Category Archives: Interview Videos
Dane Cook is a stand-up comedian and actor. He’s performed two sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden and has released five comedy albums. He’s starred in films alongside Jessica Simpson, Kevin Costner, and Steve Carell. To top it off, he’s the voice of Dusty Crophopper in the spin-off to Disney’s Cars, the movie Planes, in theaters August 9.
I knew all of the above about him, but one thing I didn’t know was how enthusiastic and genuine he could be! It was my first time conducting professional on-camera interviews, and I couldn’t have booked a better interviewee, Dane Cook.
I felt butterflies in my stomach as I stepped into the Museum of Flying, an appropriate location for the interview. Before I knew it, I was shaking Dane Cook’s hand. He introduced himself in a down-to-earth way. Turned out that we were both in the same boat – it was also his first time doing on-camera interviews! Knowing this, my butterflies flew away.
BEHIND THE SCENES OF A CELEBRITY INTERVIEW
The interview started and I was surprised at how much Dane opened up to me. He told me about his fears growing up and explained that he was a nervous kid. In fact, he got sick just at the thought of being around other kids.
“I wanted to be an entertainer from a very young age, but I was so nervous. But if I feel nauseous around people, and I want to entertain the masses, how am I going to be able to push myself to find that?” He continued to say that he could definitely relate to his character Dusty in pushing himself to new heights.
DUSTY AND HIS MENTOR SKIPPER
Just like Dusty has a mentor in the movie, an old navy corsair, Dane Cook also had a great adviser – his drama teacher. “He really took me under his wing and he was very supportive. And on the very first day of class he was very open and honest with me about wanting to see me come out of the shell and to trust myself.”
If Dane Cook had not overcome his shyness when he was young, I wouldn’t have interviewed him that day! I’m so glad he shared his story so that my generation can be inspired to realize what we can accomplish by stepping out of our comfort zones.
Dane continued about how he followed his dreams even though his path was unclear. “When you’re a young kid and you want to be an entertainer, there’s no guarantee that you’re even going to be able to make a living,” he reflects. “It’s a lot of luck. You want to prepare as much as you can but ultimately you don’t know where it’s going to lead you. I also knew I had to remove some weight that was on my heart.”
I had always heard about an actor’s long, hard journey and the uncertainty of the industry, but hearing it first hand from Dane Cook really opened my eyes to the reality of show business. Dane fulfilled his dream of being an entertainer as a stand-up comedian, despite the precariousness of the profession and the possible pitfalls along the way. I admired his perseverance in taking leaps of faith to new levels.
DANE COOK IS TRULY INCREDIBLE
Even though Dane Cook is 27 years older than me, I could see the child in him when I asked him his favorite kid’s movie. His eyes lit up with a fresh jolt of energy as he described a scene from The Incredibles, saying that it was the “most human moment that [he's] ever seen in an animated film.”
After the interview, Dane took the time to tweet me, “For a 14 year old you were one of the best interviews talking about my film Disney Planes. Thx for being fun/professional!” He has no idea how his kind words have impacted my life!
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PLANES’ Teri Hatcher & Director Klay Hall Face Their Fears
Teri Hatcher has been in memorable movies and television shows since 1990. Klay Hall is a two-time Emmy nominee for his hit animated TV series.Disney’s Planes, a spin-off to Pixar’s Cars, brought them together. I got to interview Director Klay Hall and Teri Hatcher at The Museum of Flying.
In the movie, Dusty Crophopper (Dane Cook) is a crop-duster who wants to compete in the world’s greatest race for planes. His only problem is that he is afraid of heights. Teri Hatcher, voice of Dottie, explained about how she conquered her own fears.
“My daughter and I like to go on lots of adventures – white water rafting and paragliding off of hills in beautiful Switzerland,” the “Desperate Housewives” actress explained. “When I get faced with a situation like that, I can feel fear come up. Then I’ll just ask myself, fifty years from now, do I want to think ‘wow, I didn’t do that because I was scared and I chickened out?’ And usually the answer will be no, I want to go through with the experience so I’ll force myself to get over that.”
