The ‘Smallville’ alum opens up about auditioning to play Star-Lord and the rather crass autograph the ‘Star Wars’ star once gave him.
After cementing himself as DC comic book royalty on the small screen, Michael Rosenbaum has shifted to Marvel with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
The Indiana-raised actor played Lex Luthor for seven seasons on TV’s Smallville and has earned fan acclaim for voicing The Flash in DC animated properties. This month, he returns to his comic roots as Martinex, an associate of Sylvester Stallone’s Ravager character Stakar. It’s a homecoming of sorts, as Rosenbaum — whose podcast Inside of You With Michael Rosenbaum launches in June — auditioned for friend and director James Gunn for the role of Star-Lord in the original Guardians.
In a conversation with Heat Vision, Rosenbaum opens up about reading for the role that ultimately went to Chris Pratt, his Smallville years and his surprising friendship with the late Carrie Fisher.
Marvel and Disney are known for their secrecy. When you landed the role of Martinex, how much of the script did they share?
I got the whole script. It was watermarked with my name. I knew Yondu [Michael Rooker] died before we shot it … I was sitting at the premiere with Michael Rooker and I could tell he was choking up at the end … it really says something when a man can get emotional about his own work.
You’ve written and sold several projects. If you could write something for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, what would it be?
I’d love to write Power Pack. It came out in the ’80s … these young siblings get powers from an alien race right as their dad builds this planet-destroying weapon, which another alien race wants. It’s got that Spielberg/Stranger Things vibe. I could really take that concept and make it fresh.
You worked with Sylvester Stallone on Guardians 2. What was your favorite moment with him?
I love James’ [Gunn] taste in music, but he hates a lot of the ’80s shit that I like. I remember belting out this really obscure ’80s song and suddenly Stallone joins in … I look over at James and he’s just staring at me with this “f— you” look on his face.
You auditioned for the role of Peter Quill in the first Guardians. Can you talk about the screen test? Was it strange being in front of Gunn, who is a friend?
Yes, I was nervous as shit (laughs). You’re sitting there with one of your best friends who’s directing a huge movie, who knows your ability and said, “I wanna see your take on Peter Quill.” Now the pressure’s on. I just had to shut it off … I remember coming up with my own dance for the Star-Lord dance scene. I had a great partner, it felt really organic right from the start.
Were you disappointed when you didn’t get the part?
You know, I didn’t really care about getting the part. I didn’t know anything about the Guardians comics. I just wanted to do a good job for James.
Did you know Chris Pratt was cast before that became public?
Yeah, I’d heard. Chris is amazing in that role.
Were things weird between you and Gunn after that?
No, not at all. The way I look at it … I was privileged to be one of the few people that got to screen test. I was so honored and grateful that James had me audition.
How do you draw the line between friendship and business?
Friendship comes first 100 percent of the time. You don’t question it. I want to see my friends succeed … if they have the ability to cast me in something, that’s great. If not, I don’t think twice.
Talk about your relationship with Carrie Fisher. How did you two meet?
Carrie’s assistant reached out because Carrie’s daughter wanted a signed photo of Lex. I said, “Tell her I want a signed picture from Return of the Jedi!” Carrie actually sent the photo, which I keep in my office. It says, “Blow me — Carrie.”
At the time I was filming the first season of Smallville and living in a hotel. She said, “Why are you living in a hotel? I have these little bungalows at my house, Meryl Streep stays there, Richard Dreyfuss stays there, you could, too … it’s got its own kitchen, you’d never have to see me.”
So I stayed there for three months and I wrote like crazy. She really showed me the way when it came to writing, and she never asked for anything, she just said, “Buy me a gift when you’re done.” So I bought her a skylight for her living room.
She was just an amazing person, she embraced mental illness like no one had ever done and she was just so giving. Her house was always open to everybody, and she was so smart. I remember listening to her and saying to her, “I don’t understand a f—ing word you just said.” She said, “Oh, f— you, why don’t you try reading, Rosenbaum?!”
