Interview with Heather Locklear

TV Interview!

Panelists for the movie "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff" on Lifetime

Interview with actor Heather Locklear, executive produers Meghan McCain and Maura Dunbar, and author Kristine Carlson of “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: The Kristine Carlson Story” on Lifetime by Suzanne 9/14/21

This was a fun panel. These women clearly enjoyed the story they were producing and became great friends. I was very happy to speak to Heather Locklear, who is about my same age (as it turns out). I used to watch her all the time on “TJ Hooker” and “Dynasty,” and then later on “Spin City,” and of course, “Melrose Place.” She’s very good in this movie, too. I’m glad to see her doing more acting. She had some personal and legal problems in 2018, but it sounds like she’s cleaned up her act. That’s great because we all missed her. She seems so nice in this interview, and I just love that chair she’s sitting in. It was such a great group of people. It’s the first time that I ever saw a star stop the panel from ending so that she could tell everyone how much she loves them! That was very sweet.

Don’t forget to watch “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” this Saturday, October 16 on Lifetime!

Heather Locklear and Kristine Carlson

MODERATOR:  Hi, everybody.  Our last panel today is “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: The Kristine Carlson Story.”  We’re pleased to welcome and have with us today Heather Locklear, and I think she’ll be on camera in just a minute, who stars in the movie, author Kristine Carlson, and executive producers Meghan McCain and Maura Dunbar.  Thank you all for joining us, and I think we’re just going to give Heather just one more second to get on camera and then we will get started.  Just a reminder to anyone who’d like to ask a question, use the raise your hand button at the bottom of your screen.  If you have the newer version of Zoom it’s by hitting the reactions button, and if you have the older Zoom version use the participants’ button, so that’s just how you can raise your hand.  Just give us one more second and we will get started, so thank you so much.  While we wait for Heather to get on camera I’m going to start with a question I just received for Maura.  Maura, it seems like “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” has been a passion project of yours for years in the making.  Can you briefly share with the audience your personal story behind making this movie a reality?

MAURA DUNBAR:  Thank you so much for that question, yes.  This project, this little book “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” has been a 21-year passion project of mine.  It started because, sadly, 27 years ago I lost four immediate family members in my life, and Richard’s book came out about six or seven years after that, and I found that book, and the book, even though it’s about not sweating the small stuff, and I was enveloped by the darkness of loss and grief, the little pinpoints of light that Richard so beautifully distills in his books about not sweating the small stuff in everyday living became the little footholds that I was able to grab onto, and as you started to string those little pieces of light together, when you’re so overwhelmed and you can’t see your way through, those little lights became beams of light, became rays of light that began to light up the room where I began to find my way through, and when you’re so lost and you find that pathway it became the pathway to healing for me.  And so I had the privilege of, when I left ABC as a network executive after sixteen years, of being introduced to Richard by his publisher, and I drove up.  I flew up and met Richard, Dr. Carlson, and Kris and had the pleasure of spending a weekend up there and getting to know them and got the rights, and it’s been an honor and a privilege, and it’s just been a passion of mine for the last 21 years to be a steward of Richard’s in getting this story out there, and Kris has been amazing and in indulging me for forever coming back to her, knocking on her door and saying, “I’ve got another chance, I’ve got another chance.”  And now with the incredible support of Tanya Lopez and Lifetime, who was my first agent, by the way, when I sold it for the very first time twenty years ago at ABC as a half hour.  So thanks to Tanya Lopez and my producing partner Mark Teitelbaum on the project, who’s not with us, and to Meghan McCain.  So thank you.  It has been an amazing journey.  I cried the first day of filming.  And to Heather Locklear who has just done, I want to say, the most unbelievable, breathtaking job taking on the role of Kris Carlson and has been one of the most amazing professionals I’ve ever working with in the business under sweltering heat conditions that I’ve never seen anyone be so unflappable on a set with such a great sense of humor.  I think it’s her best work to date.  So thank you for the question.  It’s been the most important movie I’ve made in my 37-year career.

MODERATOR:  Thank you so much, Maura.  And welcome, Heather.

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  Hi.

MODERATOR:  And the next question is from Jay Bobbin.

QUESTION:  Hello, everyone —

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  Oh.  Hi, Jay.

QUESTION:  Hi, Heather.  Actually, my question if for Meghan.  How did it come to be that you became attached to this material, and maybe this is me watching “The View,” and bravo on your years there, but are you kind of surprised this is your first TV movie as opposed to something maybe a little more political?

MEGHAN MCCAIN:  Yeah.  It’s funny.  This is the only — the second thing I’ve ever executive produced, and the last one was a very serious political documentary, so it’s I’m delighted to be doing something that everyone in my life will want to consume because, obviously, politics is incredibly divisive, and this is something that is meant to be, you know, feel good and it’s going to bring people together.  I had read “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” at different incarnations in my life.  I read it when I was much younger when my mother had read it when it first was released, and I told Kristine and Maura when I first met them it was a book that my mother had on her nightstand in her bedroom growing up, and I can remember just the very distinctive title and it always being sort of like something I remembered, and then after my dad died I went on Amazon and just looked up books that were good for grief, and the book came up again, books for good — the good books about in moments of crisis in your life.  And then my agent had come to me saying Lifetime was possibly interested in partnering with me on projects, and I said it would have to be something that would be organic and something that I would have to be authentically passionate about, otherwise, it wouldn’t work.  And when Maura came to me with “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” I felt like it was incredibly serendipitous, because I had started rereading again for some of its meaningful and evergreen messages during COVID, and I just was so excited at the idea of this medium being turned into a film because, again, I have a lot of friends who are incredibly busy and they don’t have time to read all the time.  Sometimes they don’t have the bandwidth, and I just think Kristine’s story and Richard’s story is something that so many people can relate to, especially post COVID during this time of such pain and loss.  And I’m just really proud of it, and I’m really excited to be doing something that everyone I know and everyone I respect has been excited about and will be excited to watch.  And this is a movie that you’ll be able to watch thirty years from now and fifty years from now and sixty years from now.  I really believe this is going to be one of those movies that’s going to stay in our lexicon just like the book has.  So it’s really just a privilege to be working with these incredible women and to be a part of this project, and I’m really delighted, and I just am so excited for its release coming out soon, and it’s around my birthday, and I just — I don’t know.  It’s just been — This whole experience has been wonderful and I’m really, really honored to be a part of it.

QUESTION:  Thank you very much.

MODERATOR:  Thank you, Jay.  We thank you, Meghan.  The next question is from Suzanne.

QUESTION:  Hi.  My question is for Heather.  Did you meet Kristine before the filming of the movie and talk to her to get an idea about your character at all?

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  Yes.  I did meet her.  I flew up on a coach flight, just saying, to meet her, and she picked me up and was a little late but, yeah, I went up, and I spent the night, and we spent a night with our friends, both of our friends that happened to know each other, which is all synchronicity.  And I had read the book before, and I had talked to her a lot saying I can’t get through your book right away, because it’s making me cry.  It’s giving me — which happens every time I talk about it.  Anyway, so, meeting her was such a joy and such a light in my life, and I can’t imagine what she was and is in everyone else’s light — life, but meeting her, and I went to dinner, and she talked about all kinds of stuff and showed me Richard’s jacket that was in her office that stayed there since he passed — that’s fifteen years, by the way — and told me different stories and told me stuff that I was afraid of, to do, to play, and how, you know, what happened.  And then I got to have coffee with her in the morning in her bed, and I felt like this must have been what Richard and Kris together.  They sat there with their coffee.  They meditated right here, and it felt so unique and so special and on a different level than I am on.  I would like to be her level, but I’m not quite there, or their level.  And it was so, so special, so special that she’s coming out for my 60th birthday to stay with me, yay.  What more can I say?  Oh, I can say something else that has nothing to do with that question.  So my mom says today that Meghan is her favorite person.  She’s watched her.  Yeah, and but she actually happens to love your husband.

MEGHAN MCCAIN:  Then she is hardcore, she loves my husband —

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  She’s hardcore.  She’s definitely.  She’s so hardcore that I have to stop her and go: “Enough, don’t sweat the small stuff; don’t sweat the small stuff.”  But she’s in love with your husband and thinks you’re fantastic.

MEGHAN MCCAIN:  Thank you.

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  And that’s all I wanted to tell you and let you know that.

MEGHAN MCCAIN:  Thank you very much.

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  Yeah.

MEGHAN MCCAIN:  Tell her, please, thank you.

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  Oh, trust me.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Thank you, Suzanne.  Thank you, Heather.  The next question is from Jamie Ruby.

QUESTION:  Hi.  Thanks for talking to me.  Heather, obviously, you’ve been acting for quite a long time now, but is there anything that you still find challenging when you do a project like this?

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  Oh, no.  The challenging part was it was so fearful to me, and it was the second to the last day is when I get on the phone, and I find out that Richard has passed.  And Kris had told me — oh, my God.  I’m going to die — she had told me this is what I did, this is what I did, and I said I’m so glad that you’re telling me because I don’t want to ask this question of how it felt or what it did.  And she said, “It’s almost like a child died.”  And that stopped me in my tracks, and I’m like I can’t go there.  I can’t do it.  So it’s always my fear of the whole, like, when is this going to be scheduled that I have to take in when her husband died.  And I’ve read her book and what happened and all that.  And I’m like, okay, I’ll go back to these pages before I do this, and we talked on the phone the morning of, because they wanted to know certain things, the producers and director wanted to know certain things about what happened and blah, blah, blah, and I go I can get her on the phone right now.  And so my fear was I’m not going to where my child passes.  I could never do that.  So that was my fear and what am I going to go to.  I don’t even know what I went to, because it was the spirit of Richard, the spirit of Kris, so that was challenging, and they did it great.  They did all kinds of shots and all, and so it felt — I felt very safe, but that was my biggest fear.

QUESTION:  Thank you so much

MODERATOR:  Thank you both.  The next question is from Francine Brokaw.

QUESTION:  There we go.  Yeah.  I read the book ages ago.  It seems like a lifetime ago.  But I want to know from the whole panel have you really perfected the art of not sweating the small stuff, because in this crazy world, I mean, it’s hard to just go through life all the time and just be la-la about the really small stuff, but they do affect us.  So how do you deal with that?  Have you perfected that art?

MAURA DUNBAR:  Well, I can say it’s sort of an ongoing process, but it’s having read these books and lived with these books for so long and being dear friends with Kris.  In fact Kris and I have the same birthday, July 5th.  I don’t know if it’s July 5th girls, but it’s about being mindful and treasuring the journey, as Kris often says, and just being centered in not getting caught up in those small, little things and being in gratitude for so much, and life is filled with those little joys if you just change your perspective and focus on that, and that’s what being with Richard and being with Kris and reading these books and being with this material for so long has taught me.  So I really do try, and it kind of starts to come naturally after a long time, and after 21 years it’s kind of come naturally by now.

QUESTION:  Meghan?

MEGHAN MCCAIN:  Oh, my gosh.  Well, if you’re asking me if I’m good at don’t sweat the small stuff, not all the time, but I am working on it.  And one of the mantras from the book that always helped me is “make peace with imperfection.”

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  (Inaudible @ 01:50:53).

MEGHAN MCCAIN:  I find myself, yeah, it’s my favorite one, I find myself saying that to my — in so many — I have a almost one-year-old daughter, and there’s something about motherhood that you just really have to surrender and make peace with imperfection, and there are so many small pockets of wisdom in the book that I and hundreds of millions of other people find so accessible.  And I think all of us, no matter who are you, I think are going through some kind of existential moment in the past two years because of the nature of the crisis that have happened in the world.  And I think the best part about “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” is that it is accessible and it’s not overwhelming for people that want to grow and want to sort of make changes in their life that are more accessible than say, you know, whatever, reading the Dalai Lama.  I have given this book to, I have it on my Amazon list, and I have sent it to eight people in the past few months just saying, “This is a book that will really help you, and it’s not overwhelming, and you can just read ten pages at night before you go to bed, whatever.”  And some of my friends, I think, sometimes when things are so popular people just are thinking that maybe it’s not evergreen, and so many of my friends have just been saying how much it’s helped them; how much it’s helping them get through this moment.  And I’m trying, but I also find that the book is something you can really just continue reading and dip in and out of.  And there’s other incarnations of it like, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff for Moms,” and, etcetera, and I think that I’m certainly trying, and I think that’s all we can hope for anyone.

KRISTINE CARLSON:  I —

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  I’ll — oh, sorry.  No, go, Kris.  Go, my friend.

KRISTINE CARLSON:  Oh, no.  Go ahead.  You go ahead, Heather.

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  No, you go.

KRISTINE CARLSON:  Oh, yeah.  I was just going to say that “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” is really a life philosophy.  It’s something that is the way you practice every day, and like Meghan just so beautifully said, it’s the small ways that we practice life that makes the biggest difference in our lives.  And what’ happened over the last 25 years of the series is that the book tends to do very well in times of crisis, because people need to get back to the basics and, certainly, what we’ve all been through this last two years shows us that life is very basic, and if you don’t get back to the basics you’re going to get lost in all of the worry and the concerns and the troubles that we see ahead of us.  And I also want to say that when you have a real-life crisis happen to you, what you were sweating the day before that crisis happened never gets on your radar again.  And, certainly, as you recover from crisis there are small things that get to you at different times.  I will never say that I am the one that never sweats the small stuff.  That simply is not possible nor true, but like I said, it is a philosophy, and it helps you to focus on what matters most to your heart when you don’t sweat the small stuff.  And at the very cornerstone of the philosophy is to be grateful for the small things in life, because life is incredibly precious.

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  Okay.  Now I’ll speak.  I didn’t know that it was make peace with imperfection.  I thought it was make peace with perfection, but that’s from the script.  I don’t know.  And, you know, they write whatever they write.  But I think one of the things that Meghan was talking about is imperfect or perfection that we learn every day.  We learn something new, hopefully, if we connect with people.  And I would always say on the set, I’m such an a-hole, I would say, now only to Maura — maybe I would, because she was a little bit uptight; just a little involved — I would say, “Don’t sweat the small stuff; don’t sweat the small stuff.  It’s a movie.  The sun will go down.  The sun will come up.  We’ll be alive or we’ll be dead.”  And I used to do that on other things that I worked with that I was in fear of, in front of an audience.  I would go, “Okay, the sun’s going to go down.  I will be alive when it comes up.”  And so being a kind of jerky person, I would say to other people, because they’re going we’re trying to get the lights, I’d go: “Don’t sweat the small stuff.  It’s just a movie.”  But it’s a beautiful movie and it’s a beautiful story, but I kept trying to say that, and even in my fears of what I was doing: “Heather, you’re going to be okay.  Everything’s going to work out.  Everything will be okay.”  And I actually came into this book I think in the nineties maybe, and I was so busy working — So I read it.  I did read it, and until you’re kind of solid and not busy doing things in your life in a busy world, you don’t really grasp it, but I think in the last year-and-a-half it was easier to grasp, and because we’re all sitting still, and it’s so simplified —

MEGHAN MCCAIN:  Yeah.

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  And like Oprah said that she put it on her night table, I had it in my bathroom.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Because that’s where we don’t sweat the small stuff according to my boyfriend.  Maura (inaudible).  But reading a little bit at a time, because you can only —

MEGHAN MCCAIN:  Yeah.

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  It’s so specific and so good that if we just take the one step that we read that day, it’s almost like reading a Bible verse or something, maybe that’s too much, and you take that into your day and you can learn something, you can remember it, you can’t remember it, you can go back.  So that’s all I’ve got.

MEGHAN MCCAIN:  Yeah.

MAURA DUNBAR:  Well, she did help me on set.  That’s true.  I do tend to sweat the small stuff when I’m working on set, but in my personal life I do try to make peace with imperfection ergo the not sweating the small stuff.  But, yes, as a producer, yes, I want everything to be perfect.  I admit it.  I’m sorry.  But that’s why we have such a beautiful movie, I believe.

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  Don’t be sorry.  You were amazing.  You were effing amazing, and you brought the world down.  When she would come, the first day of set, I think after we finished the first day, she gave this story about Kris and it’s not about Maura.  It’s about Kris and Richard, but it’s about Maura and all of her trying to get this together, and it would bring people to tears, because it was so heartfelt and so real and what she’s worked on and all, and then I have to go: “Wait, this is Kris and Richard, because they’re combined lives of Maura,” and it’s all their story together.  So it was always a blessing to have you there, my friend.

MODERATOR:  Thank you, Francine.  We’re going a tiny bit over.  I know we started a tiny bit late.  So we’re going to try to squeeze in two last questions.  The first person to ask would be Dana and then followed by Steve Gidlow.  Dana?

QUESTION:  Hi.  My question is for Heather.  Why was this the right project for you to return to TV with, and how did it feel to be back?

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  It felt like what I was praying for, and I’m like God-driven, and I was praying for something solid for me that had to do with something spiritually that was important, and that was really what I was praying for, because I didn’t want to do light — I’ve done lightweight stuff.  I didn’t want the dumb stuff.  Sitcoms are great but unless they’re “Veep” they’re not my kind of sitcoms.  And so it’s weird that when you pray for something it comes or it doesn’t come, but it seemed to come.  And that was super important to me and spirituality and God, and I don’t know how this happens, but it landed in my lap.  And then these two great people showed up, Maura and Mark Teitelbaum, and I was just so — I felt so blessed, and it was just something special that I go I can do this, and then I had Valerie Bertinelli tell me, because I was scared, and my makeup artist who does her, too, and I said, “I’m scared remembering lines,” and blah, blah, blah, and it came back in seconds.  And she said, “Heather, it will, you will, it’s like riding a bike.”  It’s so easy, and it was so easy.  I don’t know why we’re so fearful of memorizing lines.  How about getting the emotion across?  I don’t know.  But that was just it felt really good to hear from someone else fearing the way I feared, and it’s always been important for me to memorize lines.  I’m always nervous.  But these great people came and then Kris came and Meghan came, and it all fit together.  I love that I see women, four women.

MEGHAN MCCAIN:  Yeah.  It’s pretty cool.

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  I think it’s fantastic.  I’ve always been a woman’s woman.  I’ve always been competitive with men, which does not mean men are bad, but I used to race them and would come in second to one man and four boys.  So I’ve always been competitive, and because I don’t think there’s a difference, but then there’s love and there’s opening your arms to sisterhood, and I think Ellen Pressman being our director, was unbelievable about women, right, about women and the softness of her direction, which wasn’t hard and do this and this is important, this scene, or this angle is important.  It was incredible, and she came to me with flowers.  I’m like what are you doing?  And I was in sweats and stuff.  I’m like, “Oh, you’re being so formal.”  But it was just amazing that Maura put together a great bunch of women that can support each other.  No bashing on men because we have Mark. Mark’s my (inaudible @ 02:01:49) who I love.

MAURA DUNBAR:  He loves women, too.

MEGHAN MCCAIN:  And he apparently does.  No, not apparently.  No, no, no.  He’s very married.  But, yeah, so I thought it was an amazing project.

QUESTION:  Thank you, Heather.  Thank you, Dana.  And the last question for today is Steve Gidlow.

QUESTION:  Hi.  My question’s actually for Kristine.  Given you’re collaborators on this, obviously, you’re all cheering about it, how safe did you feel having the story told?  And second part is how excited were you that Heather was the one that was going to be telling it?

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  Tell the story of Pepperdine.

KRISTINE CARLSON:  Which one?

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  I don’t know.

KRISTINE CARLSON:  Yeah.  Oh, well, I will tell that story.  So, first of all, I want to say just my heartfelt thanks is really to Maura Dunbar, and to the writer that was hired, Shannon Colleary, because I knew that they had my back on this, and I knew that they were going to share the story with their whole hearts, and that made me feel a lot more comfortable just knowing that.  It’s a very vulnerable position to share probably what you could consider the worst of year of your life and the worst year of your children’s lives.  And, of course, my kids are grown now.  They’re thirty and thirty-two years old, and I have five grandkids now.  And so it was very vulnerable for me to bring them into it in such a public way as well.  So, I really trusted Maura and trust her, and I trusted Shannon, and I worked very closely with Shannon, and I just knew.  I just knew that this was going to be a good thing for people.  I knew that, I believe that it’s how we learn is through story, and I believe that it’s part of the hero’s journey is to share your story and to bring home a message of hope and healing to other people.  And you can’t really take advice on grief from somebody who hasn’t gone through it.  You can’t really understand or people don’t think you understand unless you’ve been through it.  So I’m really hoping that story sheds so much hope.  And also a pathway for people to follow so that they know they can return to life again and return to joy and that life continues, and you have to learn to continue with grief.  So that said, I was absolutely, I mean, truly just — I don’t think there’s any woman alive that wouldn’t be thrilled to have Heather Locklear play them.

(Laughter.)

KRISTINE CARLSON:  I mean, I think she was the — You know, she’s just, in my mind, I mean, I, of course, was a big fan always.  She was at UCLA when I was at Pepperdine.  We have all these very weird, common synchronicities that have happened.  And she said that she put up this prayer for this project to come by, and we had this really amazing synchronicity where one of her college roommates turned out to be one of Richard’s very first crushes in junior high, and it’s one of her very best friends, and we find out all of these common threads and that really not six degrees of separation, but more like one-and-a-half degrees of separation, and I really felt that this was very divinely orchestrated, and that Heather was picked and hand chosen by my husband Richard to play me in this movie.  So it’s been amazing.  It’s been an amazing journey to get to know her and to just really fall in love with who she is as a beautiful woman and just a woman with just tremendous heart and empathy.  So I’m thrilled.  Like I couldn’t have asked for — But she was everything I had hoped for and more, way more.

QUESTION:  Thank you so much.

MODERATOR:  Thank you, Steve.  And thank you, Kristine, and special thanks to all of our panelists for “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.”  We really appreciate you sharing your stories today.  That concludes Lifetime’s fall movie press day.  To all of you —

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  Can I just say I love everyone on this panel.  I think I look like Jennifer Aniston in this — I don’t know who that is in the freaking left, I don’t know who, but I feel pretty.  But thanks Maura and Meghan and Kris.  I’m so grateful to be a part of this and thank you.  You all move me.

MEGHAN MCCAIN:  Yeah.  Thank you too —

KRISTINE CARLSON:  And then I just have to say really quick that my daughter, when she found out that you were involved was like, oh, my God, she is such a kick ass woman.

MEGHAN MCCAIN:  I’m really just so honored to be a part of this, and everyone is so inspiring.  And, Maura, thank you for even thinking of me to begin with and Kristine.  And, obviously, Heather, you’re a fucking icon, so it’s incredible to have my name attached to anything you’re attached —

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  Meghan your name is attached to my parent so big I’m just —

MEGHAN MCCAIN:  Okay.  I’m going to have my husband make a video for your mom, which he does, because women over 60 love my mom and my husband.

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  Oh, my gosh.

MEGHAN MCCAIN:  So I’m happy to have him make a video for you, but I’m just very —

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  But she loves you, too.  She loves you, too.

MEGHAN MCCAIN:  But I just hope —

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  And then she went off on your husband.

MEGHAN MCCAIN:  Thank you.  I hope people — You know, grief has been a big theme for all of us.  It’s been something we’ve all experienced.  Maura, when you originally shared your story about the immense amount of grief you went through losing so many family members.  Obviously, Kristine and Heather, I know you have as well.  And one of my passions in life is helping people get over grief, because I don’t think it’s something that we talk about enough in culture, in anything, in any medium.  Americans are very fearful of talking about grief, and this is a very accessible, kind story that has a philosophy, literally, a book and philosophy behind it, and I really think this is going to help and heal people in a time when people really need helping and healing.  So that’s why I’m so passionate about this movie as well, and I just think it’s going to be hugely impactful and hugely healing for a lot of people.

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  You are spectacular.

MAURA DUNBAR:  (Inaudible) for Meghan.

KRISTINE CARLSON:  Yeah.

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  Actually, all three of you are spectacular —

MAURA DUNBAR:  You’re awesome.

KRISTINE CARLSON:  As are you, Heather.

MODERATOR:  I concur.  And thank you all.  Really appreciate it.

HEATHER LOCKLEAR:  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  And thank you to all of our attendees who tuned in today hearing about our entire fall slate, and thank you very much.

(Goodbyes.)

MORE INFO:

Trailer

poster for "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff: The Kristine Carlson Story" on LifetimeDon’t Sweat the Small Stuff: The Kristine Carlson Story
Saturday, October 16 at 8p/7c

Co-authors of The New York Times bestselling book series, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, Kristine Carlson (Locklear) and her husband Dr. Richard Carlson (Jason MacDonald) had an amazing life with their two daughters.  But when Richard tragically passes away, Kristine is knocked off balance.  Comfortable with living in Richard’s shadow, she is now forced to navigate the unchartered territory of becoming a single mom while dealing with pressure to become the new face and voice of the Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff brand.  Looking deep inside herself, Kristine comes to understand the true essence of emotional authenticity and not sweating the small stuff, which leads to the resilience and confidence needed to carry on the legacy of the beloved brand.  

Selling over 25 million copies, the groundbreaking inspirational book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, teaches how to put challenges in perspective, reduce stress and anxiety through little daily changes, and guides how to let go of the small things to attain peace of mind in order to achieve goals.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff is produced for Lifetime by The Johnson Production Group and Teitelbaum Artists.  Maura Dunbar (The American Bible Challenge, What Should You Do?), Mark Teitelbaum (Superior Donuts, The Crazy Ones) and Meghan McCain (The View, Moms) are executive producers.  Ellen S. Pressman will direct from a script written by Shannon Bradley-Colleary.

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Poster for the movie and the panel

Interview with creators of Covenant, Lace and Partners in Rhyme

TV Interview!

TCA Panel for ALLBLK shows

Interview with creators of Covenant, Lace and Partners in Rhyme on ALLBLK by Suzanne 8/17/21

AMC NETWORKS
CTAM PRESS TOUR SUMMER 2021
ALLBLK’s Developing and Creating While Black: Covenant, Partners in Rhyme, and Lace
Nikki Love (VP, development and production for ALLBLK)
MC Lyte (Star/Co-Creator, Partners in Rhyme)
Kaye Singleton (Creator, Covenant)
Katrina Y. Nelson (Creator, Lace)
Michelle Ebony Hardy (Creator, Lace)

“Covenant” premieres October 14th. There are no exact premiere dates set yet for “Lace” or “Partners in Rhyme” – they’re premiering “in the fall.”

This was an interesting TCA panel because it wasn’t about just one show. There were a few panels like this, where the panel consisted of a group of people from different shows that they had united under one umbrella topic. The problem with that is that we only get one or two questions, and if they have a lot of different stars that we want to talk to, it makes it difficult to choose. This one, though, was mostly writers and producers. I wasn’t familiar with most of them. I believe MC Lyte was the only one I’d heard of before.

I greeted them all and said, “It’s great to see an all-female panel. That’s wonderful.”

Kaye Singleton agreed with a “Yes.” I asked Nikki Love, “Was there a push from the networks to have more female-centered shows on the network?”

She replied that women are their target audience, “so obviously we want to give them characters that they can look at and see themselves or a sliver of themselves and get some representation for them. So yeah, like I said, it wasn’t necessarily a huge push for it but it was kind of ingrained in what we do, content for our women, yeah, for our subscribers.”

I was surprised she said that women were their target audience because when I looked around on Google, I didn’t see anything about that. As far as I knew, their target audience was African-Americans. I guess I learned something here! I felt a little stupid, though.

MC Lyte and Precious Way on "Partners in Rhyme" on ALLBLKI asked MC Lyte about working with Precious Way, who was on “Days of Our Lives” for a while and now plays her niece. I asked her if she saw Precious on Days. She thanked me for the question and said that Precious is also on another show where she plays Brandy’s daughter (that would be “Queens” on FOX). She said, “She’s super talented, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and excited about being in the business so it works out really well.” I pointed out that she seems like the character she plays on her show, “Partners in Rhyme.” She agrees that she is.

MC Lyte was also asked, by another reporter, about the change in rap over the years, since there are more women in it now. She pointed out that hip hop can open the door for artists to go into other fields, even though sometimes “there is a box sometimes that’s put around us” as well as people in the industry that can help you pursue those dreams. She went on to say that it makes sense for women to be rapping their own points of view…”And quite frankly hip hop wouldn’t be the same without the touch of a woman.”

She was also asked how she feels that being an influential rapper has improved her life. She seemed a little flummoxed by that question, but said that “hip hop has been a complete blessing for me through and through.” She thanked her mom for letting her become who she wanted to be, as well as pushing her and supporting her. She thinks that what she achieved is possible for anyone who can work hard. She also said, “But that’s just like all of the women, the creators that are here today. I’m sure that they have been told no at some point in their lives and it didn’t stop them. They continued on with the mission. And so I’m happy to be here amongst all the creators.”

Kaye Singleton produces the drama “Covenant,” which is an anthology show based on bible stories. She was asked how much religion was a part of her life, how she thought of the series, and did she try to shop it to other networks before coming to ALLBLK as well as asked to tell us how the show came about.

Singleton replied that she grew up in the church and since she’s been in Hollywood for 6 or 7 years, has wanted to do something like “Covenant.” She agreed that there was a lack of faith-based programming, and she wanted to make something that spoke to church-goers. She named some religious movies from the past and said that she wanted something that was more modern that younger people would like. She didn’t shop it to other networks. She said she went straight to ALLBLK with the idea. “And thankfully they were really, really receptive to it. And I think Nikki and Brett, that they saw the vision like I saw it. And so when I pitched that show along with the slew of other shows, I was surprised that that was the one — even though that was the one closest to my heart — that they chose it because sometimes it is a little hard trying to figure out how faith-based is going to look and feel in this secular world. But I think the way it’s posed, because it’s not scripture-heavy on the surface, it is really welcoming to all and not polarizing, it’ll appeal to all different kinds of crowds.”

Then Love was asked why she liked it so much. She agreed with Singleton that it was very different from other shows, being faith-based in a modern setting. “So there are a lot of stories that we don’t necessarily hear a lot about in the Bible. So to kind of shine a light on what it would look like today is great and we kind of stayed away from the typical like Noah and the Ark-type of stories. We had Kaye diving into that Bible and plucking out some stories like, ooh, this would be great and it totally applies to today. So it was just something different, something edgy, and told from a different point of view that we really, really gravitated towards.”

Singleton added that they tie in modern dilemmas, such as COVID, infertility and the Capitol insurrection, which is what makes it exciting.

The questions went back to MC Lyte about her show. She was asked about the raps in her show – who writes them and do the raps or the story come first?

She responded that she, Precious and the producers are all writers, and they have two other writers as well. They all write the raps. First they wrote the shows and raps, and then they recorded the songs before they filmed the shows. She added, “we looked at the different episodes and the storylines and said, “Okay, what is going to be most fitting for this area?” And so, we really strategically worked it out and was purposeful with every rhyme.”

She was asked to clarify if “the rhymes are written towards commenting on the episode in some way rather than having the rhymes and then structuring an episode around them?” She agreed with that. She gave an example of two songs that fit into the story but not into the storyline.

Another journalist called MC Lyte, “a hip hop icon and a female influencer in this space who has spent the past several years transitioning into film and TV,” which MC Lyte seemed flattered by. She was asked how the show represents or adds to her legacy.

MC Lyte says that it took her a long time to get to where she is. She feels that other rappers that came about at the same time as she did have already done sitcoms and then moved onto other things, but she’s just starting it. She had been in other sitcoms, but this is the first one where she’s the star. She spoke about those shows, “For Your Love” (1998-2002) and “Half and Half (2004-2006).” She enjoyed having fun on those shows. She felt it was time to do this show now. She wanted to commit to it and to give opportunities to others to be writers, actors, wardrobe and other production people on the show. It brings joy for her to see others “working in their super power…to me, it’s just an extension of being in hip hop.” Her objective is mainly to inspire, so however that works out, she’s happy about it. She likes to try different types of things. “There’s nothing that can stop me if I want to be a photographer one day, and then be an engineer the next, a music supervisor — which I’ve actually done, I spent four years doing not too long ago. For me, it’s just about really creating opportunities for other people. And in that legacy, my thing is to give. So, whatever I’m giving, I get it, then I give it back. So, you know, hip hop sisters, we give away scholarships to young people attending HBCUs. Our partnership is with Dillard University right now. And so I’m just earning money to put kids through school, honestly, part of the legacy.”

Maryam Basir as Lacey McCullough on "Lace" on ALLBLKThe panel was asked what they specifically bring to TV, as black women, that hasn’t been seen before. Love insisted that “Lace” creators Michelle Ebony Hardy and Katrina Y. Nelson talk about their shows first.

Nelson explained that they started their project in 2012, when there weren’t many black women in lead drama roles. Their lead is an attorney, and all of the cast is very diverse and beautiful. They wanted to see black women that weren’t portrayed as drug dealers or crackheads. They wanted to see women that were like them, such as businesswomen…”that as women, we get that moniker that we’re strong, but there are vulnerabilities to us, you know?”

Hardy echoed what she said, saying that viewers will get the chance “to see all the many different layers and personalities and experiences. And again, just being powerful, being intelligent, being beautiful, but also having vulnerabilities, being relatable.”

The last reporter said that he loves “rich and powerful soapy legal stuff” himself, but he wondered if people will want to see that now, since the general public doesn’t love the rich and powerful so much now. He asked if they were concerned that the viewers wouldn’t want to see the rich people “get away with bad stuff anymore.”

Hardy informed him that their character Lace has a lot of enemies, so there are many that won’t want to see her get away with anything. She concluded, “This will be an exciting series. You’ll see.”

Nelson chimed in that she’s a third generation soap opera viewer. She loves the soaps. “Right now, my mom and them, they’re here on vacation. But she’s got to watch her soaps every single day, right? It’s time. I don’t care if she’s on the East Coast or on the West Coast,” she chuckled. She pointed out that Lace may be rich and powerful, but she can also “get down and dirty. And so that’s one of the things that we’re talking about, is that there’s not just one way to be a woman. There’s not just one way to be Black. There’s not just one way for people. Like, you know, she can go in any world, whether it’s the rich and powerful elite, or she can go down in the gutter, into the dungeon. So, just keep watching and you’ll be able to see the diversity with all of our cast in the show.”

MORE INFO:

ALLBLK’s Developing and Creating While Black: Covenant, Partners in Rhyme, And Lace

Premiere Date: Fall 2021 

ALLBLK’s original programming slate is full of bold, unique and imaginative storytelling – from the thought-provoking and contemporary portrayal of classic biblical tales in the new anthology, Covenant, to the trials of an up-and-coming female high school rapper and social media sensation in the new sitcom, Partners in Rhyme, to a prolific Los Angeles attorney who often blurs the lines between right and wrong to protect her rich and powerful clientele in the new legal drama, Lace. The ALLBLK panel of talent and creatives discuss their hard-fought journeys to create high-quality scripted dramas featuring predominately Black cast and crew in Hollywood.

TALENT BIOS: 

Kaye Singleton – Kaye Singleton is a full-time writer and actress born and raised in Central Florida. As an actress Dumplin with Jennifer Aniston, Claws, American Soul, Tales, and more. As a writer, to date she has won 3 screenwriting awards including Best Comedy Script (Archive Entertainment Screenplay Competition – Trap Queen), Best Comedy Teleplay (Content Creators of Atlanta Awards – The Check List), and Best Web Series (Content Creators of Atlanta Awards – Trap Queen). Kaye’s first foray as a writer/producer resulted in her short film, The Check List, which was an official selection and nominated in seven categories for 2019’s Black Women Film Network Short Film Festival, and the 2019 Bronze Lens Film Festival.

Katrina Y Nelson – Katrina Y. Nelson is a multitalented writer, director, comedian and award-winning producer. Nelson produced the web series The Enemy: The N in Me, Life Coach Chronicles (which won the Award of Merit at the Indie Fest), and Breaking Point (winner of the Outstanding Achievement Award – Best Ensemble Cast: Drama at the LA Web Fest), both in 2012. Her short and feature length film producing credits include: Always Remember, A Killer Surprise, Showrunner, and The Wake (which she wrote, produced and directed) Misogynist (winner of the Best Narrative Feature at the Los Angeles International Underground Film Festival in 2013), Past Impulse (which won the Best Dramatic Short Film Trinity International Film Festival in 2014), and Still (winner of the Audience Award – Best Film-at the Los Angeles International Underground Film Festival in 2017).

Michelle Ebony Hardy – Writer-Director-Producer, Michelle Ebony Hardy, is the creator of her most recent project, Lace. Hardy’s other credits include documentary short Game Changers: An Exclusive Look at Inclusion in Hollywood and short film Chump City.

Nikki Love – Nikki Love is a skilled producer and line producer specializing in the physical production of filmmaking from development to postproduction. She has produced festival and award-winning feature films, short films, web series and music videos. She creates tight budgets and has great crew and equipment at her disposal. Her specialty is making quality projects at reasonable costs. Putting her skills to use, she most recently signed on as VP of Development & Production for ALLBLK, the number one streaming service for black film & television. As the landscape continues to change for filmmakers, she continues to seek to push the envelope in producing innovative and creative content!

MC LYTE – a legend in the world of music and entertainment – is a pioneering artist and a formidable actress of television and film. Her most recent acting credits include a series regular on last year’s New York Undercover pilot (a reboot of the original Dick Wolf series), and she has recurred on S.W.A.T. (CBS), Power (Starz), and Queen of the South (USA). Lyte’s film roles include acclaimed Sundance Winner Patti Cakes, the Universal hit Girls Trip; Bad Hair, from Director Justin Simien; and the upcoming features Loved To Death, and Sylvie, with Tessa Thompson and Eva Longoria. Her newest venture has her taking on the role of show Creator & Executive Producer alongside Lynn Richardson & Bentley Evans for ALLBLK TV’s sitcom, “Partners In Rhyme.” Recently, MC Lyte made her directorial debut with a feature short film, Break Up In Love. MC LYTE is also an iconic Rapper and DJ. Her groundbreaking music career spans 30 years – this Hip Hop LEGEND was the first female rapper ever to be nominated for a Grammy Award, the first rap artist to perform at Carnegie Hall, and the first female artist to earn a gold single. A true leader in the music industry, MC LYTE has also performed at the Kennedy Center Honors and the White House for President Barack Obama. In addition to a busy on-screen career, MC Lyte has several television and film projects — both scripted and unscripted — in various stages of development. She serves as the CEO of Sunni Gyrl, Inc., a full-service entertainment management and production firm that provides executive leadership and customized strategies in the areas of celebrity/artist support, development and management; brand development and management; wealth maintenance; community affairs and outreach; and production / creative services. Her voice work is also well known and admired, representing dozens of Fortune 500 companies as well as being the voice of the BET Awards, Emmys, Grammys, Comcast, NBA, and the NAACP Image Awards. As an author, motivational speaker, and philanthropist, MC LYTE has written books and speaks globally on many inspiring topics from her vast knowledge of the entertainment and hip-hop industries, to entrepreneurialism and economic empowerment. Her charity, “Hip Hop Sisters Foundation,” has presented over $1,000,000 in scholarships.

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Covenant on ALLBLK

Interview with actors from “The Sinner”

TV Interview!

poster for "The Sinner"

Interview with actors Cindy Cheung, Frances Fisher, Alice Kremelberg, Bill Pullman, and executive producers Jessica Biel, Michelle Purple, and Derek Simonds of “The Sinner” on USA Network by Suzanne 9/13/21

NBCUNIVERSAL
SUMMER 2021 TCA VIRTUAL PRESS TOUR
The Sinner
Cindy Cheung, Actor, “Stephanie Lam”
Frances Fisher, Actor, “Meg Muldoon”
Alice Kremelberg, Actor, “Percy Muldoon”
Bill Pullman, Actor, “Harry Ambrose”
Jessica Biel, Executive Producer
Michelle Purple, Executive Producer
Derek Simonds, Creator/Executive Producer/Showrunner/Director
Virtual via Zoom
September 13, 2021

This is a great drama, and I loved being in this panel. This was a large panel of press, so I only got to ask a few questions. I hope you enjoy it!
“The Sinner” returns for Season 3 October 13, 2021.

I asked Jessica Biel what she does as executive producer on the show, especially this season. As you may know, she also starred in the show’s first season. She replied that my question was a good one because, “I feel like the role of producer is very different and has a lot of different meanings and for all different types of people in shows. For this particular show, as an executive producer, we work closely with [showrunner] Derek and the team, the writing team, to sort of give notes on the scripts and sort of help support them as they’re working through — they’re breaking their story and they’re writing their episode. Honestly, we’re a big support system during the development process, or really whatever Derek and his team need, we help crew up for the actual production. We’re highly involved in the casting process. I’m saying “we.” I’m talking about [executive producer] Michelle and I. And really, the show is such a well—oiled machine at this point that once you get going into production, you know, you give it to the experts that you’ve hired and you just sit back and stay out of the way. And I think part of being a good producer is knowing when and how to do that. And this season, particularly, we did a lot of that, because of the different restrictions on set and everyone trying to stay as healthy and safe as possible. So, we never worked on set the way we normally are, which is hard and sad, because that camaraderie is something that I really miss. And I love that part of making TV and films.”

I was happy to get a second question, so I overserved to Bill Pullman that his character, Harry is “fairly quiet” and that he has to “convey a lot without using so many words.” I asked if that was something that came easy for him.

He replied in a thoughtful manner, “I think it’s always been a surprise to me, some of the actions to “The Sinner.” And a lot of people think I don’t say very much in the series. And I’m, of course, looking at the lines I do say and had to learn, and I feel like I’m talking all the time. But there’s something about the confidence. Because I’ve really just been so looking at — I think all the other actors in this season know this trust that you get, that your behavior is important. So, it’s the editing that you see. When you see the show, it’s not always just who’s talking. “Let’s cut to who’s talking.” It takes a certain courage to not do that, to trust that what isn’t being said is as interesting as what is said. And we, all of us, get that message pretty loud and clear from Derek when we’re going — we go through these — each script line by line. And Derek spends time with each of the actors. And then we spend time with each other. And because of Covid, we had a really freakishly great privilege to isolate just ourselves. We didn’t have people coming in from the outside. They couldn’t come in to visit. We lived close to each other. We could — we got together over scenes in a way — I’ve never experienced this, even though there’s seasons of “The Sinner” we didn’t have this. And Derek encouraged it. Derek joined in. We would come up with our list of questions, we’d go back and forth, so that you knew that the immediacy of the moment was the premise. That was number one, was to really feel alive and awake to the situation of what isn’t being said as well as what’s being said.”

Another journalist asked Pullman how his character and his work is affected by what happened last season and whether it will continue through this season. He kind of chuckled and says that his character discovers that retirement is not as nice as it sounds because you don’t just start over. You carry everything with you still. He feels conflicted about what happened to Jamie last season. He relates, “Season 4 kicks off, he’s bolted from his therapist, he’s off his meds, and he can’t sleep. Welcome to retirement.”

Another person from the press asked Simonds or Pullman to compare seasons 1 and 2 to this season. Simonds confirmed what Pullman said, that season 3 builds on what happened to Harry in past seasons, especially season 2. He’s going to have a “major reckoning point in this season that we haven’t really seen him encounter before.”

Pullman was also asked what attracted him to the role of Harry Ambrose and how he likes him. Pullman pointed out that this is the first series he’s done regularly (meaning more than just a guest-starring role). He praised Simonds, who came to find him for the role once he saw him in an Edward Albee play, “The Goat.” He thinks Simonds “wanted to find what we could be authentic about in our characters. And it started with Harry. But he’s continued it with all the characters as he finds — meets people and begins to work in the writers’ room. He’s crafting some pieces of your autobiography or something, at least with Harry, where all these situations have some reference to my own life. So, it’s like therapy on display, in a small way. But I think Season 2 in particular was so much following the fabric of my western New York State upbringing and situations that I had gone through in my past. And he moved it away from that slightly but kept the roots in it. And so that was one thing. But I think the whole sense of someone who is wrestling with what it is to be human and what it is to have — to sense that the truth is not something that’s easily accessible, and the world is really a stacked deck against getting to truth and living clear from trauma and other circumstances.”

Michelle Purple was asked whether she used anything on her show “Cruel Summer” in “The Sinner.” Purple replied that she didn’t think she did because they were two very different “beasts.” She credits Simonds for “bringing something so fresh and new to ‘The Sinner.’ You know, he surprises us every season with a little nugget of an idea at the end of the last season, and then the way he and the writers are able to bring it to fruition is amazing. It’s really his brainchild every season.”

Jessica Biel was asked whether she missed acting on the show and would like to come back. She admits that she does miss it when she’s everyone together on the set. She missed the “crazy, wild creative stuff that we got to do in Season 1.” She says that sometimes discuss the idea of where Cora could come back. “Who knows. We always kind of like to imagine a world where that could be possible. But yeah, sometimes it’s hard. It’s hard not to be on the playground with everybody else.”

Purple claims that Biel asked her yesterday, “Do you think Cora can come back for Season 5?”

The next reporter had a question for Simonds but siad that the others could chime in. He/she wanted to know how they figure out the theme for each season, and do they have to do casting or story first.

