I had the privilege to interview Lyle Howry. He is a Hollywood heavyweight and famed producer. As a young actor, he recurred on TV shows such as ABC’s award-winning shows “Moonlighting,” CBS’s “Murder, She Wrote” and NBC’s “Hunter” just to name a few. In 1985 he started producing the two time Emmy winning and nominated CBS’s “The Dukes of Hazzard” TV series. With the launch of his business Skinfly Entertainment Lyle Howry focused his artistic endeavors on finance, studio negotiations, and international production and distribution. Skinfly’s MMA action combat film “Street” released in 2015 gained Lyle Howry international recognition with the reprise “Street 2 Death Fight” in production. As he embarks on his latest project, we pulled him in for a chat.
How has the industry evolved over the last 30 years?
First, the advances in technology and digital equipment that is readily available to most has made the industry more competitive at all levels from indie to blockbuster studios. There is a lot of noise and content out there, but the quality projects seem to rise to the top.
Second, today’s content from morning shows to game shows is far more risquè. Almost anything is pitched and can get a deal and even run a second season when it shouldn’t. Most shows on TV today would have been in the bucket due to restrictions and guidelines 30 years ago, now very little is censored.
Lastly, the current landscape and governing theme have turned to politics. There is a lot of contention and anger pouring out from every entertainment platform including social media. It can be like walking on eggshells if you don’t agree on politics, one could be silenced or blacklisted. What happened to freedom of speech and respecting the opinions of others? I know everyone doesn’t have the same mindset, so I just do what I love most. I’m driven to make good, solid, entertaining work. And when I can, I like to help people in the business. Sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in a day to do it all, but I will keep trying.
What can we expect from STREET 2 DEATH FIGHT? Anything you can give away?
Expect to see familiar faces. I am bringing back some of the previous cast of STREET I. Mark Ryan from “Transformers” and “Black Sails.” The young rising actress and 2017 Imagen Best Actress in a Feature Film nominee Gigi Cesare, whom I adore, and International model and animal rights activist Joanna Krupa from “Housewives” franchise and my film “You Can’t Have It,” both actresses have pivotal roles along with actor Sean Stewart, son of legendary music Icon Rod Stewart. You will also see international Bollywood star, Reggie Benjamin and popular character actress Mindy Robinson and of course Matt Mitrione, an actual MMA fighter who appeared in the first STREET. Gregory Fawcett, Donna Rusch Beisel, Shannon Gallagher along with others will also return with additional acclaimed stars to be announced. We will also be revealing a critically acclaimed director who will be taking the 2nd installment to the next level.
STREET 2 DEATH FIGHT will have a human trafficking element written in the script. We have partnered with non-profits bringing awareness to human trafficking and will be donating portions of proceeds from the soundtrack and film to these organizations. Mission Save Her and Phantom Rescue are on our list and will be playing significant roles in the making of our film. The soundtrack will feature prominent musicians and artists including 4 time Grammy nominated musician Eric Benèt. Again, we are currently in conversations with these artists and cannot disclose at this time.
What challenges are there in making commercial films in the US in this day and age?
Financing is always a challenge. When filming domestically, we like to produce in a state that offers tax incentives to film makers. Tax incentives allow returns on funds to our investor(s) faster and in return provides more leverage for promoting, releasing and distributing the movie. California could make some improvements to the way their incentives are structured to keep projects in the state. But the best location for the plot is also always considered.
You have assembled an impressive cast so far Mark Ryan, Mindy Robinson, Joanna Krupa, and Gigi Cesare to name a few, is casting compete? How do you choose your actors?
We use traditional casting methods as well as targeting A-listers with a few nondisclosed names in conversations and options on the table at this time. We will be able to offer more talent and crew opportunities with the larger cast numbers on STREET 2 DEATH FIGHT.
What can fans of the first STREET film expect from this one and the future STREET films?
Fans can expect the STREET franchise only to get bigger, more exciting and merchandise. We are adding more well-known actors to the roster, and an action packed twisting story line. The audience may or may not think they have the plot figured out, and it may or may not be twisting at that very moment. STREET 2 DEATH FIGHT is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat.