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Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan in RAY DONOVAN (Season 6, Episode 11, "Never Gonna Give You Up"). - Photo Credit: Mark Schafer/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: RAYDONOVAN_611_2359.R.JPG Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan in RAY DONOVAN (Season 6, Episode 11, "Never Gonna Give You Up"). - Photo Credit: Mark Schafer/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: RAYDONOVAN_611_2359.R.JPG

Ray Donovan

Ray Donovan cast members’ upcoming films, TV shows in 2019

Photo Credit: Mark Schafer/SHOWTIME

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The icy frost between seasons of Ray Donovan is breathing through the window sill, no better comfort than the cast’s outside projects to warm the soul.

A pendulum swings ever so leisurely inside of its grandfather clock, remembering times successors forgot. “I was there. Don’t tell me I wasn’t there,” Mickey recalls along with the show’s veteran fanbase, practically family. Honorary Donovans gathering around the tube sans their customary Sunday staple, the chilly lull of a conversation piece in the air. Living on reruns, delving into the past, scrutinizing every moment until Ray Donovan’s seventh season commences.

Yet, opening night of lucky number #7 is miles away, frozen in place. Melting one minute at a time till its premiere, barely taken out of the fridge. Production on Ray Donovan season 7 doesn’t begin until the foliage of springtime in New York but the craft of acting is water not a solid. Forever, adapting to circumstance. During the time of winter separation, the show’s cast have been hard at work on new film and television projects for you to watch.

* The following list will be actively updated as new information becomes available. Only cast members who have appeared in season 6 (flashback cameos included) and have outside projects are featured in this piece. Ray Donovan cast alumni from seasons prior will have their own article in the future.

– February 2019 –

Alyssa Diaz

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The Rookie as Angela Lopez

Alyssa Diaz’s Teresa just finished placing her wrestling boot on Bunchy’s heart for the 1-2-3 pin on Showtime but on ABC there’s another life. One where Diaz plays Training Officer Angela Lopez on ABC’s The Rookie.

The series recently had 7 additional episodes ordered by ABC following strong ratings according to Deadline. It can be surmised then that Diaz will likely maintain the role for a while in-between seasons of Ray Donovan. You can catch Diaz on The Rookie’s latest episode “Caught Stealing” (season 1, episode 12) this Wednesday, February 5 on ABC at 10 p.m. ET.

The episode will be available online through ABC’s official live stream. Prior episodes of The Rookie’s first season are available for viewing at this ABC link. The show originally premiered its aptly titled “Pilot” episode back on October 16, 2018.

Katherine Moennig

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grown-ish as Professor Paige Hewson

Lena, fresh off her eye for an eye revenge against ‘fixer’ Vinny, is already back on our airwaves as of last week. Actress Katherine Moennig has a fresh, recurring role on hit comedy grown-ish as Professor Paige Hewson.

Moennig’s CalU based Gender Studies professor officially debuted on season 2, episode 5 “Girls Like You” on January 23, 2019. You can watch the episode on Freeform. There’s a new episode uploaded every Wednesday on Freeform’s official grown-ish website. Episode 6 “Love Galore” is already uploaded at the time of this article’s publishing.

Paula Malcomson

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Deadwood film as Trixie, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as Stella Russell, Wooley Faces, character unknown

Abby Donovan’s appearances on season 6 of Ray Donovan were evanescent, living beyond the grave through the power of memory. Ray’s mementos of Abby pieced her back together, a figment of his imagination turned post traumatic jigsaw puzzle. It would certainly be to no fan’s surprise to see Abby making sporadic cameos throughout season 7, eternally part of Ray.

Actress Paula Malcomson has an immense year ahead of her, riding a wagon back to the no-law town of Deadwood. Trixie is finally returning home on HBO’s feature film reprisal of the ace television series sometime in 2019. Deadwood is currently in post-production as of December 14, 2018, no official release date yet.

No need to fret however, Malcomson will star in an upcoming episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as character Stella Russell. The episode titled, “The Flying Dutchman” (season 20, episode 14) will air on NBC at 10 p.m. ET on February 7, 2019. She previously played Susan Ross on the series in season 10, episode 8 “Retro” back in 2008. You can watch the upcoming episode online at NBC’s official live stream.

Malcomson is currently signed on to a Comedy / Drama film titled Wooley Faces along with actors Ciarán Hinds [Red Sparrow] and Michelle Fairley [Game of Thrones]. The film’s description is quite intriguing but no guarantee of a 2019 release date as of yet.

Wooley Faces Synopsis:

A mother struggles to raise three kids in Belfast in the early 1980s while her husband’s in jail.

The project which is written and directed by Pearse Elliott [The Mighty Celt], is only in the script phase.

Domenick Lombardozzi

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Cold Pursuit as Mustang, The Irishman as Anthony Salerno, Power as Benny Civiello

The ink is still dry on Mac’s exit chapter on Ray Donovan but Domenick Lombardozzi’s career is as grand as ever. The star actor portrays character Mustang in new thriller Cold Pursuit featuring the iconic Liam Neeson.

The picture is based on 2014 Norwegian film, In Order of Disappearance directed by Hans Petter Moland… Who also happens to be directing this adaption. Talk about staying true to the source material!

The feature film releases in theaters on February 8, 2019. Check out Cold Pursuit’s official website for more info, including the movie’s action-packed trailer.

Cold Pursuit Synopsis:

A snowplow driver seeks revenge against the drug dealers he thinks killed his son. Based on the 2014 Norwegian film ‘In Order of Disappearance

Lombardozzi plays Anthony Salerno in upcoming Netflix mega heavy-hitter The Irishman by legendary Director Martin Scorsese. The Irishman features Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel, and Ray Romano among its dynamite cast.

