Interviews

Interviews

Fri
26
Nov

Jimmy Gownley: To the Saddest Little Girl in the World

If you haven't yet heard of Amelia Rules!, you're missing out on one of the standouts of the comics medium. Written and drawn by Jimmy Gownley, this series about a middle-schooler in crisis is a clever mix of fun, philosophy, humor and poignancy that will, at times, have you laughing out loud and reaching for a tissue.

We sat down with Mr. Gownley to have a lengthy, in-depth discussion about Amelia, her world, and how her story takes more advantage of the comic book medium than nearly any other graphic novel on the shelves.

(And if you're out this Black Friday looking for the perfect Christmas gift for a young reader, any of the Amelia Rules! books should be something you consider, which is why we've provided helpful links along the way.)


The Simon & Schuster paperbacks are my first exposure to the Amelia Rules! work, so I don't know if it's reprints of prior works or if it's new ongoing material.

Wed
06
Oct

Graham Russell: Taking Air Supply from Dreams to Stardom

Graham Russell

Paul McCartney once sang, "You'd think that people would have had enough of silly love songs." Like McCartney, Graham Russell can say that he looks around and sees it isn't so. Thirty years after forming Air Supply with his partner Russell Hitchcock, fans are far from being "All Out of Love." As the group prepares a charity concert and international tour, we stole a few moments from Graham Russell's time in the studio to reminisce on the past and compare it to today.

First off, I want to personally thank you for creating the music that made it possible for even geeky nerds like me in high school to have a chance with the ladies.

(laughs) You're very kind! Thank you.

Air Supply became the musical face, so to speak, of romantic music for a generation. Did you intentionally set out to be soft rock balladeers, or did it just veer that way naturally?

Fri
10
Sep

Dr. Steve Gerali: To Save a Life

Steve Gerali

Overlapping with National Suicide Prevention Week this year is National TO SAVE A LIFE WEEK (September 6 - 12), which encourages churches, parents and teens to start the new school year looking at the issues of teen suicide, bullying, depression, body image, etc., and to start the conversation to let teens know they are not alone -- that help is available. To better understand the issues of teenage depression and suicide, we talked this week to Dr. Steve Gerali, author of What Do I Do When Teenagers are Depressed and Consider Suicide?, as well as a host of other publications focused on understanding the problems of adolescents.

As regards suicide prevention, let's open with the classic question of Cain: Are we our brothers' keepers?

Fri
27
Aug

Misha Collins: The Planning Behind The Random Act

Misha Collins

You may know Misha Collins from his recent stint on Syfy's "Stonehenge Apocalypse." You certainly know him from his recurring role on CW's Supernatural, where he plays the angel Castiel. But what you may not know is that he's a marathon runner, and he's putting his efforts into coordinating fandom's energy into making the world a better place, one random act of kindness at a time.

It's just the sort of subtle plan you'd expect from an angel.

What was the initial inspiration that motivated you to plan The Random Act charity?

Mon
02
Aug

Chloe Grace Moretz: You're a Hit, Girl!

Chloe Grace Moretz

It's a long way from the sunny meadows of the Hundred Acre Wood to the crime filled streets of gritty vigilantism, but plucky Chloe Grace Moretz has made the journey and become a sensation. Her mind-blowing performance in "Kick-Ass" (billed as Chloe Moretz) as the butt-kicking, potty-mouthed vigilante, Hit-Girl, made her the ostensible star of the film, stealing every scene in which she's featured. Then again, with roles in a string of suspense and horror films like "The Amityville Horror" and "The Eye," maybe it wasn't too much of a leap after all.

We caught up with the young star for a very quick conversation, and picked up on some of her exciting future plans.


This is a big departure for you from previous works, particularly voicing the very kid-friendly Darby on My Friends Tigger & Pooh. Was there any concern on your part, or of your parents, given the nature of the role of Hit-Girl?

Thu
22
Jul

Geoffrey Thorne: Writing the Wrongs That Propel LEVERAGE

I first encountered Geoffrey Thorne when his prose won second place in the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds VI competition. Unbeknownst to myself, I was to later follow his writing through television episodes of the hit TNT series, Leverage.

Now well on his way in the world of novels, television, and comics, we spoke with the author as he prepared to make the journey to the hip and happening San Diego Comic Con, where he'll be presenting his all-ages sci-fi adventure, Bigger Than Giants, as well as... Well, why don't we just let him tell us about it?
 


So you're heading off to the SDCC?

Fri
25
Jun

Audrey Assad: Heaven is Breaking Through

If the only Christian music you've heard from a Catholic source has been Gregorian chants or the hopped-up version of "The Lord's Prayer" that got radio play a handful of decades back, Audrey Assad is a delightful and inspirational surprise. With a style that draws from several classic rock influences and a voice that evokes the softer works of Sarah McLachlan and Joan Baez, Assad is preparing to release her newest album, The House You're Building. We sat down with the artist for a few moments to explore her feelings on faith and music.
Why are you a Christian?
Why am I a Christian? Well, I think that answer has morphed over the years several times. When I was five, I was a Christian because my parents were -- and I think there was something slightly real to that. I accepted Jesus into my heart at five years old, and that was what they taught me, and I believed it to be true.

Mon
07
Jun

Addison Road's Jenny Simmons: This is Me Under Construction

Jenny Simmons of Addison Road

The Jenny Chisolm Band no longer exists -- partly because Jenny Chisolm is now Jenny Simmons. Needing a new name, these college kids engaged in a battle of the sexes. Simmons suggested "Bloom," the title of her favorite Audio Adrenaline album, which was rejected as "too girly." Similarly, she vetoed all of the guys' "horrific" name suggestions. The debate took place backstage at a show, and happened to be overheard by one of the sound engineers, who volunteered that he didn't like any of their suggested names. He also volunteered that his wife had just had a baby boy, and that they had named him Addison. Since the band had already been circling around the themes of roads and journeys, the took one name and married it to the other, and Addison Road was born.

Fri
16
Apr

Alan Parsons: The Artist and Scientist of Sound Recording

Alan Parsons

I've just hung up the phone with Alan Parsons. I can see it in your eyes -- you don't believe me. But it's true, and now I can put another mark on the old "bucket list." The mad genius behind The Alan Parsons Project (as well as a key player to a few lesser known releases like Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and The Beatles' Abbey Road) is releasing a DVD series, "The Art & Science of Sound Recording," which afforded me the opportunity to ask a miscellany of almost but not quite totally unrelated questions.

You just recently completed an event at the Spaghettini Grill and Jazz Club, where you debuted your new DVD release. Tell us a little about what this was all about.

Fri
05
Mar

Frank Beddor: There's Something About Alice

Frank Beddor Looking Glass Wars

Here's a take on Alice that's rather novel: Alice is grown, and returns to Wonderland, only to find that the Red Queen has taken control and imposed tyranny on the citizens. Card soldiers roam the streets, and the Hatter and her other friends form an armed resistance, with Alice as their leader.

But it's not Tim Burton's new sequel, "Alice in Wonderland" (which, more aptly, ought to have a "2" appended to the title). Rather, it's the plot of a series of novels and graphic novels, The Looking Glass Wars, penned by the producer of "There's Something About Mary," Frank Beddor. With all the hype surrounding the movie, everyone has Alice on the brain -- so it was a good time to sit down with Beddor and chat about Alice and Lewis Carroll and Wonderland... and who better than me to do it? (Well, probably a lot of people, but fortunately the pool of potential interviewers was limited to the staff here at Critical Blast, so there.)

Sat
15
Aug

Brian Herbert: The Chronicler Heir of Dune

Frank Herbert is regarded as one of the few holy names of the science fiction pantheon of authors. His 1965 novel, Dune is the bestselling science fiction novel of all time. His passing left behind big shoes and a tall shadow, but Brian Herbert has been more than up to the task of carrying on the Dune legacy. Working with author Kevin J. Anderson, he has added over a dozen more novels to the history of his father's creation, setting up a tradition of New York Times best sellers in his wake.

With so many years of Dune history still available to be explored, is there any planned end in sight for the franchise?

Thu
23
Jul

Carolyn Hennesy: Pandora Gets Heroic

Carolyn Hennesy

Carolyn Hennesy is a busy person these days. Not content with her recurring role as Diane Miller on the long-running soap opera, General Hospital, she has taken on a role on the upcoming series Cougartown, and also begun publishing a series of young adult novels retelling and reconstructing the mythical Pandora that is being widely acclaimed for its humor and adventure.
I was graced with the opportunity to chat with the ever delightful Ms. Hennessy about Pandora, Cougartown, the near future of General Hospital and Hennesy's skill at the art of... the flying trapeze?
I've just finished reading the first Pandora novel, and I have to say that the idea is a combination of such genius to reimagine Pandora's story into a quest series, and yet such obviousness that I can't believe no one had done it already. Can you fill us in on what it was that caused the idea to bloom?

Tue
14
Jul

Carmen Reed: Surviving the Haunting in Connecticut

In "The Haunting in Connecticut," Virginia Madsen plays the mother of a young man with cancer who stands as the nexus of supernatural activity when the family rents a former funeral home.

Carmen Reed (then Carmen Snedeker) is the real-life mother Madsen portrays, the woman who lived through the events of story that took place in a renovated funeral home in Southington, Connecticut. This is her story.


Almost everyone knows that when a movie uses the phrase "based on actual events," the actual similarities between life and art can be miles apart. How far is the film from what you experienced?

