Matthew Lillard dishes on lightening up ‘The Bridge’

Matthew Lillard dishes on lightening up ‘The Bridge’

(Reprint of previously published article removed from original site.)

Matthew Lillard made a name for himself being the jokester in many of his previous roles, including “Scream,” “The Descendents,” and the cult classic, “SLC Punk.” And while he maintains that he’s not the “comic relief” in FX’s bleak drama, “The Bridge,” he does bring some much-needed levity to the melancholy mood of the show, albeit a very subtle and dark humor. Lillard sat down Tuesday in a conference call to discuss his role on the show as Daniel Frye, a reporter — or former reporter, at this point — for the El Paso Times. His character has a knack for getting himself into dangerous waters, and in fact, Daniel was set to die in Season 1, dodging a car bomb and being thrown off the bridge from whence the show gets its name. But the show’s producers, headed by Elwood Reid, apparently decided to keep him around for a while.

We can only hope he’s here to stay, because not only does his character add some great depth and variety to “The Bridge,” but Lillard proved during the media call that he still has his trademark sense of humor, inviting one reporter to go to the prom with him after a particularly complementary question, and telling another his voice sounded like he had been on a 48-hour binge in Las Vegas. And when the reporter told him that was his normal voice, Lillard replied, “Then you’re a lucky, gravelly son-of-a-bitch.”

The actor also discussed whether his character might make it through this season and that he’s not above doing whatever it takes to get fans on board to keep him on the show, even if it means taking up some unconventional weaponry.

Trust me, if you read on it will make sense.

Diana Price: “The Bridge” is obviously a very heavy dramatic project, but you always seem to provide some kind of comic relief or levity in your roles. Do you seek out those roles, or do you try to inject a little bit of humor at times on the page that’s not already there?

Matthew Lillard: I definitely bring an energy that’s different than other people on the show. I don’t really have a lot of jokes. It’s not like Elwood [Reid] and our incredible writing staff; it’s not like they give me a lot of jokes. I certainly get to say more funny things on the show than anyone else.

Then, I think what I bring is energy and, yes, I generally find opportunities to be funny in really high stakes; “Scream” is a great example of that. When you’re running for your life, and you’re at the end of your rope and the stakes are really high, to be able to make people laugh in that little sweet spot; I like doing that.

I think that it’s a combination. I think that the writers and Elwood have found a great way to use me in the show. I think that Emily and I do a lot of solving the case, but on top of it, we can add a little levity to a world that’s so ripe with drama. Yes, I think it’s a combination of both. I think that they lean into me for that, and I tend to find it on the day.

DP: You were talking about how it was rare for you to get these kinds of dramatic roles. You’ve been known for comedy, and this is a chance for you to mix a little comedy and drama together. Would you like to maybe do more of that; that special mix where you get a little bit of both? We obviously just lost one of the masters of being able to mix those two art forms. Do you think that’s something that you might be interested in doing more of?

ML: Yes. I think that every actor is interested in doing that. There’s not a comedy actor out there who doesn’t want a chance to do drama, and vice versa. As actors, we’re always looking to be pushed and to do the other side of the coin. Look, for me, I would love to do both. I’d love to just continue to work in great things.

Having worked with Alexander Payne in “Descendants,” that kind of tone where you’re laughing one moment and the very next moment you’re crying, speaking specifically when he says goodbye. Judy Greer comes into the room in “Descendants” and she’s going off on his wife. Then, he throws her out and it’s very funny then she leaves and then you’re crying because he’s saying goodbye to his wife. I think that’s real life. I think that comedy and drama live a breath away.

For me, if I’m doing really great work and I can be connected to the words and being “dramatic” and real and then immediately make people laugh, I think that that’s a fantastic place to live. I agree with you, we did lose a master at that. I feel like there are not a lot of people that deal in that nuance.

Not to get too crazy and blither off too long, but film and television has been pushed in extreme directions, having extreme horror and extreme comedy–I don’t think that that reflects real life… Yes, I would love to do those jobs, and I would love to have great jobs; that’s what I’d love to have.

DP: I was just wondering, your character on “The Bridge” has dodged death once, and he looks like he’s getting into a little bit of trouble again on the show getting into some danger. I know you can’t give away any spoilers, but do you think that Daniel has it in him to keep dodging death and stay on the show a little longer?

ML: Look, I will say that there’s an episode that comes up that is mind blowing the things that happen. No character is safe on our show, and I will tell you, I’ve seen a script where I died in Season 1. I got the script and it said Daniel Frye is dead. I’ve seen it and I know how it happens and I know the look on Elwood’s face when he hands you the script. I’m not beyond that, I don’t think anyone on our show is beyond that. Saving probably Diane [Kruger] and Demian [Bechir], I think that everyone is up for grabs, and I think there’s an episode coming up that will surprise people on what happens to characters.

