Interview with Noah Wyle, Gina Bellman, Beth Riesgraf and Aleyse Shannon

TV Interview!

Gina Bellman, Beth Riesgraf and Aleyse Shannon in "Leverage: Redemption" on Freevee

Interview with Noah Wyle, Gina Bellman, Beth Riesgraf and Aleyse Shannon of “Leverage” on Freevee by Suzanne 11/2/22

I always enjoy speaking with the actors from this great show! This was my first time speaking with Noah Wyle, who joined last season. Note that there are three different short interviews below. Season 2 drops on Free Nov. 16. I’ve seen the first three episodes, and they were even better than last season. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Noah Wyle (Harry)

I’ve enjoyed most of Noah’s roles in “ER,” “Falling Skies” and “The Librarian,” so it was awesome to speak with him. I felt like he was not in the best mood (I’m sure it must be exhausting to go through so much press each time), but he definitely warmed to me.

Noah Wyle

 

Beth Riesgraf (Parker) and Aleyse Shannon (Breanna)

These two were in great spirits and fun to speak with. They shared the wonderful news about Aldis being in more episodes this season.

Beth Riesgraf and Aleyse Shannon of "Leverage Redemption" on Freevee

 

Gina Bellman (Sophie)

Gina was lovely to speak with. Unfortunately, the audio and video was not the best quality. I hope you can enjoy it, anyway!

Gina Bellman

Gina Bellman (Sophie) and Noah Wyle (Harry) on "Leverage: Redemption" on Freevee

MORE INFO:

Amazon Freevee’s Hot Heist Drama Series Leverage: Redemption Returns on November 16 ​​​​​​​Exclusively in the U.S. and UK

Sep 29, 2022
The official Season Two trailer and key art now available

WATCH THE TRAILER 
HERE

CULVER CITY, California—September 29, 2022— Amazon Freevee announced today the return of its fan-fueled heist drama Leverage: Redemption premiering on November 16 exclusively in the U.S. and UK. Leverage: Redemption follows a Robin Hood-esque team of criminals as they stage elaborate cons against wealthy and powerful individuals on behalf of clients who have been wronged. The second season consists of 13 episodes with the first three episodes available immediately and a new episode releasing each Wednesday until the season finale on January 25, 2023. The fan-favorite first season of Leverage: Redemption is also available on demand and as a FAST channel on Amazon Freevee.

In Season Two, corporate bad guys and dirty dealers are stepping on the little guy in their quest for money and power and the Leverage team is back to teach them a lesson. No matter the danger, when someone needs help, they provide…Leverage. This time around, their criminal skills are put to the test by everything from a husband-and-wife team running a multi-level marketing scam and a shipping magnate dumping boatloads of plastic waste to a music producer who abuses his position over vulnerable women.  This season also sees an old friend of Sophie’s unexpectedly coming out of the woodwork, making her question her choices.

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.  Season Two guest stars include Pierson Fodé, Alanna Masterson, Anand Desai-Barochia, Steve Coulter, and Doug Savant.

Kate Rorick serves as co-showrunner and executive producer, alongside co-showrunner and executive producer Dean Devlin, and executive producers Marc Roskin and Rachel Olschan-Wilson of Electric Entertainment. John Rogers and Chris Downey served as consulting producers.

About Electric Entertainmen
Headquartered in Los AngelesElectric Entertainment is an independent studio headed by veteran producer Dean Devlin along with his partners Marc Roskin and Rachel Olschan-Wilson. Electric Entertainment also houses acquisitions and sales divisions, with domestic sales headed up by Steve Saltman and the international division headed by Sonia Mehandjiyska. Electric also has a satellite office located in Vancouver, Canada.

Among Electric’s hit television series are The Librarians and Leverage, which ran for four and five seasons respectively on TNT, The Outpost, which premiered its fourth season on The CW in 2021, and is now streaming on Amazon Freevee, and Almost Paradise, which is currently streaming on Amazon Freevee after having premiered on WGN America. Season two of Almost Paradise is currently in production. Electric’s new series The Ark is currently in post-production for the SYFY Channel. Electric’s spin-off continuation of Leverage, Leverage: Redemption, is currently streaming in the U.S. and the U.K. on Amazon Freevee, as one of the service’s first original programs.

Electric’s Feature Films have included Bad Samaritan starring David Tennant and Robert Sheehan, the award-winning film Say My Name starring Lisa Brenner and Nick Blood, the critically acclaimed documentary Who Killed the Electric Car?, and most recently The Deal starring Sumalee Montano and Emma Fischer. Electric also acquires, distributes and sells worldwide rights to Electric’s produced and acquired content, as well as theatrical films from around the world, including Blood On The Crown, starring Harvey Keitel and Malcolm McDowell, Heavy, starring Sophie Turner and Daniel Zovatto, Rob Reiner’s historical biopic LBJ, starring Woody Harrelson, and Book Of Love, starring Jessica Biel and Jason Sudeikis. The company’s domestic distribution division, headed by Steve Saltman, is a full-service operation serving all significant outlets with various rights to films and series including: TVOD, EST, AVOD, SVOD, PTV, Linear Basic Cable and Broadcast.

Amazon Freevee, formerly IMDb TV
Amazon Freevee is a free ad-supported streaming video service with thousands of premium movies and TV shows, including Originals and FAST channels, available anytime, for free.

  • Expansive Catalog: Amazon Freevee offers viewers ambitious Originals, including Bosch: Legacy; Emmy-winning court program Judy Justice; reality design series Hollywood Houselift with Jeff Lewis; comedy series Sprung; music documentary Post Malone: Runaway; heist drama Leverage: Redemption; spy thriller Alex Rider; and the sports docuseries UNINTERRUPTED’s Top Class: The Life and Times of the Sierra Canyon Trailblazers. Combined with an always updating library of broadly appealing hit movies and TV shows across a wide selection of genres, and a catalog of more than 100 FAST channels, Freevee delivers customers the content they would expect to see on a paid service.
  • Free: The entire catalog of content on the service is free. No paid subscriptions necessary.
  • Limited Ads: Freevee provides customers highly sought content supported by limited advertising.
  • Instant Access: Freevee is available as an app on Fire TV, Fire Tablets, and as a free Channel within Prime Video, across hundreds of devices. Freevee content can also be accessed within the “Free with Ads” tab and “Live TV” tab on Prime Video. Freevee is available as an app on third party devices including Roku, Samsung smart TVs (2017-2021 models), Apple TV 4K, Apple TV HD, Comcast’s Xfinity Flex, Xfinity X1, Chromecast with Google TV, NVIDIA SHIELD and other Android TV devices, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 consoles, as well as LG Smart TVs (2018-2021 models). The app is also available on iPhone, iPad, and Android mobile devices.
Ep 201 – The Debutante Job (Premieres 11/16)
Logline: The team pulls Harry back into the fold to help a journalist investigating the corrupt president of a small eastern European nation. But when the journalist is grabbed, our team has to infiltrate a London Ball to extract him.
Ep 202 – The One Man’s Trash Job (Premieres 11/16)
Logline: The crew finds out that a shady plastics exporter whose dumping threatens local waters is smuggling black market antiquities on his barges, and plots to relieve him of his ill-gotten gains.
Ep 203 – The Tournament Job (Premieres 11/16)
Logline: The team has to infiltrate an e-sports tournament to stop a ruthless team owner from mentally and physically abusing his young players.
Noah Wylie as Harry

Noah Wyle

Harry Wilson

Noah Wyle is an actor, writer, producer and director. He is a multiple Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG Award nominee and winner best known for his work throughout twelve seasons on NBC’s celebrated and critically acclaimed medical drama ER. In his role as Dr. John Carter, Wyle became known to audiences worldwide. Wyle recently wrapped a starring role in Leverage: Redemption for IMDb TV, Amazon’s free streaming service.

Most recently, Wyle starred in Ava DuVernay & Greg Berlanti’s limited series The Red Line for CBS. His work garnered him a Critics Choice Award for Best Actor in a Limited Series. Wyle’s other recent work includes Matthew Weiner’s The Romanoffs, TNT’s critically acclaimed sci-fi series Falling Skies and his long-running TNT series The Librarians, on which he also served as an Executive Producer.

Wyle’s credits include the critically acclaimed roles as Steve Jobs in the Emmy-nominated Pirates of Silicon Valley for TNT. He starred in Oliver Stone’s 2008 drama W in the role of Secretary of Commerce Don Evans. Wyle appeared in the Rod Lurie-directed drama Nothing But the Truth alongside Angela Bassett and Kate Beckinsale. In 2009, he was seen in William Olsson’s An American Affair, which starred Gretchen Mol. He also starred in and associate-produced The Myth of Fingerprints for director Bart Freundlich. Wyle’s additional feature film credits include Warner Brothers’ White Oleander, Columbia Pictures’ EnoughDonnie DarkoSwing Kids and Aaron Sorkin & Rob Reiner’s A Few Good Men.

Gina Bellman

Sophie Devereaux

Gina Bellman is a New Zealand-born British actress known for her work on both sides of the Atlantic. Bellman has recently reprised her leading role in the exciting new season of Leverage: Redemption for IMDb TV, produced by Amazon Studios and Electric Entertainment.

The original five seasons of Leverage for TNT earned her a Saturn Award Best Supporting Actress nomination and a passionate fanbase as the glamorous and ingenious grifter Sophie Devereaux.

Recent roles include Karen in NBC’s Emerald City and crime boss Elena Markedis in the critically acclaimed Sky series Bulletproof alongside Noel Clarke and Ashley Walters.

She starred opposite James Nesbit in the BBC, Golden Globe-nominated limited series Jekyll, and has a cult following for her portrayal of Crazy Jane in the multi-award-winning comedy series Coupling – both written by Steven Moffat.

Her television work includes leading roles and guest appearances in many productions such as Henry IXRipper Street, The Wrong Door, Waking the Dead, Hotel Babylon, Jonathan Creek, Ted and Ralph, Only Fools and Horses and Blackeyes.

Film roles include – Permanent Vacation, Zerophilia, Sitting Ducks, Pressure Points, Married Unmarried, Seven Days to Live, Paranoia, Silent Trigger, Everything I Like, Secret Friends, Leon the Pig Farmer and King David.

Bellman has appeared regularly at the Royal National Theatre in award-winning productions such as The Crucible: director Mike Leigh’s Two Thousand Years: Cleo, Camping, Emmanuelle & Dick and From Morning to Midnight. Her West End theatre includes The Rocky Horror Show, Hamlet, Speed the Plow, Twilight of the Golds and Orson’s Shadow, in which she played the part of Vivian Leigh and as Marilyn Monroe in Insignificance.

Bellman appears regularly at Literary festivals reading poetry and is a repertory performer with educational charity Word Theatre.

Beth Riesgraf

Parker

Beth Riesgraf is best known for starring in TNT’s award-winning drama, Leverage opposite Timothy Hutton, Gina Bellman, Aldis Hodge and Christian Kane; and in USA’s Complications opposite Jason O’Mara, Jessica Szohr, Gregory Fears and Lauren Stamile. Riesgraf recently starred in the CBS All Access show 68 Whiskey, produced by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard. She will reprise her role as Parker in the reimagination of Leverage: Redemption for IMDb TV. She also directed multiple episodes for the upcoming series.

Riesgraf’s other notable TV credits include a recurring role in Stranger Things and as Dr. Maeve Donovan on Criminal Minds. She has guest-starred on numerous shows, including Seal Team, The Mentalist, My Name is Earl, Without a Trace, NCIS, Killer Woman, Perception, The Librarians and How I Met Your Mother.

On the big screen, Riesgraf was last seen in In Search of Fellini opposite Maria Bello and Ksenia Solo. Her previous credits include starring opposite Rory Culkin, Martin Starr and Jack Kesy in Shut In; the silent independent film The White Door opposite Giovanni Ribisi, which she also co-produced; the feature film Alvin and the Chipmunks; and the independent films Nobody and Let’s Be Civil Kenneth. She can also be seen in the web series Caper opposite Harry Shum Jr., Abby Miller and Hartley Sawyer on the Geek & Sundry channel.

Aleyse Shannon

Breanna Casey

Aleyse Shannon will soon be seen starring in Netflix’s anticipated Feature Film Beauty, written by Lena Waithe and directed by Andrew Dosunmu. She recently wrapped production as a series regular on IMDb TV’s Leverage: Redemption. Shannon starred alongside Imogen Poots in Sophia Takal’s Blumhouse-remake of Black Christmas. She received her BFA from the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University. Immediately upon graduating, Shannon had booked a season-long arc in the first season of CW’s reboot of Charmed, a fun guest lead on CW’s Anthology Series Night Time, and a supporting role in the feature Inez & Doug & Kira, directed by Julia Kots.

Credits

Co-Showrunners and Executive Producers
Kate Rorick
Dean Devlin

Executive Producers
Marc Roskin and Rachel Olschan-Wilson of Electric Entertainment

Consulting Producers
John Rogers
Chris Downey

Cast
Gina Bellman
Christian Kane
Beth Riesgraf
Aleyse Shannon
Noah Wyle
Aldis Hodge

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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The cast of "Leverage: Redemption" in a season 2 scene

Interview with “Resident Alien” actors and showrunner

TV Interview!

Chris Sheridan, Alan Tudyk, Alice Wetterlund, Levi Fiehler, Corey Reynolds, and Elizabeth Bowen

Interview with showrunner Chris Sheridan and actors Alan Tudyk, Alice Wetterlund, Levi Fiehler, Corey Reynolds, and Elizabeth Bowen of “Resident Alien” on Syfy by Suzanne 8/8/22

This was from a fun press day to promote the return of the show for the second half of season 2. First there was a TCA panel (Television Critics of America) where all of these actors plus star Sara Tomko (Asta) answered some questions. Then we had 3 junkets with the other actors and Chris Sheridan. You’ll see videos of those below.

During the TCA panel, we saw this excellent trailer that you should watch as it reminds us where we left off back in March!  They also announced, for those of us who hadn’t heard, that the show was renewed for season 3 “due to its incredibly passionate fan base!”  So, yay, fans!  Below are the highlights from the TCA panel.

Showrunner/creator/writer Chris Sheridan shared that they do allow for a lot of improv on the show. He was asked specifically about Harry’s alien language.  Most of that is all Alan Tudyk’s doing. Alan also joked that at the recent San Diego Comic-Con, they expected him to speak in the alien language at the drop of a hat, which he wasn’t prepared to do. He promised that he will learn to do that before the next con, though.

Sara was asked about what her character goes through this season. She replied that they had a lot of scripts to shoot in a very short time (and more than last season), but Chris lets them know ahead of time what their characters will be experiencing, so they can prepare a little better. She spoke quite a bit about being the only person in the main cast that’s not a comedian. She enjoys reacting to them, and laughing at their jokes, but she’s not funny like they are. There’s a point in one of the upcoming episodes where Asta is very happy because of an alien thing that happens to her, and it took Sara a bit to wrap her head around that because Asta is normally not very happy, so she had to talk to Chris to get an idea about what she should be like. She concluded, “I just really tried to make it as organic and truthful in the moment.”   Later in the panel, when the cast were all asked if they ever felt like an alien, she shared that she felt a bit like one, being the more serious person amidst all the comics.

The actors were asked what they learned from their characters. Alice was almost the only one to take the question seriously. She analyzed D’arcy, saying that she’s “self-absorbed” and doesn’t realize how her actions not only hurt herself but others around her.  She’s starting to understand that, and she thinks it’s good to keep that in mind. Elizabeth also said that she’s learned that “listening and observing will teach you a lot more than talking.” That’s very true! I need to learn that, too.

Alan joked that he learned that he loves pizza, but then he explained that he has a lot of food allergies, so they made him special pizza that he could eat. That was very cool to learn because I have that, too. I hope he can learn to make his own pizza or can find some other people to make them for him. At the mention of food, Sara added that she doesn’t like it when actors don’t eat on the set when there’s food there. She has to eat food if it’s in front of her.  Levi and Sarah both agreed that they hate tight jeans. Levi has had to wear a lot of those as his character.

Alan was asked whether he’s content to be doing so much scifi.  Alan reflected for a moment and then said with a laugh that he’s happy. He enjoys all the work he gets. He noted that he did a play in L.A. right before season 2, which he really enjoyed (doing live stage), but the great thing about playing Harry or doing any scifi is that you get to do all sorts of unusual things that you wouldn’t normally get to do. He mused that you can do everything, all in one. “There can be physical comedy, which you rarely ever get to do in television or in film, and it can also be very touching and have very intimate moments.” He went on to talk about how much he enjoyed working with the dog and the kids on the show. He said that the dog is very smart and a good boy.

Then they were all asked the question about feeling like an alien. Alan related it to being invited to a party that you really don’t want to go to, but you have to go and pretend to be having a good time. Corey shared that he has anxiety, so anything social like that makes him feel anxious.  Then Alice did this hilarious riff where she pretended to be a stuck-up socialite going into JC Penney’s for the first time.

Chris was asked about the third season, so he told us that it would be 12 episodes, which he’s already started working on.  It won’t be split up into two parts like season 2 was, and there will be one arc for the whole season. He explained a little bit about how the show was developed. First he envisioned it as 10 episodes per season, going 4 or 5 seasons. Then they had 16 episodes for season 2, which changed things. He added that these shows are “organic beasts” that change a lot, anyway. He explained, “things that you weren’t sure were going to work work really well. Things you thought were going to work don’t work well at all” so you constantly have to adjust for these changes. The show is “constantly evolving.”  He also said that the chemistry of the actors gives you more ideas about how to change the story.

He also spoke a bit about Asta and Harry’s emotional growth this season, which you’ll see more of in the upcoming episodes. Asta has to deal with the fact that she shot and killed someone, and Harry is dealing with the fact that he almost died.

Alan was also asked a semi-serious question about he and Nathan Fillion guest-starring on each other’s shows. Alan replied that it was just their friendship. He joked, “I was never on [an episode of] “Castle,” so I’ve got a lot of making up to do.”

The cast was also asked about whether they were worried when there was a big break in the middle of season 2. They were all fine with it, but some fans were worried and impatient.

The trailer revealed that we’ll see more of Terry O’Quinn’s character. Also, there’s a new detective that joins the show named Lena Torres, played by Nicola Correia-Damude.

Here are the videos from the junket. We all laughed a lot, so I’m sure you will, too.

 

 

 

MORE INFO: Another Trailer

"Resident Alien" poster

Based on the Dark Horse comics, SYFY’s “Resident Alien” follows a crash-landed alien named Harry (Alan Tudyk) whose secret mission is to kill all humans. In season two, Harry is once again stranded on Earth where he must confront the consequences of having failed his people’s mission to destroy the human race. The second half of Season 2 picks up in the immediate aftermath of the shocking action Asta (Sara Tomko) took to save Harry’s life. They must deal with the emotional fallout of the night all while searching for the alien baby – a search that leads to big realizations for each of them. Meanwhile, Sheriff Mike (Corey Reynolds) and Deputy Liv (Elizabeth Bowen) solve a big case, Ben (Levi Fiehler) attempts to sell Patience on a new resort, and D’arcy (Alice Wetterlund) fights the challenge of a lifetime. The series also stars Judah Prehn.

From UCP, a division of Universal Studio Group, in association with Amblin TV and Dark Horse Entertainment, “Resident Alien” was adapted to television by executive producer Chris Sheridan. Mike Richardson and Keith Goldberg of Dark Horse Entertainment, Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank of Amblin TV, Robert Duncan McNeill, Christian Taylor and Nastaran Dibai also executive produce.

Alan Tudyk

Harry Vanderspeigle, “Resident Alien”; Devil, “Devil May Care”

Alan Tudyk stars in the SYFY drama “Resident Alien” as Harry Vanderspeigle, an alien who crash lands onto Earth and must pass himself off as a small-town human doctor.

He also recently voiced the role of Devil in “Devil May Care,” which also aired on SYFY. In addition, Tudyk voices the maniacal Joker in DC Universe’s “Harley Quinn” animated series on HBO Max. Tudyk also voiced Tuk-Tuk in the Oscar-nominated film “Raya and the Last Dragon” as well as Pico the Toucan in Disney’s hit film “Encanto.”

In 2016, Tudyk appeared in Lucasfilm’s “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” as the scene-stealing security droid, ‘K-2SO.’ Directed by Gareth Edwards, the film grossed over $1 billion at the global box office and was the first live action Star Wars spin-off. He also voiced characters in two Academy-Award nominated animated films, playing the ‘Duke of Weaselton’ in Disney’s “Zootopia” and the rooster ‘Hei Hei’ in Disney’s “Moana.”

Tudyk is also the creator, executive producer and star of the Emmy nominated series “Con Man,” which was funded via Indiegogo with a record-breaking $3.2 million donation from over 46,000 fans. “Con Man” debuted at Lionsgate’s Comic Con HQ in 2015 and later aired on SYFY. Loosely based on Tudyk and Nathan Fillion’s experiences starring in “Firefly,” “Con Man” centered on the post-show life of ‘Wray Nerely’ (Tudyk) after “Spectrum,” a sci-fi TV series canceled before its time that later became a cult classic. In 2016, Tudyk, along with Fillion, also launched “Con Man: The Game” based on the series which allowed players to build and host their own comic book conventions.

Tudyk has shown audiences wide versatility in numerous television shows and a plethora of feature films. Recently, he co-starred in the Jay Roach 2015 SAG Award nominated feature “Trumbo,” opposite Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane, Helen Mirren and John Goodman as well as 2014’s “Welcome to Me” with Kristin Wiig. In 2013, Tudyk co-starred in the well-received Jackie Robinson biopic, “42,” opposite Chadwick Boseman as former Philadelphia Phillies manager ‘Ben Chapman.’ He made his feature film debut in 1998, when he first appeared opposite Robin Williams in “Patch Adams.”

Tudyk’s role in the Disney animated feature, “Wreck-It Ralph,” garnered him an Annie Award for his role as ‘King Candy.” He can also be heard in its sequel, “Ralph Breaks the Internet” as ‘KnowsMore.” Tudyk has also loaned his voice to ‘The Duke of Weaselton’ in Disney’s Academy Award-winning film “Frozen,” ‘Alister Krei’ in “Big Hero 6” and ‘Ludo’ and ‘King Butterfly’ on the Disney Channel series, “Star vs. the Forces of Evil.”

His additional film credits also include: “28 Days,” “A Knight’s Tale,” “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story,” “Death at a Funeral” (the original UK version), “Knocked Up,” “Tucker and Dale vs Evil,” “3:10 to Yuma,” “Serenity,” “Premature,” “Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter” and “Transformers 3.” Additionally, Tudyk motion performed the lead robot, ‘Sonny,’ in “I, Robot” opposite Will Smith.

In television, Tudyk can currently be seen in DC Universe’s “Doom Patrol” and season three of Netflix’s “Santa Clarita Diet.” He was a series regular on the critically acclaimed ABC comedy, “Suburgatory” as well as on NBC’s workplace comedy “Powerless” and BBC America’s “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. His work on Joss Whedon’s “Firefly,” has been highly lauded by fans and has gained him a strong cult following. Tudyk also appeared in “Strangers with Candy,” “Dollhouse,” “Frasier,” “Justified” and “Arrested Development.” He also was the host of “Newsreaders,” written and produced by Rob Corddry and David Wain, on Adult Swim.

Tudyk attended the prestigious Juilliard School in New York and has starred on Broadway opposite Kristin Chenoweth in “Epic Proportions,” played ‘Lancelot’ with the original cast in Monty Python’s “Spamalot,” as well as the lead role of ‘Peter’ in “Prelude to a Kiss” opposite John Mahoney.

Tudyk grew up in Plano, Texas and currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife.

He is represented by The Coronel Group and Gersh.

Chris Sheridan

Executive Producer, “Resident Alien”

Chris Sheridan serves as executive producer of SYFY’s “Resident Alien.”

Five-time Emmy nominee and BAFTA nominee, Sheridan has been a television writer and producer for 26 years. He has produced more than 400 episodes of television, including 17 seasons on the Fox Network animated hit, “Family Guy” where he acted as co-showrunner from 2004 to 2009. He remains a consulting producer on “Family Guy,” and has a feature film in development with Josephson Entertainment.

Corey Reynolds

Sheriff Mike Thompson, “Resident Alien”

Corey Reynolds stars in the SYFY drama “Resident Alien” as Mike Thompson, the local sheriff who runs the town with a chip on his shoulder, a cowboy hat on his head and an iron fist.

Reynolds is best known for his role on “The Closer,” which he starred on for six seasons. He will next be seen as a guest star in Apple’s “The Afterparty.” He’s recurred on “All American,” “Red Line,” “Criminal Minds,” “NCIS: Los Angeles,” “Masters of Sex” and “Murder in the First.” He has guest starred on “Seal Team” and “Chicago P.D.”

On the film side, he was last seen on screen in “Straight Outta Compton” and also appeared in “Selma,” opposite David Oyelowo and Common.

Reynolds was nominated for a Tony Award for his performance in Broadway’s production of “Hairspray.”

Alice Wetterlund

D’Arcy Bloom, “Resident Alien”

Alice Wetterlund stars in SYFY’s “Resident Alien” as “D’Arcy Bloom,” the charismatic bartender at the local pub who, as a former Olympic snowboarder, is also a part of the avalanche control team.

Wetterlund has performed her non-yelling brand of comedy nationally at colleges, clubs, and festivals such as Just for Laughs, Bridgetown, Moon Tower, Women in Comedy, SF Sketchfest, RIOT LA, Bonnaroo and more.

She is known for her character “Carla” on HBO’s “Silicon Valley” and played “Kelly Grady” on TBS’ “People of Earth.” She can also be seen in the movie “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” as “Cousin Terry.” She has performed her stand up on “Conan” and currently co-hosts the popular podcast “Treks and the City” with Veronica Osorio. She recently wrapped “Search & Destroy” for Hulu, produced by Carrie Brownstein. Wetterlund can currently be seen on the latest season of Netflix’s “Glow.” Her hourlong stand-up special premiered on Amazon in August.

Elizabeth Bowen

Deputy Liv Baker, “Resident Alien”

Elizabeth Bowen plays Deputy Liv Baker on the hit SYFY series “Resident Alien.”

Bowen was raised on Vancouver Island in Nanaimo, British Columbia. She attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts – West before moving back to Canada to work on improv comedy while pursuing film and television roles.

Bowen credits her role in season two of FX’s “Fargo” as a career turning point. Bowen’s other credits include recurring roles on Amazon’s “Upload” and Hulu’s “Woke,” as well as the Freeform holiday movie “Angry Angel.”

She is based in Vancouver, B.C.

Levi Fiehler

Mayor Ben Hawthorne, “Resident Alien”

Levi Fiehler stars in the SYFY drama “Resident Alien” as Ben Hawthorne, the naive town mayor whose 8-year-old son is suspicious that the new local doctor is an alien.

Fiehler was born in Juneau, Alaska where he trained as an actor at Perseverance Theatre. His career took off when he booked a lead role on “Fetching,” which was an original series for Michael Eisner’s company, Vuguru. Prior to “Fetching,” Fiehler was a series regular on Ron Howard’s series “Mars” for National Geographic. Other work includes “The Fosters,” “Ray Donovan,” “Murder in the First” and “CSI.”

Sara Tomko

Asta Twelvetrees, “Resident Alien”

Sara Tomko stars in SYFY’s “Resident Alien” as Asta Twelvetrees. Strong and sarcastic, she works with Harry at the town’s health clinic.

Tomko is known for her recurring roles on “Sneaky Pete” and “Once Upon a Time,” as well as her appearances on “The Leftovers” and “The Son.”

She started her career in experimental theatre and musicals in Virginia, later moving to Los Angeles in 2007 to pursue film. Her first independent film roles aired on SYFY, and she is thrilled that her TV career has brought her full circle. She is an actor, singer, producer, poet an artist.

Tomko is represented by Bohemia Group and KMR Talent.

SciFiVision’s interview with Alan Tudyk and Chris Sheridan

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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Tudyk, Reynolds, Bowen and Correia-Damude

Interview with Catherine Bell and Tom Stevens

TV Interview!

Tom Stevens and Catherine Bell of "Jailbreak Lovers" on Lifetime

Interview with Tom Stevens and Catherine Bell of “Jailbreak Lovers” on Lifetime by Suzanne 6/1/22

This was from a LIfetime press day covering three different movies. It was great to speak to Catherine Bell, who has been on so many series and in many movies. I’ve spoken with Tom Stevens a few times before. They were both great in this movie. Even though the movie is about two felons, it has a humorous side to it that improves on the story. I enjoyed it. Also, there are many dogs, which elevates it even further.

MODERATOR:  Wonderful. Well, thank you all for coming to our Summer 2022 Virtual Press Day. Please join me in welcoming the stars of “Jailbreak Lovers.” We have with us today executive producer and star Catherine Bell along with her costar Tom Stevens. First up is Tamara.

QUESTION:  Hi, how are you?

TOM STEVENS:  I’m good, Tamara, how you doing?

QUESTION:  I’m good. Thank you. So Toby always followed the rules and did what was expected of her. Can you guys identify with the character’s desire to be carefree, coloring outside the lines, not being perfect, or simply being wild and free for once?

CATHERINE BELL:  Well, I think probably anyone could relate to that.  Hopefully, people don’t resort to this sort of a, (laughs) craziness but, you know, I think there’s always that idea of, like, “Ooh, what if I, you know, broke the rules and did something wild for a moment.” I think that’s what – I wanted to at least give a sense of like – People are always going why would someone do this? Why would someone break the law and do something like this and, hopefully, we give you guys a little insight into where that comes from.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

TOM STEVENS:  Yeah, and I agree. I think that every person needs to kind of check in on their life at some point and go am I coloring too within the lines, o do I need to go outside of my comfort zone, because I think out of your comfort zone, outside your comfort zone is where you really learn who you are.

CATHERINE BELL:  Yeah.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Wonderful. Thank you. Up next, we have a question from Suzanne. Suzanne, you may feel free to unmute.

QUESTION:  Hi. Catherine, since you were a producer on this movie, did you have any influence over the tone of the movie? It’s a little less serious than most Lifetime movies I’ve seen.

CATHERINE BELL:  You know, Katie Boland is our beautiful director. She brought her vision to this, which was this playful and high-energy and sexy and fun spirit. You know, I really — I think Tom and I both really enjoyed making this movie because it had all of that in it. It was just this fast-paced and just wild adventure that these two were on and, you know, definitely you have some say as a producer, but I got to say it all just kind of came together magically. There wasn’t a whole lot to do except become this character on my end, you know.

QUESTION:  And that same for you, Tom?

TOM STEVENS:  Yeah, no, I mean, I didn’t have the same kind of hand in it as Catherine did, but I mean it was what we brought kind of fit exactly what Katie wanted, what Catherine and I were doing, and it was just so fun to just — Like we shot so many scenes kind of like back to back to back to back and we always found like a fun way of connecting as these two people, because in the prison it was like a secret love, and then when we were out in the cabin it was more spontaneous and free, and every single time Catherine and I brought like a really strong connection and, yeah, it was just always fun. You know, every scene was always fun to shoot.

QUESTION:  Well, thanks. It was fun to watch.

CATHERINE BELL:  We joke we want to do a sequel. I don’t think it’ll happen. They’re not together, but we had too much making it.

TOM STEVENS:  Yeah.

QUESTION:  As long as you have dogs. That’s the good thing.

CATHERINE BELL:  Right, exactly.

TOM STEVENS:  Prison pen pals and dogs.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Wonderful. Thank you, Suzanne. Up next we have Jamie. Jamie, you may feel free to unmute.

QUESTION:  Hi, thanks for talking to us today.  So can you kind of talk about when you’re doing something that’s based on real people, like, how — Can you talk about balancing kind of what you pull from that versus what you’re able to creatively add from yourself, for both of you?

CATHERINE BELL:  Tom, you go.

TOM STEVENS:  Oh, you want me to go.

CATHERINE BELL:  Yeah.

TOM STEVENS:  Yeah, Jamie, good to see you again.

QUESTION:  You too.

TOM STEVENS:  Yeah, it’s I think with John, he — like with Maynard, uh, there wasn’t a lot about him.  There’s kind of the story.  There’s a lot of Moll and like of everything that she went through, but for John it was kind of more free for me to just bring the foil to her husband, do you know what I mean? Like I had to represent something that was something that she was missing in her life, and it was a more free experience to build the character rather than actually like, you know, having interviews that I could bounce off of, like Catherine obviously had.

CATHERINE BELL:  Yeah. I, on the other hand, had a lot of interviews, and I watched all the ones that I could find of Toby.  Obviously, I don’t look anything like her so I gave that up quickly.  But there’s an essence to her that I tried to get.  You know, there’s just she’s got that little bit of the Kansas accent and, yeah, just this sweet woman who really just was totally taken by surprise by this guy, and it just completely altered the course of her life.  But, yeah, it was a lot of fun trying to become this woman who is very different than myself.

QUESTION:  Thank you so much, both of you.

CATHERINE BELL:  Thank you.

TOM STEVENS:  Thanks, Jamie.

MODERATOR:  Thank you, Jamie.  Up next is Mike Hughes. Mike, feel free to unmute.

QUESTION:  Okay. There we go. Okay, cool. Probably shortly after you finish this another real-life case like this came up in Alabama where someone escaped with (inaudible). I was wondering did this give you like special interest in it? Did you kind of follow that news story extra special? Do you may root for them or anything like that?

CATHERINE BELL:  I mean, you know, yeah, it was unbelievable that that happened. It was like, okay, life imitating art imitating real life, you know. It’s interesting that this happens a fair amount, you know, that these guys are in this unusual situation in a prison and fall for each other. The idea for me of crossing that line and going, “Yeah, let’s break out of jail,” I mean, really, you’re never going to get away with it, you know. That one ended very tragically but, yeah, it’s just fascinating.

QUESTION:  You didn’t root for them —

TOM STEVENS:  Yeah.

CATHERINE BELL:  What’s that?

TOM STEVENS:  Were you rooting for them, Catherine?

CATHERINE BELL:  Was I (laughs), I mean, I don’t think — no, I wasn’t really thinking about it either way. It was very, very sad, of course, how it ended but, yeah, I would have preferred a happier ending than that, for sure.

TOM STEVENS:  Yeah. And we kind of tell – we kind of tell the fictitious fun side of this, and I mean the true story between Toby and John is, you know, a little darker than this like in reality than the story that we told, and I’m sure that that story was darker, too. So, I mean, we can have with this because we’re making a movie about it but, you know, these people were going through something.  Yeah, it’s more serious when it’s real.

QUESTION:  Okay. Thanks.

MODERATOR:  Wonderful. Thank you, Mike. Up next we have Jay Bobbin. Jay, feel free to unmute.

QUESTION:  Hi, folks. Hi, Catherine. How are you?

CATHERINE BELL:  Hi, Jay.

QUESTION:  Hi, good to see you.

TOM STEVENS:  Hi, Jay.

QUESTION:  Catherine, question for you. You’ve done non-edgy for so many years now.  To step back into something that is decidedly edgy, an actor acts, obviously, that’s their profession, but was it an easy thing for you or did it take working up to this a little bit having done Cassie for so many years?

CATHERINE BELL:  Yeah, you know what? It’s always challenging to me, which is probably why I love acting so much.  It’s never just like, oh, a piece of cake.  Like it’s like, oh, who is this person, and in the beginning you don’t know who they are or how to become them and watching her interviews and kind of just trying to work on that was a beautiful challenge. I really loved it – really, really love stepping into this. And, yeah, edgy, edgy and also a very kind of withdrawn, like kind of toned-down person as well, someone who’s not so confident or whatever. So it was just a lot of fun for me to play all of those things.

QUESTION:  Thanks a lot.

TOM STEVENS:  Yeah, it was fun to witness, actually. It was fun to watch you build the character, yeah, yeah.

CATHERINE BELL:  Thank you. We had so much fun together.

TOM STEVENS:  I know.

MODERATOR:  Thank you, Jay.  Up next we have “Starry Constellation Magazine.”

QUESTION:  Well, Tom, they say you should never work with ids and animals onscreen, and you worked with a number of dogs. Talk about the training you went through for dog training.

TOM STEVENS:  So I’m an advocate for Cesar Mila and everything that he does with behavioral science and dog science, and I have a dog of my own that I have put through a rigorous training, and it comes naturally to me to be around animals and to be like an alpha or like a calm sort of presence with them. So that wasn’t hard for me.  What was when the dogs didn’t care that I was a calm presence or authoritative presence, and they were like my trainer’s behind the camera, and I could do whatever I want right now for the next thirty seconds while the cameras are rolling, and he starts eating a toy in the middle of our scene.  So there’s like there’s certain things that you can’t control when like a dog’s just on the side, and he just kind of starts doing his own thing, but there’s like a lot of things that you can do to just be like the calm presence for the dogs that they respect. They say don’t work with animals because animals are in the moment, and the audience will always be drawn to them, so it kind of forces you to be in the moment with the dog, and then it’s interesting for the audience to watch.

MODERATOR:  Awesome. Thank you. Up next we have Cynthia Horner.

QUESTION:  Hello.

CATHERINE BELL:  Hi.

TOM STEVENS:  Hi, hi, hi.

QUESTION:  I would like to ask both of you this question what is a memorable behind the scenes moment that you can tell us about when you were filming?

TOM STEVENS:  Hm.

CATHERINE BELL:  Hm.

TOM STEVENS:  There were a lot, there were a lot.

CATHERINE BELL:  I instantly thought of the car chase stuff.  That was just so much fun.

TOM STEVENS:  That was so much fun.

CATHERINE BELL:  Yeah. Actually, driving and then on the top of the truck where they’re towing you and you’re pretending there’s so much going on. We had some good laughs.

TOM STEVENS:  And getting arrested. I think I loved the feeling as when we got out of week one, when we got out of the prison. I mean we were shooting a prison movie so a lot of it had to be done on location in this corrections facility, and it felt very much like repeated scenes, like we were doing like similar scenes over and over and over again in this box, and then when we got out of that week it was like this freedom just opened up, and it really felt like the characters got to like go and see new places, and go to different restaurants, and do all this stuff. It was very much what the character is going through. So I love that like transition into the Toby and John being free period.

CATHERINE BELL:  True. I also really loved all the stuff in the cabin. It was just such a tiny, little cabin and our whole crew really bonded. Just it was, you know, just — It was Halloween, too, right, and the crew came in with the crazy costumes on and we were in our Toby and John costumes —

TOM STEVENS:  In our little, yeah — And it like nearly drowned us in rain. It was pouring rain so hard. It was like flooding around the cabin, it was crazy. And then our DP is in a Sumo suit, and it was hilarious.

QUESTION:  Wow, you guys had great stories to tell. Thank you.

TOM STEVENS:  No worries, Cynthia.

CATHERINE BELL:  Thank you, Cynthia.

MODERATOR:  Wonderful. Thank you, Cynthia. Up next we have Rick Bentley. Rick?

QUESTION:  Hi, can you hear me?

CATHERINE BELL: (Inaudible @ 00:14:32).

QUESTION:  Great. I’m sorry. Hey, Catherine, I’m just curious. This sort of ripped from the headlines, it’s something that’s been going on for years, and obviously there’s a big audience for that out there, do you think it’s a situation of people being sort of living vicariously through these wild moments or is it there by the grace of God goes me?

CATHERINE BELL:  Oh, man. You know, I’m sure it’s just that natural curiosity that all humans have of like what is going on in someone’s else world, you know. And, yes, this is a crazy world. It’s something that, hopefully, most people will never experience, and then there’s that other, you know, the concept of what were thinking? Why would somebody do that? So, hopefully, they get a little taste of that with what Tom and I did, you know, just the how they fell in love and what led this to this crazy idea that they might get away with running away together, you know.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

CATHERINE BELL:  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Awesome. Thank you, Rick. Up next is Luaine Lee. Luaine.

QUESTION:  Yeah, Catherine, you were talking about the challenge and how you really adore the challenge in acting, and you’ve been doing it a long time, so what is it that you like best about acting and television, and what do you like the least?

CATHERINE BELL:  In television as opposed to film you mean or just in general, acting?

QUESTION:  Well, just in general acting.

CATHERINE BELL:  Yeah. I think I love so much about it. I love the process. I love the finding the character, and as I mentioned, the challenges of that, it keeps me on my toes and always wanting to improve and be better and even up until the scene is over, you’re still okay, “Well, the next take I want to try this. I want to do that. I want to make this better or different.” I love the camaraderie, and there’s just such a sense of family on these shows that you do together, movies, shows, whatever. You just meet such beautiful people, and so much I love about it. I love the effect it has on people when they’re watching it. I think probably I love the adventure of travel and going to different locations, but sometimes that’s challenging for my family, you know, just to be away so much, so that’s probably, if I could say here’s something I don’t like about it, sometimes that gets challenging. But, again, you just — I’ m so grateful for what I get to do, so I got no complaints.

QUESTION:  So what’s the worst part of it?

CATHERINE BELL:  Yeah, I think that, you know, being along in a hotel room for weeks at a time, especially in COVID.  There was one stretch I took my son to Toronto for “Good Witch”. It was thirteen weeks away from home. I couldn’t go back and forth because of the travel quarantine. That was intense.