Simonds agreed that each season is a little different, but they’re guided in part with how Ambrose acts in his meta-arc over the seasons. “That’s always been kind of the thing that’s guided me creatively.
So, you know, after Season 1, I wanted to see Ambrose confront his childhood. After Season 2, I wanted Ambrose to confront a man who was not an innocent. After Season 3 and this, you know, death that Ambrose is a part of with Jamie Burns, I wanted to see him contend with guilt, and the guilt that he’s kind of accrued over his whole life, and what one does with that.
So, it’s always been about following this journey of Ambrose’s. And then the casting and the concept of the characters comes (inaudible). What would most activate Ambrose? What kind of person would most activate him? What would trigger him the most? So, we’re always trying to put him in hot water, basically.”

The next question was for Biel. She was asked how people in the show can escape the dark places in their minds when it seems there’s no turning back. Biel doesn’t know the answer, but she loves how they explore those ideas in the show. She replied, “I’d love to explore the question in these characters and in these shows that we produce and that, you know, that Michelle and I like to make, and that Derek and his wonderful cast. And I would be curious, you know, Alice or Frances, Cindy, if anyone has any thoughts on this as well, because you’re all playing characters with tons of complexities. But I’m not sure if you fully are able to get away from it. And sometimes I think it does take people down, and down a path that you can’t recover from.”

Simonds suggested that Alice Kremelberg, who plays Percy, answer the question. He said that she’s “struggling with the darkness within her.” Kremelberg said that Percy is trying to “move through things, face the dark past, and trying all different facets, going outside of herself. And you’ll see as the series progresses all the different ways that she’s trying to reconcile with what happens in the story. And seeing what works, and what works best, and finding, kind of, in your own life how that relates, is really always fascinating to me. Not knowing the whole scope of the story going into it, and then kind of reading through everything, like, “Oh, this does relate to me a lot.” And how we as humans really try to reconcile with ourselves and move past and through these things. So, yeah, it’s definitely something that Percy faces, and that I think we as humans face.”

Simonds is then asked whether there are any headlines he might want to use for the show. Simonds answered that he never really took story ideas from the headlines. He prefers to find ideas that he can identify with personally. After thinking for a minute, he admited that was inspired by the “Black Lives Matter movement.” He admits that “it’s normally a very focused, hermetic show about the inner workings of one person or a few characters’ psychology, and I wanted to do that and also expand it into a bigger canvas and engage some of the broader social movements that we’re collectively processing and figuring out right now.” He added that they have a much more inclusive cast and an inclusive set of issues that we’re taking on this season.”

A reporter asked about the color palette used in the production, which is dark and cool.

Frances Fisher answered that the color pallette is muted on the show, but “there’s also another side to it, the town of Lunenberg itself. Completely brightly painted houses, row houses, that were just fascinating. It was almost like walking on the back lot of Warner Brothers or some magical Brigadoon-ish town, you know. And how did it affect us? I mean, we were just immersed, you know. We were immersed in the air of it and all of the different weather patterns that would occur in a day. I think that affected all of us, you know, psychologically and emotionally. So, we reflect that.”

Another press person asked the female actors to tell what drew them to their roles how they prepared to join the world of the show and whether they had watched previous seasons.

Cindy Cheung revealed that she was a fan of the show, so she had watched previous seasons. When she saw the material, “it just struck me instantly how deep I would have to go in order to explore this particular character. And, you know, just that question comes up, ‘Do I wish to go there? Do I wish to inhabit this not-easy place to be in?’ But as I worked on it, it just resonated personally in so many more ways than just a role, just as my own experience as a person. And, so, I was very fortunate to be able to see it all the way through.”

Kremelberg also said she was a fan of the show. “The writing was so strong, and the character was already in the scenes that I had, you know, stripped down. I love drama. And it’s just — it’s gritty. It’s real. It’s emotional. It’s raw. It’s all those things that I as an actor really am drawn to. And it just kind of, like, jumped off the page when I read it and when I was taping it. And it’s just such an immaculate show that I’m so proud to be a part of. So, all of those things together.
And getting to be a fisher is so cool. We got to know so much of that in Lunenberg and go out on the boats in Lunenberg to really learn how to pull up the crates and all that. So, it was just, you know, all—encompassing really, just an incredible experience. But the writing and the character just, like, really drew me in.”

Frances relates that she was glad to have the role of “A kick—ass role for a woman in her late ’60s, and Bill Pullman all in one script, oh, my god.” She also said she binged the entire first season in one sitting.

Simonds was also asked about the venue change for this season. Simonds said that he was looking for a small town that had racial and class politics “and using that as kind of a reflecting board for a statement about broader social movements. And then I was also just really excited about Season 4. I feel the show had been so, so tied to this upstate New York feel, and the idea of Ambrose encountering a seaside town and having the metaphorical power of the ocean, the myth around fishing and seafaring, and Ambrose sort of entering as a fish out of water this world that he doesn’t understand, had a lot of dramatic potential and kind of helped us develop his character further and just kind of revitalized the show. Without, I think, or hopefully without changing the template too much. I think it’s still feels like a kind of New England East Coast show. It has a regional feel still. It just felt like a great kind of pivot, without reinventing the wheel. It’s not Ambrose going to Hawaii.”

Another journalist asked Biel if working on a show about crime has made her more paranoid in real life. Biel agreed that probably does feel that she’s more on edge and waiting for crazy things to happen in real life, like they do on the show.

Simonds jokingly added, “She’s also a pretty dark and twisted person by nature. I mean, you’re very comfortable in that space.” Biel agreed, adding, “It’s very true. And I’m not totally sure why. I had a really nice childhood. But — I don’t know. I love true crime. I always have, and I always will.”

Frances Fisher was asked how she deals with getting a project where she doesn’t like the script or isn’t fond of the characters. She answered that she just tells her agent “thank you” and “I just don’t have the capacity to work on this right now.”

MORE INFO:

Still reeling from the trauma of a previous case a year ago, the now-retired Harry Ambrose (Bill Pullman) travels to Hanover Island in northern Maine for a recuperative getaway with his partner, Sonya (Jessica Hecht). When an unexpected tragedy occurs involving the daughter of a prominent island family, Ambrose is recruited to help the investigation, only to be thrown into a mystery of mounting paranoia that will turn this sleepy tourist island, and Ambrose’s life, upside down.

From UCP, a division of Universal Studio Group, Derek Simonds serves as showrunner and executive producer, alongside executive producers Jessica Biel and Michelle Purple through their production company, Iron Ocean. Charlie Gogolak, Adam Bernstein and Nina Braddock also serve as executive producers.

Credits

Day & Time:
Wednesdays (10-11p.m. ET) on USA Network

Season four premiere:
Oct. 13, 2021

Starring:
Bill Pullman, Frances Fisher, Alice Kremelberg, Neal Huff, Cindy Cheung and Ronin Wong, with Jessica Hecht and Michael Mosley

Executive producers:
Derek Simonds, Jessica Biel, Michelle Purple, Charlie Gogolak, Nina Braddock, Adam Bernstein

Created for television by:
Derek Simonds

Producer:
Ellen Marie Blum

Writers:
Derek Simonds (401), Jonathan Caren (402), Jenny Zhang (403), Piero S. Iberti (404), Kate Roche (405), Gerald Cuesta (406), Mia Chung (407), Nina Braddock (408)

Directors:
Derek Simonds (401), Adam Bernstein (402/403), Radium Cheung (404), Haifaa Al-Mansour (405), Batan Silva (406/407), Monica Raymund (408)

Production designer:
Phillip Barker

Directors of photography:
Radium Cheung, Andre Pienaar

Editors:
Deborah Moran (401, 404, 405, 408), Amanda Pollack (402, 406), Doug Abel (403,407)

Composer:
Ronit Kirchman

Music supervisor:
Oliver Hild

Casting directors:
Stephanie Holbrook, Robin Cook

Origination:
Chester, Nova Scotia

Series produced by:
UCP, a division of Universal Studio Group

Bill Pullman

Detective Harry Ambrose, “The Sinner”

THE SINNER -- Season:3 -- Pictured: Bill Pullman as Detective Lt. Harry Ambrose -- (Photo by: Matthias Clamer/USA Network)

Bill Pullman currently stars in USA Network’s psychological thriller “The Sinner” as Det. Harry Ambrose and for which he received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination.

He was recently seen in Netflix’s “Halston.”

His movie career includes blockbuster comedies (“Ruthless People,” “Spaceballs,” “Casper”), dramas (“The Accidental Tourist,” “Igby Goes Down,” “LBJ”), romantic comedies (“Sleepless in Seattle,” “While You Were Sleeping”), action (“Independence Day”), thrillers (“Malice,” “Dark Waters”), westerns (“The Virginian,” “Wyatt Earp”), film noir (“The Last Seduction,” “Lost Highway”), horror (“The Grudge”) and television miniseries/series (“Torchwood,” “1600 Penn”).

Pullman started acting professionally on stage in New York in 1983, and shortly after began his film/TV career that currently spans over 70 features and several series. In the past 15 years of his theater career, he has acted in six major productions in NYC and has been nominated as a best actor in four of them.

Most recently, he appeared in the London revival of “All My Sons” in 2019.

Jessica Biel of "The Sinner" on USA NetworkJessica Biel

Executive Producer, “The Sinner”

Jessica Claire Timberlake (née Biel; born March 3, 1982) is an American actress and model. Biel began her career as a vocalist appearing in musical productions until she was cast as Mary Camden in the family drama series 7th Heaven (1996–2006), in which she achieved recognition. The series is the longest-running series that aired on The WB channel and the longest-running family drama in television history.

In 1997, Biel won the Young Artist Award for her role in the drama film Ulee’s Gold. She received further recognition for her lead role as Erin Hardesty in the horror film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003). Biel has since starred in such films as The Rules of Attraction (2002), Blade: Trinity (2004), Stealth (2005), The Illusionist (2006), I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry (2007), Valentine’s Day (2010), The A-Team (2010), New Year’s Eve (2011), Total Recall (2012), and Hitchcock (2012).

In 2017, Biel was the executive producer and star of the USA Network limited drama series The Sinner, for which she received nominations for a Golden Globe Award and a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie.

Frances Fisher of "The Sinner" on USA NetworkFrances Fisher

Meg Muldoon,“The Sinner”

Frances Fisher stars as Meg Muldoon on the USA Network psychological thriller “The Sinner.”

Born in Milford On-Sea, England to American parents, Fisher’s itinerant childhood living in the UK, Columbia, Nova Scotia, France, Brazil, Turkey, Italy, Iowa and Texas undoubtedly influenced her decision to live the actor’s gypsy life.

Fisher has starred in more than 30 theatrical productions, including Elia Kazan’s “The Chain,” “Hay Fever,” “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” “Summer and Smoke,” “Orpheus Descending,” “1984,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Fool for Love,” Arthur Miller’s “Finishing the Picture,” “Three More Sleepless Nights” (Drama League Award), “The Cherry Orchard” (Mark Taper Forum) and “Barbecue” (Geffen Playhouse), which won three NAACP 2018 Theatre Awards, including Best Ensemble.

On film, Fisher is perhaps best known for her performance as Kate Winslet’s mother in “Titanic,” which garnered her a Screen Actors Guild nomination for Best Ensemble Cast. Her numerous film credits include the Oscar-winning “Unforgiven,” “In the Valley of Elah,” “True Crime,” “The Kingdom” and “House of Sand & Fog.”

On the TV side, Fisher played Lucille Ball in “Lucy & Desi: Before the Laughter” and has also had roles on many acclaimed series, including “The Shield,” “The Killing,” “Masters of Sex,” “Law & Order,” “Roseanne,” ER,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Watchmen.”

Fisher’s supports several worthwhile causes and is an executive board member of the Environmental Media Assn. She is currently serving her 21st year on the National Board of SAG-AFTRA and is an Ambassador for NWHM, working to create a National Women’s History Museum in Washington, D.C.

Fisher is a member of the Actors Studio, and her first acting teacher was Stella Adler.

Cindy Cheung of "The Sinner" on USA NetworkCindy Cheung

Stephanie Lam, “The Sinner”

Cindy Cheung plays Stephanie Lam on the USA Network psychological thriller “The Sinner.”

Cheung has guest-starred and recurred on a wide range of TV series, including “The Flight Attendant,” “Billions,” “13 Reasons Why,” “High Maintenance,” “FBI,” “Blindspot,” “The Good Fight,” “Blue Bloods,” “New Amsterdam,” “House of Cards” and “Homeland.”

She has appeared in numerous films, including Noah Baumbach’s “Mistress America” and “The Meyerowitz Stories,” Jenny Slate’s “Obvious Child” and “The Sunlit Night,” “Children of Invention” (Sundance) and M. Night Shyamalan’s “Lady in the Water.”

On stage her most recent role was in Nia Vardalos’ adaptation of the Cheryl Strayed book “Tiny Beautiful Things at the Long Wharf.”

Alice Kremelberg

Percy Muldoon, “TAlice Kremelberg of "The Sinner" on USA Networkhe Sinner”

Alice Kremelberg plays Percy Muldoon on the USA Network psychological thriller “The Sinner.”

Kremelberg is a film, television and theater actor born and raised in New York. She portrayed Nicole Eckelcamp in several seasons of Jenji Kohan’s “Orange Is the New Black” and can be seen in Aaron Sorkin’s award-winning Oscar-nominated film “The Trial of the Chicago 7” on Netflix.

Other film and TV credits include “Monsterland,” “Doomsday” (AMC’s HollyWeb Fest winner for Best Series), “The Taking of Pelham 123,” “New Amsterdam,” NCIS,” “Nurse Jackie,” “Blue Bloods,” “The Big C,” “Smash,” “Law & Order: SVU” and “30 Rock.”

Her stage credits include “Dry Land,” “Dress of Fire” (The Abingdon/Players Theater), “Suddenly Last Summer” (ATNYC), “Road Veins” (Amy Witting), “Lend Me a Tenor” (PPAS), “The House of Bernarda Alba,” “A Lie of the Mind” and “The Nutcracker” alongside the New York City Ballet.

Kremelberg has trained at the Atlantic Acting Conservatory, Fordham University, Upright Citizens Brigade and the Professional Performing Arts School, and studied with Tanya Berezin and Ted Sluberski, among others.

Derek Simonds, executive producer of "The Sinner" on USA NetworkDerek Simonds

Executive Producer, “The Sinner”

Derek Simonds is the creator and an executive producer of the USA Network psychological thriller “The Sinner.”

Simonds has developed numerous independent film projects as a writer and director, most recently executive producing Sony Pictures Classics award-winning release “Call Me by Your Name.” He was a writer on the ABC miniseries event “When We Rise,” a recounting of the gay civil rights movement created by Dustin Lance Black, as well as ABC’s 2015 limited series “Astronaut Wives Club.”

Simonds has developed television pilots for UCP, ABC Studios and TNT, and also wrote and directed his debut feature film, “Seven and a Match.”

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Bill Pullman, star of "The Sinner" on USA Network

Interview with the cast of “Chucky”

TV Interview!

actors from "Chucky" on Syfy

Interview with creator Don Mancini and actors Zackary Arthur, Brad Dourif, Devon Sawa, and Jennifer Tilly of “Chucky” on Syfy by Suzanne 9/13/21

This was a very fun press panel for TCA about the new Syfy show “Chucky,” based on the “Child’s Play” movies. I was surprised at how my question was answered, but that’s okay…that’s part of the fun of interviewing – you never know what kind of answer you’ll get!
I’m not really a horror fan. I don’t mind some shows, like “Supernatural” or “Legacies,” but I find horror movies and many of the shows to be very depressing and too gross, so I avoid them. The “Chucky” first episode is not too gory, but apparently it does get more so, judging from what said here.
Also, I like to root for the hero, and in these type of shows, the horror entity (in this case, Chucky) usually wins. Or at least, he’ll kill off an awful lot of people before he dies.

NBCUNIVERSAL SUMMER 2021 TCA VIRTUAL PRESS TOUR
USA & SYFY Chucky
Zackary Arthur, Actor, “Jake Webber”
Brad Dourif, Actor, Voice of “Chucky”
Devon Sawa, Actor, “Logan Wheeler”
Jennifer Tilly, Actor, “Tiffany Valentine”
Don Mancini, Creator/Showrunner/Executive Producer
Virtual via Zoom September 13, 2021

I asked this question: I haven’t seen any of the “Child’s Play” movies, but I assume that they have a lot more gore and violence than the TV show. Was that a decision you made, or did the network tell you not to make it too gory? Or how did that come about?”

They all laughed when I said that, which was a bad sign. Don Mancini, the showrunner, replied that I should just wait. In other words, it does get a lot more gory and violent. Oh, that’s too bad. Well, now I know not to watch any more of the shows. Stars Zackary Arthur and Jennifer Tilly chimed in to add that they have a whole “blood team” that works on the movie. Mancini continued to say that it was important to him to retain “all of the aspects of the franchise that the fans love, one of which is the gore, the other of which, of course, is Chucky’s propensity for dropping f-bombs. And the networks SYFY and USA, when we pitched the project, assured us that there would be no compromise in these departments.” He went on to explain that when he worked on “Hannibal” for NBC, and “Channel Zero” for Syfy (both for NBC/Universal), he was surprised at how far they let him push the envelope on this sort of thing. He mentioned that there will be “no compromises” in that regard. He went on to remind us that in the first episode, the first death that Chucky causes has no blood because he’d heard his new buddy Jake say that he doesn’t like seeing blood. He chuckled, “that’s Chucky’s idea of being thoughtful.”

Mancini was also asked if he’d ever thought of exploring the childhood of the original murderer, Charles Lee Ray (the ghost that inhabits the Chucky doll) for a movie sequel before. He concurred that fans have been wanting to see that for decades. this was one of the reasons he wanted to do a TV series, where there’s a lot more time to delve into his background and other “storytelling.”

Another reporter asked about other stylistic changes between the movie and the TV show. Mancini replied, it’s very important to me, and I try to have a different overriding, governing aesthetic for each film” and now with the TV show. This is the first time they’ve presented Chucky during the Halloween season. He wanted to really have a “luxurious and glamorous
autumn look with fall foliage …that became the central aesthetic principle.” This gave them some challenges because they shot it during the spring and summer seasons. They had to have trucks bring in artificial fall leaves for them to spread around the set. They had also shot drone footage least year of the fall outdoors, outside of Toronto, where they shoot the show. He added, “it looks like a Halloween horror movie as directed by Dario Argento or Brian De Palma. At least, that was our goal.”

Tilly praised their production designer and cinematographer, who made the show look beautiful. She feels that it looks very different from “Cult of Chucky,” which took place in the winter in a mental institution, where it was very sterile. She says that the set design looks very expensive, and maintains that it is, indeed, expensive. She was surprised at how much money they have for the series. Devon Sawa added in his two cents that he, also, was shocked when he arrived at how big their budget must be, since there were so many departments, and how many people that were working in them. He also praised at the beautiful job they did on the look of the show. “It looks stunning. It’s so beautiful to look at.”

Then a journalist asked Sawa and Zackary Arthur, who are new to the franchise, what their perceptions were before they joined, and what questions they’d had. Sawa admitted that he was already a fan, having grown up with the Chucky series of movies. He leaped at the chance to audition for it. He piled on the kudos to both Chucky and his voice, Brad Dourif, calling them “legends.” He said, Chucky belongs on the Mount Rushmore of horror with, you know, Krueger and Jason.” He was thrilled to be part of this show. Mancini jokingly gave him a hard time for not mentioned the script, too, but Sawa seriously added, quickly, that the script was great, too. He also loved playing twins in the show.

Tilly jokingly asked Arthur, “Do you have anything flattering to add about Don to that question?” and he replied that he always does. Then he continued in a more serious vein that he wasn’t allowed to watch gory movies when growing up, but he envied the cool kids in school who watched and loved the Chucky movies. Tilly added, “Yeah, now they’re all losers,” and he replied, also joking, “Yeah. That’s what happens when you watch violent movies.” He also said that he felt very cool auditioning for the series.

As they joked more about Mancini, he playfully told them to stop it. Tilly mentioned seriously that they’re lucky to have Arthur, and that Mancini had told her what a great actor he is. She gave us an example of a scene where he and another actor, Bjorgvin Arnarson (Devon), kiss. She explained, “They have a moment of human connection. And everybody on the set was
weeping because it was so touching.” She also said that she was excited about working with Sawa, whom she loved in “Final Destination.”

A journalist mentioned the 2019 remake, which none of them participated in. He/she wondered if doing the TV series was a way to reclaim it. Tilly answered that the TV series was already being considered long before that. Even though the film did very well, she compares it to the “New Coke vs. Classic Coke” situation. She thinks people will like the series better because they have the original Chucky, Brad Dourif, who thinks that he wouldn’t do the remake without Mancini. Dourif corrected her, though, saying, they didn’t call him, but he would have done that. Mancini joked, “Great story, Jennifer, but it never happened.”

Tilly went on, saying that the wonderful thing about the franchise is how loyal the fans are. She expressed that they’re twice as fanatical as Trekkies. The internet helped her realize how much of an icon Chucky is and how he and her character, Tiffany, are loved worldwide. She’s very grateful to Don for writing her so much into the TV show. She would have been happy to just have a tiny part, but he gave her much more. She gushed, I can’t help but blurt out things like, ‘Thank you, Don.
Thank you for the wonderful scripts. And thank you for putting me in the television series.’ Because his writing is so
amazing.” She also let us know that Brad Dourif’s daughter, Fiona, appears in the second half of the season, and we also see the return of Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent) and Kyle (Christine Elise).

She also added that the show’s story is “just such a beautiful coming-of-age movie. I mean, you kind of don’t even need Chucky because the relationship between Zackary and the other kids is really just you’re rooting for them. You want to know where it goes.” She praises the actors who play the teens.

Another person from the press asked Arthur and Sawa whether they were worried when they signed on to the series whether their characters would be killed or not by Chucky. He/she also wondered if Sawa asked to play twins. Sawa had a funny answer: “Of course, my worry was dying on the show because both my characters are giant assholes.” He agreed that you do hope for the “best death scene possible” or that one of them will live.

Tilly added that she never worries about dying because Tiffany dies in every movie, and yet Mancini keeps bringing her back to life (just as he does with Chucky). She says that the franchise is “magical.”

Mancini jumped in the question to say that they also re-use the same actors frequently in other roles. He claimed, “We were doing that before Ryan Murphy started doing that with the repertoire company he put together on ‘American Horror Story.’ So even if someone dies, they can come back in another role.” He started that with Tilly in the 90’s. She’s gotten killed as both a person and as a doll, and brought back for four movies as well as the series. Brad has also died once or twice in eveyr movie. He half-joked that “if Zack and Devon play their cards right, the sky’s the limit, regardless of what happens to their characters.” Brad Douriff agreed to what he said.

Tilly hinted that a line of dialogue in the series refers to this point. She didn’t want to mention more due to spoilers.
She boasted that she’s been suggesting to Mancini for 30 years that they tell the origin story in a better way than they did in the movies (with younger actors). She and Dourif agreed that the fans will be excited to see this. She added that there is a lot of fan fiction about it — “the two of them before they became dolls.” Tilly teased that Don is the biggest fan of the “Chucky” franchise than anyone. She cites bringing back Andy Barclay as an adult as one example of the lengths Mancini goes to. She thinks that there is a lot more of a “throughline” in their franchise because of using the same actors, and that brings more “emotional impact.” Dourif added that it’s really worked well on “an acting level,” which he finds surprising. He added that he found Alex Vincent to be “hauntingly good.” He suggests that really living with the franchise may have affected him and his work… “Things get inside you and they mean something.” He mentioned that his daughter, who grew up with “Chucky,” did really well, probably because she “grew up in the house of Chucky.” Tilly and Sawa praised his daughter’s acting, which leds to Dourif joking that he done a great job of fishing for those compliments.

Tilly went on some more about how much she loved the first “Chucky” movie she did. She was not interested in it at first, but the writing in the script impressed her as did Brad Dourif’s acting as well as his daughter’s. She mentioned in passing that he was nominated before for an Oscar (For “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” in 1976), which I’d forgotten. She had also never done voice-over, and she said it was a lot of fun, and they let them ad-lib there. She said, enthusiastically, that Brad is brillint. “It wasn’t like, ‘Oh, I’m a doll and you’re a doll. Let’s knock this off and go spend our paycheck.’ He really took it seriously.” She gave an example from their filming of “Bride of Chucky,” where she dies, and she saw him cry in the booth, and she was crying, too. She points out that she’s learned from fans that they’re more often rooting for Chucky instead of his vicims because “They identify with his struggles” and love him.

Arthur answered the question, saying that he doesn’t worry about being killed off because he and Chucky are “buddies” who would “team up.”

Dourif was asked at what age he let Fiona watch his “Chucky” movie and whether he’s surprised that the franchise has lasted so long that she could play major parts in it.

Dourif first answered that no actor thinks that any movies or show will end up that successful. You just have to take it one at a time. It’s never a sure thing. He added that Fiona’s friends in school wanted him to talk like Chucky and do the laugh, so it was already a part of her life. She was very young when she came to the studio with him, when he had to do some additional dialogue. He was screaming and yelling while his character was being burned alive “in agony.” She got very upset and left, so they had to stop, so he could find her and reassure her that it was okay. He added, “So, she had her first kind of traumatic experience around me doing Chucky pretty young.” Tilly then make some jokes about his daughter being terrorized and having to go to therapy.

The last journalist asked Dourif to tell us the process in which he found the voice for Chucky. That’s a great question.

Dourif responded that he’s constantly having to adjust his Chucky voice because as you age, your voice changes. Mancini helps him and tells him what to adjust, such as getting higher in certain places. He added that Chucky originally was from Chicago, but now he sounds more like he’s from New Jersey. He will sometimes watch “Cult of Chucky” and mimic the voice he used there before they shoot again. Mancini said modestly that he doesn’t have to give Dourif any help.

MORE INFO:

In the new CHUCKY television series, an idyllic American town is thrown into chaos after a vintage ‘Good Guy’ doll turns up at a suburban yard sale. Soon, everyone must grapple with a series of horrifying murders that begin to expose the town’s deep hypocrisies and hidden secrets. Meanwhile, friends and foes from Chucky’s past creep back into his world and threaten to expose the truth behind his mysterious origins as a seemingly ordinary child who somehow became this notorious monster. CHUCKY is produced by UCP and executive produced by creator Don Mancini, David Kirschner, Nick Antosca and Alex Hedlund. Harley Peyton will also serve as executive producer. Mancini, who penned the film franchise, wrote the television adaptation, will direct the first episode and serves as showrunner.

CHUCKY is produced by UCP and executive produced by creator Don Mancini, David Kirschner, Nick Antosca and Alex Hedlund. Harley Peyton will also serve as executive producer. Mancini, who penned the film franchise, wrote the television adaptation, will direct the first episode and serves as showrunner.

"Death by Misadventure" Episode 101 -- Pictured: (l-r) Devon Sawa as Logan Wheeler, Zackary Arthur as Jake Wheeler -- (Photo by: Steve Wilkie/SYFY)Zackary Arthur

Jake Wheeler, “CHUCKY”

Zackary Arthur plays Jake Wheeler in the new SYFY/USA Network drama “Chucky.”

Arthur was brought up in Los Angeles amongst a creative family whom all share a passion for the arts. As a young child, Arthur fell in love with the cinema and at the age of 6 quickly found the avenue of acting that he wanted to pursue.

Arthur’s career jumpstarted when he got one of the young leads in the feature film “The Fifth Wave,” opposite Chloë Grace Moretz. His television debut was a recurring role on the Emmy Award-winning Amazon series “Transparent” for all five seasons.

Arthur has subsequently starred in 30 film and television projects, including starring roles opposite Jim Carrey in “Kidding,” Nicholas Cage and Selma Blair in “Mom and Dad,” Natasha Henstridge in “Hero Dog: The Journey Home.” His latest film, “Jill,” is expected to be released shortly.

Brad Dourif

Chucky (Voice), “Chucky”

Brad Dourif does voiceover for the role of Chucky in the new SYFY/USA Network drama “Chucky.”

Dourif, who has been the voice of “Chucky” throughout the film franchise’s long run, won a BAFTA Award and earned an Academy Award nomination for his supporting role in the Oscar-winning film “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” starring Jack Nicholson.

Dourif is also known for his role as Grima Wormtongue on the “Lord of the Rings” franchise. Other film credits include “Halloween,” “Jungle Fever,” “Color of Night,” “Murder in the First,” “Alien: Resurrection

On the TV front, Dourif received an Emmy Award nomination for his supporting role as Doc Cochran on the beloved HBO Western “Deadwood,” which ran for three seasons. Other TV credits include “Once Upon a Time,” “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “Criminal Minds,” “Psych,” “Law & Order: SVU” and many others.

Devon Sawa

Logan Wheeler / Lucas Wheeler, “Chucky”

Devon Sawa plays Logan and Lucas Wheeler in the new SYFY/USA Network series “Chucky.”

Born in Vancouver, Sawa is an industry veteran having got his start in such films as “Casper,” “Now and Then” and “Little Giants.” He’s co-starred in the horror franchise “Final Destination” as well as “Idle Hands,” “SLC Punk,” “Punk’s Dead” and “Hunter Hunter.”

On the TV side, Sawa has had roles on “Nikita,” alongside Maggie Q, as well as “McGyver,” “Hawaii 5-0” and, coming up, “Magnum PI.”

Sawa lives in Los Angeles, with his wife and two children. He is an avid athlete and trained MMA fighter.

Jennifer Tilly

Tiffany Valentine, “Chucky”

Jennifer Tilly is reprising the role of Tiffany Valentine in the new USA Network/SYFY drama “Chucky.” She has recurred in the Chucky franchise throughout the years, starring in the “Bride of Chucky,” “Seed of Chucky,” “Cult of Chucky,” and “Curse of Chucky.”

Tilly received an Academy Award nomination for her role in Woody Allen’s “Bullets Over Broadway” and earned an American Comedy Award nomination for “Liar Liar,” opposite Jim Carrey.

She has two films set for release: “High Holiday,” a stoner comedy co-starring Cloris Leachman and Tom Arnold, and “Sallywood,” a parable of Hollywood based on a true story. Also this year, Tilly will co-star in the Disney Plus series “Monsters at Work,” reprising her role of Celia, Billy Crystal’s long suffering girlfriend.

Tilly’s film credits include “Bound,” “The Getaway,” “The Fabulous Baker Boys,” “Dancing at the Blue Iguana,” “Bride of Chucky” and “The Doors.”

On the TV side, Tilly has appeared on “Modern Family,” “Hill Street Blues,” “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show,” “Moonlighting,” “Cheers,” “Frasier,” “Drop Dead Diva,” and “CSI.” For the last 11 years, she’s been doing voiceover work for Fox’s “Family Guy.”

Equally at home on stage, Tilly has many theater credits under her belt, including “Tartuffe,” (LA Public Theatre) “Boy’s Life” (LAAT), “Baby With the Bathwater,” (LAPT) and “Vanities,” (Dramalogue Best Actress Award). She received a TheatreWorld Award for Best Newcomer for her performance in Second Stage’s “One Shoe Off” at the Joseph Papp Theatre. On Broadway in 2001, she co-starred in “The Women” with Cynthia Nixon and Kristen Johnson, and then returned to Broadway to co-star in “Don’t Dress for Dinner” in 2012.

She appeared with Miranda Richardson in the critically acclaimed world premiere of Wallace Shawn’s play “Grasses of a Thousand Colors” at the Royal Court Theatre in London. She then reprised her role in the American premiere at the Joseph Papp Theater.

Tilly is a skilled poker player and won a gold bracelet at the World Series of Poker in 2005.

Don Mancini

Executive Producer, “Chucky”

Don Mancini serves at the showrunner and executive producer for the new SYFY/USA Network drama “Chucky.”

With the “Chucky” franchise, Mancini has created one of the most terrifying and iconic horror villains of all time. The redhaired, freckle-face doll possessed by the soul of a serial killer slashed his way into the pop culture zeitgeist in 1988 with the premiere of “Childs Play.” The franchise spawned six sequels, all of which Mancini wrote.

Mancini is not only a standout figure in horror, he is also one of the only franchise creators that has been attached to his creation for more than 30 years, and has no plans of slowing down.

Additionally, Mancini served as a writer and producer on “Hannibal” and “Channel Zero” as well as co-writer on “Tales From the Crypt.”

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"Chucky" poster

Primetime TV Review: Mr. and Mrs. Murder

TV Review!

“Mr. and Mrs. Murder” Review on by Eva 10/10/2021

This show is an Australian miniseries based on the books of the same name. The series is about a married couple, Charlie Buchanan (Shaun Micallef) and Nicola Buchanan (Kat Stewart), who own an industrial cleaning company, so the police hire them to clean up crime scenes.

The couple are very good at their job, but they are also good at solving crimes. This show has a mix of comedy and drama that makes it fun to watch for those who love a good mystery. I really enjoyed this show and will add it to my DVR programming on Thursday night. I watch a lot of mystery movies and shows and can usually tell who committed the crime, but I couldn’t do it with this show.

I think that if you love mysteries mixed with a little comedy, you will enjoy this show. Shaun Nicollet and Kat Stewart have great chemistry and seem like a loving married couple.

I give this show a 5 out of 5 stars.

MORE INFORMATION:

In this Aussie import, fun-loving and flirtatious married couple Nicola (Kat Stewart, Offspring) and Charlie Buchanan (Shaun Micallef) run a cleaning service for crime scenes. The amateur detectives quickly realize that closing cases comes just as naturally as cleaning them up. Watch at Acorn

Trailer

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Interview with Kelly Hu, Shannen Doherty, Sylvia Kwan and Roxy Shih

TV Interview!

Kelly Hu, Roxy Shih, Shannen Doherty and Sylvia Kwan of "List of a Lifetime" on Lifetime

Interview with Kelly Hu, Roxy Shih, Shannen Doherty and Sylvia Kwan of “List of a Lifetime” on Lifetime by Suzanne 9/14/21

This is such a good movie. It’s a bit sad but very enjoyable. The characters are great. I love Kelly Hu, anyway (from shows like “Arrow” and “Warehouse 13”), and she’s really sympathetic as the sad woman, Brenda Lee, who finds out she has cancer. It’s a heartwarming tale, and you won’t be disappointed.  Sylvia Kwan is great as her daughter, Talia. Brenda finds Talia, whom she gave up when she was a baby.  Shannen Doherty plays the woman who raised Talia. The story is all about how Talia gives Brenda reasons to fight her cancer by creating a bucket list.

The women were really fun on the panel. I hope you enjoy it!

TANYA LOPEZ:  Hi, everyone.  I’m Tanya Lopez, EVP of scripted content for Lifetime, and thank you all for joining us today.  As you saw, we have a lot happening this fall, as the leading producer of original movies it’s exciting for all of us to be able to continue to create these films despite the pandemic and, no, it’s not easy, but the team really makes it look that way.  I’m so proud of the incredible talent that we have here today; that we brought together to tell these stories both in front and behind the camera.  We have Shannen Doherty starring not in one but two Lifetime movies in the month of October.  The remake of “Dying to Belong” with Favour Onwuka and Jenika Rose, executive produced by Danielle von Zerneck, and “List of a Lifetime” from director Roxy Shih in which Shannen stars alongside Kelly Hu and Sylvia Kwan; but that’s not all.  Our beloved and talented Shannen also directed the special content that follows the film as part of our Stop Breast Cancer for Life campaign.  It’s amazing and, Shannen, I know you’re out there.  You’re going to be directing more for us.  Let’s start with off with “List of a Lifetime.”

MODERATOR:  Hello, everybody, and welcome.  Our first panel for today is “List of a Lifetime.”  Please welcome stars Kelly Hu, Shannen Doherty, Sylvia Kwan and director Roxy Shih.  Thank you so much for joining us, ladies.  Our first question today is going to be from Jamie Ruby.

QUESTION:  Hi, guys.  Thanks for talking to us today.  What I wanted to know, and this is kind of, I guess, the obvious question, but what’s on your bucket list for all of you?

KELLY HU:  Oh.  Mine is literally pages and pages long.  I’ve been acquiring a bucket list for over thirty years now, so it would take up days to tell you about it.

SYLVIA KWAN:  I definitely have a lot on my bucket list, too.  I think Kelly and I are very similar in that way.  I definitely want to backpack the Chilkoot Mountains.  Mount Whitney is on my bucket list.   I was supposed to do it last year, but didn’t get to do it.  Sky diving, I want to go sky diving.  I want to make a movie.  Oh, I just did.

(Laughter.)

ROXY SHIH:  Yes.  Get it, girl.

SYLVIA KWAN:  Yeah.

ROXY SHIH:  I wanted to go to Iceland with my best friend for our ten year friendivarsary, but then COVID hit, and then that didn’t happen.  I really want to see the aurora borealis.  I like anything that just sort of helps us appreciate nature and all the amazing gifts that she allows us to see in certain moments at the time and to take care of our environment.  So that’s probably my biggest one yet.

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  I have no bucket list.  I think, for me, I just think a bucket list is odd in my particular situation, because it means that I’m sort of trying to check things off before my time runs out.  So I’ m very much like there’s no bucket list because I’m going to be the longest living person with cancer.  And so I guess it would just be, if I had to say one, it would just be living.  Like that’s the only thing that’s on my list at this point.

QUESTION:  Thank you so much.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our next question is going to be from Suzanne from TVMEG.COM.

QUESTION:  Hi, great to see you all today.  Kelly, I’ve seen you in a lot of shows where you’re a very strong, literally, a kick-ass woman, and you’re very passive in this show, at least for — in this movie for a long time.  Was that difficult for you?  Or how did you go about processing that?

KELLY HU:  I think it really was.  It was definitely a different kind of character for me.  I never get to play these kind of characters.  I think everybody always sees me as, you know the martial arts girl kicking butt, but kicking cancer’s ass, I think, is the hardest role that I’ve had to take on so far.  I mean, this was really — It was a role that I had the most difficulty preparing for, and it had the biggest payoff at the end.  It was absolutely amazing and so thankful to be able to do something like this.

QUESTION:  All right.  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our next question is from Jamie Steinberg.

KELLY HU:  Is the mute button on maybe?

QUESTION:  Oh, excuse me about that.

KELLY HU:  No worries.

QUESTION:  Such a pleasure to speak with all of you.  Shannen, this was such a labor of love and a personal story, actually, probably close to your heart since you did have breast cancer.  Were there any emotional moment for you while you were advising the stars, or maybe when you were behind the camera?

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  Well, first, Roxy was our wonderful, amazing director and leader for “List of a Lifetime,” and I didn’t have to give anybody advice because between Roxy and these beautiful ladies who did such an amazing job with their own preparation process.  They knew their characters.  They knew the story.  They did cancer proud, because they did all their due diligence.  I had the easiest job.  I got to show up for four days and be a part of their world.  So I really I did nothing.  They did everything.

KELLY HU:  No.  Shannen, you showed up.  Oh, my God.  You were amazing.

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  So, I mean — thank you, and we all showed up.  And, honestly, it’s, for me, this was truly like an unbelievable pleasure to be a part of, and I was blown away every second that I got to work with these amazing ladies.

ROXY SHIH:  Thank you, Shannen.  Love you.

(Laughter.)

KELLY HU:  Yes, we love you.

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  Somebody else has got to talk.  I’m like ohhh.

MODERATOR:  Okay.  We’re going to move on to our next question from Jay Bobbin.

QUESTION:  Hello.  My question is for Shannen, too.  Shannen, that weekend, this kind of bundles “Dying to Belong” in also, that is quite a weekend for you in many ways, and it kind of represents everything Lifetime is: serious, socially-minded dramas, also the content you directed to go along with that, plus also what we more technically call a Lifetime movie with “Dying to Belong,” that type of film. Can you talk a little bit about running the gamut of what Lifetime is in a single weekend among all these projects?

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  I mean, I think what’s amazing about Lifetime is that they really support women, and they do support social issues from this movie about breast cancer to my other movie that’s really about bullying and like what society, the pressure that society can put on young people today, and I think working with a company like Lifetime and a studio like Lifetime is that you feel very supportive and very, very, very nurtured and, more importantly, you feel heard, and I think women all around the world who tune in also feel heard.  It’s their movies connecting with people at the end of the day.  I had no idea I was doing two Lifetime movies, and I’m really honored that they both ended up on Lifetime.  I couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of this family.

QUESTION:  Also, if I could do a follow up.  With “List of a Lifetime,” the content that you directed following it, did those kind of come hand-in-hand or did your directing come about once you started filming “List of a Lifetime”?  Were they both originated at the same time?

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  No.  So the special content it was sort of broached to me later if I would want to direct it, and the response was absolutely as long as this amazing group of women are comfortable with me directing them, and they were and they were amazing.  Every single one was easy to direct, even Roxy, my director.

ROXY SHIH:  I was so awkward.

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  She took direction perfectly.  Like it was a really —

ROXY SHIH:  The roles were reversed.  It was amazing.

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  It was, right?  I felt weird, like — but you took it so well.  I mean, everybody did.  It was one day, and as I posted on my Instagram, I was like this is like one of the best days of my life, and it was really was.  I just had such a good time, and everybody made it very easy because they’re all pros.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

KELLY HU:  I just have to say before anybody else talks that this was such a sisterhood.  Seriously, this project was really the best project I have ever been on.  Everyone was absolutely amazing, and the sisterhood, the bonding that happened during this project was like no other project that I’ve ever worked on, seriously.

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  I agree.

KELLY HU:  Yeah.

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  I agree, and we’re missing our other — you know, we’re missing Autumn, our producer who, you know, just —

KELLY HU:  And Patricia —

ROXY SHIH:  Yeah.

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  And Patricia.  Like, yeah, I agree with you.  Out of, I’ve worked on, obviously, a lot of projects, and this is probably one of my favorites because it was just a big bonding — And you guys welcomed me in, because I came a little later.  It was pretty fantastic, a phenomenal cast, phenomenal crew.  Our director was okay.

(Laughter.)

ROXY SHIH:  Step up.

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  You’re the best.

ROXY SHIH:  The love fest between us.  And we forget that there’s other people in the room.  Sorry —

Poster for "List of a Lifetime"SHANNEN DOHERTY:  Right.

KELLY HU:  I know.

MODERATOR:  We have a question over here for Roxy.  Roxy, did you feel it was important to have strong AAPI representation behind the camera for this movie?

ROXY SHIH:  A hundred percent.  I feel like the rise in inclusive storytelling that has been happening over the past few years as well as the rise of female stories being authentically represented by female filmmakers is just such a game changing sort of movement that’s happened for all of us, but not only is that important, it’s like we see the shift happening behind the scenes as well.  Just because it’s happening in one aspect doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be happening in all aspects, as well.  So I think with this one I think everybody on here can also say, as well, it was important to me that I had inclusive, diverse key crew, also women and queer people of color and just, you know, it was really just a — and these are all my friends also, so I think that’s what made it really comfortable just because it’s a safe space for me to feel supported on the schedule like this.  But, in all essence, I think that change does need to happen in our industry, and it’s happening by that, like, happening as well.  So I just think if one person starts doing it, if it’s just that one decision, allows more space at the table rather than fighting for that one seat.

MODERATOR:  Thank you so much.

ROXY SHIH:  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Our next question is from Mekeisha Madden.

QUESTION:  Hi, ladies.  Thanks so much for making the time to talk to us.  Okay, I have to ask this.  This is a nerd out N.C.I.S. moment.  Kelly and Sylvia, did you bond over the N.C.I.S. connection?

KELLY HU:  Wait, we have an N.C.I.S. connection?

SYLVIA KWAN:  Yeah.  I think we were both on N.C.I.S. before.

KELLY HU:  Oh, wow.

QUESTION:  You didn’t know?

KELLY HU:  Were you a victim too?  How funny.

SYLVIA KWAN:  So funny.

KELLY HU:  Wait, I’ve done a couple of N.C.I.S.  I wasn’t always a victim.  Yeah.

(Laughter.)

SYLVIA KWAN:  You weren’t always a victim.

KELLY HU:  I think I might have shot someone.

SYLVIA KWAN:  Oh, my.  That’s hilarious.  That’s really funny.

QUESTION:  And a serious question to piggyback on what Roxy said.  It was just really great to see women of color in front of and behind the camera.  Can you talk about that?  And just sort of just I’m hoping this is the upward trend that keeps happening.  It was just great to see your story.

SYLVIA KWAN:  Absolutely.  I definitely think as more stories get told, especially with “Shang-Chi” coming out, which was amazing, like I love seeing —

ROXY SHIH:  You looked so hot, yeah.

SYLVIA KWAN:  Huh?

ROXY SHIH:  When you look — Sorry, go, go.

SYLVIA KWAN:  Sorry.  I was like what?  No.  It definitely is incredible, and it definitely was such an incredible space.  Like even on Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year, sorry, we all wore red, which was so special.  It’s something that I’ve never really experienced being on a set.  I got a little emotional that day.  I got to say, when I walked in and everyone was wearing red I was like, all right, this is different, you know.  So I think it’s so important, and I love that this project had so much diversity behind the camera as well as in front of it.  So I was just really, really grateful to be part of that and kind of part of the change like Roxy was talking about.

KELLY HU:  And, this, I have to say, this was Sylvia’s first film, and we kept teasing her, like don’t get used to this because it doesn’t happen like this.  Like being on set with this kind of love and sisterhood and positivity was so unique, but hopefully there will be more like that.  Maybe, hopefully, Hollywood will be changing and there will be more projects like this where people can come together and really bond the way we did.