Scorsese’s latest is set for release by Netflix sometime in 2019, and is one of the streaming services most anticipated projects.

On the television side, Lombardozzi will reprise Benny Civiello (* alternative spelling: Civello) in at least two episodes (season 6, episodes 5 and 6) of STARZ hit show Power this summer. The character was first introduced in season 5 of Power, and featured in episodes 6 and 8. The show is currently filming said episodes. You’ll need a STARZ subscription to watch the show online or on cable when it airs.

Brian White

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Dear Frank as Frank, A Shot for Justice as Brandon Williams, Black Privilege as Alderman Tryone Burke, Ambitions as Evan Lancaster

Brian “Jay” White, is starring in, co-directing, and producing upcoming film Dear Frank, releasing in U.S. based theaters on February 12, 2019. The thriller also co-stars Claudia Jordan [The Hills] and Columbus Short [Scandal] among its cast with White playing the lead role of Frank. The picture’s description alludes to a high-octane styled film.

Dear Frank Synopsis:

After Frank’s wife is mysteriously poisoned, he discovers a diary with indicating all of her previous lovers who also are potential murder suspects.

White is also starring in and producing new picture A Shot for Justice, which at the time of this article’s publishing, has a tentative 2019 release date. He portrays character Brandon Williams in the film.

On the television side, White is featured in upcoming TV Movie Black Privilege as Alderman Tryone Burke and starring in an Ambitions episode (season 1, episode 2) as Evan Lancaster. You can catch the episode online on The Oprah Winfrey Network’s official live stream.

– March 2019 –

Eddie Marsan

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Feedback as Jarvis, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, character unknown, Emperor as Martin Luther

Eddie Marsan is kicking off March 1 with a starring role as Jarvis in Feedback, a Horror / Thriller film slated for release in Spain. The picture co-stars Paul Anderson [Peaky Blinders], Barcelona-born Ivana Baquero [The Shannara Chronicles], and Alana Boden [I Am Elizabeth Smart] among its cast. Feedback is directed by Pedro C. Alonso who directed two prior film shorts La teoría del espejo (2004) and Ver con los (propios) ojos (2003).

This coming August, Marsan is set to appear in Hollywood blockbuster Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw. The film which features Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson reprising his role as Luke Hobbs, currently has Marsan playing an untitled character. Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw is set for an August 2, 2019 release date.

Marsan will also be featured as Martin Luther in upcoming Adrien Brody fronted film Emperor. The description of Action / Epic picture appears to signal it will be based on history of the 16th century with some liberties.

Emperor Synopsis:

Action epic about a young girl who seeks revenge on the holy roman Emperor Charles V for the death of her father. It happens in a world of wealth, debauchery, violent retaliations, sex, manipulation and treason… it’s the 16th century revisited.

Emperor is directed by Lee Tamahori [ 007’s Die Another Day]

Sandy Martin

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Dumbo as Verna The Secretary, Medicine Men as Annie

The ever charming straight talker, Sandy Martin, is back to the silver screen this March with Disney’s live action reboot of a hand drawn classic in Dumbo. The new Ray Donovan fan favorite will portray Verna The Secretary in Dumbo, which releases in cinemas across the U.S. on March 29, 2019.

Dumbo is directed by Tim Burton and also stars Danny DeVito, Colin Farrell, Eva Green, Michael Keaton, and Michael Buffer among its highly recognizable cast.

Martin will also be featured in upcoming film Medicine Men as character Annie. The 93-minute Drama is directed by Guy Malim [Battle for Skyark] and features Liza Weil, known for her role of Paris Geller on Gilmore Girls. Medicine Men is slated for release sometime in 2019 and is currently in post-production.

– April 2019 –

Dash Mihok

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Whiskey Cavalier, character unknown, Inherit the Viper as Kyle Knox, Sleeping in Plastic as Oz Bacco

Dash Mihok will join The Walking Dead’s Lauren Cohan on ABC’s new series Whiskey Cavalier for episode “Spain, Trains and Automobiles” (season 1, episode 8) this April. The episode will likely air on Wednesday, April 10 barring ABC spacing out the episodes. The show is currently in the post-production phase and debuts on February 24, 2019 at 10 p.m. ET on ABC. You’ll be able to watch the upcoming episode featuring Mihok online at NBC’s official live stream.

Mihok is set to star on the silver screen in new Crime / Drama film Inherit the Viper as character Kyle Knox. The film co-stars two-time Oscar nominee Bruce Dern [Nebraska], Josh Hartnett [Lucky Number Slevin], The Walking Dead’s Chandler Riggs, Margarita Levieva
[The Lincoln Lawyer], Tara Buck [True Blood], and Gabriel ‘G-Rod’ Rodriguez [The First Purge] among its cast. The film is currently in its post-production phase but doesn’t have a set release date past 2019 at the moment.

According to Oklahoma Film + Music, filming recently completed on Oklahoma based movie Sleeping in Plastic which features Mihok as character Oz Bacco. The picture co-stars Tina Parker [Better Call Saul], Addison Timlin [Stand Up Guys], and Paige McGarvin [End of the World], among its cast. The movie is due out sometime in 2019.

Sleeping in Plastic Synopsis:

A Texas town awakes when a high school wrestler gets entangled with a drifter and her psychopathic lover. Lives then intertwine and spiral violently out of control once he becomes her escort driver.

The Ray Donovan star is also signed on to upcoming Dark Comedy film Deception Road, where he’ll be playing he’ll be playing Trooper Jack. The movie features Thomas Haden Church [Spider-Man 3], Alice Eve [Replicas], and Finn Wittrock [American Horror Story] among its cast.

