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A Certain Point of View: A Fans Interaction with Thomas Jane by Geoff Woodman

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Thomas Jane is an incredibly talented individual. A Father, Actor, Director, Writer, Producer, Musician, Business Owner & prolific fan of the Comic genre. His films, according to Box Office Mojo, have grossed over $461.8 million, their quality backed up by recognition from the Screen Actors Guild for his part in the cast of Boogie Nights and by winning the Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Ensemble in 1998 in the same film. His TV career has seen him land 3 Golden Globe nominations for his outstanding work on HBO’s Hung. In 2013 he received a Lifetime Career Achievement Award at the Gasparilla Film Festival.

Outside of developing his on screen presence, along with the equally talented Tim Bradstreet, he set up Raw Entertainment with a vision of being able to produce material that both inspires and was inspired by a love of comics and graphic novels. The pair moved into producing and with Tom’s lead took Dark Country to the screen in 2009.

From many people's perspective, he is a creator. Simple term, big connotations, but one that does seem to fit his shoes…When he wears them!

As a fan I first became aware of Thomas Jane when I watched a little film called “Thursday” which I Ironically watched on a Thursday. I only remember this as the following day Deep Blue Sea was released into cinemas and opened at no.1 and took over $164.6 million. I have been a fan ever since. Over the years he has given us some fantastic roles in a varied carrier. He has written and delivered some of the best Graphic Novels I’ve read since being a child, which for me personally really captured the visceral feeling that reading comic’s gave me as a youngster.

He frequently engages at a real level with his fans via social media and his website when I happened to stumble upon him responding directly to me from a question I had asked. Over the years I have been lucky enough to have had many conversations with him via email about a varied array of subjects from movies, comics to the weather in Toronto.

I have found him to be about as normal, level headed, respectful, approachable and as anyone I’ve ever meet. I count myself very lucky to have been able to ask him many questions over the years and found his responses insightful, funny and challenging enough to maybe sway some of my own opinions on things. I spoke to him about giving this opportunity to those many fans of his that don’t seem to find a way through or find themselves as lucky as me. Of course he agreed and here we are. I haven’t included many questions that have been asked and answered before, I’ve tried to find questions that haven’t been asked and that provoke thought, providing (hopefully) a bit more of an insight to the creator that is Thomas Jane.


• Does your preparation for a playing a role such as Andre Stander, Neal Cassady or even Frank Castle change from playing characters which have nothing but the script to draw upon, if so how?

Thomas Jane: I think there's a responsibility, when bringing a 'character' from real life to the screen, to honor the essence of the real person - and at the same time create a persona that is dramatically engaging. Although we are creating a dramatic work, which means that first and foremost the character has to serve the story being told - persons who knew the real guy should recognize him up on the screen. So I feel a duel responsibility to the drama and to the real character and especially the people who knew him. Carolyn Cassady cried when she walked on set and saw me as Neil. She said she felt transported back in time. Then she said oh. But Neil's dick was bigger. You do what you can. It was cold that day.

• I understand that you storyboarded almost every scene for Dark Country, was this to ensure that you knew what was going on to its finest detail or was this style used as a safety net from comic adaption to directing the live action? Is this a style that you will use on your next direction job?

