Interview with Ashley Jones

TV Interview!

Star Ashley Jones of "What Happened to My Sister?"

Interview with Ashley Jones of “What Happened to My Sister?” on Lifetime by Suzanne 9/16/22

This was a fun interview last week with Ashley! I interviewed her 9 years ago for another Lifetime movie (Gosh, where does the time go?).  She always very kind and beautiful. Don’t miss her new movie as well as the LMN marathon of her movies all day Friday, September 23!

 

MORE INFO: Official Site Trailer

Star Ashley Jones of "What Happened to My Sister?"

LMN Favorite Ashley Jones Returns With New Thrillers

LMN FAVORITE ASHLEY JONES RETURNS WITH NEW THRILLERS

SECRET LIVES OF COLLEGE ESCORTS
MARKS ASHLEY JONES’ DIRECTORIAL DEBUT
AND STARS PILOT PAISLEY-ROSE, LAURIE FORTIER AND BRIANA CUOCO
FOR AN AUGUST 19 PREMIERE

WHAT HAPPENED TO MY SISTER?
STARS ASHLEY JONES, LAURYN SPEIGHTS AND MONIQUE STRAW
AND PREMIERES SEPTEMBER 23

NEW YORK, NY (August 4, 2022) – LMN favorite Ashley Jones returns to the network with a two pack of films this summer including the premiere of Secret Lives of College Escorts starring Pilot Paisley-Rose, Laurie Fortier and Briana Cuoco on August 19 at 8/7c  which marks Daytime Emmy Award nominee Ashley Jones directorial debut, and What Happened to My Sister? on September 23 at 8/7c which Jones, Lauryn Speights and Monique Straw star in.  Additionally, LMN will run a marathon of movies featuring Jones on September 23 leading into the premiere of What Happened to My Sister?

What Happened to My Sister?
Friday, September 23 at 8/7c

Drea (Lauryn Speights, The Good Place), a freshman at college, decides to rush the same sorority her sister Gabi (Heather Harris, Broken Mirror) died rushing two years earlier in hopes of finding out the truth about her death.  Monique Straw (Fast Color) and Ashley Jones also star.

Ashley Jones Official Site Facebook Twitter Instagram

Star Ashley Jones (Bridget, Bold and the Beautiful) of "What Happened to My Sister?"

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Star Ashley Jones of "What Happened to My Sister?"

Interview with Grace Caroline Currey

TV Interview!

Grace Caroline Currey (“Becky”) in FALL

Interview with Grace Caroline Currey of the movie “Fall” by Suzanne 8/10/22

Grace Caroline CurreyIt was really great to speak with this lovely young actress who stars in “FALL.” She is outstanding in this exciting movie. You don’t want to miss it; it comes out tomorrow, August 12. Trailer

You might recognize her from one of her many TV shows and movie appearances. She’s probably best known for playing Mary in the “Shazam!” movies. The second one comes out later this year. I can’t wait because I love superhero movies, and the first one was pretty good.

When she was younger, she played the young Natalie Wood in the TV miniseries “The Mystery of Natalie Wood”; and she played the young Melinda in “Ghost Whisperer“; and she played the young Victoria in “Revenge“!  Those are some of my favorite shows.  Now that she’s older, she can play so many different roles and has many movies coming out.

 

 

MORE INFO:

Grace Caroline Currey in "The Fall"

Grace Caroline Currey (Becky)

Grace Caroline Currey has been in back-to-back films across every genre. Grace
stars as the lead in the Lionsgate adventure thriller, FALL, directed by Scott Mann
and set to hit theaters August 12, 2022. Next up for Grace is her portrayal of
Superhero Mary/Mary Bromfield in the Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment franchise
sequel, Shazam: Fury of the Gods, set to hit screens December 21, 2022. Prior to
that she starred in New Line’s popular Conjuring franchise, Annabelle:
Creation. Grace brings her boyfriend home to meet the parents in the rom com, Most
Guys Are Losers, based on the best-selling book, which was recently released in
theaters. She has studied at the renowned Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in
London and was nominated for Best Actress at the Milan International Film Festival
for her role in Badland, an indie feature with Vinessa Shaw. She is also a level 6
ballerina to boot!

Official Site for “FALL”

Fall posterFrom the Producers of 47 Meters Down

Dropping in Theaters Only on August 12, 2022
PRODUCTION NOTES
RUNNING TIME: 107 minutes
RATING: PG-1

SYNOPSIS

For best friends Becky (Grace Caroline Currey) and Hunter (Virginia Gardner), life is all about conquering fears and pushing limits. But after they climb 2,000 feet to the top of a remote, abandoned radio tower, they find themselves stranded with no way down. Now Becky and Hunter’s expert climbing skills will be put to the ultimate test as they desperately fight to survive the elements, a lack of supplies, and vertigo-inducing heights in this adrenaline-fueled thriller from the producers of 47 Meters Down. Costarring Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
A nerve-shredding, knuckle-whitening, vertigo-inducing action thriller, FALL tells the
terrifying tale of climbers Becky (Grace Caroline Currey) and Hunter (Virginia
Gardner) who ascend the abandoned 2,000-ft B67 TV Tower in the California desert
as a means of moving on from the death of Becky’s husband Dan (Mason Gooding)
in a climbing accident a year earlier. But when the tower’s external ladder gives way,
the two best friends find themselves stuck on a platform at the top. Too high to use
their cell phones to ring for help, the pair must find a way down. Or die trying.
FALL began life as a short film idea hatched by British-born, L.A.-based
writer-director Scott Mann (Heist) and his regular cowriter Jonathan Frank (The
Tournament) in response to a production company’s call for experiential shorts.
“They were looking at experiential shorts, action thrillers, and we pitched this,” recalls
Mann. “We got so excited about the idea of the fear of falling and the horror of
heights, that it almost wrote itself for 25-30 pages. They wanted to make it, but then
the whole thing shut down.”

Grace Caroline Currey (Left, “Becky”) and Virginia Gardner (Right, “Hunter”) in FALLWith the short film series cancelled, Mann and Frank decided to expand their
idea into a feature, on spec, and see if they could get it set up somewhere else.
“We’ve written specs before, but this was the most fun to write because the two of us
kind of lived it and acted it out as we went on, trying to think what we would do in the
situation that the girls find themselves in,” continues Mann who built a paper version
of the platform at the top of the tower so he and Frank could perch on it, “to figure
out what to do and really play on the horror and tension. We wanted it to be the
ultimate fear-of-heights movie, so we looked at previous films and wrote the script
accordingly.”

Among those cinematic references were Martin Campbell’s 2000 survival
thriller Vertical Limit, Brad Bird’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, in which Tom
Cruise’s Ethan Hunt scales the outside of the 2,717-foot Burj Khalifa Tower in Dubai,
and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi & Jimmy Chin’s incredible Oscar®-winning
documentary Free Solo which detailed Alex Honnold’s quest to climb El Capitan in
Yosemite National Park without ropes (2018, Documentary, Feature – Elizabeth Chai
Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin, Evan Hayes and Shannon Dill).

“The experience of watching Free Solo was a big influence,” Mann recalls. “It
got me thinking about the psychology of the fear of heights as opposed to just a
visual medium because in Free Solo you are with the character, you can hear him
breathe and the reflectance of fear is where it’s at. There’s a psychological fear I
think we all go through at heights. Even a lot of climbing videos on the internet tap
into that well. It’s the reaction, the ‘Oh my God, oh my God’ that influenced how Fall
would eventually play out. From an experiential point of view, you’ve got to put
yourself through the eyes of the character, be with them, and then you climb it with
them. So, you’ve done it together. What we wanted to get was a feeling of being raw
and real at height and very human. So that was the backbone of it all.”

Grace Caroline Currey (Left, “Becky”) and Virginia Gardner (Right, “Hunter”) in FALLOne of the things that makes FALL unique is its location. Namely, the real-life
2,000-foot-high B67 TV tower — the fourth highest structure in the U.S. “What we
found was there were a lot of internet videos of daredevils doing crazy stuff, but they
were usually climbing things like cranes,” explains Mann. “So, we said, let’s find
somewhere that would be the ultimate place to get stuck, and we came across this
tower in California. When you’re at the bottom looking up, the tower seems to go out
into infinity, into the clouds. It is a marvel of architecture. And being in the desert,
made for a very barren, difficult place to survive in the first instance, let alone 2,000
feet up.”

Initially, both the short script and Mann and Frank’s first draft of the feature
version focused on a boyfriend-girlfriend couple stuck on the tower, but for the
second draft they decided to center the story on two female friends, with Becky
losing her husband Dan at the start of the film in a tragic climbing accident and being
unable to cope. The character was inspired by a member of Mann’s wife’s family
whose husband had died young. “It’s quite personal,” says Mann. “It was the first
time someone my age, in my family, had died. And I’d seen her go through a lot of
the things Becky goes through in the script; finding the strength and the will to live
after such a world-changing loss. Also, Covid was rearing its head when we wrote
this, and the world was going into this grief-stricken place that felt more relevant as
we went forward.”

“Becky and her husband are adventuring types,” says Grace Caroline Currey
who plays her. “They love to climb and push their limits and seek out extraordinary
experiences, and at the start of the film we have a very different Becky to the one we
meet post Dan’s accident. She’s consumed with grief, loss, a lack of self and a lack
of desire to live, and through the film Becky finds her fight again and wants to live.
Scott had mentioned she was largely based on his brother-in-law’s widow and how
she survived him. They were this adventure couple, although he died of cancer.”

Grace Caroline Currey in "FALL"Becky’s best friend Hunter is a daredevil YouTuber who has her own reason
to be devasted by Dan’s death. “Hunter is a vlogger,” reveals Virginia Gardner who
plays her, “so I watched a lot of YouTube and Instagram influencer videos for some
ideas on her larger-than-life influencer persona ‘Danger D.’ But we wanted to keep
her grounded as well. And we learn there is more than meets the eye to Hunter.”

As with Becky, Hunter was also inspired by a real person, in this case one of
Mann’s wife’s friends. “We used her as the basis,” he admits, “but it is a friend type
that I see a lot, the adventurer who is always searching for something, but is not sure
what. The idea was that Becky retracted, went internal and went into herself, while
Hunter escaped and ran away. They’re two very different personality types who,
typically, become best friends because they need each other’s dynamics, but,
obviously, deal with death and trauma differently.”

THE BIG-SCREEN EXPERIENCE
From the beginning, Mann envisioned FALL as a movie, a film made for the big
screen. “I wanted to do something that had genuinely theatrical potential,” he
reflects. The idea with this was to really go for it.”

“This is a unique experience that you have to see in theatres,” says producer
James Harris (47 Meters Down). “It’s like a ride. Vertigo is one of our biggest fears,
and this film maximises it.”

Given that most of FALL takes place on a small, circular platform at the top of
a 2,000-foot TV tower, Mann wrestled with the best way to make his movie. Initially,
Mann considered using a version of the Volume — the ground-breaking curved LED
screen backdrop on which digital environments are displayed — that had been
pioneered for the first season of the Star Wars/Disney+ show “The Mandalorian.”
“We looked at designing a ‘Mandalorian’ stage that you could look down upon, which
would give you a depth background. But there are limitations to that technology
which meant it wasn’t going to work out.” Plus, there was the budgetary issue. “It’s
enormously expensive to do.”

The second option was to find a mountain where Mann could build the upper
portion of the tower, then film the actors on it against a real background, which
because of the height and positioning would make them appear to be thousands of
feet in the air. “Then you’re able to look down and it’s only from certain angles that
you see the ground is there,” he continues. “Originally, I wanted to do it next to a
steep drop.”

This practical approach required his two leads to not only be able to climb for
real, but more importantly, have a head for heights. During the audition process,
Mann would show Becky and Hunter auditionees a sketch of the proposed tower
built on the edge of a cliff, and tell them they would be up there for real. “In an effort
to weed out the real ones from the fake ones, I would tell them, ‘You’re going to be
really high up so bear that in mind.’ I tried to scare them into being serious about the
fact they were going to be on top of a mountain. And that did weed out people who
weren’t fit for the purpose. I could see it in their eyes, even though they said, ‘I could
do that.’ I was thinking, ‘You can’t.’ The honest ones, like Grace and Ginni, were like,
‘This sounds f**ed up and terrifying, but I’ll give it a go.’”

“I read the script and thought it was really exciting and exhilarating and would
require a lot of discipline,” remembers Currey, whose credits include Shazam!,
Annabelle: Creation, and TV’s “Revenge.” “Scott told me how much he wanted to
shoot practically which is the kind of stuff you hope to work on, something
immersive, that really makes you feel like you’re there. He was gauging to see if I’d
be able to cope with it, but I have a background in dance, so the technical nature of it
really appealed to me. I did go through a phase where I did have a membership at a
climbing gym, and I saw a lot of parallels between climbing and dance. I started
nerding out about climbing and how excited I was at the idea of what he was
proposing.”

“Scott made it clear it was going to be a very physical movie filmed on a real
60-foot tower. I told him I was so excited for the challenge and didn’t have a fear of
heights,” says Gardner, who costarred in TV’s “Runaways” as well as the 2018
Halloween reboot. “It also was right in the middle of Covid so the idea of being so
active and outside every day after being locked down for so long was very appealing.
I had done a lot of indoor rock climbing in the past and worked with a personal
trainer to make sure I would be able to handle the physical requirements.”

“We also discussed Becky and how easy it could be to have her come off too
despairing,” she continues, “because she has been through so much and there is so
much sadness and she is so paralyzed by her grief. And there are many moments
where she speaks up and says she can’t climb, she can’t do what’s in front of her, so
I expressed to Scott that I wanted to make sure she didn’t come off too complaining,
and you feel compassion for her, because you should.”

“Hunter is a rebel and Becky is the heart of the movie,” says Harris. “We went
through a very lengthy casting process and the chemistry between Ginni and Grace
was amazing.”

“I was lucky the financers and producers backed the idea of going for the best
actors, as opposed to the biggest names,” adds Mann, “because from a theatrical
point of view, the tower is the star.”

Because of Covid, all auditions needed to be done over Zoom. “Which was
awkward,” says Mann, “although a few of them did lock themselves up for a period to
do it together.”

“I expressed to Scott I don’t like auditioning, it makes me very uncomfortable,
how unnatural it is,” recalls Currey. “And because so many of Becky’s scenes are
with Hunter, he suggested we should do a chemistry read with the potential
Hunters.” A chemistry read is when actors audition with other potential cast. “I was
sent over a couple of names and one of those was Virginia Gardner, and so I
Instagram-stalked them, and slid into their DMs and said, did they want to practice
before our reads? Ginni responded right away, and she and I rehearsed the day
before our read. I immediately liked her so much and hoped she was going to be
Hunter, and I hoped I would be Becky. Later, Scott told us he felt the fact that we
pursued each other outside the chemistry read and rehearsed together spoke to how
we were going to apply ourselves to the film in general, so I guess preparation paid
off.”

“There were some good actresses who auditioned but what I found with
Grace and Ginni was they had great discipline,” recalls Mann. “Very different
dynamics as actors. Ginni’s extremely controlled, Grace is much more emotive and
method, but they had a real good chemistry and really helped each other. They just
seemed like friends, and they couldn’t help but bond.”

In the small but pivotal role of Becky’s husband Dan — who is killed in a
climbing accident in the opening sequence but whose presence looms large over the
film — is Mason Gooding, one of the stars of the latest Scream. “I loved his energy,”
says Mann of Gooding. “Again, it was a Zoom meeting, but I found him extremely
charismatic and honest. He had a vulnerable charisma about him I liked for Becky’s
partner, who’s a bit softer around the edges and is not your typical alpha male. I also
wanted someone you might think is going to be in the whole movie.”

“Mason is amazing,” adds producer Harris. “He’s going to be a superstar. We
were so lucky to have him.”

Rounding out the rest of the main cast is Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Becky’s
dad. “I’d worked with him and Robert De Niro on a film called Heist and had a great
time,” notes Mann. “I’ve always loved Jeff as an actor and became friends on that.
So, when we wrote the dad character, we literally wrote it for Jeff, thinking, ‘Okay,
who’s the most caring, empathetic, vulnerable dad you can pick out of a pile?’ It’s
Jeffrey Dean Morgan. And he was up for it.”

With his main cast in place, Mann set about rehearsing with his two leads at
ground level, knowing that once they were on location and up the tower, things
would be much trickier. Having utilized a paper platform during the writing stage to
act out the movie with Frank, Mann built a wooden one in his backyard and invited
Currey and Gardner over to play. “We blocked out the movie very thoroughly over
the course of a couple of days, so there was no doubt about any of it.”

“It was the platform and the pole, propped on some boxes or some crates and
we mostly spent the time figuring out how two people could possibly sleep on such a
small platform,” Currey recalls. “We played around with the different physical
configurations our bodies could make on the platform for it to be believable. If our
characters had been sitting for hours, how might they sit? There were also specific
scenes to block, like when Becky and Hunter discuss the affair. Scott had it in his
mind we would be back to back. And many of the scenes that required action and
movement we had to figure out beforehand because when we shot it, we were going
to be so high up and Scott would be far away, and it would have been very tricky to
figure out scenes in that circumstance. But because we blocked it ahead of time it
allowed for efficiency when it came to shooting.”

To recreate the lower portion of the tower on location, Mann approached the
designers of the real one in California that had been their inspiration during the
writing process and had them construct the first 15 feet in the desert just outside of
Los Angeles, in a place near Palmdale called Rocky Buttes. “They built a section of
tower on the ground there, which was safe, but we made it look rusty and
abandoned, and we had the girls climb up that,” recalls Mann. “And then, past a
certain point, it becomes a CGI extension.”

For the upper portion of the tower, Mann needed to find a mountaintop within
easy reach of Los Angeles, given they were planning to shoot while the U.S. was still
in the throes of Covid and there was uncertainty whether cast and crew were allowed
to stay in hotels overnight. “I would drive around in my wife’s SUV out to the desert,
to all these strange places I would find on Google maps, to try and find the correct
mountain with the right landscape,” he recalls. “Because you’re shooting outdoors,
you’ve got to consider where the sun is, the cinematography of it, everything. Also,
how do you get a Technocrane [a telescopic camera crane] up a mountain?”
Eventually, after several weeks, Mann found the perfect spot in Shadow
Mountain near Victorville. “It’s in the middle of nowhere,” he says. “But frankly, on the
top of that mountain, when you’re looking out, filming it for real, it looks amazing.”

BATTLING THE ELEMENTS
Once the mountaintop location was chosen, production designer Scott Daniel
(Wrong Turn) built two different towers of varying height, the tallest being around 60
feet, not including the final section with the light, as well as a five-foot high platform
for shooting closeups. “We were limited by engineering how high you could make it,
what we could get up there safely and construct to make it safe,” explains Mann of
the main tower. “Also, there was a limit on the height of the Technocrane which only
goes 70 or 80 feet up. If we made it too high, we wouldn’t get the look down and the
swing round, so we reduced its height.”

Even so, it was still plenty high. “Obviously, with actors we must be very
careful, and everything must be safe, but when you were climbing up it was quite
scary,” says Mann. “The first time I went there with Ginni and Grace I went first, so I
wasn’t asking it just of them. I remember climbing that ladder all the way at the top,
and it’s hard to get on the top, because there’s a ridge and you must really trust the
fact that if you do fall, you’re attached with a wire that’s going to save you. But I
remember getting up there, thinking, oh my God, that’s horrible, because when you
look out, your mind says, I’m 2,000 feet in the air, and you have to look back around
to realize, oh, it’s okay, there are people down there, 60 feet away. But when Grace
got to the top, she burst into tears. I think it was relief, because the other thing that
makes it feel very high is the wind, and the platform is rocking and swinging and
shaking. So they were very brave. And then from there it got easier.”

“When we first climbed up the tower, Scott went first, and in general
throughout the shoot, he did make sure to show us he was in it with us, which
speaks so much to the kind of director he is,” recalls Currey. “And when we got to
the top, there was a big relief. What was so exciting for me was seeing how high up
we were, feeling how strong the wind was, the elements, and the view was insane. It
was just this immersive feeling and I teared up because I felt so excited.”

“I remember the first climb being taxing and long,” says Gardner. “But the
more we did it the easier it got, although our hands were covered in blisters from so
much climbing. The first time we made it to the top Scott went first so we felt
confident. I remember how beautiful the sunset was and feeling the excitement and
adrenaline Hunter would be feeling in the moment when she reaches the top.”
Both actors wore harnesses which were attached to a safety cable that went
from the ground, up through the center column and out of the pole at the very top,
and back down again. “The characters having real harnesses on helped,” laughs
Mann. “Like, don’t take your harness off until this page [of the script.] So, if they’re
standing or moving around, they know if they fall, they’re safe, although the idea that
you’ve got to trust a tiny cable with your life is a little bit terrifying.”

What helped is that the riggers responsible were the same guys who did the
big tower stunt with Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. “Our stunt
coordinator Ingrid Kleinig said, ‘I know the best riggers and they’re not working at the
minute because of Covid, so let’s see if they want to help us.’ And they came out and
did all the rigging. So each actor had their own safety person. The most special
effects in this movie arguably are the safety wire removals,” says Mann, who
estimates FALL has about a thousand visual effects shots, mostly wire removal and
also digitally erasing the mountain from shots and replacing it with aerial footage of
the flat desert at the tower’s base in Palmdale for downward-looking shots.
“Climbing the ladder for the first time, we were getting to know the wires and
the rigging,” says Currey. “The most important thing for me was to understand how it
worked. If I feel safe, the more trust I have to go for the stunts. So, we would sit into
our harnesses and feel the wire take our weight and know there’s this safety net
that’s always with you. Trust was a major component for us diving into so many of
our stunts. Without it, we wouldn’t have been so brave.”

While Currey and Gardner had their own stunt doubles — Alice Rietveld for
the former, Alice Ford for the latter — both did many of the stunts themselves,
including hanging off the platform one-handed to take a selfie. “They did all that stuff
themselves and it is quite terrifying,” says Mann. “But the more we see their faces,
the more we’re with them. Audiences know when it’s a stunt double. They can sense
it because you change your film grammar around it.

“One of my favorite shots in the movie is where Grace is hanging off the
ladder and the ladder comes down and she lets go. That’s really Grace doing that
whole shot, doing that full drop. Originally, I was planning to start with her, then have
the stunt double drop and do face replacement. But in the end, she was like, ‘I want
to do it,’ and she went for it. It was great that our leads loved the experience and felt
safe. The shot where Hunter first climbs down to lower the phone, that’s really Ginni
doing all that. And I hold that take as long as I can, because at one point, Ginni
almost slips. But those kinds of shots are physically demanding and Ginni and Grace
just went for it.”

“The stunts were a lot of fun,” says Currey. “They were athletic and required
work but were fun and invigorating. We were pushing our mental and physical
stamina each day. But I couldn’t be prouder knowing I gave it my all and had such a
wild experience. Ginni and I often look at each other and go, ‘Did that really happen?
That was insane.’ But we were given the time and the space to test the stunts out
and try them and rehearse them and understand them, which made all the difference
and really enabled us to have trust between the riggers, our stunt coordinator,
everyone involved. I felt safe to speak up and say, ‘This feels a little scary,’ and then
we’d figure out what I needed to do to feel I understood what I was doing.”

“The climbing scenes were challenging but it was so much fun to do it all
practically and not in front of a green screen,” agrees Gardner. “It added some real
grit to the scenes and made our lives easier as actors when we could interact with
the real environment. It’s not often you get to do so many of your own stunts, and
getting the thrill of falling off a building that high and hanging off with one hand was
an unforgettable experience! To get to shoot those scenes with the wind hitting our
faces and the sun beating on our backs and the ground so far below gives you the
feeling you’re in the situation. Also, so many of our scenes we are climbing up the
ladder, and so we would climb up and go up and down. Those scenes took days to
shoot, but I think the physical exhaustion of it made our job easier.”

To communicate with his two leads while they were perched on a tiny platform
60 feet off the ground required Mann to use a bullhorn. “I wouldn’t normally use one,
but it was too windy to talk via radio,” he recalls. “I also had a feed of their mics, so I
could always hear what they were saying.”

“Being directed by Scott with a bullhorn 60 feet below us was so funny,”
remembers Gardner. “He knew exactly what he wanted and would often play badass movie soundtracks on a loudspeaker while we were headed up the tower to get
us in the mood. If we were up there for a while, they would use a pulley system to
send up sunscreen and water.” But whenever there was something a bit more
intimate to film or discuss, Mann would hop a ride on a 70-foot cherry picker to lift
him up to platform level. “I could be beside them and the camera, and I could talk to
them, so it was a bit more normal. But it was very physical for me, for everyone,
scorching temperatures, crazy conditions.”

