Talking Mr. McGetty: Michael Baumgarten
Welcome to a first for Bulletproof Action. Today will mark our first exclusive interview. Over the course of the next three days we will be interviewing three of the key players in the film Paying Mr. McGetty. We are calling it Talking Mr. McGetty and our first interview is with the man behind the scenes of this quirky action comedy, filmmaker Michael Baumgarten.
Michael recently took time out of his busy schedule to answer a few of my questions…
CTB: Paying Mr. McGetty, which you directed, produced and co-wrote blends action, comedy and romance into one unique movie. What was the inspiration for the film? Where did the idea come from?
MB: It came from setting up a story where a regular guy finds himself caught up in a bad situation where his life is at risk… over a misunderstanding and circumstances that he didn’t really see coming. Combine that high risk with his regular life duties such as his job, his girlfriend, and him trying to groom a musical talent to greatness, and you have the foundation for Paying Mr. McGetty.
CTB: Paying Mr. McGetty marks your second collaboration with Don “The Dragon” Wilson, the first being The Martial Arts Kid. Were you a fan of some of Don’s previous movie work? And what is it like working with a true action movie and martial arts legend like Don?
MB: I have known Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson for about 30 years and we had met in Florida when he was still fighting and before he did that first Bloodfist for Roger Corman. I was blessed to have attended several of his fights in Cocoa Beach, Orlando, and Miami. I first worked with Don in the movies when he got me on the movie with an entry-level job as a production assistant on Red Sun Rising. As a world champion, Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson the fighter is one of the best there’s ever been and had a true for the process of training and competition; and he lead the sport with integrity and respect. As an action star, and acting being his 2nd career, very few action stars have been as prolific as Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson and he has started at least two movie franchises. To work with Don, with his knowledge both as a fighter and as a fellow filmmaker and storyteller, is a joy. He is always eager to share what he knows to help the project. As far as his previous films, I have seen pretty much the whole library. Our goal with The Martial Arts Kid and Paying Mr. McGetty was not to repeat what Don has already done, but to instead show Don doing broader roles. So if the these new films are different, that was intentional and that was the goal.
CTB: Were there any challenges during the production of Paying Mr. McGetty? I’m going to guess working in beautiful St. Petersburg every day was not one of them.
MB: The toughest thing about working in St. Pete was simply the time of year we filmed because had about 10 hours of daylight to work with. So we really had to get up early and film quickly while the daylight was there. We had a wonderful host hotel that gave us a great deal on the rooms and allowed us to use their large meeting room as our production office-makeup up station-wardrobe station and art department holding area. It was on the 3rd floor above the lobby and it had a big 30×30 foot patio where people could step outside, make calls, view the parking lot, etc. At one point we had about a dozen stunt guys out there auditioning. The weather was mild so that was a big help. And thanks to the St. Pete film office, local vendors, and local cast and crew, filming in St. Petersburg was a good choice for us.
CTB: I had an opportunity to screen Paying Mr. McGetty and I thought it was different than any other Don “The Dragon” Wilson movie I had ever seen and from the feedback I’ve received on the site, I know a lot of Dragon fans are curious about the film. Is there a release date for the film?
MB: R. Marcos Taylor has a studio film called Baby Driver coming out in March 2017 so that should be a nice boost for Paying Mr. McGetty. I would like to see Paying Mr. McGetty come out in Spring or Summer 2017 shortly after we play The Sunscreen Film Festival in St. Petersburg in April.
CTB: Do you have any upcoming action projects you’d like to let the fans of our site in on?
MB: My upcoming projects are many. Beyond The Martial Arts Kid II: Payback… I have a vampire trilogy, a Florida Keys wedding comedy called My Fabulous Wingman, a teen crime drama called Suburban Gangstas, a road romance movie, another boy and dog movie (I had previously wrote and produced Smitty starring Peter Fonda, Mira Sorvino, Louis Gossett, Jr.), and finally, a web/TV series about the lives of characters connected by a gentlemen’s club. I want to design and position that show for an Emmy run.
CTB: Thank you Michael for chatting with us… I can’t believe you have had the opportunity to work with Don “The Dragon” Wilson and Chappy Sinclair himself! I’m jealous. Tomorrow part two of Talking Mr. McGetty will be online as I talk to one of the stars of Paying Mr. McGetty, R. Marcos Taylor.