“The War With Grandpa (opening in theaters tomorrow, 10-09-20),” starring Robert De Niro as Grandpa was produced by the Peart Family, which consists of Marvin Peart, CEO of Brookdale Studios/Chief Business Officer and Founding Partner of 101 Studios and Rosa Peart, Co- Founder, Marro Media Company. However, this feature has quite a twist- possibly one of the youngest Executive Producers ever.
Tre Peart, of the Peart family was 8 years old when he read the book “The War With Grandpa,” and upon learning it was not a film, pitched the idea of making it into a movie to his film producer parents. It was his idea to cast Robert De Niro in the Grandpa role, since he wasn’t in many children’s films.
EURweb’s Lee Bailey, an entertainment icon in his own right, hit up the Pearts for an EURweb exclusive interview.
Read on to get the bottom line.
Lee Bailey: I must say, I’m extremely interested to speak with you. You guys financed this new movie with Robert De Niro, of all people, “The War With Grandpa.” With that in mind, I have a gazillion questions. Let me just ask a question I’ve been thinking- are you guys rich? You don’t finance a (major, Hollywood) movie unless you’re rich at least, I thought.
Rosa Peart: (Laughter) We’ve done okay. Obviously, we didn’t finance a $42 million movie personally, but we are heavily invested. But we do have what we call our Marro partners and then there’s several levels- there’s a debt piece to the movie. I wouldn’t bore you with the film financing of it all but our company put in roughly $25 million of the $42 million.
Lee Bailey: Well that’s quite a substantial sum. So, if you don’t mind- how did this happen? Is this something you do full time and we’ve just not heard of you before? Or you’ve been financing films and other things in the past and we’re just now hearing about you? What’s the deal?
Marvin Peart: We’ve been doing this for I would say, not independently for ourselves, but in the movie business since 2006, 2007. But in terms of financing projects on our own company banner and producing them, we’ve been doing that since 2013. But this particular film came about- my wife had a rule in the house- if you wanted to see a movie, you had to read the book. It was a way to get our children to read more and our son read an assignment in school and Tre, you should tell Lee exactly what happened.
Tre Peart: So, I read the book- the book is called “The War With Grandpa,” of course. Once I finished the book, I was completely in love with it and I could not wait to see the movie because of the rule my dad mentioned a bit earlier. And once I started looking for the movie and I couldn’t find it; I was so disappointed. And I was thinking to myself, how can I see that movie? And then an idea popped in my head, oh wait- my parents are in the movie business – just by chance. So, I told my mom about it, I was like “Mom, can we try to make this into a movie?” As an eight-year-old, you have a pretty one-track mindset, I want this, I want that. So, I was really excited to see this movie and that my mom actually took me seriously and she read the book and she really liked it. So, she told me we’re going to come to my dad and we’re going to tell him about it and make a pitch- she told me what a pitch was. I originally thought it was like pitching to Boston, like a baseball game. So once that happened, she pitched the movie to him and he liked it, and here we are.
Lee Bailey: So, if I heard you correctly, you read the book and you assumed it was already a movie since you wanted to go watch the movie, did I hear you correctly?
Tre Peart: Yes. Because I thought that every book had a movie and I thought most movies were based off a book. Once I realized that, that wasn’t the case, I was a bit disappointed,
Lee Bailey: Alright Mom- So Trey comes to you and you’re thinking what? You read the book as well.
Rosa Peart: He was very persistent to me to read the book, because he wanted to talk about it and at the time- I’m a reader and I love to read and I wanted my kids to have the love of reading. So many times, I would read books along with him, so we could discuss it. So, he begged me to read this book and I did, because I normally would do something like that. When he said this should be a movie, I felt, “you’re right.” It’s such a heartwarming book. It’s so short, it’s a short chapter book but it had a lot of heart and a good storyline. So, I thought it would be cute to teach him how to do a pitch and present it to his dad.
Lee Bailey: Well obviously he was successful, but was it on the first time around?