Partnering with Mann on making FALL as cinematic an experience as
possible was Spanish-born cinematographer MacGregor (Vivarium). “He was
amazing. He’s a director as well, is super talented and, like me, is into his
technology,” says Mann. “His rule to me was production value in a movie is dictated
by location. If you get the location right and you’re filming it for real, and you get the
sun in the right place and everything else, you don’t need anything else. You just film
the desert at the right time of day, and it looks incredible. This film has a low budget
for what it is. And it looks bigger than that because of that rule — filming real stuff.”
On the first day of shooting on the mountaintop, the weather turned nasty.

“The first day was a disaster,” remembers Mann. “It got really windy, windier than it
had been on any of the prep days. And at a certain point when the wind reaches 50
miles an hour, it’s too dangerous to be near that tower in case it blows over. So we
had to stop filming and get people in a safe place or off the mountain and there was
a threat the tower might collapse. There was a building at the top of the mountain, an
old radio hut, and we got everyone inside and there was a bloody sandstorm outside.
It was horrendous, like Dune or something. And then the low tower we built for
closeups blew away.”

“We had flying ant infestation, bee infestation, rain, thunder, lightning,
windstorms, the whole gamut,” remembers Currey. “You’re out there in nature and
nature is deciding when you shoot and when you don’t. I mean, we had to be very
careful being so high up on the tower because the winds would get intense, and if
they reached a certain speed, we had to climb down because it was too dangerous.
That was a little stressful at first, but eventually we understood we didn’t get to
dictate the schedule, the weather did. It felt like Indiana Jones. It felt like we were on
an adventure every day. The dirt, the dust, the grime. I took a selfie of myself on the
first day to send to my husband and I looked so fresh and chipper, and about 30
minutes later, being in the wind, I took another, and I am not chipper anymore.”
“It was crazy,” agrees producer Harris. “We were probably the first movie
made after Covid struck and we had those protocols plus all the plagues of the
Bible…it was crazy. But Capstone, our financiers, were very brave taking the risk
and plowing ahead.”

The remainder of the four-week mountaintop shoot was no less challenging,
with cast and crew pushed to their collective limits daily. “There were lots of physical
challenges, but we didn’t have any Covid cases the whole shoot,” says Mann. “Still,
we had about five hurricanes. There were fires nearby that blocked out the view. We
had several lightning incidents, and we had to be very careful because the girls were
standing on a big metal pole at the top of the mountain.”

The production also had to contend with a host of insects, including a swarm
of locusts and an infestation of bees. “After it rained, locusts collected inside the
tower and when we went to film, they all came out and we got swarmed on,” recalls
Mann. “Every other day we would have some physical or environmental disaster.
And we would just have to keep filming.”

“We had a lot of crazy issues at the beginning,” notes Gardner. “We had a
locust invasion and Scott had to use a massive vacuum-like device and suck up all
the bugs. Then we had a bee infestation. I got stung twice during takes. And to top it
all off, we had a thunder and rainstorm that almost ruined all our set dressing. But
we all had a great attitude about it and had to laugh it off and roll with the punches.”
Ultimately, Mann feels all the various environmental challenges were to the
film’s benefit. “They shifted the look of the movie,” he reveals. “At the time I thought,
this is disaster, because it’s all going to look completely different. But I’m glad of it
now. And my favorite moments in the movie are when we had something challenging
happen, like when it’s windy when our leads are on top. That’s real wind. As
everyone says, that’s free production value.”

While filming on a tower on top of a mountain exposed to the elements was
challenging enough, the final week of shooting, which mostly featured scenes in act
one — prior to Becky and Hunter’s tower climb — were among the hardest to
capture due to Covid. “The shoot for the tower element and the mountain we did in
one run and, apart from all the disasters, we got through it,” recalls Mann.
With Jeffrey Dean Morgan in a bubble shooting AMC’s “The Walking Dead” in
North Carolina, it was decided that Mann, Currey, and a small crew would fly to him,
build the bar set there, film the scene with Becky and her dad and then fly home to
L.A. But after Mann landed in North Carolina, he got a text from Currey saying she’d
come down with Covid, so she couldn’t travel. Rather than waste the trip and lose
the opportunity to shoot Morgan, Mann opted to build the bar set and film the scene
with Morgan with a double for Becky, before rebuilding the set four months later in
L.A. where Currey acted opposite a double for Morgan.

“So, the truth is, they never met in real life,” chuckles Mann, “and we filmed
both halves of that scene at different ends of the country. It was crazy. And one of
those filmmaking tricks we had to go through.”

CAST AND CREW BIOGRAPHIES

Scott Mann (Cowriter, Director)
Scott is a seasoned Hollywood director and producer, working with A-list talent on
several blockbuster films. His credits include Heist, Final Score, and The
Tournament. Mann has directed talent such as Robert De Niro, Pierce Brosnan,
David Bautista, Robert Carlyle, Kate Bosworth, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Bruce
Willis. Scott has been at the forefront of the visual effects domain for over 25 years
and has had a lifelong passion for science, innovation, and storytelling.

Virginia Gardner (Hunter)
Virginia Gardner is best known for starring as Karolina Dean in the Hulu original
series of Marvel’s “Runaways” and Vicky in Universal Pictures’ Halloween. She
made her feature debut as Christina Raskin in Paramount’s Project Almanac, and
since then has appeared in various films including Goat, Little Bitches, Monster
Party, Starfish, and All the Bright Places. In television, she can be seen in HBO’s
“The Righteous Gemstones,” FX’s “American Horror Stories,” and Starz’s “Gaslit.”
She will next be seen starring opposite Dylan Sprouse in Voltage’s Beautiful
Disaster.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan (James)
Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s charisma, undeniable charm, and versatility have landed him
a variety of prestigious films and television series working alongside award-winning
actors and filmmakers. Having worked nonstop the past few years, Morgan
continues to capture the attention of Hollywood and has emerged as one of the
industry’s most sought-after leading men.

Morgan can currently be seen in the hit AMC series, “The Walking Dead,” where he
made his debut in the final episode of season six as the infamous antagonist,
Negan. This performance earned him a 2016 Critics’ Choice Award for Best Guest
Performer in a Drama Series. He also won Best Villain at the 2017 MTV Movie and
TV Awards for his work in season seven. The 11th and final season of “The Walking
Dead” is currently airing on AMC.

Following the conclusion of “The Walking Dead”, Morgan will reprise his role of
Negan in the upcoming spin-off series “Isle of the Dead.” Along with Lauren Cohan
reprising her role as Maggie, “Isle of the Dead” will follow the pair through postapocalyptic Manhattan. Morgan and Cohan will also serve as executive producers on
the series that is set to premiere in 2023 on AMC.
Other recent projects include “Friday Night in with The Morgans”, which premiered in
April 2020 on AMC. The talk show was produced and hosted by Morgan and his
wife, Hilarie Burton Morgan, and was filmed from their home in upstate New York
during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. On the film side, recent credits
include Warner Brothers’ Rampage, directed by Brad Peyton, alongside Dwayne
Johnson and Naomie Harris; Walkaway Joe alongside David Strathairn and under
the direction of Tom Wright; The Postcard Killings with Famke Janssen for director
Danis Tanovic; and horror film The Unholy based on the best-selling James Herbert
novel Shrine.

Morgan began his career in television. In 2005 and 2006, he endeared himself to
television audiences worldwide with three concurrent recurring roles – on the CW
series “Supernatural” as John Winchester, on the ABC hit series “Grey’s Anatomy”
as transplant patient Denny Duquette, and on Showtime’s award-winning comedy
series “Weeds” as Judah Botwin, all of which made Morgan a universal fan favorite.
He then starred in the feature film P.S. I Love You with Hilary Swank and he
captivated genre fans as Edward Blake / Comedian in Watchmen for director Zack
Snyder, an adaptation of the iconic graphic novel. Morgan went on to star in The
Losers, an adaptation of DC-Vertigo’s acclaimed comic book series, produced by
Joel Silver and directed by Sylvain White, and in Ang Lee’s film Taking Woodstock.
He then appeared in the murder mystery Texas Killing Fields alongside Sam
Worthington, Chloë Grace Moretz, and Jessica Chastain.

Morgan’s additional feature film credits include Peace, Love & Misunderstanding
alongside Catherine Keener, Jane Fonda, and Elizabeth Olsen for director Bruce
Beresford; the thriller The Possession with Kyra Sedgwick for producer Sam Raimi;
Red Dawn, the reboot of the 1984 action movie; The Salvation with Eva Green and
Mads Mikkelsen which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival; Heist alongside
Robert De Niro; Solace opposite Anthony Hopkins, Colin Farrell, and Abbie Cornish;
Desierto alongside Gael García Bernal; and in 2016 he re-teamed with Zack Snyder,
making a cameo appearance in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

On the television side, Morgan’s additional credits include the award-winning CBS
series “The Good Wife,” the critically acclaimed Starz series “Magic City,” the CBS
series “Extant” alongside Halle Berry and produced by Steven Spielberg, and the
Emmy®-nominated History Channel miniseries “Texas Rising” with Bill Paxton and
Ray Liotta.

Morgan currently resides on a farm in Hudson Valley, New York, with his wife and
two children.

Mason Gooding (Dan)
Mason Gooding is quickly making a name for himself. He can currently be seen
starring in Hulu’s “Love, Victor” opposite Michael Cimino and Rachel Hilson. The
series, set in the world of the 2018 film Love, Simon, returned for its third and final
season on June 15.

This year, Gooding was seen starring in Paramount Pictures’ Scream alongside
Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Jack Quaid, Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega, and
Dylan Minnette. He was also seen in the Amazon rom com I Want You Back
alongside Charlie Day and Jenny Slate and in Christopher Winterbauer’s Moonshot
for HBO MAX alongside Lana Condor and Cole Sprouse.

Upcoming, Gooding will be seen starring in Sam Hayes’ indie feature Pools
alongside Ariel Winter.

In 2021, Gooding lent his voice to QCODE Media’s neo-noir podcast series “Electric
Easy,” which featured original music from Kesha and Chloe Bailey. In
2019, Gooding starred in Olivia Wilde’s critically acclaimed Booksmart opposite
Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever. The film made its world premiere at the 2019
SXSW Film Festival where it was nominated for the Audience Award.
Later that year, he was seen in Netflix’s Let It Snow alongside Kiernan Shipka,
Odeya Rush, and Isabela Merced. The romantic comedy, based on the John Green
novel of the same name, was released in November 2019.

On the small screen, Gooding’s credits include: “Ballers,” “Everything’s Gonna Be
Okay,” “Star Trek: Picard,” and “The Good Doctor.”

Madison Beer (Songwriter, “I Have Never Felt More Alive”)
Following unprecedented success as an independent artist, rising pop star Madison
Beer released her major label album debut, Life Support, in early 2021. The album, a
strong personal and artistic statement, received acclaim from the likes of V
Magazine, Nylon, and NME who called it a “thrilling listen.” Life Support features
certified platinum single “Selfish,” and “Boyshit,” which Billboard said, “…makes a
late case for one of the best pop chorus openings of 2020.” The album saw Madison
continue to command creative through writing her own songs, producing, and
creating her own visuals. Most recently she released “Reckless,” the first track to
come from her next project. The song was her personal best streaming week debut
on Spotify and currently has over 222 million streams on the platform. Madison has
seen partnerships with beauty brands like Fenty Beauty and Morphe Cosmetics,
which she showcased in her edition of Vogue’s marquee video series “Beauty
Secrets.” Her episode is one of the highest-performing installments with over 12
million views on YouTube, and it went viral on TikTok, selling out the Morphe
products featured globally for six months. Madison is also the face of Victoria’s
Secret’s line of Tease Fragrances, with a campaign shot by legendary photographer
Mario Sorrenti. Currently, Madison has over 4.2 billion streams across her catalogue
globally and commands a highly engaged social following of over 32 million on
Instagram, 17 million on TikTok, and 3 million on Twitter.

CAST & CREW LIST

LIONSGATE AND CAPSTONE GLOBAL
PRESENT
A TEA SHOP PRODUCTION
A CAPSTONE STUDIOS PRODUCTION
IN ASSOCIATION WITH FLAWLESS
IN ASSOCIATION WITH COUSIN JONES
IN ASSOCIATION WITH BUZZFEED STUDIOS

Directed by
Scott Mann
Written by
Jonathan Frank & Scott Mann
Produced by
James Harris and Mark Lane
Scott Mann
Produced by
Christian Mercuri
David Haring
Director of Photography
MacGregor
Production Designer
Scott Daniel
Editor
Rob Hall
Original Score Composed and Produced by
Tim Despic
Supervising Sound Designers
Alex Joseph
David Barber, M.P.S.E.
Re-recording Mixer
David Barber, CAS
VFX Supervisor
Matt Gardocki
Costume Designer
Lisa Catalina
Casting by
Colin Jones
Line Producer
Brianna Lee Johnson
Executive Produced by
Roman Viaris
Barry Brooker
Executive Produced by
John Long
Dan Asma
Unit Production Manager
Brianna Lee Johnson
First Assistant Director
Doug Turner
Second Assistant Director
Tami Kumin
CAST
Becky Connor Grace Caroline Currey
Shiloh Hunter Virginia Gardner
Dan Connor Mason Gooding
James Connor Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Steve Jasper Cole
Randy Darrell Dennis
Police Officer Bamm Ericsen
Diner Server Julia Mitchell
Flower Girl Evie Mann
Page Boy Joseph Mann
Confused Truck Driver Nick Lynes
Bar Man Branden Currey
Associate Producer
Ashley Waldron
Stunt Coordinator / Second Unit Director Ingrid Kleinig
Assistant Stunt Coordinator Genevieve Aitken
Key Stunt Rigger Chris Daniels
Stunt Utility Anthony Genova
Stunt Utility Jess King
Becky Stunt Double Alice Rietveld
Hunter Stunt Double Alice Ford
Rock Climbing Consultant Tai Devore
Becky Climbing Double Miya Tsudome
Hunter Climbing Double Jennifer Poe
Dan Climbing Double Chip Powell
Opening Stunts
Stunt Coordinator T.J. White
Dan Stunt Double Matthew Osborn
Stunt Utility Hank Kingi Jr.
Stunt Utility Ken Fournier
Stunt Utility Jimmy Ramono
Stunt Utility Jennifer Caputo
Production Supervisor Annie B. Compton
Assistant Production Supervisor Turner Fair
Key Set PA Chloe Huckins
Set PA Trevor Messenger
Set PA Eddy Gudakov
A Cam Operator Nick Muller
2nd Unit DP/B Cam Operator Geoff George
A Cam First Assistant Camera Nicholas Kramer
Additional AC (A Cam) Jacob Rosenblatt
Second Assistant Camera Sasha Wright
B Cam 1st AC Litong Zhen
Digital Imaging Technician Jack Damon
Script Supervisor Barbara Abelar
Production Sound Mixer Chris Polczinski
Boom Operator Tasha Ladwig
Casting Associate Marta Noguera
SFX Boyd Lacosse
Gaffer Mike Van Meter
Best Boy Electric Mitch Pratt
Electric Ronnie Ausborne
Key Grip Jesse Curl
Best Boy Grip Angel Villarreal
Best Boy Grip Alex Harris
Grip Daniel Vlahos
Grip Austin Nelson
Key Grip Jason Younger
Best Boy Grip Mitch Elliott
Grip Ryker Wells
Grip Ivan Garcia
Art Consultant Gabor Norman
Prop Master Bryan Staerkel
Art PA Samuel Figueroa
Scenic Darren Cheeks
Techno Crane Op Brett Folk
Techno Crane Op Harrison Reilly
Techno Crane Op Corey Kiefer
Techno Crane Op Brian Shreiner
Drone Pilot Chase Ellison
Drone Pilot Justin Enrique
Department Head Make Up Erin Blinn
Additional Make Up Brittany White
Department Head Hair Lauren McKeever
Animal Wrangler Mark Schwaiger
Dog Wrangler Ali Santoro
Production Accountant Sue McGraw
Assistant Production Accountant Chelsea McGraw
Production Secretary Mellinda Hensley
Office Production Assistant Ali Pinkerton
Location Managers Derek Tramont
Mitchell Gutman
Permit Service Miles Per Gallon
Key Set Medic Lindsey Roberts
Health and Safety Manager Jerry TerHorst
Health and Safety PA Nicole Daley
Caterer Moore Culinary Services
Security Bruno Mora
NC Goods & Services Lighthouse Films
Brad Walker
Michelle Roca
Kendall Stetson
Vicka Hanson
Ash Christ
Mikel Barton
Michael “Shawn” Lewellan
Alan “Shorty” Swanson
Paige Marsicano
Ben Pellington
Adrian Kohann
Kristen Bell
Paul Sitler
Ashley Spillane
Aaron Kelly
Brielle Barozzini
Nico Guerra
Marco Guerra
Yukimi Bishop
Josiah Graf
Kristen Shaughnessy
JD Lanier
Kristi Ray
Medical Advisor Dr Patrick Yu
(Corporate Medical Advisors)
Accounting & Tax Incentive Services Greenslate
Production and Finance Legal Services Levin Law Corp.
Ronald J. Levin
Rylan Mitchell
Erica Zohar
Associate Editor Michael Cheung
Assistant Editor Esther Sokolow
Music Supervisor Phil Canning
Original Song Music Supervisor Ashley Waldron
Completion Guarantee Film Finances
Mandy Yaeger
Helen Sam
Lieve Jansen
Insurance Services Daniel R’Bibo
Alex Ekizian
Rosita Roque
Head of Development Tea Shop Productions Lieve Jansen
Leo Darby
Head of Development Flawless Lieve Jansen
Sarah Mann
Audio Post Services Provided by Juniper Post, Inc.
Sound Supervisor David Kitchens, M.P.S.E.
Supervising Sound Designers Alex Joseph
David Barber, M.P.S.E.
Re-recording Mixer David Barber, CAS
Dialogue Editor Jeffery Alan Jones
ADR Mixer Alan Jaye
Sound Effects Editors Rob Walker
Payam Hosseinian
Foley Artist Gonzalo “Bino” Espinoza
Foley Editor Jackson Kitchens
Audio Post Accountant Stacy Kitchens
Additional ADR Recording Jed Elliot
Original Score composed and produced by Tim Despic
Composer/ Additional music by James Edward Barker
Music performed by Tim Despic, James Edward Barker and the Van Ness
Orchestra
Music mixed by Tim Despic
Digital Intermediate Services Provided by
TUNNEL POST
DI Producers Heather Toll
Shirley Luong
Alan Pao
DI Colorist Sebastian Perez-Burchard
Conform Editor J.D. Moore
Additional VFX Pulls Taylor Mahony
Visual Effects by
TUNNEL POST
Visual Effects Supervisors Shirley Luong
Heather Toll
Lead Compositors May Satsuki Asai
Wanyan Zhu
Compositors Gigi Babityan
Austin Brown
Xuncheng Chen
Grant Inouye
Yongfeng Lin
Cheng Qiu
Dandan Xiao
Roto Artists Victor Franco
Mia Chang
Additional VFX Supervision Koala FX
Consulting VFX Producer Dasha Sherman
Consulting VFX Supervisor Menelaos Pampoukidis
Lead VFX Artist Antoni Zakheos
VFX Artist Artem Isaakyan
GARDOCKI DIGITAL
VFX Supervisor Matt Gardocki
VFX Artists Jacob Brewer
Peter Epps
Candido Garcia
Sophia Post
Alex Stager
DEKOY
VFX Principal/Founder David Matheny
VFX Production Manager Grace Kao
VFX Artists Christian Feliciano
Brian Recktenwald
VFX2GO
Visual Effects Producers Jake Akuna
Christian Curry Akuna
Supervising Producer
(Sancio VFX Studios) Naresh Botha
Manager Karthik Sabbani
Coordinator Priscilla John
Visual Effects Artists Jake Akuna
Praveen Jambula
Varshini Botha
Anil Kancharla
Sunny Kandimalla
Sunil Kalyan
POSTVFX
Composite Supervisor Edward Anderson
Senior Compositor Ivan Pena Ortiz
22 DOGS STUDIO
VFX Executive Producers Andrea Marotti
Carlo Tosi
VFX Producer Giulio Campiglia
VFX Executive Supervisor Max Pareschi
VFX Lead Compositor Artist Thomas Kremer (II)
VFX Compositor Artists Andrew Antonyuk
Roman Antonyuk
Alexey Ermak
Polina Frolova
Vladislav Kravchenko
Mila Kremere
Dimitrijs Mass
Max Radukha
Roman Sagenov
VFXaddART
VFX Supervisor Eduard Karamshuk
Compositing Artists Aleksandr Pertsovoy
Denis Knyzev
Oleksandr Kuzmin
Dmytro Syrovatsky
Dmytro Shmidt
FLAWLESS
Nick Lynes
Sean Danischevsky
Stuart Lawrence
Allar Kaasik
Hyeongwoo Kim
Praveen Ilangoven
Pablo Garrido
Lindsey Morrow
Gaurav Bharaj
Piran Smith
Christian Theobalt
Jim Rivera
Gary Scullion
Paul Duhig
Alejandra Esquerro
Ryan Axe
BUZZFEED STUDIOS
Head of Studio Richard Alan Reid
Marketing Executive Dan Katt
Creative Executive Ayla Norris-Smith
Production Executive Sam Linder
Distribution & Strategy Executive Jason Nadel
Production Coordinator Brianna McFadden
Creative Will Hunt
STOCK FOOTAGE
Vulture Stock footage supplied by Film Studio Aves/Creatas Video via Getty Images
All Other Footage used under license from shutterstock.com
MUSIC CREDITS
“I Have Never Felt More Alive”
Written by Madison Beer and Leroy Clampitt
Performed by Madison Beer
Courtesy of Epic Records
By arrangement with Sony Music Entertainment
“Erase/Rewind”
Performed by The Cardigans
Written by Nina Elisabet Persson, Peter Anders Svensson
Licensed courtesy of Universal Music AB
By arrangement with Universal Music Operations
Published by Universal Music Publishing Limited on behalf of Stockholm Songs
“What a Rush”
Performed by Hart & Maguire
Written by Jimmy Hart & John J. Maguire
Licensed courtesy of WWE Inc
Published by Universal/MCA Music Ltd on behalf of Piledriver Music US
“Cherry Pie”
Performed by Warrant
Written by Jani Lane
Licensed courtesy of Roundhill Music & Zync Music
Used by kind permission of Carlin Music Delaware LLC, Courtesy of Round Hill
Records

SPECIAL THANKS
Sarah, Joseph and Evie
Annie Mahoney
Joyce Harris
Reid and Cindy Johnson
Maribelle and Zella Fischer
Jason Ballantine
Max Adams
Nicolas Chartier
Babacar Diene
Vicky and Mike
Lionel Uhry
Off the Ground
Jake Hebert Custom Tower LLC
AG Light and Sound Inc
Fox 6 News – Birmingham
Martin Spencer
Best Buy
Matthew Marenda
Alex Henes
Jian Giannini

FOR ANDY X
IN LOVING MEMORY OF KARL YOUNG
(c) 2022 FALL MOVIE PRODUCTIONS INC.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

Grace Caroline Currey

Interview with Catherine Bell and Tom Stevens

TV Interview!

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

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

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

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

QUESTION:  Hi, how are you?

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

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

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

QUESTION:  Thank you.

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

CATHERINE BELL:  Yeah.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

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

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

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

QUESTION:  And that same for you, Tom?

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

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

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

TOM STEVENS:  Yeah.

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

CATHERINE BELL:  Right, exactly.

TOM STEVENS:  Prison pen pals and dogs.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

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

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

CATHERINE BELL:  Tom, you go.

TOM STEVENS:  Oh, you want me to go.

CATHERINE BELL:  Yeah.

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

QUESTION:  You too.

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

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

QUESTION:  Thank you so much, both of you.

CATHERINE BELL:  Thank you.

TOM STEVENS:  Thanks, Jamie.

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

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

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

QUESTION:  You didn’t root for them —

TOM STEVENS:  Yeah.

CATHERINE BELL:  What’s that?

TOM STEVENS:  Were you rooting for them, Catherine?

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

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

QUESTION:  Okay. Thanks.

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

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

CATHERINE BELL:  Hi, Jay.

QUESTION:  Hi, good to see you.

TOM STEVENS:  Hi, Jay.

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

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

QUESTION:  Thanks a lot.

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

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

TOM STEVENS:  I know.

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

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

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

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

QUESTION:  Hello.

CATHERINE BELL:  Hi.

TOM STEVENS:  Hi, hi, hi.

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

TOM STEVENS:  Hm.

CATHERINE BELL:  Hm.

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

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

TOM STEVENS:  That was so much fun.

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

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

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

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

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

TOM STEVENS:  No worries, Cynthia.

CATHERINE BELL:  Thank you, Cynthia.

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

QUESTION:  Hi, can you hear me?

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

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

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

QUESTION:  Thank you.

