Category Archives: 2016

Oscars Need a Stunt Category

 

There’s been only 3 stunt performers that have ever received an Oscar in 100 years. The first one went to Yakima Canutt in 1967 as a special Lifetime award for his years as a stunt performer, stunt coordinator and for creating a variety of safety devices for the Industry. The second to get one was Vic Armstrong in 2001 in Technical Achievement for the development of the Fan Descender, a tool to help Stunt Performers in high falls. The last to be given an Honorary Oscar was Hal Needham in 2012 for his “extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement.”oscars2

To this day, there still is no Stunt Category in the Academy Awards, even though two other major organized awards have now provided for some form of stunt recognition.  The SAG awards provide an Award for Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture since 2007 and the Emmy awards have offered  a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Stunt Coordination since 2001.  I would love to see the Academy Awards offer an Oscar for Best Stunt Coordination or Second Unit Direction Award. If they can give awards to the heads of all the other departments on a movie set, why not the Stunt Department?oscar4

I’m not the only one who feels this way.  The Stunt Community has been fighting this battle for decades.  At first they simply fought to be recognized in the credits of the films.  It was regular practice in the early decades to not put them in the credits at all, as the studios were trying very hard to maintain the illusion that actors did all this themselves.  Finally, somewhere in the mid 50’s it started to become regular practice to list Stunt Performers and especially the Second Unit Directors and Action Unit to the films.

I guess the Academy Awards felt like they had made some concessions when they started to accept Second Unit Directors and Stunt Coordinators into their membership a few years ago, but this is still wholly underwhelming when you consider there are only 31 included to this day. Other departments have thousands of members.oscarsunite

This has become a hot topic again this week with the lead-up to the Academy Awards this Sunday with articles having been written in The Huffington Post, The Hollywood Reporter, Forbes, The LA Times and Vanity Fair.  There’s also a huge out-cry within the ranks of the Entertainment Blogs online if you look at Deadline, The Wrap and Cinemablend.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/oscars-refuse-to-recognize-stunts_us_56c48b9ae4b08ffac1271c8e

http://www.forbes.com/sites/judebrennan/2014/02/07/stunt-actors-remain-oscars-forgotten-heroes/#1704102470e3

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/stunt-coordinators-rally-at-academy-868348

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-et-mn-stuntman-oscar-campaign-20150623-story.html

http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2014/01/stunts-that-deserve-oscars

Stunt Performers Rally For Inclusion At Oscars

Jason Statham Calls for Stunt-Actor Oscar Category

http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Why-Aren-t-Stunt-Performers-Eligible-Oscars-69574.htmloscars

I’m not so sure this would be such a big issue today if the Oscars didn’t include Mad Max: Fury Road in contention for Best Picture this year.  It’s really incredibly hard to look at that film and not see the incredible work done by the Stunt Department.  The film simply could have not been done without them.  It’s about time we start recognizing these people and their hard work, don’t you think?

The Best Actor You Probably Never Heard Of

 

Most veteran actors I know of, tap out at right around 100 credits to their names. And those are the hard working actors. Go ahead and check out James Garner, Cary Grant or Humphrey Bogart. They don’t even breach the 100 film mark. Now look at heavy working actor’s lifetime credits like Michael Caine, Lance Hendriksen, or Lee Van Cleef.  They all reach between 150-200 credits…and they seemed to work a LOT.  Then there are the truly RARE actors, usually very popular character actors that will reach 250-350 credits, in their lifetime, like Christopher Lee (280) or Ed Asner (333!).

Now if I were to tell you, there is an actor out there who just turned 40 last year (happy birthday) and already has 228 credits to his name! Half a normal human lifetime and he has already twice as many credits as your normal hard working retired actor! Also, he’s worked with a list of very good actors; Jessica Chastain, Treat Williams, George Kennedy, Danny Trejo, Rupert Friend, Ronny Cox, Vivica A. Fox, Bai Ling, Jon Gries, Curtis Armstrong, Eric Roberts, Armand Assante…and more and more…He’s the best and the hardest working actor, you’ve probably never heard of.jose 1

JOSE ROSETE

I’m amazed and impressed every day by his growing list of stats. He’s going to end up with the most film credits by an actor at the end of his lifetime than any actor that ever lived. He didn’t start out trying to break a world record but he will end up with one when he’s done. I’m not counting porn stars, voice actors or extras, I’m talking normal  actors with speaking roles as lead or supporting characters. A good example, is James Hong, recognizable character actor, still going strong in his eighties…at 406 credits but there are some fantastic character actors like Oliver Hardy (414), Harry Harvey (436), Byron Foulger (482), or the amazing James Flavin (500!). Many of those last ones racked up stats as the every man; truck drivers, bell hops, delivery men with one or two lines, not as larger supporting and lead roles that Jose has been tackling over the last 10 years.jose-rosete-2016

I have a lot of young actors trying to break into the business ask me weekly how to get in and I tell every single one of them about Jose. How does he work so much? So, my first tip to these young actors is simply to be likable! I would say if Jose Rosete had a world class attribute or super power, it would be his likability. In person, he’s very reserved, a bit shy, eager, smiles a lot, doesn’t run from people or crowds, jumps in to help at any opportunity and volunteers for everything, is the first to show up on set, last to leave, never complains, always is positive and talks well of others…he’s just incredibly LIKABLE.  He works incredibly hard and he loves being on set and is prepared and ready to go at all times.  I can’t say enough good things about him and it’s been my experience that everyone who’s ever worked with him…says the exact same things.jose 3

It’s key to his success. People will hire him again and again and again, simply because people love working with him.

