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.

Transcript will be up soon!

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

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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.

Transcript will be up soon!

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

MORE INFO:

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! The transcript should be up soon.

Here’s the video!

Ryan Eggold and Jocko Sims of “New Amsterdam” on NBC

Transcript will be up soon!

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.  It was great fun to speak with both actors.

Here’s the video version of it.

Transcript will be up soon!

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

MORE INFO:

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

https://instagram.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.

Transcript will be up soon!

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

MORE INFO:

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.

Transcript will be up soon!

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.”

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Victoria Park in "The Flash" on The CW

Interview with RJ Mitte

TV Interview!

RJ Mitte of "Triumph" - photo by Bobby Quillard

Interview with RJ Mitte of film “Triumph” by Suzanne 4/27/21

RJ has a great energy that not only comes through in his acting, but in this interview. He’s a nice young man with much intensity and positivity. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did. Make sure you catch his movie, which comes out tomorrow in theaters. It will be available on VOD June 15th! It’s a very entertaining and inspiring film. I’m sorry I said “Cool” so many times….

Normally I don’t interview actors solely about their movies, but most of the actors in this movie are those I’m familiar with via their TV series. RJ Mitte played Walter White, Jr. in “Breaking Bad.” Terrence Howard starred in “Empire” and “Wayward Pines.” Colton Haynes was a regular on both “Teen Wolf” and “Arrow.”  Johnathon Schaech played Jonah Hex in “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” among many other roles. Grace Victoria Cox  has been in many series, such as “The Society.”

Here’s the video of our chat!

Suzanne:    I watched your movie last night, and it was really good. I enjoyed it.

R.J.   Thank you. Thank you so much.

Suzanne:   It’s very inspiring, and I hope a lot of people get to see it.

R.J.   I hope so too.

Suzanne:   So, how much did you do to prepare for your role?

R.J.   I did a lot of training in the midst of the role. We had a couple months before doing a lot of physical training and getting ready for the moves and a lot of choreographed wrestling, so we made sure that it was right, because this is first and foremost a wrestling movie, so it’s very physical. People, when they hear wrestling, they don’t think of of Greco-Roman style wrestling. They think of like WWE and all those types of [wrestling] and [unintelligible] and different types of that style, and they don’t realize how intense Roman style, Greco style wrestling is. It’s very physically draining and mentally draining, and it’s really, to me, one of the pinnacle strengths in sports when it comes to sheer willpower and you’re wrestling someone of equal strength to you that you’re [unintelligible]. It’s really a power struggle. It’s an immovable force meets an immovable object type of mentality. Yeah, it was a lot, but I like physical stuff, so it was a great opportunity for me.

Suzanne:   Yeah, you you went from, at the beginning the movie, you were this kind of skinny guy, and at the end you’re this sort of big hulking mass. Did you have to change your diet? Bulk up? What did you have to do?

R.J.   A little bit both. I mean, really, I just worked out. I’m fairly lazy right now, so my working out hasn’t been so much, but with that project, I just really kind of worked out. I was focused on what I was eating and then just kind of how I held myself, really, when it came to the project. It was really about distribution of weight and the way that I walked. The way that my character held himself and held his arm and the type of foot placement and gating made a very big difference. And this is loosely based on a real person, Michael Coffey, and he was a part of the set. He was a writer and then part of on the set. So, I really used his mannerisms and his body movement to try to utilize and match it on par with Mike the character.

Suzanne:   Okay, that must have been helpful.

R.J.   I mean, it came in handy. If he didn’t like something, it came in handy. You definitely knew.

Suzanne:   That’s good. Yeah, that’s a rare opportunity probably for most biopics or things that are based on real people.

R.J.   Yeah, well, usually those people are deceased, right? They’re not there, or they’re not really a part of the project. So, it was quite nice to have a biopic with the artist there that it’s about.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I bet. And had you met any of the cast and crew before you were on set, before you started this thing?

R.J.   Yes, I did. I met a lot of the producers; I knew some of the producers beforehand, because I worked on them with other projects, and I carried one of them with me to this project as well. Then, I met some of the others in passing, but really got to know everyone during the production.

Suzanne:   Oh, cool And had you ever done any wrestling before?

R.J.   I hadn’t; this was my first time. I had done martial arts, like karate, jujitsu, and some other stuff of that nature, but [this was] very different, very different techniques, very different forms. Even the rules and type of skills are night and day from other martial arts and other sports like that.

Suzanne:   Oh, cool. So, I guess you answered my next question. It was whether you played any other sports, but you did martial arts.

R.J.   Martial Arts and soccer and quite a few other things. I’m a big believer in the sports. I think everyone should have played a sport at least once in their life, a team sport, because it really, definitely builds camaraderie and mental mental stability and strength in numbers, and it’s a great opportunity. I’m a firm believer of that.

Suzanne:   Cool. And where was the film shot?

R.J.   So, we shot the majority of it and now outside Nashville, Tennessee, where it was kind of based. Then, we shot the teaser and some pickup scenes in Los Angeles.

Suzanne:   Okay, and how long did it take to shoot?

R.J.   So, the first more than half of it, we shot pretty much everything except for like a handful of scenes with Terrence [Howard]. We tried [to shoot] everything but Terrence’s stuff in three months, and then four years later, we shot the rest of it.

Suzanne:   Wow.

R.J.   So, we had a massive hiatus.

Suzanne:   Was that because he was busy, or…?

R.J.   Well, actually, it was originally cast with a different character. Originally, we had a different entity, and Terrence wasn’t involved, and [we had] some other stuff with the production. We had to halt production and were able to utilize the project and come back to it. And this project almost didn’t get made, to be honest.

Suzanne:   Okay, what happened?

R.J.   Many different things. Producer, error, and [we] no longer have those producers [as] part of this project. And just timing. We couldn’t find the right coach. We couldn’t really – just logistics, a lot of logistics, a lot of bureaucracies and different aspects of industry life initially halted the project. Then, when you halt a project, it takes takes time and money to start back up. Then, we had to go and get investors and new funding and restructure the film. You know, it’s one of those things where it’s like, “Is it gonna come back?” You do a project, and you’re like, “All right, well, we still have, like, more than a quarter of the film to shoot.” You’re like, “Okay, well, yes, yes, yes, we’re going to film it; we’re going to film it; we’re going to film it,” but then you hear that for like 20 years. And luckily, we were able to come back and finish the film, and now we have this great project.

Suzanne:  

Cool. So, how is it working with the Terrence?

R.J.   Great, you know… Terrence was great. Johnathon Schaech and Grace Victoria Cox and Colton [Haynes], you know, we had such an interesting lineup of actors. And everyone who was a part of it was just so behind this film and believed in this film so much to make it happen. It really was a unique and humbling experience to be able to create this film and have the support that we did behind this film.

Suzanne:   Great, and what do you hope the film achieves?

R.J.   I hope the film achieves entertainment. I really think that’s the overall goal. I hope people are entertained when they watch this film, that they can take something away from this film, be it great or small, but really, first and foremost, enjoy it.

Suzanne:   Yeah, good. It’s enjoyable. And was it mostly filmed before the pandemic?

R.J.   Oh, yeah, we shot two years ago.

Suzanne:   That’s when you finished it?

R.J.   Two a half years ago. That’s when we finished it. And then five years before that.

Suzanne:   That’s a long time. You’re like an old man now.

R.J.   Yeah, I was 21, 22 when I started it; I’m 28 now. I’ll be I’ll be 30 soon. So, I very happy that we have this film out before I turned 30.

Suzanne:   Yeah. So, you said you’ve been traveling during the pandemic. So, there was never a time when you were just like stuck at home bored or wondering what was going on? That’s great.

R.J.   No, I mean, most of my work, when it comes to philanthropic and community outreach and development, when a pandemic or something like this happens is usually when I get the busiest. This is a time where people need moral support; they need they need industry meters; they need helping hands. My job right now, through the foundation, is an everyday job where it’s online, yes, but then it’s also a lot of in person information and kind of guiding through it, because it’s a community development project. So, it’s construction and all kinds of other things.

Suzanne:   Oh, tell us about the foundation.

R.J.   So, it’s called the Roy Frank and Joann Cole Mitte foundation. We focus on elder care, education, disability services, youth development and aging in higher ed as well. We have a scholarship and grant program. Right now, we only have around 12 applicants on scholarship at the moment that we’re reviewing, but at any time we have 12 to 30 students, but right now, we restructured the grant program to focus on this community development build in Brownsville, Texas. So, that’s been the focus of the grants for the past four years. So, we’ve given money in donations to many charitable organizations, primarily focusing in Central and rural Texas. So, being in philanthropy and philanthropic endeavors are something that are a very big part of my life, and I was very happy to be able to link this movie to a charity, which is actually called United Cerebral Palsy nationally based out of Central Florida, and we actually gave points of this film to that organization. So, they’ll get money in perpetuity.

Suzanne:   That’s great.  So, do you have any other acting projects coming out that you can tell us about?

R.J.   I do. I have another one called The Oak Room. It’s on VOD right now in the US; we just got released in the UK. It’s a Canadian film, but we haven’t released in Canada yet. So, we’ll be releasing Canada soon. And that’s a story, in a story, in a story, in a story narrated by a story, and it’s a very unique film, and I’m very excited to be a part of that. [I’m] really focusing on getting Triumph out there. I’m just supporting that wholeheartedly. I have another film that I’m in the middle of production on – we got halted by the pandemic – called Issac. We’re gonna be coming back to that, possibly next month, but, really, we’ll see how that goes. You just never know. And then I’m just looking for new projects, looking for other things. I work with the Film Commission in South Texas and am doing some stuff there. So, I’m doing a lot of community outreach and leadership.

Suzanne:   You sound busy.

R.J.   I work every day.

Suzanne:   That’s great. And who would be your role models in life?

R.J.   My grandparents were very big role models to me. One was a marine oil worker guy and the other one was a coach, businessman type mogul and was in a wheel chair, was fully paralyzed on this left side from a stroke in the early 90s and could only say, “Shit, damn, and 123,” but very big role models, both of them to me, and my grandmothers as well. They taught me a lot, and I definitely still look up to them today.

Suzanne:   What about your acting role models?

R.J.   I didn’t really have any acting role models. It wasn’t really something that I was pursuing when I started [in] this industry. There’re a lot of actors I respect very much, but I’m kind of one of those people that most of my role models are deceased, so they can’t let me down.

Suzanne:   That’s true. That’s true. So, two of your co stars have played superheroes on The CW and your character mentioned superpowers in the movie. What is your favorite superhero?

R.J.   Oh, I’m a Batman guy. I’m a Batman-Joker guy. Yeah, I always thought he was a great character. Yeah, so, Batman, Green Lantern, the whole Justice League vibe, I enjoy that. Spawn. I don’t know if you know Spawn.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I’ve heard of it.

R.J.   Cool.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I grew up with comics, but I don’t remember if Spawn might have been after my time, but I stopped reading in the early 80s.

R.J.   Late 90s. Yeah.

Suzanne:   I heard of [it]. I think there was a movie, wasn’t there?

R.J.   Yes, there was a movie. It’s like, he’s kind of like a devil, but he’s like a good devil. But, yeah, I like super [heroes]. I’m a big fan of the the superhero franchises. So, yeah, I like comics. I used to read a bunch of comics.

Suzanne:   Cool. And do you watch the ones on The CW? Were you familiar with your costars’ work on those shows?

R.J.   I am. I am familiar with Arrow and some of the other CW stuff. I actually auditioned for a couple of superhero shows. Didn’t get the parts, but definitely was an honor to be able to audition for them. And yeah, I enjoy them.

Suzanne:   And Johnathon played…Jonah Hex.

R.J.   Jonah Hex. Yeah, I really liked him as Jonah Hex.

Suzanne:   And that comic I definitely read. I remember that. He’s great in it.

R.J.   I’m a big western guy. I’m a big western guy. So, I loved Jonah Hex, and then, I thought he was great on The CW. Yeah, he’s such a character. Johnathon is such a wealth of knowledge and talent, and out of all the actors I worked with on Triumph, he was the one that I’m the closest to.

Suzanne:   Cool. Well, he played your dad; that makes sense.

R.J.   Yeah, he was definitely a great father figure in them and was a tremendous individual to have on set. He definitely raised the vibration high.

Suzanne:   Cool. Is there anything else that you’d like tell us about the movie or your role in it?

R.J.   Yeah, [I’m] just very excited that it’s out; this was a labor of love. It’s based on real events. And, you know, people, the whole team, really cares about this project and believes in this project and in really pushing forward for it. So, we’re very excited to be able to share it with everyone, and I hope everyone enjoys [it].

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

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RJ Mitte Biography

Best known for his portrayal of Walter “Flynn” White Jr. for five riveting seasons of AMC’s Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning dramatic thriller “Breaking Bad,” RJ Mitte is an actor, advocate and philanthropist who has carved out his niche in Hollywood by breaking down stereotypes and changing people’s mindsets with his easy going demeanor and positive outlook. As Walt Jr., referred to by fans as “The Breakfast King,” Mitte acted as the cerebral palsy afflicted son of Walter (Bryan Cranston) and Skyler White (Anna Gunn). As Walter continues his descent into drug manufacturing and trade, Walt Jr. finds himself torn between his father’s deceit, his mother’s protectiveness, and his own developing sense of independence as a disabled teenager. Walter Jr.’s cerebral palsy on the show was embellished, as he had to learn how to walk on crutches and slur his speech to create a more dramatic version of his own disability.

At the age of three, Louisiana native Mitte was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, but that has never deterred his drive to succeed in television and film. A chance encounter with a casting director led to his move to Los Angeles and Mitte quickly landed roles on various shows such as “Weeds,” NBC’s “Vegas,” “Everybody Hates Chris” and co-starred on ABC Family’s primetime hit show “Switched at Birth,” until being cast in his life-changing role on “Breaking Bad.” Mitte has since made his way to the big screen, starring in multiple indie films in the past few years, including DIXIELAND, starring in his first non-handicapped leading role and TIME SHARE, winner of Sundance Film Festival’s World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Screenwriting in 2018.

Never one to shy away from an opportunity to take his talents to new avenues, RJ was thrust into the global spotlight as the celebrity face and model of GAP International’s “Lived in Spring” campaign; with his image appearing on mediums such as billboards, buses, and life-sized posters in cities across the world from Tokyo to the US,. He has since cemented himself as a face to know in the fashion world after walking in Men’s Fashion Week in Milan, Berlin and New York City for Vivienne Westwood, soPopular and Ovadia & Sons. He’s also a member of Kenneth Cole’s “Courageous Class;” for talent recognized for using their platform for advocacy and creating social change.

Throughout the years, Mitte has been an inspiration to his peers around the world by championing his cerebral palsy in hopes of removing the stigma associated with disabilities. In order to bring awareness to his own issues with bullying and prejudice, Mitte has engaged in public speaking and serves as the official Ambassador for United Cerebral Palsy and partners with Shriners Hospitals for Children to spearhead their #CutTheBull campaign to advocate on anti-bullying measures. He’s also involved with SAG-AFTRA as a committee member of the union’s IAPWD (I Am a Performer With Disabilities).

Inspired By Screenwriter Michael D. Coffey’s True Story
TRIUMPH
STARRING TERRENCE HOWARD, BREAKING BAD’S RJ MITTE, COLTON HAYNES, JOHNATHON SCHAECH,
GRACE VICTORIA COX
WATCH THE TRAILER HERE
OPENS IN CINEMARK THEATERS APRIL 30TH, 2021
AND ON VOD THIS SUMMER
Synopsis:
Inspired by a true story, a bright and determined high school senior strives to be a wrestler despite having cerebral palsy. Going to extreme lengths, he crushes obstacles and inspires others along his journey to prove his abilities.
Directed By: Brett Leonard
Written By: Michael D. Coffey
Starring: RJ Mitte, Terrence Howard, Colton Haynes, Johnathon Schaech, Grace Victoria Cox
Produced By: Massimiliano Musina, Michael Clofine, Michael D. Coffey
Executive Produced by: Terrence Howard, RJ Mitte, Jonathan Bross, Mira Howard, Raz Winiarsky, Tyler W. Konney and Gabrielle Tuite
Distributor: Relativity Media

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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RJ Mitte of "Triumph" - photo by Bobby Quillard

Interview with Andrew Leeds and Alice Lee

TV Interview!

Andrew Leeds and Alice Lee of "Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist" on NBC

Interview with Andrew Leeds and Alice Lee of “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” on NBC by Suzanne 3/23/21

This was a day full of many NBC and Syfy interviews, but this was the most fun and relaxed of all of them. These two are great and funny. We had a good time. I hope you enjoy it! This is a fabulous show.  It’s so funny that Andrew used to be a computer programmer and engineer, when he’s one of the few characters on the show who’s NOT one of those! That’s hilarious.

Suzanne:   Do we get to see you singing and dancing a lot more in the rest of the season?

Andrew:   Yeah, we do. We get to see a little bit in seven. We get to see a little bit in episode eight. So, seven is coming up this weekend, then eight we have a little bit, and then in nine. This one (Alice)’s got some really sweet stuff, and in ten we both have some fun stuff.

Alice:   Yeah. We definitely sing and dance in more.

Suzanne:   Are you allowed to tell us any of the songs?

Andrew:   Well, I guess. I don’t know. I mean, I don’t think it really matters.

Alice:   Does it? I don’t know.

Andrew:   I don’t think it matters, actually – for the next episode, anyway.

Alice:   Yeah, yeah, do the next one.

Andrew:   I sing the song “Drift Away” in the next episode. Yeah, and then after that, I don’t think we can say.

Alice:   There’re some throwbacks in there.

Andrew:   Yeah. There’s some really good stuff.

Alice:   Yeah. Yeah.

Andrew:   We all get to sing some cool stuff for sure.

Suzanne:   Yeah, that’s what’s great about the show; you get all different kinds of songs, recent, old, and all of that.

Andrew:   How often – do you do you always recognize the songs, or are you like, “I don’t know that one.”

Suzanne:   I’m older than I look, so I don’t recognize all the new ones so much. I know all the old ones.

Question:   …[This] may be a hard question, but free to answer [how] you feel, but in the spirit of the events of this past week, the Asian American community, you’ve been active for a while and worked. What’s your thoughts on Asian American stories? You know, in terms of the prejudice that’s faced, because we don’t see that as much on screen I feel as much as we see…This is a reality in which eyes are opening now. So, any words on that, and how’s your experience been?

Alice:   Yeah, totally. I mean, I think it’s very complex, because, yeah, there’s obviously a lot more. I mean, obviously, Asian stories are important, that’s the bottom line. I feel like our stories need to be told, and it’s a lot better. I think things have gotten a lot better in Hollywood and stuff, but I do still feel like there’s a lot more room for growth and more room for other stories, but I think it’s important that we’re being seen, and we have visibility and the more we can, [the better]. I always think there’s room for more. So, yeah.

Question:   …[You] left computer engineering…Can you talk a little bit about that transition? I’m sure you’ve been asked a lot, but I’m always curious to hear that in person from a person like you. How is that transition and what does it mean for you to be on this show? This is a huge, huge thing for you.

Andrew:   Yeah, well, I started acting as a kid, and then, when I went to college, I don’t really know what I was thinking exactly, except that I was like, “Oh, I think programming is fun.” I think I was actually fairly good at that part of computer science; the rest of the parts were really difficult for me. I don’t think I had quite the quite the brain for it, but the programming I was good at, and I enjoyed that.

I did that, and then I actually got a job at Adobe. The guy hired me and told me that he was going to hire me, but he was certain that I would go to LA and pursue an acting career, because he could tell based on my resume from before that. He hired me, and I was like, “No, no, no, I’m gonna come work for Adobe.” Then, I did exactly what he thought I would do and did not take the job and went to LA to continue acting.

So, I don’t think it was ever really anything that I was really seriously going to pursue. I just really liked it. I still think it was a good thing in terms of training my brain to think in a certain way, or explore how to think in a certain way.

Then, doing the show has been, for me, just really wonderful and exciting, because it’s the combination of a lot of things that I’ve done that I love to do, which is, musicals and singing and dancing and acting, and getting to do that all together on camera is kind of an amazing thing, and getting to be around all these incredibly talented people in this way. It’s just been so, so fun and satisfying, and like getting to watch her do her numbers, it’s just awesome. It’s just awesome. I feel so appreciative for getting to do this.

Question:   This is such a unique genre for television. We haven’t seen this in a long time, a show that combines narrative and singing and dancing, and I’m just curious, as actors, do you find that you put more work into your character when they’re speaking or when they’re singing and dancing?

Alice:   Yeah, I feel like it’s probably different for everyone, because I –

Andrew:   She can roll out of bed and sound amazing. That’s true.

Alice:   No, that’s not true. Singing and dancing for me, yeah, that’s definitely my comfort [zone]. In those areas, I’m like, “Okay.” It’s more acting sometimes where I’m like, “What’s my character really doing and stuff?”

Andrew:   I probably should put more energy into the acting, [laughs] but I’d say I put more energy into the singing and dancing, just because it’s always a challenge. It’s always a song that’s harder for me than something that I’ve never done before, a style of music that I’ve never sung before. It’s always a style of dancing that I don’t know how to do, and it always just takes a lot more.

We get together sometimes on the weekends and rehearse if we’re doing it. Like, we’re working on a dance a dance right now. It’s like, we have to get together outside of work to figure out how to do it and help each other, basically.

So, I’d say, definitely – and also, when you’re doing the dance numbers, a lot of them are done in one take. So, if I mess up a scene, they can cut around it; we do another take. But with the dance numbers, if you don’t get it right the whole way through, you’re done. So, the pressure is a lot more, is a lot higher, I’d say, on the musical numbers.

Alice:   The dancing is like, for sure – like having Mandy Moore, it’s so cool.

Andrew:   Yeah.

Alice:   Those rehearsals are so fun, but they are challenging. We’re doing stuff that we normally wouldn’t, but it’s so fun.

Andrew:   It’s also just really fun, so maybe that’s why we all feel this way and spend a lot of time. It’s almost sad when you only get to do like three takes if it actually goes really well. They’re like, “Okay, we got it,” and you’re like, “But I just worked for weeks trying to get this great. I want to do more. I want to do more.”

Here’s the video!

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

MORE INFO:

In its second season, “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” continues to explore the feelings we keep buried on the inside, the human impulse for connection and the undeniable healing power of music and dance. Following a tragedy, Zoey (Jane Levy) and the Clarke family begin to recalibrate and navigate their new normal. As she finds herself in a new dynamic at work and in her love life, Zoey’s musical powers will continue to both awkwardly complicate and inform her worldview as she attempts to rediscover joy and connect with those around her.

The series stars Jane Levy, Skylar Astin, Alex Newell, John Clarence Stewart, Andrew Leeds, Alice Lee, Michael Thomas Grant, Kapil Talwalkar and Mary Steenburgen.

Featuring inventive musical performances set to hit records from a variety of genres and time periods, “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography for Scripted Programming in its freshman season.

Austin Winsberg writes and executive produces. Kim Tannenbaum and Eric Tannenbaum, Paul Feig, David Blackman, Daniel Inkeles and Sam Laybourne also serve as executive producers. Dan Magnante, Jason Wang, Samantha McIntyre, Emily Fox and Robert Sudduth serve as co-executive producers with Michele Greco and Mandy Moore serving as producers.

“Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” is produced by Lionsgate and Universal Television (a division of Universal Studio Group) in association with the Tannenbaum Company, Feigco Entertainment, Universal Music Group’s Polygram Entertainment and Zihuatenejo Productions.

Andrew Leeds

David, “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”

Andrew Leeds stars as David on NBC’s “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist.”

Leeds can most recently be seen opposite Reese Witherspoon in Apple’s “The Morning Show” and opposite Bill Hader in HBO’s “Barry.” Prior to that, he recurred for two seasons on Epix’s “Get Shorty” and starred in the film “Office Christmas Party.”

Other television includes a series regular role on the ABC sitcom “Cristela,” a four-season arc on “Bones” and guest starring on “Veep,” “Silicon Valley,” “Modern Family,” “Shamless” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”

As a writer, he has written pilots for various networks, including ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, USA and Showtime.

Leeds first appeared on Broadway in the musical “Teddy & Alice” and soon after appeared as Gavroche in “Les Miserables.” He next starred on Broadway in the musical “Falsettos.”

A member of the main company for the Groundlings, Leeds graduated from Stanford University with a degree in computer science. He splits his time between Los Angeles and New York.

Alice Lee

Emily, “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”

Alice Lee stars as Emily on NBC’s “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist.”

In film, Lee was most recently seen sharing the screen with Jillian Bell in Amazon’s “Brittany Runs a Marathon,” which won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival. Other films on her resume include Netflix’s “Sierra Burgess Is a Loser, “Wish Upon,” Jack, Jules, Esther & Me” and the upcoming “Dream Years.”

On the small screen, Lee had a season-long arc on Facebook’s “Real Bros. of Simi Valley,” “Take Two” and Hulu’s “Gap Year.” She recurred on the award-winning web series “Control Alt Delete,” the YouTube Red series “Sideswiped,” Freeform’s “Switched at Birth,” MTV’s “Faking It” and Disney Channel’s “K.C. Undercover.” Guest appearances include Amazon’s anthology series “Electric Dreams” “Splitting Up Together,” “Two Broke Girls,” “Grandfathered,” “Son of Zorn” and “The Mindy Project.”

Lee, a Chicago native, attended an open call while she was a student at NYU and was immediately cast in the Tony Award-winning Broadway production of “Spring Awakening.” She then went on to be in the original company of Julie Taymor’s “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” and starred as Heather Duke in the cult-classic Off-Broadway musical “Heathers.”

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Andrew Leeds and Alice Lee of "Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist" on NBC

Interview with Olli Haaskivi

TV Interview!

Olli Haaskivi

Interview with Olli Haaskivi of “Marvel’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” on Disney+ by Suzanne 4/14/21

This was a very fun Zoom interview! Olli is very personable and easy-going. He’s done a lot of different shows, so we had much to talk about.

Suzanne:   So, tell us about your audition process for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

Olli:   Yeah, it was, it was pretty straightforward. I made an audition tape in my apartment in New York City, right where I’m sitting right now, with a sort of fake audition scene that had no identifying details; there were no specifics to it. It was a version of what you ended up seeing in the series, but very generalized.

So, I made the tape, and I, for some reason, was in a bit of a time crunch making the tape. I don’t know if it was due immediately or what. Maybe I had something else going on, but I sent it off pretty quickly and really didn’t feel great about it. I sort of felt like – I remember waking up the next morning thinking, “You know, that was a really good opportunity, and I don’t know that what you said was good enough.”

I didn’t hear anything for about a month or so; it took a little while, which is kind of uncommon. Usually you hear within a couple of days that there’s maybe some interest, or maybe you’re in the last two people they’re considering or something like that. There’s usually some sort of medium step between auditioning and getting the job, and this was just radio silence for about a month.

Then, out of the blue, I got an email saying that I got the job and that I was going to have to go shoot pretty quickly after that.

Also, I didn’t know what the job was when the audition came in. It just said it was for Untitled Marvel Project Number Five or something like that. So, when I got the offer, it wasn’t an offer for the Falcon and the Winter Soldier; it was an offer for Untitled Marvel Project Number Five, and it took a little while before anyone told me what I had gotten myself into.

Suzanne:   Well, I assume you knew by the time that you shot it.

Olli:   I didn’t. The person who sent me the script pages, the official script pages, I emailed them back and said, “Is there anything you can tell me about?” I didn’t know if it was a film; I didn’t know if it was a TV project, and they very graciously filled it a little bit.

Suzanne:   Oh, that’s good. Do they say, “Don’t tell anyone or we’ll send someone to kill you?”

Olli:   Yeah, truly, they’re not. I’m used to that with some projects that I’ve been a part of, but Marvel is obviously a whole other level of security.

Suzanne:   So, when you generally audition, do you usually feel like you did a good job, and then you get the part? Or how is it usually?

Olli:   I mean, there’s no one formula, which is freeing in a lot of ways, but it’s also can be maddening. I’ve auditioned for things and felt like I really nailed it, and sometimes people clap and cheer in the audition room, and that doesn’t mean you’re going to get the job. Then, this Marvel job also feels like an example that you can feel terrible about what you did and still end up with a job. I think that it’s so easy for actors to want to micromanage every second of their audition and get very sort of detail obsessed, and I certainly am guilty of that often. But, usually, the thing that gets you a job is something totally out of your control. It’s just some sort of intrinsic part of your essence, or just your face is the kind of face that the writer had in mind while they were writing that part or something. I think, usually, the thing that seals the deal is not in your control, as much as you might want to think it is.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I guess you would have to just after a while just start to say, “Oh, well, next project; let it go. Don’t worry about it.

Olli:   You’re always doing your best, and you don’t always have a lot of time sometimes. It can be 6pm and you get eleven pages that need to be taped by noon the next day. So, I’m always doing the best that I can in the time that I have, but sometimes it’s frustrating to feel like, “If I only had one or two more days, that really could have settled into something.” But hopefully there’s another audition a couple days later. Then, you dust yourself off and continue hoping for the best.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I don’t know how you guys do this. I mean, the closest thing a non-actor can relate to is a job interview, and you’re just constantly interviewing for jobs over and over. I understand. So, what was the actual shooting like? Tell us about that.

Olli:   It was such a blast, especially, because it was my last big job before the pandemic shutdown, and I’m so thankful that my last job before that was such a phenomenal experience. It’s such a warm and wonderful experience and also a gigantic experience. I think it might be a little while before we have massive sets like that with everyone able to co-mingle and not have to stay far apart wearing face shields. It was really wonderful.

