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MITNG speaks with actor Damion Poitier about life and becoming Thanos

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jLamarWhere are you from? Age? Religious affiliation? Who are you signed with?

DamionPoitier_tag_altI was born in Philadelphia spent my early childhood there then moved to Massachusetts (I choose not to reveal my age publicly) I am a Universalists (I believe all faiths are valid and you must choose the path to the creator that works for you… even if that is No path at all). I am represented by IDEAL Talent, Ryan Hayden

jLamarWhen and where, did your love affair with film, television and stunts begin? What were some of your early gigs, that lit the fire?

DamionPoitier_tag_altI was four when I saw a man that looked Just like my Grandfather on television and I asked my mother what he was doing. She explained that he was an Actor and I caught the bug immediately. I have Loved fantastical stories in all mediums as long as I can remember. Being able to see them enacted Live and realizing I could be a part of that was a Huge motivational force in my life. I began performing one man shows as early as second grade, but my first professional gig (I believe) was performing as a scare actor at Spooky World. My First on film gig was as a Stunt Performer on the Short lived television series Sheena Queen of the Jungle.

jLamarWhose been the biggest influence on your life creatively?

DamionPoitier_tag_altThere have been so many Influences on my life creatively it would be hard to pinpoint just one. Certainly Sidney Poitier, George Lucas, Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, Ralph Bakshi, R.A.Salvatore, Larry Elmore… This could go on for a while lol

jLamarYou’ve played a lot of roles, are there some you enjoy better than others and why?

DamionPoitier_tag_altThere are so many ways and parts to delivering a story Just being a part of the process is always thrilling. When it comes to roles I definitely enjoy playing Superlative Characters be they Protagonists or Antagonists. Heavy costuming (Prosthesis etc.) allows for a Physical difference in Viewpoint that I feel adds to finding a character. I do not favor Stereotypical characters (That I qualify for) as I believe it is too often the only portrayals I (and actors similar to myself) am (are) considered for and not reflective of my life experience or that of many of my peers.

jLamarYou worked on the indie science fiction thriller Hunter Prey directed by Sandy Collora of “Batman:Dead End” fame. Could you tell us a little about that and how hard or easy, it was being in full latex in the desert?

DamionPoitier_tag_altHunter Prey is one of those amazing experiences I am immensely happy I participated but really feel no need to be involved in the like again. It was a tough 407817_10151301988439455_1202469952_nshoot (shoestring budget, Small crew, ambitious schedule and production goals). Learned many of the Trials and Tribulations of independent genre film making (lessons that have both helped and hindered my current efforts). I formed a few lifelong friendships and also learned more about some friends than I need to know lol. Fortunately we shot early in the morning and or late afternoon so I was rarely attempting to perform in the heat of the day. On the days I was in the Prosthesis it was easily a 12-16 hour day and the makeup was designed with no nose holes so it was… not easy. Add a full suit of fiberglass armor to it and you have a Hell of an easy time finding the motivation to play a battered solider seeking to end a conflict as succinctly as possible.

jLamarHas being a double threat benefited you in Hollywood?

DamionPoitier_tag_altYes and No, There is a large benefit to fitting in a pre-established category in this business. We have all heard the phrase “Give me the same but different.” and it is not difficult to see the influence it has on the majority of the entertainment options we are offered these days (though I dare say there are more diverse options happening more frequently as the amount of available content continues to increase). When you buck those classifications it becomes a little more tricky to establish yourself, especially if you have a specific manner in which you wish to be seen.

jLamarThings are changing in Hollywood with regards to putting more people of color in lead roles on television. Shows like Almost Human, Sleepy Hollow and Scandal, all see people of color in lead roles and playing people of importance. Do you feel as though a shift is occurring?

DamionPoitier_tag_altMost definitely and a welcome one it is. I feel we can only benefit from having our entertainment better reflect the diversity of the world we see outside our doors.

jLamarZoe Bell is an example of a stunt actor whose done really well for herself. But she seems different than regular actors. More humble? More grounded? Is it because she’s had to do the dirty work for so long?
DamionPoitier_tag_altI think there is an aspect of devoted Martial Arts Study that can have a very grounding effect upon a performer. There is something about having a solid grasp of your capabilities and a willingness to push your limits, that can give you a different perspective on being in this business.

jLamarYou had the awesome opportunity to play Thanos through mo-capture, who appears at the end of The Avengers. Could you tell us about that process? I mean how does one go about becoming the face of one of Marvels most infamous villains and are you returning?

