Interview with Chris Sheridan and Sara Tomko

TV Interview!

Chris Sheridan and Sara Tomko of "Resident Alien" on Syfy

Interview with Chris Sheridan and Sara Tomko of “Resident Alien” on Syfy by Suzanne 2/22/21

I love this show, and it was great to talk with these two, even for the short time I had with them. They had great answers to my question. There other questions came from the other press interviewers on the Zoom call.

Here’s the video of our interview!

Question:   What’s been the most satisfying aspect of the response to the show so far?

Chris:   Gonna preview this by saying that I thought I was the only one who didn’t read any reviews, and as it turns out, Sara doesn’t read any either. That being said, I know I did join Twitter, and I do try to live tweet for an hour during the show. So, I do get to see a little bit of what people are saying. For me, and I’ll let Sarah talk, but for me, I mean, it’s been a long road; it’s been five years.

So, to put all this effort into something – and by the way, this happens all the time  – you put all this effort into something, and it doesn’t work for one reason or another, or you think it works, but no one likes it. So, to put all this effort into something for the main purpose of getting people to feel maybe better about their lives or better about feeling human, or getting them through the day or [giving them] something to look forward to, and look forward to laughing, and finding out that people really are doing that and enjoying it and looking forward to it and even in a small way having it make their lives a little better. I mean, yeah, it makes all the hard work over the last – you know, for me over the last five years – worth it. So, that’s the greatest thing, for me, is just feeling like you’re touching people in a way, even making them lives a tiny bit better. So, I love that.

Sarah?

Sara:   Yeah, I, like Chris, do not read the reviews, just so I kind of stay grounded. I don’t think too much about good or bad. I just kind of wanted to separate between just doing the work and letting the work speak for itself.

But it’s impossible to not hear from family and friends, especially who will send me sometimes things…but it’s so lovely, because they’re obviously very excited.

Meredith Garretson and I, who plays Kate, she’s one of my best friends, and right before the show premiered, we were talking about [how] it never occurred to us. What if we just aren’t good? We were all like, “It’s been two and a half years.” Corey [Reynolds], especially, would hype us up, like, “Yeah, of course, this is gonna go. Of course, it’s gonna be good.” We would always have these pep talks. Then, you get to that point where you’re about to reveal, and you’re like, “Oh, god, what if it’s not good?”

So, to hear that it is exactly what we believed it was, to hear that people are not only enjoying it, they’re inspired by it, that it’s something that’s bringing them solace in a time of grief – We’ve had a lot of really wonderful people reach out individually to us, and we have a little alien thread that we have going on. So, people are always letting us know, like my friend said “this,” or, my cousin said “that,” and, you know, my family is just floored. It feels really lovely to be seen by them in that way. They’ve known for a long time I’ve been an actor, and they’ve seen me do other parts. But I can’t tell you how many of them were like, “You have so much screen time.” [unintelligible] like they didn’t quite understand that. I’m like, “Yeah, I’m the lead next to Alan…” So, that part’s been really, really rewarding, and I just want people to continue to like it and continue to watch it, so we can get that season two, and three, and four, and the list goes on.

Question:   Chris, what made this a story you wanted to tell in the first place, and for Sara, what made Asta an irresistible character for you to play?

Chris:   I’ll jump in. I fell in love with Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse’s  comic, Resident Alien. What I loved about it mostly was this outsider alien observing human nature and trying to figure out what it’s like to be human. Out of all the things I loved about it, that one thing to me is the soul of the comment that I wanted to capture in the show. I really wanted to be able to tell a story about humanity and be able to sort of pick it apart and figure out, you know, what it is that makes us human, that makes us good, that makes us bad. Being able to do that in a light hearted way, through the eyes of this is new being coming to earth, I knew it’d be entertaining, and I thought that would be a really fun journey for me, as a writer, to sort of go down. That’s what really drew me to it.

Sara:   The thing that’s so enticing and intoxicating about playing this role is how vulnerable I get to be, how honest. When I was younger, especially early in my career, I longed for a character like this, I really did. You know, you’re in the industry, if you get a role worth a damn, it’s like, that’s a win. As a woman, if you get a roll that doesn’t have to just do with how you look, that’s a win, and if you get a role that the story’s great, and then the cast is great. I mean, then on top of it, it gets picked up and people like it. It’s just one checkbox after another with this show. That doesn’t happen for everybody. So, I just really feel grateful that my very specific dreams came true, which was I wanted to play a raw, vulnerable, honest, multilayered, larger than life character, and I think that’s what I got with Asta.

I think that the whole cast was brought together by a fate that none of us can really explain, which makes me feel really confident about our future. Even if the show didn’t go on, I believe that we all have this synergy now that we will continue to create things together in the future, because it just it works so well.

And I just I love playing her. I love being able to also be a woman on screen who looks like a woman. I [don’t have] the perfect body, not the perfect temperament, like that. That’s no shame or anything; that’s just the truth of being a woman. I get to just be that, and it’s it’s not pretty all the time. In fact, she’s messy. So, it’s really nice to be able to show that and show that that’s what it really is like most days for most people.

Question:   [What does] Asta think of how he changed the more he’s around? And how might you react if she finds out the truth?

Sara:   Whoo, how has it changed? Well, we have to get in pretty quickly to her trusting him. So, I think right away, it’s obvious, because this town is so small and so reliant on the doctor, which is what everyone tells him, you know, as a therapist, as someone who was like a father figure to me. I mean, we have to really just allow Harry into our world and let him replace someone that was really the heart of the town is what it really feels like.

So, it changes for me, because Asta has this ability to really hear a man in her life tell her the truth, the honest truth, and nothing but the truth. So, she finally gets an experience with a friend and a man that is unlike no other. So, that, ultimately, leads her to rethink how she looks at life and how she trusts men.

I think that, ultimately, leads to this question for the audience of, “What’s going to happen when she finds out?“ But he’s lied to her this whole time. I mean, it’s a really big irony. When I took on the role, I really didn’t know what would happen if she ever found out. I think there are ways that maybe there’s an understanding somehow oddly to [be], “Yeah, that makes sense. It makes sense, but you’re weird; you’re that weird.” But I also think that there’s going to be a feeling of betrayal if she ever finds out that information. That will be something that Harry’s gonna have to deal with. And he’s not gonna like when Asta is mad at him. He likes watching her get angry, but he’s never had it at him.

Chris:   Aimed at him, exactly right.

Question:   For Mr. Sheridan, once you saw what Alan Tudyk was doing with the role, were there any things that you wrote towards or away from?

Chris:   That’s a great question, and there was nothing that I wrote away from and everything that I wrote towards, and that we all in the writers room did. I mean, he’s so gifted that there was actually – I mean, the very simple quick answer is, there’s a sequence in in Episode Two, where he comments that he can’t switch bodies; he can’t leave and switch bodies to someone else. It took him three weeks to learn this body, and we just do a quick montage of him trying to learn how to walk and trying to sit down and, you know, can’t brush his teeth. That was that sequence I specifically put in for no other reason than the fact that it was Alan. And when I realized how talented he was, I mean, this is a guy who went to Juilliard and literally studied clowning, and when I could see what he could do with his body and his movements and how he really encapsulated this character, it just gave you so many places to go and so many ideas. So, that sequence specifically was for his strengths, but so much of it is stuff that he’s just doing on his own, all of this stuff that he does, with his hands. Even in the pilot, when he leans over Sam’s body and looks at it like this, this is him just naturally as an actor, sort of mimicking his sort of alien little baby arms that he has. That wasn’t anything anyone told him; that was just him sliding into the role and the physicality of the role. So much of what he does in the show, certainly physically and stuff that he’s brought to it, it’s writing to all his strengths. It’s realizing he can kind of do anything.

The other aspect of it, I’ll say really quick, is there are scenes in it in this season where we will see – and there was one in the pilot in the beginning, but there are more scenes coming up, where we will see what the real Harry Vanderspeigle was like. That was put in specifically to show the range of Alan Tudyk. You really get a chance to see what he’s doing with this alien role when you see Alan playing the real Harry Vanderspeigle, who’s not an alien, and see the differences between the two. So, as an audience, you’ll have an opportunity to experience that as well as the season goes on.

Question:   How does playing opposite him inform how you play Asta?

Sara:   Yeah, I was just about to say, actually, I think it’s really awesome to see the range he gets to play. I think there’s a lot of people that understand his comedy in his career, but Episode Four, when we’re lying down in the field, and he’s talking about his wife that’s passed on, there was this look that he has in his eyes that I don’t know if anybody’s ever seen Alan portray that kind of an emotion. I got a chance to see it a couple of times while we were working together, and it’s really beautiful. It’s really something that I think people don’t realize is in his bag of tricks, and it’s not a trick, it’s him just truly having a moment of stillness and honesty.  So, most of the time, obviously, when I’m playing opposite of him, I just sit back and watch. All those reactions are real and organic.

My little brother was like, “I think Asta’s reaction is going to become like an Asta-ism,” like one of her claims to fame. There’s so much range to what he’s doing that I can’t keep making the same face, otherwise, it’ll just be one note. So, I appreciate that he switches it up, because then it gives me the opportunity to have fresh reactions to him every time that are very real, and it’s so fun. When you’re on set, you want to be able to be in the moment.

Alan and I had a scene that you’ll get to see towards the end of the season that was a bit emotional, a little explosive, too, and it was really interesting to witness how we both approached that work. You know, he shows up – and we talked about this later, he shows up, kind of wanting to work at it from the ground up, this idea of how to get into it, and I show up wanting to kind of explode onto the scene and like soften into it. So, even as characters, even as actors, we have this different way of approaching it, but we always find our way to the middle ground, and our chemistry is really, really wonderful. You know, to be honest, when Alan and I do takes, it’s like two, three takes and we’re done. It’s almost a little sad. It doesn’t last long enough, because we just both click in so quick. We’re like, “Okay, well, good to see ya.”

Suzanne:   Hey, guys, love the show. Sara, I want to know how you feel about playing a Native woman, who’s a major character on an American show, which seems very rare.

Sara:   Yeah, thank you for asking. To be respectful to the other Native actors on the show, I am not a part of a tribe or a community. So, it’s respectful to at least acknowledge and showcase that there are so many wonderful Native actors on the show. Chris has done an incredible job being so inclusive to that community and writing so respectfully and authentically. You have [actors] like Eugene Brave Rock and my adopted dad, Gary Farmer, my, as we now know, daughter, Kaylayla Raine, and even we have a woman in the writers’ room, Tazbah Chavez, just so many incredible –

Chris:   [unintelligible]

Sara:   Yeah, so much incredible Native talent that I’m very fortunate to be able to play this role, because I have my own thing that I’m searching for in my own life, for how I fit in into this community, into this world, and where I belong. It’s so lovely to be surrounded by so many true Native actors who guide us both, Chris and I, who provide such guidance on what is really honest about a modern day evolutionary world of living on or off the reservation. It’s so lovely to witness that as Asta, who is raised in the community, but she’s not really one of them. So, she struggles with that. It’s the same thing I think I get to experience as Sara. I have my own family, oral traditions, but it’s not that I was ever raised in that community. So, it’s a little bit opposite, and I have to really sit back and listen and respect those beautiful, talented Native actors around me and say, “Hey, thanks for being here and showing up for us and guiding us on what is right and what is respectful.”

Chris:   Yeah, and I made some adjustments in the show. In Episode Two, Asta reveals that Dan is not her real father. She was adopted into his family and was raised with the culture, but is not native in the show. One of the reasons we did that, is because it was important to me that Asta felt like she didn’t belong, because that was the thing that connects her with Harry. Harry comes here as an alien and doesn’t belong to this world, and the fact that they’re both outsiders is the thing that connects them. And yes, as Sara says, I mean, in the process then of representation, there’re so many amazing Native American actors that we’ve cast into the show. There’s incredible native music that we’ve added to the show throughout the season, and a lot of these indigenous artists are having people hear their music that have never heard them before, and we’re really excited about that.

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

MORE INFO:

Read Our Review!

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

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

Chris Sheridan and Sara Tomko of "Resident Alien" on Syfy

Interview with Norbert Leo Butz and Scroobius Pip

TV Interview!

"Debris" actors Norbert Leo Butz and Scroobius Pip

Interview with actors Norbert Leo Butz and Scroobius Pip of “Debris” on NBC by Suzanne 2/22/21

This was a fun interview. These guys are so funny and personable. I watched the first episode of “Debris” and really liked it. I’ll keep watching it, and I hope it’s successful. We had fun in this video interview, so I hope you like it as much as I did.

Here’s the video of our chat!

Question: How likely do you think that this scenario actually is? I mean, not necessarily in terms of the exact personnel investigating it, but the possibility that something fell out of the universe onto Earth, and we’re just finding out about it now.

Scroobius: I think it’s really interesting, because I think it’s crazy to assume that anything that would come here from an unknown place would have properties that we’re familiar with. All of these kind of things, the assumption that it’d be a chunk of what we know as metal is crazy. So, yeah, I think it’s highly possible and, I don’t know, weirdly exciting and interesting to imagine what could come and what the impact of that would be.

Norbert: I’m so glad you asked that question, because Pip, I don’t know if you had this experience. I’ve always been very aware that in doing a piece of sci-fi, it’s not very likely at all, I would have said. And if I did not get up today – I don’t know if you had this experience. Have you heard about this? [There was] a plane that sort of fell apart over Denver, and they were interviewing and showing video, and I got chills up and down my arm from these massive pieces of metal on people’s front lawns.

Scroobius: Yeah.

Norbert: Interviewing and listening to what these people were describing, what the sound was, what they thought they were seeing, what they thought they were hearing, I got chills up and down my body. It’s the exact same thing that the characters of our show – of course, the properties in our debris, you know, change matter and make people do crazy things. But this idea, the basic laws of physics, you know, gravity, what goes up must come down. Suddenly, I don’t know, I got it on a very real level, as this man, he’s sort of beside himself. He’s laughing. He’s kind of upset, and there’s this massive piece of bizarre…

Scroobius: It’s debris, yeah.

Norbert: …metal from this airplane. Luckily, no one was hurt. I don’t know if you read about this story.

Scroobius: Yeah, completely. No one was hurt, and it felt like the best guerrilla marketing campaign for debris ever, but it was just this plane.

Norbert: It was his idea that there are objects, intergalactic objects, spacecraft, God knows what, we know that there is a lot of, you know, there’s matter. So, who knows?

Question: What can you tell us about the characters that you play and how you prepared going in?

Norbert: Well, Pip never prepares. He just he just shows up, and he says, “Oh, I’ve got an accent. Everybody like me. Everybody likes me.”

Scroobius: [unintelligible] nightmare. I’ve got accent and a beard. I’ve got an accent and a beard.

Norbert: He doesn’t have to prepare. He just shows up and people are like, “Oh, British, beard, we love him.”

Scroobius: Joking aside, the weird world that we’re in and the weird situation meant that we had a month or two of isolation out here in Vancouver. So, I found that, obviously, it was tough as a human, but as an actor, having more time to prepare and get to know your character is amazing. So, one of the things I did was put together a playlist for Anson Ash. I’d go out for walks in an evening and just kind of really get myself into that mindset and into that character.

Norbert: When we wrap, I want to see that playlist.

Scroobius: Yeah.

Norbert: I want you to give it [to me]. I’m a little scared of it, but I want to see it.

Scroobius: It’s an aggressive playlist. I told a friend of mine about it. He was saying, “You know, last time we spoke, you were saying that you’re having insomnia? I think it’s because you’re putting on this really aggressive playlist and walking around Vancouver at night.” I was like, “That could well be it,” but anything for the role. But, yeah, I think it allowed us kind of a really gracious extra amount of time to get to know these characters before we even set foot on set. Right?

Norbert: Yeah. That’s such a cool point. I really agree with you. The life of of a CIA operative, my character, Craig Maddox, would be sort of be heading this division, dealing with the debris. He’s somebody that would have come up through special ops work, paramilitary work, probably recruited for his IT knowledge or his tech knowledge. He is a guy who was a soldier. My character would have sort of made his name, not just in the Middle East, but say, sort of like in Central America, sort of battling the huge drug wars of the 80s is where he would have started to go.

And he’s worked his way up and has been asked to lead this division to deal with this debris. He recruits Bryan, Jonathan [Tucker]’s character, because he sees tremendous potential in him as a soldier but also as a spy and as a tactician. So, I sort of recruit him into this program. And it’s a really interesting relationship that I have with with Jonathan’s character.

But Pip said something so smart. You know, I’ve read some books on CIA ops and Special Ops. Capture Kill Vanish [sic] is a pretty famous book, an amazing book. But Pip is right, the isolation of COVID has really made me think a lot. These are characters who live in tremendous isolation, right? So, these are people who keep their own company a vast majority of the time, and it’s been interesting to reflect on that, you know, with just this aloneness, how you keep your mind engaged and stay disciplined. That’s something that these guys would do a lot. And you’re right, it has added to, I think, what we’re doing in front of the camera. The world of CIA life is, I don’t want to say lonely, because Craig would never use a word like, “Oh, it’s lonely or not,” but from the outside looking in, these are people who really have to compartmentalize their lives. They have to keep information from even their most intimate relationships, their families, their friends. They thrive in isolation. I’m so different from that; I’m totally relational. But that’s what I love about what we get to do. You make these huge leaps out of your comfort zone. So, it’s been a really cool world to explore.

Suzanne: Mr. Pip, what can you tell us about your character? We’ve only seen the first episode.

Scroobius: It’s kind of great, because the mystery of Anton Ash continues throughout, really, and we get more and more information as we come along. What I can tell you, is he’s ex-military. I kind of see – I’ve been thinking more and more as we were talking about the research. Definitely more than looking into the military side, I looked into radicalization, because I think he sees himself as a revolutionary, as a radical. That’s a really interesting mindset and a really interesting world, because the perception from the outside and from the inside is completely opposite. There’s no crossover. So, yeah, he definitely sees himself as a revolutionary and feels that he’s fighting an important fight. Then it’s up to you guys to decide if you from the outside see him as the good guy or the bad guy as such.

Suzanne: And is there anything else you can tell us about Craig?

Norbert: All I would say about Craig, is one of the great, you know, one of the thrilling parts about playing it this season, [is] the audience will get into his home life; they will as the season goes on. He’s married, he has a 17 year old son, and this is not easy work. You know, spying, Special Ops, it’s not easy work for people; it’s not easy for the people who love them. So, we do get to explore his home life a little bit. It’s a complicated marriage, [as] anybody who’s married in this line of work would say. So, he’s a guy who’s trying to do the right thing all the time, extremely intelligent, but constantly having to remain morally flexible.

Question: I don’t know if you guys would know this, but were there any episodes about germs from the space debris, and if there were, did you actually shoot those episodes? Or did they change them, because of COVID?

Norbert: Not that I know of. There was nothing on germs, but the metaphor is so obvious. Hopefully, it’s not too obvious, but the debris, we’re trying to harness what this stuff even is. We haven’t even begun to sort of get to the depths of its power. It’s all unseen, it’s all a mystery. And that’s how so many of us feel about this virus as well, you know, it all gets down to what the human being can control and what the human being can’t control. The show gets right to the heart of that. It’s really an existential question, you know.

Question: So, from the different perspectives, what do each of your characters think of this team-up between the CIA and MI-6 working together on this?

Scroobius: From my character’s perspective, it’s that they’re the enemy, that the enemy has just gotten stronger. You know, two of my enemies have come together. The outlook of Anson and his influx teammates is that neither the American government or the British government can be trusted with this technology and control of this. I think he’s got a lot of historical evidence on that belief. There’s been a lot of misuse of power and misuse of tech over the years within the government. So, yeah, for him that team-up is very much, whether it goes smoothly or not smoothly, it’s the strengthening of his enemies.

Norbert: There’s a interesting scene that I have with a Russian colleague counterpart in another episode, and we have this little dialogue about the the race to space between the Russian space program and the American space program. They’re kind of ribbing each other a little bit on like, “Well, you know, everybody remembers who Armstrong is, and nobody remembers who your guy [is].” And it’s a little bit like that with MI-6. I’m working with MI-6, we’re gonna help each other, but I still want the US to be the first one to solve this mystery. Do you know what I’m saying? I find the geopolitics of it very, very interesting. So, we are obviously allies with our British counterparts, and yet there are going to be some areas that we’re going to keep just for ourselves, because that is the nature of politics and power…I think that’s interesting. I find the geopolitics of the piece so interesting and so precious. We’re talking about the science fiction stuff that, you know, isn’t real, but the dynamics, the way that diplomacy works, the show gets into that, and I find it fascinating.

Scroobius: I think it’s fascinating, but as you said earlier about how the world of espionage doesn’t exactly lend itself to a marriage, with the other stuff that needs to be shared, similarly, it doesn’t lend itself to collaboration. The whole point is that there’s secrecy. So, it’s interesting to watch the two sides hiding things from each other.

Norbert: And yet, we act as if we’re completely transparent with MI-6, and we’re working on this together. It’s working both sides. For my character, the show is a huge game of chess. It really is. It’s an incremental moving of pieces. Everyone’s strategic. Everyone’s tactical, no matter if people around me don’t know that it is tactical. So, every phone call with MI-6 would have a purpose and would have a future goal. It’s like a big game of chess, isn’t it?

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.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

"Debris" actors Norbert Leo Butz and Scroobius Pip

Interview with Casey Deidrick

TV Interview!

Casey Deidrick of "Into the Dark: Tentacles" on HULU

Interview with Casey Deidrick of “Into the Dark: Tentacles” on HULU by Suzanne 2/22/21

It was a blast interviewing Casey! As I said in the video, I’ve followed him ever since he played Chad DiMera on “Days of Our Lives” 2009-2013, and I love him as Max on “In the Dark” on The CW.  The interview was for the latest installment of the HULU anthology horror series “Into the Dark” (funny coincidence) called “Tentacles.”

You can see the video and transcript of our EXCLUSIVE Zoom chat at SciFiVision! Thank you to Jamie for getting me this interview.

MORE INFO:

About Hulu’s INTO THE DARK: In partnership with Blumhouse Television, Into The Dark is a monthly horror event series from prolific, award-winning producer, Jason Blum’s independent TV studio. Each feature-length installment is inspired by a holiday and features Blumhouse’s signature genre/thriller spin on the story. The series has explored nearly every facet of the horror genre, and with the latest installment presents a twist on gender roles in modern horror.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

Casey Deidrick of "Into the Dark: Tentacles" on HULU

Interview with Dana Drori

TV Interview!

Dana Drori, Alexandra Pechman, and Clara Aranovich of "Tentacles" on HULU

Interview with Dana Drori, Alexandra Pechman, and Clara Aranovich of “Into the Dark: Tentacles” on HULU by Suzanne 2/18/21

This was a fun Zoom interview with these three women: the star, writer and director of this show. I was a bit nervous, and I think it’s because I’ve only done 3 Zoom interviews so far, and with the previous 2, I couldn’t see my face. It was set up differently. They were all very nice and patient with me, though. I really enjoyed speaking with these women. I hope you can watch this HULU show because it’s a good horror story.

Thank you to SciFiVision for letting us do this EXCLUSIVE interview!

Here is the audio version of it.

Read the whole interview and see the video at SciFiVision.

MORE INFO:

About Hulu’s INTO THE DARK: In partnership with Blumhouse Television, Into The Dark is a monthly horror event series from prolific, award-winning producer, Jason Blum’s independent TV studio. Each feature-length installment is inspired by a holiday and features Blumhouse’s signature genre/thriller spin on the story. The series has explored nearly every facet of the horror genre, and with the latest installment presents a twist on gender roles in modern horror.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

Casey Deidrich and Dana Drori of "Into the Dark: Tentacles" on HULU

Interview with Alex Gibney and others

TV Interview!

Alex Gibney, Scott Higham, Dr. Anna Lembke and Dr. Art Van Zee of "Crime of the Century" on HBO

Interview with Alex Gibney, Scott Higham, Dr. Anna Lembke and Dr. Art Van Zee of “Crime of the Century” on HBO by Suzanne 2/10/21

I was delighted to attend this TCA Virtual Press Tour. I was only able to ask one question because there were so many press there. This sounds like a great documentary that everyone should watch.

Today (2/23) I was asked to take the transcript down, for some legal reasons (that has never happened before, but I guess the TCA has different rules than regular TV networks). I will get a summary together for you later.

HBO and HBO MAX CTAM PRESS TOUR WINTER 2021
The Crime of the Century (HBO)

This virtual panel had Alex Gibney (Director, Producer, Writer)
Scott Higham (Washington Post Investigative Reporter, Subject)
Dr. Anna Lembke (Medical Director of Addiction Medicine, Stanford University, Subject)
Dr. Art Van Zee (Primary Care Physician, Subject)

2021 Virtual Tour
Los Angeles, CA
February 10, 2021
© 2021 HBO and HBO Max. All rights reserved.

The two-part documentary “The Crime of the Century” from Academy Award and Emmy winner Alex Gibney, is a searing investigative work that reveals the inner workings of the multi-billion dollar industry behind the opioid epidemic. Following the trailer, we will be joined by Alex Gibney, Director, Writer and Producer, and Film Subjects Scott Higham, Washington Post Investigative Reporter, Dr. Anna Lembke, Medical Director of Addiction Medicine at Stanford University, and Dr. Art Van Zee, Primary Care Physician. (Clip shown.)

Here is the question I asked:

MODERATOR: Good morning to our panel. Our first question comes from Suzanne Lanoue.

SUZANNE LANOUE: Hi. How long did it take for you to make this?

Alex Gibney: It took about two years from start to finish. It started with a meeting at “The Washington Post” where the editors and the reporters, Scott Higham included, sort of educated me in terms of the breadth of this. So about two years from start to finish.

Here are links to other reporters’ summary of the discussion.

SciFiVision

Indiewire

MORE INFO:

HBO Documentary Films Announces THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY, A Searing Investigative Work Revealing The Inner Workings Of The Multi-Billion Dollar Industry Behind The Opioid Epidemic

TCA | Winter 2021 The Crime of the Century

Two-Part Documentary From Academy Award-Winning Director Alex Gibney Debuts This May

HBO’s THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY, a two-part documentary directed by Emmy® and Academy Award® winner Alex Gibney (HBO’s “The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley,” “Going Clear: Scientology & the Prison of Belief”), is a searing indictment of Big Pharma and the political operatives and government regulations that enable over-production, reckless distribution and abuse of synthetic opiates.  Exploring the origins, extent and fallout of one of the most devastating public health tragedies of our time, with half a million deaths from overdoses this century alone, the film reveals that America’s opioid epidemic is not a public health crisis that came out of nowhere.

With the help of whistleblowers, insiders, newly-leaked documents, exclusive interviews and access to behind-the-scenes investigations, and featuring expert input from medical professionals, journalists, former and current government agents, attorneys and pharmaceutical sales representatives, as well as sobering testimony from victims of opioid addiction, Gibney’s exposé posits that drug companies are in fact largely responsible for manufacturing the very crisis they profit from, to the tune of billions of dollars…and thousands of lives.

THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY will debut on HBO and be available to stream on HBO Max this May.

The opioid crisis has resulted in a country ravaged by corporate greed and betrayed by some of its own elected officials, following the aggressive promotion of OxyContin, a highly addictive drug from family owned pharmaceutical giant, Purdue Pharma. Purdue worked closely with the FDA to get the highly profitable pain medication approved for wider use, promoting its safety without sufficient evidence, and creating a campaign to redefine pain and how we treat it. When government regulators or Justice Department officials tried to mitigate the wrongdoing, Purdue Pharma and companies like Cardinal-Health that were huge opioid distributors would settle the cases, keep the details private and continue on unabated. As tens of thousands of people succumbed to opioid addiction, the fortunes built by the opiate business became the crime of the century, and the market that OxyContin had opened paved the way for even deadlier prescription drugs.

Contributing to Part One of THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY are: author Patrick Radden Keefe; opioid specialist Dr. Andrew Kolodny; former Purdue sales rep. Mark Ross; addiction specialist Dr. Anne Lembke; Life Tree pain clinic founder Dr. Lynn Webster; Roy Bosley, whose wife died of an opioid overdose; author and NY Times reporter Barry Meier; primary care physician Dr. Art Van Zee; former Department of Justice official Paul Pelletier; and EMT Giles Sartin.

Part Two of THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY shines a spotlight on the mass marketing of the synthetic opioid fentanyl and examines the connections between drug manufacturers and government policy.  While America’s silent epidemic was killing 40 people a day, Insys Therapeutics, an upstart opioid manufacturer of fentanyl, continued to bribe doctors to overprescribe. Startling video of sales retreats and promotional material speak to a deep cynicism among company employees and a disregard for the widespread, nefarious corporate practices. A complex scheme to defraud the insurance companies existed side by side with fraudulent marketing tactics while lawmakers continued to turn a blind eye to the implications of a complex pipeline that delivers billions of pills around the country.

Interweaving stories of personal tragedy from first responders, survivors and family members of opioid victims with the timeline of corporate greed and malfeasance, Part Two of THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY includes insights from former DEA agent Joe Rannazzisi; former DEA attorney Jonathan Novak; Washington Post reporters Sari Horwitz, Scott Higham, Lenny Bernstein; Assistant U.S. Attorneys for Massachusetts David Lazarus, Nathaniel Yeager and Fred Wyshak; former V.P. of Sales at Insys Alec Burlakoff; former Insys regional sales manager Sunrise Lee; and fentanyl dealer Sidney Caleb Lanier. Woven together, the character-driven stories form a larger narrative of shocking corruption.

HBO Documentary Films’ presents a Jigsaw Production in association with Storied Media Group, THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY written and directed by Alex Gibney; produced by Alex Gibney, Sarah Dowland, and Svetlana Zill; executive produced by Stacey Offman, Richard Perello, Todd Hoffman, and Aaron Fishman; For HBO: senior producer, Tina Nguyen; executive producers, Nancy Abraham and Lisa Heller.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

"Crime of the Century" on HBO

Interview with Alan Tudyk #2

TV Interview!

Alan Tudyk of "Resident Alien" on Syfy

Interview with Alan Tudyk of “Resident Alien” on Syfy by Suzanne 2/2/21

I was thrilled to be able to interview Alan, even if they only gave me about 12 minutes. He was very nice, and he was fun to chat with. I love this new show, and I can’t wait to see more.

Here is the audio version of the “Resident Alien” part of it, or you can hear the entire interview here.

Suzanne: Hi, Alan, how are you?

Alan: Hey, how you doing?

Suzanne: Oh, good.

Alan: I’m great.

Suzanne: I’m a huge– I’m a huge fan of yours, ever since “Firefly.”

Alan: Thank you very much.

Suzanne: And I loved “Con Man.” It was so funny, and I’m glad to say that “Resident Alien” is funny. I’m hooked on it. I watched the first seven episodes this weekend, and it’s just great. I can’t wait to see the next one.

Alan: Thank you, how brilliant. That’s great. Thank you.

Suzanne: You’re welcome. So, can you tell us how this role came about for you?

Alan: It came about in a very normal way, sort of like most roles that I’ve ever had. They’re all pretty much just a call, like, “Here’s the script. They can’t find this guy. Would you want to go in on this?” type of thing. They literally auditioned many people before.

I fell in love with it immediately, went and auditioned, and met David Dobkin who directed the pilot, and Chris Sheridan. They were, I think, on FaceTime. We didn’t even know about Zoom back then! They were on FaceTime, and I was in a casting office in Los Angeles, and it was one of the auditions that I got done with and walked away and said, “I think that went well,” because they seemed so happy. Not always the case.

Suzanne: When was it filmed?

Alan: Oh my gosh, so long ago we filmed this. We filmed the pilot two years ago. We started, and then Syfy liked it and said, “Okay, we’re probably going to pick this up. We’re going to pick it up. Yeah, we’re picking it up.” It took some time to come up with that idea. Then they said, “But we don’t know when we’re gonna shoot it,” and they kept – I don’t know what they were doing. I just assumed it had to do with scheduling and big corporate-y decisions that I wasn’t privy to.

So, we finally shot it, probably almost a year later we got into shooting the series, and then COVID came along and pushed us out another six months. We finished it just a few months ago, two or three months ago.

Suzanne: Had you worked with any of the other people on the series before this?

Alan: Never, nobody. It was great. Well, it was great, because we all got along, and they’re kind of like a whole new group of friends.

Suzanne: That’s great. There’re a lot of people in that cast.

Alan: I know. I know. I knew Corey Reynolds before, from his work, but I have to admit, I hadn’t met or hadn’t seen anybody else’s [work] from the cast prior. Everybody’s so great. I hope when people watch it, they enjoy the new faces. They’re so funny and good.

Suzanne: Even though it’s a big cast, they make each character so distinct that you don’t get confused. Sometimes, you watch a show and you’re like, “Who are all these people?” But they did a good job with it.

Alan: Right, yes, they did.

Suzanne: I heard that you went to clown school to help you prepare for the role. Is that true?

Alan: I did, well… I took a clown class in – my first clown class in the late 1900s, in 1993 or 1994 when I went to Juilliard. There’s a clown named Chris Bayes, and he runs a program at Yale, and one of his students Orlando [unintelligible] is a great friend of mine, who also went to Juilliard, but now he teaches clowning at NYU. I know lots of clowns. I love clowns, like real clowns. Clowning is a big part of theater training at the major schools around the United States, for sure.

When we did the pilot, I had identified… so much of who Harry was could be considered clowning because of his physicality, the challenges in the physicality, and his lack of knowledge. He’s just waved into situations without knowing the rules, the social rules, and he’s curious. You just have to put put your head in a place where you’re looking at the world where anything is possible. That’s kind of how clowns see the world, and I mean, I’m talking good clowns. These are like the Lecoq School of Clowning out of France. These aren’t the kind of clowns that hang out in sewers and kill children and make them float. These are the real kind of Charlie Chaplin type of Laurel and Hardy clowns.

Suzanne: It’s interesting that you brought up the physicality, because when they showed you learning how to walk and talk and all that, it really reminded me of like a comedy version of Jeff Bridges and “Starman” when he first arrives.

Alan: I saw “Starman” when that thing came out!

Suzanne: Yeah, me too.

Alan: Yeah, I love his performance in that. His breathing always freaked me out. [laughs] He went for real on that, like he was into the mechanics of how to – I don’t go that far, luckily, for me, because I can’t hear that sound again and again, but definitely the manipulating your mouth, you know, that sort of thought process behind some of the speaking when he’s learning to speak. It’s like you’re pushing air over the back of the tongue and you manipulate the tongue in this way to create these sounds and these sounds mean these things. So, he becomes alien pretty fast if that’s your thought process going on in your head.

Suzanne: When you’re looking like the alien, how long does it take for them to make you look like that?

Alan: Two hours. Two hours, and there is another version of the alien that we haven’t seen yet that is much more involved. It’s sort of torso piece that is closer to four hours, and that involves body shaving, and I’m not a hirsuite man, but any kind of hair becomes problematic. So, you try to go all swimmer with yourself and just lose all the hair. So, that’s no fun, but usually just the main one, whenever the kid Max sees me and you see me standing there in my flannel shirt with the alien head and hands, that’s a two hour process.

Suzanne: What was the best part for you, filming the series?

Alan: I love this stuff. Early on, you mentioned walking and talking and sitting and trying to figure out how to sit down. Any new experiences, especially the physicality stuff that is that the challenge for Harry, those are so much fun for me. I enjoy going to work and falling down. It’s just something I’ve done since I was a child. Then I learned to balance, and then I kept falling down, because I found it very funny. I like falling down and getting hit with things. So, anytime there’s more of the physical stuff, those are fun.

Suzanne: Thank you so much!

Alan: Thank you.

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

MORE INFO:

Read Our Review!

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

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

Alan Tudyk as Harry and as the alien on Syfy

Interview with Leslie Lehr

TV Interview!

Leslie Lehr, author of "A Boob's Life: How America's Obsession Shaped Me―and You"

Interview with author Leslie Lehr of “A Boob’s Life: How America’s Obsession Shaped Me―and You” (soon to be a TV series on HBO Max) by Suzanne 2/11/21

It was so great to speak with Leslie! We had a fun chat.  Salma Hayek will be making her book into a TV series for HBO Max. As you can tell from the interview, she is quite passionate about her book. I haven’t read it yet, but it sounds great.

We started out talking about the weather because it’s been very cold here in Arkansas (and this was before we got a foot of snow!).

Suzanne: It doesn’t usually get or stay this cold like it’s been lately.

Leslie: Oh no, I’m so sorry. Well, you have to come visit me when the pandemic is over.

Suzanne: Yeah. Where are you located?

Leslie: I’m in California.

Suzanne: I’m actually from San Diego, so it kind of ruined me for living anywhere else.

Leslie: San Diego is like always 42 degrees; it’s perfect. How did you get from San Diego to Arkansas?

Suzanne: Well, I moved around a lot for my husband’s jobs. I haven’t actually lived in San Diego since 1982.

Leslie: Oh, I was there then.

Suzanne: Oh, yeah?

Leslie: Yeah. Oh, my gosh.

Suzanne: Are you from there?

Leslie: No, I changed colleges a couple times and went down there for a year. It was the best place I’ve ever lived, for sure.

Suzanne: Yeah, it’s nice. Which college did you go to down there?

