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An Interview with C.J. Wallis, Director of Stu's Show

by Mike Haberfelner

April 2022

Films directed by C.J. Wallis on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your new movie Stu's Show - in a few words, what is it about?

 

Itís a true Hollywood love story about finding your leading lady and the fight to keep her alive.

 

Now how did the project actually come into being, and how did you make the acquaintance of Stuart Shostak [Stuart Shostak interview - click here] in the first place?

 

We had set up a handful of theatre screenings around Los Angeles for our first documentary Perfect Bid. Stu showed up to one of them. He enjoyed the film and invited myself and long-time Price Is Right producer Roger Dobkowitz on his show. When you do Stuís Show, the call-time is a few hours prior to taping which includes a meal at his favorite deli. Over the course of the day, I got to know him and, perhaps by design, got hooked by his story and knew itíd be the next thing we made.

 

Do talk about Stuart Shostak as the person you've met rather than the person you've portrayed for a bit!

 

There is no difference between what you see on camera and how he is in person. He is equally passionate, manic and selfless minute-to-minute and we wouldnít take him any other way.

 

Since the movie's also about that, what are your personal thoughts about vintage TV (also as compared to today's), and some of your favourite shows of old

 

I think the further you allow yourself to time-travel with film, television and animation, the more rewarding the experience. Somehow we got brainwashed along the way that because a show is from another generation or in black and white or doesnít have dialogue that it couldnít possibly provide you with any substance, and that couldnít be farther from the truth. Itís outside the timeframe that our film lives in, but the show that was the most impactful or informative for me growing up was The Wonder Years. Getting to know and work with Alley Mills in my career has been a highlight for sure. There are several but her performance in the Pottery Will get You Nowhere episode is absolutely incredible.

 

Back to Stu's Show - what are some of the stories that surprised you the most in the movie?

 

There is a story from Stuís neighbor Sue that I cannot spoil here about a situation at one of the treatment centers Jeanine was at thatís told a little over half-way through the film. She had never told the story before filming and refused to tell Stu about it at the time afraid of what he might do if he heard it. Everyone in the room was totally blindsided by it and was clearly very difficult on her to do the interview.

 

Any stories that didn't make it into Stu's Show that you'd still like to share?

 

I asked our cast to give me a couple personal Lucille Ball stories and each gave me something that deserved to be in the film. Things like Jimmy Stewart showing up to Lucille Ballís house with a giant gift basket of vegetables from his garden only to be met by her well-intentioned maid who promptly screamed this dangerous solicitor off the property. A compilation of these will very likely find its way onto YouTube or Blu-ray in the near future.

 

What can you tell us about your directorial approach to your story at hand?

 

It felt like the story had to be told like a home movie. Ignoring any cinematography ego and simply filming people in their natural environments with whatever lighting was in the room. When Stu tells a story about anything, heíll shape-shift into Bugs Bunny and bounce all over the room so trying to lock him down within a structured 3 point lighting set-up would remove an essential part of what makes the story interesting. The camera should be trying to keep up with the story versus being a passive participant.

 

Do talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?

 

Any time youíre making a film and have to make people willingly pick a scab to re-live the hardest moments of their lives is the worst part of making a project like this. Luckily most people mention they feel a major weight has been lifted after venting everything out but I always keep a couple light-hearted, softball questions saved for after the tough parts so the interview doesnít end with everyone feeling deflated.

 

The $64-question of course, where can Stu's Show be seen?

 

The film is out May 2nd on all major streaming platforms and satellite PPV, and the original Stuís Show can be found at stusshow.com

 

Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Stu's Show?

 

I think the review link has just started getting around, but the first few published reviews have been extremely positive. Stu got a lot of kind messages sent after the trailer was released from fans of his show and people who saw the events unfold in real time or on social media and are excited to see what all happened. Obviously thatís the response you hope will continue leading up to the release of a film, but ultimately if Stu and the people involved are proud of it then anything above and beyond that is a bonus.

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

We have 3 more feature documentaries coming out before the end of this year. The first is our biggest release to date called Mad Mac about the life of Super Bowl champion Jim McMahon, legendary quarterback of the Chicago Bears, and his life after football that will be out around the start of next NFL season.

 

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The Tecmo Bowl will be released towards the end of the year and follows the 3 best players of the popular NES video game leading up to the world championships in Omaha, Nebraska. It is a story that takes several unexpected emotional turns unrelated to video games.

 

The third is our companyís first executive produced project called Potty Town with filmmaker Morgan Elliott. Itís about Hank Robar whose porcelain protest against the city of Potsdam polarized the citizens and became a worldwide viral hit over the last few years. We just sold it and should be out everywhere in September!

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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Thanks for watching !!!



 

 

Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD