Tag Archives: action movies

April bits and pieces

It is almost May and as the year races by I’m desperately trying to hold on to the seat of my pants and get stuff done. The first draft of book three is under way, and I’ve had a couple of months now to get my head back into it, completely ignore the other two books and focus. It’s been going well so far despite having to attend two funerals in two months and of course Eastercon. But despite such events being so draining I always come away feeling reinvigorated and so far that has continued as I chip away at the wall of book 3.

Two comic book projects are now cooking with gas. Flux, co-written with my good chum Pete Rogers and drawn by Maysam Barza, is getting beaten into shape and we’re editing and revising the story, making it better and leaner. When we hit a bump in the road, rather than make it even more complex we’re stripping it back, getting to the core of the story and it’s going very well.

The Promise, also co-written with Pete, and drawn by the extremely talented Simone Guglielmini, is now getting to the place where we are hoping to be able to submit it to a publisher this year. Simone has proven to be as passionate about this project as us which has been so rewarding and he’s been brilliant at throwing ideas at us, as well as sketches and amazing pages of art.

This month’s podcasts, on Bags of Action Pete and I wrapped up part 3 of our trilogy to Kurt Russell, with Tango and Cash, which was really a vehicle for Sly Stallone. You can find more information about it and listen to that here, by clicking on the link below, or via iTunes.

Click here to download Bags of Action – Tango and Cash

Over on Comic Book Outsiders, Scott and I managed to fill up a whole episode with some of the latest news from comics, films and film trailers and TV. We discussed the new wave of Marvel TV but there are no spoilers as I’ve not seen any of Daredevil yet and Scott was only halfway through. You can find more information about that here or again listen via iTunes.

I think the rest of the year is going to be more of the same, a mix of editing book 2, working on comic book projects and then getting ready for the launch of Battlemage in September. I’m at events in August and September, so that’s going to be a hectic time and then next year I’ve got two books coming out. So this year is going to seem like a gentle breeze and a warm up compared to 2016!

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February’s Podcasts

As mentioned last month, the Podcasting network I am involved with has had a face lift and a kick in the pants, and now we are back on track with a regular schedule and more new content.

Pete Rogers, my co-host on Bags of Action had some very nice things to say about then new website and new logo. You should be following his posts anyway so take a look at his website. This month’s episodes are:-

CBO – Episode 170 – In honour of our first guest on the new Crash Landing, our main feature is about our favourite detectives from film and television, plus all of the latest news from geek culture.

Bags of Action – Episode 17 – Big Trouble in Little China – the classic John Carpenter, Kurt Russell film about weird things going bump in Chinatown. It’s a film full of weird magic, karate kicking, cheesy one liners, weird CGI things, flying men, swords, guns, lots of punching and even the odd romantic moment!

Crash Landing – Episode 1 – The first of a new monthly podcast. Every episode we maroon a guest on our crashing spaceship. They have one hour to salvage humanity’s most important cultural artefacts before they crash land on the planet of their choice.

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That’s a wrap

Quick general update. This month has been flying by. It’s been super busy in the day job, and I’ve been stacked up at night with various things. Probably the most exciting news is that the proof of Battlemage is done! I spotted a few things, had a few more fed back to me from the publisher and I’ve sent back my comments on them. So that’s it. I’m done. That’s a wrap!

There are some tweaks to be made to the cover, but that’s not up to me and I’ve already sent in my comments. So now book 1 is completely finished for me (there’s still the whole printing and binding thing, but it’s probably not a good idea for me to do that!) and the next time I see it, Battlemage the book will be a thing. A physical artefact that I can hold in my hand. The final sum total of years of work by many people. It’s very scary and also the prospect of seeing the book is one of the most exciting things in my life. It is literally a dream come true.

So now I’m trying to get my head back into book 2, then send that off and I will hopefully have a gap of a few months to sink back into book 3 and make some good progress.

Other stuff, episode 169 of the Comic Book Outsiders podcast is out now which I co-host. We talk about some of the latest geek news, and then in terms of comics we revisit The Fuse, Letter 44 and Southern Bastards. Also episode 18 of Bags of Action is out, part 3 of our trilogy to Arnie and we discuss Predator, a classic film of the late eighties.

The newest comic book project I’ve been working on, and actually the one I can say the least about, is proving to be the most exciting and it is racing ahead. It’s proving to be both incredibly challenging and also very rewarding because of it’s unusual nature and the approach. Hopefully I can share some more details about this soon.

So, in the meantime, it’s back to work on the second draft of book 2, enjoying the current mid-season break of TV shows as I have less to distract me. In April it all kicks off with Eastercon, Dyprosium, Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, and a bucket load of new Marvel Lego to go with it. Lots of awesome stuff to look forward to.

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I Know Kung Fu

Earlier this week I was one of the hosts on a new podcast I’ve mentioned in a previous post, Bags of Action. I love action movies, so every month a group of people get together and talk about an action movie and then everyone gives it a score. In the first episode we talked about Blind Fury and in the second episode we discussed the 2011 film, Haywire, which stars Gina Carano in the lead. You can find Bags of Action of iTunes if you want to listen, but in short we had a number of issues with the film. However, we all agreed that Gina Carano was the best thing in it.

