Interview with the “Alter Ego” Judges and Host

TV Interview!

Judges and host of "Alter Ego" on FOX

Interview with judges Nick Lachey, Grimes, and will.i.am, host Rocsi Diaz, executive producer Matilda Zoltowski, and FOX’s President of Alternative Entertainment & Specials, Rob Wade of “Alter Ego” on FOX Suzanne 9/8/21

Alter Ego is the new FOX music competition show. It’s very unusual in that the singers create an avatar of themselves to perform through. The judges and audience see them not as themselves, but as their avatar.

2 NIGHT SEASON PREMIERE WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 22 & THURSDAY, SEPT. 23

I attended the FOX TCA panel for the show. Normally, they give us “screeners” – an episode or two of the show to watch ahead of time. Instead, we got one compilation episode. I’m not sure why. It was interesting, though. I don’t really watch non-fiction shows, but I might have to tune in to some of this to see what it’s really like.

On the panel, they told us “lost dreams and second chances are reignited when singers become the stars they’ve always wanted to be. However, these contestants won’t perform as themselves, rather, they’ll help create their dream avatar alter ego, reinventing and transforming themselves like never before. Talent and technology come together, creating a singing competition unlike anything the world has ever seen.” Then we saw a clip.

The panel consisted of judges Nick Lachey, Grimes, and will.i.am, host Rocsi Diaz, executive producer Matilda Zoltowski, and FOX’s President of Alternative Entertainment & Specials, Rob Wade. I’d only heard of Lachey and will.i.am, but that’s fine because I only was able to ask one question.

My question was admittedly a little lame. I should have asked about the technology behind the avatars because no one really asked that, and I’m curious. On the TV screen, we see the judges and audience looking at the avatar, which lookes like a real person on the stage. Is that how it looks in real life, or is it all special effects? I would love to know. Instead, I asked Nick Lachey a question about being a judge. I made an error because I thought he had been a judge on another reality show. My mistake because he was a contestant, not a judge. Whoops! I should have done more research. My bad. But he gave a great answer, anyway.

The first journalist asked the producers about the idea behind the show and what they hoped people would take out of having avatars perform. The answer was basically that they have this amazing technology that they can use now, and that they could get performers with amazing voices that we wouldn’t necessarily see on other competition shows. I guess he means, people who are not very attractive. What else would she mean? I mean, we’ve seen plenty of plus-sized people, and people of all different colors, races, genders, ages and orientations competing. The only thing left is unattractive people. From what the clips are showing, all of the contestants are choosing avatars much thinner than themselves, and some much more light-skinned than themselves. I wonder what criticisms people will have of the show. It’s, of course, also a way for those who are gender-fluid to have avatars to reflect who they feel like inside. I don’t know if that will be enough to counteract the other problems, though. We shall see!

The next press person asked about the design of the avatars and whether body diversity came into play. The producer answered that they have a real mix of different types of people and “huge diversity on every level.” She revealed that they have 20 different alter egos, which is something I didn’t know from watching the clips. It appears that the contestants are able to change what their avatars are wearing and other features. The producer maintained that they wanted to have alter egos that would appearl to a wide audience – people of all different types. She concluded, “I think there’s something there for everybody.”

Another writer asked why the alter egos look “fantastical” rather than just looking like regular humans. Hmm, here’s someone who probably hasn’t played a lot of video games or done online role-playing. That’s kind of the point – to look different than we are, dude. Producer Wade admitted that trying to make the avatars look like regular humans didn’t really look good. The avatars looked “creepy.” They thought that having them more colorful and fun would be better and people could connect to them. He also added, “why do a show called ALTER EGO with avatars if you’re just going to replicate human beings? They should be something a little bit more fantastical, a little bit superhero like, in a way.”

Judge Grimes interjected that she thought that since so many people are into video games, that they’re used to connecting with the “crazier type” of characters. will.i.am also added his input by comparing people dressing up in different colors, expressing themselves, or wearing costumes for Comic-Con, or various artists who look “fantastical” like these alter egos. He said, “This is beyond makeup. This is beyond, you know, a hat and glasses. It’s beyond freaking tailored suits that fit you perfectly. This is your spirit tailored, whooo. This is, like, your passion tailored. This is putting makeup on your spirit.” He got very excited, and everyone laughed. Nick Lachey advised us to tune in to the series because this is just a small taste of what will.i.am commentary is like.

The next interviewer ask about how genders will be changed, which was a variation on the body diversity question already asked. will.i.am put it well when he declared that “the imagination is genderless and it’s beautiful.” He went on to explained that when he writes songs, sometimes it’s from a female point of view (especially if he’s writing it for a female singer, such as Fergie. He’s “dialing into my inner femininity.” He once again indulged in hyperbole about the show and its performers in this regard. Lachey chimed in to talk about it from the POV of an entertaining – how it can be “truly liberating” to step into an alter ego. He says the way it came together in the show blew his mind. Grimes noted that the show makes “gender fluidity more casual”. Diaz pointed out that what will make viewers really invested in the stories of the performers is that they get to live out these experiences in such a liberating way and really be themselves for the first time. It was touching for them, and she believes it will be for the audience at home as well.

Then it was my turn to ask a question. Bear in mind that I was already a middle-aged adult by the time “98 Degrees” became a big hit, so that wasn’t my music. I had completely forgotten that Lachey was in that group. I had mostly seen him in “Charmed,” where he played Leslie St. Claire in 2004. He modestly replied, “To call me an actor is a liberal use of the word “acting.” After graciously correcting me that he’d never been a judge, he said that he had been a host before on music competition shows, so he was excited to step into the role of judge. He admitted that he was a bit of a skeptic at first (about the alter egos) because he doesn’t play video Alter Ego fairy avatargames and isn’t really into technology tha tmuch. He thought it was really cool to be asked to be part of it, though. In the end, “what I took away from it was, there’s such a humanity, despite all the mind blowing technology, and it’s incredible, and you’ll see it when it premieres on the 22nd. I mean, it’s incredible technology, but there’s still a humanity that comes through in these performances. These are real emotions. These are real people behind the alter egos, and that life experience, all the things that you channel as an artist, all those things you channel into your performance, those things come through in a very real way through the technology, which is a beautiful, beautiful thing to see. And again, I always use this word, but, you know, confluence of technology and artistry, and the way those things came together on this show is something unlike we’ve seen on TV ever. And so, I’m so excited. I mean, I got to watch it firsthand. I’m so excited for (my dog, Brandy, barked here) come together. And, apparently, that dog agrees with me. They’re excited.” Everyone laughed because it was very funny.

They joked around about how Lachey told a lot of “dad jokes.”

The next journalist asked Nick if there were logistical complications, since he lives in Hawaii and the show is in Los Angeles. Lachey confirmed that he does have a lot of frequent flyer miles. However, he was able to be back in L.A., bringing his son Charlie with him while he filmed the show and spent time there. He admitted, “I’ve done a lot of great things in my career, and I’m truly appreciative of each and every one of them, but this was one of the unique and special things I was able to be a part of. So, I’m glad it was able to be worked out, and I’m glad I was able do it.”

The same person asked him being a contestant on “The Masked Singer” and how that informed him for this show. He compared being in the “Piglet” costume to having an alter ego because it frees you to create a character and be whomever you want to be. He told us that the singers in “Alter Ego” are all incredible, but they all have struggled in some ways, but the show allowed them “truly feel liberated, and let their true talent shine through. And we all were lucky enough to be witnesses to that, and I think that’s a beautiful thing. That’s the real … humanity of this show. These are all humans with real emotions, and real struggles, and real experiences, and they bring all that to their performances, and they bring all that to their alter egos. And to watch all those things come together on this is a beautiful thing.”

Another journalist asked will.i.am about the current technology available (and being used on the show), and how he would have used that back when he was in the Black-Eyed Peas. Will gave a very long answer where he basically said that it would have freed them all to be different characters – and play different instruments- within their band.

That same man asked Graimes, who’s a producer as well as a performer, how she judges the show’s performers. Grimes didn’t really answer his questions. She did admit that she has “huge stage fright” and was already looking into this sort of technology to use in her own performances.

There many more questions, but these were the most interesting. Check out this unusual show!

Here is the audio version of it.

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

MORE INFO:

ALTER EGO is the world’s first avatar singing competition series and the next iteration of the musical competition show. On ALTER EGO, lost dreams and second chances are reignited when singers from all walks of life become the stars they’ve always wanted to be. However, these contestants won’t perform as themselves. Rather, they’ll be given the chance to show how they’ve always wanted to be seen, creating their dream avatar ALTER EGO to reinvent themselves, while showcasing their unique performance style via motion capture technology. The judges table features some of the biggest names in music, including iconic singer/songwriter and seven-time Grammy Award winner Alanis Morissette; actor, singer and television personality Nick Lachey; acclaimed Canadian producer, songwriter, singer and visual artist Grimes; and multi-Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter, producer, entrepreneur and actor will.i.am. Emmy Award-winning personality Rocsi Diaz will host the musical spectacle. In ALTER EGO, talent and technology come together to create a singing competition unlike anything the world has ever seen.

fpn slider image in three sizesGRIMES

as Judge

Bio

Claire Boucher is the producer of the alter ego Grimes and an award-winning music video director, as well as a music writer, artist, producer, engineer and singer-songwriter. The world got its first glimpse of this vision on her 2010 full-length debut, “Geidi Primes,” which drew its inspiration from the David Lynch adaptation of Frank Herbert’s “Dune.” Her sophomore outing, “Halfaxa,” followed the same year. Over the course of three weeks, 2012’s “Visions” came to life in her apartment and would be recorded solely on Garage Band. 2015 marked a commercial breakthrough on “Art Angels.” It appeared in the Top 5 of year-end lists by Pitchfork, Billboard, Consequence of Sound, The New York Times and Rolling Stone, in addition to being named Album of the Year by Stereogum, NME and Exclaim! In 2018, she made another conscious evolution, turning back to formative influences, such as Tool and Nine Inch Nails for inspiration — a style first hinted at on 2016’s “Suicide Squad” soundtrack contribution, “Medieval Warfare.” In 2020, she released “Miss Anthropocene,” a concept album about an anthropomorphic goddess of climate change, which received rave reviews. The album title stems from the words Misanthrope, “a person who dislikes humankind and avoids human society,” and Anthropocene, “the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment.” In 2021, she set the NFT world on fire with the release of WarNymph Collection Vol 1 By Grimes x Mac. The collection contains 10 artworks, including a unique video work set to original music composed specifically for the project. Through the character of WarNymph, Grimes explores the fluidity of identity in the virtual age: the ability to create, augment and splinter ourselves into unlimited avatars.

NICK LACHEYfpn slider image in three sizes

as Judge

Bio

Singer, actor and television personality Nick Lachey rose to fame as the lead singer of the multi-Platinum boy band 98 Degrees, selling more than 10 million records. He also has released four solo studio albums. Currently, Nick can be seen co-hosting “Love is Blind” with his wife Vanessa Lachey. In 2021, Lachey won the fifth season of THE MASKED SINGER as The Piglet. Lachey has had a long hosting career, serving as host on “The Sing Off” and “Big Morning Buzz Live.”

In addition to his work in music and television, Lachey remains a constant advocate for children’s and humanitarian causes through his work with organizations including Autism Speaks, Feeding America, Make-a-Wish Foundation, The Boys & Girls Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), VH-1 Save The Music, The Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and The Cincinnati School for Performing Arts. He is also founder and President of The Nick Lachey Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to helping children, families and communities in need throughout the United States.

Lachey was raised in Cincinnati, OH, and attended the School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA), Miami University and University of Southern California. Lachey currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife Vanessa and three children.

fpn slider image in three sizeswill.i.am

as Judge

Bio

Seven-time Grammy Award winner will.i.am has been at the forefront of the contemporary American hip hop movement for more than 20 years. He is best known as a songwriter, producer, actor and entrepreneur, and globally recognized as a founding member of Black Eyed Peas, one of the best-selling groups of all time. He has released four solo albums and eight studio albums with Black Eyed Peas. The act was one of the first to recognize the mainstream potential of electronic dance music and held the No. 1 spot on the Hot 100 for a record 26 consecutive weeks after “I Gotta Feeling” replaced “Boom Boom Pow” atop the chart — more than any other act in the history of the Hot 100. The Emmy and CLIO Award-winning music video, “Yes We Can,” mobilized a generation during the 2008 U.S. Presidential election. He has worked with countless Grammy Award-winning artists as a producer and currently serves as a Coach on “The Voice UK” and “The Voice Kids.”

He has starred in several animated feature films, including “Rio,” “Rio 2” and “Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa,” as well as the live-action “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” Founded in 2009, will.i.am’s i.am Angel Foundation supports in-class and after-school STEAM education programs for disadvantaged youth in grades K – 12. The Foundation also funds the Boyle Heights STEM Magnet High School in Los Angeles, and the i.am Scholarship program that provides gap funding to college-bound program students.

ALANIS MORISSETTE

fpn slider image in three sizes

as Judge

Bio

Since 1995, Alanis Morissette has been one of the most influential singer-songwriter-musicians in contemporary music. Her deeply expressive music and performances have earned vast critical praise and seven Grammy Awards. Morissette’s 1995 debut, “Jagged Little Pill,” was followed by nine more eclectic and acclaimed albums.

She has contributed musically to theatrical releases and has acted on the big and small screens. Outside of entertainment, she is an avid supporter of female empowerment, as well as spiritual, psychological and physical wellness. In 2016, Morissette launched “Conversation with Alanis Morissette,” a monthly podcast that features conversations with a variety of revered authors, doctors, educators and therapists, covering a wide range of psycho-social topics, extending from spirituality to developmentalism to art. On December 5, 2019, the Broadway musical “Jagged Little Pill” debuted at the Broadhurst Theatre in New York City, and was nominated for 15 Tony Awards. Most recently, Morissette released her ninth studio album, “Such Pretty Forks In The Road,” to rave reviews. For more information see www.alanis.com.

fpn slider image in three sizesROCSI DIAZ

as Host

Bio

Emmy Award-winning television host Rocsi Diaz is best known as the former co-host of ultra-popular mega music show “106 & Park.” She has interviewed everyone from Lady Gaga to Barack Obama. As a co-host and daily correspondent on “Entertainment Tonight,” Diaz was known for setting the tone for what’s hot in music, movies and entertainment. She reached 85 million homes worldwide during her time with “106 & Park,” and has since gone to host “The Daily Share,” “Dating Naked,” “Behind The Movie,” “Chatter” and “Cannonball.” With a massive social media presence, Diaz reaches millions of followers across all platforms.

MATILDA ZOLTOWSKI

Executive Producer/Showrunner

Bio

Matilda Zoltowski is a talented producer who has worked on some of the biggest and most successful properties in unscripted television. She began her career in the U.K., where she worked on “Big Brother” and “Strictly Come Dancing,” the inspiration for “Dancing With The Stars.” Her work on “Strictly Come Dancing” gave her the opportunity to develop and produce “Dancing With The Stars” in the U.S., on which she was a co-executive producer for eight seasons.

Zoltowski has developed and produced many different types of unscripted series that have attracted major talent, including cooking series “The Taste,” starring Anthony Bourdain; “Off Their Rockers,” with Betty White; “Bring The Funny,” with Kenan Thompson and Chrissy Teigen; and “I Can Do That,” with Marlon Wayans. Most recently, she served as executive producer for all four seasons of “World of Dance,” starring Jennifer Lopez.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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Interview with the cast of “Ordinary Joe” on NBC

TV Interview!

cast of "Ordinary Joe" on NBC

Interview with actors James Wolk, Elizabeth Lail, Natalie Martinez, Charlie Barnett and executive producers Garrett Lerner and Russell Friend of “Ordinary Joe” on NBC by Suzanne 9/13/21

This was a wonderful TV Critics Association panel for a fun new show. I admit that I’m a fan of lead actor James Wolk. He’s been great in so many shows, such as “Mad Men,” “Watchmen,” and “Zoo.” He’s more than just a pretty face. I know, that’s a terribly sexist thing to say. This is a beautiful cast, though. It was nice to meet his co-stars as well. Everyone there obviously has high hopes for this show, so I hope it succeeds.

The show focuses on Wolk’s character, Joe, and the three choices he has in life after college. If he goes to meet his girlfriend, Jenny (Lail), then he ends up with her. If he meets up with this other woman he just met, Amy (Martinez), then he ends up with her. If he goes out with his family, then he has a different path.  We see him on all three paths, how his life turns out, depending on which road he takes. Seeing the first two episodes was interesting. I want to see how they’ll carry this over a whole season. There is Nurse Joe, Cop Joe and Rock Star Joe. Personally, the last one is my favorite.

Because this was a TCA panel and not a regular interview, I was only able to ask one question, and I’m not allowed to share the transcript or recording with you. It was very enjoyable, though.

When I asked my question, which was about singing, Wolk immediately started singing a Billy Joel song to me (swoon!), so that was charming. In the show, when Joe is young, he’s graduating as a music major. He wants to be a rock star – the next Billy Joel. That struck me as a bit odd, given his age.

In the interview, I asked, “Jim, were you a fan of Billy Joel before this show, and had you been singing his songs for fun, or anything like that? You seem a little young to be a Billy Joel fan, to be honest (laughs).” He replied that the mom of an old friend of his used to listen to his albums, and he enjoys singing his music, but he did admit that he’s not as big of a fan of his music as his character, Joe, is. Charlie Barnett (who plays his best friend, Eric) objected to my question and said that “There’s no age limit to good music.”  Well, that’s true, but most people, I don’t think, are quite so much into real oldies that they didn’t grow up with as they are their own teenage or childhood music. Now, I don’t know when Joe was born, but Wolk was born in 1985, which was after the bulk of Billy Joel’s hits, so it would be pretty odd for him to aspire to be like him. It would be as if I aspired to be the next Connie Francis or Brenda Lee. I’m sure most people reading this barely know who those women are. The guys who wrote the show are probably a lot older, so Billy Joel was their music more than Wolk’s. He does have a lovely singing voice, though, and he sang “Piano Man” very well in one of the episodes (I was a music major, just like the character, Joe).

Wolk graciously told us all that the other cast members present there are also really good singers, so he hinted that they may have an all-singing episode one day. Everyone seemed to like that idea.

Check out the series and let me know which Joe is your favorite!

Joe's three paths after graduation

Here’s another review of the show that gives you a lot of information. I agree with a lot of it…however, I don’t think it’s nearly as bland as this reviewer thinks it is. A large part of it rests on how much you like James Wolk and the other actors.

MORE INFO:

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

The cast includes James Wolk, Natalie Martinez, Elizabeth Lail and Charlie Barnett.

Russel Friend and Garrett Lerner will write and executive produce along with executive producers Matt Reeves, Adam Kassan, Rafi Crohn, Howard Klein. Adam Davidson will direct and executive produce the pilot episode.

“Ordinary Joe” is produced by 20th Television, Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, 6th & Idaho, 3 Arts.

breaking news | March 31, 2021

•    NBC has ordered the drama “Ordinary Joe” to series.

•    W/EP: Russel Friend, Garrett Lerner

•    NW/EP: Matt Reeves, Adam Kassan, Rafi Crohn, Howard Klein

•    D/EP (pilot only): Adam Davidson

•    “I still remember when Matt Reeves shared this passion project back when I worked at Twentieth. Russel and Garrett wrote such a compelling and emotional script that was expertly executed from page to screen,” said Lisa Katz, President, Scripted Content, Entertainment and Streaming. “We love how ‘Ordinary Joe’ lets us experience the universal question of ‘what if’ through an incredible cast of characters and engaging storylines.”

•    Cast: James Wolk, Natalie Martinez, Charlie Barnett, Elizabeth Lail

•    Logline: Explores the three parallel lives of the show’s main character after he makes a pivotal choice at a crossroads in his life. The series asks the question of how different life might look if you made your decision based on love, loyalty or passion.

•    Produced by: 20th Television, Universal Television (a division of Universal Studio Group), 6th & Idaho, 3 Arts

James Wolk

Joe Kimbreau, “Ordinary Joe”

James Wolk stars as Joe Kimbreau in the new NBC drama “Ordinary Joe.”

Wolk was recently be seen on the HBO series “Watchmen,” written by Damon Lindoff, based off the comic book series. He also co-stars on the CBS All Access series “Tell Me a Story,” created and produced by Kevin Williamson, which was renewed for a second season.  It takes the world’s most beloved fairy tales and reimagines them as a dark and twisted psychological thriller. He also recurred on season two of Amazon’s legal drama series “Goliath,” created by David E. Kelley and Jonathan Shapiro, and starring opposite Billy Bob Thornton.

Wolk is also known for his starring role on the CBS summer series, “Zoo,” which ran for three seasons.  Based on the bestselling novel of the same name by acclaimed writer James Patterson, “Zoo” centers on Jackson Oz (James Wolk) – a young American zoologist, who begins to notice the strange behavior of the animals, leading to a wave of violent animal-on-human attacks across the globe.

In 2010, Wolk nabbed the lead role in the critically acclaimed but short-lived Fox series, “Lone Star” and co-starred on the the Golden Globe-nominated USA miniseries “Political Animals.” Wolk also notably recurred on the award-winning and critically acclaimed AMC series “Mad Men” and starred opposite Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar in the CBS comedy “The Crazy Ones.” Other television credits include “Billions,” “Happy Endings,” and “Shameless.”

Wolk, a native of Farmington Hills, Mich., and 2007 graduate of the University of Michigan drama school, began his career in the CBS/ Hallmark Hall of Fame special “Front of the Class.”

Wolk also appeared on stage in the Tony Award-nominated production “Next Fall,” written by Geoffrey Nauffts and directed by Sheryl Kaller, for its West Coast debut at the Geffen Playhouse.

On the big screen, Wolk made his film debut in Disney’s “You Again.” His film credits include “For a Good Time Call,” “There’s Always Woodstock” and “The Is Happening.” Wolk notably co-starred in the 2015 critically acclaimed film “The Stanford Prison Experiment,” which premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize.

Wolk resides in Los Angeles.

Charlie Barnett

Eric Payne, “Ordinary Joe”

Charlie Barnett stars as Eric Payne, the best friend of Joe Kimbreau, in the new NBC drama “Ordinary Joe.”

Barnett is familiar to NBC audiences, starring for three seasons as Peter Mills on “Chicago Fire.”  Born in Sarasota, Fla., Barnett began performing at a young age, participating in local opera and musical theater productions before graduating from the Juilliard School.

Barnett’s TV career began with guest star roles on “Law & Order: SVU” and “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” before landing his first series regular role on “Chicago Fire.” He then joined the second season of “Secrets and Lies” followed by a series regular role on the CW military drama “Valor.”

In 2019, Barnett starred alongside Natasha Lyonne in the Emmy Award-nominated Netflix series “Russian Doll.”

Other notable TV credits include a series regular role on Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City” as well as guest starring roles on “You,” “Special,” “Orange Is the New Black” and “Arrow.” He debuted on the big screen alongside Will Smith and Josh Brolin in “Men and Black 3.”

Offscreen, Barnett is an avid history buff, enjoys cooking, volunteering, hosting friends and family, horseback riding, sailing, and almost anything involving nature.

Elizabeth Lail

Jenny Banks, “Ordinary Joe”

Elizabeth Lail plays Jenny Banks on the new NBC drama “Ordinary Joe.”

Lail, who also can be currently seen in HBO Max’s reboot of “Gossip Girl,” is best known for her breakout role as Guinevere Beck in the addicting drama “You,” opposite Penn Badgley. The series premiered on Lifetime in 2018 and quickly became a big hit when it moved over to Netflix.

Lail’s other film and television credits include “Countdown,” “Videosyncrasy” and ABC’s “Once Upon a Time.” She made her theater debut in Ken Urban’s Off Broadway play, “Nibbler” directed by Ben Kamine.

Lail is a BFA graduate from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

Natalie Martinez

Amy Kindelan, “Ordinary Joe”

Natalie Martinez plays Amy Kindelan on the new NBC drama “Ordinary Joe.”

Martinez, who will be seen in Warner Bros.’ “Reminiscence” with Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Ferguson, appeared in Quibi’s 2020 action thriller “The Fugitive.” In that same year, she also co-starred in CBS All Access’ “The Stand” and previous to that appeared in the Netflix sci-fi series “The I-Land.” Additional TV credits include “The Crossing,” “APB,” “Detroit 1-8-7,” “Under the Dome,” “Secrets & Lies,” “Kingdom.”

On the film side, Martinez’s credits include “Message from the King,” “Keep Watching,” “Self/less,” “Broken City” and “End of Watch.”

Martinez first gained recognition after being hand-picked by Jennifer Lopez to become the spokesmodel for her fashion line, JLO by Jennifer Lopez. From there, she went on to star in several music videos, and the telenovelas “Fashion House” and “Saints & Sinners.”

Originally from Miami, Martinez currently resides in Los Angeles.

Garrett Lerner and Russel Friend

Executive Producers, “Ordinary Joe”

Garrett Lerner and Russel Friend executive produce the new NBC drama “Ordinary Joe.”

Previously, they were executive producers on “House M.D.,” where they were nominated for four Emmys Awards and won the WGA Award for Outstanding Episodic Drama. Other writing credits include “Glee,” “Home Before Dark,” “Altered Carbon,” “Roswell,” “Rise” and “Boston Public.”

Lerner and Friend graduated from the USC Peter Stark Program in 1995.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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"Ordinary Joe" premieres 9/20 on NBC

Interview with Carrie Genzel

TV Interview!

actress Carrie Genzel

Interview with Carrie Genzel of “The Walking Dead” on AMC by Suzanne 8/10/21

It was very nice to speak with Carrie! We had a great chat. I was so pleased to see her on the first two episodes of “The Walking Dead.” Don’t forget to watch it Sunday on AMC or AMC+. She plays Clark, an interrogator with the Commonwealth.

We gabbed a lot about non-TV-related topics, so make sure you watch the audio below… the transcript skipped the first ten minutes of chatting.

Suzanne:   So, tell us about your how your audition came about for The Walking Dead season eleven.

Carrie:   Oh, my God. First off, I am so excited to be able to talk about this. I’ve been like holding this in since February, because, you know, you sign a very hefty NDA. Even to audition for The Walking Dead, I had to sign an NDA, as did the person who was reading with me off camera. So, they keep things pretty secretive, as as you know, with The Walking Dead.

It just came about like any other audition. The Walking Dead is a show that, first off, when you’re an actor, and you live in Atlanta, that’s like one of those ones you want to check off and be like, “That’s the show I want to do when I’m here.” And I’ve been a fan of the show since the first season. So, it’s a world that I know; it’s characters that I know. So, anytime I get an audition for something that I’m familiar with, and that I’m a fan of, it’s special. Having said that, you want to just do your best work and then let it go, because you don’t want to put too much expectation into it. And that’s exactly what happened.

I got the material. They kind of piece together stuff that was actually from the scripts, which sometimes is done and not done. Sometimes they make up fake sides or use material from other episodes or what have you, but this was actually real material from that first episode. And, you know, it was just an audition. I just really tried not to put a lot of pressure on myself, because I was like, “I want to do this so bad.” I had auditioned for the show previously and didn’t get it, and I had also auditioned for one of the spin-offs. So, you know, there’ve been times I’ve been disappointed before. So, I just went in with an open mind and did did my best work and then forgot about it.

And I actually really did forget about it, because I booked a recurring role on Sistas for Tyler Perry. And again, this is back in winter when they were still quarantining and so forth. So, with Tyler Perry’s productions, we actually had to live at Tyler Perry Studios and live in a bubble the whole time we were there. So, I was all, “Okay, I’m going to be away from [everything].” I’m like on location, in my hometown, you know, my home city, this is weird. And what’s really funny is I had some time. You know, you’re in lockdown, essentially, and I was like, wandering around the studio lot.

And I walked around, and I’m looking at this area, and I’m like, “Why does this looks so familiar to me?” I’m standing there. And I’m like, “Oh, my gosh, this is the Kingdom. This is where they shot the Kingdom. I recognize that theater with the round balcony, and I’m standing there, and it was very funny to me. I was like, “Oh, this is where they shot that; that’s really cool.”

And it was a day or so after that, that I got a call from my agent saying, “They want you for this role.” And she’s like, “But there’s a little bit of a problem.” And I’m like, “What? No, no problems.”

Now, because of COVID protocols, it’s not as simple as “are you available for these shoot dates?” anymore. Now you have to be available for testing for all kinds of different things, even before going to a wardrobe fitting.

And because I was in this bubble, I was at Tyler Perry Studios, and I could not leave. There was some crossover in terms of dates where they needed me, and so my agent knew how much I love The Walking Dead and what a great opportunity this was. And so, oh my gosh, between her and the casting director, Tyler Perry’s casting director, and the casting director for The Walking Dead in Atlanta, God bless them all, because they all like moved mountains for me to be able to be available when I needed to be available. And I have so much love for Mr. Perry, because he actually moved up my scenes earlier in the week so that I could leave earlier and be available to The Walking Dead so I could do my COVID testing. So, I’m so grateful to him for doing that. Teamwork.

Suzanne:   Yeah, that’s great that they can do that.

Carrie:   And I have to say, working on The Walking Dead during a global pandemic is very surreal. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but driving up to the studio for the first time, and just seeing not prop signs, but real signs that are saying, you know, COVID, masks, protocols, test site. There’s a trailer, you know, all kinds of things that normally would just be leftover props from the show, but were actual real signs and was very weird.

Suzanne:   Yeah I can imagine.

Carrie:   It was very, very weird.

Suzanne:   When the whole COVID thing started, it reminded us of The Stand, because we were in Las Vegas when they filmed the first Stand, and they were filming right downtown where we were staying, and they put all these side fake signs up. So, I know exactly what you’re talking about now.

Carrie:   It feels really bizarre. And, you know, I did a movie for Crackle, called Dead Rising Watch Tower, which was about a zombie outbreak, so, I’ve been down that road. And I was like, “This is so weird.”

It’s no joke, we had to wear – and they may still be doing this, I don’t know – we had to wear tracers. So, if someone did come back with a positive test, they could go back and see who you were in contact with, which was also very weird. So, we’d always have, and they’d always ask when you get to set, “Do you have your tracer?” “Yes, I do.” And we had our masks and goggles, and we had our z shields, and there was a lot of equipment. They kept us really safe, but it is very, very odd, because you’d be working on this type of material during COVID, and I’m sure all of the actors have said that.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I’m sure. So, how many episodes are you in?

Carrie:   I’m in the first two.

Suzanne:   There’s two. Okay, I didn’t know if you were going to come back later for another episode.

Carrie:   I don’t know. I hope so. I feel like there’re so many other fun things that she could be doing. She’s still around; she’s in the community. So, I’m hoping she pops up again, because I’d love to be able to go back. It really was such a great experience for me.

Like I said, having been a fan of the show, it was really cool to be able to step into those sets and interact with characters that I’ve watched for years. They have such an incredible cast on The Walking Dead. I mean, every one of them, at some point, has made me cry. Every single one of them, at some point, has made me angry.

You know, the thing that really grabbed me about The Walking Dead when I first started watching it was the characters, and I was drawn into the characters and what they were going through, and the whole apocalypse and zombie stuff was just kind of a another part of the show, but it for me it was really about that. And, as an actor, it was watching these incredible performances that would just gut you sometimes. [laughs] That seems like an appropriate way to describe that. But it’s really just heartbreaking. There’re so many moments I think for for anyone that’s a fan of this show that you remember, and just like, wow, and there’ve so been so many surprises along the way, too. Like, really, nobody’s safe on The Walking Dead. So, it was just such an incredible treat to sit down in front of the actors that I worked with, and, in my case, really kind of put them through the works.

Suzanne:   Yeah, it’s it’s very well written. I could see why it has so many fans,  because it is, as you say, great characters, and they just write it so well, and there’s always something happening, and at the end, there’s always a shocking thing. It just makes you want to watch the next episode.

Carrie:   And there’s a lot of humor, too, which I always enjoy, because you got to have that humor to kind of release the pressure. That’s what I loved about what I got to do in the two episodes is that what we shot was really intense, but there’re some humorous moments there too.

Also, what I thought was really cool, as a fan, is I got to learn a lot about those characters. Like there are things that I didn’t know and that fans don’t know. So, it was interesting for me that way, where I’m like, “Oh, I didn’t know that.”

Suzanne:   Yeah, they do a lot of revealing in those episodes of the characters that are there with you and what their backstories are. I like that.

Carrie:   Absolutely. Yeah, you find out a lot about them, which I thought was really fun.

But it felt intimidating in the space. It’s a very, as you’ve seen, a very dark set. It was an old empty warehouse, so it was very damp and cold. It was freezing. We shot that in February, and there was actually like a cold snap that gripped through this area, so much so that the first day that I was shooting, they actually delayed our start time, because they were concerned about ice on the road. So, they waited until later in the day when it heated up a little there. And no matter what heat they would put in there, you would feel it, because it would all go to the ceiling. All of us actors that shot on that set will talk about how cold it was. I mean, they do what they can. I have silks on under my costume. I had the little hot shot warmers, and I had them I had them on my back. I was sitting on them. At one point I was giving them out to the other actors. I was like, “I have six of these. Does anyone want one?”

Suzanne:   And you were wearing quite a bit of costume too. It’s not like you were wearing something skimpy, so it must have been cold.

Carrie:   I was just wearing like a blouse and a suit, and there wasn’t really a lot of warmth to it. And for the other characters, when they’re captured, they were stripped of kind of a lot of things. So, they’re kind of in their sort of bare bones kind of costumes as well without all this stuff. So everybody, our teeth were chattering quite a bit. And, I don’t know if you see this in the scene; I haven’t seen it yet, but we could certainly see each other’s breath as we were talking in the room, which I thought, “Well, you know, that works too,” because it looks intimidating.

Suzanne:   Sure. A bit of authenticity there.

Carrie:   But really, I can see everyone’s breath. That’s how cold it was. Every night when I would leave, I would crank up the heat in the car and put on the seat warmers, because I felt like a Popsicle. It was just so cold.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I think it can get pretty cold in Atlanta and that part of the country. We had the big surprise snowstorm in February.

Carrie:   Oh, wow.

Suzanne:   You know, the big one that they talked about in Texas where their power all went out? So, we got that. We didn’t lose power, thankfully.

Carrie:   Yeah, thankfully, no.

Suzanne:   More snow than I’ve seen since I lived in Illinois.

Carrie:   Wow. There’s been some weird weather, some very strange weather.

Suzanne:   So, when you had to keep it a secret, did you have to keep it a secret from your friends and family as well, everybody?

Carrie:   Yeah, you know, some people kind of figured it out being in Atlanta. I’m like, “I can’t really talk about it.” They’re like, “Well, it’s The Walking Dead or Marvel.”

Suzanne:   Well, there’re a lot of things going in Atlanta.

Carrie:   They know that’s kind of what people are not allowed to talk about. It was very funny. Everyone’s very educated.

Suzanne:   That’s funny.

Carrie:   So, now, I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I can’t wait until the cat’s out of the bag, and I can really, really talk about this.”3

Suzanne:   So, what was it like when you had to stay at the Tyler Perry compound?

Carrie:   Oh, my gosh, that was like being in a movie too. I mean, it really was quite the experience. When we checked in, we all had to be there for the duration. They didn’t want anybody coming in and out, and so you were there for the whole duration of their shoot. Now, he shoots incredibly fast. He shoots over 100 pages a day. So, to go from that to The Walking Dead, where we shot far less – that main interrogation scene in The Walking Dead we shot over two days, maybe longer. So, that tells you the difference of pace, but it was really nuts.

You know, we checked in to Tyler Perry Studios, and before we could even get on the lot, they took our temperature. Everyone was in a full on suit. We got in there, and they did a COVID test. They wiped out all of our bags. They were not messing around. We then had to go and sit in the army bunker barracks, where you’re in a room by yourself. It was sealed to say that it was clean. You had to take the tape off that it was clean. And anything that we needed, there was an app, and you would ask for a meal or coffee, tea, whatever. You were not allowed to leave that room until you got your test results back. And then when they brought you your meals, they were in the suit. Even though they weren’t coming in, they still were in a suit. They would put your tray down and knock on the door and then walk away like nobody would interact with you.

So, I checked into the studio about 11:30am, and then, I guess, it was about 10pm or so that I got the text message to say your test came back negative; you’re free to leave the room. And I zip down to there, because I’m like, “I need some fresh air,” and I just went for a walk.

And then we moved into our housing. So, because it was an army base, there’s a lot of housing on on the studio lot. So, I actually got to live in a really cool heritage home with another actress from LA, and we had this big four bedroom house to ourselves, and that was our home away from home while we were there for a couple of weeks.

But everything was self-contained. I mean, they really took care of everything. We had catering and food trucks, and the gym was open to us with bicycles. We could zip around on the lot on in golf carts, and there was a lot of things for us to do and to feel safe. And even though we were all tested several times a week, and we all got tested coming in, we still were wearing masks and just being safe. You know, nobody got sick on any of his productions, so he really kept everybody safe. I appreciated it. And it was kind of weird to leave the bubble.

When I was wrapped, I had to zip into the supermarket on the way home, and I felt like very, “So, I don’t know where you guys have been.”

Then, with The Walking Dead, even though we could be at home, they did ask that we definitely wear our masks when we were out and be safe and to not go out and do a lot of stuff we didn’t need it to do while we’re shooting. So, I mean, it’s really such a privilege to be able to work during this time. So, you do whatever you need to do to keep people safe.

Suzanne:   Well, it sounds like they did a good job of keeping you safe.

Carrie:   Yeah, both productions did a really great job.

Suzanne:   Did you know anybody in the cast and crew of The Walking Dead personally? Or had you worked with them before?

Carrie:   No, I didn’t at all, just from watching, but, no, I didn’t know anyone at all. So, it was very much that first day of school feeling of like, “I hope everyone likes me,” even though I’m not that like role on camera. But, I mean, like they are truly a family, and so everyone was so welcoming. They’ve all had their first day on set, so they know what that feels like. Everyone was very welcoming, and it was a lot of fun. It was a lot of fun just to kind of see everything come to life, and to to be a part of those are those first two episodes in the last season was very cool.

Suzanne:   Now, your character was badass. She got taken down a peg or two.

Carrie:   [laughs] That’s why I think she needs to come back. I don’t know.

Suzanne:   Show the nicer side or something.

Carrie:   A different side of her. She’s just doing her job. I mean, look who her boss is. She’s gotta be a badass. When your boss is Mercer? Come on.

Suzanne:   It’s funny to see in the midst of something like an apocalypse and zombies and all that, to see somebody who’s basically a bureaucrat, like you said, just doing her job, trying to bring order to the chaos.

Carrie:   Well, it’s funny, because when I went through hair and makeup, they were saying they were so excited, because they said, “You’re one of the first characters where you’re allowed to wear nail polish.” Like it was a big deal. [laughs] They were like, “You can actually have a manicure.” That’s a big deal on this show. My hair’s done. It’s not done, it’s perfect. I’m wearing a suit. Clark was described to me as the Scully of the Commonwealth, and I was like, “I’ll take that.”

But yeah, that was the thing that was very odd to me, because when you think of The Walking Dead, you think of a certain kind of wardrobe, kind of like grungy, maybe took it off some dead person. You know, it’s all kind of thrown together, although they still manag to make it look cool. And here I am in this perfect little suit, where I look like exactly a bureaucrat, what she’s supposed to look like, and it was very weird. So, I feel like I’m not really getting The Walking Dead experience.

Suzanne:   Yeah, they should bring you back as a walker or something.

Carrie:   Or something, or I don’t know.

At that point too, outside of the comic book, there was nothing really known about the Commonwealth and what it was and the people that inhabit that community. So, we were all kind of learning as we went along. But, yeah, it was very cool.

Having said that, I didn’t see one walker while I was there. [laughs] Very disappointing. I’m like, “Not even at craft service?”

Suzanne:   Of the two sections of the first two episodes is the two groups. You were in the group that didn’t really have any.

Carrie:   Yeah, we were in the cleaner group.

Suzanne:   I like those guys who were with you; they would look like Stormtroopers, those costumes they were wearing.

Carrie:   Yeah, absolutely.

Suzanne:   Like Star Wars stormtroopers.

Carrie:   They do a little bit. And if you look at the comic book, that’s exactly what they look like in the comic book. They really did a great job of bringing that to life.

But yeah, initially, my character was supposed to be in one of those costumes in the, like, trooper outfit. I was a little disappointed. [laughs] I went in for my fitting, and they brought out this rack of suits, and I was like, “I play Clark.” She’s like, “No, they decided to put you in a suit.” And I was like, “Really?” because I really kind of wanted to be in the outfit. And they were like, “You really don’t though, because they’re not that comfortable.” Apparently, they’re hard to sit down in.

Suzanne:   Oh, okay, yeah.

Carrie:   “So, you’re probably gonna be a lot happier in the suit.” But it’s just, of course, I wanted to be, you know, growing up, and like you said, growing up and being such a huge Star Wars fan as a kid, I was like, “This is my moment. I get to put on the armor.” Maybe there’s hope for something down the road.

Suzanne:   Well, you know, I recognized you right away, because I used to watch All My Children when you were on it. I remember–  it’s funny, you know, it was a while ago, and I remember you being on it. I remember Jonathan Kinder, because I really liked the actor, and that they must have said that name about a million times on the show, too. And I remember that you and Susan Lucci and Robin Mattson, and I think there was another woman. I can’t remember; she actually played Marian, Maybe?

Carrie:   Yes. Jennifer Bassey.

Suzanne:   Right, and then, you had a lot of funny scenes and dealing with him.

Carrie:   Yeah, we did. Those were probably – and people still comment about that whole storyline…We laughed so much during that, because it was so fun to do. I mean, parts of it were so ridiculous, like I think Marian ended up rolling them up in a carpet or something.

Suzanne:   Probably.

Carrie:   And Michael Sabatino was such a lovely man in real life, that it was kind of fun to go after him as a group. It was just such a fun storyline, and, for me, as an actor coming on to that show, getting to work with these veterans of daytime was just such a treat, because that was the first contract role that I had in my career, and it was just so incredible to be able to do that right out of the gate and work with these incredible women and Michael, who I’ve seen on TV for many, many years on different shows. I learned a lot from them. And it really, really was fun to be a part of that storyline.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I bet. Like you said, I still remember it. I’ve watched a lot of TV and soaps, so if I remember some of the details this long ago, then it definitely had an impact.

Carrie:   Yeah, it’s one of the storylines that gets brought up the most when All My Children fans reach out to me; they talk about that a lot. And it was really fun. It’s too bad we weren’t able to do something again, just that group of characters, because people really loved it. We had a good time doing it.

Suzanne:   Well, that’s good. Yeah. That’s important, I’m sure. And with all the acting that you’ve done, the fact that you can look back on it so fondly is good, because I’m sure that not every single shoot you’ve done has been that much fun.

Carrie:   It’s so much more fun than others, but I always look back at All My Children with a lot of fondness. Just, like I said, I learned so much from those actors on that show. And working with David Canary was just incredible. I learned so much. It really was like boot camp; there was no safety net. There were no cue cards, no teleprompters. I mean, we were banging out pages and pages and pages a day. And, you know, I said this going back to working for Tyler Perry, he moves even faster than they did back then on All My Children, but because I had that experience in daytime, it didn’t freak me out to see a huge stack of pages. “Oh, we’re going to do this today.” “What?!”

