The Art of Random Willy-Nillyness: 2016
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Monday, December 19, 2016

Dole Packaged Foods Celebrates its Spirit of Hawaii Sweepstakes + GIVEAWAY!!!

Dole Packaged Foods, notorious for its award-winning Tournament of Roses Parade entries, and the record-holder for most Sweepstakes Trophy wins, announced today its Hawaiian design inspiration for its 2017 float “Spirit of Hawaii” and kicked off the road to the Rose Parade with its Spirit of Hawaii Sweepstakes and Spirit of Giving partnerships with FOOD Share.

Dole Packaged Food’s 2017 float, “Spirit of Hawaii,” celebrates its rich history and beginnings in the Hawaiian Islands dating back to 1899 when James Dole first traveled to the islands. The float includes a 10-foot tall sculpture of King Kamehameha, the largest waterfall in Rose Parade history consisting of more than 2,000 gallons of recycled water, an erupting volcano, and colorful animals including parrots, sea turtles and geckos decorated in tropical flowers. The floats lagoon will feature six dancers and at street level an additional 12 dancers will move to Pacific-Island dances.

To kick off the final road to the 2017 Rose Parade, Dole Packaged Foods is launching a sweepstakes, in which one lucky winner and a guest will get to travel to the Big Island of Hawaii. Launching today, and running through midnight on December 31, 2016, fans can enter for a chance to win the grand prize vacation, including hotel and airfare, as well as other weekly prizes. For more information about the sweepstakes, and to enter, visit or

And in honor of the Dole Rose parade entry, I have a prize pack to give away. The pack includes: 5 coupons, a t-shirt and a commemorative pin! Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rules: One entry per person per day. Once a winner is drawn I will contact them and the winner will have 48 hours to reply back before I draw a new winner. Giveaway is open to US residents only who are 18 years of age or older.

Disclosure: I received a sample product for review purposes. No other compensation was given and the opinions in this post are solely mine and are based on my experience with the product. Sponsors are responsible for shipping prizes unless otherwise stated. I am not responsible if sponsors do not fulfill prize. Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery of any prizes.

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Man at the Helm of Rogue One - an Interview with Gareth Edwards! #rogueoneevent

Disclosure: I attended the #Rogueoneevent and my expenses: flight, accommodations, transportation and some meals were be covered by Disney. All opinions, however, are always 100% mine.

After watching 28 minutes of Rogue One, I think it's safe to say that director Gareth Edwards has done an amazing job. If the rest of Rogue One is like the 28 minutes I saw, this movie is going to be AMAZING!!!

Here is our interview with Gareth Edwards. It's a long but it's a great interview and we get a lot if insight into his process and how it was to helm a film in the Star Wars Empire!!

Q: I saw a featurette that said if you had known you were going to direct this movie, you would have prepared for it your whole life. What is something you would have done to prepare for this film?

Gareth: I probably would have been a nervous wreck every single day and I probably would never have had a job, and I would have sat and prepared it for 30 odd years. And then the day it began, I think I would have brought in everything saying okay, I know exactly what to do. It starts off with this shot, and then becomes this shot. And then I realize I would have wasted my entire life.

Q: So, you're glad you didn't know?

Gareth: Yeah! Because I think there's something about the organic process of making a film, and working with others.

Like the Empire, you say it's going to be this and this, I don't care what I see, I don't care what the actors do. This is what it's going to be. I think you limit how great the film can become. It was trying to become much more of an organic process where even when we were filming, the director of photography, the guy in charge of the camera, we had an agreement that even though it was a massive, massive movie, and there's all this pressure to have a specific plan, we were going to keep it incredibly fluid. We had 360 degree sets where we could film in any direction. I remember on day 1 in this one set called Jeda, which is one of the cities that we go through where the force believers are, we started filming and the actors could do what they want. And I just happened to pan left or something. And there suddenly was all these crew in shot that suddenly ran out of frame scared. The next day we came, the same sort of thing happened where I pan left and the crew were there. But this time they're all wearing Star Wars costumes.

They all learned to put robes on and that way, wherever the camera went, they could be in it if they had to be, and they secretly loved that. There would be days where they would turn up with a rebel outfits, like rebel pilots.

Q: How difficult, or intimidating, was it to tackle a property like Star Wars knowing the rabid fan base will scrutinize every word and action, and then how did you overcome that.

Gareth: There's a line in the original [movie] where Luke Skywalker is doing the attack run on the Death Star through the trench. And he's got the computer and he turns it off, and it goes wee. Someone goes, Luke! You've turned off your computer! And he goes, it's okay, I'm all right.

It's kind of like that. He trusts the force. Literally you got to turn off your computer and not look at the internet. And just believe, you can bullseye this. You've just got to keep going! And you know everyone's shooting at you.

[You have to] believe in yourself and then go for it. To me, that's the takeaway from the original film. If you believe you can do something, and you never give up, then you can achieve anything. I guess I took it too literally. I want to make a Star Wars films. But it applies to everybody like people who do way more important things than me.

