Your upcoming film Kung Fu and Titties - in a few words, what
is it about (apart from the obvious)?
Kung Fu and Titties is about a Joe Everybody who wants to make money as
an MMA fighter. He's a regular guy that gets whisked into an alternate
dimension by a demigod who kidnaps earth girls in order to see their tits.
Where did the
inspiration for the project come from in the first place, and in your
eyes, what makes the combination of kung fu and titties quite so
with Sophia Disgrace
The words just popped in my head and fit
perfectly… kung fu… and titties. Since my higher concept stuff wasn't
getting picked up I figured why not stop being pretentious, do something
fun and low-brow, entertain a lot of people and have a good time doing it.
Again, apart from the obvious, I wanted to make a film that would get my
foot in the door and get my name known as a filmmaker. Selfish, I know.
But something that began with selfish interests became a lot of fun
because my father (who has since passed) and I worked on it together so it
became a labor of love and a family bonding thing. Also… I love Big
Trouble In Little China so… this is kind of a personal homage to that as
What can you tell us about your co-writers
Melissa Libutti and Rob Cottignies, and what was your collaboration like?
met Melissa through her boyfriend at the time who was a buddy of mine. She
was always hysterical and very talented so I knew I needed her help and
female voice in the re-writes. Rob is an old roommate of mine and also a
very talented writer. After I had done about 7 re-writes on my own I
brought Melissa on board. We went back and forth through the script and
polished it off. Then we waited about 2 months and I got Rob on board. I
went through 2-3 drafts with him and had the final draft ready to go. We
made a great team and I wouldn't change a thing if/when there is a Kung Fu
and Titties the sequel.
would you describe your directorial approach to the subject(s) at hand?
Well… 3 days before production began my father and life-long film
supporter passed away. So, final pre-production planning and shot lists
kind of went out the window due to me needing to be with family. When
production came I was directing actors and the camera team based on plans
that were in my head, and it worked, but it was very stressful. I knew the
script was great and the actors I had were great so I really just tried to
stay on schedule and stick to the script. Sometimes we did good improv and
had fun when there was extra time. Sometimes actors got a little
rambunctious when improvising and I had to steer them back on course but
overall we stayed true to the script.
few words about Kung Fu and Titties' tagline "It's not Porn.
It's just Great." - and how did that originate?
The question I'd always hear was, 'Is this a porn?' or I'd get, 'Hey I
heard you're making a porno. Is that true?'. So this tagline came out of
frustration. 'Hey!! It's not Porn. It's just Great!!'. After a while it
stuck and was a good introduction to the film when I spoke to anyone about
get to the martial arts section of your title: What can you tell us about
the kung fu and stuntwork in Kung Fu and Titties?
had a few really cool and fun stunt guys on the film. In 2007 I was into
kickboxing and got ranked as an amateur. I got back in touch with my
trainer Karl and he was the main coordinator. Also, my friend Chet who
used to do amateur MMA choreographed some scenes. Then we had day players
and some stunt performers choreographed their own scenes. We didn't have a
big enough budget to achieve the huge stunts and fights that I wanted, so
we modified it a bit. Some of our fight scenes are supposed to be goofy
and some are cool. There's a good mix.
to finally end the suspense for all my male readers: What does your film
have to offer in the boob section, and whatm can you tell us about your
BOOBS!!! We have lots of boobs. As a kid I hated turning on a Jean
Claude Van Damme movie and seeing only one set of boobs, maybe two. Sure
the fights were cool (most of the time) but there weren't enough boobs.
You will see lots of boobs when you see this movie. I believe you will see
at least 10 sets of boobs in Kung Fu and Titties. As for the leading ladies…
is a great friend and colleague. She's awesome. She plays the obsession of
our bad guy Zeefros. Seregon O'Dassey [Seregon
O'Dassey interview - click here] is great as well and did a really
good job. She plays Cynthia, the tough as nails girlfriend of Richard (our
What can you tell us about the rest of
Comedian Mike Marino co-stars as Gorilla, the jerk-off mentor character
who guides our hero through the world. Sean Molnar plays Richard Titties,
the regular guy who needs to transform in order to save his girlfriend and
the world. Bronson Pinchot… come on, he's the man. He plays two
supporting characters (The Indian and Winston) that help the hero in his
quest. John Archer Lundgren, our lead bad guy, plays Zeefros the evil
demigod. He is insanely amazing and steals the show. Kevin Kolack is
hysterical as the dirtbag Frenchman, Army Bob. I won't go into everyone
because we have over 50 actors in the film but we've got some really
talented people in the film. All of them played their part, whether small
or large, and did an amazing job.
How easy/difficult was it to find the right
cast for a movie with a title as (enjoyably) blatant as Kung Fu and
Not too bad actually. When we first posted the
title on IMDb, people got in touch with me months and months before
auditions. The standard e-mail was, 'I HAVE to be in this movie. It's just
my style. PLEASE consider me'. I found a few people that way. Some other
people I'd worked with in the past and had them in mind already. Mike
Marino I met in Hollywood years ago and we kept in touch. We had a talent
agent and casting director for some of the roles. It was kind of tough
finding the topless girls because either they liked it and knew it would
be a fun movie to do, or they really weren't sure and thought it was
sleazy or a porno.
Browsing through some set photos, I
stumbled upon pictures of a man in a gorilla suit. Please tell me you have
a kung fu-fighting gorilla in Kung Fu and Titties!
Yes! Yes. We do have a kung fu-fighting Gorilla in the film. The
character is called 'Gorilla' and is portrayed by Comedian Mike Marino and
the stunt double for fights was Chet Hardaway.
suppose, with you being a man, that you're into titties. But are you also
into kung fu movies? And kung fu movies that have influenced the look and
feel of your film?
Yes I love boobs. But actually I'm an
ass man. Yeah, I love kung fu movies. I love Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Jet
Li and of course the action movies of Van Damme, Lundgren, Schwarzenegger,
Russell, Willis, Seagal, Lambert and any other A-B-C or D action movies
out there. The main influence is Big Trouble in Little China. The kung fu
was good in it but not great… and for some reason… you can't help but
love the movie. There's just something about it that straddles that crappy
movie/good movie line and it's just fun. That's the main influence. Other
films... Drunken Master, Game of Death & The Last
Dragon. And for
cinematography we tried to use Hanna as a template for some of our
The $64-question of course: When and
where will the film be out?
We're planning to have the
premiere on March 22nd 2012 in New York. After the premiere we would begin
a US East Coast college tour, festival screenings & select screenings
in cities as well. If the tour does well, we may go overseas for the
summer of 2012 and then do a full US fall college tour. But upon the
initial release in March 2012 the DVD would be available for purchase on
our website www.kungfuandtitties.com. All along we planned to
self-distribute this film in the states. So if all goes well, the film
will be available in late March 2012.
Let's go back to the
beginnings of your career: What got you into filmmaking in the first
place, and did you receive any formal education on the subject?
I was about 8 I saw a student film that my close friend and film mentor
John Migdal made in college. At that moment I was hooked. There was
nothing else I wanted to do in life. So it was a life-long hobby and I
always tried to steer my schoolwork towards art, photography and film when
it was opportune. My dad let me use our crappy old VHS camcorder and then
a HI8 camera. Years later I was lucky enough to get into Ramapo College to
study film. I majored in Contemporary Arts with a Concentration in Film
Studies. I also studied for 2 years at Writers Boot Camp Screenwriting
to my information, your debut feature was a film called David. Want
to talk about that one for a bit?
Sure. David was a
project I made while I was at Ramapo College under the tutelage of Fred
Strype. I didn't necessarily need to create a feature film for the course,
but I wanted to. So I took it upon myself to film David over the
summer of 2002 and made it my independent study in school the following
year. David is the true story of my Uncle who was born ill, lived
the hippie life in the 60's and died of kidney failure in the early 90's.
What can you tell us
about Jumping Up and Down?
I made this experimental film in 2006. In hindsight I should have been
doing more to immediately further my career, but I always liked doing my
own thing and trying to push the envelope. So… we put some money into it
and tried to create a feature film in 72 hours, and we did. It came out
pretty good too. If it were made on a normal 3-4 week schedule… I think
it would have done much better in festivals. But a very good film about
college kids who are struggling with leaving behind their old life and
moving into a new phase. It's kind of like The Big Chill but much
A few words about The
Formulation of Rectangles?
Again, an experimental film of mine. I wanted to make a film as a
statement that a filmmaker could make a movie with no script, shot for
shot, edited in camera with only minor editing done in post, that would be
better than most Hollywood shit being produced. It came out really good.
It's a weird film and super low-budget but I'm really proud of what I
accomplished with it.
I would describe your
award-winning short My Hammer, My Friend: The Musical as a trip to
the weird side. Now how did this film come into being?
actually wasn't my brain child. An old classmate of mine got in touch with
me about directing a film with his team for a contest. He had made a movie
the previous year in the same contest and wanted to go in another
direction. So I stepped into the group and we made this experimental short
for the 72 hour Filmerica Contest (which is no longer running I believe).