– Spring 2019 –

Jon Voight

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Roe v. Wade as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Warren Burger, Reagan as Viktor Novikov

Jon Voight’s starring role as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Warren Burger in the upcoming Roe v. Wade movie was recently officially unveiled in a three-minute teaser. The picture was reportedly filmed in secret due to backlash fears, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The film is targeting a Spring 2019 theatrical release and co-stars Stacey Dash [Clueless TV series], Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa [Mortal Kombat], Jamie Kennedy [Son of the Mask], Nick Loeb (who also co-directed/co-wrote the film with Cathy Allyn), Robert Davi [Die Hard], Mindy Robinson (who’s co-producing), and Jessica Serfaty [Ride] among its cast list. The movie is currently in post-production.

Voight will also portray Viktor Novikov in an upcoming biopic on President Ronald Reagan titled, Reagan. Dennis Quaid is set to play President Ronald Reagan in the film and Robert David (who also worked with Voight on the above Roe v. Wade film) will star as Leonid Brezhnev.

The movie’s last updates on production were on Feb 24, 2017, when it was still pre-production. It’s rumored that the picture directed by Sean McNamara [Chesapeake Shores] will release sometime in 2019. Find out more information at the Reagan: The Movie official website.

– November 2019 –

Pooch Hall

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All the Way with You as Keith

Ray Donovan’s Daryll, Pooch Hall, will play Keith in upcoming Thriller film, All the Way with You, which is currently in the pre-production phase but already has a release date set for November 8, 2019.

The picture co-stars Martin alumni Tichina Arnold (that’s right arch-rival Pam!), Brandon T. Jackson [Tropic Thunder], and Regina King [Ray] among its cast.

All the Way with You Synopsis:

Boris meets a woman named Gloria who wants to help him kill a man who has owed him money for years but their actual assignment is to kill each other. Together they go on a expedition that is breath taking.

Strangely, no director or writer is listed as attached to the project as of yet, despite the cast and published release date. It’s likely the film is delayed into 2020 given that fact unless both are signed soon…

Alexandra Turshen

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Another Year Together as Sophie Reavis, Galaxy 26 as Sierra (unconfirmed)

Ray Donovan’s bombshell beauty, Alexandra Turshen, will be back on the silver screen this November as Sophie Reavis in Comedy / Drama film Another Year Together.

The picture which co-stars Richard Masur [The Thing], Marilyn Sokol [Crocodile Dundee II], Kiva Dawson [Turnabout], Amy Bettina [The Detour], and Robin Rose Singer [Mirage], among others releases on November 28, 2019.

Another Year Together Synopsis:

The stress of the holidays puts love to the test, as a 30-ish couple struggles to take things to the next level while “relationship hell” takes it toll on their family and friends.

Another Year Together is directed by Dan Simon [Emily Lazarus] and co-written by Simon and Patrick Davin [Shark Bite]. Simon, Davin and actress Kiva Dawson previously worked together on 2016 film, Lonely Boys. Another Year Together is currently in post-production.

Turshen is rumored to play Sierra in Sci-Fi film Galaxy 26. The upcoming picture is directed, written, and produced by Ilay Ron [2094].

– 2019 Release Dates: To Be Announced –

Liev Schreiber

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A Rainy Day in New York, character unknown, Human Capital, character unknown

Ray himself, Liev Schreiber, was billed to have a role in Woody Allen’s upcoming Comedy film A Rainy Day in New York along with a star-studded cast that includes the likes of Elle Fanning [The Neon Demon] and Jude Law [A.I. Artificial Intelligence], Selena Gomez [Spring Breakers], Suki Waterhouse [Billionaire Boys Club], Diego Luna [Rogue One: A Star Wars Story], Timothée Chalamet [Lady Bird], Rebecca Hall [The Town] among others.

Production was complete as early as October 2017 according to IndieWire, and it might not never be released. Amazon shelved the film in 2018 indefinitely. It’s unclear if the film will see the light of day in 2019… Or potentially ever.

Schreiber is starring in and producing upcoming Drama film Human Capital, and co-stars none other than Marisa Tomei [The Wrestler]. The picture owns a tentative release date of 2019 and an intriguing plot.

Human Capital Synopsis:

The lives of two different families collide when their children begin a relationship that leads to a tragic accident.

Human Capital is based on the 2004 novel of the same name by author Stephen Amidon. You can purchase a copy of the book on Amazon. Marc Meyers [Harvest] is directing the film adapting written by Oren Moverman [Love & Mercy].

Susan Sarandon

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Going Places, character unknown, Blackbird, character unknown, Butterfly in the Typewriter as Thelma Toole, Slipping Away as Dr. Sylvia Mansfield

The incomparable Sam Winslow, Susan Sarandon, will star in Going Places, a spin-off of The Big Lebowski centered on memorable bowler, Jesus Quintana. The project is written and directed by John Turturro, who has quite a few credits to his name as an actor to say the least.

Sarandon also stars in upcoming film Blackbird, a remake of 2014 Danish film, Silent Heart. Both pictures own a tentative release date of 2019 and are in their post-production phase. However, no official character name is listed publicly for Sarandon as of yet.

The Oscar-winning actress will portray Thelma Toole in upcoming Biography / Drama film, Butterfly in the Typewriter, about author John Kennedy Toole. Thelma was John’s mother, and was determined to get his novel published posthumously after he had taken his own life. John was destroyed emotionally after multiple rejections of his manuscript, time after time.

Butterfly in the Typewriter, which is directed, written, and co-produced by David DuBos [Leprechaun 3], is currently in its pre-production phase. The film might not release this year but time will tell.

Sarandon will play Dr. Sylvia Mansfield in an upcoming film-short Thriller titled, Slipping Away. The project written by Tiffany Hodges [Dream State] and directed by Philip A. Ramos [The Kidnapping of a Fish] is currently in its pre-production phase. It’s currently unknown if the film-short will release in 2019.

