5 Questions with Isaac Hempstead-Wright of “The Boxtrolls” and “Game of Thrones”

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Whether you’re being raised by trolls, surviving a Westoros defenestration, or making a career in the wild and wacky world of international show business, it never hurts to be both enthusiastic and, believe it not, genuine. Now 15 years old, Isaac Hempstead-Wright is best known to most as Bran Stark on “Game of Thrones,” HBO’s Emmy-winning adult fantasy sensation based on George R.R. Martin’s gazillion-selling literary doorstops. His voice is also soon to become known to family film audiences as the heroic young Eggs in “The Boxtrolls,” the latest from Laika Studios, the stop-motion animation whizzes who brought us the rightfully acclaimed “Coraline” and “ParaNorman.”

An apparently very down-to-earth youth from an industrial English village, Hempstead-Wright seems unaffected by the fact that he’s spent several of his formative years working on a long-form dark fantasy spiked with graphic violence and NC-17-esque sexuality. Soulful and earnest on TV, in person, the young actor is eager and friendly to a fault – after we were told our interview was completed, he engaged us in some neighborly small-talk until yours truly was very nearly forcibly ejected by publicity.

That enthusiasm has no doubt been a plus in the physically and emotionally challenging role of the disabled, steadfast young Bran alongside the stellar “Game of Thrones” cast. It also must have factored into Laika’s decision to place Hempstead-Wright alongside the top-drawer “Boxtrolls” voice ensemble, which includes Elle Fanning, Toni Collette, Jared Harris, Simon Pegg and Sir Ben Kingsley.

As the old saying goes, you need sincerity to succeed in show business and, if you can fake that, you’ve got it made. Here are five pretty sincere answers we don’t think young Hempstead-Wright had to fake.

1. Can you persuade the Bullz-Eye core audience of males, aged 18-35, that it’s safe to see “The Boxtrolls” despite it’s family-friendly PG rating?

IHW: I would say go and see “The Boxtrolls” just because the Boxtrolls are really cute, even if you’re sort of this big, butch person, I think you would enjoy how cute they are, because that’s kind of what they are. They look like, on the outside, they are these terrifying creatures, but you realize they are very soft and sweet inside.

[My character, Eggs] is a boy who thinks he’s a Boxtroll. He’s an orphan who was raised by Boxtrolls because they’re the only people who really care for him. If you look at a lot of the people in the upper world – the Boxtrolls live in an underground cavern – [the human parents are] all really horrible. Well, not horrible — they just don’t care for the children. If you look at [lead female character, voiced by Elle Fanning] Winnie’s parents, they are much more interested in cheese than in [their] daughter.

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6 Things Key and Peele Want You to Know About “Key & Peele”

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“MADtv” alums turned latter day sketch comedy saviors Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele have sneaked up on the American consciousness in the last few years, but it’s a good kind of sneak. Both sons of African-American fathers and white mothers, they haven’t exactly hid from their mixed-race heritage, mining a good percentage of their cheerfully subversive humor from the ethnic codes and conundrums that still dominate so much of American life.

To those who might try to (lamely) argue that race is no longer a factor in Barack Obama’s America, they give us Peele’s brilliant impression of President Obama alongside Key as Luther, the politician’s “anger translator.” It falls on the eternally stressed out Luther to put the leader’s thoughts into the plain black English many of us wish he could use, and the rest know would have ended his career instantly. To those of us who might feel shy about noting that some African-American names can be a bit more imaginative and polysyllabic than Caucasian monikers, they’ve given us East West College Bowl roll calls dominated by names that sound like they were collaborations between George Clinton and Dr. Seuss. (Peele has acknowledged the collaboration of a certain “Mr. Weed” in the writing of these pieces.)

We were lucky enough to encounter the witty pair who, unlike some other famous comedy teams, actually appear to enjoy one another’s company, at Comic-Con. Flanked by director Peter Atencio, they were there, of course, to promote the return of their Peabody-winning Comedy Central show. While they apparently couldn’t say much about a possible upcoming project with Judd Apatow, they were able to discuss their already aired and rather brilliant comedy relief-turn on FX’s Emmy-winning “Fargo,” as well as an animated project.

1. Regarding the point of the President Obama/Luther the Anger Translator sketches (which received a positive review from no less than the eternally composed POTUS himself).

Key: The most important thing to us has always been, “Let’s try, for comedic effect, to express what we think this president is thinking.” If the confluence of events had been different and he’d been a different president of a different race, we still think the comedic concept’s sound. So, we still would have done it. We picked Obama because we figured, “Here’s a sketch only we can do” and it helps with job security.

Peele: I think maybe the first one [had more raw anger in it]… There was a little element, at the beginning – there was all this shit that wasn’t getting said. There was some wish-fulfillment. It felt like nobody was defending [Obama] on the birther issue definitively enough.

Key: There was the birther issue, and the other trigger was Senator Joe Wilson screaming in the [Senate] chamber, “You lie!” That’s never happened to a president before; so, why would that happen to this president?

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A chat with Jay Glazer, Fox NFL Insider for Captain Morgan

Jay Glazer spoke with Paul Eide of Bullz-Eye.com.

Fox NFL Insider Jay Glazer is the man you go to for information. He’s cornered the market on both the NFL and MMA and is the ultimate “information broker” in a sea of imitators.