Although I have to say that the very first day I walked on set of Sistas, nobody told me there was no rehearsal, no camera blocking, nothing that lets you see what happened. And I was like, “What, really? You guys just recorded that?” That was what nobody told me. So, what you see in some of those scenes is the very first time somebody’s walked on set and has no clue what’s going on.

Suzanne:   I’ve heard they do that now on the soaps a lot, because they’re so pressed for time, and then COVID has made it even more so.

Carrie:   Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m sure. You know, the thing is, with daytime too, because you’re playing a character for such a long period of time, you know, for me anyway, it got easier and easier and easier, because you start to learn how your character speaks, how that character reacts to things, and it becomes easier to kind of get into that groove. And you sort of get in that work pace where you’re always moving really quickly, but when you’re out of that rhythm, and you step into another show, and they’re moving like crazy, you’re like, “Woah.” But I say this all the time, my time on All My Children is really, really a part of the foundation of me as a professional actor and how I’m able to sort of go with the flow in terms of changes, in terms of speed, in terms of improv, all of that stuff. It really, really helps me to build up that those skills that I use all the time.

Suzanne:   I’ve heard it’s an excellent training ground.

Carrie:   It’s incredible. Yes, it’s sad to me that there’s so few now, and there’s less opportunity for people to really get in there and learn it, because it really, for so long, was such a great place for new and young actors to kind of get their feet wet. You know? You think of all the actors that have come from daytime TV, and there’s a lot; there’re so many.

Here is the video version of it.

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

MORE INFO:

The Walking Dead on AMC on Twitter: “A warm welcome from the Commonwealth. Watch the return of #TWD this Sunday at 9/8c or stream it now with @AMCPlus. https://t.co/XjMgWIYVXO” / Twitter

Born in Vancouver, Carrie Genzel has enjoyed a diverse career, working extensively in both her native Canada and the United States, she is most notably known for her role as Skye Chandler on ABC’s ‘All My Children,’ as well as two memorable roles on the CW’s ‘Supernatural,’ and most recently recurring on AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead.’

Carrie has built an esteemed career in film including roles in ‘Watchmen, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, Dead Rising: Watchtower, They’re Watching, and more. Carrie has received widespread acclaim for her performances in both television and film and in 2012, she won the Best Actress award at the Los Angeles International Underground Film Festival for her role of Emma in ‘The Ballerina and the Rocking Horse.’

Off set Carrie is an advocate of good mental health having launched the blog State Of Slay(TM) and becoming an advisory board member for the non-profit Attitudes In Reverse® which brings programming to students on anti-bullying and suicide prevention.

About The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead is an American post-apocalyptic horror television series based on the comic book series of the same name by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard—together forming the core of The Walking Dead franchise. The series features a large ensemble cast as survivors of a zombie apocalypse trying to stay alive under near-constant threat of attacks from zombies known as “walkers” (among other nicknames). However, with the collapse of modern civilization, these survivors must confront other human survivors who have formed groups and communities with their own sets of laws and morals, sometimes leading to open, hostile conflict between them.

Check out our other All My Children interviews!

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Actress Carrie Genzel

Interview with “The Walking Dead” stars

TV Interview!

Khary Payton as Ezekiel, Eleanor Matsuura as Yumiko, Josh McDermitt as Dr. Eugene Porter, and Paola Lazaro as Princess stumble upon a trap in The Walking Dead Season 10, Episode 15 – Photo Credit: Jace Downs/AMC

Interview with Khary Payton, Eleanor Matsuura, Josh McDermitt and Callan McAuliffe of “The Walking Dead” on AMC by Suzanne 8/3/21

This was from The Walking Dead virtual roundtable interview, taking place Tuesday, August 3.

This was so much fun! The actors were very funny and silly. They were clearly having a good time. I wish I could show you the video, but we’re not allowed to. You’ll have to read the transcript below. It’s definitely worth it!

Callan McAuliffe and Lauren Cohan in "The Walking Dead"

Question:   Khary, can we expect any flashbacks for Ezekiel and his time as an actor or zookeeper, this being the last season? I really do hope so.

Khary:   Oh, that’s an interesting question. I would tell you to, you know, expect the unexpected, that there’s so much story that we’re telling, none of which I’m going to tell you about. We all spent these last few months shooting all this thing, and I just feel like it would be wrong of me just to tell you in a Zoom call. So, how about this? How about this? Why don’t we set up just like for the next couple of weeks, like Sunday night? Get together, you know, pour a drink. I’ll tell you all about it.

Callan:   Khary, is it Episode Six where they do the flashback where you fall in a panda enclosure, is it six?

Khary:   Oh my god, you know what? We’re gonna have so much fun. The crazy thing is that a panda is much harder to do CGI, so, obviously, we had to just go ahead and go with the the panda that I keep here at the house. And although he’s not as bubbly; we just don’t have the bamboo here. And, you know –

Callan:   I still can’t believe you managed to outbid Nicolas Cage for that panda. It’s crazy.

Question:   As a fellow actor, I definitely appreciate your sense of humor.

Khary:   It’s incredible. Yeah, I’m excited. I’m excited.

Suzanne: Hi, how many episodes have yet to be filmed? Or have they all finished?

Khary:   Oh, it’s far from over. It’s far from over. We’ve got, I don’t know if we’re quite halfway done; we’re nearing the midway point, but we’ve still got – we’re gonna go shooting well into next year. So, I feel like there’s just a lot of story yet to unfold and yet to be told and yet to even be decided upon, in a lot of ways. So, yeah.

Suzanne:   Do they tell you ahead of time, whether your character is going to make it through the end of this show or not?

Khary:   You’d like to think that, wouldn’t you? It’s funny to be on a show like this one. When you get on a hit TV show, you pop the champagne, and you’re thinking, “Oh, it’s time to celebrate.” This is one of those shows that you get on, and you’re just waiting for that phone call around the corner to tell you that you all of your dreams and aspirations are about to be bashed, and the limousine that drove you here is not taking you back. I hope you didn’t take the Uber app off of your phone, because you’re going to need that to get back to wherever you’re going. So, this this show’s a cruel mistress in that way, that it gives a lot, but it can take it all away in a heartbeat.

Callan:   Did you guys all save Angela Kang in your phones with the skull and crossbones emoji? Terrifying every time she calls.

Khary:   Exactly. We’re just [unintelligible], because she’s got such a brilliant, happy little smile.

Callan:   It’s true.

Eleanor:   That’s how I never say hello to Angela. I just say, “Am I dead? Am I dead? Ok, how’s it going?”

Suzanne:   Thank you, guys.

Khary:   Thank you, Suzanne.

Question:   This question is for everyone. Would you rather your character have the glorious Braveheart death, or would you want to end the series as still a living member of whatever society looks like, in your opinion, if you had it your way.

Callan:   If I had it my way, the character’s death would be so unremarkable as to be remarkable. I would want him to trip in a puddle and to bang his head on the corner of a marble counter and for it to never [get] mentioned again. Mid conversation, just heart attack.

Josh:   Yeah. I personally, I want to die of old age or want Eugene to die of old age; that would be my hope, because I feel like he deserves it. I feel like he is a guy that everyone just expected, even myself included, would be gone after two episodes, because it’s like, there’s no way this guy’s living. And he’s figured out a way. He’s been a little cockroach about it, but I would hope that he dies of old age. But, you know, look, if they do decide that it’s time for him to go, I would at least hope they do it justice and give him a hero’s death, just because I think he does deserve that, if he does go, just based on who he was and where he’s been and kind of how far he’s come. He’s certainly been the hero many times before, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he would have a hero’s death. I just hope that if it came to that they would at least do that for him.

Khary:   Yes, jumping off a cliff, dreadlocks flying, slow motion in the wind. You know, a full orchestral score.

Callan:   Wait a minute, Khary. Did I ever tell you about the way I hope to die? That sounds remarkably similar to my plan for [my] funeral. I plan to gather, tell 100 friends that I died, or have them told, have them gather on a clifftop and then emerge dramatically from the coffin to the [unintelligible] gospel choir and leap gracefully into the sea.

Khary:   You know, we’re closer than we think. I had not heard you tell that, but it does not surprise me. And, you know, I hope to be standing on the same cliff one day.

Callan:   The convoluted aspect of mine is that I wanted there to be a shark tank at the bottom, so that I swan dived into the sea, but landed in the shark tank, it ate me, and then we piece up the shark and fire the shark’s ashes into space after it’s reconstituted my flesh

Eleanor:   Don’t do that to space. Space has got enough trouble with all these rockets going into it.

Callan:   It’d be biomass debris and wouldn’t be nearly so dangerous as flying metal.

Eleanor:   I think, of course, everyone, if they’re going to go, you want the big spectacular glorious death, of course you do. These are our characters. We’ve lived with them; we’ve created them, and they’ve been a part of us for so, so long. If that’s the way you want to go, you want it to be – you want to do justice to the love you have for your character. I’m with Josh though, like, I have to say like, I feel like I want for you Yumiko to have this long, long, happy life. We’ve only just discovered, or about to discover, this whole other side of her past life that she had. I think we always forget in The Walking Dead, especially, because the seasons are so long, but, actually, a lot of the action happens only over a few days or a few weeks. I mean, there’re time jumps and stuff, but a lot of the story happens in these condensed moments, and we sort of forget that we’ve actually had these huge lives behind them. I mean, we learned that Yumiko had this extraordinary education, and she’s basically lived the life that my parents wish I had, if I was smart enough to go to Oxford and Harvard, which I am definitely not. And I’m not saying that that makes her a better person, I’m just saying that it’s this discovery of all this stuff that she still has to give that I think it would be a real crime to not have her live that out in all the ways that she could.

Callan:   I think she should be killed in a fight with someone wielding a judge’s gavel. I think that would be full circle.

Eleanor:   Yeah, if I’m going to die, I want it to be from the past – like, yeah in the courtroom, a gavel thrown at my head. It knocks me off my feet. I grab judges’ wigs as I fall down onto the courtroom floor, and then I get eaten by walkers.

Question:   Is that the penultimate episode of the series?

Eleanor:   Listen, I can’t give anything away.

Question:   My question is for Khary. One of the big things that happen in season 10 is that we discover that Ezekiel has cancer, and he has to deal with some really dark things like a terminal disease and even suicidal tendencies. Is there a possibility that this character might attain some sort of peace or serenity throughout the run of season eleven?

Khary:   I hope so, for Ezekiel’s sake. I want so much for him to find that kind of inner light that seems to gravitate people to him, but, you know, you can’t have victory without adversity. So, here we are trying to just tell a story that’s still captivating. I had this push and pull, because I so desperately want him to be okay and and to just be at the forefront, being the big leader guy, but the thing that has drawn people to him is the fact that his life is messy, and he’s had all of this loss, but he does keep his head up. I mean, he’s lost so much. I think it’s enough to break a lot of people and it’s been nice to know that the journey of this character has resonated with a lot of people and helped them when it comes to dealing with adversity, to kind of set themselves aside and find a companion character to be able to live through and say, “You know what? If Ezekiel can do it, I can do it.” It’s meant a lot to me over the years, to have been a part of telling the story of a character that can be that for anyone.

Question:  This is for Callan; actually I have two. Alden is more heart and likes to build things. Is it safe to say that he grew up in a house where he had to take a lot of responsibility at a young age? And also, my second one is does he feel like Maggie is getting too cold to other survivors?

Callan:   To the first question, yeah, it was always an understanding between me and the showrunners that sort of he, in the early part of the apocalypse, had been going around with his with his brother. I believe it was his younger brother. And I imagine that the dynamic there was that Alden had to become something of a reliable – not necessarily a builder or a blacksmith, but certainly someone that you can trust to get things done and to bring things together. So, that’s certainly been a part of his life, and, you know, given that we see him building all manner of weapons and catapults and that sort of thing, we can assume he had some kind of a training in it. And then, can you repeat the second question for me?

Question:   Does he feel like Maggie’s getting too cold to others? It’s obviously warranted to Negan, because, you know, Allan has seen firsthand what he can do, but Maggie seems to be backtracking a little when it comes to the other survivors. Do you think she’s getting a little cold?

Callan:   I think he’s definitely seeing a side of Maggie that perhaps he didn’t expect, and she has for so long been, I suppose, the fulcrum around which his stability swings, especially in the beginning. And I think he finds that contrast disturbing. Yeah.

Question:   My question is, again, for Callan. Your character was Team Negan in the beginning, and now he’s Maggie. If there is a war to happen in season eleven, which side do you think would prevail, considering Alden’s experience in both those factions?

Callan:   I don’t think he was ever Team Negan. You know, I think he was, as most people in life, a victim of circumstance, and he kind of went where the winds blew him, but I like to think that he’s kind of alighted in the right place, if that makes sense. So, his allegiance should be clear, even when there’s conflict.

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

MORE INFO:

Previously on The Walking Dead, our survivors confronted past demons and combated new threats, with friendships and relationships suffering from the mounting collateral damage that is the apocalypse. Alexandria is severely compromised, left a former shell of the home it once was from the carnage and devastation left behind by the Whisperers.

Now all who live in Alexandria struggle to refortify it and feed its increasing number of residents, which include the survivors from the fall of the Kingdom and the burning of Hilltop; along with Maggie and her new group, the Wardens. Alexandria has more people than it can manage to feed and protect. Their situation is dire as tensions heat up over past events and self-preservation rises to the surface within the ravaged walls.

They must secure more food while they attempt to restore Alexandria before it collapses like countless other communities they have come across throughout the years. But where and how? More haggard and hungrier than ever before, they must dig deeper to find the effort and strength to safeguard the lives of their children, even if it means losing their own.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to those at Alexandria, Eugene, Ezekiel, Yumiko, and Princess are still being held captive by mysterious soldiers who are members of a larger and unforthcoming group.

AMC’s 11 Weeks of Reveals Until Season 11 of The Walking Dead

AMC released today a new teaser for The Walking Dead as part of AMC’s “11 Weeks of Reveals until Season 11.” The Walking Dead Season 11 premieres Sunday, August 22 at 9pm ET/8c on AMC, and all 11A episodes will air one week early on AMC+, beginning August 15.

Official Trailer  Official Teaser

Additionally, as part of TWDU.com’s “11 Weeks of TWD” where each week leading up to the Season 11 premiere on August 22, a custom piece of artwork will be shared that looks back at significant moments from each season of the show’s decade-long run. The eighth piece of custom artwork is created by artist, designer and filmmaker Micheline Pitt, and can be viewed here.

AMC will drop new reveals – photos, trailers and more – every Thursday counting down to the Season 11 premiere of The Walking Dead on Sunday, August 22 at 9pm ET/8pm CT. All 11A episodes will air one week early on AMC+, beginning August 15.

Khary Payton

In addition to portraying King Ezekiel on AMC’s The Walking Dead, Khary Payton has become synonymous with one of DC’s hottest heroes, Cyborg, having voiced the character for 17 years in numerous television series, DVM’s, games, and the 2018 critically acclaimed theatrical release of Teen Titans Go! To the Movies, based on the number one cartoon series Teen Titans Go! Payton reprised his role of Aqualad and is taking on the new role of Black Lightning in the fan and critically acclaimed series, Young Justice: Outsiders, which premiered on DCUniverse.com earlier this year. Other current voice over roles include laser specialist Wasabi in Disney’s Big Hero 6: The Series; Grimlock in Transformers: Robots in Disguise; and Rafiki in Disney’s The Lion Guard. Payton also voices in the video games The Sims; Reigel in Starcraft; Drebin in Metal Gear Solid; Azrael and Killer Croc in the Batman: Arkham franchise; and Knox from Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Born in Augusta, Georgia, Payton caught the acting bug after seeing a production of Cyrano De Bergerac in the 1st grade. As a teenager, he developed a local rep as a rapper and stand-up comic, sharing the stage with such notables as Tom Kenney and Chris Rock. Payton attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas, studying acting and directing. He stayed in Texas for several years honing his craft in classical and experimental theatre before moving to Hollywood. Payton co-wrote, produced, and starred in the independent sci-fi feature, Astronaut: The Last Push, winning 13 awards on the film festival circuit, including Best In Show at the Independent Filmmakers Showcase and Fargo Film Festivals. Payton took home three awards for Best Actor.

Callan McAuliffe

In addition to his regular series role as Alden on The Walking Dead, Callan McAuliffe can be seen in the feature film Summer Night, opposite Justin Chatwin, Analeigh Tipton, and Victoria Justice, for writer/director, Joseph Cross. McAuliffe was discovered by director Rob Reiner, who hand-picked him to play the romantic lead in the Warner Bros. feature film Flipped. This was followed by roles in DreamWorks’ sci-fi adventure I Am Number Four and Warner Bros.’ The Great Gatsby, as the teenage Jay Gatsby to Leonardo DiCaprio’s adult role. McAuliffe went on to work in the crime-drama film Kite, with Samuel L. Jackson; appeared in Underground: The Julian Assange Story; and starred in the U.K. feature Robot Overlords, with Sir Ben Kingsley. More recently he appeared in The Stanford Prison Experiment for director Kyle Patrick Alvarez, as part of an ensemble including Ezra Miller, Billy Crudup, and Thomas Mann. McAuliffe’s many accolades include recognition as Break Out actor by The Toronto International Film Festival for his lead role in the coming-of-age film Beneath the Harvest Sky, where he starred alongside Emory Cohen; and winning the Young Artist Award for his role as the aforementioned young Gatsby. Additionally, McAuliffe is among the youngest winners of GQ Magazine’s Man of The Year Award for Breakthrough of the Year, presented to him for his work in the performing arts in 2012-2013. Outside of his theatrical career, McAuliffe has also volunteered his time to a list of meaningful charities. Always interested in staying true to his Australian roots, McAuliffe became the youngest Ambassador for Tourism Australia for the Friends of Australia Campaign. The Friends of Australia Campaign include some of the most globally influential voices that have a genuine affinity with Australia. McAuliffe also holds a highly regarded position as a UNICEF Ambassador. Besides his film career and philanthropic efforts, McAuliffe has also added the title of Author to his resume. His first fictional book, The Hill Ghost, is a story that recounts the adventures between two unlikely friends, an old Tibetan Mastiff dog and a delusional seagull.

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The Walking Dead poster

Interview with Kelley Kali and Deon Cole

TV Interview!

Deon Cole and Kelley Kali

Interview with Kelley Kali and Deon Cole of the movie “I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking) by Suzanne 7/27/21

This was a fun interview! These two are so talented and amiable. We had a great time chatting. I look forward to Kelley’s next film, too. She’s a DGA winner, and he stars in two ABC shows, along with being a hard-working standup comic.

Video of our chat!

Suzanne:   I watched it last night. I enjoyed it. I liked how you made us really feel what she was going through, how she was hot, tired, and having a bad day and worried, and all that made me anxious to watch it. I was like, “Sell the ring! Sell the ring!”

Kelley:   I know, right?

Suzanne:   “Don’t do that!” But that I’m glad the way it turned out.

Kelley:   Thank you so much for saying that.

Suzanne:   I don’t– I don’t watch a lot of independent movies, because so many of them are sad and depressing and boring, but I liked yours so much.

Kelley:   Good. Thank you. We tried to have a balance of that indie sad, depressing, but this is why Deon’s here, because he brought the funny to it.

Then, even the characters, like Brooklynn’s character, [she’s also] one of Deon’s closest friends, so, you know, he brought her along, and so he definitely was the light in the storytelling of serious social matters.

Suzanne:   Yeah. No, it was nice and positive. I like that. I’m more of a popcorn movie person. Marvel, Star Wars, Harry Potter.

Kelley:   Good choices.

Suzanne:   But I enjoyed it. I loved the dream sequence and what you did with that, because I’m watching going, “There’re really big holes of water there…?” and you had me. You got me.

Kelley:   The greatest parts to wake people up, and it’s a great metaphor to show that she’s drowning in so much trouble that she’s trying to get through and just to protect her daughter’s innocence.

Suzanne:   Right, and it really does grab you in the, “Oh my gosh, what’s gonna happen next, if she loses her money and the ring and all that stuff? Is she gonna drown?” So, I like that. And it really showed LA really well, too. I love that. It was almost like LA was another character in the movie.

Kelley:   It was, yeah; that city is where I grew up. It’s a suburb of LA, in San Fernando Valley, Pacoima, and so it was also just paying homage to a town that helped raise me.

And even Danny Trejo, the actor, is from that town. So, that’s why we named the character Danny. We even are featuring his mural, because he’s just one of the one of the many artists have come from that city that represent that town very well.

Suzanne:   Right. Yeah, I noticed his face on the mural. So that explains why you set it in Pacoima. I’m from San Diego, but I didn’t know. I had heard of Pacoima, but that was about it. I actually thought it was in Washington State. I’m like, “Wait, that’s LA.”

Kelley:   It was also our resource, because we were shooting during a pandemic and had to find places we could film safely, and so, I just used my hometown. My dad was a pastor there. So, I was really connected to the community. In fact, where Deon pulls up [and] his character talks to me, that’s the steps of my church, the church that I was raised in where my dad was a pastor. So, when he says, “Are you are you a pastor?” I love it. It’s one of my favorite scenes.

Suzanne:   So, how did you come up with the idea for this film?

Kelley:   So, just, it was in the middle of the pandemic, the middle of 2020, I woke up, and was like, “I’ve got to do something,” because we weren’t allowed to do anything. And one of the things that I have been noticing is that there were a lot more women on the streets here in Los Angeles. You know, we already have a large homeless population, but this increase was due to houselessnes, which was a new term that I was learning. So, it just really showed how paycheck to paycheck we are as a society, [during] this pandemic. So, a lot more people ended up in their cars or sleeping on a friend’s couch or family member’s couch, or heaven forbid, in a tent, temporarily, while they were just getting back on their feet, because maybe they do have a job and maybe the job shut down or whatever it may be.

So, I went to my writing partner, Deon Cole, and went to my girls from USC, Angelique Molina, who’s my co-director; Roma Kong is producer, and then also our other producer, Capella [Fahoome], and we came up with this concept to reflect what we were going through during 2020 and what is even more prevalent now. There’re still so many people who are houseless currently.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I can’t even imagine what it must be like there. I grew up in poverty in San Diego, and I still have plenty of relatives who are in poverty. I had actually one who, before the pandemic, was camping with her husband – no children, thankfully, but she and her husband were camping all through LA and Bakersfield where they had lived in a car, basically. So, I know how that is. So, the film did remind me of those things and make me really feel it.

So, was Danny based on a particular person that you know or just…?

Kelley:   No, no, Danny was a reflection of the women I’ve seen on the street. So, there is one story, it’s not based on her, but one thing that really triggered me was I was actually driving to get a COVID test, and I got off on the 110 [accidentally]. It’s like you exit along the side of the overpass, and I saw this beautiful black woman who just looked like she came out of a business meeting, look perfectly put together, but had her suitcase and everything. And she was dragging this chain link fence, this old fence that was kind of laying around under the freeway, and boxing herself in, because it looked like she was about to stay there for the night. And I just couldn’t believe [it]. Like she didn’t look – you know how people are like, “Well, you don’t look homeless.” A lot of people don’t look [homeless], and that’s one of the things we talk about. We want the movie to reflect it or to evoke empathy for people, to let them see it, because you don’t know people’s stories. People have this concept of others on the street being lazy or like they put themselves there, and that’s not the case of the majority of the stories.

Suzanne:   And I assume you had a certain vision for the movie before you made it. Did the finished product live up to that ideal?

Kelley:   It was better, and that just comes from a team effort. This not just from my head. It just was a team. It was Deon watching it and giving notes and catching things that I didn’t see.

And then we’d go back to the editors. We had two editors, Angelica [Lopez] and Katie [McClellan], and just the input that they gave, because, you know, when Angelique, my co-director, and I are in the grind, you’re too much in it, and you need other eyes around you, other creative eyes, to help. And I just think, as a team, it became better than I could have even imagined.

Suzanne:   That’s great. And Deon, can you tell us how your role came about? Was it just like she said; she came to you and said, “I want to put a movie together?” And you said, “Sure,” ?

Deon:   Yeah, it was just another obstacle added as far as to heighten her decision making on what she needs to do for the character and just bringing lightness to a heavy situation. Yeah, basically, that was it.

Suzanne:   And can we assume that after Danny got her apartment that she went to her friend Brooklynn and told her all about running into Chad, I hope?

Kelley:   I don’t know. Does Danny kill Brooklynn’s joy? Does she just let it ride? I’m gonna leave it up to you to decide.

Suzanne:   Honesty, I would like to see a sequel all about Brooklynn and Chad.

Kelley:   Wouldn’t that be fun?

Suzanne:   Maybe a TV series. Get your own sitcom based on that. I would like that. That was so funny, that part.

And what was the most fun thing for either or both of you about doing the movie? I know it was a lot of work, but what was fun about it?

Kelley:   For me, it was the roller skating, because I’m obsessed with roller skating. So, although I was on skates for like, ten or more hours a day, every day, I just was having a blast. And my favorite part was, I had to bomb this hill. It’s in the opening credits. You can’t even really see the grade of the incline that it is, but it is extremely steep and dangerous. And we decided just to get the drone shot and bomb it, and it scared the crap out of my co-director, Angelique, and my producers. It was just fun seeing them freak out as I’m going this hill. They talk about to this day how traumatized they were, but thank God, I made it. No little pebbles or twigs got in the way.

Suzanne:   That’s right, because you weren’t wearing a helmet? Were you wearing protection?

Kelley:   I was in a half top and biker shorts, which wasn’t going to protect a thing. So, that’s why they call that hill Devil’s Hill, because it’s one of the hardest hills to go down.

Suzanne:   I’m surprised you got the insurance to sign off on that.

Kelley:   You know, sometimes you ask for forgiveness.

Suzanne:   What about you, Deon? What was fun for you?

Deon:   Like, waiting around, and us just laughing in between takes and just laughing in that situation and coming up with different ideas. And there was a lot of funny stuff that we didn’t use.

Kelley:   Oh, yeah.

Deon:   So, it was just fun creating all these different scenarios. You know, it was great.

Kelley:   Deon’s improv, it was so hard for me to keep a straight face [with] the stuff that he was saying to me on the steps. We could just cut a whole series of all of the stuff that he shouted out of that car, because we couldn’t put it all in there, but he was hilarious.

Suzanne:   That was all improv, that whole part?

Deon:   Yeah.

Suzanne:   Okay, and I was told the movie will be on BET, will it be in theaters as well, or just on BET?

Kelley:   It’s going to be in theaters at Film Festival. So, we’re going to Gina Davis’s Film Festival next week, and we’re going to be screening there in the theater on August 5th and virtually as well. So, if you want to check it out at the Bentonville Film Festival, but other than that, yeah, we’re going to be premiering on BET Her on August 7th.

Suzanne:   Okay, good. And do you have any other films that you’re working on, besides this one? Like are you’re thinking of one, or are you working on one already?

Kelley:   Well, we have one that we wrote together. It’s what we actually started with as writing partners, and then this one kind of just wiggled its way in again, but we have a script that we finished. It’s a pure comedy. It’s hilarious; it’s so hilarious. And it’s now with Macro, the producers of Judas and the Black Messiah, Sorry to Bother You, Mudbound, and all of that stuff. So, we’re working on getting that out, but Deon has a lot of other great things [coming] in.

Suzanne:   Yes, and that was my next question. You’re still on Black-ish and Grown-ish, right?

Deon:   Yes.

Suzanne:   And you have you have some other movies coming out. Have you started shooting Black-ish season eight yet?

Deon:   We start next week. We had a second table read yesterday, I think. And yeah, we start next week.

Suzanne:   Oh, cool. And you have some other movies coming out? Is there anything particular that you wanted to tell us about?

Deon:   Yeah, a movie on Netflix called The Harder They Fall. It’s coming out soon, probably in the fall. Yeah, that’s just about it right now.

Suzanne:   I watched some of your Netflix comedy special last night, that was funny.

Deon:   Thank you so much Yeah, I’m working on a new one now.

Suzanne:   Oh cool. And who would you say your comedy influences are?

Deon:   So many, from Eddie Murphy to Richard Pryor to [unintelligible] to Ellen DeGeneres to Steven Wright to George Carlin.

Suzanne:   Cool. That’s great. That’s probably why I thought it was funny. I grew up listening and watching all those people.

Deon:   Yeah, I [was influenced by] all of them.

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

MORE INFO:

movie posterHere’s your chance to get in on one of the few critically lauded, award-winning feature films at the upcoming gems premiering on BET HER in a couple weeks, Saturday, August 7th at 7pm ET/PT, 6pm CT.  Filmmakers KELLEY KALI and DEON COLE (Black-ish star) talk about their critically lauded film, I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking).  The 2018 Oscar, DGA winning young director, Kelley Kali, also stars in this Pandemic-era indie along with Deon and we have them available together next Tuesday morning, JulyKelley Kali 27th (Pacific).

The important movie, which incorporates humor into the most important issue of our recent times, is as refreshing of a film seen you’ll see emphasizing a reason this early 30 year-old filmmaker has been kept an eye on by the biggest names in Hollywood over the past year. Add to the attraction the riveting Deon Cole, a truly authentic cast and a gifted crew to a compelling story which addresses issues within often marginalized communities by using the art of filmmaking to create dialogue and action towards positive change.

Deon Cole as Chad in "I'm Fine (Thanks for Asking)"Filmmaker Kelley Kali, one of the breakout talents in Hollywood, won the 2018 Academy Award for Best Film for her narrative short, Lalo’s House, and brought in  a number of talented filmmakers including co-director Angelique Molina, fellow USC Cinema School graduate Roma Kong as well as award-winning producer Capella Fahoome. Kelley developed the plot line of I’m Fine (Thanks For Asking)”  looking around Los Angeles as the Covid crisis started to shutter businesses, diminish earnings and jeopardize so many single parents ability to pay rent and feed their families late last spring.  The storyline centers on a recently widowed mother who becomes homeless and convinces her 8-year-old daughter that they are only camping for fun while she works to get them off the streets.Variety Review

As the whole crew with this gem of a film rise to the apex of both Hollywood and the What To Watch at 2021 film festivals, we are certain coverage in wide-reaching outlets is a win-win. To see how brilliant some of the press has been, scroll belowto read a couple rave reviews or click on this recent interview with Kelley and Deon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGpn7KPsUcs

Read the review: https://tinyurl.com/ImFineVariety

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SXSW Review

Read the review: https://tinyurl.com/ImFineScreenDaily

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Deon Cole and Kelley Kali

Interview with Tracy Birdsall

TV Interview!

Tracy Birdsall

Interview with Tracy Birdsall of “I Think You Should Leave” and other movies/shows by Suzanne 7/21/21

I admit that I’d never heard of Tracy, or this weird little comedy show, before her publicist contacted me for an interview. Once I started viewing her other work, though, I could see that she’s been around a while and has done many movies and shows. We had a really nice chat.

Suzanne:   So, are you calling from LA?

Tracey:   I am.

Suzanne:   Okay. Cool. You’ve lived there pretty much most your life, right?

Tracey:   I have. Yeah, I mean, I’ve left; I followed projects, but I kind of always come back here. Yeah.

Suzanne:   That’s nice. Yeah, I’m from San Diego originally.

Tracey:   Oh, nice. I lived down there for a long time. I lived in Rancho Bernardo, it’s near Rancho Santa Fe.

Suzanne:   Oh, that’s a really nice area.

Tracey:   Yeah, it’s beautiful.

Suzanne:   I don’t have to tell you that. We always go back. We haven’t lived there in a long time, but we always go back to visit family and friends and everything. So, yeah, it’s so beautiful.

Tracey:   You kind of can’t beat that weather too. I mean, it’s it’s better than LA. You know, I mean, it’s spectacular.

Suzanne:   Yeah, it’s kind of ruined me, even though I’ve lived many other places.

Tracey:   Where are you at now?

Suzanne:   I’m in Arkansas right now.

Tracey:   Oh, wow, believe it or not, I have an uncle in Arkansas. I haven’t seen him since I was a teenager.

Suzanne:   What part, do you know?

Tracey:   I really don’t. I really don’t. Yeah, he moved there, and he hasn’t come back in a long time. It’s my mom’s baby brother, but I keep in touch with him on social media, I hate to say. You know, you do what you can.

Suzanne:   Right. It’s funny how many people say “Oh, I used to live in Arkansas,” or “I know somebody there.” It’s funny.

Tracey:   Yeah, he’s actually the only one I know, and it’s one of the few places I’ve never been.

Suzanne:   Oh, well, it’s very pretty here. You know, like most of the South, there’s lots of trees, so we get lots of rain and humidity.

Tracey:   And beautiful lakes. He’s sent us some beautiful pictures of some lakes and things like that. It’s a really spectacular place.

Suzanne:   Yeah, it does have a lot of pretty lakes; you’re right. Yeah, it’s beautiful here, and we live kind in a town, but it’s a small town. So, it’s kind of woodsy. So, it’s very pretty right around where I live. You can’t beat it.

Tracey:   Did you guys get a big influx of people when the pandemic hit?

Suzanne:   No, and, actually, this was a good place to be during the pandemic, because we didn’t –

Tracey:   That’s what I would think, yeah.

Suzanne:   It’s not my favorite place to live, because I’m a city girl, but it’s been really nice during the pandemic, I have to say, even though cases are up here now, I mean, the relative number of cases, you know, it’s nothing like being in a big city.

Tracey:   Yeah, I’m kind of in between. I’m just outside of LA. So, it’s like, I’m close enough where I can be in town in 15, 20 minutes, but little on the outskirts. I was in Malibu until the fires hit. I lived in the same house for 16 years, and I’m kind of a little off since then. It’s like I don’t really know what to settle into, you know?

Suzanne:   Oh, did you lose your house?

Tracey:   Oh, yeah. All the way down to like, literally – it was a two story, a big house. It was two stories, and you probably could have put a measuring stick into the ground, and the debris was less than, I don’t know, 12 to 15 inches, like, completely gone, everything. It was just nuts.

Suzanne:   So many people lost their homes and stuff.

Tracey:   Like 600 just in our area.

Suzanne:   Well, I’m glad you got to move somewhere else, at least.

Tracey:   Yeah, you know, I’ve been filming so much since the house burned down that it’s like I haven’t really – like I’ve moved into a house, but you don’t get that homey feeling. I went and hung a picture on the wall. I hung it, because I’m always leaving, and then the pandemic hits, and you’re like, “Okay, this is weird”

Suzanne:   So, you started acting when you were pretty young, right?

Tracey:   I was really young. Yeah. I mean, when I was a little girl, I started singing and dancing lessons, and I went right into theater and musical theater, you know, before I can even remember. So, it just it started at a young age, and then I just built it from there, and I just trained and worked really hard. That’s what you do.

Suzanne:   So, how old were you when you booked your first gig?

Tracey:   Professionally, I was 15 when I did my first gig. I mean, I’d done theater and things before that, but my first professional gig was actually a Sunkist soda commercial. They ran for 10 years. You know, they just kept reshooting them and redoing them and re-running them. That was kind of my beginning.

Suzanne:   Yeah. I probably saw it. I don’t remember, since it was a long time ago. You’re you’re about the same age as I am. So, I was in high school.

Tracey:   Well, you know, what’s funny about it is I did one at 15 and one at 16, and the one when I’m 15, I really look like a little kid in it when I looked at it. Then, when I’m 16, I changed so much. I’m like, “That’s amazing.” I would have never known that if I wasn’t looking back at these things, because I still felt like a little kid. But it’s just really funny how when you do TV, film commercials, all these things; there’re all these markers of how old you were when you did certain things, and it’s kind of interesting.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I guess that would be the case. That would be cool. You could put together a little thing with like excerpts of different things you’ve done over the years, like your life in film.

Tracey:   Yeah, maybe maybe when I stop working.

Suzanne:   Yeah. When you have like an anniversary party or something like that you could put it together, or somebody should put it together for you, really.

Tracey:   That’s the plan. That’s the plan. It’s funny.

Suzanne:   So, if you had to do it all over again, would you still choose the same career?

Tracey:   Well, I would, because I didn’t really choose it and go after it. I was drawn towards it, because I love entertaining people; I love the land of make believe. I love training in things. So, it was kind of a natural progression for me, where it was just taking all the things that I love to do and keeping studying them and working on them. Then, it just kept growing. I think that the real pinnacle was when I started getting into sci-fi, because I was a tomboy. So, all the sporting activities that I did, running and stuff like that, really paid off, because not everybody wants to go do that. I kind of thrive on it. So, it’s just, if I look back on my life, it just kind of looks like it was a training field for what it was going to become.

Suzanne:   All right, well, let me come back to your running. I’ve got a question regarding that kind of thing later. But let me tell you, if I ask you a question that you think is too personal, or you don’t want to answer, just let me know; I’m fine with that. So, here’s one that I don’t know if you want to answer it. So, looking at the list of your shows and movies, on IMDB, there’s a gap between 2000 and 2010. What did you do during that time?

Tracey:   It’s actually not a huge gap. See, what happened was it used to be that we [thought] we aged out of of our industry. We were pretty much told when we were younger that you can work as much as you can until you’re 30, and then you have to go find something else to do, and everybody kind of knows that that was the way that it worked. Now, I actually took time off. I love remodeling houses and working on things and traveling. And I looked over my shoulder, and I had friends that were still working. So, you start looking at it, and you contact people in the industry, and they’re like, “Oh, no, it’s changed.” I’ve literally found, I think it’s been at the end of the baby boomers, that every year that I get older, that marker gets pushed older. So, it was kind of hard to get my niche back in, because I had my realm and my people and stuff like that, and then I took time off. Then, I’m like, “Well, I can still keep keep working.” So, I came back, and I went heavily into training. I studied with Margie Haber, and she’s just a real dream as far as a coach. I just kind of gave it my all and got myself back into the industry, but it was kind of a shocking thing and an exciting thing, because we can work forever. We can as long as you’re willing to put out the effort, because everybody knows this isn’t an easy job. As long as you’re willing to put out the effort we can we can pretty much keep going forever now you’ve seen.

Suzanne:   Well, you’ve been in quite a few movies the last eight years. Is there something particular that happened around 2013 or 2014 to get your career going so much better?

Tracey:   I think a lot of it is we get out of something what we put into something. So, I always put some effort in, and I always tried to be in a project and always tried to have something going. And I was a single mom. I mean, I raised two kids, three kids on my own. Then, one day I kind of sat there, and I was like, “Well what do I have? How much harder do I have to go work in order to work consistently again?” And it was pretty much all the time. So, I used to always look at something, and, “Oh, this will take me five hours to prepare for,” and “this will take me eight hours to prepare for;” “this will take me a month to prepare for.” I stopped looking at life that way, and I just started pushing everything aside when I had a project or a really big audition, and [started] really putting everything that I had into it. That was when I really noticed a difference. So, looking back on it, it’s probably that way in every industry, but it was really my effort that I put out more so than that which anybody else [did]. I couldn’t blame it on anybody else. I can’t give anybody else that credit. It just has to do with sheer effort and hours.

Suzanne:   Okay, well, going back a bit, I noticed that you were on Loving for three years playing Amy Sanders. Our site has a lot of soap opera fans. What what was that experience like?

Tracey:   You know, I was really young, and it was wonderful, because I was actually living in New York City. I was with [unintelligible] out there and had a print agent out there and a commercial agent out there. So, they brought me in, and Amy was actually pregnant. I forget who the relative was, but it was one of his later family. So, then, they brought her back again, and she was still pregnant. Now, mind you, this was almost 14 or 15 months later, which I thought was really funny, but nobody picked up on it. And then the storyline continued later on, and the child was supposed to be missing and things like that, but I think that they were at that point into ratings and going with the other storylines, and so that kind of fizzled out.

But as far as an experience, it was amazing. I mean, I just loved it. Everybody was wonderful to me, and now it’s kind of where I got my eyes into the land of soap and how different it is than regular TV or film, which it’s completely different.

Suzanne:   Yeah, and I’ve heard it’s a great training ground too.

Tracey:   It’s a good training ground; it’s very consistent. So, you always know what to expect when you show up, [but], you know, there’s only so far you can take the character development unless you’re one of the main characters throughout the whole thing. So, it was something that I’ve had the opportunity to do.

So, since then, I’ve done a couple little stints, but it’s not the direction that I chose to go in, just because I like really getting into the depth of a character and just really exploring it. But boy, it’s a fantastic job if you just want consistent work within the industry.

Suzanne:   Yeah. And you were briefly on The Young and the Restless. How did that come about?

Tracey:   That was old-fashioned auditioning. So, that was really fun. I mean, that was with Tucker McCall, and that was just a really fun little stint, but it was just, you know, we do so many auditions for so many projects and many of them we forget we auditioned for the time that we book them, because there’s usually such a long time period in between the two. They talked to me about bringing that character back a little bit, and then that kind of fizzled. That was when they were looking at maybe replacing one of the characters, and then that didn’t happen. They renegotiated her contract instead. So, it’s just, I think, soap is such a fascinating world, because it’s so different than the rest of the industry.

Suzanne:   Yeah. And Tucker was played by Stephen Nichols, who’s one of my favorite actors. How was it working with him?

Tracey:   He’s a really nice guy, and I have to tell you, I mean, most of the experience that I’ve had working in any of the mediums, the people are really kind. You get to that level, no matter what the medium, and people are professionals. They’re polite. They’re kind. Everybody’s there to do their jobs. Yeah, Stephen was a really great guy.

Suzanne:   Cool, he always seemed really nice. So, you said there was another soap you were on? I didn’t see that one on there.

Tracey:   No, those are the two soaps that I did.

Suzanne:   So, you recently did an episode of I Think You should Leave with Tim Robinson on Netflix. Can you tell us about landing that role and what you went through for it?

Tracey:   Sure. I mean, again, that is another thing that was traditional auditioning [and] taped at home, because it was during the pandemic. We taped it at the beginning of the pandemic. Then, I think almost a year later, I got the call, and they wanted to make sure that I had all the protocols in place, and I still looked the same, and that was a fun project, especially because we’d all been locked up so much inside. I mean, I did some pickup shots for a couple other projects that I’m working on, but it was nice to have somebody go into production, and it was an interesting production, because of all the COVID protocols put in place. But what a cast. What a great group of guys and what a funny show. I just absolutely love that type of humor.

Suzanne:   Yeah, and that episode, that part that you did with the alien bar or whatever, that was fun.

Tracey:   It was really fun, and Tim was hilarious. Tim Robinson was there. Zach was there that day. So, it was just a really enjoyable shoot. I hope to work with them more next time, because I really enjoyed that type of humor. If you’ll notice in my past, I always try to make sure I keep comedy alive, because it’s something I was trained in a lot when I was younger. It isn’t where the majority of my work is coming from, but anytime I get the chance, I just absolutely love the genre.

Suzanne:   Oh, yeah, I was watching your movie earlier. I haven’t finished it yet. Shoot, the name is escaping me.

Tracey:   Who’s Jenna…?

Suzanne:   Who’s Jenna…? Thank you so much. Yeah, that is cute. Like I said, I have to finish watching it later; I had to stop and do some other stuff, but that was fun.