Marvin Peart: Yeah it was the first time, and I was literally sort of rushing, so I was packing and getting my office tied up because I was leaving for LA the next morning and she came and said “I want to talk to you And look like “yes right now, sit down you’re going to hear this out.” You know Rose and I have been partners for quite a while, from music to TV to film, so it was something that we agreed, that if the both of us agree it should be a movie then we’re both in. She was already in; I had not heard it yet. So, when I heard it, I said “wow, let me check the book out.” I have a five-hour flight in the morning, I read the book on the plane. And then I called her when I landed and I said “well, I think we found our next movie. Let’s call the publisher and see if the book was available.” Coincidentally, it was and we’d asked out of curiosity- how many books had this book already sold and the publisher said 1.2 million copies. So, we through the moon just in terms of the volume of the book- it was available and we thought it would be a great project.
Lee Bailey: That was in 2013, was that what I heard earlier?
Marvin Peart: You were eight Tre, so yes it was 2013.
Lee Bailey: So, Tre you get the news that movie is going to be made. Did you have expectations? Do you know much about the movie making business? I know you are in the family. But it sounds like you’re not too keyed in on how long it takes for a movie to be made. So, when you hear this are you thinking like in a few weeks you’ll be watching a movie or were you realistic and did you know that the process could take years?
Tre Peart: Not a few weeks, but the next day really. (Laughter) But as I figured out that the process took just a bit longer than I expected, my parents made sure that I knew what it took to make a movie. And as an independent company, you know you really have to take advantage of all your opportunities.
Lee Bailey: So, you had your eyes open during the entire process.
Tre Peart: My parents also made sure I was part of the process, from A to B. From optioning the book, they wanted me to know what that was like. From the script and the auditions- from the script part I was giving them some of my ideas from a kid’s perspective. And everybody was willing to listen, which was kind of cool. And then the auditions. They asked me who I thought would make a good actor for this role. And in certain terms you know who the good actors are. And when we were on set, I helped as a production assistant. I was bringing things back and forth, making sure the actors and everybody were satisfied.
Lee Bailey: I understand it was your idea to choose or to suggest Robert De Niro as Grandpa, is that correct?
Tre Peart: Yes. So, there’s a little story behind that. So, I had always heard my parents talking about Robert De Niro and how amazing an actor he was. I was eight years old at the time and it was inappropriate for me to see any of his movies- I was a bit too young for them. So, I felt very left out and excluded. So, I was thinking, “you know what, why not have him in my movie.” So, then I told them and they looked at me- I’m sure they looked at me kind of crazy because now I’m looking at how much it really took to have Robert De Niro in your movie. But they made it happen.
Rose Peart: When he told us, we looked at him, it was like we felt it was just a far reach at the time. But we also felt like wow, he would be the perfect Grandpa. So, we went for it.
Lee Bailey: How old was Tre at that point when he suggested that? How far along into the movie making process itself when that came up?
Tre Peart: This was actually when I pitched the book to my dad.
Lee Bailey: So, this was in the beginning?
Tre Peart: My mom had told me that when you’re pitching you should have an idea of who should play the role. So obviously the main character, Grandpa, my first thought was actually Robert DeNiro. I wanted to finally see a movie of his because my parents talked about what a great actor he was. So that was from the beginning.
Lee Bailey: I want to ask about meeting him and his reaction to you, suggesting him and so forth. I want to get an idea of the process itself. Was it an easy process, although eight years is a pretty long time- what was the process like, I guess?
Rosa Peart: In the beginning, it was moving along very quickly. When Robert De Niro signed on, he wanted to change the script and we got a new set of writers. So, we were in production in 2017. The movie was done, but we had a distributor, international distributors, but then the whole TWC/Harvey Weinstein debacle happened. It was set to be released in February 2018, but that happened. We had to get our movie rights back, it was a lot of red tape. It’s really gone through a lot since then, and we’re just so happy and grateful that luckily it gets to see the light of day. So that is a big part of why it was delayed.