Leslie: Actually, I came from Ohio. I was mad at my dad. If you have the book, you’ll see; I used my boobs to get out of going and then came to California.

So, I started at UCLA, and I ended up at USC film school, but in between, I took a quarter off and then moved to San Diego with a boyfriend and then ended up going to San Diego State for, I guess, maybe a year, not quite a year probably. I lived on the beach, and it was fabulous.

Suzanne: Oh, that’s nice.

Leslie: And I went back up to LA for film school.

Suzanne: My husband went to State briefly, and he ended up going to UCSD and graduated from there.

Leslie: There’re some great schools down there. San Diego State, actually, they had one of the big, you know, women in film study things that was after me, but I definitely took some great classes there. It’s known as a party school, but they had a great telecommunications [department]. Although this one TV teacher, I remember he said, “You’re never going to make it, blah, blah, blah. So, that was the day I applied to film school and went back to LA. It’s like, this guy’s a loser; I’m out.

Suzanne: Oh, no.  Did you have a house on the beach?

Leslie: I shared an apartment with three other girls on the beach. Actually, there’s a story in the book…two had really big boobs. One had really big boobs and then got a reduction…It was on Mission Beach. That was so nice.

Now I’ve been down there, because my daughter lived there a little bit a couple of years ago. She lived there for a year. Now it’s all bars and restaurants. In ‘82 certainly it was much more of a little beach town.

Suzanne: Yeah, that whole Southern California area has has been built up so much over the last twenty, thirty years.

Leslie: Yeah, it’s kind of sad, because you can’t get a new beach place. I remember, Hooters was just being built when I left. It might have been there when you were there. No, it’s this big giant double decker bar.

Suzanne: Actually, speaking of both boobs and warm weather, before we lived here, we lived in Honolulu for three years.

Leslie: Oh, my gosh. Wow.

Suzanne: It was very expensive, but they paid my husband well, fortunately. But we used to go down to the Hooters – we lived downtown near Chinatown – it was the only sports bar in the area, and if you wanted to watch mainland sports, you had to go really early in the morning…They served breakfast and stuff.

Leslie: Did the girls with the low cut tops serve breakfast, or did they have different uniforms then?

Suzanne: No, I think they served breakfast. I think they wore the same thing. It was it was funny, because it was a lot of his students.

Leslie: Oh, great! [laughs]

Suzanne: You can’t really leer at your students! Not that he’s the leering type anyway…

Leslie: That’s so funny. Did you just wear a bikini the whole time you were there?

Suzanne: No, I’m not a bikini type.

Leslie: Yeah, I like one pieces too.

Suzanne: It’s funny, even though I grew up in San Diego and lived in Hawaii, I did not go in the ocean or the water that much.

Leslie: Those are probably the two places in the country that aren’t totally shark infested like Florida, and the water’s warm. If you’re not going to go in there, then you’re just not going to go in.

Suzanne: I love the ocean. I like the beach. I just like having it there more than actually going in.

Leslie: I hear you. I was a swimmer, and I live about a mile and a half from the beach now, and I go down and I always think, “Oh, I’m gonna go swimming.” I see people swimming, and I was just curious all my life, but I really don’t want to be in the water as much as I want to look at it. So, I hear you. I like to walk and look at the ocean and look at the dolphins. When you’re under water, you can’t really see much.

Suzanne: Yeah, and we used to like going down to Waikiki and sitting in an nice outdoor bar having dinner and drinks, listening to the ocean and that kind of thing.

Leslie: Exactly. My mom loves the Pink Hotel.

Suzanne: Oh, yeah, it’s crazy.

Leslie: That’s where she wants to be, her ashes scattered when she dies. It’s like, “Okay, mom. That’s fine we’ll do that; we can do that.” [laughs]

Suzanne: If you ever get back there, there’s a great restaurant called Top of Waikiki. It’s got a revolving restaurant, and it looks right down on all of that. It’s beautiful from up there.

Leslie: Oh my gosh. Well, as soon as the pandemic’s over, I’ll put that on the top of my list.

Suzanne: I mean, I’m not saying it’s a great restaurant food-wise. It’s okay food-wise.

Leslie: They probably have good pu-pu. We went to place that was named Dukes. That was near the Pink Hotel. Oh, man, now, I really want to go on vacation.

Suzanne: I know what you mean. I’ve wanted to go back there ever since we moved here.

Leslie: Yeah. Well, you would think he would want to do that too, just to visit.

Suzanne: Yeah, he does. It’s just… he’s an administrator, so finding the time to go back there, especially now with the pandemic, of course…it’s crazy.

Leslie: Of course, yeah.

Suzanne: We probably would have gone if not for the pandemic this year.

Leslie: We actually went to [Hawaii] last February. I had been working on the book, and my husband is also a writer, and we were so busy we didn’t go anywhere during holidays at all. So, we went on a vacation around Valentine’s Day but not actually on it; it’s too expensive then. So, we were lucky to have been in Hawaii right before the [pandemic]. Now we’ve been home, and I was like, “Thank God, at least went on a vacation.”

Suzanne: Yeah.

Leslie: We were on the Big Island, I think.

Suzanne: Oh, that’s nice. Yeah, actually we never went to the Big Island, [laughs] but we were only there three years, you know?

Leslie: Three years is a lot, though.

Suzanne: You would think. I don’t know. It’s island time; that’s different.

Leslie: That’s true. There’s a Thai restaurant. In fact, I say to my husband, “We need to get take out [from] this Thai restaurant,” and it’s a little bit of a drive that even with the pandemic, you go, you pick up your boxes, and they have a TV that, I don’t know why, but it only plays a surf channel. It’s always so relaxing. It’s people surfing in Hawaii. They have it on a loop. It’s so fun to watch.

Pre-Order Leslie’s Book here!

Suzanne: That is cool.   When did you decide to write this book, and how long did it take you?

Leslie: I actually had no intention of ever writing a book about boobs, until the moment I realized that I could track my whole life by how I felt about my boobs, and I wasn’t the only one.

I mean, every morning, every woman gets up and has to do something with their boobs. It’s a pretty common experience, but I got out the shower one night, and my boobs were crooked, and I was so mad. We had just moved to this really cool place, and we were going to have a date night. There were still boxes and everywhere. I was a couple years out of breast cancer, which was horrific. I’d had my boobs redone a bunch of times, and they were so crooked. I was so mad that my husband accused me of being obsessed. I thought, “No way, I’m a girl. No way could I be obsessed with breasts; that’s just wrong.” So, he said, “Just calm down.” I wanted to call my plastic surgeon and [be] like, “Fix them,” which kind of troubled me, that I felt like that, because I’d always considered myself a feminist.

Then, he had taped the last week of David David Letterman’s The Late Show, and David Letterman had all these stars on. I mean, he was this famous guy, thirty eight years on TV, and he was known as the intellectual guy. So, what does he do on one of the most watched episodes of his entire TV career? He tells a big joke.

So, my husband and I looked at each other, and it was like, “I am not the only one who’s obsessed.” This is totally not my fault, but it was really troubling. And date night was off. He went to sleep.

I started unpacking boxes, and I saw this picture of one of my favorite pictures I had. It was the first one I took out. It’s this old picture. It’s actually in the book, and it’s of me and my sister and my mom. I was three, and we’re all wearing red bikinis, and for me and my sister, who was one, there are these tiny red strips of fabric. I remember, I always laugh and look at the picture, because my sister could not keep the fabric [covering] her nipple, because she was, you know, one or something, but I thought it was the funniest thing. Then I realized, “Oh, my gosh, at three years old, I knew that nipples were taboo,” and that said something about the culture.

So, I kind of was like being a detective. First of all, I wanted to prove to my husband, A, that I wasn’t obsessed, or B, that it was okay, because everyone was obsessed, and then I wanted to know why. So, I went through, and I did a whole lot of research and went through my whole life, and I realized that I could connect all the dots of my life from when I was a little girl wanting breasts, a teenage girl wanting bigger breasts to be a cheerleader. My dad had Playboy. Then in college, you know, having breasts meant you were pretty. Then, if you then went [to get] a job, you had to hide your breasts to look professional, you know, and then having a babies and getting big breasts that were gorgeous for breastfeeding, and then having them so ugly and saggy that my mom called me deformed. After I got a divorce, she wanted me to get a boob job, because she thought I’d be lonely without breasts. Then eventually, I got a new job a couple years later, completely unrelated, and I did feel more confident, because that’s how the culture was. It really did make me feel more like a woman.

Then I got breast cancer, and it’s like I did all this, and still they weren’t perfect. And I realized that 300,000 women a year get breast augmentation. It’s the most popular elective surgeries. The same amount of women get breast cancer every year. It’s like, breasts can feed our babies; they can kill us. I could see my whole life now, as according to my breasts.

I looked for other books that covered this. I mean, breasts literally turn blood into milk, and there is not a medical specialty. Here in Oregon, by definition, there’s no medical specialty about breasts. There are books on breast cancer, books on breastfeeding, and, of course, if you google “boobs,” you’ll find porn. If you google “breasts,” you find cancer and chicken recipes. Seriously, I could not believe it, but there was no book that connected the dots.

Then I realized that my life – because I was born right at the edge of 1960, and my life completely parallels the moment when breasts became exponentially important for men and not for babies. It had to do with this historical thing of like – I mean, this is probably too much detail for you, but women had to go back to the kitchen. There had been child care during World War Two, and then [Uncle Sam] closed them. Then suddenly, the sciences were pushing baby formula, so, women weren’t using them for breastfeeding.

Then, Playboy came out that same year, so advertising rose. TV suddenly was in everyone’s homes. Those were the couple years where TV overnight was in everyone’s homes. A man’s eyes – I found the scientific research – look at a woman’s chest within two hundred milliseconds of her walking into the room. So, for advertising eyeballs, of course they’re gonna have women with big breasts on TV, and so we were raised in this culture.

Then the society plastic surgeon said small breasts were diseased. Suddenly, women, actresses had to be in Playboy; Victoria’s Secret came up later. Even beauty queens, everyone had big breasts.

So, my life really paralleled this culture of breast obsession, and since America really sets the tone media-wise for the rest of the world, we were influencing everyone. My life at every stage had been influenced by the songs and the commercials and the news and the fashion and the censorship.

So, that night I like was like, “This is my next book.” I never intended to write about boobs or ever intended to write a memoir. I mean, I’m a novelist; I’d written some screenplays.

And honestly, I wasn’t sure after chemo that I would be able to write another book. My analytic side came back really easily. I was working with other writers, I taught stuff, and that side, my brain was great, but creatively, it just wasn’t flowing for a long time. I was on meds for years, and suddenly, this idea was just fully formed in my head; like I had to write this book.

So, I actually started it when we thought Hillary was going to be president and kind of thought, “Oh, this is so important,” and then that didn’t happen. And I pitched the book, and nobody wanted it. Everyone was was like, “Oh, breasts aren’t important.” It was so, insidious, I guess is the word. We take breasts for granted that we don’t realize how much they affect our whole lives and men’s lives, too.

We all get into these roles, and especially now with a pandemic, women are like, “Our breasts definitely are defining us.” It’s harder to work. If we have children, we need childcare. We’re not taking care of ourselves, because we’re taking care of everyone else. We’re getting sick. So, it just told this bigger story.

I actually started the book in 2016, and then I wrote a query, and I wrote a proposal, and they didn’t sell. Then finally, I read the whole book, and I thought, TV. I got interest from a producer, actually, pretty early on, when somebody read the manuscript, but it still didn’t rate; it still didn’t sell this book. I mean, I had so many rejections. Now, I’m getting these rave reviews from publishers weekly; [unintelligible] is like the holy grail of the book industry.

The problem was too, it’s a memoir, but it has cultural analysis. I’m using my life, my personal emotional experience, in relation to the wider lens of our nation with a lot of humor and a lot of research. It shows the power of biology is something we can’t change, but also the way we react to it, that we can kind of change the culture. So, it was kind of unusual. It wasn’t like strictly memoir, and I’m certainly not a celebrity. So, who would buy it, right? And now, those are the very things about the book that people are really praising, and it’s just thrilling.

I just had so many moments of doubt, like, “Oh, maybe it’s not a book.” But it’s clearly a book, and now, obviously, it’s going to be a TV show. I couldn’t be more thrilled to get this message out for everyone to stop judging ourselves and each other and understand what the realities are about living in a woman’s body and how it affects everybody.

Suzanne: So, even though you’d already gotten books published, it didn’t matter. They didn’t want this.

Leslie: Yeah. They were like, “Oh, Leslie’s such a great writer, but this is not for us.” I just hope all those people are watching now! [laughs] Not in a mean way, just be more open minded, because people are calling this a really important book.

There’re really only five big publishing houses, and there’re lots of imprints, and they have to sell sure things. They need a sure thing, and this was kind of an unusual book, and boobs are like, “eww.” I mean, I even lost my first agent. She said she just wasn’t a boob person, and I thought, “That’s how important this book is, because you’re in denial that this is really important.” She’s smart, she actually had gotten an offer to go to a bigger agency and handle people like Kamala Harris…bigger people. But I got a new agent immediately and totally understood.

Then, it was just a challenge, because people just take boobs for granted. Yet every morning, we get up and we decide, are we wearing a bra or a sports bra? Are we showing them? Are we not? Are we wearing no bra? [unintelligible] So, they are a big deal, and that’s what I’m just thrilled about, that that’s a real thing now.

Suzanne: You know, I never really thought about any of this before. I guess, I don’t really think about it.

Leslie: Exactly, nobody does. Honestly, I would not have, and my whole life – like all my friends from high school – I grew up in Ohio – they’re all like, “Oh, Leslie, boobs.” You know, it’s it’s like, “Yeah, well…” Didn’t mean it.

There’s serious stuff in this too, but there’s plenty of humor, because boobs are funny, and that’s why I didn’t name it A Breast’s Life. It’s like, why so serious? Boobs are funny, and yet they’re the same thing. And then, Oprah Winfrey calls them “The Girls.” We objectify our own bodies. It’s really interesting.

So, that’s my point, for regular great women like you who just don’t think about boobs: we take them for granted. So, I’m just trying to say, “Hey, the way we think about boobs affects how we live.”

Suzanne: Somewhere I read you said that you had wanted bigger boobs when you were younger. Was that because you just hadn’t matured yet, or did you think you had ones that were too small?

Leslie: Both. I used to watch we watch Miss America every year, and I would put socks in my little bathing suit, parade around like Miss America with a towel and my cape and a tinfoil crown. I wanted to be beautiful.

I have the statistics in my book; I have all these kind of pages of facts in between the chapters, and one is about Miss America and Miss USA beauty pageants. By 1999, so many beauty queens, entrants of Miss USA particularly, the majority of them had breast implants. I mean, it’s a big deal. Breasts are important.

When I was little, I was just dying to get a bra, and then suddenly, when I was big enough to get a bra, it was Vietnam and women’s lib, and if you had to not wear a bra to be against the war – I was like, “Okay, now my breasts are political. I want to wear a bra, but I don’t want boys to get killed.”

It’s like breasts meant everything, and then they weren’t big enough. The boy I liked, you know, my best friend had big boobs, and I was sure he was gonna ask her to the dance. He asked me, and I was like, “Why me?” She had the big boobs.

You know, boobs were really important. Cheerleaders had big boobs, and I wanted bigger ones. Then when I had babies, I had giant ones, and then, it was great, but then there were the babies, and then I was just completely flat.

And you had to pretend you didn’t have boobs to get a job, wear suit coats and those shirts with floppy bows. I always wondered what it would be like to have really nice, not like giant boobs, because here’s the thing: if you have giant boobs, then you’re a bimbo, and I didn’t want to be a bimbo. I mean, we definitely judge women by how big or smaller boobs are. I didn’t realize – I did an interview the other day and someone said, “Well, of course you got breast cancer, because you’re all about boobs.” I was like, “No, no, no, no, no.”

Suzanne: Really?

Leslie: Yeah, exactly. Why?

I had no idea that my life had any through-line about boobs until I actually sat down and thought about that night, when I was like, “Why do I care so much? Why do I want to fix my boobs? Are they broken? What does that mean?” When I have a body part that I think is broken, what does that mean?

Suzanne: Did your mom at all – and I’m not saying you should blame her, but what was her attitude about boobs? Did she influence you at all?

Leslie: My mom was beautiful. She also got a PhD while I was in elementary school, and she worked for Planned Parenthood. My mom was totally smart and pretty. She was the whole package, and yet my dad cheated on her with girlfriends with big boobs. He married several women with big boobs who were not as smart as my mom. My mom was raised in the 50s, and it was really important to be beautiful, and being smart didn’t help her keep her husband. That was part of a woman’s identity then, and she was really affected by the culture as well. She still to this day feels that beauty is really important. She gives both my daughters a little allowance each month – my daughters are now in their late twenties – to get their hair done or their nails or something, because how we present to the world is how we are judged from the world. I hate that, and yet I acknowledge it as a truth.

So, she felt like when I got divorced, I had really saggy little boobs; my nipples pointed down…I wore a camisole all the time; I never took off, and when she saw me, she first thought, “Men like boobs, and you’re going to be lonely, because nobody wants to look at that.” It was because she never nursed, and her mother also was gorgeous and very well built, and my mom still had great boobs.

It was like she just wanted me to have every advantage, and as a woman, being smart isn’t the whole advantage. I mean, you have to be pretty too. It used to be you were smart or pretty, but nowadays, I feel like the new generation who is having more opportunity, they have to be smart and pretty.

Even this whole body positivity movement is fabulous, but I think it’s bigger in the media than it is in real life, and it’s gonna take a long time for real life to catch up. I think men look at women, and it’s just biological imperative. If you want someone who can give you children, whether you’re consciously aware of that or not, that’s the biology of it. A woman with a curvy figure and big hips can have babies, boobs, you know, make milk. So, part of it is valid, you can’t fight that. So, what I want is for people to just be aware of it, so that we stop being hard on ourselves, and we stop judging other people. I think I feel like when we know better, we do better, and that’s my message, I guess.

Suzanne: That makes sense. And now it’s being turned into a TV series?

Leslie: Yeah. The pilot’s being written now, and I’m executive producer, so I’ll have some say on who plays Leslie, but Salma Hayek is just this genius producer. I really feel like she and Dolly Parton have the biggest boob power in the world. They they use their boobs for good, because people love their boobs, and they use their power, because they are brilliant women, and Salma Hayek is a genius. I mean, we see her for her movies, but she produced Frida; she was executive producer of Ugly Betty. She has this huge Spanish language hit called Monarca. She has so many projects, and she’s such a humanitarian, and we don’t hear this part of it, because it’s kind of unusual; she’s doesn’t get acknowledged for it. I think she got an Emmy for something and then didn’t work for a while; after she produced or directed something. It’s like, people like the boob part, but she’s really, really smart.

And she told me that she’s obsessed with my book, and she has a first look deal at HBO Max, and they are making it into a TV series. It’s going to be a comedy, and yet, it’s going to be about the reality of living in a woman’s body. After talking to her, I completely trust her. It won’t be exactly the same as the book, and it also will take a long time, especially with this pandemic, until it happens.

So, I really want people to read the book. There’s tons more in the book, and there’s sixteen pages of pictures and six pages of footnotes, and a lot of funny stories that won’t be in the [series]. The [series] will start present day, and then we’ll have some flashbacks, and hopefully they’ll cover everything in many seasons. Also, I have two daughters. It might be a daughter and a son. They’re going to do what’s best to make it a really great show. So, I’m thrilled, and really excited about that.

Suzanne: When do you think the pilot’s going to be finished? Do they have an idea yet?

Leslie: Right now it’s just being written. Then, I get to read it, and the other producers get to read it. It goes back and forth for a while until it gets approved and then has to be greenlit for the series. So, it’s a long process, just like the book. It’s been five years since I started this book. It won’t take that long for this TV show; I’m guessing like a year, so, anybody can really look forward to it. So, read the book, then you’ll get a preview for sure.

Suzanne: They’re a lot faster now making a series and I think, because of the pandemic, they got really fast. They’re churning out things now.

Leslie: They had a lot in the pipeline, so they’re trying to get stuff out. It’s definitely difficult to shoot and to cast, and just the project, the process of actually making TV, takes a long time, because there’re so many people and so many steps involved and so much money involved. So, she’s going to be very careful and make sure that this is a good show that can last a long time. So, they’re not going to rush it out.

Suzanne: Oh, no, I didn’t mean rush in a bad way. I just meant, they’ve gotten much more efficient, because they had a time crunch. Just from some of the interviews I’ve been on lately, I’ve been hearing about that. Yesterday, actually, HBO Max had a whole day for the TCA online, and one of the shows, they’re saying normally they have a whole week to shoot an episode, and they did this only two days per episode, which is really cool.

Leslie: Yes. That’s just because of getting everyone in the room healthy; they only have so much time. So, that is a really tricky thing.

Suzanne: Some of these movies they do on TV, like Lifetime and everything, they’ve got them so fast now. They’ve got it down to a fine art.

Leslie: Well, that’d be great. I’m looking forward to seeing who they get to play me.

Suzanne: I’ll bet; that would be exciting.

Leslie: Yeah, and they’re using my name, too. I was thinking last night, “Do I want to switch the name?” Then again, it is my story. It will be fictionalized; it’s not really me. I don’t know; we’ll see.

Fingers crossed. I hope it happens for me. Just right now, I really want people to [read the book]. The book comes out in two weeks. I don’t know when you’re going to publish this, but I definitely want people to preorder. I think the success of the book also will help the success of the TV show. For me, it will help me keep writing. Also, there’s just so much in the book that I’m not sure what all will be in the TV show, but I know it’ll be good.

Suzanne: So, right now you’re just working on helping out with the TV show? You haven’t started writing another book or thinking about another book?

Leslie: Well, I’m waiting until I see the pilot script, and then I’ll be working with the TV show, but I’m definitely working on another book. And right now, I’m trying to do my best to help people get the message of A Boob’s Life and understand to love your boobs and all that. So, I’ll be busy with this book for a while, but I definitely am working on another book, which has some similar themes, but it’s a novel. Hopefully, I’ll finish that and take few months. I mean, I’m a very careful writer; I’m a very craft oriented writer, so it needs to be really good for me to show it to anyone, so it’ll be a little bit, but I’m on the third draft of it.

Here is the audio version of it.

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

MORE INFO:

From her prize-winning fiction to her viral New York Times Modern Love essay, exploring the challenges facing contemporary women has been author Leslie Lehr‘s life-long passion. In her upcoming book, A Boob’s Life: How America’s Obsession Shaped Me – and You (March 2nd, 2020; pre-order here), her first project since breast cancer treatment, she continues this mission, taking readers on a wildly informative, deeply personal, and utterly relatable journey.

No matter your gender, you’ll never view this sexy and sacred body part the same way again. The book has already caught the attention of the literary and entertainment industries alike. We would love to set up an interview with you and the author to discuss the book timed to Breast Cancer Awareness month next month.
“As women we are always asking ourselves, are we enough? Leslie Lehr‘s witty, wise, and sometimes heartbreaking memoirs, A Boob’s Life, uses our relationship with breasts, and the ways others define us through them, to explore what it means to live in a woman’s body. Original, thought-provoking, and with an elegant sense of humor, A Boob’s Life is a must-read.”

Salma Hayek
 
Author Leslie Lehr wants to talk about boobs. She’s gone from size AA to DDD and everything between, from puberty to motherhood, enhancement to cancer, and beyond. And she’s not alone-these are classic life stages for women today. A Boob’s Life explores the surprising truth about women’s most popular body part with vulnerable, witty frankness and true nuggets of American culture that will resonate with everyone who has breasts-or loves them. At turns funny and heartbreaking, A Boob’s Life explores both the joys and hazards inherent to living in a woman’s body. Lehr deftly blends her personal narrative with national history, starting in the 1960s with the women’s liberation movement and moving to the current feminist dialogue and what it means to be a woman. Her insightful and clever writing analyzes how America’s obsession with the female form has affected her own life’s journey and the psyche of all women today. Lehr explores the duality of today’s women to navigate a new path between sexy and sacred.
Lehr is a prize-winning novelist and non-fiction writer whose books include What A Mother Knows, a Target Recommended Read, Wife Goes On, and 66 Laps, winner of the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Prize. Her nonfiction books include Welcome to Club MomClub Grandma, excerpted on FisherPrice.com, and Wendy Bellissimo: Nesting, featured on Oprah. Her personal essays have appeared in the New York Times Modern Love column (narrated by Katie Couric on NPR), HuffPost, Yourtango, and in anthologies Mommy WarsThe Honeymoon’s Over, and On Becoming Fearless. She wrote the original screenplay for the romantic thriller, HEARTLESS, and the comedy-drama, “Club Divorce”, for Lifetime. Lehr is a member of PEN, the Authors Guild, WGA, Women In Film, and the Women’s Leadership Council. She has a BA from the School of Cinematic Arts at USC and an MFA from Antioch. Lehr is a breast cancer survivor, the mother of two daughters, and lives in Southern California.
We would love to send a galley if interested and/or set up an interview with you and Leslie Lehr to discuss her latest book, A Boob’s Life, and her career as a whole.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

Leslie Lehr, author of "A Boob's Life: How America's Obsession Shaped Me―and You"

Interview with Alan Tudyk

TV Interview!

Alan Tudyk, star of "Devil May Care"

Interview with Alan Tudyk of “Devil May Care” on Syfy by Suzanne 2/2/21

This is a fun animated show. Tudyk does a great take on this kinder, gentler Satan.  It was very nice to speak with him! It was only four minutes – part of a longer interview I did with him. He’s one of the few people to have two shows on Syfy at the same time!

Here is the audio version of it, or you can hear the entire interview here.

Suzanne: Hi, Alan, how are you?

Alan: Hey, how you doing?

Suzanne: Oh, good.

Alan: I’m great.

Suzanne: I’m a huge. I’m a huge fan of yours ever since Firefly.

Alan: Thank you very much.

Suzanne: They wanted me to [ask you about] “Devil May Care.”

Alan: Devil May Care. It’s on the TZGZ Syfy midnight animation block. I don’t know what TZGZ stands for.

Suzanne: I don’t either.

Alan: Has anybody has told anybody? I think it just sounds good together, and it’s for some reason memorable. I’m the devil –

Suzanne: Was it fun developing the voice for the devil?

Alan: Yeah, you know, he’s similar to a character I played in Knocked Up for a head of an Entertainment Tonight or Weekly type executive or something like that, which seems appropriate. [laughs] “Come on, be a team leader! “That’s the way the devil is different in this show.

Suzanne: He’s not evil sounding.

Alan: He’s not evil – not sounding, and not even in the way he goes about running Hell. He’s trying to gentrify Hell. He wants it to be a place where you can go and have a good time. He just happens to be the angel that got put in charge of Hell is the thing.

Suzanne: How many total episodes are there for Devil May Care?

Alan: That’s a good question.

Suzanne: Oh, you don’t know? It’s okay.

Alan: [laughs] I think it’s eight. Yeah, eight ten, but only like fifteen-minute episodes. It’s got like an Adult Swim type feel to the shows…It’s crazy.

Suzanne: It was fun to recognize Louis Black in the first episode. Are there a lot of recognizable guest star voices in the other episodes?

Alan: Yes, there’s somebody else that I was stoked that we got, but I didn’t know that we got Louis until I saw the episode, because, again, this was all very pandemic in the way we recorded it. So, you can you can record whole things and never meet another person. You’re able to talk and meet and handshake, but it’s just that we haven’t been able to do [that]. I don’t know. I don’t have a list of who all is in the show, but yeah, Louis Black is a cool cat.

Suzanne: You do a lot of animated shows, do you have to turn down a lot of them, because you get so much animated voice work?

Alan: Yeah, I guess I’m choosy in my animated work. They’re pretty easy to do, as far as the time commitment and things like that, but, yeah, it kind of feels like when you’re spoiled. [laughs] I love tacos, and then you move to a neighborhood that has the best taco place and [someone’s] like, “You want a taco?” “From where?” I’m at the “from where?” place. “Who’s making the taco. What are the fixins?”

Suzanne: Thank you so much!

Alan: Thank you.

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

MORE INFO:

Watch “Devil May Care” on YouTube

SYFY GREENLIGHTS NEW ANIMATED SERIES ‘DEVIL MAY CARE’ STARRING ALAN TUDYK FOR LATE-NIGHT ADULT ANIMATION BLOCK ‘TZGZ’

— Network Also Greenlights Three TZGZ Pilots —

NEW YORK, NY – June 15, 2020 – SYFY today announced new original projects for its late-night adult animation block, TZGZ, including a new original animated series and three original pilots. Airing on SYFY every Saturday at midnight-ish, TZGZ is a 90-minute block of adult comedic, animated, genre-based programming of varying lengths. Since its 2019 debut, TZGZ has grown +7% in the 18-49 demo vs prior year, and continues to bring younger viewers to the network.*

DEVIL MAY CARE, TZGZ’s second internally developed pilot greenlit to series, has earned a 7-episode series pickup. For the series, the Devil (Alan Tudyk, SYFY’s “Resident Alien”) hires a social media coordinator (Asif Ali, “BoJack Horseman”) to rebrand Hell as the ultimate place to live, and the two form the most unlikely of friendships. Recurring roles are played by Fred Tatasciore, Pamela Adlon and Stephanie Beatriz.

Created and executive produced by Douglas Goldstein (3x Emmy winner, “Robot Chicken”), this 15-minute series is developed and executive produced by Amanda Miller at PSYOP in partnership with Titmouse, the Emmy-award winning independent animation production company. Chris Prynoski, Shannon Prynoski and Ben Kalina from Titmouse are also executive producers.

Additionally, SYFY has greenlit 3 pilots for TZGZ:

  • From ShadowMachine (“Final Space,” “BoJack Horseman”), CHRONICLES OF FRANK follows an overzealous squirrel that kidnaps an exterminator from the Bronx, transporting him to a magical realm where he must conquer the forces of evil and maybe win back his girlfriend. Ordered for a 15-minute pilot, CHRONICLES OF FRANK is created and executive produced by Chris Osbrink (Writer/Director, “Trip Tank,” Writer/Director, “Campus Law”), with ShadowMachine executive producers Corey Campodonico and Alex Bulkley.
  • In a galaxy far, far away there’s an epic war of the worlds where countless alien species will fight to the death – and THE BLACK HOLE is about the crappy dive bar where they drink. Picked up for a 15-minute pilot, THE BLACK HOLE from Starburns Industries (“Rick and Morty,” “Moral Orel”) is written and executive produced by Dino Stamatopoulos (Creator, “Moral Orel”) and Michael Waldron (Producer, “Rick and Morty”). Paul Young (EP, “Key & Peele”), James A Fino (EP, “Rick and Morty”), Duke Johnson (Director, “Anomalisa”) and Nick Weidenfeld (President of Programming, Viceland) also executive produce.
  • Heavy is the belly that wears the suit in THE POLE, a twisted, edgy comedy about the struggle for power on the North Pole. From Yeti Farm Creative (“Hotel Transylvania” Season 2, “Pete the Cat” Season 2), THE POLE has been ordered for a 15-minute pilot. Created and executive produced by Matthew Bass (Writer, “Future Man”) and Theodore Bressman (Writer, “Future Man,” Writer/EP, “Jungleland”). Mark Gordon (Producer, “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Ray Donovan”) also executive produces, as well as Frank Saperstein and Jay Surridge from Yeti Farm Creative.

More at SyfyWire

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

Devil (Alan Tudyk) and Beans (Asif Ali)

Interview with Jann Arden

TV Interview!

Jann Arden, star of "Jann" on HULU

Interview with Jann Arden of “Jann” on Lifetime by Suzanne 2/2/21

This was fun! I’ve only ever done one Zoom interview before. Jann is very professional and yet very charming and endearing.

Here is the video of our call!

Suzanne: Hi, how are you?

Jann: Good. How are you doing? Oh, that’s a nice background.

Suzanne: Thank you. I didn’t know if I had it on or not –

Jann: We’re in Hawaii!

Suzanne: I wish.

Jann: Yeah, you and me both.

Suzanne: Are you up in Canada?

Jann: I am. I’m in southern Alberta, just outside of Calgary.

Suzanne: So, it’s a bit cold and snowy up there?

Jann: Oh, my God. It’s minus twelve today.

Suzanne: Wow. Yeah, I can’t complain then. I’m sick of the cold, but we only get in the thirties and forties.

Jann: Where are you?

Suzanne: Southern Arkansas, near Louisiana.

Jann: Oh, nice. Oh, I love that part of the world. It’s pretty.

Suzanne: Not as pretty as the palm trees, but it’s pretty.

Jann: Aww, come on. We’ll get there. We’ll get there.

Suzanne: I actually lived in Hawaii for three years.

Jann: Okay, now you’re just bragging.

Suzanne: So, what gave you the idea to make a TV series based on your life?

Jann: Well, it’s very loosely based on my life. Yes, I’m a singer-songwriter, and the person in this show is a singer-songwriter, but that’s where the similarities completely end. It’s completely fictitious. My mother passed away years ago, and I actually have a mother in this show. I don’t have any sisters, but I have a sister in the show. I have a lot more dates; TV Jann has a lot more dates than I do. I’m just living alone here in the trees with my dog, but the TV version of me is out there dating and having fun, so that’s very exciting. I just got presented with an opportunity four or five years ago and worked with a friend of mine, Leah Gauthier, and we just sat at my kitchen table. We’re like, “Okay, what can we do here?” And we just spent a weekend laughing our butts off and kind of coming up with this concept of a woman trying to find relevance and sorting out of relationships and trying to see if she can get her career going and has a mother that has dementia, and we’ve just been really, really lucky to get the show made.

Suzanne: What did you have to do to learn how to write for TV, because you are a songwriter?

Jann: I can honestly say, I don’t do the actual writing for the show. I’m involved in all the storyboards. So, we get together here in my home, and I’m with the writers. We have five writers on the show, and everybody sleeps here. I stick them in bedrooms; I stick them on floor mattresses, and we do all the storyboards. So, I’m very happy to say that I’ve been involved in all of that, then those guys go away, and they do something called scripts. I don’t know how the hell they do it. So, thank God I’m not.

Suzanne: Were you familiar with the other actors before they auditioned for your show?

Jann: There are a few of them that I was familiar with. Zoie Palmer, who plays my sister, I’ve long admired her.

Suzanne: She’s great.

Jann: She was one of the stars of of Lost Girl; she was in Dark Matter. I happened to see her when I was working out one day in a movie called Sex After Kids. It was an indie film, and she was hilarious. I just got it in my mind. I’m like, “I want Zoie Palmer to play my sister.” I think she’s the perfect foil for me. She’s straight laced, and she’s uptight, and she just wants to do stuff right, and I just drive her crazy. And it’s really fun working with Zoie. Her husband, Dave, is a gentleman named Patrick Gilmore. I’ve known him for years. He’s in a show called Travelers. He’s done a lot of stuff. You might recognize him from other things.

Suzanne:
Yeah, the name is familiar.

Jann: Elena Juatco, who plays Cale, she was new to me. I didn’t know her until I saw the audition tape and was able to meet her in person, but the whole cast, I think everyone really steps into their characters, and they’re all so funny in their own right.

Suzanne: I see that two seasons aired in Canada. Will there be a season three, or do you know yet?

Jann: We’re just doing season three right now. So, I had my first COVID test yesterday, and I do all my wardrobe fitting on Wednesday. So, yeah, we’re full steam ahead. It’s all written. We’re ready to go, and it’s pretty damn great to have another opportunity to do this.

Suzanne: If it were up to you, how many seasons do you think you would like it to go?

Jann: I’d like to do eight

Suzanne: That’s a good number.

Jann: Why not? Letterkenny’s on its tenth season.

Suzanne: Oh, wow. How did it come about, that Hulu picked it up?

Jann: You know, I don’t know a lot about the business side of that. My producers, Andrew Barnsley and Ben Murray, are the two fellows that own a production company called Project 10. Andrew was one of the producers on Schitt’s Creek. So, I think Andrew had a relationship with some of these people and has been working really this past twelve months with Hulu to figure out when would be a good time to release it, and if it would be a good fit, but we’re very thrilled to be with Hulu. They’ve been amazing partners and have just been nothing but supportive and kind for us.

Suzanne: Yeah, I really love how all these services, and even now, some of the broadcast networks, keep bringing in Canadian and other shows outside the US. I love that. It’s great to see others.

Jann: I think it’s good for all of us. I mean, we love seeing all your shows, too.

Suzanne: I think, internationally, people see more American shows than we see international shows up until recently.

Jann: I think you’re right.

Suzanne: Of all your songs, do you have a favorite?

Jann: I do, and it’s a song called “Good Mother.” I wrote it about my mom years and years ago, but it was the single in the States. This would have been in the ‘90s, so it was a long time ago, but I get so many letters and so many direct messages about that song. It’s one of my long personal favorites. I mean, I love “Insensitive” as well, but a song called “Good Mother” is right up there.

Suzanne: I’ll have to listen to that. When I was listening to some of your songs on YouTube – I’m a few years older than you, and so I stopped listening to music mostly in the ‘80s more or less.

Jann: I get it.

Suzanne: But now I know. Which singers or groups inspired you most musically?

Jann: Oh my gosh, I had so many favorites growing up. I loved, loved, loved Shirley Bassey. You might not know who she is.

