The Light from the TV Shows: A Chat with James Brolin (‘Christmas with Tucker’)
James Brolin has been a star of TV and film since the ’60s, rarely disappearing from either for very long before popping back up somewhere or other, and tonight at 9 PM he can be found starring in “Christmas with Tucker,” the debut original movie from the Hallmark Movie Channel (which, just in case you aren’t aware, is a separate entity from the Hallmark Channel), playing a gruff but loveable grandfatherly type fella who gets to have a lot of scenes with a very cute dog. I was fortunate enough to chat with Brolin for a bit when he attended this summer’s Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills, and – as you’ll read below – I was even more fortunate to be able to continue the conversation a bit later.
Bullz-Eye: So you’re in a dog movie, but are you a dog guy by nature?
James Brolin: Yeah, but guess what? I don’t have a dog right now. But I’m kind of shopping! The thing is, I’m not sure where I’m going to be next, and I kind of hate to go off and leave a dog once I have it. I’ve found that didn’t work well in the past. But I got my wife a dog. And the dog is… I can’t believe she’s had it 10 years now. And it sleeps right here. [Points to his head.] It likes the top of the couch or the head pillow. So usually, if you roll over it or around it, it gets out of your way and just goes down to the other end. Anyway, I’ve been moved to the back seat of the car now. [Laughs.] Those two run things.
BE: Yeah, we just got a dog a few months ago, so I know what you mean.
JB: Oh, yeah. If it ain’t a baby, it’s a dog. [Laughs.]
BE: How was this dog, Tucker, to work with?
JB: Fine! Really good natured. He would do all the things, and then when you’d go to shoot, sometimes the dog would have a little brain fade or confusion, but it’s not unusual. You just keep going. You have the trainer keep going, you run the camera, and now with digital, you can just turn the camera on and let it run for two hours, and then you go in there, wade through it, and pick out just what you need. But that’s Filmmaking 101, in a way. If you have time for that, you do that. And if you’re doing a dog picture, you make time. And the kids… Anyone youthful who was involved was just right on. Gage (Munroe) is just like a honed pro, so that wasn’t an issue. Kids weren’t an issue. But animals are always an issue, and you just need to schedule the time to shoot and shoot and shoot a little bit.
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Posted in: Entertainment, Interviews, Movies, News, Television
Tags: 24, Ali McGraw, Armyan Bernstein, Bad Girl Island, Barbra Streisand, Bob Evans, Breaking Bad, Castle, Christmas with Tucker, Community, Dallas Buyers Club, Debbie Reynolds, Dexter, Elsa and Fred, Fantastic Voyage, Farrah Fawcett, Frank Sinatra, Frogs, Gable and Lombard, Goodbye Charlie, Hallmark Movie Channel, Homeland, Hostages, Hotel, Idiot's Delight, Jacqueline Bissett, James Brolin, John Goldfarb Please Come Home, Josh Brolin, Lies & Alibis, Marcus Welby M.D., Marlon Brando, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Matthew McConaughey, Morituri, Netflix, Pamela Hensley, Paul Reubens, Pee Wee Herman, Pee-wee's Big Adventure, Pensacola: Wings of Gold, Philomena, Revenge, Robert Surtees, Robert Young, Roy Thinnes, Sam Elliott, Shirley MacLaine, Sidney Furie, Skyjacked, Steve Coogan, Steve McQueen, Steve Solomos, That's Entertainment!, The Ambush Murders, The Burning Bed, The Cape Town Affair, The Equalizer, The Ipcress File, The Light from the TV Shows, The Young Riders, Tony Curtis, Von Ryan's Express, Walter Matthau, Westworld, Will Harris
A Chat with John Landis (“¡Three Amigos!”)
There’s no point in writing an intro for our conversation with John Landis when we’ve already given a perfectly serviceable synopsis of the man’s life and times on his page within Bullz-Eye’s Directors Hall of Fame – which you can find right here – but we will say that we’ve been looking forward to chatting with Landis for quite some time. Although his publicist regretfully informed us that he didn’t have time to talk when we were pulling together the Hall of Fame, we’d kept our fingers crossed that we’d get an opportunity to talk to him one of these days, and at last that time has come, courtesy of the Blu-ray release of “¡Three Amigos!,” which hits shelves on Nov. 22nd.
Bullz-Eye: First of all, in case you haven’t heard, I should let you know that we put you into our Director’s Hall of Fame last year.
John Landis: Oh, thank you very much!
BE: Our pleasure. After all, we’re a guy-centric site, and it would be fair to say that you’ve made a few movies that have been appreciated by many a man over the years…including, of course, “¡Three Amigos!”
JL: [Laughs.] So did you get a chance to watch the Blu-ray, then?
BE: I did. It looks fantastic.
JL: Yeah, I was able to restore it to the way it’s supposed to be seen. I’m very pleased with the way it looks.
BE: I was actually going to ask you about that process. I presume there’s at least a little bit of difference when it comes to restoring a comedy for Blu-ray versus, say, a full-on special effects extravaganza.
JL: Actually, no. [Laughs.] That would be an untrue presumption. I mean, every picture’s individual, and it depends on the look you were going for with that particular movie. When they made the Blu-ray for “Animal House,” I was upset. I thought they made it much too bright and clean. “Animal House” is supposed to look dirty and funky. [Laughs.] I remember the technician, when I had to check it, he kept writing on his chart, “Image degraded per director.” But every movie you make, you try – or at least I do, anyway – for a different kind of look. On “¡Three Amigos!” I was really trying to go for those beautiful westerns that Hollywood used to make in the ‘50s. The Technicolor pictures. We wanted the colors to be incredibly vibrant. You know, the old DVD wasn’t even the correct aspect ratio. So I’m happy that I got the chance to restore it.
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Tags: 1941, A Town Called Hell, Alfonso Arau, An American Werewolf in London, Animal House, Antony Jay, Artie Ziff, Bing Crosby, Blues Brothers 2000, Bob Hope, Captain Kangaroo, Carl Gottlieb, Chevy Chase, Clue, Coming to America, Dusty Bottoms, Elmer Bernstein, Empire Magazine, Fat Tony, Freddy's Nightmare, Henry Fonda, Into the Night, It's A Wonderful Life, Jack Webb, Jenny McCarthy, Joe Mantegna, John Belushi, John Landis, Jon Lovitz, Jonathan Lynn, Josh Mostel, Little Richard, Lorne Michaels, Martin Short, Meat Loaf, Michael Eisner, Michael Jackson, New Line, Once Upon a Time in the West, Paul Mazursky, Phil Hartman, Police Academy 3, Randy Newman, Rick Baker, Robert Shaw, Robert Young, Roy Rogers, Sam Kinison, Saturday Night Live, Sergio Leone, Spies Like Us, Splitsider, Steve Martin, The Groundlings, The King's Speech, The Magnificent Seven, The Simpsons, The Singing Bush, The Stupids, Three Amigos, Thriller, Tom Arnold, Tom Stoppard, Tony Plana, Trading Places, Transformers 3, Troy McClure, Walt Disney, would you say I have a plethora of pinatas, Yes Minister