You never totally know what you’re getting yourself into when you show up for a couple days of shooting something, because you really can feel like a guest in the house. I’ve said this analogy before, but it always sort of feels to me like you’re trying to jump on board a moving train but not attract attention and not stick out for not knowing where you are or what you’re doing. I’ve mostly had really great experiences guest starring on a lot of shows and recurring on a lot of shows, but you still never know. You can show up on a day where everyone is tense for some reason, and you still have to figure out how to perform your best, even though you don’t know anybody, and you’ve never been there before.

So, I definitely always show up wondering what the mood will be, what the style will be, and this at every single turn was so welcoming and so inclusive. I think everybody on the set was so excited about the show they were making. And what’s even more remarkable than that is that they were excited to include a new person in that excitement. Because if you think about it too, my sequence is me and the stars of the show. It’s me and Anthony (Mackie) and Sebastian (Stan) and Daniel (Brühl) and Emily (VanCamp). They could have very easily sort of been in their little group over there and then [been] sort of like, “It’s cute that you’re here, but this is sort of our thing,” which happens sometimes, and that’s fine, but they really brought me into their circle. These are people that have been working together for a decade now in a lot of cases, and they made me feel like I had been there with them the whole time. I can’t say enough about how much I love those guys.

Suzanne:   Yeah, nice. Anything you can tell us in particular about shooting your your part? I mean, fun things or interesting things.

Olli:   Yeah, I mean, it links back to the previous question, but the thing I think about a lot is that right before we started shooting, we’d had a rehearsal day, which is almost completely unheard of. So, we had time, a full day, before we started shooting. We had time to sort of talk it out and walk through some blocking ideas and really sort of calmly and methodically talk through it, which is unbelievably rare. Usually, you’re trying to rehearse something as fast as you can; shoot it as fast as you can.

Then, I showed up to shoot the next morning, and before we started shooting, Anthony and Sebastian came over to me. They said, “You have the harder job in this sequence Do you want your close ups to be first or last?” which was mind blowing to me, because that recognition, first of all, that you have the heavy lifting here, “How can we help you?” is gigantic. It also means they had a conversation prior where they coordinated with one another, that they were going to do that. They probably ran it by Kari (Skogland), the director. It was just a level of kindness and a level of them sort of being good hosts. That was really phenomenal, and I don’t think I’ve ever – I’ve worked with a lot of great directors; I’ve worked with a lot of amazing actors, and I’m 99% sure that’s the first time anyone has extended that kind of generosity. I think that’s really, really special.

Suzanne:   How long did it take to shoot your scenes?

Olli:   I don’t fully remember. I think we shot for three days, but the final day was basically just devoted to the gunshot and the explosion. So, we had a day or a day and a half where we shot the bulk of it and then came back the next day for the special effects stuff.

Suzanne:   And you said it was right before the pandemic, or was it in 2019?

Olli:   It was… it was right before Christmas. 2019. I mean, it was really only almost a year and a half ago now, but it also feels like, you know, four decades ago at this point.

Suzanne:   Yeah. I imagine all the special effects and all the stuff they have to do afterwards takes a long time.

Olli:   Yeah, I mean, that show looks stunning. It’s so beautiful. I’m really in awe of those editors and those special effects people. What they do is extraordinary.

Suzanne:   Oh, it’s amazing. I’m sure by now that they must have it down to a fine science they’ve done so many of these things. Were you a fan of Marvel movies, comics, or TV shows before this?

Olli:   I was a fan from afar. I had so much respect for what they’re able to accomplish, like we’re saying, especially in the effects department. I had seen a couple of the films, but I was not a person that like ran out to see the new one every single time, but the ones I did see – you know…your hair is blown back just sitting there just going, “How in the world did they do that?” But I saw Black Panther, and I believe I saw the last Avengers film, but I’m not completely sure, to be honest.

Suzanne:   You must have been confused if you only saw the last one.

Olli:   Yeah, and I think that’s kind of why I hadn’t seen that many of them, because I was sort of intimidated by how much history there is and how much to keep straight. So, when I would see something and kind of jumping in the middle, I would go, “This is so amazing. I have almost no idea who these people are or what’s happening.” So, I also really had felt intimidated showing up to shoot, because I did as much research as I could, and there’s a lot in that scene that, you know, the scene told me almost everything I needed to know, but I didn’t want to reveal the depth of my complete lack of knowledge.

Suzanne:   Now did you go back and watch the movies after this?

Olli:   I haven’t. No. I know that so many people during their sort of lockdown quarantine watched all of them in order, but I think I was busy watching things that I’ve already seen and loved that I knew would just be comforting.

Suzanne:   Yeah.

Olli:   Yeah, not require too much thought.

Suzanne:   Well, you definitely saw the best one when you watched Black Panther. That’s probably the best superhero movie ever. I mean, they did such a fantastic job with that one, and it’s closer to the comics. I mean, just everything.

Olli:   Oh, interesting.

Suzanne:   It’s just fantastic, but also, actually, the ones that relate to your show, the Captain America movies, are really good. Then later they sort of segue into the Avengers movie. So, if you just watched the Captain America and Avengers movies, you probably do have all of the background that you would have needed for this show.

Olli:   Now, I mean, having first hand experience with how amazing those people are and how hard they work, I just want to go watch my friends now.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I can understand that, but I don’t think there’s really a bad Marvel movie, at least in the in the recent ones, the ones from the last decade, but they vary, but it depends on who you ask. I kind of like these things, but I grew up reading comics.

Olli:   Oh, cool.

Suzanne:   I have three older brothers, so that’s why.

Olli:   Amazing. You didn’t have much of a choice.

Suzanne:   They’re all total geeks, and I’m not saying anything that they wouldn’t say themselves. And you were on Manifest for a while too, right?

Olli:   I was, yeah.

Suzanne:   Do you still watch that or keep in touch with those people?

Olli:   I do keep in touch with some of those people. Melissa (Roxburgh), who’s the lead of that show, left in New York City the same day that I arrived back, and so we were sort of hoping that we’d be able to see each other, but we literally just missed each other, but I talk to Melissa pretty regularly.

Jared Grimes, who I did a lot of things on that show with, who plays Adrian, he and I are in touch.

I’m in touch with some of those writers. Some of the writers reached out watching The Falcon in the Winter Soldier, which was really sweet.

Suzanne:   Oh, that’s nice.

Olli:   Yeah, it was so nice to hear from them. There are so many great people that work on that show, and that in particular is a great crew. So, I’m excited. I haven’t watched anything from their new season yet, but I am excited to.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I think they’ve only had a couple episodes so far.

Olli:   I think so. Yeah, I think they’ve only had two.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I interviewed some of them a few weeks ago, so, yeah, they seem very nice.

Olli:   Oh, nice. Who did you talk to you?

Suzanne:   Well, we had two separate ones. One was Melissa, and Matt.

Olli:   Yeah, Matt’s so great.

Suzanne:   …So, you have a certain amount of loyalty to the shows that you’re on. even though you’ve left them? And, you know, the people on them, would you say?

Olli:   Yeah, and I think it’s the knowing the people that creates the loyalty, because, you want to see what they’re up to, and you want to see how the story continues to unfold and all of that. Yeah, a good set run by good people makes you feel like you’re part of the gang forever, and so, yeah, there are definitely things that I’m now just a fan of, even though I was a part of it for a period of time.

Suzanne:   That’s good. You gotta find a show that where they’re not going to kill you off so quickly.

Olli:   I agree with you. I would love [that]. I am on the market for that exact thing.

Suzanne:   And you said you watched some of your favorites during the pandemic. Can you tell us what some of your favorites are?

Olli:   Sure. I mean, I’m still in the middle. I’m very slowly working my way through Veep again, which is just the best. Every single person on that is phenomenal. I found Better Things to be really comforting during this period of time, Pamela Adlon’s show. And there are some new things I’ve watched. I mean, I thought I May Destroy You was unbelievable. One of my best friends is the lead of High Town, so I was thrilled to watch all of that as fast as I could. But yeah, something about this time has – you know, we’re all sort of limited – at least I feel like I’m limited in the amount of new things that I can take on. I just want to watch something comforting.

Suzanne:   Well, actually, one thing I forgot to mention, we were talking about all the Marvel stuff. A really great show that came before yours was Wandavision.

Olli:   I watched that.

Suzanne:   Oh, you did watch that? Because that one you don’t really have to have seen the movies much.

Did you read any of the background stuff about the shows like the Easter eggs they put in for fans and stuff like that?

Olli:   A little bit. And I’m sure you know, there are so many amazing videos on YouTube where people do just deep dives into that stuff, and I think Marvel and Disney Plus did such a good job. I can’t remember what the series is called, but but they put out such nice little sort of background videos for –

Suzanne:   Right, yeah.

Olli:   They did for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier too.

Suzanne:   “Legends,” I think it’s called.

Olli:   Yes, yes, yes. And that’s so smart of them, and they’re so well done. And I’m a longtime diehard Kathryn Hahn fan, so I watch whatever she decides is worth her time. I’m happy to watch. So, I would have watched Wandavision, no matter what.

Suzanne:   Yeah, she was great in that. And the thing about her was that, from the beginning, you know that something that’s going to be with her [is going to be good], because she wouldn’t have done it to just have this little bit part.

…Do you have anything else coming out that we should watch for?

Olli:   No, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was sort of my finish line. I did an episode of Social Distance, Jenji Kohan’s quarantine series that came out at the end of last year, which I loved. So, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Social Distance were sort of the two things that were hovering around.

And I just got back to New York yesterday, and I’m enthusiastically auditioning for whatever the next job may be. I’m excited to find out.

Suzanne:   I read that your father was a soccer star and that your grandfather was also a player. Did you ever play?

Olli:   I did play a little bit. I suffered from the expectations of having a father like that. I mean, I really enjoyed playing, like in the backyard with my dad. That was really fun, but anytime it was more organized than that, there was always some sort of like, “I bet you’re really good at this” or something like that from a coach, which made it much less fun. You know, when you’re in second and third grade, that’s not what you want to hear. I mean, tennis was a little bit more the sport that I played a little more seriously for a while, but, yeah, I mean, I couldn’t deal with that weird sort of expectation when playing soccer, because my dad is and was phenomenal at it. So, yeah, very few people can measure up to that much less, you know, a third grader.

Suzanne:   Well, thank you, and I hope you book some more things we can see you in.

Olli:   Thank you. I hope so too.

Here is the video version of it.

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

MORE INFO:

Olli HaaskiviOlli Hasskivi appears in the latest episode of “Marvel’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.” Olli plays the name on everyone’s lips this week, Dr. Wilfred Nagel. He is the doctor responsible for the super soldier serum, having reverse-engineered Dr. Abraham Erskine’s (Stanley Tucci’s character in the franchise) serum. This was a pivotal episode and character for the series as the hunt for the super soldier serum is in full force, and Dr. Nagel comes face-to-face with Anthony Mackie (Falcon), Daniel Brühl (Zemo), Emily VanCamp (Sharon Carter) and Sebastian Stan (Winter Soldier) in his lab, who all want to know the truth.Olli Haaskivi and Dr. Nagel

For reference, Olli is a very talented “actors actor” based in NYC. He is chameleon who can truly play any role he feels passionately about (including teachers, a doctor, a villain, a waiter, etc. – you name it!) His film and TV credits include: “The Deuce”, “The Sinner”, “Manifest”, and “Oh Jerome, No,” plus the films Motherless Brooklyn directed by Edward Norton, The Miseducation of Bindu directed by Prarthana Mohan, and Nancy directed by Christina Choe. Olli has appeared in the off-Broadway premieres of Bella: An American Tall Tale (Playwrights Horizons), Who’s Your Baghdaddy? Or How I Started The Iraq War (Actors Temple), and The Rafa Play (Flea Theatre).

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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Olli Haaskivi

Interview with “Van Helsing” stars

TV Interview!

Nicole Muñoz, Jonathan Scarfe and Tricia Helfer

Interview with Nicole Muñoz, Jonathan Scarfe and Tricia Helfer of “Van Helsing” on Syfy by Suzanne 4/12/21

This was a very fun Zoom call with the actors of this Syfy show. I’ve enjoyed watching them on “Van Helsing” and in their other shows as well. It was great to chat with them. This last season of the show is very exciting. I hope you can watch it and enjoy it as well!

Question:   How do you relate to Jack as a person? How do you get into that character and follow her through, I guess, season four and into season five?

Nicole:  I was just saying before, I have some similarities. I think Jack has really helped me grow as a person, and in terms of offering me some inner strength and some confidence, Jack’s stubbornness and tenacity are things that I think come decently naturally to me.

So, at least a fun thing about Jack this season is we kind of get to see a bit more of her humor, which, you know, it kind of is coming out just because of the circumstances. And I do think that I kind of get to put a little bit more of my personality into Jack, this season. And she’s a little bit less on edge. She’s kind of come into a bit more of “this is the reality that we’re dealing with, and now we’re gonna go forth and push on.”

Jonathan:   Oh, I was just saying that Jack has to like find her alpha this year, big time. So, that was, I think, pretty fun for Nicole.

Nicole:  Yeah, and Jonathan helped me with that, immensely. Yeah. It was a lot of “what would Jonathan do?” “What would Axel do?”

Question:   I posed it to Nicole how she relates to her character Jack, and it was sort of open to everybody, how they relate to their character. So, Trisha, how you relate to Dracula, but also how you relate to Jack and how you relate to Nicole, on and off set.

Tricia:  It was definitely a lot of fun getting to work more. I mean, I was only in two episodes last season. In the first episode, Jack and, well, Keeya (King) – I keep saying your names wrong – Violet…were basically knocked out the whole time. So, it was a real treat to get to kind of work with everybody more.

I can’t say I necessarily relate to Dracula myself, but similar to what Nicole said…I do play a lot of very strong characters, and in person, I’m a little bit of an introverted goof. I can come off as cold, because I’m shy quite often. So, it allows me to really kind of just be something that I’m not in my own life. So, sort of learning – I can’t really say I learned much useful from Dracula that would be legal in our society, but certainly playing her does give you a sense of confidence and just sort of a take charge mentality that hopefully I can kind of take that into my own life at some point. Lost our voices a few times, though didn’t we, Nicole?Van Helsing poster season 5

Nicole:  A few, yeah. Thanks Jon.

Tricia:  It’s Jonathan’s fault.

Question:  I’m going to alter my question a little bit so Jonathan can add to it too, but my question was, we don’t really even know if what the Dark One said to them about Vanessa not being their mother is true. I’m kind of still wondering that, but this season, at least at the beginning, you too definitely, I’d say, [since last season] have different interactions and relationships since they’re not, you know, [in the same place] as where they were last season. So, can you kind of talk about how that relationship between the two of you is going to continue this season and change? And then Jonathan, your relationship with – well, you probably don’t really have one with Dracula, but maybe with Jack.

Jonathan:   Yeah.

Nicole:  Wanna try to work around spoilers.

Question:  Just kind of how those relationships will evolve this season.

Nicole:  How my relationship with Dracula evolves this season?

Question:  Yeah.

Nicole:  Is that kind of the question? I would think definitely –

Jonathan:   No [unintelligible] for COVID protocols, it starts there.

Nicole:  Yeah, I think we definitely get to know each other, maybe more than we would have wanted to this season, our characters. I think spoiler-wise, I’m gonna stay very far away from this question, but I do think that Jack gets some answers. Some she likes; some she definitely doesn’t. It’s kind of the feeling of the floor coming out under you, or the rug coming out under you.

Tricia:  For me, Dracula didn’t really know much about anything going on. She’d been in the Dark Realm. So, she’s kind of at the end of the season coming into the world, and she definitely has her confidence shaken a little bit. I mean, she maybe had a little bit too much of an ego, and again, not giving away spoilers, but she starts to question who she can trust and things like that along the way. And throughout her relationships – interactions, not relationships – interactions with the Van Helsings and the other characters in the show – It’s hard to say without spoilers – She comes to realize they’re more of a formidable foe than she maybe gave them credit for. So, if anything, I could say there’s maybe a little bit of a more of a respect for them than she would have thought at the end of season four. Did that give away too much, Jonathan?

Jonathan:  No, I mean, I think that – we were talking about this earlier – I think the writers did an amazing job, but it was, I mean, to not spoil things, but to try and pique some curiosity for the fans, is that, you know, a couple other things you get to discover this season is not just the origin stories of Dracula, which are totally unique to the show; they’ve completely invented their own version of what that would be, but also the origins of the Van Helsings, where they came from, how they evolved, and like how intertwined the two are in a particular way. So, that’s all fully revealed by the end of the season, and I think it’s like the most fun thing about the season, personally, so I’m really excited for fans to check that out and see how they respond to it.

Question:   …Let me just congratulate you all, I mean, five seasons finally coming to an end, which is like, hard to believe. So, let me just ask you all a pretty generic question, Nicole, I’ll start with you, then, we’ll go to Jonathan and Trisha. It’s been five seasons; it’s coming to an end. So, first up, how excited are you that these final episodes are coming out and we get to see the Van Helsings and the Dark One come head to head? Then, of course, how are you feeling? A little nostalgic given the fact that the shows come to an end?

Nicole:  I’m excited to see the reaction of the viewers once they get to watch the final few episodes. I also think the first few episodes of this season are going to be pretty revealing and very exciting to watch the reactions. I will definitely be looking on Twitter this year and reading what everybody has to say about this season, because, I mean, if I’m this excited, everybody’s gonna be even more so when they watch, because I already know what’s about to happen. But just reading the scripts even was a very fun thing to do, and I like rifle through them so quickly. I can only imagine what that feeling would be like for you, Jonathan, being in this thing for five years, because I only hopped on in season four. What do you think?

Jonathan:   Yeah, well, you know, it’s like all things, like this show, you bring it; you’re grinding it out, and there’re ups and downs and the challenges that you kind of face, and then you turn around and five years have gone by, and the thing’s coming to a close. Yeah, you do get definitely a little bit nostalgic thinking, “Oh, gee whiz, this is it. This is goodbye to all these people that have become kind of family and his character that’s kind of become a second skin.” So, yeah, it definitely had a little melancholy to it, for sure, when we came to a close.

Question:   Right and Trisha, let me ask you the same question. What should fans expect on this final season?

Tricia:  Well, knowing that it was the final season, we had the liberty of being able to follow the mythology from the four seasons prior and really give a conclusion to it. So, we faced a lot this year, like the entire world did, so some alterations were made along the way but not affecting the story, which is great. I think with the first three episodes with the origin story of Dracula and how the Van Helsings meet this character, I think is really going to set it up for the rest of the season, because stuff that happens there and stuff the audience will come to learn is really what drives a lot of the rest of the season to its ultimate conclusion, which I think leading up, I think it the last couple of episodes also really ramp up to this, you know, something’s gonna go down. And, you know, being part of it for really only one season, just briefly introduced in season four, of course, it would have been fun to play longer for me, but I understand what Jonathan’s saying then, it’s a little melancholy when you’ve been on a show for five years or something, and it’s like your second skin. When you’re first playing a character, you’re figuring it out and whatever, and then, by season five, you can just go on set and know who the character is. You almost answer in the character’s voice without even thinking about it. I didn’t necessarily have that with Dracula with only being in the one season, but, boy, did I get some fun stuff to play with.

Question:   …You were doing a series that, although it was a supernatural pandemic, it was still a virus like pandemic kind of thing, and you’re doing that for, well, I guess three and a half seasons, four seasons, and then all of a sudden, you’re living through a real pandemic. Did that change your perspective in any way in your characters, in your performance? Did you have maybe more understanding of people who are like hiding inside? So, how did COVID affect your characters is what, I guess, I’m trying to say.

Jonathan:  Well, I mean, yeah, I’d had all kinds of resonance in terms of that, you know, what isolation feels like, and we had just come back from shooting the first three episodes before the initial shutdown happened, and then there was a big question mark as to whether we’re gonna be able to get back to work. Then, we were lucky enough to be able to do that. I think we were one of the first shows back in Vancouver working with all the new COVID protocols. The company did an incredible job setting those up, and there’s a lot of pressure on them being the first show back not to screw it up. So, we’re happy that we didn’t, but…other than the stress that might have been visible in everyone’s eyeballs, I don’t know how much it impacted performance, but it certainly resonated.

Tricia:  I mean, I don’t think it necessarily affected my character per se.

Jonathan:   They didn’t care.

Tricia:  I mean, it did affect shooting for me, because, like Jonathan said, we did the episodes in Slovakia, and then literally all flew home just before the lockdown happened. So, there was a lot of stress for everybody. I really give credit to the production team and studio and network and everything, for getting back up and running as quickly as they did. For me, it really only altered filming in terms of changing schedules. I mean, so many things had to be changed, because you want to have less people on set at a time and less interaction and things like that. So, all my stuff that I had left was consolidated into the very end of the shooting. So, you guys all started shooting way early, and I was down in Los Angeles. So, they all started shooting way earlier, and then, when I came in, it was quarantine, obviously, government quarantine, and then fast and furious shooting everything I had for the rest of the season all in, you know –

Jonathan:   All in a row. Exactly.

Tricia:  All in a row. So, it was –

Jonathan:   Like episodes three through thirteen, all your scenes, all the time, nothing but for the final three weeks of shooting.

Tricia:  It was like a lot to do in the Slovakia episodes, and then nothing, and just sitting there twiddling my thumbs in LA going, “They’re shooting; they’re shooting.” I’m like, I felt so left out of it, but I’m so proud of them for getting back and then just being fast and furious at the end. But, I mean, Dracula is sort of like an enigma. I don’t know she’s – I’m babbling, but it sort of did, without giving away too much, Dracula was sort of feeling a little bit on edge toward the end. So, there was maybe a little isolated that we haven’t seen of her aside from being locked in the Dark Realm. I guess she was locked in the Dark Realm for a long time. That would have been very isolating. Maybe I could have related to that a little bit. I didn’t put too much into it at the time, though, because just everything so new with you just trying to do a good job trying to keep everybody safe and have fun with the character at the same time.

Tricia:  Trying to remember to take your mask off when they say, “Rolling.”

Question:   That happened?

Jonathan:   Oh, yeah.

Nicole:  Sometimes it did, yeah.

Tricia:  Yeah, it happened more than once, because everybody’s in masks. It’s like the first time you put on a mask, you feel really bizarre, but then when everybody around you has a mask on, and you take your mask off, you actually feel bizarre.

Nicole:  And we even incorporated masks into some of our costumes for a little bit there. I think, character-wise, yeah, it may be a little bit of a stretch, but it must have had some sort of impact just having been isolated. I also came back from Slovakia, and then we isolated for a while, and then they started filming. It was like that feeling of, “I miss everybody, and I can’t wait to see everybody.” Then, once we started filming again, it made those scenes of reunion or scenes with some intimacy in it just that much more important and impactful. And that like yearning for it was more already at the surface and more accessible, I guess, as an actor.

Tricia:  I don’t think Dracula gets to hug anyone, but it was like, if you got to hug anybody on set, you’re like, “I’m not letting go!”

Nicole:  Yeah. It’s like, “Jack, don’t let go.”

Suzanne:   I really enjoyed the three episodes they let us watch… that was great. Without spoilers, obviously, do you think that fans will enjoy the ending?

Tricia:  I do. I was the most excited I’ve been about the show in ages was when I read those first three skip scripts for this season. I thought “Wow.” I had no idea how the writers were going to try and figure out a way to bring the thing to a conclusion, and I think they exceeded all expectations and in terms of what they came up with. So, I’m really excited to see the fan reaction to it.

Nicole:  Yeah, the first three episodes play out of like a mini movie, and, yeah, I think it’s going to be very satisfying for everybody to watch, and it’s going to be quite the launching board for the rest of the season.

Tricia:  That’s exactly what I was just gonna say, Nicole. It’s a launching board for the rest of the season. So, even though they are like a little mini movie and set in Transylvania, where the rest of the season isn’t, it really does set up what the characters are going through, and knowledge and experience and questions to figure things out. But the following episodes are really where all the mythology from the first four seasons really gets layered into the very end, and there’s a nugget at the very end in the finale that I just think is so fun…that I think is just going to have some fans drop their chins to the floor.

Question:   This is for the entire cast. How would you describe season five in three words?

Jonathan:   Season five in three words, wow. “Big questions answered.”

Nicole:  “The final season.”

Tricia:  …I want to look up my notes for the other day. What did I say?

Nicole:  Had I done my press homework, I would have actually had the answer to this.

Tricia:  Family is one of my words. Family, [resilience], and teamwork? I’m trying to stay away from like bloody and gashy and death.

Jonathan:   Jaw freaking dropping.

Here is the video version of it.

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

MORE INFO:

Van Helsing is set in the near future, where vampires have risen and taken control. Vanessa Van Helsing is humanity’s last hope, as her unique blood composition gives her the ability to turn vampires human. With this secret weapon, Vanessa becomes a prime target for the vampires. Van Helsing comes from the producers of Fargo and Hell on Wheels. Jonathan Lloyd Walker serves as showrunner.

In the fifth and final season of “Van Helsing,” Vanessa, Violet, and Jack will risk it all to finally bring an end to the Dark One once and for all. The Van Helsings must figure out ways to escape and evade the various obstacles in their path to prevent them from their mission, leading to an epic final showdown between the Van Helsings and the Dark One. Who will win the battle between light and dark?

Jonathan Scarfe

Axel, “Van Helsing”

VAN HELSING -- Season:1 -- Pictured: Jonathan Scarfe as Axel Miller -- (Photo by: Brendan Meadows/HELSING S1 PRODUCTIONS/Syfy)

Multiple award-winning actor Jonathan Scarfe stars as Axel, a Marine ordered to guard the body of Vanessa Van Helsing.

Scarfe, a seasoned actor, producer, director and writer with over 20 years of experience, has been nominated six times for the Gemini Awards (the Canadian Emmys) and won twice for his work in “The Sheldon Kennedy Story” and the mini-series “Above and Beyond.” He is also the recipient of two Leo Awards for his work on “Hell on Wheels” and “Love on the Air.” As a director, he wrote and shot the multiple award-winning short film “Speak” with his wife Suki Kaiser.

In 2012, Scarfe embarked on a two-and-a-half-year sailing odyssey, entirely off the grid, with his wife and two children. The trip would ultimately encompass a circumnavigation of the North and South Pacific oceans and over 18,000 sea miles.

Nicole Muñoz was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada. She began her acting career at the age of four. With over fifteen years experience Nicole has garnered over 40 credits including beloved shows such as Once Upon A Time, Supernatural, The 100, Defiance and a lead role in SYFY’s Van Helsing.

Tricia Helfer is a Canadian cover girl model-turned-actress who has developed her resume beyond the catwalk to include many diverse roles highlighting her versatile and natural screen presence. Best known as the face of the series, and for her Leo award-winning lead performance as the humanoid, Cylon ‘Number Six’ in the critically acclaimed Syfy series, Battlestar Galactica (2004), Helfer has since gone on to book leading roles on a wide variety of networks. Tricia currently stars in FOX’s “Lucifer”, switching gears from the role as Lucifer’s mother Charlotte, to an attorney by the same name.

Prior to “Lucifer,” Tricia was recurring in season two of the Playstation & Sony Picture TV series, “Powers.” Just before that, Helfer also played the lead of the Syfy channel’s original miniseries “Ascension” co-starring Brian Van Holt. In early 2014, Helfer starred as the lead of the ABC series, “Killer Women”. The Sofia Vergara-produced series followed beautiful badass Molly Parker (Helfer), in the notorious Texas Rangers frontier patrol, as she pursued justice despite being embroiled in a continuous fight for her peers’ respect.

Born in Donalda, Alberta, Canada, Helfer launched her modeling career at age 17, and erupted into an international superstar after winning the Ford Models’ Supermodel of the World Contest in 1992. Her modeling credits include appearances in high-end ad campaigns for Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren, Versace, Givenchy, and Dolce & Gabbana as well as covers for national publications such as ELLE, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Flare and Vogue.

In 2002, Helfer turned her focus to acting, moving to Los Angeles and quickly earning a guest star spot on the second season finale of “C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation.” The following year she earned her break with “Battlestar Galactica,” achieving a remarkably fast and successful transition into acting. During her hiatus from “Battlestar Galactica,” Helfer portrayed the legendary Farrah Fawcett in NBC’s film, “Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of Charlie’s Angels.” She furthered expanded her portfolio by starring as ‘Stephanie Jacobs’ opposite Dennis Hopper and Billy Zane in the independent feature “Memory,” and later starred alongside LeeLee Sobieski in another independent, “Walk All Over Me,” which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Helfer returned to the small-screen in 2008, joining the cast of the USA Network’s hit series, “Burn Notice” for a multi-episode arc. The next year she filmed recurring guest spots on the award-winning CBS comedy, “Two and a Half Men,” while appearing on Fox’s crime shows “Chuck,” and “Lie to Me.” In 2010, Helfer booked a series regular role on the ten-episode arc of Jerry Bruckheimer’s “Dark Blue,” starring opposite Dylan McDermott and went on to do a variety of terrific roles on series such as “Suits,” on USA Network, “Key and Peale,” “The Librarians,” “Community,” “Chuck,” “Jeremiah” and “Franklin & Bash,” among others.

In addition to her vast array of television roles, Tricia starred in the film, “A Beginner’s Guide to Endings,” with Harvey Keitel, Scott Caan, and JK Simmons and ;ater, went on to star in “Authors Anonymous” with Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting. Next up, is another lead role in thriller, “Isolation” co-starring Luke Malby, a film that will portray the true events of a couple vacationing in the Bahamas. The getaway quickly spirals out of control, forcing the couple into survival mode.