DamionPoitier_tag_altIt was actually Prosthesis and a costume with the Armor and Make up. Designed and constructed by Jose Fernandez and Ironhead Studios then Masterfully applied by Thom Floutz, with some digital augmentation. There were a few Make Up and Costuming sessions (Including the first one where I found out what role I was actually playing MIND=BLOWN) and a single shoot day for the sequence at the end of Avengers. I have been a Comic reader since I can remember ( I began hard core collecting when I was 9) and was Very familiar with the character. That being said it wasn’t too difficult to place my hand down, stand up, turn around and Smile “in Character”. Marvel would be the place to ask any and all questions about any future I may have in Purple…

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jLamarCan you tell us about any close calls you’ve had while on set?

DamionPoitier_tag_altI have been extremely fortunate in my career. Aside from a few minor instances (and resultant injuries) I haven’t really had any “close calls” of note.

jLamarCould you give us a run down of the type of training you’ve received?

DamionPoitier_tag_altAs a child I actively pursued Theater all throughout grade school and during the summers I attended the Charles River Creative Arts Program then the associated International Arts Program in Massachusetts. I am currently developing and refining at PlayHouse West in North Hollywood. My physical training includes primarily Tae Kwon Do, a smattering of other Martial Arts styles. Some gymnastics and a passing familiarity with other acrobatic movements. I was taught ground pounding and introduced to the amazing world of Stunt work in Florida by Glenn Wilder, Phi-Long Nguyen, Dave Kramer, Tyrone Wiggins, Micheal Li, James Sang Lee, and Jeff Pruitt (and that was Before I moved to Los Angeles).

jLamarAre there projects you are working on that you can talk about?

DamionPoitier_tag_alt I am Currently working on PayDay The Web Series, and PayDay 2 the video game. I did several voices on The Lost Planet 3 Game. I play Mr. Bennett in Agent 88 which was the highest earning Web pilot to be funded on Kickstarter I can be seen on Real Husbands of Hollywood season 2 (I believe I have at least one episode that has yet to air)as David Ty’Various Perrious the third. I show up in The upcoming Sitcom Surviving Jack (Starring Chris Meloni). That’s all I can think of that I can talk about…

jLamarYou frequent the San Diego Comic Con can fans expect to see you there next year?

DamionPoitier_tag_altWhy yes… I’m sure they can ;)

jLamarSidney Poitier…any relation?

DamionPoitier_tag_altWe are still trying to figure out the specifics but our Ancestors definitely hail from the same Island…

jLamarWhat do you enjoy doing when your not working?

DamionPoitier_tag_altSpending time with the Family. Physical training. Researching the background for one of the Many various projects I am working at. Working at said projects. Consuming as much Genre as I can find time for.

jLamarWhat’s the best bit of advice an actor has given you on a set?

DamionPoitier_tag_altTake your time until directed otherwise. Be in the moment. Do the Work. Walk away.

jLamarCan I borrow ten bucks?

DamionPoitier_tag_altNot much into “lending” these days but if you are in that much of a spot I could probably spare it ;)

 

It’s always a pleasure catching up with old friends. MITNG would like to take this time out to thank Damion for chatting with us. As always if you’d like to know more about Damion and his many endeavors feel free to click the links below. Thanks and have a wonderful weekend!

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Links to Damion Poitier

An open letter to J.J. Abrams about making Star Wars VII

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There’s nothing coming out of the London based Star Wars camp, as of late, that has me even remotely interested in how this will all turn out. No one really knows how or what, J.J. Abrams, will do with this beloved franchise. All we have to go on are his previous films, which aren’t bad, but they weren’t all that great either. This humorous open letter to the God of lens-flares, is the work of Prescott Harvey an employee at Sincerely Truman, a marketing company in Portland Oregon.

The short video talks about what every Star Wars fan has gone over and over in his or her head since the prequels “What made Star Wars great?”. I am posting this video because, for the most part, I totally agree with the films critiques. My only question is why didn’t someone do a video like this for George Lucas before he embarked upon raping our childhood with rusty tools?

Was it because we thought the film was in good hands, even though the introduction of the Ewok‘s foreshadowed the apocalypse? We should’ve been equally as hard on George, but we trusted him through three prequels, each time hoping it would eventually get better and it didn’t.

So now, in the year of our Lord 2013, we’ve decided to say something, well…for the sake of those that made this video and fans like me, I hope it gets heard. I especially hope J.J. Abrams pays particular attention to the part in the video about the mystery of the Jedi (an idea I proposed in a previous article on MITNG).

