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Legge, Mike - Current Fun Stuff! PDF Print E-mail
Written by By T. Ranstill   
May 07, 2004 at 02:00 AM
One of the most prolific, and perhaps most overlooked, independent filmmakers is Massachusetts based writer/director Michael Legge. This is in part because his movies are comedies, not straight horror or exploitation films.  And let\'s face it--how many comedy genre magazines are there on your local newsstand? I\'ve been a fan of his work for years, having seen the zombie-spoof WORKING STIFFS, the witchcraft-oriented LOONS, the premier of CUTTHROATS at the Chicago Underground Film Festival a few years back, and recently SICK TIME, which really hits that subject matter right on the head! Recently, he completed his first shot on video endeavor, a dark comedy entitled POTENTIAL SINS, a sort of Bergman film for the 90\'s.
Q: Your current movie, POTENTIAL SINS, is different from your normal, comedic films. It has a nastier edge to it, a distinctly dark comedy. Why the departure?
LEGGE: It\'s about time the public new that I really am a nasty person! Just joking, folks. I admit POTENTIAL SINS is a darker comedy than normal for me. There generally is chaos, murder, and weirdness going on, but SINS is more rooted in reality than my previous films. I think that\'s what makes it darker. Real life is pretty damn dark. And of course, writers work out their problems and anxieties on paper, and filmmakers go one step further and put it up on the screen. A lot of personal strife was going on in my life at the time, and I deal with depression, anger and guilt by laughing at it. Better than walking into a Burger King and blowing seventeen people away with an assault rifle. SINS is probably a blip on my movie screen, but I know the next one is back to the supreme idiocy that I\'m known and beloved for. But hell, I don\'t want to make the same kind of comedy all the time, so who knows what I\'ll keep doing?
Q: I\'ve noticed faces reappearing in your movies--you have a stock company of actors who are fairly diverse in their performances. How did you find your cast?
LEGGE: I have extraordinary luck finding suitable people to populate my little universe. I freelance direct and act in theater, and I run my own theater group, so I run into a fair amount of actors of all types, sizes, ages, etc. What I primarily look for is someone I can get along with, that\'s very important to me, and people that can play characters beyond their personality. My biggest kick is finding very straight looking people and getting them to act like idiots. You\'d be surprised how many normal looking people want to behave like morons. I\'ve built a small repertory company of actors over the years, and it helps me with casting. Because I know their capabilities, I can see them as a certain character in the script and know it\'ll work. But I like to add new people as well, to keep me and the movies fresh.
Q: Unlike the majority of independent filmmakers you also act in your own movies--does this lend for or against the small budget production and why?
LEGGE: I admit it, I\'m a ham. I\'ve always liked to make people laugh ever since I was a kid (a very weird kid) . So it was only natural to me to be in my own movies when I started making them. It\'s very helpful to be an actor as well for two main reasons. There\'s one actor you\'ll never have to worry about--yourself, and being an actor gives you insight into an actor\'s problems and concerns. A lot of directors are just traffic cops or visually oriented, not putting any time to character development or motivation. I\'m not trying to sound high-handed, but why write a decent script and then not give the actors any direction? I don\'t write vehicles for myself, though; I frequently don\'t cast myself in the \"lead\", and sometimes take the part that\'s left over after I cast everyone else. Anyway, actors have more fun than the beleaguered director, so why can\'t I have some yuks during a shoot?
Q: Although many of your films, including the present, have some horrific or fantastical elements they are firmly comedies. Who are your influences?
LEGGE: My influences are a real smorgasbord of comedy and fantasy films. Being a Sixties kid, I grew up watching THE THREE STOOGES, LAUREL & HARDY, THE MARX BROTHERS, etc, so I got to really like comedy teams, rather than a single comedian carrying a film. And I loved old horror movies on TV, the classic Universal stuff, and went to the movies a lot seeing the then new Hammer films. And I loved science-fiction as well, the cheesy with the classic. So I guess what happened is that I took the two genres I liked the most and mixed them together. Making comedies with a fantasy or horror element also gives you a lot of leeway with subject matter. I don\'t have to stay grounded in reality, and the added element of absurd comedy basically means that I can make up any rules I want.
Q: You\'ve been making films for a long time--tell us a bit about your history.
LEGGE: With that question I just realized I\'ve been making movies for most of my life now! Oh God! Somebody shoot me! Since I was sixteen in high school. I discovered that instead of doing term papers, teachers were real impressed that you would make a film instead, so I managed to do an academic chore and have fun at the same time. I started with Super 8mm, did a couple of l6mm, went back to Super 8mm, and now have gone to Super VHS with POTENTIAL SINS (\"Film-looked,\" of course). During the past twenty years I\'ve had stuff screened at a lot of festivals; Ann Arbor, California, South Carolina, Florida, Australia, Puerto Rico, Venezuela. I picked up a fair amount of awards from these for the short films I made, when the jurors were in a good mood. And I managed to get THE LEMON MAN on the USA Network a long while back, on the defunct program NIGHT FLIGHT. It wasn\'t until the late 80\'s that I started making feature-length comedies and I\'ve been very fortunate to have two of them, LOONS and CUTTHROATS, receive grants from the NEA. (Maybe that\'s why the NEA is in trouble). So far no one\'s given me a grant to stop making movies, so I guess I\'ll keep doing them.
Q: What are your current projects?
LEGGE: Now that POTENTIAL SINS is completed, distribution should begin shortly, primarily through SALT CITY HOME VIDEO. I\'ve just completed a screenplay for my next movie, tentatively entitled BRAINDRAINER, which is a sci-fi comedy, and brings me back full circle to my roots, doing totally ridiculous movies. I\'ve also shot some interview footage for Kevin Lindenmuth\'s ALIEN AGENDA: UNDER THE SKIN (the third ALIEN AGENDA movie), which was a lot of fun to do since I don\'t have to put it together! I\'d love to act in other people\'s films and maybe I\'ll have the chance to in the future. I\'ve written a play which will be mounted here in Massachusetts in the next year and I\'ll probably start a new play this Winter. When I have time plan to eat, sleep, and.. .what\'s that other thing? Oh yeah, work for a living!