Adding to her impressive resume, Helfer has done prolific voiceover work in mega-hit video game franchises including, playing the roles of Commander Veronica Dare in Halo: ODST, EDI in Mass Effect 2 and 3, Sarah Kerrigan in Blizzard Entertainment’s StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, for which she won the 2010 VGA for Best Performance by a Human Female, as well as in StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. She also showcased her voice talent in animated productions, “Green Lantern: First Flight,” a Cartoon Network TV movie, on Disney XD’s “The Spectacular Spiderman”, and on Disney XD’s TRON: Uprising.

In addition to acting, Helfer continues to support as many causes as she can, as she strongly believes in giving back. Tricia supports the Humane Society of United States, Best Friends Animal Society, AmFAR, PETA, Kitten Rescue and Richmond Animal Protection Society.

Tricia, who has dual citizenship in the US and Canada, and resides in Los Angeles.

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Nicole Muñoz, Jonathan Scarfe and Tricia Helfer

Interview with “Young Rock” actors

TV Interview!

Stacey Leilua and Ana Tuisila

Interview with actors of “Young Rock” on NBC by Suzanne 3/23/21

There are two short interviews here with the actors from “Young Rock.” One is with Stacey Leilua, who plays Ata; and with Ana Tuisila, who plays her mother, Lia. The other is with Joseph Lee Anderson, who plays Ata’s husband, Rocky, and with Matt Willig, who plays Andre the Giant.  This is a fun little show, and I enjoy watching it.

Here’s the first interview, with the women.

Suzanne:   My first question is for Stacy: what has the fan reaction been like so far that you’ve seen?

Stacey:   It’s mostly just been, I guess, in the way of messages through social media, because it’s not screening in New Zealand yet. So, I get messages from people – like the stuff I love is Pacific Islanders around the world saying how awesome it is to turn the TV’s on and see, you know, their mums and the grandmas sort of represented, their uncles. So, they’re seeing their culture on primetime US TV, and they’re loving it. So, that’s awesome for me to be able to be a part of that representation.

Suzanne:   Yeah, that’s great about the show. I didn’t even realize that he had lived in Hawaii, and I spent three years in Honolulu, and I miss it so much. I was happy to see that. And, Anna, are you on social media at all?

Ana:   Yes, I am.

Suzanne:   What is the reaction that you’ve gotten?

Ana:   Well, like Stacey, my family in New Zealand hasn’t seen the series at all, and so they’re putting on these promotions and “watch this,” and they are coming back to me sort of, “Watch what? We haven’t haven’t seen [it].” So, it’s a bit disappointing that they’re not keeping up with the excitement that I’m feeling as well. But we’re really lucky that I’ve got a link that was sent, so I’m able to watch it at the same time, but for the rest of New Zealand and Australia, it’s a shame that they’re not feeling the same as we all are.

Suzanne:   Yeah. It’s too bad you can’t get a copy to send to your family at least.

Stacey:   It’s coming soon, I think.

Suzanne:   Oh, good. I can’t imagine.

Question:   This is a male fronted comedy, but what I really like about it is that the women are a really big part of it, and you guys get to not just be background players; you’re really in the narrative of it. I was just curious how you feel about that, and how you feel about this show? It’s a success. Did you feel more pressure before it was a success, or do you feel more pressure now to keep it a success?

Stacey:   I think when you get the original audition, and you can see who’s attached to it, and you see Dwayne Johnson, that already is an indication of the success of what it [is] most likely going to be like. It’s pretty hard to imagine that something that he’s attached to is…not going to work or whatever. He’s just incredible like that. So, he finds a way to make everything work.

And I was excited about the fact that he will very often and publicly speak about his mother and his grandmother and the influence that these women had on his life. I mean, to this day, his mother, I think she she lives with him, or she’s pretty close to physically where he is. So, it’s kind of like at the end of this long journey that they’ve been through and the ups and downs. It’s the two of them still there looking after each other.

I quite often say that playing a real character, a real person, Ata Johnson, I don’t like to think of it as pressure, because I feel like that sort of has negative connotations. I think there’s definitely a huge responsibility in there.

I guess, if we’re talking about the success of a show, for me, what I really cared about the most was that I was going to do this character justice and that Dwayne and Ata were going to be watching this and going, “Yes,” and that has happened.

So, for me, I think, like, we talk about the ratings or more seasons and things like that, and I’m like, as long as I’m bringing this truth to that character – Just, I think in light of what a life they’ve had, and, you know, like we were saying, the ups and downs, we only see a sort of snippet of it in the show. It was so important to me; that was the priority for me, really being able to do the family justice and make them proud of the representation on the screen, for me, anyway.

Ana, do you want to speak to that?

Ana:   You ask about being the only woman in a very male dominated cast. Well, you know, it just helped me play the role even more diligently, because, Lia, the grandmother, is obviously a very strong character, and being the only woman and in with the wrestlers and the football team, it just makes – you know, I’m even sitting up straight now just thinking about it. It just makes the role that I play so much more physical [and] mentally and emotionally more dominant to just get there and make sure that I play this character the way it should be. So, being in a very male dominated, as you say, cast, and the storyline, it just just helps me portray this character even better.

There isn’t much known about it, but after listening to Dwayne and Ata describe her, I thought, “Oh, that’s great.” It’s just great putting the women up here. So, it wasn’t too difficult. I guess, as Stacey said, the pressure was ensuring that the character and the role was played with integrity and honesty, and making sure that I play the role the way it should be.

Question:   …What role did your mothers and grandmother play in your life?…Was there something that you brought on from your mother and grandmothers on to this show?

Stacey:   Yeah, I think I’ve mentioned before in interviews, my grandfather was actually a boxing champion here in New Zealand, and he held the light heavyweight title in, I want to say, early 1960s, I think. So [it] was my grandmother at home looking after the babies and holding the fort while her athlete sort of superstar husband, as much as he could be back then in New Zealand, was out traveling and on the road and everything that came with that. So, for me, in the early portrayals of Ata, that was something that was on my mind as well, and just kind of channeling a little bit of that and what that might have been like.

Like Ata, my grandmother is a very… strong matriarch of the family and really led with love and care for her children. I think that that was really, [and] after speaking with Dwayne and Ata, we’ve been saying sort of the character is really the heart and soul of the storytelling, and she brings that love and the nurturing. I mean, she’s a fighter, and she’s fierce, but it’s always done with the integrity and love for her son first and foremost, and then the family that wraps around him and guides him through his life journey. So, I was really holding on to, I guess, a lot of those aspects that I had seen myself in my grandmother growing up. Yeah, on a personal note for me.

Ana:   I didn’t know my maternal and paternal grandparents, grandmothers, but when I read the script, that was just truly my mother, my own mother, and, I guess, for myself, as well. She was also the matriarch of the eldest of 13 children. So, even though we had high chiefs, and there were five girls and eight boys, she just dominated. Whatever she says, goes.

When I read the script, I thought, “It sounds just like my mother,” and, I guess, it’s just passed down to the way I have parented. So, it was quite easy for me to step into Lia’s shoes, and even more so that Lia’s Samoan, and I’m Samoan. I guess, the connection there was really easy, and the cultural terms.

So, you asked, were my mother and my grandmother, or people who I knew – Yes, they were great inspiration, and it’s just passed down to how we are. Women are very strong. Even though they talk about the patriarchal system in Samoan, the [unintelligible], it’s the women that run the household. So, they are very strong, and, I guess, for Lia, which is different being in a white male’s institutional sport, that would have been [unintelligible]. Yes. So, the inspiration for me was my mother, which made it easy for me to play the character.

You can see the video here!

Joseph Lee Anderson and Matt Willig

Here’s the transcript of the call with the two men.

Question:   Hey, guys, thank you so much for taking the time and congratulations on on this fantastic journey. So, let me just ask, and I’m sure you’ve been asked, but I’m really curious, what was the biggest challenge for both of you in portraying your characters, especially because they’re based on real people? And what’s the most surprising thing you think you learned in the process of preparing for the characters?

Joseph:   Yeah, the biggest thing for me was the weight. I was at about 220 pounds when I first got the role, and then got a call and said they wanted me to be about 250 pounds. So, I had about two months to put all that weight on and make it as much muscle as possible…The opposite of what Matt did.

…And I was shocked to learn that Rocky, he fell so far from grace. He worked so hard to get to that moment, and he was on top of the world, and it just didn’t end the way I’m sure he wanted it to end.

Matthew:   Yeah, a lot like Joseph, you know, it starts with the weight. I knew I needed to have a certain look, and I normally kind of am more much more diligent about my diet and exercise and stuff. So, I just ate whatever I wanted for a couple months, and I gained about 35 pounds myself, but it was bad weight. So, it was fun for a while, and then it got old after a little bit, but that was important to kind of have that feel of having that girth that André had. I knew I wasn’t gonna be 7’4’’ or, you know, a seven footer, but I could have the dimensions that would be important. So, that was the first thing, and then, getting the sort of the Frenchisms and the French accent down was important [and] not easy. So, just kind of working with a French dialect coach first and then sort of making it my own sort of mumbled André speak was important to have. I had to be very careful about making it understandable for television so that people can understand me, but at the same time, sort of keeping authentic to André in the way that he spoke. So, that was hard.

And the surprising stuff, I guess, it’s just the fact that he was so close to Rocky, their family, and Dwayne. I wasn’t aware of that. So, that was a big revelation and sort of immediately sort of made my character André of all these crazy wrestlers, specifically having André in his life as uncle Andre, so that was pretty cool.

Suzanne:   Hi, guys. For Matt, what research have you done? What did you do before you got the role playing André the Giant?

Matthew:   Well, it started with watching documentaries and going from the documentaries to interviews, listening to him speak, trying to do as much research as possible. What else? You know, like I said, getting the speak down, his accent. Things like that were important, because I knew that when you’re dealing with someone that’s a real person, there is a sense of being true to him. You have to do a lot of work to get to that point before you even put your own spin on it. So, that was important. …Just watching him, watching his videos, watching his interviews was really important. Again, speaking to Dwayne and getting his take on it and finding out what was real in his life, in that relationship, how it was real, and what was going to be explored sort of for the show, as opposed to being in real life. Like I said, it was really nice to hear that that was a real relationship that was really, really important to him. So, that kind of made it nice so that we could be talking to Dwayne and getting the history of where André came into their lives with Peter Maivia, his grandfather, and kind of working into to being uncle André with him as a kid and beyond.

Suzanne:   Okay, great. And Joseph, I watched the four episodes last night on demand. You have such great energy on there. Have you gotten a lot of fan feedback so far?

Joseph:   Yeah, everyone’s been very kind saying they love what I’m doing with Rocky. People that have met him have been awesome with the feedback. So, that was great. Then, most importantly, Dwayne is beyond happy.

Suzanne:   Oh, that’s good.

Joseph:   That’s really the person I wanted to make happy.

Question:   …Joseph, I’ll start with you…Talk to us a little bit about how involved – and Matthew, you can also speak to this – how involved has Dwayne been throughout this process of helping you guys create and build on these characters who are real characters and real people that he lived with? [unintelligible] Like with Joseph, you play his dad. Talk to us a little bit about how involved Dwayne has been throughout this process.

Joseph:   He was insanely involved. Anytime there was a question, anything, it was a text away. He made himself open to me at any time. Anything I needed, it was just, he was there, and that was amazing since we were in different countries. So, yeah, hopefully, once COVID is over, we can all get in the same set, same room. It’d be nice to talk.

Question:   Definitely. Matthew, what about you?

Matthew:   Yeah, you know, it’s obviously a little different being that I’m not playing his dad. So, I come and go, but I think the biggest thing was just, number one, Dwayne being accessible. Like Joe said, from the first zoom call that we had on the first table read, he said, “Anytime any of you want to get with me -“ You know, he kind of apologized for not being able to be with us, but, “Anytime you guys want any information, have any questions, ask us.” And I did. So, him giving me a really detailed, honest account of his relationship with André and what he meant…He actually kind of commented what I think he meant, to me, but he really felt like André had a sense of being uncle André with him, and that was really important to him, especially early on in his life. So, Dwayne was really, really detailed about that relationship, and so, that was really cool. And again, he kind of left with, “If you ever need anything, any questions about anything, please let me know.” So, he’s been great.

Question:   Definitely. Joe, let me ask you this. You play Rocky, Dwayne’s father. Did you study him before Dwayne was assessable in helping you with the character, but did you study him on your own to learn a different side of him than what Dwayne told you? Did you study him and research him yourself?

Joseph:   Well, I think my research on Rocky was a lot of watching matches, a lot of trying to emulate how he moves in the ring and his signature moves, because Dwayne, he really gets the, you know, I’m not gonna learn about the man better than from Dwayne, so that was great. Yeah, I watched any interview I could find, every match I could find. There was a lot of that.

Question:   Why do you think people love the show so much? I mean, the fans are on Twitter; they’re in the comments on Instagram. People love the show. I think it gets better each week. It’s like, “Okay, oh, it was cute.” Then, each week it gets better, and then, you get an inside look into Dwayne’s life. Why do you think viewers love the show so much?

Joseph:   It’s such a heartwarming show. It’s nice; it’s loving. It’s a loving show. It’s about family. There’s so much that this show brings. We go in the 80s with the wrestlers, as, you know, the older generation loves wrestlers. And people who love Dwayne get more of an inside look at Dwayne that they probably would have never known if he wouldn’t have done this. There’s a lot that this show brings.

Question:   Definitely. Matthew, why do you think [that]?

Matthew:   Yeah, I think, just to piggyback Joe a little bit, it is that sense of – it appeals to many different audiences. People that want to see the wrestling and those iconic wrestlers are getting that. People that want to see more about Dwayne’s life are getting that. In today’s age where you can stream any sort of violence and sex and drugs and all that stuff, I think just to have a good heartwarming family type story, where you can sit down with your kids and know that for at least a half hour, they’re not going to be overwhelmed with some sort of sex or violence, it’s kind of a nice change. And I think that people are responding to that and really appreciate [it]. And, again, you’re really getting like four different stories in one show, which is pretty amazing that we’re able to do that. So, people come in and out, and they enjoy different aspects of it. So that’s, I think, contributing to the popularity of it all.

Here is the video of this call!

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

MORE INFO:

“Young Rock” focuses on different chapters of Dwayne Johnson’s life. From growing up in a strong and resilient family, to being surrounded by the wild characters of his professional wrestling family, to playing football at the University of Miami, the show will explore the crazy rollercoaster that has shaped Dwayne into the man he is today and the larger-than-life characters he’s met along the way.

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

Nahnatchka Khan, Dwayne Johnson, Jeff Chiang, Dany Garcia, Hiram Garcia, Brian Gewirtz and Jennifer Carreras serve as executive producers.

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

Stacey Leilua

Ata Johnson, “Young Rock”

YOUNG ROCK --  Season: 1 -- Pictured: Stacey Leilua as Ata Johnson -- (Photo by: Mark Taylor/NBC)
Stacey Leilua plays Ata Johnson on the new NBC comedy “Young Rock.” Leilua is of Samoan, Maori and English heritage and based in New Zealand. She graduated from one of New Zealand’s leading drama schools: UNITEC School of Performing & Screen Arts, where she majored in acting. Leilua has worked on a variety of productions, including New Zealand’s longest-running series, Shortland Street.” Other credits of note are the UK/NZ feature film ”Love Birds” and the highly acclaimed web series “The Factory,” which she also co-executive produced alongside Kila Kokonut Krew under the mentorship of Robin Scholes, one of New Zealand’s most well-known producers. Leilua has also worked as a presenter (“Homai Te Paki Paki”) and director with the South Auckland-based theatre company Kila Kokonut Krew. Most recently she performed in Tusiata Avia’s ”Wild Dogs Under My Skirt,” which won Production of the Year at the 2018 Wellington Theatre Awards. The production was picked up for a season at the Soho Playhouse in New York in January 2020 where it played to full houses every night.

Ana Tuisila

Lia Maivia, “Young Rock”

YOUNG ROCK --  Season: 1 -- Pictured: Ana Tuisila as Lia -- (Photo by: Mark Taylor/NBC)
Ana Tuisila stars as Lia Maivia on NBC’s new comedy “Young Rock.” Tuisila’s career spans over two decades in film, television and theater. Her most memorable performance is in “The Songmaker’s Chair,” a stage production written by esteemed international author, poet and playwright Albert Wendt, and directed by Nathaniel Lees and Nancy Brunning. Following a successful season, the show later participated in the International Arts Festival at Te Papa Museum in New Zealand. Tuisila has starred in two short films on location in Samoa, Vai and Liliu, which have both been recognized throughout film festivals globally. She speaks fluent Samoan as well as having familiarity with other Pacific languages.

Joseph Lee Anderson

Rocky Johnson, “Young Rock”

YOUNG ROCK --  Season: 1 -- Pictured: Joseph Lee Anderson as Rocky Johnson -- (Photo by: Mark Taylor/NBC)
Joseph Lee Anderson plays Rocky Johnson in the NBC comedy series “Young Rock.” Anderson has appeared in the Oscar-nominated film “Harriet,” recurred on “S.W.A.T.” and has guest starred on “Timeless,” “American Soul” and others. He also directed and starred in the critically acclaimed short film “The Jog,” which premiered at South By Southwest. Anderson is a Kansas City native currently living in Los Angeles.

 

 

 

Matthew Willig retired from the NFL after 14 seasons. He played for 6 teams (New York Jets, Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, St. Louis Rams, San Francisco 49ers and the Carolina Panthers). He went to 2 Super Bowls, winning 1 and losing the other. He is steadily rising up the acting ladder and receiving acclaim as his roles get bigger and better.

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Young Rock cast members

Interview with Melanie Scrofano and Tim Rozon

TV Interview!

Melanie Scrofano and Tim Rozon of "Wynonna Earp" on Syfy

Interview with Melanie Scrofano and Tim Rozon of “Wynonna Earp” on Syfy by Suzanne 3/23/21

This was a lot of fun, even though we didn’t have a lot of time to ask questions. I’d interviewed Tim a month earlier, so it was great to see him again. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

Suzanne: I went on Facebook and Twitter where you guys are really popular and asked fans for questions, because I’m behind.

Melanie: Ooh, fun.

Suzanne: Joanne wants to know if either of you… if there’s a scene that you wish you could go back and do over again.

Melanie: Oh, wow. Well, okay. I haven’t seen it yet, but I would do one in Episode 11, because it was such an epic one to shoot. I really haven’t seen it, but I didn’t feel like I was – It just was so important that I just hope that it’s as good as it’s written, because there was a lot going on in terms of like, it took us all day to shoot it, and the sun was moving. So, we’d have to like – we’d be doing this emotional stuff, and then the sun moves, and we’re like, “Okay, stop. Stop crying, and cry,” or whatever the thing was. So, you know, if I could go back and do that, just to make sure we have it, I would do that.

Tim, what would you do?

Tim: Ah, hands down, I think it was 406 or 405. It was the episode you directed.

Melanie: [403].

Tim: 403 with Greg Lawson naked on the ground. I’m running around with the frickin’ lasso. You’re behind the monitors, just screaming with a big smile. Dominique (Provost-Chalkley)’s got a water gun or something. Kat (Barrell) and I are falling all over the ice. We’re just running around like idiots. I just remember having so much fun that why would I not want to do that all over again?…Yeah, remember, we were in the middle of that pit ravine and in the snow, but I don’t remember being cold. I just remember it being like a super fun, crazy day.

Melanie: So awesome.

Tim: So, I’d do that day over and over.

Melanie: That day shortened my life by ten years, because I was so stressed. So, I’m glad you had fun.

Tim: I did. Yeah, it was awesome.

Suzanne: She’s obviously a good director. She made sure you had fun.

Melanie: Great actors.

Tim: It was one of my favorite moments I’ve ever had on the show. Like I remember I was stuck on the floor, Greg Lawson’s leg was on me, Dominique’s knee was here, and I just looked over. From where I could see, I could see Mel at the monitor with a big smile, and it was cool, because it was just her watching her friends and her cast be idiots, and the joy that it gave her gave me joy in that moment. It was a fun moment. It was a fun day.

Question: How is that experience of working with your co star in the boss position of the director? I mean, do you feel there are any specific differences coming from somebody who is in the show and is an actor themselves? And then I will follow up with you on how’s that experience, directing people that you’re working with?

Tim: Yeah, well, I mean, nobody knows Wynona Earp better than Wynonna Earp. And I think I’ve said this a zillion times to every person who will listen: I think Melanie’s Scrofano is one of the best actors that I’ve ever worked with. So, you kind of are a sponge for those notes. You really want them. I remember telling Dom even in the first – because you directed us in a scene originally –

Melanie: Yep.

Tim: The season before.

Melanie: I remember.

Tim: I don’t know if I’m suppose say that or whatever.

Melanie: No, I’ve said it.

Tim: I just remember that day, it was like, it was never anything other than, “This is gonna be sick. What notes are we gonna get?” We were like greedy little actors. It’s just like, “We’re gonna get the good shit from Mama.” So, yeah, you’re kind of like you just know you want it. I just know you want the direction.

Question: And Melanie, for you, how is it working as a director on your show with your own team and being responsible maybe sometimes in calling them out?

Melanie: I didn’t have to call anyone out, because I thought it was unfair on Wynonna. Like, in a way, it wasn’t a real taste of directing, because I knew that they had my back. So, I felt very safe, which is not normal. Like the scene that Tim’s talking about, where they’re running around, I was terrified about – we were losing the sun, like, it was chaos. But I knew that the thing that was gonna mess it up wasn’t going to be that. I knew that I could just yell things, because I didn’t have time. So, it’s like, I couldn’t go over and be like, “I need you to sit on his crotch. It’s really funny.” I was just yelling things, and they’re like, “Okay!” So, to know that I had the room to do that was really good. It was just a blessing to be able to work with [them]. But I would say that, as an actor too, you so seldom get the chance to work with people that you feel safe with that you trust and that you love. So, just, I think, actor or director, I’ve have just been very lucky on the show.

Question: …How is this show special to you in terms of a strong female lead, and what do you hope happens [unintelligible]?

Melanie: I think this was the first time – I auditioned for it, but I didn’t think I’d get it, because I was like, “I don’t know how to do ‘action lady;’ I don’t know how to do that. I don’t know how to be sexy.” I’m like, cool, and whatever. So, I was like, “I’m just gonna go in and do stupid; I’m gonna do how I am.” And it was the first time that anybody – like that I got hired for being myself, and myself isn’t terribly conventionally sexy or whatever. It felt really validating to be thought of as enough the way I am to play this character. So, I hope that girls, anybody, who see that go, “Maybe I’m enough the way I am.” Like, “Maybe I don’t have to represent some stereotype of what people usually think of this character, and I can just bring what I have to this role or to this life, and that enough.”

Suzanne: I just had one more question. Tim, I noticed you look really different from when I saw you on one of these. Is this just for fun, or do you have a new thing you’re working on?

Tim: Yeah, have a new show coming out this summer called Surreal Estate…There’s a guest star you might recognize in it and a director that you might also recognize who might be in this room with us at the same time.

Suzanne: Great.

Melanie: Who also has different hair on that show.

Suzanne: That’s great. Will it be on Syfy or another network?

Tim: Yeah, it will be on the Syfy network. All I know is summertime. I never know anything. I’m the last to know. Well, I’m excited. I’m very excited.

Suzanne: Great. Great. I look forward to it. I’ll make sure to tell all your fans on Facebook.

Here is the Video!

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

MORE INFO:

WYNONNA EARP follows legendary law man Wyatt Earp’s descendant, Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano) who inherits his mystical gun, Peacemaker. With it, Wynonna and her posse of dysfunctional allies must fight against supernatural beings and other paranormal occurrences in a raucous, whisky-soaked struggle to break her family’s demonic curse.

In Season 4, the infamous Earp Curse is broken, and witty and wild demon hunter Wynonna Earp would love to be celebrating with cold whisky and hot donuts. Too bad she has to rescue everyone she loves, save the town of Purgatory, and take on her most diabolical, Earp-hating enemy yet — all without her trustworthy gun, Peacemaker. And that’s just Monday…

WYNONNA EARP is produced in Calgary by Seven24 Films and globally distributed by IDW Entertainment and Cineflix Rights. Emily Andras developed the series for television and continues to serve as showrunner and executive producer. Jordy Randall, Tom Cox, Rick Jacobs, Todd Berger, Peter Emerson and Brett Burlock also serve as executive producers.

Twitter: @WynonnaEarp
Instagram: @WynonnaEarp
Hashtag: #WynonnaEarp

Melanie Scrofano

Wynonna Earp, “Wynonna Earp”

Melanie Scrofano stars on SYFY’s WYNONNA EARP as Wynonna Earp, the great-great-granddaughter of famous lawman Wyatt Earp who inherited his famous gun – and a whole lot of trouble. Wynonna is brave and witty with an impulsive streak that gets her into trouble more than she’d care to admit. She uses her unique abilities, along with her dysfunctional posse of allies to bring the paranormal to justice.

Scrofano has won a People’s Choice Award and received a Canadian Screen Award nomination for best actor for her role as Wynonna. In season four of the SYFY fan-favorite series, WYNONNA EARP, Scrofano makes her directorial debut, with her direction of episode 403. She recently starred in the feature “Ready or Not” and is looking forward to the release of her newest film, “The Silencing.” Fans will recognize her recurring appearances on, “Letterkenny,” “Bad Blood,” “Designated Survivor” and “Damien.” Other notable film credits include “Wolves,” “We Were Wolves,” “Citizen Gangster” and “Saw VI.”

Originally from Ottawa, Ontario, Scrofano currently resides in Canada with her husband, Jeff.

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Tim Rozon

Doc Holliday, “Wynonna Earp”

Tim Rozon stars on SYFY’s WYNONNA EARP as Doc Holliday, the legendary gunslinger, friend and partner of Wyatt Earp, and now immortal “will they or won’t they” love interest to Wynonna Earp. He is handsome and charming and knows just what he must do to survive in Purgatory. Doc’s on a mission of his own to right the wrongs of his past before they consume him.

Rozon’s first leading role was playing heartthrob Tommy Quincy opposite Alexz Johnson and Laura Vandervoort on the teen drama series, “Instant Star.” Other notable credits include playing Mutt Schitt on “Schitt’s Creek,” gang infiltrator Alex Caine on “Befriend and Betray,” outer space rogue Isaac on SYFY’s VAGRANT QUEEN, and love interest to Candice Cameron Bure on “Christmas Town.” Guest appearances include “Rookie Blue,” “Flashpoint,” “The Listener,” “Heartland,” “Combat Hospital,” “Lost Girl,” “Being Human” and ”19-2.” Rozon won a prestigious Gemini Award for his performance on “Flashpoint” and was nominated for his role in “Befriend and Betray.”

Rozon currently resides in Montreal, where he co-owns the hit restaurants Garde Manger and Le Bremner opposite star chef Chuck Hughes.

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Melanie Scrofano and Tim Rozon of "Wynonna Earp" on Syfy

Interview with Elizabeth Blake-Thomas

TV Interview!

Filmmaker Elizabeth Blake-Thomas

Interview with Elizabeth Blake-Thomas of the film “Evie Rose” on Amazon Prime by Suzanne 4/13/21

This was an interview via email, so there is no audio or video. I enjoyed watching her short film on Amazon, and I look forward to her upcoming feature film.

Suzanne: You were a theater director, I see. Did you work in a particular city?

Elizabeth: I was based in the center of England, but we toured around. I enjoyed taking theater to smaller places that didn’t have easy access to theater or the arts.

Suzanne: How did you get involved in making films?

Elizabeth: My daughter has been in the film and TV industry since a young age, so when she was about 11 or 12 I thought I could help her by producing a short film that she could star in. After we completed that film, “Broken Wings”, which is available online, I realized I had the knowledge to make more, as well as try my hand at directing instead of just producing. On top of that, the whole experience was so enjoyable, working with my daughter and creating art, it just made sense. It reminded me of being a theater director. So I made the conscious decision to get into the film industry myself, writing something with my daughter to have her star in. From there, the projects just kept flowing.

Suzanne: I enjoyed your movie “Evie Rose” on Amazon. I assume that’s what’s referred to as a “short film”?

Elizabeth: That’s correct, a film that’s less than an hour. Some festivals qualify a short as being no more than 50 minutes. The Academy says no more than 40. A short film’s length though can greatly vary, like features. To me, it’s about what length helps tell a story most effectively. If it takes 2 minutes or 2 hours, it doesn’t matter. As long as it best serves the story.

Suzanne: Are there any plans to expand it into a full-length film?

Elizabeth: All of my shorts have this potential. I let things happen organically to tell the story of Evie Rose as best I saw fit, so I need to give this film time to breathe as a short before making any drastic changes. I need to see what happens this year first. I’m currently waiting to hear back from several festivals on the short, which could dramatically change the next course of the film.

Suzanne: Do you know yet where “Will You Be My Quarantine” will be shown (which network or streaming service)?

Elizabeth: No official announcement yet, but it is being pitched to all the major platforms. It really is a fantastic, fun, sweet movie. Something we all really need right now.

Suzanne: Is it finished?

Elizabeth: Yes, it is. All original music has been placed, all visual effects are finalized, and I’ve watched it through thoroughly. I’m very proud of it.

Suzanne: Will this be another short film, or full-length?

Elizabeth: Feature length film.

Suzanne: Can you tell us what it’s about?

Elizabeth: Dating in the pre-Covid world was hard for people, endlessly swiping trying to find “the one”. Once quarantine hit, this became even harder. Swiping was easy, sitting on your couch in your PJs, but meeting anyone in person was impossible. “Will You Be My Quarantine?” is a heartwarming, yet comical, story about finding real love in tricky circumstances, getting to know someone for who they truly are and finding an authentic, genuine connection.

Film Logline: Vanessa has always had trouble in the dating world, never mind now being confined to her home. She soon discovers just how much you can get away with dating via webcam, but is the love she feels true or only a distorted version of reality?