QUESTION:  Oh, wow. Thank you.

CATHERINE BELL:  Yeah, thank you.

MODERATOR:  Thank you, Luaine. And then we have Steve (Gitmo @ 00:17:26). Steve?

QUESTION:  Hey, how are you guys?

CATHERINE BELL:  Hey, good.

TOM STEVENS:  I’m good.

QUESTION:  Good. I just wanted to ask how familiar were you or at all familiar with this story? Was it all kind of news to both of you when you got the script?

CATHERINE BELL:  I haven’t heard of it at all. When I started telling people about it a lot of people remembered seeing it on the news. It was on “Dateline” and “Anderson Cooper” and all of that, but I hadn’t heard of it at all. You, Tom?

TOM STEVENS:  Yeah, no, same. The escaping out of prison in a dog crate. I think it maybe a rang a bell but maybe I’m like, yeah, maybe that’s just a logical way to sneak out of prison.  But the case itself I hadn’t heard anything about it, then I started reading the script, and it was just so fun.

CATHERINE BELL:  Yeah.

QUESTION:  And, Tom, can you actually fit in a dog crate?

TOM STEVENS:  Easily, easily. That dog crate was too easy to fit into. I wanted a smaller one. I wanted to do contortion, you know.

QUESTION:  Thanks so much.

TOM STEVENS:  Thank you.

QUESTION:  Awesome. Thank you.  And we’re going to be wrapping here momentarily but I see two more hands are up. Jamie from SciFi Vision, did you have another question?

QUESTION:  Yeah, I can go again. I was going to ask about the dog crate, but so what did the two of you learn about yourselves from working on this show either as performers or just as people in general?

CATHERINE BELL:  Ooh.

TOM STEVENS:  Ooh.

CATHERINE BELL:  Wow. Tom, do you want to answer? I want to think about that.

TOM STEVENS:  I think what I learned about myself was it’s — With all the challenges that came with this there’s a lot of layers to John and playing John, and when I ever felt like I was kind of lost in it all I knew I had to do was connect with Catherine, and I don’t know if I learned that about myself, but I did learn that I can trust in Catherine whenever I feel like I’m lost in a scene. Is that me learning something? I don’t know. I learned that about Catherine.

CATHERINE BELL:  Hm, thank you. Yeah, I had such an incredible time working with you and our connection. It was just really, really special; really, just like you said, you just look in your eyes and it was like all there, and I don’t know.

TOM STEVENS:  Yeah.

CATHERINE BELL:  It was probably just a great realization that I can do this sort of a role, which was so different for me and being able to trust in you and just making that happen. It was so magical.

TOM STEVENS:  Yeah.

QUESTION:  Well, thank you and I enjoyed it, so.

TOM STEVENS:  Thank you, Jamie. We loved it, too.

MODERATOR:  Awesome, and now our final question is from Mike Hughes. Mike?

QUESTION:  Yeah. I’ll just ask real briefly, all your impressions of working when you were in the correction facility there, it looked like it wasn’t a high security one. It looked like it was maybe medium or a low-security facility. Nothing struck you about it there and did you get a chance to interact with the prisoners at all? Were they friendly to you? Just give us your overall impressions.

TOM STEVENS:  Yeah.

CATHERINE BELL:  Yeah. Well, it wasn’t an active prison, so it was actually shut down. So, but still I, for me, it was very — And, Tom, you were the one in the cell, but so cold, so impersonal. I can’t even imagine being in a cell like that for years or for life. It’s just wow, where I really just realized what that experience could be like, just a little taste of it.

TOM STEVENS:  Yeah. Again, it’s an old youth center, so it’s a youth correction center in Burnaby that we were shooting in and all the other prisoners were background so, you know, not actual prisoners, but I did get a chance on my other show in Halifax I got to talk to a lady on our crew who had spent four months in prison that year on a charge that she was serving from years prior. It just all caught up with her, and she’s a good friend of mine and we sat down and just like hatch — She gave me as much insight on what living in prison was like, and I just asked for words that would come up in her mind every day, like what’s something that you would think every single day, and frustration is a big one, and you can feel frustrated places like that because it, like Catherine said, it’s so confined and so isolating, and there’s no time, and you just — It’s very plain and uncomfortable. Like there’s no cushions. So you can imagine a human being whose mind needs stimulation become completely frustrated in a situation like that.

QUESTION:  Okay, thanks.

MODERATOR:  Thank you. And thank you, Catherine and Tom for joining us today. “Jailbreak Lovers” premieres Saturday, July 2nd, at 08:00 p.m., seven Central only on Lifetime. Stay tuned for “He’s Not Worth Dying For” in a moment.

MORE INFO:

Official Lifetime Site and Preview

Inspired by a true story, Jailbreak Lovers follows Toby (Catherine Bell), a woman who always played by the rules. Toby never ran a red light, married the only boy she ever dated, raised a family and went to church. She did everything she was supposed to do. When Toby loses her job and starts a non-profit to rehabilitate abused, rescued dogs at the local prison no one could have anticipated that she would end up on the run, shacked up with her younger lover John (Tom Stevens), a convicted murderer. The star-crossed lovers hatch a plan to break John out of prison by smuggling him out in one of the dog crates, sparking a federal manhunt.

Jailbreak Lovers is produced for Lifetime by Crate Productions Inc. Catherine Bell, Angela Mancuso, Stacy Mandelberg and up-and-coming director Katie Boland are executive producers. Supervising producers are Oliver DeCaigny and Tom Stanford. Boland directed from a script by Anne-Marie Hess and Jodie Burke.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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poster for "Jailbreak Lovers"

Review of “Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Complete Eleventh Season”

DVD Review!

"Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Complete Eleventh Season" DVD cover

“Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Complete Eleventh Season” Review by Suzanne 6/10/21

This is my favorite comedy, since “Frasier” left the air. Yes, “Seinfeld” was very good, but I liked “Frasier” better. “Curb” is better than both. In part, that’s because it’s on HBO. Larry David can come up with these great ideas that would never have worked on broadcast TV.  This season, they had some great guest stars such as Jon Hamm and Tracey Ullman.  One of the new characters, Maria Sofia (Keyla Monterroso Mejia), is polarizing among fans. She’s both annoying and hilarious. More importantly, she makes Larry funnier.  Leon is also one of our favorite characters, and he continues to make us laugh uproariously.

I hope you can enjoy these episodes as much as we did. Each season is only 10 episodes, and it’s hard to wait between seasons while Larry comes up with the ideas and perfects them.

The DVD, unfortunately, doesn’t have any features or extras.  At least, though, you shouldn’t have too much trouble taking off the shrink wrap.

Buy this DVD

MORE INFORMATION:

HBO’s Emmy® and Golden Globe® Award Winning TV Series

Brings Home the Antics

CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM:

THE COMPLETE ELEVENTH SEASON

Contains All 10 Hilarious Episodes from the Eleventh Season

Available on DVD June 14, 2022

BURBANK, CA (April 19, 2022) – HBO’s iconic comedic series, from writer/producer/comedian Larry David, will have you laughing in your seats as Warner Bros. Home Entertainment releases Curb Your EnthusiasmThe Complete Eleventh Season on DVD June 14, 2022. Life will be prett-ay, prett-ay, prett-ay good as you binge on all 10 episodes from the outrageous eleventh season. Curb Your EnthusiasmThe Complete Eleventh Season will retail for $19.99 SRP ($24.99 in Canada) and will also be available to own on Digital via purchase from all major digital retailers. All seasons of Curb Your Enthusiasm are now available for streaming on HBO Max.

Starring Larry David as an over-the-top version of himself, the iconic Emmy® and Golden Globe®-winning comedy series Curb Your Enthusiasm offers a tongue-in-cheek depiction of the writer/producer/comedian’s fictionalized life. With Jeff Garlin (as manager Jeff Greene), Susie Essman (as Jeff’s wife Susie), Cheryl Hines (as Larry’s ex-wife Cheryl), JB Smoove (as Leon), and Richard Lewis and Ted Danson (as themselves), all reprising their roles alongside a rotating cast of familiar faces, including Vince Vaughn (as Freddy Funkhouser) and Tracey Ullman (as Irma Kostroski), Season 11 finds Larry once again seeking and dispensing his own peculiar brand of social justice.

Curb Your Enthusiasm is created by Larry David; executive producers, Larry David, Jeff Garlin, Jeff Schaffer; co-executive producer, Laura Streicher; consulting producers, Jon Hayman, Steve Leff.

10 EPISODES

  1. The Five-Foot Fence
  2. Angel Muffin
  3. The Mini Bar
  4. The Watermelon
  5. IRASSHAIMASE!
  6. Man Fights Tiny Woman
  7. Irma Kostroski
  8. What Have I Done?
  9. Igor, Gregor, & Timor
  10. The Mormon Advantage

DIGITAL

Curb Your Enthusiasm is currently available to own on Digital. Digital purchase allows consumers to instantly stream and download to watch anywhere and anytime on their favorite devices. Digital movies and TV shows are available from various digital retailers including Prime Video, Apple TV, Google Play, Vudu and others.

BASICS

Release Date: Jun 14, 2022

Presented in 16×9 widescreen format

Running Time: Feature: Approx. 330 mins

DVD Price: $19.99 ($24.99 in Canada)

2 Discs (2 DVD-9s)

Audio: English (5.1)

Subtitles: ESDH

About Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) brings together Warner Bros. Entertainment’s physical and digital distribution businesses in order to maximize current and next-generation distribution scenarios. An industry leader since its inception, WBHE oversees the global distribution of content through packaged goods (Blu-ray Disc™ and DVD) and digital media in the form of electronic sell-through and video-on-demand via cable, satellite, online and mobile channels. WBHE distributes its product through third party retail partners and licensees.

About Warner Bros. Discovery

Warner Bros. Discovery (NASDAQ: WBD) is a leading global media and entertainment company that creates and distributes the world’s most differentiated and complete portfolio of content and brands across television, film and streaming. Available in more than 220 countries and territories and 50 languages, Warner Bros. Discovery inspires, informs and entertains audiences worldwide through its iconic brands and products including: Discovery Channel, discovery+, CNN, CNN+, DC, Eurosport, HBO, HBO Max, HGTV, Food Network, OWN, Investigation Discovery, TLC, Magnolia Network, TNT, TBS, truTV, Travel Channel, MotorTrend, Animal Planet, Science Channel, Warner Bros. Pictures, New Line Cinema, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Turner Classic Movies and others. For more information, please visit www.wbd.com.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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.

Larry with Irma Kostroski in Season 11

Interview with Chi McBride

TV Interview!

"How We Roll" cast on CBS

Interview with actors from “How We Roll” on CBS by Suzanne 3/23/22

This was a nice CBS press day – my first with them. I was very happy to be included, even though I was only able to ask one question.

This seems like a fun sitcom, so I’ll definitely be checking it out when it airs tomorrow.

CBS SPRING 2022 VIRTUAL PRESS DAY
“How We Roll” with actors Pete Holmes, Katie Lowes, Chi McBride, Julie White and Mark Gross, Executive Producer
Virtual via Zoom
March 23, 2022
© 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.
“How We Roll” premieres Thursday, March 31st, at 9:30 p.m. Eastern on CBS, and streaming on Paramount Plus.

The show is based on the life of real-life Midwestern dad, Tom Smallwood, who decided to pursue his dream of becoming a pro bowler after he was laid off from his job

There was a video from Brian d’Arcy James, Executive Producer, who couldn’t be there. He told us about how the show came about. He heard about Smallwood because they’re both from Saginaw, MN. He fell in love with the idea of this guy deciding to follow his dream, regardless of the odds against him, in order to take care of his family. They loved and supported him, and so did his whole community. James thought this would make a great story. It’s certainly an interesting idea. I don’t think there’s every been a sitcom about bowling before. There was the comedy-drama, “Ed,” about a lawyer who returns to his hometown and buys a bowling alley…he practiced law out of it. There have been many sitcoms about working class people who go bowling regularly, such as “Laverne and Shirley” and “Roseanne.” There’s never been one that’s mostly about bowling, let alone one that is about a professional bowler. I just hope it’s funny because that’s my main criteria for a comedy. It has to make me laugh, often, or I won’t keep watching it. We’ll see!

I was really happy to be able to ask Chi McBride a question because he’s been in so many great shows I’ve watched and loved, such as “Boston Public,” “Human Target,” “House” and many more. I asked him, “You’ve done a lot of dramas over the past I don’t know, how long it’s been. A couple of decades. But you got your start in sitcom. So, what was it that attracted you to this project?”

He gave me an unexpectedly heartfelt answer. It was really nice. He confided that not only did he “love the story,” but he could relate to it. He said, “30 years ago, I left my successful career at the phone company when I was making $300 a week, against the advice of my broker.” He drove from Atlanta to California to be in show business. He mentioned that he had a lot of confidence. He probably had some money to keep him afloat for awhile, too, is my guess, since he decided he wouldn’t be a waiter or anything like that. He credits that confidence with getting into the business, which he’s worked in for 30 years. He can identify with the situation because everyone thought he was crazy, too, for taking this chance.

He talked about his character, Archie, who is a mentor to the main character, Tom (played by Pete Holmes). He told us that Archie has believed in Tom since he was a child. He really loves characters like Archie and felt that this was “a wonderful opportunity.” Also, he added that he knew all the other people in the cast and their work. He praised them for being both talented and “lovely people at the same time.” He shared that it’s “been a real gas, to tell you the truth.” Going back to my question about having done mostly drama for a long time, he did admit that he hadn’t been “in front of three camera format in 25 years” (that’s how they shoot sitcoms), so he found it “daunting” at first. He gave credit to director Mark Cendrowski for helping him figure it out and get over that bump road. He joked, “it was like riding a bike. Like, when you ride a bike into a tree at first.” He was very funny throughout his answer, and we all laughed a lot. The whole panel was pretty funny. Anyway, he concluded that he’s “just glad to be here” and that the basic story inspired him.

Producer Mark Gross talked about his part in bringing the show to life. He wanted to write something with hope in it. James told him about the Tom Smallwood story. He praised Tom’s beautiful writing about Tom and his story. It really inspired him. He spoke in detail about how he worked on it feverishly (sometimes literally, when he had COVID). He can’t believe that they got such an “incredible, amazing cast.” He thinks Tom’s story is filled with miracles.

Pete Holmes was asked to compare his other show, “Crashing,” based on his early days of trying to make it as a comedian, to this one, since they’re both about someone giving up steady work to pursue their dreams.

Pete answered that he never though of that comparison before. He confided that his parents didn’t seem too concerned about his becoming a comedian. He added, “I don’t know if that’s because they believed in me, or they just weren’t paying attention.” Everyone laughed, so he riffed on that idea for a minute. It was hilarious. Then he told us, more seriously, that his parents were always very supportive of him, and other people he knew ere, too. He believes that you should get rid of the “naysayers” in your life if you want to be successful. He also mentioned that he always saw some other comedians that were unsuccessful because they were always comparing themselves or their careers to other comedians, which he referred to as “comedy cancer.” He told us that Mark Gross and one of the other writers (Tommy Johnagin) are both great stand-up performers and writers. He talked about how he and his wife read the script when he got it, praying that it was good. They enjoyed it and laughed, and appreciated that the wife was not just the usual TV “nagging wife.” It reminds him of the series “Ted Lasso,” in the sense that the wife believes more in Tom than he does. He also thought that the other characters were not stereotypes, either. Back to the question, he said that he’s very grateful that he didn’t have people doubting him when he was starting out. He “was one of the first people to go to college” in his family, so they said that he could do whatever he wanted after that.

Another reporter asked a question, but unfortunately, the actors didn’t answer it seriously. It was a very funny time for all of us, though. He/she asked what the actors found it easiest and most difficult as far as connecting to their character. Instead, Pete joked about the other new CBS show “Beyond the Edge,” saying that “I thought the monkeys that were encroaching on our camp were really difficult.” From then on, it only got funnier. I can only hope that the real show is half as funny as these guys were in this panel.

MORE INFO:

CBS ANNOUNCES NEW COMEDY “HOW WE ROLL” TO PREMIERE THURSDAY, MARCH 31 AT 9:30 PM

How We Roll,” Formerly Titled “Smallwood,” Stars Pete Holmes, Katie Lowes,

Chi McBride, Julie White and Mason Wells, and Is Based on the Life of

Professional Bowler Tom Smallwood

CBS will premiere the new comedy HOW WE ROLL (formerly titled “Smallwood”) on Thursday, March 31 (9:30-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, after B POSITIVE completes its second season order. The series will also be available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+*. Based on the life story of professional bowler Tom Smallwood, the series stars Pete Holmes as Tom, a stoic Midwest husband and dad who gets laid off from a car assembly line and makes the extraordinary decision to provide for his family by following his dream of becoming a professional bowler.

As a skilled player, Tom knows that in bowling you get two chances: no matter what you do with the first ball, you get another one to make it right – the ultimate second chance. Keeping that in mind, he begins his new career with the loving “OK” from his wife, Jen (Katie Lowes); the unfaltering support of Archie (Chi McBride), his mentor and the proud owner of Archie’s Lanes: Home of the Curly Fry; the cautious backing of his protective mom, Helen (Julie White); and the encouragement of his son, Sam (Mason Wells). It remains to be seen if Tom will strike it big on the pro bowler circuit, but right now, the pins are set, he’s taking his second shot, and it’s 300 or bust.

HOW WE ROLL is produced by CBS Studios. Mark Gross, David Hollander and Brian d’Arcy James are the executive producers. Mark Cendrowski directed the pilot.

*Paramount+ Premium subscribers will have access to stream live via the live feed of their local CBS affiliate on the service as well as on demand. Essential-tier subscribers will have access to on-demand the day after the episode airs.

Official CBS website: https://www.cbs.com/shows/how-we-roll/

BIOS

Pete Holesm on "How We Roll" on CBSPete Holmes (Tom on HOW WE ROLL)

Pete Holmes is a nationally touring standup comedian, actor, “Christ-leaning spiritual seeker,” improviser, writer, cartoonist, and late-night host. Most recently, “Comedy Sex God,” Pete’s first book, was published May 14, 2019 by Harper Wave. Part autobiography, part philosophical inquiry, and part spiritual quest, “Comedy Sex God” is a hilarious, profound, and enlightening romp around his fertile mind.

In March 2019, Pete’s semi-autobiographical HBO comedy series, “Crashing,” that he created, starred in and executive-produced alongside Judd Apatow, celebrated its third and final season. “Crashing” was critically acclaimed and followed a stand-up comic (Holmes) who reevaluates his life and enters the New York comedy scene after discovering his wife’s infidelity. Currently, Pete is the host of the wildly popular podcast, “You Made It Weird,” which is a comedic exploration of the meaning of life with guests ranging from Deepak Chopra and Elizabeth Gilbert, to Seth Rogen and Garry Shandling. With more than 660 episodes, “You Made It Weird” has been downloaded over six million times and is recognized annually as a top podcast.

Since 2011, Pete has starred in CollegeHumor’s hilarious web series, “Badman.” “Badman” parodies the Christopher Nolan Batman films, with Pete playing the Caped Crusader as oblivious and incompetent, much to the annoyance of friends and foes alike. Pete also provided the voice for the talking baby in the award-winning E*TRADE ad-campaign.

An accomplished standup, with three hour-long television specials (HBO’s “Pete Holmes: Dirty Clean,” HBO’s “Pete Holmes: Faces and Sounds,” and Comedy Central’s “Pete Holmes: Nice Try, The Devil!”) and innumerous late-night appearances, Pete also hosted his own late-night TBS talk show, “The Pete Holmes Show,” that aired for two seasons. Pete has written for several television series, including “The Simpsons” and “Outsourced,” and many of his cartoons have been published in “The New Yorker,” which he thinks is pretty neat.

Currently, Holmes lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter. His birthday is March 30. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter @peteholmes.

Chi McBride as "Archie" from the CBS series HOW WE ROLL, premiering Thursday, March 31 (9:30-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on demand on the CBS app and Paramount+. Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS ©2021 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.Chi McBride (Archie in HOW WE ROLL)

A prolific actor in both television and film, Chi McBride most recently starred in the hit series “Hawaii Five-0” as Captain Lou Grover, on the Network.

McBride’s extensive feature credits include “I, Robot,” “The Terminal,” “Draft Day” with Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner, “Annapolis,” “The Kid” with Bruce Willis, “Gone in Sixty Seconds” with Nick Cage, “The Distinguished Gentleman” with Eddie Murphy, and the Oscar-nominated “What’s Love Got to Do With It.”

He is also known for his principal roles in Bryan Fuller’s “Pushing Daisies” and David E. Kelley’s “Boston Public.” McBride has also lent his voice to the Marvel world playing the iconic ‘Nick Fury’ in multiple animated series, including “Avengers Assemble.”

McBride is from Chicago and currently resides in Los Angeles. His birthday is Sept. 23.

Katie Lowes as "Jen" from the CBS series HOW WE ROLL, premiering Thursday, March 31 (9:30-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on demand on the CBS app and Paramount+. Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS ©2021 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.Katie Lowes (Jen on HOW WE ROLL)

Katie Lowes is a force on both stage and screen. She is perhaps best known for starring as ‘Quinn Perkins’ for the entire seven seasons of the hit series “Scandal.” Lowes starred opposite a stellar cast including Kerry Washington and Tony Goldwyn in the fan favorite series created by Shonda Rhimes.

Recently, Lowes starred in the original television movie CHRISTMAS TAKES FLIGHT, on the Network. Currently, she stars in Shonda Rhimes’s Netflix series “Inventing Anna,” alongside Anna Chlumsky, Julia Garner and Laverne Cox.

Lowes is in the fourth season of her popular parenting podcast, “Katie’s Crib,” which is produced by Shondaland in partnership with iHeartRadio. “Katie’s Crib,” which launched in Spring 2018, is a weekly podcast covering the unexpected joys, pains, foibles, and hilarity of new motherhood. Each episode highlights a specific parenting issue from a variety of different points of view. Lowes conducts frank, intimate conversation with fellow moms (such as A-List actresses Kristen Bell, America Ferrera, and more) about the ups and downs of being a new parent.

In summer 2021, Lowes lent her voice to Netflix’s animated film “Vivo.” The film also featured voices from Lin-Manuel Miranda, Zoe Saldana, Gloria Estefan, Nicole Byer and more, with Miranda writing several songs for the movie.

In fall 2018, Lowes made her Broadway debut, starring in the Tony-nominated musical “Waitress,” with Katharine McPhee. Lowes played the role of ‘Dawn’ opposite her real-life husband, actor Adam Shapiro.

Lowes is no stranger to the big or small screen. Over the years she has appeared in big budget films, such as Disney’s “Ralph Breaks the Internet” and Dreamworks’ “Transformers 2,” Bad Robot’s “Super 8” directed by JJ Abrams and was the voice of Abigail in the 2015 Academy Award-winning animated feature film “Big Hero 6.” In addition, she voiced an animated character in the 2015 Academy Award-winning animated short film, “Feast,” as well as the Oscar-nominated Disney film “Wreck It Ralph.” Lowes was the inspiration behind the motion and movement work for Idina Menzel’s character, Elsa, in the movie “Frozen.”

Additionally, she has appeared in several independent films, including “Dinner for Four,” “The Job,” “Callers” and “Bear” and “Café.” She has been a guest star on hit series, such as “The Closer,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Private Practice,” “Leverage,” “Castle,” “The Sopranos,” “NCIS,” on the Network, and was a series regular on “Easy Money,” created by producers of “The Sopranos.”

Lowes is regularly seen guest co-hosting “Live with Kelly and Ryan” alongside Ryan Seacrest.

Born in Queens, New York, Lowes is a graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Lowes is the co-artistic director of IAMA Theatre Company, which was named one of the top 20 regional theatres in the country. IAMA is in the midst of its 13th season in Los Angeles.

Currently, Lowes lives in Los Angeles with her husband. Her birthday is Sept. 22. Follow her on Twitter @KatieQLowes and on Instagram @ktqlowes.

Julie White as "Helen" from the CBS series HOW WE ROLL, premiering Thursday, March 31 (9:30-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on demand on the CBS app and Paramount+. Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS ©2021 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Julie White (Helen on HOW WE ROLL)

 Julie White is a Tony Award winner for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play for her role in “The Little Dog Laughed,” and starred in Joe Mantello’s 2015 production of Lisa D’Amour’s play “Airline Highway,” for which she was nominated for Tony, Drama Desk and Drama League awards.

Tony-nominated for her performance in the 2019 Taylor Mac-created “Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus” on Broadway opposite Nathan Lane, White earlier starred on Broadway in Lucas Hnath’s “A Doll’s House 2” with Stephen Henderson and Jane Houdyshell, and opposite Matthew Broderick and Annaleigh Ashford in the revival of A.R. Gurney’s “Sylvia” for director Dan Sullivan.

White’s additional Broadway credits include “Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike,” “The Heidi Chronicles,” and Off-Broadway credits “The Understudy” and “Fiction” for The Roundabout, “Twelfth Night” at The Delacorte for The Public Theatre and “Bad Dates” for Playwrights Horizons, to name some favorites. She won an Obie Award, The Elliot Norton Award, the Ovation Award and been nominated multiple times for Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, and Drama League Awards.

On television, White recurred as Antoinette, “Nurse Jackie”s AA sponsor; opposite John Goodman in the Garry Trudeau/Amazon series “Alpha House”; and spent a season on “Go On” opposite Matthew Perry, for which she won the Gracie Award. Other memorable TV roles are Mitzi Dalton Huntley in Alan Ball’s “Six Feet Under,” Nadine Swoboda on “Grace Under Fire,” Dr. Anne Morella on “Law & Order: SVU” and comedy appearances on cult favorites “You’re the Worst” and “Man Seeking Woman.”

Coming up, in addition to HOW WE ROLL, White will appear in the new Apple + series “Roar” among an all-star cast, including Nicole Kidman and Cynthia Erivo, as well as the Apple+ miniseries “WeCrashed” opposite Anne Hathaway. Other television credits include White starring opposite Kiefer Sutherland and Anthony Edwards on the final season of “Designated Survivor” and appearing in the critically acclaimed limited series “Mrs. America,” with Cate Blanchett and Sarah Paulson.

On the big screen, White appeared in “Lincoln” for Steven Spielberg opposite Daniel Day Lewis and Sally Field, in addition to being a staple on the indie scene in such festival films as “Breaking Upwards,” “Hello I Must Be Going,” “Morning,” “My Idiot Brother” and “Life Partners.” Additional studio features include the massively successful “Transformers” franchise, “Michael Clayton” opposite George Clooney, “The Astronaut Farmer” with Billy Bob Thornton, and the animated film “Monsters and Aliens”.

White resides in Northern Westchester, NY, when not filming. Her birthday is June 4. Follow her on Instagram @missjuliewhite.

Mark Gross, producer/writer for "How We Roll" on CBS.

Mark Gross is a producer and writer, known for Mike & Molly (2010), Man with a Plan (2016) and Gary Unmarried (2008).

 

 

 

 

 

PETE HOLMES STARS IN THE NEW COMEDY INSPIRED BY THE LIFE OF PROFESSIONAL BOWLER TOM SMALLWOOD, WHO MAKES THE EXTRAORDINARY DECISION TO FOLLOW HIS DREAM OF BECOMING A PROFESSIONAL BOWLER, ON THE SERIES PREMIERE OF “HOW WE ROLL,” THURSDAY, MARCH 31

Katie Lowes, Chi McBride, Julie White and Mason Wells Also Star

“Pilot” – Pete Holmes stars in a new comedy inspired by the life of professional bowler Tom Smallwood, who gets laid off from his factory job and makes the extraordinary decision to follow his dream of becoming a professional bowler, on the series premiere of the CBS Original series HOW WE ROLL, Thursday, March 31 (9:30-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+*. Katie Lowes, Chi McBride, Julie White and Mason Wells also star.

As a skilled player, Tom (Holmes) knows that in bowling you get two chances; no matter what you do with the first ball, you get another one to make it right – the ultimate second chance. Keeping that in mind, Tom begins his new career with the loving okay from his wife, Jen (Lowes); the unfaltering support of Archie (McBride), his mentor and the proud owner of Archie’s Lanes: Home of the Curly Fry; the cautious backing of his protective mom, Helen (White); and the encouragement of his son, Sam (Wells). It remains to be seen if Tom will strike it big on the Pro Bowler circuit, but right now, the pins are set, he’s taking his second shot and it’s 300 or bust!

REGULAR CAST:

Pete Holmes (Tom)
Katie Lowes (Jen)
Chi McBride (Archie)
Julie White (Helen)
Mason Wells (Sam)

RECURRING CAST:

Tahj Mowry (Lewell)
Amanda Perez (Tia)
Greg Romero Wilson (William)
Matt McCarthy (Carl)
Judy Kain (Mimi)

WRITTEN BY: Mark Gross

DIRECTED BY: Mark Cendrowski

TOM MUST CHOOSE BETWEEN LOYALTY TO ARCHIE, HIS MENTOR AND COACH, AND MONEY WHEN HE’S OFFERED A NEW SPONSORSHIP DEAL, BUT HE CAN ONLY FEATURE ONE LOGO ON HIS BOWLING SHIRT, ON “HOW WE ROLL,” THURSDAY, APRIL 7

“The Sponsor” – Tom must choose between loyalty to his mentor, Archie, and money when his first TV interview leads to a new sponsorship deal, but he can only feature one logo on his bowling shirt: Archie Lanes, Home of the Curly Fry, or Powell Mortuary. Also, Jen’s boss stifles her creativity at the salon, on the CBS Original series HOW WE ROLL, Thursday, April 7 (9:30-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+*.

REGULAR CAST:

Pete Holmes (Tom)
Katie Lowes (Jen)
Chi McBride (Archie)
Julie White (Helen)
Mason Wells (Sam)

RECURRING CAST:

Tahj Mowry (Lewell)
Amanda Perez (Tia)
Greg Romero Wilson (William)
Matt McCarthy (Carl)
Judy Kain (Mimi)

GUEST CAST:

McKale Jude Bingham (Lee)
Kerrice Ayanna Brooks (Hannah)
Brittany Baker (TV Reporter)
Sarah Lilly (Sandy)
French Stewart (Jacob Powell)

WRITTEN BY: Michael Glouberman

DIRECTED BY: Betsy Thomas

GENRE: Comedy

TOM CONSIDERS SELLING HIS PRIZED BASEBALL CARD COLLECTION IN ORDER TO BRING IN SOME MUCH-NEEDED CASH TO TREAT JEN, WHO’S BEEN WORKING EXTRA HOURS, ON “HOW WE ROLL,” THURSDAY, APRIL 14

“The Hustle” – Looking for ways to make extra cash, Tom considers selling his prized baseball card collection so he can treat Jen, who’s been working extra hours at the salon, on the CBS Original series HOW WE ROLL, Thursday, April 14 (9:30-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+*.

REGULAR CAST:

Pete Holmes (Tom)
Katie Lowes (Jen)
Chi McBride (Archie)
Julie White (Helen)
Mason Wells (Sam)

RECURRING CAST:

Tahj Mowry (Lewell)
Amanda Perez (Tia)
Greg Romero Wilson (William)
Matt McCarthy (Carl)
Judy Kain (Mimi)

GUEST CAST:

Greg Winter (Ben)
Sean Cook (Brad)
Laura Buckles (Brenda)

WRITTEN BY: Tommy Johnagin

DIRECTED BY: Betsy Thomas

GENRE: Comedy

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

CBS Spring Press Day graphic

 

Interview with Bradley Constant, Uli Latukefu and Adrian Groulx

TV Interview!

Bradley Constant, Uli Latukefu and Adrian Groulx of "Young Rock" on NBC

Interview with Bradley Constant, Uli Latukefu and Adrian Groulx of “Young Rock” on NBC Thane 3/9/22

Speaking with these three young men was almost like talking to “The Rock” himself! They were a lot of fun to chat with. I especially enjoyed hearing about Uli and Bradley’s workouts.  Don’t miss the Season 2 premiere 3/15!

Jamie: Bradley, I love the dynamics between teenage Duane and Ata. Talk about what we will be exploring in their relationship this season.

Bradley: Oh yeah. That’s– I will agree with you. I love that relationship just as much. Coming back this season, I was really hoping to have more scenes that would show that special dynamic between Dwayne and his mom because me and my mom are so close and she’s always been there for me and that’s always been kind of a staple in me becoming who I am, and this season, it really opens up a lot more in my timeline, especially, Dwayne really leaned on his mom. When things were really hard, she was always there for him. When he was lost, she always found them and kind of kept them moving forward and always staying positive. And this season, there’s a lot more of that.

Jamie: Uli, Stacy mentioned that she’ll be getting to work more with you this season as well because you’re more grown and you’re exploring the older aspects of Dwayne a lot as well. And she noted that 20-year-old Dwayne also butts heads a lot with hi mom as well. And it’s hard to parent from far away, you know, you’re in Miami at this time. What did Dwayne talk about with you about their relationship as far as mother and son being so loving and so close, yet being so far away at this point in their lives?

Uli: Yeah, we didn’t actually– Dwayne and I didn’t actually hit on anything with that for this season. But I always knew from the outset, from season one, that their relationship was really really close… is really, really close. The distance thing for me… it doesn’t matter where– Dwayne could be across, you know, the other side of the world and Ata could be on the other side, you know, as they are often at times. But they’re so close, they’ll be on the phone with each other. And that’s the same thing that happens now in our show. It’s like, they’re never far from each other at all. Ata is always checking in or, [saying] “Have you done this? We’ve done this, we’ve done this. Have you received this package?” or whatnot. And I think that’s how a mum is, you know? My mum was always checking up on me, or [asking] why wasn’t I at home at particular time. Um, let’s not get into that…

(Laughter)

Uli: But that’s what moms do. We’re their babies. So with Dwayne and Ata, it’s no different,

Stephanie: So, um, Adrian, one of my favorite parts of the show is the relationship between young Dewey and Andre the Giant. Is that something we’re going to get to continue to see more of in season two?

Adrian: I definitely agree with you. That is definitely one of my favorite aspects of my character’s scenes. And we will get to see a little bit more of Andre and Dewey having some fun.

Stephanie: And, Uli, you’re up to the point where The Rock becomes The Rock. Did you have to learn how to wrestle to play The Rock as he learned how to wrestle.

I did. And we don’t actually jump straight into Dwayne becoming the rock. Obviously he had a quite a bit of a transition from when he stopped playing football. So it was almost like it was parallel with my own learning of how to wrestle. In the storyline Dwayne is learning how to get everything down pat, and so was I, as an actor. So I learned, but I loved it. I grew up playing football, uh, Rugby Union here in Australia. So the contact was– I just felt in my element and, uh, and took to it pretty quickly. So… So, uh, you know, we’ll see… we’ll see if the wrestling fans agree.

Stephanie: We always hear stories from young wrestlers about when they took their first bump. So what was that like for you?

Uli: Oh my gosh. Let’s just say a few crash mats. It was, uh, yeah, it was tough. It’s not as easy, and I will say this, you know… I think the general perception outside of wrestling fans is that it’s all make believe, but I guarantee you, the hits are real. And your body.. We ended up shooting 13-hour days. And then at the end of those 13 hours, come and rehearse wrestling. So your body feels it, and full credit to everyone who gets into the squaredd circle, as they say.

Stephanie: And, Bradley (and for everyone), you guys all got to actually work together in the Christmas episode. Is that something you’d like to do more of in other, maybe special episodes?

Bradley: Oh, are you kidding me? I would love that. There’s so many, like, fun ideas you can think of. You could do, like, a Halloween episode. I would love to do a musical episode. We can all be in something like that. That’d be pretty cool.

Uli: Yeah.

Bradley: I know that the opportunities are endless. I’d love to do it.

Uli: We pitched it, by the way.

Bradley: Yeah, we pitched it.

Uli: So Joseph Lee Anderson and I (sorry, I don’t know if we have time for this, but) were singing backstage, and just fooling around. And then, uh, Brian Goatz, who’s the producer from Seven Bucks (Production) was there, and he started recording. And then sent it to DJ. So I dunno if that’s, you know, potentially, we could have a [musical] “Young Rock.”

Bradley: And they can both sing… just about everyone on this show can actually really sing. You know what? Let’s go for it.

Stephanie: Thank you.

Moderator: Okay. Next we have Thane with The TV MegaSite.

Uli: Hey, Thane.

Bradley: What’s up?

Thane: Bradley and Uli, do you spend a lot of time working out? How much time per week?

Uli: I’ll take this one. Uh, I train maybe five days, depending, five days a week. I really enjoy staying in shape and going to the gym and working out. It helps me quite a lot. Um, so yeah, so I mix up weight training with, um, Very little cardio. So that’s what I that’s what I like to do.

(Bradley laughs at his cardio comment)

Bradley: During filming, me and my buddy, Michael, we would.. we’d go to the gym every morning at 3:00 AM. And that was the first time I’ve ever been that religious about it. Like this season, it was probably the most I’ve ever worked out in my life. I really enjoyed it. And it’s, like, it’s followed me ever since. So it’s about six, seven days a week now. I’ll take off and do… I’ll do more cardio because I like it. (Laughs)

Uli: By the way, Bradley was up at 3:00 AM every morning. This is no word of a lie. And I would see him and another cast mate (who I can’t announce) at the gym every morning, 3:30, you know, so kudos to you, bruh.

Thane: Did you have to work hard to try to act like The Rock? And did he give you any pointers?

Bradley: Uli, you can go first, man.

Uli: Uh, yeah, “Don’t be terrible.” No, he didn’t say that.

(Laughter)

Uli: Uh, he really– Dwayne’s great. He gave us a lot of freedom, and basically, the number one thing for me through our conversations was — particularly in his younger years — he was very driven. He was very focused about achieving something. He wasn’t too sure about what that was or what that looked like. But he knew he was meant for something great. And he was willing to put in the work. And I think for me, Dwayne’s advice was, “Always keep that in the back of your mind, that I’m willing to do the work and get to where I want to get to,” with the two hands that he has.

Bradley: For me, he just told me to have belief in myself, you know, and also, that I was in good hands. And I really was, like having Uli around, having all over producers around… everyone. That’s a part of the “Young Rock” technical team. You know, they’ve got our backs and, you know, leaning into that. You don’t really have to copy anything, and everybody’s got you taken care of. I’m sure, Adrian, you can agree?

Adrian: Yeah, everyone is really, really amazing on, uh, on the cast and crew. I didn’t really get to talk to Duane too much about how to play and, Uh, portray the role. So I kind of.. while I was reading the script side, I had a little fun with it. Maybe, uh, improvised a couple of things. But I didn’t really think too hard about it ’cause I just didn’t want to overthink it. So I , you know, played around with it.

 

Watch our other “Young Rock” Interviews with Stacey Leilua and Joseph Lee Anderson and Ana Tuisila and Matthew Willig

MORE INFO:

Young Rock

Tuesdays on NBC (8-8:30 p.m. ET); Season Premiere: March 15

The second season of “Young Rock” delves back into Dwayne Johnson’s life, continuing the storylines from season one while also introducing new chapters we haven’t yet seen. As Dwayne and his loving, resilient family face new challenges and meet new wild characters of professional wrestling, Dwayne contemplates embracing the grind of professional wrestling himself. The show will explore the crazy rollercoaster that has shaped Dwayne into the man he is today and the larger-than-life people he’s met along the way.

Dwayne Johnson, Joseph Lee Anderson, Stacey Leilua, Ana Tuisila, Adrian Groulx, Bradley Constant, Uli Latukefu, Fasitua Amosa, John Tui and Matthew Willig star.

Created by Nahnatchka Khan and Jeff Chiang and inspired by Dwayne Johnson’s life. Nahnatchka Khan, Jeff Chiang, Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia, Jennifer Carreras, Hiram Garcia, Brian Gewirtz and Jeffrey Walker serve as executive producers.

“Young Rock” is produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, Seven Bucks Productions and Fierce Baby Productions.

Bradley Constant

Dwayne Johnson (15 years old), “Young Rock”

YOUNG ROCK -- Season: 2 -- Pictured: Bradley Constant as Dwayne Johnson -- (Photo by: Mark Taylor/NBC)
Bradley Constant plays 15-year-old Dwayne Johnson in the new NBC comedy “Young Rock.” Alabama-born Constant began pursuing acting at 12 and convinced his mom to move him to New York City where he would study and begin to gain experience in the industry. The tough environment and fast-paced productivity of the city prepared him for an even bigger move to Los Angeles, where he is now based. Constant previously appeared in the 2018 film “Following Phil” and has had roles in several shorts before landing the part in “Young Rock.” Constant is a die-hard sports fan who also enjoys gaming, bass fishing and golfing.