Lee Bailey: So, coming back to De Niro, Tre, what was it like meeting him and what was his reaction to you choosing him?
Tre Peart: Well I don’t really quite know what his reaction was to me choosing him, but I do know that he was very happy to hear about the story. On the first day of filming, he had sent a letter to our trailer and there was one addressed to me. He told me basically congratulations on the movie and good luck to the youngest producer that I ever worked with. That’s a great first impression to me. I had met him during the script readings. But I was very grateful to see that letter and I was very happy to talk to him and get to know him during the entire filming. And I did talk to him a couple of times. At times I’m sure it was a bit informal. (Laughter).
Rosa Peart: He kept coming up to his trailer unannounced. Everybody is like “don’t do that,” and he’s rolling up into the trailer.
Tre Peart: The driver would let me in, and there was nothing I could really do about that.
Lee Bailey: So, he was a nice guy? When you see him- I’ve seen him in person- he just comes off serious, you see him on TV, he’s always serious. I know he’s an actor, he’s done funny stuff before, but it sounds like he might be kind of personable if he was that open to you. Is he an okay guy? Is that what I’m hearing?
Tre Peart: He’s an amazing guy. I feel like he has a bad rep for the roles he does. But you look him in the eye and you talk to him like you do a comrade. I think that’s something you appreciate. He’s a very personable person and I’m really glad I got to know him.
Lee Bailey: The movie itself- you said DeNiro wanted changes and of course that’s the way it goes. Nothing comes out the way it goes in. Especially when you have creative people involved. But what do you think of the final product? Is it what you envisioned?
Tre Peart: Well, I’ve seen movie a gazillion times from the beginning from when we got the first cut. It’s kind of hard to really think about the true difference, but looking back from the first one to the last one, it was definitely a special moment to finally see this movie that I thought I’d see tomorrow seven years ago. It was special. Seeing all the gimmicks that were being made to make sure all the actors were staged, they were all hidden, all the stunt doubles for the dodge ball scene, that was all seamless. I was very impressed, because I didn’t really know that’s what it took to make a movie.
Lee Bailey: Where was it shot at and how long did it take?
Tre Peart: Atlanta for three months.
Lee Bailey: What time of year?
Tre Peart: Spring to early summer.
Lee Bailey: How did you deal with school?
Tre Peart: Well, we had a tutor on set that would come meet me and the child actors for the first four hours of the morning and whenever we weren’t shooting. We had school and any personal assignments would be given to us and we would do them.
Lee Bailey: Well Tre, I’d would assume that this is your first Executive Producing stint. Are you going to do it again?
Tre Peart: Yes. The short answer, yes. The long answer, I want to learn a bit more about being behind the camera, and cinematography and directing and all that stuff- the creative process on set. I’m very excited for the future to have the opportunities that this experience has created for me.
Lee Bailey: What is next for the company? Do you have your sights on your next production?
Tre Peart: We’re going to build off the “The War With Grandpa” franchise and there’s another couple of books that we are working on. So, there’s a few things we’re working on off this one.
Lee Bailey: With the movie coming out tomorrow, October 8, with the pandemic still in effect, they’re planning on opening it in theaters- what are your thoughts on that?
Marvin Peart: We feel really good about it. As early as a week ago I was on the phone with CEO of NATO, the National Association of Theater Owners, and going through the different protocols the theaters have put in place in order to make it a safe environment. Masks are required, as is social distancing, etc. The bad news is- it’s a pandemic. The good news- it’s a pandemic, the movie is coming to life and people can finally enjoy it as a family, and hopefully for 88 minutes, it’ll take their minds off what’s going on outside their window. And that’s a good thing. If they choose to stay home and catch at home at Christmas time, it’ll be on home entertainment and that’s a good thing as well. We just want people to be safe and have fun and enjoy the movie.
Lee Bailey: Is it going to be opening in theaters and streaming simultaneously?