Suzanne: Anything you can tell us about how it was developed?

Elizabeth: It was based on my real experiences during the start of quarantine, when I came to the realization that dating could no longer happen as it did before. How was I going to meet people? Online meetings and dates began and I realized I could be anyone I wanted to be. I could show only the bits of me I wanted that person to see. I could have a nice top on, but baggy sweatpants just off screen. My hair could be greasy, but they’d never know! Which led to my idea of having a fun, relatable romcom about a new couple that are not being truthful with each other. Highlighting how dating online can only show us so much, and raising the important question of, “How can we truly find someone and something that’s real, if we aren’t honest?”

Suzanne: What about the casting process?

Elizabeth: Most of the cast are friends or close contacts, who I immediately knew were perfect for their roles. After everyone accepted, I was thrilled, for I truly feel the entire cast is stellar and represents such a diverse group of individuals that the audience can relate to. Having that proper representation was key for me, as we all have been affected by this “Great Pause”. I wanted everyone who watches the film to be able to connect with someone that looks just like them or relate to something a character does that they too did while stuck at home. Casting this project was fun and honestly a breeze since each actor was ideal for their role.

Suzanne: I’ve interviewed Eddie McClintock a few times before, and he’s very funny as well as quite a good dramatic actor. Which side does he get to show off in this movie?

Elizabeth: In this film he shows off his fantastic comedic side. He totally embraced this character and brought something even more than I could have imagined. He is a true artist.

Suzanne: Joe LoCicero was just recently on “The Bold and the Beautiful.” His character was killed off on that show, and now there’s a murder mystery. What is his character like in your movie?

Elizabeth: More details on his character once the film is released, but I can say that Joe was so adorable. I auditioned him originally for a smaller role, but he impressed me so much with his tape, I gave him a bigger one. He is very talented, and I can’t wait to put him in my next feature film.

Suzanne: Were you a fan of Jodie Sweetin’s before she was cast?

Elizabeth: Who wasn’t a fan of “Full House?” Jodie is the perfect girl-next-door and such a talent. She can play all levels of characters and everyone connects to her, making her perfect for this film’s role.

Suzanne: Tell us about your business and website – medicinewithwords.com How did it come about?

Elizabeth: I’ve always been a storyteller. Across mediums, across time zones. When I wanted to make films on my own timeline, I created my entertainment company Mother & Daughter Entertainment. I’ve also always mentored, guided and helped people. During the Covid Great Pause, I was able to put some time into really finessing who I am and what I want to do. The clarity I was given enabled me to create Medicine with Words, a “spring cleaning” journey of your mind, encompassing everything from your emotions and surroundings, to your purpose and desires. Through guided studies of intention and reflection using pen to paper, meditation, stories and your senses, my “stars” (clients) learn to lead a more purposeful, contented, peaceful life. They learn to free themselves from the unnecessary noise that the world muddles their mind with, and start living intentionally, without fear. I already have many “stars” that I help guide to transform their lives. Think of it as yoga for the mind. It is something very unique and special to me and I feel very blessed that I have been given the tools to share this.

Suzanne: How did you become a philanthropist, and why did you pick human trafficking as your focus?

Elizabeth: It was a natural progression through my company Mother & Daughter Entertainment. Our motto “making content that matters” is something my team and I believe strongly in. The cause of human trafficking awareness actually just found me. Upon meeting an individual who escaped being trafficked and hearing her story, I was inspired to write and produce a short film called UNSEEN. This film was purely made to distribute for free and educate others of the potential lure tactics of traffickers, especially those used through social media. The film was viewed by the non-profit Awareness Ties and I became their Ambassador for Human Trafficking Awareness, working with them and others to raise awareness and end human trafficking. Seeing the assistance that storytelling can bring to philanthropic work, I now strive to have an impact with everything I put my time into. This also includes mentoring fellow filmmakers and storytellers, especially women. It’s important to me to give back.

Suzanne: Reading your bio and your website, I was very impressed. What you’ve achieved is amazing. Most people would be too scared to do half the things you’re doing, with the major changes in your life. What age were you, if you don’t mind my asking, when you left the UK and came to the US?

Elizabeth: It is a scary thing to do. I was 32 when I first experienced LA and then was 34 when I officially moved over from the UK. I won’t sugar coat it. It wasn’t easy. It cost me my marriage; it took all my strength to continue on this path. But I did it for my daughter, and then ended up finding my calling in LA as a storyteller as well. I have not one single regret about making these changes. In regards to my industry achievements, I like to use the phrase “filmmaking with fear”, as sometimes you just have to go for it and live each day intentionally.

Suzanne: How long after that did you get into either theater or film?

Elizabeth: I was a theater director from aged 16, running my theater company in the UK for almost 20 years. I became a film director 5 years ago once in LA. In just the past 5 years, I feel I have completed a huge amount in the film industry, pushing myself to make things happen no matter what others around me said or did.

Suzanne: Do you have a favorite type of movie or TV series you like to watch for fun?

Elizabeth: I love procedurals. My brain is constantly thinking of new storytelling ideas from the moment I wake up at 4 or 5am. When I feel I need my brain to turn off, a procedural is the perfect outlet that allows me to sit mindlessly and still know what’s going to happen. They are so formulaic with the story that they are easy to follow along and often the story is wrapped up with a perfect bow by the end of the 45 minutes. A different story each episode, but with characters I can still love and enjoy seeing snippets of their lives.

Suzanne: What is your next project?

Elizabeth: I have a couple of fantastic feature films that are in pre-production. I will be filming both this year. My environmental short documentary Consume As Little As Possible will also be released in a few months, and is something I believe we all need to watch. My book “Filmmaking Without Fear” is set to release later this month. My podcast and featurette of the same name are already available to stream, documenting my career thus far, as well as storytelling tips and tricks

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Elizabeth Black-Thomas directing a film.

ELIZABETH BLAKE-THOMAS is a British award-winning storyteller and philanthropist based
in Los Angeles, having recently directed her latest feature film during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Will You Be My Quarantine? is a romcom starring Full House/Fuller House star Jodie Sweetin
and is set to release in 2021. Elizabeth’s recent film Evie Rose, starring Oscar-nominated actress
Terry Moore, is premiering on Christmas Eve 2020. Elizabeth is the founder and resident
director of entertainment company Mother & Daughter Entertainment, whose motto is “Making
Content That Matters”, putting focus on each project starting a conversation amongst viewers.
Through MDE, Elizabeth established the MD Foundation Initiative, a campaign to mentor and
employ undiscovered filmmakers through fellow philanthropic pledges.
An Official Ambassador of Awareness Ties for Human Trafficking, Elizabeth hopes to raise
more awareness to the horrific nature of human trafficking and help put a stop to it. Her award-
winning short film UNSEEN, which addresses the role technology plays in the facilitation of
child trafficking, is being used to educate children on the dangers of lure tactics. A regular on
panels at Sundance, Cannes and Toronto International Film Festival, Elizabeth mentors wherever
possible, ensuring she sends the elevator back down to all other female storytellers.
Directing Showreel Awareness Ties Ambassador Page

The Self-Made Triumph of Director, Storyteller and Philanthropist, Elizabeth Blake-Thomas

Single mum of a 10-year-old, 6 suitcases total for the both of them, packed and headed from the UK to LA. That was 8 years ago.

Cut to now, living happily on a houseboat in sunny Redondo Beach, California, a successful 18-year-old daughter who just starred as one of the leads in the latest Disney+ movie Secret Society of Second Born Royals, and a fruitful, self-made directing career. To top it off, Elizabeth just wrapped her latest feature film, a romcom, safely shot during the COVID-19 pandemic!

Elizabeth and her daughter Isabella are a resourceful mother-daughter team, who in light of wanting to forge their own path in the LA industry rather than waiting around for a big break to be handed to them, founded a company together, Mother & Daughter Entertainment. Through MDE, they develop, write, produce, and direct everything from feature films to short films to episodics. Isabella even stars in a few. Their team is on fire, with over 12 projects under their belt in the last four years, finishing off 2019 with an award-winning short film UNSEEN about child trafficking and educating kids on the dangers of lure tactics. Just in 2020, they have filmed two additional feature films, created three pilots, completed a documentary and created and written pitches and teasers for several other projects.

Against all odds, they have become a successful team in LA.

Even COVID couldn’t stop them from creating. Following SAG’s safety protocols, they worked together and completed their latest romcom, Will You Be My Quarantine?, starring Full House and Fuller House alum Jodie Sweetin and David Lipper. The entire cast and crew safely tested throughout filming, social distanced and wore masks. Many thought it would be impossible to get the industry back on its feet, but Elizabeth pushed forward and succeeded through her resourcefulness and inspiring tenacity.

During COVID and 2020, Elizabeth has also completed and released the first season of her new podcast “Filmmaking Without Fear”. The podcast episodes are available to stream on all platforms (Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify).  Her book of the same name, documenting her success in the industry from ground zero up, is also due to be published end of the year. Elizabeth also directed and produced a movie titled Evie Rose, starring Oscar-Nominated actress Terry Moore (Come Back, Little Sheba), which is set to screen on Christmas Eve.

All of this has been accomplished by Elizabeth and Isabella whilst living on their 34ft boat with their Maltese Chai!

If anyone can prove LA is possible, Elizabeth can!

Take it from Elizabeth’s friend and mentor Sean McNamara, Emmy-nominated Producer, Director, and Co-Chairman of Brookwell McNamara Entertainment, “I’ve honestly watched in awe, and even used several of Elizabeth’s excellent ideas. She has actually taught me a thing or two, even though I’ve been in this industry as a director/producer for over thirty-five years. Elizabeth is always bringing fresh new approaches and ideas to filmmaking that are inspirational for me as a fellow filmmaker.”

Elizabeth’s drive to learn as she went and create her own opportunities, forged her path to success. LA is the land of dreamers and Elizabeth Blake-Thomas is proof that you can do whatever you set your mind to and accomplish your goals.

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Elizabeth Blake-Thomas directing her film.

Interview with Dick Wolf, Chris Meloni and Ilene Chaiken

TV Interview!

Chris Meloni, Ilene Chaiken and Dick Wolf of "Law & Order: Organized Crime" on NBC.

Interview with Dick Wolf, Chris Meloni and Ilene Chaiken of “Law and Order: Organized Crime” on NBC by Suzanne 4/7/21

This was a virtual press conference with Wolf, the creator of this show (and all the Law & Order shows, as well as all the Chicago shows and all the FBI shows), the headwriter Chaiken and star Meloni.  There wasn’t a lot of time, and many press people were there, so I didn’t get to ask a question. However, they did answer most of the questions I would have asked, anyway. It was just great to see them.

Question: Chris, I think Stabler is probably one of the most hot-headed of the characters in the “Law & Order” brand. What’s the secret as an actor to playing hot- headed– playing anger without going over the top?

Chris: Well, I think that that template was set right from the beginning. Meaning, I still remember very vividly, Dick [Wolf] wrote the initial “SVU” pilot. Dick was the one who hired me. And I went to him. And I said, he originally had Elliot Stabler with three kids. I said, “I think he needs four.” He’s like, “Oh, okay.” And I saw this guy as a guy under pressure constantly. And I felt that and this had a lot to do with after speaking with real SVU detectives, about the pressures that they were under and the crimes that they witnessed. And I knew that I as me, personally, Chris Meloni would have a very difficult time downloading and processing what these real people in heroes do every day, and the things that they see. So, that’s like kind of the genesis of this. So, it’s not like, “Oh, he’s a hothead to be a hothead.” I think it’s his reaction to injustice. I think to him injustice makes his head explode. And I think that’s also now part of Elliot 2.0 is hopefully his evolution towards having a clear understanding of the world is unjust. And then now how is it that you adapt yourself to realities that keep punching you in the face literally and figuratively?

Question: The tragic incident that started this all-in motion is the death of your wife. Has that ramped him up more? How do you feel like that’s changed him? Is it for the better for the worse? Or could he get any worse?

Chris: Well, I think it’s what I that that can be tagged along to the last question that I answered, which is so a guy who’s dealt with injustice, always one step removed, which is it’s a victim that it is my job to go and to attend to. Now, it’s how do you attend to your own wounds? How do you attend to this own injustice? How do you carry on carrying that much grief? I asked Dick, “Can I have four kids,” and that later was five kids? How do you carry on through there with financial pressures and all these and family pressures. Now deal with your your family, being literally figuratively blown up? So how do you deal with that faith wise and personally? So, let’s hope that Elliot has found better coping mechanisms, but is still very passionate.

Question: Ilene, I believe you had to shut down twice for COVID concerns, how has that affected your delivery as far as episodes go, and also the overall arc you’re planning to tell the season Have you had to compact that at all?

Dick: We’ve been remarkably lucky with COVID. It hasn’t affected the storytelling at all, but you open the door for a gratuitous statement here that, needless to say, I’m thrilled to have Chris back. It’s been a wonderful collaborative relationship with Ilene on this pilot and the show. But the thing that really excites me about the show, and I’m not speaking in progress, what I think is exciting for him is that this is the first “Law & Order” with literally, completely different storytelling. That in a twenty-four-episode season, which next year will be, you should think about the fact that it’s going to be three, eight-episode arcs. And the first third of the season is The Godfather. The second third is American Gangster. And the last third is Scarface. And these villains are going to be really bad guys. That gives Chris a constant source of energy, outrage, belief in justice and a different way of pursuing criminals than we’ve had before. He could always say, in things like this, “What are you going to be doing this year?” And on the mothership, or in Season 3, you could just go and check off your fingers. Now, we’re doing this is a very long, but not too long period to really get inside both your protagonist and your antagonist heads. And I’m not all you have to do is look at the casting and the first episode. And realize this is not episodic casting. We’re shooting for bigger game. And I think it’s gonna be endlessly interesting and the character craft has evolved in subtle ways that are given a lot more than lip service this last week. Just think of the challenge that will be this gentleman was the most pre-Miranda cop on television. And he is come back and the adjustment to the new realities that he well represents I’m very proud of and this is – I’m almost afraid to say it. It’s one of the real reasons that I ebb and wain here is because Ilene is not only an excellent writer, but she has managed to take a very tough character and make him more sympathetic last week than he’s ever been. You ever think you’d see Stabler cry? Anyway, that’s the commercial.

Question: Chris mentioned about literally blowing his family up with Kathy. Talk a little bit about what’s going to happen on the personal side of his life because it looks like that was setting it up for a lot of Stabler and some family interaction and are we going to spend time at home with him?

Ilene: Yeah. This is this is a show that will spend time with Stabler and his family and his life and his emotions. We tell stories. We tell procedural stories. The DNA of the “Law & Order” franchise of “SVU” very much in our show, but we probably will get to know Stabler in a way you’ve never gotten to know him.

Question: Dick and Ilene, there have been crossovers with SVU in the first two episodes. Can you talk about finding the balance of doing that to keep the focus on organized crime?

Dick: Well, I certainly think the second episode…I’m going to turn this over to Ilene, but I would say, the most accurate measure is how often there will be crossovers? And what depth are the Chicago shows? We’re going to do it whenever it gave us both shows a different way to shine. And, obviously, I’m very supportive to the audience and says, “Geez, this is frustrating. Why don’t you just put them both in the same show again?” It’s not exciting. This, to me, is scary, is much more engaging.

Ilene: I’ll take the lead on this. Because it’s a thing that he so intuitively knows how to do. But it’s…I mean, these two shows within the same universe in the same fictional but very grounded universe. And we never forget that those other characters in those other stories exist. And when we tell a story about Stabler in Benson’s (Mariska Hargitay) world or Benson in Stabler’s world, and things happen, that affect their characters, we don’t just forget about it. So, it’s both challenging and tantalizing from the point of view of story writing, to make sure that you keep those things a lot, while the shows have their own identity.

Question: For Ilene and Dick, I’m curious about the choice to use the dead wife as motivation, the trope, at the opening of this show. I know there was some pushback, and some criticism of that aspect.

Dick: Look, I have to tell you, it’s one of the most dramatic. I’ve been doing this for a long time. It’s probably the most dramatic teaser that I can remember on any show, too. I don’t know what. I didn’t see anything that was critical of that storytelling. You can’t please all the people any of the time. It’s not what we do. The only thing we can do is tell stories that if we’re sitting there and it doesn’t compel us, why are we going to think that it’s going to compel and audience? When I thought that was like, “Wow, what a re-intro!”

Ilene: When I joined this project that was already a fait accompli. It was a premise that I was given to work with. And I said, “Wow, this is a great place to start.” I was not in any way put off by it. I was immediately drawn in. When you tell a story like this, when you tell a story about a beloved character, who’s been gone for many years, the first question you ask yourself is why now? And that as a storytelling catalyst is one of the best why nails I could ever think of?

Question: Chris, when you left did you say, “Someday I’ll be back? Or did you say, “No, I’m done with that. I’m over with that.” And then when you were gone, did you watch the shows and and say, “Oh, God, I should be in that.” What was your kind of thinking about all of that?

Chris: My thinking was it was time to go. So, I wasn’t and I don’t tend to look back. So, I didn’t and my journey has been fantastic and very fulfilling. And I must admit, I have maybe watched ten minutes. I’m not much of a TV watcher. So, it wasn’t anything personal. That’s it. Those are the facts, Jack.

Question: Dick, one of the hallmarks of your shows is ripped from the headlines. And it sounds like from what you said earlier that it that this show “Organized Crime” is going to have two levels of ripped from the headlines, the overriding arc of these eight episodes. And the second is the individual episodes. I was wondering between you and Ilene, what headlines are we going to see ripped from the headlines as the show continues?

Dick: I’ve had the same answer for thirty-one years. “Law & Order” is fiction. We make the headline, but not the body copy. And I hate to be abrasive, but this show started off as a story that while we were going to be covering with “Organized Crime,” criminal enterprises that are ongoing, and their headlines…Well, every day in every major newspaper that have some reference point. And the thing that’s fascinating about Wheatley (Dylan McDermott) to me is that he is the old mob and the new mob. And there’s plenty of vaccine right now there wasn’t last week. And I thought that the oldest mob activity that there is or was was hijacked. And here is an opportunity to combine hijacking and COVID. I don’t know how to get it much more ripped from the headlines. But there will be others and Ilene should really be answering. She’s the one inserting the flavor into the sauce. But we never think consciously, “Okay, what’s the headline in this show?” It’s life. It’s what’s going on. It’s zeitgeist. And when there was some discussion, “Gee, how are we gonna handle COVID.” I said, “The show is going to be on by Spring. It’s not going to be gone by then.” And sure enough, it couldn’t have felt more timely, but it is taking up the major share of Americans thinking for the last year. So, I can’t say I was surprised that people found it interesting. But Ilene, what other headlines?

Ilene: Well, what usually happens is, you know, given the template that we’re working on, we come up with a story, we think maybe it’s ludicrous, we hope not. But we run with it. And then the next day, Chris sends me an article that he found, and the thing that we just made up in the writers room, has actually happened. So, I mean, we’re taking our lead from what’s going on in the world and imagining where it might be going. And usually it pans out. And sometimes we feel just the ungainly weight of responsibility for having imagined these things into existence.

Question: A lot of police shows have made adjustments since the events of last year relating to matters like police behavior and brutality, racial justice. I’ve seen it on “SVU.” Hhow much will that enter into here? And how does Elliot as the protagonist did, said pre Miranda cop, how much did that factor in how he has or hasn’t changed over this decade? And how much will that affect him since that could seem like it could be a point of conflict in some ways?

Dick: I will just, again…Obviously, the people inside the company, the showrunners, the producers, we spend a lot of time talking about police behavior. I would put it to that you probably more time than any other non-law enforcement group of people in the country, because it’s what we do every day. And I made a statement when everything erupted in the Spring and early Summer that somebody said, “What are you doing to change?” I said, “We’re doing what we always do, which is listen very carefully, read virtually everything written about this from both sides of the spectrum – from the far left to the far right.” And what I said in the Spring still holds. The shows will speak for themselves. That if you’ve been watching “Chicago PD,” the question is asked and answered. Of course, we deal with what’s going on. But it’s never in a knee jerk way. That “Law & Order” for years that people say “There is no character in it.” And I said, oh, there’s a lot of character if you’re a regular viewer, you know, surprisingly huge personal dossiers on all six of the regulars. But we don’t dole it out with soup labels. We dole it out with Demi tap spoons, because that’s the way life is because nobody gets a job walks in and says, here’s my resume for the last five years. It’s much more interesting that television shows exist on a very different timeframe than movies or books. That a movie exists for 110 minutes. An hour show to be considered successful, the old standard was five seasons. So, a successful drama exists for 110 hours. And we cover a lot of ground in terms of a) trying to be current and b) tell the truth in a sense that people don’t get to hear it. And again, something that I’ve said, we’ve come very close. But the paradigm episode of “Law & Order” or as “SVU” has yet to be written, which is where all six of the regulars are on different sides of the same question. As you hear the arguments, or you hear them discussing every one of them is right. Because life is not black and white, it’s Shades of Grey. And again, coming full circle back to Chris, and I’d like to know what he thinks that I think he’s becoming one of the most complex television stars in the history of the medium because he – you don’t know what he is gonna do now. He is a little less predictable. But he sure has had a play it. When he walked in to the interrogation room and rolled up his sleeves I don’t think that was in the script. It is an instinct, it’s like…I hate to say it, but Peacock says sales are there for sexual display. It’s literally is this big enough? He takes all these rolls up his sleeve 80% of the audience, I am sure thought he was gonna approach the guy. That’s pretty cool.

Question: Chris, we have seen videos and talks about you and the rest of the cast reuniting. But how was it reuniting with the actors who play your kids? And will we see more of them in their background, what they’ve done for the last 10 years? We’ve seen Eli in the second episode, but will we see the rest of the kids and future episodes?

Chris: Yeah, and I’ll give Ilene the lion’s share on this. But I will say what was it like? My son, Dickey was the only original, original from day one “SVU” hits. And then some came on later. And then some were brand new. Some, “Hi, you’re my new daughter. Let’s figure out our history.” It was very sweet and nice. And I think the biggest, the biggest thing to try and overcome was (and it was very sweet), they made me feel like OG – the original gangster – you know, because I’ve been playing and I’ve lived in this world for almost 20 years. And many of them were new to it. So we just had to get to know each other as people. And it was lovely. It was it. I think there’s a lot of ground that’s available to cover.

Ilene: Oh, we certainly will see more of them. Some more than others, but a big part of Stabler’s life now a big part of his story is that he’s now a single father to a 14 year old kid. So, how he manages to balance that with being back in New York and back on the job is going to be in his story. And we did that great thing. Before we started working, we got the whole family together all the kids with Chris and they talked about who they are and where they’ve been and what they’ve been doing and what they do now. And hopefully that will go on with the show.

Question: Chris, fans of course I freaked out seeing Olivia and Elliott back together last week. How does it feel seeing a positive fan reaction to your return ten years and have you and Mariska talked about it since the episodes aired?

Chris: Mariska and I have talked. And the conversation went something basically like this. “Wow. Congratulations. Congratulations to you.” Ah, yeah, it was pretty overwhelming. I think she was expecting it more than I was. You know, because I think she’s still been the she’s been on the “Law & Order” stew. She’s been in that world continuously for the 20 years. I don’t know, I was not prepared. And it’s overwhelming. And it’s wonderful. And it’s very appreciated. And I think this time around I don’t know the pressures off. I feel less pressure than I did when Dick first tasked me with being Elliott Stabler. So, I’m a little freer to appreciate everything. It’s a nice journey.

Here is the audio version of it.

Interview Transcribed by Jamie S.

MORE INFO:

Christopher Meloni, reprising his role as Elliot Stabler, returns to the NYPD to battle organized crime after a devastating personal loss. However, the city and police department have changed dramatically in the decade he’s been away and he must adapt to a criminal justice system in the midst of its own moment of reckoning. Stabler will aim to find absolution and rebuild his life while leading a new elite task force that is taking apart the city’s most powerful criminal syndicates one by one.

NBC’S ‘LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME’ HITS THE STREETS THURSDAY, APRIL 1 AS PART OF HISTORIC CROSSOVER WITH ‘LAW & ORDER: SVU’

NBC is reuniting two of the most popular members of the NYPD in TV history with a must-watch April 1 crossover that will serve as the launch of the highly anticipated new Dick Wolf drama, “Law & Order: Organized Crime.”

A two-hour television event set for Thursday, April 1, this crossover between “Law & Order: SVU” (9 p.m.) and “Law & Order: Organized Crime” (10 p.m.) will finally bring back together Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler, played by Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni.

“LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME” (SERIES PREMIERE)
Christopher Meloni, reprising his role as Elliot Stabler, returns to the NYPD to battle organized crime after a devastating personal loss. Stabler will aim to rebuild his life as part of a new elite task force that is taking apart the city’s most powerful criminal syndicates one by one.

The cast features Christopher Meloni, Dylan McDermott and Tamara Taylor.

“Law & Order: Organized Crime”was created by Dick Wolf, who will executive produce along with Ilene Chaiken, Terry Miller, Fred Berner, Arthur W. Forney and Peter Jankowski.

The series is produced by Wolf Entertainment and Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group.

Christopher Meloni

Elliot Stabler, “Law & Order: Organized Crime”

LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME -- Season: 1 -- Pictured: Chris Meloni as Detective Elliot Stabler -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)
Christopher Meloni returns to his iconic character, Elliot Stabler, in the new NBC drama series “Law & Order: Organized Crime.”

Meloni was last seen starring on the Hulu British comedy “Maxxx.”

Meloni starred in SYFY’s dark comedy “Happy!” based on Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson’s graphic novel. In addition to his starring role as Nick Sax, he directed an episode as well as executive produced the series. Meloni also co-starred in the third season of the critically acclaimed Hulu series “The Handmaid’s Tale” as Commander Winslow, a powerful and magnetic commander who hosts the Waterfords on an important trip.

Meloni had a guest arc on the breakout FX series “Pose,” from Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. He also appeared in the landmark historical series “Underground,” executive produced by John Legend, and directed an episode.

Following his breakout role on “NYPD Blue,” Meloni was cast in HBO’s gritty prison drama “Oz” and then moved on to “Law & Order: SVU,” where he received an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. Following his 12 seasons on “SVU,” Meloni returned to HBO in Alan Ball’s wildly popular drama “True Blood” and the Julie Louis-Dreyfus-starrer “Veep.”

On the film side, Meloni’s credits include “Diary of a Teenage Girl,” “White Bird in a Blizzard,” “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For,” “Man of Steel,” “42,” “They Came Together,” the Terry Gilliam films “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and “Twelve Monkeys,” “Bound,” “Runaway Bride,”  “Nights in Rodanthe,” and the cult favorites “Wet Hot American Summer,” “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle” and its first sequel, “Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay.”

Dick Wolf

Executive Producer, “Chicago Med”; Executive Producer, “Chicago Fire”; Executive Producer, “Chicago P.D.”; Executive Producer, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”; “Law & Order: Organized Crime”; Executive Producer, “FBI”; Executive Producer, “FBI: Most Wanted”; Executive Producer, “Murder for Hire”; Executive Producer, “Cold Justice”

Dick Wolf, a two-time Emmy Award winner (13-time Emmy nominated), Grammy Award winner and New York Times best-selling author, is one of television’s most respected drama series creator/producers and the architect of one of the most successful brands in the history of television – “Law & Order.”

He serves as creator and executive producer of all of the “Law & Order”- branded series from Wolf Entertainment and Universal Television, including “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” which made television history which is beginning its 22nd season and is the longest-running live action primetime series in the history of television (surpassing “Gunsmoke” and “Law & Order,” both of which ran for 20 seasons). Wolf has extended his branding expertise to the Windy City, with his Chicago-based NBC series: “Chicago Fire” (season nine); “Chicago P.D.” (season eight) and “Chicago Med” (season six), with all three series receiving three-year pick-ups. Wolf’s CBS brand, “FBI,” which was the network’s top-rated new drama series for the 2018-19 television season, continued its stellar performance in season two and is now poised for season three. The success of “FBI” has spawned the spinoff “FBI Most Wanted,” which consistently wins its time period and has been renewed for season two.

Wolf’s seventh broadcast series is “Law & Order: Organized Crime,” which premieres on NBC in early 2021 and showcases the return of former “SVU” detective Elliot Stabler. In addition, NBC’s new streaming service Peacock, which launched in July 2020, announced an unprecedented deal for Wolf’s “Law & Order” and “Chicago” branded series.

Wolf has also expanded into non-fiction as executive producer of Oxygen’s critically acclaimed “Murder for Hire,” “Cold Justice” and “Criminal Confessions.” He also executive produced USA’s docuseries “Inside the FBI: New York,” the successful A&E series “Nightwatch” and its spinoffs, and Fox’s “First Responders Live.” Wolf Entertainment has also expanded into audio content with the successful debut of the podcast “Hunted,” in conjunction with Endeavor Audio and executive produced by Elliot Wolf.

Wolf’s company also produced two award-winning documentaries. “Twin Towers” is the 2003 Academy Award-winning documentary short about two brothers – one a policeman and the other a fireman – who lost their lives in the line of duty on Sept. 11. “When You’re Strange” is the Emmy-nominated documentary about the 1960s group The Doors, which won a Grammy Award for Outstanding Longform Video in 2011.

In 2007, Wolf executive produced (with Tom Thayer) the critically acclaimed HBO original movie “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee,” which won six Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Made for Television Movie. The film tells the tragic and powerful story of the subjugation and cultural extermination of the Native American, and garnered a record 17 Emmy nominations, the most of the 2006-07 television season. The film also received the prestigious Broadcast Film Critics Association’s Critic’s Choice Award for Best Picture Made for Television. Wolf and Thayer have teamed up again with the high-profile limited series “American Babylon,” which is in development at Showtime.