Director Klay Hall also had to take a similar leap of faith – in directing this movie. I quoted a line that Dusty says in the movie, “I can do more than what I was built for.”
THE DIRECTOR AND THE REPORTER
“Spot on,” Hall said, saying that I had nailed exactly how he felt during the production of the movie. “It happened from almost the very beginning when John [Lasseter, Disney Pixar's Chief Creative Officer] offered me this project. I was a little bit fearful to be honest. It was like him handing me a new born baby and saying, ‘OK, Klay, I’ll help you, but here you go.’”
Hall had the “unbelievable” opportunity to travel all around the world for inspiration and research.
“What’s great about working for Disney and Pixar and certainly John Lasseter’s philosophy is that it’s all about research and getting your facts right,” he said. “Not only did I meet several pilots but I also got to go to several of those locations. I went to the Midwest, New York City, London, Germany, India and actually spent two days in India watching the sunrise and the sunset in the Taj Mahal – it’s unbelievable. And we actually got invited out by the US Navy to an aircraft carrier to understand flight dynamics and how the jets worked.”
THIS IS TERI HATCHER. SEE THE RESEMBLANCE?
Not only where there planes in this movie but of course, cars. Teri Hatcher voices Dottie, a light purple forklift who is an ace mechanic.
“She’s really nurturing and I think it’s the sign of a good friend who can tell you the truth which is sometimes hard to say. It’s hard to tell your friends things they don’t want to hear,” she said. “But at the same time, someone who isn’t going to crush you, is going to find a way to support you as much as they can and never give up – that balance is what makes a really true friend.”
I said sincerely that I would love to have Dottie as my friend.
“I think everyone deserves to have Dottie as their friend. And she could fix your car – for free!” she agreed.
Dottie’s practicality keeps her friends grounded; yet at the same time she supports them. When I asked Teri Hatcher for advice on how to stay grounded while going after your dreams, she sighed and took some time to think about her answer. In that moment, I could see her 27 years of experience in the movie industry reflected in her sigh. What followed next were words of wisdom.
“I think when you’re going after your dreams, sometimes people underestimate how much effort it’s going to take to become great at something. People give up too quickly,” she pondered. “If it doesn’t happen instantly, with anything from playing an instrument to getting in some sort of physical shape, we seem to want things very, very quickly. My advice would be to not underestimate how long you’re going to have to work at something to actually become really good at it. But know that you can, if you’re willing to stick with it.”
And the planes certainly never give up! Disney’s Planes is in theaters now.
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MONSTERS UNIVERSITY’s John Goodman and Billy Crystal on College: “I was a Misfit”
In Monsters University, a whole new cast of characters is introduced. Mike and Sulley join a fraternity called Oozma Kappas, rejects of the scaring program. They must train the team to be the scariest in order to win the Scare Games.
“I love that Mike sees something in them and at the same time learns more about himself,” reflected Billy Crystal, voice of Mike. “The Oozma Kappas are endearing, loving characters, beautifully animated.”
The Oozma Kappas (abbreviated OK), are misfits, goofy monsters who don’t fit in with the rest. The two co-stars found that they could relate to the OK fraternity members. In college, they didn’t exactly fit in until they found what they were passionate about – acting.
“I was a drifter for a while,” admitted John Goodman, voice of Sulley. “I just was desperate to fit in with a group. Really, I was swimming. I was lost, treading water, trying to find my way. I wanted to play football. It didn’t work out. I didn’t really know what I wanted until I found acting in a theater department, and then it just – everything fell into place, and I had a passion about something. Then, I started living my life.”
Crystal agreed. “I have to admit I was a little bit of a misfit. I was a film directing major at NYU when I’m still not sure why I became a directing major when I was really an actor and a comedian, so I felt like I was a misfit in a way. But when I found a theater group, it became my fraternity house, it became my family, and I still see a lot of those people to this day because they owe me money.”
