Read our exclusive interview with Corey Feldman and actor/writer/producer/director Alex Loy, whose upcoming musical comedy, ‘Operation Belvis Bash,’ is scheduled to have a limited theatrical release in June 2011. Loy portrays the title character, Belvis Bash, a struggling rock and roll musician who goes to Afghanistan to win over the Afghani people. Feldman portrays comedian Samuel Stilman, who joins Belvis on his journey, but the two are put in danger after they encounter infamous terrorist Abdul. Feldman and Loy discuss with us, among other things, how they prepared for the movie and how much support they have received from the public.

Corey Feldman in Operation Belvish Bash

Shockya (SY): ‘Operation Belvis Bash’ follows the title character, a rock and roll musician, as he travels to Afghanistan to win the hearts of the Afghani people. Why were you attracted to the movie and this topic?

Corey Feldman (CF): Well, basically for me, doing what I do, being a rock musician for years now, doing what I do for as long as I have, I need to keep challenging myself. I like a challenge and make myself stretch, or take a leap further than I have in the past. When I saw this script, the first thing that I thought was, this is great. This is like a 40-year-old, fat Jewish guy, I need to play this role. I said to Alex, “Thanks for sending me the script.” I basically told Alex, if I’m going to do this, I need full prosthetic make-up, I need the ability to basically do whatever I want with this character. I can’t even tell you really what he’s going to look like or what he’s going to say once he walks out on the stage. It’s kinda going to be like, roll the cameras and see what you’re going to get. That’s what we did, and it was an interesting experiment, and at the end, I think we got a pretty good result.

SY: So how did you prepare for the role?

CF: Well, I went to beat up on a bunch of kids in a school yard for awhile. After that, I took advantage of some disabilities. No, I’m just kidding. I don’t know. I guess it was the darkest recesses of my mind in some way. I mean, the character was so far removed from me as a person. I guess it was kind of a combination of everything I’ve ever hated in people. I mean, he’s that guy you love to hate. He’s very opinionated, very cold, very callous, opposite of me. But that’s what I think made him so fun, because literally, the moment that make-up came on, I literally became this other person. You don’t have to make excuses for this guy because he’s completely inexcusable. Everything about him is just wrong. But that said, I guess it drives the message home that much better, that when you realize at the end, it’s about everything you think it is.

Alex Loy (AL): Well, he’s not that cold and callous.

CF: Oh, he’s pretty bad.

Alexander Loy in Operation Belvish Bash

SY: Why do you both think that comedy and music unites people of different races?

CF: Well, personally, I think at the end of the day, there’s a lot of racist material in this movie. There’s a lot of things that number one, people are thinking but not saying. There’s also a lot of stuff that people would be afraid to even think, but they hear people say. We’re making a point. We’re saying racism is ridiculous. To see division, to see lines between colors, creeds, whatever, is insanity. We’re all the same, we’re all genetically structured the same. We’re all scientifically the same. To think that anyone is better than anybody else, whether you’re a celebrity, whether you’re a millionaire, whether you’re a different creed, different race, different religion, it shouldn’t matter. At the end of the day, we’re all equal. I think doing a film like this, taking all the ridiculous, narrow-minded judgmental opinions, and reflect it back where we’re making fun of ourselves. Nobody’s protected, nobody’s safe, everyone gets insulted. That’s the great part of it. If we were actually trying to insult one person, than it would be wrong. But if we’re trying to insult everyone, than it’s a way to laugh at ourselves. Not to laugh at each other, not to point the finger, not to say, “Oh, look, we are better than you.” But it’s a way to laugh at ourselves, and to go, “Oh, I’ve been taking myself way to seriously for way too long.” As a political statement, as a religious statement, as a racism statement, all of it, it all works together in the idea that we’ve all gone on, carrying on wars, and political fights and religious fights, and all these things for so many years, for so many centuries, these kinds of things existing. With all the things we’ve been through in the past 10 years, have we learned nothing? I think one thing that we learned, if anything, is that we can’t keep taking ourselves so seriously, because we’re in a time now, where we smashed all the walls that we built so high around ourselves to protect ourselves, to defend ourselves against judgment. Now this is the opportunity for us to go, you know what, the war’s over, we can put this stuff behind us, we can move forward, and we can try to see things in a different way and a different perspective and be positive and realize that we’re all the same, we’re all built the same. So we have no right to judge anyone else. I think that’s the statement we’re trying to make. Hopefully, when you walk out of the movie, instead of going “Wow, I just watched a movie where everyone’s slamming each other,” you go, “I get it, I laughed at it, it’s funny, and now we can move on from this.”

