- September 02, 2008
- 668 Views
About Franco and Billy
Writer-director-actor-editor duo Peter Blomquist and Jeff Wiens comprise the entertainment entity known as Franco and Billy LLC. Sometime before the turn of the millennium, Peter and Jeff began making short movies that were shown at various underground late-night events in NYC and Los Angeles.
In 2003, they made a short action film called Whalebone, which was a finalist in the New York City Moviemaking Madness Competition and was subsequently screened around the country.
In 2005, Peter and Jeff shot their own television pilot, The Independents, which was an official selection at the 2005 Vail Film Festival. In 2006, Peter and Jeff won the Independent Film Channel’s Shorts Down Under competition, a short film contest sponsored by Tourism Australia and IFC. They were then sent to Australia to shoot a comedic web-series called Chasing Paradise.
In addition to online entertainment, their live show, The Franco & Billy Show has enjoyed runs at the Under St. Marks Theatre (NY) and Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theatre (NY). It was selected to perform as part of the 2007 NY Comedy Festival’s Longest Sketch Show Ever also at UCBT (NY). New York press said of the show: “The parallels between the Franco and Billy Show and Monty Python are undeniable. They are both sometimes surreal, sometimes historical, and sometimes completely incomprehensible. They toss film clips, music and sketch comedy into a single puke-colored but delicious stew."
PETER BLOMQUIST (Garlyn Thornquist/Writer-Director)
As an actor, Peter has performed in New York City at The Ontological-Hysteric Theatre, The Collapsible Hole, and PS 122 with Banana Bag and Bodice theatre company.
He has also performed with them in San Francisco, Montreal, and Dublin, Ireland. His own plays have been produced in Minneapolis and NYC. Apart from the stage, Blomquist is both a painter and collector of literary publication rejection slips for his poetry submissions.
JEFF WIENS (Billy Lang/Writer-Director)
As an actor, Jeff received a Dramalogue Award for his performance in the west-coast premiere of Suburbia at The Actors Gang Theatre in L.A.
He has performed regionally at The Mark Taper Forum, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Syracuse Stage, Indiana Repertory, Alliance Repertory, and LATC (with Cornerstone Theatre Company). Film and T.V. credits include VH1’s I Hate My 30’s, George Lucas In Love, and Fame L.A. He is currently playing “Waiter #4” at a tapas restaurant in Greenwich Village.
SCOTT SOWERS (Uncle Drake)
Scott has acted as an actor in many acting projects in front of real people and also in front of cameras that make movies and television shows.
He is Googleable for that shit. He loves to do plays for free or very little money in order not to taint or corrupt the purity of his art spirit...and he's done some things with Franco and Billy that have made people laugh because laughing is better than crying...or dying.
MARIA MELIN (Gwen)
Swedish-born Maria is a professional photographer with clients ranging from ABCTV to Volvo to wedding couples, whose theatrical background helps her occasionally perform on the other side of the camera, on stage, or behind a microphone as a voiceover.
Or sometimes all three at once. Her family's long association with Franco and Billy is the result of an unfortunate wager.
ASTRID MELIN-SHEARER (Lily)
Elder daughter to Maria, this is Astrid's first official film role.
Chosen for her looks, talent and bilingual English-Swedish abilities, she prepared for her performance by hiding under the bed and begging her mother not to let those maniacs near her. A keen reader and pianist, ten year old Astrid attends PS9 in Manhattan, one of the many institutions from which Franco and Billy have been unceremoniously banned.
AMANDA RONCONI (Alice/Fan #1)
Amanda most recently performed in the world premiere of her play, Shirley at the Tropicana, which The New York Times described as “Lucy-like zaniness”.
Amanda has performed in regional theater (The Alley, Capital Rep, Shakespeare Festival of NJ). She can be seen in Franco and Billy’s pilot The Independents and heard as a talking kookaburra bird in their web series, Chasing Paradise.
LIAM SULLIVAN (Liam Sullivan)
Liam Sullivan is a 35 year-old straight man with several mini-skirts in his closet and some 60 million views of his characters' videos on YouTube ("Shoes", "Muffins", etc.).
In "Get Hit", he bravely portrays his true self.
ILANA MARGOT COHN (Judith)
Ilana Margot Cohn began her acting career alongside Carol Kane and Jeff Bridges as an infant when she was cast as "a baby" in the PBS special "Girls in their Summer Dresses”.
She then took a 25-year hiatus to learn to speak, use a potty, and read. She is currently an actress and writer in Los Angeles.
VICTOR VERHAEGHE (Sonny)
Victor is currently writing, producing and starring in a new web series, “COP-DOC”, on mDialog.com.
He also recently finished working as the lead in the independent feature film, “I Killed Her Because…”. He has written several plays, including “The Women of James Bond” and “The Great Official Subway Musical”, both for the New York International Fringe Festival, and he wrote and starred in the award winning short film, “The Doctor Cares”.
ANIELLO DeGUIDA (Joe)
This is Aniello's first acting role in a web series. His real life role is as Building Manager at The Cocoa Exchange in downtown Manhattan.
Raised in Brooklyn, his old school demeanor and 6’2”, 270 lbs build might be intimidating. But don’t be fooled- he’s as nice as they come. Aniello is thankful to Franco and Billy for not screwing up his car (used in Episode 6).
CHARLES HESS (Assistant Director)
Currently, Charles is a producer/editor with Howard TV.
Prior to that, he was in Atlanta as the Post Production Coordinator with ECG Productions where he directed the short "Between A Rock and A Stone"; winner of the 2007 Atlanta Film Festival Audience Award. Working with Franco & Billy and seeing them oiled up has been the highlight of his summer and most likely fall too.
RACHELLE PLASTER (Potato Costumes)
Rachelle Plaster most recently designed the costumes for the Off Broadway show Shirley at the Tropican