CATHERINE BELL:  Thank you.

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

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

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

QUESTION:  Well, just in general acting.

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

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

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

QUESTION:  Oh, wow. Thank you.

CATHERINE BELL:  Yeah, thank you.

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

QUESTION:  Hey, how are you guys?

CATHERINE BELL:  Hey, good.

TOM STEVENS:  I’m good.

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

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

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

CATHERINE BELL:  Yeah.

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

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

QUESTION:  Thanks so much.

TOM STEVENS:  Thank you.

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

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

CATHERINE BELL:  Ooh.

TOM STEVENS:  Ooh.

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

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

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

TOM STEVENS:  Yeah.

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

TOM STEVENS:  Yeah.

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

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

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

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

TOM STEVENS:  Yeah.

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

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

QUESTION:  Okay, thanks.

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

MORE INFO:

Official Lifetime Site and Preview

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

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

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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poster for "Jailbreak Lovers"

Interview with Hilda Martin, Lachlan Quarmby, and Rachel Boyd

TV Interview!

Hilda Martin and Lachlan Quarmby star in He's Not Worth Dying For premiering Saturday, June 25 at 8p/7cLachlan Quarmby and Rachel Boyd star in He's Not Worth Dying For premiering Saturday, June 25 at 8p/7c

Interview with Hilda Martin, Lachlan Quarmby, and Rachel Boyd of “He’s Not Worth Dying For” on Lifetime by Suzanne 6/1/22

This was from a press day featuring three “ripped from the headlines” movies airing this summer. It was great to speak with these young actors. I only wish star Robin Givens had been there.

MODERATOR: Hi, everybody. Our next panel for today is the talented cast of “He’s Not Worth Dying For.” Please welcome Hilda Martin, Lachlan Quarmby, and Rachel Boyd. Hi, you guys. Thank you so much for taking the time to be with us today.

LACHLAN QUARMBY: Thank you. Happy to be here.

RACHEL BOYD: Thank you.

MODERATOR: Our first question is from Jamie Ruby.

QUESTION: Hi, guys. Thanks for talking to us. So how familiar were you all with kind of this story and kind you talk a bit about sort of the research that you did into it for all of you?

LACHLAN QUARMBY: Sure.

RACHEL BOYD: Do you want to start?

LACHLAN QUARMBY: You go, you go.

HILDA MARTIN: Well, I didn’t know much but I do have a liking for crime documentaries, so as soon as I got that and was told it was based/inspired by true stories, as a true story, I Googled it right away, but before then I had no knowing of the story.

RACHEL BOYD: Yeah. I think that like for me when I first got the audition script I actually somehow missed the words “based on a true story” when I was reading the description of it, so I had no idea until the callback that I was auditioning for something that was based on a true story, but I think, for me, like, seeing the sides and the character, I really connected to it, because it’s such an experience that a lot of young people on social media, and especially young women can relate to in how we are taught to, like, compete for a man’s exclusive love, and then how that manifests in different ways in the age of social media, and how that has real effects on our self-wroth and the way that we behave as people and change our character.

LACHLAN QUARMBY: Yeah, I hadn’t heard of it at the time. In 2009, I was living in Canberra, Australia, which might as well have been about as far away as you can be. But, yeah, I was the same, as soon as I got the script and heard it was a real story I looked it up and had such like an emotional reaction to just how much of a tragic experience it was and, yeah, it was kind of exciting to get to audient to play something like that.

QUESTION: Great. Thank you so much.

LACHLAN QUARMBY: Thank you.

RACHEL BOYD: thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Our next question is from Tamara Rollins.

QUESTION: Hi, guys. Can you hear me?

LACHLAN QUARMBY: Hi.

RACHEL BOYD: Yes.

QUESTION: Hi. So nowadays social media can be used as a tool to destroy lives. Some people tend to separate social media from our actual lives. They deem it as two separate entities. Do you guys feel that social media in our real day-to-day lives are one entity or two separate worlds?

RACHEL BOYD: I would say that I think that social media is real but also fake, because what it is is it’s taking a person and letting them choose what they want to highlight and choose how they want to be perceived in the world, and what you see on social media as much as we often treat it, like that is that person and that is the full representation of them, it’s not a real accurate representation of a person, of a real human being who is full and flawed. So I think that they’re different in that way, but the really unfortunate thing and kind of what we wanted to tackle in the movie is that people blur those lines together, and they treat people like they aren’t really human beings on social media when it really is really us. We’re just kind of creating a highlight reel.

QUESTION: Thank you.

LACHLAN QUARMBY: Yeah. I’ll add to that. I agree. I think that a lot of people out there are probably having this sort of duality in personality versus real life on social media, but it’s not for me to say as to how you should manage it. I personally think that it’s best to just do everything in moderation. You know, if you are going to put something up there that is a version of you that may not be the exact version of yourself then it can be the kind of thing that you’re aspiring to be, or the kind of person that you’re trying to be like, but it’s just managing which is which and just being like honest with yourself. As long as you know what you’re all about and stuff like that then I think it’s manageable.

QUESTION: Thank you.

HILDA MARTIN: I think the same thing. I specifically had a hard time with kind of splitting — with kind of being the same person and having like a reality, being real on social media for the longest, and I don’t see that be a possibility now because you’re still — Like in social media you’re not you. You’re never going to be. You’re going to be torn apart, if you want like an extensive amount of people kind of following you, unless you just want yourself and close friends, but other than that it’s like you have to be someone that society wants on social media. So that’s like totally different, and I could see the same for Isla, who is trying to kind of be this person and this colorful person, this bright person, but on the other side in her real life it’s the total opposite, so totally different.

QUESTION: Thank you.

Robin Givens stars in He's Not Worth Dying For premiering Saturday, June 25 at 8p/7cMODERATOR: Thank you. We also have some pre-submitted questions from journalists who could not be here today. This question is for Hilda. Hilda, you have some pretty intense scenes with Robin Givens who plays your mother in the movie. What was it like working with a veteran actress, and did she give you any advice or were there any fun times together on the set?

HILDA MARTIN: It was great working with Robin. I think like she kind of let me — She didn’t really — You know, working with a veteran and you’re not one yourself, you kind of feel like you’re not good enough, but there’s a lot of moments where she kind of like, A, gave me tips on certain scenes and, B, kind of like applauded me for certain scenes, and kind of like validation, which I like, but there’s quite a few moments that she kind of made me laugh, and one of them was Grace is being a bitch to, like harsh mood to her mom, and as soon as the scene got cut she was like I would have whooped you in real life. I would have whooped you hard. Never do that to me in real life. My kids would never. And another scene was with Jake, Lachlan, and it was a family dinner and like you just never know when stuff happens. She had like this, she had a green bean that she was chewing mid-scene, and it was her turn to talk, and like it wasn’t going down, so like that cut was like the funniest part, because we’re just watching her chew. She’s like (imitates chewing), mm um hm, um hm, one sec, um hm.

(Laughter.)

HILDA MARTIN: And she hadn’t thought of like — She is fun. She’s great to work with. She’s like a mom. She was actually like a mom and, yeah.

MODERATOR: That’s awesome. Thank you, Hilda. Our next question is from Suzanne at TVMEG.COM

QUESTION: Hi, I was wondering if any of you had done any Lifetime movies before and whether you could compare them to other work that you’ve done elsewhere — whether they were slower or faster or what other things you can think of that would be different?

LACHLAN QUARMBY: Yeah, I had a small role on like a Christmas one before. So it was kind of fun to play the differences in tone in terms of like the sort of lighter Christmas one and then the darker reality of like this one. I really enjoyed it, the mixing up, because it is a different way to come about it from an acting point of view in terms of like the tone, the network, and like the genre as well. You got to play with all of those elements, and I have no idea what I’m doing typically, because it’s so early on. So it’s really funny to have like a producer or a director just say, like, “Hey, like this is actually more the way that it is done for this type of film,” and I was always like, “Oh, cool. Great.” That’s awesome to learn and use going forward, yeah.

RACHEL BOYD: Yeah. I also think that, I mean, personally, I hadn’t done anything, any other work with Lifetime before, but I also think it’s so interesting to mention that this was mine, Hilda’s and Lachlan’s, all of our first lead roles in a feature-length film. So that was really, really fun, and it was really great to experience that with the three of us. I think that all of us ending up being our first time really brought a new energy to the set that we really liked where we were just very eager to work and play and have a lot of fun with each other. So I had to mention that.

QUESTION: Great. Hilda.

HILDA MARTIN: It was also my, yeah, my first time as well. What I would interesting, what I like to find out is like what does Lifetime like cast to wear, and like the other show that I’ve done was a different wardrobe and seeing like how characters are kind of like created, developed like look-wise on different platforms like Lifetime, for example. That was cool. But like also the first time in having like a great cast to work with.

RACHEL BOYD: Aw.

HILDA MARTIN: It kind of made it exciting and easier, I think, something you (inaudible @ 00:34:14), so, yeah.

QUESTION: Well, thank you.

HILDA MARTIN: Thanks.

LACHLAN QUARMBY: Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Our next question is from Mike Hughes.

QUESTION: Yeah. I wasn’t sure if my mute — can you hear me now?

GROUP: Yes. We can hear you.

QUESTION: Okay. Cool. Rachel, actors obviously have to be able to turn it on quickly when the camera is on, but it’s much more so what Isla had to do, because just you’re solo on a camera and (just be big @ 00:34:40) the moment she goes on. So what’s it like to do the scenes where Isla is really over the top and on her own before a camera?

RACHEL BOYD: Yeah. I think that’s something for me that I really did a lot in preparation for the role was learning exactly what that physicality was, because I knew that Isla’s character needed — She needed to be able to walk into a room and command it and hold the power in it just with her body and how she moved around, so that was kind of something I really wanted to focus on. And, yeah, that just came through I think sometimes if she was putting on the performance of like “Influence Isla” then it was a lot for me finding those places in my body where that energy was. Like I think there’s like a scene at the beginning. Hilda and I were talking about it the other day, but it’s like she’s walking into the store, and she’s kind of doing like this crazy like “Clueless” walk, and it’s just I think it gives me that energy from within me instead of me keeping the same body language the entire time. And then I also liked working with the physicality, because it gave me space to also be Isla when she’s not being big and over the top, and she’s just being, you know, a regular girl who’s just lonely and confused, and how does her body change. And then I think having that like drastic difference helps, too, when you saw her being bigger.

QUESTION: Cool. Thanks.

Rachel Boyd stars in He's Not Worth Dying For premiering Saturday, June 25 at 8p/7cRACHEL BOYD: Thank you.

MODERATOR: Our next question’s from Cynthia Horner.

QUESTION: Hello. My question is for all of you. I really enjoyed the film, and I’d like to know what advice would you give to young people that are watching — They’re going to be watching the film, and we all know people who’ve been in similar situations even though the ending may not be the same, but the fact that there are so many situations where people are being cheated on or whatever, so can you each talk about your character and the way those dynamics were so that other people that are watching the film may decide not to make some of those mistakes.

RACHEL BOYD: Yeah. I can start. Are you guys —

LACHLAN QUARMBY: Go for it, Rach.

RACHEL BOYD: Okay. I think, for me, I’ve always, always wanted this to be the message that people take away from the whole movie, and with Isla especially is that there’s no manifestation of love or validation, be it like a boy or followers and likes and comments on Instagram that is ever worth losing yourself for and affecting your own self-worth to please. I think I want people to know that they are one hundred percent significant and one hundred percent enough just in themselves, and that outward validation will always come and go, but that it really is that inner self-worth that you should focus so much of your energies on. Yeah.

QUESTION: Good answer.

HILDA MARTIN: Yeah, I’d go with the same. I think for me it was value. I think we all, like the whole cast, like all three of us wanted to feel valued from social media, from a boy, but relationship-wise, I think that like what I want people to know, because like, again, nearly all of us have gone through it, it’s like not forgetting our worth, not feeling that we need someone else, and that could be a male or a female in a relationship, remembering your worth, and if you’re not receiving that worth it’s, as hard as it is, it’s just like let go, and when they say love is blind they also mean love is also deaf, because a lot of times you’re also told and you can hear the words, and I just hope that they remember how like valuable and like worthy they are, yes.

QUESTION: Okay. Thank you.

LACHLAN QUARMBY: Yeah. I would also just add that I agree with everything the girls said there but, you know, I think it’s in the title, right? It is a cautionary tale. That’s what we’re hoping people will take away is that it’s — and most of it is just not worth it. Even a lot of the stuff that seems really important at the time and seem so like at the forefront of your life, because it’s at your fingertips on that device, on that social media platform, it just seems like it’s so much worth it, but if you just put it down, and you take a step back, then it’s probably not going to be worth all of this pain or bleeding into your real, you know, personal life and causing you anxiety or whatever. And, I mean, for Jake, it’s the whole thing is just he brings all these problems on himself and stuff like that, and he doesn’t really have a support network around him to tell him like, “Hey, like you’re basically you’re being an idiot.” Again, flipping through the script, the first time I read it being like, you know, you’re not supposed to judge a character but idiot, dumb ass, that’s stupid —

RACHEL BOYD: He makes it hard.

LACHLAN QUARMBY: What are you doing? What are you doing, man? Somebody just needs to tell this guy, please, stop, stop doing these things. So I hope that people take away from that, that you need to help yourself but may also people who are close to people witnessing them going through stuff like this that you can also step in and help them with that as well. Yeah.

QUESTION: Fantastic answers. Thank you so much.

RACHEL BOYD: Thanks, Cynthia.

LACHLAN QUARMBY: Thanks.

MODERATOR: Our next question is from Steve Gidlow.

QUESTION: Hey, everyone. Just I’m assuming you’re all on social media. So I was just wondering if being so immersed in the darker side of it, did it change your perception of how you deal with your own social media now?

RACHEL BOYD: something that I really like about the movie is that we’ve all been living in the dark side of social media, all the time. What this movie does though is holds up a mirror to the reality that we’ve been living in and how we reduce people and their self-worth and value to their viral abilities and how we turn real human suffering into its own like entertainment genre on social media, and it’s really horrible, and it’s something that everybody who’s on social media is immersed in one way or another. But what the movie does is it holds up a mirror to the realities of that and how those facets of social media have real-world repercussions on people, and their lives and their feelings.

LACHLAN QUARMBY: I would say that, for me, personally, the changes that I’ve made it’s just made me more conscious and more aware of purpose and point behind posts. Like why am I actually posting this, and I’ve stopped myself a couple times being like is this for me? Is this something that I like? Or is this actually for other people? Is this to get a reaction out of other people? Is this to make people feel a certain way about me and, at those points, I stop. So I’m just trying to be posting more positive stuff. You know, sometimes it’s cheesy, sometimes it’s silly but I’d rather put —

RACHEL BOYD: Sometimes it’s a dance.

LACHLAN QUARMBY: These guys make fun of me all the time but that’s fine. I’d rather post something that’s a bit cheesy and a bit more positive than something that was coming from the wrong place in my heart, I guess. So, yeah, I’m more conscious of that.

QUESTION: Gotcha. And Hilda.

HILDA MARTIN: It just, for me, it validated the change that I made before the movie of like just not giving in to like being that person, like that perfect person on social media and kind of giving in to the dark social media side, but — Because, again, there are — After the movie, obviously, there’s people who are going to be look at our social media and like kind of giving that image of me being perfect is not going to be the message I was kind of like that people — wanted people to take away from the movie itself. So kind of just of I did make a change, and I was kind of proud of that, and just loving myself, posting whatever I love whether it’s like a picture of a flower or just me unedited, hopefully.

QUESTION: Thank so much.

HILDA MARTIN: (Inaudible @ 00:43:25).

QUESTION: Thanks.

HILDA MARTIN: Thanks.

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

QUESTION: Yes. Part of the danger of social media is rejection by your peers, but acting is involved with total rejection all the time. So I’m wondering how do each of you cope with the rejection that happens to you when you’re trying out for roles?

RACHEL BOYD: That’s a great question. Hilda, do you want to start?

HILDA MARTIN: Sure. Well, I’m pretty new to the industry, so I was researching a lot of like veteran actors and their comments on the whole industry, and the one thing that they mentioned is never take it as — Like always take it with a grain of salt, and so whenever I do an audition I like — like with this one, I — because I did watch the documentary before like right when I was auditioning, so I did see that it was a girl of not my shade, like white, Caucasian, so I knew I wasn’t going to get it. So it’s — I go in just giving my agents what they want without knowing what I’m going to get back, so I think I already implemented that in my head and not getting it doesn’t sting as much as other people — as it would other people but, yeah, I kind of like already ingrained it, “I’m not getting it.” And when I do it’s like cherry on top.

QUESTION: Great. Rachel?

RACHEL BOYD: Yeah. I think, you know, this kind of takes me back because Lochlyn Munro is in the movie as well, and the day that he was on set he was giving all of us young eager actors with big ears like advice about the industry, and something that he said in relation to auditions specifically that really resonated with me was he goes in when he gets sides, and he says, “I want to land the character. I don’t want to land the role.” Like his first priority is land the character and, for me, that really made me feel better, because then it takes the pressure off of it, and it just becomes this thing that I do because I love it, and it’s my craft, and it makes me feel so happy, so getting sides now since speaking with Lochlyn Munro and just seeing it as how do I give this character all of the emotional empathy that I can to claim them and have that be as true and honest to me as possible, and then when I do that, and I can watch it back and feel proud of myself that it — I’m working on that being enough satisfaction for myself and not depending on all of my happiness on like what a third party will think of it, and just kind of focusing on like being proud and celebrating little wins even if they don’t result in a job.

QUESTION: Lachlan?

LACHLAN QUARMBY: Yeah, look, in high school I was rejected by a few women, so I think that actually was good practice to set me — I say a few. It was all of them in high school. So, you know, it’s just you take it, you learn from it. When I submit an audition I just forget about it straightaway. It’s just, it’s gone. You just go in, be yourself, do your best. I was quite similar to Hilda. You know, when I got this and looked up the real person I was like, “Yeah, that is not me at all, so I’m just going to do something and send it, and then just completely forget about it,” and that way you’re not waiting by the phone, you know, and because that’s really when you suffer twice when you wait and you worry and all of that sort of stuff. Sometimes it’s easier said than done. Like I’m not going to lie. Sometimes the rejection does affect you personally, and it can hurt. But it’s all about, I think surrounding yourself with the right people in your personal life, friends and family and stuff, keeping your head on your shoulders like nice and straight and everything, and you just keep going because eventually, you know, good things will happen. It’s meant to be.

RACHEL BOYD: Yeah. And, Lachlan, now look at you. You’re in a movie, you got two girlfriends, so. And they don’t want to reject you. So you’re doing —

LACHLAN QUARMBY: That was the whole —

RACHEL BOYD: It’s like quite full circle for you.

LACHLAN QUARMBY: It’s a perfect opportunity, yeah.

RACHEL BOYD: perfect. A big slap in the face to those girls. Look at him now, (laughs.)

LACHLAN QUARMBY: I’m going to link them. I’m going to send them a link to it, yeah.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you, everyone. That’s our time for today.

RACHEL BOYD: Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you to Hilda, Lachlan, and Rachel for being here today, and everyone please tune into “He’s Not Worth Dying For,” Saturday, June 25th at 8/7 Central.

RACHEL BOYD: Yay.

LACHLAN QUARMBY: Thank you.

RACHEL BOYD: Thanks.

MORE INFO:

Poster for "He's Not Worth Dying For" on Lifetime

Inspired by a true events, He’s Not Worth Dying For follows the intertwined real and social media lives of Isla (Rachel Boyd), a 19-year-old girl who has established herself as a beauty and fashion influencer and Grace (Hilda Martin) the expected valedictorian of her class with hopes of a veterinary career. Though both are very different, they unknowingly share one thing in common – Jake (Lachlan Quarmby) – who is dating them both without their knowledge. When Isla and Grace discover that Jake was cheating on them, the girls turn on each other in a jealous rivalry and use their arsenal of social media platforms to badmouth and attack one another. While their followers take sides and pit them against each other, their hatred for one another escalates into a real life fight that ultimately turns deadly. Robin Givens stars as Grace’s mother, Cher, while Lochlyn Munro stars as the District Attorney investigating the case.

He’s Not Worth Dying For is produced by Doomed Productions Inc for Lifetime with Tim Johnson, Orly Adelson, Stacy Mandelberg and Jon Eskenas serving as executive producers. Kevin Fair directs from a script written by Jacqueline Zambrano.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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Hilda Martin and Robin Givens stars in He's Not Worth Dying For premiering Saturday, June 25 at 8p/7c

Interview with Letoya Luckett, Kierra Sheard-Kelly, Ta’Rhonda Jones and Drew Sidora

TV Interview!

panel for "Line Sisters" on Lifetime

Interview with Letoya Luckett, Kierra Sheard-Kelly, Ta’Rhonda Jones and Drew Sidora of “Line Sisters” on Lifetime by Suzanne 1/10/22

This was an interesting movie because it combined two popular Lifetime subjects: sorority girls and murder. I’d never heard of any of these actresses, although some of them looked very familiar. They had a lot of energy and were very fun in the panel, so it made things enjoyable.

MODERATOR: Hello, everyone. Our next panel is for “Line Sisters.” And today we have the cast of the film with us. Letoya Luckett, Kierra Sheard-Kelly, Ta’Rhonda Jones and Drew Sidora.

(All waving.)

DREW SIDORA: What up, y’all?

MODERATOR: Thank you all for being here. Our first question is for all of you, the whole cast. What drew each of you to your roles and how did you prepare for them?

LETOYA LUCKETT: Okay, I’ll go first.

DREW SIDORA: Yeah, you go first.

LETOYA LUCKETT: (Laughs.) I think for me it was like really jumping over the hurdle of fear for me and doing my first horror film. Val was kind of close to home because she had a real chill personality, very professional. She seemed to be kind of the one that every kind of — everyone’s drawn to confide in. And she just tried to take care of everyone and I kind of see that in myself sometimes, sometimes too much. But I think for me to be a part of a horror film was like oh my god I’m going to do it. And I’ve always wanted to be a part of a sorority and I think this is the closest I’m going to ever get. So yeah, that’s the reason why I was drawn to it.

TA’RHONDA JONES: I’m going to piggyback off of you, Toya.

DREW SIDORA: Yeah.

TA’RHONDA JONES: Because I think that was the same thing for me. It was like oh…

LETOYA LUCKETT: Yeah.

TA’RHONDA JONES: … I get to be a sorority sister? Okay, cool. I’m in. And then, too, my character Simone, she was from Chicago and it was very similar to my background. A little rough around the edges and things like that, always being reckless. So I was like yeah, why not? Sure.

DREW SIDORA: Yeah. I think we could all say that. I think my dream of being in a sorority, I was like, oh yes, let me tap into this. And also working with African American women that we can come together in sisterhood. I think that that’s something powerful to be a part of. And you really want to showcase that. So any time I get an opportunity to work alongside beautiful women, I definitely jumped on it. But my character Dominique, she’s a lot of fun. You know, she’s fun. She’s quirky. And she loves her palo santos, her meditation and I just felt really connected to that. You know, her positivity and just always looking on the bright side of things. I felt like that was a place that I was in my life that I wanted to try to project in that moment. So I gravitated to her instantly.

KIERRA SHEARD-KELLY: I second all of what they said. All of the (inaudible). I wanted to be a part of the sorority, too. Cassandra was a woman of faith and so that is what I am. So I was the one that was praying the sisters through on god’s train. Because that usually is what I am doing. And I am a sister or women’s empowerment advocate so that was really just my thing, too. And these women are amazing, every last one of them, so I was excited to just glean from each and every one of them myself.

MODERATOR: That’s awesome. Thank you, guys. Our next question is from the Hollywood Times.

QUESTION: Hi there. Are any of you actually part of a sorority?

TA’RHONDA JONES: No.

DREW SIDORA: No.

(All laugh.)

DREW SIDORA: Only APO now.

TA’RHONDA JONES: Yeah, exactly.

KIERRA SHEARD-KELLY: Oh.

QUESTION: Okay, so another question. During the filming process, did any of you actually get frightened for real?

TA’RHONDA JONES: What? Yes.

KIERRA SHEARD-KELLY: I did.

LETOYA LUCKETT: I did.

DREW SIDORA: Yeah, yeah.

KIERRA SHEARD-KELLY: The water, I think all of the sisters could swim. I couldn’t swim so I kept looking back at them like, y’all going to help me out or something? So I was really nervous about that. And I was actually in the process of — my grandfather was sick and I just lost him to COVID. And so I was really drawing that passion and that fear from that space to kind of have me drop in. But that was my experience behind and in the scenes.

QUESTION: Oh yeah. Sorry. All right, thank you, ladies.

MODERATOR: Thank you.

KIERRA SHEARD-KELLY: (Inaudible)

MODERATOR: Our next question is from Suzanne from “TV Meg”.