Carrie was always there for her friends. If I said, “Man, I feel like shit,” she’d say, “Why? Do you wanna talk?”
What’s one of the strangest things that happened with Fisher?
I remember lying on her giant bed with Michael Keaton, Tracey Ullman, Nicole Kidman and Carrie … just lying on her bed … laughing and talking. I thought, “Where am I?” Then she tried hooking me up with Nicole Kidman. Nicole is so out of my league … Carrie took me over to Nicole, said one sentence, and just left me with her. It was never gonna happen, but I’ll always remember that.
We’d have parties at her place with my friends and her friends. It was like Meg Ryan with my stoner friend Roger. It was a great relationship. She was just a powerful human being.
Michael Rosenbaum can also be seen performing stand-up comedy at places around Los Angeles such as the Laugh Factory and the Comedy Store, and will be touring with his band The Sandwich this summer in Germany. More information can be found here.
Warning: The following article contains potential spoilers for Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol.2
After the world premiere of Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2, we finally learned who Michael Rosenbaum plays in the movie — but it wasn’t easy to spot him due to his CGI enhanced appearance.
In #GuardiansOfTheGalaxyVol2, Rosenbaum is portraying Martinex T’Naga, a character who bears more than a passing resemblance to Iceman from the X-Men. As a result of this, it’s hard to see Rosenbaum due to the CGI that James Gunn used to create his appearance. However, whether you spotted him or not, it seems likely that Rosenbaum’s character may be set up for an expanded role in Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol.3, which has already been confirmed with James Gunn in the directing chair once more.
Martinex’s leader, Stakar formed a team at the end of the film, so there’s definitely room for this new character to enjoy a more expanded role in the MCU. Whether he appears in GOTG3 remains to be seen though, but for now, check out this brief breakdown of Martinex T’Naga’s comic origins.
Comic Book Origins Of Martinex
In the comics, Martinex is a native of Pluto. As a Pluvian, he was born with a body formed of a crystal like substance, providing him with enhanced strength and the ability to project energy blasts.
When Pluto was attacked by the Badoon, Martinex fled the planet in search of help. During his escape, Martinex found Vance Astro, Charlie-27, Aleta, Starhawk, Yondu, and Nikki, who joined together to become the first iteration of the #GuardiansOfTheGalaxy.
After surviving the Badoon invasion and forming a team, the Guardians took the fight right to them. The newly formed Guardians didn’t waste any time taking down Badoon outposts throughout the star systems.
Eventually, the Guardians battle with the Badoon reached Earth and it was there that their conflict reached its climax, when Martinex himself executed their leader, Koord. With a win over the Badoon, the Guardians of the Galaxy then set their sights on other villains like Michael Korvac, who would one day become one of their greatest foes.
At one point, Martinex underwent a strange physical transformation, which led to him taking a leave from the Guardians in order to form a new team who would become known as the Galactic Guardians. Martinex would go on to lead several incarnations of this team, acting somewhat like an intergalactic version of Nick Fury, recruiting heroes in space.
How Much Of The Comics Will Influence Martinex In The MCU?
After reviewing Martinex’s comic origins closely, it doesn’t seem like many elements from the comics will be incorporated into the MCU. However, we do know that Martinex will be an ally to Stakar in GOTG2, so there’s also a good chance that he’ll be allied with Yondu at some point as well.
On the other hand though, Martinex’s allegiance to Stakar could also result in conflict between him and Yondu. In that scenario, there would be more friction between the Guardians, much like there is in the comics. After all, most iterations of the Guardians don’t work well together at first, so this isn’t outside the realms of possibility.
As for the potential in Stakar / Martinex’s team to encounter the Badoon, that matter is another factor still undetermined. In the comics, the Guardians’ main goal was to stop the Badoon, but we haven’t seen them yet in the MCU as Fox owns the rights to the onscreen portrayal. If a deal can be negotiated though, then there’s a chance that The Badoon may be saved for GOTG3, which seems plausible after seeing Stakar and his Guardians cohorts were seen together at the end of GOTG2.
Whether any of this comes to pass or not, the events of GOTG2 seems to imply that Martinex and Stakar will form a team similar to the original Guardians from Marvel comics. The introduction of characters such as Charlie-27, Aleta, and Mainframe adds more evidence towards the possibility of this team forming sometime between now and the events of #GuardiansOfTheGalaxyVol3.
“Impastor” follows a “Fletch”-like con man with a wicked smirk and a wit to match, pretending to be a gay priest in a Norman Rockwell-inspired small town. But just when the show threatens to get saccharine sweet, someone gets murdered in cold blood; every time the main character seems like he’s straightening out his act, we see him doing drugs or re-acquainting himself with a hooker. Where is the show going? By the end of Season 1, nobody had a clue … but it sure was a fun ride.
Now, Season 2 is getting ready to debut September 28 (10:30 ET/PT), aiming to continue its unique mix of dark humor, religious themes and standout performances. To get ready, let’s go over everything we know about Buddy’s upcoming missionary positions.
It takes the ‘Halloween II’ approach
Which is to say, the second season will pick up immediately where Season 1 left off. When last we saw Buddy Dobbs, his assumption of the identity of gay Lutheran pastor Jonathan Barlow was threatening to crash down around him. According to the show’s official synopsis: “The second season of ‘Impastor’ picks up with Buddy’s life hanging in the balance as he tries to escape capture from both the police and a dangerous criminal from his past. All the while, he must juggle his godly responsibilities to his still unsuspecting staff.”
Things aren’t looking so good for the cops
One of the many ways “Impastor” subverted cliches in Season 1 was by presenting the two policemen on Buddy’s trail as not only inept, but largely indifferent. It was really hilarious, even if it was just a tiny part of the overall plot.
At the end of Season 1, Detectives Hyde and Lovello finally caught up to Buddy and charged him with the murder of Barlow. But as you can see from the trailer below, Season 2 seems to begin with them putting him in the back of their car — only to have it shot at by an assassin.
The next shot of Michael Rosenbaum in the backseat is classic “They’re dead, now’s my chance to escape!” Also, “Impastor” has demonstrated a shocking willingness to kill off characters, and a new police presence seems to be on the case. Also, there’s the old trick of looking at the show’s IMDb page, which seems to indicate that actors Matthew Kevin Anderson and Jonathan Young are only in six episodes between the two seasons, or in other words: off the show.
If so, it’s too bad, because their take on the police characters was very funny.
Russell makes his move
In the aftermath of everything, Russell (played by the very funny Mike Kosinski) offers to move in with Buddy “until this crisis is over.” If you’re a fan of the show, you know what this means: The gay Russell is going to continue making moves on the supposedly-gay Buddy. Turning up the heat, it’s going to become harder and harder for Buddy to keep track of where the lie ends and the truth begins.
Until now, Buddy’s home has been the only place where he is safe to unwind with his alcohol or drug of choice and be his true self.
Alexa’s past is still in play
Similarly projecting an image of wholesomeness to cover a dangerous past, Mircea Monroe’s Alexa Cummings (aka “Tina”) bonded with Buddy over the course of Season 1. When her old boyfriend came back into the picture, it was Buddy who called upon his old ways to keep her secret.
But in the Season 2 trailer, we see Buddy getting threatened by another tough-looking dude (who even throws him off a bridge!), then talking it over with Alexa. Putting two and two together, it seems like Alexa’s ex comes floating back to the surface (“Man, you let one dead body float to the top, they never let you forget it,” Buddy jokes) and it somehow leads to the guy wanting “My 20 g’s.”
Ashlee and Alden
This is gonna be good. Season 1 had the uptight Alden (David Rasche, aka “Sledge Hammer!“) leaving his long-time wife for a hot blonde who had just arrived in town — and was actually Ashlee, a prostitute that Buddy frequently employs.
Judging by the Season 2 trailer, the Ashlee-Alden relationship seems to be growing, and the president of Ladner Trinity Lutheran Church seems to remain oblivious to her origins. But is she really falling in love with him, or is this just another con?
“Keep your mouth shut?” the pastor whispers in Ashlee’s ear as they hug.