Here’s a piece of info that Glazer hipped me to: This Friday, September 19th is “International Talk Like a Pirate Day” sponsored by Captain Morgan. Just use the hashtags #CaptainandColaaarr and #TLAPD on social media and Captain Morgan will donate $1 to charity.

We spoke with Jay about working with Captain Morgan, what it was like for him to break into TV as an NFL Insider, and how he broke the New England Patriots “Spygate” scandal.

Does your phone ever stop ringing? Or is there always some dude from some website like me at the other end? 

“No, it’s not just dudes from websites — it’s usually a coach or a player. With all the off-the-field stuff, Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson… this week has been the most difficult week of my career. I signed up to cover football, not be a social commentator. But luckily, Captain Morgan came along at the perfect time to do a really fun campaign. This Friday is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. In honor of that, for everybody who uses the hashtags #CaptainandColaaarr and #TLAPD on social media, Captain Morgan will donate $1 to charity. And if there’s any on-air talent who participates, Captain Morgan will donate $1,000.

I have a charity for military veterans called Purple Hearts Homes that we are donating to. It’s a fun campaign. They came to me and I loved it. Anything to step away from all the other garbage that is going on and let’s have something fun. Sports is escapism – nothing else. We’re there to give you a break from the real world, a break from this kind of stuff. Now sports, your normal escape, is more serious than the thing you’re trying to escape from! I decided yesterday, no more serious stuff.”

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Bullz-Eye heads to Whatever, USA with Bud Light

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When I received my invitation to Whatever, USA, the first thought that went through my mind was, “How many children will be conceived as a result of this Bud Light promotion?” And then, “Would there be some inherent shame in that?”

I can tell you with absolute certainty that if you’re reading this 20 years from now, Google searching your true lineage, there is NOTHING you have to be embarrassed about. Bud Light wanted to create the ultimate party weekend and they absolutely nailed it.

At one point during the three days I spent in Whatever, USA, my body composition was roughly 87% Bud Light. But it wasn’t just the endless, literally endless, supply of Bud Light, or the fact that Bud Light was being foisted upon you at every turn, that made Whatever, USA so great. It was the onslaught of once-in-a-lifetime events piled on top of each other, sandwiched between meeting great people from all over the world with one common denominator: being #UpForWhatever.

Here’s some background: From roughly 204,000 video submissions, 1,000 #UpForWhatever winners were selected, given 48 hours to grab a friend, pack their bags and leave for Whatever, USA. In store for them were three days and two nights of activities, epic adventures and unexpected performances at Whatever, USA.

On the surface, you would think that bringing 2,000-plus strangers into a remote location and feeding them Bud Light products exclusively for three days couldn’t help but end badly. But it was the exact opposite. It was like everyone was cut from the same #UpForWhatever cloth.

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Bullz-Eye interviews New York Giants linebacker Jon Beason for Duracell

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New York Giants’ Jon Beason, left, demonstrates the communication devices that are powered by Duracell Quantum batteries to actor Taye Diggs at MetLife Stadium on Aug. 27, 2014 in E. Rutherford, N.J. (Photo by Mark VonHolden/Invision for Duracell)

New York Giants All-Pro middle linebacker Jon Beason hung out at MetLife Stadium (with Taye Diggs in tow) last week and explained to a throng of dudes how Duracell’s Quantum batteries power the NFL. We were part of that gaggle of dudes.

Talk about how you hooked up with Duracell.

“Duracell reached out, and being the “Mike” linebacker in our defense and equipped with the headset, I’m powered by Duracell Quantum. It was an eye-opening experience to work with Duracell. Through the course of an NFL game, 650 Duracell Quantum batteries are used, and that’s just mind boggling. And I thought, ‘Where do they all go?’ You can go to facebook.com/Duracell to find out all the others ways they are used to make sure the fans have the best experience possible.”

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This preseason, I’ve noticed more than ever opposing QBs calling out where the mike linebacker is a lot more. Why is this?

“In a 4-3 scheme, there are 11 guys on both sides of the ball. There are two of everything except the mike linebacker; cornerbacks, defensive tackles, outside linebackers and safeties and then the one mike. Based on where he aligns, he is the X-factor, the extra defender, the guy you have to account for, because when the offense overloads a side in terms of protection, that is where we can gain an advantage. They usually point me out as mike based on what we’re in, but based on how were spinning the safety down, what we’re showing when we are showing pressure, they can call someone else the mike and say he’s the guy you are responsible for. If he comes, he is the X-factor in terms of pressure.”

Over the last couple years, you’ve had to play both “Sam” and “Will” linebacker positions. How nice is it to go back to mike, your native LB position?

“It’s funny. The reason I played outside is because I got drafted as a will and got moved over in week five of my rookie year due to injuries and played the mike backer, and [that] ended up being the best possible fit for me and my personality. It’s home; it’s like riding a bike. It’s something you’re never going to forget and something I’ve done at a consistent level, so to be back at that position is something that I’m grateful for and appreciative of.”

Is this the hardest period of time in the history of the NFL to be a defender?

“Absolutely. They’ve completely made the game too passive. That’s what they want — they want more points. It is what it is.”

Is there a guy you look forward to tackling the most when you are actually allowed to?

“Everybody! I’d love to tackle everybody! It doesn’t matter to me – I don’t discriminate!”

Tell Jon “The Beast” Beason who you’d like him to tackle via his Twitter account here.

  

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