QUESTION: Hi, ladies. Did any of you know each other before filming or had you worked together before?

TA’RHONDA JONES: No.

LETOYA LUCKETT: Yes.

TA’RHONDA JONES: But it felt like it. Not for me, but it felt like. I feel like I’ve been knowing these girls for a long time because the chemistry was out of this world when we first linked up. So it was amazing.

DREW SIDORA: Absolutely.

LETOYA LUCKETT: Absolutely. Kierra and I actually — my first film ever, “Preacher’s Kid,” we played somewhat like best friends. We sang in the same choir together.

KIERRA SHEARD-KELLY: Yeah.

LETOYA LUCKETT: So it was so cool. And I’m a huge fan of hers. I listen to her and her worship music and all of that daily, so to be in this space with her and to share the screen with her was an honor once again.

KIERRA SHEARD-KELLY: The same. It was an honor for me, too. I’m a fan of all of the ladies and LETOYA, too. But one of the cooler things was like LETOYA said we were sisters or friends before so we were friends again. And it felt like a family reunion for me.

LETOYA LUCKETT: Yeah.

KIERRA SHEARD-KELLY: Because I also had the opportunity to work with Drew as well in a film called “Blessed and Cursed.” So it felt like a reunion. And then Ta’Rhonda just felt like the cousin that just…

DREW SIDORA: You always wanted.

LETOYA LUCKETT: Always.

KIERRA SHEARD-KELLY: So yes.

QUESTION: What about any of the crew or the other actors on the show, the movie?

TA’RHONDA JONES: No. The only person I was connected to was one of the guys, one of the Lifetime execs at the time because he was the one who actually offered me the role. But that was about it. Other than that, we didn’t know anybody. But honestly, it literally felt like Kierra said, family reunion because everybody literally just, I don’t know. It was like this unison.

DREW SIDORA: Instant connection, yeah, yeah. It was.

LETOYA LUCKETT: Shout out to Swirl Films. I’ve worked with them several times so.

DREW SIDORA: Yeah, same here. Swirl Films.

DREW SIDORA: Yeah, absolutely. They always provide a very family-oriented feel.

LETOYA LUCKETT: Yes.

DREW SIDORA: So that’s what I love and I would work with them forever.

LETOYA LUCKETT: Absolutely.

QUESTION: Okay.

MODERATOR: All right. Thank you so much, ladies.

KIERRA SHEARD-KELLY: I was getting ready to add. I thought it was also kind of awesome that we actually bonded as sisters. You know how when sisters know, okay this sister she ain’t on today so we going to leave her alone.

(Laughs.)

KIERRA SHEARD-KELLY: We started picking up on each other’s energy.

DREW SIDORA: That is so true. Oh my god.

LETOYA LUCKETT: Facts.

DREW SIDORA: That is so funny.

QUESTION: That’s awesome. Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thanks, you guys. Our next question is from Noah Wilson.

QUESTION: Hello, everyone. Happy press day for “Line Sisters.” Yeah.

(Cheering.)

QUESTION: Come on, ladies. Let’s do a happy dance.

(All doing happy dance.)

QUESTION: On the Zoom. Oh I love it.

(Laughs.)

QUESTION: All right, ladies. I want to ask y’all, what were some of the most dramatic or intense scenes for all of you when shooting “Line Sisters” as this movie goes, based around four sorority sisters who reunite at a black Greek weekend?

DREW SIDORA: For me, it was the snake. The snake. I thought they were going to have, I don’t know in my mind I thought it was going to be like a robotic prop snake.

LETOYA LUCKETT: Uh uh.

DREW SIDORA: And when they brought that thing out, I was like wait a minute. And I had to lay next to a real snake. I’ve never done a horror movie so for me as this is my introduction with a snake, I mean I felt like a G after. I was like I got this. Like that scream and that reaction, that was all a hundred percent real because I was absolutely…

QUESTION: I couldn’t do it. I do not like a snake.

DREW SIDORA: Yeah, yeah.

LETOYA LUCKETT: I would say for me the scene where we come face-to-face with the killer finally. And we’re in the basement and it was such a dark moment. And I just remember before we actually started shooting how everybody just like settled in to their, you know, their space, everything, their character. And it was super –duper quiet. And then you just heard us weeping all of us individually. And in order to was super tough. I don’t know why. I think everybody was, you know, having their own thing going on at the time, but I feel like that was one of the most emotional scenes for all of us and probably one of the darker scenes for all of us. And my girl that plays that role, the role of the killer, she nailed it. I was like, “Sis!”. (Claps.)

DREW SIDORA: She had us really spooked.

LETOYA LUCKETT: I was like I was shook.

DREW SIDORA: I was really afraid.

LETOYA LUCKETT: I was shook for real.

DREW SIDORA: Yeah.

LETOYA LUCKETT: Yeah. That was super intense.

TA’RHONDA JONES: Yeah, same, Toya. But I think it was more so the physical. Whenever somebody, we had to punch, kick, stunts, this, that. And sometimes, you know, in real life it’s don’t touch me. Don’t hit me because I’ll hit you back for real. (Laughs.) And I think trying to like pull back from reality, acting, reality, acting, take it back. I think that was more intense for me because it gets a little physical sometimes.

DREW SIDORA: Yeah.

KIERRA SHEARD-KELLY: And I’m sorry I don’t mean to toot our own horn, but I can say I feel like we delivered that sister piece because for me when I heard one sister speaking up for me, like oh she got my back. Or if I heard her crying over there, I would even feed off, like “What you crying about?” But we had to stay in that space. So it really was a sister moment that we, like the movie had us to drop into and it had us appreciate somebody having your back. Like if your blood not there, you got some other sisters that will definitely look out.

DREW SIDORA: Yeah.

KIERRA SHEARD-KELLY: And I think that…

LETOYA LUCKETT: Absolutely.

KIERRA SHEARD-KELLY: …exudes through the film as well.

DREW SIDORA: Absolutely.

QUESTION: Thank you, guys. I appreciate it. Y’all have a good day.

LETOYA LUCKETT: You, too. Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Our next question is from Starry Constellation Magazine.

QUESTION: Hi, ladies. This is such an intense film. How did you all shake off a long day of shooting?

TA’RHONDA JONES: I think with the cast, they made it easy for you to shake it off.

KIERRA SHEARD-KELLY: Yes.

TA’RHONDA JONES: Because everybody’s personality was just so grounded and friendly and welcoming. And I think it was just like all right we’re done. All right, time to go home.

LETOYA LUCKETT: Mm-hmm, yes.

TA’RHONDA JONES: Or where are we going next? Let’s go to dinner.

DREW SIDORA: Let’s go eat.

LETOYA LUCKETT: But you know what? So I was about to say (inaudible) but Ta’Rhonda created this — it was such a beautiful moment. We tried to do it during filming, but we ended up doing it on the last day.

DREW SIDORA: Yes.

LETOYA LUCKETT: Of shooting. And brought these beautiful lanterns and we wrote our dreams and aspirations that we had and we lit them and sent them into the sky. And it was just such a beautiful moment. We felt like a family. To experience something like that with people that we didn’t know for long, but in that moment it felt like we’ve known each other for years. I haven’t had that on a set before. To really set intentions with beautiful people and in such a wonderful moment. I still think about that moment. I need another lantern by the way. I need one.

[OVERTALKING]

QUESTION: Five minutes into 2020 you need another lantern?

LETOYA LUCKETT: Yes.

DREW SIDORA: Mustard seeds.

LETOYA LUCKETT: The mustard seeds. I still got mine.

DREW SIDORA: Yes, me too. They’re in my purse. I mentioned they’re in my purse, yeah.

LETOYA LUCKETT: Well, thank you for that, mama.

DREW SIDORA: Yes.

TA’RHONDA JONES: You’re welcome.

DREW SIDORA: We love you, Ta’Rhonda. That meant everything.

QUESTION: Thank you, ladies.

MODERATOR: Our next question is going to be from Howard Benjamin.

QUESTION: My question is for LETOYA. How did your background in music prepare you for a life as an actress?

LETOYA LUCKETT: Well, that’s a good question. I think the best way to answer. It is kind of like surrendering to whatever the role calls for. You have to do that in music. Whatever the lyrics call for, I feel that I learned that from doing, well, being a singer since I was about 12 or five, but professionally 12. And I felt like because I was so rooted in that, I just took some of the things that I learned and brought it into this. But I will say it’s a whole new world. It really, really is. I don’t think — they have the similarities, but I think they’re totally different. I think with music, especially if you’re a writer, you’re writing from your experiences. Whereas with an actress, you’re portraying the character. You’re, you know, you’re representing that person. You’re living out one of their stories. And I mean I do that with songs sometimes. I do that with music sometimes, but I mean not in the way that you do with building a character. And I’ve been asked the question a lot. Like which do you prefer? I still don’t know. I still can’t decide. I’m in love with both of them. But yeah, I’m so glad that I’ve had so many wonderful experiences and not so wonderful experiences as a singer that I could, you know, bring into the acting space.

QUESTION: Thank you so much.

LETOYA LUCKETT: Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Our next question is from Right On Digital.

QUESTION: Hi, this is Cynthia Horner.

LETOYA LUCKETT: Cynthia.

QUESTION: I’ve met all of you before.

DREW SIDORA: Yes.

LETOYA LUCKETT: We love some Cynthia.

QUESTION: I want to tell you that I enjoyed the film especially since I am actually in a sorority. So therefore, it was…

LETOYA LUCKETT: How did we do?

QUESTION: I’m a member of Sigma Gamma Rho sorority. They wear blue and gold.

LETOYA LUCKETT: Wow.

QUESTION: But anyway, I’d like you all to talk a little bit more about the sisterhood since you all formed such an amazing bond. Sisterhood was mentioned briefly, but can each of you tell me what is your definition of sisterhood now that you’ve done this movie?

TA’RHONDA JONES: I think for me…

LETOYA LUCKETT: Don’t want to go first.

TA’RHONDA JONES: I’ll go. I think for me because I do have five sisters. There’s eight of us. My mother has eight children. And sisterhood for me is just simply being there. And I think in this movie it taught me here today, gone today. Not here today, gone tomorrow. It’s literally here today, gone today. So whatever it is that you got going on, or whatever mess you might got going on with this particular person, just put it behind you and just make amends especially if this person — if you really consider this person your sister, your blood, your family, whatever. And one thing for me, anybody who knows me knows that I’m all about like Kierra said, women’s empowerment, togetherness, unison. And sisterhood just simply means that unison, togetherness and just simply being there for one another.

DREW SIDORA: That’s it. (Claps.)

KIERRA SHEARD-KELLY: I think, too, for sisterhood, true sisterhood is when you can sit in a circle of women who are secure within themselves, but understand that we each have something different to offer. So there no need for a competition or a comparison. And I think that’s when it’s even more powerful for us to deliver. So literally the film had us to see you’re stepping on my line. And we had to let our sister speak. So it was so many moving components, you know, as a part of this experience that really showed us. Because I used to say, oh we’re going to take all of that with the sororities, but I see why that process is necessary. Because you have to prove yourself to your sister. And so it even had me to honor what the sororities or the fraternities, what you all do in your community. And then it’s like if I’m out of a job, you’re going to come through for me. And so I really loved how sisterhood was defined for me in this movie because it was a life or death matter. It was like, all right, I know usually I don’t speak up. Usually you speaking up for me, but you’re going to see that I’m going to speak up for all of us today. And so that to me, it even kind of pushes a woman forward if you allow me to say it that way. So sisterhood, it builds up each other if I can say it that way.

LETOYA LUCKETT: Yeah.

MODERATOR: Thank you so much. Drew and LeToya, did you guys also want to answer?

LETOYA LUCKETT: Oh sure. I think it’s having a tribe that you can trust, having a group of women that you can be there for, be your true self, be transparent with and know that they got you, good or bad, I like showing up to be that for someone and I like knowing that I got it. And I feel like even in the short amount of time that we were together, we were there for each other. Any time we needed each other or wanted to talk about something, I felt that I could trust them in that moment that I was in the trust tree. That I was in a safe space.

DREW SIDORA: Yeah.

LETOYA LUCKETT: And it’s nothing like having that. You know what I mean? I don’t have any blood sisters. I have a blood brother. But I’ve been so blessed with a community of women who I know got me, front, back and side to side.

KIERRA SHEARD-KELLY: Yeah.

LETOYA LUCKETT: That’s what I say to that.

DREW SIDORA: Yeah. And I agree with what everyone said. I have three sisters and it’s like no matter if you’re having a good day, a bad day, you’re getting along with them or y’all just had an argument, it’s the ability to just, you know, project that love and that vulnerability. Because I’m not going to lie, I have taken some time off from work having my children and I wasn’t in my most confident space. I never even told y’all this, but come in to work. I was like I just want to do a good job. You know, I just want to do what god gave me this gift to do and it’s been a while. But being around you all, you guys were so vulnerable and just share your true self. It was like even if I wasn’t having a good day, you guys were there with laughs. Ta’Rhonda with her energy, you know, here with a word, you know. And I just felt like spiritually there was a connectedness. And I think outside of friendships or anything else, with sisterhood there’s a spiritual connectedness that I think we were all able to share working together on this project. So I appreciate all of y’all for that moment that you guys, I’ve never had an opportunity to share. But I literally was going through it the day before we started filming and you guys really helped me in that moment to build up my confidence, so yeah.

KIERRA SHEARD-KELLY: We love you.

TA’RHONDA JONES: (Laughs.)

QUESTION: Thank you so much. This was the interview of a lifetime.

LETOYA LUCKETT: (Laughs.)

DREW SIDORA: We are so silly.

MODERATOR: Thank you guys all so, so much. That’s all we have time for today. But please tune into “Line Sisters” Saturday, February 12th at 8, 7 Central on Lifetime.

(All cheer.)

MORE INFO:

Preview

About the Movie

Line Sisters follows four sorority sisters- Valerie (LeToya Luckett), Cassandra (Kierra Sheard-Kelly), Simona (Ta’Rhonda Jones) and Dominique (Drew Sidora) – as they reunite at a Black Greek Weekend celebration held on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Having pledged the Alpha Beta Omega Sorority, Inc., they share more than the bonds of sisterhood, after the mysterious death of the dean of pledges 15 years prior. But the past comes knocking on their door as they arrive to the island and strange and inexplicable things begin to happen to each one of them, threatening to unearth the deadly secret that may tear them apart.

Line Sisters is produced by Big Dreams Entertainment in association with Undaunted Content for Lifetime and is executive produced by D’Angela Proctor and Leslie Greif. Tailiah Breon directs from a script written by Jasmine S. Greene and Scott Mullen.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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poster for "Line Sisters" on LIfetime

Interview with Amber Riley and Raven Goodwin

TV Interview!

Amber Riley and Raven Goodwin

Interview with Amber Riley and Raven Goodwin of “Single Black Female” on Lifetime by Suzanne 1/10/22

This was from a Lifetime Press Day about a month ago. I enjoyed it, and this is a fun thriller. I saw the original movie “Single White Female” a long time ago, so I don’t remember it all that well, but I think it was just as scary as this one. It was great to chat with these ladies. Amber Riley was fabulous on “Glee” years ago and continues to show her wide range of drama, comedy and music. I’m not as familiar with Raven, but she’s done many movies and was also on “Glee” in a smaller role. Both women did a fantastic job in this movie. Their hair, makeup and costume people also did a phenomenal job making them look more like each other, too.

QUESTION: Well, hello, and welcome to our third panel of the day. We have both of our amazing stars Amber Riley and Raven Goodwin for the upcoming premiere of “Single Black Female.” Hi, Raven. Hi, Riley.

RAVEN GOODWIN: Hey.

MODERATOR: All right. Shall we get started?

RAVEN GOODWIN: Yes.

MODERATOR: Let’s go ahead and we will actually start with Noah Wilson. Noah?

QUESTION: Thanks, guys. It’s so great to be here with you. By the way – oh, my gosh – you ladies look fabulous. Can I just say it right now on the Zoom of the Zoom?

AMBER RILEY: Yeah.

RAVEN GOODWIN: Thank you.

QUESTION: So, Amber, my first question comes to you. The casting was spot on, as your costar joining you right now, Raven Goodwin, could, I feel like, be your real-life sister as the two of you favor in the movie, and so many fans will watch it and think the same thing. So how is it like to work with Raven and create this movie together really as a dynamic duo?

AMBER RILEY: Honestly, it was amazing. Number one, Raven and I are already friends and have been for years, because my industry twin, and I would see her pop up on my IMDB. Like people would mix us up, or like the Getty images like when we would do red carpets and, so. And then I was already a fan watching her career coming up. So we took a picture years ago. We went to Essence Festival and literally manifested doing this, doing a movie together. Thousands of comments and likes are under that picture of us saying like, “Come on, Hollywood, put us in a movie together already.” Like so this was a literal dream come true and manifestation of something that we wanted, so it was amazing.

QUESTION: Now, Raven, a lot of fans have said to us they feel like they have been waiting for this movie for such a long time. What do you want fans to, most importantly, think about when they watch this movie through its full length?

RAVEN GOODWIN: You know, for me, having two voluptuous, like, dope, black women star in a thriller it’s kind of unheard of. So I want them to have fun watching the film. I feel like it’s, you know, that’s the thing about thrillers. We want to be spooked. We want to be, you know (fake screams), and I want them to really be weirded out and really — I want them to talk to the screen. I want them to have the experience of watching that cult classic thriller that you just can’t take your eyes off of. That’s what I want.

QUESTION: Thank you, ladies, so much. I appreciate it. Have a good day.

RAVEN GOODWIN: Yeah, you too.

AMBER RILEY: Thank you.

RAVEN GOODWIN: Thank you.

QUESTION: Bye-bye.

MODERATOR: Thank you. All right. And next up we have Jay Bobbin.

QUESTION: Hello, ladies. How are you?

RAVEN GOODWIN: Hey, good. How are you?

QUESTION: Thank you for doing this. Good. Thank you. You know, going back to the comment about people have been waiting for this for a long time, “Singe White Female” was thirty years ago. Are you surprised this did not happen sooner than now?

AMBER RILEY: (Laughs.)

RAVEN GOODWIN: I mean, I feel like timing is everything. I feel like it’s a good time for it. You know, “Single White Female” is a classic. It’s such a fun film. So this coming now, I just feel like it’s perfect timing, honestly. Yeah.

AMBER RILEY: Yeah. I was kind of surprised, because it is such a cult classic —

RAVEN GOODWIN: Yeah.

AMBER RILEY: That when I got the email, and I was reading that they were doing it I was like has there ever — like has there been a remake of this? Or is this the very first one? But, yeah, like Raven said, yeah, timing is everything, and I think it’s going to be — I think people are going to be pleasantly, pleasantly surprised. It’s worth the wait.

QUESTION: And following that quickly, if I could, being that it has been thirty years do you feel there are things that can be done with the concept now, you knowing what the full content of the movie is, do you think certain things can be done now that maybe could not have been done in the three decades in between?

RAVEN GOODWIN: I feel like the first –Like “Singe White Female” was pretty wild. (Laughs.) It was really out of control. So, no, I mean, I feel like, yeah, I feel it’s just about the same of shock value to me. But it’s just going to be during this time and, you know, black girls, (laughs).

QUESTION: Thank you very much. Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Jay. All right. Up next, we have Karen from SciFi Vision. Karen, you can unmute.

QUESTION: Hi, I have a question for Amber. One of the keys to this movie is your performance, which starts out pretty restrained and then gets a little crazier and a little crazier until kind of bonkers near the end, and I was wondering how much fun was it to get in touch with your inner Simone, and was she always there or was it tough to find her?

AMBER RILEY: You just asked me if I’m a little loony? I feel like that’s what you’re —

QUESTION: No, no. We all have a few thoughts now and then.

AMBER RILEY: No, actually, it was a lot of fun. It was a lot of fun, and there were some moments where I actually disturbed myself, because I had to tap into, I had to tap into (laughs) — Raven is like, oh, my God. No, I had to tap into uncomfortable moments that I would never do and get outside of myself, and when you can get outside of yourself you really, in those moments, feel like an actor, you know what I’m saying? And so it was fun, and we all have those sides, like we all have those thoughts, and common sense kicks in and morals kind of kick in, but I kind of I had to put all of that to the side, and even though it was uncomfortable it was also sometimes a great feeling to take years of aggression and feelings that you have and kind of just put it into that moment.

RAVEN GOODWIN: Yeah. We got into the transpo van, and she was like, “Raven, you want to see my scary face?”

(Laughter.)

RAVEN GOODWIN: It was scary, (laughs).

AMBER RILEY: Total weirdo, total weirdo.

MODERATOR: Awesome. Thank you, Karen. Did you have another follow-up?

QUESTION: I’m sure people are going to love it. Thanks.

MODERATOR: Thanks, Karen.

QUESTION: Well, I didn’t want to take too much time. I wanted to ask Raven, you had to play the flipside of that and be really afraid for your life near the end of it. I assume you’ve never been in such a position. So what was it like playing — to be really (audio glitch).

RAVEN GOODWIN: I mean it’s something I always dreamed out. I love horror and thriller films, and I always wanted to be the girl running and (gestures) like dragging my leg and looking back and falling and that’s just, you know, something I always wanted to play with. So I had a lot of fun with it, and it was really fun to be opposite of Amber and her in that — I mean, it was funny because we’ve known each other for over a decade, so there were times where we just wanted to laugh, and it was hard to be afraid of her, because she’s like a sister. So but for the most part it was just I just had fun with it. I just made sure I had a good time playing Monica. Yeah.

QUESTION: Thank you very much.

RAVEN GOODWIN: Welcome.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Karen. Next up we have Suzanne. Suzanne, feel free to unmute.

QUESTION: Hi. I really like this movie. It was so much fun and a good, intense, horror movie. So can you tell us what things they might have done? You said you already looked a bit alike. What else did they do to try to make you look more alike —

AMBER RILEY: (Audio glitch).

QUESTION: Hello?

MODERATOR: You might have cut out. Can you repeat the question?

RAVEN GOODWIN: Yes.

QUESTION: I’m sorry. Can you hear me now?

MODERATOR: Yeah.

RAVEN GOODWIN: Yes.

QUESTION: Okay. I was saying… what things did they do to try to make you look more alike besides how you already look?

AMBER RILEY: Well, in the beginning, I mean, I think hair and makeup. Shoutout to our hair and makeup team. I think that they kind of conceptualized with production, and they all had the conversation about what our hair and our makeup would look, and there were different stages, too. I know for my character there were different stages from her kind of going from a plain Jane to you’ll see her trying to kind of morph into Monica’s — wait, am I Monica or — You know the whole movie I always forgot which character I was.

RAVEN GOODWIN: You’re Simone. I’m Monica.

AMBER RILEY: I’m Simone. You’re Monica. Okay. Yeah. Her morphing into Monica. So, yeah, shoutout to the hair and makeup team. They did an amazing job.

RAVEN GOODWIN: Yes. Killed it.

QUESTION: And have you ever played a psycho girl before?

AMBER RILEY: On TV and in film? No.

RAVEN GOODWIN: Ah, (laughs).

AMBER RILEY: Ask my fiancé. He may have something else to say about that.

RAVEN GOODWIN: Hilarious.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Suzanne. All right. Up next we have the “Hollywood Times.”

QUESTION: Hello. Can you briefly describe the casting process? Did you already have actors in mind?

RAVEN GOODWIN: I did. I mentioned Janet Hubert as my mother. That was like something I was very kind of adamant about. We’ve built such a amazing relationship since 2019. That’s when I met her, and we just clicked. So I wanted to work with her again, and I think we have amazing chemistry on and off the screen, and I didn’t know that Amber loved her — well, obviously, we all love her — but I didn’t know Amber loved her so much, and she wanted to meet Amber. So it was just a good collaboration and meeting of the minds. You know, Korin and Monique, they worked, our producers, they worked really hard to get Janet onboard, and then when we found out K. was — K. Michelle was joining the cast, I just though it was perfect, and then we have Devale Ellis and just new talent and classic talent, legendary talent in this film, so I just really cannot wait for everyone to see how the cast comes together and the chemistry, because it was pretty good, pretty good chemistry there.

QUESTION: Thank you, Raven.

RAVEN GOODWIN: You’re welcome.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Up next we have Ronda. Ronda, feel free to unmute.

QUESTION: Hey, hi. Congrats, Raven, on your recent nuptial. But for both of you guys what were the qualities of each of your character — for Raven, you, Monica — and Amber, you, Simone, that you like had no difficulty relating to, that was more like your own?

AMBER RILEY: That we had — I’m sorry. It dropped out a little bit for me. That we had — what was that —

QUESTION: No difficulty relating to. What characteristics did your character have that were similar to your own?

