Volume 3 #5 (March 8 - 21, 2000)
Shark Patrol Alert!
Sharkman Movie Premieres March 10
Pensacola residents who attend a screening of "Sharkman," now playing at University Mall Cinemas, will probably recognize a few of the actors up there on the screen. Like their first film "The Spin," Sharkman was shot completely in and around Pensacola. Director Brian Meece and Producer Michael Twigg used local actors for many of the roles including the title character of Sharkman played by local actor Matt Lacy (who also appeared in "The Spin").
However, when the two were looking for an actor to play the lead role of Tim, the cartoonist who brings the superhero to life, they found exactly what they were looking for on The Oprah Winfrey Show. (And no, they didn't cast a bulimic cheating housewife.)
When 27-year-old comic/actor Bob Oschack first appeared on Oprah, he thought it could lead to big things for his career, but there was no way he could have known it would lead him to Pensacola, Florida. Oschack, a Los Angeles resident for the last five years grew up in Memphis Tennessee and attended college in Texas, so he was no stranger to the South.
"I headed to L.A. after I graduated from The University of Texas to pursue my dream of being a stand-up comic," says Oschack. He was one of the successful ones. Shortly after arriving in L.A., Bob found a regular gig doing standup at The Comedy Store, the renowned proving ground for famous comedians such as David Letterman, Jim Carrey, and Robin Williams. This led to a booking on an Oprah show about up and coming young comedians.
"That was where Brian and Michael first saw me," says Oschack.
Before his Sharkman experience Oschack had never been to Pensacola. "Growing up as a kid I spent summer vacations in Destin, and my father now lives in Orange Beach, but I had never actually been to Pensacola," says Oschack. The grueling six-day a week, ten-hour a day filming schedule during the two and a half weeks Bob spent in Pensacola did not allow much time for sightseeing. However he did become familiar with one famous local landmark.
"Nearly every night after we quit filming for the day we would end up at McGuire's. What a place," Oschack laughs, remembering times with the cast and crew there.
While producer Twigg insists the film "is all about Bob and his character," Oschack is very gracious about his contribution to the film. He describes his role as that of the straight man to Matt Lacy's Sharkman character.
"Sharkman is the star," says Oschack. He was also impressed with Lacy's abilities as a comedian, describing his physical comedy style as "Krameresque."
Sharkman may get the big laughs in this picture, but most comedians agree that playing the straight man or foil in a comedy is the tougher job. Bob's praise for Sharkman extends to the whole cast and crew. Despite the fact that this was Bob's first lead role he felt little intimidation or pressure, which he credits to the cast and crew and to the location.
"The fact that it was filmed here instead of in L.A. helped more than it hurt because no one here had that Hollywood ego you sometimes encounter on sets in L.A.," Oschack said. "We were all about having a good time and finishing a project we believed in."
Bob, now back in L.A., hasn't seen the final cut of Sharkman yet, but did get an opportunity to watch an early rough-cut from director Brian Meece. Oschack describes Sharkman as a "fun family film" with a lot of slapstick humor. Bob, who expects to attend the world premiere March 10 at University Mall Cinemas, hopes that some video distribution deals being negotiated by Spin Pictures will allow him the chance to show it to friends and family back in LA.
"We had a great time making this film, and I think a lot of that fun was captured by the camera. I think people will be able to see that when they watch the movie." Oschack said.
Hopefully, this will be one of many film roles for both Bob Oschack and the city where he was discovered.