Slipping Away Synopsis:

A schizophrenic man struggles with his own psychosis and his wife’s extramarital affair as the lines between his violent hallucinations and reality become increasingly blurred.

Zach Grenier

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Devs as Kenton

Mayor Ferrati, Zach Grenier, will play Kenton in upcoming TV Drama series Devs on FX. The show is created, written, and directed by Alex Garland. The same writer behind 2014’s masterful Ex Machina. Joining Grenier will be co-stars Sonoya Mizuno [Ex Machina], Nick Offerman [The Founder], Karl Glusman [The Neon Demon], Aimee Mullins [Stranger Things], Alison Pill [Scott Pilgrim vs. the World], Stephen McKinley Henderson [Lady Bird], and Jin Ha [20 Years] among its cast.

Mizuno and Offerman will be playing the lead characters, Lily and Forest, according to Deadline.

The show reportedly follows computer engineer Lily [Mizuno] investigating a secret division of her employer Amaya, which she believes is responsible for the disappearance of her boyfriend. Grenier plays Head of Security at the Amaya Corporation as Kenton while Offerman plays Amaysa’s dedicated CEO. Devs is due out sometime in 2019, airing on the FX Network. You’ll be able to catch episodes online through FX’s official live stream.

Lola Glaudini

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She’s in Portland as Ellen

Ray Donovan’s Anita Novak, Lola Glaudini, stars in Comedy / Drama film, She’s in Portland as character Ellen. The picture was due out to be released on January 1, 2019 but it doesn’t seem to have been officially released… Although the Marc Carlini [Victoria] directed movie possibly screened at local film festivals.

She’s in Portland co-stars Minka Kelly [500 Days of Summer] and François Arnaud [Blindspot] among its cast.

While its release date remains unclear, the film should be widely available soon. Information should become available on the official She’s in Portland website, where the teaser is currently set to private.

Chance Kelly

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Inside Fighter as Johnny ‘Bomb’ Hayes (rumored), Gutterbee, character unknown

Sam Winslow’s Ray replacement fixer, Chance Kelly, is set to write, produce, and potentially star in upcoming Drama film, Inside Fighter. He’s rumored to play the lead role of Johnny ‘Bomb’ Hayes in a tale about boxing. There is no release date for the film as of yet, only the script has been finalized.

Inside Fighter Synopsis:

Survival and redemption harnessing boxing as a metaphor for struggles and challenges life can present. A tale of love, honor and family. The day you stop fighting is the day you start dying.

Ole’ Vinny will also be featured in upcoming Comedy film, Gutterbee, which is written, directed, and co-produced by Ulrich Thomsen [Darling]. The picture co-stars Deadwood’s W. Earl Brown and Trainspotting’s Ewen Bremner among its cast. No release date on this project as of yet.

Tony Curran

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Deadwood film, character unknown

Sgt. Mikey ‘Rad’ Radulovic, will potentially encounter Abby Donovan in another on-screen life, as actor Tony Curran is set to co-star in the upcoming Deadwood film.

Curran’s official character name hasen’t been revealed yet but the Ray Donovan season 6 antagonist couldn’t be more thrilled! In fact, Curran’s so hyped to be part of the franchise, he placed “Actor #DeadwoodMovie” first on his bio over at Twitter.

Deadwood is one of television’s greatest works of art after all. Akin to receiving a role in an unexpected new chapter to Homer’s The Iliad, an absolute honor. The movie adaption of David Milch’s creation is currently in the post-production phase.

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Marc Menchaca on Alone: ‘Probably, the most physical thing I’ve ever done’ (Interview)

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Marc Menchaca talks Alone - Jules Wilcox and Marc Menchaca in ALONE, a Magnet release. Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing.
Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing

Marc Menchaca spoke to The Natural Aristocrat about portraying one of horror’s darkest, colossally twisted villains in Alone and the final, muddied fight being one of the most physically demanding things he’s ever done.

This interview contains spoilers to horror picture, Alone.

The Natural Aristocrat : Your character in Alone caught me off guard a bit because I was so used to Russ Langmore on Ozark. Russ was good natured but troubled, while The Man is pretty much entirely a monster. The sharp contrast was quite jarring. Did you have any outside inspirations for The Man?

Marc Menchaca: They both have some good in ’em! I’m sure elements of other characters were playing subconsciously but I can’t think of something specific off the top of my head. The film had a pretty quick turnaround, so I’d say my inspirations were still within the script.

There’s an intense scene in Alone where The Man is driving and ambushed from behind by Jess. What was it like shooting the scene? Was it primarily a stunt double there?

No, I did all the stunt work in this film outside of one thing. It was definitely intense and it was as fun as can be doing it! The whole film was taxing when it came to the physicality of it. Obviously, the car was controlled as well in that scene. We were able to have a good time with it and thankfully, I didn’t break Jules’ nose or anything in the process.

Jules told The Natural Aristocrat the last fight scene didn’t need any makeup applied, that it was all down in the mud for real. What was it like filming that final climatic 1 on 1 fight between Jessica and The Man?

I think it was probably the most physical thing I’ve ever done. It was raining that day… I’ve never been that muddy in my life, not even as a kid! I remember when I took my coat off at the end it was soaked, it was coated in mud. There was a layer that stripped off. My shoes weighed about 10 pounds a piece and we had these buckets with warm water that we’d place our hands in, in-between takes because it was so cold.

Jules Wilcox in ALONE, a Magnet release. Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing.

