Streaming of Previous Men of Gray Movies?

August 5, 2012

mog2-deck-fight-4Many of you have been reaching out to us, asking about the best way to get your hands on a copy of either Men of Gray and Men of Gray 2, Flight of the Ibis, now that they are no longer in active distribution in many markets.

Here’s a message from G Anthony Joseph, actor and producer of both:

Dear Gracious fans,

We will finally be re-releasing Flight of the Ibis in the coming months.  We have been working behind the scenes, creating a Facebook presence for the movie, which will have a countdown launch pad to keep you apprised of the online release date.  Using the Men of Gray II Facebook page as our news and info platform, we hope to post updates, such as pictures, previously unreleased behind-the-scenes videos, music mog2-bikerGang-2videos, and more, all leading up to the re-release.

Sincerely,

G Anthony Joseph

Stay tuned…

Ric

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Music Vids from MOG2

September 20, 2010

Due to recent requests, I have sought to find and make available the two 1995 music videos to support the 2006 release of Men of Gray II, Flight of the Ibis.

Unfortunately, I have only been able to locate bits and pieces of each of these two historic Trinidad & Tobago music videos, and only in a low quality VHS copy.  If if find better, I’ll post them.  Meanwhile, here are the snippets of these videos:

We created the music videos to promote the movie, as you can tell by the way they are cut together with scenes from Flight of the Ibis.

  • Love and Pain was written and performed by Tricia Lee Kelshall.
  • Winning Lane was written by Sean Bartholomew (also known as Adrian Bartholomew), and performed by Sean, Tricia, and David Rudder.
  • Both videos (and the movie) were directed by me, Ric Moxley.
  • Sean Bartholomew created the musical score for the movie.
  • David Rudder and Tricia Lee Kelshall were both in the movie.  David performed as himself in one scene and Tricia was a co-star and the female lead.

All three of these Trinidadian musicians are still active.   See recent news on Sean/Adrian here, here, and here.  See Tricia on youtube, performing Mindcircus, the hit single from the 2001 Way Out West – Intensify album, which reached #39 in the UK charts.  David Rudder’s Facebook fan page is a good way to stay abreast of his music and recent news, or from his official Web site http://www.davidmichaelrudder.com/.

Finally, here’s a nice picture of the three of them together, taken by Trinidadian photographer Mark Lyndersay behind the scenes during production of Winning Lane:



Where Are They Today? Joe’s Son from Men of Gray II

August 21, 2010

Matthew Kong as “Sean Cameron”

I was recently contacted by a Trinidadian I’d never met—a young woman named Sydney.  It turns out that she is the younger sister of the boy who played Sean Cameron (Joe Cameron’s son), in the 1996 Men of Gray II movie (aka Flight of the Ibis).  Sydney and her mother Cheryl were trying to find a copy of the 1996 movie on DVD, which is apparently very hard to find in Trinidad.

Matthew then and Matthew today

The actor who played young Sean, Matthew Kong, is now fully grown and still living in Trinidad.  Here is Matthew as Sean in 1994 when we shot the movie:

sean_mog2_a sean_mog2_b

And here is Matthew today in a recent snapshot:

matthewKong-2010

I’m not certain what Matthew is doing now, but hopefully he or one of his family members will respond to this and fill us in.

The difficulty in fulfilling the family’s request 

With Men of Gray II being released so long ago, and into the low budget market, the movie was not originally distributed as a DVD at all.  It was theatrically released in several countries (not the U.S.) and available in TV markets and VHS worldwide.  But not DVD. 

Since I was not aware of a place in Trinidad where his family could buy the movie, I pieced together a collection of video snippets from the movie that featured Matthew.  It’s not as handsome a gift as a DVD (which I don’t have either!), but this online 8-minute montage was well-received by the family. 

You can see the Matthew-as-Sean clips here on YouTube.


More on Horace James

September 15, 2009

In this earlier post, I mentioned my enjoyment over finding five seconds of behind-the-scenes footage on Actor-Director-Producer-Mentor Horace James. In tribute to his influence with the original Men of Gray movie and its sequel Flight of the Ibis, here is more information and a few links for those who knew him or appreciated his work.

In Men of Gray II – Flight of the Ibis

In the sequel to Men of Gray, Horace was involved once again, but as an actor this time. Here’s a shot from Ibis, in which he portrayed a high-ranking government official, making deals with the country’s top drug lord Russo, played by Paul Tuerpe.