Suzanne: Oh, yeah.

Jann: “Diamonds Are Forever (sung)” – loved her. I love Tears for Fears. I love Janice Ian and Olivia Newton-John and Carly Simon and Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler, James Taylor. I was really a singer-songwriter kid growing up. Then I started to like Kiss, because my older brother loved Kiss. So, I decided I liked Kiss, and then I started listening to his Nazareth record. And Boston – “More Than a Feeling (sung).” Bread, with David Gates; I listened to a lot of Bread. I mean, so much music. I don’t know if you remember the Columbia Record Club?

Suzanne: Oh, yeah.

Jann: Way back when – “For one cent, you can buy ten LP records,” and when you’re a kid, you’re begging your parents. “Please, it’s only one cent for ten records.” Well, then they ding you. Every month they send, you know, Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, for God’s sakes, but that costs you $27.

Suzanne: Yeah, I was in that in high school, the Columbia Record Club.

Jann: Yeah, and it’s impossible to get out of! Anyway, I just listened to so much music, but yeah, there was a just a whack of girl singer/songwriters that I just adored so much. Natalie Cole, I just love Natalie Cole. And then of course, late ‘80s it started changing to, you know, Nirvana and Sinead O’Connor. I mean, I even loved Enya.

Suzanne: I like Enya. So, last question. Are you working on more songs for a future album?

Jann: I am. I’m right in the middle of just finishing up a record now. I actually just need to mix it. That’ll be my fifteenth record with Universal Records.

Suzanne: Wow.

Jann: I know, it’s nutty!

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

Our Review of “Jann”

MORE INFO:

In Jann, Jann Arden plays a fictionalized, self-deprecating version of herself: a singer songwriter of a “certain age” in severe denial of the harsh reality that her former music career is slowly (okay, rapidly) fading away. But it’s not just Jann’s career that’s on life support – she’s newly single (don’t remind her), her sister may disown her, and her mother may be showing early signs of memory loss. Jann‘s personal life is in shambles and she’s convinced that the cure-all is to enlist a new manager to help rebrand her image. Filled with plenty of LOL moments, she embarks on a quest to return to greatness and go viral, but instead gets tangled in the pressures of her ‘real’ life. Jann is at the crossroads between who she was and who she wants to be. Can Jann stage a comeback, reclaim fame…and be there for the people who love her?

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

Jann Arden, star of "Jann" on HULU

Interview with “Brad William Henke”

TV Interview!

actor Brad Henke

Interview with Brad William Henke of “The Stand” on CBS All Access by Suzanne 1/15/21

It was fun to talk to Brad. I’ve watched many shows that he’s been in.

Here is the audio version of it.

Suzanne: Tell us how this role on The Stand came about for you.

Brad: The writer, the creator of the show (Benjamin Cavell) called me, and he wrote for me on Justified, and he wrote on Sneaky Pete. So, he called and offered me the role.

Suzanne: Oh, cool.

Brad: So, I got to read all the scripts, and I said, “yes,” of course. Then I had like three months to prepare, which was awesome. That’s how it happened.

Suzanne: That’s great. So, have you done so much TV work now that pretty much they just call you and offer you the role, or do you still have to audition?

Brad: I think the funny thing is, sometimes when you audition, you hear someone else already has an offer, and they don’t know if it’s gonna go through or [not]. So, I do audition, but most of the roles I get are offers.

Suzanne: Sounds like it’s a little bit like a regular job interview.

Brad: Yeah, I guess so.

Suzanne: I’m glad you mentioned Justified. I was looking at all the roles you’ve done. You’ve done some of my favorite shows like Justified and Dexter, and I remember the show you were on October Road.

Brad: Oh, you do?

Suzanne: Yeah, I watched that.

How did you prepare for acting as a developmentally disabled man?

Brad: Well, I’ve had a couple of friends – like I had someone that I knew in high school. He was two years older than me. He played football in college, and he got a blood clot in his head. After that, he was never the same. He was kind of like Tom.

Then I knew another person who was born mentally challenged, and when I was actually teaching at a junior college and coaching football, and he took my weight training class, I made him the manager of the football team, kind of like that movie, Radio. I just did a lot of things like that.

I learned the voice, because a lot of times when someone has a head injury, they learn to talk again by singing, and so I used a Dolly Parton song, “Coat of Many Colors.” It was like, “My coat of many colors – Hi! My name is Tom Cullen,” so I kind of made it so I could match that pitch. So, that’s how I kind of invented his voice.

Suzanne: Did you have to learn how to move a particular way?

Brad: I just made it so like one of my arms and one of my legs felt a little heavier, just because my character fell off the roof and was also kicked in the head. He had a head injury like that, so I just studied the effects of that.

Suzanne: How long did shooting take for The Stand?

Brad: It started at the beginning of October, and it ended March 12th.

Suzanne: Last year, right? It started in 2019.

Brad: Last year.

Suzanne: What did you like best about doing the show?

Brad: Well, I liked the producers, Benjamin Cavell and Taylor Elmore. I liked all the actors. They were really into it, and they made it fun. Angelina [Kekich], the costume designer, like everyone was just really into it, and so I really liked that. I liked being in Canada shooting it. It was really rainy and cold and isolating, and I thought that was really good for my character. I was just there with my two, fifteen year old Puggles. Some days in December the sun never even came out. It just felt good for the mood of the show.

Suzanne: Your dogs are so cute. I went on your Instagram.

Brad: Thank you. One of them is sixteen now.

Suzanne: Oh, wow.

Brad: I [saw] this kids’ movie called Soul. Have you seen it?

Suzanne: I haven’t seen it. I’ve heard about it. I haven’t watched it yet.

Brad: It’s really good. It won’t ruin anything, but when you die, your soul goes up this escalator into the sky, and sometimes I feel like he’s on that escalator. I’m like, “[unintelligible] get off the escalator.”

Suzanne: What did you like least about doing it? Was there a particular challenge that you had?

Brad: No, I loved it all. It was a challenge to play this character, because it could be simple; it could be offensive. You can really fall on your face, and that’s what I really liked about the – I don’t want to call it stress, but the [idea that] I could ruin the whole show, or I could make the show better. So, I like that feeling.

Suzanne: Did it shock you that the pandemic happened right after you guys finished shooting The Stand with a similar story?

Brad: Yeah. Sometimes I would fly back and forth, and you have to go through customs and stuff, and it takes like two hours. So, I flew back, and I only had two weeks off or something. I was basically done, but I had to shoot one more scene. I had to shoot the scene from Episode Four where I ride away on my bike. I get to Canada, and there was absolutely no one in customs. It was like a ghost town, because Canada was ahead of the US. Then I go to this hotel, and there’re like five people in it. I’m like, “I hope we did this justice.”…But then when I watched the show; I think we did.

Suzanne: Had you worked with any of the cast or crew before?

Brad: Just Ben and Taylor on Justified and on Sneaky Pete, but no one else.

Suzanne: Do you have any fun anecdotes about shooting? Any fun things that happened?

Brad: Every day was fun. A cool thing that happened, was my dogs had never been in snow before, and I was taking them one day from my my trailer to the makeup trailer, and one of my dog’s girlfriends, she just held up her paw in the air like, “I can’t do it anymore.” It was so cute. Then I picked her up, and I took her in there, and I told them what happened, and then every day they would give my dogs little hot towels on their paws. It was so cute. That was really cool, because they’re getting old, so it was kind of like our last big thing together. So, it will always be special to me in so many ways.

Suzanne: Wow, that’s nice.

So, had you read the original book or seen the other mini-series before doing it?

Brad: No. Well, I read the book after I got offered the job. I didn’t watch the mini-series, because I didn’t want to be influenced one way or the other.

Suzanne: It’s actually funny, because we saw a part of the original miniseries being filmed.

Brad: Oh, really?

Suzanne: Yeah, we were in Las Vegas, and we were staying at the Golden Gate downtown, which is right in the corner there, and this was before they had that whole canopy in Vegas with the light shows and all that. They had roped off that part of the downtown, and they had made it for their movie. So, they had a lot of the windows blacked out, and they said stuff like, “stay away” or “the virus,” whatever. I can’t remember the catchphrases. They had built all these things, and they had a giant horseshoe – like the horseshoe had fallen fallen off Binion’s in the middle of the street, and we could see them filming right below our window. So, that was fun.

Brad: That’s great.

Suzanne: Yeah, if you’re not living in LA, or you’re not in the industry, you don’t get to see those things too often, unless you just happen to be where they’re filming.

Brad: Yeah, but, you know, so many things don’t shoot in LA anymore.

Suzanne: That’s true.

Brad: This is the longest I’ve ever been in LA in years. They shoot in Canada; they shoot in Chicago.

Suzanne: Yeah, a lot of it’s in Canada, and a lot of it’s in Atlanta.

Brad: A lot of it’s in Canada and Atlanta too, yeah. I had never really worked in Canada. I shot one movie in Canada, but it’s [unintelligible], so being in Vancouver, I really really, really enjoyed.

Suzanne: Yeah, that’s surprising, I guess. It seems like everybody I talk to nowadays are filming in Canada.

Brad: Yeah.

Suzanne: So, what have you been doing during the pandemic to keep busy?

Brad: At first I worked out a lot, then I stopped that. I’m back on it this week. Got two kittens. I got a Doberman puppy, which if it wasn’t a pandemic, I would not have time to train and take care of. So, I love her, but she’s a lot of energy.

Suzanne: Yeah, I have a dog that’s about three and a half years old, and we we got her when she was three months, and I had never trained a dog before. So, I know what you mean.

Brad: I have little dogs, so you can let them get away with a little more. [Not] like with big dogs jumping on people’s legs.

Suzanne: Yeah, I understand.

Brad: I get on the couch and curl into this corner like she’s tiny or something.

Suzanne: Yeah. I have a sort of – she’s low to the ground, but she’s kind of big, fat, but small. It’s hard to explain. She’s part Corgi and part Bassett, and she still thinks she’s a lap dog, but she’s a little too big and fat to be a lap dog.

Brad: Yeah.

Suzanne: Well, I’m going to look forward to those pictures of your cats on your Instagram. Do you have any yet?

Brad: Yeah, I have one, when one cat was laying with my dogs, like, “If they do it, why can’t we?”

If I have a minute, I’m gonna start posting, because I wasn’t posting anything until the show started being on TV. I’m not that interesting. People don’t want to see me eat a salad [unintelligible].

Suzanne: So, I read that you gained a lot of weight and then lost it for your roles. What was your secret? What did you do to lose the weight again?

Brad: To lose the weight, I ate five tomatoes a day, because they have – it begins with an “L.” It has something –

Suzanne: Oh, lycopene?

Brad: Yes, and that will help you lose weight. Actually, Henry Zaga, who played Nick told me about this, because he went to like the Hollywood – because he lost a lot of weight. And I would drink a glass of water and a tomato five times a day, and then that makes you not as hungry.

Suzanne: And that’s all you ate?

Brad: You know, pretty much, but I wasn’t that hungry. I mean, like if you eat that before your meal, you’re not that hungry.

Suzanne: Oh, that makes sense. It’s like eating a salad, practically.

Brad: Yeah. Then, you know, for me, like whey-wise, I can gain weight easy. I was a pro football player. Not everyone can weigh 300 pounds and move around. [Gaining] it’s not hard, and losing, it feels like it’s hard to stop the train for a while, and then the train stays in one position. It’s hard to get it to go the other direction, but once it goes the other direction, with eating right and exercising like six days a week, it starts to come off.

Suzanne: Do you have anything else that you’re working on or that is coming out that you can tell us about?

Brad: No. I have a couple things that I hope that I get, but nothing that’s been going on. It’s like really, really frustrating. I don’t know what I’m going to do next. I had a couple of things that were supposed to go in – like, I started working on them in October, like, “Hey, it’s gonna go in December,” and when everything started to spike up, they’re like, “No, that’s not happening.” There’s a couple that I’m waiting on. I know there’s one that for some crazy reason, I’m the second choice, so I hope the first choice doesn’t take it.

Suzanne: Right.

Brad: [Unintelligible] but any job that I wasn’t the first choice/

Suzanne: Yeah. Well, break a leg, good luck, whatever it takes.

Brad: Whatever it takes, exactly.

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

MORE INFO:

Breakout “Orange is the New Black” star and SAG Award winner Brad William Henke makes a statement in the star-packed limited series adaptation of Stephen King’s iconic 1978 novel, THE STAND, which premieres on CBS All Access on Thursday, December 17th. Henke plays Tom Cullen opposite Whoopi Goldberg, James Marsden, Amber Heard and Alexander Skarsgård.

In an ominously well-timed series, THE STAND is adapted from the Stephen King novel of the same name which is about the Biblical aftermath of a global pandemic that kills 98 percent of the population, setting a stage for a clash of good vs. evil. The series stars Whoopi Goldberg as Mother Abagail, Alexander Skarsgård as Randall Flagg, James Marsden as Stu Redman, Jovan Adepo as Larry Underwood, Amber Heard as Nadine Cross, and Owen Teague as Harold Lauder. The nine- episode new series will air weekly on CBS All Access. The new version will include a new coda at the end of the finale written by Stephen King himself.

Henke is an accomplished character actor in Hollywood, appearing in some of the most iconic TV series including “Lost,” “Orange is the New Black,” and “Justified,” and in a number of films including the David Ayer films FURY and BRIGHT and opposite Maggie Gyllenhaal in SHERRYBABY and CHOKE with Sam Rockwell. Before heading into acting, Henke was drafted out of college into the NFL for the New York Giants. He was subsequently picked up by the Denver Broncos and played in Super Bowl XXIV against the San Francisco 49ers.

When he’s not on set, Henke is usually boxing, doing Jiu Jitsu, riding his bike or playing with his three dogs and two cats (lovingly documented on his Instagram @bradwilliamhenke).

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

Brad William Henke

Interview with Carter Rubin

TV Interview!

Carter Rubin

Interview with Carter Rubin, Season 19 winner of “The Voice” on NBC by Krista 12/23/20

I enjoyed talking with him very much; he was very friendly and well mannered. He is a great singer, and I can’t wait to hear more of his music. He also speaks of writing songs in the new year, so I hope that will go well for him. He seems to be a very mature 15 year old boy and has used his bullying experiences to make him into a better person.  His family also does a great thing of providing trips for autistic kids in New York.

Here is the audio version of it.

Krista: Tell me how you first got into music.

Carter: I kind of always loved singing and music ever since I could talk, but my grandpa was in a band back in the day, and he’s been singing his whole life. So, he’s kind of the one that got me into singing. I’ve always really been a fan of his music, and we’ve always been singing together.

I started singing more seriously when I was about seven. That was my first time performing in front of a live audience, and I just loved it.

Krista: Oh, that’s awesome. I read in your bio that you had talked about being bullied a little bit because of your voice? Did you use music to help you cope with the bullying?

Carter: Yeah, for sure. You know, I’m a little more on the unique side. So, some kids will just pick on me here and there, but I always just kind of use my music and my voice to kind of drown all the negative out. I’d always kind of focus on my craft and my artistry, and that kind of was my outlet to just be myself and be creative, and I’ve realized over the years that it’s not a bad thing to be unique.

Krista: It’s not a bad thing to be unique, and I don’t think anybody’s going to bother you with bullying anymore.

Carter: Yeah, I was saying the same thing.

Krista: Who were your biggest influences in music?

Carter: I love some of today’s male pop contemporary artists like Harry Styles, Ed Sheeran, Luke Pauley, Shawn Mendes, and James Arthur. Artists like those are some of my big influences, and when I record an album someday, I really want it to sound like those.

Krista: Oh wow, and it’s funny you said that. I have a friend, and she’s a big, huge fan of Harry Styles.

Carter: Yes, that’s so cool. Yeah, my cousins are huge fans of Harry Styles.

Krista: So, I’m sure she would agree with you on that.

Carter: Yeah. For sure. For sure.

Krista: Do you remember the first time that you ever performed in front of people? What was that like, and do you remember what song you sang?

Carter: The first time I performed in front of people, it was at a local boardwalk on Long Island called Long Beach. I was reopening the island, the boardwalk, after it was ruined from Hurricane Sandy, and I sang the national anthem. I was seven years old. It was about twenty five hundred people, so it was a lot for me at that time. It was very nerve wracking. So, I was definitely nervous, but I did it, and that’s kind of my first taste of performing and singing in front of people and what it was like, and I just never wanted to stop.

Krista: What made you decide to audition for The Voice?

Carter: I’ve always watched The Voice. I’m a just a huge fan of the show in general, and my family’s always encouraging me to follow my dream. I’ve always dreamed of being on the show and being one of the artists, and they really helped me follow my dream. So, I went to an audition in Boston, in February, before before COVID happened, and I was lucky enough to be flown out in July to LA for my blind audition.

Krista: Oh, wow, that sounds so interesting. What made you decide to sing the song “Before You Go” for your audition?

Carter: I love Luke Pauley. I love his voice. I love his music. So, “Before You Go” is one my favorite songs. I also like the message of the song. For me, it’s about not missing the chance to be there for someone, and I think that can be very inspiring to some people. So, I thought it was a good song for me to sing at the time.

Krista: How did it feel to have chair turns from John Legend and Gwen Stefani?

Carter: It felt incredible. It felt completely surreal. I just wanted to go out there and sing, and whatever happened happened at that point, and I was so happy to see these two icons turn around. I’m such a huge fan of both of them and their music. It was really tough picking, but working with Gwen felt really right at the time, which is why I picked her.

Krista: Okay, that was my next question. I wondered if you had your mind made up of who you would pick if they turned around before you went on stage? Or did you just decide on the spot

Carter: I kind or always had Gwen in my heart, but at the same time, I was open to hearing any of their advice or their pitches, because I would be 100% happy working with any of them, because they’re also iconic and successful, and they’re great coaches. So, I’d be happy with anyone, but I’ve always just been the hugest Gwen Stefani fan. I love her music, and she gave a really good pitch. She told me she’d be like a motherly figure, and she’d give me some really good advice about style and stage presence, and it just really drew me in.

Krista: I thought that too, when I watched it and saw how she was pitching to you, that that would be a good thing, for her to help you with the things like that, like the stage presence.

Carter: Yeah, it just felt so right at the time.

Krista: What was your favorite song that you performed?

Carter: I liked all the songs that I performed, but I think my favorite would have to be Rainbow Connection, because that was a song I dedicated to my brother for dedication week, and Gwen loved it. She was brought to tears. She told me it was flawless, and that really meant a lot to me. I just wanted to make it very raw and pure and intimate and broken down, and I felt really successful in doing that. I was just so happy after the performance.

Krista: Since you mentioned your brother, I read that he was autistic. And I just wanted to tell you I have twin nephews that are autistic.

Carter: Really? Wow.

Krista: Yes, my husband’s brother, his two sons, they’re both autistic. They just turned sixteen, but they’re nonverbal.

Carter: Well tell them I said, “Hi.”

Krista: I sure will.

Carter: I’d love to meet them one day.

Krista: Okay, great. Maybe we can keep in touch, and maybe that can happen.

Carter: Yeah, absolutely.

Krista: What was the biggest challenge that you faced on The Voice?

Carter: I tried not to think of anything as much of a challenge. I just kind of wanted to have fun with the whole experience, and I just kind of wanted to go in and learn anything I could, because at the end of the day, I’m only fifteen is there so much for me to learn. So, if anything, that was a challenge, being on the younger side, but I just kind of took it as an opportunity to grow and learn and soak up anything I could. It was definitely the time of my life, for sure.

Krista: Well, that kind of answered my next question, I was going to ask what it was like to perform against people that were so much older than you. Did you form relationships with any of them? And did they have like a friendship with you?

Carter: For sure. It sounds so cliche, but we really were a family backstage. All of the adults were so nice to me and so nurturing and caring, and they’re so skilled and seasoned, that they know exactly what they’re doing. They were really awesome role models for me, and I just had so much fun singing with them.

Krista: Yeah, I enjoyed all of them, especially the last three, the the ones you were up against; they were all awesome.

Carter: Yeah, for sure. They’re all awesome.

Krista: What was it like to perform a duet with Gwen?

Carter: That was such a dream come true, because from day one, I was like, “What if I go to the finale and actually sing with her? That’d be insane.” It actually happened; it was such a dream come true. I’m so happy that we sang that song, because it was off of her Christmas album, and we just had so much fun with it. We really wanted to bring joy and some Christmas cheer to other people, and we felt successful in doing that. She’s been such a phenomenal coach, and so it’s just kind of a full circle experience to be singing with her now.

Krista: Well, I enjoyed it, and it was great.

Carter: Thank you. I appreciate that.

Krista: How did it feel to be the youngest to ever win The Voice and to give Gwen Stefani her first ever win?

Carter: Being so young, The Voice was really amazing, because I wanted to inspire other young people to follow their dreams right now and do whatever makes their heart happy. You don’t have to wait, because you don’t want to look back and say you wish you did it then. Just go do what makes you happy, and follow your dreams. I think I just want to inspire everyone to do that, regardless of their age.

To give Gwen her first win was so awesome, because she’s such a phenomenal coach and somehow hasn’t had a win yet before season nineteen, which I think is crazy, because she deserves all the credit, because she’s just really nurturing and caring for her artists. She’s just great at what she does, which is not only [being] an amazing singer, but just a phenomenal coach. She gives really good advice and is good at calming nerves. So, I’m really happy that I could give her her deserved win.

Krista: Yeah, she seems like a sweet person.

Carter: She is the sweetest. She’s so nice.

Krista:
What are your plans going forward? Can you tell us anything about your plans?

Carter: Yeah, Gwen told me that it’s time for me to start writing songs, and I definitely agree. That’s what I’m working on right now, starting to brainstorm some ideas of songs I want to sing and record one day. Speaking of recording, I definitely want to get in the studio, [by] the third part of 2021 and start recording songs to put out there for people to hear. Once COVID is over, I want to perform in front of live audiences again, because I really missed that. The Voice is kind of like just the beginning. I want to keep growing and expanding my music career. I just want to make others happy and want to make others feel inspired.

Krista: Have you written any songs so far? I mean, have you done that in the past?

Carter: No, I mean, I [have] some rough drafts here and there, like I have some songs in a folder that I have kind of kept to myself, but I’m thinking and expanding on those little ideas that I have and making them into marketable songs that I can record and put out there.

Krista: Well, I look forward to buying your album.

Carter: Thank you. I appreciate it.

Krista: If you could work with anyone in the future, qho would you like to work with and maybe perform some duets or collaborate with?

Carter: I mean, I’d love to collaborate with Gwen again in the future, but if you’re talking about another person, I have a huge crush on Ariana Grande. I love her, and I love her music, so if I got to sing with her one day, that’d be like a dream come true.

Krista: Well, maybe you’ll get to do that.

Carter: Hopefully.

Krista: Aside from music, what are some of your hobbies and favorite things that you do in your spare time?

Carter: Besides music, I love acting. I’m a huge theater nerd at my school. I love being a part of my school’s musical and plays. Outside of the arts, and this is really quirky, but I love rollercoasters, and I love going to different parks and going on as many roller coasters as I can. I love road tripping and traveling with my family and hanging out with my friends.

Krista: Since you mentioned the theme parks, I think I read in your bio that you your family has a foundation for autistic children?

Carter: Yes.

Krista: Can you tell me more about that?

Carter: Yes, our foundation is called Families in Arms, and what we do, is we send families that have children with autism to Disney World, because having a child with autism can be very financially and emotionally stressful. With all the therapy and stuff they have to pay for, it can be very draining. So, we just kind of give families who can’t afford to get away from that a chance to just break outside of those boundaries for a week and just have fun with their family without worrying about anything else.

Krista: That’s so nice of your family to do that, and I thank you for doing that for other autistic kids.

Carter: It’s all my mom; she’s the one who started it.

Krista: Well, tell her that I appreciate that very much having autistic nephews. I understand some of the challenges that the parents go through and raising the children and everything, and that’s just an awesome thing that you all do.

Carter: Yes, for sure. I’ll tell her.

Krista: That’s all the questions that I have Carter, but I do want to wish you good good luck in the future, and I do really enjoy your music. I just absolutely loved your Lauren Daigle song.

Carter: Thank you.

Krista: I loved all of your all of your songs, but the Lauren Daigle was just awesome, and I really enjoyed it, and I do look forward to buying your album when it comes out.

Carter: Thank you. I appreciate that.

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

MORE INFO:

Bio

Age: 14
Hometown: Shoreham, New York
Resident: Shoreham, New York

Carter Rubin grew up in a musical family and was inspired by his grandfather, a guitarist and backup vocalist for Jay and the Americans. Carter loves singing and playing music, especially with his older brother, Jack, who has autism. They perform together at their family’s autism foundation, which surprises families with trips to amusement parks. Outside of the foundation, Carter also performs in his school’s musicals and various community events.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

Carter Rubin

Interview with Nathin Butler

TV Interview!

actor Nathin Butler

Interview with actor Nathin Butler by Suzanne 11/29/20

I’m usually happy to interview any actor via email. It’s just easier for me. Nathin actually recorded his answers, which surprised me. No one has done that before. 🙂  But it’s fine. He answered the questions in a very concise way. I enjoyed listening to it. I hope you will, too!

Here is the audio version: Part One and Part Two

Suzanne: Tell us about your upcoming movie, The American King, and when does it come out?

Nathin: I believe they’re still finishing editing it, so, I’m not sure when it comes out.

Suzanne: Where was it filmed?

Nathin: It was all filmed in LA. Some of it was filmed in Africa, but I filmed my stuff in LA. I play this Australian guy who worked for an oil refinery company, you know, a company like Shell or something.

Suzanne: How long did filming take?

Nathin: I was only filming it for around a month here, but it was a lot of fun.

Suzanne: Do you have any funny anecdotes from filming?

Nathin: Akon’s in it, you know, the pop star, Akon. So, there was a pretty funny moment in it, where Akon walked into this scene, and he was trying to be funny, but it just didn’t work. So, I told him, “Dude, why don’t you ride that Segway into the scene, and then, you know, get off the Segway and then do your scene. It might work.”

And the director really liked it, and it kind of brought Akon to life when he had so much fun on the Segway. That was kind of cool.

Suzanne: I know you had a small part in a Westworld episode. I love that show. What was it like filming that?

Nathin: I did have a small part in Westworld. That’s great that you love the show. It was fun filming it, and that filmed here in LA.

Suzanne: Was there a lot of green screen work?

Nathin: There was no green screen; they had like 500 extras downtown. They were trying to create these kind of like [crazy riots] in that futuristic setting of what season three is. It was amazing. There were horses and police on horses getting pulled off. There were tanks firing people with water cannons, and there were fire explosions.

Suzanne: Who did you work with mostly?

Nathin: All of my scenes are with Aaron Paul, and that was fun. I got to hang out with Aaron, and we chatted a lot. I was shut up for about a week, and Aaron was such a nice dude. We were both talking about how we both have small children. I know he has a baby; I guess he’s a big baby now, probably like two years old or something, but yeah, we were talking about having kids, and he’s a nice dude.

Suzanne: Had you watched the show before you were on it?

Nathin: I had watched Westworld. I’d seen season one. I started watching season two. I really love it. I really love that show.

Suzanne: Had you met anyone from that show previously?

Nathin: I worked with this awesome stunt guy called Dave Reeves, who is so awesome. He’s also in The Mandalorian; he plays one of the actual characters.

Suzanne: I hear you’re writing a miniseries. What is it about?

Nathin: Yes, I am writing a miniseries called Far North. That’s gonna be about – it’s like my family’s history. My dad and his five brothers were cattle duffers, which means they stole thousands and thousands of calves and cattle and steers and bulls and stuff from the government back in the 60s and 70s. Australia during that period was kind of like America was back in the 1890s, even before that, during the time of America’s Wild West. Australia was like that, but just 100 years later. It was still like that. So, I’m writing a kind of true crime drama about about my family’s history, which I’m excited about.

Suzanne: After you’ve finished writing it, do you plan to shop it around, or do you plan to finance it yourself?

Nathin: I’m not sure what I will do with..I’m kind of working with a producer in Australia and some people on it. I’m very excited about it, though, and I’m enjoying the process.

Suzanne: Have you been going on virtual auditions?

Nathin: I have done a couple of virtual auditions, only a couple, since this last kind of month, I think things are starting to pick up again.

Suzanne: What have you been doing during the pandemic, besides writing?

Nathin: During the pandemic, what I’ve been doing, besides writing, is really just living my life. I kind of quit social media. So, I’ve really been enjoying my life and my family.

And I recently did a nice ride up the east side of the Sierras with a friend of mine, Jake Miller. You can check out some of our videos on his social. It’s @motomill2, and you can check out our videos and our adventures in the forest, which was pretty fun.

Suzanne: If fans recognize you, what do they recognize you the most for? I still remember you on General Hospital!

Nathin: Fans mostly don’t recognize me anymore. I have long hair and a beard, and I only go out so much anymore, but whenever I used to be in like a Rite Aid or a CVS or something, when I had short hair and I was clean shaven, they would recognize me for for my Dr. Keenan days. But, yeah, not so much anymore. I have this long hair and beard and kind of look like Tom Hanks from Castaway a little bit.

Suzanne: I see that you’re from the outback in Australia. Have you been back there to visit since the terrible fires?

Nathin: I did grow up in the outback of Australia, and there were terrible fires out there. [It was] pretty heartbreaking. A lot of my family lost a lot of cattle, and the government kind of helped them out a little bit, but it was a very hard time for Australians with those fires, very sad. But I’m planning to go back pretty soon to visit my family, my mother and my uncles and stuff, and I plan to take my son back there to go and see everyone.

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

MORE INFO:

Born and raised on a ranch in outback Australia, Nathin Butler, left home in 2008 to pursue his career as an actor. Best known for his portrayal of Dr. Ewen Keenan in the Emmy Award winning show General Hospital (2011-2012) and as Nick Towne in Hawaii Five-0 (2019). Nathin has starred in HBO’s Westworld (2020) and was also a series regular on Winners & Losers (2012-2016) and recurring roles on HULU series Casual (2016-2018), ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2017), HBO’s The Pacific (2010) and ABC’s Rain Shadow (2007) & The Cut (2009)

Nathin has also appeared in iconic feature films like Baz Luhrmann’s Australia (2008) and X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) as well as starring in several independent films like Black Gold (2011), The American King (2020) and Drone Wars (2016)

With a love of filmmaking and storytelling Nathin has created several projects and will take his passion to the next level by writing and producing an Australian true crime drama titled Far North.

Wikipedia

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

actor Nathin Butler

Interview with Jacky Lai

TV Interview!

Jacky Lai, star of "A Sugar & Spice Holiday" on Lifetime 12/13/20

Interview with Jacky Lai of “A Sugar & Spice Holiday” on Lifetime by Suzanne 11/24/20

Some people are very easy to talk to… Jacky is one of those people! I enjoyed chatting with her. This movie that premieres tonight is a fun confection. One thing I liked about it is that it’s funny. I laughed out loud in parts. Also, unlike many of these Christmas movies, the ending is a little more satisfying and less stereotyped than many of the others. You’ll have to watch it to see what I mean.  Of course, it almost goes without saying that it’s very refreshing to have a holiday movie starring an Asian actress.

Sorry about the sound quality of the audio file because I was having trouble hearing her. There was some problem with the phone line or something.

Here is the audio version of it.

Suzanne: So, tell us how your role in the movie came about.
Jacky: I got the audition. I read the script. I was very pleasantly surprised by the storyline and kind of very deep ending compared to a lot of other romantic comedies. Then I got a call back. This was all during COVID, so everything was through Zoom, and it was probably the most extensive callback I’ve ever had. It was 19 pages; it was an hour and a half with our executive producer, Nancy (Bennett), and our director, Jennifer (Liao)…But shortly after that, I got the offer for the role.
Suzanne: Oh, that’s cool. Did you know any of the cast and crew already?
Jacky: No, no, not at all, but I was very lucky. Tony (Giroux), who plays [Billy], we’re with the same agency, so we got to connect a little bit beforehand and [unintelligible].
Suzanne: That’s good. And how long did it take to shoot the whole movie?
Jacky: Fifteen working days.
Suzanne: Oh, wow. Quick.
Jacky: Very quick. Yeah.
Suzanne: Yeah, I heard they they do that now.
Jacky: Right. I mean, if they can, they will.
Suzanne: And where was it shot?
Jacky: It was shot in Vancouver but about an hour away, the Abbotsford Langley area.
Suzanne: Okay, great…There were a lot of sweets in this movie. Were any of them edible, or were they all fake?
Jacky: They were all edible, but they were touched by a lot of people, so it wasn’t advised to eat them, but the baked goods were all real baked goods.
Suzanne: It’s tough to watch these Christmas movies, because they’re all filled with all those things. You know, they all have the eggnog and the hot chocolate and the cookies and the gingerbread and oh my gosh.
Jacky: Exactly. You pretty much named everything that was in the movie.
Suzanne: It seems that they all do that. They’re all sweets, and it makes my blood sugar go up just watching the movie!
Jacky: That’s good; then you don’t have to go eat it!
Suzanne: It’s hard though, because when I see it, I want to eat it.
Jacky: I know. I know what you mean. You’re stomach starts making room for it, right?
Suzanne: Yeah. So, do you do any baking in real life?
Jacky: No, not at all.
Suzanne: That’s okay.
Jacky: I don’t think I’ve ever made anything that wasn’t burnt!
Suzanne: Oh, no. Well, here’s the trick – at least if you want to make cookies, because they don’t usually take very long – stay in the kitchen and watch them, because if you try to go do something else, then they will burn.
Jacky: Okay, yeah, that’s what I need to do.
Suzanne: Now, please let me know if this is too personal or not, but your character Suzy is of Chinese descent. What about you?
Jacky: I am Vietnamese. My last name is Lai, which I’ve been told is a Chinese last name, but I’m not that close to my dad’s side of the family, so I don’t really [unintelligible].
Suzanne: Okay, well, that’s interesting. You should do one of those DNA things one of these days. I did one; it was really exciting.
Jacky: Oh, did you? Did you find it was a good thing? Something I should definitely try?
Suzanne: Yeah, it was different than what we all thought. We all thought we were very Irish, and we’re actually only about 10% Irish, because my original last name was Irish, and I’m a quarter Jewish, which we had no idea.
Jacky: Oh, that’s amazing. I’ve seen this YouTube video where they did that just to show everyone that we’re so connected; we’re not just one thing. Yeah, I’m definitely into that.
Suzanne: Yeah, it was fun. I mean, we always knew we were Europeans of some kind or another, but we didn’t know all the little bits and pieces. So yeah, it’s fun. It’s really easy, because they just send you a little kit in the mail, and you do a swab, and you send it back. So it’s simple.
Jacky: I’ll definitely look into that.
Suzanne: Yeah, then you can find out where your ancestors come from. It’s exciting.
So, what was the most challenging part of doing this role?
Jacky: It’s the karaoke scene. Oh man, I am not a singer, and [my] character is not a singer either. So, it wasn’t like I had to be, you know, good, but when you don’t sing, and you’re singing in front of people from set, knowing that this is going to be seen by North America – So, I would have to say that was probably one of the most challenging things for me, just mentally.
Suzanne: So, did you just sing the best you could, or did you try to make it sound bad, because she’s not supposed to sound good?
Jacky: It was a transition. So, the scene is about a transition. So, there was both. There was me being the real me, which is not good, and then me trying really hard, which I hope doesn’t kill your ears. But we did it again in the studio just to get it more clear, and I mean, I guess there’s some magic to that
Suzanne: I haven’t seen that one yet, because they sent me the one – I mean, I guess it’s cut, but it’s not completely done, and it says that they’re substituting a different song, so I don’t think I’ve heard the finished one yet. So, I’ll have to watch and see how you sound. I’m a karaoke person. I know how you feel, though. A lot of people don’t don’t like to sing. But, you know, the good thing about karaoke, though, is that is that nobody cares really how you sound as long as you go up there and act like you’re confident and put on a fun show. That’s all they care about.
Suzanne: Yeah, exactly, because they’re all amateurs; they don’t care, but don’t do a Christmas song.
Jacky: I’ve heard that’s the trick.
Suzanne: Yes, exactly.
Jacky: Fake it until you make it.
Suzanne: Yeah, exactly, because they’re all amateurs; they don’t care, but don’t do a Christmas song.
Jacky: I wish you were there!
Suzanne: Yeah, right? That song was too high for you. You need to do a lower song definitely.
Jacky: So, I mean, on top of the talent, there was that.
Suzanne: Well, they were trying to make you sound like you weren’t a good singer, so it was okay.
Suzanne: So, what was the most fun part of doing the movie?
Jacky: The most fun part I think was just working with everyone. I feel like every time we had a break, I would sit outside and just bask in how grateful I am to be able to work with the people I got to work with. Everyone was so kind and friendly and talented, and I just had so much fun on set. You know, it was fifteen working days, so very extensive, but I never felt truly drained.
Suzanne: So, I know you said you’re not close to your dad’s family, but were you able to relate to how close Suzy is to her family? Especially your grandmother?
Jacky: Yes, my family is very close. My mom had me when she was really young, so we have a very great friendship relationship. My sisters [too]. Yeah, we’re very close.
Suzanne: Okay, good. So, she wasn’t one of those scary moms that you hear about sometimes.
Jacky: No, no, but she is definitely one of those – Honestly, Lillian (Lim) who plays my mom actually reminds me of someone who’s [unintelligible] like my mom.
Suzanne: So is there anything else you have in common with Suzy?
Jacky: I think I’m very hard on myself as well. I think we’re both very passionate. We love our jobs, and I think that sometimes makes us a little crazy about how badly we want things to be great and perfect, and that’s something that I constantly have to remind myself: it’s the journey, not the destination.
Suzanne: Okay. And I liked your name, since my name is Suzanne, and when I was younger, my family called me Suzy when I was younger. I don’t let anybody else call me that though. What have you been doing to keep busy during the pandemic?
Jacky: I’m learning to sing. That’s something I’m doing. I [write in] a journal. I meditate. I write a lot. I’m starting to read a lot more; I feel like it’s a great exercise for the brain.
Suzanne: Okay, great. Do you have a voice teacher that you take lessons from virtually or in real life?
Jacky: Not yet, because I feel like I’m not I’m not good enough yet to train with a vocal coach. I want to be able to understand pitch and tone and know where it comes from within my body [before I] invest in a vocal coach. So, I made it a thirty day challenge where I would YouTube like twenty minutes of vocal exercises every day for thirty days, and after that, I will definitely search for one.
Suzanne: Okay, good, because even if you just find someone like at a local college or something like that, they can help you a lot, even as a beginner. They can show you if you’re breathing right and those kinds of things, and your posture, and you’ll probably have good posture being an actor. So, I recommend that, definitely.
Jacky: You’re so right, yeah. It’s posture and breathing. Definitely. Thank you so much.
Suzanne: Yeah, I mean, I started taking lessons when I was in high school, and it was just an older lady who had been a singer and retired, and she taught kids or whatever.
…Last question. Do you have any other projects coming up you can tell us about?
Jacky: No, right now I’m just auditioning.
Suzanne: Okay, good. Well, I hope he gets something; I’ll be rooting for you.
Jacky: Thank you.
Suzanne: You’ve done so much already and all your series that you’ve done; I’m sure you’ll find something.
Jacky:
Thank you. I’m manifesting. I kind of want to play the opposite of Suzy. Manifesting that.
Suzanne: You’ve been in quite a few sci-fi type things. Do you like doing that kind of thing?
Jacky: I do. I love it. I think, you know, there’s a great calling for it, and I think it’s a great way to expand our imagination, but I’m really excited for my for my family to be able to watch A Sugar & Spice Holiday and be able to understand what’s going on. Sci-fi is not very easy for them, being English is their second language.
Suzanne: Oh, okay. Yeah, this should be pretty easy for them to figure out. Alright. Well, thanks. I really appreciate you talking to me.