For me, the strongest scene in Alone was when The Man tries to manipulate Robert into believing Jessica is his sister and is having an ‘episode’. Essentially, discrediting Jessica’s story by anchoring it to bipolar disorder. I asked Jules about this moment as well. I was wondering your thoughts, being on the other side of this pivotal scene?

I love that part of the movie because you kind of find out that he’s (The Man) actually a good actor as well. I felt I had to be so convincing in order to get what I wanted. I had to really play that card that she’s actually just off her meds or whatever. I loved that scene in particular. It was just another obstacle to what I needed to get.

Jules Wilcox in ALONE, a Magnet release. Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing.

Why do you feel Jessica doesn’t take the gun when The Man is offering her a chance or perhaps challenging her to take it? Despite being hurt, it seemed like it was Jessica’ only chance at survival at the time.

You know, that’s a good question! I think because I know that she’s hurt… I think there was a moment in there when he was at his breaking point in that scene. The last thing that can happen for him is to be exposed. There very possibly was an element of ‘Just take me now, and I won’t have to deal with it.’

I thought there were some definite Ted Bundy vibes to The Man when his arm is in the sling and you approach Jessica’s car early in the film. Did you watch any documentary or film footage of him for the role?

No, I didn’t. I know who Ted Bundy is and I will say there was obviously an element of Ted Bundy in this. But I can’t really say I watched him in something beforehand.

You mentioned earlier that you feel there was some good in The Man like Russ Langmore on Ozark. Certainly, The Man’s double life gave him some ambiguity in his other ‘real life’ so-to-speak. He was at a loss for words when Jessica turns the tables and dials up his girlfriend. What did you think about the mysterious nature of the character?

I think it worked for the film, I don’t think we needed to know anymore about him other than what we find out in the phone call. Because then the film would become a completely different film instead of focusing on just the chase. Which is what I really like about the movie, that it just kind of boiled down to the barebones would I think it would have become a completely different film. Instead of focusing on just the chase, which is what I really liked about the movie.

It was just kind of boiled down to this barebones film. This is who this guy is, this is who this girl is, and we’re going to show you this chase that happens! I think that was one of the great things about the film, that you got a little bit of information about both of them. Even though that does inform you about who the characters are, the film doesn’t majorly focus on that part of their lives.

Marc Menchaca in ALONE, a Magnet release. Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing.

I thought the scene where you first captured Jessica and bring her to that basement was one of the most brutal scenes I’ve seen in any horror film. Everything from the one-minute-too-early 911 call to when you tell her to strip and mock her pleading with you… Jessica’s tragedy with her husband. You just get the sense there’s nothing she can do at all, no immediate escape routes. That’s difficult to accomplish properly for any horror film. How did you feel about the way that whole moment?

Jules Wilcox in ALONE, a Magnet release. Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing.

I feel what happens in the basement is you’re seeing The Man be intimate, it’s another thing for her but that was The Man’s way of intimacy. I think he finds peace in that grotesque manipulation.

Would you like to make a cameo in the last season of Ozark? A flashback maybe?

I’d love to! Put the word out!

Thanks Marc!

Thank you!

Theatrical one-sheet for ALONE, a Magnet release. Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing.

Alone Trailer and Where to watch the Film:

Be sure to follow Marc Menchaca @marcmenchaca and the film’s official account, @AloneMovie, on Twitter!

Alone can be seen now in select theaters and on Video On Demand services. Rent Alone on Amazon today!

Disclosure: TheNaturalAristocrat.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

– Be sure to read more interviews with the entertainment industry’s top talent in The Natural Aristocrat®’s Interviews section.

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Jules Willcox talks Alone, breaking her foot for real in film (Interview)

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Jules Wilcox in ALONE, a Magnet release. Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing.
Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing

Jules Willcox spoke to The Natural Aristocrat about portraying Jessica in Alone, one of 2020’s darkest psychological thrillers, and breaking her foot for real during shooting in a reversed ‘life imitates art’ moment.

This interview contains spoilers to horror picture, Alone.

Jules Willcox illuminates Alone with her portrayal of Jessica, a woman forsaken by fate. You never know when you’ll meet the wrong person that sets off internal alarm bells across your chest. When you can’t shake an icy gut feeling about an unsavory individual. What if every cloudy intuition, every ‘don’t talk to strangers’ childhood lesson you ignored ended up being true? Perhaps, no scene in Alone encompasses this better than when Jessica believes her car is being followed by the film’s unknown antagonist and dials 911. She informs the operator it’s a false alarm after the car behind her passes but it wasn’t… Jessica had just dialed a minute too early.

Thus, the audience can easily place themselves into Jessica’s shoes, their worst fears escaping the nightfall jail of their 3 AM nightmares. Forcibly shipwrecked on land via a slashed tire. Only the will to live, to survive, driving Jessica to escape her island, her captivity in an unmarked basement. After all, if you scream in a forest and nobody is around to rescue you, did you really make a sound?

Interview with Jules Willcox:

Jules Wilcox in ALONE, a Magnet release. Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing.

The Natural Aristocrat : For me, the strongest scene in Alone is post-escape when The Man claims you’re his mentally ill sister and that you’re having ‘another episode’ to a third party. Naturally, the third party (Robert) is confused & unsure who’s telling the truth. There’s so many layers to this twisted interaction. It’s a commentary about society not explicitly believing those perceived to have bipolar disorder or otherwise. As if the label disqualifies their credibility instantly. What was it like shooting that moment?

Jules Willcox: It shows how manipulative Marc’s character is… He’s playing chess, you know? I don’t even think Jessica realizes how sick of an individual he is! He really took it to another level. In a way, it also presents Jessica as an unreliable narrator of her own story.

It was a tricky scene and it showed what depths The Man was willing to go down to. He was working on a physical level and on a psychological level. It’s not only ‘Woman Against Nature’ as we find with the river scene but ‘Woman vs The Physicality of a Man’ & also on a mental level.