Marvin Peart: It’s going to be in theaters exclusively and it’s going to take its normal theatrical run as every movie has done. It’ll be in theaters exclusively October 9th and then by Christmas time, Christmas Eve, it’ll be making its home entertainment debut on television typically as most movies do 10-12 weeks after it’s in theaters.
Lee Bailey: Is there anything I didn’t ask you that you want folks to know?
Marvin Peart: We want everyone to know that from your family from our family, enjoy “The War With Grandpa.”
This story was unselfishly transcribed and written from Lee Bailey’s interview by Buddy Sampson, a Southern California based writer. Contact him via [email protected].
Male Model and Dancer in Janet Jackson’s ‘What Have You Done for Me Lately’ Video is Now a WOMAN / LOOK
*In the late 1980s, Rudy Houston was a well-recognized and talented model and dancer, perhaps best remembered as the leading man in Janet Jackson’s “What Have You Done For Me Lately” video.
He was the guy that women went crazy over because of his looks and dance moves. Houston was also the man who singer Pebbles was asking in her song, “Mercedes Boy,” if he wanted to ride with her in the song’s video, released in 1988.
While Rudy Houston was his name back in the day, today, he is a she…and goes by the name Lana Houston.
And according to Lana Houston, she is now “all-woman” in every sense of the phrase.
WHOAH! DID U SEE THIS? Ex-NBAer Zach Rudolph Files for Divorce Weeks After Tweeting ‘I Married A Ho’
Her sex change journey has been a long road, which for the most part, remained out of the media’s broad reach, until now because Houston is back and wants the world to know.
“Yes, it is true that I have transitioned from male to female,” Houston said in a statement that appears on I Love Old School Music’s website. “I began my transition from male to female in 1995. I needed time away from the entertainment industry to find my inner peace and embark on my intense and wonderful journey to womanhood. I am finally at peace. I am currently residing in L.A., where I work as an artist painting portraits and abstracts.”
Houston said she is grateful for her sex transition and to have fans. She is also looking for songwriters and music producers to collaborate with.
“Thanks to all those who were concerned about my whereabouts,” Houston said. “I’m back from the ‘dead.’ ”
Kristen Welker: Presidential Debate Moderator is One Bad-azz Sista!
*OK Kristen Welker, let us join the chorus of praise you are getting for your stellar job of moderating Thursday night’s presidential debate. In fact, one of the participants owes you an apology. We’ll get to that later.
For those experiencing Welker for the first time and don’t anything about her, she grew up in Philadelphia and graduated from Harvard in 1998. She became NBC’s White House Correspondent in 2011, and was recently named co-anchor of NBC show Weekend Today.
Welker, 44, is only the second black woman to moderate a presidential debate alone. The first was ABC News journalist Carole Simpson in 1992.
Earlier this month, two other journalists tried their hands at moderating and it didn’t turn out so well for them. Fox News’ Chris Wallace caught heat for his moderation of the first Trump-Biden debate, while USA Today’s Susan Page was also criticized for her handling of the vice-presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris.
Even Wallace admitted he was “jealous.” During Fox News’ post-debate coverage, in so many words he said he wishes it was him instead of Welker at last night’s debate:
“I would have liked to have been able to moderate that debate and to get a real exchange of views instead of hundreds of interruptions.”
But in all honesty, Welker didn’t have a complete fool in Donald Trump to deal with like Wallace did. In any event, it’s obvious Welker didn’t want to deal with the BS Wallace had to deal with, as she was praised specifically for managing to keep the Trump and Biden in line, and controlling the conversation – though she did have the advantage of the candidates being muted during each others’ allotted two minutes.
Meanwhile, fellow journalists are also praising Welker’s performance. NBC’s Chief White House Correspondent Hallie Jackson called it “a career-defining moment,” while another sista, Fox News anchor Harris Faulkner said she “gave the American people a real debate.”
Also, PBS White House Correspondent Yamiche Alcindor said she was “beaming” watching Welker.
I’m beaming watching Kristen Welker. Such an amazing moment for her and for all who know of her hard work and dedication to journalism. Go girl!
