(PCM) Days of Power is a thought provoking film that mixes elements of horror and animal abuse to show the under belly world of puppy mills. The subject of animal abuse has not been brought up in the cinema for quite sometime. It is refreshing to know that someone does have a message out there.
We recently caught up with musician turned actor Paul Lewis to tell us all about Days of Power and so much more. Paul Lewis is an intense live performer who has achieved international success with with band Y-Not and a successful solo career. Lewis is currently working on his fourth solo studio record, the TV show Radio Gods, and producing other acts like TruVoX.
Q.You have been a musician for many years. At what age did you pick up your first guitar and start playing?
PAUL LEWIS :I was a late 10yrs old when I first picked up my first guitar.
Q: What musician or band inspired you to pursue music. Who inspires you today?
PAUL LEWIS: David Bowie, Prince, Elvis, Frank Sinatra & Kiss were the biggest influences when I was growing up. I was also influenced by Jazz & Blues, gospel music & R&B, I just loved Mahalia Jackson, John Lee Hooker, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, Teddy Pendergrass, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, etc… soul & Jazz singers always moved me.
Q.Was it hard to transition from stage to screen?
PAUL LEWIS:There’s a lot that is the same but there’s a lot that isn’t. I have been doing theatre since I was in the fifth grade. I had to tone down some of my reactions in order for it to seem natural & work for the cameras. Playing to the camera instead of an audience is a little weird at first but after the first few takes I felt it click.
Q: You play the character of Travis in the movie Days of Power. The character is a total bad guy with many bad qualities and issues. How did you get into the mindset of that character and did anyone inspire the character?
PAUL LEWIS: Haa yeah. He’s a bit of a nutter. I’m a horror/thriller fan boy so I used character traits from characters I’ve seen in the past that have really gotten under my skin…i…e… ‘Hannibal Lecter, Henry (Portrait of a serial Killer), Norman Bates, Leather Face, Michael Myers, etc… I took from these guys little nuances. Then I started adding my own touch to him. I really wanted him to be real to the audience so he had to be real to me. I created an entire backstory for him. From his childbirth to now. The main producer & writer loved my backstory so much that it looks like it might heavily influence the third film connected to DOP. A prequel if you will.
Q.Days of Power is marketed as a horror movie, but there is an underling message in there about puppy mills which are a horrible thing. What can people do to learn more about puppy mills and how to stop them ?
PAUL LEWIS:They can stop buying pets at the store and go to a shelter & or rescue group and adopt. Consumerism is a strong power that we all have to change things. If you google puppy mills you’ll get many stories and videos. Most of these are extremely hard to look at so be warned. Also know this, it’s a billion dollar industry and those people involved will say anything and do almost anything to hide the atrocities these animals face on a daily basis.
Q.You filmed scenes with Eric Roberts. How was that experience and did he give you any advice or tell any funny stories about the previous films he had been in?
PAUL LEWIS:That was our first day of shooting. I love Eric Roberts and have been a fan for many years, I mean ‘Runaway Train, The Pope Of Greenwich Village, The Expendables,’ just to name a few. I was a nervous wreck. I just couldn’t get past it the first couple takes then all of a sudden I was there and it was rolling. Afterwards he thanked me. Said I helped make is job easier. Ironically it was he that made my job easier. He then told me a really cool story about Mickey Rourke and ‘The Pope Of Greenwhich Village.’ Basically Eric had created a version of his character that Rourke didn’t care for and even the director at the time didn’t love it. Rourke wanted him out but he would’ve had to of been paid either way so they kept him and his performance in it scored pretty high with fans and critics alike. Rourke and Roberts didn’t speak for many years. Then Rourke was up for an independent spirit award (Best Actor) for his role in ‘ The Wrestler.’ He had invited Eric & his wife to the event personally. They of course went. Rourke won the award and when he got up there he thanked Eric Roberts calling him one of the greatest actors of our time and the so-called feud was over. What a great story.
Q.You are a true horror fan you even named an album “Trading Horror Stories”. What are your top three horror films that you recommend watching?
PAUL LEWIS:Well, it’s hard to just name three, but I’ll try… I think what I’ll do is give you three old school and three new school… if you don’t mind of course.
‘What ever happened to Baby Jane’ –Classic creepy thriller/horror film. Betty Davis at her ultimate.
‘The Exorcist’-Still holds up today as one of the scariest horror films ever.
‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Original)’– Just gotta love a film so high on the horror scale for most yet no gore or blood.
‘High Tension’– Just love this French film. So horrific and eye popping. Gotta love the twists in this one.
‘Martyrs (Original)’– Wow this flick is insane and just awesome in its scope and how it begins to how it ends. Did not see the remake. No need to.
‘Alien’– Changed my life in so many ways. I actually got to speak to Mr.Scott about this film and he was very gracious and just a very nice man.
‘Willy Wonka & The Chocolate factory’– Boat ride. Do I need to say more?
‘Jaws’– Boat ride. Do I really need to say more?
Q.The band Heathens emerged from Days of Power. You have a single Fire which can be seen on YouTube and on the official Days of Power soundtrack. Are there any plans to tour or more music by Heathens in the future?
PAUL LEWIS: I believe we might do a few shows w/ the film involved but ‘Heathens’ is more of a studio thing. We will be doing other scores for films and for TV. We’ve actually been asked to do both recently. My partner Lance Davis & I have been working together for a while now. This was our first score, but it was so artistically satisfying as much as it was difficult at times. We have a great synergy when we work together. I think it has been some of our most creative & best stuff to date!
Q.Michel Grey is the writer for “Days of Power”. Do you feel that women, especially in the entertainment industry have a stronger voice than they did ten to twenty years ago?
PAUL LEWIS: Well of course they do, but we still have a long way to go. I believe there is still a struggle for equality everywhere you look, but as long as we don’t divide and never give up, women of all races, creeds, etc… will have an equal say and equal pay.
Q: What does the future hold for you when it comes to acting and music?
PAUL LEWIS: Well, I’d like to do more film & theater acting. I am currently working on my first double album. I can still call it that…right? LOL! I am producing and writing for other people and will continue to do so. I also like to direct more. I have film ideas and there’s a play I really want to direct too. I’ve got plenty on my plate for sure but it’s all stuff I love.
‘This has always been a motto of mine: Attempt the impossible in order to improve your work.’ – B. Davis
Trailer for Days of Power:
Off the Days of Power Soundtrack. Heathens “Fire”