Tracey:   That was really fun, and [when] I actually shot Who’s Jenna…? – I was lead in both that and Rogue Warrior, and when we shot those, I only had a week off between the two. So, that was an interesting thing to go from a heavy sci-fi action and from a comedy like that, but it challenging. It was fun. One of them is grueling, and one of them is like a dance. I think comedy’s like a dance.

Suzanne:   I was looking for Rogue Warrior, but I guess it’s not in my Roku for free…So, had you watched that show I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson before you were appearing on it?

Tracey:   I’ll tell you the funny story about that is when I got the audition call, I hadn’t seen it. I usually will watch about 10 or 15 minutes of the show, just to get the tone of it before I tape an audition, and I literally sat down to watch 10 or 15 minutes, and I watched the entire season. I was laughing so hard. So, that was fun. I became an immediate fan of the show.

Suzanne:   And now you have all these sci-fi movies coming out. Were you a fan of sci-fi before?

Tracey:   Yeah, ever since I was a little kid. My dad was a sci-fi nut, and so it’s kind of I guess genetically bred into me. So, that’s been when my career got really, really fun. It was always a lot of hard work, and it was always fun, but when it got really fun is when I started to get to play in that genre.

Suzanne:   Do you know what shows your dad liked?

Tracey:   We watch Star Trek with a bowl of rocky road ice cream in our laps constantly. So, that was a big one. Logan’s Run. I mean, there’re just too many of them to even count. Pretty much everything that was sci-fi we watched.

Suzanne:   Big Star Wars fan?

Tracey:   Big Star Wars fan, big Doctor Who fan. I just love it all.

Suzanne:   Cool. And do you have anything else besides these movies that are coming out that you’re working on now or preparing to work on?

Tracey:   Well, The Time War‘s coming out, which is a time travel television series. It’s an eight hour series we’ve been working on for about five years now. So, it’s finally, luckily coming to fruition. Then, Rogue Warrior, there’s a TV series based upon it that’s some backstory and also the future of it, called Age of Darkness that will be out right behind The Time War. They’re both in the end stages of post-production. Then, I have a film called Hotel Underground that I shot in Melbourne, Australia right before the pandemic. Hopefully, that’ll be slated for release soon too.

Suzanne:   Have you finished working on these, or you haven’t worked on them yet?

Tracey:   We finished them all.

Suzanne:   Okay. So, what I meant is do you have something that you’re working on now, or that you’re preparing to work on?

Tracey:   No, actually, I Think You Should Leave is the the second to last thing that I filmed besides pick up shots for The Time War, and everything else is finished and coming out. It’s kind of when I get to take a little break, and then it’ll come back up again. It always does.

Suzanne:   Okay, well, you said you work all the time, so it sounds like you need a vacation.

Tracey:   You know, it will be nice to have just a couple of months off, and then I’m happy to jump back in.

Suzanne:   And I have to say, you look really great for someone who’s close to my age. What is your secret?

Tracey:   That’s really funny. Thank you. Mostly, I don’t know, lots of exercise. I’m a vegan. Even with skincare, like I don’t put products on my skin; I put ingredients on my skin. So, it’s kind of like vegan but for the skin. So, I guess just good healthy eating and staying active and taking care of yourself. Plus, I looked 12 when I was 25, so I kind of had some extra years there.

Suzanne:   Sure. No, I completely understand that, because everybody tells me I look good for my age. I don’t put the work into it you do, so I don’t look as good as you do, but I look a lot younger than I am. So, I understand that completely. We’ve got good genes to make us look younger, right?

Tracey:   I think a lot of it is genetics. I think there’s an attitude. So much is attitude too.

Suzanne:   Yeah, definitely. I completely agree with that.

Tracey:   I don’t plan on ever getting old. I don’t know about you.

Suzanne:   No, definitely not. I’m one of those lucky people where my hair hasn’t started to go gray yet. So, I’m like, “don’t go” every time there’s a gray hair. I’m like, “no.”

Tracey:   You’re like, “No, you must [not] go.”

Here is the audio version of it.

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

MORE INFO:

Tracey Birdsall, who plays Janeane.
Birdsall and Robinson in "I Think You Should Leave" on Netflix
An award-winning actress well regarded for her versatility, Birdsall‘s many credits include TV’s THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS and ROGUE WARRIOR. She is currently filming the 8-hour sci-fi series THE TIME WAR, in which she has the lead role .
  • Netflix recently premiered the second season of the critically-acclaimed sketch comedy series I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson.
  • Quote from Tim Robinson and co-creator, Zach Kanin: “We are very excited to be working with The Lonely Island, Irony Point, and Netflix to make another season of “I Think You Should Leave.” We are so thankful we get to do it again!”
  • The series pokes fun at life’s most bizarre and mundane situations. The first season saw Robinson and a few of his famous friends navigate awkward workplace drama, host an intervention in a Garfield themed house, talk their way out of a babysitter’s fake hit and run, and much more.
  • The series was created by Tim Robinson and Zach Kanin, and is produced by The Lonely Island and Irony Point.
  • The first season was nominated for a 2019 TCA award in the category of Outstanding Achievement in Sketch/Variety.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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Tracy Birdsall

Leverage Articles

Writing about the show!

Hardison (Aldis Hodge) working on his computer

These are all from the past. We hope to have more interviews and reviews soon!

Interview with Dean Devlin and Christian Kane about “Almost Paradise” 4/2/20

Review 11/10/2012

Interview with Beth Riesgraf and Aldis Hodge 11/7/12

Review 11/29/11

Interview with Aldis Hodge  6/9/11

Interview with Timothy Hutton and Beth Riesgraf 12/1/10

Review 6/10/10

Interview with Timothy Hutton 5/24/10

Interview with Dean Devlin 2/11/10

Review 12/29/09

Interview with Aldis Hodge 8/14/09

Interview with Aldis Hodge 1/10/09

Leverage: Redemption cast members from various interviews

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Here are all of our Articles!

Interview with Chi Muoi Lo

TV Interview!

Chi Muoi Lo

Interview with actor/manager Chi Muoi Lo by Suzanne 5/25/21

This was a very interesting call! It went on for quite a while…unfortunately, I had to end the call for another interview.

Here is the audio version of it.

Suzanne:   Why did you decide to make a video series about acting?

Chi:   …I’ve been frustrated for 20 years. You know, I own a company called Element Management. I bought the company. So, you know, every year used to be nine schools they consider the Ivy League school for actors. I went to one of them called ATT – Yale, Julliard, NYU, Temple University, Carnegie Mellon, but the problem of those most pseudo schools is, every year they would have a showcase in New York and Los Angeles, and the power to be would go there to watch the show, and that’s how you’d get discovered if you got the goods and all that. But the frustrating thing is that I started realizing that even the school that I went to, I was at the right age to go to it, but everybody else wasn’t. I was like, 18 when I went, but it was a master program. So, suddenly a school like Temple University, NYU, Juilliard, no, actually, Yale, ACT. So, those schools are master programs. So, your career is over before it begins when you graduate from these schools, because it’s a young business, and if you’re going to start out your career, it should be around 21, and hopefully, you get the maturity and the training there, that would be ideal. So, it’s very frustrating.

And then, the reality is, they don’t talk about the business. You spend – you know, you talk about USC, the last time I checked it’s $268,000 to get your four year degree, and when you come out, it’s an undergraduate program, which is good, but when you come out, kind of your career is over. I mean, when you come out, you don’t know anything about the business, how to break in, how to get your SAG card, how to do anything about it.

And the reason you know nothing about it has to do with the people who are teaching can’t teach the business, because they never made it, or they’re not in it. So, you can’t teach something you don’t know. Like, say for example, I use as an example so you can understand what I’m talking about – death. We all kind of know what death is. We see it on TV; we read it. We know somebody who it has happened to; we see it in films and all that, but do we really know what death is or the grieving of death or the nuance that death comes with? No, not until somebody who is close to us [dies]. Like my mom died two years ago. And then, you realize what death means, the five stages. Do you grieve? How long is the grieving? You realize, you know, it never ends. You miss the person, and somewhere along the line, you have to have acceptance and all of that. So, sort of same thing with the acting business. You cannot teach something if you never experienced it. If you don’t do it, if you’re not out there doing it, or you never succeeded, or you don’t know –

The changing environment of show business is drastic sometimes. Like 2008 with the crash, but they were in the process of changing the industry. We changed to digital; it used to be hardcopy, like people who submitted picture resume hardcopy but never tried to change into digital to submit everything online. And the guy who owned a breakdown service literally monopolized the entire industry. He’s sitting on a cash cow, I would call it.

But anyway, there were 30% of actors that [were] dropped. I mean, they just couldn’t understand how to change over work, because when they were 35 or 40, they didn’t know how to deal with internet or how to transfer a resume to that thing. And the agency business and the manager business does not work either, because you have so many clients, and they couldn’t take care of them. So there’re tons of working actor who just got dropped and had no representation. And it took them a while if [they] applied for representation. So, those are the changes like that, and they are so drastic and so dramatic, that if you don’t teach these things, then people don’t know, and that’s the problem with the schools.

So, I wanted to do this six years ago, and I taught like the classes three times only, and I’m not a teacher. Really, I did it for my clients, and then, literally, I just got bored talking about it over and over. And then somebody gave me an idea. They said, “Why don’t you put it on tape? Then, you never have to talk about it.” And I said, “Good idea,” and then suddenly, once I started the process, it just got bigger and bigger and bigger. It became seven episodes, and over 12 hours of everything about the business, nothing about the craft. You know, I think the craft is being taken care of. So, nothing about the craft. So, you can get this thing at masteringthebusinessofacting.com. And I didn’t want to charge that much money either, because I think the kids already have been – I’m going to use a slang word – screwed over, in this education already. I just did not want to charge more than $199 or whatever to get this seven, episodes, twelve hours of information all about the business on every aspect of business. And it covers three different kinds of actors: the one who want to break into the business, the working actors, and the rising stars.

Suzanne:   How many people have bought into your program so far? If you can say?

Chi:   A lot. We actually did [better] than we imagined. What’s fascinating about marketing in the what we call [unintelligible] ecommerce, I guess…Yeah. So, it’s fascinating how you use Facebook, Instagram, Google, you know, they only target the people who have interest in this business. So, imagine, in the old days, if you are advertising something, you pay millions of dollars on TV, and half your audience are never reached; they don’t need it. But this is specific. It’s not going to target somebody who’s interested in nursing, interested in skiing or anything. You have to be interested in show business or have somewhere along line…[They use an algorithm] I guess, so they can know who you are. So, when you go to Google, or you go to your Facebook or whatever and that, those ads will pop up.

Suzanne:   It’s the same on my site, we have that kind of Google Ads with targeted advertising.

Chi:   Right. So, we did really, really well for just basically three months. We launched like February 23. But my intention is I think we could make a deal with this school that’s very interested in it already. And I want to start in high school, because I went to high school performing arts, and also then definitely undergraduate, because you cannot teach the craft and not talk about the business. The business is 60%, but you can take a bad actor who knows about the business and understands the business, who will have a better chance of succeeding than a great actor who doesn’t understanding anything about the business.

Suzanne:   Right. Now you used to be an actor, and then you became a manager, so what prompted you to make that move?

Chi:   Well, I am I’m still an actor. I just love to act. Acting is my favorite talent of them all. I’m an actor, writer, director, producer and [have] my own management company. So, I’m about to produce a TV series. It’s seven seasons, 13 episodes, called Life in Threes. It’s inspired by a true story, really, really great. I’m very excited about it.

But being an actor, the change over has a lot to do with I just [understood] the business really [quickly], because I’ve been into acting since I was 10. So, there’re a lot at of mistakes I made as an actor, but I succeeded at a very young age. I worked a lot.

[Like,] I just graduated on a Saturday, came down here on a Sunday. There was a writer strike. After three months it was over, and I worked like like crazy. I think it only took four years, and I got my own TV show, but I was guest starring all over the place. I think I was tired of it, and then my show came along.

But I’ve worked a lot, and the mistakes I made, and I think, again, I talk about it, and mastering the business of acting, I wish I had guidance. I managed a few, I only managed five people. I personally only managed five people, but my other people manage other people. But I personally have managed five people and these people made a lot of money. [I could] just sit on my ass and make tons of money right now because they’re all working. But I wish I had someone like me, guiding me, and I look back and I say well, “Would you be able to find somebody like you?” And the answer is probably no, because – let me be clear here, so that people don’t think I’m a pompous ass here. I don’t know anything about how to change a tire. I don’t know how to do oil change, and if you ask me to clean my house, I don’t know how to do that. I don’t know anything about how to operate my computer without my assistant. I don’t know how to fax [anything] if it’s new equipment. If it’s equipment I’ve used before, sure I would know how to do it, but I’m a terrible driver. I’m a walking stereotype. So, you can name all that, but this is one area that I can say that I really know what I’m talking about, which is the acting business and the acting stuff.

So, when I was starting out, I wish I had met someone who I really could trust and believed that they could guide me, and could gladly say, “Chi, what the hell are you doing? You’re 27 years old. You don’t need to direct a movie right now; wait until you’re 40!” So, that was a mistake I made, as an actor. There was no reason for me to direct a movie when my career as an actor was on the rise. You know, “Finish the series, make big budget movies and all that, you know…wait for the right project to come along.”

This discrimination – being an Asian actor in Hollywood is not easy [for] someone like me, how I look, my height, and all that. I usually get jobs that are really tough to get, and they’re strong acting jobs. So, visually, I don’t look like your typical, whatever you want that to be, because I’m almost like a leading man trapped in a character body.

So, in a way, when I directed the movie, it took me five years out of the game. And when you’re five years out of the game, some people think you’re just dead. So, in two of those years I had to promote the movie and get it into the theaters. Now we made money [on the movie] called Catfish and Black Bean Sauce; we made money and all that, but the problem comes – then I decided, to answer your question about why it matters, I bought the management company, because I wanted to control half the information, but then I discovered that I’m actually good at what I do as a manager. I could understand the business and all that. And when you have success, and you know what you’re talking about, it’s how you make things happen. People will listen to you.

So, that’s what I wish I had, but I don’t think anyone at that time would be that aggressive. And you have to understand, the agency business and the management business is a bunch of crap, in a way. So let me tell you – do you mind if I tell you about the agency business?

Suzanne:   A little bit. Yeah, go ahead.

Chi:   It’s a scam. It’s an illusion. So, let’s let’s break it down to two tiers. Okay, the first tier [is] CA, ICM, William Morris, and Endeavour. Second tier is Giersh, Innovative, APA, Abrams, or now they call themselves Eight Threes, whatever. So, at the first tier, CA, you have 5000 clients, and you have 100 agents. 100 agents cannot take care of 5000 clients. They can’t. It’s impossible. So, the people who make money are being taken care of. So, you can literally take care of 1/3 of your clients; the rest you really can’t. So, you bullshit around until people figure it out. You know, it is what it is. That’s why they say you will get lost in these places. Then you should go to second tiers. Like you take Giersh. You cannot have 22 agents to take care of 3000 clients, so, the same thing, and sometimes they make fake auditions.

Suzanne:   What do you mean, fake auditions?

Chi:   They make fake auditions and give them to their clients and pretend like it’s a real audition.

Suzanne:   Really? Wow.

Chi:   Yeah! I know…I mean, last year, even including this year on forward, it’s all self tape. Self tape has been around for seven, eight years. Last year and this year, it’s all self [taping].

So, a client can [unintelligible] “Oh, you got one?” “We got you one. Here’s your audition,” this and all that.

And then, you get all excited and the role looks so right for you, and you put your energy and time into it. You get your coach. You put it on tape and all that, and you send it in, and you give it to your agent. They say, “Great. Let’s see where it goes.” It [goes] nowhere. They pretend to download it, so you don’t know where it went.

And the reality, so what’s the problem? Okay, so let’s just say you are an actress in your 30s and the role was so right for you, and you’re so excited and all that, and you let’s say you’re a white actress, but what you don’t realize is the break that I sent you only had [unintelligible] they could get the listing enough to produce it and casting, and the storyline, what the story is about. But what you realize, if you look deeper into the breakdown of what they sent you, is the age is missing, and the ethnicity is missing. So, you’re 30 something, but they’re really looking for a 20 something year old character, and you’re white, but the role is for a black girl.

Suzanne:   So, they faked it. Yeah, I see what you’re saying.

Chi:   So, even if it’s real, they didn’t know and call you in for it. Even if it’s a white role and the character [unintelligible], they didn’t call you in. So a lot of people, like I have kids that I manage who are saying, “Gee, my friend Michael got a lot of auditions. I don’t know how he gets so many auditions.” I say, “Really? Okay.” But you know, I get suspicious. Even the watermark doesn’t even say his name, because it’s a fake audition. The watermark doesn’t say your name? If you’re name’s not on there, then it’s a fake audition. But they have to do it, because, like what I said, you cannot cater to 3000 clients when you have 22 agents. You can’t!

Suzanne:   Well, you answered a question before I even asked [you], so that’s good.

Chi:   The manager problem is this. Managers these days, you’ve got to be very careful, because the old school managers are a dying breed. We consider ourselves old school managers, and we charge 15%. But…there’re more managers than agents now, and each company pops up out of nowhere, and then you look deeper into it and you realize, “Oh, there’re a bunch of agents who got fired or decided to quit their jobs and form a management company.” So, here’s the problem with it. You cannot be a mommy; you cannot be a daddy until you become a mommy. So, what I call an agent is a “daddy,” and a manager’s a “mommy.” And so if you’ve been a daddy for 15 years, your personalities are set, and you can’t switch to be a mommy or think you can be a mommy. You don’t know how to be a mommy. You bring every skill set that you had as a daddy into a mommy’s job, and it doesn’t work, because what is called managing, managing the actors for a job, you are not just sending them out on auditions. So, these people are [unintelligible] clients only like 10 minutes or whatever and all that, because they don’t know how to operate as a manager, because, what did they do? They bring these skills; they have like 60 clients. You can’t be a manager and have 60 clients. You’re an agent. And of course you charge 10%, but then you get all the perks of being a manager. You can produce; some people can get 15%. You get residuals, which an agent can’t get. If any manager has over 30 clients, I say they’re not real good managers. You can’t.

Suzanne:   So, you were talking before about, you’re not a teacher, and you put this video series together. So, did you ever foresee that maybe you would ever, like tour around the country giving talks about acting and getting people to sign up? Or is that not something that you were interested in?

Chi:   I tend to do two Q&As a year. They have two packages. One is for the seven episode 13 webinar, and every year, there will still be changes, you know, like I talk about COVID now. Then, there’s going to be new stuff and all that. So, I would add on. I would tape a day to talk about seven to ten segments and then add on two Q&As every six months. So, then it’s a three hour thing. And then we will add onto that every year. So, people can opt in to the lifetime which is $100 more, or $299, and that will be a lifetime for life. And then every year you get new information from mastering the business of acting. And it should be that, because things change all the time.

Suzanne:   So, that’s on all online?

Chi:   It’s online, all online, and yeah, I think I can promote this thing for two more months, and then after this, I think I’m ready to go to my next project. I just can’t. I’m not a teacher nor am I one of those people. You know, I think a teacher is somebody who is very nurturing and has a lot of patience. That’s not me. And I think it’s a wonderful thing when people can teach.

Suzanne:   Okay, what is your next project? You have an idea yet?

Chi:   Oh, no, no, I have it. It’s called Life in Threes.

Suzanne:   Your series that you’re talking about?

Chi:   Yeah, it tells a story about an 85 year old Chinese woman with early stage dementia, who moves into a nursing home in Philadelphia in order to take care of one last piece of unfinished business before the disease gets the best of her. It’s there that she [becomes] friends with a young Caucasian orderly and a African American nurse. She helps them to make sense of their lives as she recounts the story of her life’s journey that begins in China, moves on to Vietnam, and ends in contemporary America.

Suzanne:   And are you basing this on a relative of yours?

Chi:   My mom.

Suzanne:   Your mom. Okay.

Chi:   Yeah, it’s a true story about my mother [unintelligible] especially an epic story that spans seven decades, while three lives unravel in the present. So, it’s a story about three characters, and each season is a decade. So it [starts] in the 20s.

Suzanne:   That sounds interesting.

Chi:   Oh, it’s the four years that…I was able to write it better when she passed away. It’s something I’d been wanting to do for a long time. I didn’t know how to. It’s basically Joy Luck Club meets This is Us.

Suzanne:   Yeah, okay, I can see that. I have two more short questions for you before I have to go on to another call I have. So, I saw that Tyler Christopher is one of your clients. I’m a longtime fan of his from watching the soaps. So, what’s he doing now?

Chi:   He’s in Indiana, and he’s waiting for a role right for him. [He] have to come back out. And you know, this year is really tough if you’re not in town. It’s just really, really tough to be able to do what you need to do, but he’s doing well. And he told me he’s ready to come back, so get him a role. I said, when everything’s calmed down, we’ll definitely do that.

Suzanne:   Okay. Well, I’m looking forward to seeing him on my TV again.

Chi:   Yeah, it’s crazy how he made a lot of money on the soap. It’s very rare that people can make the kind of money on a soap.

Suzanne:   Yeah, and now I have a slightly more serious question. It’s seems like Hollywood is hiring more people of color, including Asians, for not only acting roles, but writers, directors and so forth. Do you think they’re making real changes? Or do you think it’s kind of a passing fad, and they’ll try to revert back to their old ways.

Chi:   I think the change will stay. Here’s the reason why. Not only the pressure and the reality of the world is changing and all that, it has to do with with – and it’s good news and bad news for American minorities. It’s a global market. So, if you look at, let’s just say film is an easy way to talk about it. So, if you look at it, it’s a global market, and you’re going to need to represent everything globally. So, if you watch a movie, like Wonder Woman or anything like that, you’ll see they will cast people from different countries. Like, have you seen The Martian?

Suzanne:   No, I haven’t.

Chi:   [For] The Martian just somebody just came up with the idea, you know, we need to connect the Chinese into this movie, how do we do that? So, they add just one little storyline that they are going to need a Chinese rocket booster into the storyline, that the Chinese are going to help them out. By adding that storyline, before they even shoot a frame, they will guarantee themselves $150 million that will pay the bills [unintelligible] the budget. So, right there, you can understand why the global market is forcing the change. So, is the [unintelligible] true? Yes, it is. And it’s a little harsh right now.

First of all, Caucasian actors – and usually, like I remember, I have to take one of my clients, the kid that I’d nurtured for 10 years, and I want him to hear it. Because, you know, I’m busy with the mommy, and you know, he’s your child, sometimes they don’t listen to you after you’ve been with them for a long time. So, I forced him to listen to an agent that we were signing, a big agent. I said, “Tell him what’s going on with the market and understand what’s going on.” So, he said, “[unintelligible] really simple.” I said, “Okay.”

Five years ago or whatever, you have a cast. Let’s just say, this is your cast on a TV show. You have maybe four Caucasian actors, and then you add one black and one Hispanic. That’d be your cast. Now the cast is going to be forced to change. Your cast can be maybe two Caucasians, you know, one African American, one Asian, and one Latino. So, literally, half the jobs of Caucasian actors are gone. So, is that something that’s going to stay? I believe so. I think once you start in that direction, it’s hard to change back. It’s the same thing about about gays in America. If you if you look at what happened in the 90s, with with Will & Grace and other shows, Glee, and on and on, I mean, did the writer purposely start changing things little by little? And before you know it, now, the gays are not an issue. But right now, [transgender] is. You know, people have a discrimination towards transgenders. But as a gay man, or whatever, and all that, you know, it’s not that big of an issue anymore, not for the kids. If I’m a high school kid [unintelligible] it’s no big deal.

So, how do you reverse that? You can’t. You don’t. You don’t want to reverse that.

So, I think the #metoo movement did a wonderful thing for women and for minorities and all of that, that it forced the industry to not allow to ask for your quote, that’s by law now. So, by not [being] able to ask about your quote, then they cannot. In the old days, there’s no way a woman could match the money. You know, if you look at like the show called – the Kevin Spacey show – what was that show?

Suzanne:   Oh, I know the one you’re talking about. I can’t think of the name either.

Chi:   Yeah. So, it took her four years or three years, actually. She was not getting paid what he was getting. He was getting 450 and back in and all that. So, finally the #metoo movement – before the #metoo movement came along, her manager was smart enough to do a TV [unintelligible] on her, and her TV [unintelligible] was much bigger than his, and then pointed out that she’s bigger than he is. And it’s true. Who the hell would like Kevin Spacey? Nobody likes Kevin Spacey. So, she got the same money as he did…So now they put this thing in that you cannot ask about people’s quote. Then you have to pay everybody the same way. Depends on what roles, what position they’re in, in the cast ranking.

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

MORE INFO:

Chi Muoi LoActor turned Hollywood Manager, Chi Muoi Lo, has taken his 30 years of experience in the entertainment industry and created a 7-episode online subscription series, Mastering the Business of Acting. Hearing thousands of stories of how young actors have been exploited in the entertainment industry, he felt that he needed to share his knowledge in a way that set him apart from other programs offering similar advice. Mastering the Business of Acting primarily focuses on those trying to break into the business, it also includes information necessary for the working actors and rising stars. He has also included insight from industry professionals such as John Frank Levy (4X Emmy Award-Winning Casting Director), Todd Eisner (Talent Agent at 3Arts),Karen Molina White (Actress, “Proud Family”) and Nancy Hower (Director of Startrek Voyager).

Chi covers a variety of topics ranging from:

  • How to break into the business
  • How to maintain a successful acting career
  • The art and business of auditioning
  • The new technological advancements that now all actors are expected to be experienced in

Born in Phan Rang, Vietnam, to Chinese parents Chi moved to the U.S. at the age of two after the fall of Saigon.  Upon their arrival, Chi and his family were placed in the Indian Town Gap Refugee Camp where they became sponsored by the Jewish League of America and moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  It was there that Chi was raised with his nine brothers and three sisters. He caught the acting bug at age 10 and when he finally decided to make the move to Los Angeles to pursue his dream of acting, Chi had the luck he hoped for, booking roles and working continuously. He left his mark with his outstanding performance starring in the critically acclaimed and highly rated Vanishing Son mini-series and starred in MOW Faith of My Father, Sucker Free City and Shannon’s Deal. He has also appeared as Guest Lead on numerous shows such as on “Nip Tuck,” “Cold Case,”Murder in The First,” “CSI,” “NYPD Blue,” “Malcolm in the Middle,” “Smallville,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and many more.

Chi is the owner of the production company, Black Hawk Entertainment and the CEO of the talent management company Allen Edelman Management. His clients include Karen Malina White (Disney’s “I Didn’t Do It”), Steven Krueger (CW’s “Roswell: New Mexico”), Tyler Christopher (“Days of Our Lives”), and many more. Chi’s debut as an actor-writer-director was with the feature film Catfish In Black Bean Sauce and was met with great success and made Variety’s “Top 50 of 2001 Limited-Release Winner At The Box Office.” As a manager, he nurtured the careers of countless clients over the years. Through this nurturing, he has heard countless experiences that actors have shared with him about their auditions, and he has done it all for his clients – pitching, dealing with talent agents and casting agents, negotiating series deals and film deals with studios.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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Chi Muoi Lo

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By Laurie B.

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Finn and Steffy

Interview with Victoria Rowell and Richard Brooks

TV Interview!

Richard Brooks and Victoria Rowell star in "The Ruth and the Ruthless" on BET+

Interview with Richard Brooks and Victoria Rowell of “The Ruth and the Ruthless” on BET+ by Suzanne 5/25/21

This was such a fun interview! You probably know Victoria from “The Young and the Restless” or “Diagnosis Murder” years ago. You may know Richard from “Law & Order,” “Good Trouble,” “The Haves and the Have Nots” or many other shows. Between the two of them, they have an impressive list of credits. Victoria not only stars in the show but also created, produced and directed it. With her history at Y&R, and all of her friends and colleagues in the daytime soap industry, she has a lot of rich material to spoof.

Suzanne:   I’m glad I got to talk to both of you. Victoria…I interviewed you in 2014 over the phone for, I think, it was one of your Chandler family Christmas movies.

Victoria:   Oh, sure. Sure. With Melinda Williams. Yes.

Suzanne:   Those are great.

Victoria:   Thank you.

Suzanne:   And Richard, you’ve been some of my favorite shows like Bosch – I love that show – and Law & Order, of course, I mean, my gosh.

Richard:   Oh, yeah. Bosch was fun too.

Victoria:   Yeah, now he’s doing Shameless.

Richard Brooks and Victoria Rowell star in "The Ruth and the Ruthless" on BET+
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – MAY 26: Richard Brooks and Victoria Rowell attend a screening of UMC’s “The Rich And The Ruthless” at NeueHouse Hollywood on May 26, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)

Suzanne:   He’s everywhere.

…So, the trailer for season four looks hilarious. I like how you’re making fun of the soap actors having to use mannequins and things like that. That was really brilliant. That’s not a question; that’s just a compliment, but if you want to expand on that, feel free.

Victoria:   Well, with COVID, obviously, different productions, we’re resorting to different ways of getting the scenes in the can, whether it was actually using the spouses or significant others of the actual actors, so they could be close, and they were in their own bubble. I don’t know if you know that. So, the kissing scenes are actually done with husbands and/or wives in soap opera. And certainly mannequins were being used, and I just thought, “God, I’ve gotta put it in the show.” I mean, this is fantastic. So, that was it, and the actors were amenable to it. We had a lot of fun with it, at the same time, including COVID as a character.

Suzanne:   All right, and a lot of masks and jokes about masks and that kind of thing.

Victoria:   Right, and not really making fun of actors. I never want to say that. I’m not making fun of daytime, but the situations that we find ourselves in in daytime, because the reality is that we are producing 64 pages a day, and anything that is producing a movie in one day, the wheels are going to come off the rails, but I defer to Richard, who’s also a producer on the show.

Richard:   Well, I didn’t get to work with a mannequin, but it was fun. It was fun. It was definitely fun. A lot of the cast had fun with that.

Suzanne:   I think they used it most on The Bold and the Beautiful, and then they later made fun of themselves with it by having a character (Thomas) who was obsessed with the mannequin who looked like the woman (Hope) he was obsessed with, and then he had a brain tumor, a head injury or something, and her husband (Liam) walked in on him making out with the mannequin and flew off the handle. So, they’re good at making fun of [it] too.

Richard:   Oh, that’s funny, yeah.

Victoria:   Right, right.

Suzanne:   It was ridiculous. It was ridiculous.

Victoria:   So, we’re happy to be on BET+, our new home. It is an opportunity for our viewers, our fans, to watch all four seasons; they can binge watch. There’s a hashtag binge-watch weekend on BET+, and, of course, Richard was nominated for an Emmy. We’ve won Best Ensemble Cast, and our audience is growing with this bigger platform.

Suzanne:   Yeah, that’s really great. I have to sign up. I haven’t signed up yet.

Victoria:   Oh, yes, you must, and there’s a seven day free trial. Go for it. $9.99 a month.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I belong to all the others. It adds up, doesn’t it?

Victoria:   It does.

Suzanne:   So, seasons one through three had six episodes each, and I was looking on Amazon; it said that there’s five episodes this season. Is there any particular reason for that?

Victoria:   COVID. You know, just we were so fortunate to be able to shoot; this is a SAG-AFRTA production, but we were able to produce a really cogent, soapalicious, scintillating season of five episodes.

Richard, what did you think about the pace at [which] we were going and what we were able to produce?

Richard:   Well, I mean, it’s always such a smooth pace. I mean, you’re such a great director and create such a good environment for all the cast and the actors. So, I think we all just have fun, and it’s always fun whenever we get to come back and do the show and do another season and all get together. You’ve created such a great family environment for everyone. So, I know the pace didn’t seem hectic or anything. I felt we went really smooth, and it was really organized and tight, and it was just great that we were able to get another season together.

Victoria:   Thank you, Richard. And that’s how it went.

Of course, we’re held to the same standards. If you’re new media production or ultra low budget, you’re still held to the same COVID safety standards. So, we had our COVID safety officer on set; we had a nurse. We had to do testing, [have] individually packaged meals, I mean, all the COVID safety protocols are in place. Of course, SAG rep visits [the] set, and I always want my actors, as would any producer or producers on a show – You don’t want to get shut down, and you certainly want the environment to be safe but happy, and we achieve that each season.

Suzanne:   And do you know yet whether they’ll be a season five?

Victoria:   We don’t know yet, but I always write on speculation that I will get picked up, and so I just finished working on Richards courtroom scene. You know, he’s involved in the art forgery business. So, I continue to write, and I work with a wonderful writing consultant, Victoria Christopher Murray, and I just keep going. You know, it has momentum, and we’re really privileged to be able to work, certainly during a global pandemic, and we enjoy working together. Richard and I have been working together for like, 25 years. We started on Diagnosis Murder working together.

Richard:   I like when you said you’re gonna try to get Dick Van Dyke to come in. That’d be so great.

Suzanne:   Wouldn’t that be great?

Richard:   Yeah, he was so amazing to work with.

Suzanne:   Yeah, he’s still working.

Richard:   He’s the nicest man. He was the nicest man on the show when we did that.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I watched all of that show.

Richard:   Having his family there with him, that was just so cool. I really loved that, you know?

Victoria:   Yeah, yeah, he’s really –

Richard:   You were doing two shows. I remember when we met, she just blew me away, because she was running two shows at the same time, like full time cast member on that and on on your soap, but it was crazy.

Victoria:   The Young & the Restless, yeah.

Richard:   The Young & the Restless, yeah. It was just so energized, and they just made it all work. I was like, “Wow, anything is possible in Hollywood.”

Victoria:   Anything is possible.

Richard:   You know what I mean?

Victoria:   That was Viacom CBS, and by the way, Bryton James, who plays the rapper, Traque, on The Rich & the Ruthless, Suzanne, he played my foster son, then my adoptive son, on The Young & the Restless, Devon. So, he came on and did a guest star role. So, people have to tune in to watch that, but he just was nominated today for Best Supporting Actor on The Young & the Restless. So, we hope he’ll win an Emmy for us on The Rich & the Ruthless.

Suzanne:   Oh, that’d be nice.

Richard:   Oh, wow, that’s great.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I will say, what you said about anything is possible, if you have as much talent and drive and energy as she has –

Richard:   Really, exactly. It’s incredible. It’s incredible, and these are based on her novels, too. So, she’s a novelist also.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I was going to say…

Richard:   So, [she’s] just prolific. Fiction and non-fiction.Suzanne:   …When I interviewed you in 2014, you were talking about [how] you were writing, I think, you called it at the time, The Rich & the Restless, and I remember thinking, “Restless,” they might think that’s too close to The Young & the Restless, and then you made a TV series out of it. So, that’s amazing.

Victoria:   It really is a testament to putting, you know, the power of the pen and carrying it all the way through. And, you know, it started with an artist residence [at] the Hambidge, in Georgia. I got a fellowship, if you will, artist residency, and I was able to finish one of the two books. And it starts with just the discipline. As you know, Suzanne, and certainly Richard knows, [it’s] just staying in the chair and finishing the manuscript and just having a passion for your project.

I have a great cast. We have Alesha Renee, who’s now recurring on Kenan. We’ve got Robert R’ichard, who plays our son. Richard plays my husband, and I play, obviously, his wife. Robert R’ichard is going to be starring on Harlem, the series Harlem. And then, we have Akilah Releford. We have Vivian Lamolli, who’s starring in All the Queen’s Men along with Chrystale Wilson. I mean, the list goes on. Our actors are working actors. So, I’m so fortunate to have this incredible cast. Michael Colyar.

Suzanne:   I was looking at your cast list last night, and I had seen in the previews that you have Shadoe Stevens, and I remember him from the early 80s when he was doing the Federated commercials. Did you ever see those?

Victoria:   I didn’t see those.

Suzanne:   You should go on YouTube and look. There’s a compilation of all of his hilarious commercials for this electronics store in California.

Victoria:   He’s great. He’s great. He’s very supportive, and he’s an integral part of the cast…

Richard:   I was going to say, “He’s so funny, too.” He’s just so funny on the show.

Victoria:   He’s hilarious.

Suzanne:   Even in the promo I saw he was really funny. I went back and watched the promos for the other seasons too, so I could sort of get a sense for them. I think your promos are getting better too.

Victoria:   Yeah. Oh, yeah. Yeah, we’re really happy with BET+. BET+ has really come on board and pushed the series and into another dimension, and looking forward, obviously, to what the consensus will be after the summer, and hopefully we’ll have a pickup.

And I have a second soap opera, as well. So, we’ll see what happens.

Suzanne:   Do you have a title for that one?

Victoria:   I do. I do, but I won’t say it yet.

 

Suzanne:   Okay. What else can you tell us? For those who haven’t watched it yet, what can you tell us about season four?

Victoria:   Well, I’ll start, and Richard, if you want to chime in anywhere, but season four, we pick up with the devastating fan club cruise for The Rich & the Ruthless, Destination Nowhere, and the boat is faulty, because the Barringers, well, Max Berenger (R’ichard), our son, is trying to cut corners and save money. So, he leases a faulty boat, which takes on water. So, that was our cliffhanger for the fan club cruise. Season five picks up with who survived out there in the treacherous waters off the coast, and we see some of our cast stranded. We see some of our cast and the Barringers who have survived, and some of them have not really been able to maintain all of their faculties. Some people are seeing ghosts. Richard chime in anywhere.

Richard:   Yeah, and then, our son, Max, is trying to take advantage of our misfortune and our predicament to seize control of the of the soap opera. So, we’re fighting with him. It’s good; it’s a lot of fun. It’s a lot of fun. We’re still trying to maintain the show and keep the show going.

Victoria:   Yeah, he’s always trying to prove himself. He’s like – you know, his parents are iconic in the business, right? [It’s] the only black-owned broadcast soap opera in Hollywood, and Max wants to be a movie producer. He wants to be a rap producer. He’s trying to do everything and anything to get out from under the shadow of his parents. So, he makes mistakes.

I do want to say that we have fabulous soap opera vets on the show. We have Brenda Epperson, who played Ashley Abbott on The Young & the Restless. We have Kimberlin Brown [who] played…a major villain on The Young & the Restless. I think she just went over to General Hospital. So, we want to encourage soap fans and film and primetime fans, because we covered the gamut in terms of talent. There’s something for everybody, and it is a dram-com.

Richard:   And it does all happened during COVID. So, it’s funny that we’re persisting to do the show in the series with all the COVID protocols and complications that come from doing it with masks on and stuff like that. So, it’s really funny.

Suzanne:   Are Brenda and Kimberlin in season four, as well?

Victoria:   Brenda’s is in season four, and she has a very prominent role in season four as network exec head of daytime, Edith Norman, and she plays a part that she hasn’t been given the opportunity to play in her career. She’s just so treacherous. She grabs her chest when she sees her performances. I mean, she takes your breath away, but it’s fun for her to play.

We also have fabulous comedians. We have Gabi Sanalitro, we have Elaine Ballace, and we have newcomers to the show. We have Guerin Berry.

Richard:   Michael Colyar.

Victoria:   Michael Colyar, who was mentioned. So, we’re fortunate to have this incredible cast. Kristen Mako, who’s a newcomer. Yeah.

Suzanne:   So Richard, you’ve never been in a daytime soap opera before, right?

Richard:   No, no, I haven’t, no.

Suzanne:   In real life, I mean.

Richard:   Yeah.Richard Brooks and Victoria Rowell star in "The Ruth and the Ruthless" on BET+

Suzanne:   So, Victoria, of course, spent many years on The Young & the Restless, and she wisely used her knowledge and experience from that show to satirize in The Rich & the Ruthless. Was there anything in the script that surprised you to learn about soaps?

Richard:   Well, I mean, you know, whenever I speak with Victoria, she tells me some of the stories. I mean, what really surprised me the most is that this is based on some real experiences, all the things that happen on the show and all throughout the seasons and stuff. The pace of it is crazy, you know, that they that they’re able to produce the shows in a day, which is amazing to me, and just the level that the actors bring to it, just the work ethic. I think people miss that a lot of times. They don’t realize [it]; they see it as fun or sort of easy, whatever. I don’t think they really realize how challenging that is as an actor, to stay on top of it, to try to go home and learn your lines, and then still be there on the set and just stay focused and give a turnout, great performance. So, it was fun. You know, this one is great, though, to me, because I love the comedy level to it. I just love that we get to have fun and put a little bit of a spoof spin on it, and then, just the freedom that we have. Also, this one is funny, because this is one of the larger casts I think that I’ve been on with the show this consistent. And the fact that she’s able to put together this amazing cast, such a large cast, that adds to it, all these things add to how much fun it is. So, yeah, but I mean, I’ve had a few opportunities, I guess, to be on soaps, but it never panned out.  I wasn’t available, but, yeah, I like it. I think it would be funny.

Suzanne:   Yeah, you probably have a larger cast than like actual soaps, daytime broadcast soaps. General Hospital  has a huge cast; you probably have a bigger one, looking at the list.

Richard:   Yeah, exactly.

Victoria:   You know, soaps have about 30 cast members. So, we’re right about there; we’re like, 27.

Suzanne:   I think one of the things that they do now, because they can’t afford to pay as much as they used to; they can’t afford to pay as many regular actors, is they do this – I know at least two of them do this constant revolving door of characters, or they’ll have like two or three that are always on, and then everybody else, they go out of town, and then they come back. They do that, and it drives the fans crazy. I’m sure the actors aren’t too happy about it. But what are you gonna do when the costs and the ratings and everything – I don’t know if you ever touched on that in the show or not, because…you’re characters are on a shoestring [budget].

Victoria:   Well, in season one, Richard does address it. He calls Willie Turner (Colyar), who plays the judge, the gardener, the butler; he plays this black character, plays multiple characters on the show. He calls him into his office – and Richard, do you want to expound on [that]? [unintelligible]

Richard:   Yeah, I tell him I have to cut his salary in half with cutbacks. He goes, “Half?!” He thinks he’s coming in to get a raise. So, it’s really funny. He comes in all confident and like, “Yeah, I know you called me in, and I’m gonna get a promotion. I’m gonna get a thing.” And I’m like, “No, I cut you in half. Sorry Willie.”

Suzanne:   Yeah, now they don’t have those big splashy weddings anymore. They’ll have like, five people and and some guy who’s always the minister, even though he’s not really. He’s like, “Oh, I did the online minister thing.” Like, there’s this guy Carter on The Bold and the Beautiful, and they’re finally giving him an actual story. Before he would just be the guy who married everybody, and he was a lawyer. So, they don’t unfortunately have those big splashy weddings that they used to have with all the whole cast.

Richard:   Oh, yeah.

Victoria:   Yeah. So, we do address it, is the point. We’re constantly addressing. Every season we address cuts. We’re constantly arguing. Like in season four, Edith Norman, played by Brenda Epperson, along with Robert R’ichard tell the wardrobe mistress, played by consummate actress Dawnn Lewis, that she has to identify and put used wardrobe on different actors. And she’s like, “What wardrobe? You make a return everything that has a price tag on it.” We’re constantly [addressing] . It’s always in the script.

Suzanne:   That is funny.

So, let’s see. Victoria, what have you learned most about writing, directing, and producing since you first started working on this show?…

Victoria:   Well, I’ve been producing live shows for like 20 years for fundraisers, big shows, like with Patti Austin, and Yolanda Adams, and Sharon Stone, and Sheila E. I’ve been doing that for a long time. I stopped doing it, because it requires a lot of work to do a live show with big talent like that, but I include that as part of my experience, of course, and coming from theater and ballet. So, all of that has informed what I do today, as a producer, for sure.

