Author: Chris Ullrich

Chris Ullrich is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. In addition to ComicMix, he is a contributor to some of the most popular entertainment sites on the net, including The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW), Download Squad, Cinematical, Comic Book Resources and LAist, where he has served as Technology Editor.
Interview: Jamie Bamber on the End of “Battlestar Galactica” and “Pulse 2”

Interview: Jamie Bamber on the End of “Battlestar Galactica” and “Pulse 2”

Actor Jamie Bamber has had a diverse and successful career, gaining noteriety playing Lt. Archie Kennedy in the Hornblower series of TV movies, working in HBO’s Band of Brothers and guest appearances on the series Cold Case and Ghost Whisperer. However, Bamber’s career rocketed into the spotlight when he took the role of Lee "Apollo" Adama in the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica television series — which is soon to broadcast its final season on the Sci-Fi Channel.

During the recent San Diego Comic-Con, I had a chance to speak to Bamber about his upcoming direct-to-DVD feature film Pulse 2: Afterlife and Battlestar Galactica. We discussed what made him interested in Pulse 2, how he feels about the end of Battlestar Galactica and what moments from the show were his favorites.

COMICMIX: Jamie, what can you tell us about Pulse 2: Afterlife?

JAMIE BAMBER: It’s like Kramer vs. Kramer in an armageddon backdrop, featuring a dad who is trying to put his life back together. He’s working on his relationships and putting them back together in the aftermath of an Internet-fueled apocolypse zombie scenario.

CMix: What made you take on this film?

JB: I had time. I liked the character and I could relate to what he’s going through. I can understand and empathize with a dad and his fear for his child in a dangerous world.

CMix: Having been on such a strong ensemble show like BSG, playing the lead in a film must have been appealing…

JB: I liked the idea of fronting a movie on the quiet, which as an actor is quite a useful thing to do without it being everywhere. This is also a straight-to-DVD project, which also appealed to me.

CMix: You’ve finished shooting on Battlestar now, right?


SDCC Interview: Robert Englund on Horror Films and ‘V’

SDCC Interview: Robert Englund on Horror Films and ‘V’

Unless you’ve lived a very sheltered life for the last twenty years or so, you know all about Robert Englund and his most famous character: the knife-fingered Freddy Krueger of Nightmare on Elm Street fame. The films featuring the iconic villan were some of the most successful of all time and spawned several sequels including a cross-over film featuring not only Freddy Krueger, but another well-known and popular character and star of a hugely successful franchise: Jason Voorhees of Friday the 13th fame.

More recently, Englund has taken turns both in front of and behind the camera with roles and directing gigs on films such as 2001 Maniacs, Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer and Zombie Strippers, which also features the acting talents of former adult film actress Jenna Jameson. ComicMix‘s Matt Raub and I caught up with Englund during San Diego Comic-Con and talked with him about, among other things, how hard it was to get to the convention, his latest projects, his involvement in the new V television series. and what he thinks about the future of horror films.

COMICMIX: So have you had a chance to check out the Con?

ROBERT ENGLUND: Not yet. We got messed up with the traffic. So many accidents, closures, people throwing themselves in front of trains, it took us forever to get here.

I think Comic-Con is jinxed. [Laughs]

CMix: So what brings you to the Con this year?

RE: I’m here with the company Anchor Bay which really responds to the kind of horror-comedy kind of stuff that people like Sam Raimi with the Evil Dead films used to do. I don’t know if it’s a response to the number of big-budget horror failures of late or that there’s so much homemade stuff on YouTube now, but fans really seem able to watch something like a Hellboy 2 or a Dark Knight, which I love, but they also have room for movies like the ones I’ve been involved with lately such as Zombie Strippers, Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer or Hatchet.

It seems they can tune into a big $200 million blockbuster film one day and then also enjoy a little $2 million film we made mostly for fun. They’re what I like to call "cheap thrills." I think there always has to be room for cheap thrills. I don’t know if its political or if there’s too much CGI or something but maybe that’s what movies like Saw or Hostel are tapping into — people’s need for something more simple and fun.


Interview: Wil Wheaton on Storytelling, Technology and the Internet (Part 3)

Interview: Wil Wheaton on Storytelling, Technology and the Internet (Part 3)

Previously on ComicMix, I brought you the first and second parts of my interview with writer, actor, publisher, tech guru and all-around nice guy Wil Wheaton. In the two previous installments, we discussed a variety of topics from writing and acting, to technology and comics.

