Producer filming modern-day western
Local film producer and director James A. Brooks is currently producing a movie “Buckaroo” in Las Vegas Valley.
Filming on the project started early this month and will continue through May 21. The projected release dathe for “Buckaroo” is September 15, according to Brooks. The modern-day western will be released nation wide.
Brooks, films director and co-producer on the project explained, “The movie is about a Native American kid who gets in trouble with the law in the city of Denver. He ends up going to court after this run-in with the law. His punishment is that he must learn how to be a cowboy.”
“Buckaroo” was written by Bob Holland. The film stars Lindsay Wagner (“The Bionic Woman”). Gary Busey (“The Buddy Holly Story”). Adam West (“Batman” in the ’60s TV show) and emerging young actor Simon R. Baker (“Into the West”, “I, Robot” and “The Missing”).
Several local residents are also appearing in the film including Executive Producer Greg Shelton who also stars in “Buckaroo”. Sentinel-Voice “Sports Pace” commentary writer Huel Washington is cast in the role of the bailiff in the court scenes.
Other stars appearing in the film include Philip Morris, as well as Larry and David Sontag (“Ocean’s 11” and “Ocean’s 12”).
– Chelsi Cheatom
Batman saves the day
Riddle me this: When Frank Gorshin became too ill to shoot a film in Las Vegas this month, guess who came to the rescue?
Holy guacamole, it was Batman!
Director James A. Brooks was three days from shooting Gorshin’s scenes here when Gorshin’s agent called to say he had been hospitalized.
Adam West, who played the iconic Batman role, was on the telephone to Brooks, volunteering to fill in for his friend Gorshin, a popular impressionist who played The Riddler in the 1960s TV series.
“That was so unbelievable. I’ll never forget him for that,” Brooks said by telephone while on location at Spring Mountain Ranch.
Gorshin, who died Tuesday at age 72, had agreed to play a judge from Denver who sentences the film’s young lead character, played by Simon R. Baker, to work on a special ranch. “Bionic Woman” Lindsay Wagner’s character operates the ranch, and Gary Busey plays a doctor.
“Buckaroo” wraps on Saturday after two weeks of shooting here.
– NORM CLARKE
Friday, May 20, 2005
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal
James A. Brooks shoots for the Stars
Producer, director and cinematographer James A. Brooks is making a name for himself on the big screen. The Las Vegas native’s much-anticipated third film, Buckaroo, produced by Belle Productions and starring Simon R. Baker. Lindsay Wagner and Gary Busey, is being released on DVD. The heartfelt drama revolves around a young man who, after getting in trouble with the law, is forced to live off the land and comes of age with the help of two old-school cowboys. “The script synopsis of this movie is really detailed and interesting,” Brooks explains, “Iwas also, of course, very excited and eager to get bigname actors in the film. I sold it to Gary and Lindsay, and they still remain good friends of mine.”
Although he didn’t get behind the camera until the age of 23, Brooks, now 36, always knew he wanted to make movies. “I won a contest in the third grade where I had to make a marquee out of comic book strips and a painted cardboard box with Christmas lights on top. Everybody loved it,” he says. “I knew then, but I was too shy until after high school to do anything about it.” In 1996, he completed his first film, Dr. Ice, a psychological thriller he produced and starred in with partner Billy Wade. In less than a decade, Brooks, who says his “ideas for movies come from his life experiences and intricate dreams,” has gone on to work as cinematographer for Shangri-La Café – a post-World War II drama written and directed by his aunt, ER’s Lily Mariye – and was recently hired as producer of Crying for U, a $2.8 million-budget flick which began pre-production last month and is being shot in Las Vegas and Santa Fe.
– Camille Hunt
Which movie producer do you admire most? “Probably Steven Spielberg, although I am also influenced by directors/producers Spike Lee and John Singleton.
“What are the three greatest movies you have ever seen? “The Color Purple (Spielberg), The Birds (Hitchcock), Boyz N the Hood (Singleton) and Raging Bull (Scorsese)… I know, that’s four.”
What do you do to relax? “I spend time with my wife and four-year-old son, James Brooks Jr.”
Which actor would play you in your biography? “Undoubtedly Jamie Foxx. He is a great actor who was not born with a silver spoon, knows what it is like to struggle in this business. Incidentally, I have a great script for him … hint hint.”
Brooks brings true romance to the Screen
James A. Brooks has been a filmmaker for over 15 years making music videos and quality low budget movies while honing his skills as a writer, producer and director so now he’s ready to direct his most ambitious project to date, the multi-million dollar love story Crying 4 You”.
Perhaps best known for the 2005 western “Buckaroo”, which boasted a 250k budget and featured Simon R Baker, Gary Busey, Lindsay Wagner, Adam West, the Las Vegas native is looking forward to working on this tale of bittersweet romance, which was jump started by the endorsement of producer Robert Raymond (Schindler’s List). Budgeted at 10 million, the film is currently finishing up its final round of financing and is in pre-production.
Based on the relationship between James’s friend David Skrock and singer Jackie O. tragedy struck when she was killed by a bus in Las Vegas before they could marry and just after she signed with RCA records. Brooks brought the script to Raymond through their mutual friend Tony Marchev and now with Robert on board a 2012 shoot with locations in Australia, Canada and Las Vegas is planned and casting is underway.
A Las Vegas native and the 13th of 14 children born to a minister and his wife James enjoyed a happy childhood. “It felt like the Brady Bunch. We had a lot of fun. There were times when you didn’t get what YOU wanted, but you made do with what you had.” he recalled. Although his siblings didn’t share his love for filmmaking, James discovered his passion early on when he won a contest in the second grade. “You could build anything that you wanted and had three months to put it together.” he said before explaining how he constructed a movie marquee out of one of his mother’s church hats. After cutting a square hole in the middle he put Christmas tree lights around it along with strips collected from the Las Vegas Sun and pasted them together before placing them on two dowels.
Brooks credits his family including Io ear old son James and especially wife Dee Dee, who is also the Vice President in his production company Brooksvision, with giving him the support system he’s needed in order to keep following his dream. “When I’ve been down she’s always been there to pick me up. Sometimes you want to give up,” he admitted, “Most people don’t have the energy or will to make it if they don’t succeed the first time around. I have paid my dues in a sense, but I’m still here. I’m going to continue to make films. I’m not going anywhere,” he concluded.
– Patty Fantasia