When Jessica takes that big plunge into the river, was that you or a stunt double?

It was both, Michelle Damis was my stunt double and she is incredible! Michelle had to do quite a bit more than she thought she was going to do because I broke my foot in the second week of filming. So, two thirds or three quarters actually of the film I’m in a walking boot which you can’t see in the final edit.

You broke your foot while filming on-set?

It happened during filming, it happened during a stunt. It was just a freak thing! I was running barefoot in a cleared path, when I was running away from The Man and getting out of the house, and we went for a couple of takes. Then they’re like, ‘Let’s do one more and then we’ll throw your shoes back on,’ you know because they wanted to see the bare feet. The stunt coordinator was amazing and he had cleared everything, and we’d walked the path several time. And that one last time… I hit a root that was sticking up out of the Earth!

Jules Wilcox in ALONE, a Magnet release. Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing.

Wow, so it was practically just like what happens in the movie?

Yeah, we had to improvise because the really bad wound that Jessica was supposed to have, was the gunshot through the shoulder. But because I broke my foot, we had to put that limp in that I naturally had. That’s when they rewrote the scene of Jessica stepping on that.

I thought the opening of Alone was captivating. The film was really able to build this foreboding sense of being stranded just like its namesake. What was your routine to get into this anxious, panicked state for each take?

We were shooting in the Pacific Northwest and it was beautiful of course and it’s wide open. I was living in Manhattan at the time so I didn’t have a ton of time to prep on the film. It happened really fast! So, I flew out to Oregon, and I’d worked with the director before on a television show. They needed an actor who could do all the grueling physical stuff and also the emotional stuff, and so he contracted me to do it. I really connected to the grief that Jessica was experiencing. We’ve all experienced grief in our life and it’s such a universal experience. She’s really running away from her grief in the beginning with her husband killing himself.

Jessica’s wanting to get a new start, she’s not wanting to talk her mom because her mom is going to want to talk about things and emotions… And she doesn’t want to deal with all that. When you’re alone, you’re confronted with the truth in your mind whether you like it or not. I think Jessica does whatever she can to try to push things away. But ultimately, having The Man show up, forces her into a very present state, where she has to be active. She has to fight.

I think I really prepared by being in nature, it’s such a beautiful place. You wake up really in the morning, 4 AM, whenever the call time wise and watch the sunrise. I’d just put myself in the circumstances of where Jessica was, having lost someone and trying to escape from that.

The scene where Jessica freaks out initially and calls 911 when she thinks she’s being followed really throws viewers into a loop. For a second when the car passes, you really think she’s okay. Then the film pulls the rug under out from viewers, before relief washes over the audience. What did you draw on outside of the script to craft that moment?

We question ourselves all the time when something really crazy happens or even just in an abnormal way. I find myself wanting to have the benefit of the doubt for the other person, probably because I’m mid-western! (laughs) Surely, they didn’t mean that! There’s a little bit of, ‘Am I blowing this out of proportion?’ There’s a little bit of her questioning herself and I can connect to that in my own mind. Can people really have such harsh, mean intentions? I’m a glass half-full person, so I hope for the best! I think in that scene there’s almost a disappoint when seeing, oh that wasn’t what I thought, maybe I am ‘blowing this out of proportion.’

Jules Wilcox in ALONE, a Magnet release. Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing.

Have you ever had such a gut instinct about person like Jessica does in the film? There was some definite Ted Bundy vibes when The Man approaches Jessica’s car with his arm in a sling and asks for assistance.

Gosh… I think probably in the early days of moving to Hollywood! (laughs) Again, being a midwestern girl, I had to be quite careful and skeptical of people’s intentions. We were actually shooting when all the Weinstein stuff was coming out, really the height of the Me Too movement. We talked about that a lot, all the gas-lighting of women and how they’ve been taken advantage of for so long. I’m from Missouri, the ‘Show Me’ state, ‘Show me who you are with your actions.’

Jules Wilcox and Marc Menchaca in ALONE, a Magnet release. Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing.

I’m curious how were you able to film that final fight scene with a broken foot? Were the scenes shot in narrative order?

We shot in order, which was crazy! I was in the Whitewater rapids with a broken foot, with a boot on. (laughs) Our stunt coordinator would help me. I was in crutches most of the time with the boot, and the stunt coordinator who’s just a massive human being, lifted me up and put me in the water. (laughs) I knew he felt bad every time he did it because it was so cold, we were shooting in November in the Pacific Northwest.

Director John Hyams filming a scene for ALONE, a Magnet release. Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing.

That last fight scene was on our last day of shooting. We had rehearsed the fight in the fight coordinator’s jiu jitsu gym. We practiced on mats several times, and between me and Michelle my stunt double, we just did it all. It’s also choreographed to be very scrappy. We’re not professional fighters, Jessica doesn’t have any training. She is just relying on pure adrenaline and at that point, so was I. We were in our costumes, I also had layers of freezing cold mud.

So that wasn’t makeup on your face, that was legit mud?

(laughs) Oh, it was legit! That was legit! When I was crawling out of the car, they were like, okay are you ready? I was like ‘Oh jeez, I’m putting my face in mud!’ My skin has never looked so good, it’s like a spa treatment. But the mud weighs a lot, once it starts caking on to your clothing, so the movement starts to get so much harder. You’re like basically caked down in clay.

You’re rolling around on the ground, the kind of stuff that Michelle, the stunt person would be doing would be like kicking with both legs because I could only kick with one leg. We really went for it! Thank God it was all on the last day because I was exhausted after! (laughs)

Why do you feel Jessica doesn’t go for the gun when The Man offers her an opportunity to even out the playing field in the forest?