Q: How did you go about choosing your cast? Did you have specific people in mind?

Gareth: You try not to think of anyone to start with. Then it gets really difficult to keep talking about someone, and not being able to visually picture them. Inevitably, you end up going you know, like so and so. Sometimes they're a character from a film. You know, like so and so from that movie. Or this, this person. And you start to take on specific people in the world. I knew definitely for Saw Gerrera [and] Krennic.

Ben and Forrest just popped up straight away. I've seen Ben's work. I loved Animal Kingdom. I thought it was one of the best films in a long time and then forgot about it. Then watched a film called Startup. I just came away that night going we've got to call this guy. This guy is Krennic. We've got to try and get him. And as I came into work, I [said] I'm going to pitch this to the producer. And as I walked into the office, and Simon, one of the producers, went, can I just stop you a second?

[I said] no. I want to talk to you about Krennic. He goes, I've got the guy. He'd watched a totally different film, and he said Ben Mendelsohn. I was about to say Ben Mendelson. It was really weird. Like, genuinely weird. And then from that point on, we were not going to take no for an answer. Thank god Ben is a massive Star Wars fan. I met him on a rooftop in LA, which sounds really glamorous, but it was raining. We'd already organized to meet there. We wanted to be away so no one could hear, so you could talk. As soon as I talked about Star Wars, he was just giggling. I [asked] you're a fan? He [said] I love it! I watched it all the time as a kid. I said [that’s] why I got into films.
Same with Forrest. He is not his character, but he has done amazing work outside of acting.

He's a phenomenal human being. I think just before we met, he'd just done a talk at the United Nations. I don't really deserve to be talking to this guy about a role in a film, because he's the real deal. He's incredibly humble and peaceful. But you see him in his roles and he can be intimidating and aggressive. But he’s more like Yoda. When you chat with him. And in a way, Saw represents the mentor in our movie. So he's like the ObiWan/Yoda type figure. It made a lot of sense.

Q: You don't have a massive amount of directing credits to your name. But you've got a few good films. As of right now, you're number five most promising directors, and number nine of hot new directors. Tell us how you got your foot in the door to become a Star Wars.

Gareth: I'm not really sure how that bit happened. I think the big break for me, there were two. I went to film school. I wanted to make films. That's all I ever wanted to do as a kid. I graduated and read the Steven Spielberg story of how you make a short film, and then Hollywood calls. I think they lost my number because I never got that call, and I had to work in a supermarket. I tried to earn some money to buy a computer so I could learn software because it felt like this was going to be the future of filmmaking.

That digital technology. It was all developed here with George and ILM, and pushing the boundaries that you could. I thought you could make a film from home on a home computer. I just needed six months and I could learn the software to go make one. It took me more like ten years to learn it and be any good. I had spent that time doing visual effects for things like the BBC and Discovery Channel.

Then one day I just thought, I've had enough. I can't live with myself being an old man, having never tried to do what I really wanted to do, which was become a director. I quit my job, and this company in England they give us some money, and we made a film where there was just five of us traveling around Central America.

I did all the visual effects myself and shot it. I thought the best thing that could happen. I was what needs to take place after this for it to be worthwhile?  Because it was about two years of your life. We showed it at South by Southwest. The projection broke down.

Then at the end of the thing, this guy comes up to me and he gives me a business card. He says I'd love to talk to you whenever you've got a moment. I was, like, okay and we left.  Then the next day, as if by magic, he turned up.

He just found me. He said can I just talk to you for a second when you've got a moment. He said I'm from an agency in Hollywood, and I represent directors and I'd like to represent you.  I said okay. [He asked] do you want to know who else I represent? [I said] you had me at agent from Hollywood. [He says] I'm with Quinton Tarantino and Tim Burton. 

From that day on my life changed. You don't need to know anything about Hollywood. You just need to make a film and then these people exist. A few months later I was off [making] Godzilla.

Q: It's evident from the parts that we got to see last night, that you really put a lot of detail in there from the original movies. The blue drink. The setup of Jyn's home. Did you actually get to use any props from the first trilogy?

Gareth: I think it's in the trailer. You've seen it. What's so funny is obviously they never anticipated that Star Wars would become this when they made it.

Sometimes there's not a record of what an object is. I can't talk about some things because they're spoilers but there was definitely [a scene where] there's a guy as the Millennium Falcon comes in with this speed gun or something. We were calling up the art department and they have got no record of what that is, that object he's holding is. And so we called the guy who is originally in the [film and ask] do you remember what that was? He said, oh yeah! We grabbed a light meter for the camera. And we taped it together and I just held it. We were what were those objects? We just want to get those objects and do exactly the same thing. He's like, I'm not sure! We looked at it in high res and tried to replicate it. 

The blue milk stuff, I've got a confession, I'm a massive Star Wars fan. For my 30th birthday, I went to Tunisia, and woke up on the day I turned 30 in Luke Skywalker's house. It wasn't like a crazy night out. I took some blue dye with me because I wanted to drink blue milk in the very table where he does with Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen.