 

 

 

 

Uli Latukefu

Dwayne Johnson (age 18-20), “Young Rock”

YOUNG ROCK -- Season: 2 -- Pictured: Uli Latukefu as Dwayne Johnson -- (Photo by: Mark Taylor/NBC)
Uli Latukefu plays 18-20-year-old Dwayne Johnson on the new NBC comedy “Young Rock.” Latukefu will next be seen in Taika Waititi’s feature “Next Goal Wins,” opposite Michael Fassbender and Elizabeth Moss, and was most recently seen in Kriv Stenders’ feature “Danger Close” as well as the new Foxtel drama series “The End.” He also starred in the comedy series “Sando,” the third season of the Nine Network’s “Doctor Doctor” and the drama series “Harrow.” Other screen credits include Ridley Scott’s feature “Alien: Covenant” and Netflix’s epic drama “Marco Polo.” Latukefu was previously featured in Chris Lilley’s “Jonah From Tonga” and the critically acclaimed Foxtel series “Devil’s Playground,” which was awarded the 2015 Silver Logie for Most Outstanding Telemovie and the 2015 AACTA Award for Best Telefeature or Miniseries. He made his Broadway debut in “Peter Pan” at New York’s New Victory Theatre, graduated from Australia’s prestigious National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in 2012 and was a 2016 Heath Ledger Scholarship finalist.

 

Adrian Groulx

Dwayne Johnson (age 10), “Young Rock”

YOUNG ROCK -- Season: 2 -- Pictured: Adrian Groulx as Dwayne Johnson -- (Photo by: Mark Taylor/NBC)
Adrian Groulx plays 10-year-old Dwayne Johnson on the new NBC comedy “Young Rock.” Groulx is a Toronto-based actor who will next be seen on the Apple+ series “See,” starring Jason Momoa. Previously, he was a series regular on the CBC series “The Adventures of Napkin Man” and also appeared in the Hallmark Channel movie “The Christmas Cure.” In his free time, Groulx enjoys playing sports and spending time with his family.

 

 

 

 

 

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Bradley Constant, Uli Latukefu and Adrian Groulx of "Young Rock" on NBC

Interview with Ana Tuisila and Matthew Willig

TV Interview!

Ana Tuisila and Matthew Willig of "Young Rock" on NBC

Interview with Ana Tuisila and Matthew Willig of “Young Rock” on NBC  on Lifetime by Thane 3/9/22

Willig plays family friend “André the Giant” and Tuisila plays Lia, the feisty grandma of young Dewey. It was quite a treat to speak with them. They do a great job on the show. I was especially interested to hear from Tuisila because we’re both from New Zealand! I was looking forward to asking Willig about how they got him a similar height to Andre the great, and his answer didn’t disappoint.

Question: Hi, Matthew, did you have any trepidation about playing a legend like Andre the Giant? Because you know, wrestling fans like me, we take Andre pretty seriously.

Matthew: [Laughs] You know, I didn’t…I think I was so into it right away and so excited about doing it that by the time, you know — literally as I booked the job, I was already watching videos and starting the voice process of it all. There’s no question that every now and then I will pause and say, “God, I hope to God that I am giving it some justice,” because that is so important to me.

After season one, I did have some really nice feedback, which is important. Number one, from Dwayne; and number two, from some people who either knew of Andre or knew him back in the day. So I’m not going to be perfect. I know it’s my interpretation. But yes, there’s obviously some trepidation.

It can be…there has been a few moments where I said, “God, am I even close?” You know, to this. But again, it’s my interpretation. I’m always bringing the love, trying to be honest as I can with it. And I’m hoping that’s kind of getting through.

Question: I just love the friendship between young Dewey and Andre. It’s probably my favorite thing about the show. And I’m wondering how we will see that continue to develop in season 2?

Matthew: Thank you. It’s obviously it’s my favorite part as well. And it’s something that I think, you know, people were not only shocked that there was that relationship, but number two, that it was close like that.

Yes, season two, you will see some more of Big Andre imposing his knowledge on little Dewey as he moves forward in life. The stakes are getting higher. The things that little Dewey is worrying about — girls, things like that, you know, love… Andre has some things to say and kind of, you know, as we go along, we see him sort of setting him straight. I’m looking forward to your guys seeing him, at least.

Question: Ana, we saw last season that your character was fighting to keep her wrestlers on her payroll. How will we see her handling her employees this season? And what kind of obstacles will she be facing as the promoter?

Ana: Thank you for the question. I couldn’t wait to answer your question because I’m so excited about season two, because you’re going to see more of Lia, in terms of answering that question. So just wait for season two because all will be revealed. There’s so there’s going to be more of her and her relationship with the so-called promoters in the wrestling field, and how she copes with trying to maintain her own business. So it’ll all be revealed in season two, and it’s more fun and funnier…a lot of, un-PC things will be happening. but, yeah, she gets the business rolling. And yes, it’s going to be in season two. So it’d be more about that to come. Yeah.

Question: Matthew, what kind of insight Did Dwayne offer you into his relationship with Andre when he was a kid?

Matthew: You know, it started with the fact that he called him Uncle Andre. He was literally that sort of character for him. You know, he was someone that was around that period a lot, always in and out of Hawaii. So, at that age, he didn’t see as the scary Andre. He saw the loving Andre, who he was. He used to treat him like a jungle gym, you know? So there was sort of that part of it, and Duane said right away, number one, the man embodied respect, which he learned very early on. And number two, there was a lot of love that he felt for young people and people his age. And he kind of even felt that back then, that Andre was almost like a kid himself. And I think we can appreciate the fact that someone that large and sort of that, uh, scary to a certain degree, the fact that he has that other side of him that is this loving, genuinely caring sort of individual. And so those are the kinds of things that Dwayne told me right off the bat and what has kind of led me into the character that I portrayed in the last two seasons.

Thane: Matthew, you are shorter than the real Andre. Do they give you lifts for your shoes, or (did they) just (use) camera angles to make you look taller?

Matthew: (Laughs) I’m always rooting for camera angles, but I will say that, when we first started, especially, there were lifts in my wrestling boots and also in the boots that I wore for everyday dress, which was a pain in the ass. I gotta be honest. I had a whole new appreciation for women and when they wear heels because I was basically wearing heels on set. So, yeah, so there’s that. Listen, I’m never going to be seven-foot-whatever Andre was, but I think even being 6’7/ 6’8, you know, I think we’re able to play with that and have that sort of distinction between,the normal size person and what Andre was.

Thane: Ana, what preparation did you do, if any, to play the role, since it’s based on a real person?

Ana: Very little is known about Lia Maivia, so the only preparation I had was help from, Dwayne Johnson, and his mother, Ata. So I asked for any dialogue or any tapes of…Well, they don’t call them tapes these days… Anything that could give me some idea of how she spoke. So, it was more information from Ata and Dwayne Johnson, and my own experience as a Samoan woman and mother sort of helped the role a bit because it’s very similar in terms of how strong and fearless she is. I mean, my own mother and mother-in-law are of the same ilk. So, in terms of that it wasn’t so hard. From knowing who Lia was, just feedback and information and advice from Dwayne and his mother, Ata.

Question: Ana, Lia is such a fun over-the-top character. Did you get notes from the family about how far you could take her?

Ana: Thank you. That’s a great question, but, no, I didn’t get any… limitation from the parents as how far. But from those that knew Lia, like Jeff Chiang, the writer… he grew up with knowing who Lia was. And Brian Gewirtz from Seven Bucks. They knew Lia, and they would say to me, “She was a hard case woman.” and “She had a great sense of humor and, you know, some of us were quite scared of it.” So it was all information from people who knew – and are part of the production team – who she was. So, it was just that information. And from, as I said before, Ata and Dwayne of who their mother was, and no, I just went with how it was written, from my own experience. And then, you know, from the producers and the writers (who would sometimes say, “Stop, I never got that.” So I think it’s more around experience and how the writers wanted it, and how the direction… so, and the family said, you know, they didn’t give me any, “don’t go too far because she’s–” I know from my own experiences.. (sound garbled here) But I must say she was a very un-PC woman, you know, if there’s such a word… she would just let fly. And that was wonderful. That’s the wonderful thing about her, that you can just say things, that you can wear slapping gloves and slap the wrestlers around. I love that. and it’s how she was and a lot of fun. Yeah.

Question: I love the relationship between Lia and Ata… she’s kind of overbearing, but also very loving and supportive. What kind of relationship, or at least, what kind of dialogue do they tell you about the relationship that the two of them shared?

Ana: Well, there’d be more of that in season two. There’ll be a lot of revelation around that relationship between Ata and Lia, in terms of passing on the business. And so, there are some twists and turns…but in terms of dialogue around their relationship, again, it’s about experience between mother and daughter, being a mother and a daughter of a similar age. So, I guess it’s the same with how I answered Stephanie’s question as a lot of feedback from the writers, from the production team who knew the relationship between these two. So there’s a lot of direction, a lot of advice and feedback, but also, from personal experience… and it’s also between Stacy and I, like, “Hmm, I don’t feel comfortable about that. Can we change?” So there was also some, Some vehicle for both Stacy and I to ask the writers if we could change a little bit so that it made it a bit more comfortable and a bit more real.

So there was a lot of talking behind the scenes before we filmed. So, I guess that’s what came across, which is really, really good to hear that it’s portrayed that way. And that’s how it was — a lot of work, but. you know, a lot of good personal experiences. Yes.

 

Watch our other “Young Rock” Interviews with Stacey Leilua and Joseph Lee Anderson and Bradley Constant, Uli Latukefu and Adrian Groulx

MORE INFO:

Young Rock

Tuesdays on NBC (8-8:30 p.m. ET); Season Premiere: March 15

The second season of “Young Rock” delves back into Dwayne Johnson’s life, continuing the storylines from season one while also introducing new chapters we haven’t yet seen. As Dwayne and his loving, resilient family face new challenges and meet new wild characters of professional wrestling, Dwayne contemplates embracing the grind of professional wrestling himself. The show will explore the crazy rollercoaster that has shaped Dwayne into the man he is today and the larger-than-life people he’s met along the way.

Dwayne Johnson, Joseph Lee Anderson, Stacey Leilua, Ana Tuisila, Adrian Groulx, Bradley Constant, Uli Latukefu, Fasitua Amosa, John Tui and Matthew Willig star.

Created by Nahnatchka Khan and Jeff Chiang and inspired by Dwayne Johnson’s life. Nahnatchka Khan, Jeff Chiang, Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia, Jennifer Carreras, Hiram Garcia, Brian Gewirtz and Jeffrey Walker serve as executive producers.

“Young Rock” is produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, Seven Bucks Productions and Fierce Baby Productions.

Ana Tuisila

Lia Maivia, “Young Rock”

YOUNG ROCK -- Season: 2 -- Pictured: Ana Tuisila as Lia Maivia -- (Photo by: Mark Taylor/NBC)
Ana Tuisila stars as Lia Maivia on NBC’s new comedy “Young Rock.” Tuisila’s career spans over two decades in film, television and theater. Her most memorable performance is in “The Songmaker’s Chair,” a stage production written by esteemed international author, poet and playwright Albert Wendt, and directed by Nathaniel Lees and Nancy Brunning. Following a successful season, the show later participated in the International Arts Festival at Te Papa Museum in New Zealand. Tuisila has starred in two short films on location in Samoa, Vai and Liliu, which have both been recognized throughout film festivals globally. She speaks fluent Samoan as well as having familiarity with other Pacific languages.
YOUNG ROCK -- Season: 2 -- Pictured: (l-r) Matthew Willig as Andre The Giant, Adrian Groulx as Dwayne Johnson -- (Photo by: Mark Taylor/NBC)Matthew Joseph Willig (born January 21, 1969) is an American actor and former American football offensive tackle in the National Football League.

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Ana Tuisila and Matthew Willig of "Young Rock" on NBC

Interview with Stacey Leilua and Joseph Lee Anderson

TV Interview!

Stacey Leilua and Joseph Lee Anderson of "Young Roung" on NBC

Interview with Stacey Leilua and Joseph Lee Anderson of “Young Rock” on NBC by Thane 3/9/22

It was wonderful to talk to these two actors. They clearly have a great time playing young Dewey’s parents.

 

The transcript will be up soon. Enjoy the video!

Watch our other “Young Rock” Interviews with Ana Tuisila and Matthew Willig and Bradley Constant, Uli Latukefu and Adrian Groulx

MORE INFO:

Young Rock

Tuesdays on NBC (8-8:30 p.m. ET); Season Premiere: March 15

The second season of “Young Rock” delves back into Dwayne Johnson’s life, continuing the storylines from season one while also introducing new chapters we haven’t yet seen. As Dwayne and his loving, resilient family face new challenges and meet new wild characters of professional wrestling, Dwayne contemplates embracing the grind of professional wrestling himself. The show will explore the crazy rollercoaster that has shaped Dwayne into the man he is today and the larger-than-life people he’s met along the way.

Dwayne Johnson, Joseph Lee Anderson, Stacey Leilua, Ana Tuisila, Adrian Groulx, Bradley Constant, Uli Latukefu, Fasitua Amosa, John Tui and Matthew Willig star.

Created by Nahnatchka Khan and Jeff Chiang and inspired by Dwayne Johnson’s life. Nahnatchka Khan, Jeff Chiang, Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia, Jennifer Carreras, Hiram Garcia, Brian Gewirtz and Jeffrey Walker serve as executive producers.

“Young Rock” is produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, Seven Bucks Productions and Fierce Baby Productions.

Joseph Lee Anderson

Rocky Johnson, “Young Rock”

YOUNG ROCK -- Season: 2 -- Pictured: Joseph Lee Anderson as Rocky Johnson -- (Photo by: Mark Taylor/NBC)
Joseph Lee Anderson plays Rocky Johnson in the NBC comedy series “Young Rock.” Anderson has appeared in the Oscar-nominated film “Harriet,” recurred on “S.W.A.T.” and has guest starred on “Timeless,” “American Soul” and others. He also directed and starred in the critically acclaimed short film “The Jog,” which premiered at South By Southwest. A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stacey Leilua

Ata Johnson, “Young Rock”

YOUNG ROCK -- Season: 2 -- Pictured: Stacey Leilua as Ata Johnson -- (Photo by: Mark Taylor/NBC)
Stacey Leilua plays Ata Johnson on the new NBC comedy “Young Rock.” Leilua is of Samoan, Maori and English heritage and based in New Zealand. She graduated from one of New Zealand’s leading drama schools: UNITEC School of Performing & Screen Arts, where she majored in acting. Leilua has worked on a variety of productions, including New Zealand’s longest-running series, Shortland Street.” Other credits of note are the UK/NZ feature film ”Love Birds” and the highly acclaimed web series “The Factory,” which she also co-executive produced alongside Kila Kokonut Krew under the mentorship of Robin Scholes, one of New Zealand’s most well-known producers. Leilua has also worked as a presenter (“Homai Te Paki Paki”) and director with the South Auckland-based theatre company Kila Kokonut Krew. Most recently she performed in Tusiata Avia’s ”Wild Dogs Under My Skirt,” which won Production of the Year at the 2018 Wellington Theatre Awards. The production was picked up for a season at the Soho Playhouse in New York in January 2020 where it played to full houses every night.

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Stacey Leilua and Joseph Lee Anderson of "Young Roung" on NBC

Interview with Mike Cabellon and Bobby Moynihan

TV Interview!

Mike Cabellon and Bobby Moynihan of "Mr. Mayor" on NBC

Interview with Mike Cabellon and Bobby Moynihan of “Mr. Mayor” on NBC by Suzanne 3/8/22

These NBC panels are always fun. We had 3 interviews with the top 6 cast members of this funny show. You may know Moynihan from “Saturday NIght Live.”  These guys are both really funny, as you’ll see in the video. It was just great fun to chat with them. It was like having our own personal SNL comedians to perform for us.

 

Enjoy the video! Here’s the transcript:

Ross: Hi guys, I’m Ross Crystal from Showbiz Express, and thank you for taking time out to do this. Really appreciate it. Let me start with Bobby. Describe — as we move into the new season — describe your character and how it changes because you’re the Comms guy.

Bobby: I’m the comms director, that is correct. Jayden grows up a little bit this season. He’s got to make some hard decisions; no more living in Mom’s basement. He gets his own apartment. He starts to become a little more independent, and he’s got to do his job, and he’s got to make some real decisions at work, and we see how that affects him and how insane it makes him. [Chuckles]

Ross: I’ll keep to the one and come back, If I may, do a follow-up.

Suzanne Hi, my name is Suzanne, and I run TVMEG.COM. Let’s see… Mike, if you had to do Tommy’s job in real life, could you do it well?

Mike: Oh, God. No, not in the slightest. [Laughs] The Strategist, as I found in my research before season one, I found is primarily a campaign role, and you kinda just go from campaign to campaign. So in that sense, I was like, oh, yeah, it’s kind of like acting, or going from gig to gig. But then when you look at the actual job of, like, trying to advise a politician on what to do next…? I’m the most indecisive person in the world. If I sit at a diner.. you know how, like, a diner is like a menu, it’s like a book? I’m like, I’ll be there for an hour before I can decide. So I would be absolute trash at this job. [Everyone laughs]

Suzanne: All right. And, Bobby, how are you and Jayden the same, and how are you different?

Bobby: Just clothes. Just clothing choices. [Laughs] No, I think we are similar in some ways and very different in many others. There’s an innocence to both of us that I wish I didn’t have as much as Jayden does. Jayden, dollar-heart, nickel-brain on Jayden. But I think Jayden’s a little smarter than he thinks he is. For me in real life, the jury’s still out. We’ll see.

Suzanne: Thank you.

Karen: Hi, I’m Karen Moul from Scifivision.com. We have some new characters in the office this year with the I team showing up, and I was hoping you guys could talk a little bit about how that affects the dynamic in the office and your characters, I guess, without spoiling too much. And maybe Mike could speak first for a sec?

Mike: Sure. this is sort of, I think, one of the big character arcs for Tommy this season… In season one, I feel like Tommy is not expressly antagonistic or whatever in the office, but he thinks he’s better than everyone. So as soon as the I Team is introduced, he sort of sides with everyone else because now they’re like new outsiders to hate on, and I think that it’s this really interesting dynamic because, like, all the interoffice dynamics that exist in season one kind of shift, in light of these new people coming in. And that’s been such an exciting dynamic play this season because, it’s all new and it feels fresh from last season.

Karen: Thank you.

Bobby: Yeah. Towards the end of the season we get — I don’t want to spoil anything — but we get some, some awesome, really wonderful new characters, like, wonderful television characters. I can’t spoil anything, but it gets better and better.

Mike: Yeah.

Karen: Great. Thank you.

Dano: Hi, Dano from The Nocturnal. So, sitcoms are kind of built off chemistry, but your characters have this sort of, anti- chemistry. You’re at loggerheads with one another, and I was wondering, now that you’re on season two, how that, you know, off-screen chemistry between you two and comedic, you know, rapport between you, how does that change in this new season?

Bobby: I always feel like Tommy is my older brother, even though he’s younger than me. We’ll show, like, Jayden — and I feel like there’s a lot, like, they get closer, but also, like, brothers…We have a “Succession” relationship this season, and I can’t wait for people to see it. It’s so much fun!

Mike: No matter how close we get, we’re never more than a step away from like giving each other a noogie, you know what I mean?

Dano: Is that in real life, too? Or just with the characters?

Mike: In real life, it’s constant noogies. That’s how we greet each other in the morning in the makeup trailer. It’s like, “Hey, I know you have to do his hair, but one second… let me just mess it up a little.”

Bobby: He’s a bully. Mike bullies me constantly. No, I love Mike. It’s the best. I think we’re two sweet gentlemen who plays two sweet gentlemen, also, who don’t get along, but they try to. Jayden’s a lot. I don’t know if I would get along with Jayden. [Laughter]

Ross: Mike, if I can ask you… well, actually both of you, but Mike, you’ve got a background in sketch comedy. How does sketch comedy really aid you, or in some ways, perhaps not, in this show?

Mike: First of all, thank you for acknowledging that I am the foremost authority on sketch comedy on this cast.

Bobby: [Laughs]

Mike: I will say one thing that sketch comedy prepares you to do is get off-book really quickly because you’re getting rewrites and scripts day of, and the amount of material that Tina Fey and Robert Carlock churn through is… you could make a whole ‘nother show just with, like, the reject pile that they write. And so frequently, we’ll get these new sides. And, I’m grateful that I have years of experience of just like looking at a page and going, “Okay, got it” and being able to go in, and fully inhabit a character like on the spot without thinking too deeply about it, which, you know, is why I’ll never win an academy award like Holly Hunter, because she really gets deep into character, and I’m very shallow, very surface level there. But I think that that is, like a hard skill that I think is underrated for a lot of actors.

Ross: And Bobby, I mean, for you, how much does SNL come into play here? How much does that experience there come in here? How much latitude do you have?

Bobby: It’s a similar experience in the sense of, I think, Tina and Robert are people who went through the SNL machine and, two of the best, easily, to do it. And I think that they have now created a couple different universes in television, a couple of different TV shows where it’s their thing, and this is how they do it. And it’s very SNL-inspired, which means everyone is expected to be great and do great. And they do. But it doesn’t have the complete terror and anxiety that SNL does. And we get to go home and sleep at normal hours because Ted Danson’s contract is great. [Chuckles] Tt’s wonderful. It’s the best. I’m very familiar with that world of, like, “let’s create this wonderful thing and do it with all these very, very talented people.” And they’ve amassed an insanely talented crew and cast and makes it very easy and fun.

Dano: Does anything change or evolve with that — your collaborative relationship with the Tina Fey over the years?

Bobby: Yeah, I’m less terrified. In the beginning, I mean… I think she’s the most influential person that ever walked through those doors at SNL. She’s brilliant, and she has created so much from it, and I was in awe of her. My first episode of SNL was the first time she did Sarah Palin, and it was my first time doing the show, and I just stopped everything to watch her do it, and was just, like, “Look at this! Look at her and Amy!” It was nuts. But now… I text her now. I’ve gotten to the point where I feel comfortable texting her and not like a child when I do that. [Laughs]

Suzanne: For both of you– do you get to do any kind of improvisation or ad-libbing, or is only what’s on the page?

Mike: We do get to improvise a lot. I think, regardless of the show, Bobby and I probably would, anyway, because we can’t help ourselves. But the funny thing is, maybe 2% of the ad-libs make it into the final cut because Tina and Robert make such perfect scripts right off the bat that they don’t need improvement. They don’t need to be supplemented or augmented by whatever stupid thoughts we’re having on the day. But we do get to play around a lot. Usually we’ll do a few takes as scripted, and then we’ll do a couple of… we play around, and then the editor just throws it right in the garbage.

Bobby: All these improvs are few and far between, but they are assassin precise and he often gets them in.

Suzanne: Wow.

Bobby: I would say, he’s the most successful.

Suzanne: Well, I hope they show up in the DVD as extras or something. That would be cool.

Mike: I hope we get DVDs. That physical object would be great.

Suzanne: Thank you.

Karen: One of the great things about the show, is the way it takes on some very real political issues in LA. In the first five episodes, there seems to be a little bit of a through line with the very real homeless issue. I wonder if you could maybe just tease or preview for our readers, some of the topics, both serious and absurd that the show might take on this season.

Bobby: I think this season is about the mayor trying to do his job better and really trying to make a difference… And what he thinks that is best for LA and kind of the rest of the people dealing with that, and deciding if those choices are the right choices, or if he’s doing it to be, you know, for himself, or is he doing it really for the city? I think that’s a lot… what this season is about.

Mike: I think our writers do a really good job of not trying to make any statements about how the world should be run in real life. Although, this season, Jayden does have one idea that sort of unifies LA with the rest of the world; but it is a good idea, but I don’t think our writers are ever, you know, prescriptive of thinking they could do a better job in politics. I think we’re kind of towing the line of, okay, this show takes place in the political realm, but we’re not here to say that we’re experts on the matter, in any sense.

Bobby: Although I would love president Tina Fey. I think I would take that.

Mike: Heh, heh.

Ross: And then doing your research, do you ever take a trip down to City Hhall?

Mike: We did, in season one, before we shot the pilot, a few of us went down to City Hall and got the real pins that we wear on our lapels in the show, which is cool. I don’t think we go back too frequently, though.

Bobby: I’m there now. I’m there every day. [Laughter]

Ross: Do you find the humor right there?

Mike: There is a certain kind of humor that you can observe just by walking around the halls. We sat in on, like, a public hearing, and I think that that is well-worn territory, thanks to “Parks and Rec,” so I don’t know how much of that we’ll be doing… but there are given characters in any great American city, and Los Angeles certainly has, some of the bigger characters I’ve ever seen.

Suzanne: Do you ever get any feedback from people in LA about how your show handles Los Angeles and the people in it?

Mike: Yeah, actually, yeah. I’ve heard from a lot of people who either worked in LA City Hall or other local politics and are pleasantly surprised at how… it’s funny because they say that we nailed the minutiae of being in an office really well. And I think that speaks to the universality of, like, it doesn’t matter what industry we’re in, because we’re not aiming to specifically try and be like, “This is what it’s like to work in City Hall.” It’s more, just an office comedy. I think that’s what makes every office comedy sort of relatable.

Bobby: No one brings it up to me cause I haven’t– I don’t leave the house. [Laughter]

Mike: “Notorious recluse Bobby Moynihan.”

Check out our other “Mr. Mayor” interviews with Ted Danson and Holly Hunter and  Vella Lovell and Kyla Kenedy

MORE INFO:

Trailer

Mr. Mayor PosterSeason Premiere: March 15

“Mr. Mayor” follows a retired businessman (Ted Danson) who runs for mayor of Los Angeles to prove he’s “still got it.” Once he wins, he has to figure out what he stands for, gain the respect of his biggest critic (Holly Hunter) and connect with his teenage daughter, all while trying to get anything right for America’s second weirdest city.
The series stars Ted Danson, Holly Hunter, Vella Lovell, Mike Cabellon, Kyla Kenedy and Bobby Moynihan.
“Mr. Mayor” is produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, Little Stranger, Bevel Gears and 3 Arts Entertainment. Robert Carlock, Tina Fey, Jeff Richmond and David Miner will executive produce. Eric Gurian will serve as a co-executive producer.

Mike Cabellon

Tommy Tomás, “Mr. Mayor”

MR. MAYOR -- Season: 2 -- Pictured: Mike Cabellon as Tommy Tomas -- (Photo by: Robert Trachtenberg/NBC)

Mike Cabellon stars as Chief Strategist Tommy Tomás on NBC’s new comedy “Mr. Mayor.”

Mike Cabellon is a Los Angeles-based Filipino-American actor (“Orange Is the New Black,” “Crashing”) and writer (Comedy Central). He was trained at UCB and is currently an active performer, director, producer and head writer for Webby Award-winning “Story Pirates” podcast.

Cabellon and his sketch team GEIL have created countless sketches and two acclaimed web series: “Early to Rise” (2020) and “Night Crew” (2018). “Early to Rise” won the Audience Award at the 2020 SeriesFest. “Night Crew” premiered on Comedy Central’s digital channels after becoming an official selection for the New York Television Festival, where they landed a development deal with Comedy Central. Together, GEIL has appeared on FunnyOrDie and Adult Swim, as well as screened sketches at Quickie Fest and Red Hot Video Fun Time.

Cabellon’s time in New York included five straight seasons with the BoogieManja sketch program, putting up a new sketch show every single month at the PIT Theater, as well as five straight years of hosting a bar quiz every week with Geeks Who Drink.

He has performed on stages all over the country, including the Del Close Marathon, Comedy Hack Day, Austin Sketch Fest, Frigid Fest (part of the U.S. Association of Fringe Festivals), UCB’s 3×3 Tournament, NYC Improv Festival, SHRTWV Short Theater Festival, Penn Station Area Sketch Fest and a paid corporate improv show on the Las Vegas strip when he was 16. Notable live shows include “Mike Cabellon Is: The Bachelor – LIVE!” a small role in “Hockey Cops,” and hosting “Witching Hour” featuring Jo Firestone and Aparna Nancherla.

His last name rhymes with babylon, grab a swan, crab ’n’ prawn, slab of flan, drab chiffon or lab/salon.

Cabellon is a member of SAG-AFTRA and is represented by Authentic Talent & Literary Management, CAA, and Frankfurt Kurnit.

Bobby Moynihan

Jayden Kwapis, “Mr. Mayor”

MR. MAYOR -- Season: 2 -- Pictured: Bobby Moynihan as Jayden Kwapis -- (Photo by: Robert Trachtenberg/NBC)

Bobby Moynihan stars as Jayden Kwapis in the NBC comedy “Mr. Mayor.”

Moynihan was a cast member on “Saturday Night Live” for nine seasons where he originated beloved characters such as Drunk Uncle and co-wrote and appeared in the popular David S. Pumpkins sketch starring Tom Hanks, which spawned a Halloween animated special for NBC  and is now streaming on Hulu.

Moynihan’s other television credits include “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” “Documentary Now!,” “Drunk History,” “The Simpsons,” “Miracle Workers,” “Girls,” “Portlandia” and “Me, Myself & I.” His voiceover credits range from Cartoon Network’s “We Bare Bears,” “DuckTales” and “Stars Wars Resistance,” both for DisneyXD.

On the film side, Moynihan’s voice talents can be heard on Pixar’s “Inside Out” and “Monsters University,” as well as other features.

His all-improvised podcast on Stitcher, “Celebrity Sighting! with Jonathan Biting!” features Moynihan as the always candid and always hammered Jonathan Biting talking to guests about their celebrity encounters.

 

 

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Mr. Mayor - Season 2 Cast

Interview with Vella Lovell and Kyle Kenedy

TV Interview!

Kyla Kenedy and Vella Lovell of "Mr. Mayor" on NBC

Interview with Kyla Kenedy and Vella Lovell of “Mr. Mayor” on NBC by Suzanne 3/8/22

This was a fun panel day that we had with the 6 main actors from the show. These two women were paired together. We had a lot of fun, as you can see in the video. It was great to ask them about the show, which is very funny and returns 3/15 on NBC.

 

Kyla: Hello! How is everyone?

Ross: Doing well And thank you. Thank you for joining us and doing this. And, let me begin with Kyla, you’ve got an interesting role, and first step out, you’re at the DMV.

Kyla: Right.

Ross: First of all, was that the real DMV, a phony DMV? What’d you guys do there?

Kyla: It was actually an old police station, but it felt just like a real DMV. I had just gotten my license pretty close to where we shot that, and I felt like I was going back in time a little bit. I mean, down to the lines you, ’cause you know, you do so much waiting around on set that I truly, around hour five, was like, “I am in a real DMV right now.”

Ross: And for both of you, what is new for you this season? Different direction, different way you were approaching the role? Vella?

Vella: Well, my character gets a love interest this season. So that was a totally new dynamic, to get to work with someone new, Yedoye Travis, who’s amazing, and to kind of see that different side of your character. You know, you audition for these shows, and you have two scenes, and you can’t possibly get to every color of a character in that audition. So it’s really fun to, you know, two years in, discover new colors. And how does Mikayla fall in love, and how does Mikayla ask someone out? And all of those different things.

Vella: Yeah, I think this season Orly gets to spend a lot more time in the office with her dad, which was just really fun – a side of her that we really didn’t dive into that much in season one. And she kind of gets to interact with everyone else in the office more, which leads to some pretty fun storylines and some interesting situations. But that, that was so much funding to do this season.

Ross: Very cool.

Suzanne: Vella, you got to sing a lot in “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” Will there be any singing on the show this season?

Vella: Well, unfortunately, I think we established that Mikayla is a terrible singer. So…I actually think there is a little bit of singing. I’m not sure if they’ve cut it or not, but it’s not great. I’m going to go ahead and say that,

Kyla: We got blessed a little [laughs].

Vella: Yeah. It’s not, it’s off very off key. So apologies…

Suzanne: I liked the Christmas song that you all did, even though most of you weren’t doing anything but humming or whatever.

Kyla: Yeah, it was hard.

Vella: Yeah. That was fun.

Dano: Dano from The Nocturnal. So I’m a Los Angeles native myself, and a lot of stuff with the show really hits very close to home. So I was wondering what (for both of you)– Kyla, you have the relationship with the very embarrassing father and, Vella, you’re a young professional navigating life in LA… if there’s any moments where like, you’re reading the script and you’re like, “Oh man, this is just way too real.”

Kyla: Yeah, I think that happens all the time. Like, our writing is so, so good that I think there’s a little bit of truth behind every joke, which is what makes the show so special and fun to watch. But, no, I definitely have so many moments, even when we’re filming a scene where I’m like, “This could absolutely happen tomorrow in a Whole Foods.”

Vella: Yeah, I think there was one script that ended up getting… this part, got cut, but McKayla was in a long distance relationship with someone who lived in Venice. And that is a real thing in LA, when you live on the east side and someone lives on the west side, it truly feels long distance. So there’s a lot of things that just creep up and are very… they’re very… they’re so real that they’re hilarious.

Karen: I was going to ask a similar question. There are ways in which the show feels a little bit like “Seinfeld” did about New York city. That if, you know… if you’re from New York, there was this extra layer of humor there. I actually really wanted to ask Kyla, however, in particular, you are the one…maybe you are the youngest, and Orly spends a lot of time, like, schooling her father. “You can’t say that, you can’t do that. That’s not how you use Tik Tok.” And I wonder how much of that you’re drawing from your real life? And I, you know, Ted’s the same age as this character, right? And you’re working with a lot of older people, and is this happening on set?

Kyla: I mean, a little bit. I do think there have been moments, like, Ted and I did a fun little video where I told him like, slang that me and my peers were using, and he would try and guess the meaning of it. But there are definitely so many funny moments, but we’ll do a table reading, and Ted would kind of fidget, [and say], “So, what does this mean exactly?” But I think that, you know, that’s the fun of it, and that’s what makes the show so special because it is like real life. There are times when my mom will call me and go, “What does this mean? Somebody just texted me this and I have no idea how I’m supposed to respond.” But yeah, no, there’s definitely a lot of truth behind it.

Vella: I mean, I have to ask Kyla how she knows what to post on Tik ToK. ‘Cause I don’t, and how to work it, or how you know what to post. And she’s just…

Kyla: Right? I know, we like, just kind of.. right when the season ended, all started talking about potentially next season, maybe making a (???) video together, figuring it out myself if I’m being honest.

Vella: You’re gonna have to spearhead that.

Kyla: Yeah, right? I go in with a lot of false confidence and that’s really how I get through it.

Ross: On camera, you guys have become a very reverent family, and listening to you right now, you’ve got those qualities. Was there a bonding that came very quickly? Did it take awhile, Vella? What was that like for the cast – and Kyla, too – what was that like for you guys?

Vella: Yeah. I mean, we had only shot, I think, a month or two when we got shut down for COVID. So a lot of our bonding, I think, came during COVID in that time. We would just zoom a lot, and check in on each other, and we have our text chain, and I think we kind of skipped a few steps in terms of working together for months and slowly getting to know each other.
We just went straight to “How are you doing? Are you okay? What’s going on? How’s your family?”

Kyla: I think most of the time when you start a new series, you know, you’re kind of interacting with everyone in between breaks on set. And then when you rehearse, you’re doing your lines and whatnot, and then you all go home for the day. So with us being in zoom within the first month, you guys knew what my bedroom looked like, my cat, my family situation… I think we all just kind of had nothing but time. So it was like a hundred lunch breaks, all put into, like, how many months? So we did definitely come back to it, filming, like we were going into season five of our show – relationship-wise, just because we bonded so much.

Suzanne: Kyla, you were on CSI about 10 years ago when Ted Danson was starring in it. Did you have scenes with him then? And did he remember you when you started this show?

Kyla: Okay. So I did do CSI, but to preface it, I was a corpse.

(Laughter)

Kyla: So Ted and I did have a scene, but it was me lying in a bed, no longer living. So it wasn’t anything too memorable, but I think it was one of those things where we had talked about it, he kind of remembered…? Yes, no, but I was like eight and I didn’t say anything. I just kind of got to go to craft services, eat a lot of food and sleep for 20 minutes. It was a pretty sweet deal. But I think, I think I definitely do probably remember it a little bit more.

Vella: I did not know that.

Suzanne: So, bow that they’ve brought the show back, Vella, that’s your chance. You’ve got to go play a dead body on the new CSI.

Kyla: Yeah, everybody’s doing it.

Vella: I would love to. It sounds — it sounds very relaxing.

Suzanne: You can’t move, though. That’s the only thing.

Dano: One of my favorite Super Bowl commercials last month was the NBC one with Ted Danson. I was wondering if you guys, you know, how you reacted to that, if you’re roasted a bit for that, or… yeah. What were your thoughts on that?

Vella: I think I just texted, like, “Ted!” or something… It was the one where he’s the king of NBC, right?

Dano: Right, And then every other NBC person’s getting annoyed, you know, that Ted, or Keenan, “why not me?” You know?

Vella: Well, it’s the 40th anniversary of “Cheers,” so, I mean, it’s hard to (???)

Kyla: Right, he earned it.

Vella: He earned it. 40 years on a network. I mean, that’s… that’s pretty impressive. I don’t think we roasted him at all. Maybe we should!

Kyla: We can designate somebody to come through.

Vella: “Hey, man…”

Karen: I wanted to ask you guys: I think all of us have seen the first five episodes and, we’ve seen some really fun guest stars on, mostly with Ted. Do you guys get any like good guest star time this year? Do you want to tease anything about who you got to work with, or are you not allowed to say?

Vella: I don’t know. I know there’s some great people that come through. I don’t think, oh, there’s an amazing person that we got to work with, but yeah. I don’t know if we’re supposed to, I don’t know if we can talk about them, I guess.

Host: Not at this point, but excited for you guys to see all the many surprises coming up for this season.

Vella: Yeah. There’s some really great people– some really great comedy people.

Kyla: I guess we think, everyone, because of who’s behind the show. I feel really lucky. I’ve noticed everyone that comes in – even if they have one line – they are so on point, and are so amazing and really do the best job that they possibly can, which I think makes every scene so special. So I do always look forward to, you know, when we read the script to seeing who’s going to come in and who’s gonna play this crazy role. But we have, we have a lot of funny, funny characters that pop in this season for sure.

Vella: Yeah, definitely.

Check out our other “Mr. Mayor” interviews with Ted Danson and Holly Hunter and Mike Cabellon and Bobby Moynihan

MORE INFO:

Trailer

Mr. Mayor PosterSeason Premiere: March 15

“Mr. Mayor” follows a retired businessman (Ted Danson) who runs for mayor of Los Angeles to prove he’s “still got it.” Once he wins, he has to figure out what he stands for, gain the respect of his biggest critic (Holly Hunter) and connect with his teenage daughter, all while trying to get anything right for America’s second weirdest city.
The series stars Ted Danson, Holly Hunter, Vella Lovell, Mike Cabellon, Kyla Kenedy and Bobby Moynihan.
“Mr. Mayor” is produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, Little Stranger, Bevel Gears and 3 Arts Entertainment. Robert Carlock, Tina Fey, Jeff Richmond and David Miner will executive produce. Eric Gurian will serve as a co-executive producer.

Kyla Kenedy

Orly Bremer, “Mr. Mayor”

MR. MAYOR -- Season: 2 -- Pictured: Kyla Kenedy as Orly Bremer -- (Photo by: Robert Trachtenberg/NBC)

Kyla Kenedy stars as mayor Neil Bremer’s (Ted Danson) daughter Orly Bremer on NBC’s new comedy “Mr. Mayor.”

Kenedy has spent nearly a decade building an impressive resume for an actress her age. She has worked steadily in film and television and across multiple genres. She is most recognizable from her roles on the ABC sitcom “Speechless” and for her recurring role on the international hit show “The Walking Dead.”

For the younger set, Kenedy is known for her role as a regular on the Amazon series “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.” On the big screen, she was last seen opposite Jeremy Sisto in the independent feature “Love Is All You Need?” for which she won the Best Actress Award at the Napa Valley Film Festival.

Kenedy began her career at 8 in Charleston, S.C., booking print and local jobs. She moved to Atlanta and quickly expanded to commercials and films, where she landed a small role in the Farrelly brothers feature film “The Three Stooges.” Shortly thereafter, Kenedy was cast in her first lead role as the title character in the award-winning made-for-TV movie “Raising Izzie,” for which she won the Grace Award at the 21st Movieguide Awards, and a Young Artist Award for Best Actress.

Kenedy relocated to Los Angeles and has gone on to appear in a steady stream of dramatic and comedic projects, including heavily recurring roles on “Night Shift” and “The New Normal” “for which she was again nominated for a Young Artist Award for Best Actress in a Guest Starring Role.

Kenedy currently lives in Los Angeles, and loves reading, traveling, and all outdoor activities.

Vella Lovell

Mikaela Shaw, “Mr. Mayor”

MR. MAYOR -- Season: 2 -- Pictured: Vella Lovell as Mikaela Shaw -- (Photo by: Robert Trachtenberg/NBC)

Vella Lovell stars as Chief of Staff Mikaela Shaw on the NBC comedy “Mr. Mayor.”

Lovell is best known for her standout series regular role as Heather Davis on all four seasons of CW’s “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” She is currently recurring in the new Amazon Prime coming-of-age series “As We See It.” Lovell is also the voice of Mermista in the animated Netflix series “She-Ra and the Princesses of Power” (2020 Critics’ Choice Nominee – Best Animated Series).