“That’s the first time you ever wanted that,” she whispers back, once again demonstrating the unique mix of bawdiness, danger and sweet-natured humor that we can’t wait to see more of when “Impastor” finally returns.
“Back in the Day” is a raunchy comedy about a guy trying to get out of a rut by reliving his glory days at his high school reunion. The story is loosely based on Rosenbaum’s friends in Newburgh, Ind., where he grew up. “Back in the Day” was filmed in Newburgh and Evansville, Ind., and includes locations at his former high school and hangouts.
Rosenbaum came to WKU on a scholarship and graduated in 1995. He has steadily built a résumé as an actor, including his critically acclaimed role as Lex Luther on “Smallville.”
He continues to return to WKU to inspire others.
Included in the cast of “Back in the Day,” playing the younger version of one of his buddies is Jonathan Stone. Stone, who grew up in Clarksville, Tenn., moved to Bowling Green as a teen and graduated from Greenwood High School.
He attended WKU on the same scholarship Rosenbaum was awarded and met Rosenbaum on one of his visits. Stone is continuing his studies at WKU, where he was recently nominated as best actor for his role in “Double” at WKU’s Film Fest. He is active in local theater.
— For more information on the movie, visit www.facebook.com/backinthedaymovie.
A high powered set of Sacramento filmmakers and television producers gathered at Sacramento’s Wizard World Comic Con Saturday to help attendees learn about the variety of opportunities for production available in our region.
Emmy Award winning cinematographer and show developer Doug Stanley (Deadliest Catch) touted plans for advancement in distribution that will help connect fans of TV shows who use Facebook. The Ridgeline Entertainment Executive producer from Auburn loves to bring his other reality TV shows into Northern California whenever he can.
Access Sacramento Executive Director Gary Martin told about the “Place Called Sacramento” script writing competition for 10-minute scripts featuring this region, encouraging writers to tell the stories they love and reminding them Access Sacramento has classes and the free use of equipment for those who get certified.
Sacramento’s Ryan Todd, producer and developer of one of YouTube’s most highly subscribed video series SMOSH, said working on a budget is still “working” and he encouraged those in the room to get their start without delay.
Producer Matthew Donaldson, masquerading as the Stay Puff Marshmallow man from Ghost Busters, talked about his new film “To Find a Monster” that’s in development with likely release later this year. He said the story is critical and his new film tells how two young friends find the meaning of friendship while facing their monsters, armed only with a camcorder.
In a surprise appearance, TV star and director Michael Rosenbaum, (Lex Luther on Smallville) joined the panel, commenting on how Sacramento’s reputation for film and television production is growing, and encouraging beginning film makers in the room to never give up on their dreams for working in the industry.
The panel was moderated by Sacramento Playwright (The Interviews) and “Place Called Sacramento” (Lottery Ticket) writer/actor Brian Jagger, who said he was delighted by the standing room only crowd. He wanted to make sure the Comic Con audience knew Sacramento is the home for lots of film and television production, and that Hollywood isn’t the only place with great stories to tell.
Michael Rosenbaum has returned home for the premier of his independent film, Back in the Day, which he shot in 2013.
The premiere is on Thursday, Jan. 9 at Showplace Cinemas in Newburgh.
The movie will be available to the public on Friday, Jan. 10 at local theaters, with a national rollout to follow on Jan. 17. The movie is also available on Video on Demand.
The film follows the story of Jim Owens, played by writer/director Rosenbaum, as he heads back home for his high school reunion in an attempt to relive his glory days.
The comedy depicts many local locations, such as Castle High School and Green River Road, as well as many characters that are based off of people that Rosenbaum grew up around.
Rosenbaum is a 1990 graduate of Castle High School and is best known for his work as Lex Luthor on the Superman-inspired television series, Smallville.
He has also performed on Breaking In and has provided voice work for the Flash in the DC animated universe.
The movie also stars Morena Baccarin (Homeland, V), Nick Swardson (Pretend Time, 30 Minutes or Less) and Harland Williams (Dumb and Dumber, Half-Baked).
