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The Sandman Cometh: Interview With Mick Ignis



Mick Ignis is a prolific character actor who you may have seen in the popular Harry Potter short “Serverus Snape in the Marauders”. His latest works include several demons on the hit IFC show “Stan Against Evil”.
I had a chance to catch up with him to talk about his latest movie project that will air on the SyFy channel October 14th  9pm/8 CT called “The Sandman” .

AQ: Hey Mick! thanks for talking with us. Tell us about your upcoming project “The Sandman”? What is it about?

MI: “The Sandman” follows a young girl named Madison (Shae Smolik) who has a powerful and uncontrollable ability to manifest a murderous, supernatural guardian whenever she feels fear. After being taken in by her aunt Claire (Haylie Duff), Madison becomes the target of an agency, lead by a shady character called Valentine (Tobin Bell), looking to use The Sandman for their own gain. It’s a terrifying introduction to this new horror monster that I can’t wait to unleash on audiences.

AQ: How did you get involved in this project?

MI: I was recommended to the film’s writer/director Peter Sullivan by my good friends George Troester and Cig Neutron, who’s studio TroTron FX, handled the creature effects for “The Sandman“. I met with Peter at his office to discuss the role and we immediately had a blast talking about the script and all the terrifying directions we could take the character in. Peter is clearly a huge fan of the genre and managed to create a character that resonates the energy of past horror icons while bringing something completely new and horrific to the table. I was already excited about the project when I first read the script, but that excitement continued to grow after every shot we got in the can. As horror nerds, this was a dream film for us all.

Photo Credit The Sandman

AQ: Did you have any creative input into the final look of your character?

MI: The creatures look was all the work of the talented FX team who designed him. Creature concept artist Adam Milicevic did some amazing designs of “The Sandman” and the suit really came together with the sculpt and finishing texture that truly gave the appearance of a being made from dark sand. The added visual effects that complete the characters transformations will be the icing on the cake.

I noticed that it was executive produced by Stan Lee. Did you ever get to meet him on set?

I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting Stan, but I hope to soon! I’ve been a HUGE Marvel fan since I was a comic book devouring child, so I just about lost my mind after finding out that Stan signed on as Executive Producer of the film. It’s beyond an honor to share a project with someone who’s work has had such a profound effect on my life.

AQ: What was the casting process like for this movie?

MI: This being such a small community, so many of the roles that come my way are by referral. Which I’m grateful for, as I (like many actors) HATE auditioning. I had worked with George on several projects before this and have been good friends with him and Cig for years, so we already had a strong working relationship. For creature roles like this, having a strong team around the character is essential. I’m playing The Sandman, but it’s the entire fx team that truly brings him to life. It’s a very collaborative effort.

Photo Credit The Sandman

AQ: What was the makeup process like when suiting up for your scenes?

MI: This project was MUCH easier on me than others I’ve been on. The suit and mask were custom sculpted to my body cast, so I have an excellent range of movement with it. It takes two people about 20 minutes to get me in the suit and pop on the mask. Significantly less than the hours spent gluing me in to prosthetics!

AQ: Tell me a little more about your acting background.  Where did you get your start? Did you always want to be an actor?

MI: I feel like, while I didn’t have the confidence to be an actor until my early 20s, I was always finding some way in which to tell stories. I started in entertainment as a stop-motion animator on shows like “Robot Chicken” and “Moral Orel“, where my focus was on studying movement and transferring that over to the puppets I was pushing around. That itself is a sort of acting performance. While I loved animation, it didn’t feel like THE thing I was meant to be doing with my life, so I took what I loved most about the animation process and furthered it by going to school for acting and makeup artistry. Playing monsters wasn’t my initial pursuit but, with my physicality and connection to the makeup fx world, it was an inevitable path and I love the diverse range of characters I’ve been able to portray.

Photo Credit The Sandman

AQ: How did the practical fx make up come into play with your acting career? Was there some intensive training involved?