I actually made a blue milk glass drink and drank it. Then dropped it, and it went all over the floor and there's this big blue stain now. I felt really bad because this is cinema history. And then I was, well,you kind of left your mark. That might outlive me in Star Wars world than anything else that I know.

Q: How does it feel to be telling a part of the story that's arguably one of the most, if not the most, important events in the Star Wars canon. Because without those plans, the Death Star just destroys everything.

Gareth: It was an impossible mission really. It was like something you're not supposed to succeed at or survive. Try and make a good, or great Star Wars film like those masterpieces I grew up with. It’s nearly impossible. It was very much like we became a band of rebels making the film.

We were rebellious! We did things we weren't supposed to do. There's a set way of making these big movies and we tried [to have] little sections like an hour. Say the shoot was 10 hours long one day. The last hour was like a playground. We'd get what we needed for the scene. [The] last hour was do whatever you want. And, we would just play around.

A lot of the stuff that was in the trailer came from things like that. Krennic in the white cape and he's sort of stood looking with the big blue sphere behind him. The planet and the Death Star, that was just messing around. We did this scene but we never said cut. We went on for another 40 minutes. We would just whisper things to Ben and to the actors and move the camera around. Felicity going in as the tunnel lights up round her, as she turns around.

That was the same sort of thing. She walked in into the tunnel as someone turned the lights on. She was walking in, I saw the lights are gone around her and I was, like oh my god that looks really good! [I] was like stop, stop, stop! Hang on, we have to film this. Okay, Felicity, do that again, but just look round as you do it. I promised everyone it would take a minute. So we start rolling. And obviously, you're like, okay, one more take. Okay, one more take.

And an hour later, it's like okay, I think we got it. And everyone [asks] where's it going to be in the film? And I think I don't know! It just looked good. Then the trailers come in and these shots start turning up. You go, oh, cool!

I had to publish the entire transcript because Gareth was so interesting and gave some real insight into the film. It is always so cool to hear about what happens behind the scenes of a film. I hope you enjoyed it!

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ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY arrives in theaters everywhere TODAY!!!! In RealD 3D and IMAX 3D!

Interview photos by Louise Manning Bishop -

AVEENO® Protects Your Skin During Winter! #TiempoParaMi #TimeForMe #AVEENO #Ad

The cold is here and I am ready to take it on. I have my scarves, boots and coats. During winter, there are several things that I love doing. love to take long hot baths. I like curling up under a warm blanket and drink hot tea. I love making soups and stews. I love baking and making fresh bread. Winter makes me want to hibernate in my house and take care of me.

My skin is always an issue during winter. The cold makes it dry and scaly. It also get itchy. So I have a routine to keep my skin smooth and silky. I believe it's important to have a routine for skin care because it will always ensure that your skin stays healthy and looks good.

My skin routine always includes AVEENO® products. I love AVEENO® products because I know that they will take care of my skin. My go to lotion is the AVEENO® Daily Moisturizing Lotion. It contains natural oatmeal, known for its ability to soften dry skin and for its rich emollients that provide 24 hours of hydration, leaving skin soft and healthy looking.

During winter, I always break out the AVEENO® Daily Moisturizing Body Wash. I don't usually use body wash but during winter, I find that it does not dry my skin out as much as soap. And I can use the body wash and lotion daily and my skin stays hydrated and soft.

I think that the ingredients in the AVEENO® products are what make it special. The oatmeal helps exfoliate your skin and help prevent and protect dry skin. It also helps prevent cracked and dry skin. I love it because it is non-greasy. So after I shower or bathe, I can put it on and not feel like I am slippery.

I also love that it has no fragrance. I like some lotion with fragrance but for daily use, I don;t want a heavy smell lingering. It is also hypoallergenic and it is great for sensitive skin. My hubby uses it as well because he has sensitive skin and it does not irritate it.

So this winter, I have my AVEENO® on hand. Just like I have my me time by having a cup of coffee or tea in the afternoon, or wearing my favorite flannel jammies or just taking a long bath to warm up, AVEENO® is my skin care routine every year-round but especially during winter.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Not Just Another Ordinary Guy - An Exclusive Interview with Riz Ahmed! #rogueoneevent

Disclosure: I attended the #Rogueoneevent and my expenses: flight, accommodations, transportation and some meals were be covered by Disney. All opinions, however, are always 100% mine.

Speaking with Riz Ahmed was super fun. He is very charming and funny. I had recently seen in in the HBO series, The Night Of, and was very impressed. He is a great actor. One thing I have noticed about Rogue One is that have an A-list cast! I am not sure you could ask for better actors.

In this interview Riz opened up about his character, being part of the Star Wars empire. And just a fun fact: he graduated from Oxford! Impressive!!

On Monday, Riz was nominated for best performance by an actor in a limited series or television for his work on The Night Of. Yesterday, he was nominated for a SAG award as well!! These nominations are totally well deserved. If you have not seen The Night Of, watch it. But go see Rouge One first!

About his character, Bodhi Rook.