It’s important to keep in mind, for  those of us who grew up on A New Hope, The Empire… and Return.., that at the end of the day, it’s about money and no one has ever crossed the mouse and lived to talk about it.

J.J. Abrams, I give you all the respect in the world for taking on something like this. God Speed…you fool.

Dark Horse’s THE STAR WARS #1 brings to life George Lucas’s first draft

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The premise of George Lucas’sThe Star Wars“, written by J.W Rinzler and illustrated by Mike Mayhew, pretty much follows what we now know as Star Wars, but with a little something different…no force, or at least not in this first issue of the Dark Horse Comic’s release. The “Force”, however, is mentioned in a tongue and cheeky way, take for instance Princess Leia, whom in TSW, is on her way to study abroad on another planet, is told by her father (King Kayos) before she leaves “May the force of others be with you”. This isn’t nitpicking, just interesting.

In this precursor, a man/Jedi by the name Kane Starkiller along with his two sons, Annikan and Deak, have been hiding from the Empire on a distant planet when trouble arrives in the form a Sith (basically the Empires hired guns set upon the remaining Jedi). Kane’s youngest is lost in the scrimmage with the Sith which forces Kane to leave the planet to save his remaining son Annikan. His journey leads him back to his home planet Aquilea.

Meanwhile the Empire is growing in power and guess who’s their leader…Darth Vader. But not the masked Sith you and I have grown to love, but a hulking Ray Fiennes in Schindler’s List on steroids, looking cat. The Empire is nothing like the Nazi inspired group we saw in Star Wars, but more like a republic and less dictator-ish. Course we do get a glimpse of Storm Troopers, but this issue gives us no clue as to whether they are Mandalorian clones. It’s in a particular scene, where the Empire is addressing a crowd of people, that we meet Whitsun, a smuggler, for the first time. Whitesun is figuratively Luke in The New Hope, at least for a few pages…why? Cause in this scene the Empire has grounded all ships as part of their new agenda, all but those reckless pirate vessels that are his only means off the planet. Do the math.

Midway into the comic book we meet our hero, General Luke Skywalker (The Legend), who looks like a heroic cartoon version of George Lucas, I don’t know whether that was on purpose, but it’s definitely obvious. He, as well as other remaining Jedi, live on Aquilea with King Kayos his daughter Leia and wife.

I don’t want to give away everything, but what I’m gathering is that The Star Wars was clearly a more serious story than Star Wars. No Jawas, no Sand People, no crazy cantina scene, just pure politics and hint’s towards this mystical power. The force, in TSW, plays out more like Han Solo‘s “I Know” in Empire, just before being frozen in carbonite. It’s there, but it isn’t, at the same time. I must say, I kinda like it…it’s refreshing in a way that lends itself well to the underground mysticism, that pervaded The New Hope. It wasn’t until everybody and their brother had the force that things just got cheap and kitschy. Although I know it won’t happen, someone need to take this project under their wing and shoot it. Sure it might confuse the fuck out of you at first, but for those of us who can see beyond the Hollywood gloss, it’s worth a shot. The franchise couldn’t get any worse.

Has the Jedi mysticism in Star Wars been lost over the years

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The years have not been kind to the Jedi, a once benevolent group of mystics who occasionally had to do battle with the forces of evil to create balance in the universe. Remember when Star Wars was just about Luke Skywalker, Obi Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Darth Vader? It’s been a very long time since I’ve been able to say those names and actually feel that same level of honor, one might feel, being inducted into a secret society.

This was another one of my random thoughts, I had while slinging hash at my job and thought “hey…maybe there’s others out there who feel the same way”…so I decided to expound on it.

Call me crazy, but when you watch Star Wars: A New Hope, didn’t you get the sense that the Jedi’s were still a bit aloof, even when they were accepted by the Republic. They still seemed nomadic in their ways and very hard to understand at times and like searching for a new Dalai Lama, a Jedi seemed to me to be very…very hard to come by even before the slaughter, but not anymore.

How many Jedi’s does this Star Wars really need?

For me, the answers simple, but for those hellbent on making JEDI-star-wars-jedi-23833947-1024-768money off this franchise, the answers “there can never be too many”. Now with the Star Wars :The Old Republic MMORPG, everyone and their uncle can be a  Jedi, as if in Ben’s time, they were just handing out lightsaber’s  like government cheese.