The script and ideas were generated by the whole team, actors,
cinematographer, editor, musician, myself etc. It was weird but it was a
lot of fun and a great collaboration and we won Best Comedy and Most
Creative in Filmerica that year. The film then went on to win Best Musical
at the Bluegrass Film Festival and nominations for Best Musical at several
the other end of the spectrum is your critically acclaimed documentary The
Lives and Times of the Star Children. You just have to talk about that
one for a bit!
Well I don't know how critically acclaimed it was… I did get
nominated at some overseas festivals though. I'll try to be brief
because it's such a heavy film. My grandma died. My girlfriend left me.
I hit rock bottom and got extremely depressed. I bought a ticket to
Europe, brought my camera with me and had a 3 month cathartic experience
while I traveled and I poured my heart and soul into the camera (my only
friend at the time). As I was going through these feelings and the
depression, I created the film and edited it in my mind and in journals.
There was no plan, only an idea. 'Film it'. And when I came home after 3
months I had been healed. I made the film, edited it and looked at the
person who I was and that shocked me because I had changed so much.
Hence the name, 'The Transformation: The Life and Times of The Star
Children'. I really can't credit myself for this film because it
wouldn't have been made if it were not for my friend Nick Campos, who is
a chiropractor in LA. He talked to me the week before I left and
insisted many times that I take my camera and/or buy a new one that
could fit on the plane. If not for him, maybe I'd still be a depressed
guy wandering around Europe.
What can you tell us about your as of yet
unfilmed award-winning screenplay In Love, In Death?
is one of my scripts that I really hope gets made. I wrote the original
version in 2005. It's a story about a Mafia hit-man who grows a
conscience and wants to stop killing people. Since leaving the Mafia is
an impossibility for him, he subconsciously starts making mistakes and
gets tracked down and shot by a rival family. He wakes up wounded in
Sicily, figuring that his own family exiled him. Thrust into this new life
that is free from violence, he meets a young battered girl. He needs to
search for peace in his new existence while letting go of the need to find
out what happened to him.
other films of yours you'd like to talk about, any future projects?
especially thank you. I hope to make Kung Fu and Titties 2. My future
plans are just to keep making good films that I'm proud of.
movies, you have also shot quite a few music videos. What is it like
working on these, and how does making a music video differ from making a
Music videos are a lot of fun because you can
play around a bit more. You don't have to hire a sound team for one. Also,
you can get a little more creative with it. There's no set vision except
for what you and the band want. You're building a story, or sometimes just
cool visuals of the band, in a few minutes.
A few words on your production company Nums
Right. Well Nums Films is basically just me as
the owner and various colleagues I've worked with over the years are a
part of it at times. I came up with the name in High School. I thought of
the word num or nums as an essence. Like someone's soul. So Nums Films is a
true substance or essence inside of a film. It's my calling card to
continually make something that is truthful and has a spirit. A film that
isn't just fodder. Whether it be horror, comedy, action, drama, etc.
Directors who inspire you?
Number one on my list is Stanley Kubrick. He was a perfectionist. He was
a hard worker. He had such a grand vision and his films, to me, are
flawless. If Mother Theresa was the embodiment of love, Stanley Kubrick
was the embodiment of film. He just had this complete intelligence about
his film and his vision that no other person could even attempt to
understand until the movie was screened. That is something spectacular.
Other directors that I really admire are Luc Besson, Ron Howard, Terry
Gilliam, Clint Eastwood, Andrew Niccol, Peter Jackson, Sergio Leone,
Orson Welles, Martin McDonagh & Edgar Wright.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
just there !!!
It's a Wonderful Life. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Gattaca.
Jeremiah Johnson. Heat. True Romance.
... and of course, films you really
I know it's sacrilege, but almost anything made by
Kevin Smith and Quentin Tarantino. Oh yeah, and unnecessary remakes of
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever
Kung Fu and Titties website - http://www.kungfuandtitties.com
Kung Fu and Titties Facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/kftmovie
Anything else you are dying to mention and I have
merely forgotten to ask?
Yes. Just one thing. Kung Fu and
Titties is dedicated to my father, E. Joseph McConnell. Without his
endless support and love this film never would've been made and he is the
one man who will not get to see it (with earthly eyes at least). So a big
big thank you to my dad and to all the Kung Fu and Titties members involved who helped
make this film great.
Thanks for the interview!