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POP INTERVIEW: Producer And Actor David Barckhoff on His Winston Churchill Film

Did you catch producer/actor David Barckhoff’s roles as a police officer in the Tom Cruise film, Jack Reacher, or as a basketball referee in Matt Damon’s Promised Land? For his new Winston Churchill film which he is producing…



Did you catch producer/actor David Barckhoff’s roles as a police officer in the Tom Cruise film, Jack Reacher, or as a basketball referee in Matt Damon’s Promised Land? For his new Winston Churchill film which he is producing, Struggle to the Light, Barckhoff will film with Slumdog Millionaire associate producer Jenn Nkiru…and he may, if negotiations work out, be working with top notch talent like Academy Award winning director Tom Hooper of The King’s Speech fame. The movie will be shooting in several locations from July to September, aiming for a 2014 release date.

David Barckhoff

The premise of this film sounds great, if not pretty difficult to make happen precisely. How are you making this film look, sound and if it were possible, smell like the past?
We are going to use period costumes and wardrobe that are either close to or exactly what people were wearing in London & New York City during the May 1929-May 1940 time line of the film’s story. We are also using period vehicles, trains, and film in and on locations that were built prior to this time period and on actual locations that were used by the Churchill family during this time. Such as their family home called Chartwell, The war room bunker in London, HMS Belfast Battleship moored in the Thames river & near The Parliament, Buckingham Palace, London Bridge, (William Penn Hotel, Benedum & Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh). Strasburg, PA Train. We are also building some interior sets in the famous Pinewood studios. Also we are using the last remaining airfield still in operation from the Battle of Britain. We will use music from that time period or use music that sounds like that it came from that era. Some good movie & TV examples with similar look to our film are “Boardwalk Empire”, The Kings Speech, The Untouchables from 1987, Gangland, Miller’s Crossing, History Channel’s “Men Who Built America”(I acted & was 2nd Assistant Director in two episodes) . There maybe some scenes that CGI- Computer Generated Imagry-Computer Graphics will be needed to provide the appropriate time period backdrop.

What did you learn while researching Churchill in this time period before you worked on the film?
Winston’s Mother was an American and his Father was British. So technically he had dual citizenship of the USA and England. Also most of the events in this movie had actually occurred. It is very close to historically accurate as possible.

In the years leading up to World War II, both England & France followed a similar diplomatic path of appeasement of Germany. As Nazi intentions became clear, France pushed for a harder line but the British demurred, believing diplomacy could solve the disputes. The result was the Munich Agreement of 1938 that gave Germany control of parts of Czechoslovakia settled by Germans. In early 1939 Germany took over all of Czechoslovakia and began threatening Poland. Appeasement had failed, and both Britain and France raced to catch up with Germany in weaponry.

David Barckhoff

The film’s web description talks about the “toll it takes on his family, friends and closest advisors.” How did you demonstrate this? How did you also demonstrate this throughout the film in nonverbal gestures with the script and your planning?
Some of Winston’s advisors end up arrested for treason for speaking out against the appeasement policy.

 Winston’s family starts to leave him for a short time because they can’t handle the stress.

Sarah Churchill moves to New York City from London to marry stage actor Victor Oliver(the character I’m playing), despite her parents Winston & Clementine’s disapproval & is vehemently opposed to. They want her to do into politics like her father Winston. Sarah is opposed to that “life style”. There is a subtext that both Father & Daughter are alike in someways and both overcome opposition to get what they want. Father wants England & USA to go to war against Germany while Sarah wants to be an actress and not be a politician like her father.

At the time, he wasn’t always popular. Why do you think we look back differently on him, other than obvious reasons? What about him as a man?
He has resolve. He remains true to his moral principles and fights to preserve the interests of his fellow citizens and his country. He has an underlying premonition of the impending doom that will soon plunge almost every country into taking sides during World War 2 a few short years later.