QUESTION:  I hope so, too.  Thanks, ladies.

MODERATOR:  Thank you so much.  Our next question is from Luaine Lee.  Luaine, you might be muted.

QUESTION:  I don’t see the unmute.  Can you hear me?

MODERATOR:  Yes, you’re good.

QUESTION:  Okay.  Shannen, your career has been so colorful.  Was there ever a time when you wanted to just give it up?

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  (Laughter.) Every day.  No.  I wouldn’t say give it up.  And, thank you, it has been colorful.  I’m going to take that as a big compliment, because I would hate to think that I was beige, so knowing that my career’s been colorful is — I’d like to think that I’ve chosen projects that are relatable but that are different that challenge me as an actor.  And there were times where it got a little rough as far as the press goes, and that can feel — you can feel a bit defeated, absolutely, but that hasn’t been in so long.  I think, I mean, it’s like thirty years ago, so.  I haven’t felt that in probably like thirty years, and now I just sort of look at like there’s all these new chapters and new opportunities for my career hat I’m super excited about and just ready to keep charging forward.

(Laughter.)

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  Roxy.

ROXY SHIH:  Yes, bitch.  Get it.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our next question is from Francine Brokaw.

QUESTION:  Hi, yes.  For Shannen, you’ve popped up a lot on shows that have to do with cancer.  I know you’ve had your struggles with it, I have as well.  Have you gone through any point in your life that says I don’t want to hear the word?  I don’t want to watch anything?  I just want to ignore it for the time being?

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  I think this is the first acting thing I’ve done about cancer, because I’ve been pretty careful about bringing the acting into that world.  But, again, when I read the script, and I found out who all was involved, and I felt like I had to be a part of it, and I was super honored to be a part of it and, again, like what Kelly has been talking about, like, the sisterhood, that made this film even more special.  Like, yes, the topic is special, and everybody’s performances are special, but the sisterhood behind the scenes sort of blows everything else out of the water for me, personally.  And, no, I mean, I don’t — I feel like I have a responsibility in my more public life, which I separate from my acting life, I feel like I have a responsibility to talk about cancer and to perhaps educate people more to let people know that people with stage four are very much alive and very active and more than capable of working, and just to sort of raise money and spread awareness.  So I don’t really get sick of it and in my very close-knit quarters it doesn’t really come up.  My husband says that you would never know that I had cancer.  I don’t ever complain.  I don’t really talk about it.  It’s just it’s part of life at this point.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  We have time for one more question.  That’s going to be Suzanne.

QUESTION:  Oh, hi.  Who wrote the movie? And do you know why she named the main character Brenda Lee?  I just noticed that as I was watching.

KELLY HU:  You want to take that, Roxy?

ROXY SHIH:  Yeah.  The script was written by Jessica Landry.  Jessica and I haven’t connected.  Like basically the script was given to me by Autumn, our amazing producer, and I read the script.  I was really burnt out at the time.  I read like fifteen pages into it, and I’m like I just have to do this.  So I connected with her and I’m just like, “Yo, girl, really great job on this.  Hey, we shot it.  It was amazing.”  And I think that we’re going to connect in the future, but I think the Brenda Lee thing was probably super random.  Does that have a personal reason with you?

KELLY HU:  Shannen.

QUESTION:  With me?

ROXY SHIH:  Yeah.  Or is it —

QUESTION:  Oh, no.  Just the famous singer Brenda Lee —

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  Brenda Lee.

ROXY SHIH:  Oh, no.  I don’t think —

KELLY HU:  Oh, that Brenda Lee.

QUESTION:  Oh, I’m probably too old.  Never mind.

ROXY SHIH:  No, maybe I should have — Oh, wait.  Kelly, we should have rethought your character.

KELLY HU:  I know.

(Laughter.)

ROXY SHIH:  We didn’t do our research apparently, so.

QUESTION:  Thank you.  That’s okay.  Thank you.

ROXY SHIH:  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Thank you all for taking the time to be on our panel today, ladies.

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Presented by Native Deodorant, List of a Lifetime premieres October 10th at 8pm ET/PT and tells the story of Brenda Lee (Hu) who’s prompted to look for the daughter she gave up for adoption decades ago after a breast cancer diagnosis.  After finding Talia (Kwan) and sharing her devasting news, Talia convinces Brenda to make a bucket list of everything she wants to do, promising to help her complete everything on the list.  While keeping Brenda a secret from her adoptive mother Diana (Doherty), Talia grows closer to the mother she never knew.  Meanwhile, Brenda discovers a meaningful relationship with Talia she didn’t know she needed, and a reason to fight for her life.

Following the movie, the aftershow Beyond the List with Shannen Doherty will debut, featuring exclusive conversations with Doherty and the movie’s cast, new never-before-seen photos during Doherty’s breast cancer journey, as well as information from top oncologists Dr. Elise Port and Dr. Philomena McAndrew.  The aftershow also features intimate testimonials from within the A+E Networks family featuring employees affected by breast cancer.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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Stars of "List of a Lifetime" on Lifetime

Interview with Shannen Doherty, Favour Onwuka, and Jenika Rose

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Shannen Doherty and Favour Onwuka star in "Dying to Belong" on Lifetime

Interview with Shannen Doherty, Favour Onwuka, and Jenika Rose of “Dying to Belong” on Lifetime by Suzanne 9/14/21

This movie is a remake of a 1997 film. It’s very sad that sororities and fraternities still have hazing, even all of these years later. I enjoyed the movie, which airs Saturday, 10/9. I hope you do, too.

LIfetime had a press day, which included this movie and part of its cast.  Shannen Doherty plays the mom of a girl, Riley, that is hazed at her university’s sorority. Favour Onwuka plays the girl’s friend, Olivia, who is also hazed and tries to get information about the sorority for a newspaper article. It was great to speak with them all, and the executive producer, Danielle Von Zerneck. Shannen has been battling cancer for a while, but she looked great!

My question has my name on it. All of the other questions are from other journalists.

MODERATOR:  Our next panel is “Dying to Belong.”  Please welcome back Shannen Doherty alongside executive producer Danielle von Zerneck and our stars Favour Onwuka and Jenika Rose.  Thank you guys for being here.  We really appreciate your time.  Our first question is from Jamie Ruby.

QUESTION:  Hi, guys.  Thanks for talking to us.  This is for the actors.  I’m just curious did you know how many people die from hazing at sororities, because I definitely learned about that after watching this, and how did that affect how you played your characters?

JENIKA ROSE:  You go first.

FAVOUR ONWUKA:  Yeah, that was something I found out about while researching on this project, because being in Canada you don’t really have sororities here, so it was a new thing for me to learn about, and it’s so sad to find out that people are still dying.  It’s still happening.  It’s terrible because it’s so senseless.  It’s such a senseless way to die.

JENIKA ROSE:  And in the ways that they die, how they’re provoked by their so-called “sisters,” it was just it was really chilling to read and learn about.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our next question is going to be from Suzanne.

Suzanne:  Hi.  I was wondering, Shannen, you’ve been acting since you were a little kid.  There are a lot of young women in this movie.  Did you have any particular advice for them?The girls in an initiation on "Dying to Belong" on Lifetime

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  I don’t think so.  You would have to ask these two, beautiful girls.  Yeah, I don’t think so.  I got very, very, very lucky this year in the people that I got to work with.  Danielle and I have done a movie before together, and as a producer she’s phenomenal and she’s caring.  She understands you.  She hears you.  She never gets flustered.  You don’t.  I mean, she’s really, really, really special and wonderful.  Our director, Gail Harvey, who I’ve also worked with before, it’s just I love her madly.  But working with these two girls was sort of a, you know, I’m going to be brutally honest, you never really know what you’re getting with people this age, you just don’t, and what I encountered was not only two hard working girls who constantly were putting their best foot forward, but they’re also kind and considerate and intelligent.  I don’t know if this is answering your question, but I just felt like I had to say that about everybody in this room right now, because I was really taken aback by how wonderful — and I think I said something to Danielle like maybe first or second day — I was like, God, like they’re really talented — really, really talented.  So I don’t know.  Did I give you any advice?  I didn’t have to.  Like they’re pros.

BOTH:

You did.

JENIKA ROSE:  You did a lot without like specifically being like, “Hey, here’s a hot tip.”  It was more just like observing you, and then you’d just like come over to us and just say something and then walk away, and it was wisdom, but I don’t know if you knew that it was, but it was very helpful, and there are lots of like little things that just pushed us forward.

FAVOUR ONWUKA:  Yeah.  And to add to that, it was a lot of modeling, at least for me, because this was my first lead, so I was taking notes from you.  I was like, “Oh, okay, that’s what Shannen’s doing, and she looks relaxed.  I should be relaxed.”  You know, I was just watching you and learning, and there were times where I’d come up in between — There was one particular time where I came up in between and I was like, “How do you do it,” and you were just like, “Well, this is what I’ve learned,” and you told me that, honestly, it takes time.  It’s something you build up over the years and, yeah, I really — I wrote, I took down notes.  Everything you said I was like, “Must do this.”  So, yes, thank you for all your advice.  It was amazing to have you.

JENIKA ROSE:  Thank you so much.

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  Thank you for being, like, the absolute, you know, beautiful, dedicated actors that you both are.  You honestly blew me away, and I have seen the movie.  I understand that neither one of you have yet.

DANIELLE von ZERNECK:  No.

JENIKA ROSE:  No.

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  But I have seen it and you guys are phenomenal in it.  Everybody did a great job and, Danielle, obviously, you should be proud, which I know you are.

DANIELLE von ZERNECK:  Very proud.  And I just, sorry — not to make this a love fest — but, at the same time, Shannen, like, the generosity of spirit that you bring, obviously, to every frickin’ thing you do was so — It was a beautiful thing to see all of these really newer to the form actors — (phone rings.) Oh, shit.  Sorry, guys.  And —

(Laughter.)

DANIELLE von ZERNECK:  Oh, my God.  I’m sorry, guys.  Okay.  Newer to the form, but watching you, they were so in awe and you just, as they said, watching that kind of generational thing, it was gorgeous.  Okay.

SHANNEN DOHERTY:  Did I start this by saying that she never gets flustered, because we just saw her get all flustered.

(Laughter.)

Suzanne:  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Thank you, guys.  Our next question is from Jay Bobbin.

QUESTION:  Hi.  My question, actually, is for Danielle, and if your phone goes off again feel free to say anything you want; I’m fine.  Your dad is one of the prolific greats in this field, and when you tackle a project, and I know you’ve been on this side of the camera for a while, do you consult with him about the projects you want to do?  And then I’ve got a follow up for you.

DANIELLE von ZERNECK:  Okay, yeah, yeah.  I mean, how many people can get mentored by their father and it be meaningful?  I mean I feel very, very grateful to have that human in my life, and I love that Shannen’s been a part of both of those as well; like, that’s crazy, you know.  And, yeah, no, I love — Yes, I did always talk to him and not just about sort of — I think for me it was a little like, “Oh, I really think that there is a new way for this story to be told,” so that was like always my impulse with both movies and, especially this one, I was like (makes noise.)  I was talking to Favour and Jenica about this.  Like it’s like sorority movies are like female-ish — male gaze, normally and really thought like, “Oh, let’s put a female gaze on this all around.”  And my dad has always been incredibly supportive.  He loves it.  He loves that TV movies are still have something to say, and I think are really having an interesting renaissance, and I love that the definition of a TV movie is changing, and it’s nice to be part of that and to sort of still have my dad be here to see it.

QUESTION:  My follow up for you is – you did so much work in front of the cameras, what do you feel your arc was as a producer, because you knew what it was like to have the camera on you, how was it for you to be behind the camera?  When I say calling the shots I mean that loosely, not like a director, but how was that transition for you?

DANIELLE von ZERNECK:  It was long and arduous and the only thing I can say is that being an actress for a small amount of time the best thing about it is that every time you do an audition you’re basically selling yourself.  You’re selling, right?  And so when you move into producing and you’re selling a project it was so much easier to sell something that wasn’t me.  And, so, that, in a weird way, the acting stuff was really, really helpful, all the skills I learned.  And what’s crazy now, like I really don’t remember being an actress, it feels very foreign to me, so I’m always like so in awe of actors, because they have to — I don’t know.  I just feel like the work that they have to do is sometimes not noticed as much because they have to keep it different.  It’s like I get to go and I sign things and I run around, but actors sort of have to keep their emotional sanity about them, and these skills that now I just feel like I don’t know how you do it.  I really don’t.

QUESTION:  Thank you very much.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  We have time for one more question and that’s going to be Jamie.  Jamie.

QUESTION:  Sorry.  I’m just going to say did you guys research anything like into mental health?  I was just curious kind of how you prepared for that part of it.

JENIKA ROSE:   Yeah.  My character has severe general anxiety disorder, and I didn’t know too much about that.  I just sort of knew about people have anxiety, but this was a specific heightened part of anxiety, and I actually have a severe learning disability, so a lot of my character’s experiences were things that I’ve experienced myself in the past when I was younger and being around girls, especially.  So a lot of the situations that my character was in like really rang true, and I did have a best friend that I’ve had for a really long time, that was sort of Favour’s character, that helps one through those times and those people are really special.  So I really connected with that part of the anxiety and just I really wanted to show it in its true light and represent it properly, because I’m sure some people that have it, I didn’t want them to watch it and be like, “Mm, I wouldn’t be like that in that situation.”  So I just really wanted to do my best to make it as truthful as possible.

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SHANNEN DOHERTY, FAVOUR ONWUKA
AND JENIKA ROSE
HEADLINE REMAKE OF THE 90’s CLASSIC FILM
DYING TO BELONG

DTB_04242021_DP_0295_TD

Los Angeles, CA (August 10, 2021) – Lifetime brings the classic film Dying to Belong to a whole new generation, with Shannen Doherty, Favour Onwuka (Supergirl) and Jenika Rose (iZombie) starring.  Revealing the harsh realities of toxic friendships and sorority hazing culture, Dying to Belong is a remake of the 1997 film of the same name, which starred Hilary Swank, Sarah Chalke, Jenna von Oÿ and Mark-Paul Gosselaar. Dying to Belong will debut this fall on Lifetime.

When journalism major Olivia (Onwuka) meets Riley (Rose), a shy freshman who suffers from anxiety, they become fast friends. Riley, whose mother Katherine (Doherty) was a legacy Pi Gamma Beta, decides to rush in hopes of following Katherine’s footsteps and is ecstatic when Olivia joins her. Sensing the opportunity to go undercover to write a story about hazing practices, Olivia soon discovers there are deadly secrets involved in being part of the “sisterhood.”

From 1959 to 2019, there has been at least one hazing death reported each year, and thirty reported within the last decade1. 95% of students hazed do not report it to officials2. Due to the pandemic, 2020 was the first year no hazing deaths were reported. Within the first two weeks of students returning to campus in 2021, two hazing deaths have already been reported.

Dying to Belong marks Doherty’s second movie for Lifetime this year as she also stars in List of a Lifetime, the network’s centerpiece of the Stop Breast Cancer for Life campaign, for which Doherty directed special content that will roll out in October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

As part of Lifetime’s commitment to hiring women in key production roles under the Broader Focus initiative, Dying to Belong is produced by Pink Buffalo Films and Wishing Floor Films with Danielle von Zerneck (The Christmas Set Up) executive producing, Gail Harvey (Gone Mom: The Disappearance of Jennifer Dulos) directs from a script from Caitlin D. Freyers (Wynona Earp). Shawn Angelski (Story of a Girl) also serves as executive producer. The original film’s producers included Frank von Zerneck, Danielle von Zerneck’s father.

 

 

 

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Shannen Doherty and Favour Onwuka star in "Dying to Belong" on Lifetime

Interview with Beth Riesgraf and Christian Kane

TV Interview!

Christian Kane and Beth Riesgraf of "Leverage: Redemption" on IMDb TV

Interview with Christian Kane and Beth Riesgraf of “Leverage: Redemption” on IMDb TV by Suzanne 9/30/21

These are two of my favorite actors, so it was great to speak with them again. I love the new series, and these second 8 episodes were ever better than the first two, in my opinion. This was a really fun chat, so I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Suzanne:   How you guys doing?

Christian:   Hi, how you doing?

Beth:   Hi, Suzanne.

Suzanne:   I love your show. I watched it since the beginning, and it’s great to see you guys back.

Beth:   Thank you.

Suzanne:   Your characters grew closer this season; you’re like brother and sister Do you think this is partly because of Hardison being out of the picture?

Christian:   That’s very good. We were talking about this earlier. I think, well, you have to remember that during the time that we were away, they were still working together. So, that’s kind of a fun dynamic that we had to come up with, you know, how close are we? How much do we know? All that kind of stuff. But you’re absolutely 100% correct. Hardison being away with the other teams, it leaves two totally different voids in our life. It’s the love of her life, and so he’s gone, and she’s worried about it. Then for me, that was my best friend. That’s my brother, but I like to punch him, and he punches me, and I have nobody to punch, you know what I mean? So, it’s like there’s a hole that he left there. So, I think they do. I think they look for him in each other. I think it’s brought them closer together, because he’s not there as much as he needs to be or wants to be.

Beth:   I think when we’re on the go, you know, we’ve been working together, like he said, and running these international teams. When we find them again, Parker has learned to throw a pretty good punch, and she obviously has been getting some training from Eliot. Those sorts of moments were really fun.

I think that one of the fun parts about this dynamic, for me, is our ability as characters to compartmentalize. So, when we’re in a moment together that’s super intense, we are laser focused, and there’s no gaggy stuff, but when it’s more of that familial moment, at HQ or over comms or something like that, there’s room for this other stuff to come in. I do really love that about our dynamic. Like I always say, Eliot has a shield up around all of us, and that’s like him protecting us, but there’re still moments where we’re gonna make jokes and make fun of each other, because we can, but when push comes to shove, it’s almost like boom again when we’re right back there.

Suzanne:   I love your guitars.

Christian:   Oh, thank you.

Suzanne:   You know who else has like a zillion guitars behind them on Zoom? Oh, Jeff Daniels.

Beth:   Oh, amazing!

Suzanne:   Yeah, I saw him at the TCA panel, and he had, I don’t know, like fifty guitars or something on the wall behind him.

Christian:   [unintelligible]

Suzanne:   Yeah. I don’t know if he’s in a band like you. I think he just plays for fun. I’m not really sure.

Christian:   [unintelligible] I’m sure there’s a picture of that.

Suzanne:   Yeah. So, with a normal brother and sister relationship, Eliot would probably be protective of Parker. I know you guys have each other’s backs, but is it fair to say that even though they love each other, he’s probably a little afraid of her?

Christian:   Well, I think he’s afraid to be inside her head. I think he just doesn’t understand anything that’s going on in there. When Eliott’s had everything set on fire, the world is burning, and in her head, there’s a bunch of balls bouncing around, and it’s dangerous, and you got to keep ducking. I think he’s very scared to be in her head.

Beth:   Stay out of this realm completely, Christian. Do not enter! [laughs]

Christian:   Which is pretty fun for me, because we didn’t play it right off the bat, and I noticed that we weren’t playing that, how he got so annoyed with her. And I noticed that it was because Hardison was there. You know what I mean? So, this whole thing, and he wasn’t as annoyed with her, but when Hardison left, then I started playing it more annoyed, because I’m like, “Look, I gotta be upset about something,” and so she gives me so much ammunition it’s ridiculous. So, that’s fun to play off of.

Suzanne:   Yeah, and Beth, both of your characters do a lot of physical things on the show. Do either of you do your own stunts, or is there some people taking your place?

Beth:   I mean, Christian doesn’t do his stunts. I do all of mine. [laughs] Oh my god, no, Christian does everything, I will I have to say that, but I just try to glean any bits of his genius on stunts and try to incorporate that, and he’s very, very capable and able. I know when to step back and let my stunt people come in and do the real hard work on that stuff. Christian has been a really great mentor to me on all of that and said, “You don’t need to do this part. Have somebody else do it,” because he also knows, especially when I was directing or when I have a heavy day of some other stuff, he’s like, “You save yourself, and you don’t need to do this part. You let the professionals come in to do it.” But, you know, trying to stand next to him, we’re always all like, “Whoa, this is incredible,” because even from a director’s standpoint in “The Bucket Job,” I know I can trust that his intuition on these fights and everything is going to be so much better than anything I could probably come up with to tell him, because he’s got all this experience, and it’s amazing.

Christian:   Yeah, and you know, the thing is that my stuff is a dance. People don’t understand that, because it looks violent on screen, but really what I’m doing is a dance. It’s a salsa dance, you know, it’s literally I’m just dancing with the other person. Her stuff is a lot harder than mine. People don’t get that she’s hanging office stuff, and she has to hang there sometimes for a long time, and then, she has to jump to the other one, or she has to hang there for a while until they get it all done, and then, you’re tired. Then, you got to jump down and jump up and do a flip. Her stuff is way harder than my stuff. Most of my stuff is literally a choreographed dance. Hers is actually really physical, and the problem that we run into, as we’re in the middle of a pandemic, is in New Orleans, [there are] no gyms and nothing but good food that’s usually fried. So, it’s very tough. This this season was very tough.

Beth:   A lot of salt.

Christian:   Yeah, a lot of salt.

Suzanne:   Sugar, too, right?

Beth:   Yeah.

Christian:   [unintelligible] and not get hurt. Luckily, just just bumps and bruises for both of us, but it was tough. You had to be very disciplined and, you know, do your push ups in your home, because you couldn’t go to the gym, and it takes takes a toll on your body, for both of us.

Suzanne:   Well, you guys both look great on the screen, so it doesn’t show if you put on a few extra pounds with that great New Orleans gumbo. So, I was going to ask you if you work out a lot to keep in good shape. So, obviously, you do Christian; you were talking about it. What about you, Beth?

Beth:   Yeah, absolutely. I mean, with all the wire work and the harness work, you have to keep your core super strong to protect your back and your neck and everything else. So, I work out as much as I possibly can. I think stamina-wise, the show moves really fast. It’s a really, really tough show, because it’s big, and emotionally and physically you have to be rested and in shape to kind of hang with these hours and keep it fresh and and stay for stamina purposes.

Then, we have the humidity and the heat in New Orleans, which is its own character, and so electrolytes became very important for me. And I had to cut back on some caffeine, and I’m used to drinking a lot of coffee, and I had to kind of tweak. That’s kind of the fun about going on location is you get a new set of rules, and you’re like, “Okay, how do I do this here?” but it was absolutely challenging. I mean, I would agree with Christian, it’s a very physical show for us, and it’s really fun, but it is challenging at times.

Suzanne:   I was talking to Aleyse earlier, and she’s definitely enjoying doing some of your kind of thing, hanging from the wires.

Beth:   Oh, yeah.

Suzanne:   Falling and all that stuff.

Beth:   Yeah.

Christian:   It’s a lot of fun.

Suzanne:   Going back, you were talked about directing; I read that you directed two episodes. What can you tell us about that?

Beth:   Yeah, absolutely. I had the time of my life working with the whole team and LeVar Burton in “The Bucket Job.” I think it’s a classic Leverage episode. I loved it so much. [There’s] a lot of emotional growth for Eliot and kind of windows into the things that he’s been going through emotionally, psychologically that we haven’t seen before. So, that was a lot of fun.

Then, logistically, “The Great Train [Job]” episode was one of the toughest, I think, to sort of plan, because we had an episode written that takes place on a moving train, but we didn’t actually have that as a location. So, we were finding two trains, but the trains couldn’t move, and we had to build some on the stage, and it was while shooting the finale as Parker, so it was a lot to juggle. I’m really really proud of how they both came out. Everybody brought their A game. They always do, but it was really an incredible process for me, because I got to work with so many people that I – as an actor, I don’t get to work with the production designer in the same way you do as a director, so all of those decisions and collaborations were so exciting and really, really fun.

Suzanne:   All right, and they tell me I have just a little bit of time left. Christian, your character goes through the wringer emotionally this part of the season with maybe meeting some of your family, and I don’t want to give spoilers away and what happens with a relationship, but you have all the usual hitting and kicking and punching and all that kind of stuff. What was it like for you?

Christian:   It was an emotional time for me, to be honest with you. I lost my father in December to COVID right in the middle of shooting and then had to come back and do the last walk off scene for Beth’s episode, because we’d already shot the episode, but then we still needed that pickup, that beautiful shot down Bourbon Street. Couldn’t have asked for a better situation. So, there’s a lot of things I was going through too at the same time, and I really loved that. I’d like to dedicate her episode to my dad, and just that walkway is such a beautiful shot. And I needed my friends around me at the time, and I couldn’t have asked for [better] ones in my life, which were the people that I was working with. So, it’s so good.

Then, to have Eliot in a relationship, it’s like it was something new, because he’s never done that. I mean, he’s lied to people; he’s hit on people, but he’s never really had let’s say, a quote unquote girlfriend type thing. And I’ve talked to Beth about about this. I needed him to be broken at the end of the season, because I’ve got to go somewhere with my character, and I don’t like him to be all fixed up.

So, with Beth directing, the emotion that came out with me and the beautiful LeVar Burton, and then the relationship troubles that he has, I feel like at the end of the season, it really pays off for me.

So, I’m excited. I’m excited people to watch it. We all play better characters when we’re a little bit broken. She doesn’t have Hardison, and I’m broken, so we end up broken, almost always end up broken, at the end of the season, which is fun. We’ve got somewhere to go now.

Suzanne:   Yes. Well, I hope there’s another season; I really enjoyed the episodes, and I would stay. I would love to stay and talk another ten minutes with you, but they tell me I have to go. So, thanks so much again.

Beth:   Yeah, until meet again.

Suzanne:   Thank you. I’ll see you on Instagram. Bye

Here’s the video!

Interview Transcribed by Jamie of http://www.scifivision.com

MORE INFO:

Please visit our Leverage Page!

Preview

In this new iteration, and new world, the Leverage crew have watched as the rich and powerful continue to take what they want without consequence. Grifter Sophie Devereaux (Gina Bellman), thief Parker (Beth Riesgraf), hitter Eliot Spencer (Christian Kane), and hacker Alec Hardison (Aldis Hodge) have watched the world change over the last eight years. Since their last job, it’s become easier–and sometimes legal–for the rich to become richer and the powerful to squash anyone who gets in their way.  To address the changes in the world around them, the team finds new blood in Harry Wilson (Noah Wyle), a corporate lawyer who is looking for redemption after realizing he’d been sitting on the wrong side of the table for his entire career, and Breanna Casey (Aleyse Shannon), Hardison’s foster sister who has a knack for computers, robotics, and getting into trouble.

Executive Produced By

Dean Devlin, Marc Roskin, Rachel Olschan-Wilson and Kate Rorick. John Rogers and Chris Downey serve as consulting producers.

Directed By

Dean Devlin, Marc Roskin, Noah Wyle, Francis Dela Torre, Jonathan Frakes

Produced By

Electric Entertainment for IMDb TV

Cast

Gina Bellman, Christian Kane, Beth Riesgraf, Aleyse Shannon, and Noah Wyle, Special Guest Star Aldis Hodge

Beth Jean Riesgraf (born August 24, 1978) is an American actress. She is known for her portrayal of Parker on the TNT television series Leverage (2008–2012) and the revival Leverage: Redemption which streams on IMDb TV.

Christian Kane is an American actor and singer-songwriter. He is known for his roles in the television shows Angel, Leverage, The Librarians, and Into the West, and the movies Just Married, Taxi, and Secondhand Lions.

Kane is the lead singer of the countrysouthern rock band Kane. On December 7, 2010, they released The House Rules, their third album and their debut for record label Bigger Picture Music Group. The album reached no. 25 on the Billboard Country Albums chart. The first single from the album, also titled “The House Rules”, debuted at no. 54 on the Billboard Country Songs chart. The second single, “Let Me Go”, was released on July 11, 2011.

Catch Eight New Episodes of the IMDb TV Original Series Leverage: Redemption on October 8

Aug 26, 2021

CATCH EIGHT NEW EPISODES OF THE IMDb TV ORIGINAL SERIES LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION 
ON OCTOBER 8

 

WATCH NEW TEASER HERE
SCREENERS OF NEW EPISODES AVAILABLE NOW ON
SCREENERS.COM

REVIEWS EMBARGOED UNTIL MONDAY, OCTOBER 4 AT 6:00AM PT/9:00AM ET

“Let’s go steal…eight new episodes of Leverage: Redemption.” In an all-new con, the Leverage crew surprised and delighted their fans by teasing the fall premiere of Leverage: Redemption in an exclusive video that dropped on IMDb TV socials today. The teaser video confirms that the IMDb TV Original series Leverage: Redemption will return this fall with eight additional season one episodes premiering October 8. In the brand-new episodes, the Leverage team finds itself up against a rival organization that embodies the system the team works so hard to take down.

Joining the cast in these additional episodes are guest stars Drew Powell (reprising his role as Jack Hurley from the original Leverage series), Ben Thompson, Joanna Cassidy, Jon Fletcher, and Brianna Brown, in addition to the previously announced guest stars James Marsters, LeVar Burton, and Andrea Navedo (continuing her role as Maria Shipp), as the Leverage team must aid a small town librarian, discredit a lifestyle and wellness guru, explore the failing memory of a legendary grifter, and more. Screeners for the new episodes are available now on Screeners.com. The remaining episodes of season one of Leverage: Redemption will premiere on October 8 on IMDb TV, Amazon’s free streaming service.

The first eight episodes of season one of Leverage: Redemption and all seasons of the original Leverage series are available to stream now on IMDb TV.

The rich and powerful take what they want, and the Leverage team is back to take them down. Sophie Devereaux (The Grifter), Parker (The Thief), Eliot Spencer (The Hitter), and Alec Hardison (The Hacker) have watched the world change over the last eight years. It’s become easier, and sometimes legal, for the rich to become richer and the powerful to squash anyone who gets in their way. The Leverage team finds new blood in Harry Wilson, a corporate lawyer who is looking for redemption after realizing he’s been sitting on the wrong side of the table for his entire career, and Breanna Casey, Hardison’s foster sister who has a knack for computers, robotics, and getting into trouble. In this new world, the team will use their collective skills to defeat a new kind of villain – from the man who created an opioid crisis from the comfort of his boardroom, to the couple who prefers to deport workers instead of paying them, to the shadowy security firm that helps hide dangerous secrets for a price. When someone needs help, they provide…Leverage.

Leverage: Redemption stars Gina Bellman as Sophie Devereaux, Beth Riesgraf as Parker, Christian Kane as Eliot Spencer, Aldis Hodge as Alec Hardison, Noah Wyle as Harry Wilson, and Aleyse Shannon as Breanna Casey. Kate Rorick is the co-showrunner and an executive producer alongside Dean Devlin, and executive producers Marc Roskin and Rachel Olschan-Wilson of Electric Entertainment. John Rogers and Chris Downey are consulting producers.

IMDb TV uniquely offers premium Originals on a free streaming service including the upcoming dramedy Pretty Hard Cases, premiering September 10. Spanning drama and comedy, scripted and unscripted, additional IMDb TV Originals include the Untitled Judge Judy Sheindlin Project, a Bosch spinoff; the comedy series Sprung; the Untitled Jeff Lewis Project – a new home design series; On Call from executive producer Dick Wolf; and second seasons of Alex Rider and Top Class: The Life and Times of the Sierra Canyon Trailblazers.

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Christian Kane and Beth Riesgraf of "Leverage: Redemption" on IMDb TV

Interview with Gina Bellman and Aleyse Shannon

TV Interview!

Gina Bellman and Aleyse Shannon of "Leverage: Redemption" on IMDb TV.

Interview with Gina Bellman (Sophie) and Aleyse Shannon (Brenna) of “Leverage: Redemption” on IMDb TV by Suzanne 9/30/21

It was nice to chat with these two women because I had never chatted with Gina before, when she was on the older version of the show, and Aleyse is brand new to the show.  Gina’s character, Sophie, is the new leader of the group, and has a lot to deal with this year, since her husband’s death. Breanna (Aleyse’s character) is a breath of fresh air that the show needs. It’s great to have some “young blood,” and to fill in for Hardison, since his portrayer, Aldis Hodge, couldn’t be in the whole show due to other commitments.

Suzanne:   How are you guys doing today?

Gina:   Oh, good. Thank you. I wish I was [unintelligible] right now.

Suzanne:   You wish you were where?

Gina:   With that palm tree and the ocean.

Suzanne:   I wish I was too. I’m in Arkansas.

Aleyse:   Close very close.

Suzanne:   So, we heard today about the UK picking up your show in late October. So, how do you guys feel about that?

Gina:   I’m so excited. I feel like I’ve been waiting ages. It’s been so frustrating sitting here in London and hearing these little plaintive messages like, “When are we getting the show? When are we getting the show?” and not being able to give an answer. So, to be able to say it’s coming on October 22nd, all sixteen episodes, is just really, really thrilling for all of us.

Suzanne:   So, they didn’t get the first eight episodes either.

Gina:   No, [not] here in the UK.

Suzanne:   Great. They probably are big fan of yours, being in the UK, and that’s probably why, one of the reasons they liked the show. What do you think, Aleyse?

Aleyse:   Oh, I mean, it’s great. This show is is a labor of just love, and as many people as possible that can get wrapped up in that love, the better. I hope it’s received the same way; I hope it just brings joy the same way that it seems to have brought joy here domestically.

Suzanne:   Right. And Aleyse, you’re new to the show. Can you tell me about getting this job and the process you went through?

Aleyse:   Yeah, I worked at Starbucks and was messing up people’s Frappuccino’s. I got an audition. I quit Starbucks saying that I already booked it, and then I booked it, but I did my audition with Beth over Zoom in my mom’s house and kind of didn’t know what I was in for. I got here, and it’s the best thing that’s happened to me, artistically speaking. It’s a dream show that we’re working on.

Suzanne:   What was your first day like?

Aleyse:   My first day I get an email saying there’s a hurricane coming, actually, now there’re two. So, there’s all this anticipation and build up. I’m like, “Do I know these lines, or do I think I know these lines?” Hurricane comes, you sit down for another seven days, you’re like, “Oh my gosh, all my adrenaline’s gone,” and it kicks back in. But it was good first day. A lot of the players were in, [I’m] sitting there rattling off a monologue going, “Oh my gosh, that is Aldis Hodge, Beth Riesgraf, Christian Kane, Noah Wyle, and Gina Bellman, wow.” It was intimidating, but I got through it and was met with so much love, so great first day.

Suzanne:   I never thought of that… filming in New Orleans, of course you’d have to contend with things like hurricanes.

Gina, how was it welcoming new characters into the show?

Gina:   It was great. I think one of the things about continuing with an existing show is it’s got to have new elements. It’s got to feel fresh; it’s got to have like new dynamics. You don’t want to ever feel that you’re standing still or looking over your shoulder. You need to be looking to the future. And when I watch a show, I love to discover the characters through the other characters’ eyes, so having their lens on us makes our characters – you know, it sort of informs the audience of who we are, so it’s also really helpful as a device.

Then, we get to meet these lovely new members of our family and develop friendship over nine months, and we’ve all become close.

It’s an interesting thing acting with people, because you’re in a vacuum; you become very, very close, but you’ve become very close in a vacuum. I’ve known so many of these people for many, many years, but they don’t know my friends. I don’t know their friends. So, you have this very intense kind of love for one another, but it’s quite unique. It’s hard, I think, for other people to understand how you can feel that strongly for people that you work [with] in this bubble. Yeah, it was lovely, welcoming both of these [unintelligible].

Suzanne:   And even more of a bubble now.

Gina:   Yeah.

Suzanne:   Well, one thing that’s nice about Dean is he seems to repurpose his actors in the different shows that he’s [done]. I think Christian’s been in all of his shows.

Gina:   Yeah, I mean, Dean’s best friend is our cameraman and has been from the pilot episode. So, that’s just like one example of how these are real collaborations and personal friendships, which is the dream really, I think, for everyone, isn’t it?

Suzanne:   Yeah, it shows his loyalty to his friends as well.

So, with Nathan gone from the show, is it fair to say that he has been replaced by Sophie with the main team and by Hardison, globally, now that there’s a global aspect?

Gina:   Yeah, we don’t go into too much detail about the kind of international operations, but yeah, that’s the device. I mean, obviously, we all know that Aldis is an incredible actor who’s very much in demand. You know, we take what we can get, but we didn’t really focus on so much what the other international teams were doing. I think it’s totally fair to say that Sophie’s put into a leadership role, but what I loved about the way it was written and the way it was developed was that she doesn’t just arrive and take that role. She’s waiting for it to be given. Everybody gives it to her; everybody gives her permission, a little bit more permission. That’s part of her journey of recovering from her loss and her grief. They know her so well that they know that they have to give her a purpose; they have to help her on on her way. Then, I think, as the season develops, and going into these final eight, she kind of sees light at the end of the tunnel, and she’s on her path, and she sees her destiny.

Suzanne:   I think that the great thing about this show is the you all get to play multiple characters. So, it’s more than just like playing one show. You’re on multiple shows in a way.

Aleyse:   Oh, yeah, I mean, you get a script, and there’s just so much opportunity all over it to sort of do something that’s just on your mind, or maybe you’ve seen a show, and you’re like, “Oh, wow, that must be a really cool set to be on,” [and] all of a sudden you have a medieval moment that you’re stepping into; it’s great. I mean, imagination, there’re no bounds bringing ideas; you’re never really shut down. Everybody’s like, “We’ll try it. Let’s see.” Yeah, it’s like 100 different show.

Suzanne:   Well, that segues into my other question, which is do they give you any leeway into changing the dialogue at all? Are they open to suggestions and changes about your character? Sounds like they are.

Gina:   Yeah, I mean, we riff in like little, tiny ways, and Aldis and Aleyse are the prince and princess of that, of just doing spontaneous little riffs. But I like to kind of really – I’m a very kind of text focused actor. So, I like to rework scenes and try and make them better and reorder things. Also, we like to bring in little physical like improv that will just elevate a scene, make it feel more, you know, present sometimes. You just bring in a little bit of business, and then you’ve got a reason why you’re all sitting around that table. You’ve got a reason why you’re all in that room, and we’re all really good at that, and they’re very open to it.

Suzanne:   And Aleyse, your character learns a lot. This half of the season she ends up being more than just the the girl at the keyboard. What was the most challenging physical thing that you did this half of the season?

Aleyse:   Oh, I want to say maybe being on ropes dropping through a ceiling. That was kind of hard; it’s because we’re like [at] a dead hang, and it’s through a hole in the ceiling. So, you have to climb on a ladder. But honestly, I think the thing that was most taxing on me is falling like that, but it’s always my choice to fall. I don’t think that the falls were really written in there for me, maybe one, but, yeah, that just becomes challenging, because you’re trying to keep it fresh, and you’re trying to sell the fall, and that would be my thing.

Suzanne:   Okay, well, they told me that’s my last question. I really appreciate talk me guys. I’ve talked to all of you now except for Noah, [but] the original Leverage, I got to interview everyone except for Gina. So, I collect them all.

Gina:   Thank you. Thanks, Suzanne.

Suzanne:   Thank you so much. I hope you enjoy the rest of the day and don’t have too much stress sitting there for hours.

Gina:   Not at all, it’s fun.

Aleyse:   Bye.

Suzanne:   Thank you. Bye bye.

Here’s the video!

Interview Transcribed by Jamie of http://www.scifivision.com

MORE INFO:

Please visit our Leverage Page!

Preview

In this new iteration, and new world, the Leverage crew have watched as the rich and powerful continue to take what they want without consequence. Grifter Sophie Devereaux (Gina Bellman), thief Parker (Beth Riesgraf), hitter Eliot Spencer (Christian Kane), and hacker Alec Hardison (Aldis Hodge) have watched the world change over the last eight years. Since their last job, it’s become easier–and sometimes legal–for the rich to become richer and the powerful to squash anyone who gets in their way.  To address the changes in the world around them, the team finds new blood in Harry Wilson (Noah Wyle), a corporate lawyer who is looking for redemption after realizing he’d been sitting on the wrong side of the table for his entire career, and Breanna Casey (Aleyse Shannon), Hardison’s foster sister who has a knack for computers, robotics, and getting into trouble.

Executive Produced By

Dean Devlin, Marc Roskin, Rachel Olschan-Wilson and Kate Rorick. John Rogers and Chris Downey serve as consulting producers.

Directed By

Dean Devlin, Marc Roskin, Noah Wyle, Francis Dela Torre, Jonathan Frakes

Produced By

Electric Entertainment for IMDb TV

Cast

Gina Bellman, Christian Kane, Beth Riesgraf, Aleyse Shannon, and Noah Wyle, Special Guest Star Aldis Hodge

Gina Bellman was born on July 10, 1966 in Auckland, New Zealand. She is an actress, known for Coupling (2000), Leverage (2008) and Jekyll (2007). She has been married to Zaab Sethna since September 2013. They have one child. She was previously married to Lucho Brieva.

Family

Spouse Zaab Sethna (September 2013 – present)  (1 child)
Lucho Brieva (July 2005 – 2007)  (divorced)
Children Brieva, Romy

Trivia

She was born in New Zealand and moved to England when she was 11 years old.
Daughter, Romy, born on November 20, 2009 in London.

Aleyse Shannon was born on May 16, 1996. She is an actress, known for Black Christmas (2019), Leverage: Redemption (2021) and Beauty (2021).

Trivia

Graduated from Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama.

Catch Eight New Episodes of the IMDb TV Original Series Leverage: Redemption on October 8

Aug 26, 2021

CATCH EIGHT NEW EPISODES OF THE IMDb TV ORIGINAL SERIES LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION 
ON OCTOBER 8

 

WATCH NEW TEASER HERE
SCREENERS OF NEW EPISODES AVAILABLE NOW ON
SCREENERS.COM

REVIEWS EMBARGOED UNTIL MONDAY, OCTOBER 4 AT 6:00AM PT/9:00AM ET

“Let’s go steal…eight new episodes of Leverage: Redemption.” In an all-new con, the Leverage crew surprised and delighted their fans by teasing the fall premiere of Leverage: Redemption in an exclusive video that dropped on IMDb TV socials today. The teaser video confirms that the IMDb TV Original series Leverage: Redemption will return this fall with eight additional season one episodes premiering October 8. In the brand-new episodes, the Leverage team finds itself up against a rival organization that embodies the system the team works so hard to take down.

Joining the cast in these additional episodes are guest stars Drew Powell (reprising his role as Jack Hurley from the original Leverage series), Ben Thompson, Joanna Cassidy, Jon Fletcher, and Brianna Brown, in addition to the previously announced guest stars James Marsters, LeVar Burton, and Andrea Navedo (continuing her role as Maria Shipp), as the Leverage team must aid a small town librarian, discredit a lifestyle and wellness guru, explore the failing memory of a legendary grifter, and more. Screeners for the new episodes are available now on Screeners.com. The remaining episodes of season one of Leverage: Redemption will premiere on October 8 on IMDb TV, Amazon’s free streaming service.

The first eight episodes of season one of Leverage: Redemption and all seasons of the original Leverage series are available to stream now on IMDb TV.

The rich and powerful take what they want, and the Leverage team is back to take them down. Sophie Devereaux (The Grifter), Parker (The Thief), Eliot Spencer (The Hitter), and Alec Hardison (The Hacker) have watched the world change over the last eight years. It’s become easier, and sometimes legal, for the rich to become richer and the powerful to squash anyone who gets in their way. The Leverage team finds new blood in Harry Wilson, a corporate lawyer who is looking for redemption after realizing he’s been sitting on the wrong side of the table for his entire career, and Breanna Casey, Hardison’s foster sister who has a knack for computers, robotics, and getting into trouble. In this new world, the team will use their collective skills to defeat a new kind of villain – from the man who created an opioid crisis from the comfort of his boardroom, to the couple who prefers to deport workers instead of paying them, to the shadowy security firm that helps hide dangerous secrets for a price. When someone needs help, they provide…Leverage.

Leverage: Redemption stars Gina Bellman as Sophie Devereaux, Beth Riesgraf as Parker, Christian Kane as Eliot Spencer, Aldis Hodge as Alec Hardison, Noah Wyle as Harry Wilson, and Aleyse Shannon as Breanna Casey. Kate Rorick is the co-showrunner and an executive producer alongside Dean Devlin, and executive producers Marc Roskin and Rachel Olschan-Wilson of Electric Entertainment. John Rogers and Chris Downey are consulting producers.

IMDb TV uniquely offers premium Originals on a free streaming service including the upcoming dramedy Pretty Hard Cases, premiering September 10. Spanning drama and comedy, scripted and unscripted, additional IMDb TV Originals include the Untitled Judge Judy Sheindlin Project, a Bosch spinoff; the comedy series Sprung; the Untitled Jeff Lewis Project – a new home design series; On Call from executive producer Dick Wolf; and second seasons of Alex Rider and Top Class: The Life and Times of the Sierra Canyon Trailblazers.

Follow IMDb TV:
IMDb TV Social TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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Gina Bellman and Aleyse Shannon of "Leverage: Redemption" on IMDb TV.

Interview with Dean Devlin and Kate Rorick

TV Interview!

Dean Devlin and Kate Rorick, Executive Producer and Writer of "Leverage: Redemption" on IMDbTV

Interview with Executive Producers Dean Devlin and Kate Rorick of “Leverage: Redemption” on IMDb TV by Suzanne 9/29/21

This was a wonderful interview with the showrunner/producer/writer of the show, Dean, and the main writer, producer Kate. I’ve interviewed Dean before, but Kate was a pleasant addition. They were both fun to have on Zoom and gave great answers. I just love this show, and I was very happy to watch the series last 8 episodes of the first season. I hope it gets a second season. I was a huge fan of the original series that ran on TNT as well.

Suzanne:   How are you guys doing?

Kate:   Good. How are you?

Suzanne:   I’m pretty good. Can’t complain. I’m on the beach, as you see.

Dean:   Nice.

Suzanne:   So Dean, it’s nice to see you again, and it’s nice to meet you, Kate.

Kate:   Nice to meet you too.

Suzanne:   So, I finished watching all the Leverage episodes last night from the new season. I would have watched them sooner, but TCA happened… but I really love the show. I liked the first one, too. So, I’m a big, long-time fan.

So, why was the season broken up into two parts?

Dean:   I think that was just a decision by IMDb TV to give us two jolts, so that it wasn’t just one shot in the arm.

Suzanne:   Okay, and another question just occurred to me. I know that back when you were doing Almost Paradise, you kept trying to shop it to other networks. Were you trying to get a Leverage reboot done all this time, or was it a more recent thing?

Dean:   Oh, no, no. I originally started talking to IMDb about doing Leverage almost two and a half years ago. So, yeah, it was a long time in the in the making. They’ve been spectacular partners and incredible support. Not only did they step up to bring the show back but then held our hands during a global pandemic and eight hurricanes that knocked us out. I mean, you can’t get a more supportive, better partner than than IMDb TV. And, of course, now they’re running Almost Paradise.

Suzanne:   Oh, any chance for more episodes of those in the future?

Dean:   Well, I think that the reality is that if these back eight of Leverage do as well as the first eight, or hopefully better, and people continue to keep watching Almost Paradise on IMDB TV, I think we have a really good shot of second seasons on both of them. So, my fingers are crossed. Hopefully they go up in big numbers.

Suzanne:   Oh, good. When I interviewed you and Christian Kane in March 2020, that was my first Zoom interview

Dean:  

Oh, my gosh.

Suzanne:   Because I had done only phone interviews up until then.

Kate:   It’s weird how quickly it became normal.

Suzanne:   I know, right? Weird. So, can you tell me, if it’s not going back too far, why was Nathan killed off rather than just went missing or recast?

Dean:   Well, I think the thing is, the first Leverage series was really centered around a story of vengeance, you know, a man who lost his son, and it destroyed his life and his marriage, and he was set out for revenge. Over the course of 77 episodes, he found peace, and he found love again, and it really was a completion of an arc, and rather than just get him pissed off about something else again and launch the next show, I think what really made this work was by having a brand new engine and a new tone instead of a story that was about vengeance. This was a story about redemption. That really gave us an energy to put the show back together and to give it relevancy of why you should watch the new version.

Suzanne:   And is there any remote chance that he would come back in the future, figure out that he’s not really dead or whatever?

Dean:   You know, I never say never to anything.

Suzanne:   I love the Easter eggs in the show like having LeVar Burton playing a librarian, and the episode when Noah Wyle goes in the hospital and pretends to be a doctor, and I’m not gonna put any spoilers here, but I heard and saw a few. That was great. Are there more that I didn’t notice?

Kate:   Well, we try to feed in easter eggs whenever we can, because we know that we have a very passionate fan base who likes those things, but also, we as writers like those things. They tickle us when they make it through. As for the Noah Wyle in the doctor’s coat thing, we hadn’t originally planned on it, but the opportunity presented itself, and we said to ourselves, “Alright, we get we can do this once. We can do this once. So, let’s just do it now.”

Dean:   Also, I think so much now within the streaming world you have shows that are serialized, and sometimes multiple shows that are serialized and interconnected, and it really demands a lot of the viewer that the viewer has to watch every single episode and remember everything from every show. Our show is episodic; you can you can jump in at any point. You don’t have to have seen previous episodes, and you can enjoy the show. But for us, the Easter eggs are a present for those who have stuck with us. You don’t need to have watched every episode, but if you have, you’re going to get a couple extra treats that everyone else won’t get

Suzanne:   I watched them all, but I have a terrible memory, and I’m not all that observant, so if it’s obvious, I could see it, but I know I always have to find a video or something where somebody says, “Okay, here’s all the Easter eggs in that movie” or whatever.

Dean:   You can always watch the official Leverage After Show on Electric Now, and we break down the Easter eggs of every episode.

Suzanne:   I’ll definitely have to do that, then.

Can you tell us about the guest stars this half of the season? I didn’t have a list, but I recognized faces.

Kate:   We have so many amazing guest stars in this season. LeVar Burton, you mentioned, is one of them. Joanna Cassidy shows up in a role that I absolutely adored, and she knocked it out of the park. James Marsters shows up to come play with his former Angel costar Christian Kane, and I love watching them go head to head against each other. Drew Powell in the same episode showed up. So, it was an embarrassment of riches the back half.

Suzanne:   Cool. There was a woman, I think it was in the second episode that I recognized. She ended up working in like a drugstore somewhere. They put in witness protection at the end. I didn’t recognize her name.

Kate:   I’m so sorry. I’m blanking. I know exactly who you are talking about on who you’re talking about, but I’m blanking [on her name].

Suzanne:   Okay, I’ll ask IMDb. So, the series was primarily set in New Orleans, but where was it actually filmed?

Kate:   It was filmed in New Orleans.

Suzanne:   Oh, okay.

Kate:   Honestly, I don’t think New Orleans can be doubled anywhere else except for possibly that one little square in Disneyland, but it is such a vibrant city, and it becomes a vibrant character that when you go to New Orleans, you shoot New Orleans.

Suzanne:   Right, right. No, I understand. Actually, we were in Vicksburg not too long ago, and their their downtown area looks a lot like New Orleans, and they do the whole touristy thing there with the daiquiris and everything like they’re trying to imitate.

Dean:   I love it.

Suzanne:   Eliot went through a lot of personal stuff this season, more than Parker of Brianna. Can you tell us what went into that thinking of doing that for him?

Kate:   Well, I think we wanted to give Eliot a relationship and a grown up relationship that has him thinking ahead to the idea that maybe, “My job is incredibly important to me. Leverage is the most important thing I’m going to do, but I also want to share my life with somebody.” So, I think that when we get through these back eight episodes, that’s sort of where Eliot’s mind has has landed, and he needs to find a way to balance.

Suzanne:   And without giving away any spoilers, there was a possible meeting up with someone in his family, do you think that might continue in another season?

Dean:   Absolutely. It’s something that we had actually been planning on in the original Leverage had there been a season six then. We had it on the drawing board to really go farther in it. So, we decided to release it in season one, and if, knock wood, we get to season two, we will definitely go farther down that road.

Suzanne:   Okay, and was shooting the second half of the season easier for you, even though you had COVID restrictions during filming? I mean, did it get easier over time?

Kate:   From my perspective, it did get easier over time, just because we’d sort of you figured out what you were going to stumble over as you went along, but to that point, it still wasn’t easy.

Dean:   There was no break when we shot them. We shot all sixteen back to back, so we were still in the height of it.

Suzanne:   And was it fun to incorporate two newer characters this season, Harry and Brianna, into the show with the rest of the Leverage team

Kate:   It was honestly, and I’m so gratified and relieved at the reception that they’ve received from the fans, because it’s hard to join a very established show and to be somebody new on it, but they do. They bring new perspectives; they bring new new skills to the table, and I think that they breathe a lot of – they created a good engine for the show.

Suzanne:   And when you have these ideas for the show, each episode where there’s some character or person or entity that they have to help, are those ideas taken from the headlines, or where do they come from?

Kate:   We have like just files of the history of bad guys, things that have happened in the world. It’s like there is no dearth of bad guys for us to draw from. And in general, they are always worse than what we manage to put on screen.

Suzanne:   I believe it. I liked that episode where Harry was going through the the files in his old legal office. He said, “And they did that, and they did that.” Just always terrible things.

Dean:   There was one moment where we were looking at a line that one of our bad guys says in one of the episodes, and there were some question about whether it was too over the top, and then somebody showed the video of the guy we were kind of basing it on, and it was word for word what he said.

Suzanne:   Well, they say truth is stranger than fiction, worse than fiction, apparently.

There’s a lot of comedy in the show, which I enjoy, especially with Parker. Is there ever a time when you think, ”No, that’s too much comedy; this is a drama we’ve got to cut that that back.”

Kate:   I don’t know if we’ve ever actually gone too far. We try very hard to strike a balance between the comedy and the pathos of the story, but as Dean has said several times, if you stripped the comedy out of the show, Leverage is an incredibly dark show. Comedy is what makes it palatable, so chances are the worst thing that somebody has done, the funnier we’re going to try to be at some point, just to make it balanced.

Dean:   And I think we live in a world now with a lot of very dark and serialized shows, and I think one of the things that makes this stand out is for an hour you get to escape. You get to have a good time, you get to be hopeful, you get to be positive, and at the same time, you get to punch in the neck some really bad people.

Suzanne:   Yeah. I love that little sound; I don’t know if there’s a name for it, whenever Parker does something really fast, there’s a sound.

Dean:   We call it the whoosh.

Suzanne:   I’m surprised nobody’s made a video on YouTube of just all those little bits put together with the whoosh sound.

Kate:   Well, they will now.

Dean:   I’m sure somebody’s got a ringtone with it.

Suzanne:   I don’t have the time to put it together, or I would.

The end of the season doesn’t seem to be an ending for the team. Did you write it with the idea that the show will hopefully probably continue?

Kate:   We are cautiously optimistic that there will be a season two, knock on wood, all the wood you can find, but that said, we wanted to make sure that if there wasn’t going to be a season two that we ended season one on a satisfactory note. Everybody feels satisfied at the end of season one, so that was our goal as we went forward.

Dean:   Yeah, if you really if you look back on Leverage, it was really one of the style choices that we always ended the season with a [conclusion]. We never did a big cliffhanger at the end of the season. We always wanted it to be a complete meal. Instead of making you want to come back on a cliffhanger, we wanted to make you come back because you had such a good time.

Suzanne:   And I always wanted to ask this, and I never remembered before, but when you were younger, did you grow up watching things like It Takes a Thief and I Spy and Wild Wild West and Man from U.N.C.L.E.?

Dean:   All three of those shows you mentioned my mother guest starred on, so I have to include them, but I [would] say if you were really going to pull where we pulled from, it would really probably be more Rockford Files, A-Team, Mission Impossible. I think those were probably more the predecessors.

Suzanne:   Well, the coolness factor definitely reminds me of those old 60s shows.

And if Harry returns for the next season, would there be a possible romantic relationship between him and Sophie?

Kate:   Never say never; don’t want to rule anything out. Yeah, never say never.

Dean:   I think the thing is, what’s really great about their relationship is that Harry is the only person on the team who exclusively knows Sophie as who she is today, when everyone else has the memories of who she used to be. So, he’s able to bring [a] perspective that no one else on the team can, and that respect and that friendship is so important that for us it’s more important than a romantic relationship. If we made the decision to go down that road, it would be interesting, but to us, what’s really more interesting is how these people are relating on a different level than any of the other teammates relate on.

Suzanne:   Okay, well, I’ll take your word for that, but I did notice that what she did after … at the last episode, and that seemed to indicate that there was some kind of … there, but I won’t spoil it.

Thanks so much. I really appreciate it.

Dean:   Thank you. So nice to talk to you.

Kate:   Thank you.

Suzanne:   I’ll talk to you again sometime.

Dean:   Bye.

Here’s the video!

Interview Transcribed by Jamie of http://www.scifivision.com

MORE INFO:

Please visit our Leverage Page!

Preview

In this new iteration, and new world, the Leverage crew have watched as the rich and powerful continue to take what they want without consequence. Grifter Sophie Devereaux (Gina Bellman), thief Parker (Beth Riesgraf), hitter Eliot Spencer (Christian Kane), and hacker Alec Hardison (Aldis Hodge) have watched the world change over the last eight years. Since their last job, it’s become easier–and sometimes legal–for the rich to become richer and the powerful to squash anyone who gets in their way.  To address the changes in the world around them, the team finds new blood in Harry Wilson (Noah Wyle), a corporate lawyer who is looking for redemption after realizing he’d been sitting on the wrong side of the table for his entire career, and Breanna Casey (Aleyse Shannon), Hardison’s foster sister who has a knack for computers, robotics, and getting into trouble.

Executive Produced By

Dean Devlin, Marc Roskin, Rachel Olschan-Wilson and Kate Rorick. John Rogers and Chris Downey serve as consulting producers.

Directed By

Dean Devlin, Marc Roskin, Noah Wyle, Francis Dela Torre, Jonathan Frakes

Produced By

Electric Entertainment for IMDb TV

Cast

Gina Bellman, Christian Kane, Beth Riesgraf, Aleyse Shannon, and Noah Wyle, Special Guest Star Aldis Hodge

Catch Eight New Episodes of the IMDb TV Original Series Leverage: Redemption on October 8

Aug 26, 2021

CATCH EIGHT NEW EPISODES OF THE IMDb TV ORIGINAL SERIES LEVERAGE: REDEMPTION 
ON OCTOBER 8

 

WATCH NEW TEASER HERE
SCREENERS OF NEW EPISODES AVAILABLE NOW ON
SCREENERS.COM

REVIEWS EMBARGOED UNTIL MONDAY, OCTOBER 4 AT 6:00AM PT/9:00AM ET

“Let’s go steal…eight new episodes of Leverage: Redemption.” In an all-new con, the Leverage crew surprised and delighted their fans by teasing the fall premiere of Leverage: Redemption in an exclusive video that dropped on IMDb TV socials today. The teaser video confirms that the IMDb TV Original series Leverage: Redemption will return this fall with eight additional season one episodes premiering October 8. In the brand-new episodes, the Leverage team finds itself up against a rival organization that embodies the system the team works so hard to take down.

Joining the cast in these additional episodes are guest stars Drew Powell (reprising his role as Jack Hurley from the original Leverage series), Ben Thompson, Joanna Cassidy, Jon Fletcher, and Brianna Brown, in addition to the previously announced guest stars James Marsters, LeVar Burton, and Andrea Navedo (continuing her role as Maria Shipp), as the Leverage team must aid a small town librarian, discredit a lifestyle and wellness guru, explore the failing memory of a legendary grifter, and more. Screeners for the new episodes are available now on Screeners.com. The remaining episodes of season one of Leverage: Redemption will premiere on October 8 on IMDb TV, Amazon’s free streaming service.

The first eight episodes of season one of Leverage: Redemption and all seasons of the original Leverage series are available to stream now on IMDb TV.

The rich and powerful take what they want, and the Leverage team is back to take them down. Sophie Devereaux (The Grifter), Parker (The Thief), Eliot Spencer (The Hitter), and Alec Hardison (The Hacker) have watched the world change over the last eight years. It’s become easier, and sometimes legal, for the rich to become richer and the powerful to squash anyone who gets in their way. The Leverage team finds new blood in Harry Wilson, a corporate lawyer who is looking for redemption after realizing he’s been sitting on the wrong side of the table for his entire career, and Breanna Casey, Hardison’s foster sister who has a knack for computers, robotics, and getting into trouble. In this new world, the team will use their collective skills to defeat a new kind of villain – from the man who created an opioid crisis from the comfort of his boardroom, to the couple who prefers to deport workers instead of paying them, to the shadowy security firm that helps hide dangerous secrets for a price. When someone needs help, they provide…Leverage.

Leverage: Redemption stars Gina Bellman as Sophie Devereaux, Beth Riesgraf as Parker, Christian Kane as Eliot Spencer, Aldis Hodge as Alec Hardison, Noah Wyle as Harry Wilson, and Aleyse Shannon as Breanna Casey. Kate Rorick is the co-showrunner and an executive producer alongside Dean Devlin, and executive producers Marc Roskin and Rachel Olschan-Wilson of Electric Entertainment. John Rogers and Chris Downey are consulting producers.

IMDb TV uniquely offers premium Originals on a free streaming service including the upcoming dramedy Pretty Hard Cases, premiering September 10. Spanning drama and comedy, scripted and unscripted, additional IMDb TV Originals include the Untitled Judge Judy Sheindlin Project, a Bosch spinoff; the comedy series Sprung; the Untitled Jeff Lewis Project – a new home design series; On Call from executive producer Dick Wolf; and second seasons of Alex Rider and Top Class: The Life and Times of the Sierra Canyon Trailblazers.

Follow IMDb TV:
IMDb TV Social TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

Dean Devlin and Kate Rorick, Executive Producer and Writer of "Leverage: Redemption" on IMDbTV

Interview with Simon Frederick, Eunice Olumide and Jidenna

TV Interview!

Simon Frederick, Eunice Olumide and Jidenna

Interview with Simon Frederick, Eunice Olumide and Jidenna of “The Outsiders?” on YouTube by Suzanne 9/23/21

The Outsiders? TCA Panel
Simon Frederick, Director
Eunice Olumide, Actress, Model & Broadcaster
Jidenna, Recording Artist & Producer
2021 Virtual Tour Los Angeles, CA September 23, 2021
© 2021 YouTube Originals. All rights reserved.

This was an interesting panel. I hadn’t seen the series ahead of time, so I wasn’t sure what to ask. I did think of some things to ask, eventually, as the panel continued.

The first journalist asked Simon Frederick how he decided which artists should go in his documentary series.

He said that Jidenna was someone that he wanted to speak with for a long time because of his song “Classic Man” and that he was born in Nigeria but lived in America, which sparked a “cross-cultural conversation.” The other panelist, Eunice Olumide, has had a great influence on Scottish culture; she has a bill going through Parliament that will mandate black history to be taught in schools in Scotland. He praised her, “I’ve always said that Eunice will make a great politician one day because in Scotland she has been able to affect Scottish culture in a way that Black people just don’t do.” He pointed out that both are brilliant people under 40 that have created things that never existed before. He said they were “owning Black culture in a way that, not only is inspiring to us as Black people, but actually inspiring to all of us as human beings.”

Olumide talked about the bill, which started as a petition to the Scottish government. She felt there was not enough being taught about “the significant contribution of African people, African diaspora to the west not only to the UK, but to the western world in general.” She loves that their documentary talks about “trauma porn” (which is focusing on the negative things that have happened to black people in history). She believes that it’s better to focus positive things that have happened, “to ensure that we are educating and archiving the huge, and tremendous, positive contributions of people of color to the world today.”

Another reporter asked the panel whose shoulders they stand on, and how they are building up their own shoulders so that others in their community can stand on theirs.

Olumide credited her mom, and performative activism done by Afro-Caribbean people. She mentioned that she was awarded a British MBE. She admited, “I was quite unsure about whether I wanted to receive that or not because of Britain’s history concerning the transatlantic slave trade and colonialism. And one of the things that actually my mom highlighted to me was that I needed to also understand the vast and extensive history and background of all of the people that came before me. And I needed to also understand that it’s about archiving and making sure that we are documenting historically the contributions of people of color, of African people, to the world.”

Jidenna agreed with what she said and then added his opinion. He said that he did stand on the shoulders of his late father, and he talks about him in this documentary series. He told us that he was “the first African to produce a commercially-produced PC in our history, in Sub-Saharan African history. And he did that in the 80s in the same time that Gates and Jobs were building their computer franchises. It’s not a history that people know.” He maintained that many stories of black history and narratives have been taken away from its people, so this series is making sure that “we are etched into history and we are telling our stories.” He complimented Frederick that this “might be his best work yet.” He remembers that his father advised him that life is like a relay race, “The most important thing is not you running, but the baton which you are not allowed to drop or you will be disqualified.” Not only is he standing on his father’s shoulders, “but what’s immediately important are people like Eunice, are people to my sides who are in my generation and my peer group, because I think our generation is one of the most amazing generations that’s come in the last hundred years.” He told us that “our fight … is to create more space for different archetypes of African descent and for us across the Diaspora to hear each other’s stories where previously a lot of the film that you’ll see in the last 100 years were exports from the U.S. So you’re getting predominantly the Black American experience, but you’re not getting as much of the Caribbean American or the First Gen African. You’re not seeing as much of the films that are coming out of the UK. You’re definitely not seeing what’s coming out of France, but now because of the internet, Wi-Fi, Instagram… we’re seeing experiences not only in Europe, in America, but definitely in Africa. And, finally, thank God, we have a world that views Africa as much cooler than it was before, and I don’t think we’re in a trendy era, and we’re knowing that now, and I think Simon is capturing that worldwide: the new, global Black experience.”

Frederick added that he stands on the shoulders of his parents. He wouldn’t be where he was today without his mom’s “love and encouragement… [when you grow] up as a young, Black child you’re told that education is key, and if you’re drawing and painting and doing stuff like that is you’re soon told not to do that, because you’re never going to have a career and all they’re trying to do is keep you safe.” He has his father’s stubbornness, which is what made him keep going with his music. He also credits those who came before him, such as “Sir Harry Belafonte,” whom he met for a lengthy interview. It changed his life because “it solidified why I do what I do and the importance of doing what I do, of telling stories, of putting a humanity in Black storytelling that’s always been there, but it’s been taken away from us. But, also, following in the footsteps of people like the great Gordon Parks, who a photographer, a filmmaker, a musician, a renaissance man. I am trying to follow in his footsteps and continue his tradition for storytelling in both moving and still imagery.”

For my question, I referred back to what Jidenna said about us not seeing so many African or international works. I pointed out that because of the pandemic, people here in the U.S. (and probably other Western countries) are watching more of that and asked whether he thinks that will continue once we’re out of the pandemic.

Jidenna replied, “Yes, absolutely. That’s a keen observation, and I can tell you Eunice and Simon, you probably don’t realize this as much unless you’ve been stateside, because I believe the question is aimed at the U.S. market. Really, my whole upbringing, I was one of the few people that was able to watch overdubs and subtitles. So many times, you hear people like, “Oh, it’s got subtitles? Oh, I don’t want to watch it.” Or it’ll be like, man, unless it was like a kung fu flick, they don’t want to see the slight latency in the overdub. Right now, to your point, people were tired of just watching whatever their regular show was so they’re exploring a lot more, and there’s a huge demand, and I’d love to see the numbers on it. So the beautiful thing is that some things with the pandemic that may have seemed short-lived will be long-lived. It’s not just long COVID that’s going to be the byproduct of the pandemic. It’s going to be the new cultural interests, I think, in the world. It was the first time that the U.S., in our lifetime, that the U.S. was included in a plague. We often have the benefit of the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and presidents that are a little bit smarter than our previous one. But in this case, we were part of the world and it forced us to be, and that’s why you have an interest in films from abroad. I definitely think that this is something here to stay, and people are working hard to produce more films that can still cater to the U.S. market, so we’re right on time with that.” I wanted to add to that there are many foreign TV series available to us more now, too (not just films).

Enjoy the documentary!

MORE INFO:

Trailer  Watch it here!

This new six-part docuseries from visionary filmmaker and photographer Simon Frederick brings to life the Black experience through stories and personal anecdotes of a seminal cast of young Black actors, musicians, creators, artists, and personalities that are shaping popular culture as we know it. “The Outsiders?” challenges notions that anti-Black sentiment is a national or regional issue, weaving the cast’s experiences into a cohesive set of themes that underscore the universal nature of what it means to be Black around the world. The cast’s revealing truths and untold stories are tragic, thought-provoking, and inspiring. From the YouTube Black Voices fund, “The Outsiders?” premieres globally on October 4.

From director and photographer Simon Frederick, comes the next installment in his portrait documentaries, untold stories of young Black visionaries shaping our future. In raw, real, and deeply personal conversations, you’ll hear 41 creators, musicians, artists, authors, athletes and more discuss topics like equality, structural gaslighting, and social media.
Guests include, Mo Gilligan, Phillip Youmans, Munya Chawawa, Alex Scott, Fenn O’Meally, Niko Omilana, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Elladj Balde, Alicia Garza, Jidenna, Campbell Addy, Eunice Olumide, Ncuti Gatwa, George The Poet, Candice Braithwaite, Kailand Morris, Shaun Ross, Clara Amfo, Amanda Seales, Sophie Duker, Jidenna, Taylor Richardson, Jamal Edwards, MNEK, Chanel Ambrose, Tinashe, Suli Breaks, and Julie Adenuga.

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"The Outsiders?" poster

Interview with Julia Ormond, Alexa Mansour and Annet Mahendru

TV Interview!

Julia Ormond (Elizabeth), Alexa Mansour (Hope) and Annet Mahendru (Huck) of "The Walking Dead: World Beyond" on AMC

Interview with Julia Ormond (Elizabeth), Alexa Mansour (Hope) and Annet Mahendru (Huck) of “The Walking Dead: World Beyond” on AMC by Suzanne 9/23/21

I love this show, so it was great to chat with some of the stars this week on press panels. These women were so nice and had thoughtful answers to all of the questions. I can’t wait to see the rest of season 2. I’m just sorry that it’s ending after that.  Note that the questions that don’t have my name are from other journalists, not me.  Don’t miss the season premiere 10/3 on AMC!

Julia Ormond (Elizabeth Kublek) on "The Walking Dead: World Beyond" on AMCQuestion:  My first question’s for Julia, and then the second one’s for the two of you, but I’m wondering if you could talk about her morality, because last season, she seemed to be upset about some of the stuff she was doing, but this season, she seems a lot more apathetic. I’m just curious, is there a line she won’t cross, and is it still bothering her? What’s your take on it?

Julia:  My take is that Elizabeth is somebody who compartmentalizes what emotion she will show to what person. So, if something is bothering her profoundly, she would have trouble showing that to somebody she’s intimate with, just because of her personality type. So, yes, but I think really what happens with Elizabeth is…what happens to her belief in what they’re doing in season two.

In season one, for me, she’s utterly, utterly committed to an agenda that’s necessary. They’ve identified that Hope actually has something that could be really critical to the survival of mankind – if she comes in with the right attitude…[and] doesn’t bring in the anger; she goes along with the plan of what they’re meant to be doing and that she’s productive and effective in her time there.

And I do think that it’s not black and white, or I hope it’s not black and white. It’s more kind of gray. It’s like she has to sign up for something that she’s not happy about, but I think people do that in war all of the time. In the military, you accept that there are people who are going to die, and you accept the tragedy. I think we as a populace accept the tragedy of collateral damage. So, I don’t think it’s as much of a pivot as I wish it was in the world.

Question:  Then, for Annet and Alexa, obviously, Huck has been changed by the two girls, even though she says she hasn’t. Can Hope trust her? And for that matter, can she trust your character, because obviously, you’re more about your [getting back to your] sister right now.

Alexa:  I think Hope can learn to trust her; whether or not she does is different story, but I think there’s a lot that Hope doesn’t know, and she has to take that into account. And just like Hope did a bunch of crazy things, or Hope would do a bunch of crazy things for her sister and the people that she loves and to protect them, I think Huck was kind of put in a tough situation as well. But Hope is pretty scarred after what happened in season one, so it’s gonna take a lot if Huck wants to rebuild that relationship with her.

Annet:  Yeah, Huck’s in a really bad spot. At this point, Hope’s just looking at her like, “You’re crazy; I don’t ever really want to talk to you again.” So, I don’t know how she’s gonna get out of this. It’s just looking pretty bad and things are so entangled. She’s relieved to be back, but it’s looking really [like] she’s sort of in the worst position she’s been thus far. In a way, she’s in prison the way Hope is too, because of this web of lies. And all these people out there who know things about the CRM that they shouldn’t have known and that’s Huck’s family now, too, she obviously feels alignment with, and maybe more so than she does with Elizabeth at this point. As we know, there’s more family at the CRM now that Huck has some entanglements with that are problematic. So, it’s just the question – it’s funny when Hope and Huck are sitting in this sort of dog kennel…where they have their conversation like, “Hey, this is a great place for all of us.” It’s so ironic, because they’re just both in prison, really, and it seems like there’s no way out of this all, and is this a better place? Are they safe, or, actually, have things just gotten worse?

Question:   Alexa, I love Hope’s friendship on screen with Elton – or I guess their former friendship, as it were. Will we get to see them mend [it]…and is there hope for them to mend this relationship?

Alexa:  I don’t know if I can tell you what happens with Hope and Elton, but what I can say is that I think there’s always that room orAlexa Mansour (Hope Bennett) on "The Walking Dead: World Beyond" on AMC the possibility of mending something. I think if both people are on the same page and they each get to get their side of the story out, I think that there’s a very strong possibility that they could be friends again. They’ve all been through so much that they realize that sometimes you have to do things, or things happen that are out of your control, and I think when you care about someone, you understand that. I would appreciate the honesty, so I hope so. I hope they do get to mend their relationship.

Question:   Julia, what kind of backstory were you given about Elizabeth’s connection with CRM, and will we be seeing that play out, maybe explore her backstory a bit this season?

Julia:  That’s super hard to answer…without doing spoilers. I think some of the backstory, I think when you have supporting roles, and basically Elizabeth is this sort of character. It’s not always helpful for the backstory to come into the story story, but, yeah, that was kind of [vague]. [laughs]

I think the biggest thing is that she’s a real believer, she signed up for this philosophy, and she thoroughly believes in the choices that they’re making and what they need to do in order to save mankind. Then, there’s this greater detail in that, but I don’t want to answer it any more, because I don’t want somebody like Scott [Gimple] or Matt [Negrete] to go, “Why did you say that, because we’re going to use that.” They sent us a list, “You may not talk about this; you may not [talk about this].” I don’t know if they sent that to you. I was like, “What do I talk about? I don’t know what to talk about now.” So it’s a little scary. There you go, that was an all over the map useless answer.

Question:  Julia, I respectfully have to disagree. I think she’s more than a supporting character, because she casts a very big shadow in the story. She manipulates; she tests people, and when somebody pushes her, she pushes back hard. What’s it like to play all those different aspects and then throw in the fact that she’s a mom, too?

Julia:  Well you know, Jamie Ruby was asking the question earlier in terms of you see her get upset in season one, you see kind of the soldiers get taken off, and then she’s upset. I think, for me, that upset at that moment is this private moment of grief in terms of I’ve not just done this awful thing to this kid that I frankly liked and was a good soldier and all the rest of it, and the grief around how much people can tolerate, but what is my kid going to think of me when they find out and I have to tell them? I think that just packs a punch. And for me, what happens with Elizabeth is you see the dehumanization of it, she becomes increasingly disconnected. She’s just disconnected, and she’s shutting down. So, she’s dissociating, and it’s at certain moments that I really value that she has actually with her own family that pull her back. And maybe – maybe yes, maybe no –  that will actually impact her reevaluation of what they’re actually doing.

Question:  For Alexa, Hope is kind of in a new place. We won’t say more than that. She’s kind of getting acclimated to a lot of different things, and also, there seems to be an aura of distrust a little bit. Where is she mentally at this point?

Alexa:  I thinks she just came from getting so hurt and feeling so betrayed after what Huck did, and she just left her sister; her and her sister just split up, and the only friends that she really feels like she ever had she doesn’t have them, and she doesn’t know what’s happening to them, or where they are. So, I feel like she’s in this spot where she’s like, “Do I let more people in?” Because everyone kind of leaves and no one, nothing ever lasts. Anything good that’s ever happened in my life hasn’t lasted, or it’s turned out to be completely fake. So, I think she’s a little bit on the fence and has this guard up in this new place that she’s in, because she doesn’t want to get hurt again. At least she’s got her father and whatnot, but anybody else that’s not really family, that’s not really a necessity in her life. I don’t think she really is trying to get attached to them after what’s happened.

Question:  And Annet, really briefly, do you feel like she’s a woman without a country right now?

Annet:  Yeah, the other one got exploded, and this one is under attack. Yeah, I mean, she’s always been a woman of her own country, I suppose, of her own reality. So, I don’t know if she particularly needs to be anywhere. She’s not truly attached to anything. She’s a true soldier in a way, going from point A to B, and then she has to keep going. She can’t really sit still anywhere, and you’ll see her coming back to her room, and it all seems distant and doesn’t really mean anything anymore, because she’s changed so much. So, it’s sort of these pauses in between that a soldier never really knows how to deal with anyway. They just like to be away and like to be in these explosive situations; that’s where they thrive. So, Huck’s ready. I think she’s ready for another mission.

Suzanne:   Julia, you’ve been working since you were very young, since high school, at the very least, in acting, and then after that, and a lot of the cast are very young people. Did you have any advice for them? Or did they come to you for any advice?

Julia:  They don’t need advice from me. They don’t need advice from me. I might be asking them advice. Annet, Alexa, did you come to me seeking any advice? [laughs] Did I ever give you any advice? I don’t remember. No, I dont think I did. I’m not much of a sharer in that respect.

Annet:  Honestly, watching Julia and just being in the presence of her is your advice and your lesson and your inspiration, and you just respond to the person, the greatness that’s in front of you. So, that’s everything.

Alexa:  Yeah, Julia is a force to be reckoned with. I know every time I go on set with her I’m like, “How are you doing this? I don’t understand.” So, if there was a person I was going to go to advice for, it would probably be Julia.

Suzanne:   I recently learned that the [show’s] timeline is concurrent with the original Walking Dead, and there’s going to be a movie and some other spinoff series. Have any of you heard about whether any of your characters, or whether you as actors, will be involved in any of these other things, or whether your show will be involved with the ending of the other Walking Dead?

Julia:  I think that’s really a kind of Scott and Matt question. It is one of those things that I like to call them spoiler blurts that you sort of trip up in terms of, “What do I say? What do I say? What do I not say?” So maybe somebody from AMC could help fill in on that question.

Suzanne:   None of you have heard anything that you can comment on at all?

Annet Mahendru (Huck) on "The Walking Dead: World Beyond" on AMCAnnet:  I mean, we’re done, right? But there’s always crossovers. I mean, Jadis joined us. We’re all gonna be around, so they can always pluck us up at any given moment. That’s, I think, what is so cool about all these, this threesome, so to say, of shows, because we can all play with each other at any point.

Julia:  Also, they have this format where there’s flashbacks, and you go back, and you see stuff, so even if a character dies, you still don’t know whether or not they’re going to resurface in another [show].

Question:   Elizabeth is such an insanely manipulative character and who really sends chills down my spine. So, as an actor, what is your process going into this character, and how do you prepare yourself before you act the hell out of her?

Julia:  So, everybody sees her as manipulative, and I guess there’s a part of me that once you find that justification, I think it was I was talking to Jamie about in the beginning. My justification is that she is part of the military; there’re very few human beings left as far as they know. They work from the facts that they can [unintelligible], so they don’t know if there’s anybody else left in the world. They don’t know if they’re the only human beings left. So, they are working towards building hierarchy and structure and laws, and the ethics have just gone to hell, because their ethic has to be protect the border of whatever the human race is. We can’t let other people – we’ve got limited resources, we can’t necessarily share them with everyone. We need to make relationships with people outside of it. That’s her MO. That’s where she has to end up making tough decisions that, from my own perspective, people who are in the military, they’re making those decisions all the time. Somebody being killed somewhere on our behalf right now, and we kind of have gotten a little bit of – it feels globally as if there’s a little bit of weird acceptance around it, because it’s too painful to confront.

So, there’s a piece of Elizabeth that’s an amplification of that. It’s like I go into a state of denial, because it’s just too painful to accept the reality. Then, that state of denial, I mean, she’s disconnected; she disconnects from personal relationships as well. Then, I think once you have that, you can sign up as a believer. But you can believe in something and not be happy about the consequences of it. You can believe that, “Oh, I had something wrong with my leg and the doctor’s telling me that I have to have it cut off.” It’s kind of like, “Okay, I’m not particularly thrilled about it, but this seems like that’s the best plan going forward.” But I think, for me, it’s kind of getting into it.

Like I watched some of it last night, I was like, “Oh my god, she redefines resting bitch face.” [laughs] Oh my God, this just makes you so grim. But I think that’s kind of like what the sadness and the resignation is. There’s a harshness to the choices that she’s making, and so that kind of shows on the exterior.

Interview Transcribed by Jamie of http://www.scifivision.com

Don’t miss our other interview with Joe Holt (Leo) and Natalie Gold (Lyla)!

MORE INFO:

cast members of "The Walking Dead: World Beyond" on AMC

The Walking Dead: World Beyond’s ten-episode second season premieres October 3 at 10pm ET/9c on AMC with all episodes available one week early on AMC+, beginning September 26

Season Two trailer HERE

Season two of The Walking Dead: World Beyond concludes the epic story of Iris (Aliyah Royale), Hope (Alexa Mansour), Elton (Nicolas Cantu), and Silas (Hal Cumpston) — four friends who journeyed across the country on a mission that transformed everything they knew about themselves and the world.  As they face off against the mysterious Civic Republic Military and fight for control of their own destiny, goals will shift, bonds will form and crumble, and innocence will be both lost and found.

The Walking Dead: World Beyond is executive produced by co-creator Scott M. Gimple, co-creator and showrunner Matt Negrete, Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd, David Alpert and Brian Bockrath, and is produced and distributed by AMC Studios. In addition to Royale, Mansour, Cantu and Cumpston, the series stars Nico Tortorella, Annet Mahendru, Julia Ormond, Joe Holt, Jelani Alladin, Natalie Gold and Ted Sutherland.

Episode 201: Konsekans – Premieres October 3 at 10pm ET/9c on AMC

Hope’s commitment to the future is put to the test, jeopardizing a potential reunion.  Iris and Felix meet a new group. Startling revelations are made.

Episode 202: Foothold – Premieres October 10 at 10pm ET/9c on AMC

While some members of the group enact a plan to cover their tracks, others attempt to acclimate to their new surroundings.

Julia Ormond

Julia will next be seen in AMC’s The Walking Dead: World Beyond which will premiere this year. She can most recently be seen in BBC’s Gold Digger. Julia performed opposite Maya Rudolph and Catherine Keener on Amazon’s series Forever from creators Yang/Hubbard (Parks and Rec). She was recently nominated for Best Actress for the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television for Ladies in Black from acclaimed director Bruce Beresford. It will be distributed by Sony later this year. Other recent work includes Howard’s End written by Oscar winner Kenneth Lonergan for the BBC and STARZ which garnered rave reviews. Julia also appeared in HBO’s comedy Tour De Pharmacy opposite Andy Samberg, Will Forte and Orlando Bloom. She also starred in the independent film Rememory opposite Peter Dinklage and late Anton Yelchin which premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. On the small screen, Ormond received an Emmy® Award in 2010 for her role in the HBO movie Temple Grandin and in 2012 was nominated for a second Emmy for her guest role on Mad Men. Julia wrapped a season of the SyFy series Incorporated which was produced by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. Among her film work Julia Ormond starred in the epic Legends of the Fall alongside actors Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, and Aidan Quinn and played the lead role with Harrison Ford in the film Sabrina, directed by Sydney Pollack. In 2008, she starred with Brad Pitt in the fantasy- drama The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and also worked with Benicio del Toro in Steven Soderbergh’s biopic Che. JULIA’S PASSION AND NON-PROFIT WORK Julia was the first and former UNODC Goodwill Ambassador Against Trafficking and Slavery and is the Founder of Alliance to Stop Slavery and End Trafficking (www.assetcampaign.org) that was the origin, architect and convener of the Transparency in Supply Chains Law in CA that passed in 2010. She is Founding Chair of FilmAid International. She was Executive Producer of Calling the Ghosts: A Story of Rope, War and Women which won an Emmy, a Cable Ace, a Robert F Kennedy Journalism Award. and after a screening at the Council of Foreign Relations spurred legislation that enabled the arrest of Milosevich. Julia also participated in Call and Response. a documentary on the state of enslavement today and one of the first documentaries promoting cell phone technology to accept immediate donations to the cause. She is an Associate Producer to Libby Spear’s Playground, which focuses on the environment that enables child trafficking within the U.S. As an advocate, Julia has traveled the world assessing solutions and challenges and she has appeared as an expert witness before the US. Congress and the United Nations. For this advocacy work. she received the World Economic Forum’s Crystal Award” and Women for Women International’s “Peace Award.

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Alexa Mansour

Alexa Mansour just wrapped filming a series lead in the highly anticipated 3rd installment of The Walking Dead universe for AMC. Set in The Walking Dead’s near-future, Mansour plays “Hope,” a hard-drinking and disillusioned teenager who yearns to experience the world outside the confines of her contained community. Mansour beat out thousands of actors for the role and stars opposite Nico Tortorella and Annet Mahendru. In film, Mansour recently starred in the buzzy, social media-driven genre feature Unfriended: Dark Web from director Stephen Susco. She also starred in the MarVista ensemble thriller #Squadgoals . Next up, Mansour will be seen in the independent feature film She’s in Portland opposite François Arnaud and Minka Kelly. On the small screen, Mansour was last seen in guest lead roles on CBS’s Madam Secretary and Bull. She also appeared in notable recurring arcs on CBS’ Seal Team (opposite David Boreanaz), FOX’s The Resident (directed by Phillip Noyce) and most notably, as the troubled “Faiza Assaf” in ABC’s critically acclaimed How to Get Away with Murder. Alexa made her television debut in 2014 as the lead guest lead in Law and Order: SVU’s season 16 premiere, which boasted the highest ratings for a premiere episode in seven years. When Alexa is not acting, she continues to create as a talented singer-songwriter and pianist. She released her freshman single entitled “Misguided Youth” in 2018.

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Annet Mahendru

Annet Mahendru has become a highly sought-after performer for both film and television. Perhaps best known for her critically acclaimed role on the Golden Globe & Emmy winning FX series The Americans, where she played Nina, the mysterious spy opposite FBI Agent Stan (Noah Emmerich). Her portrayal of Nina earned her a Critic’s Choice Nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series and a Gold Derby TV Award Nomination for Drama Guest Actress. She was awarded Showbiz India’s Trailblazer award, recognizing her for an ‘Emerging Leader’ as a rising South Asian Female Actor in Hollywood. Recently, she appeared on the highly anticipated anthology series for Amazon Prime, The Romanoffs. Created, written, directed and executive produced by Matthew Weiner (Mad Men). The series features eight separate stories about people who believe themselves to be descendants of the Russian royal family. She also starred in the dystopian SYFY thriller The Slows, which marks Marvel scribe Nicole Perlman’s directorial debut. It is currently appearing at international film festivals. Annet has established a notable television resume with other credits including The X-Files, Tyrant, The Following, Lethal Weapon, Grey’s Anatomy, White Collar, 2 Broke Girls, and The Blacklist. In addition to her television work, Annet starred in the Sundance film Escape From Tomorrow, played the title role in Sally Pacholok, and appeared in Bridge And Tunnel, and Love Gloria. She was also the voice of Eva in the Penguins of Madagascar movie co-starring Benedict Cumberbatch. On stage, Annet performed in Seven, a play about Afghan refugee Farida Aziza at the LA Theatre Works. A collaboration between 7 playwrights and 7 female activists from around the globe that tells inspiring stories of overcoming adversity to effect real change and improve the lives of women. Born in Afghanistan to an East Indian father and Russian mother, Annet spent her early years learning 6 languages in the Middle East & Europe. She finished high school in New York, earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and Philosophy at St. John’s University. Then embarked on a Master’s degree at NYU’s Global Affairs Program. In addition to her studies, Annet was always part of a stellar acting troupe whether with a renowned Russian actor in St. Petersburg, the HB Studio in New York, at the Groundlings or Diana Castle in Hollywood. She is also highly trained in Mixed Martial Arts and Indian classical dance, Bharatanatyam. Annet currently resides in Los Angeles with her director husband Louie Gibson and their son. She is part of the local charity BreastfeedLA where she advocates for the importance of breastfeeding to help families meet their goals.

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Julia Ormond (Elizabeth), Alexa Mansour (Hope) and Annet Mahendru (Huck) of "The Walking Dead: World Beyond" on AMC

Interview with Joe Holt and Natalie Gold

TV Interview!

Joe Holt and Natalie Gold of "The Walking Dead: Worlds Beyond" on AMC

Interview with Joe Holt (Leo) and Natalie Gold (Lyla) of “The Walking Dead: Worlds Beyond” on AMC by Suzanne 9/23/21

This was such a fun interview, and I really enjoyed it. I loved how they let Joe call on us. Usually they have a PR person doing that. It was a nice change, and he was great at it. Personally, I think he should have his own talk show or podcast (if he doesn’t already). Both actors were very kind and funny. Don’t miss the season premiere 10/3 on AMC!

Question:   Natalie, does Bellshaw have real feelings for this man? Or is it all just part of her need to get him there and keep him there?

Natalie:   Oh, Lyla loves Dr. Bennett. Lyla Bellshaw loves Dr. Bennett. Oh, yeah, absolutely her feelings are real. I, as an actor, and Matt, and Joe and I have had a lot of conversations about that. Oh, yeah, it’s so much more interesting if her feelings are real and genuine. But yeah, she’s in love.

Jamie:   This is actually kind of continuing on that. Natalie, she still, obviously, though, is, with the CRM also. So, my question is, do you think that she would be willing to potentially leave them if [Dr. Bennett] decided to do that and go against it? And can she trust him? I mean, maybe he’ll side with his daughters. Could you both talk to that?

Natalie:   I think I kind of love the way that season one ends and teases that up, because those are all the questions, right? [Can] we trust Lyla? Does she have ulterior motives? What are her ulterior motives? It became kind of clear in season one, by the end of that episode, and that monologue that she has that she really wants to go and tell Leo, and she ends up not telling him that she’s kind of the catalyst for this whole thing starting. It’s because Leo came to Lyla and said, “I have this daughter who’s brilliant,” and Lyla obviously then told her higher ups. So, I think that this season is kind of a great exploration for Lyla’s character, her push and pull between her love for Leo and her real belief in the greater good. And one person what’s the balance? How much is one life worth versus hundreds of thousands of lives and the work that she’s doing? So, it’ll all be explored in season two.

Joe Holt and Natalie Gold of "The Walking Dead: Worlds Beyond" on AMCJoe:   Yeah, I mean, not to speak for her character, obviously, but I think that there’s absolute chemistry between the characters that is real, which probably creates some of the conflict for her with her duties. There’s a Civilian Republic, and there’s a Civilian Republic military, and I think the second season starts highlighting some of the differences. Like, I did not plan on being a pawn of the Civilian Republic military. I was working for the Civil Republic, as was Lyla. I do think that the theme of the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, as Spock stated in Wrath of Khan. I think that is a constant theme and a constant source of conflict in the second season. We each keep getting pushed to the next level. That tests that principle and that belief within ourselves.

Natalie:   That was said so much more eloquently [by] Joe, as per usual.

Question:   I think what’s interesting about both your characters is obviously you have a personal relation, and you have both kind of walking a tightrope with the military, but also, there’s the scientists’ portion of your lives to that. You want to do something for the greater good as well. So, talk about kind of balancing all that as characters and playing that as actors. That’s a tight rope you could easily fall off of.

Joe:   I think that the joy of acting is conflict, and also, at the crux of any television show or movie is creating and constantly pouring gas on that fire. As an actor, you can sink your teeth into choices. The beauty of this character, and I think of all the characters in the show, is the constant tug of war between what’s right for me and what’s right for the greater good. Within all that we have to battle our own demons. I have to deal with the guilt that I have over leaving my daughters. I won’t speak for Natalie’s character, but every character, I think, in the show has some inner conflict. Then, they have an external conflict and trying to sort all that out is what creates a lot of joy, I think, for actors.

Natalie:   Yeah, and I think as far as kind of Lyla’s love for Leo, she really fell in love with his mind. He’s one of the greatest minds and most brilliant soul she’s ever met. I think that that’s such a deep part of their connection is how well they work together. She found a real partner in him as far as that goes. I think everything Joe was saying is really right, the inner conflict and guilt that all these characters have, and I think it’s going to be cool as we learn more about all of their backstories in season two, but it’s really a push pull between falling in love with somebody, getting close, being in a relationship with somebody in this universe, because it’s a dangerous universe.

Suzanne:   You just finished shooting the show in June, correct? Now, when did you start shooting?

Natalie:   February.

Joe:   February.

Suzanne:   That didn’t take too long.

Joe:   It depends who you ask.

Suzanne:   Joe, you play a character who’s supposed to be brilliant. So, besides the script and the costumes, what else helps you prepare for such an intellectual role?

Joe:   The beauty of television is – this is gonna sound so obnoxious. They kind of cast the person that fits the role. There’s not much research you can do to become smart. So, hopefully, I can say the words they give me and not trip over them, but what was great was having a sit down with Scott Gimple and Matt Negrete, really, day one or day two, when I got in Virginia the first season, and having them talk about what Leo is operating from. And as actors, that’s the most useful thing is to understand [is] where is it we’re coming from? What is it that we want, and what are the things that have created us? That way, we don’t get into trying to characterize what a smart person does. Fortunately, we have good writing, good casting, and good storytelling, and then, as an actor you just need to try to be as honest and truthful with your circumstances as you can be. So, I credit them with making me seem like a smart person.Joe Holt and Natalie Gold of "The Walking Dead: Worlds Beyond" on AMC

Natalie:   Joe got his PhD in Physics in between seasons.

Joe:   [laughs] Go back to grad school for six years in two months.

Natalie:   He’s that good.

Suzanne:   Well, you’re both supposed to be a very smart — too smart maybe for your own good. Natalie, is it safe to say that your character is not very honest, especially in your relationship with Leo, and would you say that she’s not a good person, or she is? What do you think?

Natalie:   I think rule one of being an actor is to find the gray area. Rule one of being an actor is to love your character and to believe in what she does. So, I would never go as far to say that Lyla was not a good person. And I worked really hard and had a lot of great talks with Matt and with Joe this season as well that she – We have found out by the end of season one that she has not told Leo the whole truth. There’s obviously some stuff going on that he does not know about – her motives for doing what she does. We’ll find out more about what she does and why she does what she does in season two, but I think I always, for myself as an actor, had to believe that her reasons were and are formidable, and that the work she does, she believes in it, and that as people, we are capable of honesty and dishonesty and love and betrayal, all in one breath. So, it’s kind of fascinating as an actor to play that.

Suzanne:   Great, and I have a feeling that your relationship will will not end well.

Joe:   [laughs] Don’t say that. Don’t jinx our love affair. It was gonna be a wedding at the end of season two, what are you talking about? A purple wedding.

Natalie:   Like every Shakespeare comedy.

Joe:   That’s right. [laughs]

Suzanne: Well, you have a Huck, not quite a Puck.

Joe:   Well played. Well played.

Question:   Joe, I love the relationship he has with his daughters. Are we going to be getting more of a backstory though about his relationship with Felix to see why he trusts him with the most important people in his life?

Joe:   I think the writers have a real challenge with trying to write for so many characters in a ten episode season, and [there are] definitely glimpses of that coming up in season two – without giving too much away – but I think that a lot of what we saw in season one really lays the groundwork for his relationship with Felix. He took Felix in. Felix was essentially orphaned when the earth fell, or when everything went wrong. Felix needed someone to take him in, and that’s when our relationship began. There’s just tremendous trust there.

In the second season, I think the writers were constantly trying to figure out a way to go forward and provide some sort of historical perspective. So, we didn’t get to go too far in anybody’s past, because we were trying to move forward so much, but the Felix/Leo relationship is family. I think that the relationship definitely gets flushed out more in the second season, and we get to learn a little more about what’s going on with it.

There are pictures of us on a camping trip.

Question:   You and Felix, or the girls?

Joe:   Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

Question:   Then I should ask what’s on your desk at work. Whose pictures do you actually have on your desk at work?

Joe:   Are there any pictures at all?

Natalie:   He has pictures of himself.

Question:   Touché.

Joe:   High school prom king.

Jamie:   Are we going to get to see you guys out of the lab at all? Maybe killing walkers, maybe not, but at least a little bit different atmosphere? Is there anything you can tease about that?

Natalie: Yeah, we venture out of the lab here there. I would say.

Joe:   Yeah, I think that everybody gets put into uncomfortable situations is the best way I can put it. Everybody gets put into a situation. Every character gets put into a situation that they are not comfortable with, and that’s part of the measure of what their character is, part of the measure of their ability to grow. Their willingness to survive in this new world is how they respond to the new environment.

Question:   There’s another component here that’s going on with each of you. Joe, you’re a father, and you’re dealing with that as well as everything else. Natalie, Elizabeth is putting a lot of pressure on you as well. So, it’s juggling lot of different things. Talk about playing those aspects of the characters.

Joe:   It was really challenging in the best of ways to try to find that the truthfulness of those relationships, because he does have an obligation to raise these two young women who, despite their independence, intelligence and resourcefulness, need a father, and as we saw in the first episode, lost their mother tragically. So, he has got his own inner drama going on between trying to move forward, trying to find a solution for this horrible disease, and meeting this new person who he shares so much with. They have a real connection. He admires her mind, and in the same way she said he admires her mind and her soul, and I think there’s some guilt there of even trying to move forward, feeling like in some way you’re doing an injustice to your former life. So, all that stuff is wonderful in the way that it unfolds in season two. And, again, it just it pours more gasoline on that conflict fire of how many masters can you serve? And when you have to make [choices] who gets left out in the cold? So, that’s a really good question. It really does create a lot of tugs of war for Dr. Bennett in the second season.

Natalie:   I think that for Lyla, she is definitely balancing the role that she plays in the CRM, and obviously, she cares about the science. More than more than anything else, I believe she wants to save the world. She wants to find a cure for this disease. She wants the world to go on. She wants it to have a future. She wants to teach all the generations coming up what she does, so that this facility can go on and the science can grow. It’s the only way that the future is going to happen, and she believes in the future. So, she’s balancing that, yes, with the pressure that she’s getting from Elizabeth, and the work that she needs to do and her feelings for Leo. There’s a lot going on internally with her and a lot that she’s struggling to balance as well.

Question:   That’s half the fun, though.

Natalie:   Oh, it’s so much fun.

Suzanne:   In the trailer, it shows Iris and Leo hugging, so we know that they do eventually wind up – finally – in the same place. What was it like for both of you, working with the actresses who play Hope and Iris this season?

Joe:   I nicknamed them “Thing One” and “Thing Two,” because they bring such different – It’s such a different energy to have them on set. They’re sort of getting started in this, and you’re dealing with, to some degree, moody teenagers, but you love them, because they’re so gentle and so wonderful and lovely, really, as people. It’s like, this is what a dad deals with. So, it was really just staying open to the energy that they bring, because you never know what they’re going to bring in. But I’ll tell you this much, when the camera rolls, these two young women know exactly what they’re doing. And, again, they have different personalities. So, it is like you’re the dad of these two different daughters, and the two daughters love each other and then have their own little rivalries. So, it really was a matter of like playing centerfield when you get on set just like what are they bringing in today? And how can I be of service? And how can I be Dad?

Natalie:   Alexa and I met for the first time really on that first episode of season two, because we had not – I have said this, and Joe’s heard this ad nauseam, but the first season I worked by myself until we got to the tenth episode where, thank God, I got to work with the amazing Joe, and that was the best. So, Alexa, when I read the 202 [script] I was like, “Oh, I get to meet Alexa and be with her,” and that was so much fun, because we were kind of meeting each other as people for the first time as our characters were meeting, and I was able to kind of guide her and show her this world and give her a tour of that. So, it was really fun. I was trying to play the, “I love your dad, but I don’t think you know that yet, and I really want you to like me” and the stepmom thing, [and] “you have a brilliant mind, and I’m trying to bring you into this world and get you really excited about everything we’re doing here.” So, there was a lot of personal professional dynamics at play. Then, I mean, Alexa is great. She’s fantastic.

Suzanne:   And Joe, following up on what you just said about the girls, I believe you were on As the World Turns. Was it about the same age as these girls, or were you a little older at that point?

Joe Holt (Leo) of "The Walking Dead: Worlds Beyond" on AMCJoe:   As the World Turns was 2004, 2003 so I was 33. So, I was much older. I was much older than them. Stupider, but much older. Not as good as them; not as good on cameras they are, to my discredit.

Suzanne:   Did either of you watch either the regular The Walking Dead or Fear the Walking Dead before you started on the show?

Joe:   I didn’t before I started on the show, because it all happened very quickly for me. I got an audition on a Friday for I think it said “TWD 3.” I was aware of the show, obviously, but I hadn’t watched it. You get an audition, and you go do your thing, and you do the research you can do. But then after I got the part, I watched ten seasons of The Walking Dead. I binged it too, which I don’t recommend. I mean, I do recommend watching it, but bingeing it – like I was watching six episodes a day, and I think the theme song got into my head, and I was like waking up like a drug addict. Like, “I gotta watch Walking [Dead] It was addictive, as you all know, right? It pulls you in. But not before I did the show, and I’m actually kind of glad, because I think the whole point is these characters are starting from their jumping off point, and their jumping off point is with no knowledge of that world. But watching it afterwards, it was just great to watch Negan and Daryl and all those guys. It was great. And Michonne.

Natalie:   I also am admittedly a wimp with anything horror. So, I had not watched The Walking Dead until I got the job. Then, I did exactly what Joe did, and I binged all episodes. And what I loved about it, and what I love about our show is, God, it’s the universe that is created by these brilliant people. It’s terrifying obviously, but it’s the human interactions that make it so rich, and the love between people and the betrayals of people. And, God, I have like an abnormal fear of the apocalypse to begin with, so anything apocalyptic, I’m like, “Oh, that’s not for me. I shouldn’t do that.” My husband read The Road, and I went to go see the movie, and he called me, he’s like, “Don’t watch the movie! I’m begging you!” I’m like, “I’m going to watch the movie,” and I did, and it was a terrible mistake. It’s always about –Joe:   [laughs]

Natalie:   It’s true.

Joe:   I don’t think your fear of the apocalypse is abnormal. I think it’s okay to fear the apocalypse.

Natalie: Is it? It’s like not something you should wake up thinking about all the time. Maybe now, but it’s like, what’s going to happen in the apocalypse? But it’s people that are – I mean, the zombies and the monsters are terrifying, but it’s people who turn into monsters, who stays human, who wants to help, all of that, that’s kind of what I absolutely adored about bingeing The Walking Dead, the original, and then working on our show, as well.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I’m the same way, in fact, because I don’t watch The Walking Dead either for that reason… but I like your show better, because it seems to have a little more human element and little fewer zombies. So, I like that.

Interview Transcribed by Jamie of http://www.scifivision.com

Don’t miss our interview with Julia Ormond, Alexa Mansour and Annet Mahendru!

MORE INFO:

The Walking Dead: World Beyond’s ten-episode second season premieres October 3 at 10pm ET/9c on AMC with all episodes available one week early on AMC+, beginning September 26

Season Two trailer HERE

Season two of The Walking Dead: World Beyond concludes the epic story of Iris (Aliyah Royale), Hope (Alexa Mansour), Elton (Nicolas Cantu), and Silas (Hal Cumpston) — four friends who journeyed across the country on a mission that transformed everything they knew about themselves and the world.  As they face off against the mysterious Civic Republic Military and fight for control of their own destiny, goals will shift, bonds will form and crumble, and innocence will be both lost and found.

The Walking Dead: World Beyond is executive produced by co-creator Scott M. Gimple, co-creator and showrunner Matt Negrete, Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd, David Alpert and Brian Bockrath, and is produced and distributed by AMC Studios. In addition to Royale, Mansour, Cantu and Cumpston, the series stars Nico Tortorella, Annet Mahendru, Julia Ormond, Joe Holt, Jelani Alladin, Natalie Gold and Ted Sutherland.

Episode 201: Konsekans – Premieres October 3 at 10pm ET/9c on AMC

Hope’s commitment to the future is put to the test, jeopardizing a potential reunion.  Iris and Felix meet a new group. Startling revelations are made.

Episode 202: Foothold – Premieres October 10 at 10pm ET/9c on AMC

While some members of the group enact a plan to cover their tracks, others attempt to acclimate to their new surroundings.

Joe Holt was born on February 22, 1970 in Tachikawa, Tokyo, Japan. He is an actor and producer, known for The Walking Dead: World Beyond (2020), The Punisher (2017) and Delilah   Check out his Instagram and Twitter

Natalie Gold is an American actress who has appeared in film, television, and stage productions including on Broadway. She is perhaps best known for playing Julia Harwell on the TV show Rubicon, and she has appeared in many films including Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, I Don’t Know How She Does It, and Love & Other Drugs. Gold grew up in Miami, Florida, and studied theatre at the New World School of the Arts and Emerson College. Find her on Instagram and Twitter!

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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Joe Holt (Leo) and Natalie Gold (Lyla) of "The Walking Dead: Worlds Beyond" on AMC

Interview with Charisma Carpenter and Nancy Grace

TV Interview!

Charisma Carpenter, star of "The Good Father," and Nancy Grace, Executive Producer.

Interview with Charisma Carpenter and Nancy Grace of “The Good Father: The Martin MacNeill Story” on Lifetime by Suzanne 9/14/21

This interview was from Lifetime’s Fall Movies Press Day. It was very enjoyable to chat with many stars during the panels.

Unfortunately, this movie’s star, Tom Everett Scott (Dr. MacNeill), couldn’t make the interview. Most of the movie centers on him, and his daughter, Alexis played by Anwen O’Driscoll. She wasn’t there, either.  Carpenter plays his wife, Michele, who gets murdered  fairly early on in the movie. Grace is seen briefly (as herself) and was responsible for bringing the story to Lifetime.

I really hadn’t planned to speak to Grace, since I’m not a fan of her style of jouranlism. However, when I asked Carpenter my question, she really didn’t have much of a response, so I decided to ask Grace a question after that. She didn’t like my question (which was partly my fault because I didn’t really phrase it very well), so she went on and on about it.  Oh, well. It was a good movie, and an interesting panel interview, nonetheless. I just wish I could have asked Carpenter about some of her other roles (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Angel” “Veronica Mars” et al.).

MODERATOR:  Our next panel is “The Good Father: The Martin MacNeill Story” executive produced by Nancy Grace and starring Charisma Carpenter.  Hi, ladies.

CHARISMA CARPENTER:  Hello.

NANCY GRACE:  Hello.

MODERATOR:  Thank you for joining us.  We’re going to kick it off with a question from Jay Bobbin.

QUESTION:  Hello, thank you.  Nancy,  my question is for you.  A lot of what you’ve done in the TV-Movie realm, it seems like these are stories you’ve dealt with in other ways on your other programs in your other appearances.  Is this one of those stories for you?

NANCY GRACE:  Well, yes as a matter of fact, it is.  I covered the Martin MacNeill prosecution when it occurred.  And felt that I became friends with various members of the family, specifically Alexis.  I remember distinctly like yesterday — as a matter of fact we just showed the promo you just saw?  It literally gave a chill on my arms because when I see that, it’s so realistic, it reminds me of the actual case.  And I can still remember the night of the verdict and speaking with Alexis.  And she was telling me about how she had gotten married her mother wasn’t there because her father murdered her mother and what that felt like so this movie means a lot to me.

QUESTION:  A follow up on that if I could, when you talk about the chill that it gave you bringing back the real case, how are you on the set when a dramatization of a case you’ve actually covered is being done?  I would imagine you want it to be as truthful to the fact as possible, yet it is still a dramatic movie.  How are you with that?

NANCY GRACE:  Well, I will say that I went — I combed over the screenplay over and over and over.  And actually pitched this to Lifetime with the intent of one day telling the true story of Dr. Martin MacNeill.  But you know what?  I don’t like calling it the Dr. Martin MacNeill story.  I like calling it the Michelle MacNeill story because in my mind that’s the real star.

QUESTION:  Thank you very much.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our next question is from Jamie.

QUESTION:  Hi, thank you both for being here.  Nancy, how involved was Martin’s daughter when it came to Anwen’s portrayal?

NANCY GRACE:  Oh wow, well her wishes and her desires were paramount in my mind.  Because as I always like to say and I have said from the beginning of my TV career, these are not stories.  They’re real.  This is a real fact scenario with a real victim who died in the family’s bathtub.  Her daughters — they had eight children, four natural, four adopted.  They no idea what had really happened to their mother.  So when we talk about how much Alexis had to do with it, this is the telling of the story through her eyes.  So she had a lot to do with it.  These are real characters.  It’s not a made-up plot that someone came up with or dreamed up.  This is real.  And that makes it in my mind even more critical that it’s true to life.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our next question is from Jamie Ruby.

QUESTION:  Hi guys.  Thanks for talking to us.  Charisma, what was it that initially drew you to the part?

CHARISMA CARPENTER:  Well, I think any time you mix true crime with scripted television, you do have to walk and extra careful line.  It was super challenging to honor her memory and to be able to get across her love of family, to be able to get across the behaviors that she was experiencing and her confusion about his behavior, the pathological lying and the sociopathy behind it all.  So I feel like whenever you’re approaching a character, you have these insights that you bring to the table, but when it’s a real-life story, you have to take the insights that you understand from whatever the history is of the story.  You have to do a lot of reading, a lot of research and then you know the importance of getting that across was a true challenge and something that I took to heart and wanted to pay the utmost of respect to.  So that was a new thing for me.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our next question is from Howard Benjamin.

QUESTION:  My question is for Nancy.  How difficult is it to get life rights?  You’ve taken to task a lot of ripped-from-the-headlines stories and getting the cooperation from the family and the estates, how difficult is that?

NANCY GRACE:  Well, since — being a crime victim myself, usually tell stories from the point of view of the crime victim.  And I’ve never had any problem with their cooperation.  Very often they want their story told and not just within the confines of the witness stand.

QUESTION:  Is it difficult for them to relive this all over again?

NANCY GRACE:  Yes, it is.  It’s very difficult for them to relive it.  I’ve had many, many crime victims that don’t want to talk about it.  It brings it all back to them and including the pain that they went through.  And that’s one thing about Alexis of many things that was so significant and so critical in this project because it did bring back a lot of sadness and a lot of emotion for her that she had to relive, but she did.  And I’m so glad she did.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

CHARISMA CARPENTER:  She was impressive in doing that.  You know, and also I think you know to add to that is Anwen, you know, it being Alexis’s story portrayed by Anwen, it is a story of empowerment.  You know, it is a story of reclaiming your power and not allowing yourself to be manipulated and gaslighted any longer by this perpetrator you know, that was unfortunately her own father who she admired and adored and loved and was well-respected.

NANCY GRACE:  Mm-hmm.

CHARISMA CARPENTER:  In the community and at work and within his church.  So I mean what a powerful place, what an unfortunate thing to have to be confronted with, but then to understand the strength of character, her perseverance, her desire for truth to support her siblings while she was in medical school.  I mean, this is an incredible person.  This is an amazing woman.  So yay to be able to tell this story because it is in fact, Michelle, it may be her story in that sense, but it’s also a story of empowerment which I could really hold onto and clamp onto and why I also wanted to be involved.

QUESTION:  Thanks.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our next question is from Luaine Lee.

QUESTION:  Nancy, I have two questions for you.

NANCY GRACE:  Okay.

QUESTION:  What crime were you a victim of?  And what are the qualities required for you to decide to  take on a project?

NANCY GRACE:  People think I always wanted to be a violent crime prosecutor.  That is not true.  I studied Shakespearean literature and hoped to teach at a university level Shakespearean literature.  That was my dream.  My fiancé was murdered shortly before our wedding.  I dropped out of school.  I lost all interest in being in a classroom or in life, period.  I ultimately did go back to school with the aim of becoming a felony prosecutor and helping other crime victims who I believe very often, especially women and children, do not have a voice in our system.  This story, as I call it, although it is a true fact scenario, was especially poignant to me because not only were the victims women and children, it was at the hands of one of the most prominent men in that social setting, that community, a doctor and a lawyer who manipulated everyone as Charisma just said very accurately.  And they had no voice and it makes what Alexis did even more powerful bringing her own father to justice.

QUESTION:  So when you decide on a project, what does it have to have for you to do it?

NANCY GRACE:  I’ve never liked — people often ask me, “What’s your favorite case?”  There’s not really a favorite murder.  I don’t know really how to put it in any other words.  But I look for a story to be told, a narrative, not a case that’s open and shut.  To turn a scenario like this into a movie, there must be mystery.  The characters must be riveting to grab your attention.  And I always think that it requires some sort of a mind twist.  For instance in that community, the last person anyone would suspect molestation or murder would be Dr. Martin MacNeill.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our next question is from Suzanne.

QUESTION:  Hi.  First question, Charisma, did you do any sort of special research or preparation before filming the role?

CHARISMA CARPENTER:  Well, I obviously read up about him and about the family story and the family history.  You know, I had to get familiar with the story.  I didn’t know the story personally so this was an education.

QUESTION:  Okay.  And Nancy, I was wondering, do you know why in the movie there was never any mention made of the fact that they were Mormons and they were in a Mormon community?

NANCY GRACE:  Well honestly, that may be significant to some people, but we had so many miles to cover and I don’t believe in my mind what religion it was that mattered.  It mattered to me like in my religion, I’m a Methodist.  And within a church, the Methodist Church, the Catholic Church, the synagogue, there are deacons or those people that are looked up to or revered, typically men.  So whatever milieu you may be in, there are those people that are seemingly put up on a pedestal as he was, not only within his church community, the Church of Latter Day Saints, but within his medical community.  I mean, he had been appointed by the governor to run a state facility.  This guy was revered by everyone.  Whether he was Mormon or a Methodist or a Catholic or Jewish doesn’t matter.  He had the respect of everyone which made it so much more difficult for people to believe he would do this thing.  I gotta tell you I remember sweating it out waiting on the jury verdict.  And I was worried that people would fall for him and his con.  Everybody else believed him, why wouldn’t a jury?  I was worried.

CHARISMA CARPENTER:  You know, you brought up a good point, Nancy, too.  The revere of the community and the medical community and his own family, you know, the police department, they didn’t take imperative steps to determine her cause of death.  They took his word for it.  Like he just said she had an accident and they didn’t — because of who he was, they didn’t investigate further.  So that’s a commentary on our society as a whole.  You know, just because you are a prominent figure and it just seems unfathomable that you’d be capable of doing such a thing, it is imperative that people do their job and due diligence.

NANCY GRACE:  You said that so well.  Because even in the initial police reports, do you know what Alexis had to do to even get the autopsy re-examined to just basically pry the police into believing this could have happened. They had to change the determination on that autopsy report.  That’s like moving a mountain.

CHARISMA CARPENTER:  And also just the fact that the daughter was Alexis, played by Anwen.  She was in her dad’s corner.  It took a lot.  She didn’t believe her own mom when her mom was trying to tell her things that things weren’t adding up and he was spending a lot of time away and he had all these suspicions.  You know, it’s very common for women to be considered hysterical or paranoid or bitter or jealous or you know all these different things when you know our intuition is continually being gaslit and dismissed.  And so it’s really important that we as a society do consider and trust the matriarchs of our lives and that we do re-evaluate no matter how high a standard you know our — you know, and this could go either way.  You know I’m sure there are prominent women, too.  But I don’t mean to make this anti-men, but to make a point that predominantly speaking, the patriarch is not questioned.  And it is important that people be heard especially women.

NANCY GRACE:  You know why, Charisma?  You just said a word that really rubbed me the wrong way.

CHARISMA CARPENTER:  What did I say?

NANCY GRACE:  If I hear one more woman referred to as hysterical, I’m going to shoot my foot.

CHARISMA CARPENTER:  I mean…

NANCY GRACE:  Because that’s exactly how they acted when Alexis tried to tell them her suspicions.  They acted like she’s been through too much.  She’s hysterical.  She was anything but.

CHARISMA CARPENTER:  Mm-hmm.  Yeah, it’s difficult to be dismissed that way especially when you’re a 100% right.

QUESTION:  All right, thank you.

MODERATOR:  That is all the time we have today.  Thank you, guys, Charisma and Nancy —

CHARISMA CARPENTER:  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  So much for being with us today.  We really appreciate your time.

NANCY GRACE:  Thank you.

CHARISMA CARPENTER:  No problem, thank you.  Good to see you, Nancy.

NANCY GRACE:  Likewise.

MORE INFO:

Preview

Based on actual events, The Good Father tells the story of Dr. MacNeill (Scott) and the incredible life he led with his former beauty queen wife, Michele (Carpenter) and their eight children.  A pillar of the community, he was respected and loved by all especially by his daughter Alexis (O’Driscoll) who adored him and even wanted to follow in his footsteps to become a doctor.  But everything soon changes after Dr. MacNeill convinces Michele to have plastic surgery, ultimately leading to her drowning while on prescription medication.  Just a few short weeks after his wife’s suspicious death, Dr. MacNeill brings home Gypsy Willis, a new live-in “nanny” for his children but who is in actuality his mistress. Shocked by her father’s actions, Alexis begins to question everything she has known about him and discovers the depth of his lies, including his bogus medical credentials, falsified military records, and that the man and good doctor she once revered, was capable of murder.

The Good Father: The Martin MacNeill Story is produced by Good Doctor Films Inc. for Lifetime. Nancy Grace and bestselling author Josh Sabarra executive produce alongside Howard Braunstein. Annie Bradley directs from a script written by John Fasano and Abdi Nazemian.

Lifetime Unveils Full Fall Schedule Featuring Top Names All Season Long

LIFETIME UNVEILS FULL FALL SCHEDULE
FEATURING TOP NAMES ALL SEASON LONG
INCLUDING JILL SCOTT, HEATHER LOCKLEAR, SHANNEN DOHERTY, KELLY HU, TOM EVERETT SCOTT, CHARISMA CARPENTER, NANCY GRACE, MEGHAN MCCAIN, SHERRI SHEPHERD, NIA SIOUX, JUDY REYES, GLORIA REUBEN, ELISABETH ROHM, JUSTINA MACHADO,
BARRY WATSON, SKYLER SAMUELS AND MANY OTHERS

August 25, 2021 (Los Angeles, CA) – As summer comes to an end, Lifetime ensures the fall is full of excitement with new premieres every weekend, starting on Labor Day, Sept 6th with the premiere of Harry & Meghan: Escaping the Palace. Presenting stories that entertain, intrigue and inform, the fall slate features top names like Jill Scott and Barry Watson in the Highway to Heaven reboot, to Heather Locklear and Meghan McCain in Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and Shannen Doherty and Kelly Hu in List of a Lifetime, and more.

Full Fall Schedule and Descriptions Below.  All times at 8pm/7c.

Sept 6            Harry & Meghan: Escaping the Palace
                       (Sydney Morton, Jordan Dean)

Sept 18          Imperfect High
(Sherri Shepherd, Nia Sioux)

Sept 24          Dying to Marry Him
(Only on Lifetime Movie Club)


Oct 2              The Good Father: The Martin MacNeill Story
                       (Tom Everett Scott, Anwen O’ Driscoll, Charisma Carpenter, EP Nancy Grace)

Oct 9              Dying to Belong
(Shannen Doherty, Favour Onwuka, Jenika Rose)

Oct 10            List of a Lifetime
                       (Kelly Hu, Sylvia Kawn, Shannen Doherty, Patricia Velasquez)

Oct 16            Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
                       (Heather Locklear, Natasha Bure, EP Meghan McCain, Kris Carlson)

Oct 17            Fighting for Her Life

Oct 23            Switched Before Birth
                        (Justina Machado, Skyler Samuels, director Elisabeth Rohm)

Oct 24            The Fight That Never Ends

Oct 30            Torn From Her Arms
(Judy Reyes, Gloria Reuben, Fatima Molina)

Nov 6             Highway to Heaven
(Jill Scott, Barry Watson)

Lifetime’s popular annual It’s a Wonderful Lifetime holiday lineup will begin following the fall movies.

The Good Father: The Martin MacNeill Story
Premieres October 2 at 8/7c

Based on actual events, The Good Father tells the story of Dr. MacNeill (Tom Everett Scott) and the incredible life he led with his former beauty queen wife, Michele (Charisma Carpenter) and their eight children.  A pillar of the community, he was respected and loved by all especially by his daughter Alexis (Anwen O’Driscoll) who adored him and even wanted to follow in his footsteps to become a doctor.  But everything soon changes after Dr. MacNeill convinces Michele to have plastic surgery, ultimately leading to her drowning while on prescription medication.  Just a few short weeks after his wife’s suspicious death, Dr. MacNeill brings home Gypsy Willis, a new live-in “nanny” for his children but who is in actuality his mistress. Shocked by her father’s actions, Alexis begins to question everything she has known about him and discovers the depth of his lies, including his bogus medical credentials, falsified military records, and that the man and good doctor she once revered, was capable of murder.

The Good Father: The Martin MacNeill Story is produced by Good Doctor Films Inc. for Lifetime. Nancy Grace and bestselling author Josh Sabarra executive produce alongside Howard Braunstein. Annie Bradley directs from a script written by John Fasano and Abdi Nazemian

ABOUT LIFETIME
Celebrating 35 years of entertaining audiences, Lifetime is a premier entertainment destination for women dedicated to offering the highest quality original programming spanning award-winning movies, high-quality scripted series and breakout non-fiction series.  Lifetime has an impressive legacy in public affairs, bringing attention to social issues that women care about with initiatives such as the long running Stop Breast Cancer for Life now in its 25th year, Stop Violence Against Women which relaunched in 2018, and Broader Focus, a major global initiative dedicated to supporting and hiring female directors, writers and producers, including women of color, to make its content. Lifetime Television®, LMN®, Lifetime Real Women® and Lifetime Digital™ are part of Lifetime Entertainment Services, LLC, a subsidiary of A+E Networks. A+E Networks is a joint venture of the Disney-ABC Television Group and Hearst Corporation.

Follow Lifetime Publicity on  Twitter  and  Instagram
A+E Networks Official Press Site: http://press.aenetworks.com

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

poster for The Good Father: The Martin MacNeill Story

Interview with Gina Yashere

TV Interview!

Gina Yashere of "Bob Hearts Abishola" on CBS.

Interview with Gina Yashere of “Bob ❤️Abishola” on CBS by Suzanne 9/21/21

This was a fun TCA panel of various women who write TV comedies for Warner Brothers shows, “Leaning into Laughter: Exploring Timely Topics Through Humor & Heart.” I would have liked to have asked more questions, but it was only a half-hour long panel.

I chose Gina Yashere for my one question because I love her show, and she’s very funny in it as an actress as well as a writer. I was asking how much of her character, Yemi, is from her.

It was a fun panel with lots of humor. I would have loved to have asked the “Batwoman” showrunner, Caroline Dries, about the upcoming season and the crossover with the other CW shows. I was really surprised that no one else asked her that. I would also have liked to have asked Molly Smith Metzler about her upcoming show, “Maids.” On these TCA panels, I’m lucky if I get to ask more than one question the entire day.

Here is the list of panelists: Nkechi Okoro Carroll from The CW’s “All American” and the upcoming “All American: Homecoming,” Caroline Dries from The CW’s “Batwoman,” Maria Ferrari from CBS’s “United States of Al,” Molly Smith Metzler from Netflix’s upcoming “Maid,” Audrey Morrissey from NBC’s “The Voice,” and Gina Yashere from CBS’s “Bob ♥ Abishola.”

I first told Gina how much I loved her show and never miss it.  She had quite a long answer to my question.

“It’s quite a lot of me in this show. A lot of the stories – similar immigrant stories, people coming from somewhere else coming to America trying to raise their kids in America (and it doesn’t even have to be America, it can be anywhere; I was born and raised in England – a lot of Abishola’s story is based on my parents’ story. My mum and dad are from Nigeria. They came to England. They had us in England and were up against racism, misogyny, all those kinds of things that are very apparent all over the world. And it’s just the story of their love and their triumph of raising their kids in another country, away from home. And the “Bob ♥ Abishola” story is just the coming together of the two families, the two cultures meeting, the fact that people from various backgrounds, no matter where they’re from, find that commonality. And it’s a story about love and inclusion, and just people coming together. Being born outside of my parents’ country and having to assimilate into society that was not necessarily mine originally, it’s just all of those things. So there’s a lot of me in that. Plus, I’m in the show as well ’cause I wrote myself in because I wanted all the checks.
(Laughter.) But, yeah. So there’s a lot of my family and a lot of the immigrant – it doesn’t even have to be Nigeria; it can be Vietnamese; it can be Chinese; it can be Indian; it could be Pakistani, Russian – it’s a very similar story.

Maria Ferrari was asked how her show will be handling current events in Afghanistan. Her answer was amazing: “We had shot one-and-a-half episodes during the week of the fall of Kabul and quickly realized that we had guessed wrong what was going to happen and that we were going to have to adjust our plans. And basically, on August 12th when Herat fell, which is the third-biggest city in Afghanistan which was a very anti-Taliban stronghold, that was when our writers started to feel that something very big was going to change and they had pressing needs to get their own family members out of Afghanistan. And it happens that kind of the Venn diagram of Vets and Afghans and Afghan Americans that is necessary to write this show is also the one that works as a fairly-effective rescue operation. So, we had to stick a pin in everything and focus first on our people that needed help and who needed to get their families out, which was just the wildest week of my life. I have never experienced anything like that. And at the same time, we were realizing that we needed to change everything we had done, and we needed to do it quickly. And so we chose to tell that story. We chose to tell the story of what we were experiencing and hoping that some of the fear and the urgency that we were feeling in the room would come through in this story, which also happened to map very tightly onto our characters because the writers and the characters are, by design, from similar walks of life. So that is the story that we chose to tell in our premiere.” Wow!

She was asked how CBS discussed with her about the show coming back (in relation to what she said) and whether they considered bringing the show back a bit later because of it. However, she replied that everyone at CBS was quite supportive of their show, and where they decided to go with it (particularly the script). She and the others didn’t feel it would be appropriate to show a re-run at this particularly sensitive time.

Dries was asked whether she thought that there was any difference between men and women’s writing. She didn’t think there is. She stated that “The job of the writer is to mimic the showrunner, the creator’s voice. So I don’t see gender in the words frankly, so I can’t really answer that with a definitive ‘here’s how it’s different.’ Each writer brings its own thing. If they’re mimicking the voice, they’re succeeding on the show.”

The reporter asked the other writers to respond as well. Metzler agreed with Dries and said, “I think not seeing gender in the words – that really rings true to me as well. ‘Maid’ is a women’s story. It’s based on a memoir written by a woman. I’m a woman. But when I went to staff the writers room, I hired two men and two women. And I think everyone got the tone of the show. I have to say in my personal experience, the writing was uniformly excellent. And if you covered the title page, I don’t think you could tell who’s a man and who’s a woman.”

Carroll also agreed that there’s no difference: “I am a female showrunner of a football show, and a baseball show coming up, so I very much agree with the ladies. It becomes about their talent on the page. It becomes about capturing the accurate, emotional voice of the show. And then it becomes about mimicking my voice. And we have a pretty great split in both rooms in terms of gender. And you’d be surprised what comes out of who. You would be surprised that some of our best football stuff is written by women. It just works out that way. So, I think I would have to agree. I think we’ve retained 90% of our staff since Season 1 on ‘All American’ because they’re all just really good at what they do and are really good at capturing not just my voice, but also instinctively the type of stories I want to use this show to tell. And so that’s what makes them successful.”

Morrissey replied that her show, “The Voice,” doesn’t have much writing. They just have one writer, and she’s female.  With all of their people, they try to create a safe place for them to “be vulnerable and they can grow as artists – it’s gender-equal.”

Ferrari agreed that she didn’t see any differences. She likes to have all difference voices on her show – not just different genders but different ethnicities.

Gina gave another long answer: “Yeah, I think a lot of certain attitudes have kept women out of the writers’ room. It’s because they thought that we couldn’t write stories where maybe the cast were more male than female, whatever. And so, I like the fact that it doesn’t matter as long as you understand the subject you’re talking about, and you know the story you’re trying to tell, you can write for those people. We’re writing for people. And with my show, yeah, we have a nice even split, men and women. And in fact, I think we might have actually more women in the room. But we’ve got a nice split in our writers’ room. And also, in my show, more than half the cast is Nigerian, so we definitely wanted that Nigerian perspective. My parents were born in Nigeria. We’ve got another writer from Nigeria, a Nigerian American. And then, some of our actors are born and bred in Nigeria. So we wanted to get the perspective right. We wanted to make sure that it’s authentic as well, 100% authentic. We were also trying to smash stereotypes. And so you need people with those specific perspectives to be able to smash the stereotypes some people might have of Africa. If you watched the first episode of Season 3 of our show that aired last night, people are commenting and saying, “Oh, my gosh, we had no idea that Nigerian women live a certain way, that we had a certain image of that and how African people live” – little things like that. “They have really nice houses, we were surprised by that” – stuff like that. That’s why you need a good mix of people in the writers room, across gender, across sexuality, across race, to make sure that everything is covered, and covered properly.”

Dries was asked about Ryan Wilder’s story this season on “Batwoman.” She replied that now she has to fix the problems she’s made and taken responsibility for what she’s done. She added that we get to meet her mom and brother, and “we get to sort of carve out more details specifically about her personal life and all those new personal dynamics.”

Carroll was asked about crossovers between “All-American” and the new spinoff show. They do plan to have crossovers, but they have to wait and see how COVID and other factors affect their plans, but there will be familiar faces on the new show. She quickly added that they won’t be nearly as ambitious as the DC crossovers on The CW. She praised the showrunners and writers for those shows for being able to pull that off: “God bless the showrunners on the DC shows in how you pull that together because that is miraculous.”

Another press member asked her whether she would consider a third series someday, about soccer (since the first one is about football and the second one is about baseball).  Gina brought the comedy, saying, “It’s not soccer, it’s football! It’s football! It’s not soccer! It’s football!”  We all laughed at that. It was hilarious.

After correcting her, jokingly, that it’s football here in America, Carroll answered that she first needs to figure out how to fit sleep into her schedule before considering any other spinoffs.

Gina and Ferrari were asked a rather complex question about writing about the immigrants in their shows; specifically balancing writing about where they were before and where they are now.

Gina gave another lengthy answer: “For me, as a British-born Nigerian and watching American TV throughout my childhood, I didn’t like the way African people seemed to be depicted all the time. It felt like it was an image that had been just carried on way back from, I don’t know, Tarzan days, where Africans were seen a similar way.  And I was like, “That’s not what we’re like.” And then, whenever I’d watch movies, Africa was seen as like a country rather than a continent with a lot of different countries, different languages, different traditions, different religions, different everything. When I went to make this show, I wanted to make sure that you could see the differences, see the nuances of where my people come from in Nigeria and how different it is and how hard we work. When the idea of the show first came around, we were still in the middle of the Trump era, and so there was all that anti-immigrant feeling. So we wanted to just say, “Look, we’re just people. We’re just doing the same as what you guys. We love the same. We want to send our kids to school. We want to work. We want to contribute. That’s what we’re doing.” And so that’s what I wanted to do with this show, and to show us as people.  The language might be different.  The food we eat might be different.  Our clothes might be a little bit more colorful but, at the end of the day, we’re the same people.  And also, Nigerians, Africans, we’re everywhere.  The world is built on people moving to different places to find their fortune.  It’s not like we’re the only ones that are doing it.  White people have been doing it for hundreds of years – going to different places to find their fortunes.  So it’s just saying, “Look, the journey’s the same for all of us.  We’re all together in this.”  And I wanted to get that balance right between showing my culture, showing the people, but also showing how we fit in America and how we can easily mix with other people.  It’s not a problem.  We’ve been here for a long time.  Obviously, authenticity was extremely important to me because of who I’ve seen depicted in the past.  So, we made a point of making sure the language is correct, the food is correct.  When I met with Chuck to talk about the making of the show, I’d say things to him like, “If I say that this isn’t right, you’ve got to believe me.”  If I say, “We don’t do this or we would never do this,” just little things.  In American shows, kids coming in and putting their dirty shoes up on the couch and taking a bottle of milk from the fridge and drinking it straight from the bottle – that would never happen in an African family.  So even the small minutia of things, we had to get it right.  And I think it makes for a great show.  People love it.  Every immigrant family’s enjoying it because it’s their story too.  And then wanting to introduce it to America and its people – let’s be honest, CBS is not the blackest channel, but we’re introducing it to an audience of people who may never have even fraternized with people from my culture. And they’ve grown to love the characters and the people.  And so, as far as I’m concerned, that’s my job done.”

Ferrari said that the Afghani culture she works with has the same issue with the shoes. She even feels like it’s disrespectful now to walk on to their set with shoes on. She went on to say that bringing the first main character of a culture to TV puts pressure on your show “to be all things to all people, which is impossible.” They’re doing their best by showing us more of Al’s world both in his family “and also to introduce him to more Afghan-American communities in the Tristate area.”  This season, Al will find romance; there will be a new Afghan-American DJ, played by one of their writers, Fahim Anwar; and we see more of his sister. They hope to move the focus of the show a little bit to these new characters and not just Al. She finished with, “You can’t really say anything meaningful about diversity unless you are showing it in the bodies of multiple characters, because that’s what diversity means.”

Carroll was also asked whether she’ll be introducing more immigrant characters in her show, since they’ll be at a college.

She replied, “Oh, absolutely. Especially at an HBCU. It’s the diaspora, which is what’s the beauty of it. That’s why I’m so excited to be putting an HBCU back on TV because it’s been a long time since we’ve seen that. But it really is sort of all the versions of Black. In the backdoor pilot we had – because I’m Nigerian, so I was like, “I must put my people in it” – and so we had some of the other characters that were in the classroom and interacted with Keisha and everything. We had both Nigerians and Nigerian Americans portrayed and we plan to continue with that. And also in the diversity of religion. And that’s a conversation I was having with my writers in the writers room just yesterday. I want to make sure as we’re telling these stories, it’s not the Christian Black experience or it’s not the non-denominational Black experience. I want to talk about the Muslim Black experience. If we’re saying we’re in this melting pot of the Black diaspora, I want to make sure we’re really representing that. And again, to what Maria said, we can’t represent everybody all at once and so it’s something that we’re just very conscious of in the room. And as we can organically sort of expand the storylines we’re telling around our series regulars, and incorporating these other cultures and religions and everything, we’re so excited to do that because that’s why we’re doing what we do.”

Morrissey was asked about the logistics of this season on “The Voice” since the audience is still not back to full capacity. She talked about all the issues they had, and how they discussed whether to bring any audience back or not. They did decide to bring some back. She went on at length about how the performers really need an audience to sing to. It helps them out. As a singer myself, I know that’s very true. I can imagine that whether you’re in front of 100 or 1000 people, it’s helpful to have an audience. She also mentioned that they have a new coach, Ariana Grande.

At the end, Morrissey also sent out some love to the other panelists. She said, “I’m such a fan of every other woman on this panel. And so I’m really excited to be on this panel with you. So, good luck to you all. Happy to meet you here.” Carroll gave her the love right back, saying that binging “The Voice” has been her go-to during the pandemic. Morrissey replied right back with “Please. I am binging “All-American” right now with my ten-year-old son. And literally, when I open my laptop to log on, there was Taye Diggs frozen from my Netflix…”

Gina chimed in with a naughty joke: “I think we’ve all had Taye Diggs on our laptops at some time” and everyone laughed.

MORE INFO:

Assembled here is a group of incredibly talented women who are responsible for some of the studio’s most innovative and inclusive television programming. From comedy to drama, reality or superheroes, this group has it covered. Each of these amazing women has played an instrumental role in creating more diverse storylines and bringing them to television screens everywhere. And critics have responded to the importance of these stories. From the GLAAD Award-nominated “Batwoman” and its historic casting of Javicia Leslie, the first Black actress to portray Batwoman in a live-action television or film production, to “Bob ♥ Abishola,” being the first series to depict a Nigerian family in a comedy, it’s apparent, these women are groundbreaking creators. “The Voice” has been recognized by the Television Academy with a phenomenal 69 Emmy nominations and 7 wins. And the hit drama “All American” received nominations from the NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series, as well as the Black Reel Awards for its ability to tackle a vast spectrum of social issues. And we are expanding the “All American” universe with the upcoming “All American: Homecoming.” Most importantly, the stories these women have elected to tell are authentic. From the timely “United States of Al,” which addresses the current crisis in Afghanistan, to “Maid,” which tackles the issue of poverty in America and has already appeared on “Vogue,” “Time,” and “Rolling Stone’s” Best-of-Fall TV lists. These women have all proven themselves to be creative forces to be reckoned with.

Gina Yashere of "Bob Hearts Abishola" on CBS.Gina Yashere

Co-Creator and Producer, Kemi in BOB ♥ ABISHOLA

Hometown: London

Birthday: April 6

Comedian Gina Yashere was born and raised in Bethnal Green, London to Nigerian parents. Prior to becoming a comedian, she worked as an elevator engineer for Otis.

In 1996 Yashere became a finalist in the Hackney Empire New Act of the Year, a British competition devoted to discovering and promoting new stand-up comedians and variety talent. In 2000 she began creating and performing popular comedic characters on the series “The Lenny Henry Show,” and in 2006 and 2007 she co-hosted the MOBO (Music of Black Origin) Awards in the U.K.

Yashere broke onto the American comedy scene as one of 10 finalists on “Last Comic Standing” in 2007. She went on to be named one of the top 10 rising talents in The Hollywood Reporter. In 2008 she became the first and only British comic to perform on “Def Comedy Jam.” In 2009 she performed a stand-up comedy routine on “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien” and appeared on the BBC’s “Live at the Apollo.” Starting in 2010, she appeared regularly on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” in a sketch comedy series called “Madame Yashere: The Surly Psychic,” in which she gave fake psychic readings to unsuspecting people on the street. Also, she appeared as Flo in several episodes of the ITV drama “Married Single Other.” In 2010 her one-hour comedy special, “Skinny B*tch,” premiered on SHOWTIME. In 2015 she was featured on “Gotham Comedy Live” and in 2016 appeared on SHOWTIME’s “The Nasty Show with Artie Lange.” She produced and starred in the comedy specials “Gina Yashere: Laughing to America” and “Gina Yashere: Ticking Boxes,” and performed on season two of the Netflix comedy showcase “The Standups.” In 2017 Yashere became the British correspondent for “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.” As an in-demand voice artist, Yashere voiced the character of Keisha in the British cult hit “Bromwell High” and was the voice of Gravelle in the movie “Early Man” from the creators of “Wallace and Gromit” and “Chicken Run.”

In addition to performing for audiences in Europe, the U.S. and Australia, Yashere is a highly sought-after comedian in Asia, selling out shows in Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Hong Kong. The U.K.’s Black Entertainment and Comedy Awards named her “Best Comedian” four years in a row, and she has performed several times at the prestigious Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal and Toronto.

Currently, Yashere is writing an autobiography scheduled for release next year.

Born in London, Yashere currently resides in Los Angeles. Her birthday is April 6. Her web site is www.ginayashere.com, and she can be followed on Instagram and Twitter @ginayashere and on Facebook @ginaisfunny.

Nkechi Okoro CarrollNKECHI OKORO CARROLL

Showrunner/Executive Producer of “All American”

Nkechi Okoro Carroll is the Executive Producer/Showrunner of the Greg Berlanti-produced drama series “All American.”

Prior to “All American,” Okoro Carroll served as Co-Executive Producer on the drama series “The Resident” and “Rosewood.” Her other television producing credits include, “Bones” and “The Finder.” Additionally, Okoro Carroll is in an exclusive, multiyear overall deal with Warner Bros Studios.

Born in New York, raised in Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire and England, Okoro Carroll earned a B.A. in Economics and French from the University of Pennsylvania and Masters in International Economics from New York University. Prior to her television writing career, Okoro Carroll worked for the Federal Reserve where her responsibilities included managing the reserve position for the U.S. Banking system and analyzing the impact of monetary policy decisions on the domestic money markets. All of which she did while still writing and producing plays in New York.

Okoro Carroll currently resides in Los Angeles.

Caroline DriesCAROLINE DRIES

Executive Producer/Showrunner of “Batwoman”

Caroline Dries is the Executive Producer/Showrunner of the Greg Berlanti-produced drama series “Batwoman.”  Dries also developed the series for The CW.

Prior to “Batwoman,” Dries served as a producer on “Melrose Place” (2009-2010) and was an executive producer on The CW’s hit series, “The Vampire Diaries.”  Her other television credits include “Smallville” and “Arrow.”  Dries began her career in television as a PA, writers assistant and script coordinator on “Smallville” before joining the series as a staff writer.

Dries was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  She attended NYU as an undergraduate, earning a BFA in Psychology.  Afterwards, Dries attended the University of Southern California’s prestigious School of Cinematic Arts where she earned her master’s degree.

Dries currently resides in Los Angeles with her wife, Danielle, and their new baby girl.

Maria FerrariMaria Ferrari

Executive Producer/Creator, UNITED STATES OF AL

March 2021

Maria Ferrari began her career as a script coordinator for the television series “Blue Collar TV” and “How I Met Your Mother,” on the Network. She went on to write multiple scripts for both shows before joining “The Bill Engvall Show” as a staff writer. Next, Ferrari joined “The Big Bang Theory,” on the Network, where she rose to executive producer and was nominated for three Emmy Awards for Outstanding Comedy Series.

Ferrari’s additional television credits include “Young Sheldon,” also on the Network.

Ferrari is a graduate of Northwestern University and resides in Los Angeles.

Molly Smith MetzlerMolly Smith Metzler (playwright) is the author of Cry it Out, Elemeno Pea, The May Queen, Carve, Close Up Space and Training Wisteria. Her regional credits include: Northlight Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, South Coast Repertory, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Chautauqua Theater Company, City Theatre, PlayMakers Repertory Company, Geva Theatre Center, Mixed Blood Theatre Company and more. In New York City: Manhattan Theatre Club (MTC). Metzler’s awards include the Lecomte du Nouy Prize from Lincoln Center, the Harold and Mimi Steinberg National Student Playwriting Award from The Kennedy Center, the Association for Theatre in Higher Education’s David Mark Cohen National Playwriting Award, the Mark Twain Prize for Comic Playwriting and a finalist nod for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. She is a proud alumna of the Ars Nova Play Group, the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group at Primary Stages and the Cherry Lane Mentor Project. In television, Metzler has written for Casual (Hulu), Orange Is the New Black (Netflix), Codes of Conduct (HBO), and is currently a writer/producer on Shameless (Showtime). She is also a screenwriter, currently adapting Ali Benjamin’s award-winning novel The Thing About Jellyfish into a film for OddLot Entertainment with Made Up Stories and Pacific Standard (Reese Witherspoon’s company). Metzler was educated at the State University of New York at Geneseo, Boston University, New York University’s Tisch School for the Arts and the Juilliard School. She lives in Los Angeles and Kingston, N.Y.

Audrey MorrisseyAudrey Morrissey is an executive producer and the creative force behind “The Voice,” NBC’s four-time Emmy Award-winning musical competition series, and “Songland,” NBC’s brand new songwriting competition series.

Morrissey’s roots are in music television. A veteran of MTV, she spent nine years at the network in their music and specials division

working on their high-profile music series and annual event specials, such as “Unplugged,” “VMAs,” and “Movie Awards.”

After several years in New York, she was sent to Los Angeles to build the West Coast production department for both MTV and VH1.

After MTV, Morrissey joined Jimmy Iovine and Doug Morris as the Head of Television for their online music venture, Farmclub.com. While at Farmclub, she executive produced 65 episodes of the weekly music series “Farmclub.com” on USA Network and met her future partner, Ivan Dudynsky, with whom she started Live Animals Productions and serves as executive producer.

Since the formation of Live Animals, Morrissey has executive produced award shows, music specials, reality series, music videos and promos. She has executive produced the Emmy Awards, “People’s Choice Awards,” “MTV Movie Awards,” “CMT Music Awards” and “Teen Choice Awards.” She also executive produced the NBC series “I Can Do That.” Morrissey has not only gained the attention of millions of viewers, but critics as well. In addition to five PGA Awards for Outstanding Producer of Competition Television, “The Voice” has earned four Emmy Awards for Outstanding Reality Competition Program in 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2017.

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TCA panel

Interview with Karen Barroeta, Mark Tacher, Isabella Castillo and Alejandro Nones

TV Interview!

Karen Barroeta, Mark Tacher, Isabella Castillo and Alejandro Nones from Telemundo's "Malverde: El Santo Patrón"

Interview with Executive Producer Karen Barroeta and actors Mark Tacher, Isabella Castillo and Alejandro Nones from “Malverde: El Santo Patrón” on Telemundo by Suzanne 9/13/21

I’m not a native Spanish speaker, so I don’t usually watch Telemundo. However, I did watch an episode or two of this series before our recent TCA panel with the actors. It was quite entertaining. The show is set in the old west and reminds me of the Western shows I grew up watching, such as Bonanza, The Big Valley, The Virginian and many more.  There are a lot of characters in the show that you meet at once, though, so I had a little trouble sometimes telling them apart. It got a bit easier as time went on.    The series has subtitles, so it’s easy to watch and get caught up in the story. It’s a timeless story of good versus evil. In fact, the main character is a bit like a sexy Robin Hood, but with some mystical powers.  You should really check it out September 28 on Telemundo.

The panel included the executive producer and 3 of the actors. Unfortunately, the main star, Pedro Fernández, was not there, but the three that were there were very entertaining. The cast is from all different parts of Latin America.  On the panel, Tacher is from Mexico; Castillo is from Cuba; and Nones is from Venezuela.

Curious, I asked EP Karen Barroeta if there are many western series on Telemundo. Her reply surprised me: “Actually, this is the first period piece we’ve produced, and we really worked on it for the past six years and thought that it could be something that audiences could be really interested in. So, it was a big challenge for us, but we are happy with the results. Hopefully, audiences will believe so as well.” I agree with her…I think audiences will enjoy it as I did.

She was also asked to compare the real-life tales of Malverde to their show. They did a lot of research into the folklore and then fleshed out the details in the story with fictional elements. They based their show on “what he meant for people and how he lost his parents and how he became a legend. He was part of the Yoreme. His family came from the Native — those Indians in Mexico, and so he learned how to create medicine to help people. So not only he was a Robin Hood, but he also had the ability to cure, and that’s how his name came about. So, we did take a lot from what it was recorded in history, but we did give it a bit of fiction in terms of the people that were around him and how he fought for justice.”  Besides Malverde and the main characters created for the show, there are historical figures as well, such as president Porfirio Díaz and the revolutionary fighter Pancho Villa. “So, we brought a lot of reality in terms of the historical personas and characters that were real at that time, and so we incorporated it because we know that Malverde was fighting for justice. He was trying to help his people. And, so, I think it’s somehow very tied to how he was in reality. But, in TV, we like to make magic, and we brought some additional resources, elements, and characters, to make it more entertaining.”

She was also asked about what elements about Malverde’s character that they chose to put in (or not) , and she responded that they created the love story (between him and Carolina as well as him and Isabel) to make it more appealing to audiences. She seemed to feel bad that we were only asking her questions, so she suggested that the actors help answer this question. Tacher added that their story is not just a dry account of Malverde but a real story about how he lived and loved, which is what the audiences should like. Castillo chimed in to add that they really don’t know many details about Malverde, so they have to fill that in. And her character, La China Navajas, is based on many different women who fought for revolution in Mexico. She points out that they don’t really know if Malverde existed and whether he had these mystical powers that were attributed to him.

Someone else asked if Malverde was as well known as Emiliano Zapata. Karen said that it’s hard to compare the two because they’re very different Zapata was a revolutionary war hero and Malverde was a mythical figure – a saint. People have altars in Mexico, and his figure is frequently on their altars. Some have tattoos of him. He’s a saint in their culture.  Actor Nones added his own take on it: “Zapata is someone kids studied in school, and Malverde is somebody that people from the north in Culiacán and Sinaloa grow with this in the streets. And people talk, and people follow him as a saint with a lot of devotion.”

some of the cast from "Malverde: El Santo Patrón" on Telemundo

Karen told us that it took six years to bring this project to the screen. They first did a lot of research and then put together a demo reel, which they showed to focus groups. They received a good reaction from them. “We saw how our audience here in the United States, an Hispanic audience, was so excited about knowing more, and so we just started the development process three years ago. And the pandemic started just when we were getting ready to start building the back lot that we built in Cumbres del Ajusco in Mexico. And, so, production all in all between the preproduction and the production – I can say was probably a year and a half. So, it’s been a project that took some time.”

Castillo confided that, since she grew up in Cuba, she’d never heard of Malverde until she traveled to Mexico. She discovered that many thought of him as the patron saint of Narcos, but he had nothing to do with them or the drug trafficking. He was a much more positive figure.

Nones had heard a lot about him during his travels and work in Mexico. Six years ago, he was in Culiacán and learned a lot about him at the chapel that bears his name from the son of the person who created the chapel.

Tacher, who, as I mentioned above, is Mexican, related that they don’t learn about pre-revolutionary characters like Malverde in Mexican schools. He heard about him later from people in Culiacán, Sinaloa, where he’s known as the patron saint of the needy. He let us know that Telemundo’s research into the saint was not easy because he’s most popular in certain areas of Mexico.

One of the other members of the press said that he’s also a teacher, so he had been concerned about whether Malverde would be a hero and a positive message. Karen told him, “This is a story of an amazing man who suffered being a young kid by having his father killed by the aristocrats, and he was raised by these Indians who taught him a lot about, like I said before, how to cure people. And he grew up seeing the difference between the aristocrats and the people that didn’t — that they would just fight to have food and education for their kids. So, he fought for justice. He aligned with the revolution to make sure he could bring some equality to those in need. And he was never, like, siding with criminals or with the real bandits. Yes, he did take maybe from the aristocrat’s gold mines, and he would give to the poor. But we are telling the story of a hero, of a legend, and that will show all positive traits. So, I’m not sure if we are necessarily saying it the way you commented it, but we are definitely bringing out this beautiful human being who fought for justice. And the way we position it is he would never want to shoot a gun to kill someone but just to defend himself. He would always say, ‘Never shoot to kill. Never do it.'”

The actors agreed with her that his story is a positive one. Tacher told us that there was virtually no drug trafficking in the world back at that time (the late 1800’s). Of course, that’s because most drugs were legal until the early part of the 20th century. Heroin, opium and pot were legal in Mexico until the 20’s and in the US until the 30’s.

Tacher was next asked why people seem to love stories of lawbreakers like Malverde. He replied thoughtfully: “I think we are always fascinated by those kinds of guys because they are always in the line of what is good or bad in the social medium — in a social medium, you know. So, it’s very difficult not to fall in love with these kinds of characters that help but also that dare to break a little bit — not to break but to bend the system a little bit. And they are always searching for new ways to bring joy to people even though they become a concern to other people. So that’s why I think we are always in love with these kinds of characters because they are almost always on the brink of success and failure.”

The actors were then asked what they had learned from doing their research for the show. Castillo really hadn’t known much about the Mexican Revolution, so she loved learning about it.   Nones had previously done a play about the period, so he was already familiar with it. Tacher enjoyed “living” in the era where they had no electricity and shooting in a simple town where there were no cell phone signals. Then they did the scenes in the series where they brought electricity and light to the town. He said, Iit was amazing. It was like bringing Mexico to a new era. And I lived that way because I just thought to myself, ‘What would I do if I lived in that age without any kind of light?’ Yeah, you will survive, but that had to be hard.”

Castillo elaborated on what he said, explaining that the studio built this small town in the woods where there was nothing but a lot of cactus. She also mentioned that her character has a “controversial” storyline that is even difficult in today’s world (she never explained what she meant, but my guess is that her character is a lesbian). She went on, “we still have to fight for equality and for justice still in 2021, you know. So, when you go back to the good old days, it’s, like, oh, my god, since back in the day, people have been fighting for something that we are still fighting for today, you know. So, for us, it was, like, a joy. It was a pleasure to be part of this project and to participate in all of these historical events that still are taking place nowadays.”

There was a lot of joking around between the actors as they were asked to talk about their characters. That was very funny.

Nones plays Nazario Aguilar, the right hand to Malverde, who has an illness that makes it difficult if he gets injured. Aguilar risks his life for Malverde and because it’s the right thing to do. He loved being in the period piece with all of the details that make it seem authentic to the time.

Castillo loves her character and talked about how strong her character is. “She doesn’t change who she is for anyone, and she has actually taught me many things. She came to Malverde’s life when she was an orphan. Pretty much they killed her whole entire family.” She finds a family with Malverde and Aguilar. Castillo loves the other actors, the action and  “choosing characters that break the stereotypes,” such as this woman  who had to survive alongside men. She continued, “What I love about my character is that she’s the only girl in a band of only men, and she manages to survive back in the day, 1910, which it was difficult to be a girl surrounded by men because you would have to make them respect you, you know. And she gained the respect from men, and that’s something that’s really, really valuable, especially back in the day.”

The female soldiers are called “Soldaderas” and Tacher pointed out that there’s an old Mexican song called “La Adelita” about the women soldiers of the revolution. His character is Vicente del Rio, who is ” an American-born, greedy entrepreneur that moves to the north region of Mexico because he knows of its riches, but sooner than later, he didn’t know that he would fall in love with our beautiful protagonist, Isabel.” There is a lot of conflict between del Rio and Malverde (in part because Malverde and Isabel had a past relationship).  Castillo then teased Tacher about del Rio’s mustache, and they joked around because he didn’t like wearing the mustache at all.

MORE INFO:

poster for "Malverde: El Santo Patrón" on Telemundo

Set in 1910 and inspired by real events, ‘Malverde: El Santo Patrón’ tells the story of Jesús Juárez “Malverde,” one of the biggest and most controversial Mexican characters of the last 150 years, an outlaw who ultimately became a legendary figure, a religious icon, and protector of the innocent, poor and dispossessed. The high-octane production shows the life of Malverde, from his turbulent childhood as an orphan in Sinaloa, Mexico, through his young adulthood during the Mexican Revolution, when he encountered war and danger as well as romance. Rising to heights of unexpected power, he became a Robin Hood-type figure admired by women from all social classes but tormented by unresolved feelings for his childhood girlfriend, Isabel. With the federal authorities increasingly concerned with Malverde’s steadily growing power in the early years of the Revolution, it will take more than love or God to safeguard the hero known as “El Santo Patrón” from those out to destroy him.

Karen Barroeta

Karen Barroeta is a television industry executive with more than 20 years of experience in broadcast, pay TV & content distribution. Throughout her career, Karen has been responsible for leading efforts in Programming, Creative, Marketing, PR and Ad Sales for international and Hispanic-language markets and has cultivated a strong expertise in media management and strategic thinking. Karen is a forward-thinking, results-driven executive who has excelled at leading teams improving the quality of the creative output, enhancing productivity as well as improving operational and communication workflows while building internal partnerships.

Recently, Karen has been appointed Executive Vice President of Production and Development at Telemundo Global Studios. In this new role, Barroeta is responsible for leading the development strategy of the Studios, along with the management and execution of long-form scripted productions across all platforms. She will also oversee the alternative content team and identify projects for pilots, behind-the-scenes productions and digital capsules.

In addition, Karen works closely with Marcos Santana, President of Telemundo Global Studios, to jointly manage and execute long-form scripted productions across all platforms.

Previously, Karen successfully held the Senior Vice President role of Marketing and Creative for Telemundo Network and Universo including Entertainment, News & Sports. In this role, Barroeta was part of the network’s core content team leading the strategic development and execution of all brand and consumer-marketing initiatives across the company’s platforms, including oversight of the media planning and experiential practices. She also collaborated with Telemundo Station Group and NBCUniversal distribution and affiliate teams while leading the Shared Services & scheduling strategies

Karen holds an MBA from the University of Miami, a Master of Arts in Television Production & Digital Media from Emerson College, and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Florida Atlantic University.

Mark Tacher

Mark Tacher is a Mexican actor born in Mexico City. He has a degree in acting from CEFAT (Tv Azteca Actoral Training Center). In addition, he studies music, guitar, singing and DJ at the G Martell academy in Mexico. He perfected his vocal technique with maestro Óscar Sámano (MET from NY and student of Pavarotti) in Mexico. Years later he studied Actoral Perfection Techniques, The truth without effort in Venezuela.

His artistic career debuted in 1996 as a host on the Tv Azteca program “Nintendomanía” and which lasted until 1998 when he began his role as an actor.

“Perla”, “Trestimes Sofía” and “Háblame de amor” were his first acting projects. In 2000 he had his first leading role in “Tío Alberto” and 2002 “Get on my motorcycle.” In 2003 he participated in “Mirada de mujer, el returno” being his last novel on Tv Azteca.

He recently participated in the Queen of the South 2 giving life to Alejandro Alcalá and Operación Pacífico from the hand of Telemundo, the latter being one of the protagonists giving life to Colonel Gabriel Pedraza.

Isabella Castillo

Isabella Castillo was born on December 23, 1994 in Havana, Cuba. She was born in a musical family, her mother Delia Diaz de Villegas was a known singer in the island. Her father, Jose Castillo is a drummer and her sister Giselle Castillo graduated from the university in Music Education. In 1997 she migrated to Belize City and months later she moved to Miami, Florida (USA). At the age of 5 years, she decided she wanted to sing in one of her mother’s show, she blew them away with her powerful voice and small age. She took voice, dance and acting lessons. In 2007 she went to Madrid, Spain for a casting for the musical Ana Frank – Un Canto a la Vida. She got the part of Anne Frank and moved with her parents to Spain. She received the award Premio Gran Via for Best Revelation in a Musical. When the musical ended she came back to the United States and was casted to play the part of Andrea Giron in El Fantasma de Elena with Telemundo. After the end of this soap opera she was casted for Grachi and became the main character in the TV series Grachi for Nickelodeon. She won the Nickelodeon’s Kids Choice Awards Mexico 2011 for Best Female Artist in a TV series. Right now she finished filming Grachi second season and is traveling through out Latin America with Grachi the Musical.

Alejandro Nones

Alejandro Nones (born December 9, 1982) is a Venezuelan actor and model. He began his acting career in Mexico, on film Así del precipicio, and later was hired by Televisa to act in the telenovela Lola, érase una vez. He is an actor and producer, known for Who Killed Sara? (2021), Cuna de Lobos (2019) and Amar a muerte (2018).

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Mark Tacher, Isabella Castillo and Alejandro Nones from "Malverde: El Santo Patrón" on Telemundo

Primetime TV Review: Ordinary Joe

TV Review!

“Ordinary Joe” Review on by Eva 9/24/2021

I decided to watch Ordinary Joe because it sounded interesting… but when I watched the show, I found it to be confusing.

The show centers around Joe Kimbreau (James Wolk), who graduates from college and has a choice to make of what to do with the rest of his graduation day. Joe’s first option ]is to ask Amy (Natalie Martinez), whom he just met, on a date. Joe’s second choice is to go with his girlfriend, Jenny (Elizabeth Lail), to the beach for a talk.  His third choice for the day is to go to dinner with his family. The show then follows Joe’s three possible choices or timelines. If he goes with Amy on a date, he becomes a famous musician, marries her and they try to have a child; if he goes with Jenny, he becomes a nurse with a disabled son and an unhappy marriage. If Joe chooses dinner with his family, he becomes a cop who is single but still wonders what happened to Amy and Jenny.

This show is a bit confusing because it switches randomly from Joe’s three parallel lives, and you have to really pay attention to understand what Joe is doing and which life he is living. I really like James Wolk as Joe – he makes the best of what he is given and gives the audience a reason to root for Joe, hoping that he will solve his problems.

I think this show needs to work on being a little less confusing… maybe if they dealt with one of Joe’s lives in each episode, instead of all three lives in the same episode, it would work better. I think the show will do okay because it comes after “The Voice” on Monday nights. I will keep watching it to see if it improves, but for now I will give it 3 out of 5 stars.

Read Our Interview with Wolk

MORE INFORMATION:

ORDINARY JOE (NBC)

BROADCAST HISTORY:
9/20/21 – ???

STATUS:
currently airing (fall 2021)TIME SLOT:
mondays from 10:00 PM-11:00 PM ESTCURRENT SEASON:
1 (??? episodes)VISIT THE OFFICIAL WEB SITE

DESCRIPTION:
(from NBC’s web site, September 2021) Life is all about the choices you make – and sometimes, what you do in a single moment can change everything. This new heartfelt, life-affirming drama follows Joe Kimbreau, who faces one of these decisions at his college graduation. The three parallel stories that diverge from that night find Joe and the people around him with different careers, relationships and family lives, showing the unexpected ways that things change – and stay the same. But when it comes down to it, there is no “right” choice; no matter what happens, Joe’s life is always messy, exciting, tough, unpredictable… and beautiful.

PRINCIPAL CAST INFORMATION:
· Charlie Barnett as Eric Payne
· Elizabeth Lail
· James Wolk as Joe Kimbrough
· Natalie Martinez as Amy

CREW INFORMATION:
· Adam Davidson as EP/DIR (Pilot)
· Adam Kassan as EP
· Garrett Lerner as CRTR/EP
· Howard Klein as EP
· Matt Reeves as EP
· Rafi Crohn as EP
· Russel Friend as CRTR/EP

GENRE(S):
· drama

STUDIO INFORMATION:
· 20th Century Fox Television
· 3 Arts Entertainment
· 6th & Idaho
· Universal Television

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The opinions in these articles are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The TV MegaSite or its other volunteers.

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Interview with Christopher Meloni

TV Interview!

Christopher Meloni of "Law & Order: Organized Crime" on NBC

Interview with Christopher Meloni of “Law & Order: Organized Crime” on NBC by Suzanne 9/13/21

We had a chat via Zoom with NBC stars for the TCA panels. This particular panel was supposed to feature Mariska Hargitay (Olivia Benson) as well as Christopher Meloni (Elliot Stabler), but she was held up due to a change in her shooting schedule. That was a real shame because we would have all loved to see her with him. He didn’t seem as if he was in a great mood, but he gave each question serious thought and consideration.

If you’re reading this, you probably know already that he played the same character on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” for 11 years. He left at the end of season 11 because of a contract dispute. Last April he returned to SVU and then premiered this new show, OC, but with plenty of crossover between the two shows (especially with Hargitay).

I asked him the question that everyone wants to know… I knew that he probably couldn’t answer it, but I was interested in how he would handle the question, either way. I said, “I’m on a lot of “Law & Order” Facebook groups, and most of them seem to want your characters to have a real love affair. Should they stay hopeful on that score? Anything you can tell us. I know you can’t give spoilers.” He replied, “Sure. Hope springs eternal. I mean, why  not? I think it’s going to be a collaborative effort between both showrunners for “SVU” and “OC,” and I believe, with Mariska and I, to kind of figure it all out. It’s a complicated relationship. So, we’ll see.”  That was actually a lot more positive answer than I expected. It was very diplomatic, for sure.

Here are more questions from the panel.  This was the next question:  Elliot goes undercover this season, so he was asked whether this would affect his relationship with his former partner, Benson (Hargitay), since they were close last season. He mentioned that he had spoken to real-life undercover cops, and they had confirmed that they do tend to lose themselves in their jobs.  He thinks Elliot is doing that, as well as still dealing with the stress of losing his wife and all that he went through last season, and not sure how Benson fits into his life (both personally and professionally). Benson sees that he might be going through all this.  He and Benson do engage with each other professional quite a bit, and ” and a little bit from the personal side.”

He was also asked whether he’d learned anything about himself from his years of playing Elliot. He responded, “I’ve learned a lot about myself. It’s been a wonderful journey. I think because, you know, to play this character for as long as I have, or I guess any character, but I always thought of him as a man under pressure, and has maybe examined how I engage the world, how I deal with personal relationships, how maybe certain blind spots that I have, and I’ve had to work on. You know, you really do grow with the character. Because as you mature as a human being, I think you bring those lessons to bear to your character. So, you know, you march hand—in—hand with the thing that you’ve created. And it’s been very rewarding. So, I’ve learned more than I could speak of in this short of time.”

Someone else asked why Dick Wolf decided (possibly in collaboration with him or other writers) to put Elliot in Organized Crime rather than in other possibly detective groups. He asserted that it was Wolf’s idea from the beginning. He feels that it was because there was so much rich storytelling that could be told about the crime families and how they work, and that one crime family investigation would fit well into an 8-episode format. He was also asked whether there might be a possibility of any mention of his cop character in Syfy’s “Happy,” but he didn’t think they would do that because they were in two different universes. He compared it to having a crossover between “Grey’s Anatomy” and a Marvel Universe show.

Another person from the press asked him about “the most emotional and challenging story lines to play on a personal level, something that was difficult” for him to play. He gave an interesting answer, “Well, you know, anytime I’ve had to deal with children and traumas inflicted upon children, those are always — those always strike a very deep chord. I’ve always found those very difficult, but oddly enough, kind of the easiest to play, because there’s no searching for the emotional content within myself. You know, I know exactly how I feel. I’m very — there’s such clarity in my place in this world when children are involved.”

I’m sure he’s been asked this question many times: whether he ever had the itch to go back and play Stabler after he left SVU back in 2011. He asserted that he never looked back. Once he was done, that was it. He enjoyed acting in other projects and traveling. He added, “I think to Dick’s credit, he — I don’t know — maybe he sensed I wasn’t as interested in revisiting how, you know, the “SVU” tells a story, which is great, and they do it so wonderfully. So, when he pitched this more serialized expression of his latest idea of a “Law & Order” show, the “OC,” I really thought it was kind of a stroke of genius. I didn’t think that was even kind of anything he was thinking about. So, I was pleasantly pleased and surprised and excited when I got the pitch. And it was just on the basis of the type of storytelling that the “OC” allows us. And I just think it just allows for a little more in—depth analysis of characters and relationships and that kind of stuff. So, I appreciated that. And I think with Ilene Chaiken running the show, it’s really lived up to what Dick had hoped for.”

He was asked if he’d ever binge-watched “Law & Order” SVU,” but he admitted that he never had. He was there when it was filmed, and that was enough. The same journalist also asked him if he would tell us about the “four new recurring characters” on the second season. He seemed taken aback by that question. He named three – “Dash Mihok, Vinnie Jones, Lolita Davidovich and Michael Raymond-James.”  He said that some of the cast are part of their task force and some are from the new crime family they’ll be going after.  He elaborated, “We’re dealing with an Albanian crime family. You get to see a little bit of the hierarchy. It’s very much a family organization. And there’s a kind of Shakespearean intrigue that surrounds it.” That sounds interesting!

Since he mentioned leaving SVU earlier, he was asked about Mariska, “What has been the greatest joy of working with her? What
qualities does she have that has made the journey a real joy for you? And what have been some of the challenges?” He gave a very long answer. Basically, he said that they were two strong personalities that worked well together. The characters were, “finding each
other’s dance steps. And I would argue we found those dance steps 80 percent of the time, but 20 percent of the time we didn’t. And, you know, that’s where — I don’t know — just stuff happens. And it can be creatively wonderful stuff, and it can be challenging stuff. And it’s just stuff. Because at the end of the day, I think we see each other and know each other at our cores, and we love and honor and respect each other’s gifts. We have forgiven each other’s trespasses.” He said that they grew up together on the show . They both built their own separate families at the same time and both had each other’s best interests at heart.  He was quite effusive in his praise of her: “She’s open and honest and trustworthy and a ball of light. She radiates a goodness and a warmth and an inclusiveness. You know, she’s just a wonderful energy to be around. And she’s a hard worker. ” He praised her for how she carried on after he left the show.” They like working together and look forward to it. He never really answered the question about any challenges.

Next he was asked whether any parts of Elliot had rubbed off on him, or vice versa. He didn’t think so. He compared Elliot to himself, saying that Elliot was both more flawed and more heroic than he. He went on, “I think we both strive for the same sense of justice that, you know — I mean, I think this is life, right? And it’s difficult if you have a sense of right and wrong, and the world makes it difficult for one who has a sense of honor and justice, and you see reality is at times difficult in that regard. So, I would like to — I would strive to be as honorable as Elliott is, as flawed as he is. But no. We both have the same kind of walk, and that’s about it, I think.”

He was asked whether he thought all of the spinoffs were a good thing or not. He thinks that they’re both good and bad as it’s part of their business. It’s expensive to “It’s expensive to launch a show, very expensive to maintain a show, and very expensive to get eyeballs to the show, to your product. So, I just kind of think those pressures lend itself to that kind of programming.” He thinks the audience doesn’t mind as long as the product is a good one.

He was also asked why he thinks fans are so crazy about a Benson-Stabler relationship. He thinks that part of the reason is because their parting in 2011 was so abrupt, and they had so much chemistry for years before that. There was never any kind of answer as to the will-they-or-won’t-they question.

Another writer asked how his working with Mariska different this time than it was the first time around. He answered that they were young and didn’t know each other the first time around. It was all new, fresh and exciting. This time, when he returned, it felt both important and comfortable. “And I haven’t examined it beyond that… “I don’t have that relationship with any other actor walking the earth, because I’ve never worked with anyone for as long as I had with Mariska.” They were revisiting their relationship. “all of that in a package of grief, because of the circumstances under which I was reintroduced. So, it was a completely different dynamic, and yet I think the cornerstone of it all was a playfulness, a humor that we just always have with each other, and a camaraderie. Love and camaraderie.”

He was asked a good storyline question about whether Stabler would still be working with the team or whether he’ll be more in charge this season.  He responded that Sgt. Bell is definitely still in command, not Elliot. He went on, “I find it a very interesting dynamic. I was surprised by it all, and I loved it. I thought it was a very good idea. Danielle Moné Truitt is wonderful to work with. Yeah. So, yeah. Elliott is more on the outside in the first series of eight from the unit. They’re kind of more of the, you know — they’re HQ to whom I report, and they do the logistical hard work while Elliott tries to get intel and is on the inside.”

The last person pointed out that Meloni is also great at comedy. He asked which he would like to do next, after he leaves OC? He instantly replied without hesitation that it would be comedy.  “I’m in one swimming pool and I want to go try the other, see how the other water — how refreshing the other water is.”  Well, let’s hope that’s not for a long time…at least not until we see how he and Olivia are able to really connect, finally.

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Christopher Meloni of "Law & Order: Organized Crime" on NBC“LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME”

“THE MAN WITH NO IDENTITY”

ORIGINAL

09/23/2021 (10:00PM – 11:00PM) (Thursday) : SEASON PREMIERE – After taking down Wheatley’s (Dylan McDermott) drug empire and discovering his wife’s killer, Det. Stabler (Christopher Meloni) must infiltrate a notorious crime family aiming to take over New York City’s cocaine trade. Sgt. Bell (Danielle Moné Truitt) is forced to work with a rival colleague when their investigations collide. Also starring Ainsley Seiger.

TV-14

The series stars Christopher Meloni, Dylan McDermott, Danielle Moné Truitt, Tamara Taylor and Ainsley Seiger.

Dick Wolf, Ilene Chaiken, Fred Berner, Terry Miller, Arthur Forney and Peter Jankowski serve as executive producers. “Law & Order: Organized Crime” is produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, in association with Wolf Entertainment.

Christopher Meloni

Elliot Stabler, “Law & Order: Organized Crime”

Christopher Meloni returns to his iconic character, Elliot Stabler, in the new NBC drama series “Law & Order: Organized Crime.”

Meloni was last seen starring on the Hulu British comedy “Maxxx.”

Meloni starred in SYFY’s dark comedy “Happy!” based on Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson’s graphic novel. In addition to his starring role as Nick Sax, he directed an episode as well as executive produced the series. Meloni also co-starred in the third season of the critically acclaimed Hulu series “The Handmaid’s Tale” as Commander Winslow, a powerful and magnetic commander who hosts the Waterfords on an important trip.

Meloni had a guest arc on the breakout FX series “Pose,” from Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. He also appeared in the landmark historical series “Underground,” executive produced by John Legend, and directed an episode.

Following his breakout role on “NYPD Blue,” Meloni was cast in HBO’s gritty prison drama “Oz” and then moved on to “Law & Order: SVU,” where he received an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. Following his 12 seasons on “SVU,” Meloni returned to HBO in Alan Ball’s wildly popular drama “True Blood” and the Julie Louis-Dreyfus-starrer “Veep.”

On the film side, Meloni’s credits include “Diary of a Teenage Girl,” “White Bird in a Blizzard,” “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For,” “Man of Steel,” “42,” “They Came Together,” the Terry Gilliam films “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and “Twelve Monkeys,” “Bound,” “Runaway Bride,”  “Nights in Rodanthe,” and the cult favorites “Wet Hot American Summer,” “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle” and its first sequel, “Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay.”

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Mariska Hargitay of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" and Christopher Meloni of "Law & Order: Organized Crime" on NBC

Interview with the “Alter Ego” Judges and Host

TV Interview!

Judges and host of "Alter Ego" on FOX

Interview with judges Nick Lachey, Grimes, and will.i.am, host Rocsi Diaz, executive producer Matilda Zoltowski, and FOX’s President of Alternative Entertainment & Specials, Rob Wade of “Alter Ego” on FOX Suzanne 9/8/21

Alter Ego is the new FOX music competition show. It’s very unusual in that the singers create an avatar of themselves to perform through. The judges and audience see them not as themselves, but as their avatar.

2 NIGHT SEASON PREMIERE WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 22 & THURSDAY, SEPT. 23

I attended the FOX TCA panel for the show. Normally, they give us “screeners” – an episode or two of the show to watch ahead of time. Instead, we got one compilation episode. I’m not sure why. It was interesting, though. I don’t really watch non-fiction shows, but I might have to tune in to some of this to see what it’s really like.

On the panel, they told us “lost dreams and second chances are reignited when singers become the stars they’ve always wanted to be. However, these contestants won’t perform as themselves, rather, they’ll help create their dream avatar alter ego, reinventing and transforming themselves like never before. Talent and technology come together, creating a singing competition unlike anything the world has ever seen.” Then we saw a clip.

The panel consisted of judges Nick Lachey, Grimes, and will.i.am, host Rocsi Diaz, executive producer Matilda Zoltowski, and FOX’s President of Alternative Entertainment & Specials, Rob Wade. I’d only heard of Lachey and will.i.am, but that’s fine because I only was able to ask one question.

My question was admittedly a little lame. I should have asked about the technology behind the avatars because no one really asked that, and I’m curious. On the TV screen, we see the judges and audience looking at the avatar, which lookes like a real person on the stage. Is that how it looks in real life, or is it all special effects? I would love to know. Instead, I asked Nick Lachey a question about being a judge. I made an error because I thought he had been a judge on another reality show. My mistake because he was a contestant, not a judge. Whoops! I should have done more research. My bad. But he gave a great answer, anyway.

The first journalist asked the producers about the idea behind the show and what they hoped people would take out of having avatars perform. The answer was basically that they have this amazing technology that they can use now, and that they could get performers with amazing voices that we wouldn’t necessarily see on other competition shows. I guess he means, people who are not very attractive. What else would she mean? I mean, we’ve seen plenty of plus-sized people, and people of all different colors, races, genders, ages and orientations competing. The only thing left is unattractive people. From what the clips are showing, all of the contestants are choosing avatars much thinner than themselves, and some much more light-skinned than themselves. I wonder what criticisms people will have of the show. It’s, of course, also a way for those who are gender-fluid to have avatars to reflect who they feel like inside. I don’t know if that will be enough to counteract the other problems, though. We shall see!

The next press person asked about the design of the avatars and whether body diversity came into play. The producer answered that they have a real mix of different types of people and “huge diversity on every level.” She revealed that they have 20 different alter egos, which is something I didn’t know from watching the clips. It appears that the contestants are able to change what their avatars are wearing and other features. The producer maintained that they wanted to have alter egos that would appearl to a wide audience – people of all different types. She concluded, “I think there’s something there for everybody.”

Another writer asked why the alter egos look “fantastical” rather than just looking like regular humans. Hmm, here’s someone who probably hasn’t played a lot of video games or done online role-playing. That’s kind of the point – to look different than we are, dude. Producer Wade admitted that trying to make the avatars look like regular humans didn’t really look good. The avatars looked “creepy.” They thought that having them more colorful and fun would be better and people could connect to them. He also added, “why do a show called ALTER EGO with avatars if you’re just going to replicate human beings? They should be something a little bit more fantastical, a little bit superhero like, in a way.”

Judge Grimes interjected that she thought that since so many people are into video games, that they’re used to connecting with the “crazier type” of characters. will.i.am also added his input by comparing people dressing up in different colors, expressing themselves, or wearing costumes for Comic-Con, or various artists who look “fantastical” like these alter egos. He said, “This is beyond makeup. This is beyond, you know, a hat and glasses. It’s beyond freaking tailored suits that fit you perfectly. This is your spirit tailored, whooo. This is, like, your passion tailored. This is putting makeup on your spirit.” He got very excited, and everyone laughed. Nick Lachey advised us to tune in to the series because this is just a small taste of what will.i.am commentary is like.

The next interviewer ask about how genders will be changed, which was a variation on the body diversity question already asked. will.i.am put it well when he declared that “the imagination is genderless and it’s beautiful.” He went on to explained that when he writes songs, sometimes it’s from a female point of view (especially if he’s writing it for a female singer, such as Fergie. He’s “dialing into my inner femininity.” He once again indulged in hyperbole about the show and its performers in this regard. Lachey chimed in to talk about it from the POV of an entertaining – how it can be “truly liberating” to step into an alter ego. He says the way it came together in the show blew his mind. Grimes noted that the show makes “gender fluidity more casual”. Diaz pointed out that what will make viewers really invested in the stories of the performers is that they get to live out these experiences in such a liberating way and really be themselves for the first time. It was touching for them, and she believes it will be for the audience at home as well.

Then it was my turn to ask a question. Bear in mind that I was already a middle-aged adult by the time “98 Degrees” became a big hit, so that wasn’t my music. I had completely forgotten that Lachey was in that group. I had mostly seen him in “Charmed,” where he played Leslie St. Claire in 2004. He modestly replied, “To call me an actor is a liberal use of the word “acting.” After graciously correcting me that he’d never been a judge, he said that he had been a host before on music competition shows, so he was excited to step into the role of judge. He admitted that he was a bit of a skeptic at first (about the alter egos) because he doesn’t play video Alter Ego fairy avatargames and isn’t really into technology tha tmuch. He thought it was really cool to be asked to be part of it, though. In the end, “what I took away from it was, there’s such a humanity, despite all the mind blowing technology, and it’s incredible, and you’ll see it when it premieres on the 22nd. I mean, it’s incredible technology, but there’s still a humanity that comes through in these performances. These are real emotions. These are real people behind the alter egos, and that life experience, all the things that you channel as an artist, all those things you channel into your performance, those things come through in a very real way through the technology, which is a beautiful, beautiful thing to see. And again, I always use this word, but, you know, confluence of technology and artistry, and the way those things came together on this show is something unlike we’ve seen on TV ever. And so, I’m so excited. I mean, I got to watch it firsthand. I’m so excited for (my dog, Brandy, barked here) come together. And, apparently, that dog agrees with me. They’re excited.” Everyone laughed because it was very funny.

They joked around about how Lachey told a lot of “dad jokes.”

The next journalist asked Nick if there were logistical complications, since he lives in Hawaii and the show is in Los Angeles. Lachey confirmed that he does have a lot of frequent flyer miles. However, he was able to be back in L.A., bringing his son Charlie with him while he filmed the show and spent time there. He admitted, “I’ve done a lot of great things in my career, and I’m truly appreciative of each and every one of them, but this was one of the unique and special things I was able to be a part of. So, I’m glad it was able to be worked out, and I’m glad I was able do it.”

The same person asked him being a contestant on “The Masked Singer” and how that informed him for this show. He compared being in the “Piglet” costume to having an alter ego because it frees you to create a character and be whomever you want to be. He told us that the singers in “Alter Ego” are all incredible, but they all have struggled in some ways, but the show allowed them “truly feel liberated, and let their true talent shine through. And we all were lucky enough to be witnesses to that, and I think that’s a beautiful thing. That’s the real … humanity of this show. These are all humans with real emotions, and real struggles, and real experiences, and they bring all that to their performances, and they bring all that to their alter egos. And to watch all those things come together on this is a beautiful thing.”

Another journalist asked will.i.am about the current technology available (and being used on the show), and how he would have used that back when he was in the Black-Eyed Peas. Will gave a very long answer where he basically said that it would have freed them all to be different characters – and play different instruments- within their band.

That same man asked Graimes, who’s a producer as well as a performer, how she judges the show’s performers. Grimes didn’t really answer his questions. She did admit that she has “huge stage fright” and was already looking into this sort of technology to use in her own performances.

There many more questions, but these were the most interesting. Check out this unusual show!

Here is the audio version of it.

Interview Transcribed by Jamie of http://www.scifivision.com

MORE INFO:

ALTER EGO is the world’s first avatar singing competition series and the next iteration of the musical competition show. On ALTER EGO, lost dreams and second chances are reignited when singers from all walks of life become the stars they’ve always wanted to be. However, these contestants won’t perform as themselves. Rather, they’ll be given the chance to show how they’ve always wanted to be seen, creating their dream avatar ALTER EGO to reinvent themselves, while showcasing their unique performance style via motion capture technology. The judges table features some of the biggest names in music, including iconic singer/songwriter and seven-time Grammy Award winner Alanis Morissette; actor, singer and television personality Nick Lachey; acclaimed Canadian producer, songwriter, singer and visual artist Grimes; and multi-Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter, producer, entrepreneur and actor will.i.am. Emmy Award-winning personality Rocsi Diaz will host the musical spectacle. In ALTER EGO, talent and technology come together to create a singing competition unlike anything the world has ever seen.

fpn slider image in three sizesGRIMES

as Judge

Bio

Claire Boucher is the producer of the alter ego Grimes and an award-winning music video director, as well as a music writer, artist, producer, engineer and singer-songwriter. The world got its first glimpse of this vision on her 2010 full-length debut, “Geidi Primes,” which drew its inspiration from the David Lynch adaptation of Frank Herbert’s “Dune.” Her sophomore outing, “Halfaxa,” followed the same year. Over the course of three weeks, 2012’s “Visions” came to life in her apartment and would be recorded solely on Garage Band. 2015 marked a commercial breakthrough on “Art Angels.” It appeared in the Top 5 of year-end lists by Pitchfork, Billboard, Consequence of Sound, The New York Times and Rolling Stone, in addition to being named Album of the Year by Stereogum, NME and Exclaim! In 2018, she made another conscious evolution, turning back to formative influences, such as Tool and Nine Inch Nails for inspiration — a style first hinted at on 2016’s “Suicide Squad” soundtrack contribution, “Medieval Warfare.” In 2020, she released “Miss Anthropocene,” a concept album about an anthropomorphic goddess of climate change, which received rave reviews. The album title stems from the words Misanthrope, “a person who dislikes humankind and avoids human society,” and Anthropocene, “the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment.” In 2021, she set the NFT world on fire with the release of WarNymph Collection Vol 1 By Grimes x Mac. The collection contains 10 artworks, including a unique video work set to original music composed specifically for the project. Through the character of WarNymph, Grimes explores the fluidity of identity in the virtual age: the ability to create, augment and splinter ourselves into unlimited avatars.

NICK LACHEYfpn slider image in three sizes

as Judge

Bio

Singer, actor and television personality Nick Lachey rose to fame as the lead singer of the multi-Platinum boy band 98 Degrees, selling more than 10 million records. He also has released four solo studio albums. Currently, Nick can be seen co-hosting “Love is Blind” with his wife Vanessa Lachey. In 2021, Lachey won the fifth season of THE MASKED SINGER as The Piglet. Lachey has had a long hosting career, serving as host on “The Sing Off” and “Big Morning Buzz Live.”

In addition to his work in music and television, Lachey remains a constant advocate for children’s and humanitarian causes through his work with organizations including Autism Speaks, Feeding America, Make-a-Wish Foundation, The Boys & Girls Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), VH-1 Save The Music, The Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and The Cincinnati School for Performing Arts. He is also founder and President of The Nick Lachey Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to helping children, families and communities in need throughout the United States.

Lachey was raised in Cincinnati, OH, and attended the School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA), Miami University and University of Southern California. Lachey currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife Vanessa and three children.

fpn slider image in three sizeswill.i.am

as Judge

Bio

Seven-time Grammy Award winner will.i.am has been at the forefront of the contemporary American hip hop movement for more than 20 years. He is best known as a songwriter, producer, actor and entrepreneur, and globally recognized as a founding member of Black Eyed Peas, one of the best-selling groups of all time. He has released four solo albums and eight studio albums with Black Eyed Peas. The act was one of the first to recognize the mainstream potential of electronic dance music and held the No. 1 spot on the Hot 100 for a record 26 consecutive weeks after “I Gotta Feeling” replaced “Boom Boom Pow” atop the chart — more than any other act in the history of the Hot 100. The Emmy and CLIO Award-winning music video, “Yes We Can,” mobilized a generation during the 2008 U.S. Presidential election. He has worked with countless Grammy Award-winning artists as a producer and currently serves as a Coach on “The Voice UK” and “The Voice Kids.”

He has starred in several animated feature films, including “Rio,” “Rio 2” and “Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa,” as well as the live-action “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” Founded in 2009, will.i.am’s i.am Angel Foundation supports in-class and after-school STEAM education programs for disadvantaged youth in grades K – 12. The Foundation also funds the Boyle Heights STEM Magnet High School in Los Angeles, and the i.am Scholarship program that provides gap funding to college-bound program students.

ALANIS MORISSETTE

fpn slider image in three sizes

as Judge

Bio

Since 1995, Alanis Morissette has been one of the most influential singer-songwriter-musicians in contemporary music. Her deeply expressive music and performances have earned vast critical praise and seven Grammy Awards. Morissette’s 1995 debut, “Jagged Little Pill,” was followed by nine more eclectic and acclaimed albums.

She has contributed musically to theatrical releases and has acted on the big and small screens. Outside of entertainment, she is an avid supporter of female empowerment, as well as spiritual, psychological and physical wellness. In 2016, Morissette launched “Conversation with Alanis Morissette,” a monthly podcast that features conversations with a variety of revered authors, doctors, educators and therapists, covering a wide range of psycho-social topics, extending from spirituality to developmentalism to art. On December 5, 2019, the Broadway musical “Jagged Little Pill” debuted at the Broadhurst Theatre in New York City, and was nominated for 15 Tony Awards. Most recently, Morissette released her ninth studio album, “Such Pretty Forks In The Road,” to rave reviews. For more information see www.alanis.com.

fpn slider image in three sizesROCSI DIAZ

as Host

Bio

Emmy Award-winning television host Rocsi Diaz is best known as the former co-host of ultra-popular mega music show “106 & Park.” She has interviewed everyone from Lady Gaga to Barack Obama. As a co-host and daily correspondent on “Entertainment Tonight,” Diaz was known for setting the tone for what’s hot in music, movies and entertainment. She reached 85 million homes worldwide during her time with “106 & Park,” and has since gone to host “The Daily Share,” “Dating Naked,” “Behind The Movie,” “Chatter” and “Cannonball.” With a massive social media presence, Diaz reaches millions of followers across all platforms.

MATILDA ZOLTOWSKI

Executive Producer/Showrunner

Bio

Matilda Zoltowski is a talented producer who has worked on some of the biggest and most successful properties in unscripted television. She began her career in the U.K., where she worked on “Big Brother” and “Strictly Come Dancing,” the inspiration for “Dancing With The Stars.” Her work on “Strictly Come Dancing” gave her the opportunity to develop and produce “Dancing With The Stars” in the U.S., on which she was a co-executive producer for eight seasons.

Zoltowski has developed and produced many different types of unscripted series that have attracted major talent, including cooking series “The Taste,” starring Anthony Bourdain; “Off Their Rockers,” with Betty White; “Bring The Funny,” with Kenan Thompson and Chrissy Teigen; and “I Can Do That,” with Marlon Wayans. Most recently, she served as executive producer for all four seasons of “World of Dance,” starring Jennifer Lopez.

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Interview with the cast of “Ordinary Joe” on NBC

TV Interview!

cast of "Ordinary Joe" on NBC

Interview with actors James Wolk, Elizabeth Lail, Natalie Martinez, Charlie Barnett and executive producers Garrett Lerner and Russell Friend of “Ordinary Joe” on NBC by Suzanne 9/13/21

This was a wonderful TV Critics Association panel for a fun new show. I admit that I’m a fan of lead actor James Wolk. He’s been great in so many shows, such as “Mad Men,” “Watchmen,” and “Zoo.” He’s more than just a pretty face. I know, that’s a terribly sexist thing to say. This is a beautiful cast, though. It was nice to meet his co-stars as well. Everyone there obviously has high hopes for this show, so I hope it succeeds.

The show focuses on Wolk’s character, Joe, and the three choices he has in life after college. If he goes to meet his girlfriend, Jenny (Lail), then he ends up with her. If he meets up with this other woman he just met, Amy (Martinez), then he ends up with her. If he goes out with his family, then he has a different path.  We see him on all three paths, how his life turns out, depending on which road he takes. Seeing the first two episodes was interesting. I want to see how they’ll carry this over a whole season. There is Nurse Joe, Cop Joe and Rock Star Joe. Personally, the last one is my favorite.

Because this was a TCA panel and not a regular interview, I was only able to ask one question, and I’m not allowed to share the transcript or recording with you. It was very enjoyable, though.

When I asked my question, which was about singing, Wolk immediately started singing a Billy Joel song to me (swoon!), so that was charming. In the show, when Joe is young, he’s graduating as a music major. He wants to be a rock star – the next Billy Joel. That struck me as a bit odd, given his age.

In the interview, I asked, “Jim, were you a fan of Billy Joel before this show, and had you been singing his songs for fun, or anything like that? You seem a little young to be a Billy Joel fan, to be honest (laughs).” He replied that the mom of an old friend of his used to listen to his albums, and he enjoys singing his music, but he did admit that he’s not as big of a fan of his music as his character, Joe, is. Charlie Barnett (who plays his best friend, Eric) objected to my question and said that “There’s no age limit to good music.”  Well, that’s true, but most people, I don’t think, are quite so much into real oldies that they didn’t grow up with as they are their own teenage or childhood music. Now, I don’t know when Joe was born, but Wolk was born in 1985, which was after the bulk of Billy Joel’s hits, so it would be pretty odd for him to aspire to be like him. It would be as if I aspired to be the next Connie Francis or Brenda Lee. I’m sure most people reading this barely know who those women are. The guys who wrote the show are probably a lot older, so Billy Joel was their music more than Wolk’s. He does have a lovely singing voice, though, and he sang “Piano Man” very well in one of the episodes (I was a music major, just like the character, Joe).

Wolk graciously told us all that the other cast members present there are also really good singers, so he hinted that they may have an all-singing episode one day. Everyone seemed to like that idea.

Check out the series and let me know which Joe is your favorite!

Joe's three paths after graduation

Here’s another review of the show that gives you a lot of information. I agree with a lot of it…however, I don’t think it’s nearly as bland as this reviewer thinks it is. A large part of it rests on how much you like James Wolk and the other actors.

MORE INFO:

Life is all about the choices you make – and sometimes what you do in a single moment can change everything. This new heartfelt, life-affirming drama follows Joe Kimbreau, who faces one of these decisions at his college graduation. The three parallel stories that diverge from that night find Joe and the people around him with different careers, relationships and family lives, showing the unexpected ways that things change – and stay the same. But when it comes down to it, there is no “right” choice; no matter what happens, Joe’s life is always messy, exciting, tough, unpredictable … and beautiful.

The cast includes James Wolk, Natalie Martinez, Elizabeth Lail and Charlie Barnett.

Russel Friend and Garrett Lerner will write and executive produce along with executive producers Matt Reeves, Adam Kassan, Rafi Crohn, Howard Klein. Adam Davidson will direct and executive produce the pilot episode.

“Ordinary Joe” is produced by 20th Television, Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, 6th & Idaho, 3 Arts.

breaking news | March 31, 2021

•    NBC has ordered the drama “Ordinary Joe” to series.

•    W/EP: Russel Friend, Garrett Lerner

•    NW/EP: Matt Reeves, Adam Kassan, Rafi Crohn, Howard Klein

•    D/EP (pilot only): Adam Davidson

•    “I still remember when Matt Reeves shared this passion project back when I worked at Twentieth. Russel and Garrett wrote such a compelling and emotional script that was expertly executed from page to screen,” said Lisa Katz, President, Scripted Content, Entertainment and Streaming. “We love how ‘Ordinary Joe’ lets us experience the universal question of ‘what if’ through an incredible cast of characters and engaging storylines.”

•    Cast: James Wolk, Natalie Martinez, Charlie Barnett, Elizabeth Lail

•    Logline: Explores the three parallel lives of the show’s main character after he makes a pivotal choice at a crossroads in his life. The series asks the question of how different life might look if you made your decision based on love, loyalty or passion.

•    Produced by: 20th Television, Universal Television (a division of Universal Studio Group), 6th & Idaho, 3 Arts

James Wolk

Joe Kimbreau, “Ordinary Joe”

James Wolk stars as Joe Kimbreau in the new NBC drama “Ordinary Joe.”

Wolk was recently be seen on the HBO series “Watchmen,” written by Damon Lindoff, based off the comic book series. He also co-stars on the CBS All Access series “Tell Me a Story,” created and produced by Kevin Williamson, which was renewed for a second season.  It takes the world’s most beloved fairy tales and reimagines them as a dark and twisted psychological thriller. He also recurred on season two of Amazon’s legal drama series “Goliath,” created by David E. Kelley and Jonathan Shapiro, and starring opposite Billy Bob Thornton.

Wolk is also known for his starring role on the CBS summer series, “Zoo,” which ran for three seasons.  Based on the bestselling novel of the same name by acclaimed writer James Patterson, “Zoo” centers on Jackson Oz (James Wolk) – a young American zoologist, who begins to notice the strange behavior of the animals, leading to a wave of violent animal-on-human attacks across the globe.

In 2010, Wolk nabbed the lead role in the critically acclaimed but short-lived Fox series, “Lone Star” and co-starred on the the Golden Globe-nominated USA miniseries “Political Animals.” Wolk also notably recurred on the award-winning and critically acclaimed AMC series “Mad Men” and starred opposite Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar in the CBS comedy “The Crazy Ones.” Other television credits include “Billions,” “Happy Endings,” and “Shameless.”

Wolk, a native of Farmington Hills, Mich., and 2007 graduate of the University of Michigan drama school, began his career in the CBS/ Hallmark Hall of Fame special “Front of the Class.”

Wolk also appeared on stage in the Tony Award-nominated production “Next Fall,” written by Geoffrey Nauffts and directed by Sheryl Kaller, for its West Coast debut at the Geffen Playhouse.

On the big screen, Wolk made his film debut in Disney’s “You Again.” His film credits include “For a Good Time Call,” “There’s Always Woodstock” and “The Is Happening.” Wolk notably co-starred in the 2015 critically acclaimed film “The Stanford Prison Experiment,” which premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize.

Wolk resides in Los Angeles.

Charlie Barnett

Eric Payne, “Ordinary Joe”

Charlie Barnett stars as Eric Payne, the best friend of Joe Kimbreau, in the new NBC drama “Ordinary Joe.”

Barnett is familiar to NBC audiences, starring for three seasons as Peter Mills on “Chicago Fire.”  Born in Sarasota, Fla., Barnett began performing at a young age, participating in local opera and musical theater productions before graduating from the Juilliard School.

Barnett’s TV career began with guest star roles on “Law & Order: SVU” and “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” before landing his first series regular role on “Chicago Fire.” He then joined the second season of “Secrets and Lies” followed by a series regular role on the CW military drama “Valor.”

In 2019, Barnett starred alongside Natasha Lyonne in the Emmy Award-nominated Netflix series “Russian Doll.”

Other notable TV credits include a series regular role on Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City” as well as guest starring roles on “You,” “Special,” “Orange Is the New Black” and “Arrow.” He debuted on the big screen alongside Will Smith and Josh Brolin in “Men and Black 3.”

Offscreen, Barnett is an avid history buff, enjoys cooking, volunteering, hosting friends and family, horseback riding, sailing, and almost anything involving nature.

Elizabeth Lail

Jenny Banks, “Ordinary Joe”

Elizabeth Lail plays Jenny Banks on the new NBC drama “Ordinary Joe.”

Lail, who also can be currently seen in HBO Max’s reboot of “Gossip Girl,” is best known for her breakout role as Guinevere Beck in the addicting drama “You,” opposite Penn Badgley. The series premiered on Lifetime in 2018 and quickly became a big hit when it moved over to Netflix.

Lail’s other film and television credits include “Countdown,” “Videosyncrasy” and ABC’s “Once Upon a Time.” She made her theater debut in Ken Urban’s Off Broadway play, “Nibbler” directed by Ben Kamine.

Lail is a BFA graduate from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

Natalie Martinez

Amy Kindelan, “Ordinary Joe”

Natalie Martinez plays Amy Kindelan on the new NBC drama “Ordinary Joe.”

Martinez, who will be seen in Warner Bros.’ “Reminiscence” with Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Ferguson, appeared in Quibi’s 2020 action thriller “The Fugitive.” In that same year, she also co-starred in CBS All Access’ “The Stand” and previous to that appeared in the Netflix sci-fi series “The I-Land.” Additional TV credits include “The Crossing,” “APB,” “Detroit 1-8-7,” “Under the Dome,” “Secrets & Lies,” “Kingdom.”

On the film side, Martinez’s credits include “Message from the King,” “Keep Watching,” “Self/less,” “Broken City” and “End of Watch.”

Martinez first gained recognition after being hand-picked by Jennifer Lopez to become the spokesmodel for her fashion line, JLO by Jennifer Lopez. From there, she went on to star in several music videos, and the telenovelas “Fashion House” and “Saints & Sinners.”

Originally from Miami, Martinez currently resides in Los Angeles.

Garrett Lerner and Russel Friend

Executive Producers, “Ordinary Joe”

Garrett Lerner and Russel Friend executive produce the new NBC drama “Ordinary Joe.”

Previously, they were executive producers on “House M.D.,” where they were nominated for four Emmys Awards and won the WGA Award for Outstanding Episodic Drama. Other writing credits include “Glee,” “Home Before Dark,” “Altered Carbon,” “Roswell,” “Rise” and “Boston Public.”

Lerner and Friend graduated from the USC Peter Stark Program in 1995.

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"Ordinary Joe" premieres 9/20 on NBC

Interview with “Curse of the Chippendales” TCA Panel

TV Interview!

Curse of the Chippendales logo

TCA Panel Interview with participants of “Curse of the Chippendales” on Discovery+ by Suzanne 8/16/21

If you grew up in the 70’s like I did, you might enjoy seeing this documentary series, “Curse of the Chippendales” – just for the old scenes of disco dancers if nothing else. You might also like the “true crime” aspects of it. I had no idea that the Chippendales dancers were tied in to several murders and other crimes. Full disclosure: I’ve never been to a Chippendales club or seen nude dancers. I had friends who used to drive up to see them in L.A., though. I never understood the appeal, but watching this doc has explained it a bit.

I was at the TCA press panel for this show, which streams on DISCOVERY+ beginning September 24. There were several people in the documentary at our panel: Read Scot, Former Chippendale; Michael Rapp, Former Chippendale; Candace Mayeron, Chippendales Associate Producer (1981-1987) and Eric Gilbert, Chippendales Creative Director (1983-1991). Unfortunately, these were not the people who actually filmed or made the documentary, which was rather odd. Usually they have the producers or directors, who can talk about making the documentary. Instead, these were all the people involved on the other side of the camera. As someone who usually interviews actors, producers, writers, etc., it seemed very strange. In fact, I asked who created the show, and they thought I meant the Chippendales dancing show in the 70’s! I explained what I meant. They told me that it was an organization called Lighthouse in the UK. Apparently the Chippendales’ original producer, Steve Banerjee, who was a bit of a conman, did some “nefarious actions” in both continents.Steve Banerjee

In the first segment of the show, they talk a lot about famous Playboy model Dorothy Stratten, who was murdered by her husband. I had no idea that she and Hugh Hefner used to go to the Chippendales’ club a lot. Most of us are familiar with her story, either from news articles at the time of her death, or from watching the movie “Star 80.” I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of the documentary and what crimes are linked to the dance club.

Another reporter asked what the movies like “Magic Mike” get wrong in their portrayals of male exotic dancers, so the dancers and producers replied that they don’t really touch on all the hard work they put into dancing, or the excitement of being there as well as crediting Chippendales for starting it all. Gilbert applauded the late Banerjee for his successful marketing in mainstream areas, such as selling Chippendales calendars in places like Target. Former dancer Rapp thinks that what made Chippendales special was how the men catered to the women and made them feel special, even before the dancing started.

Gilbert also praised Banerjee for taking a little dump of a club “in the fringe area of Los Angeles” and making it into a fancy place with men who were dressed up (similar to Playboy bunnies) to make it more classy and make the women feel safe. Mayeron expanded on that to say that “Chippendales was the place where women came to be admired by attractive men, not to admire them.”

MORE INFO:

Premiere Date: September 24, 2021

Curse of the Chippendales tells the story of how the famous dance troupe took the LA nightclub scene by storm and ended with international fame, untold wealth, bizarre murder plots and multiple deaths trapped in their legacy. Their brand became a multi-million-dollar global venture, successful beyond their wildest dreams. But of three unlikely dreamers who were there at the beginning, only one would make it out alive. Driven by extensive video and photo archive, including never-before-seen footage and a nostalgia-filled soundtrack, viewers will be directly transported back to the ‘80s, into one of the most unexpected true crime stories of the decade. And all fueled by one thing: greed.

discovery+ Announces September Programming Slate

August 18, 2021

Highlights Include Curse of the Chippendales, a Street Outlaws Spin-Off and a New Home Series Reno My Rental

New York, NY – August 18, 2021 – discovery+, the definitive non-fiction, real life subscription streaming service from Discovery, Inc., today announced new and original programming that will be available in September. discovery+ will premiere new titles across categories, including the highly-anticipated Curse of the Chippendales, which tells the untold story of the famous international dance troupe. Street Outlaws fans will experience a whole new take on racing with Street Outlaws: Gone Girl highlighting the most competitive female drivers in the country as they come together in Las Vegas. On Reno My Rental, Carmeon Hamilton, winner of HGTV’s Design Star: Next Gen, helps renters make their places feel like home by transforming and personalizing their spaces. Additionally, discovery+ will commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11 with titles including No Responders Left Behind with Jon Stewart and Rebuilding Hope: The Children of 9/11. 

discovery+ features a partnership with Verizon that gives their customers with select plans up to 12 months of discovery+ on Verizon. discovery+ is also available on platforms and devices from Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Roku and Samsung.

About discovery+

discovery+ is the definitive non-fiction, real life subscription streaming service. discovery+ features a landmark partnership with Verizon that gives their customers with select plans up to 12 months of discovery+ on Verizon. discovery+ has the largest-ever content offering of any new streaming service at launch, featuring a wide range of exclusive, original series across popular, passion verticals in which Discovery brands have a strong leadership position, including lifestyle and relationships; home and food; true crime; paranormal; adventure and natural history; as well as science, tech and the environment, and a slate of high-quality documentaries. For more, visit discoveryplus.com or find it on a variety of platforms and devices, including ones from Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Roku and Samsung.

About Discovery

Discovery, Inc. (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is a global leader in real life entertainment, serving a passionate audience of superfans around the world with content that inspires, informs and entertains. Discovery delivers over 8,000 hours of original programming each year and has category leadership across deeply loved content genres around the world. Available in 220 countries and territories and nearly 50 languages, Discovery is a platform innovator, reaching viewers on all screens, including TV Everywhere products such as the GO portfolio of apps; direct-to-consumer streaming services such as discovery+, Food Network Kitchen and MotorTrend OnDemand; digital-first and social content from Group Nine Media; a landmark natural history and factual content partnership with the BBC; and a strategic alliance with PGA TOUR to create the international home of golf. Discovery’s portfolio of premium brands includes Discovery Channel, HGTV, Food Network, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Travel Channel, MotorTrend, Animal Planet, Science Channel, and the forthcoming multi-platform JV with Chip and Joanna Gaines, Magnolia Network, as well as OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network in the U.S., Discovery Kids in Latin America, and Eurosport, the leading provider of locally relevant, premium sports and Home of the Olympic Games across Europe. For more information, please visit corporate.discovery.com and follow @DiscoveryIncTV across social platforms.

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Chippendales dancers back in the 80s

Interview with Carrie Genzel

TV Interview!

actress Carrie Genzel

Interview with Carrie Genzel of “The Walking Dead” on AMC by Suzanne 8/10/21

It was very nice to speak with Carrie! We had a great chat. I was so pleased to see her on the first two episodes of “The Walking Dead.” Don’t forget to watch it Sunday on AMC or AMC+. She plays Clark, an interrogator with the Commonwealth.

We gabbed a lot about non-TV-related topics, so make sure you watch the audio below… the transcript skipped the first ten minutes of chatting.

Suzanne:   So, tell us about your how your audition came about for The Walking Dead season eleven.

Carrie:   Oh, my God. First off, I am so excited to be able to talk about this. I’ve been like holding this in since February, because, you know, you sign a very hefty NDA. Even to audition for The Walking Dead, I had to sign an NDA, as did the person who was reading with me off camera. So, they keep things pretty secretive, as as you know, with The Walking Dead.

It just came about like any other audition. The Walking Dead is a show that, first off, when you’re an actor, and you live in Atlanta, that’s like one of those ones you want to check off and be like, “That’s the show I want to do when I’m here.” And I’ve been a fan of the show since the first season. So, it’s a world that I know; it’s characters that I know. So, anytime I get an audition for something that I’m familiar with, and that I’m a fan of, it’s special. Having said that, you want to just do your best work and then let it go, because you don’t want to put too much expectation into it. And that’s exactly what happened.

I got the material. They kind of piece together stuff that was actually from the scripts, which sometimes is done and not done. Sometimes they make up fake sides or use material from other episodes or what have you, but this was actually real material from that first episode. And, you know, it was just an audition. I just really tried not to put a lot of pressure on myself, because I was like, “I want to do this so bad.” I had auditioned for the show previously and didn’t get it, and I had also auditioned for one of the spin-offs. So, you know, there’ve been times I’ve been disappointed before. So, I just went in with an open mind and did did my best work and then forgot about it.

And I actually really did forget about it, because I booked a recurring role on Sistas for Tyler Perry. And again, this is back in winter when they were still quarantining and so forth. So, with Tyler Perry’s productions, we actually had to live at Tyler Perry Studios and live in a bubble the whole time we were there. So, I was all, “Okay, I’m going to be away from [everything].” I’m like on location, in my hometown, you know, my home city, this is weird. And what’s really funny is I had some time. You know, you’re in lockdown, essentially, and I was like, wandering around the studio lot.

And I walked around, and I’m looking at this area, and I’m like, “Why does this looks so familiar to me?” I’m standing there. And I’m like, “Oh, my gosh, this is the Kingdom. This is where they shot the Kingdom. I recognize that theater with the round balcony, and I’m standing there, and it was very funny to me. I was like, “Oh, this is where they shot that; that’s really cool.”

And it was a day or so after that, that I got a call from my agent saying, “They want you for this role.” And she’s like, “But there’s a little bit of a problem.” And I’m like, “What? No, no problems.”

Now, because of COVID protocols, it’s not as simple as “are you available for these shoot dates?” anymore. Now you have to be available for testing for all kinds of different things, even before going to a wardrobe fitting.

And because I was in this bubble, I was at Tyler Perry Studios, and I could not leave. There was some crossover in terms of dates where they needed me, and so my agent knew how much I love The Walking Dead and what a great opportunity this was. And so, oh my gosh, between her and the casting director, Tyler Perry’s casting director, and the casting director for The Walking Dead in Atlanta, God bless them all, because they all like moved mountains for me to be able to be available when I needed to be available. And I have so much love for Mr. Perry, because he actually moved up my scenes earlier in the week so that I could leave earlier and be available to The Walking Dead so I could do my COVID testing. So, I’m so grateful to him for doing that. Teamwork.

Suzanne:   Yeah, that’s great that they can do that.

Carrie:   And I have to say, working on The Walking Dead during a global pandemic is very surreal. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but driving up to the studio for the first time, and just seeing not prop signs, but real signs that are saying, you know, COVID, masks, protocols, test site. There’s a trailer, you know, all kinds of things that normally would just be leftover props from the show, but were actual real signs and was very weird.

Suzanne:   Yeah I can imagine.

Carrie:   It was very, very weird.

Suzanne:   When the whole COVID thing started, it reminded us of The Stand, because we were in Las Vegas when they filmed the first Stand, and they were filming right downtown where we were staying, and they put all these side fake signs up. So, I know exactly what you’re talking about now.

Carrie:   It feels really bizarre. And, you know, I did a movie for Crackle, called Dead Rising Watch Tower, which was about a zombie outbreak, so, I’ve been down that road. And I was like, “This is so weird.”

It’s no joke, we had to wear – and they may still be doing this, I don’t know – we had to wear tracers. So, if someone did come back with a positive test, they could go back and see who you were in contact with, which was also very weird. So, we’d always have, and they’d always ask when you get to set, “Do you have your tracer?” “Yes, I do.” And we had our masks and goggles, and we had our z shields, and there was a lot of equipment. They kept us really safe, but it is very, very odd, because you’d be working on this type of material during COVID, and I’m sure all of the actors have said that.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I’m sure. So, how many episodes are you in?

Carrie:   I’m in the first two.

Suzanne:   There’s two. Okay, I didn’t know if you were going to come back later for another episode.

Carrie:   I don’t know. I hope so. I feel like there’re so many other fun things that she could be doing. She’s still around; she’s in the community. So, I’m hoping she pops up again, because I’d love to be able to go back. It really was such a great experience for me.

Like I said, having been a fan of the show, it was really cool to be able to step into those sets and interact with characters that I’ve watched for years. They have such an incredible cast on The Walking Dead. I mean, every one of them, at some point, has made me cry. Every single one of them, at some point, has made me angry.

You know, the thing that really grabbed me about The Walking Dead when I first started watching it was the characters, and I was drawn into the characters and what they were going through, and the whole apocalypse and zombie stuff was just kind of a another part of the show, but it for me it was really about that. And, as an actor, it was watching these incredible performances that would just gut you sometimes. [laughs] That seems like an appropriate way to describe that. But it’s really just heartbreaking. There’re so many moments I think for for anyone that’s a fan of this show that you remember, and just like, wow, and there’ve so been so many surprises along the way, too. Like, really, nobody’s safe on The Walking Dead. So, it was just such an incredible treat to sit down in front of the actors that I worked with, and, in my case, really kind of put them through the works.

Suzanne:   Yeah, it’s it’s very well written. I could see why it has so many fans,  because it is, as you say, great characters, and they just write it so well, and there’s always something happening, and at the end, there’s always a shocking thing. It just makes you want to watch the next episode.

Carrie:   And there’s a lot of humor, too, which I always enjoy, because you got to have that humor to kind of release the pressure. That’s what I loved about what I got to do in the two episodes is that what we shot was really intense, but there’re some humorous moments there too.

Also, what I thought was really cool, as a fan, is I got to learn a lot about those characters. Like there are things that I didn’t know and that fans don’t know. So, it was interesting for me that way, where I’m like, “Oh, I didn’t know that.”

Suzanne:   Yeah, they do a lot of revealing in those episodes of the characters that are there with you and what their backstories are. I like that.

Carrie:   Absolutely. Yeah, you find out a lot about them, which I thought was really fun.

But it felt intimidating in the space. It’s a very, as you’ve seen, a very dark set. It was an old empty warehouse, so it was very damp and cold. It was freezing. We shot that in February, and there was actually like a cold snap that gripped through this area, so much so that the first day that I was shooting, they actually delayed our start time, because they were concerned about ice on the road. So, they waited until later in the day when it heated up a little there. And no matter what heat they would put in there, you would feel it, because it would all go to the ceiling. All of us actors that shot on that set will talk about how cold it was. I mean, they do what they can. I have silks on under my costume. I had the little hot shot warmers, and I had them I had them on my back. I was sitting on them. At one point I was giving them out to the other actors. I was like, “I have six of these. Does anyone want one?”

Suzanne:   And you were wearing quite a bit of costume too. It’s not like you were wearing something skimpy, so it must have been cold.

Carrie:   I was just wearing like a blouse and a suit, and there wasn’t really a lot of warmth to it. And for the other characters, when they’re captured, they were stripped of kind of a lot of things. So, they’re kind of in their sort of bare bones kind of costumes as well without all this stuff. So everybody, our teeth were chattering quite a bit. And, I don’t know if you see this in the scene; I haven’t seen it yet, but we could certainly see each other’s breath as we were talking in the room, which I thought, “Well, you know, that works too,” because it looks intimidating.

Suzanne:   Sure. A bit of authenticity there.

Carrie:   But really, I can see everyone’s breath. That’s how cold it was. Every night when I would leave, I would crank up the heat in the car and put on the seat warmers, because I felt like a Popsicle. It was just so cold.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I think it can get pretty cold in Atlanta and that part of the country. We had the big surprise snowstorm in February.

Carrie:   Oh, wow.

Suzanne:   You know, the big one that they talked about in Texas where their power all went out? So, we got that. We didn’t lose power, thankfully.

Carrie:   Yeah, thankfully, no.

Suzanne:   More snow than I’ve seen since I lived in Illinois.

Carrie:   Wow. There’s been some weird weather, some very strange weather.

Suzanne:   So, when you had to keep it a secret, did you have to keep it a secret from your friends and family as well, everybody?

Carrie:   Yeah, you know, some people kind of figured it out being in Atlanta. I’m like, “I can’t really talk about it.” They’re like, “Well, it’s The Walking Dead or Marvel.”

Suzanne:   Well, there’re a lot of things going in Atlanta.

Carrie:   They know that’s kind of what people are not allowed to talk about. It was very funny. Everyone’s very educated.

Suzanne:   That’s funny.

Carrie:   So, now, I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I can’t wait until the cat’s out of the bag, and I can really, really talk about this.”3

Suzanne:   So, what was it like when you had to stay at the Tyler Perry compound?

Carrie:   Oh, my gosh, that was like being in a movie too. I mean, it really was quite the experience. When we checked in, we all had to be there for the duration. They didn’t want anybody coming in and out, and so you were there for the whole duration of their shoot. Now, he shoots incredibly fast. He shoots over 100 pages a day. So, to go from that to The Walking Dead, where we shot far less – that main interrogation scene in The Walking Dead we shot over two days, maybe longer. So, that tells you the difference of pace, but it was really nuts.

You know, we checked in to Tyler Perry Studios, and before we could even get on the lot, they took our temperature. Everyone was in a full on suit. We got in there, and they did a COVID test. They wiped out all of our bags. They were not messing around. We then had to go and sit in the army bunker barracks, where you’re in a room by yourself. It was sealed to say that it was clean. You had to take the tape off that it was clean. And anything that we needed, there was an app, and you would ask for a meal or coffee, tea, whatever. You were not allowed to leave that room until you got your test results back. And then when they brought you your meals, they were in the suit. Even though they weren’t coming in, they still were in a suit. They would put your tray down and knock on the door and then walk away like nobody would interact with you.

So, I checked into the studio about 11:30am, and then, I guess, it was about 10pm or so that I got the text message to say your test came back negative; you’re free to leave the room. And I zip down to there, because I’m like, “I need some fresh air,” and I just went for a walk.

And then we moved into our housing. So, because it was an army base, there’s a lot of housing on on the studio lot. So, I actually got to live in a really cool heritage home with another actress from LA, and we had this big four bedroom house to ourselves, and that was our home away from home while we were there for a couple of weeks.

But everything was self-contained. I mean, they really took care of everything. We had catering and food trucks, and the gym was open to us with bicycles. We could zip around on the lot on in golf carts, and there was a lot of things for us to do and to feel safe. And even though we were all tested several times a week, and we all got tested coming in, we still were wearing masks and just being safe. You know, nobody got sick on any of his productions, so he really kept everybody safe. I appreciated it. And it was kind of weird to leave the bubble.

When I was wrapped, I had to zip into the supermarket on the way home, and I felt like very, “So, I don’t know where you guys have been.”

Then, with The Walking Dead, even though we could be at home, they did ask that we definitely wear our masks when we were out and be safe and to not go out and do a lot of stuff we didn’t need it to do while we’re shooting. So, I mean, it’s really such a privilege to be able to work during this time. So, you do whatever you need to do to keep people safe.

Suzanne:   Well, it sounds like they did a good job of keeping you safe.

Carrie:   Yeah, both productions did a really great job.

Suzanne:   Did you know anybody in the cast and crew of The Walking Dead personally? Or had you worked with them before?

Carrie:   No, I didn’t at all, just from watching, but, no, I didn’t know anyone at all. So, it was very much that first day of school feeling of like, “I hope everyone likes me,” even though I’m not that like role on camera. But, I mean, like they are truly a family, and so everyone was so welcoming. They’ve all had their first day on set, so they know what that feels like. Everyone was very welcoming, and it was a lot of fun. It was a lot of fun just to kind of see everything come to life, and to to be a part of those are those first two episodes in the last season was very cool.

Suzanne:   Now, your character was badass. She got taken down a peg or two.

Carrie:   [laughs] That’s why I think she needs to come back. I don’t know.

Suzanne:   Show the nicer side or something.

Carrie:   A different side of her. She’s just doing her job. I mean, look who her boss is. She’s gotta be a badass. When your boss is Mercer? Come on.

Suzanne:   It’s funny to see in the midst of something like an apocalypse and zombies and all that, to see somebody who’s basically a bureaucrat, like you said, just doing her job, trying to bring order to the chaos.

Carrie:   Well, it’s funny, because when I went through hair and makeup, they were saying they were so excited, because they said, “You’re one of the first characters where you’re allowed to wear nail polish.” Like it was a big deal. [laughs] They were like, “You can actually have a manicure.” That’s a big deal on this show. My hair’s done. It’s not done, it’s perfect. I’m wearing a suit. Clark was described to me as the Scully of the Commonwealth, and I was like, “I’ll take that.”

But yeah, that was the thing that was very odd to me, because when you think of The Walking Dead, you think of a certain kind of wardrobe, kind of like grungy, maybe took it off some dead person. You know, it’s all kind of thrown together, although they still manag to make it look cool. And here I am in this perfect little suit, where I look like exactly a bureaucrat, what she’s supposed to look like, and it was very weird. So, I feel like I’m not really getting The Walking Dead experience.

Suzanne:   Yeah, they should bring you back as a walker or something.

Carrie:   Or something, or I don’t know.

At that point too, outside of the comic book, there was nothing really known about the Commonwealth and what it was and the people that inhabit that community. So, we were all kind of learning as we went along. But, yeah, it was very cool.

Having said that, I didn’t see one walker while I was there. [laughs] Very disappointing. I’m like, “Not even at craft service?”

Suzanne:   Of the two sections of the first two episodes is the two groups. You were in the group that didn’t really have any.

Carrie:   Yeah, we were in the cleaner group.

Suzanne:   I like those guys who were with you; they would look like Stormtroopers, those costumes they were wearing.

Carrie:   Yeah, absolutely.

Suzanne:   Like Star Wars stormtroopers.

Carrie:   They do a little bit. And if you look at the comic book, that’s exactly what they look like in the comic book. They really did a great job of bringing that to life.

But yeah, initially, my character was supposed to be in one of those costumes in the, like, trooper outfit. I was a little disappointed. [laughs] I went in for my fitting, and they brought out this rack of suits, and I was like, “I play Clark.” She’s like, “No, they decided to put you in a suit.” And I was like, “Really?” because I really kind of wanted to be in the outfit. And they were like, “You really don’t though, because they’re not that comfortable.” Apparently, they’re hard to sit down in.

Suzanne:   Oh, okay, yeah.

Carrie:   “So, you’re probably gonna be a lot happier in the suit.” But it’s just, of course, I wanted to be, you know, growing up, and like you said, growing up and being such a huge Star Wars fan as a kid, I was like, “This is my moment. I get to put on the armor.” Maybe there’s hope for something down the road.

Suzanne:   Well, you know, I recognized you right away, because I used to watch All My Children when you were on it. I remember–  it’s funny, you know, it was a while ago, and I remember you being on it. I remember Jonathan Kinder, because I really liked the actor, and that they must have said that name about a million times on the show, too. And I remember that you and Susan Lucci and Robin Mattson, and I think there was another woman. I can’t remember; she actually played Marian, Maybe?

Carrie:   Yes. Jennifer Bassey.

Suzanne:   Right, and then, you had a lot of funny scenes and dealing with him.

Carrie:   Yeah, we did. Those were probably – and people still comment about that whole storyline…We laughed so much during that, because it was so fun to do. I mean, parts of it were so ridiculous, like I think Marian ended up rolling them up in a carpet or something.

Suzanne:   Probably.

Carrie:   And Michael Sabatino was such a lovely man in real life, that it was kind of fun to go after him as a group. It was just such a fun storyline, and, for me, as an actor coming on to that show, getting to work with these veterans of daytime was just such a treat, because that was the first contract role that I had in my career, and it was just so incredible to be able to do that right out of the gate and work with these incredible women and Michael, who I’ve seen on TV for many, many years on different shows. I learned a lot from them. And it really, really was fun to be a part of that storyline.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I bet. Like you said, I still remember it. I’ve watched a lot of TV and soaps, so if I remember some of the details this long ago, then it definitely had an impact.

Carrie:   Yeah, it’s one of the storylines that gets brought up the most when All My Children fans reach out to me; they talk about that a lot. And it was really fun. It’s too bad we weren’t able to do something again, just that group of characters, because people really loved it. We had a good time doing it.

Suzanne:   Well, that’s good. Yeah. That’s important, I’m sure. And with all the acting that you’ve done, the fact that you can look back on it so fondly is good, because I’m sure that not every single shoot you’ve done has been that much fun.

Carrie:   It’s so much more fun than others, but I always look back at All My Children with a lot of fondness. Just, like I said, I learned so much from those actors on that show. And working with David Canary was just incredible. I learned so much. It really was like boot camp; there was no safety net. There were no cue cards, no teleprompters. I mean, we were banging out pages and pages and pages a day. And, you know, I said this going back to working for Tyler Perry, he moves even faster than they did back then on All My Children, but because I had that experience in daytime, it didn’t freak me out to see a huge stack of pages. “Oh, we’re going to do this today.” “What?!”

Although I have to say that the very first day I walked on set of Sistas, nobody told me there was no rehearsal, no camera blocking, nothing that lets you see what happened. And I was like, “What, really? You guys just recorded that?” That was what nobody told me. So, what you see in some of those scenes is the very first time somebody’s walked on set and has no clue what’s going on.

Suzanne:   I’ve heard they do that now on the soaps a lot, because they’re so pressed for time, and then COVID has made it even more so.

Carrie:   Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m sure. You know, the thing is, with daytime too, because you’re playing a character for such a long period of time, you know, for me anyway, it got easier and easier and easier, because you start to learn how your character speaks, how that character reacts to things, and it becomes easier to kind of get into that groove. And you sort of get in that work pace where you’re always moving really quickly, but when you’re out of that rhythm, and you step into another show, and they’re moving like crazy, you’re like, “Woah.” But I say this all the time, my time on All My Children is really, really a part of the foundation of me as a professional actor and how I’m able to sort of go with the flow in terms of changes, in terms of speed, in terms of improv, all of that stuff. It really, really helps me to build up that those skills that I use all the time.

Suzanne:   I’ve heard it’s an excellent training ground.

Carrie:   It’s incredible. Yes, it’s sad to me that there’s so few now, and there’s less opportunity for people to really get in there and learn it, because it really, for so long, was such a great place for new and young actors to kind of get their feet wet. You know? You think of all the actors that have come from daytime TV, and there’s a lot; there’re so many.

Here is the video version of it.

Interview Transcribed by Jamie of http://www.scifivision.com

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The Walking Dead on AMC on Twitter: “A warm welcome from the Commonwealth. Watch the return of #TWD this Sunday at 9/8c or stream it now with @AMCPlus. https://t.co/XjMgWIYVXO” / Twitter

Born in Vancouver, Carrie Genzel has enjoyed a diverse career, working extensively in both her native Canada and the United States, she is most notably known for her role as Skye Chandler on ABC’s ‘All My Children,’ as well as two memorable roles on the CW’s ‘Supernatural,’ and most recently recurring on AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead.’

Carrie has built an esteemed career in film including roles in ‘Watchmen, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, Dead Rising: Watchtower, They’re Watching, and more. Carrie has received widespread acclaim for her performances in both television and film and in 2012, she won the Best Actress award at the Los Angeles International Underground Film Festival for her role of Emma in ‘The Ballerina and the Rocking Horse.’

Off set Carrie is an advocate of good mental health having launched the blog State Of Slay(TM) and becoming an advisory board member for the non-profit Attitudes In Reverse® which brings programming to students on anti-bullying and suicide prevention.