MI: The first person to really start throwing me under prosthetics was my fx teacher Rob Burman and I took to it quickly. From there, I worked at a studio called Amalgamated Dynamics, where veteran fx artist Alec Gillis cast me in projects like “The Evil Within” and “Harbinger Down”. This being such a small industry, word traveled fast between FX studios and film producers and I’ve been steadily building up my rogues gallery ever since. There wasn’t any specific training for this, just experience and learning more and more from each role.

AQ: You came from a theater background. Do you think you would go back to it?

MI: I absolutely would! I love performing on stage. It’s a completely different feeling from doing something for film and the immediate audience response is intoxicating. It’s a bit of a time commitment but, if the right role opportunity came along, I would definitely jump back in to doing a theater production.

AQ: Which do you prefer TV /movies or the stage?

MI: In a perfect world, I’d be performing on stage whenever I’m not shooting on film. Being an actor for movies and television will always be my dream and number one priority, but live performance is something I’ll always be passionate about. I get a bit of that feeling from dressing up and performing at conventions, but nothing beats a well-oiled stage production.

AQ: One of the big things we know you from is “Severus Snape and the Marauders”. Rumor has it that it’s developing a possible sequel. What can you tell us about that?

MI: The rumors are true! As “Severus Snape and The Marauders” closes in at 3 million views, the entire cast has decided to reunite to keep the story going with “The Great Wizarding War”.   This will be a new medium for me, as we’ll be telling this ambitious magical war story as a 12-part radio play series. I’ve read the first few episodes and, if you thought the stakes and intensity was high in the film, just wait to hear what’ll be unleashed in this tale set in one of the wizarding worlds most dangerous times. I’m very excited to jump back in to playing Snape and take his story down this spiral. We’ll be announcing more details about the project soon!

John C. McGinley, Mick Ignis -Photo Credit Kim Simms/IFC

AQ: We also have seen you as that awesome goat demon in “Stan Against Evil”! What was it like working on that show!

MI: “Stan Against Evil” is one of the greatest joys in my career and I’m beyond grateful to series creator Dana Gould for bringing me on. I’ve now portrayed 4 different demons plaguing Willard’s Mill, which has given me a lot to play with. The entire cast is an absolute joy to work with and the show is only getting better as the blend of horror, comedy, and heart finds its perfect balance. It’s great to work on a show that has so much love and respect for monster characters. Rather than just being a “be scary from Point A to Point B” sort of production, the creatures really drive the story forward and give me something good to dig in to. And getting to fight John McGinley each summer doesn’t suck!

AQ: We’ve seen you in many forms. You are a great chameleon. We can never tell what you will show up in next. What’s your favorite character you have portrayed so far?

MI: It is SO hard to pick one character that I’ve enjoyed the most. Every one of them has been a different game. For Stan, the Baphomet is definitely close to my heart after seeing his scowling face around LA on bus stop posters and billboards (at the moment I’m wearing him as a lapel pin!). There’s a character I play in the season 2 finale that had such a fun, sinister personality to play with (and possibly one of my favorite kills in my career), so she’s definitely up there in my faves. Tomorrow night I’ll be seeing The Sandman for the first time and that’s going to be a majorly impactful experience, as it’s the first film I’ve been featured in to this extent. I don’t know…I’m terrible at picking favorites. I don’t really have favorites!

AQ: During the San Diego Comic Con you showed up in a wild WAHLUIGI cosplay. Do you always go dressed up to cons and what are some of your greatest costumes?

MI: Waluigi was something my buddy Cig and I have been talking about doing for YEARS! I saw a previous Wario makeup he did on himself and was immediately like, “dude, PLEASE do that again and turn me in to Waluigi so we can cause some chaos at Comic Con!”. He and Rannie Rodil did an amazing job putting the character together. Nintendo really loved it and it got a great viral response. This was my fourth year of doing these crazy, massive cosplay projects. In the past I’ve been Apocalypse, Thanos, The Vulture…now I’m looking for ways to raise the bar higher for next year! They’re a unique sort of “live theater” opportunity and I have a great time spending the day interacting with convention guests in character.