It's hard to give a percentage. A lot of things you saw -- for example, the shower curtain scene -- definitely happened to me (it didn't happen to my niece), and there were apparitions in the house. My son did have cancer.

As far as bodies in the wall, all of that is fictionalized.

Tue
23
Jun

Brad Cotter: After a Few Years, the Patient Man is Back, Right on Time

Brad Cotter

When Brad Cotter came out the winner of Nashville Star 2, winning a record deal with Epic as a result (Patient Man), it was expected by many that a rapid rise to stardom would result. But that turned out to be a dream delayed, as Brad parted ways with Epic and signed with an independent label to produce an EP few are aware of.

It's been a while coming, but Brad is back on the scene, joining forces with co-writer and producer Steve Bogard and One Music Group to release his newest full-length album, Right on Time. If anything, the wait has forced the artist to live up to the title of his first album -- and fans are lining up to eagerly say, "Welcome Back, Cotter!"

How long did it take to put together Right on Time?

Mon
16
Mar

The Devil You Know: Ray Wise on Reaper

Ray Wise

It's high noon on Friday the thirteenth, and I've got the Devil on the phone.

Any other time this might give a writer cause for concern. But the Devil in this case is Ray Wise, the face and force behind the diabolical tempter on the CW series, Reaper -- so I shouldn't have anything at all to worry about.

Right?

Part game show host, part used car salesmen, Wise's Devil makes for a perfectly charming fallen angel who relishes torturing Sam Oliver (Bret Harrison) whose soul he owns, and whom he tasks with collecting escaped souls from Hell.

The villain is, notoriously, the best role to play, and it certainly seems like you're enjoying yourself.

Yes, indeed.

You pull off such a great bad guy -- like Leland Palmer in Twin Peaks or Hal Gardner in 24. Do you think casting directors see something in your personality that leads you toward these kind of roles?

Mon
14
Jul

Lora Innes: Bringing History and Comics Together

Lora Innes is one of many new friends I made on my annual trip to Pittsburgh this year. She is the creator of one of the finest webcomics I've ever seen, The Dreamer. She's a die-hard history buff, a fantastic artist, and a wonderful person. She even took time off from her comic recently to help the people who were devastated by the floods in Iowa. Lora was kind enough to share with me her thoughts on The Dreamer, her creative process and her views on gender in the industry.


How were you first introduced to the world of comics?

Mon
10
Dec

Ernie Hudson: Everything's Jake

Ernie Hudson

When I was given the opportunity to interview Ernie Hudson, I'll be honest: my first thought was, "What's he done since 'Ghostbusters'?" Then I learned he was promoting a new DVD called "Everything's Jake." So I said, "Okay, let me take a look at that, and we'll move on from there." So they did, and so I did, and so here we are. And I couldn't have been more pleased. Hudson is a man who's passionate about what he does and what he believes in, with concrete opinions about the message of "Everything's Jake," acting on television, and the ongoing WGA writers' strike.

Tue
23
Oct

Kathy Garver: An AFFAIR to Remember

Kathy Garver Family Affair

Fans will recognize Kathy Garver's face from her scores of television appearances, not the least of which was the role of Cissy in the Don Fedderson classic series, Family Affair. But if you have a discerning ear, you may find that you're more familiar with Ms. Garver's work than you might have realized, as the actress has continued to keep quite busy up through even today.

Through the magic of cellular phones, we caught up with Ms. Garver while she was en route to a celebrity golf tournament, after which she was slated to deliver a carload of Mrs. Beasley dolls and ornaments loaded in the backseat for an autograph show at the Beverly Garland Hotel in Studio City for fans of Family Affair, the fourth season of which is just now becoming available on DVD.

Mon
15
Oct

Stephen Anderson: Meet the Director Behind "Meet the Robinsons"

Stephen Anderson Disney Meet Robinsons

Stephen Anderson has over ten years of experience working for Disney's animation department. Starting as a story artist on "Tarzan," Anderson continued with other successful Disney projects like "The Emperor's New Groove" and "Brother Bear."

Most recently, Anderson has graduated to directing for the Mouse House, and his latest venture, "Meet the Robinsons," is soon to appear on DVD. In advance of that release, we spoke with Anderson about animators directing animators, creating eccentric characters, and working with musicians and voice actors.

Tue
02
Oct

Alton Brown: Forging THE NEXT IRON CHEF

Alton Brown Iron Chef Food Network

James Brown may have been the hardest working man in showbiz. But when the showbiz is also the food biz, nobody is working harder than the guy who made it cool for men to cook, the MacGyver of all things culinary, the ubiquitous and always multi-tasking Alton Brown. You've seen him host Good Eats, traveled with him while he was Feasting on Asphalt, and cheered on competitors as he emcees Iron Chef. Now, Brown will present yet another show on Food Network: The Next Iron Chef.

Gee, pretty soon somebody's going to have to give this guy his own network!

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