I think at that point, she didn’t trust him at all. There’s a perceived opening but why is that and why? She’s going by instinct, period.

The scene where The Man takes Jessica to the basement is one of the most brutal scenes I’ve seen in a horror movie because it looks like she has zero chance. Usually horror movies leave the door open a little bit but Alone makes it clear Jessica has nowhere to go, no immediate escape routes, nothing to plead with her captor… Then The Man tells you to “remove your clothes.” Viewers are definitely going to have strong, unsettling feelings about that whole section. What was it like filming such a traumatic moment?

Yeah, she’s caught in a trap, Jessica’s a helpless animal at that point! She’s just trying to do whatever she can do… You know, she asks The Man, ‘Can I go to the bathroom?’ to buy time. You’re left wondering, how many people has this happened to?

Jules Wilcox in ALONE, a Magnet release. Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing.

A friend of mine, he’s a playwright, wrote a play about a person being held captive because he was so influenced and traumatized by those young women who were held captive in Cleveland. They were released several years later. Unfortunately, this happens, these things happen. I really had to put myself in this person’s shoes, what are you going to do? How can I manipulate in any way? Can I beg, can I plead? She does all this and there’s utter hopelessness at this point.

You understand that it’s not just brute force he’s after… He’s playing this sick mental game by leaving her there, and confronting her with her emotional trauma, as opposed to physical trauma. I truly think The Man is one of the most evil characters I’ve ever seen, just how twisted and dark he goes. And Marc Menchaca is the most lovable person on the planet!

Marc Menchaca in ALONE, a Magnet release. Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing.

I was definitely surprised because I was so used to Marc Menchaca’s character on Ozark!

I know! (laughs) He does such a great job. That monologue when I’m in the bog in the forest is just pure evil!

Did you enjoy Jessica’s final revenge on The Man, when she calls his girlfriend?

Oh yeah! I think what was so shocking is when Jessica escapes, she can hear The Man talking on the phone and his life is totally normal. He’s making a sandwich. It’s like ‘Hey Buddy, you know that normal life you think you can have? No way! That doesn’t exist anymore!” At that point she thinks ‘I’m going to die. Hopefully, someone will come to get me but if this guy is coming after me, I’m definitely going to try to kill him.

I’m going to try to survive! But odds are… I’m not going to make it. So I need somebody to get my body and get Robert’s body and let Robert’s wife what has happened to him.’ Jessica’s an ethical person, she’s not like The Man. She’s trying to escape at the beginning but she’s moved by the kindness of strangers, by Robert taking her in and helping her. Even though she’s skeptical because she’s been through so much.

At first, when Jessica gets in the car with Robert post-escape, I thought he was going to drive her right back to The Man. That Robert was in on it. Did you think that’s where the story was heading initially?

Oh God, I’m glad you think that because I thought that too when I was reading the script the first time! (laughs) ‘Oh no! He’s in on it!’

I felt The Man’s civility while on the phone with his girlfriend, preparing the sandwich was part of what made Alone work as a film. It was just so convincingly real, you’re left wondering, ‘How many people like this live double lives?’ It reminded me of the film The Strangers a lot, that film also didn’t give direct names to its antagonists, preferring Man in Mask, Dollface, Pin-Up Girl like The Man in Alone.

Yeah, it’s this alter-ego. It’s not who he is in ‘real life’ but what he does on the side ‘anonymously’. There was the documentary recently on HBO about the Golden State killer (I’ll Be Gone in the Dark) and The Man reminded me of that. That somebody could have this kind of evil double life.

I feel Alone’s grounding in reality will hit people harder because they can picture the possibility of it happening to them. No matter how low the percentage of that is… The situation is not impossible and that stays in your mind. It resonates with a person’s core fears of random strangers.

I think during this time in quarantine, when people are feeling isolated and alone the film is timely in a way. As if we’re confronting ourselves.

Thanks Jules!

Thank you!

Theatrical one-sheet for ALONE, a Magnet release. Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing.

Alone Trailer and Where you can watch the Film:


Follow Alone star Jules Willcox on Twitter and Instagram! Be sure to also follow @AloneMovie on Twitter!

Alone can be seen now in select theaters and on Video On Demand services. Rent Alone on Amazon today!

Disclosure: TheNaturalAristocrat.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

– Check out The Natural Aristocrat®’s exclusive interview with one half of tomandandy’s composing duo, Tom Hajdu, on The Strangers soundtrack.

– Be sure to read more interviews with the entertainment industry’s top talent in The Natural Aristocrat®’s Interviews section.

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Film

Fantasia 2020: Kakegurui is a Flashy Joyride, Cult Classic (Review)

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Minami Hamabe as Yumeko Jabami in Kakegurui - Photo Credit: GAGA International Sales
Photo Credit: GAGA International Sales

Kakegurui is dripping with personality, its ‘gambling meets private school’ premise an instant conversation piece. Actress Minami Hamabe shines as calculated, seemingly reckless gambler, Yumeko Jabami. While Murasame’s struggle to never gamble again, shows the low points of moralistic Solipsism when faced with external stimuli. When you take the higher ground all the time, there’s nowhere to go but down…

This impressions review contains spoilers to the live-action film adaption of Kakegurui. The film screened at this year’s Fantasia International Film Festival.

Kakegurui leaps into its high stakes rollercoaster immediately from curtain open, no waiting around for long winded narratives, the way a good bet should be. Instant gratification. The film introduces a private high school where students either gamble away their lives with a misplaced wager or prosper off the misery of others by reigning victorious. In Kakegurui’s ultra capitalistic hierarchal system, for someone to enjoy immense wealth and a great life, someone else must sit at their heel.