Thomas Jane: A bit of both actually. Dave Allcock and I drew out every shot in the film. I did this because A) we had 23 days to make the film and I knew it would maximize shooting time. B) we were building digital 3D camera rigs, which had never been used on a feature film at that time, so planning the shots was essential to create the 3D effects we wanted. I hired Ray '3D' Zone as our stereoscopic consultant, and Ray and I sat down and created a color coded system whereby we could determine in advance what the 3 D would be doing from shot to shot - how strong it was and where the visual plane would be placed along the z-axis. So we took Dave's storyboards and a pile of magic markers and colored each panel with red yellow and blue - red for where the image would extend 'out' toward the audience (rarely) yellow for where the image would be neutral or on the same plane as the silver screen, and blue for depth - where the image should appear - well, deep. We did this so we could guide the viewer through the Z-axis gradually shot by shot, and create a smooth 3D experience in most of the sequences. It gave us control over the 3D. The other thing that Ray taught me was the viewers brain 'acclimates' to the 3D effect after a few minutes. That's why when we watch most 3D films we tend to 'forget' about the 3D a few minutes in. By dialing back the intensity of the 3D, and then dialing it up again in the right places, you can 'refresh' the experience in a kind of wave and trough pattern, and create a dynamic 3D experience. We got to experiment a lot - and we had other ideas that we didn't get to try, but overall the 3D was very successful according to the stereoscopic aficionados. C) I learned that Hitch storyboards everything and I wanted to try it. My favorite scenes in the film, dramatically, were the ones where I had to throw the boards away and improvise. That's the key, I learned: storyboard, then improvise.

• The style you and Tim used for Dark Country was very particular, what brought about this style of visual?

Thomas Jane: E.C. Comic books from the 50s, Twilight Zone episodes, and a very limited budget. We tried to create an alternate, surreal reality - a place out of time and a time out of place. A place that would hide, as best we could, the terrible, hideous green screen effects.

• Tell us a little bit about how Rusty Blades came into being and is he still out there?

Thomas Jane: I have no idea. I haven't heard anything from or about Blades since he disappeared from the studio. We have 6 or 8 demo tracks that he left behind that we never got to produce. If he shows back up, I'll be happy to let him cut some more tracks. But next time - I'm putting him up in a goddamn hotel.

• You are currently filming The Expanse, what can you tell us about it?

Thomas Jane: It's big. We've got most of the stages at Pinewood Studios, including the jumbo stage. The sets are extremely well done, as are the scripts by Mark Fergus and Hawk Osby. I play Det. Miller, a kind of noirish detective in a port city built into the asteroid Ceres. The book series is great sci-fi and it's a great character, but I was most excited about working with the writers of Children of Men.

• If you could have 5 people (Living or dead) around for dinner who would you pick and why?

Thomas Jane: Stanley Kubrick, Carl Sagan, Carl Jung, Francis Farmer and Hedy Lamarr. And Satan. And Jesus. But Satan should come as a woman.

• What motivates you?

Thomas Jane: Mystery.

• The difference in the ending of The Mist between the book and film is huge with the film’s ending hitting your right between the eyes (literally) was there much discussion about the different endings on set?

Thomas Jane: I know that Frank D was offered a much bigger budget if he would change the ending. Everyone loved the ending he had written. Steve King said he wished he'd thought of it. We were all proud of the film. We were all mystified and more than a little disappointed that Weinstein Co decided to release the film on Thanksgiving weekend. Wow. Just wow.

• Have you considered a Kick Starter campaign for A Magnificent Death from a Shattered Hand?

Thomas Jane: We've had offers to make the film at a lower budget - but that's not the right budget for this film. Every story demands a certain amount to be told properly. Sure, you can tell the story with wooden Indians and hand puppets, but is that the best way to tell that story? I will get the right budget and the right actors and make the right film - the kind of film this story deserves. It's about believing in a particular vision and seeing it through, all the way.

• Has the process of directing, producing and writing helped, hindered or had no effect on your acting roles since Dark Country?

Thomas Jane: Definitely helped. I love the art of storytelling. That includes writing directing acting producing - I love it all and each discipline feeds into the next. They all inform each other. And you never learn enough; there's always further to go more to do more boundaries to stretch and more ground to break.

• How is the rest of Bad Planet 2 coming along?

Thomas Jane: Dead - for now. We have parts one and two complete, which we've sold at conventions. Greg Staples did the terrific art, before he realized what a pain in the ass working at that kind of level is for an extended period. Full form realistic graphic art is slowly dying. Digital is taking over. But there are hold outs. Finding them before they get gobbled up by big studios and exclusive contracts is a problem. Bruce Jones has completed the scripts for issues 3 - 5. I'm supposed to write issue 6 - the last act of the series. It's (mostly) all plotted out, and when we find a new artist that can bring the world of Bad Planet to life we'll get back in the saddle.