AMBER RILEY: Oh. I think, for me, it was I had to tap into insecurities that I had about myself, and I know, for me, growing up there weren’t many people that looked like me. So when I found a singer or an actor, which most of them were in theater, I wanted to model after that person, and so that insecurity that she has, that insecurity that Simone has, not feeling good enough and wanting to be Monica, I did tap into that, back into that kind of that little girl that was like I aspire to be someone else. I don’t want to be me. I don’t know who I am. So I think that kind of not knowing where you are and going back into that insecure, unmolded person, I don’t even know if unmolded is a word, it is now if it isn’t, (laughs) that that was (audio glitch @ 01:01:43).

RAVEN GOODWIN: Unmute, Amber.

QUESTION: You muted, Amber.

AMBER RILEY: My bad. That was easier for me to grab. That was the end of what I said.

(Laughter.)

RAVEN GOODWIN: For me, you know, Monica in the film, in the beginning of the film, she loses her dad. So the grieving piece for me, my dad died in July, and we shot the film in late September, early October. Was it October? So the grieving piece is where I connected with Monica, all the moments where we had to bring back that piece of her life that would never be the same. I had to tap in, and although it was difficult it was kind of healing to kind of go through that with Monica kind of at the same time and just kind of empathize and sympathize to what she was going through at the time.

QUESTION: Thank you. Condolences to you as well.

RAVEN GOODWIN: Thank you, thank you, thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Ronda. We actually have an email question in. We know that this movie does take a dark turn, but were there any memorable moments during filming that you both enjoyed?

RAVEN GOODWIN: Of course. Like we said, we’ve known each other for years. So if it was us taking our wigs off at random times, I mean, especially —

AMBER RILEY: Raven cannot keep that wig on.

RAVEN GOODWIN: I cannot keep my wig –I want to take this one off right now. I cannot keep the wig on. I will take my wig off in between breaks. Us playing music in the trailer. We had a scene with K. Michelle, myself, and Amber when it was kind of towards the end of production, and we just sat in my trailer, and we just we did what black women do best. We kee-kee’d. We, you know, it might have been some spirits. (laughs) And we ate, and we just had —

AMBER RILEY: (Fo’ sho @ 01:03:51).

RAVEN GOODWIN: Look, look, and we just had a amazing time. So memories like that you can’t really get back. Also, Janet being terribly afraid of the fire on set was just “huh-larious.” She looked like a little kid. All you see is the back of her head like this (gestures)(just getting @ 01:04:07). She’s ducking —

AMBER RILEY: Making sure it did not get out of control.

RAVEN GOODWIN: It sure did not get out of control. So just memories like that I’ll hold on to for the rest of my life. I’m super grateful for this experience, yeah.

AMBER RILEY: I think, for me, it’s the fact that we got to do most of our own stunts, and I — First of all, Raven is really strong. I need y’all to understand that if I ever go anywhere with Raven she’s handling the heavyweight, and I’m handling the lightweight and, period, because the girl was dragging me.

RAVEN GOODWIN: Oh, my God.

AMBER RILEY: She’s so strong. But, honestly, us being plus-size black women in a thriller, and we got to get physical, and we got to — And the team, I’m so sorry that I don’t know our stunt coordinator’s name, but our stunt coordinator and the stuntwomen that was teaching us what to do and stepped in, they were so hands-on, so amazing, professional, really taught us how to be safe but also make everything look so real, and everything looks so real and so great. So, for me, yes, the kee-keeing and all of that was absolutely amazing, which I expected that anyway, because everybody in the film was really dope. But, on top of that, just from the work that we did, that day of doing stunts was very difficult. It was really hard. (laughs) It was really hard but (audio glitch @ 01:05:42) —

RAVEN GOODWIN:
Holes in walls, it was just crazy, (for real @ 01:05:45) —

AMBER RILEY: Oh, my God. Just from the stunts, it looks amazing, it looks amazing.

RAVEN GOODWIN: It does.

MODERATOR: Wonderful. Well, that is actually all the time that we have today. So thank you, Amber, and thank you, Raven, for joining us today. Don’t forget “Single Black Female” premieres Saturday February 5th at 8/7 Central. And please stay tuned for our upcoming panel, “Line Sisters.”

(Thank yous and good-byes.)

AMBER RILEY: Love you, Raven.

RAVEN GOODWIN: Love you.

MORE INFO:

Trailer

Reeling from the death of her beloved father and a difficult breakup, Monica (Raven Goodwin), is ready to move forward with her life as she tries to land the new hosting job for an afternoon talk show.  When she hires a new assistant, Simone (Amber Riley), the two quickly become close friends as Simone moves in next door and completely immerses herself in Monica’s life.  But underneath her sweet exterior, Simone harbors a dark secret and as time goes on cracks in her façade begin to appear.  Monica decides to sever ties once and for all with Simone, but Simone has other plans and is determined to take over Monica’s life for good. K. Michelle also stars.

Single Black Female is directed by Shari Carpenter and written by Tessa Evelyn Scott and Sa’Rah L. Jones.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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Single Black Female poster

Interview with Eugene Byrd

TV Interview!

Eugene Byrd

Interview with Eugene Byrd of the movie “Immanence” and many TV shows by Suzanne 1/28/22

This was a very fun interview! I always liked Eugene in the many series I’ve seen him in since “Bones,” but this chat with him showed just how much fun he can be and why he’s such a great character actor who can do film, TV, comedies, drama, scifi, voiceovers – anything. He’s really versatile and laid-back. If you like horror, you’ll probably like this movie, “Immanence.” It has a mixture of horror and supernatural/religious phenomenon. Do make sure you watch him in “Secrets of Sulphur Springs” and the other projects mentioned.

Suzanne:   So, tell us how your role in this movie came about?

Eugene:   Well, I got a phone call from a really good friend of mine, Michael Beach (the star of “Immanence”), and Michael was like, “Hey, listen, man. I’m gonna get you. So, just come on and play with me, man; play with me. Let’s play. Let’s do this thing together. Let’s do it, and you’ll just have a good time.” And I was like, “First of all, who is this?” But then I was like, “Listen, man, if you really like this script, and you really think it’s a good idea -” because I had met Kerry and Summer at an event, and it was really great. I hadn’t seen the script. I heard him talk about it. I had no idea. Then, Beach called me and said, “Yeah, I want you to do it.” I said, “Okay, cool.” I hadn’t seen the script. I took him at his word, and his word was good, because, I ended up enjoying Davis and the idea that this script was playing with.

Suzanne:   Okay, great. So, no audition necessary. That’s good.

Eugene:   No, those are the best things, when you get that offer, when you get a friend beg you. I love when Beach has to beg me, “Come on, man, do something.” I’m like, “Yeah, I got you by the ropes.”

Suzanne:   So, did they give you any backstory at all on your character or just the script?

Eugene:   Beach gave me the backstory. Then, when I talked to Summer and Kerry, they gave me the script, but I had already signed on. I already trusted my friend, because I know he has really good taste, and especially when it comes to independent films, and doing something that’s very interesting and different. So, once I got the script, I started to delve into Davis and say, “Okay, he’s the fun guy.” He’s the guy that likes to have fun, make jokes. But obviously, he changes, as everybody does, as the script goes on.

Suzanne:   I noticed that your character is kind of the “dumb guy” who has to ask everything–

Eugene:   I don’t know that I’d call him a dumb guy [laughs]

Suzanne:   Wait, let me finish. “Dumb” in the way that he doesn’t know all this science stuff. So, they have to explain it to him, and in doing so they’re explaining it to us. So you’re that guy.

Eugene:   Yeah, I’m the audience, but it’s funny, because he still says, “So, you guys are chasing aliens?” And they’re like, “No, see, we’re after these extraterrestrials.” And I’m like, “Aliens. I don’t know why you can’t just drop it down in layman’s terms.”

Suzanne:   Right. It’s a pretty small cast. Did that make it more fun, having such a small cast?

Eugene:   Oh, it made it more fun, because at least two of the people I knew, and and then I knew Summer and Kerry, but not fully yet. I knew Asenneth’s husband, and then I just met Kasia. I think what it did for us is that everybody’s personality worked it [together] in that way. Sometimes everybody’s personality – but you’re on a boat together, for twelve hours, from 4pm to 4pm. If you don’t get to know each other and get to have fun, you’re gonna be miserable.

Suzanne:   So, you filmed on an actual boat?

Davis in "Immanence" played by Eugene ByrdEugene:   Oh, we filmed on an actual boat. This was an actual boat, and we were on the actual water. And I was not excited about it, because I can’t swim, and I don’t like boats. So, this was a lot of faith. They kinda lied to me. They kind of lied to me a little bit and didn’t tell me we’re going out on the water. Then, they kind of let it out that, “Oh yeah, we’re getting on the water,” and I’m like, “What are you talking about?” [unintelligible] on a boat. They’re “Like no, we got to go out.” Yeah.

Suzanne:   Well, I’m not a good swimmer, but I do like boats, but I guess you couldn’t have a life jacket or anything on while you were filming…

Eugene:   I didn’t wear one, because I was like, “You know what? I’m just gonna jump off the boat immediately onto the pier,” if there’s a pier. If there’s no pier, then, “Well, you know what? Life was good.” [laughs]

Suzanne:   And have you done any horror movies before?

Eugene:   Yes. Well, I guess you could call – I’ve done a couple, but the one that I did that everybody knows, Anacondas, which I guess is action, horror, comedy in a weird way. So, I had done that. And I’m a huge fan of horror films, so that was the other thing. I was like, “Yes, I’ll do this.” And I was working on a horror film with a friend of mine, too, independent. So yeah, this was right up my alley.

Suzanne:   Oh, that’s good. At the beginning of the movie, some of the characters are not religious, and some are. Where does your character fit into that range of beliefs?

Eugene:   You know, with Davis, I played a more sort of, like, he grew up with a religious background, but he doesn’t really follow anything. He’s pretty much a tech guy. He believes in money and believes in those type of things, but it didn’t take him long to fully believe, to know that something was up. I think that’s a lot of people these days. There’s spirituality, and there’s an underlying belief, but you kind of leave it away as you get older and you pursue different things, and that’s how I played Davis.

Suzanne:   And if this isn’t too personal, where do your own beliefs fit into that?

Eugene:   I grew up Baptist. I’m spiritual. I’m spiritual, because I grew up Baptist, and I have a lot of ideologies that are around me, like my manager when I was growing up was Jewish. My mom’s best friend was Seven Day Adventists. I went to Catholic school. So I mean, you could pretty much – I dated a Buddhist. So, you can put all of these pieces together and know that I had a lot of influences – oh and one of my best friends is Muslim. Do you see what I’m saying? So, for me, I don’t really follow a denomination.

Suzanne:   Okay. Yeah, I live in a Baptist town right now, a small southern town in Arkansas.

Eugene:   Wow. I don’t even know how to put that together. It’s a lot.

Suzanne:   No, I know. I’m from San Diego. So, it’s very different.

Eugene:   It’s extremely different.

Suzanne:   Yeah. Were there any particular challenges for you in doing the role?

Eugene:   No, I mean, other than the boat, and possibly having to swim? No, no other challenges. I mean, it’s always a challenge. When you’re taking on a role where science and religion are a part, and you’re playing this sort of, “How do I play this guy?” but when it came to being an actor, no challenges. When it came to me being on that boat and then dealing with different people trying to figure out how – It ended up being like smooth in that respect.

Suzanne:   What about as far as COVID? Was that a problem at all?

Eugene:   There was no COVID. Well, COVID wasn’t known yet.

Suzanne:   Oh, wow. This was filmed long ago.

Eugene:   This was the end of 2019. I think we heard that there was something, but it was overseas, but no, we had no COVID issues.

Suzanne:   Oh, well, that’s good. I can’t imagine filming in a small area with a bunch of people.

Eugene:   It wouldn’t even have happened, because well, it could have, because, some of the people stayed down in the area. They didn’t go back home. So, it would have been a version of the bubble. I guess everybody goes into this thing, and they don’t leave it for about sixteen to twenty days. So, I guess we could have done it that way, but yeah, we didn’t know anything about COVID at that time.

Suzanne:   And now you’d just all be vaccinated and tested frequently and that kind of thing.

Eugene:   Tested like crazy, but at the same time, I don’t know. If you’re in the bubble, you can’t move. You can’t go see family or friends, and you test once or twice in the beginning. I don’t think COVID would have been an issue at that point.

Suzanne:   How long did it take to film?

Davis in "Immanence" played by Eugene ByrdEugene:   It was sixteen days. I could be wrong. I’m trying to remember– I think it was sixteen days. And it was all night. All night shoots. So, it was switching straight from [day] and that’s it. So [unintelligible] every day.

Suzanne:   Wow. Yeah, it’s –

Eugene:   Six days a week.

Suzanne:   It’s a nice atmosphere, kind of claustrophobic and night and everything.

Eugene:   Yeah.

Suzanne:   It made for good horror atmosphere. I see that you’re doing some voiceover work with Spidey and His Amazing Friends. Do you enjoy doing voiceover?

Eugene:   Yeah. I loved doing voiceovers. It’s so freeing, because there’s no worry about how you look. You know, I don’t have to go through hair and makeup. I could go in in my pajamas, and not have to brush my teeth. I [did] brush my teeth though, [laughs] but I don’t have to go and be something in front of the camera; I just have to let my voice and my acting do the talking, and that’s a lot of fun. And doing Spidey and His Amazing Friends for Disney has been a lot of fun, just because I could play in a comic book world. I’m a nerd. I grew up a huge comic fan. The fact that I’m playing Miles Morales’s father is crazy to me. It’s fun.

Suzanne:   That’s good. And you’ve been in so many shows, including The Cosby Show, when you were just a teen. Do people recognize you for that, or mostly for your newer shows and movies?

Eugene:   I think if you grew up on The Cosby Show, or you grew up on the shows I did when I was younger – you know what, I do get called out for it quite quite a bit, but they’re usually either older, closer to my age, or just a little – but closer my age, but rarely do I get younger people like in their twenties going, “You were on Cosby,” because it’s been off the air for so long, and there’s no way they would know, unless they watch TV Land, and then I’ll be surprised they know it.

Suzanne:   How old were you when you started acting? You were pretty young, right?

Eugene:   Yeah, I started off when I was seven years old. So yeah, it’s been a long time. This year – wow – will be my fortieth year.

Suzanne:   You’re lucky that not only do you still look very young and can play really young roles and have most of your career, but you’re not one of those child actors that either had terrible problems or look unusual. Some of the child actors, they look like children, and then when they grow up, they look kind of weird.

Eugene:  I do look kind of weird. I got lucky in the fact that I never took this business – you know, I looked at it as fun. Then, when it became a job, I had to reorder, because I think every child actor has to reorder exactly what it is, because when you’re a child actor, your job is your life. You know, you’re an actor, so you kind of identify yourself as an actor and then what all those things mean. But I can’t sit there and say that I haven’t had my own issues with it, because you’re trying to re-identify yourself, and you’re trying to make sure you have longevity. I think a lot of people [are] trying to be stars, or they were stars, and then they are no longer stars, and they had to deal with that aspect. Luckily for me, I’ve always been sort of in the middle. I’ve been a known actor, but I’ve never hit the stardom level where I can’t walk down the street, and then all of a sudden [I can’t].

Suzanne:   Yeah, I’ve seen you on a lot of shows, but I don’t think I really – no offense – didn’t notice you until –

Eugene:   I appreciate that, though.

Eugene Byrd as Andy Diggle in "Arrow"Suzanne:   – until your role in Arrow. That was such a great role for you. Even though it was a superhero show, did you feel that challenged you more than some of your earlier roles?

Eugene:   Roles are challenging, because they’re a role I haven’t played. So, there’s always a different psychology attached to each character that I enjoy, or I try to push myself a little further in certain roles when I get them. And by the way, I did not take offense to that, because I pride myself on people not knowing, because the fact is I try to disappear in my role. I try to play my roles honestly, and if you don’t remember me, that’s cool, but if you start going, “Wait a minute…” that means there’s some recognition, but you don’t know what it is, and I’m fine with that, just because I’d rather keep my anonymity a little bit. I think that’s [where] a lot of actors, a lot of people have issues. That’s what happens; they lose that anonymity, and they can’t move around the world the way they would like.

Suzanne:   It’s got to be difficult, a lot of pressure on people.

Eugene:   I know a few people who have exploded, and it’s been difficult for them. Yeah.

David Ramsey (John) and Eugene Byrd (Andy) in "Arrow" btsSuzanne:   Getting back to Arrow, I mean, it was a great role with you and and the guy that plays Diggle, your brother?

Eugene:   We’ve played brothers before.

Suzanne:   Oh, you did?

Eugene:   Yeah. We did a pilot together called The Proud Family, and it was with Gabrielle Union and  Essence Atkins and Selma Hopkins, and it was a really great cast. We just didn’t get picked up, but David and I kept in touch as friends. And then one day…he was like, “Hey, I want you to play my brother,” and I was like, “Oh, Okay.” I knew he was in Arrow, but I was like, “Man, that would be a dream come true.” And it was fun, because I got to play a duplicitous character, which I feel like I’ve [done] a lot [laughs], but it’s like I’m like playing the duality of a guy who’s evil, and then all of a sudden, he’s good, but he never was good. He was always [evil]. So, that was fun. That was fun.

Suzanne:   Yeah, it was good. It is very surprising. We never knew he was, but he was always sympathetic, because you were playing him, and you’re very likable on screen. I also loved your character on Bones, that seemed very similar to the role you played on Crossing Jordan.

Eugene Byrd as Clark in "Bones"
BONES: Brennan (Emily Deschanel, R) and Dr. Clark Edison (guest star Eugene Byrd) continue to investigate who framed Booth for murder in the “The Lance to the Heart” episode of BONES airing Thursday, Oct. 2 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Jordin Althaus/FOX

Eugene:   Right, which, I think, helped me, gave me a quick way to jump in. Because Sydney is a little bit – actually, Sydney was way more open than Clark ever was. Clark was always super buttoned up very much like Bones, you know, and the fact that “I don’t share my personal life; this is about the work,” and then as time goes on, he starts letting himself be loose and being more of a personable person in that show. I love that show. That was like one of my favorite shows I ever did. I did it for ten years, and I have two of my best friends from that show.

Suzanne:   Okay, can you tell us which ones?

Eugene:   Pej Vahdat, who was Arastoo, and Michael Grant Terry, who played Wendell. So, they’re two of my closest friends.

Suzanne:   He’s on another show. I can’t think of which one.

Eugene:   Pej?

Suzanne:   No, Michael.

Eugene:   Michael did Roswell.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I think just something else though. I can’t remember it. Never mind.

Eugene:   He did a Lifetime – was it a Hallmark or a Lifetime show? I want to say it was Hallmark.

Suzanne:   I think it is something on Showtime or STARZ, but I can’t remember.

Eugene:   He’s got something he was doing, but those are only two I know we’ve talked about. If it’s something else, he’s gonna be mad at me that I don’t know.  [laughs]

Suzanne:   It’s fine. You can’t be expected to remember all these shows.

Eugene:   Pej right now is doing like a thousand things. Sometimes I’m like, “Which one is this again?”

Suzanne:   Well, I’m glad to hear that the Squints are still friends.

Eugene:   We all are. You know, the beautiful part about that show is we all had great chemistry with each other, and that’s rare. That’s rare where the recurrings have great chemistry with the regulars, and it feels like we’re all regulars.

Suzanne:   No, definitely. And do you have any other projects that you’re working on that you can tell us about?

Eugene:   Oh, that I could tell you about? Well, you know, actually, they’re all on right now. They’re all coming out. Today is The Legend of Vox Machina, a cartoon for Amazon Prime, where I play Captain Jared. And then Secrets of Sulphur Springs. Just everything else I can’t even talk about yet.

Suzanne:   I love that show. You’re coming up on that?

Eugene:   My character showed up fully last week, and today –

Suzanne:   Oh, I haven’t watched last week’s yet.

Eugene:   You see him way more today.

Suzanne:   Okay, cool. I haven’t watched last week’s yet. I know it’s a kid’s show, and I don’t have any children –

Eugene:   But here’s the funny thing, I watched it. It’s more for everyone. I’ve realize that, because before I even did it, I was like, “This is a kid’s show. All right, I’ll just do it.” Then, I worked with the kids, and I worked with the other actors, and two of them I knew, well, three; three people I knew on that show. And I was surprised. I was surprised how accessible it was for adults and that the kids were just natural. I got to work with Elle Graham most of the time; she plays Savannah, the little blonde girl. Well, she’s not little, that girl’s tall. [laughs] I had such a great time working with that cast and that crew. So, I’m glad you like it. It just surprised me.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I don’t remember why I started watching. Oh, because the people who wrote it used to write in soap operas, and I watch soap operas.

Eugene:   Ah, yes. That’s right. I think Tracy did – I don’t know about Charles. Charles did 90210, which is what I did. I did the original 90210.

Suzanne:   He’s been on a lot of those types of things, and I think daytime briefly too. But yeah, I like that show. I’m always telling people watch the show.

Eugene:   The funny thing is because they think it’s a kid show, they’re not thinking that you’re going to watch something that’s still appealing to you as well and that’s wholesome and interesting. I wouldn’t have believed that either. If you asked, if you told me.

Suzanne:   Yeah, well, I have a lot of science fiction friends, and so, I would tell them, “it’s got time travel!”

Eugene:   It does, and I’m curious what you’re gonna think about this season we’re doing right now, this season that just came out. It’s interesting, and it deals with, obviously, time again, but there’s an even deeper mystery now.

Suzanne:   Well, they’ve got to change it up every season. And anything else that you’d like to say to your fans?

Eugene:   Thank you for supporting me all these years, and there’s some stuff coming up. I can’t talk about it, but it should be very, very interesting.

Suzanne:   All right, great. Well, thank you for joining me today. I really enjoyed it.

Eugene:   I had a great time.

Here is the video version of it.

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

MORE INFO:

Trailer

Poster for the movie "Immanence"Buffalo 8 has announced the acquisition of IMMANENCE from filmmaker Kerry Bellessa. The thriller/horror film will be available on demand a several digital streamers, including iTunes, February 4.

While investigating a meteor strike in the Bermuda Triangle, a team of radio astronomers discover a mysterious signal in the deep sea that could be the world’s first contact with extraterrestrials. After witnessing various impossible phenomena, the team becomes convinced that something is trying to communicate with them.

Aboard their boat is Jonah (Michael Beach, Aquaman, “S.W.A.T.”), a loner with a mysterious past and cryptic motives. His faith leads him to suggest that this communication may be a manifestation of divinity, a hypothesis which the scientists immediately reject.

Soon the communications go from inexplicable to terrifying, threatening not only the team’s beliefs, but also their lives. When chaos culminates in an ominous revelation that makes everyone a threat, the team must fight for sanity and survival in a nightmare against the ultimate evil.

IMMANENCE: Fast FactsRelease Date: Friday, February 4, 2022
Genre: Thriller/Horror
Rating and Run Time: Not rated (R equivalent), 90 mins.
Short Summary: Radio astronomers discover a mysterious signal in the deep sea that could be contact with extraterrestrials. After several terrifying manifestations threaten their beliefs, the team must fight to survive the ultimate evil.
Director: Kerry Bellessa
Writers: Kerry Bellessa And Joshua Oram
Producers: Kerry Bellessa, Summer Bellessa, Michael Beach
Cinematographer: Oscar Ignacio Jiménez
Starring: Michael Beach, Summer Bellessa, Eugene Byrd, Anthony Ruivivar, Kasia Pilewicz,  Asenneth Del Toro, Jamie Mcshane

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

Eugene Byrd

Interview with Ryan McPartlin, Jana Kramer and Maria Menounos

TV Interview!

Ryan McPartlin, Jana Kramer and Maria Menounos in Lifetime's "The Holiday Fixup"

Interview with Ryan McPartlin, Jana Kramer and Maria Menounos of “The Holiday Fixup” on Lifetime by Suzanne 11/8/21

This is a fun movie, particularly if you like DIY projects, and the press panel for the movie was highly entertaining. These are some very attractive people, for one thing. Ryan was on “Passions” years ago, and he still looks great! Of course, it goes without saying that everyone’s acting is top of the line, too. I’ve enjoyed all of the Lifetime holiday movies this year. I hope you do, too.

MODERATOR:

Hi, everyone. Our next panel is “The Holiday Fixup.” Please welcome EP and stars, Jana Kramer, and Ryan McPartlin, and star Maria Menounos.

JANA KRAMER:

Hi. Hi, guys. Hi, Ryan. Hi, Maria.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

Hi, guys.

JANA KRAMER:

Hi.

MARIA MENOUNOS:

Hi. Can you guys hear me?

JANA KRAMER:

The team’s all back.

MARIA MENOUNOS:

I know.

MODERATOR:

Before we get into the questions, today we have a pre-submitted question. What was it like filming a holiday movie all together in the dead of summer in Connecticut?