What came out of that discussion, and a couple of other places, was that with the runaway success of The Expendables and its sequel, and they have already announced plans to make a third Expendables film with Nicolas Cage coming on board, who would you cast in an all female equivalent of The Expendables?

Below are a list of names which are either suggestions from Kim Curran, who I chatted to about this over Twitter, or my own ideas. With each new Expendables film they’ve increased the number of stars in the cast, so let’s pretend there is no limit to how many we could have. So who would you cast in such a film and why?

Gina Carano – We all agreed on Bags of Action that she was amazing in Haywire. You knew that she was doing most (if not all) of her own stunts and every fight scene was her and not someone else. You completely believed that her character Mallory was someone who was very capable of looking after themselves in any situation. No doubt it comes from her own physicality, because of her MMA background and even her time on American Gladiators. Cheesy as the TV show might be, as was the British equivalent, all of the gladiators were fit and athletic people.

Cynthia Rothrock – She is a veteran of dozens of martial arts films and undoubtedly would fill the Sly Stallone role in The Expendables, perhaps pairing up with Gina Carano, as Sly pairs with The Stathem. Although she officially retired from action movies, many of her contemporaries (Norris, Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Van Damme) have recently returned to major action roles after many years away. So perhaps someone could persuade her to come back if such a film were ever made.

Linda Hamilton – Unashamedly I’m a big fan of the Beauty and Beast TV series from the late 1980s starring Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman. It was must see TV for me growing up, and I then saw her next in The Terminator. It was only after seeing her in T2 that I had to completely reassess my view of her as an actress. Gone was the gentle, softly spoken, curvy, kind and caring person and in it’s place was this tough, stringy, cigarette smoking, gun-toting, driven and determined soldier. I like T2, despite being very silly in places, but if you look at her role in T2 in isolation, it’s powerful, disturbing and believable as someone who has been locked up because of her delusions about killer robots from the future.

Sigourney Weaver – There’s not much I have to write about her really other than Alien franchise. She’s done it all. She is an incredibly talented actress who has played a wide variety of characters and continues to do so (I’m really looking forward to seeing her in Red Lights), but never was she more terrifying than Ellen Ripley.

Milla Jovovich – Again, I only need to write two words – Resident Evil. I’ve actually never seen any of those films as they don’t appeal, but after seeing her in other films, such as Joan of Ark and The Fifth Element, she should definitely be in the film in an action role.

Ali Larter – This is one of my choices and there again she started off with a couple of roles where she was often running and screaming in front of the camera (Final Destination) but since then she’s portrayed a wider variety of characters. From Resident Evil, to international fame in Heroes as a fairly dark character, to a femme fatale in Obsessed. I think she would be a great addition to the action team.

Gina Torres – I only need one word this time. Firefly. If you’ve not seen the TV show, then go out and rent or buy the DVD, then watch the film Serenity. Then tell me you don’t believe that her character used to be a tough space marine and I will call you a liar. She can play big, strong, tough and intimidating, but she’s also very good at funny, sensitive and caring. A powerful on screen presence and definitely not someone you would want to upset.

Michelle Rodriguez – Just about every film role I’ve seen she has been playing someone tough and usually a cop, marine, a pilot, space marine or similar. I’m sure she is capable of playing another type of character, but in this fantasy action film of my devising, we’re after actresses who are convincing as tough characters, so she is ideally suited for this sort of film.

Two others I would be remiss if I didn’t mention are Cobie Smulders, who did a great turn as Maria Hill in a little film called The Avengers, and Scarlett Johansson who was also very good as Natasha Romanoff. Cobie Smulders is an interesting actress as previously when Joss Whedon was briefly attached to write and/ or direct a Wonder Woman film for DC comics, I believe his choice for Wonder Woman was Cobie Smulders. She’s extremely accomplished as a comedic actor, as her body of work in ‘How I Met Your Mother’ shows, but in The Avengers we get to see a tougher character in a position of authority.

Other names suggested include Lucy Lawless, Wei Zhao, Zhang Ziyi, Nicola Adams, Michelle Yeoh, Anne Parillaud, Zoe Saldana and Chloe Grace Moretz, although I think the latter might be a little young despite her role in Kick Ass.

So, who would you cast, and also, for a bonus point, what would be the title of the film franchise?

EDIT – It turns out this is actually happening. An all female Expendables type film is being made, as was recently reported in Variety, and Gina Carano will be in the film and most likely in the lead role. I wonder how many others listed above will appear.

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What comes next

Last night my co-host, Scott, and I recorded the last episode of our podcast Comic Book Outsiders. We broadcast and recorded it live and some listeners joined in with questions and we even had a guest listener on the show. Unfortunately for him he’d only just discovered the podcast, but at least there is a back catalogue of episodes for him to listen to and lots of interesting comics to discover.

During the show Scott also played a small portion of episode one, where we outlined why we were doing the podcast. Our goal at the time was to promote comics outside the spotlight, those that didn’t get as much attention in the press and comics press, but are equally as fascinating, thought provoking and of equal quality in terms of the writing and art. Over the five years we talked to, and even met, many creative people all around the world making great comics and I hope we managed to open a few eyes and widen a few horizons.