Wolf’s debut novel, “The Intercept,” was a New York Times bestselling thriller about Jeremy Fisk, a new kind of hero for a new kind of enemy. His follow up book, “The Execution,” debuted in 2014 and, like its predecessor, was both popular and critically acclaimed. “The Ultimatum,” the third installment of the series, was released in 2015 from HarperCollins.

Wolf’s “Law & Order”-branded series continue to rewrite the annals of television history. “Law & Order” earned 11 consecutive Outstanding Drama Series Emmy nominations – the record for most consecutive series Emmy nominations in the history of television (tied with “Cheers” and “M*A*S*H”) – and won the coveted Emmy in that category in 1997. Additional accolades “Law & Order” has garnered include the highly coveted Peabody Award; multiple Emmys; the Crystal Apple Award from New York City’s Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting; the Writer’s Guild Award for Television; and numerous other high-ranking tributes.

“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” which has received a three-year pick up from NBC, has been one of the network’s top performers. Mariska Hargitay, who plays Det. Olivia Benson, has received seven Emmy nominations for Lead Actress in a Drama Series, winning in 2006. The show has earned five Emmys for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series. Wolf, “SVU” and Hargitay, through her Joyful Heart Foundation, have used the show’s platform to make groundbreaking changes in the way sexual assault is prosecuted and reported.

“Law & Order: Criminal Intent” completed its critically acclaimed and successful 10-year run on NBC and USA Network in 2011. Other “Law & Order”-branded series include “Law & Order: True Crime: The Menendez Murders,” “Law & Order: Los Angeles,” “Law & Order: “Trial By Jury,” “Crime & Punishment” and “Exiled: A Law & Order Movie.”

Wolf Entertainment’s feature arm will be producing “77” for Paramount, directed by Jared Leto and based on an original screenplay by James Ellroy. Wolf also produced, with Fortress Films, the psychological thriller “The Super,” written by John J. McLaughlin (“Black Swan”) and starring Patrick Flueger (“Chicago P.D.”), which was distributed by Saban and premiered in 2018. Wolf also wrote the screenplay for the hit Paramount release “School Ties,” was writer and executive producer of “Masquerade,” and writer and producer of “No Man’s Land.”

His personal accolades include the Television Academy Hall of Fame (inducted 2013); the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Lifetime Achievement Award; the Producers Guild of America’s Norman Lear Showmanship Award; the DGA Honors; the Governor’s Award by the New York Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences; the Achievement Award from the Caucus for Producers, Writers, and Directors; the Television Showman of the Year Award from the Publicist’s Guild of America; the Monte Carlo Television Festival Gold Nymph Award; the Award of Excellence from the Banff Television Festival; NATPE’s Brandon Tartikoff Award; accolades from the Saban Clinic; and the Alliance for Children’s Rights. On March 29, 2007, Wolf received a star on Hollywood’s world famous Walk of Fame.

Wolf is also an Honorary Consul of Monaco and is actively involved in the principality’s annual Monte Carlo Television Festival and is its primary liaison with the entertainment community. He is also the founder and benefactor (with Marcy Carsey) of the Carsey-Wolf Center for Media at the University of California, Santa Barbara, as well as numerous philanthropic endeavors, including MOXI, the Wolf Museum of Exploration and Innovation, chairman of the board of Bellosguardo, Trustee of the Paley Center for Media, the Alliance for Children’s Rights and the Princess Grace Foundation and, through his Wolf Family Foundation, endowed the new Wolf Theatre at the Television Academy.

Ilene Chaiken

Executive Producer, “Law & Order: Organized Crime”

Ilene Chaiken serves as executive producer and showrunner for NBC’s new drama series “Law & Order: Organized Crime.

Best known for creating the Showtime series “The L Word,” Chaiken received an Emmy, among many other awards, for Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.” She was the showrunner for the first four seasons of the Golden Globe-nominated Fox series “Empire” and currently serves as executive producer of “The L Word” sequel, “The L Word: Generation Q,” which has been renewed for a second season on Showtime.

Prior to that, Chaiken produced the docu-dramas “The Real L Word” and “The Real L Word Mississippi” for Showtime, which won the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Documentary.  She also executive produced pilots for Jerry Bruckheimer, McG and Joel Silver, and served as showrunner of the ABC drama series “Black Box.”

Hailing from Elkins Park, Penn., Chaiken resides in Los Angeles with her wife, LouAnne Brickhouse, and is the mother of two daughters, Augusta and Tallulah Hood. She serves as a member of the Rhode Island School of Design Board of Trustees.

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Law & Order: Organized Crime poster

Interview with Milo Ventimiglia

TV Interview!

Milo Ventimiglia of "This Is Us" on NBC

Interview with Milo Ventimiglia of “This Is Us” on NBC by Suzanne 3/23/21

It was great to interview Milo. He seems very nice and took the time to remember my name. I was on another conference call interview with him back in 2015 as well. I loved him in “Heroes.” I don’t watch “This Is Us” that regularly, but he’s great in it from what I’ve seen. I know he and the show are very popular and loved. I hope you enjoy our brief interview!

Here is the Video!

Question: This show itself was like a defining moment, in some ways, right? Like it completely changed [from] a man in his early 40s to America’s Dad. How’s that? I mean, did you expect this in your journey as an actor, and how has the near death experience shaped you now?

Milo: I mean, I’ve always been told I look younger than my actual age. So, to play my actual age and even play older has been really nice. The subject matter of being a dad, being a husband, being a friend, brother, being a war buddy, being a support member in AA, we’ve covered a lot of ground with Jack, and I wasn’t expecting it. It’s just really been a blessing to be able to play a mature man, a good man who is flawed that I think everybody can learn from, everybody can relate to, not just men, but women. Families can look at this guy and draw something, some kind of inspiration from the way that he views family, he lives his life, the dedication he has to his wife and kids, and the commitment to be strong of his own shortcomings to protect his family. So, for me, it’s just the whole thing; the whole experience has just really been a blessing.

Question: …Of course, he has some flaws, but he’s like this idyllic man, right? Which is how the show is set him up. Now we’re exploring more flaws as the time goes [on], but was that a challenge, as an actor, [to play an] idol sort of and still bring out the flaws and make him relatable?…

Milo: I mean, Jack definitely has very big shoes to fill, even for me, Milo, out in the world, because of how beloved the character is, when I’m out in the world, I definitely feel the good graces that get showered onto me because of Jack and [understand] how important he is as a character to people in their daily life. But, playing the flaws, I mean, there’s been one or two moments in the five years we’ve been doing this show that I’ve been playing Jack that I’ve disagreed with how he’s handled something, but I also accept and understand that Jack is an individual of himself. We may share certain qualities. We may look the same, sound the same, present similar, but there have been a couple times where I just completely disagree with Jack, but I also understand that he’s a character. When the cameras start rolling, I myself, Milo, don’t exist, and only Jack lives. When the cameras call cut, then all of a sudden, Jack gets put to the side for a moment, and then, I resume my life. So, I’m always just trying to honor the character I’m playing, the experiences. He’s lived through alcoholism, through fatherhood, through marriage, through war. I’m just trying to honor those different life experiences that I think a lot of people can relate to.

Suzanne: I asked a bunch of people on Facebook and Twitter that were really big fans of the show what they would ask you, and I got a few good questions. Krista wants to know, if you could give Jack one piece of advice, what would it have been?

Milo: Man, I don’t know if there’s any advice I could give Jack. I feel like in a strange way it’d be like giving advice to my father. Jack is a man of a certain generation and a man built of a certain fiber. I don’t know that Jack needs a lot of direction, but I think what Jack needs to know is that he’s not alone, that he has support, that he has people that care for him and love for him. He doesn’t always have to be the epitome of strength; he can actually depend on people at times. I think a lot of men of that era, born in the 40s, experienced 50s and the 60s, maybe went to war, came home started a family went through, you know, financial booms and losses and things like that, I think, also just where men were in terms of positioning and kind of not really being allowed or able to speak about what was impacting them and affecting them. I mean, I’m 40 now. I feel like as my generation, I was able to really talk about how we felt, how we felt about something. So, I think the only thing I’d say to Jack is, “Hey, man, you’re not alone. There’s a lot of us going through life, and we’re here to help.”

Suzanne: Great. And this show has been so popular right from the beginning. Why do you think that is?

Milo: It’s always been the relatability. I think that’s been the success of the show. Every single person, it doesn’t matter where you’re from or who you are, can relate to family, can relate to the struggle of not having a family, can relate to the happiness and joy and pain and everything that life throws at you. It’s incredibly, incredibly telling of the human story, the human condition, human emotion, experience. I think Dan Fogelman and our writers just so tapped into that, into also knowing what people need. People need that outlet, especially the last year that we’ve had. People need to know that, again, they’re not really alone from the rest of us.

Question: …How has [it] been working during this pandemic, because this is hard for everyone, like as an actor, and as an American, as a person, a human being living through these times, having this opportunity and being able to work?

Milo: I have the opportunity. I’m fully aware that it is a huge opportunity to be able to work when a lot of people [weren’t]…So, I’m grateful. At the same time, I understand people have consumed just about everything the internet and the television networks can offer, so I think people are tapped out, and they need something new. So, I’m grateful to be a part of the show that can provide that. For us on production, we have our safety protocols. We all follow them; we all look out for one another. It’s not just about my safety or my co-star’s safety; it’s about our crew safety. And I think all of us have been respectful knowing that we have the opportunity to work and contribute more than to just our own households but to the households of a lot of the world. So, we’re we’re grateful. We’re happy we work through the conditions, and I’ll tell you what, when I’m on set, morale is still pretty high.

Question: …You’ve had a long career and you have a lot of great things, and then I feel like, and I may be wrong, but [there was] like a period where I didn’t see you…then again this great thing. What is your advice to a younger you or other actors who want to pursue this?

Milo: Keep at it. Never give up. Always be true to yourself. Have a line and don’t let people cross it. Push through when you hear no; find a way to make that yes. When people tell you, “You can’t do this,” prove them that you can do this and more. I think so many times, a lot of people fall out of the acting career or the creative space, because they’re critiqued. They’re told that they’re not good enough, or they’re led to believe they’re not good enough, because somebody’s art or somebody else’s creativity was chosen over theirs. It’s really tough. It’s it’s hard not to take it personally. You know, I tell people, “You have to take it personally,” because when you’re personally kind of told, “No” – I know when I am, I push through. Prove people wrong; always prove people wrong and show you deserve to be in that place. You got to work hard at your craft. This isn’t something – I mean, I live and breathe this. I live and breathe my work, I do. If you can’t do that, you’re gonna have a hard time. So, I’d say, “Just push through.”

Question: …Is it possible for Heroes to come back and for us to see [unintelligible]?

Milo: I’m the wrong guy. No, I know, listen, I’m the wrong guy to ask that question to, because, I’m not the creator. I’m not the studio. I’m not the network on it. Peter Petrelli was a great role. I enjoyed playing him. I had my time with playing him.

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

MORE INFO:

Milo Ventimiglia stars as Jack Pearson in the hit NBC drama “This Is Us.”

Ventimiglia has been nominated three times for an Emmy Award forOutstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. He was also nominated for a People’s Choice Award, Critics’ Choice Award and won an MTV Movie Award for his work in the show. He was named the 2019 Man of the Year by the Harvard Hasty Pudding Theatricals, the oldest theatrical organization in the U.S.

Ventimiglia has built an impressive resume of television and film credits and also embraced the power of the Internet and new media with numerous projects.

One of Ventimiglia’s early signature television roles was as Jess Mariano on the hit series “The Gilmore Girls.” Other notable television work includes “Heroes,” “American Dreams,” “Mob City” and “Gotham.” He also has had guest-starring roles on several series, including “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “CSI,” “Promised Land” and “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.”

Ventimiglia recently starred in the Disney feature film “The Art of Racing in the Rain,” an adaptation of the international best-selling novel by Garth Stein. He also starred alongside Jennifer Lopez in the romantic comedy “Second Act” and had a memorable cameo in “Creed II.” He starred alongside Sylvester Stallone playing his son, Rocky Jr., in the sixth installment of the Rocky series “Rocky Balboa. He worked alongside Adam Sandler in “That’s My Boy” and “Grown Ups 2,” and with Nicole Kidman in “Grace of Monaco.” Other film credits include Xan Cassavetes’ “Kiss of the Damned,” “Wild Card,” a remake of the 1986 Burt Reynolds drama “Heat,” alongside Jason Statham, and “Killing Season,” with Robert De Niro.

With his production company DiVide Pictures, Ventimiglia has both scripted and alternative projects in active development with a variety of studios and networks. Also, under the DiVide banner, he launched two comic book titles with Top Cow Productions.

Ventimiglia is involved with the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America organization (IAVA), which supports veterans who need help when they return home from the war. He recently traveled across three continents to five countries with the USO to spend time over the holidays meeting with the servicemen and women of the U.S. military. Additionally, he took time during his hiatus from “This Is Us” and traveled to Kenya with the nonprofit organization Comic Relief to see first-hand the challenges kid face and bring awareness to the positive work and impact of Red Nose Day.

Ventimiglia currently resides in Los Angeles.

Everyone has a family. And every family has a story. “This Is Us” chronicles the Pearson family across the decades: from Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) as young parents in the 1980s to their kids (the big three), Kevin (Justin Hartley), Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Randall (Sterling K. Brown) searching for love and fulfillment in the present day along with Toby (Chris Sullivan) and Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson). This grounded, life-affirming dramedy reveals how the tiniest events in our lives impact who we become, and how the connections we share with each other can transcend time, distance and even death.

Dan Fogelman, Isaac Aptaker, Elizabeth Berger, John Requa, Glenn Ficarra, Ken Olin, Charlie Gogolak, Jess Rosenthal and Steve Beers executive produce. “This Is Us” is produced by 20th Television.

Please visit the official show site at http://www.nbc.com/this-is-us
Facebook: Facebook.com/NBCThisIsUs
Twitter: @NBCThisIsUs
Hashtag: #ThisIsUs

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Milo Ventimiglia of "This Is Us" on NBC

Interview with Ella Mika

TV Interview!

Ella Mika in "Chad" on TBS

Interview with Ella Mika of “Chad” on TBS by Suzanne 3/24/21

It was very nice to speak with young Ella. She is obviously very smart, and I think she’ll do well as her career progresses.  She was thoughtful in her answers and handled them with aplomb.

Here is the audio version of it.

Suzanne: Tell us how this part came about for you…

Ella: Getting this part was a step by step process. It was my longest audition process I’ve had so far, actually. So first, we had two rounds of auditioning and getting a callback that was more focused on the character and how well I could perform and fit into it. So, that was what the first two rounds of auditioning was made up of.

Then, with each callback, the script changed, so I had to make sure I coached every time before I went in, and I think that was really helpful with getting the role.

Then, we had a third and fourth round of auditioning to really test out my improv skills, and they made sure to send notes on what to adjust and what they really wanted from me each time I auditioned.

Then, the third and fourth round of auditioning was also down to me and one other girl, which really raised the stakes and brought lots of anticipation.

Then, finally, the last two rounds of auditioning were for a chemistry read with Nasim [Pedrad] and Saba [Homayoon], who plays my mother in “Chad,” to see how well us three work together and if we were able to communicate well and really perform our characters well together. In the end, it was the Nasim who called me and gave me the news that I got the part.

Suzanne: Wow, that is a long process.

Ella: Yeah, it was very long.

Suzanne: But at least now you have all that experience. You can handle anything now, right?

Ella: Yeah.

Suzanne: That’s great. From what I’ve heard from actors, a lot of times they change the scripts on you constantly, even after you get the role, and you have to really be on your toes all the time. That would be difficult.

Ella: Yeah.

Suzanne: So, tell us what your character is like.

Ella: So, my character is Niki. She’s really sassy, straightforward, stylish, confident, and she’s slightly bratty, and she’s a young girl as well. She’s my age range, around 13 years old. She’s constantly bickering with her brother Chad (Pedrad), and she’s also known as the popular girl at school, but she has a sweet and sentimental side to her that we get to see on the show as well. A lot of the times she doesn’t act her age, and the show usually describes her as 13 going on 21 just to kind of explain her attitude. She’s just a young girl that I think is confident in herself and never afraid to see things straight up and as they are.

Suzanne: What has been the best thing about filming the show?

Ella: …The best thing was probably the amount of freedom to improv that we had and the amount of positive energy during the process. Nasim, the directors, and the producers, they were all really great about giving us just the right amount of freedom to improv throughout the process of filming, which I think was really important for the show, since it is a comedy. I think some of the best moments and scenes were actually because of a spontaneous improv moment by one or more of the actors, which really got a raw reaction out of us and made the scene a lot funnier than we could have like imagined. The energy throughout filming was also really helpful, because we always felt like each day was better than the last, and all the cast and crew were really great at making it a positive environment to want to work in.

Suzanne: Did the pandemic affect the filming at all?

Ella: Yeah, it affected it quite a bit. That was one of the more unusual and difficult parts of it. We had to stop filming for about five months until we could resume again in August. Then, we had to test for COVID multiple times before we flew out to Oregon again to finish filming. As we arrived, we had to self quarantine for a few days and then get tested. While we were self quarantining, the wardrobe and styling team dropped off some outfits for a fitting for us to take pictures [of] and send to them, and then they came back and they took it again without contact, which was really weird for me, since before the pandemic, we used to go in person for fittings. It was just more like in person with contact with one another. While we were filming, the actors had to be tested around like three times a week, whether or not we were [actually] filming, because we were the most dangerous to others by having our masks off for the filming of the scenes. So, I think the most unusual part, for me, was not being able to interact with others close up and personal, but the entire team was really smart and careful, so we all felt safe and happy.

Suzanne: That’s good. Yeah, that’s pretty much aligned with what I’ve been hearing from other actors about when you’re on set, and they have to keep you away from each other and test you a lot.

Ella: Yeah.

Suzanne: So, the show is about a teenage boy, but he’s being played by an adult woman. Do you know why they went in that direction?

Ella: Yes. So, I think Nasim really wanted to make the show stand out and be different, and what better way to do it than to dress an adult woman as an awkward, puny, teenage boy? I also think she thought it would push the comedic aspect of the show much more if it was an adult that was playing a teen boy and she was in on the joke. Nasim was also the one that wrote the majority of the show, and I think she enjoyed playing different roles that could have led to her writing about her experiences as a Middle Eastern girl moving to America, but as an awkward teenage boy instead to really push the comedy.

Suzanne: And why do you think audiences will enjoy the show?

Ella: I’m sure audiences will enjoy the show, because it’s something new, something different, and you don’t see very many shows like this one. I think it has the perfect combination of comedy and culture, and I think audiences will also love the show for its diversity and strong implement of culture throughout it. The show is really full of people with different looks, races, and ethnicities, so I feel like people are really going to enjoy the inclusivity.

Suzanne: Have you have you done anything with a live audience, like plays and things like that before?

Ella: Yeah, I have. I’d started doing live audience plays, even when I was little and I went to daycare, we had some performances. Then, throughout growing up, I also did a few performances at different theaters. Also, when visiting Armenia, I did a few performances there too.

Suzanne: Great. So, I was wondering what the differences [are] you found between doing live stage performing, especially if you did a comedy and filming without an audience?

Ella: Yeah, I think definitely, filming with an audience, in live and in person, it’s definitely much more difficult and stressful, because you can’t really mess up, as you can’t do more takes. Then, they’re quite different filming them, because one is really in person, you do it on the spot, you do it in the moment, and then the other, you get so many scenes from different angles, you take so many takes, and you can do it out of order, and in the end, it all gets put together. So, you have your best moments on camera.

So, I think I enjoy the thrill of both. I enjoy the thrill of being in the moment for theater, but I think for films, I love that most, because I’m able to connect with others, and it’s just more fun for me to be able to put [out] my very best.

Suzanne: …Your character looks very stylish, as you mentioned earlier, in the clips I’ve seen. How is your own style similar or different from hers?

Ella: So, Niki is definitely a stylish girl, and she includes girly pieces in her wardrobe, but she also has some edgier pieces, and I think that’s something we both have in common. She’s also switching up her looks quite a bit, whether [it’s] her shoes or her hair or her style, which is another thing I like to do quite often. I just like the change. And she loves pink quite a bit. So, while playing her role, I actually started to like the color pink too, which was unexpected for me. Unlike Niki though, I usually tend to have a more minimalistic look, and I love neutrals, whereas Niki is often exploring colors and patterns and things of the sort.

Suzanne: Do you think the way she’s changing a wardrobe is her way of fitting in to the culture, like Chad is trying to fit in his way?

Ella: Yeah, and I think also because she is the popular girl, she’s often a trendsetter at her school. So, oftentimes she’ll wear something, and then her friends will. So, I think she also switches it up for that reason, to kind of show people that whatever she does is basically what starts the trend.

Suzanne: She and Chad argue quite a bit. Do you have siblings in real life, and did this help you in the role?

Ella: Yeah, I do have siblings in real life, and that helps a lot, definitely. I have a three-month-old baby brother and an eight-year-old sister who I’m constantly arguing with, and which, for once, came in handy, which I never thought would happen. So, Niki and her brother, Chad, arguing almost came as a natural instinct to me when filming. So, that was pretty easy for both me and Nasim, because I know she has a younger sister too. So, definitely I use some of the things my sister and I say to one another, like quotes, when arguing, anytime we improvised with Nasim. So, that definitely was a great help.

Suzanne: Had you seen Nasim on SNL or elsewhere before you started working with her?

Ella: Yeah, I saw her quite a lot on SNL, and she’s always been successful in putting a smile on my face. I’ve also seen some of her work in the sitcom New Girl where she’s in for a few episodes and parts. I also loved her a lot in the live remake of Aladdin, which recently came out.

Suzanne: Does she star in that? I don’t think I saw that one.

Ella:
Yeah, she played Jasmine’s maid.

Suzanne:
Oh, okay.

Ella: I really loved seeing her, because it was so weird to see her as a pretty dressed up girl, when usually on the show, I see her looking like a teenage boy.

Suzanne: Were your parents there on set with you?

Ella: My dad had to work, and my mom had to take care of my little sister, so my grandma was actually the one that traveled with me and came on set. She doesn’t know the language, so I was really the one helping her figure things out, but I don’t really mind that much, because I’m really an independent person. I’ve always been like that. So, I like figuring things out myself and learning them throughout the process, but my parents let me know that they’re always here, and if I need help figuring anything out, but I just like doing it myself.

Suzanne: Was there anyone on set though that took you under their wing or helped you, that kind of thing?

Ella: Yeah, all of the cast was usually older than me, but not by too much. During school there was Alexa Loo and Jake Ryan, who I did school with, and they both helped me a lot to feel welcomed. Their parents as well were very welcoming and let me know that if there was ever anything I needed, we could help and talk to one another. And before the pandemic, when we were filming back in January in August, we actually hung out with Alexa. Jake couldn’t attend that time, but Alexa and I went out for ice cream and just really bonded.

Suzanne: What was different about filming “Chad” than other projects you’ve worked on?

Ella: The entire cast and crew were the kindest that I’ve worked with so far. And again, the freedom to improv a good amount was really different for me than any other project I’ve worked on. I really had so much fun while filming, and unlike other projects I’ve worked on, the entire cast was able to bond so quickly, in such a short amount of time, because we all really liked one another and [unintelligible]. So, filming “Chad” was one of the most positive experiences that I’ve personally ever had, and the show overall just had three interesting storylines for each episode, which kept things really fun.

Suzanne: And you have another movie coming out starring Elijah Wood. Can you tell us about that one?

Ella: Yeah, I honestly don’t remember auditioning for the movie, so when I had gotten the news that I got the role, it was really surprising to me. Nonetheless, I was happy to have a great opportunity and got prepared to film. So, for the amount of time I filmed, our set was a house in a small neighborhood…I had my fitting and school was done there at the small neighborhood in the tiny house, and it was an interesting experience. I had to play a role that was younger than I was, but I was ready for any roles I got. So, I was really grateful for the experience, and I’m glad I had the opportunity.

Suzanne: What was the name of the movie?

Ella: It’s, I think, LA Rush.

Suzanne: Do you know if it’s done filming and when it will be out?

Ella: It was filmed a while ago. I believe it was filmed about like two or three years ago, actually. So, I was waiting to see when it would come out, because it had been quite a while, but I’m not sure when they’re planning on releasing it.

Suzanne: Okay. And you actually worked with Elijah Wood?

Ella: No, I didn’t. I worked with another girl and a small little family.

Suzanne: Well, he’s really nice. So, if you ever get to talk to him, he’s a great guy.

Ella: Yeah.

Suzanne: I’ve interviewed him a few times. He’s always super nice.

So, do you have any plans besides acting? Would you like to direct, write, or anything like that in the future?

Ella: As of now, I want to remain an actress for as long as life takes me to be, which I’m hoping is quite a while, but I’m open to directing and possibly writing in the future. I definitely think directing is something I would explore, and if not directing, then at least producing. But then, I really enjoy writing, so writing might also interest me quite a lot when I’m a bit older.

Suzanne: Let me ask this. Say if you decided you didn’t want to be in the entertainment industry anymore – you’re only 14, right? So, what do you think you would like to do if you weren’t in the entertainment industry? What other talents or desires do you have that you think you would do for say, a second job, if you had to?

Ella: I’d definitely be a CEO and have my own business. I think I’ll still do that with acting, that’s one of my goals, but maybe a business that’s into makeup or into fashion, because those really interests me.

Before I was thinking possibly a physicist, but we’ll see how that goes.

Suzanne: Yeah, that’s a little tougher.

Ella: Yeah.

Suzanne: But you must enjoy math then?

Ella: Yeah, I do.

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

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Ella Mika in "Chad" on TBSArmenian actress and superstar in the making Ella Mika (BIRDS OF PREY) is taking over screens nationwide next month as she stars in TBS’ “CHAD.” The sure to be hit comedy premieres on April 6th and features SNL alum, Nasim Pedrad who created, wrote, and executive produced the show. Ella stars as “Niki”, ‘Chad’s’ younger, popular sister, that often bickers with her dorky brother at school and in family settings. ‘Chad’ (Nasim Pedrad) is on a mission to become popular using every trick in the book, all while the two endure their mother’s new dating life and reconcile with cultural identity. The show is packed full of comedy, improv and those cringey middle-school moments we all love and loathe the same.

TBS “Chad” Teaser

Born in Armenia’s capital city of Yerevan, Ella’s journey to America started on April 6th 2008, just after her first birthday, and coincidentally, the same date being used for the premiere of “Chad” next month. Her parents won aposter for "Chad" on TBS Green Card and moved to Los Angeles. Her father was a prominent actor back in Armenia, so it was only a matter of time before Ella would also catch the acting bug. Signs first appeared while she was in daycare, often taking on leading roles in plays and poems with her class. After a couple years of appearing in commercials for “My Little Pony” and “Red Robin,” while simultaneously taking acting classes, Ella landed her first mainstream role as young Helena in BIRDS OF PREY, where she got to work with Margot Robbie. Fast track to “Chad,” Ella has her first series regular role, embracing improv and refining her comedic craft. Filming started and stopped as Covid hit, but the cast was able to complete the show in the Summer and it’s ready to share with audiences nationwide.

When Ella isn’t juggling schooling with acting or booking her next role, she loves to embrace the arts of all kinds. She’s trained in Latin American ballroom, loves fashion, cooking, baking, and stays connected to herself through meditation and yoga.

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Ella Mika in "Chad" on TBS

Interview with Melissa Roxburgh and Matt Long

TV Interview!

Melissa Roxburgh and Matt Long of "Manifest" on NBC

Interview with Melissa Roxburgh and Matt Long of “Manifest” on NBC by Suzanne 3/23/21

It was nice to interview two of the bigger stars of this show! They were very laid back and had a good time answering questions. I’ve seen Matt on so many great shows, going all the way back to “Jack and Bobby” in 2004, and he was really good in “Mad Men“, as well as “Helix” and more.  Melissa has also been in some of my favorite shows, such as “Supernatural” and “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” and the movie “Star Trek: Beyond” (you wouldn’t recognize her there because of the heavy alien makeup!).  She is so great as Michaela on this show. We only had a short time with them, but I managed to get some great questions in, thanks to my sister-in-law, Eileen, and her husband, Joe, who are huge fans of the series. I watch it, too, but I’m way behind. Hope you enjoy this!

Question: Melissa, what do you think is the biggest challenge for a show like this, which is fantasy, to make it relatable to people? Why do people relate to sci-fi and fantasy do you think so much, and what’s behind it?

Melissa: What’s the hardest challenge about it? I think the hardest challenge about it is the clarity, especially for a show like ours. There’re so many moving pieces and new bits of information every single episode, so the biggest challenge is giving the audience that information without bombarding them with it. I think a lot of people like our show, specifically, because Jeff [Rake] has done a good job of tying in the human element of that, which is to balance all of the information out.

I think people like sci-fi, because, especially right now, during COVID, when we’re all stuck inside, it’s like an escape. It’s the biggest escape from reality, because it’s the unknown. It’s mythology. It’s things that don’t normally happen, like us hearing voices and, you know, airplanes disappearing and coming back. It’s not a normal situation, which makes it really fun to explore.

Question: Matt, you joined as a recurring character; now you’re the main cast. As an actor, can you speak about, like is that something you expected, I mean, I’m assuming hoped to happen, but expected it to happen, and how is that experience of coming into a show and then becoming part of that family?

Matt: It was set up that way from the beginning that Zeke would recur in the first season and then become a series regular in season two. So, when I tested for this, I signed a contract for the full term of the show. That being said, as an actor, you never know if they’re going to exercise that, so there’s always a possibility that you recur in the first season, and they decide to go a different direction, and you don’t come back to the series regular.

