TOM MALLOY TALKS NEW MOVIE ‘#SCREAMERS’, THE OSCARS & HIS LEGACY 0 169

As an actor, writer, author and producer, Tom Malloy has built up an incredibly strong and varied resume over the years. A strong supporter of LGBT rights, the film Fair Haven, which he produced and also features in, about a young LGBT man’s return to his family after a stint in conversion therapy, has received plaudits on the film circuit while his latest project, #Screamers looks set to wow audiences after impressing the critics during preview screenings. While he continues to keep himself extremely busy, Tom kindly took time out of his hectic schedule to chat to Thisisthelatest about family life, his love of comedy and what he’d like his legacy to be.

TITL: How did you get involved in Fair Haven and how important do you think such a project is given the ongoing media interest in LGBT issues?

Tom Malloy: The screenplay, by Jack Bryant, was brought to me by Kerstin Karlhuber, the director.  I loved it right away because there are no bad guys in the story. Everyone in the film is just doing what they know to be right, so it didn’t demonize anyone. And I’m a supporter of LGBT issues, and have been for years. I’ve always said, in the words of the great producer Robert Evans, “All Love is cool, man.” And so anything that supports love – which is what this film does – is cool by me.

TITL: You won awards for your portrayal of Dylan in Hero of the Underworld. Do accolades like that mean much to you or are you just happy to be a part of films and projects you believe in, regardless how well-received (or not) they might be?

TM: I’m so happy and grateful to be involved in any project, and to be able to live and work in the movie business for so long. I love the accolades, yes, because it shows that people are recognizing my work and abilities, and hopefully will help to generate future roles.

TITL: You’re also a talented writer having created, produced and starred in comedy series Midtown alongside comedian Scott Baker. Is there one aspect of the industry you prefer more than the other (acting, writing, producing) or is it just nice to be able to combine all your passions?

TM: Acting is still my #1 passion. The writing and producing started as a means to an end, to get more roles, but, in the meantime, I guess through osmosis or experience, I became really skilled at writing and producing as well. So now it all acts together and makes me a much more valuable and complete person to be involved with any project. And it’s all the result of hard work, which I love.

TITL: What made you decide to write your own book, Bankroll, and create the Film Finance Guide? What has the feedback/responses been like so far?

TM: Back in 2004, I told my current agent that I decided to be an “actor/writer/producer” and she was like, “You can’t be all three, you have to focus on 1.” I guarantee that today, that same agent is saying to clients, “You have to be all three, you can’t focus on 1!” The business has changed so much, and thankfully I was in front of that. So actors started looping back and asking, “How did you do this?” And enough people asked that I figured it would be great to put a resource together. The response was amazing. Bankroll became the gold standard book on film financing. I remember being at Sundance in 2012, and 13 people came up to me and said that they loved Bankroll. Those were just the people who came up to me! I wonder how many more knew about the book and had it help them!

TITL: What was it like working with Jane Lynch on the web series Dropping The Soap?

TM: Jane is great. She’s so funny and sweet. But to be clear, I wasn’t involved in the producing of DTS. I now also own a distribution company – Glass House Distribution – and we acquired DTS after it was finished. Still, Jane and I interacted at the premiere and got to know each other.

TITL: Of all the projects you’ve been a part of, do you have any favourites?

TM: I absolutely LOVE my new film #Screamers. The role I played was so fun, my best performance so far, and I can’t wait until that comes out – there’s a major deal I cannot discuss is in the works. The film has had some sneak peek reviews and critics have gone NUTS. It’s a found footage horror, and twice it’s been called the best found footage movie EVER.

TITL: Of the 26 screenplays you’ve written throughout your career, which ones are you most proud of? Are there any that have recently been optioned you can tell me about?

TM: I’ve actually written 30! I’ve optioned/sold/made into movies I think 23/24 of them. One of the screenplays I’m most proud of is a female vigilante action film called Bad Ass Girls, which is SO awesome and fun. Right now it’s being made into a graphic novel which will be done by the end of the year and will hopefully be in development as a film next year.

TITL: Who in the industry would you most like to work with and why?

TM: I’d like to work with some of the top A-list comedians, because I know I can match or exceed their game! The best way to showcase yourself is to put yourself with the best, and I love comedy so much, so working with someone like Will Ferrell or Vince Vaughn would be awesome.

TITL: Away from work, you participate in Celebrity Poker Tournaments and Swing Dance Competitions. That’s quite a combination…

TM: HA!  Well, actually it’s a different combo. I haven’t competed in Swing Dance in YEARS.  I do try to swing dance – West Coast Swing – socially, but those times are few and far between. Yes, I do play in as many Celebrity Poker tournaments and house games with actor friends as I can. But the other activity is Jiu-Jitsu. I’ve been training on and off for 25 years! I just recently I got back into it on a regular basis, and it’s a great escape from everything else in the world. When I’m rolling against an opponent, I’m not thinking about the movie business, emails, messages, meetings – I’m just focused on how not to get my head ripped off!!

