Luke Kuechly talks Old Spice, arm wrestling Brian Urlacher and tackling Marshawn Lynch

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Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly is the kind of impact player that NFL teams envision when they select a player in the top ten of the NFL Draft. Selected ninth overall in the 2012 NFL Draft, he was named Defensive Rookie of the Year that season and NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2013.

What can he do for an encore in year three? Kuechly’s eyes are set on the Super Bowl. Kuechly’s old-school physical style and “Smelf-confidence” lends itself perfectly to a partnership with old-school icon Old Spice.

Talk about the partnership with Old Spice.

“I partnered up with them to talk about the hair product that came out earlier this year. There’s shampoos, conditioners, different gels. The biggest thing behind them is the simplicity to use the product. You can use it real quick and don’t have to take a whole lot of time. We use it quite a bit in the locker room. I passed it out to some of the linebackers and everybody is loving it right now.”

At every level you’ve played, you’ve been a tackling machine. How do you account for this? What do you do differently?

“I’ve always had a great group of guys around me. At Boston College, Bill McGovern (former DC) did a great job and he is the reason why I developed in college. And when I got to Carolina, I had some older guys around like Jon Beason [and] Thomas Davis that taught me a lot, and I learned what it takes to be successful. So I owe a lot to those guys for the success I’m having today.”

What makes the Panthers defense so physical? Every defense in the league tries to be what you guys are. What’s the secret?

“I think it’s a mindest. To play physical and establish the line of scrimmage and make physical tackles and force turnovers. We’ve had a couple meetings in OTA’s this year and that has been the message; to be a physical team, to push guys back and make plays… Our coaches preach being one of 11 for the defense. Do your job, take care of your responsibility on each play and try not to do too much. If each guy does his job and does it correctly, that’s 11 guys doing the same thing and that puts you in a position to win games.”

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Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo and Old Spice working to end “overspraying epidemic”

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There’s a war going on that you may not even know about. We hear a lot about world events like missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, Syria and the Middle East. But one thing we don’t hear about is the overspraying epidemic that has afflicted over 75% of guys.

Patriots All-Pro linebacker Jerod Mayo and Old Spice have teamed up to teach men how to scent responsibly and stop this epidemic the way Mayo stopped Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta in the 2013 AFC Championship.

“I’m actually on my way now to educate young guys at Boston University to teach them how to scent responsibly,” said Mayo, concern evident in his voice.

“They know how to drive responsibly, and do other things responsibly. It’s all about scenting responsibly in 2014. I’m very excited to help end the overspraying epidemic that’s happening now.”

One reason the problem has reached epidemic levels is ignorance; 68% of guys admit that no one had ever showed them how to apply body spray properly.

The first step is acceptance — realizing that you have an overspraying problem and then taking the necessary steps to move forward.

Mayo, Captain of the Patriots defense, is here to call out your defensive spray audible.

“There’s some rules you have to abide by. First off, it starts with a shower. You have to take a shower with your Old Spice gel. That helps gets the pores open so you can put on the Old Spice Refresh Body Spray. But the thing about Refresh is that you don’t need too much of it.”

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The Light from the TV Shows: Chatting with the Cast of WGN’s ‘Salem’

For years, WGN has been a network that’s gotten precious little notice from most cable subscribers outside of Chicago, but in recent years, they’ve been trying to expand their viewership through moves like, for instance, serving as the exclusive U.S. home of the long-running Canadian comedy, Corner Gas. Unfortunately, that didn’t turn out to be the ratings-grabber that they’d hoped it might be, but things are on the upswing now that the network has branched out and begun their own original programming, kicking off their new roster with the supernatural period-piece drama Salem.

Bullz-Eye was invited to visit the set a few weeks back, and we were amazed at how well they’ve captured the look and feel of the era, but we were a little bit thrown when we discovered that our interview ops with the cast members were to be done on camera…even if we weren’t going to be using the footage! Still, we had four very nice chats during the course of the day, each featuring two cast members, and we got a bit of insight into how each of them came to join the series, who their characters are, and what we can expect from Salem as the series rolls through its first season.

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Xander Berkeley and Tamzin Merchant

Bullz-Eye: Had you both been actively looking for series work when this came about?

Xander Berkeley: Serious work or series work? [Laughs.]

Tamzin Merchant: I’m always constantly looking for work wherever! I’m always surprised if anyone wants to cast me in something. [Laughs.] I’m always, like, “Really? Okay! Cool! I’ll do it!”

BE: What was it about this particular project that appealed to you?

TM: That they wanted to hire me. [Laughs.] No, I’m joking. I just loved the script, and I loved the world. I loved that the magic meets history, and…it’s been really cool for that reason.

BE: Xander, you actually had some hesitations about signing onto the series at first.

XB: Well, you know, partly because I have a family, and it’s a long way away, so I was a little concerned on that front. My wife (Sarah Clarke) acts and works a lot, and there were certain projects that were pending for her, and we can’t both be away. So those were the only real concerns. The script was spellbinding from day one, and the project is awesome. I’m so glad to be part of it.