In this third and final installment, we cover still more topics, including politics, what piece of tech Wheaton feels is the most important of the last ten years and to him, what makes a good story.

COMICMIX: Okay, Wil, as a writer and reader of comics, what makes a good story to you?

WIL WHEATON:  Comics are a visual medium, so the artwork is extremely important to me.  There are tremendously talented writers who occasionally get paired up with artists whose art I don’t like. And I won’t read those books.

There are artists and writers who collaborate together.  Matt [Fraction] gives Casanova artist Gabriel Ba as much credit for Casanova being awesome as people give Matt for making Casanova awesome.  Ed [Brubaker] does the same thing with Criminal.  And I think that says a lot about the importance of a good team-up.  I’m lucky.

I’ve gotten to work with some great artists when I’ve done manga for TokyoPop.I don’t know if the stories I’ve written would have the same emotional impact with the reader with different art. That really, really important combination of peanut butter and chocolate is really important to making comic books great.

A lot of it also has to do with pacing. When I write comic scripts I just write them as I would write a film script and I just know that instead of putting the camera on the dolly or whatever, that’s what I’m going to ask the artist to draw… what the reader is seeing, you know?  So I think pacing is really important.


SDCC Interview: Exec. Producer David Eick on ‘Caprica’ and the End of ‘BSG’

SDCC Interview: Exec. Producer David Eick on ‘Caprica’ and the End of ‘BSG’

Producer and Writer David Eick has one of the best jobs in television. Each week he gets to work alongside Ron Moore, Mark Verheiden, Jane Espenson, other talented writers, a brilliant cast and a superb crew to produce one of the best shows on television: Battlestar Galactica. From his early work on projects such as Hercules: The Legendary Journeys through American Gothic until his turn on the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica, Eick has consistently managed to be involved with some innovative, and in many ways groundbreaking, television shows.

I had a chance to sit down and talk with Eick during the Battlestar Galactica press event at the San Diego Comic-Con. During that time we discussed the show, its Caprica spin-off and his feelings now that Battlestar is coming to an end. There were also a few other collegues at this particular event, so any questions not mine are in italics.

COMIC MIX: You’re probably not going to be able to answer any of my questions are you?

DAVID EICK:  No, no I’m good.

CMix: You showed some footage from Caprica during the Battlestar panel today? How’s the new show going?

DE: We finished shooting on the pilot which is now in post and we’re breaking stories for the first batch of episodes that hopefully we’ll have a reason to produce. We’re excited about it and so is the network. The truth is that even more so than with the original Battlestar mini-series, we’re hopeful and anticipating a successful series run with this.

CMix: But there’s no "official" series commitment from Sci-Fi as yet?


SDCC Interview: Justin Marks on the ‘Hack/Slash’ Movie [UPDATED]

SDCC Interview: Justin Marks on the ‘Hack/Slash’ Movie [UPDATED]

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Our original link to this interview didn’t play nice with the formatting of the film’s title, so I’ve fixed the link and reposted the article here on ComicMix. -RM]

Writer Justin Marks has come a long way as a Hollywood screenwriter in a relatively short span of time. After working as a producer’s assistant for several years, while writing scripts in his off-hours, Marks has achieved nearly A-list status by writing several high-profile screenplays including Streetfighter and He-Man. He’s also worked on Supermax, co-written with A-List scribe David S. Goyer, and featuring the DC Comics hero Green Arrow who, after being wrongly incarcerated, has to join forces with the very villians he put behind bars in order to escape.

Marks is also writing another big-budget Hollywood film, this one an adaptation of the very popular comic series Hack/Slash, created by writer and artist Tim Seeley and published by Devil’s Due Press. I caught up with Marks at the San Diego Comic-Con to talk a bit about the Hack/Slash film, what we might expect story-wise and the film’s current status.

COMIC MIX: Hey Justin, thanks for talking with me. How did you get involved in the Hack/Slash movie?

JUSTIN MARKS: It was a book that was given to me about a year or year and a half ago. at the time it was already set up as a movie and I thought that was great because I thought it would make an increadible movie. Actuallly, I was kinda jealous.

But then a few months ago I got a call, I was actually in Bangkok working on the Streetfighter movie, and the producers of Hack/Slash asks if I would be interested in working with Todd (Lincoln) the director on the script to sort of push it throuhg and get it ready for production.

