Diane Franklin is an actor with many notable films and television projects to her name over several decades of entertaining on screen. She’s appeared alongside Keanu Reeves, John Cusack and many more since she got her start in the late 70’s. Popgeeks had a chance to sit down with this effervescent actress, Diane Franklin, to discuss her latest role in Waking Nightmare and look back on her career.
We recently hit Play NYC, a New York-based convention that highlights local video game and tabletop game developers. We spoke with Lloyd Williams, creator of the tabletop game The Reality of Life. The Reality of Life is inspired loosely by Monopoly. It adds real-life challenges and pitfalls, like addiction, which stand between you and your success.
We recently hit Play NYC, a New York based convention that highlights local video game and tabletop game developers. We spoke with Salim Larochelle of Flying Carpets Games on his studio’s upcoming survival horror game, Hiboka. Hiboka is the spirit underworld of Malagasy folklore. The game features two playable characters. The first playable character is Alexandre Leblanc, a wealthy teenage boy grieving the loss of his mother. The second is Ramala Fifaliana, a Malagasy girl Alexandre encounters during his search to find the entrance to Hiboka. Together, they hope to uncover the truth behind the cursed Sanatry Mansion.
We recently attended Play NYC, a New York based convention that highlights local video game and tabletop game developers. Nerdy Thirty Podcast co-host, Christina Crisfield, and I spoke with Urban Electronic Games’ John Wolff on his studio’s innovative Mario Kart / Pokemon Snap inspired game, Tontachi. Some parts of the interview have been edited for clarity.
We recently covered Play NYC. a two day local New York convention that spotlights New York-based indie video game developers and tabletop publishers, Nerdy Thirty Podcast co-host, Christina Crisfield and I spoke with Alexis Brutman (Studio Founder / Producer) and Sarah Schaffstall (Owner / Marketing Director) of Astral Clocktower Studios about their upcoming game, Kristala. If you’re missing a souls-inspired ARPG with badass anthropomorphic cats, Kristala might be right up your alley.
Anjali Bhimani on Medusa in Stray Gods, Candela Obscura, Tabletop RPGs, Acting, Voice Acting – Interview
Anjali Bhimani has had an extensive career on stage, in television and films, but also has a rabid fanbase that appreciates her work in the video game sphere with major roles in games like Overwatch. As it turns out, she’s quite passionate about participating in another growing gaming subculture, the world of interactive tabletop role playing games. We had a chance to talk to Anjali Bhimani about her latest projects in that sphere and the enthusiasm was palpable.
Dave Franchini is comic book editor and writer who has been using his creative talents to expand the world of Zenescope Entertainment and it’s many fantasy adventure titles for over a decade. In this second of three behind the scenes interviews with the creators of such titles as Grimm Fairy Tales, Belle, and OZ: Return of the Wicked Witch, PopGeeks and WIZARDS The Podcast Guide To Comics are seeking to gain a better understanding of this unique comic book publisher.
PopGeeks and WIZARDS The Podcast Guide To Comics have joined forces to bring you a series of interviews with the minds behind Zenescope Entertainment and their unique line of fantasy-adventure comic books. As the first part of this series, WIZARDS podcast hosts, Adam Pope and Michael Canetti interview veteran comic book writer and editor, David Wohl about his recent work with Zenescope as Editor In Chief and writer of OZ: Return of the Wicked Witch.
The Flood from Saban Films will be available on VOD and On Demand starting July 14th.
In an acting career spanning more than 30 years, Nicholas Turturro has left his mark on movies, TV shows and late night talk show appearances. This July 6 he can be seen in the BET+ Original Movie, Call Her King. Popgeeks got a chance to sit down with Turturro, to learn just how the actor uses his natural comedic sensibilities in every project to make the most of his screen time.
Adam Pope: Your acting career has encompassed a wide range of genres: drama, comedy, to horror, even animation. Did you begin your professional career with kind of a specific path in mind, with an actor whose career you wanted to emulate? Or did you always feel you could just play whatever role came your way?
Nick Turturro: Actually, when I first started out as a kid, I was a musical theater guy. I was in Guys and Dolls in high school. And I played Nathan Detroit. And I used to sing before that, as a young kid I used to listen to Frank Sinatra records. And I taught myself how to sing. So everybody in my family said, “Oh, he’s a singer.” So I studied a little bit and I sang in a choir. And my brother John directed me when I was a kid in Oliver and I played the Artful Dodger.
So I didn’t really have a direction, a real path, but I liked to perform. I always knew, even when I got started in drama, that I had a good comedic sense and kind of knew that I had that in a way. But I never really developed it, I wasn’t looking to be a comedian, but I kind of knew I had some of that natural timing. So it was never like, “Oh, I want to be just this or just that.” I wanted to try everything, I guess. When I think about it, you’re right. I’ve kind of played all kinds of stuff. From crazy guys, to tough guys to funny, goofy dudes.