AQ: Do you have any advice for new actors wanting to do what you do?

MI: I’m all about character study. Get to know your characters as best you can. Learn what makes them tick, what their backstory is, why they do what they do. And remember to enjoy yourself. Be kind and supportive to those you work with. This is a hard and often times painful industry to navigate (I’m definitely still learning) so, if you’re not having fun doing what you love on set, what’s the point?!

Follow Mick on 

Twitter @ignistwote

IG: MickIgnis

Facebook OfficialMickIgnis

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Dune Part Two: The Lisan Al Gaib comes for you!



Welcome back to our struggle for control of the known universe already in progress, the continuation of the journey of Paul Atreides from exile to Emperor, Dune Part Two

So when we last left our intrepid if dubious heroes, House Atreides had been betrayed and virtually destroyed, by a combination of House Harkonnens surprise attacks and the added treachery of Emperor Shaddam and his Sardaukar. Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet), the last surviving heir (so far) of House Atreides and his mother Jessica, have taken refuge on the desert planet of Arrakis amongst the indigenous Fremen, and as far as most are aware, the other remnants of House Atreides are dead as well. And here is where we catch up with everyone, as the struggle for Atreides emergence and dominance begins in earnest! 

The Emperor’s daughter Princess Irulan (Florence Pugh) is known for her many skills, but her copious note-taking and writings on the large events shaping her world come to the forefront as she takes counsel with her father amidst games of chance on their homeworld. Her life is one of luxury and privilege but alas, Irulan is a trained Bene Gesserit and is well aware that in all likelihood, she will be used as a pawn in the marriage games empires have to go through. Bet she never imagined it could be to a House everyone swore had been utterly destroyed. 

Meanwhile, on Arrakis, Paul is trying to integrate himself into the Fremen way of life, which is admittedly far different from the life he led back on the Atreides homeworld of Caladan. (If nothing else, Caladan has vast oceans.) The Fremen are fiercely independent, gloriously strong fighters, survivors who dare to ride and revere the giant sandworms that inhabit their planet that they call Shai-Hulud, and rightfully distrustful of outsiders. After all, the previous stewardship of Arrakis belonged to House Harkonnen, known for their cruelty and glee at hunting Fremen and torturing their victims, sometimes for weeks at a time. But Paul won his and Jessicas way into the Fremen by fair combat against Jamis, and if nothing else, the Fremen are firm in their beliefs of the old ways. 

Or rather, the elder Fremen are, most particularly the famed Fedaykin fighter and Naib (leader) of Sietch Tabr Stilgar (Javier Bardem) is adamant in his unshakable belief that Paul is the foretold Lisan Al Gaib, the Voice from the Outer World, that will lead the Fremen to peace and paradise. Stilgar’s steadfast belief in Paul’s potential only grows, and he manages with just that to convince a great many of the other Fremen elders. The younger generation of Fremen however, of which Paul’s beloved Chani (Zendaya) is a part, generally scoff at the legends of otherworldly prophets and Arrakis as a fabled green, wet heaven. In the beginning, Paul himself swears he doesn’t want to be the Messiah, only a Fremen fighter amongst the rest of them, hundreds of years of the Missionaria Protectiva, the Bene Gesserit practice of spreading useful religious propaganda as seeds on various planets, is working double-time against him. It doesn’t help that Paul’s mother Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) is expounding on that myth as much as she possibly can. 