Students that gamble and lose, sit in debt, while being humiliated by their classmates as servile “Doggies” & “Kitties” (as they’re called in the film). They find themselves working under the boot of their richer & higher status superiors, while being mocked for it. A subtle allegory to current society perhaps, and a cruel twist of fate. Or Lady Luck, depending on how you look at it.

There is no ‘fairness’ in Kakegurui, in fact, one character named Itsuki Sumeragi pays her peers to let her win and buys student electoral votes. Sumeragi even has a pricey humanoid robot as her partner, showing that those who came with means to the school have a clear advantage. Circumstances do not reset to zero upon admission and this has a linear impact on the student’s success in Kakegurui. Even the odds can be shaped in one’s favor through various means of manipulation, either through currency or deceit.

Minami Hamabe as Yumeko Jabami in Kakegurui – Photo Credit: GAGA International Sales

The system is mostly unfettered and runs unrestricted outside of the whims of Student Council President Kirari Momobami . Who did a great job of portraying the school’s sophisticated, untouchable queen bee, reminiscent of Erina Nakiri on anime series Food Wars!

Those that abstain from gambling in life, end up doing so indirectly

For every standard bearing culture and pecking order, there’s a counter culture brewing by those disfranchised by their position in the hierarchy. Enter ‘The Village’ a group of students led by Jueri Arukibi , a cult-like group dressed all in white who’ve declared abstinence from gambling. Arukibi attempts to recruit the best gambler on campus (outside of the Student Council’s President), Yumeko Jabami to their cause, an important point later in the film. Arukiba promises to rescue those who’ve fallen prey to their gambling debts, shielding them through sheer number against their ‘debtors’ inside ‘The Village’. Wearing all white Arukiba appears to be morally righteous at first.

The Village’s true leader however is Amane Murasame, who secretly once defeated the Student Council President Kirari Momobami and left gambling behind. Murasame’s driving force was his sister’s debts, which he wiped clean with a victory against Kirari but it was not enough to save his sister from her own shame. She jumps off a staircase with Murasame desperately trying to grab her, falling himself. Murasume receives a permanent scar from the event.

Yumeko Jabami goes into a confessional-like area to prod Murasame to return to gambling during a visit to The Village but he stays silent. The wildly unpredictable Yumeko Jabami comments earnestly that all she wants is some good desserts in the school cafeteria. That it is ‘such a shame a fine school would have such mediocre desserts’, one of the only times in the film Murasame smiles.

Minami Hamabe as Yumeko Jabami in Kakegurui and Hio Miyazawa as Amane Murasame – Photo Credit: GAGA International Sales

The Student Council decrees new elections through a combination of votes and gambling duels to those seeking power. While at the same time, threatening to throw a wrecking ball at The Village. Forced eviction. Thus, The Village has two choices, go down as pacifists, or gamble to change the culture and direction of their school by gaining power themselves. In Murasame’s words, he would just become another kind of monster should he gain power.

Eventually however, he comes to Arukiba’s ‘rescue’ fearing The Village will be destroyed without his intervention. Only to be betrayed in one of the film’s biggest twists. Arukiba, who loses to a game of Blackjack to Kirari (21) at the onset of Kakegurui, was intentionally throwing their paired game against Yumeko Jabami and her plucky, always worried sidekick Ryota Suzui . Arukiba believed humiliating Murasame in front of Kirari would win her favor… But Jabami accurately saw the move as cheating the thrill of gambling, deciding to play to lose herself to nullify it. Murasame takes the ultimate victory and with the blank life slate/book, writes Yumeko Jabami’s wish for better desserts as his only wish.

Minami Hamabe as Yumeko Jabami is a definitive highlight

Actress Minami Hamabe is exceptionally charming as Yumeko Jabami, frankly taking the spotlight of every scene she’s in. It’s of no surprise there’s already a 2021 sequel in the works for Kakegurui because Minami Hamabe can carry this live-action adaption of the franchise to new heights. Excellent facial expressions, a lot of likeability factor you can’t teach in acting class. Minami’s high point comes with a monologue to Murasume about no one ever actually wanting to be ‘saved.’ That there would be no fun in having someone else have that level of control in your life.

Yuma Yamoto as Jun Kiwatari was also a standout in the film, doing a lot of physical acting, noticeably advanced body language work when he’s on-screen. He added a lot of humor to Kakegurui.

Keep in mind… Kakegurui is quite faithful to an anime structure on-screen, meaning there are some exaggerated mannerisms by some characters. Depending on if you’re a fan of Anime, you’ll either see it as entertaining or overacting.

Kakegurui’s appeal is in its Japanese presentation and flashy style. From the clothes, sets, art style to even actress Yurika Nakamura (Sayaka Igarashi) saying “Open” a certain way at every card set.

Conclusion:

If you’re looking for a fresh premise with a twist, are a gambling aficionado, and constantly in-motion, high stakes entertainment. Kakegurui is a sure bet. A cult classic in the making.

Minami Hamabe as Yumeko Jabami on Kakegurui Film Poster – Photo Credit: GAGA International Sales

– Follow the film @kakegurui_jp on Twitter and visit the official website, kakegurui.jp to learn more about the film. The film is directed by Tsutomu Hanabusa and distributed worldwide by GAGA Corporation.

– Follow lead actress Minami Hamabe on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and her official website.


– Learn more about the films that screened at Fantasia International Film Festival 2020 at this link. Kakegurui screened at Fantasia Fest 2020 on August 26th at 19:00.

Be sure to read Fantasia Fest 2020: Tezuka’s Barbara is a stylish, decadent elixir of dystopian cool (Review) and more coverage of Fantasia Fest at The Natural Aristocrat®’s Fantasia International Film Festival 2020 section.

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