Robert Leeshock will be familiar to most action fans, he was the intergalactic hero on ‘90s series Earth : The Final Conflict. These days, though still acting, he also wears a producer’s hat. The latest jaunt from his production company, Star Leaf, hits DVD in November.
Robert, we know you best as an actor – but are you strictly a producer these days?
No sireee… as a matter of fact I am heading to the great state of Missouri to play a sheriff in a stylized noir drama called The Weight. So I like to say that this whole producing gig is just a ruse to get my acting career back on track. What I didn’t realize is that this ‘ruse’ was going to demand my hard earned dollars, effort and a certain percentage of my soul. All worth it though… what a ride!
How did Star Leaf come to be?
Are you asking for the recipe per se….? Well, you mix a writer with cancer, an Iraqi war veteran, cult influences like the Grateful Dead and Tommy Chong, emerging marijuana laws, aliens and conspiracy theories into one giant pot (pun intended). Then two parts writer/actor, one part chutzpah (Yiddish for ‘balls’), and a pinch of ambition, lunacy and a dash of ‘line of credit’ and you stir that soup with a ladle of inspiration. Shit, it’s like an ‘alien jambalaya’!
You’re in it too, briefly, aren’t you?
Ahhhhhhhhh, you spoiler. I’m fucking genius in this movie! My best role EVER!! See how the story hinges on my nuanced performance…. Alright, they needed a guy in a hammock with a gas mask, couldn’t find anyone so guess what…. they find some ‘schmuck’ who gets to finally rest while he should be doing his fucking job as executive producer…. that’s right yours truly!
Had you produced before?
Titan Sky Entertainment, our umbrella entity first started with a short film called GODMACHINE. Quick synopsis: A distraught mercenary is hired by a malevolent corporation to hunt and kill a beautiful android Godmachine. But their cosmic fate with destiny compels them to join forces to destroy the corporation in their quest to save both machines and humanity.
Where do you think Star Leaf differs from other sci-fi films?
Different…. hmmmm, not sure. I hope we’re sort of an homage to Rod Serling and the Twilight Zone and perhaps hopefully, we’re simply a thought provoking exercise. In some ways we’re quite binary, no…? The science is real, the aliens are fiction… or are they? I’ll let you decide.
We’re on the cutting edge of a politically charged discussion that is taking place as we speak. The laws are changing as lies are being exposed as to the efficacy of this amazing plant. Lives are being spared and/or comforted by the therapeutic properties of this politicized, yet effective… dare I say ‘panacea’. The idea is just so provocative, I can’t figure out how to place a sponsored ad on Facebook!
Let’s try to consider the debate going on in the US regarding this plant that has been reviled for so many years. It’s got therapeutic effects in so many cases; yet, the economics behind the plant has been politicized for so long that it has become a galvanizing platform for a broad discussion and the laws that govern them, including the corporate dominance of agriculture. Yet… it’s a fun film as well! Aliens and weed are just ripe for some creative freedom from a filmmaking point of view. The minute you introduce a hallucinogenic idea into a film, the fun begins!
You still look quite fit, Robert. How do you stay in such top shape?
Rum and ginger beer… dark & stormy! Honestly, I’ve got a ton of bad habits, must be that the good… for now, are outweighing the bad. Let’s hope the day of reckoning doesn’t come along too soon. It’s all smoke and mirrors anyway, wouldn’t you say?
Did the producers of Earth The Final Conflict require you to stay on top of your diet and training?
Noooooo, I was a madman. I had convinced myself that what got me there would keep me there. So I never let up. I trained hard to get the job, so naturally thought if you stop, you’ll lose it. I felt like one of those top athletes ‘looking for the edge’… Really, I did some stuff that I’ll never do again. Creatine… bad for your kidneys. NorAndro 19 (a form of steroid) orally taken, but threw me for a loop… never took it again!
How has the experience of producing been for you overall – looking forward to doing more?
I am pretty much ‘all in’ with this film, Star Leaf. It’s timely. It’s a real compelling story. It’s unpredictable. And it’s heartfelt. If the ever evolving indie film world dictates that we’re not able to make a decent living at this… then I will humbly and proudly bow to the Gods of yesteryear and say… “anybody hiring a ‘schmuck’ with some acting chops?”. Deep down, this Star Leaf thing is going to be huge, my deeper intuition can sense it. And we got here like mercenaries… paying homage to all the veterans who have served and hunkered down when victory seemed improbable, if not impossible! We salute them!!
All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come.