Image-0019

This was, I think, his last dramatic role. But it was hardly his first. You can get the full picture of his film acting credits (as well as his other roles as Writer, Producer, and Director) from his filmography on IMDB. It unfortunately doesn’t list his stage credits.

His life….

Horace James was honored by the National Drama Association (NDATT) in 1988 with the Cacique Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to drama.

To read more on his life story, here’s an enjoyable biographical article about Horace when he was 69 and one week shy of a heart surgery (not his first).

His death…

The aforementioned article includes a prophetic quote from Horace about his longevity; “If I could make 70, is all right. That is what you supposed to make: three score and ten.”

He indeed died at the age of 70.

For details on that, here’s a moving and informative obituary published upon his death in June, 2000. Not many of us can say this, but there’s even a song dedicated to him by Paul Keens-Douglas. You can hear a snippet at this link, or download the whole song.

Historical footnote

But not all of Horace James’ drama happened on stage or on camera; a Wikipedia article mentions Horace as one of the hostages in the July, 2000 Jamaat al Muslimeen coup attempt against the government of Trinidad and Tobago. Side note: I just barely missed the risk of also being a victim in that coup attempt, as the terrorists took over the TTT television station where I was stationed day and night until about 10 days before before the attack, editing Men of Gray.

I remember Horace as a Trinidadian Benjamin Franklin of sorts. He was charming, usually smiling, always influencing, and yet rarely in the fore. 

If anyone else has remembrances of Horace James they’d like to share, please do so.


Name Changed to Connect the Innocent

September 2, 2009

Speaking of connecting the dots, an idea occurred to me this morning as I reread the Flight of the Ibis shooting script while brainstorming story thread tie-ins of the new story to the original movies from which Joe Cameron, the protagonist of the current story, was formed.

So, here’s what I’m toying with…

One of the lead characters in the developing story is Orlando LaSalle, a young member of the press who is initially influenced by Joe and then, later, becomes the influencer. So, it occurred to me that Flight of the Ibis had a younger reporter as well — Zack Lereau — who may appear in this story, no longer a reporter, and much older of course. Why, in fact, he’d be older enough to have a son about Orlando’s age … and since they both already have French surnames… maybe Orlando could be Zack’s son

It makes sense, because…

It’s not unreasonable to think that a news reporter could breed a news reporter. For starters. But wait, there’s more:

  • Joe Cameron and Zack Lereau formed a solid interpersonal connection in the last movie — a mutual respect. To have Orlando be Zack’s son could let me jettison the Joe-Orlando relationship past the normal who-are-you-and-should-I-care exposition just by having Joe finding out that this whippersnapper is Zack’s son.
  • The story’s Orlando intro is already designed to show that he is not a crowd-follower: not your typical reporter, which is something that Joe liked about Zack. So it’s believable that the son would share characteristics with the father.
  • Having Orlando be Zack’s son would help me bring Zack into the story without fabricating some contrivance to do so; having Joe meet the son of a man he once knew and respected would engender a desire to reconnect.

The only downfall:

And this is minor, really.  But I like the rhythm of the full name Orlando LaSalle, much more so than Orlando Lereau.  It doesn’t roll off the tongue as smoothly. But I also like Orlando as the reporter’s first name. It just … fits. So, I may have to give him a new first name if I decide to make the Zack-Orlando father-son connection.  Bummer.


Connecting the dots

September 1, 2009

As described briefly on the blog’s About page, even though I’m writing this screenplay to function primarily as a standalone story, the fact is that it is built on characters introduced in two earlier movies — Men of Gray and Men of Gray II  (released internationally as Flight of the Ibis). Both of these ultra-low-budget movies got some good play in festivals and both have acquired a fan base among Caribbean audiences, particularly in Trinidad and Tobago where they were produced.

Consequently, something that producer G. and I have been sensitive to in developing this story is stay true to the original character of Joe Cameron, and to consider the possibility of including other characters that were introduced in the first two movies — both things that we feel would be appreciated by those who are familiar with these earlier films.

Of course, since the first two movies were loaded with high action confrontations between police and criminals, we damn near killed off the whole lot!

But what about those few characters that did survive the mayhem?