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

MORE INFO:

Jacky Lai is a stunning beauty whose contagious smile and warm personality on and off-screen have landed her countless opportunities. Jacky took a leap of faith in 2014 to uproot her life in Toronto and move to Vancouver to pursue her dreams of acting. Jacky always knew her true calling was for the arts and her body of work in Film and Television since is a testament to her belief being more than just a hunch. Jacky’s upcoming leading role in Netflix’s vampire series“V-Wars” will continue to demonstrate her rising star power and enigmatic presence.Jacky is a Toronto native who had everything she needed on the east coast, supportive friends and family and a stable and growing career in developing small businesses. But she knew that her passion for acting was too great to set aside as a hobby. In the summer of 2014, Jacky made a quick and swift decision to move across the country to Vancouver, leaving everything and everyone she knew behind. Since relocating, Jacky has appeared in The CW’s “The Flash”, and CBS ’ “Ransom” and had recurring roles on Freeform’s “Beyond”, “Shadowhunters” and ABC’s “Once Upon a Time”. Jacky has also appeared in the feature film SILENT HILL: REVELATION. Jacky’s latest project, which will be released on December 5th, is already receiving a lot of buzz. Jacky co-stars alongside Ian Somerhalder of The CW’s “Vampire Diaries” fame and Adrian Holmes of Bravo’s “19-2” in Netflix’s horror, scifi series “V-Wars” which will bring to life the beloved graphic novels by Jonathan Maberry and Alan Robinson. Jacky will also appear in the indie feature FALL BACK DOWN which will have its world premiere at the Whistler Film Festival on December 5th.

A Sugar & Spice Holiday is about Suzie (Lai), a rising young architect, returns to her small hometown in Maine for Christmas where, her Chinese American family runs the local Lobster Bar. Following the loss of her beloved grandmother who was a legendary baker in their community, Suzie is guilted into following in her grandmother’s footsteps by entering the local gingerbread house competition.  Teaming up with an old high school friend Billy (Giroux), who grew up to be a catch, Suzie must find the right recipes and mix of sugar and spice to win the competition and perhaps find some love in the process.  The movie stars Jacky Lai, Tony Giroux and Tzi Ma.

Stills from of "A Sugar & Spice Holiday" on Lifetime 12/13/20

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

Jacky Lai, star of "A Sugar & Spice Holiday" on Lifetime 12/13/20

Interview with Adriyan Rae

TV Interview!

Adriyan Rae (Gianna on "Chicago Fire") - photo credit: Diana Ragland

Interview with Adriyan Rae (Gianna) of “Chicago Fire” on NBC by Suzanne 11/16/20

This was a quick interview, but it was enjoyable. Adriyan appears to be a very easy-going person. She first appeared last week in “Chicago Fire” as the new paramedic, Gianna, and is already very popular with fans.

Suzanne:   So, I read that your set shut down for two weeks due to COVID.

Adriyan:   Yeah, because we were following some COVID protocols.

Suzanne:   Right, and from what I hear, a lot of shows have been shut down. Once they get started again, they shut down, because somebody tests positive or whatever.

Adriyan:   It could be cast; it could be crew. It could be someone in the office, but just because, you know, there’s a whole universe shooting…

(a little bit of audio missing – my recorder stopped working for a very brief period.)

Suzanne:   Do you guys have to quarantine, or are you just not working?

Adriyan:   It depends on everyone’s situation, which is different. The protocols are that whoever tests positive, that’s guarded under the privacy of HIPAA. So, we don’t know who it is. Then whoever tests positive, the studio does know, of course, and they do contact tracing, whoever that person would have been in contact with, they go and they reach out to those people. They ask them certain questions, a certain amount of questions, that will tell them if they were a Type A contact or a Type B, a Zone A or Zone B. Then, from there, based on that, that’s where you’re deemed to have to quarantine or not. We’re still being tested, and as you’re tested, your results come in, and you know what to do from there. They’ll let you know what to do from there. Yes, that’s where we stand.

Suzanne:   Thank you, that’s a really good explanation. I don’t think ever actually – I mean, I knew sort of what contact tracing was, but I didn’t have an actual explanation. So, thank you.

Adriyan:   You’re welcome.

Suzanne:   And had you watched any of the Chicago shows before getting this role?

Adriyan:   I have, yeah.

Suzanne:   Chicago Fire specifically?

Adriyan:   I’ve dabbled in Chicago PD the most. That’s why when I was auditioning before, when I said I was auditioning for two years prior to getting this role, most of those were all auditions from Chicago PD. So, I did watch that as research and, you know, follow up with it, because it’s very intriguing. So, yeah, and then of course, when I got the auditions for this, I started watching Chicago Fire. I hadn’t necessarily watched Chicago Fire prior, but I started watching it in July. So, I was able to catch all the way up by the time I started shooting.

Suzanne:   Were you nervous at all coming into a show where you’re sort of the new girl?

Adriyan:   You know, when you come to these shows where they’re well oiled machines, and they’re in their late seasons, everybody has their own friends, and you know, they’re adults. Some of them are just like, “I’m here for work. That’s it,” but this show was completely different. Of course you have some jitters about going to a new job. Everybody does, whether it’s acting, whether you work in finance, or even work in accounting, anything, you have some jitters when you go in on your first day of work. So, of course, but I was welcomed with open arms, and it was so warm and welcoming and loving and just super helpful. Anything I needed, helping me figure out – because they knew I had never been to Chicago before, helping me figure out what neighborhoods are good and what neighborhoods were good for this food, and if I like that food, this is over here. This is where this kind of quilt – like you’re looking for the Marshalls or the Jewel, it’s over here. I didn’t even know the Jewel was the grocery store there. They were just there every step of the way. Super helpful.

Suzanne:   Oh, that’s nice. Were there any particularly friendly cast members who put you the most at ease?

Adriyan:   Well, all of them. I mean, the people that I met first were Miranda [Rae Mayo] and Kara [Killmer]. Kara actually reached out and was like, “Hey, you want to just jump on a call so we can get to know each other?” I was like, “Yeah, let’s do that.” Then, Miranda reached out and was like, “Hey girl, you’re beautiful. Hi. I’m on Chicago Fire too. Congratulations.” And Daniel, I was so happy for Daniel. I had never met him, but when I had seen his announcement, I was like, “Oh, this is great.” I actually reached out to him. I was like, “This is so late. Congratulations.” He probably didn’t even know who I was at the time.

Those were my first interactions, but as soon as I got to hair and makeup, I think, my first day, Eamonn [Walker] was in the chair, and we’re not allowed to talk in hair and makeup, so after we got out, I had my mask; I was putting my mask on. He had his on, and then we’re walking to our trailers and he goes, “Hey, I’ve seen your work prior to this. Respect.” And I was like, “Oh, God! He watched my old show.”   He was just super nice. He was like, “Anything you need; let me know. I’ll show you the ropes.” He was just super there, like everybody. Super warm; just amazing.

Suzanne:   That’s great. You had to move to Chicago to film?

Adriyan:   Yes, I’m there to film for sure.

Suzanne:   How are you liking Chicago?

Adriyan:   Oh, it’s a beautiful city. It’s so freakin pretty; it’s amazing. It’s so beautiful. I’m acclimating to the weather, of course, but I really love the diversity and the different foods. It’s such good food there. It’s really hard not to get that.

Suzanne:   I know what you mean. We usually go to Chicago in April for a conference, and we didn’t get to go this year, and we were so disappointed.

Adriyan:   Right, you missed out on some food.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I love the restaurants there.

And did they give you much character background before you started filming?

Adriyan:   Well, actually, yeah, I sat down with the writers, and I wanted to know her backstory that they created. And it, ironically, was the same situation; it was just like, wow. I was meant for this, because I created the backstory for her for auditioning, and then when I met with the writers, and they told me her [backstory], I was like, “Oh my God, shut up! I literally have it written down right now.” So, yeah, they shared it with me, and we kinda like ended up merging it together, because it aligned so well. It’s constantly a backstory that’s growing as we understand more about her and learn more about her.

Suzanne:   Is there anything you can tell us about the role that we haven’t already seen or that’ll be happening with her this season?

Adriyan:   I think that viewers can look forward to someone that’s really relatable and that she is transitioning and someone who has been through things in life and has kind of got these walls up. There comes a point in time in your life, when you’ve been going through things all of your life, and you put these guards up, put these walls up. Then, there’s a point where you’re kind of like, “Are these necessary anymore?” And then people around you are like, “You know, you don’t have to be. It’s okay if you’re not,” and you’re like, “I don’t know about that.” So, the journey of her exploring that and going through that I think it’s something to look forward to and I think that most people can relate to.

Suzanne:   I enjoyed the first episode. It was like, “Wow, there’s a cliffhanger, literally.”

So, what’s nice about having – I’m sure the writers loved coming up with your character, because they like it when they can have a person who comes in and the viewer gets to see the show through your eyes as somebody who’s new and meeting everybody…So, usually, when they start out a new show, they do that. They have one person who’s new to the group or whatever, and then the viewers learn about the rest of the people through that person’s eyes. So, having you come in when they’ve already been an established show, it helps any new viewers, and it’s really good for the show.

Adriyan:   Yeah.

Suzanne:   Do you have any favorite behind the scenes moments?

Adriyan:   I do, and I’m going to share them at a later date. So, I think that if viewers follow my Instagram, I’ll be posting them there on my Insta Story, and they can follow me at “AdriyanRae,” and that is on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Suzanne:   Cool. And I was sorry to hear that Vagrant Queen was cancelled. That was a good show. I like sci-fi.

Adriyan:  Awesome

Suzanne:   How long was there between you finding out that you won’t be going back to that show and that you were hired on Chicago Fire?

Adriyan:   I found out Vagrant was canceled the second week of June. I received my first audition for Chicago Fire in July. I booked the role the first week of August.

Suzanne:   Wow. So, that was quick. I bet you were relieved.

Adriyan:  Yes.

Suzanne:   I always wondered, and let me know if this question is weird or whatever, but… I used to watch this show, and the show was all about, mainly, this one guy, and maybe, you know, a couple other people, but he was the star of the show, and then that show got canceled, and he went on to another show, and he was part of an ensemble. I was wondering, as an actor, how does your ego handle that? Was that difficult for you, or just no big deal to you?

Adriyan:   I can’t speak for all actors, but me, as a person, I try not to operate in my ego. I think it’s one of the reasons my personality fits well was the cast and crew of Chicago Fire, because it’s just not a case of that. It’s just, I am an actor, and whether I’m number one on the call sheet or number fourteen, or number seven, it doesn’t matter. My character is important enough to be written into the script, and I’m just going to go out there, and I’m going to do what I love and my best and create this character and do the work. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s about. It’s not about what number you on the call sheet.

Suzanne:   Well, that’s a really good attitude to have.

Adriyan:   Thank you.

Suzanne:   I think people that have that kind of attitude probably do a lot better in your job than people with a lot more drama.

Adriyan:   Yeah, ego is a fickle thing to operate in.

Suzanne:   Yeah, your job is not easy. I know that, because with all the rejections that you get, I don’t think I could handle it.

Adriyan:   Yeah, it’s a lot. Like you could put your heart on the line, and you’re like, “This was the greatest audition I’ve ever done!” And they’re like, “That’s not good enough for us.”

Suzanne:   “That’s not what we’re looking for.”

Okay, so do you have any other projects coming out that you can tell us about?

Adriyan:   Well, you know, filming this show in the middle of pandemic is a project in itself, but I’m also working on getting my scholarship fund, the Heart & Soul Scholarship, presented by #LoveandLight Media, my company, getting that off the ground so we can we can provide funding or some type of help to children who are underprivileged, to get some post secondary education, which is very necessary. So, that we are diligently working on amidst everything else.

Suzanne:   Cool, and is there a website for that?

Adriyan:   It’s under my website at http://www.adriyanrae.com .

Suzanne:   I’ll check that out. Anything else you’d like to tell fans of the show?

Adriyan:   Viewers of the show, I would like to tell you all that you are loved and appreciated and to stay encouraged and to make sure that you control your anxiety and don’t let your anxiety control you in the midst of these trying times.

NOTE: Some of the questions were submitted by fans on Facebook.

Here is the audio version of it. Part one and Part two. My recorder stopped near the beginning, so I had to start again.

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

MORE INFO:

About Adriyan Rae

A triple-threat singer, actress and model, Rae is distinguishing herself as a star on the rise in Hollywood. Rae has recently starred in the horror-thriller series Light as a Feather, and has guest-starred on various shows including Atlanta, American Soul, and Star. On the big screen, Rae has had roles in Superfly with Jennifer Morrison, Trevor Jackson, and Michael Kenneth Williams, and Burning Sands alongside Alfre Woodard and Trevante Rhodes. She starred on “Vagrant Queen” earlier this year on Syfy.

Born in the small city of Seaford, Delaware, Rae was raised by a single mother who instilled in her the belief that she could accomplish anything she put her heart and mind to. She attended the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia where she earned two bachelor’s degrees, one in Physician Assistant Studies and the other in Medical Laboratory Science. Following college, she discovered a passion for performing and since then has worked tirelessly to hone her talents as a singer and actress. She is classically trained in theater and has extensively trained in comedy, improv and TV/film acting.

Rae currently resides in Los Angeles.

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/

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

CHICAGO FIRE -- "Rattle Second City" Episode 901 -- Pictured: Adriyan Rae as Gianna Mackey -- (Photo by: Adrian S. Burrows Sr./NBC)

Interview with Carly Hughes

TV Interview!

Carly Hughes of "The Christmas Edition" on Lifetime 11/15/20

Interview with Carly Hughes of “The Christmas Edition” on Lifetime by Suzanne 10/27/20

This was a very entertaining call. Carly has an amazing personality as well as so much acting and singing talent. Don’t miss this fun Christmas movie she’s appearing in. It was really interesting to hear how they got it moving, even during the pandemic.

Suzanne:   So, tell us how this part came about for you.

Carly:   I was offered the job through Lifetime. They were like, “Can you be in Utah by tomorrow?” And I was quarantined, sitting on my couch, like, “What?”

They drove from Utah, picked me up, and I was in Utah the next day, ready for the rollercoaster ride of filming a Christmas movie in the heat of summer and Utah during the height of a pandemic.

Suzanne:   So, this was a quick thing.

Carly:   Yeah. It was like, “Be here. Let’s do it. Bye.”

Suzanne:   So, did they give you any background information about who Jackie is, besides what’s in the script?

Carly:  Oh, no, not really. I mean, it was all fast and furious. I got in the trailer; they drove me 13 hours. I got there and got acclimated, and we started filming. I was able to read the script the night before, but I just was like, “Well, I’m gonna go with my gut, and they’ll tell me if I’m wrong,” and hopefully I was spot on.

Suzanne:   So, they have the whole thing set up safely for the pandemic; you have to take tests?

Carly:   Yeah, we had to all get tested prior to leaving. I mean, they were all there before me. So, I had to get tested before I left and then tested soon as I landed there. Then, every 72 hours thereafter, everyone did, which actually took away some anxiety for me, because, you know, I had been quarantined alone that whole time and just fine. You know what I mean? I didn’t miss people enough to risk my life. So, it was a big thing for me to go and be amongst strangers, because I knew no one there, but the protocols they followed made it a lot easier.

Suzanne:   Good, good. I keep hearing that from people who are filming. They’re doing all these protocols. The daytime soaps were the first ones to start that, and then everybody said, “Oh, okay, well, they’re doing it.”

Carly:   Yeah. I know they did. I think the first one was like The Bold and the Beautiful, but they all tested positive right away, so they had to shut it down. I think they were actually one of the first, and then they were able to come back. But now, there’s a good protocol to follow and the testing and all of that. So, it can be done.

Suzanne:   Yeah, that’s good. And had you worked with any of the casting crew before?

Carly:   No, no, I knew no one, and also, the funny thing is that I still don’t really know the crew, because they had to wear masks for the entire time. So, I never saw their faces. That was the first time in doing any show in the history of doing shows that I could not tell you what our crew looked like. It’s funny. Let them be outside of their masks. Like I knew them by their masks. I think I saw maybe two one day while they were eating lunch, and I was like, “Who are you?”

Suzanne:   That’s funny. So, in the future, they’ll be like, “Hey, you remember me?” “Oh, no.”

Carly:   I know, I will one hundred percent be like, “What?” “We did The Christmas Edition together.” I’ll be like, “Okay.”

Suzanne:   So it was filmed in Utah. How long did it take?

Carly:   We actually shot this in 14 days. Isn’t that insane?

Suzanne:   Yeah, that’s crazy. That’s the first thing I’ve heard of this before, because whenever I usually interview somebody from like a Lifetime movie or whatever, they say, “Oh, yeah, we shot this last year. It took us two months.”

Carly:   Yeah, I know. Normally that is the case, but then all of the year it was shut down until things got a protocol and things to follow. So, everything was pushed back. So, we had to really crank these out. I mean, Lifetime did great. They did, I think, thirty new movies during the pandemic, all fast and furious but artfully done.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I watched it, and it was good. You couldn’t tell that it was rushed at all.

Carly:   Thank you.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I enjoyed it.

Carly:   I mean, the timing is rushed, because who wants to do anything in that short amount of time? But in terms of being on set and filming it, we didn’t feel rushed at all. We got to actually create moments and make make some, you know, authentic moments, even in that short timeframe. So, that was nice.

Suzanne:   Yeah, and you did a good job as Jackie, because she’s kind of uptight at the beginning, and then she slowly relaxed.

Carly:   Thank you. You know, I tried to give her some levels.

Suzanne:   I really enjoyed that song you sang. That was in the script, right?

Carly:   Yeah, well, it was a different song originally, and I think it was just a snippet. Once I came on, I was like, “Okay, how about we maybe do this one?” It gets tricky with public domains and deciding on a song. Then, we got to work to see what part of the song, because they didn’t know me prior; they didn’t really know what I what he did for a living. So, they had no idea until I got there. They’re like, “Oh, wait, you do this for a living?” I’m like, “Yeah.” So, we made a cute little moment out of it.

Suzanne:   Yeah, that was cool. I wish there had been more singing actually.

Carly:   Me too! I was like, “All right, that just means you guys have to hire me for another Christmas movie where I sing the whole movie.”

Suzanne:   That’s right. I see there are a lot of clips on YouTube of you singing. Are there any albums that we can hear you sing on?

Carly:   Just all the cast albums of all the Broadway shows. It’s so funny. I was I was going to do a Christmas album this year, because I was supposed to be in New York for two months, but all my New York gigs got canceled on Friday, March 13th, when we got locked down. So, there went everything I had planned for New York, but it’s fine. So, now I can spend this time getting it all together for when I am with my band again in New York, but I think, fingers crossed, given this pandemic and the limited space and availability, I’m gonna try to do a few Christmas songs like an EP this year. If I can get my band together virtually.

Suzanne:  Yeah, things have changed quite a bit; haven’t they?

Carly:   Oh, my gosh.

Suzanne:   I was happy to see Aloma Wright in the movie. She’s amazing.

Carly:   Oh, she amazing. It was such an honor to work with her. I mean, she’s the definition of those that have come before you. Watching her and getting to work with her up close and personal and seeing how – you know, I always find it interesting in every project, TV and film and Broadway, getting to see how your scene partners work and how their brains tick and how they maneuver their roles, because everyone’s different. I find it so interesting. She’s just a joy.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I love how when they do these movies, they try to bring in all different generations. Then, there’s always somebody that – like, I’m older, so there’s somebody I grew up with, and I didn’t grow with her, but I know her from a lot of different stuff. She’s done Suits. She was great in Suits. If you ever get chance to see –

Carly:   Scrubs. Suits and Scrubs. I mean, she’s done everything.

Suzanne:   Yeah. Grey’s Anatomy, Days of Our Lives. She was on Days of Our Lives for a long time.

Carly:   Oh my gosh, really?

Suzanne:   Yeah.

Carly:   I mean, she’s done everything. I love when you have those people that you’re like, “Okay, there’s always a surprise.” Like, no matter what, there’s gonna always be like, “She did that?” Aloma’s one of those people.

Suzanne:   Yeah, that’s fun. And how much did you know about Marie Osmond before working with her?

Carly:   I mean, tons, because she’s in this business. I kind of know most things about [her], because I find it interesting, and we had two degrees of separation. I knew some producers at The Talk when she was hosting The Talk, but it was great to work with her too, and surreal. Like, “My mom, my parents, grew up watching you; that’s how long you’ve been around, and now I’m actually working with you.“ It’s so crazy, the turn of events.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I bet. When I was in high school, she had a variety show with her brother, The Donnie and Marie Show.

Carly:   Yeah, I know, and I saw reruns whenever they were on TV Land when they play like The Brady Bunch, and then it’d be like The Donnie and Marie Show.

Suzanne:   That’s great. So, what was the most challenging thing about playing this role?

Carly:   Honestly, one of the most challenging things about playing this role was wearing 18 layers of wool in 100 degree weather in August. Honestly, that was probably the most challenging, that and it being shot in 14 days, but but the weather and the layers were the most challenging, because you’re supposed to be looking like you’re shivering in Alaska, but really, you have a cable-knit sweater, a ski suit, fur-lined boots, a scarf, a puffy coat, a wool hat, and gloves on.

Suzanne:   And what was the most fun part of the movie?

Carly:   The most fun part was – I don’t know. It’s so it’s so cliche to say the whole thing, but getting to actually live in a Christmas village, so to speak, a quarantined Christmas village, and make this magic at a time when the world is so crazy, it was a much needed stray from reality for me.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I bet that was fun.

Carly:   Yeah, it was amazing.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I was watching another Christmas movie that they hadn’t finished yet, and a lot of it was special effects, and I’m watching the unfinished version, and it says, “FX here.”

Carly:   “Snow here.”

Suzanne:   Yeah, and I was thinking when I was watching your movie, I’m like, “Well, which which part of this is real?”

Carly:   I heard that from someone else. I haven’t seen it yet, but I heard somebody else was like, “This looks cool.” Like, all right, I’ll take that.

Suzanne:   Yeah, when you start seeing that thing, it makes you doubt everything you see.

Carly:   I know. You’re like, “What’s real and what’s not?” because now I’ve seen the before and the after.

Suzanne:   So, you’re still working on American Housewife as well?

Carly:   I will be, yeah, in the first episode of season five, and then I will no longer be.

Suzanne:   Okay, and it’s premiering tomorrow, right?

Carly:   Yeah, it’s a fun one too.

Suzanne:   Oh, good. Anything you can tell us about season five or the episode you’re in?

Carly:   It’s so crazy, because we shot half of it before the pandemic, but then we got locked down, so we had to finish it after. My brain is like, “What? Christmas? Where are we again?” There’s a huge graduation that takes place and then a surprise that takes place after graduation with a principal and Maria. You know, the girls are up to their regular antics that breakfast. We haven’t tended to stray from that formula on Housewife. Yeah, so we’re kind of up to our old bag of tricks.

Suzanne:   Cool, and they had all the same changes that you had in the movie as far as the pandemic, the safety things?

Carly:   Yes, no production is allowed to go back to filming without testing every, I think, 72 hours and without protocols on set with hair and makeup and face shields and screenings and masks. I think they actually have to wear an N 95, and no one’s in one huge trailer anymore. A lot of productions makeup is split up, one person per room and [unintelligible]. They’ve really almost got it down to an art. I mean, every production is a little different, but the protocol is the same.

Suzanne:   It must be interesting to have to completely do things differently all of a sudden after doing it for years.

Carly:   Yeah, it’s insane, because, you get into a routine of doing anything that you’ve done forever. Even if it’s something small that changes, you know, like I go to hair and makeup, then I put on a costume, and then I go to set. Now it’s like, no, you wait to get your temperature, you probably get a swab up your nose, you go to one person for hair maybe, another for makeup maybe, and then you go sit by yourself until you’re directed to [go on set]. You know, it’s very interesting, but you have to just adopt these things as a new norm because they’re going to be around for a while.

Suzanne:   Does that make for longer hours for you guys?

Carly:   Yeah, I think for a while it will make it longer for everyone until you get into the swing of it, and then, like anything, it starts to speed up and you’re like, “Okay, we got this down to a science.” But now it’s just being optimistically cautious, because everyone has to be negative in order for production to stay up between the hair and makeup and actors and crew. Everyone has to test negative. So, if there’s one person positive, it ruins it.

Suzanne:   Yeah. You said about The Bold and the Beautiful, they actually had the same thing happen on Days of Our Lives. They had to shut down for two weeks again after somebody was negative, but it didn’t affect their schedule that much, so it was good.

Carly:   That’s good. I know [unintelligible].

Suzanne:   So, do you have anything else you’re working on that you can tell us about?

Carly:   I’m working on a cookbook based on all my cooking segments I’ve done this quarantine on my Instagram. So, that is actually exciting, and it’s nice to stray a little bit until I await the next big gig in terms of TV and film. It’s like I have other other, you know, irons in the fire.

Suzanne:   So, you were working on that during the pandemic. What else were you doing during the pandemic?

Carly:   Yeah, I do cooking segments on Cooking with Carly on my Instagram, and so the recipes that I’ve just thought of either in the moment or the day before, I cook them step by step and then do our tasting. So, between March and now, I have a vast number of recipes that I’ve just made my own that are actually delicious. So, now I can hunker down and [be] thankful that that’s one thing the pandemic has given all of us, is time. So, there’s no excuse now. Like, I may not want to make my bed, which is fine, but now there’s no excuse not to write the recipes down, get it together, and make something out of it.

Suzanne:   That’s cool. I started following you this morning Instagram, so I’ll have to look back at some of your recipes.

Carly:   Oh, yeah, when you get a moment today, I just did a cooking segment yesterday. They’re always in my Insta Story, and so the most recent one I did last night is still in my Insta Stories. Then after that, I always put them in my highlights, so you can go to the highlights and see the other recipes.

Suzanne:   Okay, good. I’ll check that out then. I like to cook.

Carly:   Yeah, it’s so good.

Suzanne:   Actually, I like to bake more than I like to cook but –

Carly:   That’s my mom. My mom’s like, “I’ll cook if i have to, but I love to bake.”

Suzanne:   Exactly. When you have to cook for other people, it’s more of a chore.

Carly:   Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

Suzanne:   All right. Well, thanks a lot. I really appreciate your talking to me today.

Carly:   Thank you so much for taking the time.

Suzanne:   And you have a good Halloween and everything.

Carly:   Thank you. Happy Holidays. Happy Christmas.

Suzanne:   Yes. You’re already in the Christmas mood, aren’t you?

Carly:   I am. I’m starting decorating this week. I’m not even kidding.

Suzanne:   Oh, wow. I have to take down all my Halloween decorations.

Carly:   I’m leaving the Halloween outside, and I’m gonna start my winter wonderland inside, because, you know, I go in, so it takes me a moment to get my theme going and get inspired. All different stages.

Suzanne:   Well, you have fun. I’ll look forward to seeing the pictures when you post them on Instagram.

Carly:   I will, thank you.

Suzanne:   All right, thank you.

Here is the audio version of it.

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

MORE INFO:

Video Clip #1 On her first morning in Lantern Grove, Jackie (Carly Hughes) meets several of the locals: including Finn (Rob Mayes), the Mayor (Rick Macy), and Teddy (Langi Tuifua).

Video Clip #2 Media tycoon Melanie (Marie Osmond) considers acquiring the small town Lantern Grove press, much to the surprise of its editor Jackie (Carly Hughes).

Carly Hughes of "The Christmas Edition" on Lifetime 11/15/20There’s nothing like bringing a little, much-needed holiday cheer to the viewing audience at the most tumultuous tine any of us have experienced.  As one of our favorite journalists, we are coming to you first regarding one of the most anticipated new movies to air next month, Hybrid’s The Christmas Edition, starring Carly Hughes, Rob Mayes, Marie Osmond and  Aloma Wright premiering November 15th,  8pm ET/PT on Lifetime.

The Peter Sullivan-directed gem stars Carly Hughes (American Housewives) as ‘Jackie,’ an up-and-coming journalist, who finds that her life is at a crossroads until she finds an unexpected opportunity – to run a small-town newspaper in Alaska. Jackie decides to give it a try and relocates to the remote, picture-perfect small town. Using a series of Christmas articles, she’s able to quickly return the newspaper to profitability, and soon falls in love… both with her new home and the handsome son of the paper’s former owner. However, when her old boss announces plans to take over the paper for herself, Jackie will need a Christmas miracle to save it.  No Christmas movie is complete without a consequential appearance by the likes of singular  Marie Osmond  who portrays the newspaper owner which puts Hughes’ character at the most important crossroads of her career."The Christmas Edition" on Lifetime 11/15/20

The Christmas Edition is produced by Hybrid LLC with Jeff Schenck and Barry Barnholtz executive producing. Peter Sullivan, who has become one of the network’s favorite masters behind the lens, directed from a script by Anna White.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

Carly Hughes of "The Christmas Edition" on Lifetime 11/15/20

Interview with Aliyah Royale

TV Interview!

Aliyah Royale of "The Walking Dead: World Beyond" on AMC

Interview with Aliyah Royale of “The Walking Dead: World Beyond” on AMC by Suzanne 11/3/20

This was a very fun interview. She’s very professional and knowledgeable for someone as young as she is, since she’s been acting for a long time. I really enjoy her show, which is a little different from the other two “Walking Dead” shows.

Suzanne:   So, tell us how you got the role of Iris…

Aliyah:   Oh, my goodness! I had actually auditioned under these, I guess I’ll just call them – fake sides. It wasn’t the real script, and her name wasn’t Iris yet. I can’t remember what her name was, but it was a scene where she was giving this student council meeting. She’s the class president. She’s telling everyone, “What do you need from me? What do you need done?” and they’re telling her what they need from her. Then the scene switches – the same scene; it’s one scene all the way through – the scene switches, and she’s in the classroom by herself. Everyone has left, and she just breaks, and she starts bawling, having a full on mental breakdown. She just cannot catch a break. She can’t catch her breath either. I remember going like, “Wow, that’s crazy,” especially to be depicted in a young person, the fact that we can handle our business so long in life, you know, go through the motions, but then when we’re finally stopped, and we have a moment to ourselves, sometimes we’re not okay. And the fact that I had no idea if this is Iris with the fact that I was looking at this character and these sides, I was like, “Oh my god, I’m totally playing this role.” I’m like, “This is going to be so much fun.” I had totally forgotten that it was a Walking Dead project, because if I would have remembered that, I would have been scared out of my wits and terrified of walkers. The fact that I even got the role, it’s an insane opportunity. I’m happy to be here.

Suzanne:   So, when you have to take on the role of Iris, what do you do mentally or physically to prepare for it?

Aliyah:   Physically, the moment we touched down in Virginia, we had to do a lot of just physical training, hand to hand combat working with different weapons. My weapon is actually really long. She’s taller than me, and I’m 5’3’’, and she’s super heavy. So, getting used to having that on me for several hours a day and working and running, jumping, doing stuff with it, I definitely had to switch up my lifestyle. I love food; I love a good cheeseburger. I love my carbs. I definitely had to adopt, or attempt to adopt, a healthier eating lifestyle when you’re on a show that does stunts and has such a like physically vigorous role, just getting into it in general. Although, she’s a lot like me. She’s young, but she’s fierce. She’s motivated. She knows what she wants. She just really has to figure out how to execute it, but she’s doing what she wants. And I love playing a young adult, especially a young woman painted that way.

Suzanne:   Have all 10 episodes for the season been filmed already?

Aliyah:   Yes, we filmed all the episodes; we shot from July to December of last year, so totally pre-pandemic.

Suzanne:   Have you started yet on Season Two?

Aliyah:   We have our writers room up and running. Right now we had to push back production due to pandemic reasons, but early 2021 we’re back in motion. Season Two is already even crazier than season one, so I’m super excited.

Suzanne:   How was it living in Virginia?

Aliyah:   My mother was actually born in Virginia, and I have lived in Virginia before. It’s no like foreign place to me. It was crazy actually, being on the ground shooting in the backwoods. We had to go to the outskirts of Virginia to shoot, because we have to shoot in the forest, the woods, and really rundown abandoned locations. It was crazy. It was like 105 degrees with the most absurd humidity you can ever imagine. Sometimes there would even be lightning storms in the summer while it’s 100 degrees. Virginia’s strange place.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I’ve lived in Georgia, Alabama, and now I live in Arkansas, so I know how those thunderstorms can be, and the humidity.

Aliyah:   I did not know that there were thunderstorms in the summer. I guess I just didn’t remember that growing up. It was crazy.

Suzanne:   And it doesn’t always cool off afterwards, either, like you would expect it to.

Aliyah:   No, not at all.

Suzanne:   So, I hope you don’t think this question is rude or too private, so tell me to move on if it is, but… is Royale your real last name, or is it “royal?”

Aliyah:   That’s awesome that you asked that. My first name, my legal first name, is Aliyah Royale. So, Royale is not my last name. It’s part of my first name. It’s a fun little thing. It’s like Mary Jane or something like that. Whatever, you know, my parents were bougie. That’s the most I can say about that.

Suzanne:   That’s fine. I mean, usually I go to like Wikipedia and look it up, and they’ll say, “Oh, her original name was blah, blah, blah,” but you’re not on Wikipedia. You gotta get on there!

Aliyah:   You know, I think that was the new source that I was trying – we were specifically told not to use it in school essays and everything. I think like, “If it’s on Wikipedia, is it even true?”

Suzanne:   Yeah, most of Wikipedia is true, just because anybody can add stuff, but they have people who oversee it and throw out stuff (that’s not true).

Aliyah:   Yeah, my birthday is still wrong on Google. I haven’t gotten around to fixing it.

Suzanne:   I understand. Google can be hit or miss. They have all kinds of different sources. But I think, as far as TV, at least, and celebrities, Wikipedia is usually fairly accurate. I mean, they’ll leave out stuff sometimes…

Aliyah:   Yeah, absolutely.

Suzanne:   So, it was announced there are only 2 seasons of the show. How do you feel about that?

Aliyah:   I think, honestly, just where I came from, the first, like, 2, 3 years of my career, I was doing background work, extra work. I wasn’t getting any auditions. I really just had no chance. So, to be just working regularly, I’m blessed whether I get to do it for 2, 10 seasons. I am just blessed to be here, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to go to work every day and do what I love, because I remember sitting on the bench waiting for this opportunity for 3 years.

Suzanne:   Were you a fan of the other Walking Dead shows before you got the show?

Aliyah:   No, no. I I think I was 9 or 10 when the first season of The Walking Dead came out, and I could scare pretty easily as a child. So, the undead walkers, they– they held a special place in my nightmares. I avoided them at all costs; but my two brothers were immediate fans. They still are just completely into all that. I’m even working on a show they have adored for 10 plus years. I’m a fan now.