The next best trait he has and contributes greatly in his success is that he’s active in his own promotion! From day one, I’ve seen him use every tool he can to reach out, meet people, find jobs, stay social, and be active. He’s very good with online tools like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, IMDB, Wikipedia, YouTube and Vimeo. He’s easy to get a hold of and he’s easy to research. He’s very active. Need to see a picture, try to google him, want  to see his reel, want to see his latest projects… BAM, he’s right there.jose-rosete-newsHe looks mean…but trust me, he’s awesome all around and once he gets a role…he’s all in. He’s very focused and zeroed in. Locked and loaded, he gives the director and producer everything they want and more. Check him out in our very own Locker 13, where he is a 3-headed monster as an actor, writer and producer on the film.

Evil Dead II and Medieval Dead

 

Let’s just say up front, that I’m a big fan of how this group of guys made it into Hollywood.  Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell and Rob Tapert, being the main 3 went out and raised money from family and friends then went out to a cabin in the middle of nowhere and shot the original Evil Dead.  As a young filmmaker I loved the idea of just getting a bunch of my buddies together and shooting horror or action and just having a blast and then…poof, magically a movie is made, released and successful our careers are on jet boosters…

Now, with that said, I know that’s not exactly what happened.  They had a struggle with every part of that movie, especially after it was shot and put into post and then trying to get it out to the public. And at some point after all the struggle, they probably wished they had a lot more money and time and support to go back and do the movie the way that they would have preferred, after the first experience and then guess what?  They were given that EXACT opportunity and the second time around they decided to not make a sequel…really, but a remake…as a comedy, this time.  And they did it and the result is Evil Dead 2: Dead Before Dawn…which is a BRILLIANT and INCREDIBLE movie.  It’s so fun, scary, crazy and everything great.
evil

So again, it’s successful and the audience grows and gets even bigger on Video, so a company comes to them again and they are given an opportunity to do a direct sequel this time, and what do they do? They go out and add 2 more genres! The original was straight horror.  The second was horror, comedy.  The third they added Science Fiction (time travel) and Fantasy (witches, magic, demons) to go along with the comedy and horror. And guess what?  They end up calling it, Army of Darkness. It works again!  It’s both BRILLIANT and INCREDIBLE! Fantastic in all ways and so, so, so much fun.evil army_of_darkness_sd1

Now the first one, I love the “making of” story about kids making their first movie and by itself is a very scary movie, but not a top favorite of mine.  But those other two, Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness, together is some great crazy film-making at it’s best. Films, I would add, that would NEVER be made today.  Studios wouldn’t know how to categorize them and wouldn’t know how to market them in today’s system. But they are crazy good.evilgroovy-gif

Who do we have to thank for the making of 2 and 3? None-other than Stephen King! He liked the original so much, that not only did he give a quote for the marketing of the film, which also helped to sell it, he also convinced Dino De Laurentis to finance the making of number 2. Now the only reason I’m calling this a remake (there’s been a debate rolling for years) is simply because they replay the entire first movie in the first 10 minutes of #2 and mainly because it is a deep departure in tone by adding a great deal of comedy in the second one.

Now a side note about the title of the 3rd movie…they didn’t want to name it Evil Dead 3 for some reason and toyed around with calling it Medieval Dead (which I like a lot actually) but ended up putting Army of Darkness on all the marketing and posters and stuff and in the movie itself has the title come up with…”Bruce Campbell vs.” and then another title card comes up with, “The Army of Darkness.” Why didn’t the posters call it Ash vs. The Army of Darkness? Great title and is another reason I’m so glad that the new Starz series is called Ash vs. Evil Dead. Ties it back in together and truthfully I’m still a big fan, the series is great fun and to be honest, they can still go into the realm of Science Fiction and Fantasy if and when the series really gets rolling, which I would totally embrace.  Right now it’s straight comedy-horror, but the possibilities are endless. Let’s see what season 2 gives us.Ash-vs-Evil-Dead-poster-featured

As for my thoughts on season 1, there were some great moments and ASH was by far the best thing about the series. Bruce Campbell is a personal favorite of mine, my brother and I have met and spoken to the actor on 3 separate occasions and on each one, we walked away bigger fans of his than going in. He’s a really top-notch person in real life and drop-dead hilarious and fantastic with people. If he ran for president, I’m serious, he would give anyone a run for their money, he’s than engaging, down-to-earth and likable. He was everything you’d want in a 50 year old Ash and more, and I found the series to be a great extension to the whole Franchise. Thank you for making it guys and for keeping the fans happy, we all appreciate it!