[Bodhi] actually works in the Empire. He's a cargo pilot. And he's from this planet called Jeda, which is occupied by the Empire. He's just trying to earn a living. The [Empire] is the main employer in town. The only show in town, really, is working for the Empire. The name Bodi means awakening. So he goes through a kind of awakening, and realizes that that's not the way. He's got to try and stand up for what he believes in to make a difference. So he takes a big risk and he defects from the Empire to try and help the rebels.

I'd like to think that [Bodhi] quite a relatable character for a lot of people. He's just an everyman, an average Joe. He finds himself in a crazy situation. He's not like Cassian, who's a rebel spy. He's not like Baze who is a hardened assassin, or Jyn who's this criminal rebel. He’s a truck driver. And he finds himself in the middle of this crazy intergalactic heist movie. He freaks out a little bit! So I think I'd freak out in that kind of situation. I think most of us would. So hopefully that's kind of relatable.

I think it's true for a lot of the people in this film. A lot of the people in this film have got quite a dark history. Or have got a past that they're not proud of. And they're trying to make things right. And that's what drives them to take big risks. And to link up with other people who you've got nothing in common with and fight a cause that's bigger than any one of them. It's about redemption. People trying to make things right for themselves and for people around them.

On the camaraderie of the actors on Rogue One. 

We kind ended up spending a lot of time together because it's quite an ensemble film and story. It's really about this kind of gang. We spent a lot of time together closed off in sweaty space ships. We got to kind of keep each other alive, and awake, and we just would cracked a lot of jokes. We definitely had to make each other laugh, and keep each other's energy up. So it meant we bonded.

How he got the role of Bodhi Rook.

It's [was] a lot of groveling. A lot of begging. The way I got this role is because Gareth comes from a British independent filmmaking. Just like I do. I remember the British Independent Film Awards one year. This film won. Best film, or something. Monster. And I was who's that guy. . . I want to meet that guy one day.

We were kind of on that same circuit of really low budget British films. He'd seen my work. So he called me up asked me to audition. But he made the mistake of giving me his email address.

I literally emailed him one version of the scene. And then a few hours later, I had another idea, and I sent him another version. And then I did that again. The next morning I didn't have a reply, so I thought I should maybe send him some more! And [after] four days I sent him 12 takes. Then he finally [emailed] me back and said 'Hey Riz just wanted to say please don't email me anymore. I've got your auditions. Thank you.' I was, oh man, I screwed it up! Then he then called me a month later when I assumed I've screwed it up, to say yeah come and do this. But I was just glad it wasn't his lawyers calling me to take out a restraining order. I guess I can be kind of obsessive with, with my work. And, luckily this time it didn't cost me a job.

Being in Star Wars and preparing for his role.

You know, it's interesting. The difficult thing wasn't so much of, oh my god, I'm in Star Wars, because that was a joyous thing. That was something that was exciting and makes you work really hard. If you love a job that's not a bad thing. The thing that was difficult is when I'm playing a character, I like to try and interview people who are close to that character.

So when I was doing the Night Of [HBO mini series], I went to visit Riker's Island prison, or I interviewed lots of people that been to prison, and spent time in high schools in the Bronx, and interviewed people for hours. But you can't interview anyone who's an Imperial cargo pilot. None of them wanted to speak to me. So I didn't know what to do. You don't really know what the reference points are, where starting points are. And in the end I realized that the reference point is the world that is around you. When you turn up on set and they've built these mountains and space ships, and there's alien creatures walking past you, the preparation doesn't have to be in your head. It's right there in front of you. And you just have to soak it up. So that was quite a big exercise in letting go when I can be a bit of a preparation freak.

Independent Movies vs. Big Budget Movies!

It's a lot of different, in terms of scale. I remember turning up on the first day of shooting, and cranes were carrying palm trees, and inserting them into the ground. We were in a field in Buckinghamshire, England. Two hundred stormtroopers stood around taking a break with their helmets off, just talking to each other. And everything about that is surreal.

It's the stuff you play acted as a kid. There's loads of things that [are] different. It's remarkable how much is the same. In terms of just being surrounded by a bunch of people who really care about their work, and they're just working really hard. I've heard a lot of stories that on these bigger blockbuster movies, people are there just for the money. They don't care. Maybe that is true for some of these films, but for this movie, almost all the crew have grown up watching Star Wars.

So this is their childhood dream to be doing this. If you pick up any random prop on set, you'll see they've got alien writing on it. And, touch screen things and buttons and dials. This isn't even going to be on camera! And you just realize, people just love their job. And they loved being a part of this world and helping create this world. That sense of going above and beyond. That was almost felt like being on an indy film.

On the underlying theme of the movie.

A lot of the people in this film have got quite a dark history. Or have got a past that they're not proud of. And they're trying to make things right. And that's what drives them to take big risks. And to link up with other people who you've got nothing in common with and fight a cause that's bigger than any one of them. It's about redemption. People trying to make things right for themselves and for people around them.

I think I want them to understand that even normal people can... make big contributions. You might think that someone else is going to stand up for what you believe in. But actually, at some point, it's on you to stand up for what you believe in. And try and make a contribution for what you think is right.

