Mark Wahlberg and Allen Hughes Break Down “Broken City”

By Jaime Lin Weinstein

Broken City

“It’s about telling great stories,” Mark Wahlberg says in reference to filmmaking as he leans back in his chair, resting his weight on its two hind legs from a St. Regis hotel room. And on the story of his latest cinematic venture, independent film Broken City, the producer and co-star remarks, “It reminded me of the movies I grew up watching with my dad in the 70s. It has a real story and real characters and the screenplay was so good that’s what attracted the likes of the Jeffrey Wright’s and Barry Pepper’s and Kyle Chandler’s and Russell Crowe’s and Catherine Zeta Jones’ of the world; because they had meaty roles.” As an independently financed film the crime drama had a small budget and short filming period, but it was these factors that actually contributed to making the movie what it is – a throwback to the American neo-noir detective films of the 60s and 70s whose multi-layered stories were the force that drove the pictures. (Wahlberg will later cite Chinatown and Serpico – which, despite a limited budget of $1 million, grossed $29.8 million at the domestic box office – as archetypes.)

Directed by filmmaker Allen Hughes (half of “The Hughes Brothers” duo known for co-directing ultraviolent films like From Hell and The Book of Eli), Broken City tells the tale of ex-cop turned private detective Billy Taggart (Wahlberg) who is hired by the mayor of New York City (Crowe) to trail his wife (Zeta-Jones) in suspicion of adultery, and then finds himself immersed in a city-wide conspiracy of corruption, sex and murder.  It was Hughes’ first time directing sans brother Albert, but Wahlberg sort of filled that role, though working with the actor was another first. “He’s the youngest of 9, so I think that combination maybe filled in some of those voids that I might have felt. There was a kinship there instantly that worked for this movie and worked for me,” Hughes said. “He spoiled me because he is very collaborative, very open and understands a lot about making a film…It was the best experience I’ve ever had with a mooovie staar,” he added looking to his buddy Mark as he jokingly emphasized the extent of his celebrity.

Wahlberg can now add indie-producing powerhouse to that movie star title. His filmography includes roles as producer of HBO series Entourage, In Treatment and Boardwalk Empire in addition to 2010’s Academy Award winning film The Fighter, last year’s Contraband and now Broken City, among others. “Having more success allows you more freedom to take more risks,” Wahlberg eloquently explained. “If The Fighter hadn’t happened, we definitely wouldn’t have been able to make this movie for the amount of money that we got. That was a $70 million movie that we ended up making for $11 million. Contraband was a $50 million movie that we made for $25 million. And that all came from our experience in TV figuring out how to do more with less time and less money.”

Producing television essentially prepared Wahlberg to produce films, “in this day and age when the studios are crying poverty and they don’t want to spend the money.” Wahlberg continued to critique the film industry with an anecdote and an excited tone recalling, “Ya know there are certain people that are just so used to the way things were and all this excess that its like they don’t understand how you can make a movie in 40 days…I remember one director who wanted to direct The Fighter, I won’t say his name, but we said okay we have 33 days to shoot the movie, and we have 3 days to shoot the fights. And he goes I need 35 days just to shoot the fight. I’m like what are you gonna do for 35 days?” Wahlberg said and went on to describe what he would imagine 35 days of filming one scene would consist of: “Take one. One punch. Cut. Alright lets flip the camera around…”

The fight scenes in Broken City were designed to be “real,” and not just because of time or budgetary limitations. “They’re all now these fast ‘Bourne Identity-type’ of cuts,” Wahlberg lamented about modern cinematic fight scenes. “And I said we don’t want to do that. Put the camera there and just watch the dust kick up and you don’t need no sound effects or nothing.” (The scenes were even more realistic than the moviegoer may realize: Wahlberg asked some of his friends to play roles in a couple of the key fighting scenes, including a “former Israeli military guy,” recalled Wahlberg. “I flew him in just to beat the shit out of him. But he loved the part because he gets to be with this young chick in the beginning of the scene,” he added. “It sounds fun but that dude took a blow to the face. I mean he really got his ass whooped,” Allen interjected before Wahlberg assured that, “he can handle that sort of thing. He’s a trained professional.”)