Adam Pope: So in that vein, it does feel like you always bring much more to your roles than a simple basic character description. How do you approach taking a character like your nervous defense lawyer in Call Her King and make it your own? Is it always just a little bit of you in there? Or do you like to come up with specific quirks?
Nick Turturro: I think it’s a combination, I think you kind of hit it on the head. It’s a little bit of me and then it’s a little bit of the character. So it’s like, there’s always a part of you in whatever you do, so I never abandon that. And then within that, with using yourself, you become whoever that guy is, and try to make a lot out of, not nothing, but make more than is there.
That’s true for me even on NYPD Blue. I was a young guy, and one of the showrunners told me, “I told them to hire you because you made a lot out of nothing.” I did that on The Longest Yard. That that was nothing on paper and then Adam Sandler kept adding stuff for me. From a small part, it became a really memorable role. Even with NYPD Blue and a lot of other roles that are not huge, I’ve made an impact. And so I think that when I look back on my career, I probably am most proud of that. Most proud of that I’ve always done that, whether it’s one scene or three scenes or four scenes. Even in Black Klansman, people were like, “You were really good in just a couple of scenes”, when I show up at the end of the movie. Then I go from that to something comedic or whatever.
Adam Pope: Speaking of Spike Lee, you’ve done quite a few films with him and then with NYPD Blue and Blue Bloods, you’re always being cast as a cop…
Nick Turturro: It seems that way, I played a certain amount of cops and now I’m getting to be known as a guy who could come in and be comedic, like the comic relief. When I read this script [Call Her King] I said I thought it was an okay script and I thought when I read it, “Oh, this guy, he could be the comic relief.” That’s what I saw. I may not always be right for what they want, but I think that within a drama, he was just somebody that could be…not “funny haha”, but be funny in a way.
The differences I think when you’re a good actor, you can feel grounded and you can be even more comedic, you know? Because some comedians never really become good actors. Some do, some make that transition like Adam [Sandler], but there are some guys that they’ve never really crossed over into becoming good comedic actors, as well as comedians. Because it’s two different things. When you can act, and you’re funny, you know? Take somebody like Joe Pesci. I mean, Joe Pesci is a really, really good actor. And he’s really, really funny. I have played more goofy guys than him, but he’s somebody that is a good actor, and very funny.
People have said, “Wow, you can act and you’re funny.” Like, when I was on NYPD Blue. Those guys didn’t know. And I think if they got to know me, maybe they could have let me be. I played the straight guy on that show. Gordon Clapp was given all the funny lines, because he played a guy that stuttered and all this stuff. I thought that they could have utilized me more. But I played it like Bud Abbott and he was Costello. So I was the straight guy. But then when I was on David Letterman, everybody was like, “Oh, boy, we didn’t even know you were funny.” And I was like, “Yeah, I mean, I knew it.” But you still gotta be given a chance to show what you could do.
In Blue Bloods, I was older. Unfortunately I didn’t get to do more and I would have liked to, but they went in a different direction. But that character, why it was such a good character, I think, was that he had been around the block as a cop, and I’ve played a lot of cops. For whatever reason they came up to me early on, they said, “You know, we’re not writing it funny. But it’s coming out that way.” And if you’re smart enough to understand that, you go, “Wow, I got gold here. I got somebody here that I didn’t even write it funny and he’s making it funny.” Not that I was making it a joke. But out of the situations, comes comedic stuff, even with cops.
I think there was one producer, I don’t think he ever understood what I was doing. Because there was another producer that said, “They don’t even get how good you are or what you doing, you know?” And I said, “Yeah, it’s their loss because they have nobody remotely funny.” Because they just don’t have those kinds of people there seeing where you could take the material. I was eating pizza, and it was funny. I was eating a hot dog and I made a whole thing with the guy. I really enjoyed doing that. You’re a police officer, you’re a cop, but there’s a lot of funny cops. They’re not all so serious, it’s got to be so complex, because they’re not all like that. And that cop, Renzulli was actually very funny in a very real way.
Adam Pope: I have to imagine that with The Longest Yard, if you consider that a big breakout comedically, that has to have extended your career in so many ways. If people only see you play a dramatic character over and over again, that kind of gets old. Do you feel like that really allowed you to work more than maybe you would have if you were just doing straight drama?
Nick Turturro: Yeah, I think it did. I think it did to a certain degree and I would have liked it to have been more. Because I had two comedy pilots, one with the WB and one with CBS. It was my own show that after NYPD Blue I developed with them and then missed getting them on the air by a hair, a few times. I thought that would have really blown me up comedically. So the world never got to see that, they never got to see my own show. They never get to see my pilots. Even to this day, we’ve been developing something new, me and my son.
I was a big TV guy when I was a little kid and you know, I love The Honeymooners and The Odd Couple, I think I have good taste in the kind of comedies that I like. All In The Family, I watched. Great, great things. I’ve been influenced by great people, my brother, by great movies, all these things that I’ve watched, that I went to school on, you know? I’ve learned. I’m a student and a fan. And I’ve never lost that. So, I love all that stuff.
I think it has definitely influenced me, the things that I’ve been inspired by. Not that I imitated anybody, but I get inspired by all these things. And that’s what kind of drove me to wanting to perform, you know what I mean? When I’ve seen other people, great people at work, but I’ve been like, “Wow, he’s good.” It gets you pumped up, it gets you saying like, “I gotta bring it now” and I have. And I know that I could hold my own with anybody. I know that if I go toe to toe with great people that I could bring it.
I remember years ago, I had an audition with Billy Crystal. And he brought me back and I think on some level he was like, “What? You’re funny.” And he’s like, “Can you improvise?” But at the same time, I felt like, maybe he doesn’t want somebody here funnier than him. And I’m not trying to outdo you. I’m just, I’m just doing me. I’m just being me. If that makes sense.
I think in the industry, I haven’t been used enough. You get in some kind of clubs, like I’ve never worked with the Judd Apatow. I’ve never worked with a lot of these great comedic groups, that I feel like I could easily jump in and do anything. I watch this guy, Danny McBride and his comedy is insane and I love it. Even though he’s like a hillbilly, I feel like my sensibility is strong, and I know what I like, and I know what I think is funny.
There’s another movie coming out, a high school drama, but they needed somebody comedic, and I did a really comedic role. Unfortunately, I wish the movie was more funny. Because I was trying to tell these kids, “It needs to be funnier, not violent.” But they didn’t want to listen.
Adam Pope: Returning to Call Her King. It’s being promoted as “Die Hard in a courtroom”, that’s the tagline they’re using. But do you think it has more to offer audiences than just action and drama in a locked down setting?
Nick Turturro: I think it does. It’s well-executed so that it’s more than just “Die Hard”. I think there’s some good performances in there, some really good actors
on the screen. So I hope they look at it as more than just, “Die Hard in a courtroom.” I liked the filmmaker [Wes Miller]. He’s another guy that it seems like he makes a lot out of you know, not nothing, but he makes a full meal out of the material. So I dug working with him. The material was okay, but I think we definitely made it a lot better. So I mean, it seems like everybody is excited about it. So it’s good that you could do something good in something that’s being well received. Because a lot of times you do something good and then people don’t really you know, and you’re like, “Ah, shit. I just did as much as I could do, but the whole movie was a disappointment or something.
Adam Pope: It’s been the theme of our interview here that you always do a little bit more and I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that you have a very awesome way of killing somebody in this movie. It has a setup and it pays off and it’s hilarious.
Nick Turturro: No, I don’t want to give it away, but the guy I was working with, he does action movies. I call him “Johnny Steaks”, because all he does is eat steak, which is true. He’s on some kind of steak diet.
That’s thing though. You got to make something out of what you’ve got. I just did a sitcom with Jon Cryer It’s not going to air until the Fall, and they might bring me back. I had one big scene. But you know, this guy Mike O’Malley, the showrunner he loved it, because he was like “You made a big impact”, and I was like, a nervous wreck because it was live and I haven’t done that in a while. I did do two sitcoms years ago that I was telling you about and I thrive off that, but I’m older now. So I was a little frantic. And you know, I’m so ADD and my memory is not as sharp, but I have that ability to do that kind of stuff in the sitcom world. It was definitely a high doing that in front of an audience. I got off on doing it. And a lot of ways more than just a drama.
Nicholas Turturro can be seen July 6 in Call Her King, a BET+ Original Movie.
Sean Patrick O’Reilly is a Canadian filmmaker with big ambition, having written, directed and produced many fantasy, action and adventure films over the last decade. His most recent animated feature, Heroes Of The Golden Mask is a superhero story with a fantasy edge which will be available in the digital format starting June 9, 2023. I was lucky enough to catch Director Sean Patrick O’Reilly in between projects and learn a bit about his influences and how this latest Chinese co-production came together.
I had sent my latest interview subject, Lisa Fuller, an interview request last year. I didn’t initially hear back from her, so when I saw that she would be attending the April 2023 Chiller Theatre convention, I knew I had to not only meet her because I loved her work in movies like Teen Witch and Earth Girls Are Easy, but because I wanted to confirm the e-mail address I sent the interview request to was accurate. She checked it out a few weeks after we met at Chiller, and she agreed to an interview.