Lesson learned: Don’t ever owe Billy Crystal money.
First Published @ Monsters University KidsPickFlicks http://kidspickflicks.com
Pixar/Disney’s Monsters University follows the college days of Mike and Sulley, the two beloved monsters voiced by Billy Crystal and John Goodman. Although the two characters are rivals at first, they soon become best friends who are inseparable.
“I think the reason they work so well together is that they complete each other in a way,” says John Goodman, the voice of Sulley. “Sulley really, really needs Mike Wasowski, especially in this film where they’re not completely formed monsters yet. They learn from each other. They learn how to adapt, how to let go of their preconceived notions of themselves and of the world. They’re good for each other.”
Not only do the two characters go hand-in-hand, but the two actors also had the chance to bond. “Working with John was phenomenal – we got to work together in the studio,” explains Billy Crystal, the voice of Mike. “We can act together. We’re not just reading lines, we’re performing them. We’re playing them. We feel them. That’s why I think Mike and Sulley’s relationship on screen is great because it’s a real thing.”
Even though the monsters dealt with friendship problems, they eventually help each other figure out who they were meant to be.
“In this movie they find out who they are. That’s the most important element to me,” observes Crystal. “Mike has a dream and the dream may not work out, so he has to readjust and recalibrate. He does that with the help of his friend and he starts believing in himself.”
In the characters’ relationship, sometimes there’s doubt whether or not everything is going to turn out right. Crystal says that this draws a parallel to real life.
“We all have doubts. That’s what so fascinating and frustrating and great about life. We’re starting over constantly.”
And that’s what Monsters University is all about – realizing when one door closes, another one opens. Prepare yourself for a movie oozing with laughter, heartfelt friendship, and scares on June 21!
First Published @ Monsters University Kidspickflicks
MONSTERS UNIVERSITY’s Billy Crystal and John Goodman are Masters of Getting Out of Schoolwork
Throwing it back to the college days of Mike and Sulley, the actors voicing these cherished characters in Disney-Pixar’s Monsters Universitycan relate to both the good and bad days of college. Mike comes up with multiple excuses not to go to class, and Sulley isn’t exactly the most prepared student in school. Co-stars Billy Crystal (Mike) and John Goodman (Sulley) recall their excuses of getting out of school.
“I was very elaborate,” chuckles Goodman. “I was really good at fake vomiting. I would go to the nurse’s office, slam a glass of water into the toilet bowl and that was an immediate ticket home.”
Crystal adds his experience. “I just would fake the sore throat thing,” laughs Crystal, and continues on in a scratchy, hoarse voice, pointing at his throat. “‘I can’t – I can’t –I don’t know how this happened – yesterday I was fine’. Then she’d go, ‘Okay, you can go home’ and I’d say ‘Thank you’ in my normal voice.”
Not only is the movie relatable to the actors, but to viewers as well. ”All of the kids were six or seven when Monsters, Inc. came out. They’re the same age as Mike and Sulley now!” exclaims Crystal. “So they look at it in a totally different way. It’s them! It’s them! They’re making decisions in their lives. Mike and Sulley are very important characters to them, and now to other little kids. Of all the characters I’ve ever played, Mike is my favorite character. He has a claw hold on people. He means something to them.”
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The press conference of Monsters University
“The closer you look, the less you’ll see.”
The tagline of the movie Now You See Me is the epitome of epiphanies. This seemingly disposable quote surprisingly holds raw truth. The tagline has been shrunk to font size 18 at the bottom of the movie poster, but is actually a gem of wisdom.
The mouse clicks the YouTube play button and a perky teen reporter pops up on screen, standing on the red carpet at the premiere for Now You See Me. Her interviews with the stars are spry and fun. At the end of the video she smiles at the camera and says, “Catch Now You See Me in theaters, May 31. I’m Cassandra Hsiao, reporting for KidsPickFlicks!”