And in terms of writing, of course, Viacom CBS gave me my first – Dick Van Dyke gave me my first [script] writing opportunity, and I really – I guess, in summary, it’s the sum of all of my experiences that inform running a tight ship that is malleable at the same time and fun to work in. as Richard described. So, I’m as good as my team. My first ADs, my second ADs, my DP, you know, my team, all my hair and make-up [team], right down to the food. And my SAG-AFRTRA rep, of course, my cast led by Richard. So, I’ve learned through people I’ve worked with, being on the set with a Dick Van Dyke; it starts at the top down, the tone of the set. It starts with the top down on the other side of the camera, so I’ve just learned to be sensitive to that.

Suzanne:   Are you still going to be writing books, or you’re focusing just on the TV shows right now?

Victoria:   I may do another book. I have another book that I want to write, but my scripts – I’m working on a Christmas movie right now, and I have a Christmas movie coming out on BET that I directed this December starring Bill Bellamy, titled A Rich Christmas.

Richard, what are you working on right now?

Richard:   Well, I’m writing also a little bit. Yeah, I have a new screenplay I’m working on. And yeah, I’m just working on The Rich & the Ruthless.

Victoria:   I have a question for Richard. How was it working on Shameless recently?

Richard:   Shameless was really, really fun. You know, Bill [Macy] was just a great, great character. And, again, it was a little bit more comedy. So, that was just really – I got to play Big Liam. It was like a future Liam, the little son on the show, with all his attitude and his his language and a way to, like, talk to his his father and cut them down. So it’s just, it is really shameless. I mean, that show is really funny. They push it; they push the envelope so far that it’s incredible. And I think this is their last season or the last season coming up. So, it was great to just get to talk to Bill a little bit behind the scenes too and just see what that experience has been like, what he’s looking forward to, in the future. And we go back, too. We started with Law & Order. He was on the show…

Victoria:   Wow.

Richard:   In one of the first seasons, I think, actually, when we first started it. And his wife, we graduated high school together; we went to art school, Interlochen Arts Academy. So, it’s a small world. You know, it’s great. With Hollywood, I think you get a lot of years and in the game. You’ve connected with people, and then when you get to reconnect, like with Victoria and I, it’s always like you just pick up right from where you left off. That kind of thing about being an actor is one of the things I really love. A lot of times it’s just one of those those great fortunate things to have a long career.

Suzanne:   I’m trying to remember. I remember you playing Paul Robinette. Was it only on Law & Order? Were you an SVU as well? Did you cross over?

Richard:   The only one I crossed over was when they had Chicago Justice. Robinette came in for that season of that show, but, yeah, I’ve recurred a lot as a defense attorney now from leaving the practice and to join. And now I think they’re going to come up with a Law & Order for the defense. I think that’s in development. I think that was picked up.

Victoria:   Nice.

Richard:   Hopefully Robinette will get to reappear there.

 

Suzanne:   That would be great. I couldn’t remember if they’d killed off your character or not, because there’s so many characters on Law & Order.

Richard:   Yeah, no, it’s a great universe. It’s so good.

Victoria:   I played a judge on SVU, a recurring judge. So, that was cool, but, yeah, Richard’s right. It’s full circle, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention we also have a number of wonderful – Davetta Sherwood, also from Y&R, has guest starred. Dorien Wilson, who plays Pastor Bell. Starletta DuPois. I mean, you can see we have a big cast. They don’t play every season, but we’re so fortunate.

Suzanne:   And Richard, I heard you singing on YouTube. You have quite a voice.

Richard:   Thank you. Yeah, I’m trying to get I’m trying to get Victoria to write me in to sing a little bit and serenade her sometime on the set.

Victoria:   It’s coming. It’s coming.

Suzanne:   I listened to your Bill Wither’s song, and that was good.

Richard:   Thank you. Yeah, I love that. Yes, you know, social media now is a great opportunity to kind of express a little, you know, talents that you don’t really get to do a lot with. So, I want to do more with the music, but that’ll be fun.

Suzanne:   Okay, so any anything else you’d like to tell your fans?

Victoria:   Well, I just like to remind folks to get their BET+ subscription, #TheRichAndTheRuthless. You can reach me on instagram and twitter @VictoriaRowell. Richard?

Richard:   Yeah, same thing. Yes. Support the show. We appreciate all the fans who have supported all these seasons and crossed over from BET+, and you can follow me also. @RichardBrooksJr on Twitter, @RichardLeeBrooks on IG, or Richard Brooks on Facebook. That way just continue to support us; we really appreciate everybody, and we really love that we have this opportunity to do this show.

Here is the video of our interview!

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

MORE INFO:

VICTORIA ROWELL STARS IN THE AWARD-WINNING SERIES, “THE RICH AND THE RUTHLESS” BEGINNING THURSDAY, MAY 13 – SERIES HAS NEW HOME FOR SEASON FOUR ON BET PLUS (BET+)

VICTORIA ROWELL STARS IN THE AWARD-WINNING SERIES, “THE RICH AND THE RUTHLESS” BEGINNING THURSDAY, MAY 13 – SERIES HAS NEW HOME FOR SEASON FOUR ON BET PLUS (BET+)

New York, NY, May 3, 2021 – Emmy nominated and 11-time NAACP Image Award-winning actress and New York Times best-selling author, Victoria Rowell and Days Ferry Productions, announce BET Plus (BET+) is the exciting new home for her hit series, THE RICH AND THE RUTHLESS Season 4, premiering May 13. Seasons 1-3 are now streaming on BET+.

Fan favorite THE RICH AND THE RUTHLESS is a behind-the-scenes, dram-com soap that follows the fictional story of the first black owned family sudser on broadcast television, stopping at nothing to stay in power.

This critically-acclaimed Daytime Emmy-nominated series won Best Ensemble Cast and Best Lead Actress by the Independent Series Awards.

The series stars Richard Brooks (Good Trouble; Shameless), Victoria Rowell (Birdie), Alesha Renee (Kenan), Robert Ri’chard (Harlem), Chrystale Wilson (All the Queens Men), Michael Colyar (BET’s Hollywood Heartbreak), Dawnn Lewis (Star Trek; Lower Decks), Vivian Lamolli (All the Queens Men), Kristen Mako (The Big Rant), Bryton James (The Young & The Restless) and new talent Akilah Releford.

Season 4 of THE RICH AND THE RUTHLESS is executive produced by Victoria Rowell in association with Days Ferry Productions, Carletta S. Hurt, Richard Brooks, Vanzil Burke and Jill Warner. Head Writer, Victoria Rowell. Writing Consultant, Victoria Christopher Murray.

#TheRichandtheRuthless

https://www.therichandtheruthless.com/

ABOUT BET+:
BET+ is the premium streaming service for the Black community offering thousands of hours of hit movies, TV shows, stage plays and more. With new, exclusive originals premiering each month, BET+ offers the best of Black culture with titles like First Wives Club, Ruthless, Bigger, The Family Business and American Gangster: Trap Queens from revered creators like Tracy Oliver, Tyler Perry, Will Packer and Carl Weber, to name a few. BET+ members can watch as much as they want anytime, anywhere, on any internet-connected screen and always commercial-free. Visit BET.Plus to learn more about BET+, a joint venture between BET Networks and Tyler Perry Studios, and follow @BETPlus for the latest news and updates.

ABOUT VICTORIA ROWELL:
Rowell is an EMMY nominated comedic and dramatic artist. She co-starred in the LIFETIME TV remake of Jane Austen’s classic, “Pride & Prejudice” as Catherine Darcy. Her executive produced and directed movie, “Jacqueline and Jilly,” addressing the Opioid addiction crisis in a well to do Virginian black family, was met with praise and released on UMC.TV and also aired on BET in 2020.

Rowell teamed up again with AMC Networks/RLJ Entertainment streamer / UMC.tvwith her interior design prowess, and first AMC Networks/UMC.tv Original (DYI) limited Series, “Trash vs Treasure,” with low-income clientele — which launched in July 2020

Rowell historically directed Viacom/CBS BET HER movie, “Everything Is Fine,” focusing on mental wellness in a black family which premiered in July 2020 and starred Charmin Lee and LaRonn Marzett.  Rowell appeared in two subsequent BET HER movies from the same series, “The Waiting Room: A Long Look in the Mirror” and “Like, Comment, Subscribe” in October 2020 as part of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Rowell/Days Ferry Productions also co-produced a five-part, behind the scenes, “Secrets of a Soap Opera Diva” podcast with Entertainment Speakers Bureau, available now wherever podcasts are available, such as Apple, Spotify and more.

Rowell co-stars with director/actor, Greg Alan Williams in the dramatic, criminal justice feature film, “Birdie”, releasing this month.

Rowell has worked with creative luminaries such as: Anne Rice, Misty Copeland, Anne Roth, Neema Barnette, Sharon Stone, Twyla Tharp, Kasi Lemmons, Denyce Graves, Colleen Atwood, Terri Lyne Carrington, Milos Forman, Irwin Winkler, Richard Brooks, Samuel L. Jackson, Peter Medak, Johnathan Lynn, Patrick Demarchelier, Bruce Webber, Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Bruce Willis, Jan de Bont, Peter/Bobby Farrelly, Eddie Murphy, Dick Van Dyke, Jim Carey, Beau Bridges, Harry Lennix, Anthony Tudor, Forest Whitaker and more. CBS, Viacom, Universal, Sony, NBC, ABC, AMC, Disney, Warner Brothers, Fox, MGM, HBO and UMC, Amazon, and ROKU.

Rowell co-executive produced several UPtv Christmas holiday movies for Uplifting Entertainment Network. UPTV boasts over 70 million subscribers worldwide.

Rowell has also been highly acclaimed from her work as an advocate for foster children and communities underserved in the arts.  In addition to her long time and illustrious acting career, she is a NY Times best-selling author and an in-demand speaker.  She has two adult children, Maya and Jasper, and resides in LA.

Actor Richard Brooks was born in Cleveland, Ohio.

Brooks has appeared in numerous television shows but is perhaps best known as ADA Paul Robinette, starring opposite Michael Moriarty’s Ben Stone, in the original LAW & ORDER.  He is also known for his role as the notorious space bounty hunter, Jubal Early, in the short-lived cult hit FIREFLY. He starred in the USA Network’s sci-fi comedy series GOOD VS. EVIL, as secret-agent-for-good Henry McNeil. And he was unforgettable in his powerful embodiment of Frederick Douglass in the award-winning PBS American Experience docudrama mini-series THE ABOLITIONISTS.

In addition to his recent television work on THE HAVES AND THE HAVE NOTS, BOSCH, CHICAGO PD, SHAMELESS, and others, Richard received his second consecutive Best Lead Actor Daytime Emmy Nomination for his work on the BET+ series THE RICH AND THE RUTHLESS, in which he stars opposite the shows’ creator, Victoria Rowell.  No one can forget Brooks as Gabrielle Union’s big brother, Patrick, on the award-winning BET drama BEING MARY JANE.

This multitalented artist, in addition to his acting roles,  is also a singer, writer, director and producer. He was last seen on the stage originating the role of Harmond Wilks in the world premiere production of August Wilson’s RADIO GOLF at Yale Rep Theatre.

Richard is presently recurring on GOOD TROUBLE on FreeForm Network.  Brooks resides in Los Angeles and New York and is involved in many charity organizations since he is always motivated to “giving back”.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

Richard Brooks and Victoria Rowell star in "The Ruth and the Ruthless" on BET+

Interview with Max Talisman

TV Interview!

Actor/writer/director Max Talisman

Interview with Max Talisman of the movie “Things Like This” by Suzanne 4/13/21

It was so nice to speak with Max. He has a lot of energy and enthusiasm. I think he’ll do great things!

Suzanne:   So, what’s your film about?

Max:   So, the film is about two guys with the same name, who fall in love. Basically, what I’ve noticed is that every movie that has to do with gay characters is all about the coming out part of a gay life, but there’s so much that happens after that. So, that’s literally just the beginning of a gay person’s life as someone in the community. I just noticed that there were no movies like that, so I was like, “I have to write this. This is what I have to write. I have to write a movie about two men who fall in love where coming out just isn’t part of the story. It’s already happened.”

Suzanne:   So, they’re in their twenties, basically?

Max:   Yeah, they’re in their mid-twenties, and they’re just experiencing love and all the fears that come with falling in love.

Suzanne:   Okay, actually, that makes me think of another question. Had there been any movies about gay people in college?

Max:   I don’t think there have been. I think there have been a lot of – I mean, not a lot. There’s still not a lot of content for, you know, queer people. There’ve been movies about high school, with people coming out in high school. I can’t think of any gay people in college, especially not ones that have to do with post coming out.

Suzanne:   Right. Well, there’s your next movie.

Max:   Exactly.

Suzanne:   So, what made you want to become a writer and director?

Max:   I think it was just the past led me here. I’ve been a performer since I was very, very young, and a few years back I noticed that there weren’t a lot of roles for someone with my body type – I’m a plus size actor – and especially not the type of roles that I felt like I should be playing or I should be auditioning for. So, I decided that I should be writing them. I’m lucky that I have the ability to write, and I just decided to start writing the roles that I wanted to be playing.

Suzanne:   Okay. And had you done any shorter films before this or been been involved in film class? Anything like that?

Max:   No. I mean, I’ve been an actor, obviously, on multiple sets, TV and film, and I’ve learned while I’ve been there. Basically, the truth is that this movie is about telling the story of these two people falling in love. It’s not a technical film. It’s really about the story and the connection between these two people. So, I just I felt, after interviewing multiple directors and going through that, I just didn’t find someone who was able to tell the story in the same way that I knew I could.

Suzanne:   Okay, so you did interview other directors. Did you shadow anyone or anything like that?

Max:   No, I didn’t shadow anyone. I did interview other directors, but just like I said, at the end of the day, it felt like I needed to be the person to tell the story.

Suzanne:   Okay. And did did you learn a lot about directing while you were actually doing your movie?

Max:   So we haven’t – we’re filming in the fall.

Suzanne:   Oh, you’re not filming yet?

Max:   We’re filming this fall. We’re filming in September and October. So, I haven’t learned that much about filming yet through the film, because we haven’t done it yet, but I’m I’m ready to learn, and I’m open to everything.

Suzanne:   Okay, and so what was your preparation for writing the film? Did you just sit down and write? Did you have an outline? What did you do?

Max:   I’m someone who very much lets the story lead me wherever it feels like it needs to go. So, I didn’t have an outline. I just sat down, and it led me where it needed to. So, I wrote the first draft within a week, and the plot has stayed the same. Obviously, it’s been through hundreds and hundreds of edits since then, but the plot has remained the same since the first draft, and, yeah, I wrote the first draft within a week, and from there, it’s just became the film that it is now.

Suzanne:   Wow, that’s great. That’s working fast too.

Max:   One hundred percent.

Suzanne:   And had you done a lot of writing before, like, in school or just for fun or –

Max:   So, I’d written a television show, and I filmed a pilot. This was the first feature that I ever wrote, and just like I said, it kind of just, you know, flowed out of me. So, as soon as I started writing, it just felt unstoppable that I had to get it down.

Suzanne:   You have some great veteran TV and movie actors. Tell us about all the casting that you went through.

Max:   We have an insane cast. It’s pretty amazing. It’s pretty unreal. I mean, we have multiple Academy Award nominee Ryan Kinnon. She’s the first female to be nominated both in front and behind the camera. She’s an icon in every sense of the word, and Eric Roberts, who’s an Academy Award nominee, and is an icon himself. We have T-Boz, who’s one of the most famous musical artists of all time. I mean, it’s just, this cast is unbelievable, and it’s so exciting to get to work with these absolute supernovas. So, I’m just beside myself. We really just got lucky during COVID, because people were able to read things, which is, you know, a side part of this horrible, horrible thing that we’ve been going through, but we have been able to get scripts to people, and they’ve been able to take a look at it in a way that they weren’t before. So, that’s definitely changed. It’s made us able to cast this movie with people like Jasmin Savoy Brown, who’s been a friend of mine for a while, but because of her having time to read the script, now she’s a part of this feature. And she’s so excited to make it, and I’m so excited to meet with her. And Charlie Tahan, who’s from Ozark, he was in Super Dark Times with me, and we’ve been friends since, and he was the first person I went to with the script, and he’s so excited to make this film. So, it’s just been a journey. I’m creating this incredible cast, like, with Terry Moore, who’s one of the last living stars of a Hollywood Golden Age. And Willem, who’s one of the most famous [unintelligible] in this entire world, like we are just beside ourselves with this cast. It’s unreal.

Suzanne:   Yeah, it’s a really great cast. So, what else was involved in getting your film made? I mean, I know you haven’t shot it yet, but tell us about how you got started and all that. Financing and whatever else you had to do?

Max:   Yeah, well, actually it’s been extremely intense. Definitely getting it to the right people has been a journey. Getting it to people who believe in making a queer film, it’s intense. And it hasn’t been the easiest process, but it’s also been a process that now we’re working with the people we trust to make this film, and to make it right, and that’s definitely been lucky in the end. You know that what you want is to make the movie with the people who want to make it for exactly the kind of feature it is, but it’s definitely been a journey of getting in front of a lot of different people, and editing it and getting it in front of more people, but that’s kind of what it’s been like.

Suzanne:   That’s great. So, your shooting in the fall, and how long do you think shooting will take?

Max:   Yeah, so we’re planning for a twenty-eight day shoot. We’re planning for a twenty-eight day shoot, and we’re just really excited. We’ll be shooting in up in Canada, and we’re thrilled with everything that’s going on. So, yeah.

Suzanne:   And is there anything else you want to tell us about the film?

Max:   Just that I’m so excited to get it to everyone. It’s been a journey, like I said, to get this thing made, but now that we’re here ready to film, in pre-production, I’m just so thrilled, and I’m so happy. I think this is exactly the movie that people will want to see and need to see, just because love is universal, and the people falling in love are universal. And I’m just so thrilled to be able to tell this story with the cast and the team that we’ve built.

Suzanne:   Okay, and who would you say are your influences as far as writing and directing?

Max:   I mean, I think I take influence from a lot of different things I watched, definitely. I mean, I’ve been hugely influenced by the comedy of Tina Fey in 30 Rock, for sure. I mean, I watched that show so many times, and I definitely, in a lot of ways, write with her comedic beats. I read once that someone said, like, “It isn’t cliche,” I think it was Mindy Kaling said that it isn’t cliche to say that Tina Fey’s the influence for everyone, because there’s a reason that she is, and I agree with that. She’s so talented. She’s so gifted in comedy, and I’ve definitely been taking from her, like not taking from her, but being influenced by her and her writing. Then, there’re so many other filmmakers who I definitely have been influenced by, and I’ve been allowing myself through the last few years to be more influenced by it. Definitely Judd Apatow’s done a lot of work that has influenced me, especially Trainwreck by Amy Schumer, that has had a huge impact on me, and Bridesmaids, Kristen Wigg, that’s definitely influenced me. So, yeah, I’ve definitely been watching things, and I’ve been soaking them up as much as possible.

Suzanne:   Great, and so you mentioned mostly comedy people, so would you say that your movie is funny?

Max:   Oh, yeah. It’s a romantic comedy with a big emphasis on the comedy part. Yeah, definitely. I hope it’s funny, and yes it is, but, I mean, that’s for other people to decide, but it was written as a comedy.

Suzanne:   Great. And what about directing? Are there particular directors that you admire that you think you should be like, besides Judd Apatow?

Max:   Yeah, you know, it’s tough to like, rattle people off right away. I’m trying to think of specific people, but it’s just I watch a lot of romantic comedies these days, especially my favorite ones. I mean, obviously, Rob Reiner is a huge one, and I mean, I’m getting to work with his children. Jake Reiner, and Robby Reiner are both in this feature, and Jake is executive producing it as well. So, that’s a huge thing to be, you know, he’s really the father of modern romantic comedy, Rob Reiner. Obviously, he’s influenced me. When Harry Met Sally, Princess Bride, and now to be able to work with his kids and be able to create something for the new generation with them, I mean, that’s thrilling.

Suzanne:   Cool. I didn’t mean to put you on the spot trying to find names.

Max:   No worries.

Suzanne:   So, it’s probably a little early to ask you this, but do you have other projects that you’re thinking about for the future that you’re working on?

Max:   Yeah, so, actually, already we’re working through my my next feature, which is called Don’t Kiss a Werewolf Boy, and it’s an LGBTQI horror comedy, and I’m really, really excited to dive into that one, [unintelligible] because it’s very different from things like this. Obviously, it’s a horror comedy, but it’s genre bending. It has a lot of different influences, too, but that one’s super, super exciting.

Suzanne:   Is there gonna like some spoofing of things like Teen Wolf and I Was a Teenage Werewolf and things like that?

Max:   It’s not a spoof at all. It takes influences, but it’s really its own story. It doesn’t have to do with those.

Suzanne:   Okay, anything else?

Max:   No, with Werewolf, we’re in the very beginnings of casting it, getting it ready, and I’ll be filming it once we wrap things like this.

Suzanne:   Cool. So, you’ve already written it.

Max:   Oh, yeah. Yeah, it’s been written years ago.

Suzanne:   Okay. Who would you cast if you had had your pick of people?

Max:   I’m not sure I can say that, because we’re literally in the process of casting people right now. So, I don’t want to jump the gun, but definitely we are talking to some people who I’m very excited about.

Suzanne:   Cool. Cool. I think the first – I don’t know if you’ve ever seen it. Did you ever see the old An American Werewolf in London?

Max:   I have seen it. Yes.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I think that was the first werewolf movie that was actually, you know, good and had good special effects and makeup and that kind of thing.

Max:   One hundred percent.

Suzanne:   Yeah. Well, cool. I look forward to seeing both of them.

Max:   Thank you. Thank you so much.

Here is the audio version of it.

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

MORE INFO:

Actor, singer, writer and creative force, Max Talisman is set to make his directorial debut in his upcoming romantic comedy, THINGS LIKE THIS. The film stars Charlie Tahan (Netflix’s “Ozark”), Eric Roberts (THE DARK KNIGHT) and Miles Tagtmeyer (DISNEY DESCENDANTS: SCHOOL OF SECRETS), and tells a story of two guys who fall in love and while everything seems to align for them to be together, they begin to question fate as they encounter an obstacle.
Growing up in Washington DC, Max started performing in 3rd grade. He participated in musical theatre, including productions at the Musical Theatre Center (MTC), one of the leading performing arts education organizations for young people in the Washington DC area. It was the moment when he played the 2nd lead role in the through-composed musical, “Caroline, or Change” that he felt theatre was his calling.
When his senior year of high school began, Max made the courageous move to NYC to follow his passion for theatre. He joined the Broadway Artists Alliance, a professional training academy for promising young musical theatre performers right in the heart of New York City.After living in the big apple for 5 years, he decided to make his way to Hollywood, California. He’s appeared in The Orchard’s SUPER DARK TIMES, TBS’ “Search Party” and NBC’s “The Blacklist”.
Overcoming Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease (LCPD) and anxiety, this rising star doesn’t let these challenges prevent him from enjoying his life. He has a keen love for sports and when he’s not watching games on TV or at stadiums, he keeps up with the standings/scores on teams such as the LA Lakers, the Washington Redskins and the Baltimore Orioles. He is also an avid tennis and ping pong player, crediting Serena Williams as his role model.
 
Consumed by wanderlust with a curiosity for cultures, Max has traveled all around the world from Argentina to Zimbabwe, Austria, Germany, Italy, England, Iceland, Greece, Africa and Costa Rica.
With a life of travel, art, and hobbies, Max hopes to incorporate all his current and future life experiences in all he does. He hopes to be a role model for the LGBTQ community and break stereotypical barriers/roles in Hollywood.

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Actor/writer/director Max Talisman

Interview with Lauren Lee Smith, Marc Blucas, Linda Purl and Patrick Duffy

TV Interview!

Lauren Lee Smith, Marc Blucas, Linda Purl and Patrick Duffy in "Doomsday Mom: The Lori Vallow Story" on Lifetime

Interview with Lauren Lee Smith, Marc Blucas, Linda Purl and Patrick Duffy in “Doomsday Mom: The Lori Vallow Story” on Lifetime by Suzanne 5/19/21

I’ll admit I did gush a little talking to these fine actors. I’m familiar with them all from their previous TV roles. I literally grew up watching Linda Purl and Patrick Duffy in the 70’s, and I saw Marc Blucas and Lauren Lee Smith in their great scifi/fantasy roles later on. It was hard not to tell them how much I enjoyed their work. They were very kind and even made some fun jokes during the interview. This was a press call that was part of a series of calls we did all on that same day for Lifetime movies this summer.

DOOMSDAY MOM PANEL

Moderator: Hi all, our next panel is Doomsday Mom, The Lori Vallow Story.  I’d like to introduce our cast Lauren Lee Smith, Marc Blucas, Linda Purl and Patrick Duffy.

Hi everyone. Question is for Lauren, how familiar were you with the Lori Vallow case before taking on this role? And what was the most surprising thing you learned about the case that you wanted to make sure it was portrayed on screen and the same to you, Marc?

Lauren Lee Smith: Wow, no, I actually wasn’t. It was at a time where I think we were all in full blown, lockdown covid craziness and I was up here in Toronto with my young daughter just trying to sort of keep sane and there was no TV around. So I had no idea about this story. It first was brought to my attention through our director, actually Bradley Walsh. He had reached out to me a couple of weeks before shooting and we were just sort of catching up and he was asking me like what I would like to do next and then I was like yeah I’m really looking for something you know to sort of sink my teeth into and challenge me in a new, exciting way. And yeah, it’s sort of it all, one thing led to another and and then yeah, I found out that that I would be coming to do this with him. And I think what surprised me the most was, you know, just the initial sort of the initial reaction of finding out the story in general and finding out exactly who this this woman is and what had happened. I think the initial shock.

Moderator: How about you Marc?

Marc Blucas: You know, for me you know I had known about it and it’s I guess in the in a very peripheral kind of way and it had been a year since everything had happened. So you know, the first thing I did as we probably all do, is you get on the Internet. Boom, you type these two in and the first thing that came up was the mug shot and to me two things came to my right mind right away when I saw them that really attracted me to the project and taking on the role of Chad which was when I saw that I saw two people, and this is going to sound very shallow at first, but you kind of look at Lori on the surface and in a very just first glance way, it’s like, oh, there’s a you know,very attractive, you know woman there and then you see Chad and I was like, oh, maybe not so much, and I was like oh what was the initial draw? And the other thing I thought about that about that mug shot was that in his face I saw remorse an in hers I didn’t and from what I had recalled the story and what I just started the research of it, It was kind of like it really felt like and again we have a lot here, we don’t have all the answers to just yet, but that Chad really started going, taking Lori down a very committed path and at some point in their journey, it’s almost like she leapfrog him in in the in the power dynamics or in the commitment of their beliefs. And I just thought that was a fascinating study, not only is as an actor, but as a singular character, but seeing how we could make that relationship evolve because what the public know, we already know that the public knows so much. So what Lauren and I and Bradley had all talked about is like, what we don’t know is what happened behind closed doors between these two people and exploring that to see this journey and how they get to make these decisions that they made, I thought, was an interesting study.

Moderator: Thanks so much. Our next question is from Jamie.

Jamie Ruby (SciFi Vision): Sorry, forgot to unmute there for a second. Thanks for talking to us guys. So obviously these characters are based on real life people but what I want to know is what part of yourselves did you bring into the roles?

Lauren Lee Smith: Well. That’s a tough one, but.

Marc Blucas: Well, I’m a passionate person. That there.

Doomsday Mom poster

Jamie Ruby (SciFi Vision): You know, maybe there’s a better way to say it, how did you connect to them as people? Maybe that was a better way to phrase it.

Marc Blucas: Uh, I again, I, it was kind of said in jest, but you know…look, I mean at the end of the day, these are not great people and it’s our jobs as actors to kind of find how we can like them ourselves and portray something that’s three dimensional and real. And at the end of the day, I just said it in a way, it’s just like hey look I’m a very committed and passionate person and I’m about different things that I think that Chad was committed and passionate about and what he tried to do or what he tried to bring people together as a leader, I guess in this.  But there’s no, you can’t question the fact that they had a conviction of what they believed, and I may not be in the same category in what they believed, but having that kind of conviction I could relate to and start there from.

Lauren Lee Smith: Yeah, exactly like that’s really sort of all you can do. You know with these characters is find exactly that and then you know just trying to come and find the little moments you can of sort of humanity, you know, I’m a mother, so trying to sort of find those moments where you know you could see her love for JJ and for Tylee and sort of really infused that as much as possible. But yeah, other than that it was that wasn’t the easiest part of this job.

Jamie Ruby (SciFi Vision): Patrick, Linda anything to add?

Patrick Duffy: Well, we have the easier track of these characters. We had to be the sort of calming, and rational side of looking at all of these horrific things that were happening. So, you know, we were grandparents in and of itself and as a grandparent myself I know what that feels like and I could then was able to completely support what Linda was doing as really the fire brand of the two characters that we played. She was the relentless one that was in pursuit of justice in an ongoing situation, which is even more difficult in making this film. And I credit everybody from Karen and Ann and the actors Marc and Lauren and Bradley and everybody with being able to thread that fine line of fiction that we are doing based on a real story but keep these, especially those two characters, you know keeping them in a humanity arena so that it does not become,

I mean it in this way, it does not become cartoonish, in its evilness that it that everybody has to recognize a bit of humanity that contains that devilish nature and we are in control of it most of the time. And that, to me, is the interesting part about the script, and let the two lead actors were you know, really tasked with doing which is amazing and plus the fact we never except for

one little Christmas dinner scene, we never shared the camera with either of those two characters, so we had our own little movie going that you guys didn’t even know about.

Marc Blucas: That’s why you said yes to the job we know.

Lauren Lee Smith: We get it.

Linda Purl: I think the you know as Lauren said and Mark two that we’re all parents, and so it ignites certainly the Mama bear in me and I mean it. It’s actually unimaginable. Thank God, you know, the horror that this that this tale unfolds. But I think that that you know unbelievable journey of not knowing where your loved ones are, was interesting to visit.

Moderator: Thanks Jamie. Jay, You’re up next.

Jay Bobbin (Gracenote): Hello everyone, thank you for doing this. Actually my question is for Patrick and Linda is nice to see you together, since we know you’re together and I hope that doesn’t sound too and ingracious. But were the two of you cast a package deal in this? Or was one of you cast 1st and super suggested the other person?

Patrick Duffy: Well, we were driving to Colorado from California when the phone rang and we almost made a U turn but we said no we gotta, we gotta get back to change our underwear and then go back to work so. But I actually I think you know, in deference, I think Linda’s name might have been mentioned first in terms of this when I look at the chronology and the phone messages, and then you know the conversations that all of your people have when you’re doing these things, so you know, I think the sequence was Linda and Patrick, not Patrick and Linda.

Linda Purl: I think it was Patrick and Linda.

Patrick Duffy: But it doesn’t matter. It was our first chance to work together. Yeah, you know, first chance to actually play a husband and wife, which was even more, and the other thing that Linda keeps saying, and so I’m stealing all of her good lines, that it’s the first time as actors we’ve ever walked to the set holding hands with the person you’re with.

Linda Purl: It felt weird but yeah, I guess it’s OK. At the end of a scene, I guess, Patrick patted me on the bottom and said nice job honey and I thought, well, that’s the first time that’s ever happened. It was fun.

Patrick Duffy: It was wonderful and yeah, and it was a great thing for us because you never know.

Linda Purl: It could have been a disaster.

Patrick Duffy: We could have completely polar opposite ways.

Linda Purl: That’s how you’re gonna do the scene?

Patrick Duffy: Yeah, well, I usually have a drink before every scene.

Marc Blucas: It was at least reassuring. I was so glad to see you were still together. Are they flying together? Or independently?

Linda Purl: Quarantine was the challenge. It was like are we gonna make it through 14 days of quarantine? But we did. Yeah it was fun.

Jay Bobbin (Gracenote): Thank you both.

Moderator: Thank you so much. Suzanne. You’re up next.

Suzanne Lanoue (TVMeg): Hi, thanks for the call, I’m so familiar with all your guys’ work. I grew up in the 70s, and so I love Patrick and Linda from so many different things, especially Dallas, of course. One of my favorite shows growing up… and Marc from Buffy and other projects, and Lauren from Mutant X and so many great things. So I’m just honored to talk to you all.. but I was wondering, Linda and Patrick, if you could give us any background as to what you think your characters were like before the movie started, and then how they progressed. Some of us haven’t actually seen the movie because it wasn’t on the screener site, so…

Linda Purl: We don’t know that much really. I mean just what’s available on the on the Internet and what the script gave us, but they seem to be very hardworking, family-oriented people, smart successful in their careers and then suddenly this. You know, they were a very closely knit family would say, right?

Patrick Duffy: And if you’re if you’re asking the question personally, what happens to us after doing something like this? Although we weren’t in the depths that Lauren and Marc were, but you, you are affected by it, especially when you have children. And now that I have four grandchildren, and, it is inconceivable first of all, to right minded people that these things actually occur and you enter going into this reading the script, I’m doing it but in the in the heat of the scenes of which we were together as a couple. It builds and your fascination and repulsion build at the same time as to what these human beings have to go through and what they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. And you get just a smattering of it by having occupied their space for a moment, and you look at your children differently because you know what the potential is and it does affect you, and it affected me, not deeply in the sense that I’m tormented by it, but I am aware of it in different depth now of what the potential is in the human being. And it’s frightening and encouraging in terms of who you look at as your characters in this film.

Suzanne Lanoue (TVMeg): And Linda, did you have anything to add to that?

Linda Purl: oh thank you, well

Patrick Duffy: I don’t see how she could.

Linda Purl: I thought it was brilliant. It was really. I was in the Grand Canyon with my son, who was then about 8 years old and I lost him for the ten longest minutes of my life, and it’s an out of body electric shock experience that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. So I was able to, you know, sort of conjure that up when we’re looking for justice when we’re looking for the grandkids, or were when we know my brother’s been killed. And so, but I think you know, as Patrick says, you just drop to your knees grateful that your family is safe and it tends to highlight that gratitude in our lives when you walk down, even for a few minutes, the road of these people who have lost so much. I have no idea how you recover from that.

Suzanne Lanoue (TVMeg): And Lauren, what do you think? How do you think the character or the real person however you like to interpret it, how she went from two loving parents to becoming this person who ends up killing her own children?

Lauren Lee Smith: Yeah, I mean, that’s definitely something that I had to sort of. I think play around with in my own sort of interpretation of this character, even though you know it’s she’s very much alive and we, you know, know certain facts about her. I think for me, just on a personal level, to sort of dig into this, this character and sort of not justified, but give you know some sort of back story and create this sort of you know back story in my own head for her so you know it’s very strange. I don’t know, I don’t I don’t. It’s unimaginable to me how someone can go from, you know, having this sort of being brought up in this loving family, which is is what we’ve been, you know told to believe to you, know becoming this person who would do these absolutely heinous things. So yeah, I guess the only way that that I was able to sort of come to terms with it is to sort of yeah to really come up with my own back story that perhaps you know her, her past and her childhood and her personal life and whatever is maybe not exactly what we evolved, you know, read or seen or believed up until this point that there perhaps is some major trauma or some major incidents or some whatever it could possibly be to bring her to the point that she you know is at and was at in her life. I answered it, took it upon myself to do that.

Marc Blucas: You’re being very sweet for not throwing me under the bus.  Suzanne, the reality is, is that when we both got there, we were freaking out and I had called Lauren immediately and I said, alright, ’cause that’s the big question, right, how did they go from everyday people that we assume, think and decide and have a moral compass in a certain direction, suddenly getting to the point where they’re going to kill their kids and then walk around in Hawaii and think that, like as if nothing has happened, and we literally sat there and got Karen and Bradley on the phone after we made our, you know,4 gigabyte list of questions that we had. This is real, and how do we tackle this because this is it and it goes back to what I had said before,a little bit about that kind of like commitment and passion for something that you suddenly get so, the blinders get on so much that everything all the collateral damage that happens you, end up not seeing. And so, it was almost, I give Lauren a lot of credit because it was it was kind of a two part process of creating Chad for me. Like I we really kind of had to approach these characters together in a sense as one because, I was in the process of gaining weight, so I kept saying can we meet back at the croissant place? We kind of kept going to anywhere I could eat massive amounts of food to keep gaining weight for the role and trying to tackle and make sense of that question and going through beat by beat of saying OK, here’s the arc of this, when does this moment happen? Where they decide to go beyond the point of no return, almost.

Suzanne Lanoue (TVMeg): Alright, thank you guys, great answers.

Moderator: Thank you so much. We have time for one more an if there was anyone who had a question and wants it answered, feel free to email us and we’re happy to get answers for you. So Rick, you will be our last question.

Rick Bentley (Tribune): Thank you. Hey Patrick and Linda, you play characters that are one generation of removed from the central story here. I’m just wondering when you go into those characters when you start thinking about them, did you think of them as people who should have felt guilty should have felt some responsibility, should have would have been in complete denial, I mean, how do you know where you start from on a point with parents of people who are parents of people who are involved with something like this?

Linda Purl: Well, I don’t think denial, although maybe we missed that, maybe we should have. No, I think that you know their merit in this in this story is that they. Is that they fearlessly sort of faced this possibility and became the champions for truth and protection. And I think that’s sort of a cautionary tale maybe to take away from the film, in that in these kinds of situations don’t fail to act. These people did not fail to act and all their actions and seeking of truth and pushing the police and the detectives it was. Too late, but in another instance it might not have been, and so you know in these kinds of horrid situations any one of us you know, God forbid we’re in it, but you, have to, you have to be vigilant and you have to be forceful.

Patrick Duffy: Yeah, I think there is an element of self-reflection when this happens.  Maybe not regret or denial, but you know, as a parent, now my children are in their 40s but, you know when there would be rough patches in their upbringing where they might do things outside of the box that I thought was appropriate behavior, here is an element in me that says should I have foreseen this? Should I have forestalled this? Was there something I should have or could have or might have said that just would have deflected it enough? So for my character in this, although Linda’s character was much more doggedly active, my character was written as somewhat more passive and quiet, and I think part of that was that self-reflection of he was the, you know, quote, unquote, chauvinistically sounding, but the bread earner, the man of the family. And yet all of this happened, how could that happen on his watch had to be part of his processing, so that was the only thing that I could say where I might have felt a bit responsible as a character for the outcome, not that I thought I the character did anything wrong, but what could he have done, I think was the divergent point for me of accepting responsibility partially for what happened.

Linda Purl: And that’s probably human nature too. In any disaster, there’s that lovely phrase, magical thinking, and that we all know what on earth, no matter how irrational, what could I have done? How could I have changed things? How could I have missed the signs? I mean, I think we all go through these kinds of thoughts.

Video

MORE INFO:

DOOMSDAY MOM
PREMIERES SATURDAY, JUNE 26 at 8/7c
Screen Shot 2021-03-31 at 9
(L to R): Lauren Lee Smith, Marc Blucas, Linda Purl, Patrick Duffy
Doomsday Mom is based on the true story of Lori Vallow (Lauren Lee Smith), who gained national attention when her children, JJ and Tylee, were reported missing from their Idaho home in the Fall of 2019. As investigators learned of Lori and her husband Chad Daybell’s (Marc Blucas) involvement in a doomsday-prepper group, a trail of mystery was revealed spanning five states and numerous questionable deaths, before the bodies of JJ and Tylee were found in the backyard of Chad’s home in June 2020. Linda Purl and Patrick Duffy also star.

Doomsday Mom is produced by Lighthouse Pictures for Lifetime, with Sony Pictures Television distributing. Karen Glass and Tom Mazza of Everywhere Studios and Judith Verno of Peace Out Productions serve as executive producers. Stephen Tolkin wrote the script and Bradley Walsh directs.

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Linda Purl and Patrick Duffy in "Doomsday Mom: The Lori Vallow Story" on Lifetime

Interview with Sadie Calvano, Evan Roderick, Tom Stevens and Judith Verno

TV Interview!

Sadie Calvano, Evan Roderick, Tom Stevens and Judith Verno of "Secrets of a Marine's Wife" on Lifetime

Interview with actors Sadie Calvano, Evan Roderick, and Tom Stevens, and executive producer Judith Verno in “Secrets of a Marine’s Wife” on Lifetime by Suzanne 5/19/21

This movie was very interesting and had a great cast. I was glad to speak with them. I’d interviewed Tom Stevens before about his role in “Deadly Class” on Syfy, so it was great to see him again. I hope you enjoyed the movie! It was an interesting mystery and romance story, but tragic.

SECRETS OF A MARINE’S WIFE

Moderator: Hi everyone, thank you for joining us. I am very pleased to welcome our panelists from Secrets of a Marine’s Wife, including Sadie Calvano, who plays Erin Corwin, Evan Roderick who plays her husband John Corwin, Tom Stevens, who plays Chris Lee, joined by executive producer Judith Verno.

Just a quick reminder if you’d like to ask a question, at the bottom of your screen please hit the raise your hand button at the bottom of the screen.  Depending on what version of zoom you have, it might be under the reactions button or the participants button. I will be answering questions as they come in an I wanted to start with one pre-submitted question that’s for everybody. And that question is Erin Corwin’s Story is very tragic. What do you hope viewers will take away from this movie?

Sadie Calvano: I’ll start. Hi everyone, I’m Sadie. I would really like viewers to take away from this movie  is that this isn’t a story that questions Erin’s sexual choices. This isn’t a story that talks about how because she had an affair, she got murdered. This is a story that is about complex relationships about a young girl who was looking for love and connection and who was going through a really tough time in her life and looking for support and fell in the hands of someone who brutally murdered her. And I really hope that people are able to see the story of love and seeking and are able to fall in love with her and wonder.

Tom Stevens: Yeah, and I like..Evan.

Evan Roderick: Yeah. You know, and like speaking from Jon’s perspective too, it’s a story

about forgiveness as well ,and you know, because these characters are so young that you know they hold such a, I guess, there is such an expectation on this relationship to work too, so you know, I think it was important to keep Erin in a light you know, and she was a really good person and we had to honor her story. I hope people can see that when they see the movie.

Tom Stevens: Yeah, I gotta say that like jumping off of what Sadie was saying is they had a relationship that was kind of…It was too young.

People got married very early and well. What we were telling the story of is what Chris and Aaron found was almost like an intimacy that they hadn’t really experienced before. It just so happened that she chose to go with somebody that had some serious mental issues.

Judith Verno (Executive Producer): Yeah, I mean, I think that what’s important is nobody should pay for their mistake with their life. And that’s the message here. And to find stories that are relatable at their core but can also serve as a cautionary tale, especially for a younger generation. I think that’s important to tap into for Lifetime.

Moderator: Thank you all. The next question is from Suzanne from TVMeg.

Suzanne Lanoue (TVMeg): Hi, good morning. Let me ask, Tom, what do you think? What did you do to prepare for this very complex role?

Tom Stevens: Yeah, Chris, is uh, he kind of travels through a lot of different emotional realms throughout the film. The guy is dealing with suicide. He’s dealing with an unhappy marriage. Finding this new experience with his neighbor Erin and also everything that he’s kind of dealing with, with his experience with going over to Afghanistan.

And I just kind of took it day by day…I’ve done a lot of military research myself. I knew the story. I knew the case very well, so I listened to the book and I used the chapters about Chris and I just I tried to find as much that I could use out of that book as possible to add color to him every day.

Suzanne Lanoue (TVMeg): Great, and Evan – your role is almost saint-like.

I know actors like to do… usually they like to play the bad guy because there’s so many different layers, and you get to vent your emotions and all that kind of thing. Well, what did you do to make your role speak to you and have fun with it?

Evan Roderick: As much as I think the center of it is he’s just a guy that loves this person so much you know. And I mean, personally, I know. I know what that feels like to love someone so much that you do anything for them. So I think that kind of was the center of Jon.

But I’ve never shot a gun before this movie. I’m so Canadian, I know. But you know I spent some time at the gun range in the gym. I watched all the Dateline stuff to prepare as well so but yeah, at the center of it he’s just a guy that’s just so in love with this woman. So that was kind of what I always hung onto.

Suzanne Lanoue (TVMeg): Great. And Sadie, when they were doing the scenes… where they were showing him strangling your character, did you, uh..Can you tell us how you did that?  How it was done? Sort of physically and special effects wise? Was there a stunt person?

Sadie Calvano: Sure, yeah, there was some people involved. However, Tom I also participated. They had me in this like strapped suit and that clipped on to Tom’s back. I wore a necklace that was made out of like elastic that looked like what would have been choking her but it wasn’t connected to anything so that I stayed completely safe and then on the back of my suit there was a clip that the poles attached to for Tom. And we had some staff people help us out with different positions. Each shot kind of varied what the arrangement was, whether it was me with a stunt person or Tom with a staff person or me with Tom. But we had really amazing stunt people that kept us very safe and were so sensitive to the nature of that scene and made sure that we stayed protected emotionally and physically in what was a very strenuous scene.

Suzanne Lanoue (TVMeg): Alright, well, thank you. I really enjoyed it. I love the movie. It was sad in the end, but it was good.

Sadie Calvano: Thank you.

Modderator: Thank you Suzanne. Ok, this next question is from Lisa Steinberg.

Lisa Steinberg (Starry Magazine): Hi thank you guys so much for talking with us today. Evan. you’re playing a marine in this and you touched on a bit about the physical aspect of it and getting into shape.

Was there something different you did to prepare for the role of a marine? Or you know, just you stay fit and it was just more upping your time at the gym.?

Evan Roderick: Good question. Well, I think you know when you’re an actor, you kind of have to try to stay in shape all year round anyway. But I think mainly it was about learning about the culture of being a Marine. Like these people are, they’re living in these complexes a lot of the time, you know, like in our movie and they’re like it’s just like this big tight knit family, you know. So I think the biggest learning curve for me was just kind of learning the culture and how they spend their time. And like I said, you know, just trying to get the mechanics of being able to work a gun and hold a gun properly without looking like a fool. I think that was pretty important as well. So just yeah, a couple of those kind of things, but it was very, it was a lot of fun. I had a lot of fun doing it so yeah.

Moderator: Thank you Evan.   And the next question is from Jamie Ruby.

Jamie Ruby (SciFi Vision): So do you guys have a favorite scene that you could tease?

Tom Stevens: I’d say the pool scene. The pool scene was really fun to shoot, we were just in the pool all day, just swimming.  It was great.

Evan Roderick: I think I agree.

Tom Stevens: Anything in the complex.

Sadie Calvano and Tom Stevens

Sadie Calvano: I actually think that I would say that one of my favorite scenes is the scene that we shot in the diner. I feel like it is really different from the rest of the film.  And I think that there is a moment in that where we see the cracks really starting to appear.

And I think that we’re able to see that end of the day, like these are just two young kids that don’t really know what they’re doing, that are struggling to make decisions and doing the best they can. Umm and I like I think that’s a scene where we’re really able to see their humanity in a way that is different from the rest of the film. So that was one of my favorites to shoot

Evan Roderick: I loved shooting that scene too.  It was fun.

Moderator: Thank you guys. The next question is from Jay Bobbin.

Jay Bobbin (Gracenote): Hello everyone, thanks for doing this. Sadie my question is for you.  For Mom fans like my mom, who are such devotees of that show and know you so well as Violet and maybe haven’t seen you doing much else, what would you say to them before they watch you in this?

Sadie Calvano: I’d say thank you so much for watching Mom. Mom was such a huge part of my

life and of my personhood. I was kid when I started on Mom. You know I was 15 and so it shaped such a big part of my life and obviously of my career. So first I would say thank you so much and that I hope you like the finale because it just aired.

Umm and secondly, I would say that this is a really exciting project for you to get to watch because it’s not like Violet at all. You know, I think the thing that was so exciting about this was that next to Why Women Kill this is one of the first roles where I really got to play a woman, a person who’s not just like an angry bratty teenager. You know she has these like romantic complex relationships and I think you really get to see a different side of me in this project and I hope you enjoy it.

Jay Bobbin (Gracenote): Thank you.

Moderator: Thank you Jay. I think we have time for one more question, maybe two. The next question is from Steve Gidlow of Media Village

Steve Gidlow (Media Village): My question is actually for Sadie.  I was just wondering how familiar were you with this story before joining the project. Had you heard about it before? Or was it all sort of news to you?

Sadie Calvano: That’s a great question. I must confess in my  day to day life I am a bit of a crime junkie. I really love watching murder shows probably an unhealthy amount. But I did know about this story before I got offered this job. I grew up in LA. My boyfriend’s mom lives in Palm Springs, and this was a huge story in that area particularly, so I was familiar with the case I remembered reading about it when it happened and, yeah, I definitely was familiar.

Steve Gidlow (Media Village):  And quickly. Is there a chance you’re going back to Why Women Kill?

Sadie Calvano: Oh, I would love that. I would love that so much. I guess time will tell. I know that with Season 2 they were planning on doing all new cast and all new stories, but the door is, you know always a sliver open and we’ll see what the future brings. I would love to work with Mark Cherry again in the future, so I don’t know, fingers crossed

Steve Gidlow (Media Village): Awesome. Thanks so much.

Sadie Calvano: Of course

Moderator: Thanks so much, Steve. Thank you Sadie. The last question is for Judith.

As an executive producer for this movie, what interested you in Erin’s story.

Judith Verno: Well, I really do like doing stories that start with something where you feel it’s relatable and I do like doing stories that focus on a younger generation. It’s an area that I’ve worked on before and I welcome it.

I think that as Sadie and Tom and Evan alluded to, you know Erin is a really good person. And to be able to message that you can have flaws, make mistakes, be young and not wind up dead is important to me and so I love the true crime genre, I love the setting of this. I don’t think there’s been a lot of true crime that’s in a military environment, but most of all, I really love working with young people. We had an amazing cast and to be able to pay tribute to Erin who is a victim in the truest sense, and have a teachable moment for viewers, but also be entertaining, is you know it’s a great kind of story to be able to have the privilege to tell.

Moderator: That’s great. Well listen, thank you guys for participating.

We really appreciate it. And just a quick reminder to everyone that Secrets of a Marine’s Wife will premieres on Saturday, June 19th on Lifetime. So check it out, and thank you to all of our panelists and hold tight for our next panel.

MORE INFO:

SECRETS OF A MARINE‘S WIFE PREMIERES SATURDAY, JUNE 19
Screen Shot 2021-03-31 at 9
(L to R): Sadie Calvano, Evan Roderick, Andre Anthony
Secrets of a Marine‘s Wife is based on the true story of 19-year-old Erin Corwin (Sadie Calvano), who was married to U.S. Marine Corporal Jon Corwin (Evan Roderick) and expecting her first child, when she suddenly went missing. Erin’s disappearance sparked a grueling search led by family, friends and local law enforcement in the extreme conditions of the Joshua Tree National Park until her body was found two months later at the bottom of an abandoned mineshaft. Suspicions mounted quickly in the tight knit Marine community, and residents began to wonder if the killer was one of their own.  In their investigation, detectives uncover a friendship turned illicit relationship between Erin and her neighbor, Marine Christopher Lee (Tom Stevens), which consumed them both and called into question the paternity of Erin’s baby. Was this a motive for murder?  Who was responsible? Investigators work to discover answers to these questions and to unmask who killed Erin Corwin. Secrets of a Marine‘s Wife is produced by Front Street Pictures for Lifetime, with Sony Pictures Television distributing. Judith Verno/Peace Out Productions and Sharlene Martin/Martin Literary & Media Management serve as executive producers. Manu Boyer directs from a script written by Richard Blaney and Gregory Small.

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Sadie Calvano and Evan Roderick

Interview with Jennie Garth, Anwen O’Driscoll and Gloria Ui Young Kim

TV Interview!

"Left For Dead" stars Jennie Garth, Anwen O'Driscoll and director Gloria Ui Young Kim on Lifetime

Interview with stars Jennie Garth, Anwen O’Driscoll and director Gloria Ui Young Kim of “Left for Dead: The Ashley Reeves Story” on Lifetime by Suzanne 5/19/21

I enjoyed speaking with these actresses and the director. It was one of several Lifetime movie casts we spoke with in a special Zoom press call on the same day. The movie is worth watching. The story is good and the performances are great!

BEGIN LEFT FOR DEAD PANEL

Moderator: Wonderful, well we are officially getting started on our third panel today – three out of seven and today is going to be the cast and creatives from Left for Dead: The Ashley Reeves story today we have Jennie Garth, Anwen O’Driscoll and director Gloria Ui Young Kim.

Let’s go ahead and get this started. So I’m going to go ahead and kick it off and do the first question with Gloria, our director Gloria.

Gloria (director): Hi, how are you?

Moderator: I’m good. I’m glad that you all are able to join us today. Gloria how does Left for Dead: The Ashley Reeves Story stand out compared to other films you have directed?

Gloria (director): It was such an important story, I think to tell. I was immediately drawn in by the script and by the strength of the script and the strength of the story of resilience. And I had so much support at all levels from the producer Jeff Vanderwal, at Cineflix, and from Lifetime, our Executive Chris Wade. I mean, we were all aligned in the story that we wanted to tell, and it was full steam ahead. It was just really exciting.

Moderator: Awesome, well glad that you’re here. So we’re going to go ahead and get some press up here. Let’s go ahead and go with Lisa first – Lisa.

Lisa (Starry Magazine): Hi guys, thanks so much for taking some time to chat with us. For Jennie this is such an intense role for you. How did you shake off a long day of filming this one?

Jennie Garth (talent): Yeah, it was definitely a… so heart wrenching, especially, you know, being the mother of three young girls, this movie really tapped into a lot of very deep true emotions for me. So it was important for us to have as much fun as we could on the set and while working crazy, under the crazy time constraints…he was dealing with and kind of…Giving everybody their space to sort of go through everything that they needed to go through and then sort of let it all go at the end of….

Moderator: Great, awesome. Thank you Jennie. You were cutting out on my end so but I hope everyone was able to hear that. So thank you. Our next question is from Jamie – Jamie.

Jamie (SciFi Vision): Hi guys, thanks for talking to us. This is for Jennie and Anwen. I’d like to know how you two kind of worked on your relationship. Did you hang out at all outside of production or anything like that?

Anwen (talent): I mean, there it was hard to do a lot because there were covid restrictions, of course. But we did, we did have a get together, Gloria, Jennie and I one time beforehand where we talked through everything and talked through our characters and the journey of the edge and had dinner one time. But it wasn’t too much because of Covid going on. We did a lot of it on set, which was great.

Jennie (talent): *cuts out* a connection.

Gloria (director): With Jennie’s dog. And she brought her dog, so we all bonded.

Anwen (talent): Yes, immediately.

Jamie (SciFi Vision): We always bond over pets, right?

Moderator: Awesome thank you Jamie and Jennie we might have to hear more about that dog in a little bit, but moving right along with Jay Bobbin.

Jay Bobbin (Gracenote): Hey Jennie, how are you? How are you?

Jennie (talent): Good! How are you?

Jay Bobbin (Gracenote): Good! Good to see you. A lot of people refers to the many perils of Kelly Taylor – burned on drugs, stalked, kidnapped. When it comes to something like this do you draw a lot on all the drama you did on 90210? I know it’s been a good number of years now, but did you find that good training as you look back to do a project like this?

Jennie (Talent): Working on camera sort of serve you as you get older and do more complex roles. Absolutely yeah, my character went through so much on that show that there’s a lot there. Real life experience with being a mom and having a young daughter and just putting myself in this woman’s shoes, you know, and really kind of feeling this terrible tragedy first hand. So it was a combination.

Jay Bobbin (Gracenote): OK, thanks.

Moderator: Wonderful thanks Jay. Up next, we have Suzanne.

Suzanne Lanoue (TVMeg): Hi, my question is for Anwen. Your role seems very physical – was that difficult at all for you? Did you have to work on your upper arm strength?

Anwen (talent): Yes, it was. It was very challenging because I had never done something, so just like deep dive into something so physically and vocally challenging. We, Gloria and I, worked beforehand with an occupational therapist for physicality and vocal which really helps. And we also had a physical therapist on set sometimes which was great to remind me to do certain things, but I did practice a lot and watch as many videos as I could and I would take little videos and little clips of my voice and send it to Gloria and be like, what does this sound like? How does this sound like? Is this just trying to keep it consistent and accurate. I suppose I didn’t want to make it – I was afraid to make it kind of like a caricature thing, so I wanted to really get Gloria’s opinion and get everyone to tell me that it was OK.

Gloria (director): Anwen, you were great.

Suzanne Lanoue (TVMeg): Gloria, can you give us insight as to what went into shaping the movie in terms of that you decided pretty early on to show that he was definitely or seemed to be the person that tried to kill her rather than making it more say of a mystery. Was it a boyfriend? Was it someone else?

Gloria (director): Sorry, what’s your question?

Suzanne Lanoue (TVMeg): Yes, can you give us insight as to how it went into making the movie in framing it that way? Focusing more on her as her rehab and all that kind of thing?

Gloria (director): Yeah, I think it was really, really important. I think just to everyone involved

that this be Ashley’s story, that this be the story of her resilience and her overcoming the obstacles, I think. You know this story was in the news. Everyone knew that it was. The person who it was that attacked her and you know, he was the one that led the police to her body. So in some ways the mystery aspect didn’t really quite work for this story and I think also just given the time that we’re living in, I think it’s just really, really, really important that women’s stories are in the forefront and that her actual story of survival was the story rather than the mystery story.

Suzanne Lanoue (TVMeg):  Thank you.

Gloria (director): No problem.

Moderator: Wonderful, thank you Suzanne. Up next, we have Steve Gidlow.

Steve Gidlow (Media Village): Hi, my question is actually for Anwen. You were terrific in this. It’s just so so good. I was just wondering, one of the things you really seem to encapsulate with this whole performance was the frustration that your character went through. How much of it was frustrating for you?

Anwen (talent): Well, one of the things that drew me when I first read the script, and write to Ashley herself, was I could connect with the feeling of not being believed by people. And that was one of her huge struggles throughout the movie, was not being heard and not being supported by a lot of people that were close to her. She did have some support by, you know, her mother. But I think it was because could really connect to that feeling so the frustrations were real and I couldn’t pull on that because it was a real thing that I’ve experienced in my own life. Which is unfortunate, but it’s common and it happens all the time.

Steve Gidlow (Media Village): Yeah, well, you’re quite remarkable. So thank you so much.

Anwen (talent): Thank you.

Moderator: Thank you Steve. Up next is Barb Oates.

Barb Oates (Channel Guide): Great, thank you. This question is for Anwen. What did you learn or maybe take from after walking in Ashley’s journey?

Anwen (talent): I was very inspired by her bravery. And playing the character because I wouldn’t say that I’m a very brave person or confrontational in real life, so getting to play that character and playing that truth of her really inspired me as a person, and I felt that it encouraged me to be braver. So I feel like I pulled that from Ashley and learned that from Ashley herself. It’s great.

Barb Oates (Channel Guide): Thank you.

Moderator: Wonderful, thank you Barb. Up next, I believe Jay Bobbin. Do you have a follow up question?

Jay Bobbin (Gracenote): I asked you, if you don’t mind sure. Jennie, another one Jennie, another one for you. Now that you’ve produced as you did on the 90210 reboot a couple of summers ago. Do you enjoy being an actress for hire as much, or do you look more for getting into situations where you can produce as well as act?

Jennie (talent): Well, it’s definitely changing hats when you’re producing some. On all fronts, kind of calling the shots and in charge of things. So I was very respectful of the producers that did such a great job with this film and Gloria, who did such a wonderful job directing it and trying to kind of zip it creatively, and let them do their job and stand back and let me do my job. So it was definitely changing gears but there is something refreshing about just being an actor for hire sometimes.

Jay Bobbin (Gracenote): Sure, thank you.

Moderator: Great thank you, Jay. Jamie, did you have your hand up for a follow up or is your hand just still up?

Jamie (SciFi Vision): Sorry, yeah I just forgot to put it down.

Moderator: Sorry, no all good. I just wanted to make sure you got your question answered. Let’s go on then to Lisa, Lisa.

Lisa (Starry Magazine): Now Jennie about that dog. Just joking.

Jennie (talent): No, that was buddy. He was an emotional support dog for everybody on set. I think everybody benefited from having an animal on set. It was such a comfort issue and everybody was so spread so thin emotionally, that we all just sort of took turns clutching on to him.

Gloria (director): It’s true.

Moderator: Also, I love that the dog was brought back, so let’s go now. Steve, I believe has another follow up – Steve.

Steve Gidlow (Media Village): Yeah, I did actually have another question for Anwen. I’m just wondering how much time or how much interaction did you get to have with the real Ashley?

Anwen (talent): I didn’t get to speak with her unfortunately. Maybe hopefully one day. But I did want to give space and I respected you know, her space. I wouldn’t want to come at her with this super heavy subject matter. It’s her story and I feel like maybe she’s done talking about that and done having people come at her about it so. I just did a lot of self stuff and just tried to connect with her bravery and her heart and make that the focal point.

Steve Gidlow (Media Village): Was there a part to playing her without having interacted, that made it a little better for you, because you kind of were doing your own thing versus, you know if you had spoken to her, it would have been a different story.

Anwen (talent): Yeah, it’s true. I think it allowed me to add a bit of myself into it and I liked doing that, just you know, a little combination of me and her together, I suppose.

Steve Gidlow (Media Village): Thanks so much.

Moderator: Awesome, thank you Steve. And our last question should be from Barb – Barb Oates.

Barb Oates (Channel Guide): Thanks, I was wondering, this is for Gloria mainly, but were the Reeves family – are they aware of the film and did you approach them at all and do they have any input into anything?

Gloria (director): Yeah, the Reeves family is aware of the film and it would have been Christina Welsh, the writer, and Jeff Vanderwal, the producer, who were the ones who had the relationship with her. They spent time with her and interviewed her. So she was a part of the process. And in terms of my relationship, I just worked with the script and I worked with the materials that I had been sent and the stuff that I had done research online. We’re trying really hard to tell a respectful story.

Barb Oates (Channel Guide): Got it, thank you.

Moderator: Wonderful, and that was the last question from what I could tell. So thank you everyone for your questions and especially thank you to Gloria, Jennie and Anwen.  We will be prepping for our next panel here in just a moment so stay tuned.

Video Trailer Watch

MORE INFO:

LEFT FOR DEADTHE ASHLEY REEVES STORY
PREMIERES SATURDAY, JUNE 12 at 8/7c
LFD_03152021_SW_0435_TD
(L to R): Jennie Garth and Anwen O’Driscoll
In 2006, 17-year-old Ashley Reeves (Anwen O’Driscoll) is left for dead in the woods following a brutal attack. After spending 30 horrific hours in the cold, gravely wounded, lying in the dirt, and paralyzed, the police find her alive. Her injuries are so severe that she must re-learn how to walk and talk. With no memory of what happened, she begins a long and painful recovery while searching her shattered memory to unlock the mystery of who did this to her.  Left for Dead: The Ashley Reeves Story is based on the extraordinary true story of an ordinary teenage girl who had to fight for her life three times; first in the woods, then in the hospital, and finally in court. Jennie Garth stars as Ashley’s mother, Michelle Reeves.
Left for DeadThe Ashley Reeves Story is produced by Cineflix (Left For Dead) Inc. Jeff Vanderwal is among the executive producers. Gloria Ui Young Kim directs from a script written by Christina Welsh.

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poster for the movie

Interview with Jana Kramer and Orly Adelson

TV Interview!

Jana Kramer and Orly Adelson of "Soccer Mom Madam" on Lifetime

Interview with star Jana Kramer and producer Orly Adelson of “Soccer Mom Madam” on Lifetime by Suzanne 5/19/21

I enjoyed speaking with these two women about the Lifetime movie. It was interesting to hear about the real-life story and how they made the movie. This was part of a virtual press junket for several Lifetime summer movies that we’re covering this summer.

SOCCER MOM MADAM

Moderator: Hi everybody, our next panel is soccer mom madam and with us today is Jana Kramer, and executive producer. Orly Adelson. Hi ladies.

Orly & Jana: Hi. Hi

Moderator: how are you

Orly Adelson (Executive Producer): good

Moderator: thank you guys so much for being here today.

Orly Adelson: Thank you for having us

Moderator: Of course. our first question is for Orly. Orly. Knowing that this is inspired by a true story, what made you want to turn it into a film?

Orly Adelson: I was compelled by the idea of a mother by day and a Madam by night, and how those two lives ultimately are going to collide, and that journey is what intrigued me about it. And it’s about human things. It’s about betrayal. It’s about family. It’s about love. It’s all the things that we encounter every day and she encountered it differently.

Moderator: Thanks Orly, our first –  our next question is from Jay Bobbin.

Jay Bobbin (Gracenote): Hello Jana, thanks so much for doing this. Good to see you.

Jana Kramer: Of course. good to see you too.

Jay Bobbin (Gracenote): Thank you. You’ve done so many heartwarming projects in recent years, but those who know you from your earlier acting years remember how sassy you were – as it were – on One Tree Hill. Is it particularly pleasurable for you to return to this type of character now?

Jana Kramer: Jay, I couldn’t tell you how happy I was to read this script and talk to Orly.

I mean, I pretty much begged her. I was like I’ll do whatever – this script is so amazing. It’s fun and it’s sassy and it’s, you know there’s depth to it and it just made me feel excited.

Not that I don’t love, you know, the, you know the sweet Christmas movies and stuff, but there’s something about really going there – vulnerably and emotionally and just, you know, remembering why I love acting so much. Because you can just bring in so much of your personal life and you know it’s just – it’s fun and you know there were some really heavy days on set ’cause I had to get super emotional. But, I was like oh like this is this is the best day. So – I was thrilled that I got it and I was yeah – I was very happy.

Jay Bobbin: Thank you.

Moderator: Thank you, our next question is from Lisa.

Lisa (Starry Magazine): Hi, thank you both for taking some time to speak with us today.  Jana, what were some of your favorite moments from filming this? Was there a particular scene that stands out to you that was really challenging or something that really was interesting that you felt you worked on for this particular one?

Jana: You know, I’ll say thanks for the question Lisa. I personally enjoyed the time that I spent.

The girls were, you know, They were family to this – the woman that it was inspired by, and just the camaraderie that all of us girls had filming together – the fun that we had. You know, there’s a scene in particular where we went to this event and I’m basically trying to pick out the millionaires in the room. And just like, us going in there, as strong women and just the -again, the fun that we had together – it was really nice to feel empowered and also have you know, the support. Women supporting each other. And yeah, I just I loved the girls so much in this movie and they’ve stayed friends. So I think that was the kind of you know silver lining with this doing, this film was just having that friendship.

Moderator: Great, our next question is from Rick Bentley.

Rick Bentley (Tribune): Jenna, I’m just curious. These films are ripped from the headlines,

so from an acting perspective, Do you look at that and go: great I can find some source material to help me build a character. Or do you go – Oh crap, people know this story, what am I going to do differently?

Jana Kramer: Yeah sure, and Orly and I had a conversation about that ’cause I was fortunate to talk to the woman that this movie is portrayed about. And you know, I was kind of talking to Orly and I’m like man, like you know she’s got a little bit of an accent and so I was started freaking out as an actor ’cause I’m like, What if I don’t live up to like who she is and you know how she actually had her mannerisms and Orly really let me just take on their role. she reminded me that yes, it’s based on a true story, but to bring my story into it, and I think that the marriage of both of those worked really well. Don’t you agree Orly?

Orly Adelson: Yeah, ’cause it was inspired by her. And so the authenticity of the movie is because we have the access to stories –  to the journey. But yet you have to embark and embody that character in your own way.

Jana Kramer: Absolutely.

Orly Adelson: And Jana did it brilliantly, By the way. how many actresses had this ability

to show vulnerability and strength? Be likable? Because that’s so important for this character  – yet be tough. That’s a challenge that I really – I – sitting there and watching her film every day was really thrilling. To see how she could move quickly between all of these mine fields.

Jana Kramer: Thanks, Orly.

Moderator: Our next question is from Jamie Ruby.

Jamie Ruby (SciFi Vision): Hi Jana – and I don’t know – Orly may have just mentioned some of these things now, but I was wondering if you could talk about some of the things that you found most challenging.

Jana Kramer: Oh man – the things I found most challenging, UM? You know, I – So once I got the idea out of my head that OK I don’t have to portray this person exactly. I think – kind of what Orly mentioned was what was challenging is making sure that – I didn’t want people to….. ’cause like when you hear something like oh Madam – oh like what’s wrong with her? Or I wanted people to see that she was just doing the best that she could and to have that like ability too –  is like –  you know as a mom as a single mom, it’s like I I’m going to do what I have to do to support my kids and it may not be what you like but you know I have to do what I have to do. And so my biggest challenge, I guess it was just making sure that I kept her focus on the kids and you know it  started to –  and it was har ’cause then you’ll see like in the storyline, that you know she kind of gets a little bit lost, but bringing it back to the heart of why she worked so hard.

Jamie Ruby (SciFi Vision): Orly, What about you? What did you find the hardest thing?

Orly Adelson: For me it was really, how can we make it authentic? How can we really tell this story? So it’s not something you’ve seen in another movie because she had – Anna Gristina

had a different journey and that journey is important to tell in the way that it was inspired by her, not by other characters before that. So I think our writer, Barbara Marshall did an incredible job immediately by tying everything together through a narrative of girls that care about each other. Family that cares about each other – and so the disappointments were much harder at the end. And I don’t know how many of you saw the end and I won’t give it up but for me, that last scene of Jana in the movie – while she was filming it, I cried and then when we were editing I cried because it was true to the losses, the ups and down and at the end of the day; the price you pay.

Jamie Ruby (SciFi Vision): Great, thank you so much both of you.

Jana Kramer: Thanks Jamie.

Moderator: Thank you guys. I think we have another question from Rick.

Rick Bentley (Tribune): Yeah, I’m sorry Orly, I just want to get a little clarification here. You’ve mentioned the term authentic and you also talked about inspired by. When you’re dealing with a story like this what is the benefit of just basing a story on a real event and not just saying I’m just going to create this fictional story about a soccer mom where you don’t have to worry about – You know how authentic you stay and how you know how much you can sway from that that original story?

Orly Adelson: I think it’s a very thin line here between taking the heart of a story and telling it versus every moment to verify – Oh, this happened that way?  Now I have three people that I have to verify that it happened this way. Was this the girl? Now I need to make sure that the

girl was portrayed exactly correctly – versus I spoke to 2 girls, Never met them, spoke to them anonymously. And so it’s a little different than having to have then all the rights to that girl and make sure that she said that word versus didn’t say that word. It’s just the nuance between inspired to telling the story as a true story. ‘Cause even when you tell it from the point of view of Anna, it’s her POV that’s already a skewed POV.

Jana Kramer: Sure.

Orly Adelson: But that’s the point of view that was interesting to us.

Moderator: Thank you Orly. I think we have time for one more question from Suzanne.

Suzanne Lanoue (TVMeg): Hi! I was wondering, Orly, if you could tell us what you think might have happened, either from the real story, or from what you would do if you, say, had a sequel. What happened in your mind after that last scene.  Does she stay on the pig farm?  Does she get back together? Does her daughter forgive her? Does she get her life back together? What do you think?

Jana Kramer:  You want the perfect bow don’t you? Like what happens, it’s like, oh, if I could always, ask that question.

Suzanne Lanoue (TVMeg): You know, I’m like –  what happened?

Orly Adelson: You know, here it is. She will never do it again. She has gotten married. And she still has all the pigs. And she raises pigs and sends me pictures. She’s a unique character, really unique, and Jana got an opportunity to talk to her. She’s very unique, very honest, and very unique.

Suzanne Lanoue (TVMeg): And Jana, what was it like for you working with the kids on the show?

Jana Kramer: Oh, they were so sweet. Every age with them. The younger kids were so sweet.

And then the girl who played Mia. I mean, she’s a doll and I still, you know, text with her and I kind of felt like, you know, her mom when I left because I was, you know,

giving her tips about you know, don’t take anything from bullies and like you’re beautiful and like believe in yourself and you know it was cool ’cause I was able to help her in on of the scenes that we did. She was wanting to use some teardrops and I remember this one actor, actually, Austin Nichols, I was having a hard time crying on the set of One Tree Hill ’cause I was

just blocked emotionally and he held my hands and I just started crying. And so I said to her, I was like you don’t need that tear stick ’cause I know, you know the stuff that you’ve told me.

You’ve got a lot in in your heart and I was like you need to use it. So, in the middle of the scene I just held her hands and I was like, just look at me and then she just starts crying and I’m like yes! Like it just feels good to like help and like you know give back to like to someone-

like Austin did for me and just like to tap into those emotions and yeah, they were great. It was so fun. Thank you.

Suzanne Lanoue (TVMeg): That was a great story.

Moderator: Well, thank you all for your questions. An Orly and Jana thank you so much for being here with us today. I know that everyone is looking forward to June 6 to watch this movie and everyone stay tuned for our next panel.

Video Trailer  Watch

MORE INFO:

Jana Kramer as Anna in "Soccer Mom Madam" on LifetimeAfter a bitter breakup leaves her and her young children without any support, Anna (Jana Kramer) goes to work for her cousin at a massage parlor known for “happy endings.” As soon as she learns the ropes, Anna branches out on her own, establishing a high end New York escort service that matches beautiful young women with the wealthiest and most powerful men in the city. For years, she operates undetected, making millions while keeping the secret of her success hidden from her children and the other moms in her Westchester suburb.  But when the FBI begins to investigate her, hoping to catch a big fish among her elite clientele, Anna’s days as a madam are numbered when her double life is revealed with devastating consequences.
Produced by Front Street Productions for Lifetime, Soccer Mom Madam is inspired by true events. Orly Adelson and Jon Eskenas executive produce, Kevin Fair directs from a script by Barbara Marshall.

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"Soccer Mom Madam" poster

Interview with Julie Benz

TV Interview!

Julie Benz, star of "Secrets of a Gold Digger Killer" June 13 on Lifetime

Interview with producer Barbara Lieberman and star Julie Benz of “Secrets of a Gold Digger Killer” on Lifetime by Suzanne 5/19/21

Julie is one of my favorite actresses. I’ve followed her career since she played “Babs” in “Honey I’m Home” back in 1991. She’s proven what a great actress she is over and over in many roles, such as Darla on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel;” in the original “Roswell;” in “Desperate Housewives;” in “Dexter;” and in “Defiance.” I could go on and on. She really shines in this starring role as a manipulative and murderous woman (unfortunately, based on a true story). I enjoyed speaking with her about it. I’ve interviewed her before, but this was the first time on Zoom, so it was very special to me. It was also very enjoyable to hear her and the producer discuss the film and the real woman that Julie is portraying.

SECRETS OF A GOLD DIGGER PANEL

Moderator: Hi everybody, our next panel is Secrets of a Gold Digger Killer.  With us today is Julie Benz who plays “Celeste Beard” and executive producer Barbara Lieberman.  Our first question is for you, Barbara.  This movie is based on the book The Fortune Hunter by Suzy Spencer. What attracted you to this story?

Barbara Lieberman (Executive Producer): Well, it was a very high-profile case and Celeste Beard was an outrageous, outrageous woman and what she did was frankly reprehensible.  And sort of unbelievable…but riveting and fascinating.  And you know the depths that she could go were, I think very dramatic and would would make a fascinating movie and I was particularly attracted also to the girls, her daughters and how their relationship between Celeste and her daughters and how they survive their mother. And they did. And they’re fine now. So that’s a good thing. So yes, that’s why.

Moderator: Thank you, Barbara.  Our next question is from Suzanne.

Suzanne Lanoue (TVMeg): Hi Julie, I was wondering what you did to prepare for the role mentally to be so…I know you’re not an awful killer or terrible person.  What did you do to prepare for this role?

Julie Benz: The great thing about these types of roles is you can get all that anger and aggression out on set.  For me, you know, I did a lot of research.  We shot in Vancouver, so I had a 14 day quarantine. And so I spent that time watching every video footage I could find of Celeste and going down every rabbit hole of the case and just really trying to wrap my head around this woman and like Barbara said, she was extremely outrageous and it was challenging for me.  It allowed me basically to take the lid off of her like most people live with, a lid on to keep certain emotions in check, and Celeste just was like…she just vomited however she felt.  And so it was just being able to release the valve and let it all out and let it go. There were some days after filming all day where I would just A.) I’d be exhausted just from the amount of the emotional journey that she was going on but just that the jumping around in the shooting schedule as well.  It was exhausting.  But it was exhilarating as well.

Barbara Lieberman: I mean, I could say one other thing about Celeste, who was who was very savvy in her in her manipulation and smart about it.  And could you know hone in on the people that that she felt that she could best manipulate and use for her own ends and did that for a number of years quite successfully, but ultimately did not get away with it.

Suzanne Lanoue (TVMeg): I imagine that’s a characteristic that most gold diggers share.  I actually knew a gold digger of a friend of mine.  Married one and she didn’t kill him, thankfully.  She took him for all he was worth so the same kind of manipulation that you’re talking about, so…thank you.

Moderator: Thanks Suzanne.  Our next question is from Jamie.

Jamie (Starry Magazine): Hi Julie, great to talk to you again.  Can you talk about working with the accent and the challenge of that?

Julie Benz: Um you know, I’m good at it, so it wasn’t that challenging for me.  For me, it was really kind of getting Celeste when she talks.  She has kind of a really flat tone and it was really trying to get some of that flat tone like she flattens A’s a lot and just also I can lean too heavily into the accent, so they were constantly pulling me away, like backing me off from it.  But getting that flat tone but still being able to show emotion through it.  But when you watch Celeste in interviews, she just has this very flat kind of way that she talks.  So it was being able to do that, but also still show all the like having the emotional range and having that go through your voice.

Jamie: Well, it was believable, so thank you.

Julie Benz: Thank you!

Moderator: Thank you.  Our next question is from Jay Bobbin.

Jay Bobbin (Gracenote): Hello Julie, I like your comment about vomiting everything out as this character and also about having be pulled back on the accent.  I mean you’ve done so much work over the years.  You certainly know that when you get a colorful character like this, you can go high, wide and handsome at the same time.  I guess the challenge is to moderate so you don’t go too far.  How was that process for you as you approach the character before anybody else gave you direction?

Julie Benz: Well for me I go like this – approaching Celeste, I spoke to Robin, our director,  and I was like I’m gonna chew the scenery like I’m gonna, I’m gonna just let it go.  It’s up to you to tell me when I need where I need to pull it back when I need to pull it back and help me craft the performance because the only way I know how to play her is to just go from zero to 60 in under you know under a second so it was really in Robin’s hands to help like tell me like that.  Take it down a little bit, you know.  Next, take let’s you know, try a different approach. All of that.  So Robin really helped me craft the performance of her as well.

Jay Bobbin (Gracenote): Thank you.

Barbara Lieberman: Well, I’m going to say one thing about Julie.  I mean, what’s ironic is Julie is one of the nicest people you will ever meet and the fact that she could slide into this role and play this woman with such ease and depth and definitely was fabulous and as I said, ironic considering the difference between her and the character but…go ahead sorry…

Julie Benz: I will say too like there were some scenes that really just that broke my heart as an actress where I really scared Roan and Georgia who played my daughters and like literally after every take I would just hug them and just be like I’m so sorry. And they loved it. They were just like no.  We were terrified.  But it’s like you know they would Robin would yell cut and I would immediately grab them into a hug just to make me feel better because it there was a lot of ugly energy that I had to live in.

Moderator: Thanks you guys.  Barbara, you do a lot of movies with Lifetime and we’re just wondering – what is it like to work with Lifetime and do you prefer to work with our network over other networks?

Barbara Lieberman: Well, that’s a very loaded question.  I mean I love, I love to work with Lifetime. I mean in the past that right now, in this present day, they’re my favorite network to work with.  I mean, over the years I’ve worked with HBO and other places, but many other places but Lifetimes great.  And there you know, there very much now very opened to pushing the envelope.  On their subject matter and the execution, they if it’s dark, they’re OK about being dark.  I like to put a lot of interesting, outrageous and you know, contemporary music in and they’re open to that, so that makes it very attractive to me to work with them as a network.  So yeah, it’s great.

Moderator: That’s awesome, that’s great.  And how did you get involved in this movie to begin with?  Like what was the start of your work on this project?

Barbara Lieberman: Me?

Moderator: Yes

Barbara Lieberman: I read about this story 17 years ago and started developing it then and it was a long haul and we had a good script. But then somehow the regimes changed, and it went away.  And then last year Lifetime asked me to do another true crime and I said OK to that.  And then I called up Tanya Lopez and said, listen, there’s a movie that is such a great story and there’s a script and it needs a little work, but it’s not difficult to do, and frankly we have to make this movie.  And she said, OK, let’s make it.  I mean it was…it was great so that that worked out really well.  And I’m so glad they said yes and were happy with the film.  And I think it’s very entertaining also. I mean obviously I’m not objective at all but people seem to like it.

Moderator: Thank you, Barbara.  Our next question is from Steve Gidlow.

Steve Gidlow (Media Village): Hi, my question is actually for Julie. I would assume going into a role, you’ve got to find something redeeming about the character, like something to like about her.  I would imagine with this one – pretty hard. Was there anything you found redeeming about her?  And do you think she was doing it for her kids?

Julie Benz: So when I entered into this project and started researching Celeste, I would go back and forth between was she guilty, was she innocent?  Because you watch her in an interview and she still claims her innocence and she’s so believable so I really tried not to pass any judgment on her and really, I think in her mind, she did it for her family, her children and like this is what you do. But I think at the end of the day she really just did it for herself and that’s speaking right now that I’m removed from the project and she’s out of my system. But in it, while I was in it, I would have big arguments on set about like I don’t know.  I think she’s innocent guys. I really, you know…I watched another interview.  Barbara would be like no, she’s not.

Barbara Lieberman: If you talk to her today, she will of course tell you she’s innocent and she’ll go into all kinds of rationalizations as to what everybody else did to make it bad, but she if convinced herself as many psychopaths are that she’s innocent, but she isn’t…

Julie Benz: …but she is very believable when you when you when you watch her an interview.  She is so believable you just you watch her.  At least for me, I would watch her interviews and just be like…she’s right, everybody was…everybody was out to get her.  This is a total lie.  This didn’t happen.  She’s so innocent.  And then you know, you read the transcript from the trial and you see all you hear the recorded messages and all of that.  And you’re like, well, wait a second…

Steve Gidlow (Media Village): Thanks so much guys, appreciate it.

Moderator: Thank you guys so much.  Julie, this is our last question and it’s for you. If you could talk to Celeste and actually this is Barbara and Julie, you can both answer this.  If you could speak to Celeste, what would you ask her?

Julie Benz: You know, I mean, the obvious question is come on, did you really do it? But I don’t think I would ask that. I’d be too afraid.  I don’t know Barbara, what would you ask her?

Barbara Lieberman: I would probably…I wouldn’t ask that because you know, I know what her answer would be and it would be a lie. I would say do…did you…do you regret anything you did and would you do anything different and would you like to reconnect with your daughters?  I think that’s what I would ask and see what she came up with.  You know, by the way, as a side note, she has now, in case anybody’s interested in cooking has published a cookbook from prison.  Prison Recipes by Celeste Beard. I mean it and also her mother wrote a book about her.  She will never stop with her outrageous behavior.  But yeah, I would ask her that and see if she has any regret at all.  I mean, we have interviews with her from jail that we’ve used in addition to the book and all the massive research we did, but I think it’s would be hard to get a reliable answer from her about anything.

Julie Benz: Yeah, I think the best thing would just be to get her to talk. I mean, she sounds like somebody who would just talk and talk and talk and talk, which would be fascinating to listen to.

Moderator: Well thank you guys so very much for being here today.  We can’t wait to watch Secrets of the Gold Digger Killer.  Everybody, please stand by for the next panel.

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MORE INFO:

Lifetime site with Preview

poster for the movie "Secrets of a Gold Digger Killer" on LifetimeBased on a true story, multimillionaire Steven Beard (Eli Gabay), a retired broadcasting executive, who fell hard for Celeste (Julie Benz), an attractive waitress who served him his nightly cocktail at the local country club in Austin, Texas. In 1995, the 70-year-old widow married the mother of teenage daughters and gave Celeste homes, cars, and more jewelry and designer clothes than she could ever wear. But it wasn’t enough for Celeste.  After being admitted into a mental health facility for depression, Celeste met and seduced fellow patient Tracey Tarlton (Justine Warrington), convincing her that the only way they could be together would be to murder Steven.  Knowing that she stood to inherit millions of dollars upon his death, the depth of Celeste’s lies, and betrayal knew no bounds until the truth was finally revealed by Tracey.

Produced by Fortune Hunter Films and based on The Fortune Hunter by Suzy Spencer, Secrets of a Gold Digger Killer is directed by Robin Hays and executive produced by Barbara Lieberman and Howard Braunstein.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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Julie Benz, star of "Secrets of a Gold Digger Killer" June 13 on Lifetime

Interview with Kim Clemons and Robyn Adams

TV Interview!

Showrunner Kim Clemons and former Casey Anthony cellmate Robyn Adams of "Cellmate Secrets" on Lifetime.

Interview with Showrunner Kim Clemons and former Casey Anthony cellmate Robyn Adams of “Cellmate Secrets” on Lifetime by Suzanne 5/19/21

This part of a multi-panel set of Zoom interviews for the press, set up by Lifetime to publicize their “Summer of Secrets” slate of movies and this docu-series that interviews former cellmates of various infamous murderers. I don’t really watch much non-fiction, but it was fascinating to listen to, nonetheless, and I even managed to ask a question or two. It sounds like an interesting show, especially if you’ve followed the real-life cases or have an interest in true-crime shows.

CELLMATE SECRETS PANEL

Moderator: Wonderful, we are officially on our last and final panel of our Lifetime Summer of Secrets press event.  So let us welcome our docuseries Cellmate Secrets showrunner Kim Clemons  joined by documentary participant Robyn Adams, who shares her personal story in the premiere docuseries episode, Cellmate Secrets: Casey Anthony.

So, let’s go ahead and get the first questions started and this one will be for you, Kim. So, Kim, your company AMS Pictures produces a lot of true crime documentaries and specials, including Lifetime’s recent special Jodi Arias: Cellmate Secrets. Why do you think viewers are so intrigued by these stories and obsessed with this genre and what new cases can we expect to see for this new season of cellmate secrets?

Kim Clemons (Cellmate Secrets Showrunner AMS Pictures): Well, hello everyone. I think that people are so intrigued by true crime because these are regular people that could be your neighbors and you’d never suspect that someone that you know and like and went to school with would do something as heinous as whatever our cases are, so that’s what’s intriguing.

For this first season of Cellmate Secrets, we have not only the Casey Anthony story with Robyn Adams, but we also have Chris Watts, Joyce Mitchell, Susan Smith, Shayna Hubers and Drew Peterson. So, we’ve got an interesting season coming up.

Moderator: Wonderful, we’re definitely very excited and I do have another written question that came in and it is actually for Robyn

Robyn, what was it like sitting down with a documentary film crew for the first time and going step-by-step through your relationship with Casey Anthony, detailing your lives together behind bars?

Robyn Adams (Cellmate Secrets: Casey Anthony doc participant): It was actually…thank you for the question…It was actually a lot more difficult than I had originally anticipated.  It was…it brought out a lot of raw emotions that I had to come to terms with that I suppose I had just compartmentalized.

To really address certain issues and a lot of questions that came from throughout the nation — I feel like, I feel like I did my part and in turn I feel like it was very liberating for me also.

Moderator: Of course, and thank you for sharing your story.  So, Kim, could you tell us about some of the reactions and you know, working with Robin?  And not just Robyn, but the series as a whole.  Could you go into what sort of reactions you were gathering?

Kim Clemons: Reactions from our cellmates?

Moderator: Yeah – with Robin and also the other participants who you interviewed?

Kim Clemons: Reactions, well, I think what we found the common thread between all of our participants was that there was some kind of understanding or friendship in the beginning.  There’s clearly no kind of judgment in prison if you’re alone in a cell and there’s a likeminded person or someone your age who’s just as scared and alone as you are, you’re probably going to befriend them and forgive.  Kind of and maybe, like Robyn said, compartmentalized what they’ve done just so you could, you know, have someone to talk to. So, I have noticed that most of our participants going in felt sympathy or some kind of kinship with the famous person that we’re profiling.

Moderator: For sure.  Well thank you for that. I do…actually, Suzanne has a question, Suzanne?

Suzanne Lanoue (The TV MegaSite): Hi Kim, did you create the series?

Kim Clemons: Well, not personally, but we have a small team here at AMS that works on original programming and our executive producer, Andy Streitfeld actually sent us a clip of a cellmate who was friends with Jodie Arias in prison last year and it was a clip from somewhere on the internet and that’s how the ball got rolling.

We did the pilot on Jodi, and it did well enough that we were granted a season.  So there are probably, you know four or five core people here that work on this show full time.

Suzanne Lanoue: Oh, great… and did you already have somebody, or already have Angie Harmon in mind, for the narrator? Or was there a big audition process?

Kim Clemons: Lifetime suggested Angie.  We were told that they wanted some kind of recognizable voice for the show after the pilot had aired, and Lifetime said that she was the only one on the list and only one that I ever was aware of, and they wanted her pretty badly.  And I’m excited to report that she’s just as excited to be a part of the show. So great, yeah, she’s awesome.

Moderator: Well, thank you. Wonderful thank you, Suzanne. This question is going to go back to Robyn. Robyn, what did you know about Casey in jail since you were cut off from the media?

Robyn Adams: So, prior to being cut off from the media, is that is that how the question is directed?

Moderator: Yeah, so to speak yeah.

Robyn Adams: Well, just like Kim had said, there was a sense of kinship that was that was definitely there between Casey and me.  Again, we were secluded, we were away from other inmates you know, and when that happens or any type of solitaire confinement — as we all know going through this whole pandemic — you tend to spend a lot more time with yourself than you could have ever imagined possible ever in your life and with all of the distractions completely taken away.

So, there we just have each other, and we were both in protective custody and although we were not sharing the same cell, we were able to communicate with each other discreetly through letters. Because of that, we did develop a very strong friendship, considering the circumstances.

Moderator: And as a follow up question to that, when did red flags go up as you got to know, Casey more and more, especially through the letters.

Robyn Adams: What were the red flags? There actually wasn’t I wouldn’t say many red flags — but there was one very big one — and one night, even though I was cut from the media, I was able to catch a glimpse of the 11:00 o’clock news, maybe for just not even two minutes and of course, the headline was that there was a bag of bones found in in a local river in Moss Park. So naturally, when I got taken back, she was the first person told that to and of course I was concerned. Just hoping to shed some light — at this point since they’re still trying to find her daughter. Nobody knows where she is and she’s still a concerned mom.

However, when I brought her that information it was a little, it was a little eye opening for me.  She didn’t react the way at all as I thought she would knowing that her child has been missing for so long so –that that was definitely a huge, if not the biggest red flag of the whole case.

Moderator: First, thank you for sharing. Next, we have Steve Gidlow.

Steve Gidlow (Media Village): Oh hi, my question is actually for Robyn.  I was just wondering if you could talk a little bit about some of the inner turmoil that you went through as far as sort of having to turn in your friend…how hard was that for you? I can’t imagine what you must have gone through personally.

Robyn Adams: That is an excellent question, and I actually can’t thank you enough for even asking that. So that the inner turmoil that…actually, I think you might be the very first person to ever ask me such a personal question like that, so it’s actually caught me off guard. (Tears up) I’m sorry I don’t need to do that.

Steve Gidlow: I’m just intrigued cause it’s…I would imagine it being extremely hard, but you want to do the right thing. So, what do you do?

Robyn Adams: It was actually. I feel like, I feel like that my whole story’s been a Lifetime movie. So just to be brief on my on my answer, my inner turmoil was exactly that. It was definitely inner turmoil in there. There really are no written words to ever express the pain in the hurt in the loss that I’ve ever gone through throughout this case. It’s still so very raw when I talk about it, and I’m sorry. But to have to turn on someone that I did call my friend was extremely difficult. And I’m sorry,

but if you’re and if you could see me…you could actually see that it is still very difficult.

Steve Gidlow: I can see it’s very raw for you hard. I appreciate your honest answer. Thank you so much. Thank you.

Moderator: Thank you, Steve, and thank you, Robin. This question is directed towards Kim.  Kim, can you explain the process of finding the documentary interviewees? Just go a little bit into the process of how that went down.

Kim Clemons: Yeah, there’s no straight line to a terrific subject like Robyn. Usually, it starts with the nugget of someone either on the Internet or with Robin’s case. It was her letters that were kind of out there in the ether, and then we just tracked her down and it’s through all kinds of means. We talked to friends, family, and then, you know, sometimes like Robyn, their names have changed.  So, we have a great team of researchers who are on social media. We’re reaching out to everyone and then finally…and I think we found you at your job.  And of course, she was thinking that we were crazy, and we tried to get her to call us back.

And so, it takes some convincing, because a lot of these people that we have on our show, you know they want this behind them and don’t want to relive. And it’s also pretty personal, you know, having been in prison.  You know what you want the world to know when you started your life over. You know, and made new friendships, and some people probably don’t know…so it takes time. But you know, we gained Robyn’s trust and she’s just made it all worthwhile. So, it’s kind of all over the place.

Moderator: Thank you, Kim. And I know that one of the final questions is for both of you to answer in your own honest opinions. Why was it important for both of you to tell these stories?

Kim coming from not just a series POV, but specifically the story of some 8 secrets.

For Casey Anthony, Robyn -why was it important for you to tell these stories? Or your story.

Kim Clemons:  For us it was important to tell this story because really, because Robyn.  Robyn’s story is amazing. And what this series does is it really humanizes prison inmates, and you know when you learn the backstories of some of these people who have been incarcerated with the famous person that everyone cares about, their stories are equally as fascinating and so we like telling those stories in addition to the ones that everyone is tuning in for. But, you know, kind of in the process, really gleaning, the stories of our cellmates and wanting the audience to root for them and you will want to root for them once you once you get through each episode.

Moderator: What about you, Robyn?

Robyn Adams: Well, I will tell you I’m definitely the underdog. So in in my opinion it’s…everything is always a struggle, right? So, and it doesn’t matter who you are or your position in in this world. You know where the hierarchy of which you may stand. Going through this walk of life has been extremely difficult and then it took learning to stand on your own two feet again and become an independent person and start from scratch with nothing because at that point you have no work history, you have no references to give…so to be able to bounce back in, become my own success story and be in, play…that part of a leader for other people in a positive way, means the world to me.  And I’m so grateful and thankful that I’m able to do that with some people and be their mentor. It’s possible, it’s possible to come out of the prison system and be an absolute success in in rise to the top. So, in my opinion all that matters is that you you’re able to learn how to pick up the pieces along the way and rebuild and start mapping out. You know you have to be your own architect and start mapping out your future from day one, and that’s exactly what I did.

MORE INFO:

The Lifetimes Summer’s Secrets programming slate kicks off with Cellmate Secrets on Friday, June 4th and features new Rip from the headline movies starting Memorial Day, May 31st including new originals, Gone Mom: The Disappearance of Jennifer Dulos on June 5th, Soccer Mom Madam on June 6thLeft for Dead: The Ashley Reeves Story on June 12thSecrets of a Gold Digger Killer on June 13thSecrets of a Marine’s Wife on June 19th and Doomsday Mom on June 26th.

Preview and more Info

ANGIE HARMON 
JOINS NEW LIFETIME UNSCRIPTED SERIES 
CELLMATE SECRETS 
DEBUTING FRIDAYS DURING NETWORK’S FIRST ANNUAL SUMMER OF SECRETS
FOLLOWING ENHANCED VERSIONS OF
LIFETIME ORIGINAL MOVIES
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Los Angeles, CA – April 22, 2021 – On the heels of last year’s hit special, Jodi Arias: Cellmate Secrets, the network announces the new six-episode doc series Cellmate Secrets, which revisits some of the most infamous stories of headline grabbing criminals as part of Lifetime’s Summer of Secrets line up.  Angie Harmon (Rizzoli and Isles) will narrate the series, which reveals new insights and information as former friends, guards, cellmates and lovers give first-hand accounts of their time with the famed felons and defendants.   Many of the episodes for this season of Cellmate Secrets will air following enhanced versions of Lifetime Original Movies that followed these true stories.
“Angie, true crime and Lifetime are a perfect fit together,”  said Amy Winter, EVP, Head of Programming, Lifetime and LMN. “We know our audience devoured the stories when they were playing out in headlines, but now we can go even deeper to reveal more about those infamous stories.”
This season will reexamine the high-profile case of Casey Anthony, now nearing the 10th anniversary of when Casey was acquitted for the murder of her daughter Caylee,  as well as the story of Joyce Mitchell, the woman who aided two convicts in their escape from prison in Dannemora, NY.  Cellmate Secrets will also delve into the inner lives of  convicted killers Drew PetersonChris WattsSusan Smith and Shayna Hubers.  Cellmate Secrets will air Fridays at 10pm ET/PT starting June 4th, following enhanced encores of Lifetime original movies centered on them including Prosecuting Casey Anthony and Drew Peterson Untouchable – both which starred Rob Lowe.  Other movies include New York Prison Break: The Joyce Mitchell Story and Chris Watts: Confessions of a Killer.
Angie Harmon is a talented actress and model, who has appeared in numerous tv series and films over the years. She is best known for her roles as Detective Jane Rizzoli on the series Rizzoli & Isles and Assistant District Attorney Abbie Carmichael on Emmy-Award winning drama Law & Order. Rizzoli & Isles airs weekdays on Lifetime (check your local listings).
Lifetime’s Summer of Secrets will feature new movies starting Memorial Day, May 31, including new originals, Gone Mom (June 5), Soccer Mom Madam (June 6), Left for Dead: The Ashley Reeves Story (June 12), Secrets of a Gold Digger Killer (June 13), Secrets of a Marine’s Wife (June 19) and Doomsday Mom (June 26).
Cellmate Secrets is produced by AMS Pictures with Andy Streitfeld serving as Executive Producer, Kim Clemons Showrunner, Brad Osborne Creative Director, Allison Willoughby Producer, Amanda Metz Production Manager.  Amy Winter, Brie Miranda Bryant, Nicole Vogel executive produce for Lifetime.  Mioshi Hill also serves as executive producer.
JUNE 4
Prosecuting Casey Anthony (Movie) – 8pm ET/PT
Cellmate Secrets: Casey Anthony– 10pm ET/PT
Golden Globe® and Emmy® Award nominee Rob Lowe stars as Jeff Ashton, the Florida prosecutor in the controversial Caylee Anthony murder trial and author of the best-selling book “Imperfect Justice: Prosecuting Casey Anthony”, upon which the movie is based. The film reveals Ashton’s inside story of the true crime drama that captivated and then shocked the nation when Caylee Anthony’s mother, Casey, was acquitted of killing her daughter, despite what many thought to be overwhelming evidence of guilt. Prosecuting Casey Anthony is executive produced by Rob Lowe, Alison Cross, Jean Abounader and Michelle Manning. Peter Werner directed the screenplay by Alison Cross. The film is produced by Fox Television Studios. Imperfect Justice: Prosecuting Casey Anthony is published by HarperCollins.
Cellmate Secrets: In 2008, two-year-old Caylee Anthony was reported missing by her grandmother and when Caylee’s mom, Casey was questioned, she made up stories about the babysitter kidnapping her daughter and she was arrested for lying to authorities and charged with first degree murder. In 2011 Casey was eventually found not guilty of the murder of Caylee and was released with time served.  In all new interviews, Casey’s former cellmate and friend Robyn Adams shares how Casey lured her into a deep friendship when Casey first arrived in jail.  Prison guard Silvia Hernandez also reveals how she risked her job to help facilitate the secret meetups between the two and she details how her life was ruined because of her involvement with the ladies.

 

JUNE 11
Drew Peterson: Untouchable (Movie) – 8pm ET/PT
Cellmate Secrets: Drew Peterson – 10pm ET/PT
Based on a true story about charming Chicago-area police officer Drew Peterson’s (Rob Lowe) fall from grace after the mysterious disappearance of his fourth wife.  Peterson seemed virtually “untouchable” in more ways than one when it came to his womanizing ways, having been married three times before landing the eye and affection of Stacy Cales (Kaley Cuoco).  As Peterson’s relationship with Stacy blossoms, his relationship with third wife Kathleen Savio (Cara Buono) unravels in a bitter divorce — until Kathleen is inexplicably found dead.  Soon after making Stacy his wife Peterson’s jealousy begins to strain their marriage.  When Stacy suddenly disappears, Peterson insists that she left him for another man but in the wake of her disappearance, new questions are raised about Kathleen’s death and her case is re-opened, drawing national media attention to Peterson.  Produced by Sony Pictures Television, Drew Peterson: Untouchable was executive produced by Judith Verno and produced by Kyle Clark and Lina Wong.  Mikael Salomon directed the movie from a script written by Teena Booth, based on the book, Fatal Vows, by Joseph Hosey.
Cellmate Secrets: In 2007 Chicago-area police officer Drew Peterson’s fourth wife Stacy disappeared, but he remained free for years until his third wife Kathleen’s body was exhumed and he was charged with her murder.  In all-new interviews, viewers will get a behind the scenes look at Drew Peterson’s relationship with his ex-fiancé Christina Raines and her father Ernie Raines. Drew proposed to Christina while his fourth wife Stacy was still missing and while Drew was the prime suspect in Stacy’s disappearance, Christina moved into the home that Drew shared with Stacy.  Ernie did everything he could to separate Christina from Drew, but the couple stayed together for almost three years and broke up after he went to prison.  The special also includes new interviews with Drew’s girlfriend while in prison, Nicole Speakman.  Nicole met Drew when he was in the media for Stacy’s disappearance and their relationship became serious after he went to jail for murder. Nicole and Drew were pen pals and she would travel to visit him, until they broke up after she began to suspect that he murdered Stacy and he became very dominant.
JUNE 18
New York Prison Break: The Seduction of Joyce Mitchell (Movie)– 8pm ET/PT 
Cellmate Secrets: Joyce Mitchell – 10pm ET/PT
Inspired by the true story that gripped the nation, the movie tells the story of a prison staffer who helped two convicts escape, leading to a fatal manhunt. When Joyce Mitchell (Penelope Ann Miller) a married mother of three, meets convicted murderers Richard Matt and David Sweat while running the tailor shop at the Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York. Richard and David immediately set their sights on her as the perfect pawn for their escape plan. Flattered by their attention, Joyce is easily seduced by the prisoners, and soon agrees to help them break out. Wrapped up in a fantasy that men were in love with her, Joyce goes along with them when they suggest killing her husband so they can all run away together. At the last second, Joyce decides she can’t go through with the plot and a massive statewide manhunt for Richard and David ensues culminating in a deadly takedown and her own conviction. Produced by Mountainair Films, the film is executive produced by Judith Verno and Frank Von Zerneck. The movie is directed and written by Stephen Tolkin. David Manzanares co-produces, and Ron Schmidt is the line producer. The film is distributed by Sony Pictures Television.
Cellmate Secrets: Joyce Mitchell is the former prison staffer who helped two convicts escape, leading to a fatal manhunt in upstate New York. It was later revealed that the convicts Richard Matt and David Sweat seduced Joyce and convinced her to participate in their elaborate scheme.  Former Inmate Erik Jensen, who worked with Joyce in the Clinton Correctional Facility’s tailor shop, reveals how Joyce’s incredible need for attention left her open to being manipulated by Richard and David.  In a sit-down interview Erik describes tactics that inmates used to manipulate guards and he details the techniques that the two convicts used to convince Joyce to help them escape.  Pam White, Joyce’s supervisor, recounts how she saw red flags long before anyone else and how she eventually left her position when her complaints were silenced.  Kris Mullady, a Corrections Sergeant who oversaw security operations outside the building during the time of the escape, recounts the events that led up to the escape and the behaviors of those involved, including those of Joyce.
JUNE 25
Chris Watts: Confessions of a Killer (Movie) – 8pm ET/PT
Cellmate Secrets: Chris Watts – 10pm ET/PT
When Chris Watts (Sean Kleier) tearfully pleaded to television cameras for the safe return of his missing pregnant wife Shanann (Ashley Williams) and their two young daughters, dark secrets loomed just beneath the surface.  As the story spread, hearts went out to the distraught father and husband, who appeared to lead a charmed life.  But days later, after failing a lie detector test, Chris confessed to brutally murdering his family and slowly revealed the horrific details of their deaths. Friends and family were left reeling, looking for answers as his double life and secret affair came to light. Brooke Smith portrays CBI agent Tammy Lee, who helped to bring Chris Watts to justice. Chris Watts: Confessions of a Killer is produced by Sony Pictures Television. Judith Verno/Peace Out Productions serves as executive producer. Michael Nankin directs from a script written by Barbara Marshall.
Cellmate Secrets: In 2013 Chris Watts brutally murdered his pregnant wife and his two small children.  He left his wife in a shallow grave and he put his daughters in two separate oil tanks. Chris tearfully pled for the return of his family in front of news cameras, but later confessed and it was revealed that he was having an affair with his co-worker.  Chris still receives an overwhelming amount of fan mail behind bars and when his cellmate Dylan Tallman responded on his behalf to a fan letter from Christa Richello, it was the beginning of a close and intimate relationship between the trio.  Christa, a clinical psychologist, is adamant that Chris Watts is innocent and she’s currently writing a book with Chris and her now fiancé Dylan.  In all-new interviews Christa sits down with cameras and delves into her relationship with the two men, including that the cellmates are so close they consider themselves brothers, although some suspect that there’s more going on with the two men.  The documentary crew also sits down with Cheryln Cadle, who became intrigued by Chris over the course of his trial and began exchanging letters with him and eventually met him in-person, where he allegedly revealed more to her than he did to the FBI.
*ENCORE AIRINGS*
JULY 2
Jodi Arias: Dirty Little Secret (Movie) – 8pm ET/PT
Cellmate Secrets: Jodi Arias (enhanced encore)– 10pm ET/PT
Based on the disturbing murder trial that captivated the nation, Jodi Arias: Dirty Little Secret tells the story of Jodi Arias (Tania Raymonde, Lost), a seductive 28-year-old found guilty of killing her former lover, Travis Alexander (Jesse Lee Soffer, The Mob Doctor), who was found nude in his home shower with a slit throat, 27 additional stab wounds and a bullet to the head. Jodi pled not guilty and contended she killed Alexander in self-defense.  Her subsequent trial was grand theater, dominating the cable news networks as she testified in her own defense and offered explicit insight into the sex, lies and obsession that led up to Alexander’s murder. This is a special encore airing of the movie, as part of the celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the Lifetime Original Movie.
Cellmate Secrets: Seven years after being convicted of first-degree murder, new disturbing information comes to light about Jodi Arias and the murder of her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander as her former cellmates and closest confidants give firsthand accounts of their time behind bars with the murderess.  In an exclusive double interview, Tracy Brown and Donavan Bering reveal details and shocking information that they heard directly from Arias, including a bombshell new theory about the night of Alexander’s murder. Through cryptic personal never-before-read letters and rare disturbing works of art, Brown and Bering recount stories of how Arias used her sex-appeal and manipulation to coerce them and others into becoming loyal followers that would do her bidding in and out of jail. Bering also delves into how Arias cultivated a devoted fanbase to run her social media and gather more fans.  As Brown and Bering shed new light on Arias’ case and clear their consciences, they reveal a picture of a woman who will stop at nothing to get what she wants.  Jodi Arias: Cellmate Secrets is produced by AMS Pictures with Andy Streitfeld serving as executive producer, Kim Clemons producing and Brad Osborne directing.  Mioshi Hill and Gena McCarthy executive produce for Lifetime.
JULY 9
Cellmate Secrets: Susan Smith – 10pm ET/PT
Susan Smith was convicted of murdering her two young children by sending her car into a lake while her sons were strapped into their car seats.  The case gained national attention when Susan told authorities that her car, with her sons inside, had been carjacked by a black man.  Now Susan’s former cellmates Stephanie Hulsey and Christie Smith are giving new insights into Susan’s life behind bars, including detailing Susan’s prison love life and how she manipulated other cellmates into securing her drugs.  Christie reveals how she helped Susan have sexual encounters without getting caught and both Stephanie and Christie discuss other self-destructive habits that Susan has picked up behind bars. Alfred and Elizabeth Rowe, who had their lives turned upside down by Susan, also sit down together for the documentary and painfully recount Alfred’s inappropriate relationship with Susan and her manipulative tactics.
JULY 16
Cellmate Secrets: Shayna Hubers – 10pm ET/PT
On October 12, 2012, Shayna Hubers shot and killed her boyfriend Ryan Poston, claiming that it was self-defense.  As the trial went on, it came out that she would text him over 100 times to his one response and it was later revealed that after being alone in the interrogation room she said aloud “I did it. Yes, I did it. I can’t believe I did that.” For the first time since her trial, cameras sit down with Holly Nivens, Shayna Hubers’ former cellmate.  Holly details how Shayna manipulated her into believing that she killed Ryan in self-defense, but then later revealed new motives and details about the murder. The doc also includes an interview with her former inmate Cecily Miller, who discusses Shayna’s behavior after being arrested, including her constant need for attention and how she never expressed remorse about killing Ryan.  And the documentary crew sits down with Carissa Carlisle, Ryan’s cousin and former friend to Shayna.  Carissa reveals how just a few months into the relationship Ryan wanted out and she gives new insight into the lengths Shayna would go to get in contact with Ryan after he blocked her.
ABOUT AMS PICTURES
AMS Pictures is a creative media company located in Dallas, Texas. Our passion for unique storytelling and uncompromising quality have made AMS a leader in the production industry for close to 40 years.
ABOUT LIFETIME
Celebrating over 35 years of entertaining audiences, Lifetime is a premier entertainment destination for women dedicated to offering the highest quality original programming spanning award-winning movies, high-quality scripted series and breakout non-fiction series.  Lifetime has an impressive legacy in public affairs, bringing attention to social issues that women care about with initiatives such as the long-running Stop Breast Cancer for LifeStop Violence Against Women, and Broader Focus, a major global initiative dedicated to supporting and hiring female directors, writers and producers, including women of color, to make its content.  Lifetime Television®, LMN®, Lifetime Real Women® and Lifetime Digital™ are part of Lifetime Entertainment Services, LLC, a subsidiary of A+E Networks. A+E Networks is a joint venture of the Disney-ABC Television Group and Hearst Corporation.

 

 

Cellmate Secrets graphic for our press panel

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Interview with Annabeth Gish and Warren Christie

TV Interview!

Warren Christie and Annabeth Gish from "Gone Mom" on Lifetime

Interview with actors Warren Christie and Annabeth Gish, producer Ilene Kahn Power, and director Gail Harvey of “Gone Mom” on Lifetime by Suzanne 5/9/21

This was one of a number of different video interviews we did this day with actors and others from upcoming Lifetime movies this summer. It was very exciting to watch the movies and then speak with the stars and creative minds behind the films. I thought this one, “Gone Mom” was one of the best of the films.

I’d spoken with Warren twice before, in 2011 (for Syfy’s “Alphas”) and 2014 (for a Hallmark movie), but seeing his handsome face on Zoom was much better. I wish I had more time to ask more questions, especially about his recent guest-starring role as Bruce Wayne (albeit a copy) on The CW’s “Batwoman.”  Annabeth Gish is a great actress who’s been acting since she was a child. You can see her in the upcoming Netflix horror series “Midnight Mass” later this year.

Moderator: Hi everyone, so our first panel today is Gone Mom: The Disappearance of Jennifer Doulos.  Please welcome stars Annabeth Gish and Warren Christie, executive producer Rachel Stockman, Ilene Kahn Power and director Gail Harvey. Hi everyone, our first question is for Annabeth and Warren. Were you familiar with the Dulos case prior to your involvement in the film?

Annabeth Gish: I certainly was. I live here in the States, and I have a lot of friends on the East Coast. And yes, I was very much aware as a mother um, of the story, yes I was.

Warren Christie: I wasn’t.  I didn’t really know a lot about it, so to see it start to unfold and really get into the details of it was obviously incredibly shocking. I don’t know how else to put it.

Moderator: We have a first question from Jamie from Sci-fi magazine. I see there are titles are cut off a little. Go ahead Jamie.

Jamie Ruby (SciFi Vision magazine):  Hi, Jamie from SciFi Vision.  Hi guys, this question’s for the actors. What was it that first attracted you to the roles that made you know that you just had to play them?

Annabeth Gish: Warren, you wanna go or you wanna go ahead yeah.  Well for me there were multiple reasons not the least of which is that Jennifer would have been my peer. When I was at Duke, she was at Brown. We’re both the exact same age.  I’m a mother, and I think there’s a real resonance to understanding that this kind of domestic violence can occur in any social strata.  Whether you’re privileged or not.  And I think the story of loving someone and then being surprised with who they actually are is a common one.  So, I was, I was.  I wouldn’t say I was eager. It was, it was stressful to take on the role, but I wanted to embody this part.

Moderator:  Thank you, our next question is from Suzanne.

Suzanne Lanoue (TVMEG):  Morning. It’s great to talk to you all.  Warren, what was the most challenging part of doing this role.

Warren Christie:  Oh um, well, obviously there’s a lot of duality to what’s going on, and I think to make sure that we told the story properly with as much authenticity as we could so… (that’s my dog).  You know you take on responsibility with this when you’re talking about real people, and for me that was the biggest thing.  And obviously I wouldn’t say….Annabeth, and I were both on the same page with wanting to make sure this story was told properly and she’s so incredibly talented that you know, and so open to what was going on that.  We kind of talked early on and made sure that we both felt safe and comfortable, but wanted to make sure that we told this thing in a kind of raw backdrop so that we made sure that the story was told properly.  So yeah, it’s hard sometimes you know.  When you have to go to a certain place and do certain things, but like I said, working with Annabeth was such a treat that we we just made sure that we did it with as much heart as we possibly could.

Suzanne Lanoue:  Thank you and Annabeth, when you were working with the actress who played Audrey, I’m sorry I don’t know her name, did you work together to try to get a bond ahead of time with before the movie?

Annabeth Gish:  Uh Laura Harris? Um, she was phenomenal and easy to work with and the whole entire cast as in in general Ilene and Gail, our producer and director, did an amazing job of gathering real actors who wanted to bring an authenticity, as Warren said to this.  And it was imperative that the friendship between Jennifer and Audrey was real and it was not false at all, Laura and I were immediately….we became quick and close friends.

Suzanne Lanoue:  Yeah, it came over very well.  Thank you.  I enjoyed the movie.

Annabeth Gish:  Thank you.

Moderator:  Thanks Suzanne.  The next question is from Lisa.  Just a reminder if you could put your hand down after you’ve asked your question.

Lisa Steinberg (Starry Constellation):  Thank you.

Moderator:  Lisa, I believe you’re muted.

Lisa Steinberg:  Sorry about that, thank you guys so much for taking your time to chat with us today. Did either of you come to a conclusion of whether or not you really felt that Dulos was guilty or not?  Or do you try not to judge the characters that you’re portraying?

Annabeth Gish:   Warren that’s to you.  That was a good question.

Warren Christie:  You know, I.  I wouldn’t want to comment on it too much, and I think it’s really important.  (barking dog). Oh hi.  That’s my dog by the way.

Annabeth Gish:  He thinks Fotis is guilty

Warren Christie:   yeah yeah don’t we all?  I think it’s, I think it’s important to to tell this story properly to not go in judging it.  You know I have my own feelings after the fact and during obviously, but I think more importantly it was, it was not judge his character, tell this story like I said in a raw manner and as honestly as we could.  And on a bigger scale, tell the stories Annabeth touched upon earlier that we wanted to highlight, unfortunately, domestic violence.  We wanted to make sure it was not something that was controlled by socioeconomic factors like we wanted to show that sometimes from the outside, these perfect lives aren’t so perfect.  So for us it was a bigger scale just telling this particular story, but hoping that it resonates, you know, on that larger scale.

Annabeth Gish:   And to add to that, one of the most important elements of this story is a love story.  You know, I mean, Fotis and Jennifer had a love story that that spanned time and they had five children, so there was obviously a lot of love and chemistry and they were both really charismatic beings, and so I think as much as we all, again, this is a group effort, um we really wanted the tone to be about love and not so much about horror you know.  I mean clearly it’s a horrific accident that happened were tragedy but but there was a love story at the at the core of it.

Moderator:  Thank you, our next question is from Rick.

Rick Bentley (Nexstar Media):  Warren, two quick questions.  These movies have taught us to immediately suspect the husband and when you play a role like that, you have to make a sort of, you know, have doubts is it in the process in your voice and the body language.  How do you get that across?  And secondly, why do you think we are so fascinated by these kind of stories?

Warren Christie:  Well, as far as telling the character, you know I’m, my responsibility comes to telling the story that’s been written in this particular thing, and what’s on the page. Um, and so you go about that again without judging the character, but but trying to create and fill in the blanks of what we don’t know.  Um, you know it’s no different than telling any other story.  The thing is, you have an added responsibility because you’re talking about real people and in certain things real time.  Um, on a side note, I think people are so gripped by these stories because and this one in particular, as I mentioned earlier, you know you’re talking about a family that looked like they had it all. They had that thing that we would all you know want to try and get on paper and so to see them behind the scenes what was going on and the abuse and the different things like that and then how it tragically ended, I think that’s what grips people.  You know when you see people that have it all or that thing that we aspire to possibly have, and then you realize you pull the curtain back, and that’s not really what it is.  I think that’s what hits with people, and I think that’s what opens up and draws people in these type of stories.

Moderator:  Thank you, our next question is from Jay, and then we’ll have one more question after Jay and then that’ll be it for this panel.

Jay Bobbin (Gracenote):  Hello.  Thank you. Annabeth, you have done so much in your career in so many genres.  Was true crime, something you especially wanted to get into at this point in time or was it this story specifically for you?

Annabeth Gish:  Oh it was absolutely the story specifically for me, and also that it was being told consciously through a female lens with Gail as our Director, and Ilene as our producer, and we had a female DP and a female editor as well.  Um, I know Rachel is also a producer. You know, I think it was just really for me it was a beautiful opportunity for me to explore this topic. And it was, it was hard to do, but I’m so glad we did it together with this female gaze.

Jay Bobbin:  Thank you.

Moderator:  Thank you Annabeth and speaking to what you were just saying, this was a majority female lead production.  How was that like on set?

Annabeth Gish:  It was awesome.  I mean it was awesome and and yet we had many male crew members as well. It was just it was just. It was lovely. I can’t say more.   Gail and Ilene can probably speak to that too.

Moderator:  yeah, of course yeah, yeah.

Ilene Kahn Power:  I can speak to the fact that we had actually more than half were females on this show.  We qualified for the Sundance and Women and Film Reframe stamp that really goes for gender parity and we felt that the you know that that having that mojo behind it really helped to make the movie what it is and with Annabeth and Warren as the lead and Gail directing, we feel we really achieved it.  And we we had so many challenges doing this movie under covid that there were there was Amy, our DP, Annabeth, Gail and myself, who burned sage frequently on this movie, and I’m gonna have him stay it worked.  It worked so we feel really blessed about that and we’re thrilled with the support that we’ve gotten from Lifetime and about telling this story that’s still evolving.

Annabeth Gish:  I will say there was a sensitivity that is just inherent when when you have a female director you know um and just people behind the camera who are coming at it honoring Jennifer’s story.

Gail Harvey:  Yes, and we got very very lucky to have the most amazing casts.  It’s one of those movies where everything just kind of fell together and you know and we were all I think not to sound too spiritual, but like we were all feeling that we really wanted…that Jennifer was there and we were telling her story with her. So I want to thank everybody because I think it’s a very important story.

Moderator:  Absolutely, and Rachel, anything that you would like to add?

Rachel Stockman:  And I would just say I think that this movie will connect to a lot of women. Um, I know a lot of women have connected to this story.  They’ve known someone, a family member or friend where this may have happened or that family member has suffered some kind of violence and it’s the story of Jennifer and she really was part of….uh her memory was part of how we put this film together.  But I think it’s really special in that it kind of goes beyond that too and has a larger message um in Jennifer’s honor.

Moderator:  Thank you so much.  We’re very much looking forward to this film.

Moderator:  Thank you to all of our Gone Mom panelists and stay tuned for the next one.

Video Watch the movie  Trailer

MORE INFO:

Summer of Secrets Press Day – Wednesday, May 19

Amy Winter (EVP of Lifetime Programming): I am excited and I want to thank you for joining us today for our very first summer of secrets press day. Only Lifetime can bring you a season full of twisted tales based on true crime. A season filled with stories that had people saying, “you know what – that sounds like a Lifetime movie.” Before we dive into your questions for our seven panels today, I’ve got even more secrets to share.

Do you know what today is? It’s actually Harry and Meghan’s 3rd wedding anniversary. And we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than to reveal who is starring as the lovely couple in the third movie of our franchise, Harry and Meghan: Escaping the Palace.  Taking the crown as the newest Duke and Duchess of Sussex are Jordan Dean and Sydney Morton. We just started production on Monday and can’t wait to spill the tea when it debuts this fall.

And I know it’s not even Memorial Day yet, but we always have holidays on the brain and we’re already filling Santa’s sleigh with some goodies for this year’s It’s a Wonderful Lifetime holiday movie slate. Some of our favorite talent like Melissa Joan Hart, Mario Lopez, Kelly Rowland, Jana Kramer and others are back and this year we have Reba McEntire in her own holiday movie filming now in Nashville.

But wait, there’s more. I’m excited to give you all an early present with a glimpse at the incredible cast for two of our upcoming holiday movies. Who doesn’t love a good reunion for the holidays? We are excited to start off the festivities. With some fancy footwork this year, by taking you all back to High School Musical days with alums, Corbin Bleu and Monique Coleman in a Christmas Dance Reunion. The music, the dance, and the romance are the perfect way to start off this year’s late.

I’m also revealing another trip down memory lane starring a BUNCH of amazing folks all in one movie. Blending Christmas directed by Marla Sokoloff and starring Haylie Duff, Aaron O’Connell, Beth Broderick, Telma Hopkins, Jennifer Elise Cox, Greg Evigan, and remember when I said “bunch?” This movie also stars Barry Williams, Christopher Knight, Mike Lookinland, Susan Olsen and Robbie Rist who you all remember from the iconic TV show The Brady Bunch. We hope everyone is reunited with family and friends for the holidays. It’s nice to bring these loved ones back together.

And if you feel like the Holidays are just too far away, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. After all, my last name is Winter, so I like to bring the season whenever I can to tide you over, we’re going to indulge all those holiday fanatics with our first ever Summer of Santas where over 8 holiday titles from our Christmas past will be available on VOD along with twenty movies that will be available on the Lifetime Movie Club app all during the month of July.

Speaking of the Lifetime Movie Club app and getting back to today’s main event, I also wanted to mention that on May 28th we will be releasing an exclusive new movie on LMC titled Deadly Misconduct. So no matter what platform you watch Lifetime on, our Summer of Secrets are ready to be revealed.

Okay, so I’ve shared a lot and I did hope to reveal one more big secret, but it’s hidden in the attic, so you will have to wait a bit more for that one to be unveiled. So let’s get to the panels, starting off with a gripping true story that captured nationwide attention. The tale of Connecticut mom Jennifer Doulos, whose disappearance rocked her small town. This is Gone Mom.

LIFETIME KICKS OFF FIRST ANNUAL
 SUMMER OF SECRETS
WITH SIX NEW ORIGINAL MOVIES INSPIRED BY TRUE STORIES
FEATURING ALL STAR CASTS
 
GONE MOM STARRING ANNABETH GISH AND WARREN CHRISTIE
PREMIERES SATURDAY, JUNE 5
 
SOCCER MOM MADAM STARRING JANA KRAMER
PREMIERES SUNDAY, JUNE 6
JENNIE GARTH AND ANWEN O’DRISCOLL
STAR IN LEFT FOR DEAD: THE ASHLEY REEVES STORY
PREMIERING SATURDAY, JUNE 12
 
SECRETS OF A GOLD DIGGER KILLER STARS JULIE BENZ
PREMIERING SUNDAY, JUNE 13
 
SECRETS OF A MARINE’S WIFE 
STARS SADIE CALVANO
PREMIERING SATURDAY, JUNE 19
 
DOOMSDAY MOM STARRING LAUREN LEE SMITH AND MARC BLUCAS
PREMIERES SATURDAY, JUNE 26
LINDA PURL AND PATRICK DUFFY ALSO STAR
FOUR ADDITIONAL ACQUIRED TITLES WILL AIR DURING THE SLATE
LOS ANGELES, CA (April 1, 2021) – Shhhhh… there’s a lot to uncover this summer with Lifetime‘s first annual Summer of Secrets programming slate with the announcement of six new original movies, debuting this June. Four acquired titles will air during the slate as well. Gone Mom, starring Annabeth Gish (The Haunting of Hill House) and Warren Christie (Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce), is based on the true story of missing Connecticut mom Jennifer Dulos whose husband later committed suicide after he was charged with her murder. Jana Kramer (One Tree Hill) takes on the role of Anna, a suburban mom who runs an elite escort service for the high-powered men of New York in Soccer Mom MadamJennie Garth (90210) and Anwen O’Driscoll (American Gods) lead Left for Dead: The Ashley Reeves Storybased on the true account of 17-year-old Ashley Reeves who is attacked and abandoned in the woods and must fight to regain her life. Julie Benz (Dexter) stars as convicted murderer Celeste Beard in Secrets of a Gold Digger Killerwhile Sadie Calvano (Mom) stars in Secrets of a Marine’s Wife. Doomsday Mom stars Lauren Lee Smith (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation) and Marc Blucas (Buffy The Vampire Slayer), and focuses on the Lori Vallow saga, an Idaho mother whose two missing children lead authorities through a web of death and deceptions as they try to uncover the truth of their disappearance. Linda Purl (Happy Days) and Patrick Duffy (Dallas) also star.
“Off the success of our Ripped from the Headlines slates, we are doubling down on what women love on Lifetime for our first annual Summer of Secrets slate.” said Amy Winter, EVP and Head of Programming, Lifetime and LMN.  “These stories captured our collective attention and are the perfect kick off to the summer with the stranger than fiction moments and revealing secrets that had everyone talking.”
A top 10 cable network with W25-54, Lifetime recently grew 13%, marking its strongest quarter growth in nearly 20 years.  As the leading producer of television movies, Lifetime continues to dominate the original movie space, with the top two movies in all of cable with Wendy Williams: The Movie and Salt N Pepa for 2021.
Source: Nielsen Live+3, (000s), as noted with A25-54, W25-54, A18-49, W18-49; 2021 Calendar YTD =12/28/20-3/21/21, Original Movies Only (Excludes all theatricals and acquired movies on all nets, excludes mini-series)
GONE MOM
PREMIERES SATURDAY, JUNE 5 at 8/7c
GM_02112021_EA_0146_V1
Annabeth Gish
Based on a true story, Gone Mom details the story of Jennifer Dulos (Annabeth Gish), the wealthy, Connecticut mother-of-five who mysteriously vanished on May 24, 2019.  Jennifer believed she had found her Prince Charming in Fotis Dulos (Warren Christie), but by the time of her disappearance, their marriage had all but disintegrated and the estranged couple was engaged in a contentious custody dispute. After she disappeared without a trace, after dropping off their children at school, police turned the spotlight on Fotis, who claimed Jennifer staged her own disappearance ala the film, Gone Girl.  Despite his assertions, investigators charged Fotis with murder in January 2020 but just weeks later, Fotis committed suicide, still claiming his innocence. To this date, the body of Jennifer has not been found.
Produced by Lighthouse Pictures for Lifetime, Gone Mom is executive produced by Dan Abrams, Ilene Kahn Power and Rachel Stockman.  Gail Harvey directs from a script written by Gregory Small and Richard Blaney.

Still from "Gone Mom" on Lifetime

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Interview with Jesse Soffer and Jason Beghe

TV Interview!

Jesse Soffer and Jason Beghe of “Chicago PD” on NBC

Interview with Jesse Soffer and Jason Beghe of “Chicago PD” on NBC by Suzanne 3/23/21

These two are the stars of their show, but they’re humble. It was a pleasure to speak with them and listen to them answer all of the questions.

Here’s the video version of it.

Question:   You guys are doing a great job. The show’s been on for quite a long time now. Are you sort of settling into your characters, or, this year, when people have been looking at police officers a little differently, has that changed your approach at all to how you play your character?

Jason:   Jesse? Or do you want me to [go]?

Jesse:   No, it hasn’t changed my approach at all. We were actually just talking about this. I think our show does a good job of portraying everyone as a human being. Whether or not you’re on the right or wrong side of the law, whether or not you’re on this side or that side of politics or have an idea, everybody’s human. So, no, my idea of Jay hasn’t changed, but everything is growth. You know, “what’s going on in current events?” If we’re playing the reality of it, and we’re truthful, then cops today are seeing things in the news and they’re hearing discussions and they’re having to think about it. So, obviously, that’s going on with Jay; that’s one point that’s going on with everybody. So, that would be the only way that it’s changed the way you absorb the information around you.

Question:   Well, Jason, your cop actually started out as a bad cop and then transitioned to being more upstanding.

Jason:   Well, I’m not sure if that’s a question, but I can also just say that, the first day I showed up on Chicago Fire, producers, they said to me, the first thing they said was, “Oh, you’re a bad guy.” And I said, “No, I’m not.” And, of course, they showed and portrayed, wrote him as a bad guy. He was doing a lot of bad things, but for me to play it, you rarely come across a bad person who thinks they’re a bad person. He’s just a person, and he’s doing what he thinks is right. We come up with solutions to cope.

Remember, he attacked Casey in the beginning, because he’s trying to protect his son. I don’t know if you have children, but he might go pretty far. To keep your child – I mean, my son was going to go to jail and be in an environment with people who I put there, and he probably would have been raped to death. And yes, he did something bad, but was that justice? Voight certainly thought not, and he was willing to go to great lengths to protect his son. From Casey’s point of view, he is a bad guy. From his son, Justin’s view, he is a loving father.

So, the thing that’s interesting is that nobody is one thing or another, and the more we get to know people, I think, the more we are able to understand them and therefore love them. That, to me, is what’s interesting about life and playing a character for this long, that you get to understand that people – there’s always something there; there’s something to love. We’re not one thing or another. Things change in moments, and he’s having a hard time right now. He’s not a guy big on self reflection, and he’s being forced to [reflect]. It’s difficult, and I think his knees may hit the ground this season, but he’s a strong guy. I think that to be who he is, I imagine his knees have hit the ground in the past, and those are the moments where you either stay down on the canvas or you get up, and you’re recreated and better. I find that fun, and it keeps me interested, both personally, and also artistically, playing the guy.

Suzanne:   Hi. It’s great to talk to both of you. Jesse, I used to watch you on As the World Turns, so I’m big a fan.

Jesse:   Oh, man.

Suzanne:   That was a while ago. And I went on all of the One Chicago Facebook groups and on Twitter, and I got quite a few responses. People want to talk to you guys. So, Jennifer wanted to ask Jesse; she’s heard during two different interviews that you wanted Jay to go skydiving, and she wanted to know if you had gone skydiving, and if you liked it.

Jesse:   I don’t know who this Jennifer is, but I will tell you right now, she’s a liar, because I have never once said that I wanted to go skydiving. If I did, maybe I was on drugs when I said it. I’d love to see the tape.

Jason:   I doubt that he said it.

Jesse:   Show me the tape. Prove it to me. There’s no way I said it. So, no, I don’t want Jay to go skydiving. I don’t need to have an episode about that.

Suzanne:   Maybe she was playing with me.

Jesse:   Yeah, maybe.

Suzanne:   Sorry about that.

Jesse:   No, you’re fine.

Suzanne:   And let’s see, another Jennifer, who goes by Jen, wants to know, Jason, we noticed that Sam and Voight are trusting each other now. Can we expect a romantic involvement?

Jason:   You know, it’s funny. That’s, I think, the third time I’ve been asked that.

Jesse:   This is clearly a thing. This is a thing.

Jason:   And I just find it – I have to turn the question back on the question. I mean, I understand it, but just because you’re trusting somebody, and granted, she’s probably one of the most attractive people you’ve ever put on a television screen, but trust and connection and love doesn’t always mean sex and romance.

Suzanne:   On TV though, it kind of does.

Jason:   Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Maybe I like that, that it that it doesn’t have to be that, and I also think that – this is just me personally, [but] I don’t think there’s much sexier than mystery. I don’t want to get too poetic, but on the great romantic poem, Ode on a Grecian Urn, [there are] these two lovers that are painted on this urn, and they’re at that moment where they’re about to kiss, and the whole thesis is that’s the best moment, not the kiss, and not the lovemaking, but that’s where all the energy is. So, I tend to think that I’d like to keep it there, but we’ll see. I wouldn’t throw a fit if I was forced to kiss her, Nicole Parker.

Suzanne:   Thank you. Thank you guys.

Question:   You guys have been on for like, seven, eight years now, and as actors – because I’ve felt that, especially in theater, repetition can make it boring or can make it more interesting. Has the character at times, does it become boring? Or, how do you keep it interesting and fresh? And the biggest thing is, do you have more control over the narrative in any way, because you have played the character for so long, by talking to the writers and EPs to contribute to the storytelling? Jason, you can go first.

Jason:   Yeah, I’ve never gotten bored. If I did, I probably would either quit or get fired. Just like my [character], I hope I don’t get bored, [as] Jason, either. I mean, I’ve got a lot to work on. I’ve got a lot to grow and change, and so does Voight, and he also loves his job. His job brings surprises and new things every day, and he likes doing it well. It’s a puzzle to solve, and the stakes are high. He makes a difference, so he’s engaged. That character, he’s growing and changing all the time. It’s not like you get the character, just like it’s not like you’ve gotten yourself, and you’re done. You know, it’s a work in progress, and same with him. And I think in my relationship with Voight is like a relationship. I learned from him; he learned from me. Then, you play the scene and see what happens. It’s exciting. It’s exciting.

Question:   [Have you] talked the writers and EP in terms of conducive stories now?

Jason:   Oh, yeah. Absolutely. We have a very collaborative environment, particularly with Ricky now running the show.  And I’m highly respectful, and he’s amazingly good. All our writers are, and if I don’t understand something or agree, it’s not like I go, “You’re wrong.” I say, “Help me understand.” And there may be a thesis and an anti-thesis, but there’s always a synthesis. We work together, because they don’t want me to do something that I don’t understand or don’t believe, and they’re the ones who are helping me discover, leading me in the direction where I continue to create and discover who Voight is and who he is becoming.

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

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Jesse Lee Soffer

Det. Jay Halstead, “Chicago P.D.”

CHICAGO P.D. -- Season: 5 -- Pictured: Jesse Lee Soffer as Jay Halstead -- (Photo by: James Dimmock/NBC)

Jesse Lee Soffer stars as brash young police detective Jay Halstead in the hit NBC drama “Chicago P.D.”

Born in Ossining, N.Y., Soffer’s acting career began at age 6 when he landed a Kix cereal commercial. He made his feature-film debut two years later opposite John Goodman and Cathy Moriarty in “Matinee.” Soon thereafter, he was cast as Susan Sarandon and Sam Shepard’s son in the family drama “Safe Passage” and as Bobby in both “The Brady Bunch Movie” and “A Very Brady Sequel.”

Continuing to work with some of the biggest names in the industry, Soffer starred as a runaway-turned-sleuth in the television movie “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler,” opposite Lauren Bacall, and then worked with director Richard Shepard in AMC’s longform presentation of “The Royale.”

In 1998, Soffer was cast as a series regular in the ABC comedy “Two of a Kind,” starring Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. When it ended, he returned to the East Coast and took a role on the CBS daytime serial “Guiding Light.”

After four months on the show, Soffer decided to focus on his studies and put himself through the Gunnery Boarding School in Connecticut. Upon graduation, Soffer realized that he still yearned to act and quickly landed a major contract role on the CBS daytime drama “As the World Turns.” His portrayal of troubled youth Will Munson earned him three consecutive Daytime Emmy nominations for outstanding younger actor in a drama series in 2006-08, as well as a Soap Opera Digest Award nomination for outstanding younger lead actor.

Soffer made his return to the big screen in Davis Guggenheim’s independent film “Gracie,” playing the son of Elizabeth Shue and Dermot Mulroney, and also appeared in the film “In Time.” In primetime television, Soffer had a co-starring role in the Fox series “The Mob Doctor” and had guest roles in series including “CSI: Miami,” “The Mentalist” and “Rizzoli & Isles.”

Jason Beghe

Sgt. Hank Voight, “Chicago P.D.”

CHICAGO P.D. -- Season: 5 -- Pictured: Jason Beghe as Hank Voight -- (Photo by: James Dimmock/NBC)

Jason Beghe stars as Sgt. Hank Voight, leader of the Chicago P.D. Intelligence Unit in the NBC drama “Chicago P.D.”

Beghe was born and raised in New York City, where he attended the prestigious Collegiate School.

Beghe portrayed a quadriplegic in the George A. Romero film “Monkey Shines: An Experiment in Fear.” He later appeared as a police officer in the film “Thelma & Louise” and played Demi Moore’s love interest in “G.I. Jane.” Other feature-film credits include “X-Men: First Class,” “The Next Three Days,” “One Missed Call” and “Atlas Shrugged: Part II.”

On television, Beghe’s recurring roles include “Chicago Fire,” “Law & Order: SVU” and “Californication.” He has guest-starred on countless series, including “Last Resort,” “Castle,” “NCIS,” “CSI: New York,” “Criminal Minds,” “The Finder,” “Prime Suspect,” “Law & Order: Los Angeles,” “Picket Fences,” “Chicago Hope,” “American Dreams” and “Cane.”

Beghe lives in Los Angeles.

From multiple Emmy Award-winning executive producer Dick Wolf and the team behind the hit series “Chicago Fire,” ‘Chicago P.D.” is a riveting police drama about the men and women of the Chicago Police Department’s elite Intelligence Unit, combatting the city’s most heinous offenses – organized crime, drug trafficking, high profile murders and beyond.

At the center of “Chicago P.D.” is Det. Sgt. Hank Voight (Jason Beghe), who is at ground zero against the war on crime in Chicago.  He will do anything to bring criminals to justice.

Hand-picked as the head of the unit is Voight, who has assembled a team of diverse detectives who share his passion and commitment to keep the city safe. They include Jay Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer), a brash young detective who previously saw active military duty in Afghanistan; Officer Kim Burgess (Marina Squerciati), who has proven herself valuable to the team after being brought up from patrol on several past cases; Officer Adam Ruzek (Patrick John Flueger), a quick-witted cadet plucked from the police academy; Officer Kevin Atwater (LaRoyce Hawkins), a charismatic patrolman who was brought upstairs; and Det. Hailey Upton (Tracy Spiridakos), the newest member of the team with killer instincts, humor and smarts. After going head to head with Voight, the two find a mutual respect for one another and see the value in working together.

Desk Sgt. Trudy Platt (Amy Morton) runs a tight precinct with tough love, although she lets her softer more vulnerable side shine through from time to time.

In addition to Wolf, executive producers include Rick Eid, Peter Jankowski, Arthur W. Forney, Derek Haas and Eriq La Salle.

“Chicago P.D.” is produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, in association with Wolf Entertainment.

Please visit the official show site at: https://www.nbc.com/chicago-pd.

For the latest “Chicago P.D.” news, videos, and photos, please like on Facebook, follow on Twitter and Instagram

https://www.facebook.com/NBCOneChicago

https://twitter.com/NBCOneChicagohttps://www.instagram.com/nbconechicago/

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Jesse Soffer and Jason Beghe of “Chicago PD” on NBC

Interview with Alice Braga

TV Interview!

Alice Braga of “Queen of the South” on USA Network

Interview with Alice Braga of “Queen of the South” on USA Network by Suzanne 3/23/21

It was great to speak with Ms. Braga. She was very chatty and kind.  I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did.

Here’s the video version of it.

Question:  …Can you talk a little bit about such a wonderful show with such a strong female character coming through? [What] has the journey been like, and what do you want to tell other female storytellers who want to tell stories like this? It [has] such amazing, powerful characters.

Alice:   Yeah, it was very, very powerful. Thank you for what you said about my work and myself; I really appreciate [it]. I mean, since I read the book, I thought it was a very powerful character to play. I absolutely love the journey that she goes through the book. It was decided to not follow the book and create a new journey for her for the show, but I always tried to portray that character from that journey. And I thought it was very interesting to have a [female], and especially Latina, being the leader of the cartel, and trying to create that, without falling into the stereotype of being just a villain or someone that is just mean, but trying to create an arc that goes different ways and meet different characters. And a lot of people die in the cartel world, so, so many [ways] that it could happen. But it was nice. I always try to honor what Arturo Pérez-Reverte wrote for this character, and kind of understand how she would respond to the situations that were created. And I feel that having characters that are empowered in that sense, it’s very interesting. It is a character that doesn’t victimize herself; it is a character that [is] trying to survive. And through that, even if she’s the anti-hero, because she’s, of course, the drug dealer and all that, she’s the heroine of her own life, because she is the girl from Culiacán. Even though all odds with the situation that she was put in, she kept on thriving, and she kept [her] focus on survival. So, I think it was a very interesting, powerful journey to face as an actress.

[crosstalk]

Suzanne:   Hi, thanks for being here today. It’s great to talk to you.

Alice:   Thank you, Suzanne.

Suzanne:   I went on a bunch of social media sites and asked your fans for questions. There’s one who really gave me a lot of questions named Brenae; I’m not sure how she pronounces it, but she wanted to know if you and the cast did anything special on your last day of shooting?

Alice:   We did actually. We all got together. We were all tested, and we were all connected all the time, because of COVID. It’s kind of like our little NBA bubble, because we’re literally going from my house to the set and set to my house, because it’s such a crazy environment with COVID. We had to be very strict with what kind of lifestyle we were having, and all of us were very committed and very devoted to the show. We just had a drink together, actually, with a few people from the crew and the show runners and our makeup artists and the hair stylists that have been with us since season one. We got a couple of tequila, a couple of Japanese whiskey, and a lot of hugs and a lot of cries, even though was COVID. We were all tested, and we were trying to stay away from each other, but it was very emotional. It was beautiful. But yeah, we got together, everyone.

Suzanne:   Thank you. That sounds really great…

Question:   You’ve played this character for quite a while now. How is it leaving her behind? And this show is going to have a second life in streaming now. What would you say to get people in the door to take the whole thing in?

Alice:   It’s very interesting, because before, I’ve done – Queen of the South was my first TV show. I’ve never worked on television before. I’ve only done films, and the work that you do in films, you get connected to the story, you do the work, and then, after that, you wrap it up, and that character is alive but on that moment forever. With the show, you kind of put it aside for a couple of months, and then you revisit. So, you’re always going back to it. And that was my first experience with that. The heartbeat of the character is still alive, even though if you’re going away for a little bit, like on offseason, you’re doing a film; you’re doing a play or something else. So, it’s been a big part of my life for the past five years. So, definitely, when we said, “It’s a rap,” it was very interesting.

I remember calling Hemky Madera, the actor that plays Pote, to look at me, because I said, “It’s the last time you’re gonna see me with the part [unintelligible] and wearing all white and all that.” And we hugged each other. We were like, “Oh, my God, it’s been six years of our lives together.”

And I feel very happy, and, of course, emotional, but very happy that we were able to complete the journey, to have five seasons, to be able to finish, because there’s so many shows that end up being canceled, and at least we were able to finish the total journey that we were there to do. And I’m definitely going to miss her, but it’s wonderful to be able to complete that path with her, especially being my first TV experience. I’ve never thought it would last that long. So, it’s been a true honor.

And for whoever is streaming now, I really hope you enjoy the ride, because there’s so much action; there’s so much drama. There’s so much intensity and so many different characters that come and go, because the drug dealer world is this kind of world that there’s so much to explore. I really hope they tune in, and they enjoy the ride. It’s quite a ride for a girl from Culiacán to become the drug lord that she becomes.

Question:   I interviewed your executive producer right before the show started, and he said he was standing in his backyard, and there was a billboard for Queen of the South that he could see, and it was his proudest moment. Did you have kind of a moment like that?

Alice:   Absolutely. I think when I started feeling the responses from the fans. I remember I was doing a show in Italy last year – not last year, 2019. Well, 2020 is a blur for everyone, right? It was kind of like a blur, but when I was filming in Italy, I remember walking, and I walked into vinyl store. And the guy was just watching a game, and he looked at me, and his reaction seeing me, I could see that he couldn’t picture why I was in the tiny town in Italy in his store. He literally flipped, and that reaction for me – I remember, oh my god, I’m so thankful to be able to play a character that has been seen in a way from people all over the world from Italy to Brazil to South Africa, receiving messages from the Philippines, all over the world. I think when you do that – we do it for the fans, but when you see that more than one nationality connected to it, it really fills my heart, especially like being represented and playing a Mexican in an American show. That’s the world that I believe in, that we should all communicate and tell stories to each other.

Question:   …What was the biggest takeaway for you working on this show that you would like to carry forward and further your storytelling journey?

Alice:   You mean as the character or as Alice Braga?

Question:  As an actress, and as an executive producer…hopefully you have power to create more stories, or at least help create the kind of stories do you want to tell. What are you going to take from this?

Alice:   Yeah, absolutely. I feel like it’s been a true honor to be able to – like I was saying, this was my first TV show. I’ve never done TV before, not even in Brazil. We do a lot of telenovelas soap operas, [but] I’ve never done it before. So, to be able to not only jump on board and be included, [but to] be the lead of a TV show in the United States being Latina, it’s been an honor and a great experience, and also being able to executive produce, meaning having an input in the character’s journey and what is her journey and where she’s going, and being included in that conversation has been an honor. And I feel like representation really matters, not only in front of the camera, but behind the camera. That’s why it’s great to have Latinas like [unintelligible]. She’s half Cuban; her mom is Cuban. Ben Lobato, he’s Latino as well. I think It’s important for us to have more and more and more writers, directors, executives, that are of color, because that’s the only way that we see ourselves in front of the camera. So, it’s not only about hiring actors, but I think it’s also changing the perspective of the business to have more people of color, both behind and in front of the camera. Like I was saying, that’s the future that I hope [for], and that’s the world that I want to live in, for sure.

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

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Alice Braga

Teresa Mendoza, “Queen of the South”

QUEEN OF THE SOUTH -- Season:2 -- Pictured: Alice Braga as Queen -- (Photo by: Dennis Leupold/USA Network)
In her television debut, Alice Braga (“City of God”) stars as Teresa Mendoza in USA Network’s newest drama, “Queen of the South.”  This adaptation of Arturo Pérez-Reverte’s best-selling novel, La Reina Del Sur, follows Teresa’s journey as she learns the tools of the trade and positions herself as the leader of the very drug cartel that had her on the run.

The Brazilian born actress received critical and international recognition for her stirring performance in “City of God,” which helped catapult the film to multiple Golden Globe® and Oscar® nominations.  A multiple-award winning actress, Braga received best actress awards at Miami International Film Festival, International Film Festival in Rio de Janeiro and Verona Love Screens Film Festival for he role in “Lower City”; at Brazilian Film Festival of Toronto for “The Milky Way;” at Paulinia Festival for “Blindness;” and at Punta del Este Film Festival for “Cabeça a Prêmio.”

Next, Braga will be seen in Kieran-Darcy Smith’s “By Way of Helena” co-starring opposite Woody Harrelson and Liam Hemsworth.  She will also appear in Stuart Hazeldine’s “The Shack,” alongside Sam Worthington, Octavia Spencer and Tim McGraw.  Braga was last seen in the Neill Blomkamp’s futuristic drama, “Elysium,” opposite Matt Damon, Jodie Foster and Sharlto Copley.   Additional recent film credits include Walter Salles’ “On the Road” alongside Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst, Amy Adams and Garrett Hedlund and based on the book by Jack Kerouac; Mikael Hafstrom’s thriller “The Rite” opposite Anthony Hopkins; Miguel Sapochnik’s thriller “Repo Men” opposite Jude Law and Forest Whitaker; as well as Nimrod Antal’s science fiction film “Predators” opposite Adrien Brody.

In 2008, Braga had three films. “Blindness” in which she re-teamed with director Fernando Meirelles and starred opposite Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo; as well as David Mamet’s “Redbelt” which followed the life of a Jiu-jitsu master, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor and co-starring Emily Mortimer; and finally Wayne Kramer’s film “Crossing Over,” in an ensemble cast led by Sean Penn and Harrison Ford.  Prior to this, Braga starred in the blockbuster success film, “I Am Legend,” opposite Will Smith.

Other film credits include Heitor Dahlia’s “Drained” (O Cheiro do Ralo) opposite Selton Mello; Eric Eason’s “Journey to the End of the Night,” featuring Mos Def and Brendan Fraser; Carlos Bolado’s “Only God Knows” (Sólo Dios Sabe), opposite Diego Luna; as well as the riveting drama “Lower City” (Cidade Baixa) about the dangers of a love triangle.  For her performance, A.O. Scott of the New York Times hailed Braga as “one of the most forthrightly and powerfully sexual screen actresses in the world.”

Braga is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish and English.

QUEEN OF THE SOUTH tells the powerful story of Teresa Mendoza (Alice Braga), a woman who is forced to run from the Mexican cartel and seek refuge in America, and her eventual rise to power over her own drug trafficking empire. The original drama series is based on the global best-selling novel “La Reina Del Sur,” by internationally acclaimed author Arturo Pérez-Reverte. The literary page-turner also yielded a popular super series for USA’s sister network, Telemundo.
Facebook: /QueenOnUSA
Twitter: @QueenOnUSA
Instagram: @QueenOnUSA
Hashtag: #QueenOfTheSouth

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Alice Braga of “Queen of the South” on USA Network

Interview with Ryan Eggold and Jocko Sims

TV Interview!

Ryan Eggold and Jocko Sims of “New Amsterdam” on NBC

Interview with Ryan Eggold and Jocko Sims of “New Amsterdam” on NBC by Suzanne 3/23/21

These guys were very nice and interesting to listen to. They’re clearly enthusiastic not only about their jobs but about life in general. They have a lot of compassion for what we’re all going through this past year. I hope you enjoy the video!

Here’s the video!

Ryan Eggold and Jocko Sims of “New Amsterdam” on NBC

Question:   So, congratulations, guys, the season’s been fantastic. So far, a lot of drama, as expected on the show, but tell me, you guys are shooting in the middle of the pandemic, and you’re telling stories of the pandemic. Is there anything new that you discovered, Ryan and Jocko, in the process about the pandemic as first responders that you weren’t aware of, and how did that move you?

Ryan:  Well, for me, I think just in the process of imagining what this experience must have been like to be a frontline worker and be inundated with patience and overwhelmed, and the system being overwhelmed not having enough supplies, not having enough masks, not knowing exactly how to treat this virus, trying every day to figure out what’s the best treatment, and wrap your head around this thing, and just in the process of having to imagine that and having makeup, you know, put the lines on and sort of try to embody that emotional experience, it just makes you think about the reality of it and the incredible sacrifices made, the incredible amount of work and dedication and sleepless nights that this must have been for so many frontline workers. It just doubled my respect for them, which was already enormous, but, yeah, just an incredible feat of heroism on a daily basis, really, and here Jocko and I are getting to sort of pose as these amazing figures, but it’s really incredible what they’ve done.

Jocko:  And for me, much the same. You know, we have our frontline workers that we actually work with on set, and we were able to keep in touch with them throughout all of this horrible process. After a while, you start to become numb to all of the news and everything you see, but, for me, what was interesting is seeing that first episode of this season, that first…five minutes. It was, in a sense, a reset and another eye opening experience for me, down to the details. I remember seeing [Janet Montgomery] on set, when they had the red marks from the makeup on her face, and I went, “What’s that for?” They said, “From the mask.” And as small as that was, it kind of just was heavy on me to realize how many hours per day that the frontline workers had to wear the masks to protect themselves as they risked their lives to save our lives. So, it was quite impactful once the show got started, and I was able to see that in a different light.

Suzanne:   Hi, guys, thanks for coming here today.

Ryan:  Hey, of course.

Suzanne:   I just was taking some classes last year and one of the guys in class — he’s a huge, huge fan of your show. He’s guy in his 20s, so getting all the demographics there.

Ryan:  That’s awesome.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I’m behind on the show a little bit. So, I asked some of your fans on Facebook, and Missy wants to ask Ryan, do you have a particular person you use for inspiration in this role?

Ryan:  Certainly. I mean, perhaps it sounds a little obvious, but the role is based on Eric Manheimer, who Jocko knows as well, who wrote this book about his experience at Bellevue and is an amazing guy. He’s very forward thinking, very friendly, very down to earth, very human, very warm. He always wanted to be in touch with the patients, in touch with the other doctors. He didn’t want to sit upstairs behind some desk and make calls. He wanted to get out there and wear scrubs and say, “I’m here. I’m a doctor. Even though I’m the medical director, I’m not just a bureaucrat; I want to roll my sleeves up.” So, [I had] many, many interesting conversations with him about his views on health care and a lot of the red tape that he’s had to go through to get patients care. Sometimes things sort of seem obvious, but there’s so much in the way, and I think that’s really what our shows has become about. It’s about, how do we cut through all that junk and actually get people cared for and help in a real way? So, he’s definitely a big inspiration.

Suzanne:   Okay. Yeah, your signature line there, “How can I help?” that’s pretty much everything in a nutshell, right?

Ryan:  That’s right.

Suzanne:   And, Jocko, what has been the most interesting story that you’ve had to film that you’ve liked?

Jocko:  Oh, my goodness, that’s a tough one. I think I would say the most impactful for me have been Episode Four, I think, of season two and Episode Six of season two that were centered on the health of African Americans. Particularly, because, historically, many of us tend to not be favorable towards the healthcare and healthcare system for many obvious reasons that we’ve been able to learn about. So, those episodes were great. I got to go to Atlanta and speak at Morehouse College, the Medical College there, and show an episode. Ryan, it was a great episode with you with the guys out there playing basketball in a barber shop. It was great to bring that quirkiness in there, and they just really, really responded well to it. But any episode that sort of impacts my community, and any community, for that matter, is the one that’s memorable for me.

Question:   …Your show this year, more so than many other shows, really leaned into the pandemic and showed all sides of it, and, you know, a lot of the sort of horror of it. Were you concerned at all about doing that? Because there’re some people that are looking at television as escapism right now, and they don’t want to see it, but I will tell you, I have heard from viewers that they really like it.

Ryan:  Yeah, I think that’s a great question, and I think that was the question that David Schulner and Peter Horton were asking themselves and everyone who’s writing and making this show, you know, “How sick of it are people?” How much do they want to share that experience? I think, ultimately, our show is trying to tap into, you know, as Jocko was just saying, some of the realities of healthcare and some of the social issues that lead people to the hospital, some of the inequities, all these things. And I think, in an effort to keep the show honest, we had to reflect this experience that we’ve all been living through, and obviously the incredible hard work of our frontline workers, but the toll that it’s taken on them, on the patients, on the hospital system, on everyone. I think, ultimately, we’ve made a real effort to even find moments of humor and moments of joy and moments of lightness amidst that, because in any tragic, difficult situation, you have to. So, I think it’s about finding that balance, and, I think, at least when I watch it, as a viewer, I find myself appreciating sort of sharing that experience, relating to that experience of something that I’ve been through. You know, I, like everyone else, was in quarantine for months and months and months, wondering what the heck’s going on, and I even had this thing months and months ago. So, I think, ultimately, you got to be honest and try to try to relate that experience to everybody and connect in that way.

Question:   Did it take a toll on you guys playing that role?

Jocko:  For me, my character, he says in Episode One or Two of the season that he only experienced three deaths at his hospital in San Francisco, and much the same, I wasn’t a part of that opening montage. I haven’t dealt a whole lot with COVID, but kudos to the writers, to David Schulner and our wonderful writing staff, for number one, being able to have the foresight and the knowledge to know exactly where to put that needle. Because they wrote this so long ago, by the time we were airing, I mean, I think that we originally thought or planned that we would be airing sometime in October and November and it turned into March, so kudos to them for not hitting people over the head with a pandemic. Because we’re still dealing with so many different issues, as Ryan mentioned, and we have a lot more to cover as the season progresses.

Question:   Did it change your your process as an actor? I mean, I know, there were a lot of precautions on set and that kind of thing, but I just wondered if any of this changed your process internally?

Ryan:  I don’t know about you, Jocko. I don’t think it changed my process in terms of how I approach the material that the writers have written and interpret that and then try to tell that story, but it did make me ask questions of some of the folks on our set who are frontline workers, or talk to my sister who’s a nurse, or Eric manheimer, who our show is based on, just the real people who’ve really been doing it and just try to pay homage to that in a way that is authentic and fairly reflects that expat experience. So, I think there was an authenticity that – I don’t want to speak for Jocko, but that we all were aiming for and still are aiming for. And I think in terms of process, it just involves talking to the real folks and getting their real thoughts and their real experiences. Then, of course, I think incorporating our own experience with isolation, quarantine, the emotional toll, all that stuff, we’ve all been living that. So, that’s all there.

Question:   And how about you Jocko?

Jocko:  Much the same. I echo what he said on that. It didn’t much effect my approach. I was happy to be back and get back, and even in the fun moments, the light moments, I’m picturing the audience seeing these things, and I’m like, “I know it’s gonna lift a lot of people’s spirits out there.” So, [I’m] just excited to be back and doing what we do.

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

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Ryan Eggold

Dr. Max Goodwin, “New Amsterdam”

NEW AMSTERDAM -- Season:3 -- Pictured: Ryan Eggold as Dr. Max Goodwin -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)
Ryan Eggold stars as rebellious medical director Dr. Max Goodwin on the NBC hit drama “New Amsterdam.”

Eggold is also known to many for his role as Tom Keen on the NBC drama “The Blacklist.” His other television credits include the A&E miniseries “Sons of Liberty,” FX’s “Dirt” and HBO’s “Entourage.”

Eggold recently stepped behind the camera to write, direct, produce and compose the film “Literally Right Before Aaron,” which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and was originally based on Eggold’s award-winning 2011 short of the same name. The film follows a young man who attends the wedding of his ex-girlfriend. Cobie Smulders, Justin Long, John Cho and Kristen Schaal star.

On the big screen, Eggold played a supporting role in Spike Lee’s award-winning “BlacKKKlansman.” He can next be seen in Eliza Hittman’s new drama “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” which screened at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Other film credits include So Yong Kim’s “Lovesong,” opposite Riley Keough and Jena Malone; Gabriele Muccino’s “Fathers and Daughters,” opposite Amanda Seyfried and Aaron Paul; Tyler Perry’s “The Single Moms Club;” Megan Griffiths’ “Lucky Them,” opposite Toni Collette and Thomas Hayden Church; “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby,” with Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy; and Chris Lowell’s directorial debut “Beside Still Waters.”

On stage, Eggold starred in a revival of Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons,” opposite Alec Baldwin and Laurie Metcalf, at the John Drew Theater at Guild Hall in East Hampton, N.Y.

Born and raised in Southern California, Eggold is a graduate of USC’s theater program. When he’s not acting, he plays in his band as a musician and singer. He’s looking to turn his attention to writing and directing more content in the near future.

Jocko Sims

NEW AMSTERDAM -- Season:3 -- Pictured: Jocko Sims as Dr. Floyd Reynolds -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

Dr. Floyd Reynolds, “New Amsterdam”

Jocko Sims stars as Dr. Floyd Reynolds on the NBC drama “New Amsterdam.”

Sims is an actor, writer and producer with roles in numerous film and television projects, including “Dreamgirls,” “Jarhead” and 2014’s summer box office hit “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.”

Sims’ first series was a lead role opposite Dennis Hopper in the Starz original series “Crash.” For five seasons he starred as Lt. Carlton Burk in the TNT network hit “The Last Ship.” Sims portrayed Robert Franklin during Showtime’s second season of “Masters of Sex” and he has recurred and/or guest-starred on several television series, including “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Franklin & Bash,” “Castle,” “NCIS,” “Burn Notice,” “CSI,” “Bones” and Showtime’s “I’m Dying Up Here.”

As a writer and producer, Sims is currently developing a comedy movie with producers Jamie Neese and Jason Neese (“Umbrella Academy” and “Dear White People”) and has various TV series in development as well. His hobbies include producing music and managing music artists, and he loves cooking as demonstrated on “Home and Family” and “The Steve Harvey Show.”

Originally hailing from Texas, Sims graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in theater. He currently resides in New York.

Medical director Dr. Max Goodwin is committed to solving systemic health care issues at the hospital. Add in the grieving of his wife’s death, his responsibilities as a single father and his cancer still lingering in the rear-view mirror, everyone around Max must wonder how long he can sustain this impossible load. But “How can I help?” is not just Max’s catchphrase, it’s his reason for living. As long as he’s helping others, Max is able to find hope in the most hopeless of places.

While navigating their own personal journeys – Sharpe’s career shifts, Bloom’s reuniting with her mother, Reynolds’ departure, Frome’s struggle with body image and Kapoor’s upcoming grandchild – the doctors also strive to play out Max’s “How can I help?” mantra.

“New Amsterdam” is inspired by Dr. Eric Manheimer’s memoir “Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital” and his 15 years as medical director at the hospital.

The cast includes Ryan Eggold, Janet Montgomery, Freema Agyeman and Jocko Sims, with Tyler Labine and Anupam Kher.

David Schulner and Peter Horton executive produce along with Michael Slovis, David Foster, Aaron Ginsburg and Shaun Cassidy. “New Amsterdam” is produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, Pico Creek Productions and Mount Moriah.

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Ryan Eggold and Jocko Sims of “New Amsterdam” on NBC

Interview with Steven Weber and Brian Tee

TV Interview!

Steven Weber and Brian Tee of “Chicago Med” on NBC

Interview with Steven Weber and Brian Tee of “Chicago Med” on NBC by Suzanne 3/23/21

This was one of my favorite interviews from the past few months. I just love Steve Weber. He’s one of my favorite actors, and he not only complimented my kitchen, but my youthful looks (I’m actually about the same age as he is).  It was great fun to speak with both actors. It seemed like if the moderator hadn’t told us to get to our questions and stop wasting time, we all could have just chatted there for a good while.

Here’s the video version of it.

Suzanne:   Well, it’s great to talk to you guys. Steven, I’ve been following your career ever since Wings. So, I’m a big fan.

Steven:   Wow, so, since kindergarten?

Suzanne:   You’d done a lot since then. I always want to call you Brian.

Steven:   You can call me Brian, but then –

Brian:   It’ll be confusing.

Suzanne:   So I went on all the One Chicago Facebook groups and Twitter and asked people for questions who watch it more than I do, because I’m behind all the time. And a woman named Anya wants to know, Steven, what does Archer have against women?

Steven:   I don’t think he has anything against women, but he’s from a different generation, you know, where he assumed his role in this kind of, I guess, patriarchal narrative that’s starting to unravel in real life, thankfully. He’s an old school guy; he’s a man, you know, the way men used to portray themselves, but he doesn’t have anything against women, but he’s triggered. He likes his place and his power that he’s been able to wield over the years, and he’s losing that. He’s losing his hold on that.

Suzanne:   Okay, thanks. That was a weird question. So, thanks.

Steven:   A very strange question.

Suzanne:   And so Brian, do you think Ethan and April will have a long-lasting relationship?

Brian:   I don’t know. I actually hope so. Personally, I think that relationship was incredibly wonderful and dynamic in its own right. And at some point, maybe down the line, Ethan and April will rekindle their relationship, but for right now, I feel like they got their own personal problems to attend to, especially with the [unintelligible] situation. So, that’s the first and foremost problem to deal with at the time.

Suzanne:   All right, thanks.

Brian:   Thank you.

Question:   Steven, you’ve come on to a show that’s been on the air for a while now. I wondered how that felt stepping in with this group of people that has worked together for a while, and Brian, did you have any hints for him and stepping in with the ensemble?

Steven:   I mean, I guess the metaphor or analogy I use is it’s like jumping onto a moving train. I like to think that – well, first of all, all the actors in the production have been incredibly welcoming to me. Clearly, that’s an indication that they’re so bored with each other, that they need a shot of adrenaline in the form of TV’s Steven Weber, but everybody’s been incredibly welcoming. And, look, there’s definitely a learning curve. I had a couple of days there when all the medical jargon basically was just all consonants, and teeth were flying out of my mouth. It was a little bit of adjustment period, but that’s part of the journeyman actor life, so it’s cool.

Question:   And Brian, did you give him any hints or any direction?

Brian:   No, when Steven Weber walks on to a set, you don’t give Steven Weber direction or hints about anything. I think, actually –

Steven:   You look away. You don’t make eye contact.

Brian:   Exactly. No, I was actually there to learn more than anything else, but I will say, in those medical parts that are extremely difficult, even for myself, and I’ve been on this thing for six seasons, it does get easier as you go. But if your muscle is not used to those things, you’re speaking a different language; you really are. And it wasn’t necessarily coaching or anything like that, it was just hinting, like, “Listen, we’ve all gone through that.” That is the biggest learning curve, and we’re still learning –

Steven:   You’re definitely talking about that one day I had, man. [I said] “[unintelligible] pancreatitis.” I’m apologizing. He’s like, “Hey, man. Don’t worry about it. We got this.”

Brian:   We’ve all been there. It’s all par for the course. I know exactly what you’re going through.

Question:   …Brian, you guys were one of the shows that came on pretty early during the pandemic…You play the infectious disease expert on the show…because you were playing a character like that, did your family reach out to you to understand early on during the COVID days, thinking this imposter syndrome of being an actor? You can be honest about it. The second thing, how did you prepare for everything that’s going on, and did you learn anything new in this process that you did not know while preparing for working during COVID and managing that ward?

Brian:   I will say, first, I’m learning constantly. I feel like there’s always something new and dynamic to kind of approach a particular character, especially someone that works in the field of medicine. I do get certain questions and calls from random people, if not my relatives, that I somehow know medicine, and I don’t. And I quickly like transition into them asking an actual real doctor. So, I won’t answer any of those, but I feel like in relationship to the experience that we’re dealing with COVID, I’ve recently told the writers and producers that when you’re in that particular element, because I’ve known my character for so long, but yet I personally am experiencing COVID like everyone else is, there is this essence that already existed in me. So, the scenes that you’re seeing, I feel like I’m kind of art imitating life a little bit in that particular sense. So, the connection between COVID and Ethan Choi is already there, because the connection between Brian and COVID had already existed.

Question:   Steven, you are playing a character that comes in with a lot of history with Brian’s character, but we haven’t seen it. How do you prepare? What kind of off-camera work do you do? Like, are you talking to the writers to prepare material, or do you do it yourself? How do you prepare? Because it’s there; the chemistry and the attention is there, so how do you prepare for that?

Steven:   Well, when they came to me with this particular character, it just so happened that there are aspects of him that I had already developed a great interest in, having to do with the military and also the effects of post traumatic stress, and this is something that we talked about early on. So, that was fantastic. I didn’t necessarily have to drum up things out of the blue, because as I say, it’s an interest of mine. It’s a personal interest. My father suffered from it. I’m involved in a great organization called New Direction for veterans, and they deal with people with PTSD. So, that was there, and, clearly, they’re writing to that.

As for whatever chemistry I have with with Brian, I can’t account for that, but we definitely hit it off instantly, and maybe by virtue of the material, which is actually quite personal and demands a kind of vulnerability. Luckily, I’m with a group of actors who understand what that means. You know, there’s no egomaniacs on the staff; everybody’s there to make a show, and the best way to do that is to welcome people and to make them feel safe enough to be creative and be vulnerable on the set.

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

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Brian Tee

Dr. Ethan Choi, “Chicago Med”

CHICAGO MED -- Season 3 -- Pictured: Brian Tee as Dr. Ethan Choi -- (Photo by Nino Munoz/NBC)
Brian Tee stars as Dr. Ethan Choi, a former Navy flight surgeon and a tireless, yet impulsive doctor who brings his battlefield skills to the front lines of Chicago’s busiest ER, on the NBC drama “Chicago Med.”

Tee is best known around the world for his starring role as lead villain DK, the Drift King, in “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift,” directed by Justin Lin. On the big screen, Tee was a lead in the summer hit “The Wolverine,” starring Hugh Jackman and directed by James Mangold. He played Hamada, the head of park security, in the box office smash “Jurassic World” and starred in Michael Bay’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2” as iconic villain Shredder.

Tee romanced audiences opposite Anne Heche in the Hallmark movie “One Christmas Eve” and starred in the series “Mortal Kombat: Legacy 2” as Liu Kang. He was the lead in Lifetime’s “The Gabby Douglas Story,” playing inspirational coach Liang Chow, and also appeared in Justin Lin’s comedy “Finishing the Game.”

Tee gave a memorable performance as Jimmy Nakayama in the drama “We Were Soldiers,” opposite Mel Gibson. On the comedy side, he was featured in “Austin Powers: Goldmember,” alongside Mike Myers, and “Fun with Dick and Jane,” with Jim Carrey.

On the small screen, Tee was a series regular in Starz’s “Crash” and recurred on the hit NBC series “Grimm,” CBS’ “Hawaii 5-0” and ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy.” Tee has guest-starred on many series, including “Lucifer,” “Zoo,” “Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “The Lottery,” “Legends,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Burn Notice,” “The Good Guys,” “C.S.I.,” “Dark Blue,” “Bones,” “Lie to Me,” “Jericho,” “Entourage,” “The Unit,” “Wanted,” “Without a Trace,” “JAG,” “Family Law,” “The Pretender” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

Internationally, Tee starred in the Korean-American romantic indie feature “Wedding Palace” and was the lead villain in Korea’s action film “No Tears for the Dead.”

On the theater side, Tee earned strong reviews for his lead performance in “Snow Falling on Cedars” at the prestigious Hartford Stage.

Tee is a 2020 NAMIC Vision Award Winner, Best Performance-Drama for “Chicago Med.”

A Los Angeles native with a mixture of multiple Asian descents, Tee is proficient in both Japanese and Korean and holds a bachelor’s degree in dramatic arts from the University of California, Berkeley. His muse is his family, including wife Mirelly Taylor, and daughter Madelyn Skyler, who are his life’s love and inspiration.

Steve Weber from IMDB

This Queens-born actor has certainly proven himself adept at everything from quirky comedy to flat-out melodrama earning TV stardom in the early 1990’s and maintaining a strong foothold on stage, film and TV in its aftermath.

Steven Robert Weber was born on March 4, 1961, to Fran (Frankel), a nightclub singer, and Stuart Weber, a nightclub performer, and Borscht Belt comic and manager. He was already appearing in television commercials by elementary school age. He later studied at the High School of the Performing Arts in New York and graduated from New York State University. The fair-haired, fair-skinned actor worked a series of menial jobs during his salad days as a struggling thespian (custodian, elevator operator, singing waiter) until earning his break on TV in a presentation of one of Mark Twain’s stories. Quickly making his film debut in the popular comedy The Flamingo Kid (1984), he nabbed a running role on the soap opera As the World Turns (1956) a year later. On the set he met first wife Finn Carter, another co-star on the daytime drama. Steven stayed put for a year then went on to gain recognition in more offbeat and/or prestigious productions on film and prime-time TV. He played a rock star in the thoroughly offbeat foreign-made film Angels (1990) and showed real command as John F. Kennedy in the epic miniseries The Kennedys of Massachusetts (1990).

That same year TV stardom came his way with the sitcom Wings (1990). Co-starring with Tim Daly as Brian Hackett, the looser, goofier more aimless half of the brotherly team who co-owned a one-plane, Nantucket-based airline, the actors’ chemistry, not to mention a terrifically eclectic supporting cast, kept the show on a steady course for seven seasons. Easily typed now as a genial, lovable loser type, Weber faced the prospect of severe pigeon-holing. So during the show’s off season, he started showing up in more serious roles. He suffered at the hands of the deranged Jennifer Jason Leigh in Single White Female (1992); appeared in a second chiller with The Temp (1993); and made a cameo in the highly depressing, award-winning Leaving Las Vegas (1995). His flair for comedy shone in is straight-man role as Johathan Harker in the critically acclaimed horror spoof, Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995) He truly impressed both critics and audiences alike as the complex title character in Jeffrey (1995), a gay romantic film comedy, and then completely defied all odds by starring in an epic TV-movie version of Stephen King‘s horror classic The Shining (1997), seizing the role inherited from Jack Nicholson and brilliantly making it his own while earning a Saturn award for his chilling efforts.

By the time “Wings” came to an end in 1997, Weber had divorced his actress/wife Finn Carter (they had no children) and married actress/TV executive Juliette Hohnen on July 9, 1995. They have two children, Jack and Alfie. He and Laura Linney were selected to play the TV-movie leads in the popular A.R. Gurney theater piece Love Letters (1999). While other TV series comebacks have fared less well, including the short runs of The Weber Show (2000) (which he produced), The D.A. (2004), Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (2006), Happy Town (2010) and Chasing Life (2014).

Steven bounced around solidly in other venues. In 2002, he joined the cast of the smash Broadway musical “The Producers,” taking over the nebbish Matthew Broderick role. In 2004, he went to London to appear on stage with Kevin Spacey and Mary Stuart Masterson in “National Anthems.” Other plays over the years have included “Throwing Your Voice,” “Something in the Air” and “Design for Living.”

Steven has remained quite productive into the millennium with recent film outings in Sexual Life (2004), The Amateurs (2005), Inside Out (2005), the title role in Choose Connor (2007), Farm House (2008), My One and Only (2009), A Little Bit of Heaven (2011), Son of Morning (2011), the comedy Being Bin Laden (2011) in which he played Osama Bin Laden, Crawlspace (2012), Kiss Me (2014), Amateur Night (2016), A Thousand Junkies (2017), The Perfection (2018) and Allan the Dog (2020). Seen even more prolifically on TV, he has graced such popular shows as “The D.A.,” “Will & Grace” (as Will’s brother Sam), “Monk,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Hot in Cleveland,” “Parenthood,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Sleepy Hollow” and “This Close.”

The actor continues to play a stream of comedic and dramatic recurring roles on such TV programs as Without a Trace (2002), Brothers & Sisters (2006), Dallas (2012) (the New Generation), Murder in the First (2014), Helix (2014), iZombie (2015), House of Lies (2012), NCIS: New Orleans (2014), Ballers (2015) and Get Shorty (2017) and more recently appeared as a regular on the mystery series 13 Reasons Why (2017) and comedy series Indebted (2020). In addition, he has given voice to a few animated programs including Ultimate Spider-Man (2012), Avengers Assemble (2012) The Bravest Knight (2019) and Puppy Dog Pals (2017).

From Emmy Award-winning executive producer Dick Wolf (the “Law & Order” and “Chicago” franchises), “Chicago Med” is an emotional thrill ride through the day-to-day chaos of the city’s newest state-of-the-art trauma center and into the lives of the courageous doctors, nurses and staff who hold it all together.

Dr. Will Halstead (Nick Gehlfuss) balances the stress of being an emergency medicine physician with his complicated relationship with Dr. Natalie Manning (Torrey DeVitto), a specialist in emergency pediatrics. Newly widowed, Dr. Daniel Charles (Oliver Platt) remains the Sherlock Holmes of psychiatry. Former Navy flight surgeon Dr. Ethan Choi (Brian Tee) brings his battlefield skills to the front lines of Chicago’s busiest ER, the go-to place for victims of the city’s gun violence. Work and personal life intersect with him and April Sexton (Yaya DaCosta), a smart, bold and intuitive nurse with the ability to adeptly tackle the most harried of circumstances in the hospital. Sharon Goodwin (S. Epatha Merkerson), the venerable head of the city’s largest hospital, is under intense fiscal scrutiny to preserve the bottom line while continuing to ensure that all patients receive nothing short of quality care and compassion. Maggie Lockwood (Marlyne Barrett), the charge nurse and eyes, ears and brain of the ER, is skilled and confident but finds herself dealing with profound family issues of her own. Recent addition to the ER is ace surgeon Dr. Crockett Marcel (Dominic Rains), a New Orleans-raised surgeon whose breezy manner hides a tragic past.

Together they will confront Chicago’s most critical medical cases and challenging ethical dilemmas with courage, compassion and state-of-the-art treatment. Inspired by ripped-from-the-headlines cases, “Chicago Med” will weave cutting-edge medicine with the personal drama that comes with working in such a high-intensity environment. Through it all, familiar faces from “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago P.D” will intertwine with Chicago’s finest medical heroes.

Dick Wolf, Diane Frolov, Andrew Schneider, Stephen Hootstein, Derek Haas, Arthur Forney, Matt Olmstead, Michael Brandt, Michael Pressman and Peter Jankowski are executive producers.

“Chicago Med” is produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, in association with Wolf Entertainment.

Please visit the official show site at: https://www.nbc.com/chicago-med.

For the latest “Chicago Med.” news, videos, and photos, please like on Facebook and follow on Twitter and Instagram:

https://www.facebook.com/NBCOneChicagohttps://twitter.com/NBCOneChicago

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Steven Weber and Brian Tee of “Chicago Med” on NBC

Interview with Eamonn Walker and David Eigenberg

TV Interview!

Interview with Eamonn Walker and David Eigenberg of “Chicago Fire” on NBC

Interview with Eamonn Walker and David Eigenberg of “Chicago Fire” on NBC by Suzanne 3/23/21

These guys were a lot of fun to speak with. I interviewed David back in 2016 as well. I hope you enjoy this short interview as much as I did!

Here is the video version of it.

David:   We have some good Fires coming up. Boden’s gonna hop up on the front lines and steal things from me.

Question:   So, David, you’re alluding to the fact that the cast gets just as impatient as the fans, as far as Brett and Casey, just move this train long.

Eamonn:   Amen.

David:   Yeah, I mean, I find it interesting that their characters are so, you know, distressed at times about things, and you root for them in a certain way, and but their characters are very specific. Some people in life can’t pull the trigger, so to speak, in a amicable loving way, but it’s an interesting scenario. I’ve had friends like that, and I’m a “jump in” guy. I met my wife, Mary, I was 38, but I knew I was gonna marry her when I met her. She didn’t.

Question:   What about for Boden?

Eamonn:   Boden’s glad to be getting out of the office and getting some action, because Severide and Jesse’s character have been turning around and making out that he’s some old firefighter now. So, he’s grateful to be getting out there all of a sudden, whether I take it from David’s character or not. I don’t know about that, but there’s a lot of Boden in his office, and it’s about time that he came out of it.

You know, there’s the episode that went out recently with Mouch and Boden having a moment together to recognize how long they’ve been firefighters for. That moment really touched me, and I’m saying I would like more of that, because that experience is one of the things that I find grounds not only the show, but grounds to all of the characters, that these people have been doing it for a long time. Christian [Stolte] did that great speech, which really moved me when he was doing it, and I was in the room. He was saying, “They were looking at me. Most of the time, I feel invisible, because of my age, because of this, whatever, and there were these young guys that were looking at me and listening to me.” And I was like, “Right. I really feel that,” and I would like more of that with he and I. So, I’m putting that out so the writers can hear that.

Question:   I’ll forward the little tidbit along to him. Make sure they get the message.

Eamonn:   Thank you.

Question:   This feeds right into what you were talking about. So, both of you have been on this show, is it eight years now?

Eamonn:   Nine.

Question:   Nine, I mean, almost a decade

Eamonn:   Nearly.

Question:   So, I’m sure you have some shorthand with each other in this that you feel sort of comfortable in your character in a certain sort of way, but is it still really challenging to you, as an actor, to find new facets of your character to put out to the audience?

Eamonn:   I don’t know if we look at it as in terms of putting it out for the audience, because that’s the showrunner’s job, but what we do find with each other is we challenge each other at work in a way that you’ll never you’ll never get to see it. So, David will come up to me, or I’ll go up to him – and, you know, we were having a discussion yesterday. We really want the scenes to work. We really want the scenes to matter, the length and the depth of the subject matter, of all different subject matters that can be held within the fire department. We’re still challenging each other to be the best we can be, and the fact that we are doing that nine years later, it speaks speaks volumes. So, the audience will never get to see that, but I can guarantee you that when we’re in the middle of a scene and David has got that look in his eye, I’ll turn around and go, “Go again.” He’ll go, “Really?” [I’ll] go, “Yeah, go again.” And you’ll go, “Right. Claire, one more.” That tells me who we are, and that’s nine years in.

David:   Yeah, we all do play deeply off of each other. I was working with Joe [Minoso] yesterday, and what Eamonn says also goes for us, but there’s just a thing that we all want each other to succeed. There’s no pettiness here, and not that there’s a lot of that in this industry, but there is really a will for all of us to succeed and do well.

And the characters, you know, we’ve been aging on the show. Like there aren’t a ton of shows a go long distance. Sometimes I feel like I’ve been aging in dog ears here, the weather and stuff, but I think that the writers have changed some of the writing from time to time, or we see it differently sometimes, and I find myself making adjustments into it, and that does keep it interesting for me.

Eamonn:   The thing is, we care. We care about each other, and we care about the job still because of the love of the people that are here and the family that we have. So, that’s never going to go away. I know that now.

Question:   We have found new respect for first responders, and you guys have been on this show for so long. How did the pandemic hit you in terms of, you know, as characters who understand more about these first responders, and how was it getting back into it while we’re in the pandemic? Did [you have] any new experiences and new stories, any new feelings?

David:   I don’t know if it’s tied into the fact that first responders, the real ones, they have a vulnerability. I mean, they’re throwing themselves right out there and into it. And this is not a statistical reality, but there’ve been quite a few real firefighters in healthy shape that have gotten hammered by COVID, and I wouldn’t say they’re long haulers, but they’ve gotten hit pretty hard. And you – appreciate it’s not the right word, but, you know, you respect the choices that they’ve made, the decisions in their lives, and the depth of the character that they have in reality to take care of people. This is a new reality and a new vulnerability. So, it impacts us as people to see them, to be around them, and to have compassion for them, because some of them have been taking it on the nose. So, I don’t know if that answers you completely, but that’s something that we’ve been around and with.

Eamonn:   For me, when it first hit – we’ve been living with it for a year now, and so we’ve all gone through the emotions of COVID and learning to live with it. On one level, we’ve all got kind of emotional, mental fatigue of being with it. But when it first hit, I don’t know if you remember the worry and the fear of not knowing what the hell this was or how it was going to impact our lives. None of us thought we’d be here a year down the line, but because of our relationship with these first responders, and that’s police, firefighters, [and] paramedics, we knew that they still had to do their job. We knew they would still go and do their jobs because of the type of men and women that they are.

So, when we closed down, and we all went home, there was a certain amount of safety for us as actors, but the people who work with us on the show who were firefighters and policemen and paramedics, we knew they would be going out there in the middle of COVID.

So, I know, for me, I was worried; I didn’t know who I was going to see again, and that impacted me a lot. So, when we came back in September after however long off, I was grateful to see people who I knew who had been going. I also had been reading a lot and knowing that some firefighters and first responders were getting sick; I knew some had died. I was grateful to the people that we had come to know and love over the years that we’ve been doing this work [with] were still here, but we’ve lost some people along the way.

So, yeah, it’s changed everything. Our lives are all going to be very different. There’s no two ways about it. Whatever we consider to be normal is not going to be normal again. We know that now, but we’re very grateful that we were able to come back and work, but life isn’t going back to what we think it’s going to be. It’s going to be new.

Suzanne:   Hey, guys. I went on all of the Chicago P.D., Med, Fire Facebook groups that had over a thousand people; you guys are so popular. I asked if anyone had any questions, and I got a lot, but Christy wants to know what your least and favorite things are about working in Chicago.

David:   I’ve always loved this [city]. This is a scrappy city, and it has a lot of grit, and I highly value it. There’s weather here; it’s a tough city. I spent 25 years of my life in New York City. My family’s roots are all from New York City, and it’s another tough city, but Chicago has a grit that’s very different than New York even. There’s a beautiful part of their hearts and their souls that you get to be among and with, and my life now is in Chicago. My kids are Chicago kids, and I love being here…

Eamonn:   Yeah, it’s just the people; the people make Chicago. So, I’m saying the same thing as David is saying; it’s got everything here. It’s got the food; it’s got the music. It’s got blues. It’s got all of that kind of stuff, but every other city has that, but it’s the nature of Chicago people that makes Chicago. They’re straightforward people. They say what they mean.

David:   I’m not a hater, so there’s nothing I really hate. There’re things that are harder in this town, but every city has its own ups and downs, but there’s nothing to really hate here. You know, there’s certain elements of humanity that I don’t appreciate or even sometimes despise, but that’s not necessarily endemic in Chicago. There’s a great concern for humanity here. So I really appreciate it.

Eamonn:   There’s an underbelly in Chicago that we all know about, and I know that the the media sometimes picks up on or just puts it out, and when I go back to London, I know that’s part of the stuff that they pick up on, but I know London really well. There’s an underbelly to London that will freak you out, and I come from that part of London. So, for me, there’s nothing unusual here. It’s all fantastic when you get to know the people, the good, the bad, and the ugly, and it’s the people that make Chicago.

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

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Eamonn Walker

Battalion Chief Wallace Boden, “Chicago Fire”

CHICAGO FIRE -- Season: 6 -- Pictured: Eamonn Walker as Wallace Boden -- (Photo by: John Tsiavis/NBC)

Eamonn Walker stars as Battalion Chief Wallace Boden, a fireman’s fireman, in NBC’s drama “Chicago Fire.” As chief of the firehouse, it’s Boden’s job to look out for the lives of the men and women who are the courageous firefighters and paramedics of Firehouse 51.

Walker is a compelling performer known for his depth, integrity and ability to give life to the most layered of characters. He credits Sidney Poitier’s performance in “In the Heat of the Night” as the inspiration that led him to become an actor.

Born in London, he is perhaps best known in the United States for his portrayal of Kareem Said, the Muslim leader on the critically acclaimed HBO series “Oz.” His work on this show earned him a Golden Satellite nomination and a Cable Ace Award for Best Actor in a Dramatic Series.

On the big screen, Walker received stand-out notices for his performance as Howlin Wolf in “Cadillac Records,” opposite Adrien Brody, Jeffrey Wright, Mos Def and Beyoncé Knowles. He also has given memorable performances in such films as “The Messenger,” opposite Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson and Samantha Morton; “Lord of War,” opposite Nicholas Cage and Ethan Hawke; “Duma,” Carroll Ballard’s critically acclaimed film; “Tears of the Sun,” opposite Bruce Willis; Laurence Fishburne’s “Once in the Life;” the psychological thriller “Legacy;” and M. Night Shamaylan’s “Unbreakable.”

Moving seamlessly between film and television, his numerous TV credits include the NBC series “Kings,” the Jerry Bruckheimer series “Justice” and the award-winning BBC series “Moses Jones.” He portrayed a modern-day John Othello in the BAFTA and Peabody Award-winning adaptation of London Weekend Television’s “Othello” and Tom Fontana invited Walker to portray the sympathetic killer in the “Homicide” finale, the two-hour teleplay “Homicide: Life Everlasting.”

Other credits include a special arc on “Lights Out,” “ER,” and the miniseries “The Governor” and “Supply and Demand.” He also appeared in the BBC’s groundbreaking Martin Shaw series “Inspector George Gently” and the Cinemax series “Strike Back.”

Walker was nominated in 2005 for a Drama Desk Award for his Broadway debut as Marc Antony, alongside Denzel Washington and Colm Feore, in “Julius Caesar” at the Belasco Theatre. He later performed to sold-out audiences as the first black actor to portray Othello at the historic Old Globe Theatre in London.

Walker co-founded the Flipside Theatre Company in London and starred in their production of “Danny and the Deep Blue Sea.” He also appeared in London’s West End and in plays on such venerable stages as the Citizens Theatre, the Royal Exchange and the Hampstead Theatre.

Walker starred in Chicago’s famous Steppenwolf Theatre for the company’s 2016 premiere of Stephen Adly Guirgis’ “Between Riverside and Crazy.” Walker was nominated for a 2016 Jeff Award, which celebrates excellence in Chicago Theatre, in the category of Best Actor in a Principal Role. The same year he also won the Black Theater Alliance Sidney Poitier Award for the same play performed at Steppenwolf Theatre in the Best Actor in a Drama or Comedy category.

Walker resides in both Los Angeles and London.

David  Eigenberg

Christopher Herrmann, “Chicago Fire”

CHICAGO FIRE -- Season: 6 -- Pictured: David Eigenberg as Christopher Herrmann -- (Photo by: John Tsiavis/NBC)
David Eigenberg stars as Christopher Herrmann, a seasoned firefighter and salt-of-the-earth family man, in NBC’s drama “Chicago Fire.” Herrmann co-owns and operates one of Chicago’s favorite pubs, Molly’s.

Eigenberg is known to film and television audiences for his former role as Steve Brady, the good-hearted husband and quintessential New York bar owner in the Emmy Award-winning series “Sex and the City.”

His film credits include “See You in September,” “The Trouble with Romance,” “The Mothman Prophecies” and “A Perfect Murder.”

Eigenberg’s selected television credits include “Justified,” “Criminal Minds,” “N.C.I.S.” and “Law & Order: SVU.”

A member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York, Eigenberg has performed in numerous Off Broadway plays. On Broadway, he received his break in 1990 playing a hustler in the original cast of John Guare’s “Six Degrees of Separation,” directed by Jerry Zaks at Lincoln Center. He also starred in the original cast of “Take Me Out,” directed by Joe Mantello, which was awarded the Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics, Drama League and New York Critics Awards for Best Play.

Eigenberg served in the United States Marine Corps for three years. He is married and living in Chicago with his wife and two children.

From renowned Emmy Award-winning executive producer Dick Wolf (“Law & Order” brand) and co-creator Derek Haas, the writer behind “3:10 to Yuma,” comes season nine of the high-octane drama “Chicago Fire,” an edge-of-your-seat view look at the lives of everyday heroes committed to one of America’s noblest professions. The firefighters, rescue squad and paramedics of Chicago Firehouse 51 risk their lives week in and week out to save and protect the citizens of their incredible city.

The family inside Firehouse 51 knows no other way than to lay it all on the line for each other. Capt. Matthew Casey (Jesse Spencer) leads the Truck Company and brash Lt. Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney) runs the Rescue Squad.

The firehouse also includes Battalion Chief Wallace Boden (Eamonn Walker), a fireman’s fireman. As chief of 51, Boden keeps his house running smoothly and his firefighters prepared to overcome all adversity. Paramedic Sylvie Brett (Kara Killmer) returns alongside seasoned veterans Christopher Herrmann (David Eigenberg) and Randy “Mouch” McHolland (Christian Stolte) as well as resourceful firefighter Stella Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo).

Completing the team are dependable squad member Joe Cruz (Joe Minoso), daredevil Blake Gallo (Alberto Rosende), engine newbie Darren Ritter (Daniel Kyri) and the newest addition, paramedic Gianna Mackey (Adriyan Rae).

Executive producers are Dick Wolf, Derek Haas, Todd Arnow, Andrea Newman, Michael Gilvary, Michael Brandt, Reza Tabrizi, Arthur Forney and Peter Jankowski.

“Chicago Fire” is produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, in association with Wolf Entertainment.

Please visit the official show site at: https://www.nbc.com/chicago-fire

For the latest “Chicago Fire” news, videos, and photos, please like on Facebook and follow on Twitter and Instagram:

https://www.facebook.com/NBCOneChicago
https://www.twitter.com/NBCOneChicago
https://www.instagram.com/NBCOneChicago/

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Interview with Eamonn Walker and David Eigenberg of “Chicago Fire” on NBC

Interview with Norbert Leo Butz and Scroobius Pip

TV Interview!

Norbert Leo Butz and Scroobius Pip of “Debris” on NBC

Interview with Norbert Leo Butz and Scroobius Pip of “Debris” on NBC by Suzanne 3/23/21

This is a good series, and it was great to speak to these two fine actors again. They’re very entertaining in the video. I hope you enjoy it!

Here’s the video version of it.

Question:   …Both of you have some really interesting characters. Talking to you first, [Norbert], about your [character]. He comes off as very dubious and secretive from first episode on, and then we discover more and more. There is a lot of distrust, or some distrust, at least in government and stuff and all that. How did you prepare for a character like this, and how do you still work on making a character like this relatable, or at least people have empathy towards somebody like him?

Norbert:   Was that for me or for Scroobius?

Question:   For you.

Norbert:   Yeah, oh, thank you. Yes, he is a secretive guy. I knew almost [nothing]. What intrigued me about the project [is], I think, I’d never done science fiction before, and I’d never played somebody working in like, intelligence, government intelligence, or special ops, or this kind of level of spying.

So, I started with the script. Joel Wyman was really, really helpful. He’s really well schooled in this whole world.

I found a couple of books that were really, really instrumental in helping me. I think the first one was [Surprise, Kill, Vanish ] by Annie Jacobsen. It was a really invaluable book to me. It is specifically about special ops services during the early days of the war on terror or sort of just post 9/11, and that’s when Maddox would have been coming through the CIA as a soldier himself, probably working in it. That was a really important book to try to start to get into the mind of number one, just what technically the job is. Maddox is in an interesting field; he is in government, so he does like geopolitical stuff on a world stage, trying to infiltrate other governments’ special ops forces.

So, there’s this government spying part of it. There’s a science part of him. He definitely comes from some sort of tech background or IT background with his specialization and all that kind of stuff. So, he was probably recruited from MIT or something like that.

Then, there’s this other part of him that’s a soldier. So, he’s not somebody who’s afraid of – he’s somebody that can use a semi automatic military weapon and has been in bunkers and jungles and Central America fighting dictators and busting drug lords. So, an interesting guy, kind of brains and brawn, if you will, and that was an interesting.

And now we find him sort of in his middle-aged, less of a soldier, and a mentor to Bryan. He would have recruited Bryan, that’s Tucker’s character, into the CIA Special Forces.

So, [Surprise, Kill, Vanish], and then a couple of other books. I just thought it was interesting to try to get into the mind of these guys who spend so much time in extreme situations under extreme duress. The methods that they use to bring their heart rates down, focus their minds, it’s a very unique type of person cut out for this kind of work, and it’s been really, really interesting to work on in that respect.

Question:   …How do you – in a character like this – avoid falling into the bad guy trope?…[like] he’s buying black market debris?

Norbert:   That’s a great question. You know, Pip is playing our bad guy heavy, and I’m on the US good side, but here’s the thing. In this world, it’s kind of what I was saying before, the morality is a very fluid thing. In this world, people do terrible things in the moment, awful things for an end that justifies the means. So, that ability to kind of be dualistic in your morality is part of the guy.

Scroobius:   And for me, with Anson, it was believing in him in many ways. One of the things that me and Joel hit it off about was the belief that if there was this new technology coming into the world, there would be people who don’t trust it in the hands of the government, so [they] want to do all they can to stop that.

And I read a great book and was lucky enough to talk to a journalist called Souad Mekhennet. She was the journalist who uncovered the identity of Jihadi John, and she did a lot of work with extremists and people who’ve been radicalized, because her belief is the only way to defeat that is to understand it, rather than to try and bomb it off the planet. That will always cause more people to be radicalized. You know, that’s just a never ending cycle. So, her approach has always been to try and understand it. So, having had conversations with her, it was easy to get into that mindset of, this is a guy who believes he’s the good guy. He doesn’t think he’s the bad guy. That made it easy to to avoid those more obvious tropes, I hope.

Question:   Yep, thank you so much, guys. You guys are amazing in this show. I love it. Thanks.

Scroobius:   Thanks, man.

Suzanne:   It’s great seeing you guys again. I’m really enjoying the show. You’re on my DVR, so I’ll watch it forever.

Scroobius:   Perfect.

Suzanne:   Before this show, were either of you already science fiction fans in general? Or, specifically, had you watched Wyman’s previous show, Fringe, which is kind of similar to this one?

Norbert:   I can answer that very, very quickly.

Scroobius:   Go on.

Norbert:   No, I don’t know much science fiction and never ever saw Fringe, even though I had a really good friend on it, actually. So, it’s definitely my first foray into sci-fi, and it’s not even a genre that generally attracts me usually, which is kind of one of the reasons that it excited me about it, a whole new world for me to kind of get into. Go ahead, Pip.

Scroobius:   For me, I didn’t catch Fringe, because it wasn’t as immediately available in the UK, as we’re seeing with Debris. The question I get asked the most is, “When is it going to be in the UK?” And it will be at some point, I’m sure.

But yeah, I am a sci-fi fan, and that’s one of the things that excited me as I read each episode, because there’re episodes where, obviously, the show has the feel of Fringe or X-Files or The Outer Limits even, but each episode has its own feel. There’s one coming up that made me think of Primer or Time Crimes, and there’re ones that feel like Cocoon, and all sorts of other stuff. So, it’s great to have this show that can emulate so many areas of sci-fi rather than just being [one thing]. It’s a bit like X-Files, but not, kind of thing. It can jump into so many areas of the genre. So, yes, it’s exciting.

Suzanne:   Okay, great. And you both have extensive musical backgrounds. I don’t suppose we’re going to get to see you sing on the show, either of you?

Norbert:   You never know.

Scroobius:   The big reveal could be that the season finale is a musical battle between Norbert and myself. That’d be a hell of a crazy episode.

Norbert:   We should get that, Scroob, one episode where the debris just makes you turn into just a rock and roller. The debris just makes you turn into, you know, Freddie Mercury.

Scroobius:   Joel has done musical episodes before, right? I think. So, again, I think that’s gonna be – Let’s get to season two, and then we can take it there.

Suzanne:   There are plenty shows where they have that musical episode. I think it started with Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Scroobius:   Yeah, exactly.

Suzanne:   Maybe before that.

Scroobius:   The Buffy one comes straight to mind. Yeah.

Suzanne:   All right. Thank you, guys.

Scroobius:   Thank you.

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

MORE INFO:

When wreckage from a destroyed alien spacecraft scatters across the Western Hemisphere, it soon becomes apparent the pieces are messing with the laws of physics, changing lives in ways we can’t comprehend. Two agents from different continents, and different mindsets, are tasked to work together to recover the debris, whose mysteries humankind is not quite ready for.

The cast includes Jonathan Tucker, Riann Steele, Norbert Leo Butz and Scroobius Pip.

Creator and showrunner J.H. Wyman will write and executive produce alongside his company, Frequency Films. Jason Hoffs, Jeff Vlaming and Samantha Corbin-Miller will also executive produce.

“Debris” is produced by Frequency Films and Legendary Television in association with Universal Television.

Norbert Leo Butz

Craig Maddox, “Debris”

Norbert Leo Butz stars as Craig Maddox on NBC’s upcoming sci-fi drama, “Debris.”

Butz is an award-winning actor whose talents span across television, film and theater. He most recently starred in the critically acclaimed Netflix series “Bloodline,” the FX series “Fosse/Verdon” and on Broadway in “My Fair Lady.” He also starred in “Mercy Street” on PBS and Danny Boyle’s FX series “Trust,” and had starring roles in ABC’s “The Deep End” and the CBS miniseries “Comanche Moon.”

On stage, Butz won his first Tony Award for his performance as Freddy Benson in the Broadway production of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” and earned his second Tony and a Drama Desk Award for his performance as Carl Hanratty in “Catch Me If You Can.” He additionally appeared on Broadway in “Big Fish,” “Dead Accounts,” “Enron,” “Speed-the-Plow,” “Wicked,” “Is He Dead?,” “Rent” and “Thou Shalt Not,” for which he garnered Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics’ nominations.

Butz’s film credits include “Better Living Through Chemistry,” with Sam Rockwell and Olivia Wilde; Daniel Algrant’s “Greetings From Tim Buckley”; “Luce,” opposite Octavia Spencer and Kelvin Harrison; “Disconnect”; “The English Teacher,” with Julianne Moore; “Higher Ground”; “Fair Game”; the animated “Wonder Park”; and “Dan in Real Life.”

His self-penned album, “The Long Haul,” was released in 2019.

Butz received a BFA from Webster University and an MFA from Alabama Shakespeare Theatre.

Scroobius Pip

Anson Ash, “Debris”

Scroobius Pip stars as Anson Ash on NBC’s upcoming sci-fi drama, “Debris.”

Pip is an actor, spoken-word poet and hip-hip recording artist. First gaining recognition as one half of the hip-hop duo “Dan le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip,” he has since made the transition to television. Pip was most recently seen in the independent mystery feature “Kill Ben Lyk,” as well as the British wrestling comedy “Walk Like a Panther” with Stephen Graham. He was also seen in the FX series “Taboo” and Kurt Sutter’s series “The Bastard Executioner.”

Pip is originally from Essex, England.

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Norbert Leo Butz and Scroobius Pip of “Debris” on NBC

Interview with Victoria Park

TV Interview!

Victoria Park of "The Flash" on The CW

Interview with Victoria Park of “The Flash” on The CW by Suzanne 4/23/21

Victoria was lovely to chat with. I’m such a huge fan of the show. I was a bit nervous and fan-girling. She was sweet and didn’t seem to notice my geekiness. I’m enjoying the show and can’t wait to see the rest of this season!  I hope you enjoy our interview.

Here’s the video version of it.

Suzanne:   We haven’t seen that much of your character since she came back from the Mirrorverse. Do we get to see more of you soon?

Victoria:   Yes. Camilla will be returning very soon, and I think there’s been like a little bit of explanation where she’s been, but she’s kind of been assessing her life and coming down from the the craziness that was the Mirrorverse and focusing a lot on her art. So, that’s what she’s been doing, but she will be. She will be back very soon.

Suzanne:   Okay, good. And what was it like doing that mirror reality those, sequences?

Victoria:   Yeah, it was super fun, and it was fun to play another version of myself and to play someone who isn’t necessarily evil, but is just like a little different from Camilla. And wardrobe was really fun. We got to go into some different wardrobe than Camilla usually wears. She wears a lot more like black and a lot more like edgy hardcore stuff. So, it was fun to explore.

Suzanne:   Oh, cool. And was there a lot of green screen in those segments?

Victoria:   No, not really. I didn’t ever have to play with like both versions at the same time. So, yeah, so I got to just play both parts at different scenes.

Suzanne:   Okay, great. And it seems like almost everyone in Team Flash gets a superpower at some point. Do you think that Camilla might get one?

Victoria:   I would love for Camilla to get a superpower at some point. Yeah, I think she’s the only person who hasn’t, because Iris doesn’t have powers, but she gets them at some point and then loses them. So yeah, I would love for that to happen. But who’s to say?

Suzanne:   What would you like your superpower to be if you could choose?

Victoria:   I think it would be really cool too. There was a there was a villain last – I mean, I wouldn’t want her to be a villain, but there was a villain last season that had like light power so she could become invisible whenever there was light, or she could choose to be visible or invisible whenever there was light. So, I think that’d be really cool.

Suzanne:   All right, I had posted on Facebook, to see if anybody – There are a million Flash fan groups there, and I posted there and on Twitter to ask if people had questions. So, that one came from someone named Isabella. So, she’s be [happy] that you answered her question. So, you came in at season five. Were you nervous joining a group of people that already worked together for so long?

Victoria:   Yeah, for sure. It’s always kind of like when you’re joining a show that’s been together for so long, like the first day of school and you’re the new kid and everyone else already knows each other. So, I was a little nervous for sure, but everyone was so kind and made me feel so welcome. Carlos [Valdes], especially, made sure. He was like, “Is everyone being nice to you? Do you feel comfortable?” So, it was a really good first day, and I felt comfortable just from the very beginning.

Suzanne:   Oh, that’s good. He seems like he’d be a nice guy.

Victoria:   Yeah, he’s the best.

Suzanne:   Good. They seem like a really fun group. Who would you say is the funniest of all of them?

Victoria:   Oh, my goodness, everyone is so funny in their own way. I mean, I would say like most outrageous would definitely be Tom [Cavanagh], but Grant [Gustin]’s actually really funny, and he’s really fun to work with. It’s funny when you have a super serious, emotional scene, and then he switches right back into when the cameras are not rolling, like fun dancing and cracking jokes and stuff. So, it’s really fun to work with everybody, but the boys are definitely the funniest.

Suzanne:   And many of the cast are good singers as well as actors. Can you sing?

Victoria:   I can sing a little bit, not good enough to be on Broadway, but, yeah, I grew up singing and it was always my first love.

Suzanne:   Okay, well, maybe they’ll do another musical episode and you can join it.

Victoria:   I would love that.

Suzanne:   Yeah, that sounds fun. Is there anything you can tell us about what else we’ll be seeing in season seven? Anything at all?

Victoria:   I mean, I obviously can’t give any spoilers, but I will say that every season I get the scripts, and I read them, and we get [them] ahead of time, so it’s really exciting, and I would say that this season, I was surprised more times than I’ve ever been. So, I would just keep looking forward to more twists and turns and surprises that The Flash always gives, but this year I was the most surprised I’ve been.

Suzanne:   Okay. And what did you do during the pandemic, before The Flash started filming again?

Victoria:   March to September when we couldn’t be filming, yeah, it was hard. It was really hard to not be working and to be away from people, but it was a good time to – I got a lot of time to like work on myself. I feel like, for this show, especially, we go for nine months, sometimes ten months of the year, and it’s just, we’re constantly working, and we’re in a city that we don’t live in. So, to have time to kind of step back and breathe and be with my family and my husband and my dog was was super, super nice. You know, obviously, [I’m] very excited to come back to work, but it was a nice vacation that I normally would not get. So, yeah, I try to see the bright side.

Suzanne:   Right, right. I understand completely. And was it difficult to get used to filming with the new COVID rules?

Victoria:   Yeah, it was. I mean, we got used to it, and there were, obviously, a lot of hiccups where we’re like, “Okay, this is working, and this is not working.” I think the biggest thing that I would miss is just, I’m a very friendly, warm person, so when I get to set, I get to set early every day, and I hug everybody. So, I really miss being able to hug people and just be standing right next to someone and talking to them instead of ten feet apart or whatever. So, it’s definitely taken some gotten used to, but I’m really grateful that we’re able to work at all and that we got to put the show out there.

Suzanne:   Right, we all seem headed in the right direction for change.

Victoria:   Yeah.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I didn’t grow up in a huggy family either. I can get used to hugging, but it’s not my natural thing. So I’m like, “Yeah, I’m fine with that.” Yeah, I need a t-shirt that says that.

Victoria:   Yeah, “Please as before hugging.”

Suzanne:   I’m still social distancing for like, ever. So, have you ever heard anything about plans for season eight, such as more crossover episodes?

Victoria:   Oh, I haven’t really heard anything about season eight. We’ve just been really focusing on season seven. I’m sure the writers and Eric [Wallace] already know where they’re going with season eight, but I’m not privy to that kind of information, so I will not be able to give any spoilers.

Suzanne:   Right. Is there anything else that you can tell us about what’s coming up on this season that’s not like a big spoiler or anything?

Victoria:   I mean, there’s a lot of – I feel like this has kind of been happening since the crossovers kind of changed all of the universes into one universe, but there’re a lot of people who come back, and they’re not who they were before, or there’re storylines that are mixed up, so you’ll get to see more of that, which I really love. If you’re a fan of the show, and you are a fan of the comics and you know who people are, and then they come back as different people, it’s just really exciting to watch.

Suzanne:   Oh, that’s good. Yeah, I love the show. I’ve watched it since the beginning. I love superhero shows anyway, but I grew up reading The Flash comics.

Victoria:   Oh, awesome.

Suzanne:   I know you can’t say, but I hope Tom Cavanagh gets to come back, because he’s one of my favorites.

Victoria:   I feel like with The Flash it’s like anybody who leaves, they’re never really fully gone. You know, there’s always an opportunity for them to come back.

Suzanne:   Well, I think that’s one of the best things about having such a large ensemble cast is that people come and go all the time.

Victoria:   Yeah, for sure.

Suzanne:   Did you have any time to work on other acting projects while you were filming or during the pandemic?

Victoria:   Yeah, not during the pandemic; kind of everything really shut down. So, we weren’t even really auditioning or anything like that. That’s why it was so crazy, because, normally when we’re working, when we have downtime, we’re auditioning for other projects or working on other projects. This time, it was like, we couldn’t work on anything. So, yeah, that was that was a big change, for sure. Then, other projects that I’ve been working on, I haven’t really gotten the chance; The Flash keeps me pretty busy. I’ve been trying to kind of supplement it with projects that I’m working on myself, like directing, but the pandemic really put a stop to everything. So, I’m hoping now that everything’s kind of going again, we’ll be able to work on some other things.

Suzanne:   Okay, great. So, have you directed before?

Victoria:   I actually went to school for cinematography, and I picked up directing again right before the pandemic; we filmed something. It premiered at the Vancouver Asian Film Festival early this year. And I’m currently working on a project that is in early, early pre production, a documentary that hopefully we’ll be able to film in the fall. So, hopefully, I’ll be able to say more then.

Suzanne:   I think everybody’s thinking the fall things will be back to normal.

Victoria:   I know. It’s already April; it’s almost May, and I’m like, “Ooh, fall’s gonna be here pretty soon. We got to ramp it up.”

Suzanne:   So, you don’t have anything else coming out right now, but you might have [something then].

Victoria:   No I don’t.

Suzanne:   Yeah, that’s fine. That’s good enough, right.

Victoria:   Yeah. I mean, it’s great. Yeah.

Suzanne:   I love how they’ve taken your character – When you first started, you were just working in a coffee shop, and they gave given her so many different things to do.

Victoria:   Yeah.

Suzanne:   She’s been involved in the team, and you said she’s an artist. She’s got so many things going on.

Victoria:   I know; she does. She wears a lot of hats, but it’s great. I love that they just keep bringing her into different situations in different teams. It’s really fun.

Suzanne:   Yeah, and she’s working at [The Citizen], so that’s great. Aside from your Flash cast, do you have any actors or actresses that you would love to work with If you could choose?

Victoria:   Oh, yes. I mean, so many. It’s like, “How much time do you have?” I mean, I would love to work with Steven Yeun. My husband and I have been watching The Walking Dead, we loved Minari. So, I mean, he’s probably number one on my list right now. And there’s a bunch of directors I’d love to work with; I thought Nomadland was fantastic. To have such a prolific director be a Chinese woman, an Asian woman, that’s, super exciting to me, so I’d love to work with Chloé [Zhao]. I mean, I’ve got a long list of people that I would love to work with.

Suzanne:   Have you seen Invincible? That also stars Steven Yeun.

Victoria:   No, I haven’t.

Suzanne:   It good, and it’s a comic book show; it animated. It’s on Amazon.

Victoria:   Yeah, several people have recommended it to me.

Suzanne:   Yeah, it’s good. I don’t know if you saw The Boys; it’s similar.

Victoria:   I did, yeah.

Suzanne:   It’s similar to that.

Victoria:   I loved The Boys. Yeah, I loved it.

Suzanne:   It’s a cartoon, so it’s not as as in your face, but it’s just as violent.

Victoria:   Okay, well, I love The Boys.

Suzanne:   Expect that. I was a little shocked at first. I’m like, “Whoa.”

Victoria:   Yeah, I was warned beforehand, so I think I was prepared for it, but, yeah, it is very violent.

Suzanne:   Yeah. So, were you a comic book fan at all before joining The Flash?

Victoria:   You know, I actually wasn’t. I mean, I grew up with all boys. My brother, my husband, they’re all very much into comics, so I was kind of like peripherally into it, but then after The Flash, I feel like I’ve definitely delved in a little more, and when all of the Marvel movie started coming out, like being interested in, “Okay, like, what were the comics that started this all?” So, I feel like I’ve slowly become more into it, but before The Flash, I wasn’t really into comics at all. So, this has opened my eyes to the [unintelligible] world.

Suzanne:   That’s good. Well, you were lucky, because you got to be a normal person growing up. You didn’t grow up with geeks. Like, I have three older brothers, and they were all really into comic so I had no chance whatsoever.

Victoria:   Yeah, yeah. But it’s a great world and a great community. So, I’m happy to [be] now.

Suzanne:   Actually, my three older brothers were on the original San Diego Comic-Con committee when they started. My mom typed up the first program.

Victoria:   That’s very cool. That’s very impressive.

Suzanne:   I was like eight or nine. It’s impressive for [them].

Victoria:   Cool. I love it. It’s cool.

Suzanne:   Oh, it’s fun; it’s something notable, you know?

Victoria:   Yeah.

Suzanne:   So, I had two more questions from fans, one from Victor, who asks, “Who your favorite comic book character is?” He did not specify Flash or not Flash. So, I’ll leave that up to you.

Victoria:   Okay. I’ll keep it to my show, I guess, but I think, I don’t know if it’s because my character is paired with Cisco, but I love Vibe. I think Vibe is so cool. His powers are awesome. He’s super smart. Yeah, I think Vibe is probably my favorite character.

Suzanne:   And somebody named Keats wonders how you got the role? I think they mean, tell us about your audition process.

Victoria:   Yeah, I mean, I got the audition from my agent, just like just like any other, and went to the audition, and I just felt like even from reading the original script or audition sides that I got, I just [was] like, “Man, I just feel like I’m really this character.” Like I felt really confident about it, which I don’t always feel. I went to the audition, got a call back, I think within an hour, and went back for the call back. Then, it was like days later I was already on a plane to Vancouver, so it moved very quickly. So, I didn’t really have time to sit with it or process just how great it was that I got this role until after I was already on set. And after I finished shooting my first episode, I was on a plane back to LA, and then I was like, “Man, I’m on this awesome show, what a blessing.” So, it was a whirlwind, but I’m super grateful.

Suzanne:   And is your family based now in LA for the most part when you’re not shooting?

Victoria:   Yeah, most of my family’s in LA. We’re originally from Chicago, but my whole family has slowly made the migration to warmer weather, and we all live in LA now.

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

MORE INFO:

Victoria Park in "The Flash" on The CWVictoria Park Co-Stars in CW’s “The Flash”

April 12, 2021 – Actress Victoria Park is a recurring cast member on the popular CW superhero series, “The Flash.” Known for her role as Kamilla Hwang, the current season of “The Flash” ends soon, and we wanted to give you the opportunity to interview Victoria.

Victoria has trained with Diana Castle (The Imagined Life), Anthony Meindl, Margie Haber, Playhouse West, and the Upright Citizens Brigade. She landed roles in a few short films before guest starring in popular TV series such as “Proven Innocent,” “Revenge,” “The Middle,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “CSI: Cyber,” and “2 Broke Girls” to name a few. Victoria played Gaby Cho on the critically acclaimed show “Sweet Vicious” on MTV and landed a leading role in the feature film “Everything Before Us.” She has frequently appeared in Wong Fu Productions, including their five-part web series “Yappie.” Recently, Victoria’s projects include Amazon’s “Too Old to Die Young” and the feature film “Plus One” which recently won the Audience Award at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Victoria was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She studied film production at Northwest University, then made the decision to move to Los Angeles to pursue her love of acting full time.

Victoria resides in Los Angeles and loves getting lost in the great outdoors. She is proud of her Korean-American heritage and is a self-proclaimed “foodie”.  She also loves her cats, denim and really bad puns. She volunteers with CASA and has worked with World Vision in Uganda and Child Hope International in Haiti in an ongoing effort to “pay it forward.”

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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Victoria Park in "The Flash" on The CW