A new Ben project for 2017 —- Hoax, a Bigfoot thriller directed by Matt Allen and written by Allen and Scott Park. Ben says he couldn’t turn down the remote Colorado filming location. As you all know this is not Ben’s first film that featured Bigfoot 😉
I attended a showing of Outlaws and Angels in Dallas last night and am going to share my thoughts. The film is available also on iTunes and VUDU in the US. I highly recommend seeing it in the theater as it was intended if at all possible (besides The Eyes on the big screen are so worth it!). I have been a fan of westerns since I was kid — all of them from Gunsmoke to The Wild Bunch. Two of my favorites are both dark and slightly disturbing Hang ‘Em High and The Beguiled. Outlaws and Angels falls into this darker category. Dirty, gritty, violent. The characters, all of them are well drawn, even those we barely encounter. To me the story really focuses on Florence (Francesca Eastwood) and her father George (Ben Browder). The arrival of the outlaws led by Henry (Chad Michael Murray) is the catalyst Florence needs to change her future. Secrets are revealed and the primary players all are affected. There is cold,calculated violence and there is very dark humor. Ben fans, as you know he doesn’t look like you have ever seen him nor is this his usual role. It confirms what we know that there is great depth to his abilities. The two outlaws that are part of Henry’s gang ( played fabulously by Keith Loneker and Nathan Russell) also surprise in that they aren’t just two dimensional cronies, but rather are given some layers of their own. Teri Polo as the mother and Madisen Beatey as Florence’s older sister, also convince you they are of this strange family in the New Mexico territory. Francesca Eastwood utilizes any genetic gifts she has received from her parents (mom Frances Fisher is also in the film) along with her own skills to make Florence a character that arouses both your compassion and fear.
There was a short Q and A after the Los Angeles showing and a few Scapers reported that the director said he would take criticism of the film but not his cast. Her is a photo of director/writer JT Mollner from the Q and A courtesy of tiggerscaper!
Tonight was an invitation only premiere for Outlaws and Angels held by MGM. The movie will be out this Friday July 15th in select US cities as well as online. I will have a review after I see it and there will be report from the director’s panel after a screening in Los Angeles. Here are a couple of photos — if you have seen the trailer you will be relieved to see the Ben we “know” 😉
This is just an opinion piece. No new Ben news so feel free to move on
I have LOVED two shows this century. The first, Farscape, came as no surprise to me as I was a life long scifi fan. The second, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, blindsided me with the intensity of my reaction to it. I am no kid, I have experienced life. The two shows share a common denominator in that except for Ben Browder, they are all Australian casts. My two favorite actors are Ben Browder and Claudia Black who I have seen play scenes that still bring me to tears after 15 years and I have seen them bring to life more standard 2D characters on other shows. I spent most of my life in southern California where as I have posted before I had friends who had parents in The Industry as it is referred to. Then I had friends and neighbors who were as I became an adult. It gives one perhaps a different perspective, more grounded in the reality of the business side. If you admire an actor such as Ben, Claudia Black, Essie Davis or Nathan Page and are angry they are not working more, it is important to remember that they are in a profession where only 5% are working at any given time. Just like any of our professions the “stars” aren’t always who we would choose. What I hate to see is fans judging actors for their choices professional or personal in public forums and on social media. The arrogance that fans know better than an actor how to choose roles is ludicrous. Would any of you trust a stranger to pick your next job? These are grown professionals with decades of experience in their chosen career. Some actors make a choice for personal reasons. Richard Dean Anderson did not want to miss his daughter growing up. Essie Davis has admitted hating to miss trying for roles but her commitment with her husband that they will keep the family together while their daughters are growing up. Both these actors are criticized by their fans for making a hard choice. I am not privvy to opportunities any of these actors have declined but I respect their choices despite the fact I want to see them every week on my TV !! Is it okay to be upset? To quote John Crichton “Can I get a Hell Yeah?”. I would caution my fellow fans to adjust their fan glasses before judging your favorites or assuming you could help their career by doing anything more than supporting their projects. Unless you are a director or producer then meddle!!!
Still no news on Ben’s new project So many things going on in Vancouver ! Outlaws and Angels will be released July 15th in limited markets including Los Angeles.
Now to say something long overdue. I attended my first Dragon Con in 2010. While waiting in line for the Farscape panel I met two great young women, Dizzy and Mav. Despite them being my daughter’s age we have become friends. I want to thank them for helping me establish this page’s tumblr which has grown with their help and suggestions from 99 followers to 271 in less than a year!! Still a long way to go and much for this old dog to learn! I do this mostly for my own entertainment and because I think Ben deserves attention but it is great that others enjoy it as well>
Dizzy and Mav you rock!! Thank you !!
Ben was unable to appear at Wonder Con yesterday where he was scheduled to participate in a panel promoting Bad Kids of Crestview Academy, as he is starting a new film project. I did get a chance to speak to executive producer/writer Bazz Wernick who said the official premiere date is being decided. The film will differ from the first and according to both Wernick and director Ben, should appeal to a bit broader audience. When you are a fan of an actor sometimes their choices disappoint you other times surprise you. Ben’s enthusiasm for his directing debut makes me very interested in this film even if it wouldn’t normally be something I would seek out. Do tell your younger , modern horror genre friends to keep an eye out for it! If you only want to see John Crichton fine but as I have lamented before don’t bash projects because they aren’t Farscape because nothing will be Farscape!!
The recent X Files revival has made me ponder whether I would want to see more Farscape. Part of me doesn’t want the uniqueness messed with and part of me screams Hell Yea! I loved John and John/Aeryn. I am uninterested in a film about the child now a teen lost or in trouble. A film with a more settled John and Aeryn reuniting with their friends to search for the kid would be acceptable to me 😉 I do look forward to seeing Ben pursue other roles with wider exposure so everyone will get a chance to appreciate his talent!
Ben in 2016 :
Ben will be appearing at Wonder Con in Los Angeles on March 25th and there are tickets still available! He will be there to promote Crestview Academy, the sequel to Bad Kids Go to Hell, which he directed and appears in. In the photo below (Perth 2015 thanks vinegardog!) he is sporting his hat with the original title, Bad Kids Go 2 Hell, that he wore while directing.
This past weekend was the Gallifrey Convention in Los Angeles. Scaper and Whovian, Musicalgal attended and asked if I had any questions for Naren Shankar, one of my favorite Farscape writers. He is now the executive producer of The Expanse, Syfy Channel’s fabulous new series based on the books by James S.A. Corey (which I recommend). After the panel she got to ask him a few questions, including when was he going to cast Ben in a guest role? His reply, “I love Ben!” Questioned about the difference between working on Farscape and The Expanse , he replied that working on The Expanse felt a lot like working on Farscape, in the sense that cast and crew were close. Ben, Claude and others of the cast and crew seemed to enjoy each other’s company and the same holds true with the people who work on this show he stated.When asked about how he felt about returning to the scifi genre after a long hiatus, he explained that the project had been brought to him. He read the books and then met the authors and was excited about the story. Seeing that SyFy seemed to be committed to be doing serious scifi again, he was on board.
The panel consisted of Mr. Shankar, Ty Frank (co-writer) and Phil Plait who writes the blog “Bad Astronomy” for Slate magazine. Naren had brought some clips of the show to illustrate how the show strives to get the real-world physics of space travel as well as the impact of the vast distances of space during battles. There was some interesting discussion of the use and application of rail guns, plasma energy and firing such a weapon using a small fighter versus a large destroyer. And why using a weapon that throws projectiles is still the most effective weapon and why sealing small holes in space ships is relatively simple, but gravity and thrust presents its own unique challenges. Very cool stuff for the serious science buff.
Mr. Shankar conceded that they went with sound for the battle scenes, because though it may not be scientifically accurate, dramatically to lose the sound would lose half the impact of the stories they were telling. But by the excitement (yes there was a lot of squeezing) exhibited by Naren, Ty and Phil while viewing the clips, it looks like the show is achieving the goal of getting the science right.
I got a chance to ask Ben a few questions about his Outlaws and Angels Sundance experience and here is what he said :
1) What was the most unexpected thing about the Sundance Film Festival?
How young everyone was… I suppose I should have expected that, Hollywood being a youth driven industry, and realizing that as folks age they seem to recede into the background like background radiation from the big bang. Sundance is a great big celebration of Indie film, in which “celebrate” could infer party. Its not a party geared toward your 50th wedding anniversary. More a party like “paaaarteh!!!” By 3 AM I’m usually ready for bed, Sundance goes until dawn.
2) The schedule sounds very hectic —- did you get a chance to see any other films?
Nope. We were busy with Outlaws.
3) You said in an interview you had been afraid to take the role. How much did it challenge your comfort zone and what was your first reaction when you realized what it would entail?
I knew what the role would entail when I was fighting to get the part. Fear is not a bad thing. How fear affects you can be good or bad. Pushing the bounds of comfort, or pushing the envelope (to quote The Right Stuff) can be awesome.
4) Many years ago at a Farscape con you mentioned Jeremiah Johnson as a favorite film. Did you have an opportunity to meet Robert Redford?
Still waiting to meet him.
5) How was it watching your work in a theatre full of people when you are playing a character like George?
6) Your physical transformation was amazing, how much, if any, input did you have on George’s appearance?
Quite a bit, but certainly not entirely, the transformation required input and guidance from others… George needed to not look like Ben, or anyone who looks like Ben. JT (the director) and I were on the same page about this. Hair. make up, lights, script and direction all contributed.
7) Now that you are a director has it changed anything about your approach on set?
I would like to think that I’m more respectful of the entire process than before… But who am I to say? I like to be fully involved as I can be. But, I’m not overly objective about my “approach” to anything. Ultimately, my job is to help tell a good story. At certain times, that means shut up and let others get busy while you hold the spear in the background. At other times, it requires that you take the bull by the horns. Hopefully, having directed, I have a clearer sense in which “time” I am operating.
Outlaws and Angels has it’s U.S. premiere May 25, 2016
Well so far one professional review which likens Outlaws and Angels to Tarantino’s style in a negative way. The comments from audience members have been positive. I grew up on the gritty “splatter” westerns of the 60s and 70s and loved them despite their often disturbing imagery. I will also reserve judgement until I see the film myself we have all seen “great” movies that weren’t and “dismal” movies that became a favorite. To be in a film accepted at Sundance is a big deal in many ways. It is also an opportunity to network. Especially when directors and producers see the “real” Ben vs the scruffy, not likable character he plays in this film. The film will be released May 25th in the US and so I will reserve judgement until I see it myself. I like that Ben took a role like this so his filmography will have such a different Ben Browder than casting agents have seen before! As a fan I understand an actor’s choices may not be what I want to see them in 😉 but I support my favorites!
UPDATE!!!!!!!!!! Variety review !!!!