User Comments

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Thanks for incduroting a little rationality into this debate.

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Comment by Bill on 2015-10-26 07:00:48
I always udserntood it as, unless you were absolutely perfect and led a perfect life, had perfect thoughts, that even one sin would condemn you to hell. You would never be worthy enough to get into heaven on your own accord and would have to go through all the pain and trial that await a sinful soul. I'm not exactly clear on sacrificing an animal, but I assume the animal represents in innocent and sinless soul which takes on your sins of the-lets say the week- and in sacrificing it, the animal's soul will take your place in hell or everlasting death and you get to start the week out fresh. What Jesus did, was he led that perfect life that is is impossible for the rest of us to accomplish. Then he willingly took on all the sins of all man past, present and future and died for us, so that as long as we believe he did this for us, we will be forgiven if we ask for it. The best part is, Jesus rose from the dead and now is a living spirit in heaven. He paved the way for the rest of us so that when our physical body dies, our soul is clensed and we get to go to heaven without all the pain and horribleness and death that would otherwise accompany a sinful soul. Because Jesus willingly took on our sins and payed the price for us, we can all be delivered into heaven. And have everlasting life. I think one of the major reasons God did this was because the sacrificial lamb probably wasnt enough. If you asked forgiveness and sacrificed on sunday, but died on a wednesday, you would still have to die and experience the trials of hell because you still were not clean. I'm also thinking of the poor that could not afford, or had no animals to sacrifice--good people that loved God, but were still imperfect. Jesus took care of all that when he died for us. This is my own interpritation, but that is how I understand it. I am unclear if precrucifixion, if a soul died did they experience hell until thier sins were paid and THEN went to heaven, or if they were just damned because they sinned at all. I'm not sure and would be something to ask. I just know that no one was able to enter heaven as a perfect soul without Jesus sacrificing himself to save us.

Comment by Morena on 2015-10-27 22:16:51
Just goes to show how much they really do get at their young age! In case you do not aldarey have it here is the recipe for Easter Cookies I think the boys would really like it! I apologize in advance if this takes up a lot of Comment room!To be made the evening before EasterYou need: 1 C whole pecans 1 tsp. vinegar 3 egg whites a pinch salt 1 C sugar 1 zipper baggie 1 wooden spoon tape BiblePreheat oven to 300 degrees (this is important addon’t wait until you’re half done with the recipe!)Place pecans in zipper baggie and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested He was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read John 19:1-3Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp. vinegar into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross He was given vinegar to drink. Read John 19:28-30Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave his life to give us life. Read John 10:10-11Sprinkle a little salt into each child’s hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus’ followers and the bitterness of our own sin. Read Luke 23:27So far, the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 cup sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because he loves us. He wants us to know and belong to him. Read Ps. 34:8 and John 3:16Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God’s eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read Isa. 1:18 and John 3:1-3Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus’ body was laid. Read Matt. 27:57-60Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus’ tomb was sealed. Read Matt. 27:65-66GO TO BED! Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus’ followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20 and 22On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter, Jesus’ followers were amazed to find the tomb empty!!! Read Matt. 28:1-9 http://jzwbui.com [url=http://rkdmllgb.com]rkdmllgb[/url] [link=http://ucmdbl.com]ucmdbl[/link]
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