Horror fans may know Harvey Guillén as Guillermo from FX's What We Do in the Shadows series, but he's also the executive producer of an upcoming web series The Filth, which takes a realistic, inclusive, and insightful look at relationships and personal identity in Los Angeles. For a special Indie Spotlight interview, we caught up with Guillén and The Filth director Jamie Holt, and we also have an exciting update on Universal Studios Hollywood's Jurassic Park - The Ride and details on author Paul Macdonald's new novel Zombieleaks.
Can you tell our readers about The Filth and why it’s important to the two of you?
Jamie Holt: It's a comedy web series like the vibe of Broad City or Girls. It's about these two best friends living in LA and the struggle of being a queer millennial creative. The characters are named Stella and Max. And Stella is bisexual and in a relationship with a guy and then she gets into a relationship with a woman who happens to be a little person. Then our other main character, Max, is gay and pining after his roommate, who is a closeted pansexual. So it's pretty groundbreaking in a lot of ways because it explores these kinds of relationships that we don't usually see in the media, especially an average height/little person relationship and pansexuality hasn't been touched on much. So we're really excited about breaking ground on showing these lifestyles that don't usually get a lot of media coverage.
We have an incredible cast, tons of fun cameos, all different kinds of people doing all different kinds of comedy, and it's such a fun-filled, colorful world. It's just one of those things that sucks you in and feels so new and different and fresh. It makes you think, “Wait, why haven't I seen this before? This is my life.”
Harvey Guillén: Jamie and I are writing partners, and we've been writing together for over three years now. She is a really talented director and we worked on other projects she's produced or directed. I came onto this very last minute. The question would come up, “Who should we consider for this role?” And I’d be asked by Jamie and [I’d say], “I could ask my friend to do this, I could ask this person to do that,” and eventually, Jamie was like, “Do you want to be an executive producer on this?”
We had a great casting director and they did great going after the lead roles, but all the cameos that are such a nice little sprinkle throughout the series are pretty much my Rolodex of friends that I just called up and said, “Hey, would you do this for me?” Because it's hard, especially in an industry where you can't get that caliber of talent to be in the same room without having to pay up that money up front. So, for me, the storyline was great, I loved the message. I'd never seen anything like it, so I totally wanted to be a producer on this and help create it and also work with Jamie. We work really well together, so for me it was a no-brainer.
As a producer, did your work go beyond casting and were you on set for most of the filming?
Harvey Guillén: It was perfect timing, because I had just shot the pilot for [What We Do in the] Shadows. I had an opening for the next month, where I had nothing I had to be focusing on, so I focused all of my time into this. Literally it was like, even though I didn't need to be on set every day, I just did it because when I put my name to something, I really see it through and any way I could make it better helps. There was a scene where someone had to smoke a bong, and it just didn't look realistic, and I went to Jamie and I said, “Jamie, I don't think he knows how to smoke a bong because that doesn't look real,” and Jamie was like “I don't know how to smoke a bong…” So stuff like that, where I just really loved it and I think as I went along I found out more that I love producing.
The Filth is being released as a web series. How many episodes have been created and how long is each episode?
Jamie Holt: We've finished the first season, which is five half-hour episodes, so it feels like any kind of miniseries with a high production value you might see on Netflix or HBO. We're just happening to bring it straight to the people, and we're going to release it on YouTube later this summer.
We're taking it straight to the people because it's very in the spirit of the show. We made it on our own, it's fully about the kind of things we want to see that we're not seeing on network or streaming TV, and so it's just very fitting for the project to break the norm by coming out on YouTube.
I understand that the series will have is premiere screening at Inside Out in Toronto later this month.
Jamie Holt: That is right. We have our world premiere coming up in Toronto on May 26th and tickets are available now, so everyone should buy a ticket. It’s at the TIFF Bell Lightbox Theater, which is absolutely stunning, so it's going to be a really fun night.
I’m always interested in the filmmaking process, especially when it comes to comedy and the cast, because there’s such an opportunity for improv and creating scenes and comedy “in the moment.” Can you talk about working with the cast, with varied experience and backgrounds?
Jamie Holt: We had over 50 people in the cast and many of them are professional comedians, so it was interesting because they all come from really different comedy backgrounds. We had a ton of people from UCB and the Groundlings, which is more improv and sketch comedy, so those cast members were very into improving.