Right: Some did survive. But, with this new story, some 16 years of water have gone under their bridges — 19 years from the first Men of Gray movie, in fact. So I certainly have the choice of starting from scratch: ignoring the past and hoping no one notices…

But frankly I like the challenge of not forgetting about it — of staying fully on course with the story that we want to tell, but also infusing it with these historic threads.

Infuse … How so?

Here’s what I’m thinking about:

  1. Influencing Joe’s brain:
    At the very least, the surviving main characters from the first two movies are part of the emotional and psychological makeup of the present day Joe Cameron, so I’ve already built the modern day psyche of this man with those past events and characters as influencers.
  2. Adding interim adventures:
    I’ve also considered what might have occurred in Joe’s life with these characters in the nearly 2 decades since we last saw them; if they were friends, did they continue to be friends? If they were coworkers or subordinates, did they stay that way? If they were his enemies — wait, no: We killed off all the enemies, come to think of it. But you see my point; life goes on, and so I wanted to have some fun exploring the possibilities of how their intertwining lives may have developed since we last saw them, and how that might influence the current plot.
  3. Reintroducing them into MOG3:
    Though not confirmed, this is something we are seriously considering — infusing this story with the present-day embodiment of these past characters. It introduces some pragmatic risks to the production though, so I’m only carefully looking at this option, designing the story in such a way that, if necessary, we could later remove any of these reintroduced characters without tearing at the fabric of the story.

What pragmatic risks would that introduce?

For instance, if we wanted to cast any of the original actors for the roles, do we know that they are available? Are they even alive? Do they look anything at all like they did back then, or would they have changed so much that bringing them back would do more harm than good for the audience? And, since this new movie will likely have a higher budget, it will also have higher international expectations or distribution requirements. That means that, even if we bring back any of these previous characters, we may need to recast them with actors who have stronger international appeal. Would doing so potentially alienate any of the existing fan base?

So, who survived, and what happens to them now?

None of this is set in stone, mind you, but here are some of the characters from Joe Cameron’s life that we didn’t kill off in the first two movies that I’m thinking we could make good use of this time around.

  • Sean Cameron
    sean-cameron-mog1This is Joe’s son. When we last saw Sean, he was about five years old. Now, he would be a young adult. This is the most probable character to be continued in the new story. He would have changed so much in appearance that we are free to cast openly for it. Also, no other character is “required” to have been a continuing influence in Joe’s life like Sean would. At the very least, we would have to explain what happened to him if he is suddenly missing from Joe’s life now. I apologize — I don’t recall the name of the young actor who played Sean. If anyone knows, please shout it out in the blog comments.
  • Kelly Shepherd
    TLK-MoG2Played by Tricia Lee Kelshall, Kelly was the one female on Joe’s police anti-narcotics “Ibis Squad.” In watching Men of Gray II – Flight of the Ibis, we get the sense that there is some romantic attraction between them, or at least by Kelly, but it remains unspoken: unrequited. Joe’s wife dies early on in that story, so we are not surprised when Joe’s focus is elsewhere.  However, as the movie ends, as Joe and Kelly walk off into the proverbial sunset (in fact literal sunset, as I recall), they are symbolically holding hands with little Sean in between them, and each holding on to the boy’s hands. I suspect that viewers would like to think that Joe and Kelly got together somewhere beyond that sunset. So, I’m playing with that idea now — that they became briefly, but intensly, involved romantically shortly after we last saw them, with each going their own way, with one or both of them remarrying. Now, Joe enters the story as a single man with no romantic connections, and no apparent interest in one. But what happens if, after many years of living abroad, Kelly suddenly shows up, and sparks are flying?
  • Jason
    Cauri-MoG2Jason (Cauri Jaye) was the rookie Ibis Squad cop from Men of Gray II. I have a couple angles I’m thinking about with Jason. We know from the first movie that he is “once bitten, twice shy” personified. So, perhaps he became afraid or disillusioned with the law enforcement business, and has left it long behind. What happens if his old mentor Joe suddenly shows up asking him to work with him again? He might accept, but what if he has become a pacifist instead? What if he is philosophically at odds with Joe’s radical anti-crime strategies? If Joe does persuade him to reenlist, I’m considering having Sean be directly involved at one pivotal moment in the story that involves innocent people being killed by Joe’s team due to some bad intelligence, tearing Jason up emotionally. Or maybe he just gets killed, I don’t know. Lots of options here. 😉
  • Zack Lareau
    Michael-MoG2Zack, who was played by Michael Cherrie, was a youthful, intelligent, and likeable newspaper reporter in Men of Gray II. it seems doubtful that he would still be doing the street beat after all these years. Since the story has several press characters, one thought was to make him a chief editor or perhaps a TV anchorman. An idea that I like even better: He is now an attorney … and could perhaps become Joe’s attorney when the world turns against him late in the second act.