Suzanne:   That’s good. Yeah, I don’t actually watch the other two shows. I’m not a fan of zombies at all. So, I don’t even like watching them on TV, if I can help it.

Aliyah:   They’re just so scary. I don’t know why, but there’s one creature – like I can handle, I don’t know, like ghosts or spirits, vampires, werewolves, whatever you want to come up with, but those? I’d rather have to sit face to face with a clown. Be near a walker? Like, no way.

Suzanne:   Because they’re gross and creepy. You can run away from them, but still. And you can tell whoever you see – that’s in charge – that I’m very glad they don’t seem to have as many gross zombies on your show as they do on the other two, at least so far.

Aliyah:   Yeah, our show is definitely more character-based, story-based. You have the action and the gore when it’s necessary and pertinent to the story, but it’s really important for us – I think this is the first series where we’re really, really focused on just developing really cool storylines with characters that anyone can identify with.

Suzanne:   Yes, definitely. I love that. That’s the best thing about TV, as opposed to movies, is the characters and the development of the characters.

What is the most challenging part of playing Iris?

Aliyah:   Just, growing up, I’m a military brat. I am the youngest, but I just grew up very – I knew who I was the moment I came out the womb; that’s just who I am. Playing Iris, you know, she is younger than me, but it’s also this idea that she’s a kid, and I have to keep some of that naivety to her, but it was also important to me to keep the strength that she has, the fierceness. You know what I mean? She’s not living in fear. There’s a difference between a teen who was rebellious and a teen who’s just curious and just wants to learn. I mean, it was important to me to keep her naive qualities and that innocence that I didn’t really have growing up, while still maintaining her confidence, her assertiveness, and just the way that she decides her fate. That’s an interesting life to learn when you’re a young age, and I can say it thoughtfully, because I did live it.

Suzanne:   What’s been the most fun part of playing Iris?

Aliyah:   Oh, definitely just the stunts, and never have I ever done stunt work in my career. I mean, I’m only 20; I’m pretty new at this, but being able to just slice and dice and work with my weapons, it really makes you feel like a type of superhero, a type of warrior. I’m thankful for that opportunity, because I have so much fun with my weapon, and whether we go 2 seasons or 10 seasons, I am taking her home with me, for sure.

Suzanne:   So, are you’re gonna get into martial arts and stuff now do you think, after the show’s over?

Aliyah:   Oh, my goodness. You know, I’ve always wanted to play kind of like Nikita, that kind of role going forwards, and Red Sparrow, some sort of like special intelligence kind of role. I’d totally be down for it. I think that’s a fabulous opportunity. I definitely have to get in better shape though. I have to get real serious, like some Marvel superhero type of training for sure.

Suzanne:   Do you have any fun or interesting behind the scenes stories that you can share with us?

Aliyah:   There’s a reason Alexa [Mansour] and I are very, very close, actually. Virginia is a very haunted place, and in my first week being there, I was in my apartment; I was sleeping. I woke up from this ridiculously terrifying nightmare, and I went to open my bedroom door, and a spirit walked right through me. It scared the daylights out of me, because not that I don’t believe in paranormal activity, but I stay far away from it for the most part. The fact that just this thing, just the way that I felt after, I had called my mom screaming, kicking, crying. I was like, “Mom, I can’t be here. You don’t understand what just happened. Something literally walked through me; it was so strange.” And it’s funny, because I’ve gone to set and talked about it. Everyone’s like “Oh, yeah, this is Virginia. That happens all the time.” Everyone here has a ghost story about Virginia. I remember calling my sister, well, Alexa who plays my sister on the show. I was like, “Bro, there was a whole ghost in my apartment,” and she was like, “Say yes; move in with me,” and I did. We lived together the entire rest of the shoot the whole six months. We were inseparable. That’s my best friend.

Suzanne:   Oh, cool. That’s really nice. And did you see any more ghosts once you moved in with her?

Aliyah:   No, no more ghosts at all. That was the end of that, but you know, I’m not upset about that.

Suzanne:   Well, I guess that’s a good note to end on, then.

Aliyah:   Exactly.

Suzanne:   Well, thank you very much. I really appreciate you talking to me.

Aliyah:   Thank you. I can’t wait till we talk again.

Suzanne:   Yes, yeah. I really enjoyed the show, and I will keep watching.

Aliyah:   Oh, my God, thank you so much. I think episode seven is one of my favorites, because Iris gets a little– a little love interest; I’m excited.

Here is the audio version of it.

Additional questions that fans posted and Aliyah answered via email:

Suzanne:  Do you feel that the post apocalypse would really be the way it is on the show?

Aliyah:   In many ways, yes. I think the living conditions are especially accurate! There’s no hot showers, no more pizza delivery. Then in terms of how people interact with each other: there’s definitely a greater push and pull between neighboring communities. You’re in survival mode at all times. It’s so much harder to trust someone. But you also want to be able to meet and befriend someone else because it’s so rare. World Beyond does a great job of throwing light on these issues in a realistic way.

Suzanne:  Even though the show itself is so far a completely separate storyline than the other two main shows, do you feel at all connected to the other two Walking Dead shows?

Aliyah:   World Beyond is its own entity and that’s evident from the way it’s shot to the way the storyline develops. And that’s what makes it significant. We’re still showing the daily struggles and problems that arise in the apocalypse, just from a new place and a new perspective. And that’s why it’s a valuable Walking Dead series.

Suzanne:  Will we learn more about the CRM?

Aliyah:   Absolutely! Season 1 shows a lot of hidden looks into the operations of the Civic Republic and the CRM. But Season 2 goes even deeper. We are going to learn a lot from Julia Ormond’s character, Col. Elizabeth Kublek.

Suzanne:  Do you think there would be a crossover to the other shows?

Aliyah:   I sure hope so! It would be a blessing to collaborate with the legends on the other series. There’s so much possibility in the Walking Dead universe.

Suzanne:  What were your thoughts about the first big herd that Iris and company had to fight?

Aliyah:   That was one of my favorite scenes to shoot. Everyone working together to keep each other alive. There may be disagreements within the group on which road to take and how best to execute a mission. But when it comes to life and death situations with these walkers, we’re always going to band together and fight until everyone is safe.

Suzanne:  What’s your favorite episode of the first season and why?

Aliyah:   My favorite episode is number four! The moment where Silas and Iris are dancing in the school gym and the other students appear around them is so special to me. I never had that experience in high school. So getting that moment from World Beyond means everything to me.

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

MORE INFO:Aliyah Royale of "The Walking Dead: World Beyond" on AMC

Proclaimed as “one of this year’s biggest and most respected breakout stars” as told to The Hollywood Reporter, the multi-talented, charismatic and beautiful actress Aliyah Royale is undoubtedly Hollywood’s next big superstar as she stars as the lead in the highly-anticipated television spin-off series “The Walking Dead: World Beyond,” co-created by TWD mainstay Scott M. Gimple and showrunner Matt Negrete. Based on the extremely popular AMC series, “TWD: World Beyond” is a gritty drama set 10 years following the apocalypse and is a coming-of-age experience for the youth who grew up in the decade following the outbreak. It will expand upon the already established apocalyptic society and introduce a new group of young characters led by Aliyah’s character ‘Iris Bennett’ and her sister ‘Hope’ (Alexis Mansour) who are the first generation raised in the apocalypse and have never known a world beyond. “The Walking Dead: World Beyond” premieres this Sunday, October 4th at 10:00pm ET/9c on AMC following the season finale of “The Walking Dead.”
‘Iris Bennett’ (Aliyah Royale) is a well-liked, above-average high school student who has spent the decade living with her adopted sister within an enclosed community and literally walled off from the dangerous world outside. A smart student leader, Iris is proud to be following in her scientist father’s footsteps to one day bring back the world to what it was. Just as she’s starting to wonder if she’s been living her life for everyone but herself, an unforeseen event pushes Iris to lead a seemingly impossible cross-country quest. As Iris and the group leave the sheltered world behind, they will be challenged and will forge deep friendships through shared experience, trauma, the love of family and ties that run deep.
The quest aspect makes it very different beyond the fact that these kids are unlike characters we’ve seen before. They’ve grown up in all of this but they’ve also grown up in relative safety. So they’re aware of the world and of walkers but they’ve grown up behind walls so they’re not out there mixing it up with the walkers and the dangers.
 
– Scott M. Gimple (The Walking Dead showrunner & AMC’s Chief Content Officer)
Born in Maryland, Royale is a self-described “military brat” who grew up living on military bases in Michigan, Kentucky, Fort Knox, Baltimore, Macomb, and San Jose. She was an excellent student enrolled in honors and AP classes while also taking concurrent classes at a community college. She began acting at a young age and participated in local musical theater (including Playhouse West), church and school plays, and took acting classes which eventually led her to tell her mom she wanted to move to Los Angeles and pursue her craft professionally. In addition to being a talented actress, Royale always had a huge love for fashion and had the talent and skillset to participate as a kid designer in “Project Runway: Threads and The Designer Kids Project.” After moving to Los Angeles, Royale booked roles in commercials, television and film such as TNT’s “Major Crimes,” Bounce TV’s “Mann and Wife,” NBC TV movie “Strange Calls,” and her first TV series debut in the CBS limited series by Ava Duvernay and Greg Berlanti “The Red Line” in which she received rave reviews for her beautiful yet heartbreaking role as Jira, an adopted teenage daughter of an interracial male couple who is grieving the death of one father, an unarmed black doctor who was mistakenly shot by a white police officer during a drugstore robbery. This emotionally demanding role brought the young actress to the spotlight.
In addition to her passion for acting and fashion, Royale is a huge movie buff and is a lover of classic films like Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, A Street Car Named Desire, Cape Fear and Schindler’s List, to name a few. She’s a fan of every genre, from comedy to fantasy, and gets her acting inspiration from movie star icons Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn. Royale is also an avid reader and writer and one day hopes to start her own production company. Playing similar roles as an adopted child in both “The Red Line” and “The Walking Dead: World Beyond” and being raised by a single mother following her parent’s divorce as a teenager, Royale aims to help kids in foster and to create luxury housing communities for low-income, single family households.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

Aliyah Royale of "The Walking Dead: World Beyond" on AMC

Interview with Laurence Leboeuf

TV Interview!

Laurence Leboeuf of "Transplant" Tuesdays on NBC

Interview with Laurence Leboeuf (Mags) of “Transplant” Tuesdays on NBC  by Suzanne 10/30/20

I had a lot of fun interviewing Laurence! She is very nice and easy-going. I love her character on “Transplant.”  What an amazing person, too, to have accomplished so much at a young age. She’s had quite a career already, since she started at such a young age.

Suzanne:   So, do you pronounce your name like “Laurence?”

Laurence:   Yeah, exactly. [pronounces it] “Laurence.”

Suzanne:   Okay, great. I just wanted to make sure I got it right.

Laurence:   Yeah, thank you.

Suzanne:   So, we’re seeing your season one here in the US. Can you go back to tell us how the audition process for the role went?

Laurence:   Oh, actually, I have to say that I had worked with a couple people from a show prior to Transplant that was called 19-2 here in Canada. I think they just knew my work, and they saw me in this role, and they offered me the part. It was really amazing.

Suzanne:   So, you didn’t have to audition or anything?

Laurence:   No, exactly. I read the script, and I just fell in love with the scripts and with Mags, and I just decided to jump in and be on board.

Suzanne:   Great. Did you know any of the cast already?

Laurence:   I didn’t; I really didn’t. Hamza [Haq] and I have a friend in common, but we never met. I’d heard of him, but I never met him. I just heard great things about him. I didn’t know Jim [Watson] either. And I knew Ayisha [Issa], because she had done a French Canadian show as well, and so I knew her work, but I had never met her either. John Hannah, either. So, it was all new; all discoveries.

Suzanne:   Your character is very intense, very driven. How do you prepare to get in character?

Laurence:   Well, what was lovely about Transplant, was that we had the opportunity to have boot camps prior to shooting. So, even during shooting on the weekends, we’d have boot camps with doctors and stuff. We’d run through the big scenes and stuff. We had boot camps before we even started shooting and [would] just to go over what the most common maneuvers of doctors are and what it feels like in the ER and stuff like that. So, that was really enriching.

Then, the biggest challenge, for me, was the dialogue, the medical dialogue, that I really wanted to deliver super fast. So, my days were a lot about practicing my lines and making sure I got all those lines down. That’s mostly how I would prepare for this role.

Suzanne:   How are you like her? Is there anything in her that is like you?

Laurence:   I mean, she’s a very passionate person, and I think I have that too in my work. I am not as much a workaholic as she is, but I definitely I have that passion for the business that I’m in and what I do. I think we we kind of share that but, she’s effective. I tend to like to live outside my job.

Suzanne:   You’re from Montreal, right?

Laurence:   I am, yes.

Suzanne:   That’s a great city.

Laurence:   You’ve been?

Suzanne:   Oh, yeah. My husband and I both love it. We’ve been there a few times, with great restaurants and everything. Yeah, my husband’s family’s actually originally from Quebec City. He doesn’t speak any French.

Laurence:   It’s hard to learn, I have to admit.

Suzanne:   We’re older, so his father is even older. So, his grandparents came over and his father spoke French and went to a French only school in the US until he was 14.

Laurence:   Oh my God, wow.

Suzanne:   Yeah. So that’s bizarre, isn’t it?

Laurence:   That’s nice.

Suzanne:   But he didn’t pass it on to his son; I don’t know why.

So, this might be an odd question, but did anyone ever give you a hard time having a name that’s spelled like, “Laurence,” or did you avoid that, because you’re from Montreal?

Laurence:   Well, you know, here, in French, it’s a common name, so there’s no problem. I guess, maybe in Canada, they’re a bit more used to the French sounding names. In the States, I did have like a bit of – because there’s no W, and because sometimes it’s mostly like a guy’s name, sometimes it’s created a little awkward moment in audition rooms. You know what? People ask, “How do you pronounce it?” Then, that’s it.

Suzanne:   That’s good. It’s probably good that you weren’t in the US or somewhere where kids are cruel.

Laurence:   Exactly. No, I was never teased.

Suzanne:   Oh, that’s good. Now your parents were actors, did they approve of you becoming an actor as well?

Laurence:   They are. They’re both actors in Quebec, so they don’t really speak English. So, they do a lot of theater here in Montreal and around Quebec, and my dad owned a theater for 18 years, and they’re both into TV as well. So, when I started saying when I was really young that I wanted to be an actress, they were just like, “Are you sure?” Like, “Okay, let’s try.” Then, I started auditioning and never stopped since then. So, you know, I think they had no choice. So, they embraced my choice.

Suzanne:   Did they give you some good advice about it?

Laurence:   They did, but I’ve been very independent in that way of, you know, finding my own way of working, and because I started so young, I don’t know, there’s something instinctive about it, and I’ve been very independent. So [they’re] always very impressed and very proud that I speak English and that I’m, making a career out of it.

Suzanne:   The cast of your show seems to work very well together. How long did it take for you to feel like sort of a cohesive unit?

Laurence:   I mean, I have to admit that right away, it felt like we were on the same boat. We all met at our first boot camp. You’re all kind of virgins of this, you know, medical realm and you’re kind of learning at the same stage, and everyone’s a bit scared, and everyone’s a bit excited and nervous. So, I think we all met in the same mood, and right away, we kind of clicked and felt like, “Okay, we’re gonna do this all together. We’re gonna be together for like, eight months, maybe a couple years, and why not?” And I think right away, we just kind of bonded, and it was then great after that. Ever since, it just went more and more, and it’s great.

Suzanne:  Oh, cool. Is there anyone particular from the show that you tend to hang out with?

Laurence:   I mean, I work a lot with Hamza, so we spent a lot of time together on and off. We kind of have the same childish, goofy kind of style backstage, so running around a little bit and doing funny stuff. You know, he was kind of my partner for that, but it’s not like it’s – with everybody really, I mean, we’re pretty close. It’s a big studio. So, there’s one corridor that has all the actors’ chairs, and then we just hang out,

Suzanne:   Have they told you yet when you’ll be back filming season two?

Laurence:   I mean, you know, it’s been this whole pandemic thing. It’s been pushed a couple of times. I think, now what we’re hearing, is the end of January when we start the second season. So, fingers crossed that nothing’s going to get worse and that we’re gonna have to push again, but hopefully not, because I know productions have started, and it’s doable.

Suzanne:   So, I watched the next episode, and your character goes through a lot trying to figure out how to do her job without getting so involved, and she has to give up her car. That was funny. It’s supposed to be kind of sad at the end, but I was kind of like, “Oh, she had to give up her car; that’s terrible.”

Laurence:   Yeah.

Suzanne:   So, will we see any romance for her and maybe another doctor? Or do you know?

Laurence:   I mean, I do know.

Suzanne:   But you can’t say.

Laurence:   I think, what I can say, is just there’s some tension a little bit with someone, but I think it’s something that’s going to have to be discovered, maybe on another season. For now, she’s very job focused and very obsessed.

Suzanne:   Well, she and Bashir are the obvious couple. I don’t know if they’re gonna go that way or not.

Laurence:   I mean, they have something; obviously they have great chemistry, and they get along. They’re intrigued by each other, and I think, you know, maybe something will grow, or not.

Suzanne:   Well, it was funny in that episode when he was looking for a place to stay, and he was talking to her, and then she got the other doctor to give him a place to stay. I thought that was interesting, because since she’s hardly ever home, I would have thought that she would have just said, “Oh, well come stay at my place. I’m never there anyway.”

Laurence:   Maybe the fact that she had a one bedroom, that would have been maybe a bit more awkward to be with the sister, and, you know, when you don’t know somebody living on your couch. At least Theo has two bedrooms and more space; I think that’s how she thought of it.

Suzanne:   Well, it was nice that they pulled that little switch on us. That was unexpected.

Laurence:   Yeah, Mags shares, that’s for sure.

Suzanne:   Yeah, definitely. It’s nice that they’re taking that kind of stuff slowly though, because they’re not making it like Grey’s Anatomy, or ER, some of these shows where it seems like the romances between the characters are more important than the medical stuff.

Laurence:   Yeah, I think they found a great balance there, and also, it’s intriguing. It really is, even for us reading it. We’re kind of waiting for or expecting certain things, and then we get thrown another ball, and we’re like, “Okay then, not yet.” Then, also, we’re discovering, and it’s intriguing to do that slowly, and I like that. I like that a lot.

Suzanne:   Anything else you can tell us about your character and her journey?

Laurence:   I think, for this first season of Magalie’s journey, she’s really trying to find that balance with her career and her personal life. I think we’re gonna see her get to the end of the rope with how much she takes on, so I think it’s a bit of that crash that we’re gonna witness with Mags.

Suzanne:   Okay, and what have you been doing to keep busy during the pandemic?

Laurence:   What have I been doing?

Suzanne:   Yeah, like how do you spend your time?

Laurence:   Oh, my God, I’ve done so much, I feel, and nothing at the same time! I’ve read so many books. This summer was amazing, because I have a country house, so I was able to be on the lake and sail and paddle board and do all that stuff. So, that was amazing.

And thank God I had that space; I felt very lucky. I’ve been doing stuff like learning my African countries and improving my capitals, you know, stuff like that. I don’t know, a lot of reading, a lot of watching movies that I haven’t seen, a lot of cooking, that kind of stuff; we’re trying to trying to be positive.

Suzanne:   Do you have any other projects coming out that you can tell us about? Anything besides Transplant?

Laurence:   For now, I’m pretty much on hold for that. So, I am just gonna focus on the second season coming up.

Here is the audio version of it.

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

MORE INFO:

LAURENCE LEBOEUF

Dr. Magalie “Mags” Leblanc

 “Transplant”

Laurence Leboeuf stars as Dr. Magalie “Mags” Leblanc, a ferociously analytical second-year resident who puts enormous pressure on herself to go the extra mile, in NBC’s drama “Transplant.”

Whether in French or English, Leboeuf welcomes opportunities to work in both languages. She has been working since 11 and is a well-respected Canadian actor, following in her parents’ footsteps.

With the release of “Turbo Kid,” Leboeuf was launched onto the international stage. The film was very well received at several festivals, including Sundance, SXSW and Fantasia Film Festival.

In addition to the successful drama “19-2,” other credits include the psychological thriller “Mont Foster” and “Apapacho – Une Caresse Pour L’Ame,” written and directed by acclaimed director Marquise Lepage.

Leboeuf is passionate about her charity work and over the years has collaborated with numerous causes, including Centraide, Oxfam and Habitat for Humanity.

TRANSPLANT THIS WEEK

11/10/2020 (10:01PM – 11:00PM) (Tuesday) : Bashir attends to a worried couple at the hospital expecting their first child. Dr. Bishop puts Mags to the test by evaluating her performance in the emergency department. Theo is unpleasantly surprised by an unhappy patient. Dr. Atwater gives June an interesting case to evaluate. TV-14 Promo

Video Clip  featuring Laurence! (EXCLUSIVE!)

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

Laurence Leboeuf (Mags) of "Transplant" on NBC

Interview with Tim Reid

TV Interview!

Tim Reid Actor, Comedian, Filmmaker and Social Activist was the guest speaker at the United States Department of Agriculture Black History Month celebration “Black Women in American Culture and History” in Washington, DC Thursday, February 16, 2012. Reid spoke of the importance of women in his family, life and of the contributions of Black women to American history. Reid produced a documentary for USDA Cultural Transformation.

Interview with Tim Reid of “A Welcome Home Christmas” on Lifetime by Suzanne 10/28/20

I really enjoyed this interview. Most people are probably familiar with his work through his many roles, starting with Venus Flytrap in “WKRP in Cinncinnati,” or Lt. Brown in “Simon & Simon,” Ray in “Sister, Sister,” Bishop Jeffries in “Greenleaf,” or his many other roles. I just loved him in those first two series, so I made sure to watch him after that. I’m a huge fan. He’s a brilliant person and activist as well as actor and filmmaker. He’s not the star of this Lifetime holiday movie, but he’s an important part of it.  Don’t miss it because it’s fun, romantic and inspiring.

Suzanne:   So, how did your part in this movie come about?

Tim:   Someone called me, and I said, “Yes.” The old fashioned way.

Suzanne:   Oh!  So, do you find that you don’t have to interview so much anymore? They just call you?

Tim:   No, sometimes. You know, I’ve been fortunate enough to have done a Christmas movie for the last, I guess, four or five years, and I’ve done a couple of them through Lifetime, Oprah, and a few other places, Hallmark. So, they were familiar with my work and thought that I would fit the role of General O’Toole. I said, “Yes.” I got the script, and I liked it. It was dealing with something that’s current today: soldiers and coming home and some of the angst that they go through. I thought, “Oh, it’s a nice theme; it’s a different way to do a Christmas movie.” So, I came on, and they did a wonderful job.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I watched it. It was good. I enjoyed it.

Tim:   I was pleased to be a part of it.

Suzanne:   Were you familiar with any of the cast and crew?

Tim:   Not before. Well, of course, Charlene [Tilton], I knew her from from the old days, but other than Charlene, I did not know the other actors. [They were] very nice actors and good people.

We were all under a very difficult shoot, because we one of the first movies, if not the first movie, to have to operate under the new rules and regulations from both unions, SAG-AFTRA, and DGA and APSE, and so we were sort of like the test case. It was very difficult, but that being said, I applaud the crew and the production team and, of course, the cast for putting up with these rules. There wasn’t anything that anybody could do to stop it. I mean, our businesses look different than the rest of the world, because we have not only strong unions, but we have a sense – we know our business is a very dangerous business. People don’t realize how dangerous making a movie can be, but it is, and it’s one that doesn’t have a lot of tolerance for debate. It is very dictatorial, based on you take the job, the calls for you to do a particular task, lighting, acting, whatever, makeup, and you’re told these are the rules. You have to wear a mask, and you can’t take that mask off until the director yells action, if you’re an actor. If you’re not an actor, you don’t take it off at all. And you will be tested. Every other day, someone will stick a cotton swab up your nose, and you will do that every other day.

Now you have the option of saying, “You are violating my rights,”  [but] then you go home, and somebody else will come in and do that job. So, if you don’t want to do it, don’t come. If you come, these are the rules.

And I think because of that, it was very difficult when you’ve got so many people, actors and crews, and you have to be tested; the cost of that, one hundred dollars a pop. We were there three weeks. We had to stay in quarantine for one full week, because somebody did come down [with it], were tested positive, I should say. So, from that point on, I was under quarantine in a hotel in the middle of somewhere in Tennessee, where I think you’d go for witness protection, but there was nothing going on there, and the hotel was on lockdown, so I couldn’t leave. I was stuck there for several days in the middle of this pandemic, and it was a test of character for everybody.

And you’ve got to remember, when we’re shooting, you see these wonderful shots of us, and there’s no masks. The directors just yells, “Roll camera,” and everybody who’s in front of the camera takes off their mask. Everybody behind the camera, every human being, has a mask on. You know, we’re supposed to be playing winter, right? It’s 85 degrees, and I got on a coat, and we’ve got snow, fake snow, around, and you’ve got to act like it’s cold. Imagine working with a mask on at 80 something degrees, carrying heavy equipment and all of that. It wasn’t an easy job, but everybody worked hard. I think the look of it is certainly good, and the performances are good, but I give my hat to the crew and the production unit, because it was like a war. I mean, it really was difficult for them, more so than I’ve ever had to go through anything like that.

Now everybody has to do it; we were some of the first to do it, but we pulled it off. I appreciate the opportunity. I learned from it, and I applied it in my work and what we’re doing.

Suzanne:   Good. Yeah, when I watched it, it was a very rough take, and I’m used to seeing the screeners ahead of time, but it seemed like there was more than usual of these little things where it said [on the screen] , “visual effects, add snow,” whatever.

Tim:   Well, yeah, it was 80, 90 degrees some days, and it was for the exterior stuff. It was not easy, but even interior is hot inside. We’re in hangars and offices and, you know, air conditioning is in some of these buildings. They were not active buildings, because the quarantine closed down the city. I mean, this town was pretty much shut down. So, it was an interesting shoot.

Suzanne:   I’m sure. I’m hearing that a lot from various people I’ve been interviewing. It sort of adds an interesting layer to the interviews, that people have been talking about the pandemic or the shooting.

Tim:   Well, it tests your character, that’s for sure. But here’s the news: if you don’t want to do the job, go home; somebody else will do it.

Suzanne:   I thought it was funny when they paired your character with Charlene Tilton. She’s so much shorter than you are.

Tim:   Yes, I’ve known Charlene from way back when she was on Dallas. So, when they told me I was working with her, I said, “Oh, wonderful,” and then I thought, “Oh my god, she comes to my elbow, but we worked it out, [with] a few apple boxes here and there. We were fine. I hadn’t seen her in many, many years.

Suzanne:   Yeah, she’s looking good.

Tim:   Yeah, she’s hanging in there. She’s still got that vivacious character and fun sense of humor.

Suzanne:   It added to the comedy of the of the characters, I think, that she’s so much shorter than you are.

Tim:   Yes. It does happen in real life.

Suzanne:   So, I was in high school when WKRP was on. So, I remember watching you on that, and I loved Simon & Simon, and I watched Frank’s Place, and I really loved Linc’s; I wanted to tell you.

Tim:   Wow, [that’s rare] for somebody bring that up. That was my pet project.

Suzanne:   I was so upset when it didn’t go longer than a couple years.

Tim:   I’m upset that they won’t give me the 33 episodes. I did 33 episodes. I’m trying to get them back, because they deficit financed Viacom Productions, then they were sold to CBS. So, I’ve been trying to get them back, because I want to put them on streaming, then do maybe four more, five more episodes of today. You know, those people today, those who would come and then are recasted. But I thought now that show would be a wonderful show. Just think of the politics we could get into.

Suzanne:   I think it was a little bit ahead of its time, right?

Tim:   Yeah. I’m tired of being ahead of the time. Linc’s was ahead of the time. I want to be right up with what’s happening.

Suzanne:   Well, that was the first time I noticed – I don’t know if it was her first role, but Golden Brooks.

Tim:   It was her first role.

Suzanne:   She was so great.

Tim:   Also, a young man who played the cab driver from Nigeria in the first 10 or 12 episodes, he went on to do Oz and is big time actor now. That was his first job.

Suzanne:   So, which role do people usually recognize your most for?

Tim:   It depends on the age. I’ve been around for almost 45 years in the business, so, you know, your father and grandfather would know me from WKRP. Some baby boomers would know me from, like you say, Simon & Simon or That 70’s Show, and then the young people know me from Sister, Sister.

Suzanne:   Yeah, and I guess that’s streaming somewhere too.

Tim:   Yeah, it’s setting a record. I mean, it’s the most watch streaming show on Netflix of any brought  back show like that. So, people are finding it, and I think the timing of what’s going on with young people, especially the Z generation, they’re seeing themselves reflected in the show in a way that normally wouldn’t take the time to watch, but because everybody’s in lock down, I think [binge-watching] is helping a show like that. Once a week, it’s hard to stay in tune to the characters, but when you watch three or four of them in a row, you are there. You’re into these characters. You watch the nuances and the pathos and all that stuff that’s happening. You don’t see on them; you forget, but when you’re in it [you do]. And I’ve had some correspondence with people who are watching, and they’re saying, basically, that they saw it in reruns, but they never knew this was going on, the lessons.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I think there’s a lot of 90s nostalgia right now, too, so there’re a lot of people who grew up watching those shows that are going back and finding them.

Tim:   Yeah.

Suzanne:   Tell me about your new streaming network.

Tim:   Legacy of a People Network, that’s the full title, but the logo title is LGCY of a People Network. That’s what you can find me on; if you go on our webpage, it will be LGCY of a People Network. I chose a platform and advertising based platform to put all the content on, but what you do, if you go to my webpage, is you’re one click away from any title that you see there. We are trying to create a more international view of the African diaspora wherever they may find themselves. We have production, connections and talent, behind the camera talent, writers, producers, in London, in Nigeria, and Ethiopia, and now in South Africa, and they will be providing the original content and some of their other content.

Then, of course, I’m doing original content here. We’re going to be doing some talent; we’ve got some exciting talent coming up. We’ve got a young lady from South Africa, who is in the mole of Trevor Noah. I’m giving her a show called The Theta Show. It’s a talk show, but it starts out small, 15 to 20 minutes, and then we’ll see where we go with it. She’s very funny, a great singer and opinionated, feminist, and I think there’s nothing like that in the nighttime programming in America. So, hopefully, she’ll find a spot.

All these shows, they’re organically being created. So, we’re following how people respond to them and the subject matter, but I’ve seen so far three or four episodes, and I’m very excited about where this could go and how a talent could come out of it.

 

We have a young lady from Ethiopia doing cooking, lifestyle, and fashion, and Sally May, she’s an international model and all that, so we’re trying to bring it in. And we can redo a fitness show from someone. Again, these are a more personality driven shows as opposed to about fitness, but she’s certainly gonna shake up a few things with what she’s doing.

And I’m doing some stuff; we’re doing a talk show. Well, actually, it’s not a talk show. I call it a documentary. It’s a combination documentary talk show. We’ve done five episodes.

So, things like that. We’ve just going out there and seeing what we can do and give a different view of culture. You know, see it through someone else’s eyes for a while.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I looked it over briefly. Interesting!

Suzanne:   So, what have you been doing to keep busy during the pandemic?

Tim:   Just what I just explained. I think one thing I didn’t realize, is that launching a network was going to be [so] involved, other than just content as it is. I had just returned from shooting over in Ethiopia. We went on lockdown. So, that is what actually caused me to think about doing the channel once on lockdown. You know, we’ve got to finish work we do on this project. So, I thought, you know what? I got all this stuff in my library, and I know these filmmakers, emerging filmmakers, why don’t we just put up something and stream it out there? So, I got this idea probably in March. It’s been in the back of my head for a while, but, I mean, I would say the idea I got the boldness to do it in March, and we took off from there.

So, I’ve been busy, busier than I imagined to be. My studio is a media center; it’s only about 10 minutes from where I live here in Richmond. So, between this and my home, is where I’ve been, and we try to keep them safe and clean, and very few people are involved. We never have more than three or four people in our shoot or wherever it is at one time, and everybody wears masks. So, it’s been easier to adapt to that kind of working atmosphere. So, we’ve been very busy. I did travel to shoot the movie. Other than that, that’s all I’ve been doing, creating content.

Suzanne:   Most of the things you’ve mentioned were nonfiction. Are you going to have fictional content as well?

Tim:   Yeah, we have in the movie shorts – I call them shorter shorts – you will find a lot of fictional [content]. As a matter of fact, we just we put up a couple of sci-fi pieces from one of my associates in London, and we will be adding more movies. The movies, of course, are the hardest thing to really get, but I wanted where we just put a movie up. I want to do sort of a Turner Classic movie style. In other words, context; I want to put the movie in context. I want somebody to talk about what was going on in the world when the movie was made, how the movie either was affected by what was going on or affected what was going on, and then in the end, what happened to these people? Who were they? Even in a classic movie.

So, the ones we have up now, one of my favorite movies that fits now, is Native Son, the original Native Son, with the writer, an author playing himself in it.

Then we have a movie from London, one of my associates in London, his movie, Emotional Backgammon. That is a mystery shocker at the end, but again, deals with the issues that are in our [world] now.

Then we have two more coming. We have a movie with people Sidney Poitier and Eartha Kit and [John] McIntyre from the 50s, I think, called The Mark of the Hawk, and it deals with the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya.

So, those, and then we’re doing another movie; we’re bringing a movie from Ethiopia that will be subtitled about the war in Ethiopia, but it’s a love story. Different things that you won’t see on normal television.

Suzanne:   That sounds interesting. I’m gonna have to check that out.

Tim:   Yeah, it’s called “Here’s to Movies,” and if you go to our page, you’ll see a little thing, click on it, and it will take you straight there. Hopefully, I mean, what I want the page to be, is one click away from anything that we have.

Suzanne:   You mentioned Native Son. Is that by Richard Wright?

Tim:   Yes, Richard Wright.

Suzanne:   I read that a while ago.

Tim:   This was the movie that he made…It’s from the 50s; I think 52 or 53.

Suzanne:   I have to watch that.

So, do you have anything else coming out that you can tell us about?

Tim:   I can say I’m springing talent. We have some new programs. Every week, I put up something new, a lot of documentaries, a lot of lifestyles.

We just put up a new cooking show, I mean, a new episode of the cooking show, and we’re going to add stuff every week; there’s going to be something new going up.

I’m launching a comedian out of South Africa, probably in two weeks, putting her up, and we have a thing called “She Speaks,” which is going to be a a piece for women, spoken word artists. I’m going to have – I already shot some time ago a thing with Nikki Giovanni, she will speak. I’ve got a young lady named Gina Loring out of LA, who’s a very powerful spoken word artist. It’s a place where women can go in and say and respond the way that they feel and not become concerned about staying within any kind of format. So, I have offered it to about three women, and one of them has already sent something out, and that’s gonna go up probably in another two weeks, week after next. So, things like that.

I want to give people a voice. It’s time we see the world through other eyes instead of the standard structure of network television, or even Netflix. I mean, Netflix is gobbling up as much content as they possibly can. I understand that. But, again, context, you know?

Suzanne:   It seems to be, I don’t know if it’s just a temporary thing or if it’s gonna keep going, but it does seem like the networks are all doing a lot more African American content and stars than they were before.

Tim:   Yes, they are acquiring it, and I think that the talent pool is so large; it’s so great, so many different kinds of talent both in front of behind the camera, but my major push, and it’s not a complaint, it’s a reality, is until we get people within the confines of the corporations that make decisions, the green lighters, a lot of this stuff is still going to be filtered. In other words, it has to fit the format of the controlling the people who control the propaganda; let’s put it in a very direct way. So, I hope, and I know that there are people out there who want to be free of that and begin to reveal culture through their eyes and not have to put the filter, the confines of the structure of the network, or we only do things that are this kind of stuff, but we want to do stuff that relates to this and have a place where you can go and someone says to you, as I’m saying to these creative people, “Tell us your story, and explain it, and express it in the way that you feel best suits your your purpose. What’s your purpose? Who’s your audience?” And I know, in the time that I’ve produced television for network, you seldom get that. You have a structure; you have a genre. You have this, and within that.

I mean, you look back at comedies. Until recently, 95% of all comedies were written and created by white people.

Suzanne:   Right.

Tim:   Black comedies, I mean. Not just comedies. People are asking me about Seinfeld. They said, “Were you a fan of Seinfeld?” I said, “Not really.” It wasn’t that I didn’t like it, but there were never any black people on it. Why would I sit down and watch something – [It was] one of the reasons I didn’t go to Woody Allen movies; why would I go to a Woody Allen movie? There are no [black] people. It doesn’t sound anything like the reality that I live in.

But we’re now beginning to see from all kinds of structures, you know, comedies that deal more from the propaganda point of view of the creators. I like that. I mean, that’s storytelling, I like to see people who have the ability to tell their story, their way.

Suzanne:   Yeah, we need more shows like Black-ish. That’s a good one; I love that show.

Tim:   I have not watched it. I think I watched one episode.