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) October 23, 2020
Author Brigitte Gabriel said she did a better job than Wallace, and one person went so far as to suggest she deserved a medal for her performance.
Get this woman a goddam medal.
Kristen Welker was amazing at this #PresidentialDebate2020
— Kimberly Saltz (@_AttorneyAtPaw) October 23, 2020
And despite calling Welker “terrible and unfair” ahead before the debate, Trump took time during the debate to praise the moderator’s performance.
“By the way, so far I respect very much the way you’re handling this,” he said.
And for even those words of praise to come out of HIS mouth is nothing short of a miracle and is the closest thing resembling an apology to ever come from Donald Trump.
Dayuuuum Kristen, you are one bad-azz sista!
Pastor Cal Keeps Love Alive on ‘Married at First Sight’ (EUR EXCLUSIVE!)
*For 11 seasons, “Married at First Sight” (MAFS) has been the ultimate experiment in matchmaking as couples who have never met – complete strangers – tie the knot.
If you are not familiar with the popular Lifetime series, people looking for love are matched by relationship experts (Dr. Pepper Schwartz, Dr. Viviana Coles, and Pastor Calvin Roberson-known as Pastor Cal) and agree to tie the knot before meeting their mates.
The show follows the couples for a few weeks as they experience their first meeting at their weddings, their honeymoons, meeting each other’s families, and other milestone events all the while being counseled by the experts. At the end of each season, the couples are given the chance to continue in their marriage or get a divorce.
While some may question the show’s premise, the EUR spoke to Pastor Cal recently and he said the series is genuine.
“My job on the show is to get these couples, put them together, and make sure they stay together,” said Pastor Cal. “My goal is to look at their differences, see where they’re compatible, counsel them and in some cases, threaten them, to make it work. All the experts, our focus, is simply making sure the couples stay together.”
As for a method in which the couples are matched, he added, “There isn’t a solid formula we apply to every couple. It has to be tweaked as we find out people’s peculiarities. It can be nerve-wracking but it’s rewarding in the end.”
Like many MAFS seasons, there are surprising revelations and this one, featuring couples from New Orleans, is no exception.
“Season 11 has brought us so many surprises,” Pastor Cal said. “Even in casting, one of the couples we thought would get along much quicker is one of the ones lagging behind. And one couple we thought would move slower to intimacy are moving ahead. And that’s with Miles and Karen being the slower and Woody and Amani being the faster of the two.”
He continued, “Also, by my own admission, I fall on the sword on this one, I was not expecting Bennett and Amelia to get along so well. I thought she would be put off more by his lack of profession. It was a big surprise to me.”
The next MAFS season will include Atlanta couples and after that the show heads to Houston, which is casting now. Pastor Cal told the EUR that the show adapts to the couples from each city.
“I believe that every city we film in brings a certain flavor and the participants from that city take on the flavor from that city,” Pastor Cal said. “New Orleans is laid-back, they party, and it’s a very fun city as opposed to a city like D.C. that is very political, buttoned up, and tight. But definitely we found that every city influences the participants. We definitely see different personalities coming out of each city.”
Speaking of Atlanta, Pastor Cal is the lead pastor at Progression church in the peach city. He and his wife Wendy have a marriage coaching organization that offers marriage and relationship conferences, boot camps, and seminars worldwide.
While COVID-19 may have slowed down the in-person events, that has not stopped people from contacting Pastor Cal for love connections, “Because of COVID, we’re online. I get more people through DM’s, email, etc. asking me to match them.”
And how does the church feel about the show?
“My church actually loves it.” Pastor Cal said. “They are so supportive and such an incredible group of people. They tell people about the show. Our church was actually founded on relationships, so it was an easy fit. Our church was founded on positive marriage and positive family.”
Look out for Pastor Cal’s book, “Marriage Ain’t for Punks,” slated to come out next year.
If you are interested in being on “Married at First Sight” and live in Houston, click here to apply.
For more information on MAFS’ current season, click here.
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