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A chat with Iko Uwais (“The Raid 2″)

Indonesian-born Iko Uwais may not be a household name yet, but he’s breaking down boundaries as quickly as his characters break bones. Action fans were blown away by his starring role as Rama in the 2011 martial arts extravaganza “The Raid: Redemption,” where he played a naïve cop fighting against a corrupt boss. In the meantime, he also paired with another martial arts icon in last year’s “Man of Tai Chi,” directed by and co-starring Keanu Reeves. This week, he returns in one of the most awaited sequels of the year (sorry, Cap) in “The Raid 2,” written and directed by his good friend, Gareth Evans. He recently sat down to discuss working with Reeves, his relationship with Evans, as well as bringing appreciation of his martial art form, pencak silat, to audiences around the globe.

BULLZ-EYE: How did you go about improving as an actor from your time in the original “Raid”?

IKO UWAIS: I learned a lot, especially from Gareth, because he knows the characters and the role. I took it into my heart, integrated everything and I played along. It happened naturally after that.

BULLZ-EYE: How does the Indonesian martial arts differ from other styles?

IKO UWAIS The basic moves are the same. The difference is that there are many types of pencak silat, Indonesian martial arts in Indonesia. From pencak silat alone, there are many different schools. Thousands of schools. In choreographing for this movie, I combined some moves from different schools.

BULLZ-EYE: How was it working with Keanu Reeves in last year’s “Man of Tai Chi?”

IKO UWAIS: I can’t explain, because I was really happy. I was happy to work with him. He was very wise. He was very friendly and he also directed the movie. He always told me what he wanted. Usually, there’s a relationship between the director and the actors. He approached the actors.

BULLZ-EYE: The fighting in the film is as breathtaking as it is violent. Does pencak silat also stress a spiritual side as well?

IKO UWAIS: Yes, absolutely. In pencak silat, especially, the spiritual aspect is very dominant.

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The Light from the TV Shows: A Chat with Adam F. Goldberg (‘The Goldbergs’)

If you grew up the ’80s and haven’t watched ABC’s The Goldbergs, then you’re missing out on one of the funniest new comedies of the season…and if you didn’t grow up in the ’80s, you’re still missing out on one of the funniest new comedies of the season, because most of the stories are about growing up and dealing with your family, two things which are absolutely not decade-specific. Tonight’s episode is definitely going to be a treat for those folks in the former category, though, because it’s basically one big homage to The Goonies. I had a chance to chat with the show’s creator, Adam J. Goldberg, who’s basically taken his own life and turned it into a sitcom, and there’s little question that this episode is a career milestone for him. Having now seen it, I’d agree…although I hadn’t seen it when I originally hopped on the phone to talk to him.

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Bullz-Eye: While I got a link to watch the Goonies episode of The Goldbergs, I didn’t get it in time to watch it, due to another deadline I was rushing to meet. But I’m rationalizing that, since the piece is going to be written for people who won’t have seen it either, I’m still on solid ground.

Adam F. Goldberg: [Laughs.] Right, exactly! And it’s technically not even finished, anyway, because I’m still editing it! I’m just so nervous about this one. ABC loved it and wanted to send it out, but I was, like, “I don’t know…” It’s the one that… There’s just a lot of writers on my staff who, like, don’t know the movie. I showed it to them as an adult, and they were just, like, “What is this?” So when they watched it, they were just baffled. So I’m hoping that people who’ve seen the movie will be reviewing it, at least…

BE: When you’re doing a show about the ‘80s, you’ve got the opportunity to pay tribute to basically anything you experienced when you were growing up. Was The Goonies always in the back of your mind as something you wanted to do?

AG: Yes. From the minute I sold the show, and I think even… [Hesitates.] I don’t remember if it was in my original pitch document, because I didn’t want to alienate anybody with something that could potentially be so insane to do. But I’m a collector of the props. You know, I have an original doubloon, and fans have made replicas that I have of the various copper bones and all this stuff. I’ve seen the movie a billion times. I mean, honestly, it’s the movie that… It’s the reason I’m a writer. I know that when Peter Jackson made King Kong, that was his movie as a kid, and this is mine. So if I’m doing a show about the ‘80s, of course I’m going to pay tribute to it. And there’s a character that’s me, and since it was such a big part of my life growing up…

My siblings just tortured me about it being the dumbest movie ever, ‘cause they were teenagers. They didn’t get it, so they always made fun of me for watching it and called the movie stupid to torture me. So that’s how the episode began. And, you know, I even did something on my last show, Breaking In, which was that Goonies 2 was coming out, and they had a mission to protect the movie. So it’s always something. I pitched the musical to Richard Donner. I went in initially to pitch him Goonies 2, which he quickly said he wasn’t that into. [Laughs.] So I flipped over to the musical. So it’s, like, my dream job. I keep revisiting it in different ways. It’s my thing. My jam.

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