It is simply astounding to me what time can do to a person…….
Everyone knows the old adage of how time and pressure can crush earthly minerals into worthless pieces of common coal. Or that very same grueling time and endless weights of the world can also produce jewels so preciously valued by humanity. Yet many of these so-called “diamonds in the rough” can go completely unnoticed unless they shine so bright they create a once-in-a-lifetime glare in the darkness that catches the eye. That is what almost every single person in Hollywood likens themselves to…..a bright shiny diamond that needs to be in the spotlight to show everyone else how they have “MADE IT” in the so called land of dreams.
The best thing about screenwriter, actor and director Adam G. Simon, who is truly one of those rare diamonds in the rough………..he doesn’t give a shit about “MADE IT” in Hollywood! For in his words……”There is no REAL making it in Hollywood!”
Last year I was fortunate enough to run into Adam Simon, who was on his way to finally becoming one of those ‘Hollywood names.’ Even surrounded by the dazzling lights of the stars and the smoke-screen of the Hollywood machine, Adam has managed to stay light-hearted, loving and most importantly humble to the bone. It has now been almost a full year to the date of our first fateful meeting; Adam and I still keep in touch, keeping tabs on each others careers.
It is simply astounding to me what time can do to a person………
Adam Simon interview:
PopcultHQ: You were Born in Cali?
Adam Simon: “Yes Sir. California boy. Got three sisters and two brothers.”
PopcultHQ: What were the early family years like?
Adam Simon: “We were like the Brady Bunch meets Lord of The Flies. We all grew up in a small desert town just outside of the Lancaster/Palmdale area.”
PopcultHQ: You started in drama stage acting – does time allow still for stage acts?
Adam Simon: “Yes it does. There is always time for that. I am getting ready to play Lee in the play “True West” while developing another stage production with a group of really talented actors.”
PopcultHQ Trivia – Adam has trained in numerous acting schools and takes physical training to another level with his MMA background –
PopcultHQ: Who did you look up to in acting, writing, art, TV, movies or music,?
Adam Simon: “Look up to might be the wrong word. I don’t idolize anyone. I respect different artists for different reasons but there does seem to be a common thread no matter the medium. I respect anyone who has been able to create art without losing their individual voice. Those are the artists I respect and who I want to work with.”
Adam Simon: “(In a later talk Adam and I had) I think you had asked me this before and I was like ‘I don’t look up to anybody, I do my own thing’. But I was thinking about that question more and I was like ‘man that’s not true’. If there is anyone I look up to it would be Joe Carnahan (Smokin’ Aces, The Grey, The A=Team, Narc). That dude…….is amazing! The story behind his movie Narc, that movie got shut down halfway though production cause they ran out of money. And that’s a movie with Ray Liotta and Jason Patric! Well anyway, they had to shut down, he had to grind to raise the money and he got his film made by working his ass off. Now it’s being made into a TV series with Joe Carnahan behind it producing it with Eminem. To go from an indie film that has troubles like that and to come full circle to where he is now. I got to meet Joe on the Universal lot, I don’t normally fan-boy out to anybody but when I seen him I just couldn’t help myself. So I introduced myself to him and it turns out Synapse actually came across his desk. I was so stoked by that!”
PopcultHQ: Friends in Hollywood, you seem to have a lot, can you still have real friends in this business?
Adam Simon: “I think so. The number of real friends is smaller but definitely stronger.”
PopcultHQ Trivia – Adam has had many odd jobs……the most odd being a Close Protection Specialist. But is better known as a – actor, writer , director, father –
PopcultHQ: Your past jobs, the struggle?
Adam Simon: “I come from a blue-collar family. I have done so many different jobs. Construction worker, janitor, apartment manager, pizza delivery driver, bouncer. They all gave me insights and stories to tell.”
PopcultHQ Trivia – Adam was homeless when he wrote “Man Down” –
PopcultHQ: Do people really understand how much hard work goes into writing a script? Because your job is basically to make it look seamless or easy when you’re good at what you do.
Adam Simon: “It depends on what people you are talking about. (Laughs.) I think most people in this town understand the work that goes into the writing but many outside of it don’t. Creating one good story is a task in and of itself let alone creating several. You can’t be precious about your work. It is different for everybody but for me a story comes from a single idea, but film-making is a collaborative process so you have to be open and welcoming of notes and critique, it’s how you grow. As far as my job, I don’t think it is to make it look seamless or easy. Writing is a process. It is difficult. It requires dedication, persistence and time. It aint easy. It’s fucking hard!”
PopcultHQ: I know you work very hard and take training extremely serious so I have one question about that. One of the things I had seen on your social media is a picture of you in a gym, lying on a mat, face down and a group of muscled-up dudes pinning you down to the mat just trying to drive every ounce of your body an limbs sheer though the concrete…….what the hell was that?