The common theme in some of these interviews is how these ordinary characters suddenly become extraordinary. I think all the cast mentioned it but Riz really brought it home. I think that's probably the message in Rogue One. Any one person can make a difference and if people work together they can start a rebellion!

Like STAR WARS on Facebook:  

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Follow STAR WARS on YouTube:

Visit the official ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY website:

ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY arrives in theaters everywhere on December 16th In RealD 3D and IMAX 3D!

Interview photos by Louise Manning Bishop -

Manischewitz introduces a trio of new DIY Chanukah dessert kits + Giveaway!

This holiday season Manischewitz has introduced a trio of new DIY Chanukah dessert kits. These products are great for those who celbrate Chanukah. It is also a great way to celebrate the holiday season and continue traditions.

These Chanukah kits are great. They are fun and delicious. It is a good way to involve the family in fun activities that keep the holiday traditions alive. The holiday items include: Manischewitz Donut Mix Kit, Chanukah House Decorating Kit, and Chanukah Cookies with Decorating Icing. All kits are nut-free and pareve and include everything you’ll need to create our special treats.

The tradition of eating sufganiot or jelly donuts is easier than ever with Manischewitz’s Donut Mix Kit. It includes baking dough for 10-12 donuts, blue and white sprinkles, and powdered sugar.
The Chanukah House Decorating Kit allows for all of the fun with none of the hassle. The walls (vanilla cookies) come prebaked and the package includes white, dark and light blue, and yellow icing, sprinkles, edible mini-beads, menorah and mezuzah sugar decorations, and sanding sugar.
Festive Chanukah Cookies with Decorating Icing are a fun and easy activity to satisfy your cookie cravings. Each one comes with two premade cookies shaped like the Star of David or a Chanukah dreidel and includes decorative icing for custom designs.

I am not Jewish but these are wonderful because I have friends who would love to participate in making these tasty treats. These would also make great gifts. I cannot wait to try the Donut Mix!

If you want to buy any these kits, you can find them at your local grocery store Manischwitz products are sold. If you want to win the kits, then enter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rules: One entry per person per day. Once a winner is drawn I will contact them and the winner will have 48 hours to reply back before I draw a new winner. Giveaway is open to US residents only who are 18 years of age or older.

Disclosure: I received a sample product for review purposes. No other compensation was given and the opinions in this post are solely mine and are based on my experience with the product. Sponsors are responsible for shipping prizes unless otherwise stated. I am not responsible if sponsors do not fulfill prize. Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery of any prizes.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

It's Not Easy Being Mean - Exclusive Interview with Ben Mendelsohn! #rogueoneevent

Disclosure: I attended the #Rogueoneevent and my expenses: flight, accommodations, transportation and some meals were be covered by Disney. All opinions, however, are always 100% mine.

Ben Mendelsohn is one of those actors who you watch and think he is a great actor. But he is not super famous although he should be. After Rogue One, I think he will become a household name. He has been acting for a long time. I starting loving Ben after I saw him in Bloodlines. He is so brilliant in that series. His character is not the most likeable but his acting is so wonderful that you cannot help but feel something.

Playing a villain in Rogue One suits him because to be a good villain, you need to have acting chops. From the little bit of Rogue One we previewed, Ben proves that he is going to be a really really good bad guy. His interview was really interesting and we learned a lot about Ben and his character, Orson Krennic.

Q: All right, can you tell us a little bit about your character?

Ben: I play director, Orson Krennic. He is the director of military intelligence and operations. And for the purposes of our film it means he’s the dude that built the Death Star and is bringing it to its final brilliance.

Q: Your characters have been trademarked collectively. And this is a quote. This isn’t my quote. As unlikable sociopaths.

Ben: That’s my recent body of work. You might call it my unlikable sociopath phase.

Q: Do you kind of prefer those evil roles to the good roles?

Ben: No. Well, I do think there’s a certain palette of emotions that you get to work with more if you’re playing the bad guys like the angry, resentful, enraged sort of stuff. I consider it a real honor to be playing a bad guy in this film and there’ll be one or two more.

But look, I’ve had a long and varied career so I don’t associate myself with my characters but it’s fine that everyone else does.

Q: So you’re not an unlikable sociopath?

Ben: I wouldn’t say that.

Q: So last night when we were watching some of the clips it was really interesting. [In that clip] when you were looking for the child you said, find it. I thought, I hate him already. Who did you study to prepare for that? Because that was such a you character and when you said that it was perfect.

Ben: When we were going into this, the main thing that I looked at was just the officers in the original film. And then you have to do a bit of a rewind and think about what it was like when they were making it in 1977 because they were all very British. And you know it’s all very sort of you know Royal Shakespeare bad guy kind of very straight kind of stuff. So I wanted Krennic to sound like enough of one of those guys.

But then after that the costume. I mean you put that costume on and you’ve got those boots on and you have that cape. And all of a sudden you just feel that power. And basically the thing about those guys like the [scene] you saw last night is that from his perspective they’re just in the way. They’re just in the way. And I mean, I’m sorry but she came out with a gun ready to shoot me.