AL: If I can add to that, the main message of the film is that our culture and the culture of what’s supposed to be our enemies in this war are seemingly so different. But it’s just cultural differences that are absurd to some degree. We really look at how either side really clings to their values and can’t see the realities of the other side. As Corey was saying, these are false barriers, they’re false walls. To me, and I think to a lot of us, one of the best ways to communicate our humanity to each other is through humor, is to not take yourself so seriously. If you look at the absurdity of how we try to hang onto things and to hang onto the power and hang onto the way of thinking, so much so that we’re willing to kill each other for it. So that’s the statement of the movie. If we just take a little step back and laugh a little more and maybe tap our feet to the rock-n-roll beat or whatever beat, we may find that we have a lot more in common than we think. That’s the main message of this film. That’s why we feel comedy and music bring people together.

CF: And music brings people together. Historically, we know this, that’s why we have concerts, that’s why we have live events because it can be spiritually uplifting. I think it’s such a great sentiment, and why not go back to the classic where it all started. You know, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, guys like that. It was a time where things were so carefree. You get away with anything, really, because people didn’t take themselves so seriously.

SY: Shortly after the movie had its premiere at the West Oaks Theater in Houston on Sunday, May 1, the news broke that Osama Bin Laden had been killed in real life. How did you react to the news?

CF: Shock. Awe.

AL: There were a lot of high-fives and expletives. (Laughs)

CF: Yeah, I mean it was kind of silly, I guess. But the irony of it was so insane. I mean, the timing on many different levels. But primarily, of course, because we shot this movie a year-and-a-half ago. That it took so long to get it finished, to get the post (production) finished on it and actually set up these screenings. After 10 years, to actually find the guy and kill the guy on the day we’re premiering our film, is pretty wild. But it actually goes pretty deeper than that. We were originally supposed to do this screening three weeks prior. But ironically, we had to end up changing the date because I read a press release saying that Corey Haim’s final film, ‘Decisions,’ was going to be released theatrically, and it was going to premiere at the Writer’s Guild on the same day that we set for our movie premiere in Texas. And obviously, I didn’t want to compete with my best friend, so I rescheduled everything, and moved the dates around, so that we could screen three weeks later, so that they wouldn’t be conflicting. So the bottom line is, because of Corey’s movie, we had to push everything back three weeks, and pushing everything back three weeks is why it landed on exactly the same day. So it was completely ironic, weird circumstances that lead us to this solution.

SY: While you were filming the movie, did you have any idea that the U.S. military was so close to capturing Bin Laden?

AL: No, absolutely not. I don’t think anyone of us had that idea. I mean, Bin Laden had become a sad guilt that we were never going to catch him.

CF: Elusive.

AL: Yeah, he had definitely become elusive, for sure. In the writing of the part where Bin Laden is captured in my movie, I was envisioning a moment that was inspiring. While the movie was being made, that moment hadn’t happened yet. So for me, it was a statement of a wish or fantasy that maybe a lot of people in America had, or a lot of people around the world had. While we premiered the movie, it actually happened. Now I think it really turned into an opportunity for people to just cheer. We’re the first movie to sort of reflect that sentiment. It’s a wild thing that it happened. Of course none of us foresaw it, none of us expected it.

CF: Well, I foresaw it.

AL: Well, of course. (Laughs)

SY: How much support did you have from the public while you were making the film?

