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Monday, February 16, 2015

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ERNEST DICKERSON on THE POETRY OF HORROR + THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF MICHONNE'S PATH (MF GALAXY 013)


In this episode of MF GALAXY, part 2 of our conversation, film and television director Ernest Dickerson explains:

  • Why he regards the abrupt character shift of Michonne on The Walking Dead as a completely organic arc
  • The future of The Walking Dead and the new Walking Dead spin-off series
  • What Dickerson calls “the poetry of horror," and
  • His own work as one of the leading directors of American horror, and what he brings to the art.
 
Dickerson is best known for feature films such as Juice, which he also wrote, and which launched the acting career of Tupac Shakur; Surviving the Game, Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight, Bulletproof, Bones, and Never Die Alone.

In addition to having directed eleven episodes of the smash hit The Walking Dead, Dickerson has helmed episodes of Sleepy Hollow, Dexter, Stargate Universe, The Vampire Diaries, The Wire, Heroes, and The L Word, among many others. Dickerson rose to fame initially as a cinematographer and is widely regarded as one of the best ever, especially for his work on features including The Brother from Another Planet, Krush Groove, She's Gotta Have It, Eddie Murphy: Raw, School Daze, Do the Right Thing, Mo’ Better Blues, Jungle Fever, and Malcolm X.

ABOUT ERNEST DICKERSON:

Internet Movie Database
Wikipedia
Facebook fanpage
The Walking Dead Wiki
“Horror’s scariest trend is the nonexistent black filmmaker”


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This episode of MF GALAXY is brought to you by BOB THE ANGRY FLOWER. It’s a comic strip about friendship, egomania, cosmology, and a really angry flower named Bob.

Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and director of The Avengers says about Bob, “It’s intensely funny. I’ve been laughing like a supervillain for days.” Get Bob the Angry Flower any of the great collected editions or great Bob swag!

Monday, February 09, 2015

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ERNEST DICKERSON on WHY TV IS BETTER THAN MOVIES, Part A (MF Galaxy 012)




Film and television director Ernest Dickerson initially achieved fame as a celebrated cinematographer, photographing feature films including The Brother from Another Planet, Krush Groove, She's Gotta Have It, Eddie Murphy: Raw, School Daze, Do the Right Thing, Mo’ Better Blues, Jungle Fever, and Malcolm X. 

In 1992, Dickerson made the jump to directing his own feature films, including Juice, which he also wrote, and which launched the acting career of Tupac Shakur; Surviving the Game with Ice-T, Rutger Hauer, and F. Murray Abraham, Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight with Jada Pinkett and Billy Zane, Bulletproof with Damon Wayans and Adam Sandler, Bones, with Pam Grier and Snoop Dogg, and Never Die Alone with DMX and David Arquette. 

In addition to having directed eleven episodes of the smash hit The Walking Dead, Dickerson has helmed episodes of Under the Dome, Revolution, Treme, Sleepy Hollow, Dexter, Low Winter Sun, Stargate Universe, The Vampire Diaries, Law & Order, Medium, The Wire, Weeds, ER, Heroes, The L Word, and Third Watch, among many others. 

In this, part one of our conversation, Dickerson discusses:

  • How Hollywood could be spending its money more wisely to innovate more profitably
  • Why it’s easier than ever to make a feature film
  • His top-secret new movie—his first since 2004’s Never Die Alone
  • The booming Caribbean filmmaking industry
  • Age barriers in Hollywood directing
  • How to get ahead as a Hollywood director, and
  • The outrageous pretext that a director gave for racially profiling him out of a job.

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This episode is sponsored by BOB THE ANGRY FLOWER! Joss Whedon says, “It’s intensely funny. I’ve been laughing like a supervillain for days.”

