TOM MALLOY TALKS NEW MOVIE ‘#SCREAMERS’, THE OSCARS & HIS LEGACY 143

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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RJ WORD TALKS “WHAT YOU NEED”, SOCIAL MEDIA & HIS DREAM SHOW LINE-UP 38

Having just released the video to his new single “What You Need”, RJ Word is certainly well on his way to making his mark on the music industry. Currently working on a number of singles, ThisIsTheLatest caught up with RJ to chat all things inspiration, ultimate compliments and what he’d most like to be remembered for.

TITL: Has music always been your ambition, or, growing up, did you consider exploring other avenues? Ultimately, who or what made you realise that music was the right path for you?

RJ Word: Growing up I studied music and acting. I still consider myself an actor, it’s just not my primary focus at the moment. Music gives me more freedom to create. A song can be anywhere from 90 seconds to 10 minutes and can be made considerably faster than a film. Also, you just can’t beat that feeling music gives you. There’s nothing like it.

TITL: Which bands and artists are you most influenced and inspired by and is there one in particular you might say you sound similar to?

RJ: Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Bruno Mars and Justin Timberlake have all influenced me a lot, but hopefully I don’t sound too much like any of them.

TITL: Is there a story behind your new track “What You Need”?

RJ: I wanted to make a disco inspired record with some more modern rhythmic elements. We came up with this.

TITL: Are there any EP/album plans in the works, and if so, what can you tell me about how they’re coming along?

RJ: Just working on more singles at the moment, but that’s going really well. I have a couple songs I’m really excited about.

TITL: How easy or hard do you find the song-writing process? Do you find it often depends on the subject matter and other such issues?

RJ: Some days it can be a little tough to get started. But once you’re in the zone it’s just fun, unless you’re writing something about a heartbreak that just happened.

TITL: In your mind, what makes a song truly great and which song would you say is the greatest ever written?

RJ: It’s half lyrics/melody and half production, so both have to be spot on to make an excellent record. The songs that stand out in my memory are the ones that do something different and unconventional. That’s where the magic happens. It’d be impossible for me to name a favorite.

TITL: Do you have any upcoming performance/tour plans?

RJ: Not right now. I’m mostly focusing on writing and recording for the next couple of months.

TITL: If you could perform with three bands or artists, who can be living or dead, who would they be?

RJ: That’s a tough one. Most of my idols are legendary performers and to be up next to them would be really intimidating. But my dream set would be to do a show with MJ and have Quincy Jones conducting a full orchestra live along with us. Depending on if you count the musicians in the orchestra, that’d be way more or one less than 3 acts.

TITL: What has been the nicest thing someone’s written/posted about you and your music and what would the ultimate compliment be?

RJ: When people say online that one of my songs is the best they’re ever heard it’s always nice. But I’m so critical of my work that it’s hard for me to seriously take that to heart. The ultimate compliment would be for someone I really respect in the industry to just say they liked it.

TITL: Both personally and professionally, how do you feel about social media? What impact is it having on your career and your ability to reach an audience, and do you believe it’s possible for upcoming bands and artists today to achieve success without it?

RJ: It’s been amazing tool for me professionally but something I have never used personally. I like my privacy too much. Being able to share my music with the world and grow a fan base, the way I have, can be directly accredited to it. So yeah, it’s very important to me. I think it’s still possible for an upcoming act to blow up without using it directly. But if their fan base is growing they’ll be using socials to talk about them. So at least indirectly it’ll be used. It’s a big part of how the world today communicates.

TITL: Finally then, five-ten years from now, what do you hope to have achieved from your music career? What bucket list items do you want to have ticked off and if you could be remembered for one thing when it comes to your music, what would it be?

RJ: I’d love to have toured the world, have some records I’m really proud of and have worked with some of my idols. I have no clue what I’ll be remembered for yet. At the moment my goal is to make what’s on the radio musical again. Getting away from all the loop based tracks and repetitive samples. I’d be okay with being remembered for that.

Check out the video for “What You Need” below and to keep up to date with RJ Word, visit his website, give his page a like on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.

CELEBRATE EARTH DAY WITH SOME EYE-OPENING, THOUGHT PROVOKING VIEWING 39

The world we live in is vast and beautiful, filled with places and sights that can quite literally take our breath away. In celebration of Earth Day, which takes place this Sunday, April 22nd, Fandor have put together a collection of some environmentally and globally focused programmes and documentaries for people to watch if they want to see and learn more about this wondrous planet we all share. For those readers in the US, all the programmes below can be streamed via Fandor, which until April 30th, is half price and costs just $5 a month or a fantastic $45/year for new subscribers.