…We have a tendency in our business, and it’s a very crude way to say it, but we eat our own waste, you know what I mean? It’s like, if you’re going to be a creator, you have to be able to – first you study the masters. You learn your craft; you find a style and a master that makes you feel like this. “This is the path that will allow me to discover myself.” Once you do discover yourself, then you have to become a master. You have to begin to create the kind of things that someone else will want to follow. And I think be free to tell your story, you have to have people who will commit, to give you that freedom.

I think that Netflix, Apple Plus, and all that stuff, they are [going in] the right direction. However, when you start something, the first thing you do is bring in the old players. You go to your tried and true. So, that’s not really doing anything dangerous. Of course, Spielberg’s going to give you a good show, of course, you know, all the people – I just saw on Comedy Central, Jon Stewart has gotten a show. Great; that’s wonderful, but that’s not being daring.

Give me a show like I’m giving this young lady out of South Africa; give somebody a show who has talent and enhance the passion and see what they can come up with. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t, it will not. So, I don’t see that kind from the people who control the space and the time. They’ll try things, and if it works, it works, but as soon as it works, then it becomes the model for everybody else, but there’s an incredible talent pool out there in all cultures. [There’s] a great talent pool, and I think the young generation, especially z generation, are more interested now in new and interesting concepts, because they’ve got to create a new world for us, because we can’t do it, obviously. If this the world that we have created, if this is what we plan as a model, we’re in deep trouble. So, we need some young energy, some passion, that will say, “All right, I don’t like what you guys have done. I’m going to do it this way.” Now, we’re not going to like that, but out of that will come a new thing, and I think that change is a wonderful thing. We need to change more, give opportunity for change, us old timers.

Suzanne:   Right. I think there should be more dramas. You see a lot of black comedies and soap operas dramas, but you don’t see shows like – well, take that one that you did a long while ago, Snoops. You don’t see any cop shows or private eyes or anything different than just, you know, soap operas, really.

Tim:   Well, you know, I say, stealing from the masses, Snoops was literally The Thin Man. That’s what it was…The network just could not get their head around it, and the audience.

I remember one of the worst write-ups I’ve ever had for anything I’ve ever created for television came out of the New York Post. I can’t think of the guy’s name, but he was a serial writer for New York. He basically said, “Snoops, out there, Tim Reid, at a time when black people are struggling and living in the thing, he comes out with a show with this state department professor at Georgetown, how dare him. He’s not showing real black life,” and I’m going, “What? This is insane.” In other words, you know, Jared said a few weeks ago that we should all pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, and most of us don’t want to do it, but then, when you do it, you’re criticized for portraying a world that they can’t comprehend. In other words, he can’t comprehend that a black woman would be working for the State Department and a black man is a professor at Georgetown. He just couldn’t comprehend them living in in Georgetown. I was like, “Oh man, this is sad.” You know, what hurt me about the review, is he didn’t really review the show; it’s just he was so upset that I had the audacity to put a whirl in, when I’m saying, “Even then I knew black billionaires.” I knew people better than those two characters, but unless you can conceive of that –

There’s a wonderful show coming out of South Africa called Queen Sono.

Suzanne:   Yeah, that’s really good; I saw that.

Tim:   Is that not a wonderful show?

Suzanne:   It is.

Tim:   I love the writing, because I love how they have exposed apartheid. They actually pulled the curtain back and showed you the man behind the curtain, and in that way they tell the story. And I’m like, “Wow, these guys are awake.” They are writing some really interesting scenarios in a drama format, and the young lady, she’s incredible. I mean, she makes James Bond look like a wimp, but I like that, and it’s coming out of South Africa, and it’s well done. It looks good. It has great use of of camera work and lighting and wardrobe. More of those. I want to see those come from not just [there]. I certainly love this country, and now that I can’t travel anywhere else, I gotta love it more, but there are so many other cultures, including of the African diaspora, that should be exposed. Nigeria is beginning to get exposed more about fashion, out of Ghana. I mean, there’re some exciting things happening, as opposed to just what’s happening in the world of hip hop, the world in America. You know, all of entertainment in America is focused around 40 some million people, but there are 20 million Caribbean’s; there are 110 million Ethiopians. There are 180 million Nigerians. The African continent is a billion people of African descent. You got 10, 12 million Europeans. How are they living?

Suzanne:   Well, I think that’s one good thing about Netflix, is they have a lot of shows that Americans wouldn’t see otherwise. They have a lot of foreign shows on there.

Tim:   Yes, and they’re changing, you know, until they run out of money, and if they keep doing what they’re doing, they will do that soon, but they are the only – There are a lot of people following them that try and do [that], but they are the first ones to realize that if you just keep eating the same diet, it’s going to affect [things], because they’re global. I mean, my little thing is global. You can reach me anywhere in the world on the internet. So, I’m global.

Here is the audio version of it.

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

MORE INFO:

Jana Kramer and Brendan Quinn star in "A Welcome Home Christmas" on Lifetime Saturday, 11/7/20. Photo by Brandon Bassler.

A Welcome Home Christmas Starring Jana Kramer, Brandon Quinn, Tim Reid, Charlene Tilton, Craig Morgan
11/7 at 8pm ET/PT Repeats on Veteran’s Day 11/11

Chloe (Jana Kramer) has always supported various military organizations, including the town’s Army toy drive for Christmas.  This year, she is paired up with Michael (Brandon Quinn), a vet who recently returned home, and together they recruit other veterans and active military personnel to help in the cause. As the community gears up for the Officer’s Christmas Ball, where all the kids will meet Santa Claus and receive their gifts, Michael and Chloe begin to realize the greatest gift this season has been each other’s company. Craig Morgan also stars. A Welcome Home Christmas is produced by Johnson Production Group with Timothy O. Johnson and Michael Vickerman serving as executive producers. Brian Herzlinger directs from a script by T. Booker James.

Tim Reid’s bio from IMDB

Tim Reid was born December 19, 1944 in Norfolk, Virginia and came from a troubled, impoverished childhood. He straightened out his life enough to attend Norfolk State College (now University) and graduate with a business administration degree. He worked for Du Pont in Chicago for a period of time in the late 60s and married his first wife Rita, whom he met at college. They had two children, Tim Reid II (born 1968) and Tori Reid (born 1971); both are currently involved in entertainment. His first taste of the limelight came around the turn of the 70s when he met an insurance agent named Tom Dreesen, and the two of them decided to form a nightclub act called “Tim and Tom”. Within six years, both the team and his first marriage had dissolved. At this juncture, Tim decided to focus completely on acting, took up drama classes, and worked as a comic. TV and commercial work started coming his way, finding regular placements on a number of variety series that starred Frankie Avalon, The 5th Dimension singers Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr., and Richard Pryor in the late 70s.

His biggest break, however, came after nabbing the cool and very hip role of “Venus Flytrap” on TV’s WKRP in Cincinnati (1978). It is this radio disc jockey character for which Tim is still best known. Other TV series came his way, including Simon & Simon (1981) as Lt. Marcel “Downtown” Brown. Once firmly established, Tim started taking more control over his career. After fronting a number of series including Frank’s Place (1987), Snoops (1989) and, most notably, Sister, Sister (1994), he and wife, Daphne Reid, co-founded their own production studio (New Millenium Studios), the first ever built in his native state of Virginia. The short-lived program Linc’s (1998), starring both Tim and Daphne, was the first to come out of the studio. Over the years, Daphne has been a frequent partner to Tim both in front and behind the camera lens, as actress and co-producer. Toning down his slick facade over the years, the handsome, mustachioed actor has dedicated himself to films and other projects that have raised social issues as well as increase black awareness. More recently, in 2002, he released his film For Real (2003), which was made at his studio. It took an updated African-American spin on the “Pygmalion” story and starred Tim in the “Henry Higgins” role. The film opened the fifth anniversary of the Hollywood Black Film Festival.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

Tim Reid as General O'Toole in "A Welcome Home Christmas" on Lifetime. Photo be Brandon Bassler.

Interview with Eli Henry

TV Interview!

Eli Henry on "Connecting..." on NBC.

Interview with Eli Henry of “Connecting…” on NBC by Suzanne 10/8/20

This was a really interesting interview. I watched the first 3 episodes of the show last night. What was very exciting was the way they’re filming this show remotely, over the iPhone. It makes it a fairly unique show.

Suzanne: Tell us how you got the role of Rufus.

Ely:   Sure. Well, it came at a point in lockdown when I’d pretty much sacrificed myself to doing nothing. I’d accepted the fact that it was going to be a while before any work came up. Occasionally, there’d be some auditions for, you know, things shot traditionally on a set with everybody, and it kind of felt like fan fiction to me. I was kind of like, “Yeah, okay, sure, you’re gonna make this?”

Then, when I got this audition, it was cool, because they said [what] the plan was, how they’re planning on shooting it, and they wanted the audition to be unique and [to] make it your own. You know, usually it’s just in front of a blank wall with someone reading off to you, but this time, they encouraged you to do it where you would shoot it in your home. So, I am lucky enough to have this bizarre, detached garage office in my home, and it’s covered in wood paneling, and it looks like a conspiracy bunker. So, I went in there; I brought as much vitamin C cold medicine, all the masks. I had a face shield and just kind of put it all over the frame. It was nice to be able to have a place to vent all of my COVID frustrations, and, yeah, I’m glad that everyone at NBC agreed.

Suzanne:   Great. So, when did the filming take place?

Ely:   Well, we’re shooting episode eight. Actually, we’re finishing it tonight and tomorrow, but we started very quickly after I got hired, and we’ve been going for a while, I guess, a couple months now.

You know, [it] was a very, very quick turnaround audition. I got tested, maybe a week later, and I was hired the next day, and the day I was hired, they said, “Okay, tomorrow, you’re gonna do the workplace safety meeting on Zoom in the morning.” Then, it was like we hit the ground running. From that point on, it was non stop deliveries of props and equipment and all this stuff to me. It was like Santa Claus when he starts getting all the packages nonstop. It was just like that. It’s kind of amazing that we’ve reached the end of these first eight episodes now, because of how busy I’ve been.

Suzanne:   So there’s eight episodes total?

Ely:   So far; fingers crossed for more, but that’s where we’re at.

Suzanne:   I’m a little confused. Was the show filmed virtually? I mean, in your home, or do they have a set for you to go to?

Ely:   It was completely in our homes.

Suzanne:   Wow.

Ely:   We all have gotten a crash course in technology. We filmed the show entirely on iPhone 11. So, the only people that I have ever seen in a work context from the show, are PAs would come at the end of the day and pick up my phone and drop off a new one. So, I have one phone on my desk, which I use as the camera, and another phone I use to control that phone. And then I’m on zoom on my computer with the cast and crew.

And that’s how we do it. I have a mic I plug into the phone; I have a mic I wear, and at the end of the day, we sanitize the phone, sanitize the sound card and give it to the PA, and it’s the whole process.

Suzanne:   Wow, that’s amazing. So, they should be paying you to be a cameraman too, right?

Ely:   You know, the decision of how much to pay me is above my pay grade.

Suzanne:   It seems like they should at least put you in the union for like camera, sound, makeup, all the stuff you’re doing.

Ely:   I mean, I am very sure, but at the same time, I don’t need to be paying those union fees.

Suzanne:   Well, yeah. Well, if they paid you the same for all those.

Ely:   You know what? I think I’d like to hire you to be rep.

Suzanne:   Right. I feel bad though. I feel bad for the people who normally do those things, I hope they’re able to do something.

Ely:   They’re actually still involved, because these are complex things that we are required to do, and they’re in unusual circumstances. We have an entire crew on Zoom who is there to walk us through everything. So, when they’re setting up cameras, setting up lights, we have our incredible crew, camera department, saying, you know, to change this, do that move there, makeup and hair on there, too. I’ll get a text saying, “Powder your forehead; fix your hair,” that kind of stuff. So, everyone’s still there.

Suzanne:   Oh, that’s good.

Ely:   It’s funny, because it’s a whole group of people who I’m sure would much rather be doing it themselves too. I’m not good at these things.

Suzanne:   Well, they had to get, I guess, smart people on both sides to be able to [do it]. You had to learn a lot of stuff, and then they had to learn a lot of stuff and convey it to you. That’s amazing.

Ely:   For sure. It’s incredible as to how different it is; you know, we’re on episode eight now from episode one. The setup time used to take a long time there was a whole thing, but then we’ve developed our own language of just memorizing settings and doing all these things. I’m sure everyone on the cast is now so much smarter or so much more technologically proficient than we were right before all of this.

Suzanne:   Right. Well, it makes sense; you have shortcuts now.

Ely:   Exactly.

Suzanne:   You and your cast mates really seem like you’ve been good friends a long time. Did you do any type of pre tape bonding to make that happen?

Ely:   You know, we didn’t, really, before we got started. I think the minute we got hired, Parvesh [Cheena] started a Whatsapp group chat for us and gave us a place to all communicate, and we reached out to each other on social media, found out who of us have mutual friends, people in common.

I think it was just kind of an interesting thing, where I remember I was saying when we first started, I had resigned myself to not meeting anybody new for months. I’m very much an extrovert. I very much like to socialize. So, I was kind of accepting of the fact that I wasn’t going to meet anybody. So, then we all got this chance to get to know a whole new group of people, and I think we all just jumped at it. It’s such a loving, wonderful group, and based on the nature of the show and how different it is and, well, how new it is, I think we were all perfectly willing to just dive in headfirst. We check in with each other often; the group text is is chaotic and frequent. We’ve had Zoom hangs outside of recording to just chat and catch up, and there have been a couple socially distanced gatherings outdoors. I’ve gone over to Jill [Knox] and Keith [Powell]’s place; they’ve got a huge backyard. I went over with my girlfriend; we sat far away, but that was even, you know, a month after we started.

So, it is kind of amazing to see that we actually made this chemistry without having spent much time together.

Suzanne:   Yeah, good. I’m glad you guys were able to get together and be friends in real life.

Ely:   Yeah, for sure.

Suzanne:   Had you met any of the cast or crew previously?

Ely:   No, I had not. I mean, I think I’d auditioned for something Martin [Gero] had created, a show called La Complex. I’d auditioned for that when I was living in Canada. Brendan Gall, Martin Gero, and I are all Canadian. So, he remembered me from that, but that was maybe ten years ago. Then, I’ve had mutual friends with some of the other cast and friends with one of the writers, Carl Tart, who is going to be on the show later.

So, it was one of those things where when we had that first Zoom workplace meeting, and, you know, the whole crew’s on Zoom. I remember just looking through trying to figure out who everyone was, seeing my friend Carl and sending him a message on Instagram and just trying to pick out who might be in the cast. It was very interesting, kind of Where’s Waldo situation.

Suzanne:   When you do the Zoom thing, it has to be on the phone, right? You can’t have like a big computer screen.

Ely:   I have a desktop computer, so my setup is different. Every one of the actors has a bit of a different setup, and I’m fortunate that I’m always in this bunker, so my angle is basically the same. So, I can have my tripod in front of my big desktop computer, and I have the zoom on there, so that makes it easier in terms of seeing the actors. When we actually do the scenes, we’re doing it straight to the to the lens of the camera, but we do one rehearsal before we actually record, where we just look at the computer screen, so we know what each other is doing. Because otherwise, we’re just kind of winging it.

Suzanne:   Yeah, that’s a lot of people to try to see on a little phone, or even a big phone.

Ely:   It can certainly be overwhelming.

Suzanne:   Aside from the obvious things, what was the biggest challenge you faced during filming?

Ely:   I think the technology was a challenge in its own sense of, of course, we could have expected that these things are not designed to be doing what we’re doing with them, but we’ve all found a way. I think it’s certainly a challenge to know what to do with yourself with all this going on.

I think beyond the actual show and filming the show, it’s an incredible experience and an incredible thing to be on an NBC sitcom. It’s definitely the dream for an actor to wind up in this situation, yet at the same time, we’re still on lockdown. We’re still in our homes; we’re still not going out. Things are still closed; there’s still a pandemic. There’s still a social justice movement going on. So, it’s definitely bizarre and challenging to accept that this is happening at the same time as, you know, I finish shooting and then I’m still in my house.

I drove to go see the billboard that we had on the Sunset Strip, but then back to my house. I got the premiere tonight, but I’m still in my house. iI’s hard to wrap your mind around, I think.

Suzanne:   Right. Well, at least you have a good commute, though.

Ely:   Yes, my commutes great. Fortunately, I’m very rarely late.

Suzanne:   And no more LA traffic, so that’s good.

Ely:   Yes, exactly.

Suzanne:   What was the best thing about playing this character?

Ely:   You know, I think that, for me, playing Rufus has been a lot of fun, because we’re not entirely dissimilar. I’m not as crazy as he is. I’m not as out there, but I certainly take this virus a little bit more seriously than a lot of people I know. So, getting some of the pandemic aggression out in a funny way was very nice for me.

I think it’s also nice, because he genuinely cares about his friends. I think there are people that can be angry, and certainly I spoke about it with Brendan and Martin about not making him too grading and angry, but he’s somebody who genuinely cares. When he gets mad, it’s because he’s worried about his friend, and that was nice.

Suzanne:   Actually, that’s one of the things I like about this show is the people seem very real, and you know, your character could have gone too far. You don’t want to be one of those sitcoms, where you’re like, “Oh, I hate that person. Why are they using that person so much?”

Ely:   Right, exactly.

Suzanne:  

That drives me away from sitcoms, sometimes.

What do you think audiences will like most about the show?

Ely:   I’m hoping that audiences enjoy seeing people who are going through what they have gone through and are still going through. From my perspective, I think we’re seeing a lot of people in the country and in the world wanting this to be done. They want the virus, the pandemic, to be over, and they want to kind of think of it as out of sight out of mind. But I know that there’re so so many more of us who are still taking it seriously, still being careful, so we can take care of our friends and our neighbors and our family and, you know, keeping people from getting sick and doing what we can to protect everyone else. I think it’ll be really nice for them to see people doing that, too and still having a good time being together and still being connected. I think that that’s gonna be wonderful. But also, the people that don’t do that stuff, they can laugh at us for whatever reason they deem necessary. Something for everyone.

Suzanne:   That’s right.

And what had you been doing to pass the time, as it were, during the pandemic before this?

Ely:   Well, before I got the show, I definitely went through all the phases. I think we all did. I was baking. I really got to a point where I was really nailing this Julia Child sandwich bread, a white sandwich bread recipe, and I got that down – a lot of butter. That was good; I was doing that.

My girlfriend and I were doing a lot of movie marathons. Early on the pandemic, we watched all the Harry Potter movies, watched a lot of TV, but, interestingly enough, it took until yesterday to do our first puzzle. We bought 1000 piece puzzle we just started. I don’t know how it took us this long, well, at least what I didn’t know until we started. Then, I was like, “Right, hat’s why we didn’t do this.” We had missing pieces or dropped the puzzle on the ground; it’s a whole thing. But it’s been it’s gonna be a challenge, and that’s my next project, is getting this puzzle built.

Suzanne:   Wow. I have a friend who likes puzzles, and she was having trouble finding puzzles at the beginning of this. I think, eventually, they were more available.

…It’s like the toilet paper. You couldn’t get it for a while, because people were hoarding it, but then now you can get it.

Ely:   Exactly. I live near a small independent board game and comic book shop. I went there to get the puzzle, and the guy that runs place was like, “You know, I wouldn’t say we’re recession proof, but certainly for this, whenever when everyone’s stuck at home and they need entertainment, we’re in a good spot. I can imagine that everyone was selling out of puzzles.

Suzanne:   Right, and probably the comic books too.

Ely:   Yeah, exactly.

Suzanne:   So, do you have any other projects coming up, or that you’ve been working towards, or were working towards, before the pandemic?

Ely:   Nothing that I can really speak to right now. There’s always stuff kind of up in the air, and I think with the pandemic, it put a lot of a pause on a lot of things, and I think we’re just kind of waiting it out.

But I write stuff, and I think that the best stuff I was doing before the pandemic, that I’d like to do more of eventually, is a friend of mine runs a home alone film challenge that he started at the beginning of all this, where you’d have one weekend to write, direct, edit, and star in a movie by yourself at home. So, in a way, it prepared me very well for this, because we use the same app that we’re using to shoot the show on. So, I made a few little films, and it got my creative juices flowing in a really nice way. So, hopefully more stuff like that in the future.

Here is the audio version of it.

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

MORE INFO:

BIO

Ely Henry plays Rufus on the new NBC comedy “Connecting…”

Henry, who has been a professional actor since 2003, started his career in Toronto working on films such as “Cheaper by the Dozen 2” and “Mean Girls,” as well as TV shows and specials, including “Skins” and “I, Martin Short, Goes Home.”

Since moving to Los Angeles in 2012, he has had recurring roles on “Suburgatory” and “Twisted,” and guest-starring roles on “The Middle,” “Good Luck Charlie” and “Superstore.”

Henry had leading roles in the superhero comedy film “Zeroes” and the indie drama “Some Freaks,” from executive producer Neil LaBute. He also had a leading role in the animated film “Smallfoot” with LeBron James, Channing Tatum, Gina Rodriguez and Danny DeVito.

Henry also had a recurring role on Showtime’s “Roadies,” created by Oscar winner Cameron Crowe and executive produced by J.J. Abrams.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

poster for "Connecting..." on NBC

Interview with Hamza Haq

TV Interview!

Hanza Haq of "Transplant" (photo from Fabrice Gaetan/Sphere Media/NBC)

Interview with Hanza Haq of “Transplant” on NBC by Suzanne 10/9/20

It was great to speak with Hanza, who’s a smart, thoughtful guy, clearly on the rise. I’m enjoying watching his work on this show.  If you haven’t watched “Transplant,” yet, you’re really missing out.

Suzanne:   So, tell us how the audition for your show went. I know it was a while ago now.

Hamza:  Well, I had a pre-existing relationship with both CTV, the network, and Joe, the showrunner, on two different shows. So, when they decided to partner up together, I was kind of the unofficial front runner…[But then] they wanted a Syrian for the role. So, they told me, you know, “We all wanted you to play it, but we’re really going to make a concerted effort to try to find a Syrian within Canada to really tell the story.”

As much as I didn’t like losing a part, if there was Pakistani character that I didn’t even get to read for, I would have been quite upset. So, I just accepted that that was the way that it was gonna be.

Then they did their due diligence, and they searched for actors of Syrian decent across Canada for several months, and I was just fortunate that they couldn’t find him.

I’m sure…just given the nature of the opportunity certain people get and what they hear about it, you know, I ended up getting the part, and I’ve been doing my best to do justice to it ever since.

Suzanne:   Great.

(crosstalk)

Have you started shooting season two yet?

Hamza:  We have not. We have not. We were slated for August, and here we are in cozy old October, still waiting. You know, frustration aside, everybody’s very happy to make sure that we provide a safe environment for everybody to work and all that jazz, cope with precautions, etc, etc.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I hope they start on that soon, because, the the daytime soaps here in the US have already started all back. They just do it very safely. I don’t know the details, but I guess they test everyone regularly, and everyone wears masks, and whatever else they do. Some of the other shows, I think some of the primetime shows, have started, but you never know, right?

Hamza:  Absolutely not.

Suzanne:   Did you do any research for the role before you started filming it?

Hamza:  Oh, of course, I mean, as far as the medical stuff is concerned, we’re all very happy that we had – first things first, the writers did all their research to make sure that everything was medically accurate. Then all of us on the cast, we went to boot camp to try to, you know, choreograph all the things that we have to do in trauma situations and surgeries and all of those things. So, that was taken care of.

As far as character is concerned, I was given several documentaries and readings and novels to sort of get into the mindset and really understand better the the conflict that happened and is currently happening in Syria still ten years after the fact, you know, since [then], and just trying to understand and have conversations with people who went through it or something similar. We had a wide range of consultants who lived this exact experience, who were able to be very generous with their time and their experiences. So, all that money [went] to bringing this to life.

Suzanne:   Great. And what about your accent? What are you basing that on?

Hamza:  So, I had a couple of dialect coaches to help get the accent right. Then there was some fine tuning based on the region that he [is from]. You know, he’s from Aleppo, so we tried to get that regional accent but also tried to use a little bit of the fact that he may have gone to school in more of an upper scale, maybe British, educational system, that kind of thing. So, there’re a couple subtleties here that aren’t completely, you know, Syrian Syrian, but it’s sort of an amalgamation of his life experiences. So, I worked with about three or four people tirelessly, and three of them were actually Syrian refugees. So, I was very happy to have that experience – fortunate, rather.

Suzanne:   Wow. So, it’s very authentic, in a lot of ways, this show.

Hamza:  We’re doing our best, I think. With such an important story, I think everybody is just going to try to do their best to do justice to the story and the experiences of the people who went through it. So, I think authenticity was definitely the goal, and I certainly hope we hit it in a lot of areas. And there’s a lot of areas yet to go, and, hopefully, we’ll hit those in seasons two, three, etc.

Suzanne:   I saw a video of you, and you had tattoos on your hands. Do they have to cover those up with makeup when you do the show?

Hamza:  No…it was just Henna.

Suzanne:   Oh, temporary?

Hamza:  I had a little red carpet affair in Berlin, and I like to flex my own culture and get a little South Asian Henna done before the ceremony or whatever. So, yeah, that was fun, but it it faded within four or five days.

Suzanne:   Okay, so it was temporary. So, were you surprised when the show got picked up for TV in the US?

Hamza:  I’m cocky, but no. It’s a very good show; the goal was to try to get as many eyes on it as possible. It’s a very universal story. So, we heard, “Hey, they have enough faith in the show that they’re gonna take this to American audiences,” and everything like that. So, I will say I was very happy when it happened, but surprised, no. It was like, “Well yes.” The fact that it happened, you know, we’re all very fortunate. We’re very blessed with the getting such tremendous feedback from American audiences. Also, it’s very nice.

Suzanne:   Oh, good. So, you’ve gotten a lot of fan reaction?

Hamza:  Yeah, I mean, I’m not on Twitter, which is where a lot of those things happen, so, I hear about a lot of these things, which is really great. The numbers don’t lie, either, you know, the team will [be] like, “We held 4 million or $3 million,” or however many it was. That’s just great. So, I would imagine that if people are maintaining it, there’s x amount of million people watching it every day, I would imagine that it’s generally positive, that those who are watching it are enjoying it. So, I’m happy about that.

Suzanne:   Well, I see you on Instagram. Is that not you? Or somebody posting for you?

Hamza:  No, Instagram is me; Instagram is me, but I try not to get too big headed. So, I don’t read all the comments. It’s really easy for me to get big headed, and I love the attention, and I love all that stuff. But I try my best not to lean too far into it. I’m grateful. I’m grateful, yes, everybody commenting on my eyelashes. I appreciate it. Yes, they are real. Yes, I’m sorry that a lot of people have to spend a lot of money getting these eyelashes, but, sorry, I got them from my dad.

Suzanne:   So, how are you and Bashir different besides the obvious, like not being Syrian.

Hamza:  Bashir has a tremendous amount of confidence in who he is as a person. His ability to stay steadfast in decision making outside of his work is something that I very much look up to; I’m very easily influenced by other people. I’m quite insecure about a lot of things, and Bashir has this very, you know, fortified sense of self and a sense of identity, which is something that I’m working towards.

Where we’re similar, is our brashness and our arrogance when it comes to the jobs that we do. I [lose] the insecurity as soon as I’m on set. I feel like I know what I’m doing, and I feel like I can tell a story. And sometimes, I would say, not to the degree that Bashir is, I can rub people the wrong way in terms of, you know, like me arguing with the director or the writer that this is the way that it should be done and everything like that. I don’t think it gets to a point where I’m ever yelling or going behind someone’s back being sneaky about anything, but when it comes to work, I think we’re both similarly confident in what we do.

Suzanne:   The only problems he seems to have, is the whole PTSD and not wanting to get help for it and maybe a little too much pride that some people have, you know, not wanting to get help, not admitting that he has problems.

Hamza:  Yeah, that’s a predominantly male issue, I think. I think a lot of guys can relate to that. That wasn’t too far of a stretch for me either, like, “No, I got it. It’s fine.”

Suzanne:   What can you tell us about working with Sirena, who plays your little sister?

Hamza:  Oh, those are easiest scenes. I feel so connected to her and protective of her. You know, a young actress comes on to set, and you just want to make sure that she’s doing okay, and it was very easy. I see her as my little sister, and I want her to succeed, and I want her to be safe. I want her to have fun and learn and all of those things. So, you know, the dialogue just lent itself to this very immediate connection that the two of us already had. So, it was beautiful. Like, it’s not difficult to want to provide, you know, to want to make the world a better place for Amira, or Sirena as well.

Suzanne:   Yeah, the scenes with her, you can tell that you like her, and she’s adorable. So, I can’t imagine even now.

Hamza:  Yeah, she’s really cool. Easily she’s gonna be the biggest star out of this. Right now I’ll go on record saying she’s going to be the biggest star out of all of us, mark my words.

Suzanne:   Do you have any funny stories about filming the show?

Hamza:  I have several. I just don’t know what I’m allowed to say.

Did you know John Hannah was in The Mummy? He hates that I keep bringing that up, but I would say that on the first day that we all met, I was so excited when I heard that he was going to be a part of the show. And I thought we waited a whole 30 seconds before we yelled that at him. I was like, “I’ve seen that movie like one hundred times. It’s my favorite movie,” and stuff like that. I think the more I say it, the more it grinds his gears a bit, but I’m never gonna stop doing it.

Suzanne:   Oh, that’s funny.

Hamza:  Yeah, I mean, the whole thing was really fun. Like, you know, we would all get together after work, like often party together. You know, we went rock climbing with Jim Watson, and we did Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with Ayisha Issa, you know what I mean? You know, anytime we wanted a good restaurant to go to (unintelligible) incredible, you know, recommendation, and she could get those reservations too. So, it was just everybody brought their own thing to it. And we just loved each other from go.

Suzanne:   Oh, that’s cool. That’s great. Yeah, it’s it’s a great cast. I enjoy it. I liked him; he was in so many great TV shows. And Tori Higginson, she was wonderful in Stargate Atlantis. I don’t know if you ever saw that show.

Hamza:  Yeah, I worked with her on the show in Canada as well, called This Life. That’s where I worked with Joseph Kay before. So, it was really nice when she joined the team as well.

Suzanne:   Oh, cool. That’s nice. Yeah, it’s always nice to see people you know, already. Is there anything else that you’d like to tell your fans?

Hamza:  Keep on watching. I’m grateful that people are learning so much about Muslim culture and Arab culture and, you know, go up there and vote. Register to vote and make your voices heard.

Suzanne:   Well, thank you. And I really enjoyed the show. I’ve been watching it. NBC let me have all the episodes, but I like to watch them on the TV. So, I enjoy it. And I’ve been telling everybody to watch it. So, good luck, and I hope – and you said you already have a second season right? You just haven’t filmed it yet.

Hamza:  Yeah, we’ve been picked up, and we’re we’re in limbo, like much of the world. But, hopefully, as soon as we get we get the go ahead, we’ll be all like tremendously happy to continue telling the story.

Here is the audio version of it.

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

MORE INFO:

Bashir “Bash” Hamed

 

“Transplant”

Hamza Haq stars as Bashir “Bash” Hamed, the new ER doctor who fled his native Syria and must overcome numerous obstacles to resume his career in the high-stakes world of emergency medicine, in NBC’s drama “Transplant.”

Raised in Ottawa, Haq is the youngest of four siblings born in Saudi Arabia to Pakistani parents and has called Canada home for almost 20 years.

His television credits include the CTV miniseries “Indian Detective,” opposite William Shatner, Russell Peters and Anupam Kher; the CBC Gem crime-drama miniseries “The 410”; and the CBC drama “This Life,” which garnered critical acclaim and earned him a 2018 Canadian Screen Award nomination for Best Guest Performance.

He has had recurring roles on the Cinemax series “Jett,” starring Carla Gugino; “Quantico,” opposite Priyanka Chopra; and “The Art of More,” co-starring Dennis Quaid and Kate Bosworth. Other notable credits include “Designated Survivor,” “The Bold Type,” “Being Human,” “Michael: Tuesdays and Thursdays” and “Best Laid Plans.” Haq also served as host of the TVOKids program “Look Kool.”

On the big screen, he’s held supporting roles in “Bon Cop Bad Cop 2,” with Colm Feore; “The Death and Life of John F. Donovan,” directed by Xavier Dolan; Darren Aronofsky’s “Mother!”; “Run this Town,” opposite Mena Massoud and Nina Dobrev; and most recently, “My Salinger Year,” starring Margaret Qualley and Sigourney Weaver.

In 2017, he was named one of Canada’s Rising Stars by the Hollywood Reporter. Haq holds a Bachelor of Arts in film studies with a minor in law from Carleton University.

August 2020

“TRANSPLANT”

Premiere: Sept. 1, 2020

When Dr. Bashir Hamed (Hamza Haq, “Quantico”), a charismatic Syrian doctor with battle-tested skills in emergency medicine, flees his war-torn homeland, he and younger sister Amira (Sirena Gulamgaus) become refugees, struggling to forge a new life in Canada. But if Bash ever wants to be a doctor again, he must redo his medical training from the ground up and obtaining a coveted residency position is nearly impossible.

When a horrific truck crash nearly kills a senior doctor right in front of him, Bash saves the doctor’s life and earns a residency in the biggest Emergency Department of the best hospital in Toronto.

Yet for all Bash’s experience, it’s a tough road. Bash’s training is different, his life experience are unique to him and he’s not an exact match for his new colleagues, who include Dr. Magalie “Mags” LeBlanc (Laurence Leboeuf, “The Disappearance”), a ferociously analytical second-year resident who pushes herself relentlessly; Dr. June Curtis (Ayisha Issa, “Polar”), a reserved, ambitious surgical resident whose loyalty doesn’t come easily; and Dr. Theo Hunter (Jim Watson, “Mary Kills People”), a pediatric Emergency Fellow whose small-town upbringing is cracking wide open as life at the hospital changes his worldview.

The team works tirelessly to save lives and win the approval of the legendary head of the Emergency Department, Dr. Jed Bishop (John Hannah, “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”), all the while managed by sharp-eyed, acerbic Dr. Wendy Atwater (Linda E. Smith, “19-2”) and supported by longtime head nurse, the deadpan, confident Claire Malone (Torri Higginson, “This Life”).

Through it all, Bash tries to meet the demand of his new country and new job, while trying to pay the bills, raise his little sister and carve out a new life for them both in this unfamiliar land. It’s a journey that’s universal to people everywhere. Bash aims high and is determined to succeed, and those around are quick to see that his passion and hopefulness are contagious. But will his newfound life reject him, or will this “transplant” take?

A major success story as CTV’s the most-watched Canadian series in total viewers this broadcast year, “Transplant” will showcase its bold and powerful storytelling to a brand-new audience.

Joseph Kay, Jocelyn Deschênes, Bruno Dubé, Randy Lennox, Virginia Rankin, Jeremy Spry and Tara Woodbury serve as executive producers.

“Transplant” is produced by Sphere Media in association with CTV and NBCUniversal International Studios, a division of NBCUniversal Content Studios.

August 2020

Please visit the official show site at: https://www.nbc.com/transplant.

For the latest “Transplant” news, videos, and photos, please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram:
https://www.facebook.com/NBCTransplant/
https://twitter.com/NBCTransplant  #Transplant
https://www.instagram.com/nbctransplant/

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

Hanza Haq of "Transplant" (photo from Fabrice Gaetan/Sphere Media/NBC) TRANSPLANT -- "Trigger Warning" Episode 106 -- Pictured: (l-r) Hamza Haq as Dr. Bashir "Bash" Hamed, Jihn Hannah as Dr.Jed Bishop -- (Photo by: Yan Turcotte/Sphere Media/CTV/NBC)

Interview with Miguel Chavez

TV Interview!

Miguel Chavez of "A.P. Bio" on Peacock

Interview with Miguel Chavez of “A.P. Bio” on Peacock by Suzanne 10/6/20

This was a fun interview. Miguel interviewed me first before I interviewed him! He seems very nice and we had a great time.

Suzanne:   So, take us back to the beginning to when you auditioned for your role of Eduardo on AP Bio. How did that go?

Miguel:   Yes. So, the audition process was very typical to how an actor goes out for a role. My agent, my manager, emailed me the the audition notification. I got the sides for – if you really I don’t know what sides are, sides are the material that you’re given to prepare for the audition. And I went into Wendy O’Brien casting. Wendy O’Brien is the casting director; she’s a very, very lovely woman. And when I auditioned for the show, my first thought looking, researching the show was, “Oh, I can see myself in the role of this show.”So, for better or for worse, I could see myself being with a bunch of dorks. And what ended up happening, was I auditioned, and I felt like I did good. I felt like I understood the humor that they were going for, and I let it go. You know, you’ve auditioned so many times, you just have to let it go. So, that’s what I did. Like a day later, two days later, I get the message from my reps that I am strongly pinned for the roll, which means that I’m like the number one pick. On the Thursday of the week of my audition – I auditioned on a Tuesday – Thursday of that week, I find out that I got the part. And I was excited, nervous. It’s just a really bizarre feeling when you get a job finally. And then Friday, I go to my first table read with the whole cast and crew as member of the show.

Suzanne:   That’s cool. And you came in during the second season, right?