Wahlberg and Allen both know a bit about fighting in real life: Wahlberg was in trouble with the Boston Police Department throughout his youth and once served 45 days in jail for assault charges while Hughes has also been known to be involved in violent altercations, the most notable of which involved Tupac Shakur during a music video shoot in 1994.  Both men have moved past the mistakes they have made previously in life and, according to Hughes, may be better for it. At least where filmmaking is concerned. “I think you got to have real life experience to be a great storyteller,” Hughes asserted. And like Wahlberg said, telling great stories is what filmmaking is all about.

Broken City is out in theatres tomorrow, Friday, Jan. 18.

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Radio Personality, Frank Ski, Ending Tenure With V-103

Atlanta is known for it’s R&B and hip hop culture. Over the years, the city has become one of the five biggest music cities in the country. One of the front men and Atlanta icons behind the music scene, Frank Ski, formally announced this morning that he will be ending his fourteen-year tenure with radio station V-103—the People’s Station. Frank Ski moved here in 1998 to begin working with V-103, and in that time, he’s started a family, opened outside businesses, began charity organizations and much more. As a radio personality, Frank Ski has had some major carreer milestones with V-103—he had the last ever interview with Ms. Coretta Scott King and an interview with President Barack Obama during his term as Chicago Senator. Musically, he’s had interviews with both legendary performers Whitney Houston and Stevie Wonder.

Frank Ski began his radio/music career before ending up in Atlanta. Notable is his popular classic hip hop song Doo Doo Brown from the 1980s. Ski will be missed in Atlanta, but assures the city that this is not goodbye, rather to be continued…very soon.

Jeffrey Preis

UR1 Music Festival in Miami

UR1 Music Festival

On December 8 and 9, the Bayfront Park in Downtown Miami will transform into the huge UR1 Music Festival which will be headlined by big names like Kanye West, Lenny Kravitz and over 100 more live acts and DJs. The weekend of UR1 coincides with Art Basel weekend in Miami—the most prestigious art show in the Americas. In the past week, the Andy Warhol Museum and Hyuandai have signed up as sponsors for the music festival. The Warhol Museum will present 13 Most Beautiful…Songs for Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests. Hyuandai will fuel the RE:MIX Lab in a huge gallery space which will showcase exhibits in collaboration, a live art installation and three one-of-a-kind custom built automobiles.

UR1 still has some big announcements up its sleeve including more live acts, the Dubstep Arena lineup, VIP ticket and table info and culinary participants. For a list of all acts and performers, check the UR1 site here.

Patty Griffin Still Flaming Red

Patty Griffin

By: Rob Entsminger

She took to the stage with a mess of wavy red hair, a short leather skirt and boots to her knees. Guitar in arms, she stomped the stage – “flaming red, flaming red, flaming red, flaming red,” she shouted.

Patty Griffin is back, dear friends. On the road after a twelve-year hiatus from solo touring, the folk singer-songstress is out talking-up her 2013 album drop. The upcoming senior record, “American Kid,” comes on the heels of a decade of genre hopping, quartet collaborations and Grammy awards.

A lot has happened for the small-framed Mainer turned Texan since her 1996 debut album. Known for her impeccable song-writing that harbors tangible emotion, Patty most recently expanded her repertoire in 2010 with a gospel record fully-produced in a stained-glass church in downtown Nashville, rightfully named, “Downtown Church.” But there was much to say about the time in-between that record and the road that is still leading to “American Kid.”

Patty made countless 13-hour drives from her home in Austin to the Music City. She tells one story from the long ride home she became so accustomed to. It was late summer somewhere on the Oklahoma border. She drove alongside an endless stretch of tall grass when she spotted a beautiful brown American bulldog running on the median. It took her a moment to realize that he was out of place, that someone dropped him off in the middle of the highway. “I guess some people do that,” she said plainly. It culminated in a new song, “Wild Old Dogs,” that fans can expect to hear on the new record.

“God is a wild old dog someone left out on the highway. I seen him runnin’ by me. He don’t belong to no one now.”

Patty has a way of storytelling from all angles and viewpoints. The title track of the new record contains a broken-down honesty, reliving the life of boys coming home from war, damaged, with no place to go and no blueprint for how to fit back into a life they once knew.

“I got some pills to get my head right. They don’t work so well, so I drink a little more at night.”

Patty sang for a sold-out intimate room, the most oddly mixed audience of loyals, a vast age span – 18 to 80, it seemed. But that’s a testament to her cult following. There’s no demographic that anchors her fan base. She pulls listeners in. She sits them down at her kitchen table as if she’s playing each song for the first time just for them. We sat at the Red Clay Theatre in quaint Duluth, Ga., anxiously holding on to each story she told, praying that she’d play just one more song from the long list of listener favorites and equally convinced by everything new.
At this point, Patty, we’re all convinced.