Rosenbaum, who lives in Los Angeles, said he gets the chance to come back to his Newburgh home at least twice a year.
“I like going back,” he said. “Everything slows down for a bit. I really enjoy it. There’s just something that always calls me back.”
And that is exactly why Rosenbaum said he decided to film Back in the Day here.
“In my heart, I always dream of raising a family in Indiana,” he said. “Everyone wishes they can live in (L.A.), but I miss the seasons.”
Whether it was working at a local go-kart track or sneaking through the back yards of South Broadview, Rosenbaum said Newburgh is home and just feels right.
He explained that he could have shot the movie in L.A. for much cheaper than the cost of flying the cast and crew out to Indiana, but he wanted the authenticity of Newburgh.
“I want where we play wiffle ball to look like where we play wiffle ball,” said Rosenbaum. “I want my high school to look like my high school. (The cast and crew from L.A.) all came because they knew they were making a fun, passion project.”
He said that if this is the last movie he ever makes that he will be happy that he made it where he grew up.
Rosenbaum credited the generosity of the community that helped make the movie possible.
“Ultimately, I just want to thank everybody in Evansville and Newburgh… it couldn’t have been done without the community,” he said. “I just hope that people, instead of going to see one of these Oscar movies, they go to see this little, funny indie that they’re going to get some great laughs at.”
It’s safe to say that WKU graduates don’t usually go on to be Lex Luthor, get phone calls from Adam Sandler, writing tips from Princess Leia and direct, write, produce and star in their own upcoming film.
This is, however, the case for WKU alumnus Michael Rosenbaum.
Rosenbaum has done a variety of television and film work throughout his career so far, including roles on “Smallville,” “Justice League,” and his upcoming independent film “Back in the Day.”
“I’ve always felt like without WKU I wouldn’t be where I am today,” Rosenbaum said.
Rosenbaum said he grew up in a small town in Indiana, where he was the smallest kid in his high school. A buddy convinced him they should attend WKU together, and Rosenbaum said the experience he got there is what made the difference in his career.
“Experience is confidence—when you have that you can do anything,” Rosenbaum said. “It’s all about being brave, and WKU had everything I needed.”
Rosenbaum said he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do when he started attending WKU, so he tried a variety of things including being a DJ at a local radio station and a sports announcer, as well as auditioning to be a TV anchor for a WKU news program.
“WKU just provided me with so many resources to choose from career-wise,” Rosenbaum said. “It’s hard to find a path, but for me it made the decision easier when I was able to direct plays, be in them, do musicals, and so much more there.”
Dr. Bill Leonard, a current member of the Emeritus Faculty at WKU, was one of Rosenbaum’s professors and mentors during his time at WKU.
During a production called “The Seagull,” Leonard cast Rosenbaum as a middle-aged doctor. When Rosenbaum asked what Leonard was thinking casting him in such a role, Leonard said it was because everything he’d done up to that point had been so easy for him.
“In order for this character to be decent, I told him he was going to have to work at investigating the character and its overall philosophy of life, which I’d never seen him do,” Leonard said. “I told him, ‘You can always go on stage and be Michael Rosenbaum and it always works, but you can’t do that with this role.”
Leonard said that Rosenbaum really worked and did a nice job with the role, and he considers their work on “The Seagull” to be the best relationship as teacher and student he and Rosenbaum had.
A moment that Rosenbaum said really stood out to him from his time at WKU was when Leo Burmester was a guest speaker and five students were given the chance to perform a monologue for him. The five students were supposed to be seniors only, but sophomore Rosenbaum begged until they let him perform a monologue, as well.
“I knew it was an opportunity,” Rosenbaum said. “Someone successful was coming here and I wanted to show off and prove I was good enough and had what it would take to impress him.”
Burmester ended up telling Rosenbaum’s professors that he felt Rosenbaum was the one out of the five performers that was going to go somewhere. Burmester and Rosenbaum later formed a friendship, and Burmester introduced Rosenbaum to agents.