Like what are they thinking? That was a very, very good set up I thought. I thought that set up told us a lot about what we were doing in this film.

Q: As a father, how do you get into that mind frame? Was it something that was easy?

Ben: Yeah because at the end of all of this I never ever confuse the two. There have been plenty of things I’ve done where you feel like uncomfortable or you feel a whole bunch of things because you know they are but they tend to be a lot more of the up close and personal things. But I never confuse the two. It’s sort of like, we’re going to play, here’s playtime.

We’re going to play cops and robbers. And then we’re back to normal. You’ve got to be able to do that. But I think the thing that people find the hardest is how do you take on these things knowing that people are going to look at you and go, I hate that guy? I think when you’ve been acting for a little while you hope that people feel you in whatever way that is.

As long as they feel you, you know. So when you say, find it. And I have to say, when the first time I heard that when I saw it, I remember going, oh that’s so wrong. Find it. And I hated him at that moment too. That is and that’s a really clever set up I think. I don’t know if they had written it as find it either.

Q: What was the most difficult part for you?

Ben: I think it was the first few days of being, being there and walking in front of storm troopers into those Imperial sets. It took a while to sort of just be able to you’ve got this. That was that was difficult.

Q: What would be your best scene, the one that you like the most, you were in it or somebody was?

Ben: That scene you saw with [Mads Mickkelson] that’s amongst my favorite. That was an incredibly brutally difficult day. We were in Iceland. It was absolutely prohibitively freezing. And the weather changed greatly. There’s [also] a scene with Darth Vader that it is pretty special.
And there’s also another scene which you guys haven’t seen I think that it’s in the Imperial territories that was wonderful to do as well.

Q: Who do you think is more dangerous, your character or Darth Vader?

Ben: I don’t think there’s any competition in a one-on-one. But I think the Empire being what it is Darth’s pretty good but I’d hate to see him go up against you know a couple of squadrons. I’d hate to see him go one-on-one against the Death Star. So really that’s about influences where you sit. You know Emperor’s here and how close can you get. And I think Krennic is going for that number. I think he regards Darth as you know the emperor’s kind of pet and you know he’s all fascinated with him and stuff like that. He’s a very impressive dude but there’s a bit of like this going on there as well you know whatever.

He’s like a very important figurehead. But in terms of the strategies and what we actually have to get done you know whatever. He’s a great car, you know? But someone’s got to drive it.

Q: You grew up being a Star Wars fan. Did you ever imagine yourself being on the empire side?

Ben: No. I mean but that’s the folly of youth isn’t it? No one imagines that they’re going to end up on the side of the empire. But you get older, you come to realize the peace and stability in the galaxy is worth fighting for and that all these fairy ideals of the rebellion are very well and good but what happens when they get into power?

No, I didn’t but I wish I could have turned but I wish I could have told myself at various points through life, don’t worry. One day you’ll be in Star Wars. That would have been good turn but there you go.

Q: Gareth [Edwards, the director] was telling us the story about being in LA on the rooftop whenever he came to you with this role. Can you tell us your side of the story?

Ben: I got summoned to go and meet. He basically told me the story and then he told me who he wanted me to play. I was just a little concerned. I thought like are you sure? And but I was incredibly.

I started to get a little bit overwhelmed by it. I was pretty sure by the end of it that he had offered it to me. But then I had to keep it quiet for a very, very long time.

I have to say that this was one of my favorite interviews. I am such a huge Ben Mendelsohn fan and am thrilled that he is in Rogue One. I am sure he will NOT disappoint!

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ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY arrives in theaters everywhere on December 16th In RealD 3D and IMAX 3D!

Interview photos by Louise Manning Bishop -

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Spiritual Center of Rogue One: an exclusive interview with Donnie Yen! #rogueoneevent

Disclosure: I attended the #Rogueoneevent and my expenses: flight, accommodations, transportation and some meals were be covered by Disney. All opinions, however, are always 100% mine.

You might not recognize the name but you would recognize Donnie Yen. Donnie Yen is an International Superstar and has made a over 70 movies. I know Donnie from movies like Once Upon a Time in China and Shanghai Knights and Blade II! He is a martial arts master and action star. When I found out he was cast in Rogue One I was excited because I knew there would be some amazing fight scenes. But there is more to Donnie Yen than action and martial arts.

When we interviewed him, he was low key, thoughtful and humble about his superstar status. He had some insight on his character Chirrut Îmwe, his character being blind and his body of work. I have to admit sitting so close to Donnie Yen left me a little starstruck.

In this interview Donnie talks about his character, how he got the role in Rogue One and the challenges of playing a blind character.

Q: So, can you tell us about your character?

Donnie: Chirrut, he's blind but spiritual. He's the spiritual center of the team. He's the Force believer. He preaches this (yet he has] a little bit of a sense of humor. And he beats up all the Storm Troopers.

Q: I read that you changed your character. He originally wasn't blind but you changed it.