The agonizing decisions that are made and those that will have to be made during these very troubling times, will weigh heavily on one man. Do to the circumstances, these events will bring about one man that-despite great opposition, will rise up as leader of a nation to unite his country and the world to fight, oppose and ultimately defeat a fierce and determined enemy and the tyranny that was left behind by Germany and Japan. That one man is Sir Winston Churchill.

While others use fake backdrops, big studio productions like James Cameron’s work included, you’re going to be on location in Pittsburgh, London and Manhattan. Wow! How are you going to take advantage of this? What do the planned sets and backgrounds look like?
We plan on building sets in the famous Pinewood Studios that closely resemble the 1930’s time period.

What do you anticipate when you begin shooting? What about for the finished, edited film? Why do you think Winston Churchill is an exciting personality who stands the test of time?
We anticipate everyone to be prepared to have fun, learn and to give 110% to make this movie story come alive in the spirit of the now deceased person’s that our actor’s will be portraying. Along with making this one of the best or the best movie’s of the year that will be seen worldwide during it’s release in May 2014. To coincide with the 69th Anniversary of the end of the World War 2 in Europe.

During the 1930’s there was a strong appeasement and isolationism philosophy among many countries. Most had a small military and were inadequately prepared to defend themselves in a time of war. The preferred peace instead of conflict. Sometimes standing up to an aggressor is not the only thing to do but is the right thing to do under those circumstances. Sir Winston Churchill had to over come many people who had this peace mentality so he kept saying and warning everyone he can to strengthen their military & to oppose the aggressive nature of the Nazi Regime, Mussolini’s Italy, and Japan.


Chatting With Charo: The “Hair” Edition



Brace yourself! There is a lot you don’t know about Charo’s hair! Listen, learn – and laugh your ass off – all along the way!

I got to visit Charo at her home just a week ago (I’ve known her wonderful family for many years) and we started out chatting about food (which explains all the tapas on the table!) But not so shockingly, we got sidetracked! This conversation about her hair had me laughing until I was crying!

Catch more chatting with charo! Follow her on Twitter! 

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And Hey, why not follow me too! On twitter and instagram!

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Lizzo Is An Icon In The Making – And Here’s Why



Mirror, mirror on the wall don’t say it ‘cause we know Lizzo cute. And by cute I mean extremely talented, gorgeous and totally inspiring!

A few months ago I was watching The Ellen Degeneres Show when I witnessed one of the most fun, exciting and awe-inspiring performances I’ve ever seen. Lizzo popped onto the screen in a sparkly, pink getup and began singing what would become her big hit song, “Juice,” – I was immediately hooked (more like obsessed). During this performance she also jammed out on her flute alongside her plus-sized backup dancers and suddenly I knew I had been changed forever. I did some more research on the rapper/singer and found out I had been sleeping on this gem! Lizzo has been doing bad all by her damn self for years, having already released two albums in the past. I am suddenly mad at every single person who neglected to tell me to jump on the Lizzo train sooner! If you’re like me and need a bit of catch up, I’m going to break down exactly why you need to know this icon in the making.

You can throw a stone in any direction and hit a triple threat nowadays. Lizzo’s brings talents we have yet to see in the mainstream music industry.

If singing, rapping and dancing make Lizzo a triple threat, what does flute playing making her?!? A STAR THAT’S WHAT! Lizzo has displayed her abilities as a talented flautist, which is not an instrument you would necessarily think of in conjunction with the rap genre making this talent all the more extraordinary. Lizzo even used her flauting skills to compete (and defeat IMO) with Ron Burgundy. Not Will Ferrell, but Ron Burgundy.

Oh, and she can also twerk while playing the flute. 

As if playing the flute wasn’t impressive enough, Lizzo can also twerk while playing. I really hope some high school kid is deciding to take band just so he/she can flutwerk their way around campus like their fav flautist, Lizzo.

Lizzo uses her platform to inspire and raise up everyone around her.

Lizzo uses her voice for more than just creating fire music, ya know. She uses her platform to defend the belief that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Her Twitter is filled with positivity and strong messages about acceptance.