TITL: How do you juggle all your work commitments with family life?

TM: Thank I have this God-given natural gift of life energy. I’ve been told I’m like the energizer bunny. I have this motor running inside of me and I can’t sit still and I go and go and go. So as long as I can schedule things around – thank you iPhone – there’s rarely a time where I’m tired and pretty much NEVER a time where I cancelled a commitment or time with my family because I’ve got to rest! Time is our most valuable commodity, and I value it more than anything. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.

TITL: If your kids said they wanted to follow your career path, what would you say?

TM: I would encourage them, and they do both want to be actors! The best thing is, I have navigated a twisty, dangerous path, and hopefully my experiences can be taught to them so their path is a little straighter! But the thing I wish for them most is to have the freedom that I have. I don’t answer to anyone’s schedule – which doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy working 12-14 hour days…actually love it – and I have complete freedom to just pick up and go to places like Cannes. I’ll be there from May 16th to the 27th. I also go back and forth from LA to NY, and then also this year I’m going to South Korea for a film festival. I can’t imagine working 9-5 or 8-7 in a job I hate, working for the weekend, waiting until I’m 65 to retire and finally live. Not for me. And hopefully not for them.

TITL: What advice would you give to upcoming individuals in the entertainment industry? Is there anything you wish you’d been told before you started out or do you think it’s best that everyone just makes their own path?

TM: I think yes everyone needs to follow their own path, but the advice I’d give is this: if you’re in it, be in it for life. It’s the only way. On the top end, who makes more money, doctors or actors? Actors, hands down. An A-list actor can make in a day what a top doctor makes in a year. But if you asked someone how to become a doctor, they’d say college, then med school, then internship, then maybe 10-15 years later they’d be a doctor. Yet, I’ve heard people actually say, “Yeah, I gave the acting thing a try for 6 months, it didn’t work out.”  6 months???  And you want to make more than a doctor?? I’m in this game for life, always searching for that role or project that will knock it out of the park for me. I’ve always said, I’ll be 85 years old in a wheelchair, slowly rolling into an audition thinking, “This is my year!” And I’m gonna enjoy the journey on the way, that’s key too. I don’t just want to live looking for the next thing. I’m grateful for all that I have.

TITL: What does the rest of this year have in store for you?

TM: I have a film called Fair Haven, which I produced, and also play a small role in that was in theaters this March. Film Independent called it one of the top 10 “Must See Indies” of the year), and it will be on Showtime in June. It’s a beautiful LGBT film. And I have this film #Screamers, which is like a week away from signing a MAJOR deal. Fingers crossed, I can’t give the details – yet!  But the film is a found footage horror, and has twice by critics been called the Best Found Footage Movie Ever!

TITL: Finally then, where would you like to see yourself ten years from now and what would you like your legacy to be?

TM: I’d love to be working with A-list stars right alongside of them in a series, or major studio films. That’s the goal. And the Oscars, that’s always been a goal for me. It’s such a geek thing, but you tell me a year and I can name which film won best Picture… I know the whole list and have been quizzed by friends many times. As for a legacy, I think the goal of any actor is to “live forever.” Marlon Brando and Humphrey Bogart are alive today because we can watch their movies and still have an emotional reaction to them. If I can pass emotional reactions – whether it be laughter, tears, excitement – on to as many people as possible, I’ll be truly fulfilled.

Header photo credit – Birdie Thompson. Grooming – Michelle Quaranta.

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CELEBRATE NATIONAL SPACE DAY & NATIONAL ASTRONAUT DAY WITH FANDOR 0 91

Tomorrow might be best known as ‘Star Wars’ Day – nice play there May 4th – but for those not so invested in the global smash-hit franchise, but still interested in space and the universe, it’s also National Space Day. Not only that, but National Astronaut Day follows on the 5th so it’s a double (okay, triple) whammy! To mark NSD and NAD, Fandor are streaming some of the best space-themed films of recent decades, so why not indulge in your love of the great unknown and watch a few over the coming days? Here are just a few of Fandor’s top picks.

The Titan Find

Directed by William Malone and released in 1985, TTF sees a crew of scientists arrive on a far, cold planet to study some artifacts and find that their rivals, the Germans, are already there. When they seek their help after a failed landing, they only find the Germans’ bodies, obviously slaughtered by one of the archaic creatures, awoken to new life, who is now hunting them.

The Voyagers

In the summer of 1977, NASA sent Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 on an epic journey into interstellar space. Both spacecrafts carry a golden record album, a massive compilation of images and sounds embodying the best of Planet Earth. According to Carl Sagan, who worked on the golden records and met his future wife Annie Druyan while doing so, “The spacecraft will be encountered and the record played only if there are advanced space-faring civilizations in interstellar space. But the launching of this bottle into the cosmic ocean says something very hopeful about life on this planet.” The 2010 film, in the words of director Penny Lane, is “a love letter to my fellow traveller.”

Dark Star

John Carpenter’s 1974 feature tells the story of a futuristic scout ship travelling far in advance of colony ships. Armed with Exponential Thermosteller Bombs, the ship prowls the darkest reaches of space on a mission to seek out and destroy unstable planets ahead of the colonist, but the ship itself is threatened by one of its own thinking and talking bombs which, lodged in the bay, puts the lives of everyone on board in jeopardy.

The Girl From Monday

A being from a distant constellation called Monday, assumes the human form of a beautiful young woman in order to look for her friend who arrived years before and whom she suspects is in trouble. Tragic, beautiful and funny, TGFM, released in 2005 and directed by Hal Hartley, is a fake science-fiction movie about the way we live now.

Painting The Way to the Moon 

This 2014 film, directed by Jacob Akira Okada, brings to the screen the story of how back in the 1980’s, Ed Belbruno, a Princeton mathematician, was determined – obsessed – with figuring out a new way of space travel and how, as a keen painter, it took him five years, and a turn towards his canvas, to make the breakthrough he was looking for.

Mars

A new space race is born between NASA and the ESA when Charlie Brownsville, Hank Morrison and Dr. Casey Cook compete against an artificially intelligence robot to find out what’s up there on the red planet. MARS follows these three astronauts on the first manned mission to our galactic neighbour. On the way they experience life-threatening accidents, self doubts, obnoxious reporters and the boredom of extended space travel. This romantic comedy is told in the playful style of a graphic novel, using a unique animation process that director Geoff Marslett developed specifically for the film.

Looking deep into exploration and as research and development into the potential and plans for people to travel to the red planet continues, the feature, released in 2011 and directed by Geoff Marslett, is a timely, reflective look at some important questions that scientists can and do ask and will likely hope to answer in the coming months and years such as why do we want to know what is out there, and how do and will we react to what we find?

Chariots of the Gods

Nominated for Best Documentary at the 1971 Academy Awards, this film version of Erich Von Daniken’s best-selling book of the same name, directed by Harold Reinl, offers viewers stunning visual proof that some form of life from outer space landed on Earth centuries ago. It took five years for von Daniken to document, on film, the physical evidence of visits by galactic travellers who came to Earth and such evidence allows the viewer to be taken into the far reaches of underground caves and tombs and to the tops of desolate mountains on every major continent. A controversial piece of film-making, Chariots answers some questions but also raises many others.

Nostalgia for the Light

Acclaimed political documentary filmmaker Patricio Guzmán travels ten thousand feet above sea level to the driest place on earth, the Atacama Desert, where atop the mountains astronomers from all over the world gather to observe the stars. Offering stunning views of the skies and stars, the heat of the Atacama also preserves life, in some form, on Earth, and has allowed for human remains, of Pre-Columbian mummies; nineteenth century explorers and miners; and the remains of political prisoners, “disappeared” by the Chilean army after the military coup of September, 1973, to remain intact. The visuals of astronomers being able to so clearly examine the unknown, distant and oldest galaxies contrasted with those of families still hoping to find the remains of their loved ones close by makes NFTL a truly gorgeous, moving and ultimately, immensely personal, piece of work.

Header photo credit: phys.org.

BISHAT TALKS NEW MUSIC, SOCIAL MEDIA & HER PLANS FOR WORLD DOMINATION 0 60

Having written her first song at the age of 13, music has been in Bishat’s blood for many years and now, following the release of her Q417 (Mixtape) EP, she’s ready and raring to share her passion for what she does with the world. She spoke to ThisIsTheLatest about the honesty and emotion behind her lyrics, her thoughts on social media and her plans to tour the world.

TITL: As an artist who comes from the same place as the legends that are ABBA, have you or do you ever feel any pressure to try and replicate their success or are you just happy to see that, over the years, more and more talented bands and artists from your country have graced stages around the world and won over music fans?

Bishat: I think it’s inspiring more than anything else, it just makes me feel like it’s possible to reach a global audience from this little corner of the world. The industry is so small in Sweden so you know a lot of the people making waves and it’s an amazing feeling when you’re in a taxi in New York or in a club in Ethiopia and there’s a global smash playing and you know the people who wrote it.

TITL: You wrote your first song aged just 13, with Jose Gonzalez. How would you say your writing style has changed and evolved since then and what advice would you give to anyone looking at writing their own first piece?

B: As with everything else, you mature and experience life and with that you evolve your way of thinking and how you’re expressing yourself. I’ve also had time to be influenced by a lot of other music and I’ve studied what others did to then land in something that is me. I think my music is much more raw and intuitive and a mash-up of all the genres that I’ve grown up listening to now.