Stay tuned for the “American Kid” album release in 2013, and get updates from Patty on Facebook.com/PattyGriffin.

RAHBI Brings Back Studio 54 with His New Single, Club Kid

We hope everyone’s Halloween was as fun and freaky as this music video for RAHBI’s new single, Club Kid. This video pays homage to Studio 54—check out the fashion forwardness of the video and see if you recognize any of the infamous club kids.

The Man with the Iron Fists- A Film by the RZA

The Man with the Iron Fists

By Jeffrey Preis

The RZA has done it again, this time stepping away from the music scene and, for the first time, directing and acting in The Man with the Iron Fists, a movie which he and seasoned director/producer, Eli Roth wrote the screenplay for.

This movie, which encapsulates the martial mentality for which The RZA is known, was shot on location in Shanghai, China and has an all-star cast including Russell Crowe, Lucy Liu and Rick Yune. This movie has been a work in progress for the Wu-Tang Clan front man, seemingly a project that began during his youth when he saw Rambo—the coolest movie he saw as a child. He knew, though, that he had to make something “even cooler.” The action is over the top, the music is engaging and the movie, as The RZA says, is fun: “the most important thing to get from a movie theater experience is fun. I put a lot of fun into this movie.”

The Godfather of action movies, Quentin Tarantino, presents The Man with the Iron Fists, the movie which puts the ‘F’ and ‘U’ in Kung Fu. For years now, The RZA and Tarantino have long been chums. Tarantino is not only a close friend of RZA’s, but a teacher and mentor to this fresh filmmaker. “If I were to belong to a kung fu school, I’d belong to the school of Tarantino,” said The RZA affectionately. Together, the two have traveled the world visiting film festivals, and spent time in Tarantino’s personal theater viewing old movies that, withouth him, The RZA would never know.

All of these efforts were a culmination of what made this movie a nearly 30+ year work in progress. From a young age, Asian culture inspired RZA. And as he said, kung fu is Asian culture; they preserved it. He was able to learn something from watching Kung Fu movies, something he said American movies never touched on—brotherhood, loyalty and sacrifice.

Iron Fists was a collaborative effort of all things inspiring to The RZA’s life. From ‘The Art of War’ to Bruce Lee, to traces of ODB, this movie is his greatest piece of work to date. Filmmaking is a new passion for this tremendous talent and it’s only the beginning. Above all, he’s an artist first, he says of himself.

The Man with the Iron Fists is in theaters this Friday, November 2.

Agyness Deyn: from catwalk to cinema

Pusher

The film “PUSHER” (opening today) follows the dysfunctional life of drug dealer Richard Coyle who is reduced to desperate measures in order to fix a drug deal gone bad. The film, based on the 1996 cult classic series by director Nicolas Winding Refn, has been updated with style and a very impressive leading lady: Supermodel Agyness Deyn. Deyn’s character, Flo, is heroine addict and exotic dancer — a far cry from the role of fresh-faced model who graces Vogue covers and the most in-demand catwalks in the world. In fact, Deyn has been considered the new fashion “it” girl for some time, which made her transition into film one met with some skepticism. But Deyn seems to be gifted with more than just killer looks. Her foray into acting has proven to be an impressive one — with PUSHER being her first lead and significant role, and a well-played one at that.

Eidé Magazine caught up with the talented beauty in an exclusive interview about PUSHER, her modeling career and more.

Eidé: So when you first got the script for PUSHER, had you seen the 1996 cult classic version?
Agyness Deyn: I hadn’t seen it, but then someone gave it to me to watch, and when I did, I was very interested.

Eidé: I heard that when auditioning for this role, the director didn’t know you were a supermodel with little acting experience, and chose you out of all your contenders. Impressive.
Agyness Deyn: Yeah, it was really amazing. I was flattered, really. It felt so good.

Eidé: What did you do to prepare for this role?
Agyness Deyn: I spent time learning with a real stripper for my role. No, really! I learned what her life is like, and how working is for her.

Eidé: Were there any aspects of your character you could relate to?
Agyness Deyn: Yeah, I think there are parts of every role and character that you can relate to if you understand.