But then we had the more traditional actors, so Beverly D'Angelo was one of our cameos and she's definitely coming from a more classic acting method style. So, she wasn't necessarily improving as much, but she’d really get into the character and ask, “Okay, but would she say that or would she say this? Is she thinking this?” Or, “How does she know this person?” So both styles are really fun to work with as a director and I definitely felt like I was expanding my toolbox every day.
The other interesting thing about our cast members is our two leads, who also co-wrote the show along with our other executive producer [Cara Fano]. Paige Hoffman and Jake Delaney are the actors, and they wrote this about their true-life experiences, so Jake really did go through something like this with a roommate who he was pining after and then all these twists and turns happened. Paige was actually in a relationship with the actress who plays her girlfriend on the show, Katrina Kemp, so all of those actors were bringing a lot of real-life experience to the set, which was really fun to work with and also kind of liberating in a way because we were able to really mine the situations and the crazy things that happened. So, that was a unique experience I haven't had before.
Are there immediate plans to follow up with a second season?
Jamie Holt: The second season is already outlined. Paige, Jake, and Cara already have everything for the next six episodes laid out. Whether we're going to make it is unclear, so I think we're all very on board for a second season and we all had a ton of fun making it. These characters are so rich, but we'll have to see how it goes and how fans are liking it, and how we can make the life of The Filth continue.
We’re definitely seeing a climate change with the entertainment industry becoming more inclusive, but there’s still a long way to go. And it’s refreshing to see a series like this, where it feels very representative of how life really is, especially in LA where you have people from all walks of life, of all races, sexual orientations and gender identities.
Harvey Guillén: That was kind of a big pull when Jamie would tell me about this. It started off with a storyline that I had never heard or seen on TV, so I was like, “Well, that's already unique and it's based on a true story and true events.” And so I thought that was even more appealing. You can't make this up because it happened. So they wrote what they knew.
People are living this life, but you never see it being represented. And so, we’re giving that voice an opportunity to tell a story that did happen and that [doesn’t fit] the traditional mold that has been set by the entertainment world's standards. So here we are making something different.
Jamie Holt: Like Harvey said, that was exactly what was needed with this project. It's something that is so fresh to be shown and familiar to what our lives actually are. And that was something we were constantly trying to do as we were developing the script or production and even while we were shooting and in the edit. There are these moments that you just connect with and resonate with so deeply because you're like, “That is me.”
One of those moments that really shines is with Katrina, who plays Jocelyn, who is a little person. She runs into Stella in the bathroom and asks for two wet paper towels with soap on it because she can't reach the sink and there's no accessible paper towels or soap or sink for her.
And so that's something that's just a privilege of being an average height person. You never think, “Wow, I can reach the sink!” You just wash your hands and move on with your day. But then, Stella asked her, “Well, what would you have done if I wasn't here?” And she says, “I would carry hand sanitizer,” so that's just one of those little moments that really makes you think about the experience of someone else. And then we've got the same type of thing for Danny, who, when he's coming out as pansexual, Max has to ask, “Cool, great, I support you, what is that exactly?” The idea of having to explain your identity and your sexuality and who you are as a person, because it's not something that anyone is familiar with, that can be a really scary thing to do. And so just exploring what that moment looks like is something that's really powerful and groundbreaking that we've been able to do on this show.
Harvey Guillén: These moments that Jamie is pointing out are an ongoing theme for the show. Sometimes people from your own community, being in the queer community, don't even know the labels that they're also a part of. Pansexual is part of the queer community, and there are people that don't know the definition of it. That's okay, but you have to educate yourself, and that's one of those moments that Jamie was talking about when someone's coming out as pansexual and another character, who happens to be gay, is like, “What does that mean exactly?” The idea is that we support each other, we know that we're here to be a community, but are you informed about everything?
For someone who wants to learn more about The Filth, what’s the best way they can keep up with the latest news and releases?
Jamie Holt: We do have a website at thefilthseries.com. You can sign up to our mailing list or follow us on Instagram. We’re about to go live with the full site really soon, so once we do we're going to have files of all the cast, the crew, and more festivals coming up. We’re going to be debuting a new poster and we're going to have lots of behind-the-scenes footage coming out on the Instagram. So stay tuned, because there is a whole world of Filth coming.
Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard and BD Wong Reprising Their Roles in Jurassic World - The Ride: Universal City, CA, May 23, 2019 – Stars of the JURASSIC WORLD films Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard and BD Wong reprise their roles as Owen Grady, Claire Dearing and Dr. Henry Wu, bringing their characters from the silver screen to Universal Studios Hollywood’s much anticipated mega attraction, “Jurassic World—The Ride,” opening this summer.
This marks the first time the cast will appear as their iconic characters outside of the JURASSIC WORLD films for a theme park attraction. As part of original content created exclusively for the new ride, Owen, Claire and Dr. Wu will shed light on their interactions with the dinosaurs along with facts and information about the imposing prehistoric creatures that first roamed the earth more than 65 million years ago.
This spectacular new ride will feature an original storyline that will take guests on a breathtaking excursion through the theme park as depicted in Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment’s film, JURASSIC WORLD. It will soar to new heights with the addition of iconic dinosaurs from the movie, including the colossal Indominus rex and the magnificent aquatic Mosasaurus in her natural habitat.
For the first time, JURASSIC WORLD fans will have the chance to see this impressive creature and become immersed within her massive Aquarium Observatory. Appearing to span over 60 feet in length and tipping the scales at over 30K pounds through stunning state-of-the-art visual effects, the Mosasaurus is a sight to behold as she moves just inches away from guests throughout her glass enclosure filled with the equivalent of 3.5 million gallons of water.
Universal Creative collaborated with Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) to bring the Mosasaurus to life and to capture the realism of her underwater environment using a combination of spectacular visual effects and cutting-edge technologies, including the use of motion parallax, a technique that shifts the guest’s perspective of the Mosasaurus as she moves throughout the tank.
The team also employed a series of lighting enhancements allowing the aquarium to intuitively shift from day to night, as well as visual changes to the environment during inclement weather, thus creating a variety of visual scenarios guests can experience based on when they experience the ride.
“Jurassic World—The Ride” captures the essence of the blockbuster movie and comes to life in collaboration with the award-winning and inspired minds at Universal Creative, the Academy Award®-winning special-effects visionaries at Industrial Light & Magic, a division of Lucasfilm, Ltd., Universal Pictures and acclaimed filmmakers Steven Spielberg, Colin Trevorrow and Frank Marshall.
When “Jurassic World—The Ride” opens this summer, guests will be welcomed to a dramatically reimagined space reflective of the hit films. A fresh entry statement, stonework landscaping, and a contemporary redesign of the iconic JURASSIC WORLD gates, illuminated with billowing flames, will create the framework for the all new aesthetics.
Once guests pass through the queue, they will board specially designed rafts that will navigate the lush environs of dense vegetation and traverse new areas besieged with towering dinosaurs meandering at just an arm’s length away. Encounters with such docile creatures as the Stegosaurus and Parasaurolophus will quickly turn awry as predatory Velociraptors and Dilophosaurus begin to wreak havoc, turning guests from spectators to prey. When the Tyrannosaurus rex begins to battle one of the attraction’s new ferocious dinosaurs, the rafts will spill down a treacherous 84-foot waterfall as the sole means of escape.
Located adjacent to the ride will be a new elaborately themed “Raptor Encounter” where Blue, the beloved Velociraptor from the JURASSIC WORLD franchise, will engage guests in daring face-to-face encounters.
In addition, a new interactive “Dino Play” area will incorporate educational components within an inspired space where children of all ages can explore and excavate giant dinosaur fossils.
With so much to see and do at Universal Studios Hollywood, the new California Neighbor Pass invites guests to experience 175 days of fun for $149 when purchased online. Visit www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com for more details. Blackout dates and restrictions apply.
Zombieleaks: The Truth About the Zombie Outbreak: "The Zombies came. And we beat them, easily.
So what happened next?
After a rare blood defect transforms 85 million citizens of the world into flesh-hungry monsters, humans are more ready to combat the threat than anticipated.
Indeed, after just a few years the Zombie population has been largely eradicated and the apocalyptic scenario described in movies and books doesn't come to pass.
No-one really knows how it happened, or how we fixed it.
A data dump of interviews, including with six key witnesses who were involved in the worldwide government response to the Zombie outbreak, exposes the truth - that the government had been preparing the public for such an event for over half a century.
And as the world continues on with Zombies existing, a concern for our future emerges.
What if it happens again?"
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