I mean, I did a show called “Private Practice” that I sort of had a similar thing that if it had gotten continued in season six at the end of the season – I think season six was last year – I recurred the first half of the season, and if it had continued, I would have become a regular, but it didn’t, and that’s just what it was.

As far as joining the show, it’s been fantastic. I’ve been so lucky from the very beginning that Jeff has written a really compelling, interesting, complicated, complex story for me and Zeke. I love him; I love the characters so much, and also, the cast is so great. I got to join it in the first season, and I came in the end of episode 12, I think, so it was still quite new for them. They were still in their first season. So, I feel like I got to join quite early on, which helps you also to feel a part of it, as it’s getting its life and growing, and its fans [grow]. So, it’s been fantastic, and I’ve been after something like this for a long time.

Suzanne: My sister-in-law Eileen and her husband Joe love your show. I think it’s the only show they watch; they just love it. So, she gave me questions, because I’m behind. Melissa, since you play a cop, did you do any special preparation in that before you started playing Michaela?

Melissa: Yeah, I spent a year as a police officer. No. It’s a good question, but at the same time, we’re in such a make-believe world that even if I did do research, it’s so different from the realities of what a cop would go through… So, I don’t think our show portrays the reality, in good and bad ways, because our show is very sci-fi. So, my cop dealings are mostly involved in that.

That being said, J.R. [Ramirez] and I, since we were partners at the beginning of all this, we did shadow NYPD for a couple days. They took us on a little drive, and they showed us the precinct. So, it was just fun being able to chat with them about what their life looks like, and then we could take little bits and pieces… but overall, it’s just about the characters and how they’re reacting to this crazy mystery.

Suzanne: All right, thanks. And, Matt, she wanted to know if you’d ever played a drug addict before.

Matt: I don’t think…. I did a pilot in 2006. Nobody ever saw it, but the kid had struggled with that, but never anything that anyone’s ever seen, which was one of the my favorite things about Zeke. It was so different for me and refreshing.

Suzanne: All right, thanks a lot. I’ve seen you in so many shows, and I’m glad to see that you’re on this one.

Matt: Thank you very much. I’m pleased to be a part of it.

Question: What’s been the biggest challenge and biggest happy surprise of working during the pandemic?

Melissa: The biggest thing for me is that we’ve been able to get through it. When all of this hit, it was a two week quarantine, and you think it’s all gonna go back to normal, but then, as time goes on, we [didn’t] realize how serious it. Filming a TV show during this time just seemed a little bit bonkers. Obviously, all of us [were] wanting to get back on the set and see each other and continue telling the story, but there’s the fears of, you know, we are in a pandemic. So, the fact that the team in charge of safety on set kept us going the entire time, that was really neat to see, because a lot of shows had been shut down or cancelled, and they didn’t get to continue telling their story. So, we were really lucky for that.

Matt: The hardest part, I think, was trying to connect with each other. The pandemic is not a part of our story. We also wore masks, obviously, off camera, but when we shot, there were no masks. We had been living in this pandemic for months when we got here to shoot this series. When we first took our masks off to do scenes, it was really surreal. It has been a constant sort of struggle, I think, to be able to connect with each other like you normally would and in a world where the pandemic didn’t exist.

We don’t have really any intimacy this season, and we have several different stories that involve married couples or people that are dating or in love with each other. That’s a part of our show that we didn’t include this year, because of the risk involved. So, we’ve had to make some adjustments, but I think we’ve been successful in telling the story even taking those things into account.

Suzanne: Since Manifest is kind of an unusual show, have either of you had any nightmares after filming it?

Matt: Interesting question.

Melissa: I don’t know if it’s related to Manifest, but I have nightmares. I just [unintelligible] flying and stuff, not really, to be honest.

Matt: No, I haven’t either, that I remember. I sleep really heavy, and I don’t really…It would be awesome if I could say “Yes, I had this vivid dream!” Wouldn’t be a great story? Maybe I should. I’ll make something up next time.

Here is the video of our interview.

Check out our

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

MORE INFO:

Melissa Roxburgh and Matt Long of "Manifest" on NBC“Manifest” returns for a third season of action-packed drama, shocking revelations and the answer to the show’s biggest mystery – what happened to the passengers of Flight 828?

Over a year has passed since the miraculous homecoming of Flight 828 and the discovery of others who have mysteriously returned. While the Stone family endeavors to keep their friends safe and make their enemies believe the unbelievable, new challenges will test their trust of the callings and each other. But sticking together is more important than ever, because no matter what happens, it’s all connected.

“Manifest” stars Melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas, Athena Karkanis, J.R. Ramirez, Luna Blaise, Jack Messina, Parveen Kaur, Matt Long and Holly Taylor.

Jeff Rake, Robert Zemeckis, Jack Rapke, Jackie Levine and Len Goldstein are executive producers.

“Manifest” is produced by Warner Bros. Television, Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, Compari Entertainment and Jeff Rake Productions.

Melissa Roxburgh stars as Michaela Stone in NBC’s “Manifest.”

Last year Roxburgh starred opposite KJ Apa and Brit Robertson in the Lionsgate feature “I Still Believe.” Prior to “Manifest,” she played CIA officer Thea in the CW series “Valor.” Her first film role was a coveted part in the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” franchise. Several television roles followed, including “Supernatural,” “Arrow,” “Legends of Tomorrow” and the telefilm “Rita.” Recent films include “Marine 4: Moving Target” and “Star Trek: Beyond.”

Roxburgh, the second of four siblings, was born and raised in Vancouver. Her father is a pastor and her mother a former professional tennis player. Roxburgh participated in the International Baccalaureate program before pursuing a career in acting. She splits her time between Vancouver and Los Angeles.

Matt Long stars as Ezekiel “Zeke” Landon in NBC’s “Manifest.”

Long’s big break came with the starring role of Jack McCallister in the WB’s critically acclaimed series “Jack & Bobby,” starring Christine Lahti. He subsequently recurred as Joey Baird on “Mad Men” as well as Dr. James Peterson on “Private Practice.” He also has had guest-starring roles on “The Newsroom” and “Timeless.”

Long’s film credits include Mark Steven Johnson’s “Ghost Rider,” in which he portrayed young Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage), as well as the film “Sydney White,” opposite Amanda Bynes.

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Melissa Roxburgh and Matt Long of "Manifest" on NBC

Interview with Corey Reynolds and Alan Tudyk

TV Interview!

Interview with Corey Parker and Alan Tudyk of "Resident Alien" on Syfy

Interview with Corey Reynolds and Alan Tudyk of “Resident Alien” on Syfy by Suzanne 3/23/21

NBC/Universal had a wonderful virtual junket last week, where we were fortunate to interview many of their stars. This particular interview was supposed to just be with Corey Reynolds, but Alan Tudyk showed up as well (much to our delight). I didn’t actually get to ask them any of my questions, but you can see the other reporters’ questions and hear my exchange with them. It was pretty funny in parts.  This is a great show, and I’m so happy that they’re going to have a second season.

Don’t miss the season one finale Wednesday, March 31, 10/9c.

Here’s the transcript of our interview, which doesn’t include my own comments. Make sure you watch the video!

Question:   Good morning, Cory. Good morning, Alan, thank you so much for joining us. [I’m] a big fan of the show and such a big fan of you Alan. I don’t know if anybody else could have ever played this character. Oh my god. Can talk a little bit about that. You’ve played a lot of weird characters, inhuman characters, but this one, even in your human form, from the first episode and the evolution and everything, it was just mind blowing to see that. What’s your process and stuff like that, and how do you still humanize your characters while being so inhuman?

Alan:   Hmm. I think a few things, I guess. You know, you have to start with you, when you act in anything. That’s the best way to go. Whatever you’re doing, it all goes through the filter of you as a human, you as an actor. Then you add things on that are unlike you. Harry’s an alien, and he’s using this body as a sort of meat puppet. He’s having to learn how to move this thing around from the inside. He’s Jim Henson’s hand, which was going to be the title, and I really think it should have been. So, I think that way, sort of as if he’s an alien peering out through the eyes of this character. Like just immediately, if you start thinking yourself that way, that you’re like something just sitting at the rim of the eyes looking out, it’s creepy, and you end up becoming a little creepy when you put your head space there.

And it’s just adding on all those little things that are given to you in the script. We’ve got great scripts, and because everything’s a first for Harry, specifically for Harry, he doesn’t know anything about being a human. That gives me a lot of leeway to go as far as I want to in many directions, because he’s curious. He’s curious, like a child, and can be surprised very easily. There’re really very few things you can’t accept about his behavior. He can do some really crazy stuff, and you can go, “Well, that makes sense.” So, it’s a it’s a fun character in that there’s a lot of leeway, a lot of leeway there.

Question:   Right. You want to kill the child, and I’m still like, “Sure, go ahead.”

[laughter]

Question:   Which is what I’m saying. I was surprised in the writing and your performance in that sense. Like, how can you actually keep doing that and still root for this character, which I really think is a huge cheers to your performance and [the] writing for that matter. Absolutely. So, congratulations.

Cory, you are so damn hilarious from your first appearance. It’s mind-blowing. I mean, not many people can just go ahead and be the Big Black and still, you know, not feel offensive or feel like –

Corey:   I feel offensive.

Question:   But I want to get to that. Initial[ly], it’s a comedy, and you’re a fantastic actor, but the show kind of taps into this guy’s confidence in being surrounded by white and Native people, but they don’t have the confidence and everything, keeping it so funny, but still kind of acknowledging [it]. So, can you talk a little bit about that? The race aspect of this issue where there’s a fantastic character so confident in himself, but doesn’t acknowledge – that seems ignorant of, like, you know, the race. I’m not sure.

Corey:   Yeah, you know, I had a question come up at our New York City Comic-Con a of couple years ago about that. I had one of the interviewers ask me, “Did Big Black have any concerns about being in a mountain town surrounded by all of those white folks?” I believe that was the question that was asked. I think my response was something along the lines of, “If he does, he hasn’t mentioned it to me.” [laughs] I think, obviously, there is a component of race there, and it’s hard to ignore in the climate that we’re in, but I think one thing we’re going to come to discover about Sheriff Mike, about Big Black, is that – at least for me, and I’m not even really sure if I’ve discussed this as much with Chris, because, we’ve played around with the idea and talked about it, but we haven’t really like delved into it. I think, for me, personally, Mike feels like the sheriff’s department in his hands when it comes to that race component is the safest place for it to be, because despite his exterior, I believe that he sees police work as being 90% communication and 10% enforcement. I think that as long as he’s in that driver’s seat, when it comes to the sheriff’s office, he knows that everyone in that town is going to be treated fairly. He knows that everyone in that town is going to be given equal credence, and no one’s going to be mistreated based on their creed, based on what they look like, who they love, or how they pray. I think that his efforts to fit in, fueled by his insecurities of fitting in, have been what has really fueled his dynamic and downfall with Deputy Liv (Elizabeth Bowen). Mike is trying desperately to prove himself, and we’re going to begin to discover more and more what that’s rooted in and why he is that way.

…Hey, can I just add, one key thing about about Alan as well, when we talk about nobody else being able to play this role, like it’s hard to do scene work with Alan, because he’s so fucking funny and his embodiment of this character. If you watch the show, there’re two things, two little moments, little itty bitty things when he first shows up at the crime scene. He’s holding his hands in the position of his second pair of hands, and he’s like, “This is awesome.” Then, most recently, in the episode where his wife is played by Elvy, [she] is laying in bed with him, and he’s laying there on his back with his hands. You know, that type of commitment to letting that character exist is kind of like always running in the background for him. So, you have the things that we’re seeing in the foreground, but then there’s also this undercurrent of Harry that’s there that’s always being played and suddenly found all over the place. It’s just, he’s great man. Seriously, l’m constantly blown away by Alan. He knows this though. I mean, he knows I am.

Alan:   Thank you very much.

Question:   Do you do the motion capture for the alien?

Publicist:   Sorry, guys, we have to we have to let someone else have a have a turn because we’re gonna have to wrap it [up].

Question:   This is such a hybrid. You have the mystery of sci-fi. It’s from a comic. Is there ever a point where you’re in a scene and you’re like, “What’s the tone here? How do I approach this?” to get the most out of it, you know, to to make the scene really pop? Do you ever have an issue with that?

Question:   Alan?

Alan:   I don’t. There are times we finish a thing in a scene and I’ll say, “This is a one-hour drama, everybody, a one-hour drama,” because it’ll be on the heels of something so very comic. I think Chris [Sheridan] has done a great job in creating a world that can hold all of it. That is no easy feat, and when it doesn’t work, it’s so easy for it not to work, and I think he’s done a good job of of getting it to work.

When we did the pilot, that was something that we all talked about, just play it like a drama, you know, play it like a drama and the comedy will be there. I think we do that for the most part, but again, there’s leeway to be a little bit – You know, there’s a scene where Elvy, or my wife that I didn’t know I had, she’s gone downstairs and she’s opened up the freezer, and she’s taken out steaks, and she’s made steaks, and I’m saying, “Where did you get those steaks?” She says, “I got them downstairs.” And I’m going to say, “It’s closed; that door is closed,” and I say, “That door is open.” I had two takes where I said, “That door is open,” or “That door is open!” or something like that. Then, the third take, I screamed it, and that’s the one they used. So, you know, they use [it] at their discretion also. They have options. But in the world, there’s this alien who has new emotions, and he’s starting to feel he doesn’t have a great governor on his emotions. His feelings can just come up and come up in a rush. So, you can excuse it away that it becomes a very comic “Open!” screaming moment. So, I hope that it holds it all, and we do – I think, Cory, your stuff is so funny. You have the same thing. Right?

Corey:   Yeah, it’s trying to find a way to keep these ungrounded characters somewhat grounded. You know what I mean? The sheriff is definitely over the top, but truth be told, listen, I grew up in Virginia, Richmond, Virginia, Chesterfield County, just outside of Richmond, and a lot of my family was up in Dodgeville County. I have an uncle named Flip. You understand what I’m saying? So, you know, I had an uncle named Butt Cut, so I know folks, not quite like Mike, but he’s not that foreign to me. Maybe his attitude is much bigger, but the person he is, is pretty – I know this guy; I know guy.

And as far as getting the scenes and stuff together, we block shoot. So, we shoot two episodes at a time, so it does require in moments – Like we’ll be shooting something from episode two and three, literally, in the same day. We might even be using the same location but having totally different emotions from scene to scene, because they’re two different episodes. So, we do have to get a reminder every now and again from our directors, or Chris, or our script supervisor, of what’s happened between what are we coming directly out of [and] what are we bringing into this moment, which is pretty standard overall, but when you’re block shooting, it does create a unique kind of challenge to make sure you’re staying in the right moment for the right scene.

Alan:   And I don’t do motion capture on this show. Just a heads up to answer that question from before.

Here is the video version of it.

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

Check out Jamie’s interview with Corey Reynolds!

MORE INFO:

Read Our Review!

‘RESIDENT ALIEN’ BLOOPER REEL & DELETED SCENE REVEALED
Season Finale Airs Wednesday, March 31 at 10/9c
In advance of the season finale, we’re excited to share the hysterical season 1 blooper reel and deleted scene from episode 7.

Based on the Dark Horse comic, SYFY’s RESIDENT ALIEN follows Harry, an alien played by Alan Tudyk (“Rogue One,” “Firefly”) that crash lands on Earth and passes himself off as a small-town human doctor. Arriving with a secret mission to kill all humans, Harry starts off living a simple life… but things get a bit rocky when he’s roped into solving a local murder and realizes he needs to assimilate into his new world. As he does so, he begins to wrestle with the moral dilemma of his mission and asking the big life questions like: “Are human beings worth saving?” and “Why do they fold their pizza before eating it?”

From UCP, in association with Amblin TV and Dark Horse Entertainment, RESIDENT ALIEN was adapted to television by executive producer Chris Sheridan (“Family Guy”). Mike Richardson (“Hellboy”) and Keith Goldberg (“The Legend of Tarzan”) of Dark Horse Entertainment (“The Umbrella Academy”), and Justin Falvey (“The Americans”) and Darryl Frank (“The Americans”) of Amblin TV also executive produce. David Dobkin (“Wedding Crashers”) executive produced and directed the pilot. “Resident Alien” also stars Sara Tomko, Corey Reynolds, Alice Wetterlund and Levi Fiehler.

Hashtag: #ResidentAlien

SYFY PICKS UP DARK HORSE COMICS’ ‘RESIDENT ALIEN’ TO SERIES

breaking news | May 30, 2019

Alan Tudyk Stars in Series from UCP, with Chris Sheridan Executive Producing Alongside Dark Horse Entertainment and Amblin TV

David Dobkin Executive Produced and Directed the Pilot

NEW YORK, NY – February 28, 2019 — SYFY today announced the series pickup of RESIDENT ALIEN, a comedic drama based on the popular Dark Horse comics series by co-creators Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse. From Universal Content Productions (UCP), in association with Amblin TV and Dark Horse Entertainment, the series was adapted to television by executive producer Chris Sheridan (“Family Guy”). Mike Richardson (“Hellboy”) and Keith Goldberg (“The Legend of Tarzan”) of Dark Horse Entertainment (“The Umbrella Academy”), and Justin Falvey (“The Americans”) and Darryl Frank (“The Americans”) of Amblin TV will also executive produce. David Dobkin (“The Judge”) executive produced and directed the pilot.

RESIDENT ALIEN is a twisted and comedic fish-out-of-water story that follows a crash-landed alien named Harry (Alan Tudyk) who, after taking on the identity of a small-town Colorado doctor, slowly begins to wrestle with the moral dilemma of his secret mission on Earth — ultimately asking the question, “Are human beings worth saving?”

Tudyk (“Doom Patrol,” “Rogue One”) is joined by series regulars Sara Tomko (“Once Upon A Time”), Corey Reynolds (“The Closer”), Alice Wetterlund (“People of Earth”) and Levi Fiehler (“Mars”). The series will begin production in Vancouver this summer.

About SYFY
SYFY is a global, multiplatform media brand that gives science fiction fans of all kinds a universe to call home. Celebrating the genre in all its forms, SYFY super-serves passionate fans with original science fiction, fantasy, paranormal and superhero programming, live event coverage and imaginative digital and social content. The brand is powered by SYFY WIRE (www.syfy.com), the premier portal for breaking genre news, insight and commentary. SYFY is a network of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies. NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation.

About UCP
UCP is a premium content studio that operates with a highly curated indie sensibility, while simultaneously leveraging the power and scale of NBCUniversal. As fierce advocates for creators with an eclectic point of view, the UCP team develops pioneering original programming with partners such as Amazon (“Homecoming”), Netflix (“The Umbrella Academy”), Hulu (“The Act”) and YouTube (“Impulse”). In addition, UCP produces high-caliber content for NBCU Cable networks, including Bravo (“Dirty John”), USA (the Emmy® and Golden Globe®-winning drama “Mr. Robot,” the Golden Globe nominated “The Sinner,” “The Purge” and “Suits” ) and SYFY (“Happy!,” and “The Magicians”). UCP’s content library also features 800 hours of award-winning and critically-acclaimed content, including the Emmy Award-winning “Monk,” the Peabody and Hugo Award-winning “Battlestar Galactica” and the Emmy nominated “Psych.”

About Amblin Television:
Amblin Television, a long-time leader in quality programming, is a division of Amblin Partners, a content creation company led by Steven Spielberg. Amblin Television’s co-presidents, Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey, oversee all development, production and programming for the company. Amblin Television currently has thirteen projects in various stages of production including “Bull” and “Tommy” for CBS, “Roswell, New Mexico” for the CW, “The Haunting of Bly Manor” for Netflix – the follow-up chapter to The Haunting of Hill House, “Amazing Stories” for Apple, “Halo” for Showtime, a straight-to-series order for “Brave New World” from USA Network, “Cortes and Moctezuma” for Amazon, “Animaniacs” for Hulu, “Why We Hate” for Discovery, “Resident Alien” for SYFY, and the documentary films “Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind” for HBO and “Laurel Canyon” for Epix.

Some of Amblin Television’s previous credits include the Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning drama “The Americans” for FX, Emmy-nominated HBO movie “All The Way” starring Bryan Cranston, “Smash” for NBC, “Under the Dome” for CBS, “Falling Skies” for TNT, “The Borgias” and “The United States of Tara” for Showtime, and “Las Vegas” for NBC.

About Dark Horse Entertainment:
Dark Horse Entertainment was spun off from founder Mike Richardson’s Dark Horse Comics in 1992. The company’s first major hits—THE MASK and TIMECOP — were based on Richardson’s creations and DHE has since produced over 30 films and series, including an Emmy Award–winning documentary, MR. WARMTH: THE DON RICKLES PROJECT. Recent projects include THE LEGEND OF TARZAN with Warner Bros., the DARK MATTER television series for Syfy network and POLAR, adapted from Victor Santo’s noir graphic novel starring Mads Mikkelsen (Rogue One) at Netflix. Current projects include a reboot of Mike Mignola’s HELLBOY starring David Harbour (Stranger Things) directed by Neil Marshall (The Descent), and THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY, a Netflix original series based on the comics created by Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance) and Gabriel Ba.

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Interview with Corey Parker and Alan Tudyk of "Resident Alien" on Syfy

Interview with Jeff Rake and Parveen Kaur

TV Interview!

Parveen Kaur and Jeff Rake of "Manifest" on NBC

Interview with star Parveen Kaur and showrunner Jeff Rake of “Manifest” on NBC by Suzanne 2/22/21

I waited to put this up, since “Manifest” is returning Thursday, April 1st for season 3, and we had many other interviews to put up in the meantime. We also have a new “Manifest” interview to put up as well, which we hope will be up soon. I hope it’s worth the wait! They were both very nice. I have to thank my sister-in-law Eileen, and her husband Joe, because they are huge fans of the show and provided me with the questions. I like the show, but I’m way behind on catching up with it.

Parveen is one of the stars of the show.  She plays Saanvi Bahl, a scientist.  Jeff Rake created the show and is producer and showrunner.

It was a fun interview, even though I didn’t have a lot of time with them. This was with a series of interviews that NBC and SYFY had for us in one day, with many different reporters. In the Zoom video below, you’ll see and hear other reporters asking their questions as well. We were just one group asking questions that day. In fact, I came in after another reporter had already asked their question. Enjoy!

Here’s the transcript:

Jeff:   But every day she’s dealing with, you know, Ben (Josh Dallas); she’s dealing, with, you know, Michaela (Melissa Roxburgh), the Stone family, and so it’s such an oppressive burden that it makes the stakes raise right off the top. There’s an important story point that I’ll tease. Let me see how I can tease it without kind of telling too much, but let’s put it this way, halfway through the season, we come to have an even clearer understanding about why the passengers are back and whether or not they will be able to survive the death date that we’ve been following since the end of season one.

And what Saanvi comes to deduce when this greater clarity comes out, is the fact that she has been guilty of this terrible act could have implications not only on her own destiny, but on the destiny of others around her. So, a bad situation becomes even worse when this kind of comes to fruition at a halfway point in season three, and that ends up kind of driving some of Saanvi’s agenda for the back half of the season.

Question:   As far as the Stone family thinks, they’ve cracked what to do about the death date, that if you do something – Can you articulate what it is they think they’ve discovered about defeating the death date and whether or not that discovery holds water?

Jeff:   …So, of course, at the end of season two, Zeke (Matt Long), who had just gotten married to Michaela, surprised Michaela and the audience by surviving his death date. He had his own death date to remind our viewers he wasn’t on the plane. The passengers had disappeared and come back, and we came to discover in season two that you’re back for as long as you were gone. So, Zeke was gone for year. After a year, he was back, and he survived his death date.

So, now that we’re on the B side of that, the passengers are trying to understand, “Well, can we learn from the lesson of Zeke? It seems like he followed his callings and therefore lived.” So, when we come into season three, we find Ben and Michaela, unlike Saanvi – and I’ll let Parveen speak to this in a minute, but we find Ben and Michaela in a somewhat optimistic place, because they’re just kind of a few months in the aftermath of Zeke’s survival, and their working theory is, “Okay, Zeke follow the callings, and he lived. If we all follow the callings, then perhaps that means we can live too.”

So, for for Ben and Michaela, it becomes about trying to spread the word to 180 some passengers. “Hey, folks, here’s what we have to do if we want to survive.” They’re going to discover halfway through the season that it’s more complicated than that, but they think they have the tools for survival when they come into the season.

Saanvi, on the other hand, burdened by so much kind of crap that’s going on in her world, I’m not sure if she shares that optimism, but I’ll let Parveen speak to that.

Parveen:   Well, I don’t think that she does. She’s also not getting the callings anymore…

Jeff:   But that’s a great point, if you need to follow the callings to survive, Saanvi kind of got rid of her callings through science, and now she’s kind of stuck and desperately in search of her path to redemption if there is one.

Question:   So, does Saanvi think that she’s screwed it up for everybody or just for herself?

Jeff:   Parveen?

Parveen:   Well, she has one theory starting off, and then that theory is proven to be incorrect, which is yes, she thought it was just going to be [her], and then we find out that…the consequences that I thought that only Saanvi was going to experience, there might be repercussions and consequences for all of us.

Jeff:   And forgive us for being elliptical, but so much of the season’s mystery is about exactly this, so we’re just being a little bit guarded.

Question:   How does COVID impact the production, and do you think viewers of the show living through a real life pandemic developed more of an interest and respect for science?

Jeff:   Oh, wow, that’s a really good question. You want to go at that first, Parveen?

Parveen:   Yeah, I mean, we obviously can all say that we have a lot of respect for all the frontline workers and all the people that are in the thick of all of this and really feeling it, being, you know, closest to the sun and feeling the heat to all of this, but with the science aspect, I mean, I would have you answer that question in terms of, “Will people have more respect for science because of a pandemic?” I mean, I hope so. These are the people that we rely on in terms of our safety and our health and making sure that we are a thriving, functioning society. Yes, science and scientists are an integral part of our society. So, yeah, I would hope so, so that people can watch a show like ours and have respect for people like Saanvi, because they put themselves through a lot. We’ve seen also certain scientists dealing with a lot of repercussions in terms of trying to spread information and trying to get information out, and it’s not always a safe type of job. We’ve seen people have to deal with real consequences. What was the second part of the question?

Question:   How COVID affected the production.

Parveen:   There are definitely – we have a very strict protocol on our show in terms of testing in terms of social distancing, and we are very diligent. It definitely took us a minute to get our footing in this new world, but, you know, knock on wood, we’ve been really good.

Jeff:   And just to pile on that for one second, when you watch Manifest in season three, you’re not going to see actors wearing masks, and I wouldn’t want anybody out there who watches the show to think that we were loosey goosey with COVID protocol. All we do around here is wear masks and goggles and shields, and the only people who take their masks off are the actors, and they do it only when the camera rolls. And through a combination of rapid tests and PCR tests and social distance, we’ve gotten to a point where the actors feel comfortable with that limited exposure, but it’s a highly regulated environment. It’s it’s been a huge priority for all of us, and when you watch season three, you’ll see when the credits roll, at the end of the first line of the credits is going to mention that this episode was filmed safely in adherence to COVID protocols, because we just wanted to make everybody aware that the actors, the producers, the entire crew, studio, network, everybody’s greatest concern was about the safety and well being for everybody involved in the show and everybody out in the world.

Suzanne:   Parveen, I wanted to ask you first, I read an interview from last April where you said that you were concerned that Saanvi might die. Do you still feel that way?

Parveen:   Um…

Suzanne:   Put you on the spot, huh?

Parveen:   Well, yeah, I think she’s very concerned about that.

Suzanne:   She’s very concerned. Okay. And, Jeff, my sister-in-law just loves the show. I mean, I think it’s the only show she watches; she loves it. So, wanted me to ask if you have any idea which characters on the show are the most popular, if you’ve done any market research, or going by a male or whatever – I put you on the spot. Now you both get a turn.

Jeff:   First of all, thank your sister-in-law for being such a fan of the show. We’re grateful and, you know, honestly, I don’t think it’s a question of like, “Who’s most popular?” I feel like there’s a lot of fan rivalries. So, like, for instance, in the romantic triangle that exists between like Michaela, Zeek, and Jared (J.R. Ramirez), I know that like – Did I say that right? Michaela, Zeke, and Jared. If you’re a Zeke fan, you’re not Jared fan; if you’re a Jared fan, you’re not a Zeke fan. Then, there’re a lot of fans, who even though Saanvi is a strong, compelling character on her own, and she’s a scientist and a driver of mythology, there’re are a lot of fans who see romantic chemistry between Saanvi and Ben. And if you’re an [unintelligible] fan, if you’re a Saanvi fan, you’re not a Grace (Athena Karkanis) fan. If you’re a Grace fan, you’re not a Saanvi fan. So, I think it’s interesting that there’re a lot of factions in that regard. Then, there’re a lot of young people who watch the show, and they’re all about Cal (Jack Messina) and Olive (Luna Blaise). So, I think that a lot of people have their favorites, and they like to argue with each other on Twitter, on Reddit, or the Facebook pages about the characters, but that’s great. I love that. If you love a character, great. If you hate a character, that’s fine with me. I’m just glad that you’re invested.

Suzanne:   Thank you. Good answer.

Question:   Yes, I would like to ask, is TJ (Garrett Wareing) going to Egypt, because somebody needed to go to Egypt? Or did the actor get something that his absence needed to be explained?

Jeff:   That’s very funny. I don’t really have a straight ahead answer for you, in that regard. His character was a great and important role in season two. We love the actor so much; he’s a great friend to the production, and there’s a very good chance we’ll see him again. You know, serialized stories like this are like the sine curve. They have the ups and downs of when different characters are vital to our storytelling. In season three, that wasn’t the case for TJ and Olive’s continuing, mythological journey and relationship journey, [which] goes in a different direction in season three. I’m excited for people to see where that leads and who that leads to.

