Mean Magazine indie publisher Kashy Khaledi’s Cinemash viral videos are getting mounds of online buzz for their hilarious and star-studded movie sends-up of flicks like “Dirty Dancing,” “Tron,” “Oldboy,” “Sid and Nancy,” “Training Day” and “Carrie,” the latest, that premiered here on MTV Movies Blog yesterday. To celebrate the final announced release in Cinemash’s first “season,” Khaledi took some time out of his busy schedule to give us the deets on how his brainchild came to fruition.
Mean Magazine already had access to the stars peppering the Cinemash videos because of its glossy print pub. As Khaledi revealed, it was an innovative and cool way to extend the mag’s reach online. Mean was already doing off-the-wall photo shoots, like one with Ewan McGregor as Woody Allen around the time of his star turn in the director’s “Cassandra’s Dream,” or the one with Kate Beckinsale as the doomed Tolstoy character Anna Karenina from the book of the same name.
“What’s happening in print we knew we had to make the features inside of the magazine literally pop off the newsstand into the ether,” he said. “We were just kind of experimenting. Technology got to a point where it got really cost-efficient for us to do these. We’re able to rent Red cameras and lights on a low budget and actually make good quality videos.”
Microsoft got in touch with Khaledi as Mean’s videos took off. “They were looking to do original content and they decided to give us kind of free reign and for us to take one of the shorts we did and expand on [it]. That short we decided to expand on was the ’Bad Lieutenant’/Bill Hader short,” Khaledi said. Mean had also previously done a particularly memorable video of Sir Ben Kingsley performing with the hardcore punk band Minor Threat.
What’s cool is that Khaledi and his team just riff on ideas and make them happen far faster than a regular print outfit could. “Literally, these ideas come about when I come into the office, five minutes after my coffee, and boom. I’m like, ’Okay, that would be kind of cool to do,'” he said.
While some of the Cinemash selections are random — such as the hilarious send-up of “Training Day” with Common as the good cop to Christopher Mintz-Plasse’s bad cop — others tie in quite nicely to upcoming movies. For example, the most unlikely coupling of Channing Tatum and Charlyne Yi for a playful take on “Dirty Dancing” came just in time for Yi’s “Paper Heart” and Tatum’s “G.I. Joe,” which hit theaters in the same week. The videos get people talking about the stars and their movies, while Cinemash and Microsoft also reap the benefits. Said Khaledi, “With the demise of the magazine industry, here’s an exciting new way to actually promote a movie.”
Meanwhile, because these videos are done so quickly, the team sometimes has to get creative and the actors have to nail their moves in just a few takes. That video of Will Arnett in “Carrie”? Well, things got a little hairy once the high heels and prom dress came off. After filming the short in Microsoft’s Zune space, Khaledi described the scene: “Poor Will was in the garage and we had to have this hose draining the blood off him [and then] rushed him off to get off to his flight.”
Video: Will Arnett and Xavier Cinemash "Carrie"
What does the future hold for Cinemash and Zune? Well, first of all, you’ll be able to play the videos in HD on your TV through an HDMI cable this September. Khaledi also has plenty of pans in the fire when it comes to new ideas for movie promotion. As for specifics… well… you’ll have to tune in tomorrow to see what he’d like to do with the “Twilight” and “Harry Potter” stars.