And why would she do that? Survival yes, but also, Jessica is a thoroughly trained Bene Gesserit and knows of plans within plans within plans. Jessica also has many secrets of her own, and one very important one happens to be that she’s pregnant with Paul’s sister. The Bene Gesserit bodily control may be something out of legend, but even Jessica, possibly Reverend Mother Mohiam’s best and most fractious student, will have trouble with the trial the Fremen are insisting she go through to become truly one of them. The Reverend Mother equivalent of Sietch Tabr, known as their Sayyadina, is old and dying, and the Fremen have to have a Reverend Mother. Jessica tells Paul this much and explains that each culture is different in their trial to become a Reverend Mother, so she honestly doesn’t know what to expect. The reality happens to be worse than she could’ve imagined – Jessica must drink the Water of Life, a deadly poison that comes from Shai-Hulud (sort of), and come out the other side of it. And Jessica manages to do it, barely, with almost all of the consequences going to the poor fetus in her womb, the girl that will grow to become Alia Atreides, an insane legend in her own right. But for now, the unnamed fetus is awake and aware and full of the memories of generations of Bene Gesserit women that came before her – before she was even born

Paul participates in razzia raids amongst the Fremen as they work to take out the spice mining operations of the Harkonnens, immerses himself in the vastly different desert culture of his chosen people, and perhaps most importantly, his romance with his beloved Chani only grows stronger. After declaring his desire to join the fierce fighter elites amongst the Fremen known as Fedaykin, Paul is told by Stilgar that he must summon and ride one of the giant sandworms, the embodiment of Shai-Hulud where the Fremen get their terrible tooth Crysknives from. And after much sendup, in a glorious scene of blinding sand and huge monstrous killer worm-riding, Paul is triumphant and riding atop the sacred creature, his Maker hooks set properly to control the great beast, waving at great distance to his fellow Fremen as Chani looks on in bemusement. 

But that’s all external, and inside Paul is beginning to become divided on what he wants to do. As Jessica pushes the Protectiva hard amongst the women and priestesses of the Fremen, she is also pushing her son to become much larger than he ever wanted to be, if nothing else a conqueror can take revenge for the destruction of House Atreides and the death of her beloved Duke Leto. Paul may have earned his place amongst the Fremen and been given new names – Usul, meaning the strength of the base of the pillar, as his private name within the Sietch; and Muad’Dib, from the small mouse survivor of the desert, well versed in desert ways, called ‘Instructor-of-Boys’ in Fremen legend, as his open-use name – but now everyone wants Paul to be something greater, and potentially more destructive, than what he currently is. It only gets worse when Paul begins to suffer prophetic dreams, and visions when he’s awake, prodding him further to his destiny as an epic conqueror of worlds. Nothing can be done for it, Paul convinces himself that he must take the Water of Life himself, to awaken the sleeping prophet inside himself, and allow him to hopefully See a path through the future. 

The problem with that plan, is that Bene Gesserit are almost exclusively all women, and only they are supposed to know how to transmute poisons internally, along with all sorts of other “witchcraft”. But Jessica has been training Paul in forbidden Bene Gesserit ways all his life, and as much as Paul might rail and even quail against it, there is no denying his incoming destiny, crushing any resistance he may have with all the force of a giant sandworm hunting a spice blow. And even when Paul has finally given in and taken the cursed substance almost mockingly called the Water of Life, it falls to another strong and prophetic in her right female in his life, his beloved Chani, to save him from himself. But even Chani can’t stop Paul’s destructive destiny as the conqueror of the known worlds, guilty of slaying millions upon millions of people in his quest for vengeance, thinly disguised as peace. 

Over on the Harkonnen homeworld of Geidi Prime, “Beast” Rabban (Dave Bautista) is disgusted and enraged at the continuing Fremen raids against the Harkonnens on Arrakis, and terrified of what his uncle the notoriously cruel Baron Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgard), will do to him in response. The Baron’s nephew Feyd-Rautha (Austin Butler), heir apparent or na-Baron to House Harkonnen, demonstrates his blood-inborn savagery in a slaughter of the remnants of House Atreides gladiator-style, as his birthday celebration. Pleased with the spectacle, the Baron commands Feyd-Rautha to take control of the fight against this Fremen rebel known as Muad’dib, as Rabban is proving himself more and more useless. And any tool or toy that the Baron finds broken or unusable, is destroyed before being discarded. 