So I got on a plane for seventeen hours back to LA to try and get that job.

CMix: It seems you really wanted the job?


SDCC Interview: Jamie Chung Talks ‘Samurai Girl’

SDCC Interview: Jamie Chung Talks ‘Samurai Girl’

In a few short years actress Jamie Chung has began to establish herself as one of the most sought-after young actresses working in Hollywood. From her first apperance as a cast member of MTV’s Real World San Diego through appearances on Days of Our Lives, Veronica Mars and CSI: New York, Jamie’s career continues to advance into bigger and more challenging roles.

More recently, Jamie is co-starring as Chi Chi in the Dragonball feature film based on the hugely popular media franchise and will be starring in ABC Family’s mini-series Samurai Girl, which debuts in September, as the title character Heaven. We caught up with Jamie recently at the San Diego Comic-Con to talk with her a bit about Samurai Girl, her character and how she feels naked without a sword.

COMICMIX: Hi Jamie, thanks for talking to us.

JAMIE CHUNG: Sure, my pleasure.

CMix: So, tell us a bit about your character in Samuari Girl.

JC: Sure. She’s a 19 year old girl named Heaven who’s adopted by one of the wealthiest families in Japan. During some tragic events she ends up finding out her family is influenced by the Yakuza, the Japanese mafia.

In an effort to find out how involved her family is with the mafia, she also discovers that she’s a part of some ancient prophecy which leads her to question who she really is and makes her go a journey of self-discovery to find out the truth about herself and where she comes from.



SDCC Interview: Producer Gale Anne Hurd Talks ‘Punisher: War Zone’

SDCC Interview: Producer Gale Anne Hurd Talks ‘Punisher: War Zone’

Producer Gale Anne Hurd has been involved with some of the most successful and exciting sci-fi and action films of all time. From the original Terminator through Aliens, Terminator 2, Armageddon and the recent Hulk, Hurd continues to deliver successful, entertaining and action-packed films over and over again. And her career is showing no signs of slowing down.

Recently, Hurd is readying yet another comic book adaptation for the big screen — a new new film called Punisher: War Zone which is, of course, based on the very popular Punisher comic. I caught up with Hurd at the San Diego Comic-Con to talk a bit about the new film, its dark, violent nature and why she thought a woman was the perfect choice to direct it.

COMICMIX: Hi Gale, thanks for talking to me. Let’s get right to it. Is Punisher: War Zone a sequel, a reboot or. . . ?

its a reboot. We wanted to really go back to the origin but this isn’t an origin story in the way that we did it with hulk and take the origin of the punisher from the comic and we have that set up in flashbacks. So in the film we have Frank Castle set up on his mission of vengeance to punish the guilty.

iIs very much a MAX series. It’s a pedal to the metal, violent, tough hard-core film and it takes place in New York. We knew the heavy-duty fans were disappointed that the earlier film took place in Tampa.

For this movie we wanted to go back to the essence of the character, the locations, the other characters and the world and make it much closer to the comics.

CMix: Was it difficult decision to go back and reboot the franchise? Why did you do it? Did the first film not do well?


Interview: Jane Espenson on “Buffy” and “Battlestar Galactica”

Interview: Jane Espenson on “Buffy” and “Battlestar Galactica”

Writer and producer Jane Espenson has written, or co-written, episodes of some of the most popular and successful TV shows in recent memory. From her first writing work on Star Trek: The Next Generation through stints on the hugely popular Buffy: The Vampire Slayer and Angel, to one of the most celebrated series currently on TV, Battlestar Galactica, Espenson’s career is certainly one which fans of quality writing, humor and storytelling can appreciate.

In addition to her continued professional writing accomplishments, Espenson also finds time to offer inspiration to fledgling writers by providing advice on the craft of writing, breaking into the businesss and what makes a good spec script via her personal website. Recently, I caught up with Espenson to talk about, among other things, how writers can break into "the business," her love of sci-fi and fantasy, and what episodes of Buffy are her favorites.

COMICMIX: Jane, thanks for taking the time to talk with me. For those who may not know, can you talk a bit about your background? Did you always know you wanted to write?

JANE ESPENSON: I grew up in a small town in the Midwest where I watched a heck of a lot of television — good and bad.  For every M*A*S*H, there’s an Enos. You don’t remember Enos?  The Dukes of Hazzard spin-off?  Well, I was watching. I always knew I wanted to write for television. 