Her peers say she’s so lucky to meet the celebrities. They tell her, “Good job! You looked so professional!” Here’s where the tagline upholds the truth.
The five-minute video is only the tip of the iceberg. God has blessed her so much, because God’s playground of imagination has a much wider scope than the miniscule swing set of her dreams. She spends as much time as the adult reporters do in conducting research and God gives her wisdom to come up with mind-blowing questions. There’s a sense of renewed awe felt every time she’s working in the real world alongside adults as the youngest one on the carpet.
It’s undeniably fun to be on the red carpet. But there’s so much more that adds to my journalism experience. Meeting celebrities is part of it, but it’s the passion I have for encountering people from the strict security guards to the nifty publicists to the friendly journalist setting up his camera next to me, who’s wondering what a kid like me is doing on the carpet. In the beginning of every assignment, facing those patronizing and condescending looks from the adults only gears me up to prove that I can do the job as well as the professionals that surround me. Jesse Eisenberg admitted he expected the interview to be uninteresting since I was from a “kids thing” and was really impressed at my in-depth question.It’s not just the age issue.
Two years ago, I was a reporter in Scholastic Kids Press Corps from the year 2010-2011. I have gained so much confidence interviewing big names such as Justin Bieber, Rick Riordan, Nick Vujicic, Ian McShane, and other stars. However, a new editor came in and I was not selected to continue reporting for another year. I started to question my abilities as a journalist. I inevitably stumbled and found myself facing a slammed door. But a few months later, God came through and opened up a door that nobody can close – a movie critic and star reporter at KidsPickFlicks.com. I realized that every experience and setback I have is there to teach me who I am. Whether you are casually strolling through that hallway of dreams or chasing after the will-o’-wisp, remember the bigger picture. The tagline proves right in this metaphorical cloud of hope and aspirations – don’t look too closely at one evaporated vision. Like Alexander Graham said, “When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”
When I interview people, it’s as if someone unlocked the chasm of memories that is core to the interviewee and myself. It’s complete honesty, letting someone else know what is beyond the façade that society sees. And this is another instance where the tagline is so completely true – it’s ironic how in that brief moment of truth, I actually feel connected at a deeper level with people I’m only going to see once in my lifetime than with people I see everyday.
When I asked Jesse Eisenberg what people don’t see when they look at him, he replied something very truthful and real: “When somebody looks at you, they see a very small part of you, and it was kind of strange to see somebody do an impression of what they think they see of me. I guess everybody filters people through their own selves.”
I’ve struggled with the social mirror for a very long time now. My peers think they see me in my entirety – an intelligent, professional, A+ student/reporter/writer/renaissance man – when really, it’s only one facet of what makes me. Some people only see me in certain ways, perhaps in ways that I perceive as negative, and it’s discomforting sometimes.
However, I’ve learned to accept that fact.
As hard as it is to swallow, the social mirror will always exist. People think they see me, when really, they don’t. Like author Stan Herman wrote, “Other men’s eyes are mirrors/But the most distorting kind/For if you look to them you can only see/Reflections of your reflections/Your warping or their warpings” The reason people are always looking into social mirrors is the need for approval from others. Oprah Winfrey, in her speech to Harvard graduates of 2013, said, “The common denominator for people is the desire for empathy and validation.”
The most important thing I’ve learned is that everybody has filters. I know that not everyone is going to see me in my wholeness and give me approval. The ultimate two questions are “Who am I?” and “Am I good enough?” To answer this I look to God who holds the true mirror, the one that reflects the real me, my best self.
“The closer you look, the less you’ll see.” The tagline is almost paradoxical in itself. Perhaps the more I try to interpret it, the less I’ll actually understand.
Now do you see me? Because it’s ok if you don’t.
At last, what Mindless Behavior fans have been waiting for – the opportunity to experience the American boy band’s journey to stardom. All Around the World is their inspiring documentary that showcases talent, tears, laughter and insight into the story of how the teen sensations were put together at an open casting call. The band has sparked a “Mindless Movement” with their mix of R&B, pop, and hip-hop harmonies as well as their smooth, cool, slick dance moves.