“If I can encourage or give confidence or insight on how to be successful as an actor, I go back to what that did for me,” Rosenbaum said. “It gave me confidence.”
During Rosenbaum’s senior year, he took a class called Acting for the Camera. In the class, his senior project was to do a commercial and sell it on tape. After graduating, Rosenbaum went to New York and auditioned for an agency who asked if he had any experience on camera.
“I remembered what I did for my senior project,” Rosenbaum said. “It was this coffee commercial, and that’s what ended up helping me get my agent.”
After years of doing many different projects, Rosenbaum started wanting to do more writing.
“I remembered enjoying creative writing class, but I stopped because I was so busy acting,” Rosenbaum said. “I had written stories about my childhood and college and all sorts of crazy things.”
Rosenbaum said he handed some of his work to Carrie Fisher, known for her role as Princess Leia in “Star Wars” and also as a best-selling author, and asked if she would tell him if he “sucked completely.”
“She said, ‘Did all these things really happen? This is great. One of the best things you can do is write what you know,’” Rosenbaum said.
Rosenbaum said as he further evolved, he realized he liked acting, writing, directing, and producing.
“I wrote a fun script about going back home and how everyone gets caught up in life and when you get to go home you get excited,” Rosenbaum said. “As much as you want to stay home, if your calling is somewhere else, you have to do that certain thing. I always come back here to Los Angeles, but there’s a part of me that’s still in the Midwest.”
The script evolved into Rosenbaum’s upcoming film, “Back in the Day,” which he shot in Indiana where he grew up.
“You don’t know what’s going to happen until you just do it,” Rosenbaum said. “That confidence comes from WKU.”
Rosenbaum said the inspiration for “Back in the Day” was the simplicity of people in the Midwest, and the fact that they’re engaging, helpful and want to look out for one another.
“Growing up, we used to jump over fences to friends’ yards, drink out of water hoses, catch fireflies and play whiffle ball,” Rosenbaum said. “I wanted to incorporate that into the movie.”
Rosenbaum said that in the Midwest you can tell an obvious difference between the seasons, people talk to each other and are often family-oriented.
“In Los Angeles you don’t really get that,” Rosenbaum said. “It’s always the same temperature, smoggy, trafficky, and no one really talks to each other. I always miss that sense of home.”
Rosenbaum also said he would like to eventually shoot another movie and WKU was one of the places he thought about shooting at.
Rosenbaum described “Back in the Day” as a movie about Jim Owens, a guy who left his small hometown after high school to become an actor. Years later Owens is just the face of an insurance commercial when he gets invited to his high school reunion. Certain that people he graduated with can’t be happier than him, Owens discovers that people are actually content, have families and are happy. He then realizes he’s missing something and reverts back to his old ways to find out what makes him happy.
“It’s a coming-of-age story where a guy learns from his friends what life is all about,” Rosenbaum said. “When most people hear ‘independent movie’ they think artsy and boring, but that is the opposite of this movie.”
“Back in the Day” stars Rosenbaum, Morena Baccarin (“Homeland”), Nick Swardson (several Sandler films), Sarah Colonna (“Chelsea Lately”), Harland Williams (“Dumb and Dumber”), Isaiah Mustafa (Old Spice commercials), Jay Ferguson (“Mad Men”) and more.
“The movie is an hour and a half of fun,” Rosenbaum said. “You don’t always have to wait for the $50 million movie to come out. Independent movies can be just as funny.”
Rosenbaum said he got a call from Sandler, who said he loved the movie.
“I feel like this is a Sandler meets John Hughes kind of movie, and I feel like it’s already a huge achievement.”
Rosenbaum said he hopes people will look at “Back in the Day” and be wowed with what he did with such a small budget.
Rosenbaum said that he wants all WKU students to know that, although it’s cliché to say, dreams do come true.
“You have to believe in yourself,” Rosenbaum said. “If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will, but when they see a spark or confidence in someone, they shine.”
Rosenbaum said it’s also very important to love whatever it is you’re doing.