The truth of the matter is, I would love to be a character that they use and use and they dig him deeper and deeper into a pit of despair, and then they have to kill him because there’s no way out. I’d love to be that kind of character; that means that they’re using you in a way that’s full of muscle. As an actor, that’s what you want. I’d love to go out in a blaze of glory if you’ve given me an entire season of work that gets him to a place where you have to kill him; that’s the truth. If you can build a great story around it and it supports Season 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 of the show and you have to kill me, then God bless him. Kill me good.

DP: Just exhaust the character?

ML: Yes. That’s the thing, you dig a character into a hole and you’re like, well, what are you going to do? You can’t come back from that. To write a character that you can’t come back from, to be that character would be really exciting.

DP: Just get the fans behind you; sell t-shirts that say, “If Daniel dies we riot!” and maybe pick up a crossbow.

ML: I would love that. If you could—because I can go right from that to like a zombie show or to the dragon show I’d be into it. If you can give me a crossbow I’d be completely happy with that decision.

See Lillard–sans the crossbow–Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. ET on “The Bridge” on FX.

Everything I Learned About Life I Learned from ‘The Walking Dead’

Everything I Learned About Life I Learned from ‘The Walking Dead’

(Reprint of previously published article that has been removed from the original site)

When the creators of “The Walking Dead” launched the series, they probably had no idea how one little zombie apocalypse show would catch like wildfire, sweeping the country and shattering viewer records. It’s transcended genre fans and crossed over to mainstream America. Why? Some of the appeal lies in the survival themes that draw the “prepper” crowd, but it goes much deeper than that. “The Walking Dead” strips humanity down to its lowest, and highest, common denominator, dealing with life and death issues and how people adapt to extreme circumstances. It’s a morality play that William Shakespeare himself would envy. And as such, it’s loaded with plenty of tips about life, learned through the characters on the show.

Andrea

Some people are just too good to make it in this world. The next time you have a knife in your hand and an evil dictator sleeping next to you, take him out, Carol style, or he may end up orchestrating your own demise, as well as dozens more.

Carol

On the other hand, when someone who has been oppressed and abused finally finds her power, it’s a runaway train that can go too far. You’re too far gone, Carol, too far gone. You should have turned that romantic tension with Daryl into a therapeutic hookup to blow off some steam.

Maggie and Glenn

Love can survive and even be born in the worst of times. But Maggie, please listen to Glenn and learn from Lori’s mistake about having kids.

Lori

Make sure your husband is really dead before shacking up with his best friend. Also, babies and childbirth don’t mix in a zombie apocalypse world.

Carl

Kids are far more resilient than we give them credit for, and can be the most hardcore, as demonstrated when someone needs to shoot your mom in the head to keep her from turning into a walker.

Lizzie

Little girls are sugar and spice and everything nice… and will shoot you smack between the eyes if you attack them. At least if they’ve been to story time with Carol. (Are Carl and Lizzie a match made in heaven or what?)

Herschel

Never make a grand speech about how you risk death every day, but what matters is what you risk it for: even Scott Wilson knew when he saw that script he was about to get the call that every cast member dreads from showrunner Scott Gimple. Grand philosophical speech means imminent demise. Also, never smile when a bad man has a big sword to your neck, as writers love to set up irony right before they deliver the coup de grace.

The Governor

You can change your name or even change your family, but a bad man after the apocalypse always was a bad man… and always will be no matter how hard he tries to change. Especially if he wears an eye patch. Never trust a man in an eye patch, or golf on an RV roof with him.

Daryl

You can change your name or even change your “family,” but a badass man after the apocalypse always was a badass man, no matter how hard he tries to change. Also, if you’re hot enough, you can pull off a poncho as a fashion statement. Just ask Clint Eastwood.

Rick

Yes, you can come back from dictatorship, seeing dead people and a lust for revenge. A good man after the apocalypse always was a good man and always will be, no matter what tragedy befalls him. Welcome back to humanity, for better or worse, Officer Grimes. What have you learned about life from “The Walking Dead?” Tell us in the comments section below.

Tourist Trap – (road) trippy photography

Tourist Trap – (road) trippy photography

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I have driven past this crazy roadside stop about a million times without stopping and decided it was high time to check it out.  When you pull in the driveway it rings a bell and the proprietor followed me in to open up the shop and bathroom. She warned me about the mannequin in the bathroom, which is probably a good thing because yes, it probably would have spooked me. Actually it did anyway — I asked her if she was familiar with the movie “Tourist Trap,” which she was.

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That 1979 movie featured Chuck Connors as a nut who has this tourist stop full of mannequins that have a nasty habit of moving by themselves and a car load of teenagers start ending up dead. It sounds silly, but it has some really creepy moments. And as I started thinking about the fact this lady knew the film and some of the decor was reminiscent of it, I started hoping she wasn’t a serial killer.

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Anyway, I shot these on the monochrome setting so I could see the results in black and white, and using a red “filter.” The red filter darkens the sky and increases contrast, but also increases noise, so even though it’s ISO 200, noise reduction in Photoshop was generously applied. The monochrome filter can be removed in your RAW processing software so you aren’t giving up the color option if you change your mind later. Which I rarely do when it comes to black and white.

License my concert photography through MusicPictures.com

License my concert photography through MusicPictures.com

I’m now being represented by Music Pictures.com, based in Germany. You can click Fergilicious and her bandmates above to check it out, although I still have a lot of uploading to do.  There’s also a permanent link to the site in the right sidebar, so you can browse for all kinds of music photography and live concert photography.

First article up at USA Today Travel

First article up at USA Today Travel

I’m officially branching out into the tourism industry with my debut article for USA Today Travel.com. Hanging out in Timbuktu Colorado paid off in having some firsthand info on this topic. Unfortunately, I can’t use my own photos but have to use the stock photos available, which weren’t too thrilling to pick from. It isn’t the sexiest thing I’ve ever written, but a huge writing credit to add to my list. Check it out here.

Mad Sin live

Mad Sin live

           

I haven’t shot bands regularly for a while now, but I still have archives of RAW images that have never been gone through, like this set from Mad Sin. Here are  just a few I found on a quick scan of the RAW files. I really need to work on editing these psychobilly bands down for a big project I’m working on.

Promos for The Devil Wears Prada

Promos for The Devil Wears Prada

For those aspiring to be music photographers, or those just curious, when you get the chance to shoot promos of the bigger bands passing through, you generally get about 15 minutes of the band’s time to get the job done. Mind you, to the lay person, that may sound like a long time for a couple of “snapshots,” but remember you are trying to wrangle a group of strangers into one shot where they all look good. Or at least interesting.

Fortunately, the guys in The Devil Wears Prada are old pros at this, so when I said, “Hi, I’m Diana, line up here and go crazy,” they did. And we did a few serious ones too, but as soon as I saw this first one (frame #5, btw) I knew I had it.

 

How to make a photographer happy

How to make a photographer happy

I got my copies of this month’s Rebel Ink magazine with my Koffin Kats photos, and to say I’m pleased with their use of my work is pretty much the understatement of the century. I can’t remember ever having not one criticism of how photos were used in the past. Ever.


A different kind of wolf, indeed

Thanks to my NBC Examiner gig, I got to interview Silas Weir Mitchell of “Grimm” this week. First and foremost, not only do I love this show, but I am convinced his character, Monroe, is the best character on TV right now. To say I was thrilled was an understatement.

And I wasn’t disappointed.

Normally, I shy away from the old Q&A format of just regurgitating an interview verbatim, but this one begged for it. I had asked Silas about similarities between his quirky character and his real life persona, and he mentioned their minds work in very similar ways.

“It kind of bounces around a little bit, you know, and then once it latches on to something, it will bore all the way into it, like the clock making or the Pilates or the vegan thing or, you know, but when it’s not anchored, it kind of skitters around. My mind is like that. If I don’t have something to really focus on, I can kind of, think about five things to do at once. You know what I mean?”

Then he proceeded to demonstrate that aforementioned principle multiple times in the interview, which I found very Monroe-like. And I’m not about to edit that down to something more standard.

We also had a rather funny moment when he was patched through by his agent on the phone, and he was having a very hard time hearing me, so he was trying to be really quiet. And I was yelling into the phone.

Silas: I’ll just stay really still and not move.
Me: You stay still and I’ll scream.
(awkward silence)
Me: Okay, that sounded kind of weird
Silas: I wasn’t going to go there…

Anyway, if you aren’t watching the show, catch up with it here. And here’s a video homage to everyone’s favorite big bad wolf, Monroe.

New gig as NBC Examiner

New gig as NBC Examiner

I’ve added on a new title at Examiner.com as their National NBC Examiner. I freely admit I wanted it to just to get my grubby little paws on “The Voice,” but am enjoying covering some other shows, like “The Biggest Loser,” “Grimm,” and oh yeah, that little show where celebrities try to impress a business mogul for charity. But yeah, it’s all about “The Voice” — I’m always down to find an excuse to talk music. I just interviewed contestant Angie Johnson today and will be talking to Juliette Sims Monday, both from Team Cee Lo. Nice gig, huh?