Donnie: I don't want to take any credit. [It’s more] a contribution. I think it's the collaboration of both. That's the nature of being an artist. You express your take on your character. In the beginning when I was discussing my character with Gareth and I just felt it would be so much cooler to make him less of a cliché character.

How about give him a little bit of vulnerability? How about being blind? And a little bit sense of humor? That was always been my persistence of keeping him grounded, having that sense of humor so the audience can relate to him a lot more. I suggested it and he [Gareth] was cool with it and Disney loved it and here we are.

Q: How much of the story had to be changed to accommodate your blind character?

Donnie: I don't think much. I think, months before I was on the set [and] started filming. I think that's just part of filmmaking. You make adjustments on a day-to-day basis, even with the lines.

We revise it and needed approval [from] the studio, especially dealing with the biggest I.P. in the film industry, Star Wars. There's a lot of responsibility on our hands. But we do get that kind of freedom to shape our character along the process.

Q : You have an amazing fan base. Fans who love seeing how you stretch yourself to the limits with your martial arts. Do you set a ceiling as to what you're going to do in movies or do you just go with it.

Donnie: That's a funny question. Because I've been in the business for quite a while. 70 movies. I have different set of fans. Straight action fans and Donnie Yen fans. I've done action movies. I've done comedies, romantic, all kinds [of movies]. I played a monkey king. I just wanted to take challenges as an actor.

I don't look at myself as this guy specializing in the action field. I wanted to be perceived as a good actor and striving to be a better actor each time. I never played a blind person before. That was another reason why I wanted to do something completely different, challenging.

But it was really challenging and I underestimated the difficulty of playing a blind character because it was hard. Having contact lenses, looks interesting, but having to take them off every three hours and because it irritates your eyes and every ten minutes I needed drops. It bothered me.

And you can't really see. Everything was blurry. I know with technology today, they still were not able to manage to make blue pair of contact lenses and having that specific look and giving the full clarity of sight. So I was having difficulty measuring the distance.

But difficult was as an actor I couldn't look at my fellow actors in their eyes and I couldn't get all the reactions. When I'm talking I have to look at a point. And that was very frustrating.

So I was fine-tuning my acting every single day. It was quite frustrating as you feel like you, you're not in control of yourself, where you're supposed to have all these years of experience being an actor. So that was quite difficult.

Q: The other cast members have talked about how physically grueling this was. Because you have such a background in martial arts and everything, did you feel there was a difference in what you do every day? Or did you change anything?

Donnie: I just do it. To me it's like a musician. You play music all your life and it's just jump in there. I actually play music myself. I play piano. As an actor who specialize in physical expressions, for me it was just another [day].

Q: Did you give anybody pointers on what to do?

Donnie: Not so much! I recall I gave Felicity a pointers here and there, but I didn't want to interrupt what they were doing. I didn't want to overwhelm them, bombard them with, "Oh, this is what you need to do," because you can get really technical with, with this type of knowledge. So general kind of directions like especially with safety and some pointers here and there. But I didn't want to interrupt anybody from, from them crafting their own character.

Q: About how you came to be part of Star Wars and how you.

Donnie: My agent called me and they said, "Disney wants you to be in Star Wars." Then Gareth called and I was hoping for an answer and I got it. He really felt I had the persona of portraying this character in his mind and that was the answer I was looking for as an actor. I know it sounds crazy, but in the very beginning I was hesitant of coming on board. I know "Star Wars. I didn't wanted to leave my family, my kids and be in London for five months. I just got off from another movie and I live in Hong Kong.

And I said, "I don't know." Then I went to my kids, Jasmine and James. They were 12 and 8. I said, "Do do you want Baba to be in Star Wars?" Without a doubt they said, "Star Wars!" 

All the family members and friends and all the fan voices came out of nowhere and said, "You gotta be in Star Wars! You gotta be in Star Wars!" I realized I'm making history. So I'm so glad.

What a thrill it was to interview Donnie. He was a joy to talk with and, yes, I am still a little starstruck! I cannot wait to see him in Rogue One!!

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ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY arrives in theaters everywhere on December 16th In RealD 3D and IMAX 3D!

Interview photos by Louise Manning Bishop -
Other photos courtesy of Disney. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Just a Father and a Droid! Interview with Mads Mikkelsen & Alan Tudyk from Rogue One! #rogueoneevent

Disclosure: I attended the #Rogueoneevent and my expenses: flight, accommodations, transportation and some meals were be covered by Disney. All opinions, however, are always 100% mine.

We had the opportunity to interview Mads Mikkelsen and Alan Tudyk together because time was running short. It was great though because both were charming and funny. Mads (I love that name) plays Galen, Jyn's father. Alan plays K-2SO, a droid, who helps the rebels. In this interview we got to hear about how they got their roles. They spoke about what it means to be part of such an iconic movie and their favorite Star Wars character. Oh and Alan caught fire during filming so he tells us who that happened.

