Ron Livingston, Melissa George and Michael Sheen – Exclusive Video Interviews

     October 23, 2007

Opening up this Friday (in limited release) is a movie called “Music Within,” and it’s based on the life of Richard Pimentel. The film stars Ron “Office Space” Livingston as Richard, and while Richard’s name isn’t well known to many of us…to a certain segment of the population he’s quite famous.

The reason is Richard helped to raise awareness for people with disabilities. Because for a long time a segment of our population suffered from many forms of discrimination, and due to many people’s hard work, the average person now understands that people with disabilities can still be quite active in the workforce and a great asset in our society.

And while no one person is responsible for all the changes, Richard Pimentel absolutely helped the process along. He currently still speaks all around the country on Disability Management, Job Recruitment, Job Retention, Americans with Disabilities Act, and Attitude Change.

Anyway, back to that movie coming on Friday.

To help promote the film, I’ve recently attended the press day for “Music Within” and got to interview Ron Livingston, Michael Sheen and Melissa George. All of them talked about how they got involved in the movie and what they have coming up.

As usual, I’ve posted some of the things we talked about above each interview. And before watching the interviews… here’s the synopsis:

Richard Pimentel (Ron Livingston) begins his life as a fighter, and his life’s work becomes a process of fighting for the rights of others.

Rising up from a childhood in a dysfunctional family, armed with a talent for public speaking and a winning personality, the young man makes his way to a Northwestern college, confident that he will ace his try-out for his idol Dr. Ben Padrow (Hector Elizondo), the coach of the winningest team in the history of the College Bowl.

But Dr. Padrow shatters his dream when he rejects him. Richards immediate reaction is to enlist in the army for a tour of duty in Vietnam. During combat, the young recruit loses his hearing to a bomb blast, and has to deal with this newfound disability on his return to civilian life in Oregon.

Richard discovers that his disability and the struggle to transcend it is a defining moment in his fight for what he believes in. When he tries to help his friends, vets like himself and others with disabilities, to get work in an environment that treats them with pity at best and disdain as a matter of course, he realizes that he can make a difference. The friends who make up his close-knit clique are: Art Honneyman (Michael Sheen), a student wheel chair user with cerebral palsy who uses his rapier wit to deflect the prejudice that greets his disturbing appearance; Mike Stoltz (Yul Vzquez), a fellow veteran with a lot of rage and nowhere to put it; and then there is Christine (Melissa George), the passionate libertine who strokes Richards ego and initiates him into the world of free love.

Together, the friends experience the currents of those turbulent times, and the wild, joyful energy of winning through confrontation and humor. Without his hearing Richard is all the more prepared to listen to the message deep within himself, and to carry that message to the thousands of people whose lives are improved by the movement he helps to organize.

Ron Livingston

I ask how he came to the role and what was it like playing a real person.

Working with Michael Sheen.

Did working on Band of Brothers help with the war scenes?

Since he’s in Time Travelers Wife, I ask who he plays.

He talks about doing voice work for American Dad and Family Guy.

He finishes with what he has coming up.

Melissa George

How did she come to the role and was Christine based on a real person.

Due to the short shooting schedule, I ask if it’s better or easier to work like that.

she talks about shooting different time periods each day.

I ask if she knew Ron and Michael’s work before signing on. We even touched on Office Space.

The same weekend she did the Music Within interviews she was also promoting 30 Days of Night. We talk a lot about that film and her career.

She also talks about what she has coming up – from her new show on HBO to her 4 upcoming movies.

Michael Sheen

I ask how he came to the film. He also talks about his character.

Did he find playing someone with cerebral palsy more challenging than his previous roles?

I ask since Tony Blair is out of office…has he had the chance to talk with him.

He gives me an update on the next Queen movie. He explains it’s part of a trilogy and explains all three films.

He gives a Frost/Nixon update.

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