Question:   So, the building of the pyramids is not going to factor into the mythology?

Jeff:   Not this season, but you never know on Manifest. And I should add one more thing, in absentia, TJ does play an important role in at least one mythological story turn in the season, so so he will absolutely be invoked. So, with a tip of the hat to TJ, even if we’re not going to see him on screen.

Here is the video of the interview.

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

MORE INFO:

“Manifest” returns for a third season of action-packed drama, shocking revelations and the answer to the show’s biggest mystery – what happened to the passengers of Flight 828?

Over a year has passed since the miraculous homecoming of Flight 828 and the discovery of others who have mysteriously returned. While the Stone family endeavors to keep their friends safe and make their enemies believe the unbelievable, new challenges will test their trust of the callings and each other. But sticking together is more important than ever, because no matter what happens, it’s all connected.

“Manifest” stars Melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas, Athena Karkanis, J.R. Ramirez, Luna Blaise, Jack Messina, Parveen Kaur, Matt Long and Holly Taylor.

Jeff Rake, Robert Zemeckis, Jack Rapke, Jackie Levine and Len Goldstein are executive producers.

“Manifest” is produced by Warner Bros. Television, Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, Compari Entertainment and Jeff Rake Productions.

Parveen Kaur stars as Saanvi Bahl in NBC’s “Manifest.”

Born in British Columbia’s beautiful Okanagan Valley, Kaur moved to Toronto at age 19 to pursue a career in film and television. She is best known for her work in Guillermo del Toro’s hit FX series “The Strain” and CTV’s Saving Hope.

Jeff Rake serves as executive producer, writer and showrunner for NBC’s “Manifest.”

After a short career in law, Rake co-created “The $treet” for Fox, “Miss Match” for NBC and also co-wrote the pilot for ABC’s “Boston Legal.”

In 2013, he developed “The Mysteries of Laura,” which aired for two seasons on NBC and in more than 100 countries around the world.

He has written and produced episodes of “The Practice,” “Bones,” “Head Cases,” “Cashmere Mafia,” “Hawthorne,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Tomorrow People,” as well as the 1996 Elvis Presley hip-hop musical “Hound Dog: A Hip hOpera” for the Hudson Avenue Theatre in Hollywood.

Rake grew up in Encino, Calif., and lives in Los Angeles with his wife and children.

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Parveen Kaur and Jeff Rake of "Manifest" on NBC

Interview with Loretta Walsh

TV Interview!

Loretta Walsh of "When Calls the Heart" on Hallmark

Interview with Loretta Walsh of “When Calls the Heart” on Hallmark by Krista 3/19/21

This was an interview done by email. We’re always glad when an actor takes the time to type their own answers to our questions because it’s less work for us! As you can see, her answers are very kind and professional.

1. I see that you grew up in Queensland, Australia. What was that like?

It was a very sheltered and “go outside and play” childhood in rural Queensland. I had a wonderful community and big family, but I knew at a young age I would need to leave for a bigger city to pursue my dreams of being an actor.

2. I read that you grew up in a family of actors. What was it like growing up with your family and did you know from a young age that you also wanted to act?

I knew that I wanted to dance from a young age and imagination and play were always a big part of my childhood. I was usually deterred from pursuing a career in the arts by those who knew how challenging a career it can be, but I knew in my heart that’s what I wanted, so I went for it!

3. I saw your first production was as Louisa in The Sound of Music. What was it like being in your first stage production?

Thrilling! I loved the collaboration, creativity and community of making theatre together. I was absolutely hooked!

4. When you first started acting, did you plan to act in all venues, theatre as well as TV and movies? How is it different to act on stage in theatre versus acting on a television show?

When I first started I didn’t know what was possible. I wasn’t focused on one particular medium. But after getting some experience, I knew that I wanted to work both on screen and on stage. The big difference is that on camera, the camera is your audience, on stage your audience is further away. Plus in theatre, the audience reaction is immediate and in real time (no second takes!)

5. You are returning as Florence Blakely in Season 8 of When Calls The Heart. What drew you to accepting this part?

I was really wanting to do an ensemble show that focused on women and the important and deep friendships of that sisterhood. I thought WCTH was that project.

6. What do you enjoy most about your character Florence Blakely?

I enjoy that she is a character who is always “doing” something. She doesn’t wait for things to happen to her – she takes action!

7. What has been your biggest challenge in playing the part of Florence Blakely?

Florence is quite a different person than Loretta, so finding those elements that are different and not playing them as a characature can be a challenge, but I feel that I ‘know’ Florence well now, so it comes a little easier after 8 seasons 😉

8. What is it like playing with the other actors in When Calls The Heart? Do you have relationships/friendships off set?

It’s great! We have a shorthand after so many years of playing together and it’s a real collaboration. And yes, behind the scenes we have our own little “hope valley” style community in real life. It’s a real gift in my life.

9. I saw where Florence will go through a physical and emotional transformation? Can you tell me more about that and what it involves?

You will have to watch as I can’t give any spoilers, but I will say that we will see some sides to Florence this season that we haven’t seen before.

10. What has been the funniest thing you have had happen on set?

I couldn’t pick one! There’s lots of laughter on set. It’s a fun group.

11. I saw where you will be appearing in “A Picture Perfect Wedding” later on, can you tell us a little bit about that movie?

Photographer Lindsey gets asked by a New York mogul’s son, Josh, to shoot his sister’s wedding. Sparks fly as Josh and Lindsey prepare for the ceremony, but as the big day arrives, what will their hearts decide? I play the villain in the movie “Maxine Bower-Smythe”.

12. Any other upcoming projects you can discuss?

The Sinners, a thriller/horror movie on VOD now!

13. I understand you founded your own theatre company. Tell me more about that.

I love theatre and have been deeply impacted by it over the years. I want to share the respect and love of theatre I have with others which is why I started Kindred Entertainment.

14. If you could pick any actor/actress to co-star with, who would you pick and why?

There’s too many to choose from! But I’d love to work with Emma Thompson as I love her authenticity and how she speaks about being a woman and an actor.

15. What piece of advice would you give to someone with a desire to act either on stage or on TV/movies?

Go for it! Study – take great acting classes, build a community, care for yourself and get ready for a marathon (not a sprint) Believe in yourself no matter how many “no’s” you get – good things will come your way!

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

MORE INFO:

Loretta Walsh of "When Calls the Heart" on HallmarkBorn and raised in rural Queensland Australia, Loretta Walsh has enchanted audiences since a young age. She comes from a family of actors, and wanted to pursue acting as a career after playing “Louisa” in her local town’s production of “The Sound of Music”. Soon after discovering her love for the art she landed a small part in the tv series “Water Rats” playing a hostess of a swingers club. Loretta’s unique ability to transform and emobody a vast array of characters keeps audiences on their toes – this year will be no exception with her upcoming projects.

This year audiences will see Loretta return as Florence Blakeley in season eight of Hallmark’s “When Calls the Heart” which premiered February 21st. This season reveals new sides to Florence that #hearties haven’t seen before as she goes through both a physical and emotional transformation. Loretta will also appear in a supporting lead role as the villainous Maxine Bower-Smythe in the upcoming film A PICTURE PERFECT WEDDING, premiering later this year.

Loretta has worked on numerous TV shows and films including CW’s “Batwoman”, Netflix’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events”, A&E’s “Bates Motel” and the award winning teen thriller film THE SINNERS (aka The Color Rose).

Along with captivating audiences in film and TV Loretta has made an inprint in theatre, not only founding her own theatre company Kindred Entertainment, in Vancouver but appearing on various stages in a wide array of productions.

Loretta loves the variety and range of roles she has been privileged to play over the years and is motivated to represent women on screen and their stories that are surprising, complicated and imperfectly human.

SERIES: WHEN CALLS THE HEART"When Calls the Heart" poster

ABOUT THE SERIES: More surprises and challenges are in store for the residents of Hope Valley. Elizabeth’s relationships with Nathan and Lucas continue to deepen, Faith and Carson must make choices about their future, a new family arrives to town, Lee and Rosemary get some unexpected news, Bill is asked to return a prized possession and the whole town joins in the excitement as another wedding takes place.

CHARACTER: Florence Blakeley

PREMIERE: February 21, 2021 on Hallmark

FILM: A PICTURE PERFECT WEDDING

ABOUT THE FILM: Photographer Lindsey gets asked by a New York mogul’s son, Josh, to shoot his sister’s wedding. Sparks fly as Josh and Lindsey prepare for ceremony, but as the big day arrive, what will their hearts decide?

CHARACTER: Maxine Bower-Smythe

PREMIERE: 2021

Get to Know Loretta

My favorite movies when I was a kid – tied for SOUND OF MUSIC and GREASE. I wanted to be Olivia Newton John or Julie Andrews.

I love to travel….most favourite vacation was to Positano in Italy. Favorite place in the world – the beach – Noosa, Australia.

I love fashion and getting dressed up, but I put high value in being cozy (think Uggs, slippers, cashmere sweaters and pajamas 😉
I am fascinated by (and terrified of) sharks….
I have been skydiving.

Loretta has many different jobs apart from being an actor including.…. at KFC, being a nanny, a bartender, a teacher, a producer, working in events, a wine company rep, worked for an airline, a temp, a tour director, worked ONE night as catering staff….tough gig!
If I wasn’t an actor/producer, I would like to be a social worker ……or a puppy cuddler

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Loretta Walsh of "When Calls the Heart" on Hallmark

Interview with Lauralee Bell

TV Interview!

Lauralee Bell in Lifetime's "Ruby" and "Pearl in the Mist"

Interview with Lauralee Bell of movies “Ruby” and “Pearl in the Mist” on Lifetime by Suzanne 3/17/21

It was so nice to speak with Lauralee. As I told her in the interview, I’ve been watching “The Young and The Restless” since 1986. She played young model “Cricket” and was in a lot of great stories. Later, she became a lawyer and went by “Christine.”  She still recurs on the show.  She plays a small-but-memorable part in these two Lifetime movies. It’s a very different role from Christine.  Make sure you watch these two movies on Lifetime this weekend: “Ruby” and “Pearl in the Mist.”

Here is the audio version of it.

Suzanne: I’m actually a big fan. I started watching “Young in the Restless” in 1986.

Lauralee: Oh, my gosh. Oh, in the good years, I must say.

Suzanne: Yeah, back when you were “Cricket.”

Lauralee: The 80s and 90s were so, so exciting with Danny (Michael Damian) and Cricket.

Suzanne: Yeah, and Nina (Tricia Cast) and Phillip. That was great.

Lauralee: Did you know that Nina’s back for a little bit?

Suzanne: I haven’t been watching regularly lately, but, yeah… I did see that she’s coming back.

Lauralee: Oh, it’s over. She stayed with us, and it was just it was so fun. It was like old times, and I hope they keep her going.

Suzanne: Yeah.

Lauralee: Then, good. You know how opposite my part in these movies are. It could not be more opposite than Cricket.

Suzanne: I was wondering if you were channeling maybe a little Katherine Chancellor (Jeanne Cooper) or a little Jill (Jess Walton) in there, maybe?

Lauralee: I mean, Jill, for sure. I mean, I definitely haven’t really been as evil to anyone other than Phyllis on our show to pull off these scenes. But yeah, no, definitely. Watching the great women of Y&R doing – I feel like Daphne is just so self centered. Jill was very much that way. So, I think, yes, I always do something from somewhere.

But, for me, just the hair and the red lipstick and the clothes kind of brought me into her. I mean, it was fun to be in Canada and in this mansion. Just once you’re in there wearing all this stuff, it sort of comes to play, but the performance was bigger than I’m normally used to. I usually try and be as natural as possible. So, I was definitely questioning myself as I was going through it, but it was super fun, and I love her.

Suzanne: It did look like you were having a little fun.

Lauralee: Yeah, I definitely did. I mean, if I’m at Y&R, I pretty much know what the program is, and at home, I’m very much a hands on mom. So, to kind of get this offer and escape and just kind of dive into that world for two movies, it was a great experience. I’ve worked with Lifetime a bunch, and I’m such a huge fan of their whole company, and then to be able to accomplish those two movies right before the lockdown was very satisfying in terms of getting something done in the work department. So, it was all around just a happy experience.

Suzanne: How long did it take to film it?

Lauralee: So, I went for a little over a week and a half for Ruby. Then, they were super great. My mom lived a wonderful life, but she passed away between the two movies. So, they were very kind when I came back. We had her memorial on a Wednesday, and I was on a plane at 4am on a Thursday the next morning, and they were very wonderful about mushing all my scenes together. So, I went back for about four or five days.

Then, I mean, it was truly on my last filming day where I would be seeing everyone around the set kind of whispering, and I was just hearing that all the shows in Vancouver were getting shut down. So, I was like, “Oh, my goodness, will I make this last scene?” and “Will the will the movie keep going?” I think because we were on Victoria Island, there were no cases there I believe, and they got to work maybe two or three days longer than Vancouver, but we were close behind them. But I was fortunate enough to get wrapped and then come home. Yeah, it wasn’t a long period of time, but it was still, for me, to be away from my husband and kids, that’s a long time.

Suzanne: Sure, and I can’t imagine it was fun to have to fly back after that and be all worried.

Lauralee: Yeah, it was a really fun night. My husband was very nervous to [unintelligible] “What if you don’t get home?” I was like, “I will get home. Somehow I’ll get home.” And at that point, we [didn’t] really understand like, if the United States was your home, you could get home, but it was just all so new to us, of course, and just trying to figure out what that meant.

Suzanne: Did you meet other members of the cast that you’re not on screen with, like Naomi Judd and Marilu Henner?

Lauralee: No, I’m so bummed. I have friends who are friends with them…I can’t remember. So I missed Naomi Judd by a day, and I was contemplating changing my flight, but … you know, when you come in for your first day, you don’t need to be bothered with anyone else that you have to say hello to. So, when I got back, I had so many questions. I was like, “How was she?” And everyone was like, “She was everything you could imagine and more.”

And Marilu Henner I’ve been a fan of forever, just her whole – also, her– not only her acting talent, but her ability with her memory is so fascinating to me. So, that was exciting.

And then, I didn’t find out that Kristian Alfonso (who played Hope on “Days of Our Lives“) was on until way later, and so we have become Instagram buddies and supporters and, you know, making jokes that we should do a spin off with our two characters, just all these fun things.

It’s hard, because I got really close with Raechelle (Banno) and Karina (Banno), and it was great working with Gil (Bellows), because I was a huge Ally McBeal fan. So, it’s hard not to all be together promoting this, but we’re basically adding everybody’s everything to our stories and DMing each other constantly. So, we’re probably talking more apart than we would if we were together, because it is constant. I think everyone is so excited, and we’ve all had to hold all these pictures for a year, so it’s finally fun to release a few of them, behind the scenes.

Suzanne: And I like your character’s hair and makeup; it looks so perfect. How long did it take them to put you together like that?

Lauralee: I mean, they were an amazing team. They did it rather quickly, but coming home, back to the hotel, and then trying to get all that teasing out of my hair – I mean, first of all, there was a little restaurant in the hotel and we would wrap late, so’d I always pop in there with bright red lipstick and this bouffant hair, and I thought, “You know what? I’m in jeans and a sweater, so nothing about it makes sense.” And I thought, “You know, I don’t care, but they must think I am just some strange woman who was staying in their hotel.” Yeah, I mean, in the car ride to the hotel, I would be putting my fingers through the teasing of my hair and just trying to relax it, but it was a process for sure. They were hairdos that I had not worn, and for 20 years on The Young and The Restless, Patti Denney, my makeup artist had always said like, “Well, you’re wearing a red dress. Would you like to wear red lipstick?” And I was like, “No, no, no, no, it just doesn’t work on me.” And, you know, it has to work for Daphne, and what’s great about it, for me, is it completely changes my look. So, it was fun. It was definitely fun to sort of look in the mirror and be like, “Wow. This is not how I came in,” and, you know, kudos to Daphne.

Suzanne: So, did it take a lot longer to do all that than it normally would have been for you to, say, get made up as Christine on The Young the Restless?

Lauralee: The difference was I had like no eye makeup. So, the eye makeup that Christine would have worn, Daphne didn’t wear. She had a couple of lashes, but it was really about those red lips. So, hair, yes. I would say hair took longer. Wardrobe was so fantastic, but it was a lot of, you know, pinning in and dipping tight and undergarments, because it was very, very cold there, so we would have like heating pads under our clothes. It was pantyhose and things like that we haven’t worn in a bit, which was so fun. So, [it was] just different, but yeah, even minimal makeup tends to take some time, and those red lips had to be really painted on carefully.

Suzanne: So, how did you mentally prepare for this role, which is so different?

Lauralee: I mean, I just felt that, again, she’s so self-centered, and she just really doesn’t care about anybody else but herself. So, I just thought, the kids are a nuisance, and it’s really the opposite of how I think, but once I got in there, I just sort of could kind of key into her as like, you know, Ruby coming into this world is just throwing off her universe, and one child is more than enough. This child that I have living in the house knows all the rules, and she knows to pretend that everything’s great, even when it isn’t. She knows how to fit the mold, but this Ruby girl is going to be a troublemaker.

I think you’re probably right; watching some amazing actresses on our show growing up, I’m sure that sort of helped a bit. I mean, the lines are there [like] when I say something like, “If you don’t have anything bad to say, don’t say anything at all.” It’s like, who would say that to a young person? So, that helped.

Suzanne: Do you have any fun behind the scenes stories you can tell us about?

Lauralee: I mean, we were kind of up in this mansion away from where our trailers were, so we really had a lot of kind of hanging out time. I posted this on my Instagram yesterday, where, you know, Gil, has a son – he spoke about his son; he may might have children, but I think he just has one, but I was showing him all the silly apps you can do on your phone.

And the girls are knitters, so in between scenes, we would be just so fascinated, because, first of all, it’s fun to watch twins, but I just was kind of enamored with them, because they were both doing intermittent fasting, and they were both knitting, and they both finished each other’s sentences.

So, it wasn’t crazy stuff behind the scenes, but the downtime was really fun, because they’re really talented, bright, funny girls that when you’re doing something – kind of like, my part was really condensed, so I knew I had a limited amount of time with them, but to have really talked about everything, I mean, we talked about everything. They’re from Australia, and Y&R’s popular in Australia. So, I mean, just, there’s so much to discuss, but no real crazy things, but definitely a great time. I feel like we bonded twice as fast as I would have in past projects, just because, I don’t know, I think maybe we felt the pressure of…

Suzanne: The time crunch.

Lauralee: …and what’s going on in the world, and we knew that Lifetime was so excited about another VC Andrews project. We were excited about making these books come to life. So, there was just so much positive energy.

Suzanne: Yeah, those twins did a fantastic job.

Lauralee: Oh, my gosh, they’re so great. I mean, I can’t say enough about it. They were like, “We just watched the movies, and you did such a great job, and we’re so excited.” I’m like, “Okay, that’s so nice, but I am so excited for everyone to see you guys, because they’re your movies, and you guys are amazing.” I am so happy for them.

Suzanne: Yeah, it’s funny, because when you watch a movie like that, your mind sort of tries to predict what’s going to happen next, and I half expected we’d find out that Daphne and her husband’s partner had killed her husband.

Lauralee: Aha, I like that.

Suzanne: I watch too many soaps, I guess.

Lauralee: Right, there has to be more to it; there has to be some conniving behind the scenes. I love that idea. It’s so funny, when I’m telling the girls, like I’m taking over their world, basically, and then he puts his hand on my shoulder, and I grab his hand. It’s just like, ick. You know, it’s just like, these poor girls have to deal with this person. And it was so funny; every time we did the scene, the director would just laugh when I would grab his hand, and it was such a great move to have us do. It’s just repulsive to do in front of your children. “Well, your father’s gone…”

Suzanne: Not the most repulsive thing in the movie, though.

Lauralee: That is correct.

Suzanne: Every time she kissed her brother, I was like, “Eww, no.”

Lauralee: I know. I know. I mean, my daughter, luckily, is 18, so I feel as though she’s seen all these crazy shows that are on now, and I said to her, I was like, “This has a lot of good stuff in it. I think you’re gonna like it.” But, who knows. It’s always hard for them to watch Mom.

Suzanne: So, you’re not in the other two movies that come out next week?

Lauralee: Nope, I’m just in the first two. As they say, “Always leave them wanting more.”

Suzanne: That’s right. Now, you were on The Young and the Restless not too long ago. Have you been filming anymore there lately?

Lauralee: Yeah, I just I worked last week and the week before, so, yeah. I mean, really, if I didn’t switch to [recurring], I couldn’t do these opportunities that I really love doing, which is, you know, I’ve done, I guess, four Lifetime movies in the past three years. Maybe now with the pandemic, it’s four in four years, but, yeah, I love Y&R so much, but I also love doing a little side project.

Then, I have a writing partner, Martha Byrne, who was on “As the World Turns“; she played Lily. She and I are on the phone together every day, and we’re pitching some primetime shows to all different kinds of outlets. So, I stay very busy when I’m not on camera. So, it’s kind of fun right now.

Suzanne: Is that what you were doing a lot of during the pandemic, working on [those] kinds of things?

Lauralee: So, once we kind of got halfway through it, because for a while, everyone was just so focused on just keeping healthy and making sure their loved ones were healthy, as soon as people started realizing, like, you know, Zoom works well, and there will be positive life again in the future, then we started doing some pitch meetings. We’ve had to rework some pitch decks and resend them and now meet with this production company. So, it’s a slow process, but I see that we’re really making efforts to come back into all kinds of production. So, we’re hoping for some good news. We just keep on pushing.

Suzanne: Now, speaking of partners, I have a question, and you can feel free to say, “No comment,” because I don’t know, but I heard that Doug Davidson was leaving the show. Do you have a thing to say about that?

Lauralee: I mean, my only comment is we talk every single day. We’re very good friends. So, I can’t speak for him, but my advice to him was, “Never say never.” So, I’m still hopeful, but I support him in whatever he decides. We will still stay in touch daily, or weekly, regardless, but I think I could say that I can’t imagine not working with him again. So, I have to hold on to that hope that we will be reunited someday.

Suzanne: That’s good. You know, what’s nice about your characters is that there aren’t very many soap opera characters that you still see on a show, and they’re still a happy couple.

Lauralee: I know, and I agree. I love that. People are like, “How many husbands have you had?” or something. I’m like, “No, my character, I love it that it’s really been, like, you know, she loved Phillip, and then she loved Danny, and she loves Paul (Davidson).” And this relationship is so true to real life. Like people saw us really grow together as a couple, so I love that. And I love the fact that Nina’s back. To me, there aren’t enough female friendships on television. It’s very catty, and I understand that can be fun to watch, but I also think, to balance it out, we need a positive woman to support another kind of [woman], to have those kinds of conversations as well. So, I feel like Nina and Cricket have that history.

Suzanne: Yes, definitely. It’s funny, it seems like they bring in [Brittany]; maybe they bring her in when you can’t be a lawyer.

Lauralee: Right, exactly. It is funny. She’s so sweet, Lauren Woodland, who plays Brittany. [unintelligible] that legal stuff is not easy, and even after working for so long and staying with it for so long, it still throws me on days where I have a long legal either trial or statement or whatever. Then, for her to just be asked in occasionally, and then, “Oh, by the way, here’s your monologue or your very wordy couple of scenes,” good for her. She always does great.

Suzanne: Yeah. It helps that – she’s a lawyer in real life, right?

Lauralee: Yeah, which is so exciting. I was gonna say it’s relatively recent, but it’s not that recent, but yeah, I think that’s such a fun little tidbit.

Suzanne: Yeah, that’s cool.

Lauralee: She understands that lingo. I just pretend I [do].

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

MORE INFO:

Lauralee’s Wikipedia Page

LIFETIME, THE EXCLUSIVE HOME OF V.C. ANDREWS’ MOVIES, PREMIERES THE NEXT MOVIE SERIES EVENT, BASED ON THE BEST-SELLING LANDRY BOOK SERIES THIS MARCH WITH FOUR NEW MOVIES RUBY, PEARL IN THE MIST, ALL THAT GLITTERS AND HIDDEN JEWEL DEBUTING OVER CONSECUTIVE WEEKENDS BEGINNING MARCH 20

Kristian Alfonso, Marilu Henner, Richard Harmon, Jennifer Laporte and Evan Roderick Join Previously Announced Cast Including Identical Twins Raechelle Banno & Karina Banno, Naomi Judd, Crystal Fox, Gil Bellows, Deborah Cox, Lauralee Bell, Sam Duke and Ty Wood

Lifetime, the exclusive home of movies inspired by books from best-selling author V.C. Andrews, adds additional star-studded names to their next movie series event, centered on the Landry Family, with Daytime Emmy award winner, Kristian Alfonso (Days of our Lives); Golden Globe nominee, Marilu Henner (Taxi); Leo Award winner Richard Harmon (The 100, Bates Motel); Leo Award winner Jennifer Laporte (V.C. Andrews’ Web of Dreams) and Evan Roderick (Arrow, BH90210) joining the cast. The four-movie V.C. event airs consecutively over two weekends starting at 8pm ET/PT on Saturday, March 20 and Sunday, March 21 and then again at 8pm ET/PT on Saturday, March 27 and Sunday, March 28. The movie series follows Ruby Landry, who after being raised by her loving spiritual healer grandmother in the Louisiana bayou, is ensnared in a world of dark family secrets and betrayal, upon discovering that she has another family living in New Orleans.

The V.C Andrews’ Landry Family book series – Ruby, Pearl in the Mist, All That Glitters and Hidden Jewel – is the second highest-selling series from the author and becomes Lifetime’s latest adaptation of the prolific writer’s work. Lifetime’s new movie series comes on the heels of last summer’s premiere of V.C. Andrews’ Casteel Family movie series, which ranked as cable’s #2 new drama series among W25-54 for 20191.

Stars Naomi Judd, Crystal Fox, Gil Bellows, Deborah Cox, twins Raechelle Banno & Karina Banno, Lauralee Bell, Sam Duke and Ty Wood Saturday March 20th at 8pm ET/PT

Ruby centers on Ruby Landry (Raechelle Banno), born in the Louisiana bayou and watched over by her loving Grandmère Catherine (Judd). Ruby is filled with hope as love blooms with her high school sweetheart Paul Tate (Duke), but lingering thoughts of her mysterious father and her mother’s death often creep into Ruby’s mind. As dark family secrets begin to reveal themselves when Paul’s parents forbid him from seeing Ruby, Ruby is further devastated when her beloved Grandmère passes away. Forced to flee to New Orleans from the bayou, Ruby searches for her estranged father (Bellows), one of the richest men in the city, as she clings to her memories of Paul and their forbidden love.

Stars Marilu Henner with Gil Bellows, Raechelle Banno, Karina Banno, Lauralee Bell, Richard Harmon, Sam Duke and Ty Wood Sunday March 21st at 8pm ET/PT

Based on the second book, Pearl in the Mist finds Ruby still struggling to find true happiness, after a year of living at her father’s lavish mansion. When Ruby and her twin Giselle (Karina Banno) are sent away to an exclusive all girls boarding school, Ruby is hopeful for a new start with her sister. But when Ruby is once again shamed for her backwater upbringing, and her cruel Headmistress, Mrs. Ironwood (Henner), along with her stepmother Daphne (Bell) and Giselle continue to plot against her, Ruby must endure torturous punishments and public humiliation. Ruby holds out hope and continues to dream of a better future until tragedy leaves her alone in a world of deceits.

Stars Kristian Alfonso with Raechelle Banno, Karina Banno, Sam Duke and Ty Wood Saturday March 27th at 8pm ET/PT

All That Glitters picks up as Ruby is driven from the Dumas mansion and returns to her beloved childhood home in the bayou where she’s intent on creating a new life for her baby girl, Pearl. Ruby’s high school sweetheart, Paul, once again is there to support her, and when he moves her into his impressive home, she has new hope for the future. However, Ruby can’t escape the judging eyes of Paul’s mother Gladys (Alfonso) who knows Ruby and Paul’s dark secret and Giselle continues to torment Ruby when she reveals news about Beau (Wood), Pearl’s real father and Ruby’s true love. Ruby longs for another life. The web of deceit continues when Giselle falls into a coma and Ruby finds herself lured into a twisted plan to be with Beau.

Stars Jennifer Laporte and Evan Roderick with Kristian Alfonso, Raechelle Banno, Karina Banno, Crystal Fox, Sam Duke and Ty Wood  Sunday March 28th at 8pm ET/PT

Hidden Jewel finds Ruby trying to find a new life for her children and desperate to protect her beloved daughter from the dark secrets she harbors. Raised amidst the privileges in New Orleans, Pearl (Laporte) aspires to become a doctor, but when an unfortunate accident occurs to one of her twin brothers, Pearl’s dreams are threatened and Ruby runs, once again back to the bayou. And when one of Pearl’s younger brothers becomes deathly ill, she must journey to the backwaters to find her mother and uncover the mysterious secrets of her past.

Additional stars across all four movies include Tess Atkins, Todd Thompson Serge Houde, Liza Huget, Mason Temple, Ducan Ollerenshaw, Paula Giroday, Giordana Venturi, Marc-Anthony Massiah, Veena Sood, Bob Frazer, Eric Vincent, Sage Linder, Glynis Davies, Bronwen Smith, Darien Martin, Meaghan Claire Hewitt McDonald, Beverly Gay Breuer, Chad Willett, Christian Michael Cooper, Dean Petriw, Ellen MacNevin, Indie Bajic, Mila Jones, Peter Anderson, and Caroline Yonge.