Meanwhile We've got 6 fantastic scripts by Mike Carey for a book called The Lycan. Sean O'Conner is hard at work on the art, deep into issue 2. His work is terrific - perfect for the story and Raw Studios. Which means of course, that it's painfully slow. But we really hope he's able to pull it off. It'll be well worth the wait.

• What was it about the material for Dark Country that made you want to direct it?

Thomas Jane: I like those O. Henry type stories, but mostly it was something simple that would be a good way to teach myself how to direct. I needed a vehicle that would take me through the ins and outs of film production, soup to nuts, back to front. And it did. It was an incredible learning experience. The end result has good points and bad. The folks I hired did some terrific work, and I got to learn from each of them. Mostly though, Dark Country was my film school.

• You decided to write a film this year about criminals, is this The Amateur Kind? Has this been completed and can you shed any light on it?

Thomas Jane: Something I've been kicking around for some time. It was conceived by David James Kelly and myself as a throwback 70s antihero crime film about a couple of small time thieves who are hired by a couple of low rent prostitutes to rip off their pimp. I haven't been able to nail the right tone for the story: Realistic. Funny. Sad and dirty. Not yet.

• Apart from speed (at a guess) are there many tangible differences between filming TV and a film?

Thomas Jane: The Expanse moves at near feature film speeds so that has been great. Hung too, so I've been lucky there. The real diff is continuity of character and story, where a film is a closed unit of beginning middle and end. A series - the kind I like - has a beginning, a protracted middle, and an open end that hasn't been fully formed yet. The writers are writing while the show is being filmed. They can look at what is being created and use it to guide the rest of the story. So the actors performance has an impact on the future of his character. That's pretty cool. It's a living organic process, a kind of feedback generated story that self-assembles over time.

• Can you give us a fact about yourself that people may not know?

Thomas Jane: I had to wear special corrective footwear for two years as a baby. I don't remember it but I'm told that's why I have always hated shoes. One leg is shorter than the other. Also - ok never mind.

• If there was to be a film made about your life who would you have play you?

Thomas Jane: Erwin Schrodinger but he was too expensive. So we settled on Ricky Schroeder, but we couldn't figure out if he was alive or dead.

• Can you recall the hardest scene you have ever had to film and why?

Thomas Jane: Divorce.

• Can you tell us about the feeling you had when RAW was set up?

Thomas Jane: It was an exciting time because of my role as Frank Castle I had the opportunity to get to know some of the graphic artists I had really admired and been inspired by - Dave Stevens and Bernie Wrightson became good friends, and I was both surprised and not surprised that we all had so much in common. Steve Niles and I were both from the D. C. area - and we're both in and around the punk rock community. Then there was Tim Bradstreet - we hit it off instantly. Tim and I formed a partnership that ultimately became Raw Studios, which was conceive as a way for us to carry the torch of all the art and books that we loved and weren't seeing around anymore. We had a blast. We got to work with some real legends, and we did work that we're still proud of. Our output is small, and the work is terribly slow, but it says what we want it to say and it has been designed to withstand the ravages of time. We've got specific projects that are underway, and they will get done.

• What’s the most disappointing part of the movie industry

Thomas Jane: The longer it's around, the less mystery it sustains. Every year the curtain gets pulled back a little more, and we can see a little further up the magician's sleeve. When I was 8 years old my father took us to see ALIEN. That probably sounds nuts by today's standard of overprotection and monkeycoddling, but it's one of my most cherished memories. For me, the movies were a magic window into another world. I couldn't even conceive of this window being crafted by human beings - movies came fully formed from another dimension.

• Finally I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of myself and all your fans to wish you a very Happy Christmas and many many thanks for taking the time out to answer these questions for us all.