“If you want to be an actor to be famous, you’re in the wrong business,” Rosenbaum said. “If it’s because you love the craft, that’s when you should really go after it and believe in yourself.”
Rosenbaum said you have to be willing to go after your dreams.
“There’s this common misconception that they’re just going to happen—either you’ll get discovered or an opportunity will just fall in your lap,” Rosenbaum said. “All of life’s a stepping stone. If you don’t take a step, you won’t go anywhere.”
Rosenbaum said that WKU has many “steps” and a lot of opportunities for its students.
“Just explore the university and explore within yourself to find what you want to do,” Rosenbaum said. “It was the perfect university for me.”
Rosenbaum said he is extremely thankful for his professors at WKU, such as Leonard, who gave him confidence and thought he had something.
Leonard said he feels that by acting, writing, producing and directing, Rosenbaum is setting up his own area of creativity.
“It’s a wise decision on his part, and it’s certainly an exercise that won’t be a waste of time,” Leonard said. “He’s one of those that’s capable of it.”
Rosenbaum said although he was insecure in high school, he realized he had to be gutsy if he was going to make it far in life.
“You’ve got to take the bull by the horns and run with it,” Rosenbaum said. “You’re not going to die if you fail. You’ll just regret it if you don’t try.”
“Back in the Day” will be available for download on Video on Demand on Jan. 7. It comes out in theatres on Jan. 10 in select cities and nationwide on Jan. 17.
“Back in the Day” trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Xy1tUmgiv8
Michael Rosenbaum on Twitter: @mrosenbaum711
But the movie “Back in the Day”, set for release this month, was shot in 2012 in Newburgh, largely because star and director Michael Rosenbaum grew up in the Evansville suburb.
The actor, who portrayed Lex Luthor in the Superman television series “Smallville,” will return to Indiana Jan. 10 for the premiere of his film, in Evansville. The theatrical release is set for Jan. 17.
“Back in the Day” is a comedy about high school friends who return to Castle High School—the name of Rosenbaum’s actual alma mater—for a reunion. Rosenbaum’s character starts pining for an old high school flame, played by actress Morena Baccarin.
Bacarrin is perhaps best known for her current turn as Jessica Brody in the Showtime TV series “Homeland,” and as the attractive leader of an extraterrestrial race invading Earth in the recent remake of the ABC television hit “V.”
Rosenbaum said he could have filmed “Back in the Day” in Los Angeles and have received a tax credit to boot. However, “I said, ‘You know, for authenticity, I don’t feel it’s going to capture the essence of where I grew up in the Midwest,’” he said.
The screenplay for “Back in the Day” also is by Rosenbaum. His first work as a screenwriter was the 2011 short film “Ghild,” about a boy who grew up as a giant.
Rosenbaum tried to raise money from investors but found it difficult. He said he sought financial assistance from Indiana but was told there were no funds available. Indiana’s tax credit for filmmakers, equal to 15 percent of production costs, expired in late 2011.
Other states are much more aggressive about attracting film productions than Indiana, typically enticing them with tax credits and/or rebates. For example, Illinois offers a 30-percent tax credit on expenditures, as well as an additional 15-percent tax credit on salaries of individuals who live in economically disadvantaged areas, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The not-for-profit Indiana Media Production Alliance plans to hire a lobbyist in hopes of getting incentives for filmmakers restored. The group is proposing legislation that would include a 30-percent rebate or refundable tax credit on expenditures and nonresident labor, with minimum spending of $50,000.
Despite the challenges, Rosenbaum’s company, Rose & Bomb Productions, which includes his brother, Eric, shot the movie in Newburgh in 2012 on a budget of less than $1 million.
At times he and the cast stayed in the homes of his old buddies or with other Evansville area residents who were generous enough to help the aspiring filmmaker.
“For very little money you can still make a fun, entertaining movie,” Rosenbaum said.
The odds were against him. Not only would he have to convince fellow actors to head to Indiana, but he also pitched them during pilot season, when many actors are auditioning for new shows.
“Who in their right mind is going to southern Indiana for very little money, and in the midst of pilot season,” he recalled.