As the legend of Muad’dib grows off Arrakis and circulates among the Imperial worlds, the Emperor grinds his teeth in frustration and the Bene Gesserit, led by Reverend Mother Mohiam (Charlotte Rampling) as the Emperor’s Truthsayer, begin pushing forward their plots and machinations. Lady Margot Fenring (Lea Seydoux), a criminally underused character in this respect, demonstrates her willingness to be a pawn in Bene Gesserit machinations, but never forget, strong Bene Gesserit women have been breaking their own rules for generations. Just look at what Jessica did. 

As the raids and rebellion on Arrakis continue, both the Emperor and the Baron become more and more desperate, sending in mercenaries and smugglers in the hopes they might have more luck. And aboard one of those smuggler’s vessels happens to be an old hand at being a smuggler himself, the warrior troubadour with the scarred face given him by “Beast” Rabban himself, Gurney Halleck (Josh Brolin). Reunited with his beloved Duke’s only son, Gurney finds himself swept up in the legend of Muad’dib in the making along with everyone else, though at least from Gurney’s point of view, Paul is using the messianic angle to take revenge for House Atreides. 

Finally, in an act of what could be considered the ultimate in arrogance, Emperor Shaddam Corrino himself comes to Arrakis, along with Princess Irulan and many others of his Court, the Baron, and Feyd-Rautha in tow as well, to crush this upstart Muad’dib and his Fremen warriors. Sadly for all that the powerhouse actor Christopher Walken plays him, Emperor Shaddam Corrino is shown as a doddering old man, cowed in the face of Muad’dib’s overwhelming vitality and growing-ever-stronger legend. And there is where we will end the review, for the final confrontation between all key players in the Known Universe is full of spoilers and derivations from the original opus of Frank Herbert’s novel Dune

For those of you who stuck around long enough to get to the end, after all, Dune Part Two is almost three hours long itself, if you are fans of the original novel and the zany Lynchian masterpiece that was the first Dune film, you may be disappointed or even angered at the changes made to the story for the climactic end scenes. Director Villenuve has an eye for making grand epic scenes like Paul’s sandworm ride but can be a bit scattered when it comes to piecing the story together with all the key players needing to be involved in a way that can be understood by any layman. Dune in any form is a rich, vast universe of storytelling, and even an almost three-hour-long sequel simply can’t cover every last bit that’s in the novels. But if nothing else, the film is an overwhelming feast for the eyes and should bring a whole new legion of fans to the many worlds contained within Dune

If you want to dive further into the Dune-iverse, do yourself a favor and read the Dune prequel books written by Herbert Jr. and Kevin J. Anderson. Until then, dive into the sands of Arrakis along with Shai-Hulud and scream vengeance to the skies with Paul Muad’dib Atreides in Dune Part Two, in theaters now! 

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The 8 Episode Series Tries To Encompass A Lot Leaving Fans In A Cliffhanger.



The 2010 “Avatar: The Last Airbender” movie by M. Night Shyamalan faced criticism for its deviations from the beloved animated series. The film struggled with pacing, casting, and a lackluster script, disappointing fans who cherished the source material. In contrast, the 2024 Netflix series has generated positive buzz for its commitment to diverse casting, adherence to the original storyline, and improved character development. The series seems poised to capture the essence of the animated show, offering a fresh and faithful adaptation that resonates with both new and existing fans.

Even though the Netflix series comes closer to the core ideals of the animated series, I feel it lacks heart. Many scenes barely scratch the surface of the relationships between the characters and the push-and-pull relationship between Aang and Zuko. I will admit the CG versions of Momo and Appa are just so gosh darn cute.

The 8 episode series tries to encompass a lot leaving fans in a cliffhanger. It’s worth a watch and I am hanging on for the next season to be announced.

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