About their characters:

Mads: My character is called Galen Erso. A scientist, working closely together with Krennic and working on a project that has the potential of making the world a better place, and also the potential of not doing so. I’m also the father of our hero, K-2. No, the other hero [Jyn].

Alan: K2-SO is a droid who was formerly of the Empire, and he’s been reprogrammed by Cassian. He’s a soldier in the Alliance. The reprogram has caused him to be free with his own personality, which invites some brutal honesty in moments where honesty isn’t really required. He can be funny in that and sarcastic and passive-aggressive, and all those fun things that sidekicks— partners [do]. They’re partners. He wouldn’t see himself as a sidekick.

On how they found out they were cast:

Mads: I got a phone call [from] Gareth. Gareth called me and pitched the story for me and asked me if I wanted to be on board and I didn’t see a necessity of seeing a script, because it was Star Wars, so I said yes right away. And if I’d turned it down, I’m sure my kids would’ve killed me.

Alan: That would be a tough one, if you said no, because it’s one that you would then see come out, and then you’d go…

Mads: And I would always dream about I might have had an action figure.

Alan: I think we all know you’re getting an action figure.

Mads: It’s happening as we speak.

Alan: I was told that Gareth wanted to talk to me and we Skyped. I knew it was for a droid in Star Wars. But I didn’t think he was calling me to talk about ME being in it. [I thought] he just wanted to talk about droids and motion capture. And I had done a motion capture robot in I, Robot. I was like, that makes sense – I’d be the go-to actor to just discuss how it’s done, how to do it.

It was a really frank conversation between the two of us, because I didn’t think of myself as in the running, just sort of a someone he’s gathering information from.  I was like, ‘Yeah, you don’t want to do it this way. Here are the traps that you’re going to find yourself in. Don’t do this; don’t do that.’ ‘Give your actor a lot of takes. Don’t just give them short shrift because you can fix it in post [production] you’re going to screw yourself. You need to get it on set while the other actors are there, or else you’re going to be struggling to make up the performance and then you’re screwed.’

It was really not the conversation I would’ve had if I had thought [I was] being considered. He asked me to audition, I auditioned, I put an audition on tape in my recorded it at home with my wife.

About that little fire:

Alan: I caught on fire! We were in the trenches, there was a battle going on, and they had explosions, and I’m wearing my skintight pajamas, there are pots of explosions, and people are ducking down, and suddenly my back gets hot. I think, ‘Oh, ow—ow—ow I’m on fire’ and it was just a spark hit it and then just spread out. It was very flammable. I didn’t realize it.

Mads: They were not aware?

Alan: They were not aware.

What is the statute of limitations. I don’t think I could go up against their lawyers and do very well. I wore fire retardant undershirts after that. There was a lot of explosions that day. There was amazing pyrotechnics and there was one point where we were running on the beach, they had a spaceship land but it was a box where people were in it, guy’s on a gun, going like we’re in a battle, running down this beach, the thing comes over, they’ve got it on a crane, it’s got smoke coming out of the bottom, it lands, troops go out either side, it takes back off again, soldiers are hitting these things that are vaulting them in the air, and falling and they’re like, “That’s your track – aim for that. You don’t want to get off it because you’ll catch fire. It was madness. It was fun.

The challenges during the filming:

Mads: Something funny and interesting happened though. We went to Iceland for a week, we shot there, so that was my debut on the film, and my very first scene, I’m walking and walking and I am meeting Krennic but after five hours of walking alone, they turn up the actors and the storm troopers, and then I realize, ‘Whoa, I’m in a Star Wars film, because obviously I’ve been walking like in any film but it’s not every day you see storm troopers.

It was raining constantly. It was just pouring down. It was windy, chilly, and I was like, ‘God, we’re done here’ but it was such a beautiful place. I love Iceland. And we’re going back to the studio, but they came up with this brilliant idea that all the shots inside in the studio should be in rain. So basically I am wet the whole film. Those were cold and long days. It’s worth it. It looks fantastic on film.

Alan: They have a soundstage where it rains inside. It’s amazing. There’s a rainy day in the spaceship everybody goes out and I go, ‘See ya!’ I’m going to stay in here. Might be out there in a minute.

Who is their favorite Star Wars character:

Mads: I think Han Solo, for me. For the simple reason that he’s not really on anybody’s side. He is on his own side. And obviously Harrison Ford playing him charmingly, it’s just something you can relate to. You’re not the good, or the bad, but you’re that guy who’s just there for the fun ride, and then he’ll leave you in a second if there’s no money in that. And it’s just recognizable in a wonderful way. I like him a lot.

Alan: I like several characters. I like Obi Wan Kenobi. He was just great. He was the one who could say, “These are not the droids you’re looking for” he had the force. He was magic. He was wise. I liked him. I like [Alec] Guinness. That guy’s amazing.

Mads and Alan were so charming and nice. I really enjoyed my interview with them. I cannot wait to see their work in Rogue One!

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Visit the official ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY website:

ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY arrives in theaters everywhere on December 16th In RealD 3D and IMAX 3D!

Interview photos by Louise Manning Bishop -
Other photos courtest of Disney.