Adam Simon: (laughing) “OK, so I train with these guys all the time, they are called ‘Progressive Force Concepts’ they are out of Las Vegas. The trainers name is Chad Lyman, black belt in jujitsu former law enforcement guy…..actually all the guys in that gym are all special forces, law enforcement type guys. Not only do they do extreme training, they also go over seas to protect pipe-lines or bodyguard special VIP’s. So they also do combat training for military personnel. I’ve been in MMA all my entire life and I’m used to heavy training but I had a film project that involved special forces military work. They always say a Special Forces guy can tell another special forces guy even if he’s out of uniform, that is just something that’s built into their bodies. So I went to Chad and told him I’m all yours. So over the next three months he put me through the ringer, it was a specialized program that involved some crazy crazy shit. It was gnarly man, I’ll be kicking out some video of that pretty soon”
Adam Simon: “There is this friend of mine that’s doing sort of documentary on my life, following me around filming everything. It will be about my losing my business, losing my wife, supporting my kids, going through bankruptcy, going through a divorce, selling my car, being homeless sleeping in a parking garage bathroom. Getting through all that, to meeting Rob (Rob Prior: Famous Painting Artist), getting on the comic con circuit, getting my first script optioned, to working on television shows….just that whole journey. So he wanted to do a film on it and I’m like ‘Ehhh, I’m not into that, I’m more into telling other people’s stories’. But he’s like ‘I really want to tell your story,’ he finally convinced me. So he got to go out to Vegas with me and filmed me going through weapons training and seeing me getting my face all busted up. That is coming out in 2016”
PopcultHQ: Do you want to talk at all about having an original script stolen….you still wished them to do well…….why?
Adam Simon: “I can talk a little bit about it. I wrote it, I loved it, I lost it. Then it became something I didn’t recognize which made it easier. The lost time and money made it difficult but ultimately it was a learning experience that made me stronger and more aware. Stories are my children. If one of them is taken, I fight for it, but if I lose that custody battle I want the child to still be safe, loved and cared for, know what I mean?”
Acting and writing on SYNAPSE:
PopcultHQ: What are your feelings on – Independent versus Studio?
Adam Simon: “They both have their pros and cons. Ultimately it just depends on the particular production and the team involved. It really isn’t fair to say Indie versus Studio. There are shit studio productions and shit Indies, there are amazing studio films and amazing Indies. I recently heard a celebrity kind of dissing Independent film makers. I thought, “wow what crap Indie sets have you been on?” I have had a different experience, even working odd jobs on Indie sets. Some of them have been the most organized, efficient, amazing sets to be on. No waiting, no fat, no fluff. Instead of a giant Studio armored division the Indie film maker can be a Special Forces Team that is kicking ass and taking names with just a handful of operatives or it can be a shit show. It just depends on how much planning you put into it and how well you execute that planning.”
PopcultHQ: Synapse 2?
Adam Simon: “Yeah……we’re working on the sequel to Synapse. It was always meant to be a trilogy with a prequel and a sequel. I’m super excited about it.”
Adam Simon: “Synapse by itself is a self-contained story but ends on such a cliff hanger it leaves the audience wondering what happens next. One day Ken (director: KENLON CLARK) and I were tossing ideas around and he came up with this idea that just blew my mind. That got me writing again. I think the story is really beautiful and surprisingly emotionally powerful.”
Adam Simon: “When we screened Synapse for Los Angeles Center Studios. They came back and were like ‘WOW we were expecting what you guys described as a sci-fi thriller, but actually was very moving and touching.’ And it makes sense since ultimately Synapse is about a man trying to get his family back, it just so happens to take place in this science fiction world.”
PopcultHQ Trivia – Adam is a huge comic book and sci-fi fan – Adam, also has a very unhealthy fixation over Marvel’s The Punisher –
PopcultHQ: What comic book movie gig do you want: other than The Punisher…?
Adam Simon: “The sequels to The Punisher.”
PopcultHQ: Do you find yourself being more PC (politically correct) now being more in the public eye?
Adam Simon: “Fuck no!”
PopcultHQ: Any Hollywood fuck up stories?
Adam Simon: “Everyday man. You fuck up, pick yourself up, learn from it and move on. Taking care not to make the same mistakes twice.”
Adam Simon: “Dude! I’m so friggin’ proud of you man!”
PopcultHQ: Thanks, I really appreciate that!
Adam Simon: “You’ve been able to do what you love and you’ve been increasing your on-line presence!”
PopcultHQ: It is crazy how this blog writing has gone for me but I’m just riding the wave and I have a fantastic team with me on this website
Adam Simon “Yeah man, you’re just killing it!”