Miguel:   Yes, I did. I came in during the second season of AP Bio. I was a little nervous, because the cast knew each other, but you know what? They were really kind.

Suzanne:   So, did it kind of feel like going to a new school?

Miguel:   Yeah, actually. That’s a great question. It really felt like going to a new school. You want to be liked; you want to be respected. You want to keep your job, but fortunately, I’ve had enough life happen to me where I could keep things in perspective. And what mattered to me most was serving the story, serving my crew, and just being professional on set.

Suzanne:   Great. So, they made you feel welcome.

Miguel:   They did, and Barbara Stoll, our producer, works very hard to create a very safe environment on set.

Suzanne:   Oh, good, good. And I see that you’re from Rancho Cucamonga. I used to live in Riverside for a while.

Miguel:   You did? No you didn’t.

Suzanne:   No I did for about eight years. We went to a Quakes game in Rancho Cucamonga once.

Miguel:   That’s amazing.

Suzanne:   Is that where you grew up?

Miguel:   Yes, that is where I grew up. As a matter of fact, I’m staying in Rancho right now during this quarantine.

Suzanne:   Okay, that’s cool. Did you go to Quakes games when you’re growing up?

Miguel:   You know what, maybe I went to one, but my family was never much of a baseball family. So, we didn’t go to a Quakes – I should go though. I would like to before I leave Rancho,  just to experience more of my local hometown stuff.

Suzanne:   Right. Well, when when we were in Riverside, they had – I can’t remember the name. Oh, first we had the Red Wave, and then it was the Riverside Pilots. So, we would sometimes go to their other games, like Lake Arrowhead and all that. It was right down the street from us. So, it was something to do.

Suzanne:   So, you’re living in Rancho Cucamonga right now because of the pandemic, or do you have another place?

Miguel:   That is correct. Yeah. You know what, being in LA was was the plan, but this pandemic happened. So, I just moved back in with my folks during this pandemic.

Suzanne:   Yeah, might as well. Right?

Miguel:   Might as well. A lot of people are doing it. I mean, you know, pandemics happen.

Suzanne:   So, how is Eduardo different from you?

Miguel:   Eduardo, I like to think, well, Eduardo dresses way differently from me. He dresses like he’s a grandpa, you know, with corduroy pants, like a button down dress shirt and a sweater vest. So, that’s how he dresses.His sense of style isn’t really there. So, I like to think mine is slightly better than his. We’re both really similar. He’s just like an extreme version of me, like he’s super awkward. I’m not super awkward, but I can be awkward. He’s super nervous around girls. I can get nervous, but not as much as Eduardo. But we’re both very kind people, and we both have our friend’s back.

Suzanne:   Cool. And have you heard yet whether there’s gonna be a season four?

Miguel:   You know what, I am just a mere actor on the show. I have not heard yet. I’ve heard the reviews for season three are really great, and our show does show numbers in regards to streaming views. However, I haven’t heard anything.

Suzanne:   Okay. I read quite a few reviews, and they were pretty much all positive. The ones that I read.

Miguel:   Yeah, there were really positive reviews.

Suzanne:   If someone hasn’t watched all of season three yet, which episode would you tell them to watch that features Eduardo the most?

Miguel:   That’s a great question. The episode that I would recommend people watch the most is an episode where my character and my best friend – because all my episodes, pretty much the thing about me in the show, it’s more of me and my best friend doing things, and my duo, best friend is Victor (Jacob Houston) in the show, and getting into shenanigans is our issue. So, I would recommend what people watch, is “Get Hoppy.” That’s a really fun episode from season three.

Suzanne:   Okay. I just watched the first two before your call, and I was grimacing when you had the throwing star stuck in your leg. I was like,”Ooh.”

Miguel:   Oh, that’s funny. So many things happen on set you forget about them, but yeah, pretty much our props guy, David Hect, he runs props on my show, and he’s a wonderful man. He just strapped a belt to my leg, and he attached a shooting star to it, or whatever it’s called. And that’s how they did it.

Suzanne:   I was very glad when she pulled it out that it didn’t have blood gushing out. But that would be a very different show.

Miguel:   That’s that’s like off brand, like HBO, and we’re not actually that way.

Suzanne:   That’s right. And do you have any other projects that you were working on either before or after the pandemic started?

Miguel:   I’m just writing. Right now I have my writing partner. Michael Goldenberg and I are just writing a workplace comedy about tour guides at a studio. I used to be a tour guide at Paramount Pictures, so we know that world pretty well.

Suzanne:   Paramount, I haven’t been to that one. I grew up when Universal was the big one that everybody went to. Before it had all the rides and everything, it was just a studio tour. Then I think I went to Warner Brothers, because we were near there or somebody wanted to go. I’ll have to check Paramount out. Do they still have a tour?

Miguel:   Yeah, I think you’d really like it. It’s a really lovely tour, and the tour guides are a bunch of sweethearts, and you get a really good experience. It really gives you the classical field of Hollywood, Hollywood what it used to be.

Suzanne:   Well, they say, ‘Write what you know,” so sounds like you’re doing that.

Miguel:   Yeah, so I know a lot about that life.

Suzanne:   What do you think that you want to get involved in, in the future? As far as acting, directing, writing, what else?

Miguel:   You know, there’s so many things I want to do, and this is a very crazy industry I’m in. What I try to tell myself, is just to let my career blossom in front of me and just be pleasantly surprised by the roles I get. And now I just try to do that. I mean, I would love to play I don’t know, the detective in this or that, but I mean, there’s just so much that’s out of my control that I just have to have a sense of surrender when I go out for roles. Fortunately, I get to play roles that are different from me and that surprise me. I didn’t think I’d get cast as Eduardo, but in retrospect, I should know my work, and he’s been a lot of fun to play.

Suzanne:   Good. And so what have you been doing to keep busy during the pandemic?

Miguel:   You know, a lot of exercise. Yeah, I built the gym in my garage and just a lot of exercise. I’ve never had so much structure, so just exercising every day and reading a lot of books.

Suzanne:   What are you reading right now?

Miguel:   Right now I’m reading The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. I’m rereading that book.

Suzanne:   Oh, rereading. Yeah, I [read] that a long time ago. I should reread that one of these days.

Miguel:   Yeah. What about you? Do you like to read?

Suzanne:   I do, but I haven’t had much time to read. I have a Kindle, and it’s got about a thousand books on it I haven’t read. I read a lot in the past, but yeah, I need to get back to it. Yeah, I read I read some magazines, mostly.

Miguel:   Which ones?

Suzanne:   Well, my site covers a lot of daytime as well as primetime, so I read Soap Opera Digest, Entertainment Weekly, Vanity Fair, and Good Housekeeping, which I got for like, ten bucks for a year.  They keep sending it to me, and I’m like, “Okay, it’s only ten bucks, whatever.” That’s how they get you.

Miguel:   Good Housekeeping, yeah I should read that one.

Suzanne:   Yeah, it’s mostly what they would call a women’s magazine. It’s like recipes and makeup and you know, stuff like that.

Miguel:   Yeah, that’s funny. Who knows, maybe I’ll get something out of it.

Suzanne:   You never know. Well go to the dentist or something. You’ll probably find a copy there.

Miguel:   That’s hilarious. Now that you mention it, I do recall seeing those there at those places.

Suzanne:   So, what talents do you have besides acting and writing?

Miguel:   You know what, before I started working as an actor, I was a stunt man. I went to stunt school for a year, just to do something with my life and learn new skills. So, I was doing stunt training, so I know how to fall and how to get my butt kicked in class, just that type of work. However, now, depending on the stunt, I’d probably have a stunt man do some of my stunts, that way I don’t get hurt on set.

Suzanne:   Right. They take a lot of risks.

Miguel:   Oh, yeah, your life is dangerous, like one time I was on set. I was a stunt man on this non-union film, and I fell on cement like fifteen times at least, ten to fifteen times. My body felt really fatigued the next day.

Suzanne:   Well, it’s good that you work out so much. So, even if you did do it, you might not hurt yourself so much.

Miguel:   Yeah. I mean, you spend a lot of your time in classes learning how to fall. It’s crazy; it’s absolutely crazy.

Suzanne:   Yeah. And is there anything else that you’d like to tell your fans about you or the show?

Miguel:   You know, it’s a show that is funny. It’s not really that dark, and it’s easy to watch with your friends and family. So if you want to find something to watch that will make you laugh and smile during these crazy times, watch AP Bio season three.

Suzanne:   All right, great. Thank you so much for the call. I really appreciate it.

Miguel:   Likewise, thank you so much for having me.

Suzanne:   All right. Talk to you later.

Miguel:   Bye.

Suzanne:   Bye.

Here is the audio version of it.

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

MORE INFO:

Making waves as one to watch in Peacock’s comedy series “A.P. Bio,” (now streaming it’s third season on NBCUniversal’s streaming service) we would love to arrange an interview with you and breakout star Miguel Chavez to discuss his hit comedy series. Miguel is also available to discuss working alongside Glenn Howerton (FX’s “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”), and Jean Villepique (Netflix’s “BoJack Horseman”), his other current projects, as well as his career overall.
A.P. Bio centers around a Harvard philosophy professor, Jack Carson Griffin (Glenn Howerton) who loses out on his dream job to his rival Miles Leonard (Tom Bennett), he is forced to return to  Ohio and work as an advanced placement (A.P.) biology teacher at Whitlock High School. Jack makes it clear to his class that he will not be teaching any biology but later realizes that he has a room full of honor-roll students. Jack decides to use them for his own benefit and to get revenge on Miles. Eager to prove that he is still king of the castle, Principal Durbin (Patton Oswalt) struggles to keep Griffin under control. Miguel plays the role of ‘Eduardo,’ a shy, introverted student who’s best friends with the nerdy, Victor Kozlowski. Eduardo’s main focus is to obtain what every high school boy puts his main energy into, finding a girlfriend.
Miguel was born and raised in Southern California to a Mexican father and a half-Korean, half-Mexican mother. Miguel first discovered his love of the arts and acting at the young age 13 and began participating in community theater, as well as school paly productions and playing the saxophone in band. Continuing to grow and develop his love for the entertainment industry, he majored in filmmaking and graduated with a BA from Woodbury University in Burbank, CA. After graduation, Miguel enrolled in a stunt school, Stunts in Motion, where he trained under fight choreographer, certified stunt coordinator/performer, Jack Huang.
On his free time, Miguel is dedicated to his fitness regimen, working out 6 days a week, weightlifting and practicing Yoga. An avid reader, he enjoys books such the high fantasy novel Lord of the Rings and Thirsty: Thirst, a self-help book. He hopes to be a role model for the Latinx and Asian community and to continue the on-going conversation of how important representation, diversity and inclusivity is in Hollywood.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

Miguel Chavez of "A.P. Bio" on Peacock

Interview with McKenzie Westmore

TV Interview!

McKenzie Westmore

Interview with McKenzie Westmore of the new sitcom”Y’All-R Family” on YouTube by Suzanne 9/23/20

This was an email interview, but I’ve interviewed McKenzie a few times before over the phone, in 2012 and 2017 when she was on “Face Off” on Syfy (see links below).  She’s always very nice.

1. Suzanne: So tell us about the makeup challenge…What is it, and how did you decide to start doing it on social media?

McKenzie: The makeup challenge is for artists of all levels to create a themed makeup each week and have the chance to win an amazing massage prize from Relaxacare, makeup swag and digitally meet and be critiqued by some of the biggest names in the makeup industry.

As we started the lockdown with Covid, my stylist Darshan Gress mentioned to me how someone from Top Chef was holding weekly contests. We both felt what a great idea to not only bring a piece of Face Off back to everyone, but more importantly, give a mental outlet to artists all over the world!

2. Suzanne: And Relaxacare is your sponsor for that? How did that come about?

McKenzie: I became friends with the owner sometime last year through social media. We became fast friends amd their products are top notch!! Even though not makeup-related, I thought, “What better prize to give to someone each week in the form of health and stress relief, especially during these times?”

3. Suzanne: I noticed that there’s also a petition with almost 30,000 signatures to bring “Face Off” back on Syfy. Is that still a possibility?

McKenzie: I guess anything is possible. I haven’t heard word of it coming back, but I do feel there is still a world and life for it to come back at some point.

4. Suzanne: Many fans know you from the soaps. Are you still auditioning for acting work in daytime or primetime?

McKenzie: I feel my fanbase is actually strongest from the soap world. I digitally audition once in a while for fun but have been busy with Westmore Beauty and QVC. If the right project comes along, I’ll definitely think about jumping back in the saddle. Especially if it’s back in the soap world.

5. Suzanne: I think it would be great if you joined “Days of Our Lives” as a new love interest for Rafe (Galen Gering), especially since his main love interest, Hope (Kristian Alfonso) just left the show. I miss Shuis!

McKenzie: I miss Shuis too! 🙂
I would love nothing more than to join Days! I’m so sad Kristian is gone!!

6. Suzanne: Do you think that there’s a stigma (as many have said) against daytime actors?

McKenzie: At one point, perhaps… but I don’t think so anymore. I think people have come to realize how difficult it is to do daytime. In prime time or movies, you’re doing a page a day. [For] daytime, I would memorize 25-50 pages a day, 8 episodes a week for 9 years straight!

7. Suzanne: You’re still doing a show on QVC, correct?

McKenzie: Yes, you can find me often on QVC with my cosmetic company Westmore Beauty. I usually post on my Instagram page as to when I’ll be on especially in my Stories.

8. Suzanne: What have you been doing to keep healthy and/or productive during the pandemic?

McKenzie: Personally, I take time to weight train an hour a day and either do HIIT training or long walks on my treadmill. I always make sure to do 10,000 steps or more a day. I drink a gallon of water daily. I get a massage in my Relaxacare chair daily, which has truly saved my sanity and back! That chair is worth every penny, especially during these times!

I do a lot of at-home skin care treatments, and I’m about to start another weekly show with Westmore Beauty, bringing fans into my home, as well as beauty tips and secrets with my dad.

9. Suzanne: What else are you working on?

McKenzie: I’ve written a few scripts that obviously have been put on hold. I have a few exciting things about to be announced! 😉

10. Suzanne: Do you have a particular charity that you’re passionate about?

McKenzie: I’m big on mental health awareness so This Is My Brave has become one. Because I battle Tourette Syndrome, their association is another I donate to. And my third is the California Wildlife Foundation to help rehabilitate stranded animals.

Suzanne: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions!

McKenzie: Thank you! Xo

Interview with McKenzie Westmore of “Face Off” on Syfy 2/23/17

Interview with McKenzie Westmore of “Face off” on Syfy 8/15/12

MORE INFO:

McKenzie is busy on social media with her makeup sites and makeup challenge. She appears in the new YouTube sitcom “Y’all R Family” (see trailer and site below).

Actress best known as Sheridan Crane Lopez Fitzgerald from the NBC soap opera, Passions (1999-2008)
Dr. Riley Sinclair in a recurring role on the ABC soap opera, All My Children (2008)
Host of SyFy Channel’s FaceOff (2011-2018)
Founder of Westmore Beauty Where McKenzie can be seen doing promos on QVC.
McKenzie is currently doing McKenzie’s Makeup Challenge on her Instagram page, which is sponsored by Relaxacare.

IMDB Bio

McKenzie’s main Instagram  Westmore Beauty on Instagram Makeup Challenge on Instagram

Twitter Facebook

Y’all R Family Site Trailer

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

McKenzie Westmore

Interview with Alan Silva

TV Interview!

Alan Silva performers on "America's Got Talent"

Interview with Alan Silva of “America’s Got Talent” on NBC by Suzanne 9/19/20

This was such a fun interview with Alan! He’s got a lot of personality and talent. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. I’m so excited to watch Tuesday’s show to see who wins…

Here is the audio version of it.

Suzanne: Hi, Alan. How are you?

Alan: Hi, I’m doing great. How are you?

Suzanne: Good. Good. You’ve been rehearsing?

Alan: Yes, I’ve been rehearsing and practicing and creating. It’s been kind of like a roller coaster right now.

Suzanne: Well, congratulations on advancing to the finale.

Alan: Thank you. Thank you very much. It’s really exciting.

Suzanne: Sure. Did you go out and celebrate?

Alan: No, we didn’t have much time to celebrate. I think we’re going to have to just maybe have a big celebration when everything is finished, for sure.

Suzanne: And you must have something pretty big planned for the finale?

Alan: Yeah. I mean, we have to step it up, for sure. And I’ve been trying to always be creative and come up with something exciting and something different. So, my plan is to do something different again. Hopefully I can impress everyone.

Suzanne: Yeah, I’m sure everybody’s looking forward to seeing what you have up your sleeve.

Alan: I think that’s what I what I see most of the time. People are like, “I can’t wait to watch what you’re going to come up with next for your next performance.” So, I think people have the expectation already to see something different. So, I’m excited.

Suzanne: Yeah. And among the other contestants, who do you think is your greatest competition?

Alan: Oh, my gosh, that’s a great question, because, for me, I think all of them are my greatest competition. I mean, we’re all different in different talents. Everybody’s so talented, but we’re all different. Now we have, for example, the Bellow Sisters. They are more in my field, which is the performance, acrobatic arts. They are competition for me. Then, we have the other people. They’re not categorized in that category, but we have the BAD Salsa; they’re great dancers, and so dynamic. Then, we have the singers. We have Roberta [Battaglia]; it’s so amazing to hear her sing, and she’s so young to have that voice and that talent. Then, we have Daneliya [Tuleshova], and we have Cristina Rae. You have so many people – Brandon Leake. You know, for me, literally all of them are a huge competition for me. But, you know, at the end of the day, I think [I am] my own big competition. I’m competing against myself and trying to be better than I was last time, basically.

Suzanne: So, now that you’ve been on the show for a while, what has surprised you the most?

Alan: Well, I did have some surprises with people that actually ended up going home who I didn’t think were going home. That was, I think, for me, one of the biggest surprises that I had in terms of results. At this point, I don’t think anything surprises me anymore, because everyone’s game at this point. Everyone made it to the finals, so I can’t really tell if there is one exact thing for me that is a big surprise.

Suzanne: Okay, and besides not falling or hitting those spikes, what was your biggest challenge so far?

Alan: Oh, my gosh, every time it’s been a big challenge, especially in the quarter finals when I had so much trouble with with the weather and being wet, trying not to slip and fall. That was really stressful at the moment. I think, for me, right now, one of the biggest challenges that I’m having, is that I injured my shoulder. So, to be able to deliver a great performance for the finals with an injured shoulder, that, for now, is my biggest challenge.

Suzanne: Wow, yeah. Do they have a doctor there? Do they have somebody who can help you out?

Alan: Yeah, I mean, we have everybody here that can help us out, but it’s just because of one of the movements that I did. Basically, I pulled my muscle, my shoulder, like the ligaments. So, there’s not really much that they can do for that, just try to rest, and it will heal itself, but that means if I rest, I’m not going to be prepared for the finals. So, I decided to push forward and keep going, trying to be as safe as possible.

Suzanne: Sure. Now what precautions have they taken to minimize everyone’s risk to the Coronavirus?

Alan: Oh my gosh, this is huge; the precautions they took are really big. They’re really serious about that. Yeah, we have to be wearing a mask all the time. We’re actually tested every other day for COVID. They want to make sure that everyone is safe, keeping the social distancing at all times, even when we have to be transported; it’s like 1% of the time in the car and things like that. So, they’re being [careful] with the food and everything. It’s sealed. They’re being super, super, super cautious about everything.

Suzanne: Good. You’re filming in LA, right?

Alan: I am in LA, yes. We even have to be quarantined; we’re not allowed to go anywhere.

Suzanne: Oh, wow.

Alan: Yeah, they’re trying to create this protective bubble.

Suzanne: That’s good though. Do they put you up in a hotel and provide all of your meals and that kind of thing?

Alan: Yeah, they take really good care of us. We are in a beautiful hotel, and we are not far from the studio, so it’s easy to go for practice and during shooting days and all of that. It’s beautiful. The way they do everything is really high level. We are treated like superstars.

Suzanne: You had a brother that competed in an earlier season. Were they put up in the same place, or was it different? I read that you had a brother or some relative that competed in an earlier season?

Alan: Oh, yes. It was my brother, who was Alfredo from the games. He competed on season eleven.

Suzanne: Did they put him up in the same place? Or do you know?

Alan: I don’t think it was the same place.

Publicist: I can answer that. It wasn’t the same place, because we were at the Dolby Theatre at the time, but now, due to COVID, we’ve moved the production to Universal Studios.

Alan: Exactly.

Suzanne: Oh, so it was a different hotel. I was just curious.

Publicist: Different parts of town. We’re in Universal Studios right now, and the Dolby Theater is in Hollywood.

Suzanne: Okay. And how many hours a day do you practice normally?

Alan: Well, for the last two days, I practiced from three until ten – three in the afternoon until ten at night.

Suzanne: Wow.

Alan: Yes. [laughs] It’s a lot of work. People sometimes don’t think that. I guess they think I just go out there and fly. [laughs]

Suzanne: And you live in Las Vegas, right?

Alan: Yes, I do. I live in Vegas.

Suzanne: So, you must be glad to get away from the temperatures there a little bit.

Alan: Right, because it’s so hot. It was like 118 before I left Vegas. I don’t know what the weather is like now, but it’s been pretty warm here too. I mean, it’s very similar, and I kind of like it; it’s like the summery [months].

Suzanne: That’s good. My sister lives in Vegas, and I think she said it was going to be around 100, so I guess it’s come down a little bit.

Alan: It’s so funny. You can literally just like fry an egg on your windshield.

Suzanne: [laughs] I know. Their air conditioning went out for a few days, and they live in apartments, so they were just dying.

Alan: That’s the worst, right? That happened to me before. [laughs]

Suzanne: So, are you are you still performing in Vegas? If people go to Vegas, can they see you perform there?

Alan: No, they cannot, because when the whole COVID situation [started], the shows closed, and none of us have the jobs now.

Suzanne: Oh, they haven’t reopened the shows at all?

Alan: No, so I don’t have a job to go to now. I don’t have to work, so it was just perfect timing for me to be on AGT and eventually earn a spot. And that would be a dream come true, if I can have my own show in Vegas. That would be amazing.

Suzanne: Wow. I had no idea. I knew they’d opened the casinos up. I didn’t know they hadn’t opened the shows up. That’s interesting.

So, I read that you want to act. Do you have an agent yet for that?

Alan: I don’t have an agent yet. I did a couple of things in the past, acting-wise. I don’t know if I can talk about it, but I did (unintelligible) in 2007. But I would like to go that route, because it’s something that I really love. I’ve always been passionate for acting; it’s just opportunities didn’t come up. So, hopefully people can see me in a different light and it will open up more doors and opportunities.

Suzanne: Yeah, sure. I mean, if you win this, surely you’ll get some connections from that.

Alan: Right.

Suzanne: So, last question, what would you like to say to your fans out there?

Alan: For my fans, I just would like to say, I really appreciate all of them. I’ve been receiving so many messages of love from them and support. I really, really appreciate it. They think sometimes that we don’t read the messages, but we do get to read them. Sometimes we cannot reply to everyone, and I apologize, because it’s a lot of people to reply to, but I just want to tell them that, if anything, I just want to be able to inspire them and to just bring hope for them, and that they know that they can reach for the stars, that the sky’s the limit, and they can pursue their dreams and goals. I just hope that they see me up here, getting to the finals; I just hope that they look at me and say, “Hey, if he did it, I can also do it.”

Suzanne: Alright, well, thank you. I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to me, especially on a Saturday.

Alan:
It’s okay. Thank you so much. I really appreciate you reaching out.

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

AMERICA'S GOT TALENT -- "Semi-Finals" Episode 1519 -- Pictured: (l-r) Terry Crews, Alan Silva -- (Photo by: Justin Lubin/NBC)

MORE INFO:

Alan’s Bio:  Alan J. Silva was born in Brazil. He comes from a long line of performers and is the sixth generation of circus performers in his family. He started performing at the age of 6. He trained in and performed many circus disciplines, including but not limited to Russian bar, clowning, tumbling and flying trapeze. It wasn’t until he was 16, though, that he found his true passion was aerial silks. Soon after mastering his craft, he traveled Brazil, performing as the first male artist to fly on aerial silks for circuses and festivals all over the country. Then in 2000, he had an opportunity to audition for his dream circus that only accepted the best of the best artists to be part of the company. However, it wouldn’t be for another two years that he’d be called to create a character and act for the show that would eventually open on the Las Vegas strip. Since 2003, Alan has called the USA home and is proud to have earned his citizenship in 2017. While working and living in Las Vegas, he met and married his wife, and they are now parents of two amazing young children that may follow in his foot steps

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

Alan Silva performers on "America's Got Talent"

Alan Silva performs America's Got Talent - Season 15

Interview with Crystal Hunt

TV Interview!

Crystal Hunt

Interview with Crystal Hunt of “Mood Swings” on PureFlix by Suzanne 8/14/20

It was great to speak with Crystal!  She’s a lot of fun. I used to watch her on “Guiding Light” and “One Life to Live”  She’s good at playing the villain, but she’s very sweet and down-to-earth in real life.

Here is the audio version of it.  Here’s the transcript!

Suzanne: So, when did you create the series? And when was it filmed?

Crystal: We shot it the year right before Christmas, year before last, and I created it when Donna Mills and Vanessa Marcil and I did that show “Queens Of Drama.” We were given a challenge. So, I create a treatment for a series that we think should be on the air. And so, my name is chosen, but Donna loved the concept of doing a female ensemble comedy and always loved “The Golden Girls,” and, you know, her favorite’s “I Love Lucy” like me. She loves Lucy a lot. So, we have a very similar sense of the style of comedy we like. And I just didn’t let her down. I was like, “Oh my God, I can’t believe we’re actually doing this.” She’s like, “You realize how big of a deal this is.” And she’s like, “There’s nobody in our industry that says they’re actually gonna do something and they actually follow through.” I’m like, “Well, I’m from Florida. I think it’s different.”

Suzanne: So had you done any writing before this?

Crystal: I had never, but I didn’t really have much of a choice once I saw what the budget was, and also timeframe before production needed to start by. And I didn’t realize just how many – because I’m not a writer, I didn’t realize just how – okay, I take it back. I did take poetry writing and things like that. I’ve always enjoyed that growing up. I’d just never formally written. So, I never really knew about writers rooms and all these different components and all these other people that add to the mix that actually makes up each episode. So, I realized really quickly, that yeah, this is too much work for anyone person in the time frame we need it. So, I happen to be friends with one of the writers of “The Golden Girls,” and I said, “Listen, I know that you [don’t want?] to do this for a long time, but it’s happening, but here’s the deal. It has to be done in this amount of time.” He’s like, “Okay, so possible.” I’m like, “Yeah, and here’s what it is. You’ll have me and one of my friends and we will -“ She has written some things. I was like, “So, she has a little bit of experience.” I said, “And I’m watching Judd Apatow Masterclass first.” I said, “So, while I finish up wrapping up the shooting the season on this other show.” I was like, “I will be watching a masterclass, so I know I can at least have an idea that I can make notes” I’m like, “And then lets beat board the whole thing out, and then let us create some female heavy content, and then you can run with it.” He’s like, “Okay, this sounds nuts but I think that it might actually be doable if you guys can do that.” He’s like, “That’s the key, like that’s where the writer room comes in, is you get to get ideas from a bunch of different heads, and a lot of different visions and takes on everything and that’s kind of what makes comedy so great.” So, it was a lesson and also opened up the doors to a lot of work right at the tail end of wrapping up season two of our show.

Suzanne: Wow. So, so, so it was difficult, but you figured out how to get help and get it all together.

Crystal: 100%. Tons of notes, tons of calls for questions and whatnot, but we got down to a really good rhythm. Some episodes, that will seem the most daunting to do, because they seem like they had the most content, turned out to be some of the easiest, and the ones that we thought were going to be the easiest, we’re like, “What? I don’t know, what do you mean?

Suzanne: So I know you’d worked for Pure Flix before, did that make it easier to sell it to them?

Crystal: Oh, it had already been sold. They had actually asked when I was actually negotiating my deal for season two. [Unintelligible] asked, “What happened to that show you pitched on, ‘Queens of Drama’?” “I mean, I do plan to do it at some point, but I just haven’t gotten around it yet.” He’s like, “Can you give me a rough pitch?” And I’m like, “Well, I haven’t even looked at the treatment in years, but yes.

Crystal: Like twenty minutes later, he’s like, “Let’s do like eight or ten episodes. Let’s just figure out like, what the beat board is and let’s do it. Like the episode, like what’s the season’s going to comprise of, and let’s do it.” So, just a treatment

Suzanne: Great. And so, did you first meet and work with Donna Mills with the “Queens of Drama,” or her did you know her from before?

Crystal: No, we actually have friends in common. One of the first executive researchers to ever hire her was a gentleman named John Conboy. He [unintelligible] “Santa Barbara” and “Capitol.” And he actually gave her one of my first jobs. He hired me for my first job on “The Guiding Light.”

Suzanne: Oh, good.

Crystal: Yeah, so, we had a lot of paths that crossed, but yes, we didn’t formally meet until “Queens of Drama.” And we’ve been like, yeah, there might be an age difference, but she and I, like you couldn’t find too closer pals. I love her pieces. She’s like family, as is her husband and daughter. They just didn’t realize they were gonna gain family from Florida, but they did…Joan Collins is a good friend of hers and Joan worked on “Guiding Light” with me. There’re just a lot of crossovers in our industry that you really don’t think of until that happens and you’re like, “Oh, oh, that’s where we know each other.” There’re so many times the things like that happen and it’s like, “Okay, now I’m not surprised anymore. Just go with it.”

Suzanne: Yeah, I read about that all the time. You’ll hear about somebody being cast and they’ll be like, “Oh, I know so and so, because we used to meet each other in the same auditions, or we took an acting class or something like that. And you’re like, “Oh, okay.”

Crystal: That happens a lot. Where like you used to, you know, do some sort of like workshop whatever with an actor and you run into them again, and then there’s like some sort of crossover.

Suzanne: Yeah. And I guess you see that a lot on Twitter too. Some actor that you know from one thing and then you’ll be talking to another actor, and you’re like, I wonder how they know each other? It’s always something like that.

Crystal: So true. And it does; it happens a lot. That’s because there’s not that many, especially in New York, there weren’t that many really reputable coaches that did workshops and whatnot. So, you had to have at least some credits on your belt to even get in there. So, if you were part of it, chances are you’re gonna see people that you’ve seen either on auditions or have worked with. [dog is barking]

Suzanne: Is that your dog?

Crystal: No, it is not. It’s my mother’s unruly dog. He is right next to me, barking next to me. I’m like, “What is she barking at?” We’re here in Florida for my mom’s birthday. So yeah, her dogs, though I love them to pieces. I got them for her, so obviously, I think they’re beautiful and I love them, but holy moly. They bark at everything

Suzanne: Yeah, that’s we always try to get dog that doesn’t bark if we can help it.

Crystal: Mine does not. I am very proud to say that.

Crystal: I’m answering a text; I have to get to an appointment that my mom’s at. Sorry I was asking on my dad’s [unintelligible] because they were walking in. My mom’s like – I told her, I’m like, “I have an interview to do on my drive over there.” Like I didn’t realize the time it was, because I was like, “I know I’ll be getting a call at that time. So I’ll head over there.

Crystal: I told him too, I was like…I surprised my mom got like this whole like, UV filtration system in their house and stuff like that, because she’s a cancer survivor…and really good it gets all the crap out of the water and stuff but also doesn’t have that water. So, I don’t know if you have long hair, but it doesn’t have that water softener feel that makes you feel like you can’t ever get your shampoo out of your hair. Because we hate it but also don’t want to have her breathing in carcinogens like they clean water with. So, I do that and the guy didn’t know what he was doing exactly, and it flooded a quarter of my parents’ house.

Suzanne: Oh, no.

Crystal: Yeah, this all happened in the last 48 hours, so it’s been fun.

Suzanne: You’ve been having a week.

Crystal: Yeah, exactly. I was like, “Friday might be a little hectic, but don’t worry. Even if I’m talking on the road, I’ll be talking.

Suzanne: Well, that’s good that you can multitask.

Crystal: [unintelligible] disaster.

Suzanne: Did you know any of the other people in your cast? You have a great cast for the show. Did you know any of them before they were cast?

Crystal: Oh, 100%, yeah. Well, obviously, Donna wrote the role for, and then Dyan Cannon she called me, and I was just like, that was beyond a pinch yourself moment. I mean, her her manager called a couple times, and I was explaining that the character that would be great for her would be be – She wanted to roll of Wanda, but I said I’ve written that for Donna, but the roll of her sister would be fabulous for her. She’s wild and crazy and a blast. But she wasn’t set to come until season two. Well, a couple of calls later, I get a call from Diane pitching me to have her come in a little bit in season one and then full time in season two. And I’m sorry yeah, it was a week before production, but you can’t get a call like that and not make it happen.

Suzanne: Right. Right. Wow. That’s great. Yeah, she’s wonderful.

Crystal: And I couldn’t have met a more unbelievable human being. She’s just incredible. Such an angel.

Suzanne: And what about Robin Riker? Did you know her before?

Crystal: Robin Riker, I actually know her through “The Golden Girls” writer; he wrote for her on “Mash.” It was so much crossover. It was crazy. And then several of my former cast mates from other soaps that are on there too, like the guy who plays my ex husband, Scott Bailey. We worked together since I was seventeen on “Guiding Light.” And a lot of people, because ultimately, I mean, Joan Collins has come out and said, “You know, soap opera stars are about the hardest working people in the business.” Because the thing is, there is no other workload like it. Like it’s the only thing that you see five days a week, every week that [unintelligible] training, and so it’s less of a series in the way that when people watch series, they watch ten, twelve episodes of something, and then they have to wait for another season to come out. Whereas it develops a totally different relationship with your fan base. Because it’s no longer like, “Oh my god!” It’s not that; it’s legitimately like they’ll come up to you and give you a piece of their mind and tell you, you know, “You need to stop giving this person a hard time,” and blah, blah, blah, bla, blah and are totally 100% in it, but like there is no like, “Hi, nice to meet you.” It’s like,”Why don’t you leave your your stepmother alone and give her a break.” And because it creates such a real family type relationship, that people forget that they don’t actually know you as a person, and also that you’re portraying a character. So, the separation is a little off, but there’s never a dull moment, I can tell you that.

Suzanne: So did you get more people coming up to you when you were playing Lizzie or when you’re playing Stacy?

Crystal: Oh, that’s a good question. I think just as much but just different, because I was so young when I was playing Lizzy. I had a lot of people like concerned, like there are a lot people waiting outside the studio tracks, like trying to introduce me to Christianity, even though if they ever looked up anything that I had said set about myself – I grew up Pentecostal Church of God and went to a bad Baptist school. So like, there’s really not much you can tell me that I haven’t heard ad nauseum, because I had to learn absolutely every single subject every kid learns in school, only the subject and how it relates to the Bible. But like they truly are concerned that I came from like a very sweet sort of nurturing side, whereas with Stacey, I think they are like, “She’s old enough to know better!” And they would give me an earful. It’s funny; it’s just different fans, because the fans – I feel like it sounds crazy, but the fans for CBS, it’s like they’re just 100% away from ABC fans. They’re just totally different types of people and demographics. It’s so weird. You would never ever think that a network would change, you know, what your fan base is going to be. Like, for instance, like “Guiding Light,” I would say, it’s definitely more of a legacy show. Like there was a lot one people that watched it, because it was like passed down to them like it was like an heirloom or something. Whereas I’d say ABC, it was the first time I actually had a lot of young fans.

Suzanne: That makes sense.

Crystal: Because there was such a broad demographic for ABC shows. ,So it was just it was it was crazy to see, because you don’t really know it until you experience it.

Suzanne: Right. Well, I watched you a little bit on “Guiding Light” and when you were on “One Life to Live,” and I liked you. You did a good job on both, but I didn’t like Stacy, because I liked Gigi and Rex together

Crystal: Yeah, nobody likes breaking up of the couples.

Suzanne: No, no, exactly…Do you still do you still know Ron? Didn’t Ron Carlivati write your character?

Crystal: My character, yes he did. He wrote my character for “GH.” No, not “GH,” for “One Life to Live.” He is at “GH” now. Yeah, he wrote my character for “One Life.” He’s such a sweetheart.

Suzanne: Yeah I thought I had read that he wrote all that, because I was like, well okay hope he does better now….Like I said you did a great job, you know, I just didn’t like Stacy. You know, it’s hard to like somebody who was so awful all the time.

Crystal: I hear you.

Suzanne: So I was wondering why – I’m sure you get a lot of flack from fans for that.

Crystal: Oh, for sure, but yeah, but that’s the one thing is I think that it probably helps that I already had covered some ground in daytime, because then there are at least enough people out there that knew that Crystal isn’t like that.

Crystal: So, I think that it saved me a little bit. I think a lot of people are trying to figure out how much of Lizzie was really me and how much of it was just the character. And because they didn’t know me from anything, because I was in the middle of my senior year of high school when I got cast. So, I think that since it established that I was not alone and doing all these crazy things, that I must not be so bad. There wasn’t like terrible hate mail. I like that. There has been, but not really as much for Stacey anymore, just because they like them together, you know, and they get used to that. And I completely understand it, but every show has to have that person.

