists attacked a U.S. diplomatic compound on September 11, 2012. According to the Office of the Historian U.S. Department of State, Ambassador Christopher Stevens (one of the four who perished that night) was the first U.S. Ambassador to die in 33 years (since 1979). One doesn’t have to ponder long to think: ‘What could have possibly been so important that Ambassador Stevens had to be in Benghazi that night—on the one-year anniversary of 9/11?’

Film director, Michael Bay, carefully and respectfully recreated this devastating moment in time, in which four Americans were killed, based on the accounts of the Special Ops veterans and co-authors of the #1 New York Times Bestselling book by American author Mitchell Zuckoff: “13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi”.
 
STRIPLV: Dominic, what a uniquely perfect event for this film to be screened!
FUMUSA: 13 Hours being featured in the GI Film Festival is exactly right! It should be. It’s so wonderful to be here. It’s sort of a perfect way to end our press tour on this thing. You know, we made this movie to honor the commitment and bravery and sacrifice made by these guys and the men and women from the military like them. And I can’t think of a more fitting festival to be a part of. It’s all about that.
STRIPLV: What was it like to portray these brave men and what are your feelings on reenacting their story?
FUMUSA: These are just salt-of-the-Earth guys put in incredibly intense dangerous situations. And thank God that we have people like this in our military, men and women who are willing to be there and make that sacrifice. And the fact that they were guarding 25-30 CIA personnel, and as six men, they held off scores of attackers, and saved these people’s lives—it’s mind-blowing! It’s extraordinary.  
STRIPLV: It has obviously struck a chord in you, as well as the entire film crew and entire cast…

“ These are men, (in this case, men, but women, as well), who run into fires, instead of running away. You know—it’s a special type of person who’ll do that.

STRIPLV: Did you feel you had a personal mission when making this film?
FUMUSA: We have felt a tremendous responsibility to get this right. That’s been our sole focus the whole time. As Tig has said: “This is a part of history.” And we lost four great Americans over there. And if we don’t get it right, there’d be no point in making the movie. It’s so critical that we acknowledge them. You know, we take for granted what these guys are doing on a daily basis. But we mustn’t, because it’s really great when you get to tell a story like this. And we knew we had a tremendous responsibility to tell it truthfully and honestly, and get a great movie out of it. That’s why Michael Bay was such a great person to do this. He always makes entertaining, visually stunning movies. And on top of that, he has a profound appreciation for military. I think he really felt that responsibility, as well. And you see it on screen.

13 HOURS: THE SECRET SOLDIERS OF BENGHAZI was just released on a three-disc Blu-ray Combo Pack with Digital HD that includes an hour of Bonus Material, featuring behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the six ex-military operators recounting the extraordinary detail involved in recreating the events from the attack, including the content: For the Record: Finding the Truth Amid the Noise and Uncovering Benghazi’s Secret Soldiers. Plus, join the cast and crew as they highlight the filmmaking process and how director Michael Bay brought the film to life.
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