Eidé: What was the most enjoyable part about working on this film for you?
Agyness Deyn: Just working with everyone, and being on the set. Sometimes we would film for really long hours and I just loved it.

Eidé: Did your knowledge of modeling and body placement and positioning with light in front of a camera make it easier for you to do a motion picture role.
Agyness Deyn: Yeah, I think it helped. I have spent years in front of a camera, so it’s a place I feel very comfortable with.

Eidé: So are you really done with modeling?
Agness Deyn: Never say never (laughing). But I haven’t done a lot of modeling in a while because I am already working on new films. Since I am doing more acting, that doesn’t really leave any time for modeling.

The Zombie Apocalypse

The apocalypse is nigh! The zombie apocalypse, that is. With the advent of the third season of AMC’s The Walking Dead, zombie culture has taken over. Many people are taking part of this zombie movement—from indie to mainstream, the undead are ubiquitous. Bands like Atlanta’s Amsterdam Station are jamming to—and killing— Zombies (see video below), and even 5K races are joining in on the fun. The Run For Your Lives is a 5K obstacle race where you not only run against the clock, but from the “brain-hungry, virus-spreading zombies.” Zombies are inescapable now, and in the wake of All Hallow’s Eve, one must fear for his life—happy survival!

Jeffrey Preis

And the Winner of Project Runway Is…

Last night was the season finale of Lifetime’s hit show, Project Runway. The tenth season ended and announced Dmitry Sholokhov as the winner. Zehnder Communications created this infographic “The State of the Listen” for the tenth season of Project Runway. It illustrates the words most mentioned throughout the season—“drama” and “bitch” being the top two most used—and lists the top 10 designers and guest judges, the “top talk” of the finale and more. Check out the infographic to see the highlights of the entire season.

 

Project Runway 2012

Cirque du Soleil Returns to Atlanta with TOTEM

By Jaime Lin Weinstein

Cirque du Soleil TOTEMIf you’ve been near Atlantic Station in Atlanta, Ga., since Saturday you’ve likely caught a glimpse of the now infamous blue and yellow ‘Grand Chapiteau,’ otherwise known as Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Village on Wheels’ — a somewhat familiar sight that has now graced our city a total of 11 times. This season, the site (which seats 2,600 under its 11,500 pounds of canvas) will be the stage for TOTEM, one of the latest touring shows produced by the Canadian entertainment company and brought to fruition by Writer/Director Robert Lepage and Artistic Director Tim Smith.

TOTEM, which premieres in Atlanta on Oct. 26, “traces the fascinating journey of the human species from its original amphibian state to its ultimate desire to fly,” and it does so in a way that only Cirque du Soleil can, through a visual, musical and acrobatic language that seems to exceed the limits of our human capabilities. The main set itself — a large, elaborate framework designed in the likes of a giant turtle (an amphibian that represents the origin of the earth in many ancient myths and oral traditions) – serves as both a decorative set element and acrobatic equipment upon which ‘amphibians’ perform on parallel bars and leap through the air from power tracks that are revealed beneath the turtle’s massive shell.

TOTEM

And while Cirque shows have the magnificent ability to transport viewers to the fantasy worlds they create, TOTEM’s world is very much based on nature and the reality of our own planet. Images of our natural world, such as waterfalls, swamps, boiling lava and a starry sky, are projected on the set and even interact with the artists on stage. Infrared cameras are positioned around the set to detect the movement of the actors and produce effects such as ripples, splashes and reflections in the water and the flames. The costume designs are also rooted in reality. The patterns and colors of real fish and frogs are replicated on the fabrics through advanced printing techniques and fabric treatments in order to mimic the textures, as well as the colors and markings of these real-life creatures. Even the music (arranged by Charles Dennard, a native of Macon, Ga.) aims to reflect the primal theme of the production with profound elements from Native American music.

TOTEM Roller Skates

TOTEM’s “sky’s the limit” approach, as described by Mr. Smith in reference to the show’s state-of-the-art technology and intricate composition of acts, music, costumes and sets, is analogously what the show hopes to evoke: the evolution of mankind and the infinite potential of human beings.

TOTEM Evolution

Cirque du Soleil’s TOTEM will run from Oct. 26 through Dec. 16 with evening and matinee performances. Tickets are available for purchase online at http://cirquedusoleil.com/totem. And don’t be late — Smith says the opening is one of his favorite acts calling it, “unusually beautiful and exciting, intricate and deep.”