JANA KRAMER:

(Laughs.).

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

(Laugh.) I love your laugh.

JANA KRAMER:

Exactly that. Exactly that.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

It’s perfect. That’s it.

JANA KRAMER:

Yeah.

MARIA MENOUNOS:

It was hot. It was so fun though. I love these guys so much. Jana and Ryan are gems, and we just have the best time.

JANA KRAMER:

Yeah. I will say that, I feel like we got pretty lucky guys. Like it could have been —

MARIA MENOUNOS:

Yeah.

JANA KRAMER:

I mean, we had a few (hot) days, but the days that we were outside I felt like we were blessed with not like, you know (not too hot)– And I think there was only one day, I was like “I think I might pass out.” But, Ryan, it doesn’t matter if it was sunny or not, Ryan was going to always have a fan —

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

Oh, yeah.

JANA KRAMER:

Whether it was sunny, not sunny. I mean, that man sweats so much, like, thank God it wasn’t hotter —

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

It didn’t help that I was taking a supplement that I found out afterwards —

JANA KRAMER:

Yep.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

— causes excessive sweating.

JANA KRAMER:

Uh huh.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

And then we’re in sweaters in the dead of summer, and I’ve done this multiple times, as Jana has as well, — so I’m always preparing the crew and production saying, hey, we need some ice packs. We need fans standing by. I need dryers to dry the hair. I didn’t want to hold up production…and somehow it’s always like the afterthought, right? And then when the sweat starts coming and you’re holding up production everybody’s like send as many people to the store as possible. We need to get fans. We need dryers. We need everything.

JANA KRAMER:

I needed Gatorade. That was my ask. I was like I need a Gatorade. I’m feeling lightheaded…but it was so fun —

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

I was a little upset that when I was pouring sweat, I’d look at you guys and you’re like, no, not a drop.

JANA KRAMER:

We glisten. Ryan sweats. Maria and I didn’t —

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

Yeah. That’s right. That’s right.

MODERATOR:

Suzanne. Please let us know your question.

QUESTION:

Oh, hi, guys. I enjoyed the movie. I’m not really into DIY, but what about you? Ryan, do you do DIY in real life? (Laughter.)

JANA KRAMER:

Wait, can I answer that, please?

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

Go ahead. Go ahead.

JANA KRAMER:

Because the first time that I ever met Ryan — Suzanne, thank you for watching the movie — but the first time that Ryan and I actually Facetime’d he was trying to hang blinds, I think it was, and doing a terrible job. So, Ryan,  —

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

And that was the last time I’ve done anything around the house. Well, no, no, no…I had to fix a doorknob last night. I went to Home Depot and then Loew’s – had three different people explain to me how to do it, and I was like, I’m just going to hire somebody. It’s not my jam.

JANA KRAMER:

Yeah.

QUESTION:

Okay. Well, and the snowball fight was the most fun of all the movie, I thought. Was that as fun for you to shoot as it was for us to watch?

JANA KRAMER:

Yeah.

MARIA MENOUNOS:

It was super fun, and that was the hottest day, too, you guys. That was the only day that was excruciating —

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

It was the hottest day.

JANA KRAMER:

Yeah. That was the hottest day, and then I feel like, Maria, you and I became a little competitive. Like we were legit pushing each other at the start of doing that. We’re like “it’s going down” —

MARIA MENOUNOS:

Yeah.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

That was Brian Herzlinger, our director – he wanted to have his “Saving Private Ryan” moment where he was going to get all this camera action and get the really artistic movement as — Well, you see it in the trailer as Maria and Jana are just unloading on each other and getting very competitive with each other.

MARIA MENOUNOS:

It was so fun

JANA KRAMER:

Yeah.

QUESTION:

Oh, thank you.

JANA KRAMER:

It was kind of funny, too, Brian wanted a “Saving Private Ryan” moment. Like you do know this is a Christmas movie, right? But it was so much fun —

MARIA MENOUNOS:

Oh, and actually these guys championed my husband having a cameo in the movie, and that was the scene he made the snow. He’s Nick the Snowman.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

Nick the Snowman.

MARIA MENOUNOS:

Um hm.

JANA KRAMER:

Yeah.

QUESTION:

Oh. Great. Thank you so much.

MARIA MENOUNOS:

Thank you.

MODERATOR:

Thank you. That’s awesome. Damina, your question next?

JANA KRAMER:

Oh, you’re muted, sweetie. Can we unmute her?

MODERATOR:

We can come back. We’ll come back – – Oh, there you are. Damina? Okay, we’ll come back. Steven, you’re up next. Steven.

JANA KRAMER:

How’s the photo, Ryan? Do you need your ID?

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

I got you. I got you. You always get me every time and I never know it until later.

QUESTION:

Did you guys call me?

MODERATOR:

Yes.

JANA KRAMER:

Yeah, it’s your turn, buddy.

QUESTION:

Thank you. Here we go. All right. So, yes, talk to us about this amazing film. Ryan, I see that you’re doing your thing. You’ve still out here ever since the “Passions” days.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

Thank you for that.

QUESTION:

Oh, yeah. You look amazing. All of you look great.

MARIA MENOUNOS:

Thank you.

QUESTION:

Happy holidays.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

Yeah. Happy Holidays to you. Go ahead, Jana.

QUESTION:

So, talk to us about the film, and how is it? Is it challenging coming up with the chemistry between cast members? How long does that normally take?

JANA KRAMER:

Ryan, you kick it off.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

Well, we got to Zoom…Jana and I, fortunately, had all these Zoom’ing sessions with our writer who is amazing, Jessica Etting. And so there was a couple times that Jana and I were on the same page — but not some of the other voices, because there’s a whole lot of voices — and you just look at the camera in one of these Zoom meetings and you’d kind of look at each other and try and stifle a little of laughter…it was like being in class and just locking eyes with somebody who was in on the joke. And so Jana and I felt like we were in on the same joke that everybody wasn’t in on, and that kind of kicked off our friendship.

JANA KRAMER:

Yeah. No, we had…I mean, pretty much instant chemistry. The same with Maria and I. Every time I’ve been with Maria, we had that and I’m like, oh, that’s going to be easy to play best friends with her, because every time I see her I feel like she’s such a close friend. And then with Ryan it’s like we had that kind of, you know — that brotherly/sister, fun banter, fun – it’s that good energy. So that part was really easy, to have the chemistry. And then we were all teammates together. We all helped each other out, and when I got super tired, Ryan was there to pump me up.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

There was no pumping you up when were that tired. When you’re that tired nobody can do anything about it. But I will say, back to the chemistry with Maria, too — Maria and I started talking about trying to do something in the Christmas space together at least two years ago, right? Sometime around two years ago…

MARIA MENOUNOS:

Oh, yeah. Yeah.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

And when I saw her at a Christmas party, I was like, oh, my God, I got to talk to Maria about being in this space…and Maria and I have known each other for years. I threw a touchdown pass, or was it you to me? No, it was me to you, right?

MARIA MENOUNOS:

You to me, yeah. (I throw it back @ 00:28:34) —

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

Yeah. It was, yeah, we have the footage. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

MARIA MENOUNOS:

I’m such a giver.

Ryan McPartlin and Jana Kramer in "The Holiday Fixup" on Lifetime 11/8RYAN MCPARTLIN:

Yeah. Well, you did throw an extra point then. You were playing quarterback and played like — did a two-point conversion. It was amazing. I got the footage.

MARIA MENOUNOS:

Oh, you’re right.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

Yep. But, no, Maria — when I saw her at this party that we were at, I was like, Maria, you have to be in this Christmas space and then…you go, Maria, I don’t want to monopolize this conversation.

MARIA MENOUNOS:

Not at all. Yeah, I’ve said this, I think it was just super cool. Ryan saw a little doc that I did on my experience with my parents getting COVID at the same time, and I did this little like 19-minute piece, and he saw it and sent me this beautiful email about how much it moved him, and how he was going to really kind of cherish those moments with his family even more, and it was just a beautiful letter…and one thing led to another and all of a sudden, I was getting on a plane to Connecticut to make this movie with them. And it was very much needed for me at the time. I just lost my mom, and I got to go back to Connecticut, and stay in my bed, and be with my dad, and get to have fun with these guys every day. And I do think that it’s super rare to have just such instant chemistry with everybody, and we all just clicked so fast and so easily. I was doing Jana’s makeup at one point. Jana’s fanning Ryan. Like everybody was helping each other, and it was really special. So, I told them, I’m like, I just want to be able to do this every summer with you guys, because I love them so much, and we have just such a great team all around.

MODERATOR:

That’s really beautiful. Thank you. Thank you so much. And, Jana, wow. Ryan really coming for you about being tired on set. We have your back.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

Thank you.

MODERATOR:

And, Jamie, the next question is from you. Jamie Ruby, sorry. We have another Jamie.

QUESTION:

I was going to say which Jamie.

MODERATOR:

Sorry, Jamie Ruby.

QUESTION:

It’s okay. And, Maria, I think you sort of just answered this partially but maybe you can add more to it, but for all of you, what was it originally though that made you want to do this film?

JANA KRAMER:

I’ll start — because I had had a meeting about a different movie a few days prior to talking to Ryan and the producers of this film, and it was something about… Well, one of the reasons I really wanted to do it, because I’ve always wanted to work with Ryan and it was cool because there wasn’t a script, so I was able to kind of put my two cents into it. This is Ryan’s idea that he’s had for a long time, so it was cool to be able to actually collaborate and help bring the story to life as opposed to showing up on the page. Because usually we just get the script and we read it, we like it, or we don’t. But to be able to kind of have a say was really cool and one of the main draws of doing this film. I was like, okay, cool, I can actually have a little bit of a say in it, and Ryan was open to all of that. So that was neat.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

She had a lot of say in it, not just a little bit of say, because when — It’s not that you’re that over opinionated, Jana –It’s like I really respected her opinions and she had very good input, ideas, story points. She’s done this, you know, she’s done as many of these as probably I have, I’d say. And you don’t want the redundancy of doing the same story over-and-over-again. So, you look for ways to say how can it be different? How is it different than the other stuff out there, and that’s what I’m really proud of — especially how we would talk out some of these things, if it was a real relationship and a real life and we were playing real exes. And the way that I saw the story ending is not necessarily the way that Jana saw it from her perspective. So, when our writer, Jessica Koosed Etting, heard her response if I said one thing and then Jana said, well, I would say this — it just turned everything. So, you got to kind of play like you would in, you know, onstage in a theater, in a class together. And you go, oh, that’s interesting…if that’s how you would really react let’s work that into the story and still tie it up nicely to deliver to the audience what they expect, but in a different way than that expect it.

JANA KRAMER:

Sure, yep.

MODERATOR:

Our next question is from Jamie Steinberg.

QUESTION:

Hi, thank you guys so much for your time. Jana and Ryan if you could talk about how you stepped in as executive producers. Was this something of a passion project that came across your desk, or did they offer you a role of EP after you singed on to the film?

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

No, this was something where if you are involved creatively as an actor, from the get-go, like we both were you know — this started with Jessica Koosed Etting and I flushing out a different story, but then we adapted it towards Christmas a little bit, and then quite honestly the whole thing changed when Jana came onboard. We just started talking about the movies we loved. Jana, if you want to talk about that and some of the romantic comedies, some of the Christmas movies we loved…and we started saying, okay, what are those themes that we want to play with.

JANA KRAMER:

Yeah, and that’s something, too, because Ryan and I have done so many of these Christmas movies it was something that I had a conversation with Lifetime about and was like, I really want to be able to bring my ideas to the table. So, I would like to moving forward be able to executive produce, just so that way I, you know — because making Christmas movies are so much fun. They’re easy. They’re light. They’re fun — but I also want to bring a little bit of complications to things, or a little bit of my own touch to things and to have that voice, and that way. I don’t know, Ryan, if it felt the same way for you, but I felt really, really, really, proud of this one, because I felt like I had so much more to…I offered so much more in this film than I have in the other ones. And, yeah, I loved all the other ones, but this one…I was like, man, this is — It’s the first thing I’ve ever executive produced! So that was kind of cool to just be like — I was proud of myself and I was proud of you. It was fun.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

Yeah. And I feel like, you know, Maria, hopefully, you felt your voice was the heard the same as, any producer or actor would be — come on in if they had ideas and wanted to play. It was nice because it was like a safe artists’ space, you know. That’s what we wanted to create.

MARIA MENOUNOS:

A hundred percent. I will say they were amazing executive producers. Not only did they feed the crew, got coffee trucks — they did all the things that really great producers do to keep everybody happy, keep everybody going. They always say it starts at the top and literally it was a perfect experience all the way through for everybody. We all loved it. We all had the best time. Everybody was excited, and everybody was onboard with making the best movie we could while having fun. So that is why I’m committed to how do we do this every summer together? How do we add in some time where we always can make a movie together, keep the same crew, keep the same thing…

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

Yeah. I’d love that. And we also got to give credit to Stephanie and Margaret, our other executive producers —

JANA KRAMER:

Absolutely.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

— they really gave us that freedom to jump in and produce alongside them. They did a lot of the hard, dirty work, I’d say, as producers dealing with the budgets and the overtime and the schedules and all that stuff since we really want to stay in the creative space, and that’s what we were able to do, thank God.

JANA KRAMER:

Although, I think that part’s fun, but I’ll do that later.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

Yeah.

MODERATOR:

Thank you. Our next question is from Jay Bobbin.

QUESTION:

Hello, everyone. Maria, have you ever interviewed Jana? Is that where this friendship started, and if that is where it started, how do you remember the interview going?

MARIA MENOUNOS:

Well, I will say that I have zero memory. This is where I throw my brain tumor card down. I can’t remember anything. My husband’s my USB drive…but, yes, I know I’ve interviewed Jana — but we were also friendly just in the business and with Ryan the same thing. So, I can’t say I remember the first moment I laid eyes on this beautiful woman.

JANA KRAMER:

I remember you helped me out with “Dancing with the Stars” because I remember you were there at “Dancing with the Stars” and Val was your partner, right? He was like you —

MARIA MENOUNOS:

Yeah. No, Val, he was like the fake doctor on the set.

JANA KRAMER:

Yeah. He’s like you need to talk to Maria, because she also hurt her ribs or something like that. So, I just remember you being so nice and just so willing to… I mean, we talked for a while and then it just, again, it just felt like — man, we’re talking like we’re real friends. It was such a friendly conversation —

MARIA MENOUNOS:

Yeah.

JANA KRAMER:

I just remember hanging up on that and being like, wow, she’s special, a special person.

MARIA MENOUNOS:

Thanks. Thanks, friend. Yeah, I never remember how I meet anybody, to be honest, because I am just I’m so excited to see everybody and meet people when I meet them that it just floats away.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

Except for when someone throws you a touchdown pass.

MARIA MENOUNOS:

Yes. But you just had to remind me that I threw you a two-point conversion. I don’t remember —

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

Yeah. That’s right.

QUESTION:

Thank you.

MODERATOR:

Thank you.

JANA KRAMER:

Thanks, (Jay @ 00:38:09).

MODERATOR:

We have time for one last question. Samantha.

QUESTION:

Hi. Jana, I’m really curious about with the social media aspect of this role, I loved how you all really leaned into the positive aspects of it just with the world complaining so much about the problems, and I’m just curious about the intention behind making that such a large part of your character’s job in the film.

JANA KRAMER:

Yeah. It was fun. I mean, especially because I’m like “I don’t know how to do this.” Meanwhile, my whole entire life is social media, so that was kind of fun to do that. But also, I think what I learned…actually, yes, we showed how it can bring people together. But, for me, personally, what I took away from the movie the most is actually about putting the phone down. It’s what we always talked about, the one character, Rita’s character — where it’s back in the day when we didn’t have the cell phones and we were able to just disconnect and be in a room together and not be glued to Instagram or the phone. And that’s what I took away from it the most – it is just having that distraction away to really just be present with the people in front of me. So that’s something that I would like to lean more into.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

I think that social media caught us all by storm, you know, and there were no rules. There was no teaching moment. We didn’t come up in school with teachers saying you should compartmentalize this. And then the job of these apps and the social media companies is to see how many hours they can get out of your day spent on these apps. So, there is a lot of benefit to it and there’s a lot of, you know, businesses that thrive from it. Our small business that we have came about because of social media and there’s a lot of charities that do very well — but it is a danger, and it’s going to be. It’s interesting that the back-and-forth that our characters had about compartmentalizing and what to use it for, and how to use it, and I think that’s a real conversation that should be had in every household right now.

JANA KRAMER:

Um hm.

MODERATOR:

Thank you so much. Thank you to the cast and Eps of “The Holiday Fixup.” Please make sure to tune in on December 11.

JANA KRAMER:

Thanks, guys. Appreciate it. Thank you very much —

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

Thank you.

JANA KRAMER:

Thank you very much.

MARIA MENOUNOS:

Bye.

JANA KRAMER:

Do we hang up now? Okay. Bye, guys.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

Bye, guys.

MARIA MENOUNOS:

Okay, bye.

RYAN MCPARTLIN:

We’ll talk to you all later.

JANA KRAMER:

Okay.

MORE INFO:

Preview

Lifetime Reveals Full Holiday Movie Slate for Annual IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFETIME Programming Event Beginning November 12th, Including 30 New Premieres In 30 Days Kicking Off After Thanksgiving to Count Down to Christmas

Lifetime Reveals Full Holiday Movie Slate for Annual

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFETIME

Programming Event Beginning November 12th

Including 30 New Premieres In 30 Days

Kicking Off After Thanksgiving to Count Down to Christmas

Talent Around the Tree This Year Includes

Kelly Rowland, Reba McEntire, Melissa Joan Hart, Mario Lopez, Tia Mowry, Smokey Robinson, Jana Kramer, Marie Osmond, Corbin Bleu, Monique Coleman, Tatyana Ali, Roselyn Sánchez, Jacky Lai, Mýa, Ryan McPartlin, Thomas Cadrot, Bresha Webb, Candice King, Emeraude Tobia, Aimee Garcia, Haylie Duff, Ricki Lake, Kirk Franklin, John Schneider, Maria Menounos, Chad Michael Murray, AnnaLynne McCord, and Many Others

Los Angeles, CA – September 28, 2021 – Get ready for the most cheerful holiday season yet! Lifetime announces its largest holiday movie slate ever for the network’s annual It’s a Wonderful Lifetime programming event, kicking off November 12th with five new movies Fridays and Saturdays, and a premiere on Sunday, November 21st.  Then, once the Thanksgiving feast is over and for the first time ever, Lifetime will premiere 30 new movies, in 30 days, with a new movie EVERY DAY from November 26 through December 25. As the #1 holiday movie destination, Lifetime’s 2021 It’s a Wonderful Lifetime slate will feature 35 new movies and over 1000 hours of holiday programming.

In case that’s not enough excitement for you – get ready for It’s a Wonderful Lifetime Holiday Movie Preview hosted by Tia Mowry (star of this year’s Miracle in Motor City)! This special will preview Lifetime’s upcoming 2021 Christmas Movies and will be available on VOD beginning October 24 and will premiere on Lifetime November 7 at 10am ET/PT. In addition to sneak peeks and cast interviews, Tia will share a special holiday treat or cocktail recipe to go with each movie previewed!

At Lifetime it’s never too early to get in the spirit! Beginning October 15, Lifetime VOD will have 10 of your favorite holiday titles available to screen. And if you just can’t get enough – starting November 12, LMC will have 50 of Lifetime’s best holiday movies available to stream!

The Holiday Fix Up

Starring Jana Kramer, Ryan McPartlin & Maria Menounos

12/11 at 8pm / 7c

When Sam (Jana Kramer), the designer behind a popular home renovation show, returns to her hometown during the holidays to help renovate the Bell Harbor Inn, she gets paired with Coop (Ryan McPartlin) as her lead contractor. The only problem – he’s the guy who broke her heart and she’s the one who got away.  Sparks fly as they work closely to get the renovations done in time for the inn’s annual Christmas Eve Harborfest. Will they be able to fix the mistakes of their past to build a future together? Maria Menounos also stars.

The Holiday Fix Up is produced by Off Camera Entertainment with Stephanie Slack, Margret H. Huddleston, Jana Kramer and Ryan McPartlin as Executive Producers. Written by Jessica Koosed Etting and directed by Brian Herzlinger.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

poster for "The Holiday Fixup"

Interview with Tia Mowry, Smokey Robinson, and Mark Taylor

TV Interview!

Tia Mowry, Smokey Robinson, and Mark Taylor of "Miracle in Motor City" on Lifetime

Interview with Tia Mowry, Smokey Robinson, and Mark Taylor of “Miracle in Motor City” on Lifetime by Suzanne 11/8/21

This is a fun movie, set in Detroit. In most ways, it’s your usual holiday TV movie, but the Motown music makes it a little extra-special, as does using Smokey Robinson as a major plot point. The acting also elevates it above the usual films we see this time of year.  Tia Mowry-Hardrict (Sister, Sister; Family Reunion) is effervescent as busy social worker and foster mom Amber (who’s volunteered to take over the church Christmas pageant), and Canadian Mark Taylor (Coroner, Frankie Drake Mysteries) is great as her ex-boyfriend, Eddie.  Smokey doesn’t appear right away, and he has a relatively small part, but the real star that outshines them all is Markeda McKay, the adorable actress who plays Lily, Amber’s foster daughter.

Lifetime had a press day for some of their upcoming Christmas movies, so it was great to be invited to be there and ask questions. I had a fun time chatting with them. Make sure you watch the movie Sunday, November 28 on Lifetime.

MODERATOR: Hi, all. Thank you for joining us for our last panel. Please welcome our panelists, executive producer and star, Tia Mowry, Smokey Robinson, and Mark Taylor.

TIA MOWRY: Hi, guys!

MODERATOR: Hello.

SMOKEY ROBINSON: (Makes kissing face.) Back atcha!

TIA MOWRY: Oh my gosh, I miss you guys!

SMOKEY ROBINSON: I miss you, too. Yeah.

TIA MOWRY: Aw, you guys look so great!

SMOKEY ROBINSON: You’re the one.

MARK TAYLOR: Yeah.

SMOKEY ROBINSON: How you doing, Mark?

MARK TAYLOR: I’m good, man. Good to see you again.

SMOKEY ROBINSON: Good to see you, man. Yeah.

MARK TAYLOR: How you doing?

MODERATOR: Thank you all for being here. Our first question is from Suzanne.

TIA MOWRY: Oh. We’re — right off the gate.

QUESTION: Hi.

TIA MOWRY: Hi, Suzanne!

QUESTION: Hi, guys. Happy holidays.

MARK TAYLOR: Happy holidays.

TIA MOWRY: Happy holidays to you.

Tia Mowry, Smokey Robinson, and Mark Taylor of "Miracle in Motor City" on LifetimeQUESTION: I just finished watching your movie this morning. I really enjoyed it.

TIA MOWRY: Yay! (Claps.)

SMOKEY ROBINSON: Wonderful. Yeah.

QUESTION: I like that it was set in the city because so many of the Christmas movies are set out in the country somewhere, and they imply that the city is bad and the small town or country is good. So… I’m a city girl, I like that yours was different.

TIA MOWRY: Yay!

QUESTION: Mark, I love your character in “Coroner,” and I really love that show.

MARK TAYLOR: Oh, thank you. Wow, thank you.

QUESTION: The singing and guitar playing that you did in the film, was that something that you’ve done a lot of before?

MARK TAYLOR: I sing in the shower and…

SMOKEY ROBINSON: I know that tune.

MARK TAYLOR: And guitar, I used to play guitar when I was about 12. I did that for maybe a couple of years and, you know, real minute stuff, so…I had to take lessons and kind of relearn it.

TIA MOWRY: But you guys, here’s a little kind of behind-the-scenes situation. I thought what was really cool about Mark is he’d always walk around with the guitar. Like, when you weren’t on camera, behind the scenes, he was always walking around with it. I guess was that an actor’s choice to just feel really comfortable with the guitar?

MARK TAYLOR: Yeah, I just wanted to get it as good as I could and make it as realistic as possible.

TIA MOWRY: Yeah.

MARK TAYLOR: And it was fun. It was also fun, you know? So it was good to learn some songs and connect.

SMOKEY ROBINSON: You know, I’ve tried to learn to play the guitar about three or four times. I cannot do it.

MARK TAYLOR: Really?

SMOKEY ROBINSON: It just would not — and the tricky part was my favorite instrument.

TIA MOWRY: Wow.

SMOKEY ROBINSON: The guitar is my favorite —

TIA MOWRY: Oh.

SMOKEY ROBINSON: And I wanna play it so badly, but I just can’t get it. My right hand and my left hand do not coordinate on the guitar, you know. But my guitarist told me, he says, “Man, if you wanna learn how to play the guitar, keep it in your hands at all times.”

MARK TAYLOR: Yeah, yeah.

TIA MOWRY: See?

SMOKEY ROBINSON: I understand what you were talking about, man. But I did that and that didn’t work, either. So…

TIA MOWRY: I don’t — you guys, I don’t know how to play any instruments. Like, I…I’m terrible.

SMOKEY ROBINSON: What?

TIA MOWRY: That is one thing — no. Like, that’s — sports and music is I just — I can’t. So kudos to you guys.

SMOKEY ROBINSON: Not sports, don’t say sports.

TIA MOWRY: Oh God, no, I can’t even — when I was a kid —

SMOKEY ROBINSON: No sports?

TIA MOWRY: No, no, no sports. Like, when I was a kid, my dad, he tried to put me in what is it t-ball? You know, where the ball is like teed up for you?

SMOKEY ROBINSON: Yeah.

TIA MOWRY: I would strike out on that. So I’d like —

MARK TAYLOR: Wow.

TIA MOWRY: What is it, hand and eye coordination? No. Not good. Thank God, you know, I have other things that I can do.

SMOKEY ROBINSON: Well, t-ball is over, honey, by the time you’re six or seven.

TIA MOWRY: Yeah.

SMOKEY ROBINSON: You don’t even play t-ball anymore, so that was way back when.

TIA MOWRY: (Laughs.) Okay?

QUESTION: Tia, can you sing at least?

TIA MOWRY: Yeah, you know, I can sing.

SMOKEY ROBINSON: She’s got a good voice.

TIA MOWRY: I mean, I grew up with singers in my family. My mother, she actually sang in the choir at church. So I can sing but what’s so funny about this character, Amber Dupont, she doesn’t know how to sing. And actually, Eddie, he picks on me throughout the movie about how I can’t carry a tune. So I thought that was pretty funny. But yeah, I mean, I can carry a tune.

QUESTION: Well, the voice is an instrument, so it counts.

SMOKEY ROBINSON: Yeah, she can. She’s got a good voice.

TIA MOWRY: Yeah.

QUESTION: Thank you, all.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Suzanne.

TIA MOWRY: Thank you! Thank you!

MARK TAYLOR: Welcome.

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

QUESTION: Hi, guys.

TIA MOWRY: Hi, Jeannie.

QUESTION: Hi.

TIA MOWRY: Or Jamie, is it Jamie?

QUESTION: Jamie. Jamie, yes.

TIA MOWRY: Hi Jamie!

QUESTION: Hi. This is for all three of you. I was wondering, is there anything filming this that surprised you that you found out? Like, what was the most surprising thing?

TIA MOWRY: How hot it was in Canada.

(Laughter.)

SMOKEY ROBINSON: My most surprising thing was that I could do it at all.

TIA MOWRY: Aw. I mean —

SMOKEY ROBINSON: That was my most surprising.

MARK TAYLOR: You were great. You were great.

TIA MOWRY: Look, y’all, Smokey —

SMOKEY ROBINSON: I love you, too, Mark.

MARK TAYLOR: You were great.

TIA MOWRY: You were fantastic. I mean, you’re a legend, you know what I mean? Come on, Smokey.

SMOKEY ROBINSON: (inaudible @ 01:26:29)

TIA MOWRY: You’re awesome. You’re wonderful. Go ahead, Mark. You wanna answer?

SMOKEY ROBINSON: I had a wonderful time.

TIA MOWRY: Oh.

SMOKEY ROBINSON: I had a great time. And everybody was so beautiful, you know? Before it even happened, I was looking forward to seeing Tia because Tia is like my daughter. I mean, you know, I just —

TIA MOWRY: Yeah.

SMOKEY ROBINSON: …I love her so much and so happy to see —

TIA MOWRY: Aw, I love you, Smokey!

SMOKEY ROBINSON: …that she was gonna be there. That was great. And then, meeting everybody and getting the chance to — everybody. I mean, the crew, everybody was just fantastic. So I had a wonderful time.

MARK TAYLOR: Yeah.

TIA MOWRY: Aw. What about you, Mark? Was there anything that you were surprised about?

MARK TAYLOR: What was I surprised about? Um…you know what? I don’t know if I was surprised, but it was just an amazing experience.

TIA MOWRY: Aw, I like that.

MARK TAYLOR: Everyone’s so cool and everyone had a good time. And it was just — I guess maybe the experience I didn’t know was going to be so amazing you know?

TIA MOWRY: Yeah.

MARK TAYLOR: But I’m definitely happy that I was a part of it, and I feel like it was meant to be.

TIA MOWRY: Aw, that’s awesome.

MARK TAYLOR: Yeah.

TIA MOWRY: I think, yeah, for me I think the most surprising part — I mean, I don’t know why it’s always surprising but I think a lot of people, they expect for — you know, these Christmas movies they’re — it’s supposed to be snow on the ground, it’s supposed to be wintertime. But in reality, we film a lot of these movies during the summertime. So we’re wearing jackets, and coats, and scarfs, and it’s so incredibly hot. So you have to —

SMOKEY ROBINSON: Except for at night.

TIA MOWRY: Except for nights. Yeah, except for night.

SMOKEY ROBINSON: It was like the instant drop, like it’s 75 until six o’clock and at 6:01 it’s 30. (Laughs.)

TIA MOWRY: (Laughs.) No. Wait, I will say this though, too, you guys. I think we film these movies in such a short period of time, right? So when I first started doing these Christmas movies, I think the thing that I was most surprised about is how many scenes you shoot in a day. Just for perspective on some movies, most movies, you’ll shoot maybe two-to-three scenes a day. But with these movies, you’re shooting, like, eight or nine scenes a day. So it’s a lot of dialogue to memorize and you’re working long hours. So that can be kind of surprising I think for viewers to know about.

MARK TAYLOR: It’s a grind.

TIA MOWRY: It’s a lot of work.

MARK TAYLOR: Yeah, it’s a grind.

TIA MOWRY: We shoot these movies in such — I think it’s what, 15, 16 days? When a lot of movies go for 21 maybe even 30 days. So it’s a grind. But it’s a good grind.

MARK TAYLOR: Oh, yeah.

QUESTION: I was gonna say, too, coats in the summer may be better than wearing a bathing suit when it’s freezing out or something. I don’t know.

TIA MOWRY: Yeah.

QUESTION: I guess it depends.

MARK TAYLOR: They’re both bad. They’re both bad.

QUESTION: Yeah, that’s true.

TIA MOWRY: You know what? I’m with you, Mark. I think they’re both just ew. But I mean, hey, you know, you do what you love.

MARK TAYLOR: Right.

TIA MOWRY: And I love what I do, so…it’s all worth.

QUESTION: Alright, thank you so much.

MODERATOR: Thank you.

TIA MOWRY: Thank you, Jamie.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Jamie. Our next question is from Mike from TV America.

QUESTION: Yeah, for Smokey. One of the good things about this movie is it reminds us of how important those church Christmas pageants are. So could you recall, back when you were a kid and so forth, what was important to you about it? Did you do church Christmas pageants? What did they mean to you?

SMOKEY ROBINSON: Well, you know what, Mike? I was involved in a few of them but my mom was one of those people that went to church three, four times a week, you know? She was a real lady, though. She would cuss you out in a minute but she would go to church three, four times a week.

TIA MOWRY: (Laughs.)

SMOKEY ROBINSON: And actually, to be truthful with you, when I was a child, man, church used to scare me because of the fact —

QUESTION: (Laughs.)

SMOKEY ROBINSON: I’m serious about that, man. I was scared to death at church because the church that I went to was a Baptist church, Baptist preacher. And he’s preaching and hollering and hooping and just falling out. And the women are coming up there and they’re putting smelling salts and they’re passing out. I was afraid to death of church, man, until I got to be grown. I really was. I wasn’t really, like, a church-going person as a kid. I went if my mom made me, if she made me. So when she made me go, I went. And she would send me to Sunday school in the morning and then I’d have to go back to church with her in the afternoon. That was really a grind for me, man. But like I said, after I got to be grown and I understood a lot more spiritual things, I understood it more. And so I got to be more relaxed with it. But as far as growing up, man, I was…it was a trip for me.

TIA MOWRY: (Laughs.)

QUESTION: Thanks. I wanted to ask you one other thing, Smokey. Even though you shot it in Canada, this gives Detroit a really good look because it used a lot of stills, second unit shots. It makes life in Detroit look very attractive. Do we kind of underestimate how good Detroit is right now?

SMOKEY ROBINSON: I hope so, Mike. I really do because Detroit has been devastated for a while. But it’s because of the economy, because of no jobs and all that. See, Detroit is a job city. And when I was growing up, the auto industry was what kept Detroit going. Detroit was the auto industry, really. So after all the auto plants moved out and the manufacturers and stuff and then we had Motown and…I’m so proud of the fact that right now, they even call Detroit Motown. So we created a lot of jobs and things like that in Detroit, also. And we left and the auto industry left, so Detroit suffered for a long time. And I’m very, very happy to see that it is kind of on the rebound.

QUESTION: Oh, thanks.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Mike. Our next question is for —

TIA MOWRY: Thank you, Mike!

MODERATOR: Thank you. Noah, you’re up next.

QUESTION: Hello, everyone. It is so great to be here with you guys. By the way, Tia, I feel your holiday energy. I have the holiday energy, too. I feel like you’re just gonna bust out into a Christmas tune. Yes, yes, oh yes!

SMOKEY ROBINSON: Go, Tia. Bust it out, Tia.

QUESTION: Come on, Tia.

TIA MOWRY: Aw, thank you.

QUESTION: Give us a little “Jingle Bells”.

TIA MOWRY: No! Oh my God! Jingle bells, jingle bells. I’m, like, nervous to sing in front of Smokey.

MODERATOR: Okay, thank you, Noah.

TIA MOWRY: You know, Christmas happens to be one of my favorite holidays. I really look forward to it every single year and that’s one of the main reasons why I love doing these movies. It’s something that my family — especially my mom, like, she’s a huge fan of every Christmas movie I do. And we sit down and we have hot cocoa, glasses of wine, and just really enjoy ourselves. So…

QUESTION: Now, Tia, I want to ask you first off, what attracted you to wanna be part of this? Because we have seen you and your sister, Tamera, be part of a lot of Christmas movies. And I just must say I love watching you two on screen.

MARK TAYLOR: Aw, thank you!

QUESTION: I’ve been a longtime fan since “Sister, Sister”. I just recently binged that, by the way, just aside.

TIA MOWRY: Really? With — yes. Okay, yeah, because it’s in syndication right now.

QUESTION: Yes. Yes.

TIA MOWRY: Thank you! You know, what really attracted me with this script in particular is Mr. Smokey Robinson. You know, they had told me that he was going to be a part of it and I was like no way. I didn’t believe them at first. I was like I have to see it to believe it. I’ve known Smokey ever since I was a young, little girl and I’ve been a huge fan. And I just feel like Motown, it’s been very influential, especially within the African American culture and the community. So to be able to have that Motown flair and to have, like, Smokey be a part of the story, I was on-board from the beginning. And then when they told me that Mark was gonna be a part of it, Mark and I, we had done a movie over 20-something years ago, like aging ourselves but —

SMOKEY ROBINSON: When you guys were babies? You did a movie when you were babies?

TIA MOWRY: A baby! A baby! We were, like, in our 20s.

SMOKEY ROBINSON: Twenty years ago.

TIA MOWRY: Yeah, basically. So I just — when I found out who the cast was and all of that and then just the story. I’m a huge believer in just giving women an opportunity. And Rhonda Baraka who is the writer of this movie, she wrote such an incredible script. And she’s also an African American woman which I just think is so phenomenal. So yeah, I was really excited about this project and I hope people enjoy this movie as much as all of us did making it.

QUESTION: Now, Mark, you have worked with Tia and Tamera on a movie in the past titled “17 Again”. I don’t know if that’s what you were just talking about, Tia, but that’s the movie that I’m talking about.

MARK TAYLOR: Yeah, it is.

TIA MOWRY: Yes, it was. “17 Again”, that was what I was talking about.

QUESTION: So now, we see you and Tia, you have feelings for each other in this holiday movie that we’ll see on Lifetime. What was it like to personally work with her once again for this project?

TIA MOWRY: Aw.

MARK TAYLOR: I mean, Tia, you know, she got the big, bright energy, you know? Her spirit is so giving and bright and caring. She’s always checking in with you, making sure that you’re alright.

TIA MOWRY: Yep.

MARK TAYLOR: And she just makes everyone feel involved, like everyone’s on the same level. So it was great. Like I said, it was a great experience.

TIA MOWRY: Yay.

QUESTION: Thank you, guys. I appreciate it. You have a good day.

TIA MOWRY: Thank you, Noah!

SMOKEY ROBINSON: You, too.

TIA MOWRY: Bye!

QUESTION: Bye. Happy holidays.

TIA MOWRY: Happy holidays.

MODERATOR: Thank you. We have time for one final one. Jay, you’re up.

QUESTION: Oh, thank you very much. Hi. Smokey, my question is for you. You’ve got such a catalogue of songs, obviously, and quite a few of them actually are Christmas songs. What kind of conversation went into exactly what you would perform in the movie?

SMOKEY ROBINSON: You know, Jay, not too much because I was gonna be on board — see, first of all, they sent me the script. And it’s a beautiful, warm, wonderful, warm story. And it was like Tia said, about Black people and about how they celebrate Christmas and what they do and all that. So that got me right there. And then, they told me Tia was gonna be involved. I hadn’t met Mark before filming this, but Tia like I said is my baby. I love her. And they told me she was gonna be involved and I knew that I wanted to be a part of it. And then, it’s about Detroit and all that. So I was on board from getting the script and finding out all that information about what was going on. And like I said, the script is beautiful. It’s a warm, wonderful, Christmas story and I was very flattered to be a part of that.

TIA MOWRY: Aw.

QUESTION: Just to follow up, when it came to the songs, did they ask for your input about what you might like to perform, maybe from your own catalogue?

SMOKEY ROBINSON: No, no, no, no, no, man. They had some songs in mind that they wanted me to do and I did those. Because whatever they wanted me to do, like I said, I was gonna be on board for. And so I didn’t really pick any songs to sing or anything like that. I just wanted to be a part of it because it seemed so wonderful.

QUESTION: Thanks very much, Smokey.

TIA MOWRY: You know, wait, Smokey, I have to say one of my favorite moments in the movie is when you walk through the church doors. And you have this — I mean, you have this, like, swagger to you, the way you’re just walking. (Laughs.) Down the aisle. And then you start singing. It is just — I just cannot wait for people to see that moment. I mean, I just started bawling and I just started crying because it’s just — it’s such a beautiful moment. And I know that you’re saying that you’re very grateful to be a part of this movie, but I just want to say thank you for being a part of this movie. I mean, you’re such a legend. And Mark and I, we talk about you all the time. You’re just — you’re so — I mean, you’re a legend, you know what I mean?

SMOKEY ROBINSON: (Over-talking @ 01:38:44) And so I really, really want to take this time — I’ve already told you so many times before, but thank you for lending just your energy and your talent to this story because you did an incredible job. So thank you.

SMOKEY ROBINSON: Well, thank you, sweetheart. I appreciate that. And I got your vitamins, too. I got the vitamins.

TIA MOWRY: Yay!

SMOKEY ROBINSON: Yeah.

TIA MOWRY: Yay! I love that!

SMOKEY ROBINSON: Me too.

MODERATOR: That’s awesome. Thank you so much to the cast of “Miracle in Motor City”. Make sure to tune in November 28th at 8/7 Central only on Lifetime.

(Goodbyes.)

MORE INFO:

Preview

Lifetime Reveals Full Holiday Movie Slate for Annual IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFETIME Programming Event Beginning November 12th, Including 30 New Premieres In 30 Days Kicking Off After Thanksgiving to Count Down to Christmas

Lifetime Reveals Full Holiday Movie Slate for Annual

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFETIME

Programming Event Beginning November 12th

Including 30 New Premieres In 30 Days

Kicking Off After Thanksgiving to Count Down to Christmas

Talent Around the Tree This Year Includes

Kelly Rowland, Reba McEntire, Melissa Joan Hart, Mario Lopez, Tia Mowry, Smokey Robinson, Jana Kramer, Marie Osmond, Corbin Bleu, Monique Coleman, Tatyana Ali, Roselyn Sánchez, Jacky Lai, Mýa, Ryan McPartlin, Thomas Cadrot, Bresha Webb, Candice King, Emeraude Tobia, Aimee Garcia, Haylie Duff, Ricki Lake, Kirk Franklin, John Schneider, Maria Menounos, Chad Michael Murray, AnnaLynne McCord, and Many Others

Los Angeles, CA – September 28, 2021 – Get ready for the most cheerful holiday season yet! Lifetime announces its largest holiday movie slate ever for the network’s annual It’s a Wonderful Lifetime programming event, kicking off November 12th with five new movies Fridays and Saturdays, and a premiere on Sunday, November 21st.  Then, once the Thanksgiving feast is over and for the first time ever, Lifetime will premiere 30 new movies, in 30 days, with a new movie EVERY DAY from November 26 through December 25. As the #1 holiday movie destination, Lifetime’s 2021 It’s a Wonderful Lifetime slate will feature 35 new movies and over 1000 hours of holiday programming.

In case that’s not enough excitement for you – get ready for It’s a Wonderful Lifetime Holiday Movie Preview hosted by Tia Mowry (star of this year’s Miracle in Motor City)! This special will preview Lifetime’s upcoming 2021 Christmas Movies and will be available on VOD beginning October 24 and will premiere on Lifetime November 7 at 10am ET/PT. In addition to sneak peeks and cast interviews, Tia will share a special holiday treat or cocktail recipe to go with each movie previewed!

At Lifetime it’s never too early to get in the spirit! Beginning October 15, Lifetime VOD will have 10 of your favorite holiday titles available to screen. And if you just can’t get enough – starting November 12, LMC will have 50 of Lifetime’s best holiday movies available to stream!

Miracle in Motor City

Starring Tia Mowry, Mark Taylor & Smokey Robinson

11/28 at 8pm / 7c

CID_31
Amber Dupont (Tia Mowry) bites off more than she can chew when she takes charge of her church’s annual Christmas pageant and inadvertently promises to deliver a special performance by Motown Legend Smokey Robinson. When her best friends secretly enlist Amber’s former flame Eddie (Mark Taylor) to help – the pair reconnect in a quest to find Smokey and convince him to appear. With the clock ticking, family, friends, and superstar Smokey Robinson come together to stage the most special pageant yet.Miracle in Motor City is produced by Cineflix Media with Tia Mowry, Charles Tremayne, and Jeff Vanderwal serving as executive producers. Gaylyn Fraiche consults on behalf of Tia Mowry. Alfons Adetuyi directs from a script by Rhonda Baraka.

Markeda McKay, Tia Mowry, Smokey Robinson, and Mark Taylor in "Miracle in Motor City" on Lifetime

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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picture

Interview with Dean Winters and Shawnee Smith

TV Interview!

Shawnee Smith and Dean Winters of "Christmas Vs. The Walters"

Interview with Shawnee Smith and Dean Winters of “Christmas Vs. The Walters” – in theaters now by Suzanne 10/28

This movie is very funny and warm – great for the holidays! These two fine actors play the husband and wife of the Walters family. Shawnee is the main star of the film, but she has a wonderful cast surrounding her. Go see the movie because you’ll enjoy it! We had a fun chat here. I hope you like it as much as I did.

Suzanne:   So, when was the movie filmed, and how long did it take? Either of you?

Dean:   We shot the movie last November.

Shawnee:   Last year, yeah.

Dean:   Yeah. It was about a three and a half week shoot, and we shot it in Long Island and Melville. It was a real run and gun production, and we were able to capture the atmosphere of Christmas on Long Island. We just had a really, really good time shooting this film. I had been a massive fan of Shawnee’s for years and had a big crush on her. And when I met her, I melted. So, it just kind of added to the joy of making a film. She’s very easy to work with, and the film is really her film. So, we were all there to support Shawnee, and Shawnee is just, I mean, she’s just one of the really good ones, you know?

Shawnee:   Oh, what a good husband, right? I love him.

Suzanne:   I watched it yesterday, and I enjoyed it. It was it was funny, and it made me cry in one part.

Shawnee:   Right, I watched it. I watched it on my phone with my headphones late at night. The kids were all sleeping. I woke them up laughing. I was laughing out loud. I cried. I thought, you know, we’re not going to win any awards, but like, grab your family and go to the theater and have a ball. It sets a good tone for the rest of the holidays.

Suzanne:   It does. And you two seem very natural as a husband and wife. Did you do anything beforehand and sort of get to know each other better to prepare for that?

Shawnee:   We got married and pregnant.

Dean:   [laughs]

Shawnee:   Now we have three kids, because we are method actors.

Dean:   No, we actually met the day before filming, and it was just very, very natural. You know, good casting.

Suzanne:   You could tell. There’s a great cast anyway. I mean, you had so many great character actors.

Shawnee:   The cast just kept filling out and filling out. I was like, “Who’s playing my doctor?” I mean, it was like, just when you thought it can’t get any better, you know, and then down to our ingenue, Paris Bravo plays our daughter, who’s amazing and a badass triple Black Belt. I mean, she’s like a future action star.

Dean:   Then, you have guys like Richard Thomas, and Bruce Dern and Chris Elliott. I mean, they really filled the room with great character actors, and it just kind of adds to the atmosphere.

Suzanne:   What was the both the best and worst, or most challenging things about making the movie?

Shawnee:   Definitely the most challenging was filming during COVID protocol. Rehearsing with masks on is just different. You can’t really rehearse like that. I mean, you do the best that you can, but all the windows and doors are open for ventilation, and it’s November. In November in New York, in Long Island; you’re freezing. God love the crew; they were masked up all the time, and we were testing every other day. Far and away that was the most challenging. Everything else was pretty easy.

Dean:   Yeah, we were one of the first movies to actually shoot during COVID. So, I think last October is when films really started to kind of dip their toe in the water again. So, it was a real[ly] new experience for everybody. So, that was the most challenging part. The fun part was just, we all just love each other very much. So, working with each other was really a no brainer, and that chemistry, you know, in real life, I think kind of parlays on screen.

Suzanne:   And [Shawnee], do you actually get stressed out at all on Christmas?

Shawnee:   Oh, listen, of course! I’m a mother. There’s so much pressure to be a family, have a meal, and then the presents, and you’re like, “We’re gonna keep it simple this year.” Somehow, Christmas Eve, just the momentum of the thing builds up, and it’s like that tension is just a fun thief, you know? Like, the fun part of Christmas Vs. the Walters is that circumstances all around just break everybody down to the point where they just let go of the reins, and then everyone exhales and starts to have fun together, you know, take the pressure off. So, I think my good technique for taking the pressure off this Christmas will be just put on your pajamas and go to the theater and watch Christmas Vs. the Walters.

Suzanne:   And Dean do you get most recognized for that Mayhem commercials or for a show you a movie that you did?

Dean:   Pretty much Mayhem sums it up. [laughs] Yeah, in New York, it’s like, you know, yesterday, I was walking down the block, and within the span of walking down the block, I got Oz, Sex and the City, Law & Order, and then Mayhem, but it’s really just Mayhem all day long.

Suzanne:   Well, you do such a good job of it. I hate your character. I hate those commercials – not that guy! But I like you, and I loved you in Law & Order: SVU.

Dean:   Oh, thank you.

Suzanne:   Anything else? We’re almost done… anything else you’d like say about the movie?

Dean:   I think that this movie has a tone for a Christmas film that I haven’t seen before. Every great Christmas film has its own tone, whether it’s Elf or Scrooge or It’s a Wonderful Life, whatever, and this movie has a different tone to it, and I think that’s what is going to hopefully make it have its own little kind of special niche. It’s really just a lovely film about showing you what’s important, which is usually right in front of your face.

Suzanne:   And Shawnee, final words?

Shawnee:   You love this family. I love this family; that’s a marriage that I want to be in, and I root for them. Last Christmas, we were all in the middle of this pandemic, and we couldn’t go to the theater, and we couldn’t be with our families, and so this year, let’s do it and have a ball. Looking forward to it.

Suzanne:   Thank you guys. I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to me.

Here’s the Video!

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

MORE INFO:

Official Website   Trailer

"Christmas Vs. The Walters" posterDiane Walters, an over-burdened mother of two with a third child on the way, strives to create the perfect Christmas while her loving but dysfunctional family falls apart around her.