Thomas Jane: Have a great one. Spend lots of money to keep the economy going and the bankers have plenty to use for their excellent plans for us. Drink fluoridated water. And remember, sometimes nature doesn't get it quite right, and we have to add a few extra genes to make your food perfect. Oh, hallucinogenic drugs may make you unproductive. Christmas is the happiest time of the year.

XxTJ



 

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FANTASTIC interview, Geoff!!! It was also great to hear Tom in his audio clip preparing to answer the questions, too. Nice little bonus surprise.


Very interesting facts about Dark Country. I knew about the storyboards, but I never realized just how much they worked on the 3D aspect of it. To actually lay out a plan for when something comes out here or when it goes in there is quite remarkable. It’s a shame it wasn’t released everywhere as 3D, considering how much effort went into utilizing it.


More Rusty songs exist -- Cool! Rusty needs to release an album called “The Greatest Unheard Hits.” But not as a download. Just at some random record shop. :P


Tom’s dinner guests would certainly make an evening interesting. ^_^ But I'm a little more predictable....I'd just want Tom at my table.


You have to hand it to the guy for wanting to make AMDFASH the right way & more of his vision than Dark Country ended up being. I think crowdfunding works in some cases, but I'm starting to think that it should be a last resort for this one. I’m dying to know the budget he’s after, though.


I’m glad that some issues of Bad Planet Vol. 2 that haven’t been illustrated have been written &/or outlined. That’s better than nothing at all. I still have no idea the process it takes to find artists who are willing to commit to RAW’s standards.


I think The Amateur Kind should have smart humor but mainly carry a serious tone. With that kind of plot, you could go either way.


RAW Studios has made great art & has plans to make more -- Beautiful. B)




Well, Geoff.....You did it. You got Tom to open up some & let whatever he wanted out. I enjoyed reading every word of it. It’s always great to learn about personal & professional experiences directly from the people involved firsthand, instead of just getting "facts" from press releases & gossip.


Plus, I learned some new things about Tom, like more about his childhood, which I can never seem to Google too much about. Plus, it’s always fun to find out that there are always plenty of weirdcool things forming in his head.


Thank you for asking Tom my questions!! I wholeheartedly appreciate it. :wub:


This is definitely one of my favorite Q&As with TJ, because you know the questions were being asked from fans/supporters of Tom the person/actor/producer/writer/director/creator/comic book reader & conducted by a real & devoted RAWarror -- Geoff Woody! Bravo, sir! *applause* Bravo!


Oh, and shoes are overrated, anyways. ;)

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Thanks guys I'm glad you liked it I'm trying to make it a regular thing.

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Thanks guys I'm glad you liked it I'm trying to make it a regular thing.

 

Oh, that would be great! :)

 

Plus, it'd be awesome if we could have a Q&A arranged with Bradstreet, as well. Anyone have the power to make this happen?

 

Or better yet, set it up for a convention (maybe Mike could do this???) & turn it into a video Q&A with us sending in questions on the forum prior to the event & then Tim could give his answers for us on camera during the con. Now, THAT would be SWEET!!

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This isn't dead yet either. I spoke with Tom on Friday about doing more like this so we shall see what happens next. 

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On 3/25/2019 at 3:28 AM, Geoff said:

This isn't dead yet either. I spoke with Tom on Friday about doing more like this so we shall see what happens next. 

That'd be awesome! 😁

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On 4/9/2019 at 8:42 PM, Rosella said:

That'd be awesome! 😁

Well I want you guys to have the same opportunities to interact with Tom as much as possible and dont want it to be on social media. I want it in our house! 

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1 hour ago, Geoff said:

Well I want you guys to have the same opportunities to interact with Tom as much as possible and dont want it to be on social media. I want it in our house! 

Brilliant Geoff, can be at my house if you like!!! 😁. Seriously though, quite right it should be on home turf, now on tenterhooks waiting for more info! 

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3 hours ago, Geoff said:

Well I want you guys to have the same opportunities to interact with Tom as much as possible and dont want it to be on social media. I want it in our house! 