V.C. Andrews’ Landry Family Series is produced by Champlain Media and distributed by Reel One Entertainment. Executive producers are Tom Berry, Dan Angel, Jane Startz, Breanne Hartley, Jane Charles, and Ric Nish and Matthew Chipera serve as producers. Screenwriters include Richard Blaney, Gregory Small, Scarlett Lacey, Andy Cochran and Brian C. Rost who co-wrote the outline for Hidden Jewel. Gail Harvey directs Ruby, David Bercovici-Artieda directs Pearl in the Mist and Michael Robison directs All That Glitters and Hidden Jewel.

*For the 2019 TV Season, Lifetime’s VC Andrews Casteel Family film series would rank as cables #2 new drama among W25-54. Source: Nielsen, Live+SD, W25-54 (000s), 10/1/18-9/29/19, VC Andrews film series average vs. new drama season averages on cable.

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 Life, Stop 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.

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Lauralee Bell in Lifetime's "Ruby" and "Pearl in the Mist"

Interview with Jodi Balfour & Sonya Walger

TV Interview!

Interview with Jodi Balfour & Sonya Walger of "For All Mankind" on Apple+

Interview with Jodi Balfour & Sonya Walger of “For All Mankind” on Apple+ by Suzanne 3/3/21

This was a fun interview. I was glad to interview these two women as well as the other two from the show. I didn’t get a lot of time with them, but it went very well.

Suzanne: Sonya, you’ve done a lot of TV and movies. What was it about this show that you felt was different than your past projects?

Sonya: I didn’t honestly know a lot about the show when I signed up. I auditioned for the role of Molly with, I think it was, three sheets of paper, one scene. It was a scene from – I can’t even remember. Anyway, it was a great scene, and it was a scene with Joe [Kinnaman]; we were already in the rocket. It was a world I knew nothing about. I knew nothing about NASA. The idea of playing an astronaut felt thrilling.

There was also an aesthetic element too. I just finished doing The Catch. I did two seasons of that, which was an incredibly glamorous show, high lip gloss, shiny heels I couldn’t move in, lots of pencil skirts. It was great. It was a wonderful role, but to suddenly come to this to play someone who, you know, it’s said in capital letters all over the top of these these sides that I was given, “Dress down; this woman pays no attention to how she looks.” It felt great; bring it, fantastic. How fun. That was an element of it, because that was honestly as much information as I had about it.

I mean, I got the role and started shooting two, three days later. So, it was so fast the turnaround. I didn’t have much time to think about, “What is this? What am I joining?” I was also only supposed to be in it for three episodes, and I am talking with you at the end of season two. So, it wasn’t like I knew I was joining something that was going to take up the next two years of my life.

Suzanne: Okay, and I can say this because I’m older than you, but you’re probably one of the few actors in the cast that was actually around in the 80s when this season takes place.

Sonya: Yes.

Suzanne: How well do you remember it, and did you think the series did a good job of capturing that time?

Sonya: I think it totally did. I mean, short of having Princess Diana in it, it did everything. We had the shoulder puffs and the big hair and the perms and the headbands, and it was all going on. Yeah, fully, that felt like home, although it didn’t, because England in the 80s is very different to America in the 80s. England in the 80s was still quite depressed and grim, and it always felt like America had, you know, shiny bright things happening, and McDonald’s and milkshakes. America was where I wanted to be in the 80s. So, it’s fun to imaginatively be there now.

Suzanne: Thank you, and Jodi, what are you allowed to tell us about what happens to your character this season?

Jodi: Oh, so little. What can I actually tell you? I mean, there’s a big – I just used this term a second ago, but there’s a big political awakening that happens with her this season. I suppose it’s not a total surprise that this is possible, but certainly not something I think audiences will be expecting of Ellen, who when we meet in season one, there’s something [quite] mild about her, but quite timid and reserved and quiet and studious. By the end of season two, there’s someone really stepping in to try to claim a sense of power and leadership, all in in service of getting to Mars, but still, nonetheless, we meet quite a political animal by the end of season two.

Suzanne: Okay, and congratulations to both you on the show being renewed for a third season. How far ahead did they tell you what’s going to happen to your character? Either of you can answer, or both.

Jodi: I’ve had a quick chat with the writers, but that’s it. They’ll plant a few seeds for us, and then we have to wait for [the] script.

Suzanne: Have they started working on season three, shooting-wise or just writing-wise?

Sonya: We start shooting soon.

Jodi: Yeah. end of the month. I think they have close to the whole season written, not all, but close to, but they’ll keep writing as we shoot.

Suzanne: I saw an article that was talking about the things that people wanted to know about season two. Do we find out what happened with Pam (Meghan Leathers)? Is there any more about Pam and your [character’s] relationship? Or you can’t say?

Jodi: I don’t know. I wish I could like give you some sort of sign language to point one direction or the other, but I just simply can’t. It’s been scrubbed from my memory.

Suzanne: That’s fair…How did you feel when you found out that they have so much faith in the show that they’re already going on with the third season before the second one even started airing?

Sonya: It’s great. I mean, honestly, working with Apple is fantastic. It’s a company founded on innovation, and it feels like this is such a good fit for that. Our shows is a good match for that. I also feel like there’s such a great cast. It’s such an unusual idea to keep jumping years ahead. I can’t think of many shows that have ever attempted this. It feels brave and thrilling; to get a chance to jump ahead again is wonderful.

Suzanne: Did the pandemic affect the filming at all?

Jodi: Big time. We shot right before finishing season two and then had to come back, kind of as one of the early guinea pigs, in August [or] September to complete season two, and now we will be going back into production.

Suzanne: What precautions do they take? I know they test you a lot.

Sonya: We tested every day. We tested even on our days off. Every single person is masked. We have special entrances and exits so that nobody’s crossing pods. You rehearse in a mask…There’re many, many precautions.

I was incredibly nervous about going back to work in the middle of this. I’ve got two small children; I’ve got an asthmatic husband. It all felt terrifying to me, and yet, I got to work, and I truthfully couldn’t have felt safer. They have implemented everything possible to keep you safe, all of us.

Suzanne: That’s great. Jodi, comments?

Jodi: No, everything Sonya said and more. I mean, it almost to a degree starts to make set feel like the safest place you can be, to be honest. It’s great.

I was really worried about it feeling like it would be COVID with a side of a TV show, and it really didn’t feel like that. We found a way, and the first few days felt strange and apocalyptic in the way that you would expect them to, but, eventually, you really get into the swing of it. It’s amazing how adaptable we all are, and by the end of finishing those last two episodes, it was making a TV show with a side of COVID, rather than the other way around. So, the work felt protected.

Suzanne: Have you heard anything about what they plan to do in the future? Say everyone has, or most people have been vaccinated, are they still going to keep some of those restrictions? Have you heard anything about it?

Jodi: I think we’d continue on as we have, but I don’t [know] – none of us have – I haven’t been vaccinated certainly, and I don’t think there’s a plan to do that before we shoot. We’ll continue on as we did successfully in August and in September.

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

MORE INFO:

“For All Mankind” explores what would have happened if the global space race had

never ended. The series presents an aspirational world where NASA astronauts, engineers and their families find themselves in the center of extraordinary events seen through the prism of an alternate history timeline — a world in which the USSR beats the US to the moon.

Season two of the space drama picks up a decade later in 1983. It’s the height of the Cold War and tensions between the United States and the USSR are at their peak. Ronald Reagan is President and the greater ambitions of science and space exploration are at threat of being squandered as the US and Soviets go head to head to control sites rich in resources on the moon. The Department of Defense has moved into Mission Control, and the militarization of NASA becomes central to several characters’ stories: some fight it, some use it as an opportunity to advance their own interests, and some find themselves at the height of a conflict that may lead to nuclear war. New stars set to join Joel Kinnaman, Michael Dorman, Sarah Jones, Shantel VanSanten, Wrenn Schmidt, Jodi Balfour, Krys Marshall and Sonya Walger in the second season include Cynthy Wu, Coral Peña and Casey W. Johnson.

“For All Mankind” is created by Golden Globe-nominee and Emmy Award-winner Ronald D. Moore, and Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominees Ben Nedivi & Matt Wolpert. Moore, Nedivi and Wolpert executive produce alongside Golden Globe Award nominee Maril Davis of Tall Ship Productions and Nichole Beattie, David Weddle and Bradley Thompson. “For All Mankind” is produced by Sony Pictures Television.

The ten episode second season will debut globally on Friday, February 19, 2021, followed by one new episode weekly, every Friday, exclusively on Apple TV+.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

Interview with Jodi Balfour & Sonya Walger of "For All Mankind" on Apple+

Interview with Wrenn Schmidt & Krys Marshall

TV Interview!

Wrenn Schmidt & Krys Marshall of "For All Mankind" on Apple+

Interview with Wrenn Schmidt & Krys Marshall of “For All Mankind” on Apple+ by Suzanne 3/3/21

It was nice to chat with 4 of the actresses from the show. There are two here and then two others in a separate interview. They only gave me about 10 minutes, but it was fun. It’s a huge cast in this good scifi show. They were very gracious.

Suzanne: I wanted to ask if you could tell us what’s new for both of your characters this season? Whatever you’re allowed to say?

Wrenn: Well, Margo is the boss. In season one, Margo made a prediction that she would be running NASA in ten years, and the only thing she got wrong was the timeline. She got there sooner than ten years. So, that’s something that’s new. Margo, because of that, she’s got a massive office. So, instead of being stuck in a closet, where she’s got like – I mean, it almost looks like just all camping gear and engineered fixes, you know, she’s got a closet full of clothes and little hiding places for books that she reads when everyone else has left and a massive desk. She’s been been around for a while. So, that’s all different, and now, Margot has people come to her for things instead of her needing to go to them. So, yeah, it’s a very different world from season one.

Suzanne: Krys?

Krys: For Danielle, I think, at the end of season one, we see that she’s really dedicated herself to her work. She’s made this enormous sacrifice to protect Gordo (Michael Dorman) and his reputation. We also see that her marriage to Clayton (Edwin Hodge) is really hanging on by a thread, because he’s in such disarray after returning home from Vietnam. So, we kind of leave Danielle in peril; we don’t know where we’ll find her.

At the top of season two, we see what the end result is of what happens when you just give and give and give of yourself, and eventually you have nothing left to give. Emotionally, she’s in a pretty kind of low place. I think she’s pretty exhausted. We see that Clayton is no longer with us, and so having had all these losses has created a revival in Danielle. She realizes, you know, “I want to go back to Jamestown. I want to not just be an astronaut in name only, but I want to suit up. I want to put my helmet on. I want to see the sunrise over the Earth’s crest, and I want to get back at it again.” So, we start to see the little inklings of a renewed and reborn Danielle.

Suzanne: So, I noticed something. I interviewed Jodi (Balfour) and Sonya (Walger) a little while earlier. Did they try to make a concerted effort to make all of you look a little plain?  Because you’re all much prettier in real life than on the show.

Krys: That’s very sweet. Suzanne, thank you.

Suzanne: It’s true, though.

Wrenn: I think, though, what’s interesting about that observation, is that it takes all of us, I think, one to two hours to get ready to bring us in that direction…

Krys: To look that plain.

Wrenn: …And like one two hours to look like this…It goes both directions.

Krys: Well, I was just gonna say too that, you know, Wrenn mentioned this in an earlier conversation, but especially with Margo and Danielle, these are people who are putting their intellect and that foot first. So, often, and as an actor, you’re judged on the way that you look and the appearance that you present, whereas these women are scientists and engineers. So, I love that, yes, Dani is a bit plain and Margo is a bit plain, but that’s because it’s not a fashion show. These women are looking to be taken seriously, and, ultimately, women are judged by the way that they look even in a bureaucratic environment. If Dani were to show up to the office, and – because we thought about that, like, this is 1983, and I came here with ideas of Whitney Houston, “I Want to Dance with Somebody” hair. I was like, “Let’s do it,” and they’re like, “Hold on, hold on, hold on. This is a woman who has an incredible acumen for science and technology. Let’s just take it a beat and also remind ourselves that this is in Houston. This is not in New York City or in Paris or some enormous fashion capital.” So, our costume designer, Jill Ohanneson, used the Sears Roebuck catalog as the baseline for Dani’s looks, because that’s where Dani can afford to shop, and she wants to look nice. She wants to look presentable. So, yeah, thank you for saying we look nice.

Suzanne: There are some interviews and videos where it seems like they just wear sweat pants and [unintelligible], males, especially.

What was the most fun thing – this is for either or both of you – that you’ve done on the show?

Wrenn: It’s too hard to choose. That’s like a nightmare of a question, because there are so many things…

Suzanne: Sorry.

Wrenn: …No, no, I mean, I’m just gonna start like reeling off things, and Krys, I’m going to leave it to you to stop me and be like, “Cut. Scene.”

I really loved working with Colm Feore in the first season. The whole relationship between Margo and von Braun was so much fun. I mean, it’s a true gift. When you pick up a script – like that was in our sixth episode that season, where it was almost like filming a play in some ways, which is when Margot goes to von Braun’s house.

I also really, really loved trying to figure out how to fake play the piano. So, it was really rewarding after spending so much time doing that to actually do it, and to have Sonya, who I just met, be like, “You’re pretending?” and me just being like, “Oh my God, [it’s] working.”

I also really loved filming scenes with Sonya as well; she was just incredible, especially [in] that one little scene between Molly and Margo, when they’re doing the training stuff.

Then, I just really love working with our writers and our whole crew. I mean, that’s something that’s a big bummer about COVID. It’s not just that we as a cast have to keep our distance, it’s that the crew, we’re actually all separated into different pods. I’m so used to like, jabbering with the crew on the side. I’m so used to being like, “Hey, how are you?” and to just feel like, it’s like, “Hey…” That’s a little sad.

Then, as far as Season Two goes, I just I love getting to play with who Margo is when she’s not at work being watched by other people. I just find that to be the most fun, fascinating, like creative ocean to dive into. Yeah, I maybe get a little carried away with that, but it’s so much fun. I’m gonna cut myself [off].

Krys: Yeah, I mean, all of it is really fun. I will say, learning The Bob Newhart Show by heart was really fun. Michael and Joel [Kinnaman] – I mean, I kind of feel like I should have shot those scenes wearing an astronaut diaper, because I laughed so hard that I had a little bit of pee in my pants. I mean, they’re just so much fun to be around. So, Meera Menon, our director for the “Hi, Bob” episode, really just let us open it up, let us play, let us improvise, let us just have fun together. So, I think what translates on screen is a connection with Gordo, Dani and Ed, and in real life, there was just a true connection between myself, Joel, and Michael, and just being able to horse around. There are so many aspects of this job that I love, but I think getting to reunite with those guys, is always really, really delicious fun stuff to do.

Suzanne: When they do the scenes that are on the moon, and like at the beginning of the second season, they’re bouncing around trying to get back when they have the solar flares, how is that done? Is that done completely CGI? How do they do that?

Krys: Suzanne! I can’t tell you how the magic is made. Are you kidding me? Come on.

Suzanne: A little bit, a little bit.

Krys: …So, here’s the rub about wearing the spacesuit. The spacesuit is about 65 pounds with the helmet and the boots and the full – it’s extraordinarily heavy. The joy of it is that if you were in space, you’d be weightless. So, it’d be [nice] for you, but we’re not; we’re here on Earth. It’s about half my body weight, so it’s it’s pretty taxing. So, some of the work is done on wires. Some of the work is actually just us moving in kind of an undulating way that’s slowed down a little bit to make it seem like we’re moving [in] space. But yeah, the suits are incredibly hot to wear, so they have to constantly lift the visor to blot you, because you’re just pouring sweat as you play those bits. But yeah, our visual effects team is incredible at making – Like there’s a bit in the “Hi, Bob” episode where I drop the ant farm. I mean, that’s all on liars, and it looks like it’s just me dropping an ant farm, and in actuality, I’m hitched to wires as I slowly slow speed fall over to grab this falling ant farm. So, all movie magic.

Suzanne: I can see why you wouldn’t count this. The parts of the spacesuit as being the most fun though.

Krys: No. Fun to watch but not fun to wear.

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

MORE INFO:

“For All Mankind” explores what would have happened if the global space race had

never ended. The series presents an aspirational world where NASA astronauts, engineers and their families find themselves in the center of extraordinary events seen through the prism of an alternate history timeline — a world in which the USSR beats the US to the moon.

Season two of the space drama picks up a decade later in 1983. It’s the height of the Cold War and tensions between the United States and the USSR are at their peak. Ronald Reagan is President and the greater ambitions of science and space exploration are at threat of being squandered as the US and Soviets go head to head to control sites rich in resources on the moon. The Department of Defense has moved into Mission Control, and the militarization of NASA becomes central to several characters’ stories: some fight it, some use it as an opportunity to advance their own interests, and some find themselves at the height of a conflict that may lead to nuclear war. New stars set to join Joel Kinnaman, Michael Dorman, Sarah Jones, Shantel VanSanten, Wrenn Schmidt, Jodi Balfour, Krys Marshall and Sonya Walger in the second season include Cynthy Wu, Coral Peña and Casey W. Johnson.

“For All Mankind” is created by Golden Globe-nominee and Emmy Award-winner Ronald D. Moore, and Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominees Ben Nedivi & Matt Wolpert. Moore, Nedivi and Wolpert executive produce alongside Golden Globe Award nominee Maril Davis of Tall Ship Productions and Nichole Beattie, David Weddle and Bradley Thompson. “For All Mankind” is produced by Sony Pictures Television.

The ten episode second season will debut globally on Friday, February 19, 2021, followed by one new episode weekly, every Friday, exclusively on Apple TV+.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

For All Mankind poster

Interview with Tarun Keram

TV Interview!

Tarun Keram of "The Stand" on CBS All Access

Interview with Tarun Keram of “The Stand” on CBS All Access by Suzanne 2/25/21

This was a delightful interview. He’s a very talented young actor, and I think we will see a lot more of him. I was excited to learn that he’s been in some of my favorite shows. I’m looking forward to seeing his “Debris” episode coming up.

Here is the audio version of it.

Suzanne: So, tell us about your character in The Stand, which, I think, just finished up last week.

Tarun: Yeah, it just finished. So, I play Steve, the orderly. He used to be a vet technician, and the apocalypse hit. Everyone’s dead, so there’re no doctors around. So, I have to step up and become a doctor and assist in labors.

Suzanne:
Great. And I heard you did a little research about being a vet technician.

Tarun: Yeah, I’ve done a little. I have a dog. So, I’d ask the vet some questions and all that, because there wasn’t – my character doesn’t exist in the book. So, the only information I had was the vet technician part and what it would be like to transition into being a doctor.

Suzanne: Great. What kind of dog do you have?

Tarun: I have a husky.

Suzanne: Oh, I love huskies.

Tarun: So great. So much hair, though.

Suzanne: They’re so pretty though. We almost got one.

Tarun: So pretty. Then, he’s got two different colored eyes.

Suzanne: Oh, that’s great. We when we had our first dog, we went to the shelter, and we wanted this husky there that was so pretty, but it had kennel cough, so we couldn’t get it.

Tarun: Aww.

Suzanne: I know.

Tarun: That’s too bad. Poor dog.

Suzanne: I hope it ended up okay.

Tarun: Yeah.

Suzanne: Do you have Instagram? Do you have pictures of your dog on there we can see?

Tarun: Yeah, absolutely. It’s just my first name last name, and you can check out my myself and my dog on Instagram.

Suzanne: Oh, cool. I’ll have to check that out. I’ll definitely do that. I follow a lot of dog and cat and other pet things on Instagram.

Tarun: Oh, really?

Suzanne: Yeah.

Tarun: I do too. Do you follow Loki, the wolf dog?

Suzanne: I don’t know. There’s so many that I follow. I don’t remember. I’ll look for him though.

Tarun: He didn’t do it, like the celebrity of dogs.

Suzanne: Oh, okay, cool. So anyway, you finished The Stand right before the pandemic, correct?

Tarun: Yeah, that’s right. I think it the first week of March was my final day, and I think everything shut down the week after or the week after that, but we just made it, and we didn’t have a wrap party.

Suzanne: Aww. Well, I know it’s a mini series, but is there any talk of a sequel that you’ve heard?

Tarun: Not that I’ve heard of yet. But the ending, if you’ve seen it, has changed from the book. So it’s sort of open ended.

Suzanne: No, I haven’t seen it, but I heard that it was left that way. So, that’s why I was wondering if maybe [it would].

Tarun: Yeah, I mean, I hope it does, but I haven’t I haven’t heard anything quite yet.

Suzanne: You’re also going to be an episode of the new NBC series, Debris?

Tarun: Absolutely.

Suzanne: What role are you playing there?

Tarun: I play a secret agent that’s a tech head. So, I deal with computers and spyware, figuring out where people go, that sort of thing. That’s pretty much all I can really say about it.

Suzanne: Are you in just one episode or multiple episodes?

Tarun: So far, just one.

Suzanne: I saw the first episode, and I interviewed two of the guys from there the other day. It looks like a good show.

Tarun: Yeah, looks like NBC is really pushing the sci-fi now for – What is it? They have a new streaming platform, right?

Suzanne: Do you mean besides Peacock?

Tarun: Oh, yeah, that’s the one, I guess. I don’t know if it’s out already.

Suzanne: Yeah. It’s hard to keep track. There’re so many.

Tarun: There’re so many now, yeah.

Suzanne: Do you have anything else coming out that you tell us about?

Tarun: Yeah. So, I’m in an episode of Nancy Drew that’s coming out. I just shot that. I just shot that one [recently]. It’s been super busy. Then, I’m working on Legends of Tomorrow, I think, next week.

Suzanne: Cool. Is that one episode or do you have a recurring role?

Tarun: It’s like a pseudo guest star for Legends.

Suzanne: Okay, cool.

Tarun: I don’t want to think too much, because there’s a lot of moving parts of that show.

Suzanne: Sure. I love that show. I watch all the CW superhero shows.

Tarun: Awesome.

Suzanne: I’ll watch for you on there.

Tarun: Yeah, please do. I actually quite like them. The last one I saw was Flash, but I haven’t seen any other ones since then.

Suzanne: Yeah, I think Flash is coming back soon.

Tarun: Yeah, that’s right. I have been auditioning…for for some roles. I’ve been in Supergirl already, so now I’m in Legends, and I was in Arrow before, so I’m trying to try to make the rounds here.

Suzanne: Yeah, I saw that you were in there. Those are all my favorite shows. It’s great.

Tarun: That’s awesome.

Suzanne: Well, there’re so many TV shows of all different sorts, and there’s a lot of good ones out there. So, you have to sort of like, figure out and prioritize which ones [to watch].

Tarun: Yeah, you’re going to have to get all the streaming services.

Suzanne: Right. Well, I pretty much do have almost all of them, but I try to watch them all, at least one episode for reviewing, for my site. But, I mean, for my personal viewing, I try to prioritize superhero shows and some sci-fi and other things.

Tarun: …Yeah, that’s right; you have to.

Suzanne:
Yeah, because, otherwise, you’re always behind, and you’re always stressed out and like, “Oh, I can’t watch it all. It’s too much.”

Tarun: Yeah, I feel that.

Suzanne: Did you grow up reading comics?

Tarun: I did not. I did not read any comics. I mostly read – I wasn’t a big reader, to be honest. The last book I read was Eragon, all the way through, but then I picked up a Vertigo graphic novel. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it. It’s called Fables.

Suzanne: No, but that’s okay.

Tarun: It’s all about fairy tales, but they all live in New York and have to deal with a bunch of problems. Beauty and the Beast is in it, Cinderella. It’s pretty cool.

Suzanne: Oh, it sounds a little bit like – there was a show like that on NBC awhile back…Grimm.

Tarun: Oh, I didn’t watch that one.

Suzanne: Yeah, that was a good show. Anyway, it’s similar to that with fairy tale characters in modern day society type of thing.

Tarun: Same idea. I guess [its], like Once Upon a Time; it’s kind of like that.

Suzanne: Yeah, it’s similar to that, but I think it was more of a gritty show than Once Upon a Time. So, are you back to auditioning now for other stuff, then?

Tarun: Absolutely. I don’t think that’s ever going to end. It’s changed a little bit now though, where I’m on set, and I have a call from my agent saying, “Send in a tape for before tomorrow morning.” So, it’s a little bit different than before where I’m sort of waiting around.

Suzanne: Well, I guess if you get big enough, at some point, you won’t have to audition.

Tarun: I hope so. I mean, I kind of like auditioning, but I remember Odessa Young from The Stand. One of the days we were there, she had an audition for the next day, and it was like twelve pages long or something, but she was on set shooting sixteen hours. So, I’m not sure. I’m not sure when when that would end, if the leads are doing it on The Stand.

Suzanne: But you actually like auditioning?

Tarun: I do. I do. The game’s sort of changed a little bit where there’s not many callbacks around for TV and film. So, when I showed up to set for Debris, I hadn’t met anyone, and I didn’t really know what their vision was for this character. So, I would do something one way, and then they would go a complete 180 on me. That sort of would have been figured out at the audition, or the callback, I would say, but it’s just adjusting.

Suzanne: Is that because of the pandemic and having to do everything remotely?

Tarun: Yeah, absolutely. You can’t really go in the room anymore.

Suzanne: So, they basically audition you on tape, and then they hire you, and then you sort of figure out the character together. Is that what you’re saying?

Tarun: Yeah, yeah, pretty much. You can give them your take, and you can show up to set with how you presented the character, but you’ve just got to be ready for some changes, as always.

Suzanne: To your knowledge, have they ever hired someone, and then when they get there, they find they just really can’t get this person to act the way they want to, and then they say, “Nevermind,” and they get somebody else?

Tarun: Oh, I don’t know. I feel like that might be a little costly. Yeah, you just kind of have to roll with the punches and work with what you’ve got.

Suzanne: Well, it’s good that they streamlined it, especially nowadays. Everything moves so fast anyway with the filming.

Tarun: Yeah, exactly.

Suzanne: …So, what have you been doing this past year to keep busy during the pandemic?

Tarun: Oh, I started a garden in my backyard. I built a fence, and I just relaxed. It’s a huge change of pace from auditioning all the time.

Suzanne: I’ll bet. Was this in Vancouver or somewhere else?

Tarun: Yeah, I live in Surrey, which is about an hour from Vancouver. It’s kind of like the [unintelligible].

Suzanne: That’s cool. So, did you know anything about gardening before, or did you have to learn everything?

Tarun: Absolutely not. I knew nothing. I just thought everything took the same amount of water; that’s not true. I ended up picking peppers and a bunch of other plants, and obviously, the peppers don’t need as much water, but I’d still water them the same amount. But after a week, I figured it out pretty quick[ly], because they did not look good.

Suzanne: I think that was very smart of you. Most people it takes awhile, or they just give up.

Tarun: Yeah, no, I didn’t. I actually enjoy cooking now. So, it’s nice having fresh thyme and fresh rosemary on hand. It’s so nice.

Suzanne: Great. And I see you’ve been a both a producer and a director. What do you like best actor, producer, or director if you had to choose?

Tarun: I feel like it depends on what kind of mood I’m in, because sometimes I just want to create my own project, and in that case, I love being the producer. Sometimes I just want to act. I don’t know. I don’t know. I would say that I like producing and acting more than directing, but I also like writing more than I like producing and directing, if that makes sense.

Suzanne: Sure. Well, I guess it’s a good thing you don’t have to choose, then.

Tarun: Yeah, exactly.

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

MORE INFO:

Tarun Keram’s stirring and rooted performances have the industry taking notice. He was born and raised in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada where he grew up spending his days playing sports with friends after school. In grade eleven Tarun began playing Ultimate Frisbee where he won multiple MVP medals. He came to the craft in his last semester of high school when he enrolled in a theatre class and uncovered his joy for acting. It took him a few more years to acknowledge his passion and talent for it but soon after he began landing coveted roles in TV and film. After high school, he dedicated himself to acting through the Vancouver Film School and an agent and roles soon followed.

Tarun has worked on numerous TV shows including The CW’s “Arrow”, “Supergirl”, “iZombie” and “Supernatural”, Amazon’s “Upload”, Netflix’s “Travelers”, Lifetime’s “UnREAL”, NBC’s “The Arrangement”, FOX’s “Prison Break” and ABC’s “Once Upon a Time”. He also had prominent roles on CBS’s “Twilight Zone”, The CW’s “Charmed”, Hulu’s “Marvel’s Helstrom” and SYFY’s “The Magicians”.

Most recently Tarun landed the coveted role of Steve on CBS All Access’ anticipated limited series “The Stand”, an adaptation of Stephen King’s classic novel. The series premieres December 17th.

LIMITED SERIES: The Stand

ABOUT THE SERIES: The Stand is Stephen King’s apocalyptic vision of a world decimated by plague and embroiled in an elemental struggle between good and evil. The fate of mankind rests on the frail shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abagail (Whoopi Goldberg) and a handful of survivors. Their worst nightmares are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg (Alexander Skarsgård), the Dark Man. THE STAND will close with a new coda written by the famed author himself.

CHARACTER: Steve

PREMIERE DATE: December 17th on CBS All Access

Get to Know Tarun

I did a DNA test and I’ve got Welsh and Japanese ancestry.

I was the Captain of my Ultimate Frisbee team in high school and won an MVP medal.

I’m very superstitious.

When I auditioned for Star Trek it was in a warehouse full of people who were auditioning for the Bridge Crew members.

I’m still in close contact with my Bridge Crew members to this day.

I grow my own ghost peppers to spice up my mom’s curry recipe.

I’m the owner of a print shop.

It takes me an hour to get to my auditions on a good day. I commuted an hour and a half every morning and evening .

When I was going to film school, I once thought I met Idris Elba , but it was actually his stunt double in an alien costume.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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Tarun Keram of "The Stand" on CBS All Access