Adam Simon “You know how cool is it that like a year ago………”
PopcultHQ: Exactly dude, exactly…..that’s one of the things I wanted to talk to you about, how we both met at the start of our careers and how nuts it’s just been for both of us in a years time.
PopcultHQ: So beforehand….not to sound rude in any way, but in essence you were nothing before Wizard World and now you turn out into THIS person!
Adam Simon “Yeah, I had been attending acting conservatory in LA. I had written several scripts and pitched them around trying to sell them studio to studio, just to anybody that would talk to me. I was just trying to meet up with any one. So I was with Kenlon Clark about a year before Wizard World, we shot Synapse that was in the can and we were just thinking what to do with it, how to sell it, how to get it out there. Then I met Rob (Prior), we were working on another project together and he was doing the artwork on and we just hit it off! Rob was like ‘look, I’m on the comic con circuit selling my art, talking about my art to the people. Why don’t you come out and join me and talk about your movie’. So I did, I joined up with him and halfway on the road with him on Wizard World talking about Synapse, and that’s when Man Down got picked up. Wizard World has been very good to me and it’s been great.
PopcultHQ: Anything you want to talk about that will be exclusive to Popculthq?
Adam Simon: “Got you an exclusive right here! At this moment Synapse is in the hands of Michael Archaki and Christian Davis undergoing final Sound Design and Score. We are really pushing to try to screen Synapse for audiences attending the Chicago Wizard World Comic Con on August 20-21-22-23. It looks like we are going to make it happen as part of the Wizard World Bruce Campbell Horror Fest (Film Festival)! It’s a great way for us to give back to Wizard World for allowing me to promote Synapse on the con circuit.”
Saturday August 22 during Wizard World Chicago at 12:00 PM – Synapse – World Premiere, followed by Q&A with cast & crew
PopcultHQ: So this will be like a free showing for the fans?
Adam Simon: “Absolutely brother! It will be a one shot deal where fans can get a link and see the movie for free on that day. Something I don’t think that has ever been done before and we want to give back to the Wizard World fans, so we want to just give it to the masses!”
PopcultHQ Trivia – “Man Down” Is a major motion film written by Adam Simon. A story that follows a haunted Afghanistan war veteran who attempts to come to terms with his past while searching for his family in a post-apocalyptic America. Starring Shia LeBeouf, Gary Oldman, Kate Mara –
PopcultHQ: Any news on the “Man Down” front?
Adam Simon: “I’ll be at the Toronto Film Festival in September and we will be premiering “Man Down” there. I’m really excited about that! I can’t talk too much about it right now but it defiantly deals with a very serious issue that’s going on right now. A very serious message just like Synapse is.
PopcultHQ: Any new films in the works?
Adam Simon: “Ken, EJ and I are working on another Sci-fi flick named “After Us“
PopcultHQ: Another Indie project?
Adam Simon: “Yes, Indie project but with a lot bigger budget this time around. We’re reaching out to some big names for the lead in the film”
PopcultHQ: So final question, what advice do you give to future writers?
Adam Simon: “This is what I tell people when I’m speaking on panels, when they ask ‘what’s your advice, what books should I read, what’s the formula to writing good stories?’. I tell people two things – write from your heart, write what you believe in and WORK YOUR FUCKING ASS OFF!! Those are the two things…….I don’t know if you’ll succeed (laughing) but at least you’ll be happy!”
Awesome Adam! Well you know how happy I am with your career as well and I cannot wait to finally see SYNAPSE! Thanks again for this exclusive interview with my website PopcultHQ. I will see you and Rob Prior again in Chicago at Wizard World Comic Con my friend.
Below is the official trailer for Synapse the movie.
Synapse Movie Official Trailer:
Synapse is the story of an addict memory dealer who is chased relentlessly by federal narcotics agents in pursuit of a secret buried deep within his mind. “Mems”, as they are known on the street, were developed by the United States military in assisting soldiers who suffered brain trauma in combat. After a leak by a government informant, the technology explodes globally allowing anyone the ability to mold their memories how they see fit. Synapse is a branch of the DEA tasked with stamping out the illegal MEM trade.
Nathan Stafford works as an undercover enforcement agent working in a city ravaged by drugs and gang warfare. When Nathan begins working with a low-level MEM dealer, he learns a secret that places him and his family in danger. With time running out, the two adversaries must work together or die fighting against a corrupt agency and a system bent on their destruction.
Director: KENLON CLARK
Written By: Adam Simon
Actor: JOSHUA ALBA
Actor : CHARLEY BOON
Actor: SOPHINA BROWN
Actor: HENRY SIMMONS
Actor: ADAM SIMON
All Adam Simon Photos credit to: Dennys Illic