On the film side, she is best known for her role in the indie hit “The Big Sick” and recently starred in the Comedy Central holiday parody movie “A Clüsterfünke Christmas,” which was written and produced by “Saturday Night Live” alums Rachel Dratch and Ana Gasteyer.

A graduate from the Juilliard School, Lovell has a bachelor’s degree from New York University. While at Julliard, she played Anna Mae in Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottages’ “By the Way, Meet Vera Stark,” and Lady Macbeth in an adaptation of “Macbeth.” She has also performed in “The Bacchae,” directed by JoAnne Akalaitis at Shakespeare in the Park, and “The Great Recession” as well as “Kaspar Hauser” at the Flea Theater.

At Williamstown Theatre Festival, she was seen in “A Streetcar Named Desire,” directed by David Cromer, “When You’re Here” by Samuel Hunter and “Camp Monster.”

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Vella Lovell and Kyla Kennedy of "Mr. Mayor" on NBC

Interview with Ted Danson and Holly Hunter

TV Interview!

Holly Hunter and Ted Danson on Zoom interview for "Mr. Mayor" on NBC 3/8/22

Interview with Ted Danson and Holly Hunter of “Mr. Mayor” on NBC by Suzanne 3/8/22

It was so great to speak with these two legendary actors. Holly is an Oscar winner and of course, Ted Danson has been on TV for a very long time and is still bringing the laughs on this NBC show. They’re clearing having a great time. This was a press panel, so I was only able to ask one question. The other questions are from other journalists. I would have loved to have asked many more questions. Maybe someday I will! Don’t miss the show, which returns tomorrow, Tuesday night on NBC! It’s even funnier this season.

 

Ross: Hi guys. Ross Crystal from Showbiz Express. Ted, Holly, thank you so much for doing this and congratulations on the new season. Let me begin with you, Ted. How do we move into the new season? How does the mayor approach this new term, f I may?

Ted: Well, I think he probably has come to the realization that, just because he wanted to prove to himself and his daughter that life wasn’t over, and he ran to be mayor does not necessarily qualify him to be the mayor. [Chuckles] So this year he decides to right away hire somebody he calls the innovation team. You know, the brightest, youngest brains in California, to start shaping his administration and it creates a huge amount of friction in the office. It does provide a love affair for one of the characters, but it really just messes things up even more.

Ross: And Holly, Arpi is as annoying this time around as she’s ever been. What is it about this character that you love?

Holly: I’m just kind of gobsmacked by that. I hardly know how to proceed.

Ross: Hee, hee.

Ted: He’s an older white gentleman, Holly, you know, like the mayor…

Holly: Oh, right. It’s so interesting to think about the I team… the Innovation guys coming in… because Arpi works from…she’s like, old school. She is analog. And in a way, that’s the way city halls all across the United States operate. You know, they’re grassroots, from the ground up. “Can somebody please, tighten the manhole cover that is clattering every time a car goes over it?” I mean, you’ve got those kinds of issues that are coming into city hall. People screaming about whatever…the curbs not being at level on their street. I mean, it’s from the ground up that council members are dealing with issues in their city. From that, all the way to homelessness and traffic in Los Angeles. So the challenge for Arpi in this season, dealing with these Silicon Valley guys who come in with virtual reality approaches to problems is like…it’s so beyond annoying.

Ted: Yeah, I love that we’re in the age of man discovering the real meaning of mansplaining and beginning to realize that “Dear Lord, I never opened my mouth without actually starting to mansplain something.” And I think, you know, to have Neil Bremmer who has taken a sweet (he’s a good guy, but) a very shallow cut on life and is now explaining to Arpi how the city should be run. It has to be the most maddening thing in the world for her character. Because she does desperately care the old fashioned way — really care — about what they’re doing.

Ted: Hey Ross. Did I throw you under the bus? I’m sorry, buddy. Forgive me.

Ross: Oh, no, not at all. I was just wondering, as Mayor Garcetti leaves office and goes to be an ambassador, has he ever called you? Has he ever said, “Hey Ted… seriously?”

Ted: I think he has… I just didn’t want to take his calls.

Ross: [Laughs]

Suzanne: Ted, your character is a rich, entitled, clueless, self-involved guy. Was there anyone in real life that you think about when you’re portraying him?

Ted: I just…shave, look in the mirror, and go, “I got it. I got it. Thank you, Ted.” And off I go.

[Laughter]

Ted: You know, we’re all discovering things about ourselves, gratefully, slightly painfully, during the last couple of years. How entitled! I can just look at myself — how unknowingly entitled I am. I’m a thoughtful, sweet, liberal enlightened man. And I’m not, you know, I’m not. I thought I was. So, truly, I do feel like I was made for this part. And, I think, like the mayor… I, Ted am willing to change, but it’s very hard for me to see myself accurately… how silly I am, you know?

Suzanne: And Holly, you were just talking about the innovations and everything. In real life, on sets…you’ve been around for awhile. Does it ever bother you? Do you ever have that same sort of reaction when younger people come in, onset or anything like that? Do they make you feel like they want to reinvent everything [whereas] you’ve been doing it awhile, [but] they’re like, no…

Holly: Yeah, no, no, that doesn’t happen because you know, what’s so wild is… in a way, I could, I might be able to speak for most actors, but I think most actors, in some ways, are kind of childlike. So many actors that I love, the actors that I love, and adore working with, they’re kind of childlike… they’re children, in a way. Actors are… you spend your entire career changing, adapting….You’re doing things you’ve never done before. So many sets that I come on to… almost every set that I ever go onto. There’s no one that I know. I am meeting everyone for the first time on that set, ever. And I am used to that, and I’m sure Ted can say the same thing.

So actors have this liquidity… they’ve got a fluidity about change that I admire, and I love, and I’ve chosen to do movies, and chosen to work with people who often are breaking through to the other side in terms of form, how movies are made… [For instance], Terrence Malick. When I worked with him on a movie. I wanted to work with Terry to see how he made them and wow. He blew my mind! And working with Catherine Hardwood on “Thirteen,” she was making “Thirteen” in a way that I’d never seen– I’d never experienced before. This also is– it’s just a completely new form for me. So it keeps me changing. I gotta be up for it, and I love that challenge.

Suzanne: Right. Thanks!

Karen: Hi, I’m Karen Moul from SciFiVision. Ah, that’s actually, Suzanne, a great lead-in to my question, which is: What’s it like, now, settling into the second season behind the scenes with a cast that’s in place. I don’t know if COVID protocols are loostening, but maybe Holly first could talk about, what the climate is like, with your second season starting?

Holly: Well, joyful because we have this fantastic DP, David Miller, and he’s a wonderful touchstone because all sets are a little different and how everything is set up is a little bit different. And he provides us with this beautiful kind of structure that we can then go crazy in. We learned the structure from David, and then we all just go wild. We know what the perimeters are of our playing field. And for me to get more acquainted with that… you know, and Ted always, already was very acquainted with working with him. That that’s been very delightful, and I guess there’s just a little more confidence and intimacy with our characters. There had been an automatic kind of chemistry that existed between this cast that we’re all – I think – grateful for because you know, that doesn’t have to happen. And it did with us. There’s a kismet there.

Karen: And Ted, you’re a veteran of the sitcom format and have done many years. This is not your first, I guess, renewal second season. Do you have anything to add to all these comments?

Ted: Yeah, I mean, Holly said the word joyful. (clears his throat) Pardon me… It was joyful. COVID, as you suggested, had relaxed a little…we were still tested and did all of that. But when we got in front of the cameras, we could rehearse without masks, and there was a freedom that didn’t exist the first season. And there was also… we had taken a three- or four-month break, like the world did. And during that time, as a cast, we Zoomed a lot. We stayed in touch. We shared (like everybody did), because it was so intensely real, that the world was locked down, that we shared at a level that we probably wouldn’t have been able to, if we’d had a normal, season after season after season. We really got to know each other and appreciate each other. So when we got back together, not only was that a joy, a freedom of being able to be happily, joyfully, creative… But also, the writers and the actors were discovering who they were. You know, there’s always a process in the beginning where writers will say, “Have your character do this, do that.” And then you’re like, “No, that didn’t work. That didn’t work. That worked.” You know? So there’s a process of discovering who you are as a group, as a show, and, I think we kind of jelled last season, and it was joyful for all of us to appreciate the other characters, appreciate the other actors, and bounce off of such amazing players. It was very exciting.

Karen: Thank you.

Dano: Hi there, Dano from Nocturnal. So, for both Holly and Ted…You guys have both, worked with a lot of different comedic styles and, Tina Fey has her own cadence and brand. Is there a difference in approach or learning curve, versus like a “Bored to Death” and “Cheers” to this, or with Holly, a Coen brothers script to this… I guess, Ted, you also had a Coen-inspired script with “Fargo.” What’s the difference in approaching it?

Ted: Well, Robert and Tina are very fast. It’s much more of a… I grew up in a, “Here comes a joke. Pretty good joke, right?” You know, and the audience would laugh and you’d go on. There was a pause, there was a, you know, a kind of one thing at a time. And, this is very, very, very fast. You’re doing shots, you’re pointing out something political, but you’re kind of firing over your shoulder as you go galloping by. So the speed, the elevated quality of the writing, the words…It’s a challenge. I mean, your job as an actor is to ground whatever you’re doing in some kind of reality. And Tina and Robert are pulling you the other way going, “Nah, let’s shoot for the moon.” But your job remains the same. So that tension of making whatever it is they’re asking you to do, real, is I think the joy, the challenge and the excitement of what we’re doing.

And let me just add one thing about Holly hunter. You know, I can be a nice actor, meaning, I know what you want, so I’ll give it to you. You know, here it comes, you know, and that can be slightly boring sometimes. I watch Holly insist on grounding what it is she’s doing. It couldn’t be as far-fetched as you can imagine, but it’s still grounded and you never let go of that, Holly, and it’s a real inspiration for the rest of…for me, I’ll speak for myself.

Check out our other “Mr. Mayor” interviews with Vella Lovell and Kyla Kenedy and Mike Cabellon and Bobby Moynihan

MORE INFO:

Trailer

Mr. Mayor PosterSeason Premiere: March 15

“Mr. Mayor” follows a retired businessman (Ted Danson) who runs for mayor of Los Angeles to prove he’s “still got it.” Once he wins, he has to figure out what he stands for, gain the respect of his biggest critic (Holly Hunter) and connect with his teenage daughter, all while trying to get anything right for America’s second weirdest city.
The series stars Ted Danson, Holly Hunter, Vella Lovell, Mike Cabellon, Kyla Kenedy and Bobby Moynihan.
“Mr. Mayor” is produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, Little Stranger, Bevel Gears and 3 Arts Entertainment. Robert Carlock, Tina Fey, Jeff Richmond and David Miner will executive produce. Eric Gurian will serve as a co-executive producer.

Ted Danson

Mayor Neil Bremer, “Mr. Mayor”

MR. MAYOR -- Season: 2 -- Pictured: Ted Danson as Neil Bremer -- (Photo by: Robert Trachtenberg/NBC)

Ted Danson stars as Mayor Neil Bremer on the NBC comedy “Mr. Mayor.”

Danson is a Golden Globe- and Emmy Award-winning actor known for an array of exceptional performances, most memorably for his portrayal of Boston bartender Sam Malone on NBC’s multi-award winning and iconic comedy “Cheers,” which ran for 11 seasons and won three Emmys as best comedy series. He recently starred in creator Michael Schur’s acclaimed NBC comedy series “The Good Place” for which he was nominated for his 14th Emmy Award for outstanding lead actor and received a Critics Choice Award for his role as Michael.

Other recent credits include the 10th season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” FX’s critically acclaimed second season of “Fargo,” CBS’ long-running “CSI” and “CSI: Cyber,” FX’s “Damages,” as well as Golden Globe nominated role on CBS’ “Becker.”

In film, Danson was seen in 2018 in “Hearts Beat Loud,” a drama music film that premiered at Sundance. He has also appeared in several other high-profile projects, including the 1987 blockbuster hit “Three Men and a Baby” and its sequel, “Three Men and a Little Lady.” He also had a co-starring role in Steven Spielberg’s World War II masterpiece “Saving Private Ryan.”

Raised outside Flagstaff, Ariz., Danson attended Stanford University where he became interested in drama during his second year in school. He then transferred to Carnegie Mellon University and graduated in 1972 with his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in drama. After graduation, he was hired as an understudy in Tom Stoppard’s Off Broadway production “The Real Inspector Hound.” Danson relocated to Los Angeles in 1978 to help manage the Actor’s Institute for a year-and-a-half while he taught there. Six months after his arrival, Danson earned a role in “The Onion Field” and co-starred in the TV movie “The Women’s Room.”

In addition to acting and producing, Danson is an environmental activist, co-founding the American Oceans Campaign (AOC) in 1987 to alert Americans to the life-threatening hazards created by oil spills, off-shore development, toxic wastes, sewage pollution and other ocean abuses. The AOC merged with Oceana in 2001. Oceana works to teach citizens how they can participate in protecting and restoring marine resources, and to show Congress that Americans are concerned with these issues.

Danson resides in Los Angeles with his wife, actress Mary Steenburgen.

Holly Hunter

Arpi Meskimen, “Mr. Mayor

Holly Hunter stars as Deputy Mayor Arpi Meskimen on the NBC comedy “Mr. Mayor.”

Hunter has been nominated for four Academy Awards for the films “Broadcast News,” “The Firm,” “The Piano” and “Thirteen.” In 1993, she won the Academy Award and Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival for her performance in “The Piano.” In 2008, Hunter received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2009, she was awarded the Women in Film Lucy Award.

Most recently Hunter was seen as rival CEO Rhea Jarrell in HBO’s hit drama “Succession” and Showtime’s highly anticipated miniseries “The Comey Rule.”

Hunter reprised her iconic voice role as Elastigirl in the highly anticipated sequel to the animated hit films “The Incredibles,” alongside Craig T. Nelson and Samuel L. Jackson.

Hunter co-starred in “The Big Sick,” which won the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Comedy as well as be Oscar nominated for Best Original Screenplay. For her supporting role, Hunter was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild and Independent Spirit Award, and was honored with a Career Achievement Award at the 2018 Palm Springs International Film Festival.

Hunter was nominated for an Academy Award for her role as a mother dealing with her daughter’s wild and rebellious behavior in the film “Thirteen,” directed by Catherine Hardwicke. Hunter was also honored with nominations from the Hollywood Foreign Press, SAG, BAFTA and the Broadcast Film Critics Assn. for this role.

Hunter received the Academy Award for her performance as a mute Scottish widow in Jane Campion’s “The Piano.” For this role, she received the Cannes Film Festival Award, British Academy Film Award, New York Film Critics Circle Award, Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award, National Board of Review Award and a Golden Globe Award, all for best actress. That same year, Hunter garnered an Academy Award nomination for her performance as the investigative secretary in “The Firm,” based on the John Grisham novel.

MR. MAYOR -- Season: 2 -- Pictured: (l-r) Holly Hunter as Arpi Meskimen, Ted Danson as Neil Bremer -- (Photo by: Robert Trachtenberg/NBC)Hunter was nominated for another Academy Award for her portrayal of a driven career-woman producer in “Broadcast News.” For this role, she received the New York Film Critics Circle Award, Los Angeles Film Critics Award, National Board of Review Award and Berlin Film Festival Award, all for best actress.

Hunter made her television series debut in TNT’s drama “Saving Grace,” which earned her nominations for two Emmy Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards and a Golden Globe Award for Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series. “Saving Grace” ended after four seasons in 2010.

Hunter starred in ABC’s “When Billie Beat Bobby” where she portrayed tennis legend Billie Jean King in the 1973 “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match between King and Wimbledon champion Bobby Riggs. The role garnered her an Emmy nomination for Best Actress in a Television Miniseries or Movie.

Hunter was nominated for an Emmy for her role in Showtime’s “Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her.” The film tells stories about love and loss in the lives of five women. The film won an award in Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival and also screened at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival. Hunter also starred in Showtime’s original movie “Harlan County War,” for which she garnered both an Emmy and Golden Globe nomination for Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie.

Hunter was seen in the Sundance Channel series “Top of the Lake,” co-starring Elisabeth Moss, written and directed by Oscar winner Jane Campion. Hunter’s performance garnered her a Screen Actor’s Guild nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries.

She also starred in “The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom,” for which she won the Emmy for Best Actress. This role also garnered her a Golden Globe nomination. She starred as Jane Roe in NBC’s “Roe vs. Wade” and was awarded the Emmy for her performance.

In 1982, Hunter made her Broadway debut in Beth Henley’s “Crimes of the Heart” followed by “The Wake of Jamey Foster.” She was most recently seen on stage in the revival of David Rabe’s Tony Award-winning play “Sticks and Bones,” opposite Richard Chamberlain, Nadia Gan, Morocco Omari, Bill Pullman, Ben Schnetzer and Raviv Ullman. Hunter starred in Marina Carr’s “By the Bog of Cats,” directed by Dominic Cooke at Wyndham’s Theater in London.

Hunter co-produced and starred in Beth Henley’s “Control Freaks” and produced Ray Barry’s “Mother’ Son” at the Met Theatre in Los Angeles.

Other New York stage appearances include “The Miss Firecracker Contest,” “Battery,” The Person I Once Was,” “A Weekend Near Madison” and “Impossible Marriage.”

Hunter resides in New York.

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Ted Danson and Holly Hunter of "Mr. Mayor" on NBC (Photo by: Robert Trachtenberg/NBC)

Interview with Judith Light

TV Interview!

Judith Light as Joan in "Shining Vale" on Starz

Interview with Judith Light of “shining Vale” on Starz by Suzanne 2/7/22

It was lovely to speak to such an amazing actress. I first saw her on “Who’s the Boss?” back in the 80’s. I’ve seen her in so many other great shows, such as “Transparent,” “Law and Order,” “Ugly Betty,” “Dietland,” “Dallas” and so much more. She’s great in this, like usual You may not even recognize her.  The first few questions are from me, and the others were from other journalists in this roundtable press junket we did.

Suzanne: Hi. When you’re playing your character, is there anyone in particular that you modeled her after?

Judith: No, no. What an interesting question. No, I think that what happened was that they created her as they saw her. Now, maybe the writers had somebody in mind. Maybe they knew somebody that had had some of these issues, but no. It was just like, there it was, right on the page.

Suzanne: Thank you.

Judith: Yeah, you bet.

Suzanne: I know you got your TV start on One Life to Live. If one of the four remaining daytime soaps were to offer you a really good role, around your schedule, whether it was recurring, or guest starring or long term, would you consider it?

Judith: You know, years ago I used to say I wouldn’t do this, and I’m never going to do that. I’m not going to be in a soap opera, and I’m not going to be in a sitcom, and I’m never going to marry an actor, and I’m never going to move to California. You know, I’m not terribly trustworthy. So, I would only answer that to say to you, I will allow myself to stay open to everything and to see how things evolve and what comes to me. I don’t look at something and say, “I’ll never do that.” It’s just it’s not a way to be as a human being, and it’s not a way to live. Who knows what could happen? I have no idea. So, good questions.

Question: …Tell us a little bit about her. She’s kind of a character, but has a part of her life that we won’t get into, but kind of had a dark period in her life, I guess the best way to put it?

Judith: Yeah, yeah. I love that you’re being deferential to not giving away a lot of the information, which I know they appreciate, and so do I. We’re talking about mental illness. I mean, you’re talking about a woman who, as an adult, a lot of her adult life is she’s dealing with mental illness, and the fact that this show is able to talk about that in such a way within the body and the context of comedy and horror and drama and paranormal is just quite incredible, I think. I just think it’s extraordinary. So, that’s one of the things that we’re dealing with is women and mental illness.

Question: Congratulations on being a part of such an interesting show. How long did you have to keep the secret that you were cast in this series?

Judith: Not for very long. I mean, it really happened quite, quite quickly. I mean, I read the script, and then they sent me the pilot to look at, and I was like, “Oh, I’m in.” So, it wasn’t really a very long time. They send it to me, and then we talked about it, and we shot it.

Question: And to follow up on that, was there a personal highlight for you? Because often things that are funny are not always off camera hilarious, the most fun thing ever, and then, vice versa. You’ll find that in dramas, the second they say cut, everyone is laughing their heads off and having a blast. So, is there a highlight?

Judith: The highlight was really getting to work with Courtney and with Greg and with Gus Birney. And to be in a show, like you say, I mean, that’s written and conceived by Jeff Astrof and Sharon Horgan and such a team of women writers, I mean, literally, this is a question for you and everybody who’s watching the show. “How do you write a show that’s a comedy and a drama and a horror show and paranormal?” I don’t even know how you can think about that. You said congratulations on being a part of this show. I am beside myself. I think people are just – I can’t even say think. I know people are going to be absolutely enchanted by this.

Question: You’ve done a lot of darker roles lately. Is there something about these characters that really makes you want to embody them? Or is it just things that come across your desk, and you’re like, “Okay, that’s an interesting role. I’d love to pursue that.”

Judith: I go for the role. I go for what it says about women and their stories. We’re storytellers, you know, just like you all. You’re the storytellers. You tell our stories, and that’s why talking to you is so interesting; it’s so vital. I look at a character. I look at the story. I look at what it’s saying. I see that women are writing for women about women’s issues, women and their artistry, women and their menopause, women and aging, women and their sexuality, women and their mental illness. So, that’s compelling to me. And to do it within, like I just said before, within the context of a show that’s funny and dramatic and tender and fragile and poignant and scary is just – You’re smiling. It’s true. It’s like it’s it’s a joy. It’s a real joy.

Question: As far as dialogue, do you get a chance to play with the words a little bit? Or do you have to stay verbatim to the script?

Judith: No, there’s no law. I mean, if there’s something that I want to talk to the producers about, they’re incredibly open, but when you see a show like this, and the way this is written, I wouldn’t touch this with a ten-foot pole. I mean, I wouldn’t even think to be able to do that. If I have questions, I’ll ask them, but not with something like this. They’re open and flexible, which is also a dream. It’s really great.

Question: Just a quick follow up, there is a scene where you have a moment with one of your grandchildren, and that was a really serious scene, and I really appreciated that scene. You both brought it, and it was so great to see you flexing those muscles.

Judith: Oh, thank you, thank you so much. That was all as all on the page. That’s all on the page. And you know, you can try something as as an actor, and you can throw it out. They might have said to me, “Don’t go there. Go to the funny, or go to the scary. Don’t do that. Don’t make it that deep or that real,” but they didn’t say that. So, that’s what I was saying. And in responding to your other question, which is, I wouldn’t ask them to change anything or rewrite anything. But if you work the way that I do is you just throw out a lot of stuff, and I say to somebody, “Look, this is the smorgasbord; you choose what you want.” And if they want something else, then they tell you. But thank you for noticing. That is a very powerful scene.

Question: So, when somebody looks at your IMDB or your credits, in general, you’ve been working nonstop, and it’s a variety of genres and projects. There’re not a lot of people who do dramatic stuff like you, yet we’re also on Family Guy. So, you’ve also been prolific as a humanitarian, and charitable work as well and standing up for women’s causes, in a wonderful way. Are there a lot of hobbies for you, or does it really all your free time goes back into the craft?

Judith: I wouldn’t say hobbies, but there are things in life that I do that I spend time on that feed my work, a lot of reading, a lot of investigation of psychology. Also, now, I’m starting to produce, and I have a bunch of projects in development. So, those are the things that I’m drawn to doing. I am curious about a lot of different things, and curiosity is the link to me to creativity. If you’re curious about something, you move into a direction of being creative in relation to it. Also, I love working in teams. So, I love being able to be around other people who are also curious and creative, and that’s where a lot of the energy goes. My husband and I are creating a lot of work together. So, that’s also exciting for me.

Question: So, it sounds like stay tuned to keep checking the IMDB to see how much you’re working.

Judith: There you go. There you go. That’s right.

Question: It’s such an honor, I must say to speak with you, and I’ve been a longtime fan of yours. Do you have any favorite projects of yours that truly hold a dear place in your heart? I mean, we recently saw you on American Crime Story. That was a beautiful arc, and there’re so many roles that stand out, of course, over the years, but are there certain roles that still hold a special place for you?

Judith: Oh, you’re so sweet. Thank you. Thank you for saying that. Well, I love American Crime. I love working with Ryan. I mean, talk about a visionary. He’s an incredible person. I would have to say, I did a play years ago, where I took over – I hadn’t been on stage for twenty-two years, and then I took over for a brilliant actor named Kathleen Chalfant in a play called Wit. It was about a woman who was dying of fourth stage ovarian cancer, and that one I hold very close still. I was terrified to do it. I had to shave my head. I had to be naked on stage. There were a lot of things that I had to confront, personally, that were very transformational for me as far as my life was concerned. It wasn’t about my career anymore. It was really about my life and the things that I needed to not be afraid of and to take a chance to take a risk. I did it for almost a year. I did it in New York for about six months. Then, I did it on tour in Boston and San Francisco and Washington, DC, and Florida. Every one of the experiences around that was life changing and affirming for me, and that one I hold I hold very close, very dear. Also, the other things that I’ve done on stage, like Other Desert Cities, just that brilliant, brilliant play by Jon Robin Baitz. I just walked into that family, and that was very, very special to me, getting to work with Joe Mantello and Robbie and then Richard Greenberg, on The Assembled Parties. Those are two other plays that I did. Most of the work that I’ve done stays with me. Not the character; I let go of the character, but the holiness, I guess, is what I would say. And I mean that in a holistic way, that those characters have meant a great deal to me, particularly when you do a long run, like we did with Lombardi. Those things, they stay. They’re embedded, and I really treasure them greatly. I really do.

Question: So, it just seems like the producing side is kind of tapping into a new area for you. How has that been to kind of take a project from an idea and put it together?

Judith: It’s been interesting. It’s more I’m learning from several different producers that I’m working with in the development of these projects. I’m at a place called Brillstein Creative Partners, and I’m working with some really brilliant, extraordinary women producers that I’m learning a lot from, like Amy Powell and Dakota DeBellis. There are people that are on these projects that I’m working on that I’m watching and learning from and seeing how to put something together. Right now we’re in the stages of looking at reading material, finding the writers. Who’s going to be the best team for this? And it takes a long time, and it takes a lot of discipline and diligence and a lot of hard work to put it together. I’m learning, and I’m watching, and I’m seeing that these are people that really know what they’re doing and really know what they’re talking about. So, I’m really in the learning stage. So, I’ll keep you posted. I’ll let you know how it’s going.

Here is the audio version of it.

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

MORE INFO:

Trailer

Judith Light as Joan in "Shining Vale" on StarzSHINING VALE

Season 1 8 Episodes 2022

“Shining Vale” is a horror comedy about a dysfunctional family that moves from the city to a small town into a house in which terrible atrocities have taken place. But no one seems to notice except for Pat, who’s convinced she’s either depressed or possessed – turns out, the symptoms are exactly the same. Patricia “Pat” Phelps (Courteney Cox) is a former “wild child” who rose to fame by writing a raunchy, drug-and-alcohol-soaked women’s empowerment novel (a.k.a. lady porn). Fast forward 17 years later, Pat is clean and sober but totally unfulfilled. She still hasn’t written her second novel, she can’t remember the last time she had sex with her husband (Greg Kinnear), and her teenage kids are at that stage where they want you dead. She was a faithful wife until her one slip-up: she had a torrid affair with the hot, young handyman who came over to fix the sink while Terry was at work. In a last-ditch effort to save their marriage, she and Terry cash in all their savings and move the family from the “crazy” of the city to a large, old house in the suburbs that has a storied past of its own. Everyone has their demons, but for Pat Phelps, they may be real. Cox plays the lead role of Patricia “Pat” Phelps, with Kinnear playing her ever-optimistic husband, Terry Phelps, whose patience and self-control will be tested like never before. Mira Sorvino plays Rosemary, who is either Pat’s alter ego, a split personality, her id, her muse, or a demon trying to possess her. Dungey plays Kam, Pat’s oldest friend and book editor. Gus Birney and Dylan Gage also star as Pat and Terry’s teenage kids, Gaynor and Jake.

Multiple Tony and Emmy award-winning actress JUDITH LIGHT is known for her extensive body of television, film, and onstage work, for which she recently received a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Opposite Bette Midler, Ben Platt, and Gwyneth Paltrow, she currently stars in Ryan Murphy’s Netflix series The Politician. Most recently, Light starred in Transparent, Amazon Prime’s Golden Globe-winning series, created by Jill Soloway, for which she received a Golden Globe nomination and multiple Emmy and Critics’ Choice nominations. In 2018, her role in Ryan Murphy’s Emmy and Golden Globe-winning series, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, garnered her an Emmy and Critics Choice nomination. More here

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Judith Light as Joan in "Shining Vale" on Starz

Interview with Merrin Dungey

TV Interview!

Merrin Dungey attends the premiere of her new Starz series Shining Vale on Monday (February 28) at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 28: Merrin Dungey attends the premiere of STARZ “Shining Vale” at TCL Chinese Theatre on February 28, 2022 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage)

Interview with Merrin Dungey of “Shining Vale” on Starz by Suzanne 2/7/22

I was delighted to speak with Merrin Dungey because she’s been in so many wonderful series, such as “Alias,” “Once Upon a Time,” “The Resident,” “Star Trek: Picard,” “Hollywood Heights,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Big Little Lies” and much more. I don’t know why she’s not starring in her own series by now. She has a fairly small role in this show (at least in the first season), but she’s great in it. I hope they give her more to do in the second season. It was wonderful to speak to her!

The first few questions were mine, and the rest are from the other reporters that were in our virtual room during this press junket. I put one of theirs in sooner so you could see that I was replying, in part, to what she had said when she was answering the other questions.

Suzanne: Hi! So, besides being Pat’s friend and editor, what else can you tell us about your character?

Our favorite photo of Merrin DungeyMerrin: Well, it’s not simply just that I’m her friend and her editor. I’m sort of the engine that keeps the story going, because without what I need from her, that’s what leads her to make the decisions that she makes along the way, and I feel that my character is her moral center and her life raft, like the one outside of everything else that’s happening that she clings to. She is like, this is the person that can help me move things forward. I feel like she’s also a little desperate to please. Where there is a sister like relationship that we have, I feel that it’s a long standing relationship. I was there for the beginning. I probably was the one who discovered her and brought her along and got the first book success, hence why I’ve been on this horse and stuck by her so long through her rehabs, through her ins and outs, and having children and all the whatnot, but my patience runs thin, and I have bosses to answer to at this point as well. So, there is a point at which the rubber meets the road, and I feel that without me, you don’t have the show. You don’t have that engine to keep her chasing what she’s chasing to finish the book.

Question: When you had the pleasure of auditioning for the show, did you actually read any of your character’s lines, or were the sides just totally random stuff in there and they were gauging your connectivity to it all that way?

Merrin: No, it’s all written. I mean, I believe that I added some stuff at the end. This is the thing I miss the most about in person auditions, because I’m great in a room, because I like people, and I like to have fun. I honestly, truly believe that some of my success and things have happened – I mean, like, at the end of the day, when you are auditioning for something for a series that could go for six years, you want to know, “Do I like this person? Do I want to spend time with this person?” That’s part of the game. But I believe I sent some stuff about what I was wearing in my audition. They have you do like the, “Hi, I’m Merrin Dungey, and I live in Los Angeles, and I am willing to -” you know, whatever you say, all the things, like “I’m five, nine,” or whatever your height is, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I made some stupid joke about my pants. Like, I was not wearing [pants]…and I think that that helps. Although I’m fully dressed today. I have high heels on; I do the whole thing.

Suzanne: You look very nice today, by the way. So, it’s been sixteen years since “Alias” went off the air, and I know that both of your characters died, but nobody really dies in those type of shows. Do you think that we’ll ever see a reunion series or movie, and would you do it?

Merrin: Yes. Hopefully. And yes. And yes. Look, Jennifer got us all back together for the most part, for a 20th anniversary. Yeah, it was super, super fun to see everyone and just connect and hang out, but I think that we are all game for that. And I would hope that – I feel that Bad Francie lives. She lives somewhere on, you know, life support somewhere or she’s T-2; she’s a robot. So, it would be great. I would love it very much. I would be wholly disappointed if they did do it, and I did not get to reprise any sort of – I don’t care even if it’s a flashback, but not a flashback to Good Francie, because, who cares?

Question: Merrin, I’ve been watching your acting for, it’s like twenty-ish years now. You’ve played every profession on the planet. And this one, we see you playing Pat’s oldest friend and book editor, but not the first time you’ve worked in the publishing industry on screen. One of my favorite shows ever, You’re the Worst, you were working at a publishing industry.

Merrin: I thought I was a PR agent in that. I was at a publishing agency, but as a PR agent for him, getting him all those interviews.

Question: Related to all that, I’m curious how much work goes into seeking the professions and learning the ins and outs before you’re appearing as that on screen?

Merrin: That’s a great question. Thank you very much. I think I don’t necessarily dive into [it] so heavily, unless it’s like detective work, because that’s so much more foreign to what I know. To play a publishing editor or book editor or even a CEO, there just is sort of like, what’s the gravitas? What is the nature of [how you are] presenting, as opposed to what is it you actually do? Because unless you really see me doing what it is that I have to do, like when I do detective stuff, it’s just kind of, there’s usually a different objective for my character. So, I don’t have to worry so much about what it is that I do as a therapist or any of those sorts of things.

Question: I love this world for you, and it’s such a beautiful relationship that the two of you share, that Pat shares with Kam. What does Kam particularly see in her? I mean, obviously, you mentioned that she probably discovered her, but is there something special that you feel like she initially saw in her, and what continues to have her stand by her side?

Merrin: You know, we all have that friend, don’t we? It’s just kind of like a little bit of a like sister relationship, the one that you kind of need to take care of and put under your wing, and she’s constantly effing up, and I have to [be] like, “Okay, how can we – ” I mean, I certainly have had those people in my life, and I think that that’s what Cam sees in her. There’s talent amongst the ruins, and she wants the best for her. She loves her. She also wants to get paid. You know what I’m saying? Sadly, [there’s] a financial component ultimately here, and there does come a point at which [it’s] like, my neck’s on the line. So, it is a two fold relationship.

Question: They do say “never mix business with pleasure.”

Question: So, she has some great dialogue. Talk about that and how it really plays into kind of like, what I love about her, that snarky side of her and all these great lines that she has.

Merrin: Well, thank you. We get to play. That’s the great thing about the show is that there is room to play, and Courtney’s always game. She’s such a great sparring partner as you can well imagine. She’s so witty and sharp and funny, and Jeff Astrof comes in with the zingers at all times. We played a lot with – you know, anytime you open the scene or you end the scene, there’s a lot of room to sort of have fun and improv and do some stuff. So, from that comes some of the zingers and the stuff…And the late night shoots. You get tired, and then you start saying stuff, and it just happens, and it’s fun.

Question: You do take on so wonderfully these dramatic roles. Is there something about this character or maybe about drama series in general that really draws you to that genre?

Merrin: Well, this is a horror comedy. So, it’s not really a drama, and this is my first time doing that. Although I guess American Horror Stories is sort of like a horror comedy. Look, I go where the goods are. I go where there’s some great fun and good people. I feel like, in my later years in particular, I have been able to work with some [outstanding] – Listen, my entire career I’ve worked with some great people: Aaron Sorkin, Sir Patrick Stewart, Jane Fonda, Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon. I’ve been very, very lucky. It’s ridiculous, you know, Bryan Cranston. I mean, it’s crazy. So, I just feel like I fell out of the lucky tree, and I hit every branch on the way down. So, to continue that streak with Greg Kinnear and Mira Sorvino and Courtney Cox, again, it’s like, “Are you kidding?” This is a dream come true. It’s crazy.

Question: You do it so wonderfully.

Merrin: Thank you. Did I answer your question? Because I feel like maybe didn’t answer your question, but, yes, I’m happy to work with great people. I don’t care what they’re doing. I did an online thing with Con Man, I think was an online series with Nathan Fillion, because it was like, “Nathan Fillon, sure, yeah. Alan Tudyk, yep.”

Question: So, you checked a few boxes. You’re in the Star Trek arena, live action and animation, and horror, you’ve done Lucifer, of course. Now, you’re doing this, although you’re not in the horror aspect per se, at least not yet, but what’s it like to kind of play in those playgrounds and to visit those kind of worlds?

Merrin: Awesome. I mean, it’s such a gift. It’s complicated when you do something like a Picard, because doing that is much like doing an ER in an OR kind of thing, because, I don’t know about you, but I don’t know what I’m talking about. You know what I’m saying? Like, I’m not in space. I’m not with the Romulans. I don’t understand what we’re talking about. So, it took me a long time to sort of pull in what I know about what I know and being a television interviewer, and then how does that work? What points am I trying to hit? We had so much rehearsal for that, because it was six big pages with him, with Sir Patrick Stewart, and we had a blast. It was the longest, hardest day of my life, except for when I did the fight with Jennifer, but in terms of concentration and what it is and having to do, you know, I’m like spinning a sphere or something. You’re dealing with things that are CGI that don’t exist. That is complicated. At least when I was doing Once Upon a Time, even though there was CGI in that, it’s still more grounded in terms of what you’re saying. I think that’s the hardest part. It’s harder to play in those playgrounds, because they’re fantastical, so you are trying to pull in what you know about the real world and attribute it to something that doesn’t exist. But for other people, this is really real, and I’m very proud of myself, particularly for Picard, because people are mad at me…I was like, “Good. I did what I was supposed to.” I had no idea what I was talking about! [laughs]

Here is the audio version of it.

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

MORE INFO:

Trailer

Part of the "Shining Vale" poster with Merrin Dungey and Courtney Cox.

SHINING VALE

Season 1 8 Episodes 2022

“Shining Vale” is a horror comedy about a dysfunctional family that moves from the city to a small town into a house in which terrible atrocities have taken place. But no one seems to notice except for Pat, who’s convinced she’s either depressed or possessed – turns out, the symptoms are exactly the same. Patricia “Pat” Phelps (Courteney Cox) is a former “wild child” who rose to fame by writing a raunchy, drug-and-alcohol-soaked women’s empowerment novel (a.k.a. lady porn). Fast forward 17 years later, Pat is clean and sober but totally unfulfilled. She still hasn’t written her second novel, she can’t remember the last time she had sex with her husband (Greg Kinnear), and her teenage kids are at that stage where they want you dead. She was a faithful wife until her one slip-up: she had a torrid affair with the hot, young handyman who came over to fix the sink while Terry was at work. In a last-ditch effort to save their marriage, she and Terry cash in all their savings and move the family from the “crazy” of the city to a large, old house in the suburbs that has a storied past of its own. Everyone has their demons, but for Pat Phelps, they may be real. Cox plays the lead role of Patricia “Pat” Phelps, with Kinnear playing her ever-optimistic husband, Terry Phelps, whose patience and self-control will be tested like never before. Mira Sorvino plays Rosemary, who is either Pat’s alter ego, a split personality, her id, her muse, or a demon trying to possess her. Dungey plays Kam, Pat’s oldest friend and book editor. Gus Birney and Dylan Gage also star as Pat and Terry’s teenage kids, Gaynor and Jake.

In addition to “Shining Vale”, Merrin Dungey will be seen in a recurring role on the up- coming season of “Lucifer”. Fresh from her strong turn as CJ Emerson on ABC’s limited series “The Fix”, Dungey returned to the critically lauded Emmy winning HBO series “Big Little Lies” as Detective Quinlan, appearing on screen with Oscar winners Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and the legendary Meryl Streep; all nominated for a SAG Award for Best Ensemble. She co-starred as CEO Claire Thorpe on Fox’s “The Resident”, and on a number of ABC hits including “Once Upon A Time” and “Conviction”. Guest star roles range from the groundbreaking turn as Francie Calfo/Alison Doren in the critically acclaimed award-winning “Alias”, and as a Queen of Darkness, Ursula, in “Once Upon A Time”. Other guest appearances include hit shows including “Seinfeld”, “Friends”, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, “Episodes”, “The West Wing” and “Shameless”. Recurring roles include “Chasing Life”, “Brooklyn 99”, “Malcolm in the Middle”, “Revenge” and over 35 episodes of “The King of Queens”. Dungey is an accomplished stand-up comedian, and has performed in Montreal’s Just For Laughs Festival, as well as on “Premium Blend” on Comedy Central. She has appeared on the big screen opposite Pierce Brosnan in Some Kind of Beautiful and the Warner Bros comedy CHiPs opposite Dax Shepard. She is a UCLA Theater School Graduate and the youngest recipient of the UCLA Annual Acting Award, as well as the Natalie Wood Prize

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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Merrin Dungey as Kam in "Shining Vale" on Starz, seen here with Courtney Cox (Pat).

Interview with Mira Sorvino

TV Interview!

Mira Sorvino stars as Rosemary in "The Shining Vale" on Starz

Interview with Mira Sorvino of “Shining Vale” on Starz by Suzanne 2/7/22

This is a great show! I fell in love with it when I saw the first episode months ago. Now I’ve seen 6 of the episodes (there are a total of 7).  It’s a creepy horror show and a funny comedy as well. The actors in it are perfect. Mira Sorvino is the right combination of weird and sexy as Rosemary, one of the house’s inhabitants. I was very happy to speak to her about it, even if it was only a brief interview. The other questions are from other journalists.

Suzanne: Can you tell us what the most fun thing was about filming the show and also the most challenging aspect of playing the character?

Mira: Well, those two both came to play in you know – So, Jeff being the amazing, wonderful, generous showrunner that he is, when I told him, “Oh, I would love it if she could dance,” because in those old 50s movies that she’s in love with, they always had these dance numbers,” and all of a sudden he wrote me and Courtney and Greg like a little dance bit at the beginning of one of the later episodes. I was overjoyed and terrified, because I had hung up my pointe shoes at fourteen, although I’d taken like eight years of classes and as an adult actually still studied, still studied ballet, still studied some jazz, did like salsa and ballroom stuff for some of the other movies I’ve done, like Summer of Sam. So, I got to do this scene that, it’s very brief, but it’s like an homage to Fred Astaire and the coat rack or Gene Kelly and the mop, the boom. And I couldn’t have had more fun, and I couldn’t have been more nervous. I worked on it for a week with the choreographer, trying to appear, trying to show up like a real dancer. Liz Friedman was the director, and she used to direct videos and dance, and she knows all about dance. So, I was like, “Oh, my God,” but I ended up being really happy with it and proud of it and had the time in my life. So, it was both as much fun as one could have on a day of work and as nervous I could be on a set, because I’m not a professional dancer. Like acting is kind of under my feet now; like I know what I’m doing, even if certain scenes will be more challenging than others emotionally, or I’ll have more work to do on a certain aspect of preparation. I’m not a professional dancer, so getting to dance in a professional scene was a joy, but it was also a terror, but I loved it. I was so grateful. So grateful.

Suzanne: I look forward to seeing it. Thanks. When people recognize you, and they tell you how much they like you, what is the movie or show that you’re most recognized for? Is it Romy and Michele, or something else?

Mira: Absolutely. People say, “I’m the Mary.” You know, they do stuff like that, like when they meet me. Yeah, that’s the one.

Suzanne: That’s definitely the one. All right. Well, thanks a lot.

Mira: Thank you.

Question: Hi, it’s great to talk to you; been a big fan of yours for many years, more than I should admit, but I gotta ask you, what’s it kind of like – and I’m going to be delicate about this – to kind of play a character that’s a little retro?

Mira Sorvino and Courtney Cox from "Shining Vale" on StarzMira: You don’t have to be delicate about it. I mean, she’s from the 50s. The historical person of Rosemary, who lived in the house seventy years ago, lived in the 50s with her family, and she was a very miserable person with dreams of grandeur and dreams of a different life that she couldn’t achieve. Then, her, you know, ectoplasmic manifestation in the present, is trying to cozy up to Pat Phelps, Courtney Cox’s character; [it has] still got all the trappings of that era. She talks like a character from a movie or TV series from the time. And the crazy part is, I don’t even know whether real people talk that way, but all the evidence that we have, like when I watched Leave It to Beaver or Ozzie and Harriet, or The Donna Reed Show, everyone’s talking in that patois. Then, you’ve got these fantastic, more crime thrillers, which I watched for inspiration, and I think that’s how she sees herself. She wants to see herself as this sort of silver screen, like, you know, power woman. She’s a little bit silly, so she doesn’t quite – it’s not as powerful as she hopes, but she’s trying to be what she wasn’t in life. So, in her real life, she was disempowered and hopeful and then squashed. Her new manifestation is all like verve and “Let’s do it baby!” you know, “Let’s drink!” And I loved it. I loved having that anachronistic vibe, so that it was a clear contrast with the current day people and that still, though, her message was modern, even though she was doing it in archaic way. It’s like, “Are you happy with your life? Is this all you really expected to get out of life? Are you letting other people’s expectations rule what you can be? Why don’t you take charge of your own life; be everything that you want to be? Experience life the way you want it. It’s time for you,” is sort of what she’s saying, even though she’s saying it, like, “Let’s go to Paris and throw a fantastic party.” So, I just love being her. It’s really fun.

Question: Earlier today, I had the pleasure of speaking with Jeff, and he was talking about how no matter how big the stars were, they wanted to be in the show and were willing to demonstrate, “Hey, I don’t care where I am on the [call sheet], I want to be on the show.” How did you first find out about it?

Mira: I think my agents found out about it, and I read the script and had a talk with Jeff, and he sent me later scenes from it, because, obviously, in the first episode, I’m kind of a discovery towards the end. But he sent me some of the tiki bar scenes where you really see her at work, trying to enlist Pat to come over and be her sister and adventure[r]. And I was really intrigued. Then, I got to do a zoom meet with Courtney, who I’d met before, but like, you know, artistically about the project. It seemed like a wonderful fit and was going to be fantastic. So, I was so excited about it, and it has proven to be one of my favorite jobs I’ve ever had, honestly.

Question: It’s such a pleasure to speak with you; I’ve been a longtime fan, and I have to say, Romy and Michele is one of my absolute favorite movies. I’m sure you basically hear that every day at this point of your life.

Mira: I’m very grateful that people love it so much.

Question: With this particular role of Rosemary, did it take stepping into the costume for you to really embody her, or did you just find her based on the wonderful words on the page?

Mira: It was a combo. It was like, once I first started working on her, I actually had an old 50s dress that I ended up wearing into one of the fittings, because it was giving me vibes of her, and I offered to bleach my hair completely platinum so that I could be more ghosty and 50s-ish, and that helped. Then, I just started watching The Donna Reed Show and Ozzie and Harriet and then all these 50s noire movies, because I felt like historical Rosemary was like a normal person who was somewhat repressed, maybe a little high-strung, definitely sort of held down by her husband. He was very abusive and neglectful and controlled her within an inch of her life. The ghost rosemary, the spirit Rosemary, is everything Rosemary hoped to be in life but couldn’t really be. So, now, she’s fabulous. Now, she’s got these tremendous costumes. Now, she’s got these lofty [unintelligible], and she’s hosting. She’s hosting people in her own bar. “Come on in. Let me pour you a drink, darling.” She’s just living that life that she wished that she could live, given the parameters of the narrow vision of what a great life looked like to her at the time. So, yeah, it was sort of working on the two characters, because at certain points in the show, you see her as Rosemary, like the real Rosemary, and most of the time, you’re seeing the spirit Rosemary, but sometimes real Rosemary comes through in spirit Rosemary. Like, there’s a moment – because I think you’ve seen the bathroom scene, right? So, at the mirror, real Rosemary comes through there. So, it’s like spirit Rosemary’s in the bath, and then real Rosemary tries to break through. And real Rosemary is in a lot of pain. So, it’s a very interesting, fun challenge to play this multilayered, not even just person, you know, spirit.

Mira Sorvino from "Shining Vale" on StarzQuestion: What’s it like to balance all of that, including the horror and the comedy elements in there too?

Mira: Well, I find that if you make a character sort of odd enough or quirky enough, if the writing is funny, just delivering it in character will make it funny. So, you know, because she is somewhat anachronistic and has so much excitement for things that other [people] would not consider exciting, or doesn’t know that smoking is bad for you, or just all these things that just set her apart, like the comedy sort of took care of itself in a way. The horror was also largely delivered by the way scenes start or end or whether there’re jump-scares. It’s only as her sort of progressive and her sort of darker nature starts growing, that’s when I had to really be part of the scare in an active way, because I had to be – you had to believe me capable of harm, which I had to sort of dig into the the darker trauma of the past Rosemary’s life to bring that gravitas to highfalutin modernism…I don’t know, it’s like inside the workings of a weird mind right now.

Question: With a character like Rosemary, there’s a lot of work; there’s a lot of craft to it. Are you able to turn off thirty seconds after they yell “cut”? Or is it the kind of thing where you spend days as that character, and you can’t snap out of it?

Mira: I can snap out of it now. I mean, the kinds of things you don’t snap out of so easily are really, really depressing things like when I played Norma Jean and Marilyn. And then the last thing we shot the day before Christmas Eve was her dying in the ambulance, because in that show, she dies in the ambulance. Then, [I] flew back to New York and had jetlag; it took me two weeks to surface. I was really depressed and sad and dark. When I did The Grey Zone, an incredible movie that no one has seen about a successful rebellion at Auschwitz, perpetrated by the Sonderkommando, and the women who were just like slave labor in the munitions factories. That’s such a dark movie, and the fate of all those people was so devastating. That hung with me for weeks and weeks, and I had nightmares. But when you’re doing something that’s a little bit lighter and more sort of deftly switches from the dark to light back again, psychologically, it’s pretty easy to bounce out of it. Like, I would have fun rehearsing my stuff, but then, I have four children, so don’t really have the luxury of staying in character. I don’t. Like I have a very real life that awaits me the second I even look at my phone and have a million texts from this child and that one and that school and this one, you know, it’s just a lot going on. But I think it’s also experience, the fact that I’ve been doing this for so long makes it easy for me to jump in and jump out of it.

Question: Thank you. And as you’ve heard earlier, Romy and Michele in this household, also a staple. So, thank you for that.

Mira: Thank you.

Question: This is such a beautiful role for you, and you are a part of social media. Are you a looking forward to that instant fan feedback finally to something people are going to get to see you in lately? And also, what do you think it is about the series that’s really going to make it a fast fan favorite?

Mira: Well, I can just say that everybody that we’ve spoken today [unintelligible] has said how much they love it, and that’s really rare. It’s really rare for every journalist you talk to to have unbridled, genuine enthusiasm when they’re talking about something. It didn’t feel like a work day. “Okay, today, we’re talking this actor about this project.” It’s like, “Wow, I really enjoyed this; this was so much fun. I can’t wait to see the rest of it.” Like everybody’s talking like that. So, I do have high hopes that actually the general public will feel the same way. And, you know, when we act, we don’t do it to act in our bathroom; we do it to connect with people. So, I’m really looking forward to having the fans like it. I’m looking forward to them enjoying it, that it means something, since you’re not in front of a live audience. If you were a theater actor, you would know right away from just the breath in the room, whether people were attached to it or not, and certainly by the end by the amount of applause or standing ovations or whatever. Our only way is if people really like the film, and then we get to hear from [unintelligible] the show, and we get to hear from them over over the ether. And that will be fun; I’m looking forward to it.

Here is the audio version of it.

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

MORE INFO:

Trailer

poster for "Shining Vale"SHINING VALE

Season 1 8 Episodes 2022

“Shining Vale” is a horror comedy about a dysfunctional family that moves from the city to a small town into a house in which terrible atrocities have taken place. But no one seems to notice except for Pat, who’s convinced she’s either depressed or possessed – turns out, the symptoms are exactly the same. Patricia “Pat” Phelps (Courteney Cox) is a former “wild child” who rose to fame by writing a raunchy, drug-and-alcohol-soaked women’s empowerment novel (a.k.a. lady porn). Fast forward 17 years later, Pat is clean and sober but totally unfulfilled. She still hasn’t written her second novel, she can’t remember the last time she had sex with her husband (Greg Kinnear), and her teenage kids are at that stage where they want you dead. She was a faithful wife until her one slip-up: she had a torrid affair with the hot, young handyman who came over to fix the sink while Terry was at work. In a last-ditch effort to save their marriage, she and Terry cash in all their savings and move the family from the “crazy” of the city to a large, old house in the suburbs that has a storied past of its own. Everyone has their demons, but for Pat Phelps, they may be real. Cox plays the lead role of Patricia “Pat” Phelps, with Kinnear playing her ever-optimistic husband, Terry Phelps, whose patience and self-control will be tested like never before. Mira Sorvino plays Rosemary, who is either Pat’s alter ego, a split personality, her id, her muse, or a demon trying to possess her. Dungey plays Kam, Pat’s oldest friend and book editor. Gus Birney and Dylan Gage also star as Pat and Terry’s teenage kids, Gaynor and Jake.

Mira Sorvino (Rosemary) was most recently seen in Ryan Murphy’s Emmy nominated limited series “Hollywood”, (Netflix) as the Lana Turner-inspired star Jeanne Crandall. Other recent credits include the 20 th Century feature Stuber and director Mary Harron’s thriller The Expecting.

Sorvino won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice Award, National Board of Review and New York Film Critics Circle for her performance in Mighty Aphrodite. She received additional Golden Globe nominations for her performances in the miniseries “Human Trafficking” and for her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in HBO’s Norma Jean And Marilyn (also earning her an Emmy Award nomination). In 2016, she was awarded Best Supporting Actress by the Milano International Film Festival for her work in Mothers And Daughters opposite Sharon Stone and Susan Sarandon.

Other notable film performances include Spike Lee’s Summer Of Sam, Guillermo del Toro’s Mimic, Nancy Savoca’s Union Square, Antoine Fuqua’s Replacement Killers, Robert Redford’s Quiz Show, the comedy cult classic Romy And Michelle’s High School Reunion, Ted Demme’s Beautiful Girls, Triumph Of Love and Terry George’s Reservation Road.

Other television credits include “Badland”, a memorable 4-episode turn on Modern Family, “Startup”, and the limited series Intruders opposite Millie Bobby Brown for BBC America. She produced Griffin Dunne’s comedy Famous which was an official selection of the Cannes Film Festival, and associate produced Rob Weiss’ Amongst Friends and the documentary Freedom To Broadcast Hate.

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Mira Sorvino as Rosemary in "Shining Vale"

Interview with Tommy Davidson

TV Interview!

Tommy Davidson

Interview with Tommy Davidson of “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder” on Disney+ by Suzanne 2/15/22

It was a lot of fun to speak to Tommy! Not just because I’m so familiar with his earlier work, but because he’s just a funny guy who frequently breaks into funny voices. We definitely bonded over growing up in the 70’s, watching cartoons.

Suzanne: Can you tell us how “The Proud Family” reboot came about?

Tommy: It came about [from] a phone call, and it was a phone call that took about fifteen years to get made. All of a sudden, I get a phone call from Ralph Farquhar and Bruce Smith. If they’re calling me, I know it’s “The Proud Family”. We were down for 15 years; we were up for for six, and here, we get an opportunity to do something so beautiful, again. I get this call, and I’m going, “Are you kidding me?” And they’re like, “We’re not kidding you, man. We’re not kidding you.” So, of course, I said “Yes.” We all said, “Yes.” We all met over at Disney Studios, all the actors that were in it, who we love so much, and the new ones. We all met over there at Disney Studios and just laid out our voices just to get everything back into balance. It was the same feeling. It was the same feeling, but better, because now we’ve got new adults. We got a whole world of kids that are now 29-30. We got a whole new world of kids in a new world that we have, an animated series that deals with everything that’s in real time in this real world, and it’s still just for the kids.

Suzanne: Great, and which network is it on, and how many episodes are there?

Tommy: It’s actually on Disney Plus.

Suzanne: Disney plus, okay.

Tommy: Yeah, it’s actually on Disney Plus.

Suzanne: And how many episodes are there?

Tommy: You know what? I don’t know how many episodes, but it’s enough for us. I believe we’re up to like 20.

Suzanne: Okay, that’s good.

Tommy: I’m glad you asked me, nice and early.

Suzanne: And how much voice work had you done before you did the original Proud Family?

Tommy: Oh, really? Okay, that question. [laughs] Now, you’re going to take me back. Yeah, you’re gonna take me back to my Datsun 610. I’ve been doing voice work ever since I got to Hollywood in ‘87 and was doing voice work, doing dubs for movies. I moved into doing cartoon voices for “Ren & Stimpy” and for “The Simpsons.” I did animated work and would come in and get like thirty bucks per session to cover all of the different voices in all these different cartoons. So, I played character voices. So, the main [one] that I nailed was this one, is The Proud Family.

Suzanne: When you were a kid, were you one of those kids that was always doing silly voices?

Tommy: Not only that, I was the expert at cartoons. I’m one of those kids that – we didn’t have cartoons at nighttime unless it was the holidays, so if we’re seeing a cartoon at night, we’re going, “This is a cartoon that’s on in the nighttime!” because we had to wait for Saturday morning or after school. So, I grew up with all the mainstays. I was there when “Scooby Doo” premiered. I was there when “Hong Kong Phooey” premiered. I grew up on on “The Wacky Races” and “The Pink Panther” and all the Warner Brothers cartoons, all the Hanna-Barbera, from “The Jetsons” all the way through to “Magilla Gorilla.” So, it was like the [unintelligible] and all this, so my whole childhood was enriched by cartoons, and, of course, the main cartoon was “The Jackson Five” cartoon. Jackson Five and “Fat Albert,” because those were the first cartoons that really focused on an African American audience.

Suzanne: I watched those. I’m like two years older than you.

Tommy: Okay, okay.

Suzanne: I grew up with all those, and then sometime during the weekdays in the afternoon, you had the reruns of the old ones, like “Bugs Bunny” and “Road Runner.” All those.

Tommy: Oh, yeah. We know those by heart.

Suzanne: Yeah.

Tommy: We know those so much.

Suzanne: Yeah. And which guest stars were you most happy to see for this new version?

Tommy: Nas X with his really edgy and crazy career, and groundbreaking. It was just good to see him. And the episode is fun. It’s funny, is colorful, and it’s palatable. You know, it’s right on time.

"In Living Color" castSuzanne: Great. Go back a little bit again. Do you ever still see the people that you worked with on “In Living Color?”

Tommy: Oh yeah, all the time. We pass each other, like not even ships in the night, like on a roller coaster. Vroom. The roller coaster going the other way. “Where you going?” “I’m going to New York.” “I’m going to California.” Vroom. You know, we’re just passing each other. I just ran into Marlon Wayans at a comedy club. I texted everybody yesterday, because it was an article about our halftime Super Bowl special that we did that was groundbreaking. So, everybody texted me back and said “Wow, I didn’t see this.” We still are in tandem.

Suzanne: That’s great. I know they tried to reboot it in 2012. Do you think they’d ever tried to do it again with the some of the original cast, where you do a special or something?

Tommy: Well, that’s one of the things that really rests on Keenan Ivory Wayans who’s really the brainchild and the genius behind this. If he called us right now, we’d all stop and go and do it. It’s like the Avengers. We’re like the Avengers. You know what I mean? We all get in our vehicles and start, you know, dun dun dun [unintelligible] stuff and we all come in. Like the Avengers, we all meet, and there’s the big fella over here, and Captain America over here, and Black Panther over here, and we’re ready for action.

Suzanne: That’s great. Yeah, my husband and I used to watch “In Living Color” every week. We just loved it. So, it’s great to meet you.

Tommy: Yeah, the best. Thank you so much. We changed society more than I thought. I mean, you look at TV now, and what we did now is just a staple. Everything is filled with color. Everything is filled with hip hop. Everything is filled with this progressive kind of comedy. Everything has it, and all of our writers went out into the market and created shows like “Friends” and “Martin.” I mean, you can’t really watch TV without someone from “In Living Color” [either] as a director or writer, someone being right there. I did Cedric the Entertainer’s show the other night, “The Neighborhood,” and lo and behold, one of the executive producers was Keenan’s assistant.

"Strictly Business" DVD coverSuzanne: Wow.

Tommy: I mean, we have deep roots.

Suzanne: We also saw your your movie, “Strictly Business,” and really enjoyed that, and it was a huge hit. I think nowadays they would probably do a sequel or two, right?

Tommy: I would like that. I would really like that, just to see where Bobby and his partner are now. I did that on purpose; I did that movie on purpose. I had a choice to do whatever movie I wanted to do, and I chose that, because I thought it was a good story about just a regular brother from the hood, from the projects in Harlem, who gets with a business grad from Harvard, and they go to a black bank, get a loan, and start their own business, all over a hot chick. I mean, how can you beat that?

Suzanne: Right, and that was very of the time too.

Tommy: Oh, yeah. There was not really a movie like that for us at that time for African Americans, for that spectrum of society. There wasn’t really. So, that was the first one. So many Joseph C. Phillip, Halle Berry and Tommy Davidson in "Strictly Business" promo stillCEOs, African American CEOs of companies and business owners, they’d always come to me and say, “When I was a kid,” or “when I was in school, that movie made me want to be in business.”

Suzanne: Wow. That’s great. That’s quite an effect.

Tommy: Yeah.

Suzanne: It’s wonderful. I was watching some of your other interviews. You had quite an interesting personal history growing up. Would you ever consider making that into a movie or a TV series, like Chris Rock did with “Everybody Hates Chris?”

Tommy: I’d like to do something like that, but what I’d like to do in particular is probably do a docu-comedy so that I can cover every aspect of what that brings to bear in reality for me. And the way that society is now, that could make a really, really heavy impact, which is bringing forth the information from what I experienced with the beautiful people that were around me and developed me into this human that I am.

Suzanne: That sounds interesting too, either way. And when people see you, and they recognize you, what do they must recognize you for now?

Tommy: You know, it’s hard, because everybody has a different one. Everybody has something different. So, they’ll recognize me from doing Varnel Hill on “Martin,” or they’ll recognize me from being Oscar Proud on “The Proud Family,” or they’ll recognize me from doing the million talk shows that I do. You can’t tell what movie they’re gonna say they love. You know, “I loved Woo.” “I loved Booty Call.” “I loved Ace Ventura with you and Jim [Carrey].” You know, “I loved Bamboozled with Spike Lee.” You never know. Or there’s somebody who just loved the character that I did on In Living Color, if it’s the simple cook in the back, “Pick it up!” [unintelligible] There’re so many different things, that I’m the lucky one. I’m the lucky one, because I can never really get too down, emotionally, because there’s always somebody coming up to me with a bright face going, “The thing you did with – ” you know, “My grandmother’s right here. She wants to meet you,” or “My cousin’s here; can you meet him?” I always get an uplift.

Suzanne: That must be very rewarding.

Tommy: Yeah, yeah, I like to call it “closed-heart surgery”. You know, there’s open-heart surgery where you’ve got to open it up, and you’ve got to get in there. Well, me as a comic traveling on the road, and me doing movies, I can actually affect the heart in a positive way, just right where it is. You know, “closed-heart surgery.”

Suzanne: That’s great. That’s a good phrase. And is there anything else that you’d like to tell us about “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder?”

Tommy: We’re louder and prouder. We’re going into the new millennium. Penny’s in high school. The father’s going crazy, like I did with my daughters when puberty started kicking in and boys started coming around. I’m like, “What is going on here?” And Oscar is in that state where he’s like, “You can wear that dress, but you’ve got to wear tennis shoes with it!” [laughs] He’s just like, “What are these? What are these, rubber bands?!” and it ends up being – you know what I mean? So, it’s like it’s actually autobiographical for me, too. I have a fifteen year-old. I also have a twenty nine year-old girl. So, raising her, and they’re totally two different generations, but it’s just basic fun. That’s the beautiful thing about it is that with all the complexities in this society, right now, The Proud Family still focuses on simple, all-American ethics. All-American ethics, the kind that I’ve watched on The Brady Bunch or Andy Griffith or The Flintstones or Leave It to Beaver, or Bewitched. Every episode ended up like, “I learned something about being good. I learned about being a good person.”

Suzanne: Yeah, that’s good.

Tommy: I’m glad that’s not out of style.

Suzanne: No, especially not with kid shows.

Tommy: Yeah, right, especially not, yeah.

Suzanne: And do you have any other projects coming up that you can tell us about?

Tommy: Oh, yeah, I just released my first single, called “Sweet Reunion.” You can catch it on YouTube, Apple or Spotify or anywhere. I’m finally getting into the music industry, which I’ve been wanting to do all my life. I’m working with musicians all over the world, and that’s just a beautiful thing. I launched a book, right before the pandemic and during the pandemic, where I got a chance to really talk about my life and my journey and how I came into this world, and that’s a beautiful thing, too. I’m touring with Mike Epps around around the world. I developed my own film and television company. So, we’re getting into developing projects around the industry, and [I have] a little girl, a little ten year-old girl.

Suzanne: You’re busy.

Tommy: My recent production, you know?

Suzanne: And you’re about to go on “The Wendy Williams Show,” right?

Tommy: Oh, yeah. Oh yeah. She’s an old friend. We knew each other before her show, and she’s like me; she’s a loyalist. Like once a friend, you’re a friend. I’ve done her show so many different times, and she’s such a wonderful person and has a lot to offer. She somehow balances gossip with goodness. I don’t know how that’s done, but it’s done

Suzanne: Was that your baby we just heard?

Tommy: Yeah.

Suzanne: Hi. What a cutie. Well, I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me this morning.

Tommy: Thank you. Thank you so much. It’s always a pleasure to be representing in the market where I come from, which is basically the 70s.

Suzanne: Yeah, 70s rule.

Tommy: 70s rule. We got bused together to school and changed everything. So, thank you.

Suzanne: All right. Thank you very much. Talk to you later.

Tommy: You too. Bye.

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

MORE INFO:

Tommy DavidsonKnown for a myriad of iconic filmed content, TOMMY DAVIDSON continues to bring a fresh take to each and every project he in which he stars or participates in. First up this month is his newest tv project, The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder, in which Davidson returns as the patriarch, ‘Oscar Proud,’ in the fan favorite, iconic series with the 2022 reboot exclusive to Disney+.

Here’s a quick preview at the official clip!

Davidson, who tours the country endlessly selling out arenas from coast to coast, every weekend, is joined on the Proud reboot with his co-stars reprising their roles: Kyla Pratt as Penny Proud, Paula Jai Parker as Trudy Proud, JoMarie Payton as Suga Mama, Cedric the Entertainer as Uncle Bobby, Karen Malina White as Dijonay Jones, Soleil Moon Frye as Zoey Howzer, Alisa Reyes as LaCienega Boulevardez, Carlos Mencia as Felix Boulevardez, Maria Canals-Barrera as Sunset Boulevardez and Alvaro Gutierrez as Papi in the animated family sitcom from acclaimed creator/executive producer Bruce W. Smith and executive producer Ralph Farquhar, who led the original series.

Guest-starring 2022 voice cast includes: Lizzo, Lil Nas X, Chance the Rapper, Normani, Leslie Odom Jr., Tiffany Haddish, Lena Waithe, Anthony Anderson, Gabrielle Union, Debbie Allen, James Pickens Jr., Courtney B. Vance, Jane Lynch, Marsai Martin, Jaden Smith, Glynn Turman, Lamorne Morris, Brenda Song, Tina Knowles, Eva Longoria, Holly Robinson Peete, Al Roker and more. All previous seasons of “The Proud Family” are now also available on Disney+.

For more on Tommy, go to his website: https://www.thetommydavidson.com

The Proud Family launches on Wednesday, Feb. 23rd.

The Proud Family: Louder and ProuderDisney+ Orders “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder,” the Long-Awaited Revival of the Groundbreaking Animated Series

Bruce W. Smith and Ralph Farquhar Return to Helm All-New Episodes with Original Voice Cast

Disney+ has ordered the long-anticipated revival of the groundbreaking animated series “The Proud Family” which, 18 years after its Disney Channel premiere, is still beloved for its characters, stories and multilayered humor and for its messages about inclusion and cultural diversity in a smart, modern way. The new animated family sitcom “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder” is currently in production at Disney Television Animation with Academy Award-winning creator/executive producer Bruce W. Smith and executive producer Ralph Farquhar, who led the original series, at the helm, reuniting them with Calvin Brown, Jr. who is co-executive producer and story editor.

All previous seasons of “The Proud Family” are currently available on Disney+.

In a joint statement, Smith and Farquhar said, “In our minds, the show never really went away, as we still had tons of stories left to tell. It’s the perfect time to bring back this show, and we can’t wait to take fans, old and new alike, on this journey with us.”

Picking up the story of its central character Penny Proud, the new series will also include her madcap family: parents Oscar and Trudy, twin siblings BeBe and CeCe, and her grandmother Suga Mama (and Puff!). Of course, it would not be “The Proud Family” without Penny’s loyal crew Dijonay Jones, LaCienega Boulevardez and Zoey Howzer, among others.

Disney+ and Disney Television Animation also released concept art featuring the main characters from the upcoming series.

Reprising their voice roles are: Kyla Pratt as Penny Proud, Tommy Davidson as Oscar Proud, Paula Jai Parker as Trudy Proud, Jo Marie Payton as Suga Mama, Karen Malina White as Dijonay Jones, Soleil Moon Frye as Zoey Howzer and Alisa Reyes as LaCienega Boulevardez. Cedric the Entertainer will also return as Uncle Bobby Proud.

“The show’s humor and relatable stories are as relevant with audiences today as ever,” said Agnes Chu, senior vice president, Content, Disney+. “Our audiences have loved rediscovering their favorite episodes of ‘The Proud Family,’ and we’re excited Bruce, Ralph, Calvin, and the returning cast are creating new stories for their new home on Disney+.”

Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer, Disney Channels Worldwide, said, “The genius of the original ‘Proud Family’ series was that, under the guise of a family comedy, it provided a brilliant social commentary on our life and times. With this new series, Bruce and Ralph will once again challenge everyone to think differently about the world we share.”

About Disney+

Disney+ is the dedicated streaming home for movies and shows from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and more. From The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International segment, Disney+ is available on most internet-connected devices and offers commercial-free programming with a variety of original feature-length films, documentaries, live-action and animated series and short-form content. Alongside unprecedented access to Disney’s incredible library of film and television entertainment, the service is also the exclusive streaming home for the latest releases from The Walt Disney Studios. Visit DisneyPlus.com to subscribe and/or learn more about the service.

About Disney Television Animation

Disney Television Animation (DTVA), established in November 1984, is an industry leader in the creation of animated television for preschoolers, kids and tweens across Disney-branded channels and platforms. The animation studio is home to hit television series including “DuckTales,” “Phineas and Ferb,” “Gravity Falls,” “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,” “Sofia the First,” “Elena of Avalor” and the “Mickey Mouse” shorts.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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Tommy Davidson

Interview with Lorna Watson, Jerry Iwu, Max Brown and Will Trotter

TV Interview!

Lorna Watson, Jerry Iwu, Max Brown and Will Trotter of "Sister Boniface Mysteries" on BritBox

Interview with stars Lorna Watson, Jerry Iwu, Max Brown and producer Will Trotter of “Sister Boniface Myseries” on Britbox by Suzanne 2/9/22

BritBox logoThe Britbox Winter TCA panel started with the “Sister Boniface Mysteries,” which had premiered February 8, the day before, in the U.S. (in the UK, it premieres March 11 on the UKTV Drama channel). It’s a fun, quirky show, despite being a murder mystery. We had all three major cast members in attendance, as well as the producer, Will Trotter.

Sister Boniface (played by “The IT Crowd”‘s Lorna Watson) is an unusual nun who drives a Vespa around the small town of “Great Slaughter” and helps the local police solve murders. In the spirit of shows like “Murder, She Wrote” and “Grantchester,” this small town happens to have many murders. Although the series takes place in the 1960’s, Sister B. has advanced knowledge of forensics and a PhD in chemistry. The policemen, DI Sam Gillespie (played by Max Brown, whom you may recognize from “Beauty and the Beast” as well as many other shows) and DS Felix Livingstone (played by Jerry Iwu, “Sex Education”), are grateful to have the good sister’s help (as unusual as it is). The show is smartly written and is not only a good mystery series but explores issues that are still relevant today, such as sexism, racism, class division and more. However, the show is not at all preachy or heavy-handed.

Although Sister Boniface is very intelligent, Watson believes that she is quite innocent and has a “childlike element” as well as often being “silly.” Watson admits that she, too, can sometimes be “surprisingly naïve.” She has never played such a smart character before, so it was a “real joy” to put on the habit again. Getting into character was easy because the nun’s habit helped so much. She dubbed it a “quite transformative costume.” She also shared that the costume is quite freeing because she doesn’t have to spend much time in makeup. Before shooting, she spoke with the other characters playing nuns about where they would place their hands and so forth.

At Trotter’s urging, Watson told us an amusing story. When the director of the first episode, Paul Gibson, saw her, he acted like he didn’t know her because she was dressed as herself, not as Sister Boniface. He had no idea how she really looked out of the nun’s habit. He later came by and apologized. Lorna is hopeful that others will be the same way, so that she will be able to keep her anonymity if she runs into fans.

Watson told us that she had only ridden a Vespa once before, while on vacation. It took her quite a while to get used to driving it on the show to make it look natural. She also did a wheelie, but not on purpose. Brown joked with her about running the Vespa into his police car and how huge the Vespa’s sidecar is. Iwu joked that he “never felt terrified” while riding in the sidecar with her.

Iwu’s character Felix arrives in town in the first episode, expecting to be working in London, much to his disappointment. Eventually, the mistake is corrected, and he heads towards London, but of course, predictably, he ends up staying (I don’t think that’s really a spoiler). Not much else in the show is predictable, I’m glad to say. My only other observation about Felix is that he certainly wears a lot of suits for someone who came from a tropical country like Bermuda! Every TV show seems to have someone like Felix that arrives new into the situation so that he (and we) can be told what’s going on. Iwu told us that Felix observes about the town, “this is insane. Why is everyone killing themselves or killing each other?”

Brown noted that they all had great chemistry. The series started filming with episode 4, but they all “fell into our characters and our relationships” immediately. Watson agreed that they did “form a bond very quickly”. Brown observed that having all of these characters around in nun’s habits made them all want to behave better on set, but Watson and the other nuns felt that it was a very relaxed set. Brown and Iwu joked that a group of nuns is called a “gaggle.”

The cast was asked which mysteries they liked to read or watch.  Brown told us that his favorite mysteries to read are the classic Sherlock Holmes stories, but he’s also looking forward to the upcoming Hugh Laurie series, “Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?” (which comes out this spring on Britbox). Iwu grew up with “Murder, She Wrote.” Watson grew up with “Columbo” and also enjoys the Miss Marple movies. She joked that now she can solve the mysteries with her “new forensic skills.”

Trotter observed that the combination of Watson’s “fabulous face,” which he described as “owl-like,” combined with the habit and the glasses, gave them a lot of character to work with. He said, somewhat facetiously, “the blinking of the eyes every now and again are just like little messages to the directors: cut there, cut there, closer there.” Her pushing her glasses up on her nose became part of the quirkiness of the character. He also spoke a little bit about why we love mysteries so much, particularly this type, which he called “cozy crime.”

Trotter assured us that the Catholic Church has been fully supportive of “Father Brown” and most likely will for this show, too, because it doesn’t put them in a bad light, and the nuns are three dimensional characters (not caricatures). Also, the show is very light and fun. It doesn’t have blood and gore or other dark things.

The convent in the series is shot at a school, “Princethorpe College,” which used to be a convent, so it looks authentic. It has a chapel and stained-glass windows. Trotter’s children went there because he lives nearby. The rest of the show is mostly “shot in the Cotswolds” which is also where “Father Brown” is shot. He praised the area, which is “fantastic” with many large churches, homes and “beautiful rolling countryside.” He called the area “timeless,” which makes it great for shooting this show, set 50 years ago. He explained that “all the stone is the same and the architecture is just beautiful.” It was made “in the 16th century and so on.” Watson was “super-excited” to be there and to see where Sister Boniface sleeps each night, and to see her crime lab/winery. Iwu praised the locations they use as “beautiful” but observed that the convent in particular has a calming effect.

At the very end of our interview, Trotter revealed that the series has been renewed for season two (or as the Brits call it, “Series 2”). Everyone was happy and excited to hear it. Don’t miss this wonderful series, especially if you love mysteries.

MORE INFO:

Photos from "Sister Boniface Mysteries" on Britbox

From the makers of Father Brown and Shakespeare & Hathaway – Private Investigators comes this light-hearted murder mystery series starring a Vespa driving, crime solving Catholic nun: Sister Boniface. It’s the 1960s and police forensics are rudimentary. Luckily the residents of Great Slaughter, nestled deep in the British countryside, have a secret weapon. Sister Boniface. This nun might be predisposed to forgive – but she’s also one hell of an amateur detective. If there’s evidence to be found, Boniface will find it, with a little help from dashing maverick DI Sam Gillespie and buttoned-up Bermudan DS Felix Livingstone, who’s horrified to be stuck in the eccentric world of Great Slaughter.

poster for "Sister Boniface Mysteries"
Sister Boniface Mysteries
Picture Shows: L-R – Ruth Penny (MIRANDA RAISON), DS Felix Livingstone (JERRY IWU), Sister Boniface (LORNA WATSON), DI Sam Gillespie (MAX BROWN), WPC Peggy Button (AMI METCALF)

Lorna Watson Bio
Lorna Watson is an actress and writer, known for The IT Crowd, The Wrong Door and Horrible Histories.
She has a strong background in comedy as the co-creator of the sketch comedy show, Watson & Oliver.
Most recently, Lorna reprised her role as Sister Boniface from the popular Father Brown series. She stars
in the upcoming BritBox Original spinoff series, Sister Boniface Mysteries.

Jerry Iwu Bio

Jerry can currently be seen as the guest lead Oba in the latest series of SEX EDUCATION for
Netflix.

Following this, he will be seen as the series regular role of DS Felix Livingstone in The Sister
Boniface Mysteries for Britbox/BBC Studios which will premiere in early 2022.

After graduating from Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, he went straight into
filming Innocent (Series 2) for ITV opposite Katherine Kelly and Shaun Dooley. Alongside this, he
filmed a significant role in Intruder for Channel 5 and ITV Global.

Prior to this, he played the role of Neville in the IFTA-nominated Conor McDermottroe’s
feature Halal Daddy opposite Sarah Bolger and Colm Meaney.

Whilst at Central, he played the leading role in Sophie Treadwell’s Machinal directed by
Suzanne Gorman.

His other credits include Hastings in Richard The III, Stanley in Street Car Named Desire, Orsino
in Twelfth Night and Tuzenbach in The Three Sisters.

Max Brown Bio
Max Brown is an English actor with an impressive career spanning across film and television. He
first appeared on screens in 2001 to play Danny Hartson in BBC’s Grange Hill. Since then, he
has appeared in several hit television shows including The Royals, Mistresses, Agent
Carter, Spooks (MI-5) and Foyles War. Some of Max’s most notable roles include Edward
Seymour in The Tudors for Showtime and Evan Marks in the CW’s Beauty and the Beast series.
He has also been seen in films including the Downton Abbeymovie for Carnival Film &
Television, 29/29 and Stone Village Films’ Turistas and Flutter for Sunrise Films. Most recently,
Max played DI Sam Gillespie in Sister Boniface Mysteries, a new BritBox Original serie
s.

Will Trotter Bio
After nearly 30 years with the BBC, in 2014 Will took up the role of Head of Midlands Drama.
From his office in the Drama Village, Birmingham, he is responsible for overseeing a team
of over 200 people and delivering over 130 hours of Television Drama every year.

Alongside the hugely successful Continuing Drama – Doctors, Will has consistently
developed and produced new returning series including Land Girls, Father Brown, WPC
56, The Coroner, and Shakespeare & Hathaway – Private Investigators and most
recently Sister Boniface Mysteries. In the past year he also developed and Exec Produced a
four-part serial of Oscar Wilde’s The Canterville Ghost for BYU.

Will specialises in pre-watershed crime that has an international appeal – Father Brown
currently sells to over 230 territories, Shakespeare and Hathaway was the most viewed
new TV series in its first year of the BBC Showcase event. Essentially though Will thrives on
making great drama and exploiting ideas commercially and as part of BBC Studios.

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poster for "Sister Boniface Mysteries"

Dexter VS. Resident Alien

20 Ways in Which “Dexter: New Blood” and “Resident Alien” are similar!

Michael C. Hall as Dexter and Alan Tudyk as Harry

Dexter: New Blood

1. Dexter is a serial killer who has killed hundreds of bad people.
2. Dexter lives in a small, woodsy, snowy town in the fictional town of Iron Lake, NY.
3. Dexter has a cabin out in the woods, away from everyone in the nearby small town.
4. Dexter is dating a smart, pretty, intuitive Native American woman named Angela, who has a daughter. Angela adopted her daughter after her mother gave her up.

Julia Jones as Angela and Sara Tomko as Asta
5. Dexter says he loves Angela, but we’re not entirely sure he does or if he’s capable of that kind of love.
6. Dexter spent 10 years hiding out, trying to blend in and not to kill anyone.
7. Dexter chops up his victims and feeds them into the town incinerator (sometimes hiding them near his cabin).
8. Dexter’s teenaged son came to town, surprising him and creating conflict. They become close.
9. A mystery in the show is that someone else is murdering teenaged girls.
10. Dexter tries to avoid a handsome, suspicious African-American cop named Logan.
11. Sometimes Dexter hallucinates dead relatives, who guide him (really it’s his subconscious).
12.  Dexter is cute, in a goofy kind of way.
13.  We hear Dexter’s thoughts in voiceover.
14. The show is a one-hour black comedy, or a drama with many humorous elements.
15.  The show has excellent writing and acting.
16.  Many great actors have guest-starred over the years (in the original “Dexter” as well as the current show).
17. Dexter’s father’s name was Harry, and his son Harrison was named after him.
18. The show has many devoted fans.
19. Michael X. Hall (star of “Dexter”) was born February 1, 1971 (less than a month and a half before Alan Tudyk, star of “Resident Alien”).
20. Fans hope there will be a second season.

Resident Alien

1. Harry is an alien who killed the real Harry, a human, and took his place (after his spaceship crashed). Also, he spent the first season trying to fix his spaceship so he could complete his mission: to set off a device that will kill everyone on earth.
2. Harry lives in a small, woodsy, snowy town in the fictional town of Paradise, CO.
3. Harry lives in a cabin out on a lake, away from everyone in the nearby small town.
4. Harry is dating a smart, pretty, intuitive Native American woman named Asta, who has a daughter. Asta recently reconnected with her daughter, whom she gave up.
5. Harry and Asta have grown close and seem to have real feelings for each other, but we’re not sure if he’s capable of love, since he’s an alien.
6. Harry spent a year after arriving on earth, trying to blend in.
7. Harry chopped up the real Harry and hid him in his freezer.
8. The mayor’s young son, Max, can see the real alien and causes trouble for him. They become close.
9. A mystery in the show is that the real Harry murdered beloved town doctor Sam.
10. Harry tries to avoid a handsome, suspicious African-American Sherrif named Mike.
11.  Sometimes Harry hallucinates the real (dead) Harry, who acts as his subconscious.
12. Harry is cute, in a goofy sort of way.
13. We hear Harry’s thoughts in voiceover.
14. The show is a one-hour comedy, or a scifi drama with many humorous elements.
15. The show has excellent writing and acting.
16.  Many great actors guest-starred in the first season (and that will continue in the second season).
17. The alien that now calls himself “Harry” is the star of the show.
18. The show has many devoted fans.
19. Alan Tudyk (star of “Resident Alien”) was born March 16, 1971 (less than a month and a half after Michael C. Hall, star of “Dexter”).
20. Fans were elated to hear that there will be a second season (starting January 26).

Alano Miller as Logan and Corey Reynolds as Mike

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Interview with the cast of “Grand Crew”

TV Interview!

"Grand Crew" cast on NBC

Interview with cast of “Grand Crew” on NBC by Suzanne 12/9/21

The actors on this show are all friends in real life, so that made it a very entertaining press panel. Their characters are very interesting and work well together. As a comedy, I don’t find it all that funny. You should watch it, though, and make your own evaluation.

NBCUNIVERSAL

VIRTUAL PRESS TOUR 

NBC

Grand Crew

Nicole Byer, Talent, “Nicky”

Justin Cunningham, Talent, “Wyatt”

Aaron Jennings, Talent, “Anthony”

Echo Kellum, Talent, “Noah”

Grasie Mercedes, Talent, “Fay”

Carl Tart, Talent, “Sherm”

Phil Augusta Jackson, Creator/ Executive Producer/Showrunner

Dan Goor, Executive Producer

Virtual via Zoom

December 9, 2021

© 2021 NBCUniversal, Inc.  All rights reserved.

MARIANA DURAN:  Hi.  I’m Mariana Duran, and I’ll be introducing our new comedy, “Grand Crew,” which will be sneak‑previewed on Tuesday, December 14, 8:00 and 8:30 p.m., before moving to its normal time slot on Tuesday, January 4th, at 8:30 p.m.  From Phil Augusta Jackson and Dan Goor of “Brooklyn Nine‑Nine” comes a new comedy that proves life is better with your crew.  This group of young professionals are all trying to navigate the ups and downs of life and love in Los Angeles, and they always find time to gather at their favorite bar to wind down and unpack it all.  And just like wine, their friendship gets better with time.  Here’s a look at “Grand Crew.”

In the first row, our executive producer, Phil Augusta Jackson, executive producer Dan Goor, Echo Kellum, and Nicole Byer.  In the second row are Carl Tart, Justin Cunningham,

AARON JENNINGS:, and Grasie Mercedes.  We are now ready for your questions.

MATTHEW LIFSON:  Thank you, Mariana.  And welcome to our panelists.  One final reminder to use the “raise hand” function to ask a question.  Our first question comes from Mike Hughes, and Valerie Milano will be on deck.  Mike, go ahead.

QUESTION:  Yeah.  Nicole, a two‑part question.  Let me ask them one at a time here.  We are so used to you speaking in your own voice, doing reality shows, doing a show that you wrote, sort of, almost about your life and so on.  So what’s different now when you are doing someone else’s scripts?

NICOLE BYER:  What’s different?  Honestly, it’s not that different because I know Phil so well and Phil and I did improv together in New York for a very long time.  Like, ten years ago, we did improv out here, and then her name is Nicky.  My government name is Nicole.  She’s based on me a little bit.  So it is my voice.  And I feel like our writers’ room and Phil are just so talented that everything that was written was just easy.  It was easy to find.  It was easy to say.  It was easy to perform.  So, honestly, it wasn’t much different than what I’m used to, but it was fun and funny.

QUESTION:  This is ‑‑ you talk about it is a little bit your life, a little bit your voice.  You get almost serious for a minute there where your character talks about how her mother dying when she was a teenager kind of shaped her personality a little bit.  Now, that happened to you too in real life.  In what way did that shape your personality in some way?

NICOLE BYER:  I think it shaped my personality in a way where, when something sad or tragic happens, I tend to lean into finding the humor in it because I do think laughter is the best medicine.  How corny.

AARON JENNINGS::  I’m with you.  I think you are right.

NICOLE BYER:  Who wants to be sad?  So I think it shaped me in a way where I can be sad about something because I am a multifaceted person, but, also, I’d rather just laugh and have a nice time.

DAN GOOR:  These questions got deep real fast.

NICOLE BYER:  They did.

MATTHEW LIFSON:  Our next question comes from Valerie Milano, and on deck is Suzanne Lanoue.  Valerie, go ahead.

QUESTION:  Hi there.  What will set the show apart from others such as “Insecure” or “Black‑ish”?

PHIL AUGUSTA JACKSON:  I think, for me, the inspiration for this show is just based off of my real life.  It’s about a group of friends that hang out at a wine bar, and in real life, I hang out with my friends at a wine bar, the people that are in front of your screen right now.  So, I think that’s the core of it.  I worked on “Insecure,” and I love that show.  I love Issa and Prentice.  That whole camp over there is amazing.  And I think what made that show so relatable was the authenticity with which Issa was bring it to the table.  And so, in the same way, what I’m trying to do is just share my perspective, what I find interesting and funny.  And, so, I think I based it on ‑‑ that’s going to be what sets this show apart is just it’s coming from my personal point of view.  We have an amazing cast and (inaudible).

DAN GOOR:  What it’s like, it’s a very specific, very funny show, and also, I mean, you know, there are 25 shows about a group of white characters in the 1990s, and, you know, there was nobody asking what separated them or made those shows different or distinct.  These are different stories about different people in different circumstances than “Insecure” or “Black‑ish.”  We all think those are good shows, but this is its own show that just also happens to have an all‑Black cast.

QUESTION:  Could you give us a couple of examples about some recurring themes that the viewers can expect to see in the series?

PHIL AUGUSTA JACKSON:  I’m not sure about recurring themes, but I think, with this first season, what we did try to do is make sure that every episode did have a theme that is not only relatable at a broader, human level, but is relatable at a Black level.  So, in Episode 2, we talk about self‑care.  In Episode 3, we talk about the insecurity of status of who makes the money in a relationship.  In Episode 4, we talk about therapy.  In Episode 5, we talk about being inspired by your friend.  In Episode 6, we talk about Black men and their fathers.  In Episode 7, we talk about headlines.  So, each episode, we were very intentional about the themes that we wanted to hit.  But as far as recurring themes, I think one recurring theme is friendship and just having your friends there by your side for whatever you are going through and finding the fun and the funny in those situations.

QUESTION:  Great.  Thank you for talking about it.

ECHO KELLUM:  Yeah.  Like, from current things like being human and, you know, love and loss and just exploring being young and alive in L.A., you know.  It’s just a recurring theme, which is being alive.

AARON JENNINGS::  The recurring themes are the human things, which we can all connect to.

GRASIE MERCEDES:  Yeah.

AARON JENNINGS::  So being human beings, that’s a fact.

PHIL AUGUSTA JACKSON:  And I don’t know which one of you just said it but the wine.

AARON JENNINGS::  And the wine.

PHIL AUGUSTA JACKSON:  The low‑hanging fruit, that was such an alley oop.  I should have said, “Well, first of all….”

NICOLE BYER:  The wine.

QUESTION:  Okay.  Thanks again.

AARON JENNINGS::  Thank you.

MATTHEW LIFSON:  The next question is from Suzanne Lanoue, and Jeanne Wolf will be on deck.  Suzanne, go ahead.

QUESTION:  Hi.  I enjoyed the first two episodes.  Those are funny.

PHIL AUGUSTA JACKSON:  Thanks so much.

AARON JENNINGS::  Thank you.  Thank you.

QUESTION:  And, Echo, I really loved your character on “Arrow.”  What attracted you to this role?

ECHO KELLUM:  Oh, man.  First of all, the fact that Phil was working on it.  As Phil said, we are actually good friends in real life, and I’m such a fan of his creative artistry.  And so, automatically, Phil wrote an amazing script and a lot of just really deep, fleshed‑out characters in different ways than I’ve seen them, and I was very excited to get the opportunity to come and play any part on it.  I would have been a grip on this show if I had an opportunity to do it.  So that’s number one, but the character really connected to me in a lot of specific ways.  As Phil said, it’s based off of our friend group.  So, I think we all have a lot of commonalities and experiences that we go through, being young Black professionals just trying to survive, you know, in L.A., and so these characters definitely connect to that struggle and the successes and wonderful aspects of that aspect too.  So, there’s a lot that pulled me into it, and I really appreciate you asking me that.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

CARL TART:  I was a grip on the show.

AARON JENNINGS::  Yeah.  Carl (inaudible).

MATTHEW LIFSON:  The next question comes from Jeanne Wolf, and Jamie Ruby will be on deck.  Jeanne, go for it.

QUESTION:  Hi.  It’s good that you are making us laugh.  And the setup of the show, the introduction, is kind of that you are making fun of the stereotypes that are being treated in a very serious way today.  So, doing that, making fun of the stereotypes, who is going to be thrilled about that, and who is going to be upset about that?

DAN GOOR:  I don’t know that it’s ‑‑ sorry.  I don’t know that it’s making fun of the stereotypes.  I think the idea is, sort of, trying to elucidate that the stereotypes are just that.  They are stereotypes, and they don’t in any way speak to the totality of these characters.  So, I don’t think, in any way, it’s, like, making light of these stereotypes.  I think the idea is to say how ridiculous it is to only portray Black men in the way in which those stereotypes suggest.  And then what we see, we are in no way laughing at Garrett Morris when he says that these characters have layers and everything else.  That’s really the mission statement of the show, and I think that’s what Phil has so geniusly put into, really, every character and every script and everything.  But in no way is it intended ‑‑ hopefully, no one will take it as us making light of those stereotypes.  I didn’t mean to cut you off, Phil.

PHIL AUGUSTA JACKSON:  No.  I was going to say, I think, to me, the plan we were caught up in was we are just like everybody else.  I feel like a lot of times there are certain tropes that get played out in the media with Black people, and we are put into a specific box where there’s an opportunity just to be shown as, like, slice‑of‑life, everyday folks that are just trying to figure stuff out, and so that’s why we ‑‑ I think, with the characters that we have, whether it be Justin’s character ‑‑ he’s playing Wyatt ‑‑ like, a married guy, I would just like to see what it’s like for a married guy, who really enjoys his marriage, be in a friend group.  And we’ve got a guy who is an accountant.  I had a friend in college who was in finance and stuff like that.  So, it’s really just about just humanizing the Black experience.  And, again, I’m not trying to speak for everybody.  I don’t think we are trying to speak for everybody with this show.  It’s just, here’s a set of friends that exist in this specific part of Los Angeles, and, hey, they feel things just like everybody else.  And that was, kind of, the goal, to go from there.

QUESTION:  For the actors, is that showing of the layers what attracted you to the show?

AARON JENNINGS::  Absolutely.  Go ahead, Justin.

JUSTIN CUNNINGHAM:  I’d like to, kind of, go back to that question again, actually the prior question, which is ‑‑ well, actually, this question too about what attracted.  Yeah, I don’t think it’s necessarily making fun of stereotypes or, like ‑‑ see, I’m from Arkansas.  So, I’ve, sort of, lived with the perception of how people see me on a daily basis, being there.  And when I was in New York and we got this script ‑‑ I’ve told Phil this, and I’ve told several of the cast this.  But when I was auditioning and we got this script, people were talking about this script.  Like, me and my friends of color, we were, like, “Have you gotten this script?”  And what was so unique about it was that it was so human.  And it was, sort of, not necessarily making fun of the stereotypes, but it was showing the human side that we didn’t get to explore as actors.  And that’s what really drew me because I really fell right into this character.  And even in my audition, I had so much fun going on tape for it because it wasn’t playing towards, basically, these stereotypes.  It was showing that I can be human in this industry and I can be human through my art as well, and that’s what really drew me.

AARON JENNINGS::  And to piggyback off of that, Justin, if you don’t mind, I had the opportunity to audition for a few of the characters, and what I loved about it through the auditioning process was that each character, sort of, forced me and enabled me to tap into a different side of myself, and still they were fully fleshed out and dimensional characters.  And then, as I arrived at Anthony, it was, like, okay, as you look at the whole group, you see that these are people that are ‑‑ and a credit to you, Phil and Dan, and the rest of the writing staff ‑‑ these are people that I know in life and that I see on a daily basis that I have had experience with.  And I was so happy to see that, especially on a network such as NBC, to see that.  I don’t think we oftentimes get that opportunity.  And not only is it fully realized, but there’s also a lot of humor, and there’s also a lot of fun that we get to have in going to work every day.  It’s a fun set to be on.  We are collaborating with people who are passionate about the work but also have just, like, this immense humanity and capacity for love, and that’s what we want to bring to the audience is that love and that fun.

ECHO KELLUM:  People are really, really freaking good at their jobs to come and bring it every single day with the effort, professionality, like, the humor.  Like, I feel so privileged to get to come on set and work with every single person on this panel and all the people behind the scenes too.  It’s just, like, to have that feeling, like, family, like, everyone is at the top of their game is great.

DAN GOOR:  Watching Carl do his grip work.

ECHO KELLUM:  Oh, man.  When Carl out, he’s with the light.

DAN GOOR:  One time he had to fill in as a boom operator.  You can see the dedication.

ECHO KELLUM:  Oh, my gosh.  (Inaudible) was just shaking.

DAN GOOR:  He didn’t know he was in the cast for, like, the first few episodes.

(Laughter.)

CARL TART:  Everybody’s dialogue was Chris.  Everybody’s dialogue.

AARON JENNINGS::  No ADR for anybody.

ECHO KELLUM:  So, no ADR, yeah.

PHIL AUGUSTA JACKSON:  Nicole, didn’t you actually use the stick at a certain point?  Was that the finale, or am I ‑‑

NICOLE BYER:  Yeah.  It was the last scene of our last episode.  I was, like, “Doot da doot.”

(Laughter.)

DAN GOOR:  I didn’t mean to cut you off, Echo.

ECHO KELLUM:  No.  But, like everyone was saying, there’s a lot of nuance, you know, people of color, the monolith.  We are all very different, distinct individuals, and Phil is really tapping into it from a perspective that really comes from a personal place, and I think that’s what really drew us as artists.  There’s a lot of uniqueness and perspective from his personal life.

GRASIE MERCEDES:  I would love to add to that that this is the first audition I personally have had in a really long time where I read it, and not only did I think it was so funny, but I didn’t feel like I had to play at a stereotype of a Black woman that I so often have to play at.  I felt, like, oh, I can just bring who I am to this character, and it felt really good.  I felt really excited about it where a lot of times I feel, like, “Oh, I’m not that thing they want me to be,” and that thing we see over and over again.  And that’s what I think is so refreshing about all of these characters.

AARON JENNINGS::  We hope that answered your question.

MATTHEW LIFSON:  Our next question comes from Jamie Ruby, and Jamie Steinberg is on deck.  So, Jamie R., go ahead.

QUESTION:  Hello.  Thank you for talking to us.  Can you tell me, during working on ‑‑ throughout the time working on the show ‑‑ this is for the actors.  Sorry ‑‑ what have you learned about yourself, either professionally, personally as an actor, as a person?  Is there anything that you’ve learned since you started?

NICOLE BYER:  Um ‑‑

ECHO KELLUM:  I’ve learned that ‑‑ sorry, Nicole.  You’ve got it.

NICOLE BYER:  No.  You go.

ECHO KELLUM:  Okay.  Well, I mean, honestly, I’ve learned that I love working with my friends and people that are close to me in my life.  I feel like sometimes, being a Black person, it’s really rare that we get to create with people that are closest to us.  I feel like I’m one in a mix.  Like, I’m just, like, one Black person in something.  And to come do this show with the people that I’m actually close to in life and really just kill it together is something that I just love, to just, like, create art with family and friends and people that I would love to have a job in real life.

NICOLE BYER:  Yeah.  That was fully my answer as well.

AARON JENNINGS::  Me too.

NICOLE BYER:  I really love working with friends, and I also love working with people who are open to collaborate and just, like, easy to work with, funny, talented people who are a joy to be around but also a professional.  Do you know what I mean?  It’s, like, we can joke, but, also, we came to do a job.  I love that so much, and that’s what I’ve learned.  I really like my friends.

CARL TART:  I’ve learned a few things.  I’ve learned that I’m not a morning person at all.  Also, I’ve learned that I never want to work on another set again because this one is so perfect.  I’m just playing.  I’m just playing people who are given jobs.  Don’t worry about what they are saying.  No.  It was such a fun time.  Like, even the hard days weren’t hard because we had such a good time.  And literally everybody ‑‑ everybody who we worked with, everybody was so fun.  It went so perfectly the whole time that we would be, like, “Who is going to ruin it?”  I guess it’s up to me to come in and demand more money next season.

(Laughter.)

I felt like it was such a ‑‑ I also learned ‑‑ and this is more personal, I guess.  I learned to trust myself a little bit more acting‑wise.  I think I always want to lean into what I think is my strength, which is being ridiculous.  And Phil challenged me to stay grounded a lot of times and actually forced me to believe that it would be good.  And everybody else in the cast stayed on me about it.  Aaron would threaten physical violence when I talked down on myself.  When I talked down on myself, Aaron would be, like, “You ain’t gonna to be talking about yourself like that in front of me.”  And, so, I appreciate the support.  I think I learned that I can act a little bit, you know.  I think that’s what I learned.

AARON JENNINGS::  A lot of bit.  A lot of bit.

GRASIE MERCEDES:  I was going to say, I think Aaron was everyone’s cheerleader.  I think, Aaron, he’s such a light.  And, for me, he definitely ‑‑ I come in on the second episode.  So, I was a little scared and nervous to join this crew.  And from day one, everyone was incredible, but Aaron specifically reached out and was just, like, “You belong here,” because there was that feeling of, like, “Do I belong here?  These people are so funny and so great.”  And I know who they are, and I know how funny they are, and I know how talented they are.  And everyone was so warm and incredible.  And Phil, I think, challenged me to believe that I could do comedy.  I never thought I’d be on a sitcom.  I always thought I’d be, like, a drama girl, so just embracing that and having more confidence in that.  And I’m excited.  I hope we get a second season because I’m excited to blend Fay even more.

AARON JENNINGS::  Well, let me tell you, Grasie, you can still be very dramatic, but ‑‑

GRASIE MERCEDES:  Touche.

AARON JENNINGS::  Touche.  Yeah, the same.  The same.

MATTHEW LIFSON:  So, we are actually going to go to Rick Hong with the next question, and then Laura Surico will be on deck.  So, Rick, whenever you are ready.

QUESTION:  Hello.  I wanted to tell everybody congratulations.  So, what I love about this show is that it takes place in the backdrop of Silver Lake.  So, I was just trying to figure out just a fun question.  How convenient is it for the cast, or are some of you west-siders?

CARL TART:  I think we are all east‑siders, right?

GRASIE MERCEDES:  We are all east‑siders.

AARON JENNINGS::  We are all east‑siders.

CARL TART:  I’m from the west side.

ECHO KELLUM:  The most convenient, we can walk to set sometimes.

GRASIE MERCEDES:  Yeah, literally.  We literally shot down the block from me once.

CARL TART:  I’m from West L.A., and growing up in L.A., where I’m from, I never came to Silver Lake at all, like, never.  And then once I started doing stuff with The Second City and UCB Theaters that are more in the Hollywood area, more east, now we always frequent Silver Lake.  We are always in Silver Lake.  So, I spend much more time there than I do on the west side where I’m from, where my origins are, so yeah.

PHIL AUGUSTA JACKSON:  I definitely ‑‑ oh, sorry.  Go ahead.

ECHO KELLUM:  No.  Go ahead, Phil.

PHIL AUGUSTA JACKSON:  I was going to say I definitely ‑‑ I like to walk a lot.  I like walking.  That’s why I like the east side a lot.  I walk the reservoir a lot, and I definitely walk to Paramount every day.  So, it’s very convenient.

AARON JENNINGS::  You walk to Paramount every day?

PHIL AUGUSTA JACKSON:  It’s, like, three and a half miles.  Yeah.

DAN GOOR:  What’s your daily steps?  What does that look like a day for you?

PHIL AUGUSTA JACKSON:  Six miles.

DAN GOOR:  How many steps?  Like, 15,000?  14,000?

PHIL AUGUSTA JACKSON:  Whatever six miles is.

NICOLE BYER:  Yeah.  I often see Phil just walking around.  It’s gotten to the point where I don’t say hello anymore because I’m, like, this is redundant.

PHIL AUGUSTA JACKSON:  I literally have been seeing Echo ‑‑ I see Echo three times a week now.

ECHO KELLUM:  It’s, like, nonstop.

PHIL AUGUSTA JACKSON:  Every other time I walk, I would just see him.

ECHO KELLUM:  And I feel like I grew up with them, driving and just, like, walking ‑‑

NICOLE BYER:  Yeah.  I don’t say hello anymore.  I’m, like, “Oh, I’m lazy.”

DAN GOOR:  You guys just flip him off.

ECHO KELLUM:  I will say to that question really quickly, it is very surreal to get to shoot and create this television show in places that I actually frequent and, like, really enjoy being around.  It’s been such a pleasure and such a unique thing.  I don’t think a lot of actors or people get the privilege to shoot in their own neighborhood.  It’s something very special, and I’m really happy that our show gets to showcase this little slice of life in L.A.

QUESTION:  It’s a true dream job, like, a small commute time, especially in L.A.

AARON JENNINGS::  Oh, yeah.

QUESTION:  Congratulations again.  Thank you so much.

MATTHEW LIFSON:  Our next question is from Laura Surico, and Janice Malone will be on deck.  Go ahead, Laura.

QUESTION:  Hi.  Can you guys hear me?  Okay.  Yes.  So, touching on what Rick said, I noticed that it mentions L.A. life and being in L.A.  It’s relatable, being an Angeleno and not having friends past the 405.  We are no longer friends, like Nicole said.  But how much of ‑‑ for the writers and for the cast, how much of your experience of being and living in L.A. did you put into this and how, being a Black, person of color, Angeleno, adds to this and, for the cast, if they added their own L.A. experiences into their characters?

AARON JENNINGS::  Carl, do you want to?  I’ll say this, I added a lot of my experience.  I’m born and raised in Los Angeles, in West Adams, but I went to Brentwood.  Then I went to King School in Compton.  Then I went to school in Santa Monica.  Then I got my diploma from Culver City in the day and the whole thing.  With that being said, I had the monte of experience, and I was in and out of a lot of different worlds.  And so I think that’s ultimately ‑‑ and correct me if I’m wrong, Phil or Dan ‑‑ one of the ‑‑ one of the themes that we are, sort of, exploring is just this nominalistic Black experience.  And so, for me, it was cool because I got to pull from all of my past experiences.  And with Anthony especially, not to give too much away, but, like, he’s the captain, and I think he definitely, sort of, bounces between two worlds, if not more.  And, so, it was very, very nice to have that real‑life experience to pull from.  Yeah, that’s what I’ll say about myself.  But, Carl, also, you have an experience growing up in L.A.

CARL TART:  Yeah.  I’m not born, but I am raised, which is why I’m not a Laker fan, I’m a Clipper fan, and I ‑‑ but I’m raised here.  I’m raised in the View Park Windsor Hills area, and I always went to school on the west side, Palms Middle School, Hamilton High School Academy of Music, class of 2007 stand‑up. I was very thankful and grateful to be able to put some of my L.A. experience into the character, and I think a lot of it also came through in the wardrobe.  I will say, I’m probably going to be the only person on a network TV show this year wearing a Marathon jersey by brother Nipsey Hussle, who is very important to me, very special to me, went to Hamilton High School as well, was always in the neighborhood, was always visible, always accessible and seen and meant a lot to the community, the Crenshaw community, the area, the View Park, the Windsor Hills, the Baldwin Hills area and stuff like that.  So, to be able to, like, represent him on a network show is really awesome after his untimely and tragic passing.  And I think just like ‑‑ just the way that you know how to move in the city and, like, being a ‑‑ I think being a local helps, kind of, sell that.  And Aaron can speak to it too.  Being, like, from here kind of helps sell the fact that not all L.A. people are these people who you can’t, you know ‑‑

AARON JENNINGS:: (Inaudible.)

CARL TART:  But, yeah, I’ve been able to sell that.

DAN GOOR:  Can I just say also, it’s located here, and there’s a lot of great specifics.  But this is really, like, a big cast show.  It’s for people from all over the country, and it’s, like, in the same way that I think a show like “Seinfeld” or “Friends,” that are very New York‑based, but can be enjoyed by everybody.  What I’m saying is this show is as good as “Seinfeld” and “Friends” is what I’m saying.

PHIL AUGUSTA JACKSON:  What are you doing, Dan?

DAN GOOR:  My internal thoughts are coming out.

CARL TART:  Los Angeles is really the seventh member of ‑‑

(Laughter.)

ECHO KELLUM:  But see, that’s the kind of thing I want to touch on, Dan, is, like, I’m from Chicago, like, real blue‑color kind of city, you know, and these stories still connect through other regions and other, like, people.  Might be set in Los Angeles, but it is really a human experience that we are really going onto these, kind of, young semiprofessionals and different perspectives in L.A.

PHIL AUGUSTA JACKSON:  And just to build off of that, I think, when in doubt, when we were in the room, from a story perspective, for someone trying to crack a story, what would happen in real life?  What would be interesting?  What conversations have we had at the bar?  I would talk to the entire cast about inspirations that they have, things that they found interesting with their characters.  I am all for putting those feelings on the page because I think that that allows for the cast to, kind of, thrive, and that was, kind of, the goal with this first season.

MATTHEW LIFSON:  All right.  Our next question is from Janice Malone, and on deck will be Lloyd Carroll.  Janice, go ahead.

QUESTION:  Okay.  I’d like to ask the two showrunners, Dan and Phil.  I’m so happy to see Garrett Morris in your wonderful trailer there.  Are there any plans, future episodes, for him?  And second, for anyone, were there any, shall we say, wine‑bar test sites that were used in the filming of the show or what?

DAN GOOR:  Let me say really quickly ‑‑ I just want to make it very clear that Phil is not ‑‑ which side are you on?

PHIL AUGUSTA JACKSON:  To me or her?

DAN GOOR:  Phil is the showrunner extraordinaire.  I’m an EP on it, but this is Phil’s show, and he is maybe the best showrunner I’ve ever been around.  He’s so, so talented.  So, I love the reflected shared glory, but I want to make sure it stays with Phil.  And with that said, Phil, you should answer the question.

PHIL AUGUSTA JACKSON:  Thank you for the beautiful clarification, Dan.  Garrett Morris is a legend.  He’s amazing.  He only appears in the pilot of the first season, but in the room, we did talk about ways to bring him back if possible and if it fit within, kind of, the structure of how the season broke.  The way it broke out this first season, it did, but I think, moving forward ‑‑ it was such an awesome start to the pilot, and we were so lucky to have him.  It would obviously be incredible if we could work with him again.  He was so kind and so talented on set that it was a dream come true to work with him.  So that is definitely on the table if he would be down to do it.

DAN GOOR:  And that monologue really, sort of, opened the pilot for us in a lot of ways.  So, you could imagine using him again would be something equally inspiring.  And then she was asking about ‑‑

ECHO KELLUM:  The cast?

DAN GOOR:  It was about any inspirations.  Wine bars that might be an inspiration.

ECHO KELLUM:  Oh, yeah.  Writing this show is really based off of a wine bar that we all frequent in real life ‑‑

NICOLE BYER:  Yeah.

ECHO KELLUM:  ‑‑ that I think we all collectively have been going to, like, the last five years where we’ve just been, like, kind of, the wine group of friends.

AARON JENNINGS::  Yeah, most of the time.

ECHO KELLUM:  It’s kind of an all‑white establishment, like, unpacking life and love and work, and I think that’s what Phil really tapped into that’s really great.

PHIL AUGUSTA JACKSON:  And when everyone got cast, we were hanging out ‑‑ I mean, this is right before the shutdown.  So it was, like, we would meet at these bars just to try and, like, get the chemistry popping early.  And so that definitely was a thing that was top of mind as far as just building the chemistry that was already built in because a lot of these folks that you are looking at now have known each other for a long time.

MATTHEW LIFSON:  Our next question comes from Lloyd Carroll, and then our final question will come from Dennis Pastorizo.  So, Lloyd, go ahead.

QUESTION:  Okay.  Phil, Dan, you guys have been talking about the wine bar.  So, I’ve got to ask this one.  How big an influence was that other bar show I remember from the 1980s, set on the East Coast, “Cheers”?  I was curious.  How much of that?  And did you have to say, “Wait a minute.  We can’t have a Norm here.  We’ve got to, kind of, make something more relevant for an urban audience.”  I’m just curious.  How big an influence was “Cheers” and to stay away from stereotypical characters, which “Cheers” sometimes got into?

PHIL AUGUSTA JACKSON:  I think “Cheers” is such an iconic show that if you were making a television show, you are aware of that show.  And whether or not there’s a wine bar or any type of bar, I think the pilot has gone down as one of the best pilots in history.  So, I think, in that way, it’s just an inspiration to look at a really great piece of writing, but I don’t think the bones or the structure of this show is super, super close to what they were, what they had going on.

DAN GOOR:  Yeah.  It was inspirational and important in that it’s inspirational and important to all TV comedy.  It’s one of the greatest legendary comedies of all time.  But I definitely agree with Phil.  This show has its own bones.  It doesn’t feel like the same kind of bar or the same kind of regulars showing up, but, obviously, it’s something we would be aware of and something we wouldn’t ever want to step on the toes of because it’s such a great show, which this show is better.  It’s better than “Friends,” “Seinfeld,” and “Cheers.”

PHIL AUGUSTA JACKSON:  Dan, what are you doing?

DAN GOOR:  Somebody is going to put that in their post and say, “This show is better than ‘Friends,’ ‘Cheers,’ and ‘Seinfeld’ combined.” And no one needs to know who said that.

PHIL AUGUSTA JACKSON:  Whoever puts that in quotes, please put, “Dan, what are you doing?” and my response.

DAN GOOR:  “Dash, a person who watched all of those shows.”  No one has to know who it was.

ECHO KELLUM:  And I would also like to say, because you, kind of, mentioned something like it’s an urban show.  It’s just a show, you know, and the cast happens to be Black folk, you know.  So just like “Cheers” ‑‑ I guess you could say it’s a white show if you want to say that.  I feel like a lot of us connected to parts of that regardless of the human aspect of it.

CARL TART:  I’m Norm.

(Laughter.)

DAN GOOR:  No, you aren’t.

NICOLE BYER:  Like the pilot of “Cheers,” you see the magic happening on this show.  And I don’t want to toot our own horn.  Is that a phrase?  I don’t know.  But, like, we have very magical chemistry that happened almost instantaneously, and I think that really comes through on the screen.  So, I think, like “Cheers,” you’ll be, like, “Oh, I’m rooting for these people.”  I think these people are interesting, they are funny, and they seem to just really have joy and love each other.  So, yeah, that’s what I wanted to add.

PHIL AUGUSTA JACKSON:  Great.  A great addition.  And I was going to say, I was a kid in the ’90s too.  So, I think you’ve got shows like “Cheers.”  You’ve got shows like “Living Single.”  I love “Sex and the City.”  I like a lot of different shows.  So, I think, as far as inspiration and energy, I just love TV, and I do have a soft spot in my heart for network television because I think, if you were born in a certain type, it really did shape your view of comedy.  And so, yes, a shout out to all of the shows that, kind of, came before this one.

MATTHEW LIFSON:  All right.  Our final question of the day comes from Dennis Pastorizo.  Dennis, go ahead.

QUESTION:  Hey.  Good afternoon, guys.  So, my question is a bit of a double question.  What was really in the wine glasses?  And what would each one of you order ‑‑

DAN GOOR:   What was the second part?

QUESTION:  ‑‑ in real life?

NICOLE BYER:  What was ‑‑

ECHO KELLUM:  Can you say the second part again.

DAN GOOR:  What would you order in real life?

QUESTION:  What would you order in real life?

AARON JENNINGS::  This is a great final question, by the way.

GRASIE MERCEDES:  We were just asked a similar question, and I realized in that moment that I don’t know what orange wine is, really, but it’s what I drink and love.  It’s, like, this new trend of natural organic wine happening, especially, I think, in Los Angeles, but I’m so down with it because it doesn’t give me a headache and I love it.  But what was in our glasses on set, everyone had something a little different.  My glass was a white wine, and it was basically colored water.  So that was not very fun.  It wasn’t very interesting.  But sometimes I had grape juice.  Sometimes I had white grape juice.

CARL TART:  My glass was diet Cran-Grape, and when I order at a bar, I order Nicki Minaj’s mixed Moscato.

(Laughter.)

NICOLE BYER:  My order is a rosé, and on set, I was hammered all the time, drinking actual rosé.

(Laughter.)

No.  I was also drinking colored water, which sounds like a slur.

ECHO KELLUM:  It does, doesn’t it?

NICOLE BYER:  Yeah.

AARON JENNINGS::  That sounds good, colored water.

MALE PANELIST:  Yeah, I would say ‑‑ go ahead, Echo.

ECHO KELLUM:  Well, the same as Carl with a diet Cran.  And on the show and at the bar, I’d probably do, like, a lambrusca [sic], which is, like, an Italian, red ‑‑

AARON JENNINGS::  Sparkling.

ECHO KELLUM:  ‑‑ sparkling red.

AARON JENNINGS::  I’m going to piggyback off of you.  I think it was diet grape, and then I feel like they transitioned to something else, but I honestly can’t say what it was.  I forget now.

GRASIE MERCEDES:  They did have nonalcoholic wine at some point.  Yeah.

CARL TART:  It was disgusting.

AARON JENNINGS::  Like, the diet cranberry, the diet grape, I couldn’t do.  So, I switched over to the nonalcoholic wine.  And then, lately, I’ve been drinking the ‑‑ is it lambrusco or lambrusca?  I thought it was lambrusco, whatever, from Northern Italy, the wine that’s sparkling.  That’s the wine that I would order as of now, as of late.

ECHO KELLUM:  And I will say Phil put me on that, just to give him all credit.

AARON JENNINGS::  Yeah, the same.  The same.

ECHO KELLUM:  Uh‑huh.  Uh‑huh.

JUSTIN CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, it was the diet cranberry, and I think ‑‑ I don’t really drink that much anymore or almost at all, but if I do have a cocktail, it will be either an old fashioned or, for the Bond people, a Vesper.  I don’t know if you are familiar with Vesper.

NICOLE BYER:  That’s classy.

CARL TART:  I ride to the bar.  I drive a Vespa.  What are you drinking right now, Dan?  (Inaudible.)

DAN GOOR:  It depends who is paying.  If I’m being purchased wine, I would love a white Burgundy.  If people want to send me something nice, I’m available.  And then we have been having a lot of pandemic cocktails.  I really like a Boulevardier, which is like a wry ‑‑ oh, my god.  I’m totally blanking on what it is, but ‑‑ sweet vermouth and Campari.  Sorry.

CARL TART:  I drive my Vespa down the Boulevardier.

(Laughter.)

ECHO KELLUM:  I just want to say, if colored water is racist, white Burgundy has got to be racist too.

(Laughter.)

AARON JENNINGS::  That all doesn’t sound right.

DAN GOOR:  Phil, what are you drinking?

PHIL AUGUSTA JACKSON:  Okay.  So, I’ll go backwards.  Right now, I’m really on this Mexican natural wine called Bichi.  They have a really great rosé and chilled red as well as an orange wine.  And before that, there was this wine called Gibbs, but I can’t really find it anymore.  They have a really great Cabernet.  I also like Lambrusco.  And, yeah, I think that’s it.  And I also mix sparkling wines a lot, Blanc de Blanc and stuff like that.  I think I said ‑‑ I like every wine.  I just named some.

ECHO KELLUM:  And they didn’t require it to bring it on set, but he would always have ‑‑

NICOLE BYER:  Always has it.  Always drinking.

ECHO KELLUM:  Yeah.

QUESTION:  Well, thank you so much for your answers, and cheers to the new season.

AARON JENNINGS::  Cheers to all of you.  Thank you so much.

MATTHEW LIFSON:  Thank you to our “Grand Crew” panelists.  It sounds like everyone needs to go grab a glass of wine.  So, thank you so much to everyone for joining us today.  This concludes NBC’s scripted press day.  For more information, please visit our MediaVillage site at NBCUMV.com, and have a fantastic rest of your day.

MORE INFO:

"Grand Crew" cast on NBCFrom Phil Augusta Jackson (Writer/Producer/Director, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”) and Dan Goor (Creator, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”) comes a new comedy that proves life is better with your crew. This group of young professionals are all trying to navigate the ups and downs of life and love in Los Angeles – and they always find time to gather at their favorite bar to “wine down” and unpack it all. There’s Noah, a hopeless romantic too eager to settle down; Nicky, a go-getter in real estate who’s adventurous in romance; Sherm, a low-key genius who plays the dating odds; Anthony, whose true love is his career; Wyatt, who’s relieved to be married and out of the dating scene; and Fay, who’s recently divorced and looking to start fresh in LA. And just like wine, their friendship gets better with time.

Echo Kellum

Noah, “Grand Crew”

GRAND CREW -- Season: 1 -- Pictured: Echo Kellum as Noah -- (Photo by: Kwaku Alston/NBC)
Echo Kellum plays Noah on the new NBC comedy “Grand Crew.”

Kellum, an actor, writer and director originally from Chicago, will recur in the new FX series “The Old Man,” starring Jeff Bridges.

Previous credits include “Arrow,” “You’re the Worst,” “Drunk History,” “Comedy Bang Bang” and a recurring voiceover role on “Rick & Morty.” Still an avid improviser, Kellum performs regularly at UCB with house team Winslow.

 

 

Nicole Byer

Nicky, “Grand Crew”

GRAND CREW -- Season: 1 -- Pictured: Nicole Byer as Nicky -- (Photo by: Kwaku Alston/NBC)
Nicole Byer plays Nicky on the new NBC comedy “Grand Crew.”

An actress, comedian, writer, author and podcaster, Byer is perhaps most well-known as the host of Netflix’s Emmy Award-nominated competition baking series “Nailed It!,” which has gained a cult following of viewers since its premiere on the streaming platform in 2018. In 2020, Byer made history by becoming the first Black woman ever to be nominated in the category of Outstanding Host for a Reality or Competition Program.

Byer can also be seen co-hosting TBS’ reboot of “Wipeout,” alongside John Cena. She also voices characters in Amazon’s “Invincibles” and Adult Swim’s “Tuca & Bertie” and will voice the role of Susie Carmichael’s mom, Lucy, in the upcoming reboot of Nickelodeon’s “Rugrats,” which premieres on Paramount+.

Listeners can hear Byer on five different podcasts, the fan-favorite being “Why Won’t You Date Me?,” which sees her inviting friends and guests to discuss their dating lives all while trying to figure out her own. In 2021 the podcast moved under the TeamCoco banner and Byer won the 2021 iHeart Radio Podcast Award for best female host for the show.

Byer is an Upright Citizens Brigade alum who continues to cement her status as a force in standup by regularly performing in cities across the country. Previously, she received national attention for her web series “Pursuit of Sexiness,” which she co-created and starred in alongside friend and fellow comic Sasheer Zamata.

Her additional film and television work includes “Loosely Exactly Nicole,” “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates,” “Lady Dynamite,” “Party Over Here,” “BoJack Horseman” and “30 Rock.”

Byer currently resides in Los Angeles.

Grasie Mercedes

Fay, “Grand Crew”

GRAND CREW -- Season: 1 -- Pictured: Grasie Mercedes as Fay -- (Photo by: Kwaku Alston/NBC)
Grasie Mercedes plays Fay in the new NBC comedy “Grand Crew.”

Mercedes is a Dominican-American multi-hyphenate from New York City, living in Los Angeles. An actress who has appeared on shows that include “9-1-1,” “Good Trouble,” “Southland,” “The Affair” and “Criminal Minds,” she also recently wrote on NBC’s “Perfect Harmony.”