Fans will be thrilled at the 86 minutes of what goes on behind-the-scenes of Mindless Behavior’s life. I went to the screening not knowing much about the band and their music. Now, I certainly respect and admire them for their dedication and passion for what they do.
The movie includes never-before-seen footage of band members Prodigy, Roc Royal, Princeton, and Ray Ray. As a documentary, it follows in the steps of Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never. It could even be a cut higher due to the fact that we see the band’s tears, laughter, hardships alongside success. The movie didn’t need fancy 3D to make viewers feel like they’re in a concert. I could already connect emotionally with Mindless Behavior. They’re simply talented, hardworking teenagers who are truly following their love of dance and music.
Videos and baby pictures of the band will make the theater coo “aww” and laugh out loud. I was impressed at the raw talent the band showed off even at the tender age of six, freestyle dancing their hearts out.
The movie follows how each of the members was recruited and concludes with their world tour. They all had to make big sacrifices to be a part of the band – from waking up at early hours, to rigorous workouts, to life on the road. I was even brought to tears (and so was my dad) at a certain poignant moment during MB’s tour.
All Around the World shows Mindless Behavior to be a dedicated band that works hard to give fans what they want. The documentary shows them spending time with their fans, inspiring them to be “mindless,” which is to be confident no matter who is watching. MB also reveals that before every performance, they huddle with the crew and pray for God’s blessings and favor.
The movie will surely unleash a wave of Mindlessness all around the world, making fans feel like they’re touring with Mindless Behavior. In fact, it might even make you “mindless!”
Reviewed by Star Reporter Cassandra H August 07, 2012
Earthy and ethereal at the same time, this feel-good Disney summer movie directed by Peter Hedges will sweep you off your feet. You may not have heard much about this film, but it is certainly a true gem that I didn’t expect.
Cindy and Jim Green (Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton), a married couple, bury a box of their greatest wishes for their dream child, expecting to move on after finding Cindy cannot conceive. However, when a young quirky boy Timothy Green (CJ Adams) magically sprouts from the garden, Cindy and Jim along with the rest of their small town of Stanleyville realize that the unexpected is a miracle that must be cherished.
This “dramedy” gracefully switches gears between two emotions, which had me laughing heartily one moment and sniffling in the next. I couldn’t help but fall in love with the family and root for the Greens to succeed through the joys and sorrows of life.
Timothy Green is not just a force of nature, but he brings a breeze of tender feeling that parents can relate to. Cindy and Jim aren’t perfect parents, but they shine light on a different perspective of parenthood: they don’t want their child to be perfect, but they want his childhood to be perfect.
As for the leading cast, Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton’s on-screen chemistry is believable as the blundering, loving, and humorous Green couple. CJ Adams (Timothy Green) has a special twinkle in his eyes that is innocent, silly, and touching, capturing my heart from the start.
The fantastic supporting cast presents the town’s citizens as real, down-to-earth people who each have their own faults – a reality rarely reflected in a magical tale.
One especially stood out to me – newcomer Odeya Rush plays Timothy’s love interest, Joni Jerome, bringing a certain vibrancy and radiance to her character. Their friendship is a refreshing break from Hollywood’s shallow puppy-love romances.
Along with the splendid performances, I was also enchanted by the enthralling cinematography which will move audiences with marvelous shots of nature that showcase the visual analysis of the plot. The picturesque natural color palette astounded me as well.
This quiet little movie is directed towards parents, although the whole family can enjoy it together. The movie addresses many heartwarming themes, such as loyalty, honesty, and accepting others for who they are. Timothy brings out the best in others, and hopefully this movie will do the same. Younger viewers may not relate to the story, but teens, mom, and dad can walk out of the theater inspired to live a life worth living.
First Published @ www.kidspickflicks
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