 We’ll see…


But he must be a *believably* flawed protagonist

July 23, 2009

Just as a flawless hero cannot easily inspire, a hero whose flaws appear contrived will just as likely fail to engage the viewer. Fortunately, we need not contrive them at all for this story.  Here’s why. 

Liberty in the Fires, as it will be released internationally, is also Men of Gray III, as it will be released in Trinidad & Tobago and anywhere else that the original two movies are well known. The point: I’m not creating Joe from scratch; he has a rich history — one that we need to be true to for the sake of our existing audience, in fact.  From that Men of Gray I and II history, we can find logical, believable, life-altering events that would naturally have shaped Joe Cameron’s personality and beliefs in the 16-or-so years that have passed since we last saw him as a 20-something cop in Men of Gray II – Flight of the Ibis.

For instance, we know from the first two movies that Joe is a passionate and principled man. But we also know that, if Joe has been valiantly soldiering on as a Trinidad & Tobago officer of the law for all these years, then he has done so in a country that has seen stunning increases in the rate of violent crime, several shocking political scandals, and an increasingly difficult economic situation.  Those events and conditions would directly affect a police officer. Furthermore, many Trinbagonians have publicly expressed a growing level of disrespect for, or distrust of, their police force, either because of corrupt elements within the ranks or because the police appear to be losing ground or effectiveness on many fronts against the unlawful elements of society. So, into this environment, we’re placing the fictional Officer Joe Cameron who likely faces frequent public ridicule from those who’ve lost faith in him and his comrades.  These kinds of ongoing pressures can chip away at any person’s will to keep striving for righteousness.

So, we use that. We show Joe wrestling with the kinds of issues that real-world Commissioner of Police Randolph Burroughs must have struggled with — how long to continue sticking to principle — to keep striving for justice in a world where the law too often fails to bring the unlawful to justice.  What can Joe do when faced with the realization that, in a broken justice system, his principled ways cannot bring about justice?  When those ideals of righteousness and justice become incompatible, Joe’s zeal becomes a weakness that could drive him to abandon principle for the hope of achieving justice.

That’s how the plot of this story can test Joe and show us his flaws.  Meanwhile, earlier events could have damaged his wholeness. For instance, we know from the first two Men of Gray stories that Joe has been personally victimized by violence; his wife and several close friends were killed before his eyes. His son was kidnapped and nearly killed. He was falsely accused of murder and hunted down by his own country — made a pariah of the law that he had sworn to defend. We can very easily assume that these events would scar him mentally. So, in this story, we meet a Joe Cameron that has never remarried.  Could that not suggest that Joe has relationally isolated himself — preventing the deep hurt of love lost by not loving deeply ever since those tragic events? And, since he has raised his son Sean alone, imagine the kinds of relational problems those two would face when the dad has serious intimacy issues! To make matters worse, in this story, Sean has grown up to become a police officer himself.  It’s reasonable to think that, even though Joe ought to be proud of his son’s desire to serve his country, he would also fear that he spent his entire fatherhood trying to protect his son from ever again being endangered by evil men, only to now have him volunteer to be in the line of fire. What anguish! 

And that’s the fun of story creation.  Now, we have a man before us that we can understand and appreciate: a man that is full of hurt that he cannot face up to, full of fear that he cannot protect others from danger, full of ideals that he cannot achieve, and full of passions that gets pummeled at every turn.

That, I feel, is the most compelling approach to this story: to present a protagonist with believable human weaknesses and then to have those character flaws continually interfere with his goals.  

And yet … he must be a man that won’t give up the fight.  A hero.

That then is the goal: to create a protagonist whose sacrificial passion for restoring his country to greatness inspires us, even as we’re morbidly drawn into his battle against those all-too-familiar internal demons and relational difficulties that keep interfering with his social goals.  Then, the real drama of this story becomes less about the surface plotline and more about the interfering character flaws that Joe must overcome, or at least battle into submission, or else he will risk losing the societal battles of the primary plotline.