Mercedes is a former improviser and sketch comedy actor, and an alumna of both iO West and UCB. She also recently wrapped season two of her podcast “Not (Blank) Enough.”

Justin Cunningham

Wyatt, “Grand Crew”

GRAND CREW -- Season: 1 -- Pictured: Justin Cunningham as Wyatt -- (Photo by: Kwaku Alston/NBC)
Justin Cunningham plays Wyatt on the new NBC comedy “Grand Crew.”

Cunningham received his BFA in acting from the University of Arkansas. That ultimately led him to being accepted to the esteemed Drama Division at Juilliard, where he graduated with his MFA in 2017.

In 2019, Cunningham had a co-starring role for Ava DuVernay in the Netflix limited series “When They See Us,” based off the true story of the Central Park Five. Prior roles include CBS’ “Blue Bloods and HBO’s “Succession.” Shortly after graduating, Cunningham was part of the cast of “King Lear” on Broadway.

Cunningham is an avid boxer and is also a big advocate for fitness as well as mental health.

Aaron Jennings

Anthony, “Grand Crew”

GRAND CREW -- Season: 1 -- Pictured: Aaron Jennings as Anthony -- (Photo by: Kwaku Alston/NBC)
Aaron Jennings plays Anthony on the new NBC comedy “Grand Crew.”

Previously seen on CBS’ “Pure Genius” and HBO’s “Insecure,” Jennings can next be seen  recurring on the upcoming Amazon series “A League of Their Own,” based the feature film.

Jennings’ big screen debut came in 2013 with the Farrelly Brothers’ comedy “Movie 43,” opposite Terence Howard. Other credits include “Meet the Browns,” “Rizzoli & Isles,” “Vegas,” “Bones,” “Aquarius” and “Loosely Exactly Nicole.”

Jennings spent his youth training in theater and some of his stage credits include “Elmina’s Kitchen,” which won the NAACP Award for best ensemble, Matthew Lopez’s “The Whipping Man,” Athol Fugard’s “My Children! My Africa!” and “Facing Our Truth” at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City, Calif.

Dan Goor

Executive Producer, “Grand Crew”

Dan Goor is an executive producer on the new NBC comedy “Grand Crew.”

Previously, Goor was co-creator and executive producer of NBC’s Golden Globe-winning comedy series “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” In addition to having run the show, he also wrote and directed numerous episodes.

Goor is also the co-creator of the new Peacock comedy “Killing It,” starring Craig Robinson.

Prior to working on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” Goor was an executive producer, writer and director on NBC’s Peabody Award-winning comedy “Parks and Recreation.”

Goor got his start writing for “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” for which he won an Emmy Award in 2001. He was also a writer for NBC’s “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” where he won an Emmy in 2007.

Goor resides in Los Angeles with his wife and their two daughters.

Phil Augusta Jackson

Creator/Executive Producer, “Grand Crew”

Phil Augusta Jackson is an Emmy Award-nominated writer, producer and musical artist from Philadelphia. He is the creator and showrunner of NBC’s new half-hour comedy “Grand Crew.”

A co-executive producer of HBO’s “Insecure,” Jackson also has written for “Key & Peele,” “Survivor’s Remorse” and, most recently, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” where he also directed. He has been nominated for Emmy, WGA and NAACP awards and has self-produced and directed shorts and music videos.

Jackson graduated from the University of Virginia and currently resides in Los Angeles.
December 2021

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

cast of "Grand Crew" on NBC

Interview with the cast of “American Auto”

TV Interview!

the cast of "American Auto" on NBC

Interview with the cast of “American Auto” on NBCLifetime by Suzanne 12/9/21

This is a pretty funny sitcom, and it was a lot of fun talking to the cast. This press panel had many journalists asking questions. You can see my one question a little more than halfway down the page. I wish I had gotten another question because I would have loved to have asked Harriet Dyer a question. I really loved her show “The InBetween” (2019).  What an amazing actress she is! I didn’t even recognize her as the same person in this role.

NBCUNIVERSAL

VIRTUAL PRESS TOUR

 NBC

 American Auto

 Jon Barinholtz, Talent, “Wesley”

Harriet Dyer, Talent, “Sadie”

Ana Gasteyer, Talent, “Katherine”

Humphrey Ker, Talent, “Elliot”

X Mayo, Talent, “Dori”

Michael B. Washington, Talent, “Cyrus”

Tye White, Talent, “Jack”

Justin Spitzer, Creator/Executive Producer

Virtual via Zoom

December 9, 2021

© 2021 NBCUniversal, Inc.  All rights reserved.

PAM BEER:  Hi.  It’s Pam again, and I’m here to introduce the panel for our new comedy “American Auto,” which will be sneak‑previewed on Monday, December 13th at 10:00 and 10:30 p.m., before moving to its normal time slot on Tuesday, January 4th at 8 o’clock.

From “Superstore” creator Justin Spitzer comes a new workplace comedy that takes the wheels off of the automobile industry.

Set in Detroit, the corporate executives of Payne Motors are at a crossroads:  Adapt to the changing times or be sent to the junkyard.

Shaking things up as the new CEO, her leadership, experience, and savvy is only slightly offset by her complete lack of knowledge about cars.  From the corporate to the factory floor, the crew of Payne Motors is driving home the laughs.

Here’s a look at the first season of “American Auto.”

(Clip shown.)

PAM BEER:  In the top row are executive producer Justin Spitzer, Ana Gasteyer, and Harriet Dyer.  In the second row are Michael B. Washington, Jon Barinholtz, and Tye White.  In the third row are Humphrey Ker and X Mayo.

We are now ready for your questions.

MATTHEW LIFSON:  Thank you, once again, Pam.  And welcome to our panelists.

Just a reminder to use the “raise hand” function if you want to ask a question.

And our first question comes from Mike Hughes, and Jay Bobbin will be on deck.

So, go ahead, Mike.

QUESTION:  Yeah, for Ana.  It seems like you’re in a really good streak right now.  I saw “A Clüsterfünke Christmas,” and I thought it was hilarious, and you co‑wrote it, and so forth.  And so, I wanted to ask you what this time has been like for you?  Because you got this show, apparently, pretty early last year, but then, had to wait for a long time, and now, this is coming up right after “Clüsterfünke.”  Has this just been a really good ‑‑ in other words, has the pandemic been pretty good for you?

ANA GASTEYER:  The pandemic has been fantastic for me, yeah.       I mean, you know, besides all the millions of people that have died, it’s worked really well for me.  Please don’t print that.

QUESTION:  Okay.

ANA GASTEYER:  You know, I flew to L.A., and I had my fitting for the pilot, and we were getting ready to film it when the entire world went into shutdown, and it’s been ‑‑ I mean, you know, it’s an overused word, but it really has been an incredible series with blessing on this because, honestly, we didn’t even know if it was going to go.  I just assumed ‑‑ I mean, I leaped at the opportunity.  The script was fantastic.  Justin is established, and smart, and human, and the perfect writer to, sort of, meet the times, I think, comedically, and that’s not an easy thing to do.  And, yeah, we got lucky.  We ended up making the pilot last October – 2020 — and then, picked up, and started filming in 2021.  So, it was a long, kind of, drawn‑out thing, but kind of nice, in a way, because you do these new television shows really, truly, in a bubble.  We didn’t really interact with anyone because of COVID.  We actually didn’t even really see Justin’s lower half of his face for a good couple of years.  (Justin laughs.)  And it was nice because, as a cast and a community, we, sort of, did that thing where we established a relationship via text, and over the months, kind of, checking in with one another, and by the time it came to filming, we were really friends, which was fantastic.

QUESTION:  And in the middle of that, when did you do “Clüsterfünke,” then?

ANA GASTEYER:  So, we ‑‑ by the way, thank you for honoring the umlauts and pronunciation.

(Laughter.)

We had sold that in ‑‑ Rachel and I sold it in 2019.  And so, we wrote that script right when we went into the shutdown.  So, we wrote it at the beginning, and then, the timing just worked out beautifully because we were able to film it directly prior to “American Auto,” and it just was, sort of, a confluence of good fortune that everything came out at the same time.

QUESTION:  Well, thanks.

MATTHEW LIFSON:  Our next question is from Jay Bobbin, and Valerie Malone is going to be on deck,

Jay, go for it.

QUESTION:  Thank you very much.  My question is for Harriet.

Harriet, you’ve been doing a lot of heavy‑duty drama lately, and a certain scene at a restaurant with an invisible man certainly sticks in mind.  Doing comedy at this point in time, is this, like, the possible best juncture for you to pivot from the drama you’ve been doing, to this?

HARRIET DYER:  I don’t know.  I, kind of ‑‑ when I got out of drama school in Sydney, I was doing both; whether it was theater, or TV, which, kind of, came later.  I would just hope to, kind of, do both for as long as, you know, people will allow it.  I think you can find both in both.  And I mean ‑‑ but this is a dream, to come to America and do a network comedy.  That was something I never thought would happen.  So, I mean, if I stayed in comedy now, you know, mostly, that would be very exciting to me, but I really do ‑‑ really do love drama, too.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

MATTHEW LIFSON:  Our next question comes from Valeria Malone, and Jamie Sticker is on deck.

Go ahead, Valerie.

QUESTION:  Justin, can you talk about your decision to center the series around the corporate perspective, and your decision to make it a comedy, rather than an action or drama series, please?

JUSTIN SPITZER:  I don’t know that I would know how to write an action or a drama series.  I would love that challenge, but I think I’m in comedy for now.

The genesis of this was, I pitched this show back in 2013.  I’d been on “The Office” for a long time, and I thought I’d love to do a workplace show about the corporate world, you know?  And in “The Office,” they refer to decisions made by corporate, occasionally, and I’d think, like, oh, what’s that show about, and how do those decisions get made?  And then, the following year, I did “Superstore.”  “American Auto” was in pilot at that point, so I took bits and pieces, and put them in “Superstore,” and then, every now and then, I would talk to Tracy Acosta ‑‑ who had been to the studio when we developed “American Auto” originally, and she moved over to the network, and she was always a fan of it ‑‑ about if there was ever an opportunity to redevelop it.  And so, then, when I left “Superstore,” it felt like an opportunity, and it felt like an even better time.  You know, “Superstore” is so much a show about people whose lives are dictated by corporate, and they seem like antagonists all the time, and it seemed fun to get a peek on behind the scenes of how the decisions get made, you know?  The people at corporate aren’t bad people; they’re good people doing their best to try to make the company work, and, sometimes, their decisions have bad effects on the employees, but I thought it would be fun to get to see why those decisions get made.  So, yeah, that was, sort of, the reasoning about the corporate world.

And then, the fact that it’s the auto industry, sort of, came later.  I, sort of, just wanted it to be about a big multibillion‑dollar American industry.

QUESTION:  But you feel that diversity is important to you.  Can you talk about, perhaps, how it plays out in different roles in the series?

JUSTIN SPITZER:  You know, I think – it’s always a hard thing to answer.  I think, you know, we’re all trying to be more conscious of diversity.  I think it allows you to do more kinds of stories, especially in a show like this, that deals with issues impacted by those things.  You know, it’s a satire.  You know, you guys have seen the first episode that deals with bias in tech.  And so, it gives me those opportunities.

You know, I don’t think of it so much as what can we do for social good?  You know, my job is to make a show, and make it good, but I think diversity certainly helps with that.  Maybe some of our other cast could speak to that if anyone would like to.

MICHAEL B. WASHINGTON:  Yeah.  Well, one of the things that I was drawn to so much when I first read the script, and had the opportunity to read, NBC Universal has been very kind to many of us, and they’ve taken care ‑‑ ready good care of us for many years, but they’ve always been looking for something for me to do in a more corporate structure; like, more authoritative roles.  And that’s not something that a network lets you get to read for, as an African American gentleman, let alone two, three, four, you know, people of color in executive ranks.  So, I was very drawn to the fact that Cyrus is a very smart, educated corporate executive who’s allowed to be the smartest one in the room, for good or for bad, whether he puts his foot in his mouth, or not, and all the comedy that ensues from it, and the beautiful thing about the place we’re in right now, with the world, and society, and cultural issues.  Getting to represent that so that young Black boys, young Black girls, get to see somebody in a suit be smart is not still the norm.  So, I’m very drawn to this show because of that, and getting to play with these incredible comedians, and keeping levity about it.  It’s not always hard‑hitting; it’s light and fun.  So, diversity can be a fun thing as well.

QUESTION:  Very good.  Thank you.

MATTHEW LIFSON:  Our next question is from Jamie Sticker, and Suzanne Lanoue is on deck.

Jamie, go ahead.

QUESTION:  X, I have to say, those are some hilariously funny, funny scenes with you.  How much of your work is improv?  Like, the soap scene; you bring your own soap with you.  How much of your time on “American Auto” is scripted, and how much of it is just improv?

X MAYO:  Yes.  I don’t say any lines that are written.

(Laughter.)

No, I’m kidding.  I’m kidding.  No.  I love ‑‑ first of all, this script is amazing.  But let me tell you, as someone who is an actor and an improvisor, if the script isn’t good, I do not improvise because I don’t have a place to jump off of.  There is no clear foundation.  I have nowhere to go.  So, the fact that I do play so much speaks to the quality of the writing, and the fact that they are writers, when they write that episode, they’re on there, and they’re so open to collaborate.  And I’m, like, “Hey, I wanted to try this,” and they’re, like, “Yes, go, do.  Yeah, go do that.”  And so, I really love that aspect of it.  But yeah, I mean, a lot of those words that you hear are from the script, but I do like to, like, punch up and play.  And, also, too, like, there are, like, so many amazing comedians on the show, like Humphs and JB.  Like, I just love, like, pitching jokes to them, or if I can make one of them laugh, I’m, like, “Damn.”

(Laughter.)

Sorry.  Can I cuss?

(Laughter.)

But I just did, so …

(Laughter.)

Yeah, there’s a lot of that.  There’s a lot of that where Justin always is checking, “Can X say ‘shit’ or ‘damn’?”

(Laughter.)

So, I’m just, like, “Okay.”  I’m, like, “Okay, I can do this.”  So, yeah, a lot of it ‑‑ I would say a lot of it I’ve played with, but most of what you see is, like, a mixture of me playing, and the amazing, wonderful script that we have combined.  That’s what you’ll see a lot within the show.

JUSTIN SPITZER:  Yeah.  We always like to think of, like, the jokes in the script are a safety net, you know?  It won’t get worse than that line, and to whatever extent that the actors can improve it, I always want to encourage that.  And that’s something that was very important to me, even in casting this.  You know, I’ve worked with Jon on “Superstore”; I’ve worked with Humphrey years ago on another pilot.  I knew they were amazing improvisers.  Obviously, Ana was, from her years on “SNL,” and other things.  And some of the other cast we’ve played with in the audition even a little, and I was aware of your guys’ talent, too.  So, you know, I love when the actors beat the jokes that are on the page; I love when the actors even rework the lines to make it natural in their mouth to make it the best joke, the best line.

QUESTION:  And then, Justin, we know that you’ve worked with Jon in “Superstore.”  What was it about this role that made him right for “American Auto”?

JUSTIN SPITZER:  I mean, obviously, I would work with Jon on anything.  He’s, like, aside from being a delight to work with, just hilarious.  You know, there were so many times on “Superstore,” you know, if there was a scene he was in, and it wasn’t working, and I didn’t know how to get out of it, I would say to the editor, like, “Just check through Jon’s improv, like, if he has an ad‑lib, we could, like, go in, and then, that’ll get us out of it.”  So, I wasn’t writing the role specifically for him.  It, actually, probably felt different from him on the page.

And Jon, I think we were talking ‑‑ I think it was the episode I directed of “Superstore,” and you had just recently reread the script ‑‑ that was the week it got picked up ‑‑ and you said you liked it, and it was, like, “Oh, man, I would ‑‑ if you could come aboard.”  Then, I just felt bad about taking you away from “Superstore,” potentially, and had to have the big talk with the guys over there.  But, yeah, I love Jon, and I think he’s amazing in this role.

JON BARINHOLTZ:  That’s so nice of you to say.  Yeah, I remember.  I remember reading the script that week, and it was ‑‑ it was amazing.  And I think it was, like, maybe written for, like, a little bit older of a role, but, yeah, it was ‑‑ I would jump at the opportunity ‑‑ right back at Justin ‑‑ to work with him on anything.  He’s just such a great writer, and really ‑‑ really addresses the world honestly.  And most importantly, he gives really good, wrap gifts, so…

(Laughter.)

I’m in it for the gifts.  And the scripts are secondary, for me.

HARRIET DYER:  You guys all got a car, right?

ANA GASTEYER:  I’ve got a bike.  I don’t know how to drive.

X MAYO:  I’ve got a scooter; it’s got a little bell.

JUSTIN SPITZER:  A funny little thing, also about Jon ‑‑ and this was not intentional, but on “Superstore,” he played, like, the most down‑and‑out ‑‑ like, the warehouse guy who ‑‑ like, whose car didn’t have doors, and he was homeless for a while, and now, we bring him over to this show where he is the most privileged and wealthy of all.

JON BARINHOLTZ:  Yeah.  I mean, the difference ‑‑ like, someone asked me, like, “What’s the difference between Marcus and Wesley?”  And I think the answer is 58 million dollars.

(Laughter.)

QUESTION:  Thank you all so much for your time.

ALL PANELISTS:  Thank you.

MATTHEW LIFSON:  All right.  We’re actually going to go to Steven Prusakowski next, and then, Suzanne, you will be on deck.

So, Steven, go ahead.

QUESTION:  Hey, how are you doing?  The show looks great.  I can’t wait to watch.

My question is for Ana.  I have one for Ana, and one for all.

So, you were on “SNL,” and then, it seems like you’ve been working continuously since you left the series.

What do you credit your success to, and what about “American Auto” attracted you to the series?

ANA GASTEYER:  Gosh, I don’t know what to attribute my success to.  I mean, obviously, “Saturday Night Live” is an insane launching pad, as my mother would say.  Meaning, you know, the visibility is just nuts.  I mean, you get recognized pretty quickly just for being in that cast.  And then, just, honestly, hustling a lot of different angles.  I mean, I’ve worked on Broadway; I’ve worked on television; I’ve worked, you know, wherever I can work.  And I like working, so I’ve kept my nose to the grindstone, if you will.

“American Auto” ‑‑ you know, I’ve been waiting my entire career to be in my 50s.  I’ve been waiting for this part since I was 30.  So, you know ‑‑ and frankly, 10 years ago, this role wouldn’t have existed, I don’t think.  And Justin ‑‑ or I guess he said he wrote it 10 years ago, but, I mean, within that range.  I think just the opportunity to play a female CEO was really exciting to me because I like characters who are, sort of, lost in moral dilemma, and Katherine definitely is, as Justin said.  I think she definitely personifies the aspirations to do right by the company, but maybe not always ‑‑ there can be a human sacrifice in that.  And it’s just fun.  It’s a fun gray area, comedically.

My best friend ‑‑ I told Justin this before ‑‑ has characterized the, sort of, ethos of the show as Americans being bad at being good, which I think is, kind of, really fun to play, you know?  And, yeah, so, that’s ‑‑ I think that’s ‑‑ is that your question?

QUESTION:  That’s my question.  I have to say, I spoke to Kenan today, and now you, and as a big “SNL” fan, this is a dream come true.  So, thank you so much for your time.

JON BARINHOLTZ:  And I put in three different tapes for “SNL.”  So, if you want to include someone associated with “SNL” that you’ve talked to.

(Laughter.)

QUESTION:  Now, I have that connection, too.  Thank you so much.

And one more question real quick.  Are any of you big car fans, or do you actually drive?

X MAYO:  Yeah.

QUESTION:  Or it depends on, yeah, your type of auto reliance.

HUMPHREY KER:  L.A. leaves little choice but to drive.  There is no alternative.

TYE WHITE:  Well, I’m from Michigan.  So, yeah, I’ve been driving since I was 12.

JON BARINHOLTZ:  My grandfather was one of the first used car salesmen in Chicago, because used cars are, like, a newer thing.  And then, my great, great, great grandfather on my mom’s side was Studebakers.

X MAYO:  Wow.

JON BARINHOLTZ:  This is true:  There are four Studebaker brothers, and Jacob was the one I’m a descendant of, and he was the one who thought cars weren’t going to take off, and he was, like, “I’m going to stick with farming.”

(Laughter.)

And I have the legacy of Studebakers.

ANA GASTEYER:  It was the slower Studebaker; is that what you’re saying?  You’re a descendant of the slower Studebaker.  Got it.

(Laughter.)

I live in New York City, so I, pretty much, stopped it.

MATTHEW LIFSON:  All right.  Our next question ‑‑

TYE WHITE:  Cars aren’t going to work.  I don’t see it.

(Laughter.)

MATTHEW LIFSON:  Our next question comes from Suzanne Lanoue, and Bruce Miller on deck.

So, go ahead, Suzanne.

QUESTION:  Hi.  Good morning.  Jon, my question is for you.  Your character is so unlikable.

(Laughter.)

JON BARINHOLTZ:  Thank you.

QUESTION:  I’m sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED PANELIST:  In real life.  In real life.

QUESTION:  Will we get to see him change and grow a little more this season, or show us a nicer side?

JON BARINHOLTZ:  I don’t want to give out any spoilers, but I think all the characters, as we go throughout the season, we see people exist together more and more, and it really ‑‑ yeah, I think there is growth and change in everyone, but in that really, you know, pinpointed way, where we’re always able to reset and still be the same characters that you, kind of, you know, fell in love with, whether it’s fell in love with because of who they are, or fell in love to hate them, I think we all ‑‑ we strut that line pretty well throughout the season.

JUSTIN SPITZER:  I was just going to say, I think he will become more likable.  I think, you know, as the episodes go on, you want to start people with an edge, you know, or at least I like to.  You know, I would never want to create characters that are all soft, all immediately too easily likeable.  There’s no place to go.  But, you know, I think we’ll see ‑‑ I can think of one or two, you know, moments of real vulnerability in Wesley, and when you see those moments, they give you little windows, and you empathize with them, and with all the characters, as we learn about them, we’ll grow to like all of them.

JON BARINHOLTZ:  Yeah, I just want to change my answer to what Justin just said.

(Laughter.)

So, put his voice to my mouth.

QUESTION:  Sure, I can do that.  I enjoyed the first two episodes a lot.  Thank you.

PANELISTS:  Thank you.

MATTHEW LIFSON:  Our next question comes from Bruce Miller, and Rick Hong will be on deck.

So, Bruce, go for it.

QUESTION:  This is for Jon, too.  Jon, when you’re on a big show like “Superstore,” what do you do when you’re not on camera?  Are you trying to be seen so that you can get a bigger role, or what is that process like?

JON BARINHOLTZ:  Wait.  What do you ‑‑ do you mean, like ‑‑ in what way do you mean?  Do you mean, like, literally, like, off the camera, but still in the scene, or is it, like, I’m just, like, hanging out in my trailer?

QUESTION:  Because on “Superstore,” you guys were around a lot; you could see you in the background and doing things.  And would you just try to, like, “I’ll be a little more active here, so, then, they’ll pick me to be in more scenes”?

JON BARINHOLTZ:  I would show up on days when I wasn’t even scheduled to come in, and I would come in in uniform.  No.

JUSTIN SPITZER:  You’re background for the first season, right?

JON BARINHOLTZ:  Yeah.  I just yell things.  I steal a mic and put it on me.  No, I think I know what you mean.  It’s in these big, like, ensemble shows with workplaces, I think the best thing you could do is just, kind of, exist there.  And, like “Superstore,” I think this is a world that when we were all there, we felt very much of this world.  We were in this office; we were people who worked there.  And just a testament to how good, really, everyone on the screen is, and our BG&R show is so great, and it allows a sense of ‑‑ the looseness allows a sense of play, and us to, you know, kind of, take things wherever we think they may go, as long as it’s in a place of ‑‑ coming from a place of honesty.  So, I guess, that just the long way of saying that as long as we’re playing it real, there’s no, like, fudging your way in to, like, get more lines, or anything like that, but I think there’s always an opportunity to toss a little extra something in, and, again, it’s because, like X said, that’s how good the writing is here, that it’s such a strong foundation of us to, kind of, jump off and play in.  Whether you have one line in the scene, or thirty lines in the scene, it really ‑‑ it gives that safety net.

ANA GASTEYER:  And for sure ‑‑ I’m going to jump in.  It’s not my question, but just to say that, especially NBC has developed these really ‑‑ this ethos of a workplace comedy as the sense of the ensemble and the workplace being the star, but for me, that was part of the attraction.  Like, not having to carry something so much all by myself.  I love working with other people.  So many of us come from improvisation and, you know, ensemble backgrounds, that it’s critical that you work as a team.  That’s actually what ends up being the most fun.

And I remember ‑‑ actually, not being gross and, like, mention my last credit, but I did this show called “People of Earth,” and there were these group therapy sessions.  And every year, like, the showrunner would be, like, “We’re going to try to not have as many group therapy sessions.  I know they’re long days,” and I was, like, “But that’s the best part of show.”  Like, the best part of the show is when you’re hanging with your colleagues and all improvising together.  To me, that’s, you know ‑‑ sorry.  Did I kill the fun?

X MAYO:  No.

TYE WHITE:  Never.

ANA GASTEYER:  That’s what my theater games taught me.

HARRIET DYER:  Never, Ana.

JON BARINHOLTZ:  No, but it’s true.  When you have, like ‑‑ like, on “Superstore,” I wasn’t a regular, but you had this cast of regulars that were amazing, and would allow for play to happen.  I think like ‑‑ I feel we have the same thing on our show, where we had people come in, and it would just ‑‑ they may have, like, one or two lines in the scene, but there was always the opportunity to play, and we got so much more out of ourselves, and so much more out of these people who would come in and be these phenomenal guests on our show.  So, there’s more of that that goes along with that, you know?

MATTHEW LIFSON:  Our next question is from Rick Hong, and then, our final question will be from Francine Brokaw.

So, Rick, go for it.

QUESTION:  Hello, everybody.  Well, Jon, since you brought up Chicago, I just want to say, “Whazzup?”

(Laughter.)

JON BARINHOLTZ:  Whazzup?

QUESTION:  Okay.  So, actually, for everybody.  What was it like seeing the Ponderosa from script in your mind, to going to set and seeing the thing actually built?  What is it made of?

HUMPRHEY KER:  Many different cars.

TYE WHITE:  Yeah, it was, like, a smorgasbord of different car pieces put together.  And I remember the first time I saw it, I just busted out laughing because you just have to ‑‑ when you see it, there’s no choice but to laugh.  Like, how did they assemble this vehicle?  Like, literally.  Not just in terms of the show, but in real life, what made them grab these different pieces to put this car together?  So, I just laughed, like, uncontrollably.  And the color.  The color, too.  Like, it’s such a bright red that, like, it’s usually reserved for, like, Ferraris, and things like that.  It was, like, it’s so obnoxious to put that red on that car.  Yeah, it’s so good.  It’s red.

JUSTIN SPITZER:  It was a very difficult needle to thread, that one.  I mean, on the page you’re, like, “Oh, they put together something,” and then, there’s a reveal, and it looks, like, crazy.  And then, you do it, and then, it’s got to be crazy enough to be a bad idea, and for the comedy to play, but, like, these are smart, sensible, competent people who’ve worked at a car company, or who know cars.  So, it’s true crazy, you know?  Currently, there’s acknowledgement that it’s bad, but, like, at a certain level, you’d be, like, this is insane.

(Laughter.)

So, it was hard to find that level of grounded, but still funny.  And, yeah, the set is amazing.  The guys were constructing it, and we’d go down and try to give notes.  And I know nothing about cars, so I’d be, like, “Yeah, something like that.”  And I’d look on my phone for, like, pictures, and ‑‑ I don’t know.  But, yeah, it turned out good.

QUESTION:  Congrats to you all.  Thank you so much.

PANELISTS:  Thank you.

MATTHEW LIFSON:  And our final question comes from Francine Brokaw.  Francine, go ahead.

QUESTION:  Can you hear me?

MATTHEW LIFSON:  Yes.

QUESTION:  Okay.  This has happened twice.  You’ve called on Francine, but you’ve unmuted me, and I’m Luaine Lee.  So, I’m going to go ahead and ask my question.

So, Ana, is it true you don’t know how to drive?

ANA GASTEYER:  My character doesn’t know how to drive.  I do drive, but I live in New York City, so I don’t do it a lot, and my family doesn’t like it when I do it.  Let me just say that.  And I didn’t learn to ‑‑ actually, this is even worse.  I learned to ride a bike in ‑‑ I grew up, like, in the city‑city, in Washington D.C., and I wasn’t allowed to cross the street on my bike.  So, I learned to ride a bike.  And then, I’m the one example that the adage is not true.  I forgot.  I forgot how to ride a bike.  And my husband didn’t believe me, and I got on one, and I immediately ran into a mailbox and hurt myself badly.  And then, later, I took bike‑riding classes.  So, I’m not very comfortable with things on wheels, is what I’m trying to say.

(Laughter.)

QUESTION:  Well, my question is, how did you learn to drive?  Who taught you, and what was that like?

ANA GASTEYER:  In real life?

QUESTION:  Yes.

ANA GASTEYER:  My mother taught me.  I grew up on Capitol Hill in D.C., and she taught me in rush‑hour traffic, with a clutch car, going uphill.  So, that might be why I don’t like to drive.  Let me say, she’s not great under stress.

QUESTION:  I have the same question for Michael.  How did you learn to drive, Michael?  What was it like?

MICHAEL B. WASHINGTON:  I learned to drive ‑‑ my parents were reared in Louisiana in backwoods dirt roads.  So, when I was 10 ‑‑ this is, like, right after my 10th birthday.  We went down to my grandparents’ house, and my dad put me on his lap and just said, “Start steering,” and then, he slid out from under me ‑‑ because I was, kind of, tall, so my foot hit the pedal, and I just started ‑‑ and he got terrified.  I mean, because it’s dirt roads, but there still are trees and things.  Because “Dukes of Hazard” was my favorite TV show.

(Laughter.)

And I asked him, like, “Can I just please get in the car through the window, like the Duke boys?”  And he’s, like, “No.  No, you’ll ruin the paint.”  So, I learned to drive after, you know, my 10th birthday.

HUMPRHEY KER:  Is that why you still have a Confederate flag in your trailer?

(Laughter.)

MICHAEL B. WASHINGTON:  Oh, that’s what we call British humor.

ANA GASTEYER:  That’s British humor.

MICHAEL B. WASHINGTON:  And I deal with that 13 hours a day.

ANA GASTEYER:  It means something different over there.  It means something different.

HUMPRHEY KER:  It’s very different.  It’s a very different ‑‑

ANA GASTEYER:  It’s a popular pub sign.  That’s it, right?

(Laughter.)

HUMPRHEY KER:  I saw Michael’s trailer door open, and there it was.

(Laughter.)

QUESTION:  Thank you.

MATTHEW LIFSON:  Thank you.  If Francine wants to ask a question ‑‑ I feel bad.

ANA GASTEYER:  Francine, Francine, Francine.

HARRIET DYER:  Francine.

MATTHEW LIFSON:  We’ll have to get to the bottom of that on our end.  But thank you to our panelists.  That concludes our session for “American Auto.”  We’ll take a short break, and get back up at 11:30 with SYFY’s “Astrid & Lilly Save the World.”

Here is the audio version of it.

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

MORE INFO:

American Auto

"American Auto" castPreviews: Monday, Dec. 13 on NBC (10-10:30 and 10:30-11 p.m. ET); Moves to Tuesdays (8-8:30 p.m. ET) beginning Jan. 4

From the creator of “Superstore” comes a new workplace comedy that takes the wheels off the automobile industry. Set in Detroit, the corporate executives of Payne Motors are at a crossroads: adapt to the changing times or be sent to the junkyard. Shaking things up is the new CEO, whose leadership, experience and savvy is only slightly offset by her complete lack of knowledge about cars. Luckily, her team has some of the best minds in the business – when they aren’t fighting or trying to outwit each other. From the corporate office to the factory floor, the crew of Payne Motors is driving home the laughs.

The cast includes Ana Gasteyer, Harriet Dyer, Jon Barinholtz, Humphrey Ker, Michael B. Washington, Tye White and X Mayo.

Justin Spitzer (“Superstore”) will write and executive produce. Jeff Blitz will direct and executive produce the pilot episode. Aaron Kaplan and Dana Honor will executive produce.

“American Auto” is produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, in association with Spitzer Holding Company, Kapital Entertainment.

Ana Gasteyer

Katherine, “American Auto

AMERICAN AUTO -- Season: 1 -- Pictured: Ana Gasteyer as Katherine Hastings -- (Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC)
Ana Gasteyer plays Katherine on the new NBC comedy “American Auto.”

During her six years on “Saturday Night Live,” Gasteyer created several iconic characters, including middle school music teacher Bobbie Moughan-Culp, NPR radio host Margaret Jo, Lilith Fair poetess Cinder Calhoun, as well as spot-on impressions of Martha Stewart, Celine Dion and Hillary Clinton.

This holiday season Comedy Central will premiere “A Clüsterfünke Christmas,” which Gasteyer and fellow “SNL” alum Rachel Dratch wrote, executive produced and star. The special is a parody of the corny and ubiquitous traditional holiday TV movie. Previous TV credits include “The Goldbergs,” “Lady Dynamite, “People of Earth,” “Suburgatory and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

On stage, Gasteyer has starred on Broadway in “Wicked” “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” “The Royal Family” and “Three Penny Opera.” Other stage credits include “Funny Girl” and “Passion” at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, which earned her a Jefferson Award nomination. At the Hollywood Bowl, she played Miss Hannigan in the musical “Annie.”

Gasteyer is also a highly accomplished singer and songwriter. This winter she’ll embark on a Christmas tour in support of “Sugar and Booze,” her recent album of seasonal favorites and holiday originals.

Gasteyer attended Northwestern University and honed her comedy skills at the Groundlings in Los Angeles. She resides on the East Coast with her husband, children and rescue pup, Gloria.

Harriet Dyer

Sadie, “American Auto”

AMERICAN AUTO -- Season: 1 -- Pictured: Harriet Dyer as Sadie -- (Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC)
Harriet Dyer stars as Sadie on the new NBC comedy ”American Auto.”

Dyer most recently starred in the NBC drama series “The Inbetween,” appeared in the sec-ond season of the CBS’ All Access comedy “No Activity” and co-starred in the feature film “The Invisible Man,” opposite Elizabeth Moss.

A native of Australia, Dyer’s other television credits include local series “The Other Guy,” “No Activity,” “The Letdown,” “Kiki & Kitty,” “Black Comedy,” “Rake,” “Janet King” and “Love Child.” She’s earned her a Logie Award nomination for Most Outstanding Supporting Actress and two 2015 Logie Award nominations as well as the Graham Kennedy Award for Most Out-standing Newcomer and the Most Popular New Talent Award. Dyer has also received an AACTA Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Television Drama.

Dyer’s film credits include “Killing Ground,” which premiered at the 2016 Melbourne Interna-tional Film Festival and screened at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival; “Down Under,” which premiered at the 2016 Sydney Film Festival; and “Ruben Guthrie,” which opened the 2015 Sydney Film Festival.

Harriet has also appeared on stage in “A Flea in Her Ear,” “Hay Fever,” “Travelling North,” “Machinal” and “Pygmalion” for the Sydney Theatre Company; “Brisbane” for the Queens-land Theatre Company; “Peter Pan” for Belvoir; “Time Stands Still” for the Darlinghurst Thea-tre; “Suddenly Last Summer” for the National Art School; and “The School for Wives” for the Bell Shakespeare Company. In 2013, she made her Broadway debut in “Peter Pan” at New York’s New Victory Theatre.

Dyer received the Sydney Theatre Award for Best Performance in a Leading Role in a Main-stage Production for her performance in “Machinal” with the Sydney Theatre Company, and was nominated for the same award for her role in “The School for Wives” for the Bell Shake-speare Company.

She graduated from the Actors Centre Australia in 2011.

Michael Benjamin Washington

Cyrus, “American Auto”

AMERICAN AUTO -- Season: 1 -- Pictured: Michael Benjamin Washington as Cyrus -- (Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC)
Michael Benjamin Washington stars as Cyrus on the new NBC comedy “American Auto.”

Washington most recently reprised his role of Bernard from the Tony Award-winning revival of “The Boys in the Band” in Netflix’s feature adaptation. He can previously be seen opposite Cynthia Nixon in Ryan Murphy’s “Ratched” and has had roles in “30 Rock” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.”

On stage, Washington wowed audiences and critics in 2019 with a tour-de-force performance playing 25 different characters in the revival of Anna Deavere Smith’s landmark 1992 one-person show, “Fires in the Mirror.” He also wrote and starred in “Blueprints to Freedom: An Ode to Bayard Rustin,” which premiered regionally at La Jolla Playhouse and KC Rep in 2015.

X  Mayo

Dori, “American Auto”

AMERICAN AUTO -- Season: 1 -- Pictured: X Mayo as Dori -- (Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC)
X Mayo stars as Dori on the new NBC comedy “American Auto.”

She is an Emmy Award-nominated actor, writer, producer and comedian known for her work on “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.” Her other credits include supporting roles in Amazon’s “Yearly Departed” and the dramatic feature “The Farewell.”

Mayo is also the creator and host of “Who Made the Potato Salad?,” a sketch comedy show/party starring BIPOC creatives and talent.

 

 

Jon Barinholtz

Wesley, “American Auto”

AMERICAN AUTO -- Season: 1 -- Pictured: Jon Barinholtz as Wesley -- (Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC)
Jon Barinholtz plays Wesley on the new NBC comedy “American Auto.”

Barinholtz is an actor and improvisor born and raised in Chicago, and a proud alum of the Second City Conservatory, iO, the Annoyance Theater and Steppenwolf Theater.

He is the creator, writer and voice on Netflix’s animated series “Chicago Party Aunt.” Previously, he was in the cast of NBC’s “Superstore.” Other credits include “Veep,” “With Bob and David,” “The Mindy Project,” “Key and Peele,” “New Girl,” “Parks and Recreation,” “Happy Endings” and the indie feature “The Oath,” co-starring Tiffany Haddish, John Cho, Meredith Hagner and Ike Barinholtz.

Tye White

Jack, “American Auto”

AMERICAN AUTO -- Season: 1 -- Pictured: Tye White as Jack -- (Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC)
Tye White stars as Jack in the new NBC upcoming comedy “American Auto.”

White is best known for his role as Kevin Satterlee on OWN’s hit series “Greeneleaf.” Other TV credits include “NCIS: Los Angeles,” “Chicago Fire” and “American Crime Story.”

He hails from Detroit and resides in Los Angeles.

 

 

Justin Spitzer

Executive Producer, “American Auto”

Justin Spitzer is the creator and executive producer of the NBC comedy series “American Auto.” Prior to that, he created and executive produced “Superstore,” which ran on NBC for six seasons, wrapping in 2021.

His other credits include seven seasons writing for and producing the NBC comedy “The Office,” as well as stints on “Scrubs,” “Committed,” “Courting Alex” and “Mulaney.”

He resides in Los Angeles with his wife, Jenna Bans, and daughters Lucy and Phoebe.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

scene from "American Auto" on NBC

Interview with Lisa Arch

TV Interview!

Lisa Arch of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and more

Interview with Lisa Arch of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” on HBO by Suzanne 11/18/21

I enjoyed chatting with Lisa on Zoom! She is so funny. I can see why they like her on “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” I learned some valuable insights from her about the way that show is run, how the people on it are, and how show business can be. It was very informative. I hope you enjoy it, too!

Suzanne:  I was watching some of your YouTube videos last night…

Lisa: Which one? The reviews? The podcast?

Suzanne: The thing where you’re interviewing people with another lady. I can’t remember her name.

Lisa: The Leslie and Lisa Show.

Suzanne: Leslie and Lisa, yeah.

Lisa: Yeah.

Suzanne: I was watching the one with the the actress from The Flash…So, I noticed that the last one was awhile ago. Are you still doing that?

Lisa: No, it was kind of an experiment. It was kind of an experiment we were doing during quarantine. We had a really good time, but it just wasn’t floating our boat enough, I guess, to keep it going.

Suzanne: Yeah, seems a lot of work.

Lisa: And there’s so much work…It just wasn’t clicking for me. I love working with her. She and I are actually working on another project now, but, yeah, for some reason that was too much. It was just too much with everything else I had going on.

Suzanne: Yeah, I wouldn’t be able to do that kind of thing. I tried it once. I’m like, “Oh, I’m terrible at this. Nevermind.”

Lisa: It’s hard. Everybody makes it seem so easy, but it’s just, it’s a lot.

Suzanne: Yeah. There are a lot of bad YouTube videos where people try to do that. And it’s like, “No, I can’t watch this.”

Lisa: One hundred percent.

Suzanne: Not yours. Yours I enjoyed.

Lisa: Thank you.

Suzanne: It probably helps you’ve done a lot of comedy, both of you.

Lisa: Yes, exactly, and I’ve hosted a ton. So, I love that medium. I still love hosting, and I love interviewing people, but it’s just a lot, when you’re booking all the talent, and you’re doing all the stuff.

Suzanne: And the editing, and you’re trying to promote it; the promotion is hard.

Lisa: You need a team; you need a team of people. We just don’t have it.

Suzanne: I completely understand, because I do all mine, [but] not solo. I have volunteers. I can’t afford to pay anyone to promote, do that kind of thing.

Lisa: But you have volunteers that do it?

Suzanne: I have volunteers who do a lot of writing and proofreading and different things, not promotion so much. I need to get somebody to help me with promotion. That would be great. I spend more time on my own social media, my personal social media, than I do for the site, so that’s a problem.

Lisa: Exactly. Yes. Priorities.

Suzanne: Yeah, I’d rather take a lot of pretty pictures and post them on Instagram than promote my site. [laughs] Well, I realize everybody has their strengths.

So, I’ll get to my questions. You were on Curb Your Enthusiasm in 2009, and then not again until [2020], so what happened in between?

"Curb Your Enthusiasm" group scene with Lisa ArchLisa: Well, so I mean, the show took six years off. I did a season; then they did one more season. Then, they took six years off. I think it’s how it was. No, it might have been two more seasons, and then they took six years off. So, yeah, when I was on the first time, it was just a one shot deal. It was just “come do this role,” and that’s it. There was no indication that there would ever be more.

So, a decade later, when I’m picking my son up from school, my manager and agent called me, and whenever they call me at the same time, it’s good news. But I hadn’t auditioned for anything recently. So, I was like, “I don’t know what this is.” And they said, “Curb wants you back,” and I was like, “Okay. I’m sure they want me back.” They were like, “No, they want you back, and it’s for multiple episodes.” And I just started sobbing, because it was so unexpected, because the day, or the several days, I had done the first time were so magical and everything I had ever wanted this industry to be, and it had never been before. So, to know I was going back to that was just the greatest feeling ever.

Suzanne: I know. He gets a lot of wonderful actors to come in and do their parts. They all love the show so much, and he lets them be different characters, even though they’re playing themselves. They get to be like, the jerk version of themselves.

Lisa: Absolutely, exactly. You’re so right. Yeah, and it is such an amazing, creative environment, and everyone there is such a powerhouse in their own right. So, it’s just an incredible place to be. It’s magical; it’s the Disneyland of the entertainment industry.

Lisa Arch with Richard Kind and Larry David on "Curb Your Enthusiasm"Suzanne: Right, I understand. So, on the show, you’re paired with the amazing Richard Kind. What’s that been like, for you?

Lisa: He is spectacular. He is so adorably insecure in a way. I just don’t even think he understands how brilliant he is. So, it just makes him even more brilliant. He’s so funny and lovable. He’s also just been in everything, literally. There is not a television show or a movie he’s not in, nor is there a Broadway show he hasn’t performed in.

Like, off camera he’s talking with Larry about musicals that he’s been in. Larry’s grilling him about certain shows. You know, “Have you ever been in Fiddler on the Roof? Did [you] ever do this? Were you ever in that?” And the answer is always “yes.” “Yes, I was in that. Yes, I did do that.” He is adorable. When I first did the show…When was it?

Suzanne: 2009.

Lisa: So, I was in my late thirties. I was like, thirty-eight, and he’s like, fifteen years older than me, I think. So, when I was first paired with him, I was like, “This is interesting thing.” But then I just immediately felt like, “Yeah, I see it. He’s my husband. I totally get it.” Then, the more we work together, the more I’ve kind of just like literally fallen in love with him, and I completely see us as a married couple.

Suzanne: That’s cool. Yeah, I interviewed him years ago. Did you ever see “Red Oaks” that he was in? He is wonderful in that. You need to see it; it’s a good show anyway.

Lisa: I have it on my list. I watched like part of the pilot episode, and then something happened. I don’t know, but I have to get back on my list. He told me that I would love it.

Suzanne: I think it’s only two seasons, but it’s really good. He is he just even better than usual in that. It was just like, when I was watching, I was thinking, “What else can you do?” This is like the role of a lifetime. There’s more after that, but still.

Lisa: Yeah, there’s nothing he can’t do.

Lisa Arch on "MadTV"Suzanne: Yeah, and I saw that you were on Mad TV in the late 90s. Was that a great training ground for you?

Lisa: So, actually, I consider my training ground what I did before Mad TV, which was years and years of sketch comedy live. That was really my training ground. I started when I was fifteen doing sketch comedy in my brother’s sketch comedy troupe, which was really a lot of work. We did it every summer for years, and we sold out every show in Hollywood. Then, after that, I was with ACME Comedy Theater for several years, and I did a couple one-woman shows. So, that that my training ground, and that’s what led to Mad TV. Mad TV was definitely a training ground for how to get the crap kicked out of you on a daily basis and react well to it, which I did not do at the time, but now I know how to, so yes, it was a training ground for the toughest parts of this business.

Suzanne: Would you like to elaborate on what you mean by that?

Lisa: Any sketch comedy show – I mean, you hear this, especially from Saturday Night Live, not only because it’s an incredibly competitive show, but also it’s live. Mad TV, we had the luxury of being taped, so you could screw up and do it again. Although that didn’t happen very often; we memorized our lines instead of having cue cards. So, it was sort of like – I don’t know, but it’s just a very competitive genre. I am a competitive person with myself, if that makes sense, but I’m not super competitive against other people. So, to be thrown into that atmosphere was very difficult for me, and I did not respond super well to it.

I met some wonderful people. I actually met my husband on that show, which is the entire reason I think I got that show was to meet him, but it was a really difficult year for me, very hard. A lot of good times, a lot of fun, and a lot of lessons. I was thrown from being a waitress literally right into being a series regular on a show.

So, you go from struggling to people throwing Nikes at you and going, “Here are these for free,” and you know, “Here’s a bracelet from Tiffany,” and all this stuff that you had never had, unless you’re being driven to parties and stuff like that. It really kind of messes with your head. So, it’s also a good training ground and learning how to be grounded, because that stuff is beyond temporary, and nobody actually loves you as much as you feel like they do. So, I learned a lot of lessons and how to trust the right people [and] how to trust myself and not get caught up in the BS of the industry, because [in] the industry, there’s a lot of BS.

Suzanne: Right, I’m sure. I’m always talking about the people just in PR, who their whole business is [PR], and I’m a Mass Comm major, so I learned about PR, but I already sort of knew about it from this job. Their whole business is to hype everything and pretty much lie almost at times. I’m not putting them down; that’s their job, and it’s a hard job. Acting is also a form of lying in a way, and then the people in charge of actors, do they even look at the stuff? I can see why you would have a lot of that.

Lisa: Yes, it’s definitely a lot of BS. I mean, look, I have some friends in PR, and I definitely think what they do is very real and very hard, but, yeah, what you’re saying is true. It’s a lot of like, “How can we make this one part of your life seem even better than it actually is?” Yeah, for sure.

Suzanne: And the network’s do do that a lot too. It’s so funny, because it can be like, “Oh, this is the great hit of the season,” and then two weeks later, they cancel it. [laughs]

Lisa: But look, what’s so funny is what has completely been modeled after that is social media. I mean, yeah, technically every post is a lie. Anything that has a filter on it is a lie. You know, how many couples do you know that have terrible marriages, and then they’re on a vacation with their family, and they’re kissing in front of a Joshua Tree or whatever. You’re like, “Oh, my God. You just you hate him.” [laughs] You gotta weed through the BS and keep your inner circle small.

Suzanne: That’s true. Yeah. Actually, yeah, you’re right, because I always tell people, “Online friends are not the same as real life friends. Don’t believe anything people say to you. They could be lying. Everything they said could be a lie.”

Lisa: And yet, ironically, I feel as though I have learned so much from online friends that I’m not even super close with in real life. Yeah, there’s definitely a balance.

Suzanne: Yeah, I mean, I have I have people that I’ve known before even what they call “social media” where they was just message boards and forums things like that I’ve known for a long time, and I feel like I know them but, yeah, you never know how much you know about them.

Lisa: Absolutely.

Suzanne: My criteria is always, would you invite them to your house? Would you let them sit sit with your kids or your dog or house sit? Would you loan them money? If you answer yes to all that, either they’re friends, or you’re very gullible. [laughs]

Lisa: Exactly. You’re exactly right.

Suzanne: So anyway, you’ve done a lot of kids comedies. Is acting in those very different from acting in regular comedies?

Lisa: It really is. It really is. Nickelodeon and Disney, it’s such a blast. First of all, it’s so stupidly fun, but I never feel as much like I’m acting as I think I feel like I’m just like at a playground. You have to be so much broader. And I have to tell you, I did so much of it that I think a lot of my auditions for many years were way too big, because it’s hard to get out of that mindset. It’s like, you’re playing a mean principle, and then everything you do is really big and angry. So, it’s so much fun, but it is very different. For sure. It’s a heightened version of what I normally would think I would do.

Lisa Arch with Michael Richards on "Seinfeld"Suzanne: Yeah, that makes total sense. You were on Seinfeld in 1996. Did that help you at all get the role of Cassie in Curb?

Lisa: I don’t think so. Honestly, to this day, I don’t know if Larry knows that I was on Seinfeld. I imagine he does, but I don’t know for sure, because it was so many years in between. When I came in, there was no indication that he knew who I was.

It did help me get Mad TV, believe it or not, because right after I did Seinfeld, Mad TV was auditioning, and the person who cast me on Seinfeld was casting Mad TV. I didn’t have an agent at the time, so I called her and just said, “Hey, can I come in? I should be in there.” And she said, “Absolutely. We’ll see you Monday.” So, definitely, Seinfeld was a huge kickoff for my career.

Suzanne: Well, that’s great. Yeah. A lot of careers.

Lisa: Yes.

Suzanne: So, you’ve been on a lot of different TV and movie sets. What sets Curb apart from the others?

Lisa: So, first of all, Curb is all improv. You get a scenario, but nothing’s written for you. So, in that respect, it takes the pressure off, because you don’t have any lines to memorize. A lot of people I’ve spoken to, other people who’ve been on the show, thought it adds pressure, because you have to come up with your own stuff, but, to me, that is my favorite thing to do.

Suzanne: Right, you have all that experience.

Lisa: Yeah, and the thing is, it’s such a supportive environment. Beyond that, it is easy to do, because everyone there is rooting for you to be funny. It’s basically the opposite of what Mad TV was. Mad TV, you felt like everybody was rooting for you to screw up. And when I say everybody, I’m generalizing. There were a lot of wonderful, wonderful people there, but on Curb, it’s literally everybody there…But everyone at Curb is just rooting for you to be funny, because they want the show to be good.

Suzanne: That makes sense.

Lisa: So, it’s insanely supportive. It is, genuinely.

When I wanted to get into this business, it was to do everything that happens on Curb. It’s to play, it’s to feel creative, it’s to feel challenged and supported, and to laugh. And all of that happens there. And, honestly, I can’t stress enough, when I tell you that I sobbed when my managers told me I was going back, I promise you that’s the truth, because it is a magical land filled with magical people. Then, all of a sudden you’re at a table with friggin Larry David and Susie Essman and Cheryl Hines and JB Smoove and Patton Oswald. My head, literally, every time I walk into one of those dinner party scenes, my head just like explodes a little bit, and then I’ve got to put the pieces back together, but it’s a dream. It’s a dream.

Suzanne: You mentioned Patton Oswald. He’s another one who’s in everything, between him and Richard.

Lisa: You’re so right. I actually said that exact thing to my husband. Patton is in everything. And what’s so funny is he and Jeff Garlin and Richard Kind, we’re all sitting at this dinner party scene, talking about how they’re all on The Goldbergs, because Richard and Jeff are on it, and Patton does the voiceover. He’s in everything.

Suzanne: Yeah, and he tours too. I don’t know how he finds time for a real life.

Lisa: I don’t either. And he’s an absolute genius, brilliant mind. He’s just insane and so kind.

Suzanne: Oh, that’s nice. That’s good. It’s good when you hear that people are nice.

Lisa: But by the way, also, and not that he is, because I’ve met him before; he is lovely, but you can’t be a dick on the set of Curb.

Suzanne: I’m sure. Yeah. If it’s that supportive, then, yeah, they wouldn’t put up with that. It’s funny, because you’re all acting like that on the show.

Lisa: You’re so right. Yeah, everyone on that set is so sweet. It’s ridiculous.

Suzanne: That’s good. So, can we see you on other Curb episodes this season?

Lisa: Not this season. I might show up for literally like five seconds on screen in one other episode, but that’s it, unfortunately, because I want to be there every day.

Lisa Arch with Larry DavidSuzanne: And have you heard about whether there’ll be a season twelve, or is that something that only Larry knows?

Lisa: That’s something that only Larry knows, and that’s the absolute truth. It’s funny, because the whole crew – I would say, conservatively, eighty percent of the crew has been the same since the very beginning, and the only reason anyone would have fallen off is because they got a job that they just can’t leave, but everyone shows up for him. But he is the only one [who] knows if, and he’s the only one that knows when, so you never know. Every time it’s been a surprise for me.

Suzanne: Well, I’m sure he’ll keep doing as long as he enjoys it. It’s not like he probably needs the money. [laughs]

Lisa: Yeah, I do not think he needs the money, and I do think he absolutely is having a blast. He’s also like, the coolest human being alive. No one believes me; he’s super sexy, because he so couldn’t care less what anybody thinks, and it’s so authentic. He just emanates, cool. Literally, he’s like Fonzie, but better.

Suzanne: No, I can understand. A little bit of that comes across on the on the screen, even though he’s being a jerk on the show. You can tell. And I don’t think you could produce a show like that if you were a real jerk in real life. It’s funny how many people in the audience in that Facebook group think that’s what he’s like in real life. I’m like, “Are you kidding?”

Lisa: Oh, yeah. And of course there are aspects, I’m sure; that all comes from his brain. So, that’s definitely indicative of what he is thinking, and I do believe there’s a lot of that; that is who he is, but it’s just obviously a much more heightened version of that.

Suzanne: Right. Well, yeah, he’s probably thinking about things that do bother him, but he wouldn’t be obnoxious enough to say it to people. [laughs]

Lisa: Exactly.

Suzanne: Like he wouldn’t have any friends or be invited to dinner parties if he really were that obnoxious.

Lisa: Exactly. And yet, I think he also probably takes advantage of the character to use as needed.

Suzanne: Oh, yeah, because some of the things he says are very political in a very sneaky way and a commentary on society.

Lisa: Absolutely, absolutely.

Suzanne: That’s one of the things that makes it great, I think, because you watch it because it’s funny. Then something gets in there that you go, “Oh, yeah, that’s right.”

Lisa: Little stupid things, like the towels. Like, my husband has said, and I’m not joking, my husband has said a million times, “Please don’t give me one of the new towels.” And I’m like, “I don’t get you.” And he goes, “It’s just different; it doesn’t dry you right.” So, when we saw [that], like, who would think that anyone else on the planet would have that thought? So, when we saw that on the show, we were like, “What?” That freaked us both out.

Suzanne: Where’s the hidden camera, that he was spying on you with?

Lisa: Exactly. Exactly.

Suzanne: That’s funny. Yeah, today I was looking up Pirate’s Booty. I mean, I already know what it is; I’ve had it before, but I thought, “I wonder if they take they were really happy about this episode,” but apparently they were bought out by Hershey, so they don’t care.

Lisa: That’s funny. That is very funny.

Suzanne: Then, I found another wonderful article about what the Talmud would say about what Larry did on that episode.

Lisa: I read that.

Suzanne: Did you read that? Wasn’t that a great article?

Lisa: That was phenomenal. So, I love how specific the Talmud is. That’s the funniest thing ever.

Suzanne: Yeah, I said that to my husband. We both love the show.

So, you already pretty much said your favorite part of working on Curb is the supportive environment and the people.

Lisa: And how fun it is and how funny you get to be. You get to be as funny as you can possibly be on the day you’re working. That’s a great feeling.

Suzanne: When you’ve been on, have you ever seen anybody where you thought, “Ah, they probably won’t come back,” because they didn’t do that great of a job? Or is that all pretty much taken care of before they get on the screen?

Lisa: No, I don’t think that is, because, genuinely, I don’t know that I was supposed to be ever back. I think it’s just Larry populates the show with whoever he thinks would fit. So, I don’t think he ever knows if you’re coming back. I don’t know. But no, I’ve never – But then again, I haven’t worked with a ton of guest stars. I worked with more stars this time than I ever have before, but usually I’m just working with the regulars. So, no.

Suzanne: That’s funny. So, do you have any other projects going on that you want to tell us about?

Lisa: Not really anything that I can talk about right now. I’m doing a behind-the-scenes thing right now that I hope turns out well, but I can’t really talk about it yet. Otherwise, no. I’m a character actress, so much of my life is just auditioning and waiting. And during the pandemic, there was so little going on. Now, it’s just gotten very busy again, audition-wise. So, my fingers are crossed that work is coming, and in the meantime, I’m in school, and loving that.

Suzanne: Are you working towards a particular degree?

Lisa: I am. I never [graduated]. I quit school to pursue acting. So, over quarantine, I decided it was time to try to get my Bachelor’s degree. So, I am working toward my Associate’s degree right now, and then I’m transferring for a psychology degree.

Suzanne: Oh, nice. That probably would have come in handy back when you were on Mad TV, right?

Lisa: Oh, my God so much. You have no idea. Yes. I probably should have finished school, although I would have finished with a theater degree. So, I don’t know that it would. Yes, it would have been very helpful.

Suzanne: Are you finding it challenging at all? Are all your classes online?

Lisa: All online, yeah. I decided there was no way I was going to do it if I had to go to school. So, yeah, all online. And it’s been challenging. It’s hard. You know, I’m a mom, and I’ve got all my house duties, plus all my auditions, plus whatever else comes up. So, it’s been tough, but I’m loving it. I’ve never been a good student, and I’ve never liked school, and I’m absolutely loving it. I feel myself becoming a more well-rounded person, just because I’m learning things that I never knew.

Suzanne: I think, in some ways, it’s better to go when you’re older, because you’re more mature; you take it more seriously. Your writing is probably better, all these different things.

Lisa: Absolutely. I mean, I think if you don’t know what you want to do with your life, it’s an important thing to do, to go to school. Look, to be frank, I wish I had finished back then, but I didn’t; that wasn’t my path. And I do feel that I am one hundred a better student now and learning so much more than I would have back then.

Suzanne: And are you going full time or part time?

Lisa: Oh my God, no, part time. [laughs]

Suzanne: That makes it easier too.

Lisa: Exactly. No, there’s no way it could be a full-time student. And what’s cool is there is a program that does classes in an accelerated fashion. So, a sixteen-week class takes eight weeks, but it also packs more work into those eight weeks, but if I didn’t do that, I wouldn’t get my AA until I was 60.

Suzanne: …I really like your curtains by the way. Those are pretty.

Lisa: Oh, thank you.

Suzanne: I like looking at the background when I interview people.

Lisa: I know, it’s hilarious

Suzanne: [I see] interesting things. Who’s the actor? Jeff Daniels, I was on a TCA thing with him. There’re lots of people there, but he had like fifty guitars behind him hanging on the wall. He apparently has an addiction to buying guitars.

Lisa: That is awesome. I don’t collect anything. I’m not a collector. I collect dust. I don’t have any cool collections of anything.

Suzanne: Oh, you do enough as it is.

Lisa: Yeah, I do, darn it.

Suzanne: All right. Well, I thank you so much for meeting up with me.

Lisa: Thanks for asking.

Suzanne: Oh, it was great. I will see you on Facebook and hopefully more in Curb.

Lisa: Yeah, hopefully more. Fingers crossed. Thank you so much.

Suzanne: All right, bye bye.

Here’s the video!

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

MORE INFO:

Lisa Arch is an American actor and comedian, known for her roles in the 1997–98 season of the FOX Network comedy show, Mad TV, as cohost of TBS’s Dinner and a Movie from 2002 to 2005, and as the recurring character of Samantha Samuels on Disney Channel’s Cory in the House. Arch has also been in movies, such as 2007’s Evan Almighty.

Curb Your Enthusiasm is an American television sitcom that has been produced and broadcast by HBO since October 15, 2000. The series was created by Larry David, who stars as a fictionalized version of himself. The series follows Larry in his life as a semi-retired television writer and producer in Los Angeles, and for one season, New York City. Also starring are Cheryl Hines as his wife Cheryl, Jeff Garlin as his manager and best friend Jeff Greene, and Susie Essman as Jeff’s wife Susie. Curb Your Enthusiasm often features guest stars, many of them playing fictionalized versions of themselves.

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Lisa Arch of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and more

Interview with Dean Winters and Shawnee Smith

TV Interview!

Shawnee Smith and Dean Winters of "Christmas Vs. The Walters"

Interview with Shawnee Smith and Dean Winters of “Christmas Vs. The Walters” – in theaters now by Suzanne 10/28

This movie is very funny and warm – great for the holidays! These two fine actors play the husband and wife of the Walters family. Shawnee is the main star of the film, but she has a wonderful cast surrounding her. Go see the movie because you’ll enjoy it! We had a fun chat here. I hope you like it as much as I did.

Suzanne:   So, when was the movie filmed, and how long did it take? Either of you?

Dean:   We shot the movie last November.

Shawnee:   Last year, yeah.

Dean:   Yeah. It was about a three and a half week shoot, and we shot it in Long Island and Melville. It was a real run and gun production, and we were able to capture the atmosphere of Christmas on Long Island. We just had a really, really good time shooting this film. I had been a massive fan of Shawnee’s for years and had a big crush on her. And when I met her, I melted. So, it just kind of added to the joy of making a film. She’s very easy to work with, and the film is really her film. So, we were all there to support Shawnee, and Shawnee is just, I mean, she’s just one of the really good ones, you know?

Shawnee:   Oh, what a good husband, right? I love him.

Suzanne:   I watched it yesterday, and I enjoyed it. It was it was funny, and it made me cry in one part.

Shawnee:   Right, I watched it. I watched it on my phone with my headphones late at night. The kids were all sleeping. I woke them up laughing. I was laughing out loud. I cried. I thought, you know, we’re not going to win any awards, but like, grab your family and go to the theater and have a ball. It sets a good tone for the rest of the holidays.

Suzanne:   It does. And you two seem very natural as a husband and wife. Did you do anything beforehand and sort of get to know each other better to prepare for that?

Shawnee:   We got married and pregnant.

Dean:   [laughs]

Shawnee:   Now we have three kids, because we are method actors.

Dean:   No, we actually met the day before filming, and it was just very, very natural. You know, good casting.

Suzanne:   You could tell. There’s a great cast anyway. I mean, you had so many great character actors.

Shawnee:   The cast just kept filling out and filling out. I was like, “Who’s playing my doctor?” I mean, it was like, just when you thought it can’t get any better, you know, and then down to our ingenue, Paris Bravo plays our daughter, who’s amazing and a badass triple Black Belt. I mean, she’s like a future action star.

Dean:   Then, you have guys like Richard Thomas, and Bruce Dern and Chris Elliott. I mean, they really filled the room with great character actors, and it just kind of adds to the atmosphere.

Suzanne:   What was the both the best and worst, or most challenging things about making the movie?

Shawnee:   Definitely the most challenging was filming during COVID protocol. Rehearsing with masks on is just different. You can’t really rehearse like that. I mean, you do the best that you can, but all the windows and doors are open for ventilation, and it’s November. In November in New York, in Long Island; you’re freezing. God love the crew; they were masked up all the time, and we were testing every other day. Far and away that was the most challenging. Everything else was pretty easy.

Dean:   Yeah, we were one of the first movies to actually shoot during COVID. So, I think last October is when films really started to kind of dip their toe in the water again. So, it was a real[ly] new experience for everybody. So, that was the most challenging part. The fun part was just, we all just love each other very much. So, working with each other was really a no brainer, and that chemistry, you know, in real life, I think kind of parlays on screen.

Suzanne:   And [Shawnee], do you actually get stressed out at all on Christmas?

Shawnee:   Oh, listen, of course! I’m a mother. There’s so much pressure to be a family, have a meal, and then the presents, and you’re like, “We’re gonna keep it simple this year.” Somehow, Christmas Eve, just the momentum of the thing builds up, and it’s like that tension is just a fun thief, you know? Like, the fun part of Christmas Vs. the Walters is that circumstances all around just break everybody down to the point where they just let go of the reins, and then everyone exhales and starts to have fun together, you know, take the pressure off. So, I think my good technique for taking the pressure off this Christmas will be just put on your pajamas and go to the theater and watch Christmas Vs. the Walters.

Suzanne:   And Dean do you get most recognized for that Mayhem commercials or for a show you a movie that you did?

Dean:   Pretty much Mayhem sums it up. [laughs] Yeah, in New York, it’s like, you know, yesterday, I was walking down the block, and within the span of walking down the block, I got Oz, Sex and the City, Law & Order, and then Mayhem, but it’s really just Mayhem all day long.

Suzanne:   Well, you do such a good job of it. I hate your character. I hate those commercials – not that guy! But I like you, and I loved you in Law & Order: SVU.

Dean:   Oh, thank you.

Suzanne:   Anything else? We’re almost done… anything else you’d like say about the movie?

Dean:   I think that this movie has a tone for a Christmas film that I haven’t seen before. Every great Christmas film has its own tone, whether it’s Elf or Scrooge or It’s a Wonderful Life, whatever, and this movie has a different tone to it, and I think that’s what is going to hopefully make it have its own little kind of special niche. It’s really just a lovely film about showing you what’s important, which is usually right in front of your face.

Suzanne:   And Shawnee, final words?

Shawnee:   You love this family. I love this family; that’s a marriage that I want to be in, and I root for them. Last Christmas, we were all in the middle of this pandemic, and we couldn’t go to the theater, and we couldn’t be with our families, and so this year, let’s do it and have a ball. Looking forward to it.

Suzanne:   Thank you guys. I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to me.

Here’s the Video!

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

MORE INFO:

Official Website   Trailer

"Christmas Vs. The Walters" posterDiane Walters, an over-burdened mother of two with a third child on the way, strives to create the perfect Christmas while her loving but dysfunctional family falls apart around her.

CAST: Shawnee Smith, Dean Winters, Caroline Aaron, Betsy Beutler, Paris Bravo, Nate Torrence, Richard Thomas, Jack McGee with Bruce Dern and Chris Elliott

DIRECTED BY: Peter A. D’Amato

WRITTEN BY: Peter A. D’Amato and Ante Novakovic

PRODUCED BY: Rob Simmons, Ante Novakovic, DJ Dodd and Jared Safier

COMPOSED BY: Rhyan D’Errico, and Jared Forman

EDITED BY: Pete Talamo

DISTRIBUTOR: Safier Entertainment

RUN TIME: 101 minutes

MPAA RATING: PG-13

Dean Winters of "Christmas Vs. The Walters"Dean Winters is an American character actor. He is known for his role as Ryan O’Reily on the HBO prison drama Oz and had roles in TV series Rescue Me, 30 Rock, Sex and the City and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, as well as portraying “Mayhem” in a series of Allstate Insurance commercials. He co-starred in one season of the CBS Network cop drama series Battle Creek and had a recurring role as the Vulture on the comedy series Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

 

 

Shawnee Smith of "Christmas Vs. The Walters"Shawnee Smith is an American actress and singer. She is known for her portrayal of Amanda Young in the Saw franchise and for starring as Linda in the CBS sitcom Becker (1998–2004). She co-starred as Jennifer Goodson, the ex-wife of Charlie Goodson on the FX sitcom Anger Management (2012–2014). In addition to acting, Smith once fronted the rock band Fydolla Ho, with which she toured globally. Later, with actress Missi Pyle, she served as half of Smith & Pyle, a country rock band.

 

 

 

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Cast of "Christmas Vs. The Walters"

Review of “Ghosts”

TV Review!

The cast of "Ghosts" on CBS

“Ghosts” on CBS Review by Suzanne 10/10/21

I really want to love this show, but it’s just not funny enough for me. This is based on a British show of the same name, which you watch on HBO Max and Daily Motion. Frankly, I find the British one a little funnier. Neither one is hilarious, though. To me, the main goal of a sitcom is to make me laugh. If I just sit here and smile, or chuckle occasionally, that’s not good enough. It’s not worth my time.

Rose McIver (“iZombie”) plays Samantha, and Utkarsh Ambudkar plays her husband, Jay. She inherits a big old house, so they decide to invest all of their money into fixing it up and making it into a bed and breakfast. Unbeknownst to Sam and Jay, the house is haunted by many ghosts from the past. When Sam hits her head, she can suddenly see and hear the ghosts. They become very annoying to her and her husband.

I do like shows about supernatural creatures, so that’s why I really wanted to like it. I like the characters, too. One ghost, Hetty, is a Victorian older woman (played by the marvelous Rebecca Wisocky). The ghost that stands out the most is Thorfin, a Viking (Devan Chandler Long). In the UK version, he was a caveman. This version of the show has a native American, Sasappis (Román Zaragoza), who seems very interesting. I want to learn more about them, and that’s the main reason I added it to my DVR.

I’m crossing my fingers that it gets funnier as it goes along.

MORE INFORMATION:

GHOSTS is a single-camera comedy about Samantha and Jay, a cheerful freelance journalist and up-and-coming chef from the city, respectively, who throw both caution and money to the wind when they decide to convert a huge rundown country estate they inherited into a bed & breakfast—only to find it’s inhabited by the many spirits of deceased residents who now call it home. The departed souls are a close-knit, eclectic group that includes a saucy Prohibition-era lounge singer (Danielle Pinnock); a pompous 1700’s Militiaman (Brandon Scott Jones); a ‘60s hippie fond of hallucinogens (Sheila Carrasco); an overly upbeat ‘80s scout troop leader (Richie Moriarty); a cod-obsessed Viking explorer from 1009 (Devon Chandler Long); a slick ‘90s finance bro (Asher Grodman); a sarcastic and witty Native from the 1500s (Román Zaragoza); and a society woman and wife of an 1800’s robber baron who is Samantha’s ancestor (Rebecca Wisocky), to name a few. If the spirits were anxious about the commotion a renovation and B&B will create in their home, it’s nothing compared to when they realize Samantha is the first live person who can see and hear them.

 

Premiered Thursday, Oct. 7 on the CBS Television Network and available to stream live and on demand on the CBS app and Paramount+.

ON AIR:

Thursday (9:00-9:30 PM, ET/PT)

ORIGINATION:

Montreal

FORMAT:

Comedy (Filmed in HD)

STARRING:

Rose McIver (Samantha)
  Utkarsh Ambudkar (Jay)
  Brandon Scott Jones (Isaac)
  Richie Moriarty (Pete)
  Danielle Pinnock (Alberta)
  Asher Grodman (Trevor)
  Román Zaragoza (Sasappis)
  Sheila Carrasco (Flower)
  Rebecca Wisocky (Hetty)
  Devan Chandler Long (Thorfinn)

PRODUCED BY:

CBS Studios in association with Lionsgate Television and BBC Studios’ Los Angeles production arm.
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Joe Port & Joe Wiseman, Mathew Baynton, Jim Howick, Simon Farnaby, Laurence Rickard, Ben Willbond and Martha Howe-Douglas; Alison Carpenter, Debra Hayward, and Alison Owen (Monumental Television); Angie Stephenson (BBC Studios); and Trent O’Donnell (pilot only)

Website: https://www.cbs.com/shows/ghosts/

CBS PR Twitter: https://twitter.com/CBSTweet

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GhostsCBS/

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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The cast of "Ghosts" on CBS

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.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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TCA panel

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"

Interview with Andrew Leeds and Alice Lee

TV Interview!

Andrew Leeds and Alice Lee of "Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist" on NBC

Interview with Andrew Leeds and Alice Lee of “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” on NBC by Suzanne 3/23/21

This was a day full of many NBC and Syfy interviews, but this was the most fun and relaxed of all of them. These two are great and funny. We had a good time. I hope you enjoy it! This is a fabulous show.  It’s so funny that Andrew used to be a computer programmer and engineer, when he’s one of the few characters on the show who’s NOT one of those! That’s hilarious.

Suzanne:   Do we get to see you singing and dancing a lot more in the rest of the season?

Andrew:   Yeah, we do. We get to see a little bit in seven. We get to see a little bit in episode eight. So, seven is coming up this weekend, then eight we have a little bit, and then in nine. This one (Alice)’s got some really sweet stuff, and in ten we both have some fun stuff.

Alice:   Yeah. We definitely sing and dance in more.

Suzanne:   Are you allowed to tell us any of the songs?

Andrew:   Well, I guess. I don’t know. I mean, I don’t think it really matters.

Alice:   Does it? I don’t know.

Andrew:   I don’t think it matters, actually – for the next episode, anyway.

Alice:   Yeah, yeah, do the next one.

Andrew:   I sing the song “Drift Away” in the next episode. Yeah, and then after that, I don’t think we can say.

Alice:   There’re some throwbacks in there.

Andrew:   Yeah. There’s some really good stuff.

Alice:   Yeah. Yeah.

Andrew:   We all get to sing some cool stuff for sure.

Suzanne:   Yeah, that’s what’s great about the show; you get all different kinds of songs, recent, old, and all of that.

Andrew:   How often – do you do you always recognize the songs, or are you like, “I don’t know that one.”

Suzanne:   I’m older than I look, so I don’t recognize all the new ones so much. I know all the old ones.

Question:   …[This] may be a hard question, but free to answer [how] you feel, but in the spirit of the events of this past week, the Asian American community, you’ve been active for a while and worked. What’s your thoughts on Asian American stories? You know, in terms of the prejudice that’s faced, because we don’t see that as much on screen I feel as much as we see…This is a reality in which eyes are opening now. So, any words on that, and how’s your experience been?

Alice:   Yeah, totally. I mean, I think it’s very complex, because, yeah, there’s obviously a lot more. I mean, obviously, Asian stories are important, that’s the bottom line. I feel like our stories need to be told, and it’s a lot better. I think things have gotten a lot better in Hollywood and stuff, but I do still feel like there’s a lot more room for growth and more room for other stories, but I think it’s important that we’re being seen, and we have visibility and the more we can, [the better]. I always think there’s room for more. So, yeah.

Question:   …[You] left computer engineering…Can you talk a little bit about that transition? I’m sure you’ve been asked a lot, but I’m always curious to hear that in person from a person like you. How is that transition and what does it mean for you to be on this show? This is a huge, huge thing for you.

Andrew:   Yeah, well, I started acting as a kid, and then, when I went to college, I don’t really know what I was thinking exactly, except that I was like, “Oh, I think programming is fun.” I think I was actually fairly good at that part of computer science; the rest of the parts were really difficult for me. I don’t think I had quite the quite the brain for it, but the programming I was good at, and I enjoyed that.

I did that, and then I actually got a job at Adobe. The guy hired me and told me that he was going to hire me, but he was certain that I would go to LA and pursue an acting career, because he could tell based on my resume from before that. He hired me, and I was like, “No, no, no, I’m gonna come work for Adobe.” Then, I did exactly what he thought I would do and did not take the job and went to LA to continue acting.

So, I don’t think it was ever really anything that I was really seriously going to pursue. I just really liked it. I still think it was a good thing in terms of training my brain to think in a certain way, or explore how to think in a certain way.

Then, doing the show has been, for me, just really wonderful and exciting, because it’s the combination of a lot of things that I’ve done that I love to do, which is, musicals and singing and dancing and acting, and getting to do that all together on camera is kind of an amazing thing, and getting to be around all these incredibly talented people in this way. It’s just been so, so fun and satisfying, and like getting to watch her do her numbers, it’s just awesome. It’s just awesome. I feel so appreciative for getting to do this.

Question:   This is such a unique genre for television. We haven’t seen this in a long time, a show that combines narrative and singing and dancing, and I’m just curious, as actors, do you find that you put more work into your character when they’re speaking or when they’re singing and dancing?

Alice:   Yeah, I feel like it’s probably different for everyone, because I –

Andrew:   She can roll out of bed and sound amazing. That’s true.

Alice:   No, that’s not true. Singing and dancing for me, yeah, that’s definitely my comfort [zone]. In those areas, I’m like, “Okay.” It’s more acting sometimes where I’m like, “What’s my character really doing and stuff?”

Andrew:   I probably should put more energy into the acting, [laughs] but I’d say I put more energy into the singing and dancing, just because it’s always a challenge. It’s always a song that’s harder for me than something that I’ve never done before, a style of music that I’ve never sung before. It’s always a style of dancing that I don’t know how to do, and it always just takes a lot more.

We get together sometimes on the weekends and rehearse if we’re doing it. Like, we’re working on a dance a dance right now. It’s like, we have to get together outside of work to figure out how to do it and help each other, basically.

So, I’d say, definitely – and also, when you’re doing the dance numbers, a lot of them are done in one take. So, if I mess up a scene, they can cut around it; we do another take. But with the dance numbers, if you don’t get it right the whole way through, you’re done. So, the pressure is a lot more, is a lot higher, I’d say, on the musical numbers.

Alice:   The dancing is like, for sure – like having Mandy Moore, it’s so cool.

Andrew:   Yeah.

Alice:   Those rehearsals are so fun, but they are challenging. We’re doing stuff that we normally wouldn’t, but it’s so fun.

Andrew:   It’s also just really fun, so maybe that’s why we all feel this way and spend a lot of time. It’s almost sad when you only get to do like three takes if it actually goes really well. They’re like, “Okay, we got it,” and you’re like, “But I just worked for weeks trying to get this great. I want to do more. I want to do more.”

Here’s the video!

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

MORE INFO:

In its second season, “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” continues to explore the feelings we keep buried on the inside, the human impulse for connection and the undeniable healing power of music and dance. Following a tragedy, Zoey (Jane Levy) and the Clarke family begin to recalibrate and navigate their new normal. As she finds herself in a new dynamic at work and in her love life, Zoey’s musical powers will continue to both awkwardly complicate and inform her worldview as she attempts to rediscover joy and connect with those around her.

The series stars Jane Levy, Skylar Astin, Alex Newell, John Clarence Stewart, Andrew Leeds, Alice Lee, Michael Thomas Grant, Kapil Talwalkar and Mary Steenburgen.

Featuring inventive musical performances set to hit records from a variety of genres and time periods, “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography for Scripted Programming in its freshman season.

Austin Winsberg writes and executive produces. Kim Tannenbaum and Eric Tannenbaum, Paul Feig, David Blackman, Daniel Inkeles and Sam Laybourne also serve as executive producers. Dan Magnante, Jason Wang, Samantha McIntyre, Emily Fox and Robert Sudduth serve as co-executive producers with Michele Greco and Mandy Moore serving as producers.

“Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” is produced by Lionsgate and Universal Television (a division of Universal Studio Group) in association with the Tannenbaum Company, Feigco Entertainment, Universal Music Group’s Polygram Entertainment and Zihuatenejo Productions.

Andrew Leeds

David, “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”

Andrew Leeds stars as David on NBC’s “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist.”

Leeds can most recently be seen opposite Reese Witherspoon in Apple’s “The Morning Show” and opposite Bill Hader in HBO’s “Barry.” Prior to that, he recurred for two seasons on Epix’s “Get Shorty” and starred in the film “Office Christmas Party.”

Other television includes a series regular role on the ABC sitcom “Cristela,” a four-season arc on “Bones” and guest starring on “Veep,” “Silicon Valley,” “Modern Family,” “Shamless” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”

As a writer, he has written pilots for various networks, including ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, USA and Showtime.

Leeds first appeared on Broadway in the musical “Teddy & Alice” and soon after appeared as Gavroche in “Les Miserables.” He next starred on Broadway in the musical “Falsettos.”

A member of the main company for the Groundlings, Leeds graduated from Stanford University with a degree in computer science. He splits his time between Los Angeles and New York.

Alice Lee

Emily, “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”

Alice Lee stars as Emily on NBC’s “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist.”

In film, Lee was most recently seen sharing the screen with Jillian Bell in Amazon’s “Brittany Runs a Marathon,” which won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival. Other films on her resume include Netflix’s “Sierra Burgess Is a Loser, “Wish Upon,” Jack, Jules, Esther & Me” and the upcoming “Dream Years.”

On the small screen, Lee had a season-long arc on Facebook’s “Real Bros. of Simi Valley,” “Take Two” and Hulu’s “Gap Year.” She recurred on the award-winning web series “Control Alt Delete,” the YouTube Red series “Sideswiped,” Freeform’s “Switched at Birth,” MTV’s “Faking It” and Disney Channel’s “K.C. Undercover.” Guest appearances include Amazon’s anthology series “Electric Dreams” “Splitting Up Together,” “Two Broke Girls,” “Grandfathered,” “Son of Zorn” and “The Mindy Project.”

Lee, a Chicago native, attended an open call while she was a student at NYU and was immediately cast in the Tony Award-winning Broadway production of “Spring Awakening.” She then went on to be in the original company of Julie Taymor’s “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” and starred as Heather Duke in the cult-classic Off-Broadway musical “Heathers.”

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Andrew Leeds and Alice Lee of "Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist" on NBC