Perhaps it’s because I haven’t read any of the spin off novels and comic books, except Timothy Zahn’s “Heir To The Empire”, but hasn’t this always been about the movies and not the books?

Sure, I too envision a world of yet unheard of Jedi, all with new and fascinating force skills, and belonging to interesting new races, but one must draw a line between recklessness and tangibility…yes, even in fantasy, this is what makes fantasy great. Isn’t it?

I didn’t need to see the Jedi Council in “The Phantom Menace”. Why couldn’t it have been just another level of the myth, one that we all subscribed to, but didn’t literally have to see? I mean can anyone, outside of the hardcore, name the members of the council or the race they belonged too? I know I can’t.

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This wasn’t the only thing that bothered me, assuming the Jedi were the Templar’s of their time, there was nothing to suggest a monk lifestyle other than the robes they wore, which brings me back to Ben, in the first film. He was unlike any of the so-called Jedi we saw in Episodes I, II and III. He was like the “Oracle” in The Matrix. Simple, careful, always aware of his emotions and above all…humble. Certainly not the order we saw in the prequels with their spacious penthouse view of Coruscant. There’s nothing about the Jedi’s in the new movies that says ancient or mystic. In that way, I could see why something like the Sith would want to destroy them, but I highly doubt George was thinking about this when he embarked upon creating that reheated piece of fodder known as ‘the prequels”. He was just going for flash, forgoing any of the mysticism we became fond of in “A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back” and replacing it with smoke and mirrors. Now everyone has the force, Leia, Han Solo, their kids and all the while, the ones who’ve remained more benevolent, clandestine, and shrouded in secrecy is the Sith.

I will even go as far as saying that “the “Sith” is the last bit of true Star Wars left, ironically enough”.

They are the one’s Hollywood unknowingly have made an “anomaly” in all this mess. We got bit’s and pieces of who they are in every film, but no visit to their planet or meeting with the council or glimpses into what it takes to become one. Again, if you’ve read any of the Dark Horse comics you already know a lot about the Sith, but for the majority of moviegoers, there’s nothing. This is the model the Jedi’s/George Lucas, should’ve followed before he decided to blanket the screen with so many meaningless characters and colorful light sabers. This over saturation made the loss of their kind even more unceremonious than it already was. Not only were thousands of Jedi slain, we only knew the names of only a handful of them.

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What’s real important to understand is that when George Lucas wrote A New Hope, back in the seventies he, as a film student, was deeply into Akira Kurosawa films like “Rashomon”, “Seven Samurai” and “Ran”. He peppered “A New Hope” with all sorts of Japanese inspired aesthetics like Luke and Ben’s Hakama garb and even replaced Samurai katanas with light sabers. The colors white and black, used in the Tao symbol for balance, are also represented throughout the film, demonstrating duality and then there’s Yoda, who was essentially a small green version of Pat Morita from The Karate Kid. Course there’s the blatant Nazi symbolism embraced by the Empire, but I  want to get into that.

What I’m saying is it took Luke Skywalker three films to become a full fledged Jedi. He had to learn how to control his emotions and discipline himself, a fact that was done away with with the introduction of Medichlorian’s in the prequels. The images of Luke doing the handstand in the swamps with Yoda and him taking the shots from his impromptu blast-shield training on the Falcon, are still etched in my mind. Now, no longer is this rigorous training necessary when your born with this ability. Really? Could they have made the Jedi anymore elitists?

Look, for every short coming the Star Wars franchise has faced in the last decade, there are a million more yet to come, but can we at least agree that the franchise has lost that bit (I use that term lightly) of magic that made the original great? No artist, I know, has ever finished a song, painting or script without stepping back several times to look at what he or she has done and asking themselves “It this still me?”, “Is this still inspired?” These are questions, I’m afraid, George never asked himself, instead, as if he had no idea what he’d created two decades ago, he proceeded to go more west with the storyline than east, like he originally intended.

I won’t even ask you if whether approaching Star Wars from A New Hope point of view, is even worth it anymore, but it would be nice if the reigning science fiction/fantasy mutilator J.J. Abrams, would take this into consideration as he begins work on Star Wars Episode VII, but given his track record with Star Trek, I ‘d say don’t count on it and with that I leave you with the immortal words of C3PO…”We’re doomed.”

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Disney announces they will release a Star Wars film every summer starting in 2015

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This is crazy Go NUTS! Disney announced today at Cinema Con- The National convention for theater owners in Las Vegas, that starting in 2015 they will release a Star Wars film every summer.