Great Wide Open

This five-part documentary series, directed by Fandor’s Chief Creative Officer Jared Leto, sees the Oscar-winning actor and musician focus his attention on some of America’s most beautiful National Parks, which he explores with some of the best known and inspirational adventurers who have explored them. Episode 1, titled ‘The Conquistador’, sees the star and American climber Tommy Caldwell belay together at Taft Point in Yosemite, episode 2, ‘The Dirtbag’, features landscape artist, expedition climber and award winning film-maker Renan Ozturk who joins Leto to explore Yosemite Park, and episode 3, ‘The Rockstar’, stars Alex Honnold and includes a hike across Matthes Crest and a night climb up Cathedral Peak. Episode 4, titled ‘The Wolfman’, features Yellowstone Park and Douglas Smith and Episode 5, ‘Independence Day’, sees Leto celebrate the 4th of July with Sasha DiGiulian at Devil’s Tower.

Queen Of The Sun: What Are The Bees Telling Us?

Over recent years, bee numbers around the world have continued to fall, and this Taggart Seigel directed, 2010 film takes viewers on a journey through an exploration of the impact the disappearance of bees has and continues to have on our world. It also looks at the mysteries and complexities of bee-hives, and tells the story of how scientists, bee keepers and philosophers, all of whom have struggled with the declining bee numbers, are working to make things better again.

No Impact Man

Conducting research for his next book, author Colin Beavan began the No Impact Project in November 2006. This documentary, directed by Laura Gabbert and Justin Schein, sees the newly self-proclaimed environmentalist, no longer able to avoid pointing the finger at himself, leave behind his liberal complacency for a vow to make as little environmental impact as possible for one year. No more automated transportation, no more electricity, no more non-local food, no more material consumption, no problem. That is, until his espresso-guzzling, retail-worshipping wife Michelle and their two year-old daughter are dragged into the fray. An eye-opening look into the impact just one individual can – and does – make on the Earth in a year, NMI, an official selection of the Sundance, Silverdocs and LA Film Festivals in 2009, also highlights the highs and lows that can come with making such a drastic lifestyle change.

The Pearl Button

The ocean contains the history of all humanity; the good and the bad. The sea holds the voices of the Earth and those that come from outer space. Water receives impetus from the stars and transmits it to living creatures, ourselves included. Water, the longest border in Chile, also holds the secret of a mysterious button that was discovered in its seabed. Chile, with its 2,670 miles of coastline, the largest archipelago in the world, presents a supernatural landscape. In it are volcanoes, mountains and glaciers. In it are the voices of the Patagonian indigenous people, of the first English sailors and also those of its political prisoners. Some say that water has memory. While water may not speak like we do, this 2015 film, directed by Patricio Guzman, shows that it does have a voice.

The Bear

The story of a young cub and an adult grizzly as they join forces to survive the perils inherent in their mountain habitat, this 1988 feature from Jean-Jacques Annaud, sees the two bears further develop a bond that can only make them stronger, with their friendship being put to the test as they must work together to overcome a deadly enemy.

Homo Sapiens

Ever wondered what might or will happen to the Earth when you or I are no longer here? Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s 2016 film asks this question and many others, as it, and he, explore the finiteness and fragility of human existence and the end of the industrial age. Many of us might think about the future, but this work showcases those thoughts from an entirely different, life-changing potential future viewpoint.

Portrait Of A Garden

Captured over one year, POAG, directed by Rose Stapel, tells the story of two friends, an 85-year old pruning master and the gardener and addresses their own concerns about the ever changing landscape and world around them, and how it will affect the beautiful space before them. A documentary that can and will likely make anyone who loves the outdoors, even just being in their own garden, think about how it may look a few months or years from now, it’s a beautifully shot and beautiful to watch piece of work.

If A Tree Falls: A Story Of The Earth Liberation Front

Directed by Sam Cullman and Marshall Curry and focusing on and addressing the events of December 7th 2005, when federal agents conducted a nationwide sweep of radical environmentalists involved with the Earth Liberation Front, an organization the FBI has called America’s “number one domestic terrorism threat.”, If A Tree Falls tells the remarkable  but true story of the group’s rise and fall, as told through the transformation and radicalization of one of its members, Daniel McGowan. Mixing a coming-of-age-tale with cops-and-robbers style thriller, the Sundance 2011 award-winning and 2012 Oscar-nominated film interweaves a chronicle of McGowan facing life in prison with a dramatic investigation of the events that led to his involvement with the ELF. Using never-before-seen archival footage and intimate interviews with cell members and individuals involved in prosecuting them and the group, it’s a hard-hitting, eye-opening piece of work that asks hard questions about environmentalism, activism and the way we define terrorism.

Fandor are also marking Earth Day this Sunday with an Earth Day Everyday movie list, which you can check out here. Whatever you get up to this Earth Day, enjoy it and be sure to take a moment to appreciate the great, wide and beautiful world we live in. Header photo image taken from opelikaobserver.com.