Uhm…she’s straight up gorgeous. 

We cant forget to mention that Lizzo is a straight up beauty queen. She is known to switch up her look but I’ve never seen a bad pic of this queen. To solidify my point, she is now officially the first, plus sized black woman to be featured in Playboy magazine!


Move over Avenger’s, Lizzo has been in a comic book too!

Ok indulge the nerd in me on this one…Lizzo was even featured in a comic book!!! That’s right, she has become so influential that even Marvel comics wanted a piece of the Lizzo-pie. Check out this shout-out in Unstoppable Wasp #4!


So now that you have become as obsessed as I have, you are probably wondering how you can get even more Lizzo in your life. Well lucky for you, her new album dropped TODAY! Her third studio album, Cuz I Love You, is available anywhere you listen to music and let me tell you, YOU WILL LOVE IT. The album is varied and showcases all of Lizzo’s incredible range with some songs being upbeat and funky, and others being slowed down and heart wrenching. For a taste of what to expect, click below to listen to the title track of the album. If the new album still doesn’t satisfy the hunger for more Lizzo, she’s also on tour! You can click here for more info on tour dates.

Oh Lizzo…you are most definitely 100% that bitch.  

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Cher Slapped, Sang And Lip-Synched Her Way Through Her ‘Tonight Show’ Takeover



If I could turn back time, I would watch Cher take over The Tonight Show again and again.

Give me a rapid vibrato and a strong hair flip and I am just about the happiest man on earth. There isn’t much the iconic Cher can’t do as proven by her lengthy career as an actress, singer and now broadway producer, so it was no surprise when she became one of The Tonight Show‘s most memorable guests in history last night. Cher wasted no time diving into the fun, giving host, Jimmy Fallon, a helping hand with his opening monologue. And by helping hand I mean she slapped him…not once but twice! I am now twice as jealous of Jimmy Fallon. The slap was of course a recreation of Cher’s legendary slap from her Oscar-award winning role in Moonstruck. All these years later and it is still a very effective way of shutting people up.

The Cher-takeover didn’t stop there! Cher hit the couch to answer some burning questions that fans (me) wanted to know about life as a living legend. During her chat she opened up about how painfully shy she was and is despite growing up in show business. She revealed that she was actually so afraid to sing in intimate settings that she lied about disliking “I Got You Babe” when Sonny Bono first introduced it to her just so she wouldn’t have to sing on the spot. It’s hard to imagine the showgirl being so shy but she confirmed that “it was really terrible, I was so shy.” During the chat Cher also confessed that she’s never actually heard a good impression of her! Even though she has to be one of the most impersonated celebrities of all time, she said she struggles to find any inkling of herself in all of the weird facial expressions and “bullish*t”!!! God I love her. The hour then segued to Cher’s new, autobiographical, hit Broadway musical The Cher Show which prompted a performance of “I Got You Babe” by the musical’s Sonny and young Cher, Jarrod Spector and Micaela Diamond. The audience nearly fell out and I audibly gasped when Cher herself joined Spector to finish the performance.

Of course a Tonight Show takeover would not be complete without a little lip-sync battle. This lip-sync battle was different than any other, however, as both Cher and Jimmy lip-synched to drunk bar patron renditions of Cher’s “Believe.” That’s right, Jimmy sent a camera crew to a karaoke bar at 1am and filmed their takes on the classic hit and used those vocals as the source of the lip-sync! Everything about this is hilarious!

The hour seemed to fly by and things only got more exciting as Jimmy brought the three leads from The Cher Show to the couch. Stephanie J. Block, Teal Wicks and Micaela Diamond cozied up next to Cher and gushed about what an incredible experience it has been working with such an icon. All four ladies closed the hour with an incredibly performance of “If I Could Turn Back Time” and how I wish I could just to be able to relive this hour over and over! I do believe this hour will go down in books as one of the best Tonight Show moments in history.

Like what you read? Follow @ChrisSiretz in Twitter and Instagram




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