According to Collider.com

The studio will alternate every other year with an “Episode” film and a standalone film.

I really can’t speculate as to what films or character arcs they plan to focus on, but this news is huge, especially for us that are heavily into the Timothy Zahn stories.  We may get to see Heir To The Empire. As reported by Collider.com earlier this year…

plot details on the new trilogy are mum, Disney confirmed that it was developing standalone Star Wars films back in February.  Though the studio has yet to reveal which characters those films would focus on, previous reports claim that films focusing on Yoda, Boba Fett, and a young Han Solo are in the works.

So while Star Wars Episode VII directed by J.J. Abrams is in the works, rest assured they are also working on these side stories and scouting for potential actors to play the parts. In addition to this news we’ve also learned that the writers for Star Wars VII Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back) and Simon Kinberg (X-Men: First Class) are slated to begin work on the stand alone films as well. From a franchising stand point it don’t get any better than news like this. No more searching for your obscure characters on Ebay, no sir…with this many films, your unsung heroes may get to see the light of day.

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By the way author, Timothy Zahn (Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising) will be in attendance at this years Phoenix Comic Con which runs May 23-26 2013 and yes, you can believe MITNG will be talking to him to get the scoop on these latest developments.

 

Dark Horse set to release George Lucas’s original-draft screenplay for The Star Wars to be adapted by J. W. Rinzler and Mike Mayhew!

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The details regarding this latest adaptation are still rolling in, but the announcement was made at Wondercon that Lucas is allowing Dark Horse Comic’s to adapt his original screenplay The Star Wars, into a comic book series with J.W Rinzler adapting and Mike Mayhew (The Avenger’s) set to pencil. This is a story, mind you, that apparently had Han Solo originally set to be a 6 foot tall lizard and Luke as an older Jedi General. Read on.

From the Dark Horse Press release

Three years before his 1977 film, George Lucas put down on paper his first story set in a galaxy far, far away—a tale of fantastic adventures, daring escapes, “lazer swords,” romance, and monsters. A story of Jedi Annikin Starkiller and General Luke Skywalker, an alien named Han Solo, and evil Sith Knights. The screenplay was titled The Star Wars!

“I’m not sure where I first read about The Star Wars—it was years and years ago—but the idea of Luke Skywalker being an older Jedi General, and Han Solo being a six-foot-tall lizard, turned my Star Wars fan brain on its side,” said longtime Star Wars editor Randy Stradley. “I always assumed this would be one of those stories that would be ‘lost to history,’ so getting to work on bringing it to life is kinda like a dream come true.”

“While researching in the Lucasfilm Archives I’ve found many treasures—but one which truly astounded me was George’s rough draft for The Star Wars. His first complete imaginings were hallucinating to read—mind blowing,” said writer J.W. Rinzler. “While working with George on another book project, I once asked if we could adapt his rough draft. He was hesitant. Years later, with Dark Horse’s invaluable help, we showed him a few drawn and colored pages of what it might look like. He gave us the okay.”

Originally conceived in 1974, The Star Wars has been the subject of rumor and legend in the fan community throughout the history of the galaxy far, far away. Now, Lucas has seen fit to grant Dark Horse the right to adapt this fabled story into an eight-issue comic series launching in September!

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Disney confirms there will be standalone Star Wars films

What if Indiana Jones had his own Saturday morning cartoon.

SECOND TRAILER FOR RIDLEY SCOTT”S “PROMETHEUS” CONTINUES TO BLOW MINDS


Good lord. When Ridley decided to return to science fiction I remember thinking that he was going to go all old school and keep a lot of the feel of the first (meaning not so much cgi), but seeing this new trailer I realize he’s doing the opposite. Listen, what I’m saying is he’s managed to place his mindset in ALIEN, within the space of now. Kind of like what George Lucas attempted to with “Phantom Menace“, only Ridley is seemingly displaying an amazing amount of control over the imagery. Not veering to far outside of the look and feel of the first film. This gives me hope. That level of loneliness he brought us in “ALIEN” pours out of this latest trailer, cause lets be honest isn’t loneliness what the first film was all about? Remember the tag line “In space no one can hear you scream”. Enjoy the new trailer for Prometheus starring Charlize Theron (Monster), Michael Fassebender(X-Men: First Class),Noomie Repace (Sherlock Holmes:Game Of Shadows), Idris Elba(THOR) and Guy Pearce (Momento) I’m sweating as I type these names by the way.

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