So, what next? Well, I’m not getting out of the podcasting game, but I am easing off on the throttle and I will be doing less. I’ve always been a big SFF reader and as part of the podcast we started The Book Club about 3 years ago. Every 6-8 weeks we talk about a novel, alternating between a classic work of fiction and more modern novel. There are no hard and rigid rules, but we tend to term modern as anything from the last fifteen years or so. We’ve covered a wide range of books from I Am Legend, Caves of Steel, Slaughterhouse 5, Fahrenheit 451, The Handmaid’s Tale to more contemporary work such as The City and The City, Empire in Black and Gold, Hull Zero Three and Zoo City. We’ve even been lucky to get some of the authors on the podcast, among them Adrian Tchaikovsky, China Mieville and Lauren Beukes, and pose questions from listeners. For me this podcast is great because it forces me to read some of those novels I’ve always talked about getting around to but never quite managed, both classic and modern. It also forces me to try new stuff and get me out of my usual comfort zone which can make me a bit of a lazy reader. I always have a massive To Read Pile, but the deadline makes me get it done. Another part of the book club I enjoy is receiving feedback from listeners, as they often pick up on things I’ve missed and we always get a wide spectrum of opinions on the book.

There is a Good Reads group here, where you can post comments on the current book club selection and make recommendations for future book club selections if you want to take part.

Every month, but something I’m only taking part in every now and then, is a new podcast called Bags of Action. It mirrors the Book Club in a way, as every month a bunch of people will watch an action movie and then talk about it. We had lots of fun talking about our favourite action heroes on a recent episode of CBO and this is where the seed of the idea came from. There are about seven hosts, and we’ll have guest hosts too, so it will be a rotating cast of people talking about classic and recent action movies. It will be fun and silly and I am really looking forward to taking part. I enjoy movies that make me think and have something to say, but I also like the crazy action-hero popcorn movies. I don’t want to say CBO has not been fun, because it has, but there is an element of work that goesBags of Action into every episode, preparation for interviews, gathering news etc, and then the post-show work, editing, uploading and distributing. The only thing I need to do for this podcast is watch a movie. We’re recording the first episode later this week, so it will be out in another week or so. You can follow Bags of Action on Twitter here and there is also a Facebook group here if you want to talk about action movies, action heroes and all related geek and sundry. Also if you want to recommend action movies we have to watch, then post it on the Facebook group.

The last podcast I’m doing is a new writing focused podcast called Head Space. At the moment it’s monthly but we’ll see if I stick to that schedule. Episode 1 is already out and it is focused on the craft of writing. Every month I will chat to a writer about their process and how they create characters, story, worlds, their influences and where relevant, their experiences with the editing and publishing process. This is not intended to be a teaching podcast or a How To, it’s just a discussion about writing and how that particular personHead Space Podcast approaches it. I enjoy talking to other writers and finding out how they create and hopefully this podcast will provide interesting food for thought for myself and other writers out there. In episode 1 I spoke with Lou Morgan and you can visit the Head Space blog here (it will soon be available on iTunes under its own name if you want to subscribe there), to download the podcast. We talk about her debut book, Blood and Feathers from Solaris Books, which is released on August 2nd 2012 and her approach to writing. The book is being launched this Thursday at Forbidden Planet in London where Lou will be reading from the book and signing. Next month on the podcast, I’ll be speaking to Kim Curran and there will be more info on the Head Space blog closer to the time.

The last podcast on the new CBO network is called the Outsider Files and this is Scott’s new solo venture. I’m not sure about the schedule but every episode he will have a guest host on the show and talk to them about all of the stuff that they’re currently enjoying – comics, books, movies, TV etc and just have a nice chat.

That probably sounds like I’m doing more podcasts than before and committing myself to even more, but it’s actually less. We used to do CBO 3 weeks out of four every month and then moved it to a fortnightly schedule. I am always reading something, so The Book Club just makes me read certain books to a deadline, and 6-8 weeks is not tough. I’m not going to be on Bags of Action every episode, so that’s an every now and then thing, maybe every other month or one in three. And while Head Space is monthly, it might drift and become less often, but I’m not worried as I want to enjoy all of the podcasts I’m involved with and not punish myself if it runs late.

One of the questions we received towards the end of the live podcast last night was, am I still excited about comics? In all honesty, I am more excited now than I was five years ago. There are more independent comics now than five years ago and more importantly, many of them are receiving more widespread attention. Of course it’s still a struggle to get noticed in this crowded market, but some great independent comics are now enjoying remarkable sales and widespread attention because of adaptations on TV, animation and even films. Even a rumour of a TV or movie adaptation can cause a massive spike in sales as some properties are bought and then sit in development hell for years. But that’s fine, as long as it helps the creators, increases sales and gets the name of the comic out there into the wider market. So CBO is done, but I’m still very passionate about comics and am now creating some of my own. I hope to have some news about those projects next year but we’ll see how things go.

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