Baccarin looked at the script and said she loved it. The rest fell into place.
Parts of the movie were shot at the Knob Hill Tavern in Newburgh, a surreal experience given that his old teachers and pals used to hang out there.
The film is rated R, largely for some raunchy banter.
Some of the best known films shot in Indiana are “Breaking Away” (1979); “Hoosiers” (1986); and “Rudy” and “A League of Their Own” in the 1990s.
But in recent years, Indiana has found itself overlooked. States such as Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania offer studios generous tax incentives for filming within their borders.
Another of those states, Massachusetts, landed the location shoot for “The Judge,” a film to be released this year starring Robert Downey Jr. about a fictional Indiana town.
Another movie, “The Fault in Our Stars,” is based the novel of the same name by Indianapolis writer John Green and is set in the city—but was shot in Pittsburgh.
In the comedy Back in the Day, a high school reunion gets out of hand as the class of 1994 tries to relive its youth in some inappropriate ways. Jim Owens, played by Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville), stirs up trouble when he makes a surprise appearance at his 20-year high school reunion and convinces his married friends to embark on one last hurrah. Between cruising their old strip, settling a score with the high school principal, rekindling a past romance and almost breaking up a wedding, this turns out to be one wild trip down memory lane.
There’s plenty of raunchy humor to go around in this irreverent flick, but it is also a celebration of friendship. Owens’ shenanigans nearly cost him some of his oldest friends when the fun gets out of control.
Other cast members include Homeland’s Morena Baccarin, Nick Swardson (Grownups 2), Harland Williams (Robot and Monster), Jay R. Ferguson (Mad Men) and singer/songwriter Richard Marx.
In addition to starring in the lead role, Rosenbaum wrote, directed and produced the film. Suzanne Blech, the president of Screen Media Films, which has acquired the worldwide rights to the project, was recently quoted by Indiewire saying, “We have followed Michael Rosenbaum’s career with great interest over the years and we are thrilled to be working with him on his directorial debut.” She went on to describe the movie as “the perfect mix of funny, crazy and endearing all rolled into one.”
Back in the Day will be available for On Demand (VOD) viewing Jan. 7, 2014, before hitting theaters in limited release Feb. 7, 2014.
Recently, on the occasion when I might ponder the real-life relationship of Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard, my mind goes straight to the home video featured on Ellen Degeneres’ talk show, in which Shepard (behind the camera) tells Bell that he’s borrowed a sloth for her as a surprise for her birthday. Bell is so overcome with emotion that she breaks down in tears. It’s funny and it gives us an adorable look into the life of the couple. The photos from Hit and Run, a movie that also happens to be directed by Shepard, paints a very different picture of the duo, who play an engaged couple in the movie. Think, less tearful and more occasionally-cuddly/occasionally-bloody. There’s also one that may not be safe for work, so scroll down with that in mind!
We saw Bell and Shepard on screen together in When in Rome, however Hit and Run has them playing an actual couple this time around. Shepard wrote the screenplay and directed alongside David Palmer. The film has Shepard and Bell playing an engaged couple who find themselves on an adventure when Shepard’s character Charlie escapes witness protection to take his fiancé to Los Angeles for a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” Also among the cast, as you’ll see in some of the photos below, are MIchael Rosenbaum and Bradley Cooper.
Judging by his appearance and the gun in his hand, I’m going to go out on a limb and speculate that Cooper’s character is one of Charlie’s old criminal pals. He looks kind of like the pre-brain-boosted Eddie in Limitless. And then there’s the guy with the beverage and the no-clothes situation. No idea what’s going on there!
I’m less inclined to think Rosenbaum falls into the same category as Cooper, as he looks a bit nicer dressed. Then again, Cooper’s wearing Adidas pants, and Rosenbaum’s using a golf club for a weapon, so there is sort of an athletic theme going on there, right? Either way, good cast! Speaking of which, Ryan Hansen, Tom Arnold, Beau Bridges and Kristin Chenoweth are also set to appear in Hit and Run, which arrives in theaters August 24, 2012.