CF: Well, we really didn’t need much public support, because people didn’t really know about it. It was done very inexpensively, sort of a small, shoe-string budget, experimental film-making. It’s much more like art than it is one of those $300 million blockbuster films.

AL: I could only speak to what I know. Like Corey said, we were pretty much doing it quietly on our own. There was a feeling, but we weren’t sure, that we weren’t going to get a lot of people who were going to want to come on this trip with us in the beginning, the big sort of Hollywood picture. As it developed and it grew, especially now with the Bin Laden serendipitous feeling, I think people might definitely be ready for this film. So we’ve seen a lot of support from the folks that we showed the movie to. The screenings in Texas went very well (besides the West Oaks Theater, the movie was also screened at the Alamo South Lamar Theater in Austin on April 29, 2011, and the Alamo Park North Theater in San Antonio on April 30). We’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback on Twitter and on Facebook, and all over the Internet, really. So I think there is a lot of support for the film, even though we were a little nervous, considering the controversial nature of the movie. We were nervous that we might be misunderstood.

CF: It was a very controversial subject matter. We were very, very worried that people were going to take it too seriously, and that they weren’t going to find it funny or amusing, and that they wouldn’t be in on the joke, and therefore we would be the only ones laughing. But fortunately, people were walking out of the theater with a very positive attitude. We were breathing a sigh of relief. The comedy in this film delivers the exact medicine that people need. It’s not just about comedy, it’s also heartwarming. It’s got a good morality to it. It sends out a strong, positive message that says we don’t need racism, we don’t need to see each other through divided lines anymore, and we don’t need to take ourselves to seriously. It also comes down to the music. All in all, I think it’s a really unique experience. There’s really no other film out there like it, and that’s the truth.

SY: How have audiences reacted to the movie since the news broke of Bin Laden’s death?

CF: Well, the funny thing is, we had two screenings, Friday night (April 29) and Saturday night (April 30) in Austin and San Antonio. The third screening was in Houston, and that was on Sunday night. So the night that he was actually killed was the final screening. The amazing thing is, before he was killed, we were still getting everyone that was in the room was literally staying for the QA, and then stayed for the autograph session. All the Q&A questions were very intelligent, very supportive. People really got it, and people were really 100 percent in tune with what we were doing. They definitely appreciated the movie and loved the movie way more than I would have ever anticipated. So I was already tremendously surprised and impressed by the reaction by the public. That was actually before we had the surprise of Bin Laden being killed. So now I can only imagine the excitement we’ll feel during a screening.

SY: It’s been almost 10 years since the September 11th attacks. Now with Bin Laden dead, do you think the victims and their families of the terrorist attack, and the country as a whole, will be able to heal?

CF: This is not the first time that America has had to deal with conflict. This is not the first time that we stood up to adversity, and it will happen again. It is inevitable. Life is not an easy, smooth ride. There are obstacles thrown in our way. But as Americans, it is our tradition to stand in the face of adversity, and move past it. We’ve done it before this, and we’ll do it beyond this. So I do believe we’re in a happy time right now. We’ve been in a dark time for many, many years. It’s been war time, it’s been a dark time, it’s been a very scary time. With the recession and everything else going on, now will be a time where we can breathe a little easier, to take a moment to relax and enjoy our achievements. We know now, we have a little more intelligence.

AL: I think America can heal. We’re just artists and filmmakers. We can just speak for ourselves and not for the entire country. I think we all in this country share these similar sentiments. I think America can heal. I think it’s important for us to recognize that it’s not just an American movie. This movie has a life outside of the United States, or at least the philosophy of this movie has a life outside of the United States.

Written by: Karen Benardello

Operation Belvis Bash
Operation Belvis Bash

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By Karen Benardello

As a graduate of LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic, Karen Benardello serves as ShockYa's Senior Movies & Television Editor. Her duties include interviewing filmmakers and musicians, and scribing movie, television and music reviews and news articles. As a New York City-area based journalist, she's a member of the guilds, New York Film Critics Online and the Women Film Critics Circle.

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