About The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead is an American post-apocalyptic horror television series based on the comic book series of the same name by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard—together forming the core of The Walking Dead franchise. The series features a large ensemble cast as survivors of a zombie apocalypse trying to stay alive under near-constant threat of attacks from zombies known as “walkers” (among other nicknames). However, with the collapse of modern civilization, these survivors must confront other human survivors who have formed groups and communities with their own sets of laws and morals, sometimes leading to open, hostile conflict between them.

Check out our other All My Children interviews!

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Actress Carrie Genzel

Interview with “The Walking Dead” stars

TV Interview!

Khary Payton as Ezekiel, Eleanor Matsuura as Yumiko, Josh McDermitt as Dr. Eugene Porter, and Paola Lazaro as Princess stumble upon a trap in The Walking Dead Season 10, Episode 15 – Photo Credit: Jace Downs/AMC

Interview with Khary Payton, Eleanor Matsuura, Josh McDermitt and Callan McAuliffe of “The Walking Dead” on AMC by Suzanne 8/3/21

This was from The Walking Dead virtual roundtable interview, taking place Tuesday, August 3.

This was so much fun! The actors were very funny and silly. They were clearly having a good time. I wish I could show you the video, but we’re not allowed to. You’ll have to read the transcript below. It’s definitely worth it!

Callan McAuliffe and Lauren Cohan in "The Walking Dead"

Question:   Khary, can we expect any flashbacks for Ezekiel and his time as an actor or zookeeper, this being the last season? I really do hope so.

Khary:   Oh, that’s an interesting question. I would tell you to, you know, expect the unexpected, that there’s so much story that we’re telling, none of which I’m going to tell you about. We all spent these last few months shooting all this thing, and I just feel like it would be wrong of me just to tell you in a Zoom call. So, how about this? How about this? Why don’t we set up just like for the next couple of weeks, like Sunday night? Get together, you know, pour a drink. I’ll tell you all about it.

Callan:   Khary, is it Episode Six where they do the flashback where you fall in a panda enclosure, is it six?

Khary:   Oh my god, you know what? We’re gonna have so much fun. The crazy thing is that a panda is much harder to do CGI, so, obviously, we had to just go ahead and go with the the panda that I keep here at the house. And although he’s not as bubbly; we just don’t have the bamboo here. And, you know –

Callan:   I still can’t believe you managed to outbid Nicolas Cage for that panda. It’s crazy.

Question:   As a fellow actor, I definitely appreciate your sense of humor.

Khary:   It’s incredible. Yeah, I’m excited. I’m excited.

Suzanne: Hi, how many episodes have yet to be filmed? Or have they all finished?

Khary:   Oh, it’s far from over. It’s far from over. We’ve got, I don’t know if we’re quite halfway done; we’re nearing the midway point, but we’ve still got – we’re gonna go shooting well into next year. So, I feel like there’s just a lot of story yet to unfold and yet to be told and yet to even be decided upon, in a lot of ways. So, yeah.

Suzanne:   Do they tell you ahead of time, whether your character is going to make it through the end of this show or not?

Khary:   You’d like to think that, wouldn’t you? It’s funny to be on a show like this one. When you get on a hit TV show, you pop the champagne, and you’re thinking, “Oh, it’s time to celebrate.” This is one of those shows that you get on, and you’re just waiting for that phone call around the corner to tell you that you all of your dreams and aspirations are about to be bashed, and the limousine that drove you here is not taking you back. I hope you didn’t take the Uber app off of your phone, because you’re going to need that to get back to wherever you’re going. So, this this show’s a cruel mistress in that way, that it gives a lot, but it can take it all away in a heartbeat.

Callan:   Did you guys all save Angela Kang in your phones with the skull and crossbones emoji? Terrifying every time she calls.

Khary:   Exactly. We’re just [unintelligible], because she’s got such a brilliant, happy little smile.

Callan:   It’s true.

Eleanor:   That’s how I never say hello to Angela. I just say, “Am I dead? Am I dead? Ok, how’s it going?”

Suzanne:   Thank you, guys.

Khary:   Thank you, Suzanne.

Question:   This question is for everyone. Would you rather your character have the glorious Braveheart death, or would you want to end the series as still a living member of whatever society looks like, in your opinion, if you had it your way.

Callan:   If I had it my way, the character’s death would be so unremarkable as to be remarkable. I would want him to trip in a puddle and to bang his head on the corner of a marble counter and for it to never [get] mentioned again. Mid conversation, just heart attack.

Josh:   Yeah. I personally, I want to die of old age or want Eugene to die of old age; that would be my hope, because I feel like he deserves it. I feel like he is a guy that everyone just expected, even myself included, would be gone after two episodes, because it’s like, there’s no way this guy’s living. And he’s figured out a way. He’s been a little cockroach about it, but I would hope that he dies of old age. But, you know, look, if they do decide that it’s time for him to go, I would at least hope they do it justice and give him a hero’s death, just because I think he does deserve that, if he does go, just based on who he was and where he’s been and kind of how far he’s come. He’s certainly been the hero many times before, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he would have a hero’s death. I just hope that if it came to that they would at least do that for him.

Khary:   Yes, jumping off a cliff, dreadlocks flying, slow motion in the wind. You know, a full orchestral score.

Callan:   Wait a minute, Khary. Did I ever tell you about the way I hope to die? That sounds remarkably similar to my plan for [my] funeral. I plan to gather, tell 100 friends that I died, or have them told, have them gather on a clifftop and then emerge dramatically from the coffin to the [unintelligible] gospel choir and leap gracefully into the sea.

Khary:   You know, we’re closer than we think. I had not heard you tell that, but it does not surprise me. And, you know, I hope to be standing on the same cliff one day.

Callan:   The convoluted aspect of mine is that I wanted there to be a shark tank at the bottom, so that I swan dived into the sea, but landed in the shark tank, it ate me, and then we piece up the shark and fire the shark’s ashes into space after it’s reconstituted my flesh

Eleanor:   Don’t do that to space. Space has got enough trouble with all these rockets going into it.

Callan:   It’d be biomass debris and wouldn’t be nearly so dangerous as flying metal.

Eleanor:   I think, of course, everyone, if they’re going to go, you want the big spectacular glorious death, of course you do. These are our characters. We’ve lived with them; we’ve created them, and they’ve been a part of us for so, so long. If that’s the way you want to go, you want it to be – you want to do justice to the love you have for your character. I’m with Josh though, like, I have to say like, I feel like I want for you Yumiko to have this long, long, happy life. We’ve only just discovered, or about to discover, this whole other side of her past life that she had. I think we always forget in The Walking Dead, especially, because the seasons are so long, but, actually, a lot of the action happens only over a few days or a few weeks. I mean, there’re time jumps and stuff, but a lot of the story happens in these condensed moments, and we sort of forget that we’ve actually had these huge lives behind them. I mean, we learned that Yumiko had this extraordinary education, and she’s basically lived the life that my parents wish I had, if I was smart enough to go to Oxford and Harvard, which I am definitely not. And I’m not saying that that makes her a better person, I’m just saying that it’s this discovery of all this stuff that she still has to give that I think it would be a real crime to not have her live that out in all the ways that she could.

Callan:   I think she should be killed in a fight with someone wielding a judge’s gavel. I think that would be full circle.

Eleanor:   Yeah, if I’m going to die, I want it to be from the past – like, yeah in the courtroom, a gavel thrown at my head. It knocks me off my feet. I grab judges’ wigs as I fall down onto the courtroom floor, and then I get eaten by walkers.

Question:   Is that the penultimate episode of the series?

Eleanor:   Listen, I can’t give anything away.

Question:   My question is for Khary. One of the big things that happen in season 10 is that we discover that Ezekiel has cancer, and he has to deal with some really dark things like a terminal disease and even suicidal tendencies. Is there a possibility that this character might attain some sort of peace or serenity throughout the run of season eleven?

Khary:   I hope so, for Ezekiel’s sake. I want so much for him to find that kind of inner light that seems to gravitate people to him, but, you know, you can’t have victory without adversity. So, here we are trying to just tell a story that’s still captivating. I had this push and pull, because I so desperately want him to be okay and and to just be at the forefront, being the big leader guy, but the thing that has drawn people to him is the fact that his life is messy, and he’s had all of this loss, but he does keep his head up. I mean, he’s lost so much. I think it’s enough to break a lot of people and it’s been nice to know that the journey of this character has resonated with a lot of people and helped them when it comes to dealing with adversity, to kind of set themselves aside and find a companion character to be able to live through and say, “You know what? If Ezekiel can do it, I can do it.” It’s meant a lot to me over the years, to have been a part of telling the story of a character that can be that for anyone.

Question:  This is for Callan; actually I have two. Alden is more heart and likes to build things. Is it safe to say that he grew up in a house where he had to take a lot of responsibility at a young age? And also, my second one is does he feel like Maggie is getting too cold to other survivors?

Callan:   To the first question, yeah, it was always an understanding between me and the showrunners that sort of he, in the early part of the apocalypse, had been going around with his with his brother. I believe it was his younger brother. And I imagine that the dynamic there was that Alden had to become something of a reliable – not necessarily a builder or a blacksmith, but certainly someone that you can trust to get things done and to bring things together. So, that’s certainly been a part of his life, and, you know, given that we see him building all manner of weapons and catapults and that sort of thing, we can assume he had some kind of a training in it. And then, can you repeat the second question for me?

Question:   Does he feel like Maggie’s getting too cold to others? It’s obviously warranted to Negan, because, you know, Allan has seen firsthand what he can do, but Maggie seems to be backtracking a little when it comes to the other survivors. Do you think she’s getting a little cold?

Callan:   I think he’s definitely seeing a side of Maggie that perhaps he didn’t expect, and she has for so long been, I suppose, the fulcrum around which his stability swings, especially in the beginning. And I think he finds that contrast disturbing. Yeah.

Question:   My question is, again, for Callan. Your character was Team Negan in the beginning, and now he’s Maggie. If there is a war to happen in season eleven, which side do you think would prevail, considering Alden’s experience in both those factions?

Callan:   I don’t think he was ever Team Negan. You know, I think he was, as most people in life, a victim of circumstance, and he kind of went where the winds blew him, but I like to think that he’s kind of alighted in the right place, if that makes sense. So, his allegiance should be clear, even when there’s conflict.

Interview Transcribed by Jamie of http://www.scifivision.com

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Previously on The Walking Dead, our survivors confronted past demons and combated new threats, with friendships and relationships suffering from the mounting collateral damage that is the apocalypse. Alexandria is severely compromised, left a former shell of the home it once was from the carnage and devastation left behind by the Whisperers.

Now all who live in Alexandria struggle to refortify it and feed its increasing number of residents, which include the survivors from the fall of the Kingdom and the burning of Hilltop; along with Maggie and her new group, the Wardens. Alexandria has more people than it can manage to feed and protect. Their situation is dire as tensions heat up over past events and self-preservation rises to the surface within the ravaged walls.

They must secure more food while they attempt to restore Alexandria before it collapses like countless other communities they have come across throughout the years. But where and how? More haggard and hungrier than ever before, they must dig deeper to find the effort and strength to safeguard the lives of their children, even if it means losing their own.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to those at Alexandria, Eugene, Ezekiel, Yumiko, and Princess are still being held captive by mysterious soldiers who are members of a larger and unforthcoming group.

AMC’s 11 Weeks of Reveals Until Season 11 of The Walking Dead

AMC released today a new teaser for The Walking Dead as part of AMC’s “11 Weeks of Reveals until Season 11.” The Walking Dead Season 11 premieres Sunday, August 22 at 9pm ET/8c on AMC, and all 11A episodes will air one week early on AMC+, beginning August 15.

Official Trailer  Official Teaser

Additionally, as part of TWDU.com’s “11 Weeks of TWD” where each week leading up to the Season 11 premiere on August 22, a custom piece of artwork will be shared that looks back at significant moments from each season of the show’s decade-long run. The eighth piece of custom artwork is created by artist, designer and filmmaker Micheline Pitt, and can be viewed here.

AMC will drop new reveals – photos, trailers and more – every Thursday counting down to the Season 11 premiere of The Walking Dead on Sunday, August 22 at 9pm ET/8pm CT. All 11A episodes will air one week early on AMC+, beginning August 15.

Khary Payton

In addition to portraying King Ezekiel on AMC’s The Walking Dead, Khary Payton has become synonymous with one of DC’s hottest heroes, Cyborg, having voiced the character for 17 years in numerous television series, DVM’s, games, and the 2018 critically acclaimed theatrical release of Teen Titans Go! To the Movies, based on the number one cartoon series Teen Titans Go! Payton reprised his role of Aqualad and is taking on the new role of Black Lightning in the fan and critically acclaimed series, Young Justice: Outsiders, which premiered on DCUniverse.com earlier this year. Other current voice over roles include laser specialist Wasabi in Disney’s Big Hero 6: The Series; Grimlock in Transformers: Robots in Disguise; and Rafiki in Disney’s The Lion Guard. Payton also voices in the video games The Sims; Reigel in Starcraft; Drebin in Metal Gear Solid; Azrael and Killer Croc in the Batman: Arkham franchise; and Knox from Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Born in Augusta, Georgia, Payton caught the acting bug after seeing a production of Cyrano De Bergerac in the 1st grade. As a teenager, he developed a local rep as a rapper and stand-up comic, sharing the stage with such notables as Tom Kenney and Chris Rock. Payton attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas, studying acting and directing. He stayed in Texas for several years honing his craft in classical and experimental theatre before moving to Hollywood. Payton co-wrote, produced, and starred in the independent sci-fi feature, Astronaut: The Last Push, winning 13 awards on the film festival circuit, including Best In Show at the Independent Filmmakers Showcase and Fargo Film Festivals. Payton took home three awards for Best Actor.

Callan McAuliffe

In addition to his regular series role as Alden on The Walking Dead, Callan McAuliffe can be seen in the feature film Summer Night, opposite Justin Chatwin, Analeigh Tipton, and Victoria Justice, for writer/director, Joseph Cross. McAuliffe was discovered by director Rob Reiner, who hand-picked him to play the romantic lead in the Warner Bros. feature film Flipped. This was followed by roles in DreamWorks’ sci-fi adventure I Am Number Four and Warner Bros.’ The Great Gatsby, as the teenage Jay Gatsby to Leonardo DiCaprio’s adult role. McAuliffe went on to work in the crime-drama film Kite, with Samuel L. Jackson; appeared in Underground: The Julian Assange Story; and starred in the U.K. feature Robot Overlords, with Sir Ben Kingsley. More recently he appeared in The Stanford Prison Experiment for director Kyle Patrick Alvarez, as part of an ensemble including Ezra Miller, Billy Crudup, and Thomas Mann. McAuliffe’s many accolades include recognition as Break Out actor by The Toronto International Film Festival for his lead role in the coming-of-age film Beneath the Harvest Sky, where he starred alongside Emory Cohen; and winning the Young Artist Award for his role as the aforementioned young Gatsby. Additionally, McAuliffe is among the youngest winners of GQ Magazine’s Man of The Year Award for Breakthrough of the Year, presented to him for his work in the performing arts in 2012-2013. Outside of his theatrical career, McAuliffe has also volunteered his time to a list of meaningful charities. Always interested in staying true to his Australian roots, McAuliffe became the youngest Ambassador for Tourism Australia for the Friends of Australia Campaign. The Friends of Australia Campaign include some of the most globally influential voices that have a genuine affinity with Australia. McAuliffe also holds a highly regarded position as a UNICEF Ambassador. Besides his film career and philanthropic efforts, McAuliffe has also added the title of Author to his resume. His first fictional book, The Hill Ghost, is a story that recounts the adventures between two unlikely friends, an old Tibetan Mastiff dog and a delusional seagull.

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The Walking Dead poster

Interviews with HULU stars at 2021 TCA Summer Press Tour

TV Interview!

Michael Keaton and Rosario Dawson of "Dopesick" on HULU

HULU’s Summer 2021 TCA Press Tour by Suzanne 8/6/21

Last week, HULU hosted their TCA Press Tour for three new shows, and one returning show.

First was “Dopesick,” a new drama about the opioid crisis. Based on a book by Beth Macy, the story follows a few different groups involved in the crisis. Legendary actor Michael Keaton is a small town Virginia doctor, Dr. Finnix, who is told by a young drug sales man, Billy (Will Poulter), that this new opioid Oxycontin is not addictive, so he starts prescribing it to his patients (and eventually to himself). Many of his patients are miners, including young Betsy (Kaitlyn Dever).  Rosario Dawson (“The Mandalorian”) plays a tough DEA agent who starts noticing how many people are addicted to opioids and committing crimes in towns where there previously was no crime. Billy and the other salespeople are lied to by the company, PurduePharma, that the drug isn’t addictive, and they’re given many strategies with which to win over the doctors, as well as pitted against each other to make more sales and be more aggressive. PurduePharma, run by the Sackler Family (especially ambitious Richard Sackler, played by Michael Stuhlbarg), uses everything they can to get sales up, thinking that this drug is going to cure pain (and lying about it in the process). Meanwhile, local law enforcement try to investigate and build a case against PurduePharma. It’s a gripping and sad story but also educational

The story was developed by Danny Strong (“Empire”). Strong and Keaton are executive producers on the show. The panel we saw had Strong and many of the cast: Keaton, Poulter, Dawson, Dever, Stuhlbarg, Peter Sarsgaard and John Hoogenakker. Many of the cast members knew people affected by the opioid crisis. Hoogenakker grew up in North Carolina – one of the places hit hard. Keaton grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania.

Dawson read the original book as well as several others to get a feel for the crisis and how it worked. Strong talked about how the story had so much information, particular with regards to the “lying, manipulation and influence peddling,” and as Hoogenakker added, “the lengths that the company went to to stigmatize the people dealing with the addiction that they created.”

Everyone connected to the production clearly took the subject matter and the story seriously and felt a great responsibility to do by it. Having watched a few of the episodes, I believe they did.

One thing I really loved, being a fan of Michael Keaton in “Batman” (and his many other movies, of course), was when Rosario Dawson referred to him as “my forever Batman!”  That was great – especially since she’s been in so many Marvel and DC movies and shows. Make sure you check out this 8-part miniseries when it premieres October 13, 2021. I watched the first half of it and it’s really compelling.

“Only Murders In the Building” is the best of the HULU shows that were covered, and you can find that one here.

"Nine Perfect Strangers" on HULU

This is a weird drama with some comedy in it. Of course, with cast members like Melissa McCarthy and Bobby Cannavale, it’s hardly going to be completely serious.  The show is about a group of messed-up people that go to an exclusive resort called Tranquillum. They soon learn that the resort’s hostess/owner, Masha (Nicole Kidman), has picked each of them carefully to fit in with her ideas for the resort.

I don’t want to give too much away about the show or its characters. Masha, has her own dark past that sometimes haunts her. Melissa McCarthy’s Francis is a romance novelist whose latest book has been rejected. Tony (Cannavale) abuses pain killers because of a knee injury. Lars (Luke Evans) is a gay journalist who wants to investigate the resort.  One character is recovering from a divorce; another one from a breakup; a family is recovering from a teen death. A couple no longer has sex and wonders if they should stay together.

Masha gives them special diets and therapy, but she also does other things without telling them, which is what makes the show interesting. Each of them has a secret that we learn as the show progresses.  Some shocking things happen. It’s very interesting. Some may find it self-indulgent because it involves mostly rich people with problems. I think it’s compelling. It’s never boring.

Our panel boasted Kidman, McCarthy, Connavale, Regina Hall, writer/creator David E. Kelley, and executive producers Bruna Papandrea, Per Saari and Jonathan Levine. Various press members asked them questions about the characters and this “wellness” retreat. The actors related that even though they were acting, the questions they were asked in the show and the therapies they went through did make them think a little bit more about their places in the world – particularly one where they all had to lie down in a shallow “grave.”

Kidman and McCarthy were asked about their experiences doing both movies and TV shows. Neither actress felt that they were all that different. TV is just longer and gives you more opportunity to develop the character.  There was a lot of joking around between the actors and producers.

When filming the show, the actors all flew out to Australia and were quarantined there last year. They filmed at a beautiful place called Byron Bay for six months. They said that nature frequently interfered with filming, such as ants, birds and koalas. Hall shared that many Australian koalas have chlamydia (this is true).

Nicole Kidman kept talking about how the show is “trippy and crazy” and it’s hard to define exactly what it is. Well, It is a bit trippy, but I’ve seen much stranger shows. The show is a drama, for sure, but the characters do some unexpected things. It has elements of a thriller. She was asked about creating her character, who is German and American (and speaks seven languages). Her accent in the show is very different from her native Australian accent.

If you like a good drama that’s also fun, weird, and has unexpected surprises, check this one out.

Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult in "The Great"

“The Great” is returning for season 2 Friday, November 19. I haven’t watched it yet, but it looks funny. It’s apparently a comedy-drama loosely based on the life of Empress Catherine II (AKA “Catherine The Great”), played by Elle Fanning, who wed Emperor Peter III (played by Nicholas Hoult). Season One was where we learned about them and how they got married. He had a mistress, and Catherine tried to kill him, but that didn’t work out. In Season Two, Peter and Catherine get more deeply involved, and she gets pregnant. More Info

Fanning, Hoult and executive producers Tony McNamara and Marian Macgowan were in attendance at our panel. McNamara created the show.  When asked about how the show is created with historical characters, MacGowan replied that they really have three aspects of the show: “a bit of history, a bit of what’s fun to do and a bit of the characters themselves and the stories.”  However, they did see humor in the characters because Catherine (the real person) was funny and had a lot of fun at parties.

Another reporter asked McNamara how many seasons he thinks the show should last, but he doesn’t really think about it that way. He just takes it from one season to the next.  Fanning and Hoult revealed that they do a lot of laughing on the show while filming because it’s so funny.  They were asked about costuming. Fanning’s character is pregnant for a lot of this season, so she discussed her fake “baby bump, ” which was “hot at times.” Both actors love the costumes and find them very fun to wear. Hoult said, “I found that costume-wise … very liberating in many ways and what Sharon designed were really fun costumes, my favorite being what Peter has designed for the baby shower that he throws, kind of a surprise baby shower party, which you mentioned earlier is all kind of shades of baby pink, and blue, and yellow with plumes of feathers and a nice little dress.  So that’s something to look forward to this season.”

They were also asked about how they use the F word so much (mostly for humor) and whether COVID stopped them from doing intimated scenes. They do a lot of testing, so that wasn’t a factor. I enjoyed the press call. I will watch the show one day. I tried to watch the screener they had set up for us, but unfortunately, I had trouble understanding it because of their accents. There’s no closed-captioning on the screeners. I’m not deaf, but sometimes I have trouble hearing the words through accents.

MORE INFO:

The new HULU shows

Hulu Presents Upcoming Original Series ‘Dopesick,’ ‘The Great’ Season Two, ‘Only Murders In The Building’ And ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ At The 2021 Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour

Company Greenlights Comedy Series ‘This Fool’ Created By and Starring Comedian Chris Estrada and Expands Unscripted True Crime Collection With New Documentary ‘Dead Asleep’  and Docuseries ‘Captive Audience’

Premiere Dates Revealed for ‘Dopesick,’ Second Seasons of ‘The Great’ and ‘Animaniacs,’ as well as the Fall Foodie Lineup of Unscripted Series—Including ‘Baker’s Dozen,’ ‘The Next Thing You Eat’  and a Special Holiday Edition of the Award-Winning ‘Taste The Nation,’ Debuting Thursdays

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (Aug. 6, 2021) — Today, during the Television Critics Association’s Summer Press Tour, Hulu presented the company’s lineup of upcoming original programming, including the highly anticipated new drama series “Dopesick,” starring Michael Keaton, Peter Sarsgaard, Michael Stuhlbarg and Rosario Dawson; the second season of acclaimed, Emmy®-nominated comedy series “The Great,” starring Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult; new comedy series “Only Murders in the Building,” starring Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez; and “Nine Perfect Strangers,” the latest limited series from executive producer David E. Kelley and starring and executive produced by Nicole Kidman and Melissa McCarthy—all of which join the company’s collection of premium original content.

The company also announced a series order for the new Hulu Original comedy series “This Fool,” inspired by the life of up-and-coming comedian Chris Estrada, in which he will also write, star and executive produce. Additionally, the highly successful Hulu Originals true-crime collection expands with two new titles announced today—documentary “Dead Asleep” from award-winning director Skye Borgman and “Captive Audience,” a docuseries which explores the evolution of true-crime storytelling through the lens of one family’s journey.

“Breaking out new and distinct voices continues to be a hallmark of Hulu Original programming, and we are incredibly excited to add Chris Estrada to our roster of multihyphenate creators and to bring ‘This Fool’ to our viewers,” said Craig Erwich, president Hulu Originals and ABC Entertainment.

Adding, “Looking ahead, we could not be more proud of the lineup of event series coming to Hulu through the end of the year and beyond. Led by the debut of ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ from the brilliant David E. Kelley and a truly all-star cast, and ‘Only Murders in the Building,’ which marks a return to television for Selena Gomez and two comedic giants—Steve Martin and Martin Short—as well as the incredibly timely ‘Dopesick,’ the return of acclaimed comedy series ‘The Great,’ and a rapidly expanding slate of conversation-worthy unscripted series and documentaries, Hulu viewers will have access to many of the best shows coming to television this fall.”

With 41.6 million total subscribers across live and SVOD as of April 3, 2021, Hulu has gained remarkable momentum over the past year, with the streamer recently earning 25 Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Comedy Series, 10 Golden Globe® nominations across five titles, four SAG Award nominations, six WGA Award nominations and seven NAACP Image Award nominations.

Hulu Greenlights Comedy Series “This Fool”

“This Fool” centers on Julio Lopez, a self-described “punk-ass bitch” who still lives at home and goes out of his way to help everyone but himself. Inspired by the life and stand-up comedy of star and co-creator Chris Estrada, this cinematic half-hour comedy explores Julio’s work at a gang-rehabilitation non-profit and his quest to overcome his codependency issues with his family as he navigates working-class life in South Central Los Angeles.

“This Fool” is written and executive produced by Chris Estrada, Pat Bishop, Jake Weisman and Matt Ingebretson. Jonathan Groff and Fred Armisen also serve as executive producers on the series. The series is produced by ABC Signature.

Hulu Expands Unscripted True Crime Collection With New Documentary “Dead Asleep” and Docuseries “Captive Audience”

“Dead Asleep”

In a ground-breaking new spin on the true-crime genre, the documentary film “Dead Asleep,” produced in association with Sky Crime, flips the traditional thriller narrative to explore a deeper and more troubling mystery: Did a remorseful Randy Herman Jr. really commit a brutal murder in his sleep, or was it a convenient cover story? Pulse Films has secured exclusive access to Herman and his family, the defense and prosecution attorneys, journalists who covered the case, forensic psychiatrists and world experts in violent parasomnia (sleep-walking) to give viewers an inside look at the shocking twists and turns of the controversial crime.

A Pulse Films production, “Dead Asleep” is directed by award-winner Skye Borgman, who is also behind the critically acclaimed documentary “Abducted In Plain Sight” and recently worked with Pulse Films on their Oxygen special “The Case Died With Her.” For Pulse Films, executive producers include Marisa Clifford, Nelesh Dhand and Sunshine Jackson. For Sky U.K., Jack Oliver and Poppy Dixon will also serve as executive producers.

“Captive Audience”

In 1972, 7-year-old Steven Stayner mysteriously vanished on his way home from school. Nearly a decade later, his dramatic return to his family sparked ‘80s-era “stranger danger” warnings, legal reforms and one iconic Made-For-TV-Movie2, in which the family’s ordeal was transformed into a prime-time miniseries watched by 70 million Americans. When the credits rolled and the movie ended, it closed one tragic chapter of the family’s life but opened another.

This limited documentary series explores the evolution of true-crime storytelling through the lens of one family’s 50-year journey and two brothers; one deemed a villain and the other a hero. It’s about how truth becomes story and story becomes truth—on TV, in the justice system and in our minds.

“Captive Audience” is directed by Jessica Dimmock (Netflix’s “Flint Town” and “Unsolved Mysteries”) and produced by Wonderburst and High Five Content. It is executive produced by Anthony Russo, Joe Russo, Jen Casey and Andrew Jacobs, along with Mike Larocca, Todd Makurath, Nick Gilhool and Peter Rieveschl.

Hulu Reveals Premiere Dates for “Dopesick,” Second Seasons of “The Great” and “Animaniacs,” and a Collection of New Series Fare For Foodies—“Baker’s Dozen,” “The Next Thing You Eat” and “Taste The Nation: Holiday Edition”—to Debut Thursdays This Fall

“Dopesick” – Series Premiere, Wednesday, Oct. 13

From executive producer Danny Strong and starring and executive produced by Michael Keaton, “Dopesick” examines how one company triggered the worst drug epidemic in American history. The series takes viewers to the epicenter of America’s struggle with opioid addiction, from the boardrooms of Big Pharma to a distressed Virginia mining community to the hallways of the DEA. Defying all the odds, heroes will emerge in an intense and thrilling ride to take down the craven corporate forces behind this national crisis and their allies. The limited series is inspired by the New York Times bestselling book by Beth Macy.

The eight-episode series stars Michael Keaton, Peter Sarsgaard, Michael Stuhlbarg, Will Poulter, John Hoogenakker, with Kaitlyn Dever and Rosario Dawson. Guest stars include Phillipa Soo and Jake McDorman.

“Dopesick” is written by Emmy-winner Danny Strong (“Empire,” “Recount,” “Game Change”) and directed by Oscar®-winner Barry Levinson (“Paterno,” “Rain Man”). Executive producers for “Dopesick” include Strong, John Goldwyn (“Dexter”), Keaton, Levinson, Warren Littlefield (“The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Fargo,” “The Old Man”), Beth Macy (“Dopesick”) and Karen Rosenfelt (“Twilight”).

“The Great” – Season Two Premiere, Friday, Nov. 19

In season two of “The Great,” Catherine finally takes the Russian throne for her own—but if she thought coup-ing her husband was difficult, it’s nothing compared to the realities of liberating a country that doesn’t want to be. She’ll battle her court, her team, even her own mother (played by guest star Gillian Anderson) in a bid to bring the Enlightenment to Russia. Meanwhile, she’ll also battle her heart as Peter slowly transitions from a much-hated husband to a prisoner? Ally? Lover? Ultimately, Catherine will learn that to change a country, you must let it change you, that there is a fine line between idealism and delusion, and that becoming “Great” will ask more of her than she could have imagined.

The series stars Elle Fanning as Catherine, Nicholas Hoult, Phoebe Fox, Adam Godley, Gwilym Lee, Charity Wakefield, Douglas Hodge, Sacha Dhawan, Bayo Gbadamosi and Belinda Bromilow.

“The Great” is created, written and executive produced by Tony McNamara and executive produced by Marian Macgowan, Mark Winemaker, Elle Fanning, Nicholas Hoult, Echo Lake’s Brittany Kahan Ward, Doug Mankoff and Andrew Spaulding, Thruline’s Josh Kesselman and Ron West, and Matt Shakman. The project is produced by Civic Center Media in association with MRC Television.

“Animaniacs” – Season Two Premiere, Friday, Nov. 5

Hellloooo, season two! Hulu, Amblin Television and Warner Bros. Animation have joined forces once again to bring you “Animaniacs.” This Emmy Award-winning animated series—and one of Hulu’s all-time most talked-about shows on social media—returns with 13 brand new episodes on Friday, Nov. 5.

Yakko, Wakko and Dot return for an all-new season of this iconic, family-friendly series with something for everyone: pop culture parodies, musical showstoppers, takedowns of historical baddies and even some important safety tips. Join the Warners and Pinky and the Brain as they wreak havoc everywhere they go, from the Warner Bros. lot to an international beauty pageant, even all the way into outer space. Keep an eye out for season one favorites Starbox and Cindy, as well as some rejected Animaniacs characters that were left on the cutting room floor.

Steven Spielberg returns as executive producer of the series, with Sam Register, president, Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Studios. Amblin Television co-presidents, Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey, also serve as executive producers. Wellesley Wild serves as showrunner and executive producer. Gabe Swarr serves as co-executive producer. “Animaniacs” is produced by Amblin Television in association with Warner Bros. Animation.

“Baker’s Dozen” – Series Premiere, Thursday, Oct. 7

Passionate amateur bakers will go head-to-head with seasoned professionals in each episode of “Baker’s Dozen.” Join hosts Tamera Mowry-Housley (Emmy-award winning host of “The Real,” FOX’s “The Masked Singer” and Hallmark’s “Christmas Comes Twice”) and Bill Yosses (author and former White House Pastry Chef) for this fast-paced competition series that will determine the best baker of all! Which of the 13 bakers has what it takes to create the next viral baking sensation, win the golden rolling pin and take home the cash prize?

“Baker’s Dozen” is executive produced by Sandy Varo Jarrell, Suzanne Rauscher, Justin Rae Barnes, Tara Seiner and Scott Mlodzinski for Bright Spot Content, an All3Media America company.

“The Next Thing You Eat” – Series Premiere, Thursday, Oct. 21

From chef David Chang and Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Morgan Neville, “The Next Thing You Eat” is a six-episode docuseries that explores the seismic changes happening all around us and what they mean for the way we’ll eat in the future. Chang and a diverse cast of characters dive headfirst into what lies ahead, including everything from robots, to lab-grown fish, to insect farms, to artificial intelligence calling all the shots.

Executive produced by the creators of the Emmy®-nominated “Ugly Delicious,” with showrunner Dominic Musacchio

“Taste the Nation: Holiday Edition” – Season Premiere, Thursday, Nov. 4

In “Taste the Nation,” award-winning host, executive producer and cookbook author Padma Lakshmi, who recently received her third Emmy nomination, takes audiences on a journey across America, exploring the rich and diverse food culture of various immigrant groups and seeking out the people who have so heavily shaped what American food is today. From indigenous communities to recent immigrant arrivals, Padma breaks bread with Americans across the nation to uncover the roots and relationship between our food, our humanity and our history—ultimately revealing stories that challenge notions of identity, belonging, and what it means to be American.

“Taste the Nation” returns this fall for a special four-part “Holiday Edition,” where each episode will highlight unique traditions through the lens of different immigrant cultures and cities, like Korean New Year in Los Angeles and Cuban Christmas in Miami.

“Taste the Nation: Holiday Edition” is executive produced by Padma Lakshmi along with Part2 Pictures’ David Shadrack Smith.

ABOUT HULU

Hulu is the leading premium streaming service offering live and on-demand TV and movies, with and without commercials, both in and outside the home. As part of Disney’s Media and Entertainment Distribution segment, Hulu is the only service that gives viewers instant access to current shows from every major U.S. broadcast network; libraries of hit TV series and films; and acclaimed Hulu Originals like Emmy® and Golden Globe® Award-winning series The Handmaid’s Tale and The Act; Golden Globe Award-winning, Emmy Award-nominated and Peabody-winning series Ramy; and Emmy Award-nominated series Pen15alongside hit series Little Fires Everywhere from Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington, Normal PeopleThe Great, Hillary and Solar Opposites; Oscar® and Emmy nominated documentary film Minding the Gap, Golden Globe-Award winning and Oscar-nominated The United States Vs. Billie Holiday, and critically acclaimed Hulu Original films Palm Springs, Run and Happiest Season. The service also streams live news, entertainment and sports from 20th Television, The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal, CBS Corporation, The CW, Turner Networks, A+E Networks and Discovery Networks – available all in one place. Upcoming Original releases include true-crime-inspired comedy Only Murders in the Building starring Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez and the book-to-screen adaptation of Nine Perfect Strangers starring Nicole Kidman and Melissa McCarthy.

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The major stars in our HULU TCA Summer Press Tour

Interview with “Only Murders in the Building” stars

TV Interview!

Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez in "Only Murders in the Building"

Interview with actors from “Only Murders in the Building” on HULU by Suzanne 8/6/21

HULU invited me to their Summer TCA Press Tour. I really enjoyed all five panels I attended, but this one was my favorite because it was the best show of the bunch.  I really loved it — It’s funny and has an intriguing mystery drama as well as an excellent cast.

I grew up watching Steve Martin (“Father of the Bride” and “Pink Panther” movies) and Martin Short (“Schmigadoon!”) on TV and in the movies (especially on “Saturday Night Live” and “SCTV” while I was in high school). It was quite an honor to see them via Zoom and to be able to speak with them (albeit briefly). Singing sensation/actress Selena Gomez is also a huge star. Even I’ve heard of  her, and I’m not in the key demographics of her fans. They all do a wonderful job on this show.

“Only Murders In the Building” is about a murder that happens in a large New York City building where these three (and many others) live. They start trying to solve the murder and make a podcast out of it. Steve Martin plays a quiet, former TV actor, Charlie.  Martin Short plays a chatty, washed-up Broadway director, Oliver.  Selena Gomez plays a young woman, Mabel, who’s renovating her aunt’s apartment. None of them have a lot of friends, but of course they do have a lot of secrets, which makes things even more interesting.

Other members of the cast include Nathan Lane, Sting, Aaron Dominguez, and Amy Ryan.

Unfortunately, they didn’t let us record the interview, so I can’t share it with you. It’s a shame because Martin and Short were really hilarious (as you might expect). The panel included actors and executive producers Steve Martin, Martin Short, Selena Gomez, along with executive producers John Hoffman and Dan Fogelman. Steve Martin is also credited as co-creator and wrote one of the episodes. Dan Fogelman created “This Is Us” and writes that show as well.

In the show, Nathan Lane and Martin Short have many funny exchanges. In one of them, Oliver is trying to convince Lane’s character that he should invest in their podcast. Oliver says something about how he was young the last time he lost his money, so Lane’s character retorts, “You were 58!” and then a little bit later, Oliver says again that he was young, and Lane’s character points out, “You were pushing 60!”  Now, I laughed at that, even though I’m turning 60 later this year. So, when they let me ask my question of the panel, I told them that I forgive them for making 60 seem old… I was very pleased when they laughed at my joke. I’ve made two amazing, legendary comedians laugh, so now I can die. There’s probably nothing in my life that will top that! 😉

I also asked Gomez about acting in the show, which is her first adult TV series. I asked her to compare this one with her old Disney shows, such as “Hannah Montana” and “The Wizards of Waverly Place.” She said that she couldn’t compare them because back then, she was just so young and had no idea what she was doing. Now she just tries to soak up as much as she can from these great actors, like a sponge.

I was going to make a joke about how we had two of the “Three Amigos!” together again, but someone else mentioned that movie, so I didn’t bother.

Steve Martin revealed that he is a fan of “true crime” shows, and that’s part of how the show was created. Martin Short said that he enjoyed how different the three of them were. They had “different energies” because he generally plays it very broadly, and Steve Martin is very understated, and Selena Gomez has a very dry delivery. They were very excited to get the many stars they have, such as Sting, Amy Ryan and Nathan Lane. Martin Short also disclosed that Sting did some ad-libbing in his scenes in the elevator with Short’s character, Oliver.

On a serious note, Martin and Short complimented each other when answering the question about how they work so well together after all these years. They said that neither one is neurotic, and they’re not competitive with each other. Gomez praised their type of comedy, which is not very dark or or crass (like a lot of humor today). She also admitted that she’s not sure if she’s a very good actor, saying “I have to be honest, I don’t know if I’m a good actor. I just do my job. And I just really hope that I can live up to, you know, these incredible people.”  Steve Martin disagreed with her on that: “When Selena’s on screen, the show is suddenly elevated. It’s more mysterious, it’s more interesting. There’s an old cliché, the camera loves her. And I would say the camera likes me, and it’s fine with Marty.”

Martin and Short have been together for a long time as friends and co-workers. They have a comedy tour and were thinking of doing another movie when this project came up. They’re thrilled to be doing it again. Short called it, “A delightful surprise.”  It definitely is that for those of us watching this great show.

MORE INFO:

ONLY MURDERS IN THE BUILDING
Premiere Date: August 31, 2021 
(weekly release)
Date Announcement Teaser: HERE

Synopsis: From the minds of Steve Martin, Dan Fogelman and John Hoffman comes a comedic murder-mystery series for the ages. “Only Murders in the Building” follows three strangers (Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez) who share an obsession with true crime and suddenly find themselves wrapped up in one. When a grisly death occurs inside their exclusive Upper West Side apartment building, the trio suspects murder and employs their precise knowledge of true crime to investigate the truth. As they record a podcast of their own to document the case, the three unravel the complex secrets of the building which stretch back years. Perhaps even more explosive are the lies they tell one another. Soon, the endangered trio comes to realize a killer might be living amongst them as they race to decipher the mounting clues before it’s too late.

Cast: The series stars Steve Martin, Martin Short, Selena Gomez, Aaron Dominguez and Amy Ryan.

Credits: “Only Murders in the Building” hails from co-creators and writers Steve Martin and John Hoffman (“Grace & Frankie,” “Looking”). Martin and Hoffman will executive produce along with Martin Short, Selena Gomez, Jamie Babbitt, “This Is Us” creator Dan Fogelman and Jess Rosenthal.

HULU PRESENTS UPCOMING ORIGINAL SERIES ‘DOPESICK,’ ‘THE GREAT’ SEASON TWO, ‘ONLY MURDERS IN THE BUILDING’ AND ‘NINE PERFECT STRANGERS’ AT THE 2021 TELEVISION CRITICS ASSOCIATION SUMMER PRESS TOUR

Company Greenlights Comedy Series ‘This Fool’ Created By and Starring Comedian Chris Estrada and Expands Unscripted True Crime Collection With New Documentary ‘Dead Asleep’  and Docuseries ‘Captive Audience’

Premiere Dates Revealed for ‘Dopesick,’ Second Seasons of ‘The Great’ and ‘Animaniacs,’ as well as the Fall Foodie Lineup of Unscripted Series—Including ‘Baker’s Dozen,’ ‘The Next Thing You Eat’  and a Special Holiday Edition of the Award-Winning ‘Taste The Nation,’ Debuting Thursdays 

 SANTA MONICA, Calif. (Aug. 6, 2021) — Today, during the Television Critics Association’s Summer Press Tour, Hulu presented the company’s lineup of upcoming original programming, including the highly anticipated new drama series “Dopesick,” starring Michael Keaton, Peter Sarsgaard, Michael Stuhlbarg and Rosario Dawson; the second season of acclaimed, Emmy®-nominated comedy series “The Great,” starring Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult; new comedy series “Only Murders in the Building,” starring Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez; and “Nine Perfect Strangers,” the latest limited series from executive producer David E. Kelley and starring and executive produced by Nicole Kidman and Melissa McCarthy—all of which join the company’s collection of premium original content.

The company also announced a series order for the new Hulu Original comedy series “This Fool,” inspired by the life of up-and-coming comedian Chris Estrada, in which he will also write, star and executive produce. Additionally, the highly successful Hulu Originals true-crime collection expands with two new titles announced today—documentary “Dead Asleep” from award-winning director Skye Borgman and “Captive Audience,” a docuseries which explores the evolution of true-crime storytelling through the lens of one family’s journey.

“Breaking out new and distinct voices continues to be a hallmark of Hulu Original programming, and we are incredibly excited to add Chris Estrada to our roster of multihyphenate creators and to bring ‘This Fool’ to our viewers,” said Craig Erwich, president Hulu Originals and ABC Entertainment.

Adding, “Looking ahead, we could not be more proud of the lineup of event series coming to Hulu through the end of the year and beyond. Led by the debut of ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ from the brilliant David E. Kelly and a truly all-star cast, and ‘Only Murders in the Building,’ which marks a return to television for Selena Gomez and two comedic giants—Steve Martin and Martin Short—as well as the incredibly timely ‘Dopesick,’ the return of acclaimed comedy series ‘The Great,’ and a rapidly expanding slate of conversation-worthy unscripted series and documentaries, Hulu viewers will have access to many of the best shows coming to television this fall.”

With 41.6 million total subscribers across live and SVOD as of April 3, 2021, Hulu has gained remarkable momentum over the past year, with the streamer recently earning 25 Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Comedy Series, 10 Golden Globe® nominations across five titles, four SAG Award nominations, six WGA Award nominations and seven NAACP Image Award nominations.

ABOUT HULU

Hulu is the leading premium streaming service offering live and on-demand TV and movies, with and without commercials, both in and outside the home. As part of Disney’s Media and Entertainment Distribution segment, Hulu is the only service that gives viewers instant access to current shows from every major U.S. broadcast network; libraries of hit TV series and films; and acclaimed Hulu Originals like Emmy® and Golden Globe® Award-winning series The Handmaid’s Taleand The Act; Golden Globe Award-winning, Emmy Award-nominated and Peabody-winning series Ramy; and Emmy Award-nominated series Pen15 alongside hit series Little Fires Everywhere from Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington, Normal PeopleThe Great, Hillary and Solar Opposites; Oscar® and Emmy nominated documentary film Minding the Gap, Golden Globe-Award winning and Oscar-nominated The United States Vs. Billie Holiday, and critically acclaimed Hulu Original films Palm Springs, Run and Happiest Season. The service also streams live news, entertainment and sports from 20th Television, The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal, CBS Corporation, The CW, Turner Networks, A+E Networks and Discovery Networks – available all in one place. Upcoming Original releases include true-crime-inspired comedy Only Murders in the Building starring Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez and the book-to-screen adaptation of Nine Perfect Strangers starring Nicole Kidman and Melissa McCarthy.

Interviews with HULU stars at 2021 TCA Summer Press Tour

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Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez in "Only Murders in the Building"