That would be awesome! No chance of gossip or misinformation amongst likeminded folk. Plus social media is just so much less (or too much?) personal. Although it is great as photo sharing platform.. 

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22 minutes ago, Davvi74 said:

That would be awesome! No chance of gossip or misinformation amongst likeminded folk. Plus social media is just so much less (or too much?) personal. Although it is great as photo sharing platform.. 

Completely agree.

2 hours ago, Gail Bentley said:

Brilliant Geoff, can be at my house if you like!!! 😁. Seriously though, quite right it should be on home turf, now on tenterhooks waiting for more info! 

lol, I do think it should be a forum thing, giving everyone something back. Takes a while to sort and get out there to drum up interest, get people to register to the site, drive up interest and most importantly arrange Tom's time but im working on it and will set up a new topic for it once its arranged. 

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3 hours ago, Geoff said:

Completely agree.

lol, I do think it should be a forum thing, giving everyone something back. Takes a while to sort and get out there to drum up interest, get people to register to the site, drive up interest and most importantly arrange Tom's time but im working on it and will set up a new topic for it once its arranged. 

Good luck getting this all pulled together Geoff, we have every faith in you!  So grateful to you for all the effort you devote to this site, it must be pretty time consuming but it's very much appreciated 👍

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8 hours ago, Geoff said:

Well I want you guys to have the same opportunities to interact with Tom as much as possible and dont want it to be on social media. I want it in our house! 

Appreciated! Our house is WAY better. 😎

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Thanks gang, appreciate the vote of confidence. I spoke with Tom yesterday who is up for this but if its as big as I hope it will be I gotta sort a few things with the site first then we can schedule it in around Tom's time and location.

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Update -

For anyone wanting to join this WILL happen in May (times TBC) Tom is going to give some time to the forum to answer any live questions. We are going to put it on on social media to bang the drum and generate interest but will only take place here on the forum.

I will start a new thread and pin it to the page for this at the time so all questions can be concentrated in one location. 

More details to come.....

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14 minutes ago, Geoff said:

Update -

For anyone wanting to join this WILL happen in May (times TBC) Tom is going to give some time to the forum to answer any live questions. We are going to put it on on social media to bang the drum and generate interest but will only take place here on the forum.

I will start a new thread and pin it to the page for this at the time so all questions can be concentrated in one location. 

More details to come.....

Yay!! Excellent news Geoff, excitement levels now nearing overload!! 😁😁😁

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Yes it should be a lot of fun! 

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Fantastic! Thank you for your (and his) commitment 😎

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33 minutes ago, Enaira said:

Fantastic! Thank you for your (and his) commitment 😎

Its my pleasure and I know Tom enjoys the interactions with everyone too. 

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Now got to think of something really interesting and original to ask, or else look like a total doofus in front of my hero 🤔🤔🤔

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18 minutes ago, Gail Bentley said:

Now got to think of something really interesting and original to ask, or else look like a total doofus in front of my hero 🤔🤔🤔

Yeah I know how that feels!,  but just be yourself and ask what you want to know......within reason of course lol.

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On 4/16/2019 at 4:02 AM, Geoff said:

Update -

For anyone wanting to join this WILL happen in May (times TBC) Tom is going to give some time to the forum to answer any live questions. We are going to put it on on social media to bang the drum and generate interest but will only take place here on the forum.

I will start a new thread and pin it to the page for this at the time so all questions can be concentrated in one location. 

More details to come.....

Thanks for the update, Geoff!! 👍 Can't wait!

On 4/16/2019 at 7:49 AM, Gail Bentley said:

Now got to think of something really interesting and original to ask, or else look like a total doofus in front of my hero 🤔🤔🤔

😄 Don't worry. I know you'll think of something & won't look like a doofus in the slightest. 

 

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On 4/16/2019 at 1:03 PM, Geoff said:

Yeah I know how that feels!,  but just be yourself and ask what you want to know......within reason of course lol.

Hmm, within reason?  So asking for his mobile number is out of the question then?. 😉

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