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Monday, February 02, 2015

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SCOTT WILSON on HERSHEL + THE WALKING DEAD (Part B - MF GALAXY 11)

In 1967, actor Scott Wilson delivered a chilling performance in In Cold Blood that put him on the cover of Life Magazine when he was only 24 years old. He went on to appear in numerous celebrated films including The Great Gatsby, The Right Stuff, Dead Man Walking, and Monster, and he was a recurring guest on CSI.


But it’s his work on the highest-rated US television show, The Walking Dead, in which Wilson plays veterinarian and farmer Hershel Greene, that has done more than anything before to make Wilson a star. He now earns more from his autograph-signing sessions at conventions than he does from acting, and The Walking Dead is the focus of our conversation: the physical difficulties of playing Hershel; the dramatic power of Hershel’s personality and character arc; and the series’ outstanding acting, directing, and production.


Throughout this episode, Wilson refers to Ernest Dickerson, the acclaimed television and feature filmmaker who directed many of the most action-packed episodes of The Walking Dead. Wilson also refers to Dickerson in the context of the 1992 Spike Lee feature Malcolm X, for which Dickerson was the director of photography. At the end, Dickerson joins us to discuss working with Scott Wilson


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Monday, January 26, 2015

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SCOTT WILSON: The Walking Dead, In the Heat of the Night + In Cold Blood (MF GALAXY 010)




Acclaimed for stunning performances in films such as In the Heat of the Night and In Cold Blood, actor Scott Wilson is and best known to today’s audiences as Hershel Greene on AMC’s adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead.

Wilson got an early boost from superstar Sidney Poitier who respected his work on In the Heat of the Night. Poitier alerted In Cold Blood director Richard Brooks about the young actor who went on to beat out Steve McQueen and Paul Newman for his role as real-life murderer Dick Hickock. His chilling performance put him on the cover of Life Magazine when he was only 24 years old.

Wilson went on to appear in numerous celebrated films including The Great Gatsby, The Right Stuff, Dead Man Walking, and Monster, and he was a recurring guest on CSI. Although by his own description he was devoted to the craft of acting and never sought fame, Wilson is now so much of a fan favourite that he earns even more from his autograph-signing sessions at conventions than he does from his acting.

Wilson spoke with me via Skype from the backyard of his home in Studio City, California, on January 13, 2015, when he discussed his approach to acting, and how he came to craft his iconic performances in In the Heat of the Night and In Cold Blood, and The Walking Dead.



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Monday, January 19, 2015

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GENE LUEN YANG: American Born Chinese, Boxers & Saints, and Being an Auteur (MF GALAXY 009)



Gene Luen Yang is the celebrated graphic novelist behind the recent LA Times Book Prize-winner Boxers & Saints and the award-winning American Born Chinese. 

Yang is a remarkable force in the world of American comics. He’s the first comic creator to be nominated for the US National Book Award and the first to win the American Library Association’s Printz Award.

He’s also the writer of the graphic novel sequels to the animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender. Somehow while he’s changing the face of American comics, Yang finds the time to teach high school computer science and graduate-level creative writing.

In part two of our conversation, Yang discusses:


  • how and why he joined three previously unrelated stories together to create his career-defining graphic novel American Born Chinese
  • how story and structure drove each other in American Born Chinese and Boxers & Saints
  • the anti-colonial movement featured in Boxers & Saints, a militia of traditional Chinese fighters called the Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists that the British occupiers blandly described as the “Boxer Rebellion,” since they didn’t know the terms wushu or kung-fu
  • why the Saints volume is so much larger than the Boxers volume, and why his publisher scuttled his plans to publish the Saints volume on deliberately inferior production materials
  • how he created the Saints protagonist Four-Girl, cruelly rejected by her own family and one of Yang’s few female protagonists, who is in fact partly based on one of his own relatives
  • the difference between being auteur on his own properties and the writer who has to explain everything for an artist, including the Japanese female art team Gurihiru that illustrates his Avatar scripts
  • how difficult it is to earn a living through comics, and why he hasn’t yet crowdfunded his work, and
  • his favourite Asian, African, and Indigenous American graphic novelists and writers

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