TITL: You’ve so far been compared to the likes of Tove Lo and FKA Twigs, among others. Do you mind such comparisons or would you much rather be labelled an artist in your own right? 

B: Both Tove Lo & FKA Twigs are brilliant artists that I admire and am influenced by so I take that as a huge compliment. But yes, sometimes comparisons can be a bit lazy. People seem to crave the need of labeling and comparing and I get that in a time when there’s so much music it’s good to have some guidance and indication of other artists you might like. I’m really bad at explaining my sound and genre so if other people nail it then that’s all good. Of course I hope and think people see me an artist in my own right  – there’s room for everybody.

TITL: You’ve just released your debut EP Q417 (Mixtape). How was the creative, writing and recording process and is there one track/feature on the collection you’re particularly proud of?

B: This was a little different than I how I’ve worked before. I’ve always had a lot of sessions where we wrote lots of stuff over a long period of time but this was pretty much all done in the last quarter of 2017, hence the title. I was going through a lot of stuff, coming out of a long relationship, not having a place to live, so creating this EP became my mission, not to lose myself completely. I wrote all the songs myself except  “Unholy Romance” which I wrote with XOV, and then involved a few trusted people in the production process to help me finish it so it feels even more personal with the entire core coming from me. I’m most proud of “Give You Up” because it’s the first track I produced all by myself, even though I’m always involved and co-produce all my stuff. I have, as a female, struggled with daring to call myself a producer but now I feel that I truly can and no one can tell me nothing and that feels good. It’s also the rawest song I think I’ve ever written and listening to it reminds me of how broken I was at the time. It’s a bit painful but it also feels like the whole reason I even got into music in the first place. To create things that are raw and vulnerable that hopefully resonate with others going through the same things.

TITL: Now that the EP’s out, have you started thinking about writing again for the follow-up or are you just going to go with the flow and see what the response to this EP is like first?

B: Yes, I have some songs written but I haven’t entirely set the tone for the next EP, or maybe album, just yet. I’m going to London for a while to do some writing – the music scene there is really inspiring at the moment with so much great music coming out, so maybe that will shape the sound. But, I will definitely try to put out more music after summer.

TITL: The EP as a whole is rather dark and addresses a considerably difficult time in your life. Were you ever apprehensive about sharing those times with the world through your music as you have, or is it something you’d like to see more artists do – address real issues in their lives and those of others?

B: I personally love music that I feel is super honest. I mean it doesn’t even have to be real life, but some artists make you feel like it is anyway. Life is messy and hard and incredible and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. I think everyone would be better off if we were more open and honest about the struggles, depression or whatever it is that we go through. There was a point when we were mixing and I was like ​‘wow this feels pretty exposing’, but at that point I wasn’t gonna throw it all away. It was a little scary but I’m proud of my work and proud that I managed to put it together even though I was such a mess.

TITL: You’ve also dropped the video for “Dream About Me.” How did you come up with the concept, and how hands on in terms of the creative process, do you like to get when it comes to making videos and such?

B: Post break up analysis I guess triggered it. I was like I’ve been in these long relationships but in the end I somehow mess them up. They may not have been the right ones for me but still…I started to see patterns in my behavior and in everyone’s really. Most of us repeat the same mistakes over and over and so I had this idea of showing several relationships, which in the end ended up being just two, where you are super intense and all in in the beginning but then grow restless and end up leaving and then repeat it with someone else. The fear of space and change – which ironically is the thing that usually ends up ruining it. I’m very involved in every aspect of my artistry. I do almost everything by myself from artwork to styling and I was very involved in the video so it’s all very much me which is really nice even though it gets crazy stressful at times. The anxiety is real.

TITL: Personally and professionally, are you much of a social media user and how do you feel about the power the likes of Twitter and YouTube can and do have in terms of helping an artist grow their fan-base and keep themselves current?

B: I use social media a lot but not a crazy amount. I understand that it’s important and it’s really cool to have that instant way of connecting with people. To be able to chat to someone who loves my song in Peru in my Insta DMs is amazing. However, the flip side is the fact that there’s such power in numbers – I think we are too fixated with  followers, likes and streams and that it influences what we think of the artist before we’ve​ even heard the music. I wonder if you’d listen to the same stuff or talk about the same artists if you couldn’t see streams on Spotify or didn’t have YouTube views showing.

TITL: Finally then, with the video and EP out now, what’s next for you? What does the rest of the year have in store for you, and have you started looking further ahead as to what the more distant future could and might hold for you?

B: I’m gonna play some shows which I’m really excited about, write lots of music for myself and other artists and slowly work on that world domination stuff. I’m ready for that world tour.

Check out the video for “Dream About Me” below and for more information on Bishat, give her page a like on Facebook or follow her on Twitter. Her Q417 (Mixtape) EP is available now.