I read an article once about spec M*A*S*H scripts that were submitted to the show, and I wrote one myself. I wrote "PUT COMMERCIAL HERE" after every scene. I never sent it to anyone. It’s just as well.
: Were there any particular writers you admired when you were growing up? Anyone influence your work today?

JE: I didn’t notice the names of individual television writers back then, although all those shows certainly influenced me.  My mother introduced me to the books of Jane Austen, which I love.  Austen had that wonderful observational sense of humor rooted in character.  I’d love to think that influenced me. 

But I’m most strongly affected by the writers I’ve worked with and for.  So much of this job is about seamlessly emulating the "voice" of the show’s creator, that I’ve spent years mastering how to write like Joss Whedon and Ron Moore.

There are worse influences to have!
CMix: How did you first break into the business? Was there someone who gave you your first break?


Interview: Wil Wheaton on Webcomics, Publishing and Tech (Part 2)

Previously on ComicMix, I brought you the first part of my interview with writer, actor and publisher Wil Wheaton. In that part, we discussed topics including his feelings about modern comics and comic-book movies, his acting career, his love of writing and, most importantly, what he likes to order for lunch.

In the second part of my interview, we spend a bit more time discussing the craft of writing, personal publishing, his preferences in technology and the sometimes unpredictable nature of an Internet audience.

COMICMIX: Let’s change gears for a minute, Wil. You’re a pretty well-respected technology guy, and I know you’re a Mac user. How long has that been going on?

WIL WHEATON: I was one of the earliest Mac adopters. I had a Mac 128K in the first few months of its release. I loved it. I wish I could find, I key-noted at Mac World a few years ago, and both my notes and my address are gone. I don’t know where they went. 

Ironically, I wrote them on a Linux machine and I think that I may have just inadvertently lost them. But I loved that computer. It was portable, which is funny to say now, because it only weighed like, 20-30 pounds. It had a handle on the top, so clearly, it was portable.

CMix:  Did you ever have a clone?

WW:  No. I wouldn’t consider myself a Mac cultist or an Apple cultist. There’s still stuff they do that I don’t like and I don’t really have brand loyalty. I have brand anti-loyalty, though. I’ll never buy a Sony product… ever.


Interview: Wil Wheaton on Writing, Movies and Comics (Part 1)

Writer, actor and soon-to-be publishing mogul Wil Wheaton has come a long way since his days as a child actor in such breakout roles as Gordie LaChance in Stand By Me and Joey Trotta in Toy Soldiers. But even with those popular and well-known performances, Wheaton was really thrust into the limelight as a cast member of the the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, where he played Wesley Crusher for several seasons.

However, in the years since Star Trek, Wheaton has managed to mostly put acting and Wesley Crusher behind him and reinvent himself as a writer through his website, his work in various magazines and other publications, writing gigs on several comic books and work on manga titles from publishers such as TokyoPop.

Wheaton has also managed to launch a very successful publishing company, and is still a fan favorite at conventions and appearances all over the country. I caught up with the multi-talented Wheaton recently at a non-trendy eatery in Pasadena, CA, to talk comics, his career and his love of writing.

COMICMIX:  Okay Wil, what people really want to know is what you order for lunch.

WIL WHEATON: The ricotta with mission fig here is awesome. I love that, but I get it so much…

CMix: Before you arrived, someone’s cellphone rang and it was the bridge alert from the Enterprise.I looked around and thought you were already here, but realized that you probably wouldn’t have that as your ringtone.

WW: No, my phone plays "Good Times, Bad Times" by Led Zeppelin.

CMix:  That’s a good one. So, you just came back from a convention, right?

WW: Yes, the Emerald City Comicon.

CMix: Are you wearing an Emerald City Con shirt?

WW: You know what, I didn’t have time to get one. This is a "Hanners" t-shirt from Questionable Content, which is one of my all-time favorite webcomics ever.

CMix: Nice. At the convention you seem kind of surprised at the amount of books you were selling. Does that happen a lot?

WW: I never know what to anticipate when I go to a new show.  And I have these internal metrics that I set — sort of like an average sales figure that’s kind of the line for whether or not it’s a successful show, and there are all these different means by which I measure success. 

Is it fun? Are the people cool? Did I stumble across a cool new t-shirt? Did I meet new artists?