Suzanne: Well, it probably helped you too, if you weren’t just thrown in as that being your first first character. You might have had a lot of trouble with how people treated you.

Crystal: I’m not gonna lie. I have pretty thick skin. I have a huge family that all think that they are like practical jokers and standup comics. I think there’s 99.99% sarcasm in our family. And they’re always pulling pranks on you and all that stuff. So, I feel like they’re so full of crap anyway, all the time that I just have gotten such thick skin to everything that I’m always ready to have a great response, to where I feel like I was already seasoned to handle anything at that point.

Suzanne: They prepared you for life.

Crystal: Oh, yes. No, it’s a good thing. I recommend it. Huge families are fabulous.

Suzanne: What else can you tell us about the series? It comes out in October, right?

Crystal: it came out the end of last October.

Suzanne: Okay.

Crystal: You know, like right before the whole world went on pause.

Suzanne: Crazy.

Crystal: Back when you could go to the movie theater.

Suzanne: Well, it’s a good thing it’s not a movie then.

Crystal: It’s funny though. It’s funny, because I there were so many films I did want to see. And I’m like, what’s gonna happen? Like they gotta put it on streaming somehow, but I guess they have to make a deal. And next thing you know, all these deals are being made with the shows and films that I wanted to see at the theater. They’re now streaming on streaming services. It’s so weird. It’s so weird.

Suzanne: It is weird, because all of a sudden, the definition of a movie has completely changed, hasn’t it?

Crystal: Yeah, I mean, it’s strange though. I mean, I know this has been going on for a long time now, but it still feels like if I were to wake up tomorrow, and this is all just some wacky dream, I wouldn’t be surprised. Like, it just feels so surreal. You know what I mean?

Suzanne: Yeah, I know exactly what you mean.

Crystal: it’s just too many things and too much negativity all at once. It’s just you hate seeing like, you know, this is all because of COVID and it’s messing with people brain chemicals, keeping them like the you know, sheltered up in their homes all the time and all that stuff. I mean, it’s not healthy, and then all the stuff that’s been happening in the media, the police forces and different things. It’s just like, really? Like right now? Like come on.

Suzanne: And then you’ve got what was it? Murder hornets. I don’t know what else, so many things. And then we’ve got an election coming up, so everything’s all amped up anyway in the news.

Crystal: Yeah, it’s true. It’s too much, and I refuse to watch the news. I’m not that person. If I flip on the news, it’s really hard to give me any kind of like, remote anxiety about something, but I just don’t understand. Like, it just puts you in a bad mood.

Suzanne: Yeah, it’s depressing.

Crystal: It takes you from a good mood to just being like, “blah,” so quick.

Suzanne: I know, even on a good year, it’s depressing. And this is not a good year.

Crystal: I feel like you watch it for five minutes and know what they’re gonna talk about for the next few hours. It’s like it’s cyclical. Everybody kind of rehashes certain things.

Crystal: But like, my mother loves my watching the news, and she was actually quarantined with me in LA, because she just had spine surgery. And I’m like, “Listen, Lady, I’m making some hard rules here. You can watch ten minutes a day, and if there’s something big happening, that there is some special thing that night, that there’s like some sort of thing that you feel like you need to get updated on, then we’ll see.” But it already is awful that we were in the hospital for as long as we were and then now we’re going to be trapped in this condo for as long as we are going to be and we don’t know when we are going to be let out, but then to actually have some depressing material to watch. No, thank you.

Suzanne: Yeah, that’s an older person thing, I think, watching the new over and over and over.

Crystal: It is; it really is. I’m like, if it’s important I’m sure I’ll get some sort of like, alert on my phone or something.

Suzanne: Yeah, my mother-in-law lived with us for five years, and all she watched was the news and reruns of “Law & Order.” That was is.

Crystal: Oh my God. That was my mother’s favorite. She loves that. What’s the one that Mariska Hargitay’s on?

Suzanne: Oh, “SVU.” Yeah.

Crystal: She loves that. [imitating] “Oh, I just love her, and she looks just like her mother.”

Suzanne: Yes, that’s true. She does.

Suzanne: “Just like her mother.”

Suzanne: And it’s funny, because there seems to be like, no matter what time of day you turn on the TV, there’s a “Law & Order” playing somewhere.

Crystal: It’s so true. There’re so many of them. I don’t know how they keep up with all those. Same with “CSI.” It’s like, what time is in?

Suzanne: The original “CSI” was in Vegas, and then they had one New York and one in Miami.

Crystal: Hold on “CSI” in Vegas was before New York?

Suzanne: Oh, yeah.

Crystal: See, I never knew that.

Suzanne: Yep.

Crystal: Unreal.

Suzanne: If you have any TV questions, you can always ask me. I know these things.

Crystal: I love it. I knew nothing about current television until the pandemic, because I then binged watched the first time every bit of content I think that’s probably out there.

Suzanne: There’s a lot.

Crystal: I’m a huge documentary fan, so I definitely hit those pretty hard.

Suzanne: Oh, that’s good. Yeah, there’s a lot of those. They have a lot more of those I think now too. It seems like it anyway.

Crystal: They do, and I feel like I’m seeing a lot more of those still like being made too, because I think they might fall under, well, non-union I imagine, so they probably don’t have as many laws that they have to abide by.

Suzanne: Yeah. Is that your phone?

Crystal: No, that was just the car let me know that I’m close to the curb.

Suzanne: Okay, so –

Crystal: It’s nice when the car talks to you, you know?

Suzanne: Well, you know, we’re not too far off from the whole talking car thing.

Crystal: I know right? There’re actually cars out there there, or are going to be cars out there, I think there already are, that drive themselves. That scares the crap out of me. Like there’re already enough bad drivers on the road. We don’t need any driverless cars.

Suzanne: Well, I like the idea, actually. I don’t I don’t like to drive, so it’s great for me.

Crystal: I love the idea, if it was like “The Jetsons.” I always say, that’s like the ultimate car-

Suzanne: Wait, wait, wait, wait. You want a car that drives itself, but in the air?

Crystal: Yeah! See, that’s just it. I love the concept. The problem is that I just feel like nothing ever works the way it’s projected to, so that’s my only fear, is that as a realist, it sounds fabulous, but let’s be honest, what’s the safety rating on this?

Suzanne: I think most people probably wait until they’ve been out for a while, and we all know exactly how safe they are, hopefully.

Crystal: Yes, I hope so. I do hope so.

Suzanne: I’m just giving you a hard time, I hope you know,

Crystal: Yeah. I will wait until I see how they fare, because I know there were a lot of different little things kind of like that that they were testing out, like Uber Eats and Postmates and things like that, like robotic things, and they didn’t work out so hot. So, it’s a great idea, but if it works seamlessly, if it’s flawless and great.

Suzanne: Right. Well, probably most accidents are caused by people, so, you know, if the cars are working okay and the people are not getting in the way then –

Crystal: That’s true, and as long as there is that then they’re won’t be any people falling asleep at the wheel, so that’s good.

Suzanne: Yeah, exactly, or are getting drunk or whatever.

Crystal: Very true. Uber will go out of business.

Suzanne: Yeah. So anything else you can tell us about the series for people who haven’t watched it yet?

Crystal: It is my personal modern take/twist on “The Golden Girls,” me coming from a huge, huge family of diverse ranges of ages, because all of the people in our family have kids in their early 20s and do it again their 40s, so there’re a lot of big age gaps. So, the one thing I wanted to do differently with my spin, because I know how interesting it makes things, is have someone from each decade. Because there is something that you don’t even need to write when you have women of every decade dealing with all different levels of estrogen and lack thereof, having to cohabitate and dealing with their randomly different issues. You know, it’s already fun. There’s already gonna be something entertaining there.

Suzanne: And you said you’re working on the second season now?

Crystal: No, I’m actually waiting for anybody to get back to the office to even hear anything. I know our ratings are the top show, so that’s good. But nobody’s at the office. So, it’s kind of hard.

Suzanne: Okay, but you you wrote the second season already?

Crystal: I have a list, yeah. Bob and I [unintelligible] started sorry, actually making notes of stuff as we were shooting of stuff that we want for episodes for the second season. So yes, we have a rough outline of it.

Suzanne: Cool. And do you think that the first season will be out on DVD?

Crystal: That’s a good question. I haven’t really given it much thought, because, I mean, we can sell it as a DVD, we just haven’t really gone into that, because the people who buy, it’s a different type of distribution. So, the people who would buy to do that aren’t in their offices to even have those calls yet. So, it kind of makes it hard in that way. But it is definitely a possibility. It’s just a bridge that hasn’t been crossed yet, because it is a different kind of distribution all together.

Suzanne: Yeah, I think it would work. I mean, I haven’t seen it, but I think it sounds like it would work for DVD, because you have people of all ages, and those of us who watch DVDs are older, so it would work.

Crystal: Yeah, absolutely, of course. If Netflix works, then a DVD would work. Yeah, exactly. Ultimately, it’s handy, so you have them all there readily available.

Suzanne: Right, and not everybody – there’re so many streaming services and you know, you can’t you can’t buy them all.

Crystal: You are not kidding. That is so true.

Suzanne: Well, anyway, I appreciate you calling me, and I enjoyed it. Like I said, I used to watch you all the time on the soap, so I do feel like I know you. See, like those other fans.

Crystal: Thank you, I appreciate it.

Suzanne: But you’re nicer than, you know, either of your other characters.

Crystal: Thank you. I hope so. Otherwise, I think I’d be creating some crazy publicity if I was. If I was anything like them, I can assure you, I’d probably be emulating it.

Suzanne: That’s right. All right. Well, thanks very much, and I look forward to check it out the show.

Crystal: Me too. Same here. I’d love to hear what you think.

Suzanne: Thank you.

Crystal: Thank you.

Suzanne: Bye bye.

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

MORE INFO:Crystal Hunt

Emmy-nominated actress Crystal Hunt, who first captured America’s attention at age 17 when she was cast as the troubled teenager ‘Lizzie Spaulding’ on the iconic CBS daytime series “Guiding Light.” Now Crystal is the writer, creator, producer and star of the new TV series “Mood Swings” that gives a modern spin on “Golden Girls.” The comedy airs on streaming service Pure Flix and follows four generations of women thrown together by circumstance to live under one roof and survive in Los Angeles. It is directed by Emmy nominated comedy director Sean Lambert (“The Larry Sanders Show,” “Freaks and Greeks”) and features Crystal’s fellow soap stars Donna Mills (“General Hospital”) and Robin Riker (“The Bold and the Beautiful”), and Oscar-nominated actress Dyan Cannon.

Mood Swings castDisillusioned with the pace of Hollywood and feeling there was a need for a great female ensemble comedy such as “Golden Girls,” “I Love Lucy,” and “Designing Women” which she grew up watching, Crystal took her career into her own hands to embrace the legacy of these female driven shows, while adding her own modern twist. Crystal Hunt is the creative and comedic force behind the series which follows ‘Farrah’ (Crystal Hunt) who after being recently divorced deals with an enormous mortgage on a Malibu mansion and so takes on roommates to earn money to support herself and her eight-year-old son ‘Ryder.’

Crystal’s new roommates include ‘Coco’ (Robin Riker), a disgruntled working woman, ‘Dani’ (BAD MOMS’ Christina DeRosa), a Canadian-Italian “culinary wizard” and aspiring actress, and ‘Emilia’ (“Ballers'” Sophia Gasca), a Dominican entrepreneur trying to secure U.S. citizenship. Jason Earles (Disney’s “Hannah Montana”) stars as ‘Farah’s’ live-in, slacker handyman.

After being spotted by an agent at the Actors Workshop in New York as a teenager, Crystal was quickly offered a role on “Guiding Light” that would last four years and earn the teenage actress an Emmy nomination. Coinciding with her rigorous television schedule, Hunt got her break into motion pictures, appearing opposite Zac Efron in the feel-good family movie THE DERBY STALLION.

Crystal returned to her television roots in 2009 when she was cast as the devious stripper ‘Stacy Morasco’ on the ABC daytime series “One Life To Live”, where she would stay for three years. She also starred on the docuseries “Queens of Drama” that followed a powerful cast of former daytime and primetime stars as they work in front of and behind the cameras to create, develop, pitch and produce a new steamy, serialized, primetime drama.

Enjoy Crystal’s remarkable behind the scenes Hollywood journey from developing the concept, writing the scripts, selling the series, casting and so much more.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

Crystal Hunt in the soaps

Interview with Rico Torres

TV Interview!

actor Rico Torres

Interview with Rico Torres of “Ballers” on HBO and “Penny Dreadful: City of Angels” on Showtime by Suzanne 8/3/20

This was a fun interview. Rico has a lot of energy and enthusiasm, and we got along very well. I think he’ll have big success in the future. If he doesn’t, it sure won’t be for lack of trying.

Here is the audio version of it.

Suzanne: I’m sorry to hear that you were bullied in high school. I was bullied in elementary and junior high, so I know how you feel.

Rico: Yeah, it was junior high; it was middle school and high school. I mean, that is the toughest time for any kid. You think the world is going to end. You think it’s literally – like, yeah, it’s insane. Because now after, you know, you graduated, none of that matters. None of that matters, right? I went through this entire journey and I never, never told anybody. You know, I never told my parents; I never told my brothers. I remember coming home one day actually, I think this was like in eighth or ninth grade, my black eye, my face was just tore up. And I told my parents, you know, I ran into a door. I remember that so vividly. And I actually got beat up. And yeah, I mean, you know, my middle and high school, I was bullied, because I had asthma, because I had anorexia. And what made matters worse, was, I guess, I was born – I hate saying this, because I hate being cocky and stuff, but I’m not I’m not ugly. You know?

So, I guess a lot of girls were attracted to me, and that just made matters worse, because a lot of guys would get mad, so mad, because I had all these different things. You already know. One thing led to another, and it was just so awful. And for so many years, I fell into such a like depressive, anxious – it was for years years, and I kind of I guess I played video games to get my mind off of things. And I tell the story all the time. I remember only eating like one or two (meal tickets?) a day. And I guess I wasn’t even aware that I even had anorexia, because I was getting bullied. You know what I mean? (Unintelligible), my dad was never home, this and that, this thing will kill somebody. It’s going to make somebody commit suicide.

But it wasn’t until, you know, one day I remember, I literally just stared at myself in the mirror for like an hour. And I literally said – because after, you know, countless meetings with the doctor and I was like, “Yo, problem, man,” and I never took any of the medications, and then my mom would try to feed me more, but I said “no,” and I just simply wasn’t aware of it. When I’d stare at myself in the mirror, and I said, “Yo, problem,” that’s when everything changed. I’m like, I’ve been bullied, I keep denying the help from my parents, the doctors. That was the solution to everything, admitting to myself that I have a problem. And after that, I mean, then I reached out for help. I’m was like, “Mom, please send me anything,” whatever. And then my brother I get from the time I was working out, I’m like, “Please show me anything. I can’t I can’t keep this up.” And then one thing led to another, and then I gained confidence from working out, from eating, and the rest is history. I broke out of that. I broke out of that.

Suzanne: Yeah, that’s tough. And I think boys can be bullied a lot worse than girls. I mean, girls can be bullied for sure, and girls are mean and catty and all that, but the physical stuff i think is more of a boys thing. You know, it’s much worse.

Rico: Agreed. It’s horrible.

Suzanne: Yeah, I lucked out, because I went from sort of a ghetto school in middle school, or junior high, they called it back there, to a nice – I was in a foster home, so I got into a nice foster home in a really nice area where the kids didn’t do stuff like that. So, I was lucky. I was still a total geek, and they probably talked about me behind my back, but nobody punched me or beat me up or anything, but I know how you feel, up to a certain extent, obviously. But you turned your life around. That’s good that you were able to do that. It was good that you were able to turn your life around like that.

Rico: Oh, yeah. Oh, man, to be honest with you, as we’re talking about all this, and as I, you know, sit here and think about everything that’s happened in my life, I don’t regret anything. I sit here and I’m smiling; I’m telling you I’m not even lying, because all that really shaped me to who I am today. I mean, I don’t know if you read it, but I went to school, I went to college for pre med. I was following this doctor route kind of like for years and years and years. And I crossed off all these items off the checklist, you know, like (unintelligible), medical missions trips, shadowing doctors, this and that, and I mean, next thing you know, I don’t know, like senior year of college, I just know I broke out again, just continuously breaking out of like this paradigm that we’re all raised to believe in. And because, for years, I followed that, and then I guess I got into modeling, because I’m like, I can make money off of this; everybody always told me.

I got into that, you know, and one thing led to another. A modeling agent, I guess, who was also part talent agent, got me an audition. I’m like, “What is that?” And I went to it, and I did awful. But then I guess I got a callback and I’m like, “What is that?” I’m like, I’ve got take this seriously. They gave me the numbers. They’re like, “If you get this, this is a lead role for a feature film. If you get this, you know, you get $900 a day for 15 days,” and I’m like, “That’s $15,000 in two weeks? That’s crazy.” Yeah.

So, then I actually tried really hard. I got into the room with two producers. And, I mean, long story short, I didn’t get it, but, I mean, for the Cruises (?) to literally say, “I love your style,” that’s crazy. And they kind of opened my eyes to the whole new world. And I’m like, medicine, I don’t even like it. I was going with traditional medicine, and I’m into holistics. I hate the whole traditional medicine, because the pharmaceutical industry is killing the entire world. I mean, the US, because that’s the most profitable industry in the US. So, I mean, I was just following, I don’t know, it’s crazy. I don’t know how to explain it.

Suzanne: No, it makes sense. It totally makes sense now, how you went from being wanting to be a doctor to be an actor. At first, I thought, how did that happen? But no, the way you explained it makes perfect sense. You didn’t really have your heart in the doctor thing, and then you started the modeling, and then that led to the acting, and now that makes a lot of sense.

Rico: And then the app thing led to just like, entrepreneurial ventures. And then next thing, you know, my book is being published September 1st, because I actually love writing. Who would have thought? Like if I’d never broke out of that, you know, pre med just doctor doctor doctor doctor, I’d have never found out what I actually truly like to do and what I’m actually truly talented talented in. Oh, that’s crazy.

Suzanne: Well, I didn’t know that you can write. What was the book that you wrote?

Rico: Oh yeah, it’s about “Know your norms.” So, basically, I mean, it just talks about social norms. It talks about it from from the moment you’re born, to the moment you kind of die. So, it’s like all that in between, and it starts from the very beginning. I incorporate some of my personal life experiences in there, because I believe that storytelling changes the world. So, I incorporate some of my own stories, you know, the anorexia – I was I was born into the color blue, because I’m a boy. Like, girls are born to the color pink. Girls are given toys; boys are given guns and cars. You know what I mean? Since are born, we are being tricked. And it’s that paradigm that I’m talking about. We’re being tricked into just following these rules made by society. And that’s why like 1% of the world are quote, unquote, aware of all of this and like 99% aren’t, and they simply just follow that entire, you know, playbook that’s given them for their entire life, and they don’t realize or find out about, you know, anything else in the world. So, I mean, I’m so excited about this book that I made. It truly came from the heart. I love it. I was like, this is crazy. Hopefully, it opens up so many other people’s eyes and minds like it did to me. I mean, I just try to make people aware.

Suzanne: Can we buy that on Amazon? Is it on there?

Rico: Absolutely. We publish a lot of places. Because this is my first book. I’m so publishing everywhere. Hopefully, you know, my second or third book, which I’m actually already working on my second book, hopefully, you know, when my second or third book, I actually, you know, get a literary agent and the traditional publishing and etc, etc. I’m used to the whole game. So, I was looking at it like, oh –

Suzanne: Well, it sounds it sounds really good. You know, I agree with what you’re saying, because, obviously, we all know, to a certain extent, that the whole thing about school is not just there to inform you, it’s there to mold you to be a good citizen. And your parents try to do the same thing. But one thing I’ve always thought is that people don’t plan their lives they do like you said, whatever their parents tell them, the schools tell them, and we’re all told, you must get a good job. You must go to college, you must get married, you must have kids, all that stuff, and few people question it. And then, if something terrible happens, like a divorce, they’re completely thrown, because they never considered it. And we put all this thought and money into the wedding, but nobody really talks about the marriage or whether you should have kids and all that stuff. So yeah, I totally see what you’re saying. I’ve always thought that.

Rico: And then like exactly what you’re saying, then if you go even more in depth, it’s literally just years and years and years of your life just wasted, just trying to follow your parents’ expectations or society’s expectations. And then you’re trapped, and then you become unhappy and it’s like no, do what you love, and that’s it.

Suzanne: And it causes things like anorexia, with society always telling us we have to be skinny to be beautiful.

Rico: Oh, yeah. There’s so many. Oh, and I feel so strongly about mental health, especially because of social media. I hate it. Oh, man. Oh, man, living here in LA. I’ve only lived here like, a little under two years. I’ve already been exposed to all of the type of people that are just crazy about their image. And I’m like, “What are you doing.” And then what they do when they post all this other stuff on Instagram and whatnot, they’re just, you know, the average person or the average Joe, the normal person who really doesn’t get exposed to all this you know, in LA or Hollywood, Atlanta (?) or whatnot. They see that and then they believe that to be true; they believe that that’s what you need to be successful. They believe that you need to look a certain way. And they just use square[screw?] everybodys lined up, man.

Suzanne: Right. That’s true. Yeah, my sister-in-law and her husband are from LA and they lived there a while, and it was all about you have to you have to put up – and she wasn’t even an actress for very long. But you have to put on this show for people you have to always look perfect, and you have to be seen, and I was like, “What?” I thought it was crazy. So, I know what you’re saying. And then everybody there is just pressured to do that, and, you know, it’s crazy.

Rico: Yeah, and while I’m still, you know, honestly, why I’m still here and why I’m still, you know, striving to do all these things in TV and film, and I guess, in the realm of Hollywood is because well, first of all, I needed a break. Somebody in your family has to break out. Somebody has to break out of that, you know, generational norm because, you know, you need to build that generational wealth and my entire family’s core, and core as in financially and core, you know, inside…I was going to say, it’s kind of like how Tupac’s dead – you know who Tupac is, right? Tupac Shakur. Yeah, I don’t know, I just love his message. I love everything that he’s ever – aside from that whole gang stuff, gang related stuff, I don’t approve of that. But like, I love hearing people’s misfortunes, but to have Tupac, and how he broke out of that, and how he’s so intellectual and he just wanted to inspire and spark someone’s brain to kind of do exactly, not exactly the same, but, you get what I’m saying right? I can’t explain it right.

Suzanne: Yeah. No, it’s all right; I understand. So, were you in drama at all in high school or you didn’t do anything like that?

Rico: Absolutely not. That’s why I love it, there is no there are no rules. I’m not big. I’m not an A-List or anything like that, but in under two years, I’ve already been, you know, featured in some of these big productions. I may not have had a leading role or anything like that, but I still landed something in these huge productions. And I’m still getting massive auditions, getting all this recognition and stuff. I’ve never taken an acting class in my life. So, like people go through all this schooling and stuff, and all I mean, there are no rules. You set your own rules.

Suzanne: Well, I wasn’t thinking so much training. It’s just it’s a lot of fun in high school. I did drama in high school.

Rico: Yeah, I’ve heard I’ve heard Yeah, yeah, I missed out on that. I’ve heard it’s a lot of fun.

Suzanne: It is a lot of fun.

Rico: Like the improv side of stuff, yeah, I would have loved to do all that.

Suzanne: So, you’ve never done any stage plays or anything like that, just TV and movies?

Rico: Yep.

Suzanne: Oh, cool. Well, you might one day, right? You might do a play or something.

Rico: Anything is possible; I might do everything. Absolutely. I’m actually taking vocal classes. So, I’m bilingual; I’m Colombian, and I really like Latin music. So, I’m trying to get into that.

Suzanne: Cool.

Rico: Not into the industry; I hate the industry. Well, like you said, for fun.

Suzanne: For fun, yeah, right. And, you know, since you’re smart and you like to write, you might, who knows, you might write a play one day or a screenplay.

Rico: Oh, I already wrote one.

Suzanne: Oh, good. I figured, right?

Rico:  I wrote a screenplay for a trilogy. I don’t know how to get that to distribution. I don’t know how to get that to the right eyes. I don’t know anything. I’m kind of like learning as I go. But yeah, it was amazing. I would love to see that actually come to fruition. Kind of like “Rocky,” kind of like Sylvester Stallone, how he wrote “Rocky,” that’s kind of like what I’m trying to do with my screenplay.

Suzanne: Cool. So what would you say is your biggest role so far?

Rico: I would say the one from “Ballers,” but I just –

Suzanne:  Sorry, is that a tough question?

Rico: Yeah, it is, because it was such a small role. So it’s like, ah, it sucks.

Suzanne: That’s all right. That’s okay. That’s fine. That’s an honest answer.

Rico: I mean, I‘ve only been at this for a year and a half. I want a lot more than just, you know, two or three scenes.

Suzanne: Yeah, well, you just gotta give it time. You’ll you’ll get there. It’s good that you’re proud of what you’ve done so far. That’s good. I think a lot of people fail because of lack of confidence, so that’s good.

Rico: Yeah, exactly. I’m not afraid to take on you know, under five roles. I’m not even afraid to be an extra. I did that, you know, all first coming out here. I did extra, extra, extra, extra extra. A lot of people don’t care about that, but like, no, I mean, Tiffani Haddish was an extra. I mean, Sylvester Stallone was an extra. I mean, they did a lot of extra stuff.

Suzanne: Yeah, that’s how they get started.

The IMDb says that you’re in a film called “LA Rush.” Do you know when when that’ll come out?

Rico: Who knows. I did that in the very beginning. It’s already been like a year and a half, two years. I don’t know why that’s still in production.

Suzanne: Well, maybe the pandemic affected it.

Rico: This Covid, man, it takes me so many of my projects that I’m hopefully going to be in.

Suzanne: Yeah, we’re all in the same boat on that, I think, especially people who have projects going in Hollywood.

Do you have anything else that you were working on before the pandemic hit, like shows or auditions or whatever?

Rico:  Oh, a bunch of them. I had like, three or four and then like a bunch of auditions and stuff, but everything is just being delayed. I mean, series, pilots, like this and that. I don’t know if they don’t even want me anymore. It’s crazy. I don’t know. I don’t know anything. I understand; I understand.

Suzanne: Ask your agent about the soap operas, because they’re all going back in production now. They’re they started before any of the other shows.

Rico: Soap Operas?

Suzanne: Yeah, daytime soaps.

Rico: My agent sucks. I don’t ever go out for anything in Spanish. I’m kidding. I’m learning; I’m going. I’ve been through, in a matter of a year and a half, I’ve been through like three managers, three agents, this and that. And it’s like, and it’s not because of me. It’s not because of me because, you know, I’m just trying to get work. I’m like, “Hey, you know, anything that you need, let me know. I’ll go on five auditions every single day. Let’s go.” You know what I mean?

Some of them don’t get back to me. And I’m like, come on. Like, really? I’m just trying to work. I’m trying to make you money.

Suzanne: Yeah. I don’t know how some people get their jobs.

Rico: So, I mean, yeah, I’m just taking it slow. You know, something will come up. I mean, with that, with commercials, with modeling, I have so many things, so many routes, so many seeds planted. It’s like, one of them’s going to blow up, you know?

Suzanne: So, what have you been working on for the past four months besides writing? Anything else? I’m sure you must.

Rico: Yeah, I love to write. I have a couple businesses. I’m developing an app, but that’s going to take some time.

I’m in the process of creating actually a men’s cosmetics line. Again, that’s going to take several months so, what else? Yeah, I’d have to look at all my stuff, but a lot of stuff. I mean, everything is especially like, pending, like how can I even talk about it.

Suzanne: What we’ve been doing just to relax or have fun?

Rico: I just work every day. No, I go to the gym every day, take my mind off of things. I meditate, you know, 30 minutes before I go to sleep and 30 minutes after I wake up, to keep my mind sane from all this stuff, especially because I came out here alone. I left everybody and everything over there in Florida. So, I’ve been at this alone, and sometimes it gets to me, and then especially when you’re single. I just feel like everybody here has the worst intentions possible, and it kind of messes with you mentally. I keep myself sane by working out, and – oOh sorry go ahead.

Suzanne: I was just going to say, you got therapy before to help you with the depression, anxiety and anorexia, did they also teach you how to eat right and all that kind of thing?

Rico: I did not follow. I’ve always had a problem of following directions in order. I don’t know why, I mean, I don’t want to some stubborn, but I just learned things on my own. I mean, asked for help, but on my own terms. I don’t know. It’s so weird. It’s so weird, do I sound bad saying all this?

Suzanne: No, no, no. You have your opinions and you have confidence. That’s good.

Rico: Yeah. So, I mean, for example, like, you know, like doctors were telling me this. I mean, it’s because I’ve been diagnosed incorrectly. And then I hear stories of other people being diagnosed incorrectly and given wrong medications, and this, this, and that, and how corrupt everything and everyone is. And it’s like, oh my God, so, I do my own research. But the doctor tells me I have this, this, and that, and then I started doing my own research. I started looking at peer reviewed articles, I start looking at studies, I [would] actually go get the exams, expensive exams, to make sure if what they’re saying is true, and more than likely, it’s not. I mean, I’ve been through – I was (unintelligible) accident, you know, in 2015, and I had to have jaw surgery. Yeah, my whole mouth split open. He was just, I mean, I don’t even know how my life today. But yeah, I actually had jaw surgery. And my surgeon, I mean, he did a great job. You know, he put it back together, but he put it back together incorrectly. What else can go wrong? Right?

I mean, I just find this out what, three, four years later, and I have not stopped looking at myself in the mirror, you know, every single day, every single morning I look at myself and I see the bottom jaw is just all crooked. And I mean, yeah, I’m a confident human being, but it’s like, I look at that every day, you know, and then I have problems with my nose, and it’s because of that. So, I mean, I have to go to a doctor, like many, many, many doctors, and try to figure out what the heck is wrong with me. You know, if it’s neurological or if there’s a nerve damage. And what about my jaw? You know, because it’s diameters off, and how do I correct that with all surgery, because surgery will just ruin you even more. Sorry, I’m ranting.

Suzanne: No, no, it’s fine.

Rico: I don’t even know what the point of me saying that was.

Suzanne: Well, you know, you made me forget now what I asked you, but that’s okay.

Do you have any advice for kids who are bullied or for kids who want to become actors?

Rico: So for the bully ones, you got to ask for help. I mean, if you’re being bullied, my advice would be to actually just sit down. I feel like people, kids, get away from your parents for a little bit, or your friends or whatever, just be alone for a little bit and actually just think about stuff, just think about what you’re doing, who you are, what’s happening around you, the bullying and all that. Because people are always with somebody, always with parents, so there’s always an opinion. There’s always a “I’m so scared to tell them I’m being bullied or whatnot.” But when you go by yourself – I’ve been by myself a lot. That’s how I’m aware of so many things. When you’re by yourself you think; you get into your thoughts a lot. The problem with that is you can’t be by yourself for too long, because that’s when you go crazy, right? That’s when somebody who’s not, you know, strong willed, strong minded, they’ll fall into a very bad, very bad state of mind. But take a week or two weeks or whatever, and actually just be by yourself. Go to the library by yourself and just think about what’s going on, and then and then admit it. You know, a lot of people don’t admit it. That’s the problem with America. You know, a lot of parents. They say to their kids, “You’re not fat; you’re big boned.” No, you’re fat. I’m sorry. I like the tough love. No, it’s true. Because that kid, their entire childhood is going to just go through their life thinking they’re just big boned. Right? And if they admit to themselves that they’re fat or overweight, that they’re obese, then you can do something about it, the first step in anything and any solution is admitting. Become aware that there’s a problem. Make or work towards finding a solution. But, yeah, to that I say, take some time to be alone, away from everybody and everything in all of society’s pressures and restrictions, and this, this, and that.

And then for the acting thing, I would never recommend a child to do this. It’s crazy. And I say that, because at least my children aren’t going to do it. I mean, at least until they’re 18, then they can do whatever they want. You know what I mean? Because, I mean, there’s a bunch of child actors that become – yeah. And the reason for that, I believe at least, is because they don’t go through, you know, a normal life. So, at like 12 or 14 or whatever, when they instantly become famous, when they instantly get access to all this money, they can get whatever they want. When they instantly get all this fame, you’re in the public eye. You can’t do anything, you know what I mean? You can’t do anything, and then like you’re out; you’re just trying to play basketball, right? And you know, you have all these pop rocks in here, whatnot. And you’re like, I can’t even have fun. So, you don’t even get the opportunity to live your life.

Suzanne: Yeah, I think it really depends on the parents they have, how normal they are, and also, the kid itself, you know, how they view what they’re doing? Yeah. Because I know some actors, they started age five, and then they go on to have a successful career, and they’re normal, but they probably had normal parents. I mean, by normal, you know, the parents supported them and let them make the decision about whether they wanted to do it and that kind of stuff. But the ones who have stage moms or whatever, it’s not so good.

Rico: Yeah, and that’s the thing though. If you’re a successful actor, celebrity, whatever, you have kids.

I mean, honestly, it all falls on the parents, because if you think we’re all right, and it’s kind of like what we were saying earlier, teach them. Teach them that a lot of the things in Hollywood are just fake. Teach them that a lot of that stuff does not matter. It’s meaningless. It’s just, a way of creating art, but then a lot of the things that follow that are just a lot of fakeness and this, this and that. And then, you know, if you teach them a certain way, and the reality, then you kind of teach them the normality and the enjoyment of life, of the little things. And teach them it’s about nature and trees and this isn’t that. I mean, I know that’s kind of like weird I even just – like, what are you talking about? But it will all make sense for the kid.

Suzanne: Yeah, they have to have a normal childhood, whether they’re acting or not.

Rico: Exactly. But, I mean, yeah, if somebody wanted to follow the acting route or whatever at whatever age, my advice is to not listen to anybody. Because I’ve only been at this a year and a half, or two years, and before my career even started – you know how I told you I was with like three managers, or three agents or whatever, how many times each and every single one of them have told me, “I’m going to end your career before it even starts. You don’t know how small the town is. You’re never going to get a job ever again.” I’m like, “Okay, wow, thanks for being so nice. I hope you have a better day.” I mean, no wonder. If you have a weak mind, you’re going to get destroyed in this industry. You’re going to get eaten alive. It’s crazy how all these people threaten you.

Suzanne: That’s sad. Well, I’m glad you were able to get past that and rise above those people.

Rico: Yeah, I’m still getting through it. There’re still millions of rejections and millions of people trying to threaten me. Whatever.

Suzanne: Yeah, no I understand. well I hope I hope that you can get into some – the I know a lot of the auditions now are through self tapes. So, hopefully you can do some of that. That would be good, instead of having to wait for the pandemic to be over.

Rico: Yeah, yep.

Suzanne: Yeah, well, I think the whole industry is waiting to see – whether they know it or not, they’re waiting to see what happens with the daytime soaps, because they’re the first ones to start back, and they’re utilizing all these different ways, between camera tricks, ways to be safe, and all those different things. So, if they can do it, then the rest of, you know, TV and movies can follow, hopefully.

Rico: Yeah. I’m so excited to get back to work. It’s so much fun creating art.

Suzanne: Well, I really appreciate you talking to me.

Rico: Oh, absolutely. I appreciate you talking to me.

Suzanne: And thanks for checking out my website. And we’re moving our site to TVMEG.COM, and we’ve already moved a lot over there. So, check it out. That’s where your interview will be.

Rico: Oh, cool, yeah, absolutely.

Suzanne: Great. Thank you.

Rico: Thank you so much. Have a great day.

Suzanne: You, too. Bye.

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

MORE INFO:

actor Rico TorresYoung Hollywood’s newest Latin-American heartthrob Rico Torres, recognized for his latest roles on actor Rico TorresShowtime’s “Penny Dreadful: City of Angels” and HBO’s “Ballers,” in addition to countless international fashion campaigns. From a shy teen diagnosed with anorexia to becoming a hotly-tipped face to watch in Hollywood, Rico hopes to share his remarkable story to inspire other young people to reach for their dreams.

The Columbian actor was born in Florida after his parents immigrated to America while his mother was still pregnant with him. He graduated pre-med from Columbia University, but instead of attending medical school he sacrificed and risked everything to follow his dreams and moved to Los Angeles from Tampa with only $500 in his pocket to pursue Hollywood greatness. After only a year and a half of putting in sweat and tears in L.A., Rico is available to share his remarkable story of chasing and fulfilling his American dream.

When Rico isn’t in front of the camera, he enjoys staying fit and eating healthy. However, at a young age Rico suffered from anorexia. This caused him to be severely bullied as a teenager which led to anxiety and depression. Rico’s parents also divorced while he was in high school, and he lived with his mother who was working two full-time entry jobs to make ends meet. Rico then took on the of working and taking care of his family. All his past experiences (good or bad) have caused him to have a very special outlook on life and he takes nothing for granted. Rico sees them as beautiful and inspiring moments in his life that have shaped him into who he is today.

With over 100k followers on Instagram along with soon to be announced acting projects on the horizon, we would love to arrange an interview with you and Rico to discuss his meteoric Hollywood rise, fitness & nutrition tips, and inspiring story to teens and young people everywhere.

actor Rico Torres

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

actor Rico Torres