CAST: Shawnee Smith, Dean Winters, Caroline Aaron, Betsy Beutler, Paris Bravo, Nate Torrence, Richard Thomas, Jack McGee with Bruce Dern and Chris Elliott

DIRECTED BY: Peter A. D’Amato

WRITTEN BY: Peter A. D’Amato and Ante Novakovic

PRODUCED BY: Rob Simmons, Ante Novakovic, DJ Dodd and Jared Safier

COMPOSED BY: Rhyan D’Errico, and Jared Forman

EDITED BY: Pete Talamo

DISTRIBUTOR: Safier Entertainment

RUN TIME: 101 minutes

MPAA RATING: PG-13

Dean Winters of "Christmas Vs. The Walters"Dean Winters is an American character actor. He is known for his role as Ryan O’Reily on the HBO prison drama Oz and had roles in TV series Rescue Me, 30 Rock, Sex and the City and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, as well as portraying “Mayhem” in a series of Allstate Insurance commercials. He co-starred in one season of the CBS Network cop drama series Battle Creek and had a recurring role as the Vulture on the comedy series Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

 

 

Shawnee Smith of "Christmas Vs. The Walters"Shawnee Smith is an American actress and singer. She is known for her portrayal of Amanda Young in the Saw franchise and for starring as Linda in the CBS sitcom Becker (1998–2004). She co-starred as Jennifer Goodson, the ex-wife of Charlie Goodson on the FX sitcom Anger Management (2012–2014). In addition to acting, Smith once fronted the rock band Fydolla Ho, with which she toured globally. Later, with actress Missi Pyle, she served as half of Smith & Pyle, a country rock band.

 

 

 

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Cast of "Christmas Vs. The Walters"

Interview with Gloria Reubens

TV Interview!

Judy Reyes, Gloria Reuben, Fatima Molina, and Camila Nunez of "Torn From Her Arms" on Lifetime

Interview with Judy Reyes, Gloria Reuben, Fatima Molina, and Camila Nunez of “Torn From Her Arms” on Lifetime by Suzanne 9/14/21

I haven’t seen this movie yet, but it sounds like a good one. I enjoyed chatting with the women on the panel.  The little girl was super cute! Don’t miss it October 30.

MODERATOR:  Hi, everyone.  Thank you for joining us today.  Please welcome our panelists: Judy Reyes, Gloria Reuben, Fatima Molina, and Camila Nunez.

JUDY REYES:  Hello.

MODERATOR:  Before we get to some of our questions for today, Camila, can you tell us a little bit how you prepared for your role in this film?

CAMILA NUNEZ:  Yes.  Hi, everybody.  I did with my acting coach, with the director Alan and (Mama Fati @ 01:14:49) in the movie (inaudible @ 01:14:50) and do a good job.

MODERATOR:  Awesome.  Thank you so much.  Suzanne, you’re up.

QUESTION:  Gloria, can you tell us something about your character in this movie, because I didn’t get to see it?

GLORIA REUBEN:  Well, Ginger Thompson is the journalist who broke the story.  I don’t know how much I’m able to disclose, but I will — You know, it’s common knowledge that a tape was leaked, and Ginger got hold of the tape from inside the detention center, one of them, that’s all I’m going to say, and she broke the story.  She, as soon as she heard the tape, she was up all night documenting it, writing about it, and submitted it to “ProPublica” and, yeah, the rest is history.  The whole world ended up knowing about what was exactly going on.  It’s great.  She’s amazing.

QUESTION:  Okay.  Great.  I can’t wait to see it.

MODERATOR:  Thank you, Suzanne.  Jamie, you’re up next.

QUESTION:  It’s such an incredible movie.  Judy, for you, what was it that really drew you to this project?  I mean to have four strong female leads is probably enough, but also the subject matter has to be a little strenuous on you as well though.

JUDY REYES:  I mean, I was immediately attracted to the story.  I’ve been a huge follower of the issues on the border for the last four years since it gained all that attention, and it really mattered to me as a mother.  I’m completely heartbroken by the fact that a government would separate the children from their parents.  I can’t imagine what it’s like and the thought of it always made me cry.  It felt like a bit of a gift to me when it came in my direction to be able to participate in the telling of the story, and I was just excited and really honored to be a part of it along with, you know, if — The truth is if women don’t do it, it don’t get done.  And so this particular film with all these women fighting for each other, for themselves, for the truth, and for what’s right.

QUESTION:  And for Camila, you have to cry on camera so much.  It was so sad watching you with all those tears —

FATIMA MOLINA:  I know.

QUESTION:  How did you get into that frame of mind to be so sad?  And then how did you shake off those sad feelings?

FATIMA MOLINA:  It was really easy, you know, when you know the part, when you know the characters, and I had the possibility to talk to Cindy Madrid, who is the real character in real life, and when she told me what she had to — what happened to them, to her and her daughter, it was like so painful.  It was like really, really strong for me and you cannot go in, into that kind of part, into that feeling knowing everything what them was going through.  And, I don’t know, for me and for actresses, actors, it’s I know that what we do is to entertain, but if we can leave a message to the world this is ideal.  And I think this movie, it’s doing a risk.  For me, it’s really, really important that the world know this story, this history, and I know it’s a great, great movie and that you will enjoy it.

QUESTION:  Actually, my question was for Camila.  Camila, can you hear me?

CAMILA NUNEZ:  Yes.

QUESTION:  She’s on – – I was asking you it must have been very difficult for you to have to cry so much during the movie.  How did you shake off all those sad feelings?

MODERATOR:  Camila, we can come back to you if you want to think about it.  Judy, do you want to answer in the meantime —

CAMILA NUNEZ:  (Speaks Spanish.).

JUDY REYES:  She said she felt it.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

JUDY REYES:  And it was, I mean, it’s the simplest way to put it.  She’s a really extraordinary young actor and who has a real, real understanding and a connection of the story that she’s telling, and it was a real thrill to be around her.

FATIMA MOLINA:  Yeah.

JUDY REYES:  And a real inspiration.  I mean, she’s a very powerful young actress.

GLORIA REUBEN (?):  She is.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Jay?

QUESTION:  Hello.  My question is for Gloria.  Actually, a two-pronged question for you, Gloria.  Did you actually meet Ginger and, if so, how did you find her?  And, also, journalism, as we know, is going through the times it’s going through, and reporters are being regarded and the way they’re being regarded.  Did you feel a special responsibility to portray journalism in the positive light that the story reflects?"Torn From Her Arms"

GLORIA REUBEN:  Right.  Well, I think the truth of the story reflects that kind of positive light on its own.  And, unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to meet Ginger in person.  I came on quite late in the process just prior to the film starting production, but I did end up meeting with her via Zoom shortly thereafter.  And, again, needless to say, she is extraordinary.  She’s a Pulitzer Prize winner and has been a journalist for I don’t know how many decades now, but she is extremely committed to the truth, and as you said, journalism has been under attack, particularly under the leadership of the same person that implemented Zero Tolerance Policy, right?  So I think that that both kind of goes hand-in-hand with the destruction of the truth and humanity and what many of us experienced either as unfortunate witnesses or part of the destruction of those two things as the story reveals.  So, again, Ginger, as you can imagine during that time when the story broke and she did travel to Texas, that she was not the only journalist who wanted to get the story, needless to say.  That’s how our story unfolds, but there was, and I believe very strongly, a continuous effort and dedication and drive and commitment to true journalism making its mark, because eventually the truth is revealed.  Now whether people choose to believe the truth we have no control over, but for those journalists like Ginger Thompson the fight continues.  So it was — I know this is said a lot, and I have portrayed actual living people before, but this one is — it’s pretty cool, if you will.  It’s too general a term, but she’s kind of a rock star in my book, so that says a lot.

QUESTION:  Thank you very much.

GLORIA REUBEN:  Welcome.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  And there is some Spanish dialogue in this movie.  Can you speak to how important that was?  Anyone can take that.

JUDY REYES:  For me, it was very important.  It speaks to the authenticity of the story that we’re telling although it challenges the audience to actually keep up, but the fact is is that’s probably part of the challenge of the situation that caused this so-called Zero Tolerance Policy when people are not familiar.  But it gives us an opportunity to step into a world, into another’s person struggle through their very experience.  So, for me it was exciting to have a film that presents the Spanish and that we struggled to keep it in.  It was very important to all of us, everybody that you see on the screen, for the very reasons that that’s the story that you’re telling, and there’s really no reason not to.  Obviously, you have to allow a balance but I think that we did a really, really wonderful job, and I appreciate Life time for bringing the story to you.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Howard, you’re up next.

QUESTION:  This question is for Judy.  As Gloria stated, the previous administration instituted this policy of zero tolerance and a separation of family, but that situation still is instituted.  It’s still occurring.  How many families are still separated and the reparation of the family members, how is that coming along?

JUDY REYES:  I can’t speak to the actual number, but it’s an unacceptable number.  It is in the thousands of the families that are still being separated from their children.  Some have been sent back.  Others are still here.  It’s been such a chaotic and disorganized and dreadful process that a lot of parents are having trouble seeking and finding where their children are.  I know that the current administration is doing what’s in their power to reunite the children, because they do acknowledge it.  We all wish, I know I wish, that it could be done faster, that more attention can be given to it, but I’m hopeful because attention, a light has been focused and given of the story of Cynthia and Jimena, and how the truth about the reasons that people come here, the struggle that they have getting here, the attempts that they make, the multiple attempts because things back home where they live are that bad, and the desensitization of the people who are in charge of these facilities, for lack of a better term, and always looking for that one light, because people who actually risk coming here are of extraordinary hope and faith and because they don’t want to surrender to the struggle, to the crime, to the threats, especially with their children, and I do appreciate the efforts that are being made by the current administration.

QUESTION:  Do you find any irony in the fact that this is a nation of immigrants and the fact that the person who instituted the policy was the son of a — a grandson of an immigrant and, yet, there seems to be a thought process that my family should be the last family that’s entered?

JUDY REYES:  Of course it’s absurd and it is rooted in a lot more than irony, and I also, as well as Fatima, got to speak to the people who play.  I got to speak to Thelma, and the thing about Thelma is that she’s been doing this for decades, because she knows that’s how it is and that’s how it’s always been, and our attempt in telling a story like this is it is that it changes, because it’s simply wrong.  It can’t be that because you came here before me or because your people came here in another way, on a boat, on a plane or whatever the heck, or undocumented, that you get to be the last one.  It speaks to a lot of the things that we have to pay attention in other countries where people leave for this very reason.  Nobody wants to leave their own land.  They want to leave fear and crime and danger.

GLORIA REUBEN:  Climate.

QUESTION:  Thank you very much.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  (Makeesha @ 01:27:29).

QUESTION:  Yes.  I had a question for Fatima, Fatima.  Am I saying your name right?

FATIMA MOLINA:  Fatima, yes.

QUESTION:  Fatima.  Yes, I love your name.  Yes, I loved you on “Who Killed Sara,” and I wanted to talk about how —

FATIMA MOLINA:  Aw, thank you.

QUESTION:  Yes.  This is a very different motherhood role for you.

FATIMA MOLINA:  Yeah.

QUESTION:  And thankfully because we didn’t even get a — Well, I don’t want to ruin it for anybody.  But, anyway, can you talk about is that one of the reasons you wanted to take this role? And are you hoping to sort of broaden your audience and get more exposure on this side of the mat?

FATIMA MOLINA:  Well, I have no doubt of this story, you know.  I think this is a (call about @ 01:28:17) has happened and continue happening, and for me it’s real important that so many people can watch this movie, this story.  It’s really, really important for me as a Mexican.  I know that we are speaking for a lot of people, and this is really important for all the team that we are part of this.  And I’m so sure that so many people are going to understand what we want to say, this is not correct, and we want that things change in these kind of situations.  We really need changes in all the world, and I’m so glad to be a part of this project.  I’m so happy to share with these amazing people.  They’re amazing actresses, and I’m just so happy to present this.  I know this is a big, big call to a lot of people, and I feel good.

QUESTION:  Me too.  Thank you so much.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  And our final question before we go is for everyone.  If you could tell us what it was like filming on location in Mexico.

GLORIA REUBEN:  No comment.  No, I’m just kidding.

(Laughter.)

JUDY REYES:  You know, for me, because there was so much Spanish in the film it spoke to — it really challenged me.  Spanish was my first language, but I’ve communicated in English most of my life, and I’m from the Caribbean, and this is a, obviously, a Central American country.  There’s something palpable about the struggle that shooting on location brings you.  It kind of almost puts you in that place.

FATIMA MOLINA:  Yeah.

JUDY REYES:  I think as actors we also have a tendency to create it.  It’s not like we’re dramatic or anything, but it was — I thought it was really essential.  It brought a lot to me and that I’ll always have with me, and the wonderful people that we work with just worked really hard to realize this film.  I think they received a challenge as well through the story that we were telling.

GLORIA REUBEN:  Yeah, no question.  I just have to say, Judy, to echo that, for sure, the crew was awesome.  It was amazing.

FATIMA MOLINA:  Yes.

GLORIA REUBEN:  And I didn’t do a lot of exterior stuff but of course to have that kind of, you know, the stuff, the scenes that I know were shot exterior, you had to have it there and you had to film I there, because it’s literally in the air.  Everything looks different.  Everything feels different when you’re actually on the ground in the areas where, you know, that are very indicative of the true story so, yeah.  But, again, the crew, awesome, amazing, hard working and it was terrific in that regard, for sure.  Great director, too, so.

MODERATOR:  Thank you so much.  Thank you to all our panelists today, and stay tuned for our next panel.

JUDY REYES:  Thank you.

MORE INFO:

Trailer Lifetime Site

Torn from Her Arms is the timely story of Cindy and Jimena Madrid, a mother and daughter who fled violence in El Salvador, only to be separated at the U.S. border. Detained in different centers, Cindy and Jimena’s story gained national attention when a gut-wrenching audiotape of six-year old Jimena crying for her motherwas leaked, helping to alert the world to what was happening to undocumented immigrant families at the border. Torn From Her Arms shines a spotlight on the harsh child separation policies in place as part of the zero-tolerance policy and the struggle to reunite families.

Lifetime Partners with KIND (Kids In Need Of Defense) on New PSA Featuring The Cast of Torn From Her Arms

LIFETIME PARTNERS WITH KIND (KIDS IN NEED OF DEFENSE) ON NEW PSA FEATURING THE CAST FROM TORN FROM HER ARMS PREMIERING OCTOBER 30

PSA to Run on Air and Be Featured on Lifetime and KIND’s Social and Digital Platforms
To Help Bring Awareness to the Ongoing Family Separation Crisis

View PSA Here.

Los Angeles, CA (October 14, 2021) – Lifetime is proud to partner with Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), the country’s preeminent nongovernmental organization devoted to the protection of unaccompanied and separated children, on a PSA featuring the cast from the network’s upcoming film Torn from Her Arms.  Additionally, Lifetime is donating $10,000 to KIND, to help in their efforts to raise awareness to the ongoing issue of family separation at the border.  The PSA, which features stars Judy Reyes, Fatima Molina, and Vicky Araico, will air on Lifetime following the premiere of Torn from Her Arms on October 30 at 8/7c and will run on both the network and KIND’s social and digital platforms.

“KIND is grateful to Lifetime for reminding audiences of the needless suffering caused by family separation. It’s pain that continues to this day as many children remain separated from their parents and live each day with this trauma,” said KIND President Wendy Young. “Lifetime’s generous support will help KIND’s continuing family reunification efforts and our representation of separated children. Torn from Her Arms depicts a policy that must never happen again and encourages us to consider a more humane treatment of the most vulnerable seeking safety at our borders.”

Amidst the ongoing crisis at the U.S. border, Torn from Her Arms depicts the harrowing true story of a mother and daughter who must find their way back to each other after being separated. Judy Reyes (Devious Maids, Claws) takes on the role of Thelma Garcia, a Texas Immigration lawyer who works tirelessly to reunite the pair, and Gloria Reuben (Mr. Robot, ER) portrays Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist ProPublica reporter, Ginger Thompson, who broke the story. 

The movie follows Cindy Madrid (Fátima Molina, Who Killed Sara?) and her six-year-old daughter, Ximena (Camila Nuñez), who fled violence in El Salvador for safety in the U.S., only to be separated at the border as a part of the Administration’s Zero Tolerance Policy. Detained in detention centers in different states, Cindy and Ximena endured inhumane living conditions and inadequate medical care, but that was nothing compared to the emotional toll of being apart. Their story would gain national attention when a whistleblower leaked a gut-wrenching audiotape of six-year-old Ximena crying for her mother. The onslaught of media attention incited by Ginger’s story alerted the nation to the cruelties being committed against undocumented immigrant families at the border.

ABOUT KIND

Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) is the preeminent U.S.-based nongovernmental organization devoted to the protection of unaccompanied and separated children. KIND envisions a world in which every unaccompanied child on the move has access to legal counsel and has their rights and well-being protected as they migrate alone in search of safety.

In 2008, KIND was founded by the Microsoft Corporation and UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie to address the gap in legal services for unaccompanied minors. KIND now has offices across the United States and in Mexico that provide unaccompanied children with holistic care that includes legal assistance and social services. Through strategic partnerships, KIND provide pro bono legal representation for refugee and migrant children across the country. Since its inception, KIND has received referrals for more than 27,000 cases and now serves over 5,900 children annually in partnership with nearly 700 law firm, corporate, law school and bar association partners.

Beyond U.S. borders, KIND’s Mexico-based offices and its programming in Central America works with partners on the ground to address the root causes of migration, protect children during migration, and connect repatriated children to essential services. Through its European Initiative, KIND and partners in Belgium, France, Greece, Ireland, and the United Kingdom work to ensure access to high quality pro bono legal assistance for unaccompanied children in Europe.

Each of these efforts informs KIND’s robust state, national, and international advocacy and public education work to champion policies and laws that protect unaccompanied children on the move no matter where they are in their migration journey

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

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"Torn From Her Arms" poster

Interview with Elisabeth Röhm, Justina Machado and Skyler Samuels

TV Interview!

Elisabeth Röhm, Justina Machado and Skyler Samuels of "Switched Before Birth" on Lifetime

Interview with Elisabeth Röhm, Justina Machado and Skyler Samuels of “Switched Before Birth” on Lifetime by Suzanne 9/14/21

This was from Lifetime’s “Fall Press Panel” last month. It was great to speak with these amazing actresses and directors. I’m a huge fan of Elisabeth, not only from “One Life to Live,” but also from “Angel” and “Law and Order,” among many other movies and shows. She directed this movie rather than appearing in it. It’s her second time directing. She seems to really enjoy it. It’s a good movie, which Machado and Samuels star in, so make sure you check it out 10/23 on Lifetime.

MODERATOR:  Our next panel for today is “Switched Before Birth” starring Justina Machado and Skyler Samuels and directed by Elisabeth Rohm.  Hi, ladies.  Thank you all for being here.  Our first question is from Suzanne.

QUESTION: My question is for Elisabeth.  I remember you on “One Life to Live” by the way, so.  I’ve been watching you a long time.

ELISABETH ROHM:  That definitely dates me by a couple of decades.

QUESTION:  Aww… So how often does this sort of thing happen, the IVF switching thing that they show in the movie?

ELISABETH ROHM:  Well, you know, statistically speaking 15% of couples will struggle with getting pregnant naturally.  I was one of those and you know, look, it’s a not-regulated industry, federally regulated industry, so it’s hard to say percentage-wise what kind of mishap, how many times a mishap like this will happen, but you know it’s frequent enough that we really hope that this film makes you take a good, long hard look at the fertility industry.

QUESTION:  And as a follow up, do you prefer directing over acting or do you like both?

ELISABETH ROHM:  Well, if I get to act with women like this, I want to be acting.  No.  But directing, listen I feel really privileged that Lifetime has the Broader Focus program and Tanya Lopez created this opportunity for me to pivot in my life and career.  And I really love directing, especially when you get to direct a friend like Justina Machado who I starred opposite and just, you know, Skyler Samuels and all the actors in it.  So, I have a big place in my heart for directing right now.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

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

QUESTION:  Thank you.  Elisabeth, my question is for you, too.  You have taken some very big and emotional swings with your directing so far, “Girl in the Basement.”  I remember the last one of these you talked about how emotional it was to work with the actors on that.  For your second project, were you looking for something as emotional in a different way or would you have been satisfied with something like “Psycho Intern” which is also in the Lifetime can?

ELISABETH ROHM:  Well, to be honest I probably would have accepted any job from Lifetime.  I have a deep gratitude to the network and I’m excited about developing other projects with them.  Justina and I have some exciting things that we’re working on together.  But I felt very privileged to be given the opportunity to direct something about IVF because I really went through my own journey, and it was painful and difficult.  And these actresses really captured what is deeply personal to me and it’s like lightning in a bottle to watch these two act in this movie, so I was lucky I got a good second swing.

QUESTION:  As a follow up, knowing the subject as you did personally and also having gone through the prep for the first film, did you find it — I’m using the word “easier” hesitatingly, because I’m sure subject-wise it’s not necessarily easier.  Did you find it a smoother process this time around directing for the second time?

ELISABETH ROHM:  Maybe ignorance is bliss.  I think the first time was a little bit easier.  The second time you know all the things that are required in a different way.  But I think it was easier because I had actresses that were my friends playing the lead roles and I felt really supported by them to just thrive and succeed.  And it really does take a village.  And, you know, I have the utmost respect for these two.  So, I would say — I guess I would say it’s easier.  It’s just I knew the stakes were high.

QUESTION:  Thanks very much.

MODERATOR:  Thanks, Jay.  Our next question is from Jamie Steinberg.

QUESTION:  For Justina and Skyler, what kind of research did you do on this kind of surrogacy and the pain, both of — on both sides of the women’s viewpoints?

JUSTINA MACHADO:  I can’t see anybody.  I never know.  I guess I’ll go first.  You know, we all know people — we all know women.  I mean, I certainly know women who have struggled with fertility, who have had to go through these cycles to try to get pregnant and the ups and the downs and all of that that comes with wanting a family. You know, it’s a very, very human story which is why I was so attracted to it.  But also, I think the second part of your question was how our characters — was that the second part of your question?

QUESTION:  Yes, the pain that a woman on either side feels in this situation.

JUSTINA MACHADO:  Right.  And that’s what’s so beautiful about this movie because you really get those two points of views.  I mean, no one is wrong here.  No one is wrong in the movie.  You know, Olivia’s character is — this is what she feels, she carried this baby.  My character is like this is my egg.  So, no one is wrong, but we’re both so passionate, both those characters are passionate about their point of view.  I was all for Anna’s point of view. I truly believe that if that were to happen to me that would be my point of view. I want my baby. So the beauty of this is you get to see two very valid points of views.

SKYLER SAMUELS:  Yeah, I completely agree with what Justina said.  There is no right or wrong.  It is complicated and messy. I watched it. I still don’t know, and I pray to God I’m never put in a position where I would have to choose that.  But you know like Elisabeth was saying, IVF mishaps happen far too often.  It’s not regulated.  And the fact that anybody could be put in that position is unthinkable.  And as far as research for the role, interestingly enough, I have a couple of close girlfriends who throughout 2020 had been going through some real fertility struggles.  And in the pandemic of it all, you know, I think that was another tier of isolation.  You know, being in a pandemic is isolating.  Fertility struggles are isolating.  Put those together, and it’s a really, really challenging time. And you know getting to sort of be on that journey with them trying to be supportive and trying to understand how they feel both physically and emotionally and the fact that there are things that women who go through this process can’t explain to their husbands or their partners.  Like as much as they want them to know there’s something that’s happening in you that’s just so raw and confusing and complicated that it can be hard.  And there was a really beautiful thing which happened which was on our first day of filming.  I’m in my sort of funny pregnancy, you know, my fake pregnancy belly.  And I had sent a picture to my best friend being like, you know, look who’s got the belly.  And she sent me a picture with a positive pregnancy test.  So, my girlfriend who had been struggling all year and had gone through this process, I found out that she got pregnant the day we started this movie.  So that kind of felt like my good luck charm going into this.

QUESTION:  And then you had to start bawling and ruin the scene.

SKYLER SAMUELS:  Well, yes.  I do a lot of bawling. This is true.  Skyler cries a lot in this movie.  And while I’m, you know, not a mother myself, I hope one day.  I’m very familiar with what grief feels like and with loss.  And I think that that is universal to all of us.  So, though this movie is about motherhood, I think more than anything it’s about a sense of belonging and a sense of grief and how to sort of live with loss that you just — you can’t make sense of.  And I think that’s something that everybody can relate to.

MODERATOR:  Thank you.  Our next question is from Steve Gidlow.

QUESTION:  Hey, my question is for Justina and for Skyler.  I’m just wondering what it like is being directed by somebody who has acted as opposed to someone who’s just a technically trained director.  And how different is it again, on top of that having a friend direct you on the project?

JUSTINA MACHADO:  I always — I don’t necessarily think you have to be an actor to be a great director, you know.  But I do think that that’s a big plus.  And there’s just things that they understand, actors-turned-directors.  I feel like there’s an understanding with how to deal with different personalities on set — how to speak to people on set because they know how they like to be spoken to.  They know how they like to be dealt with.  And like the little kookiness that sometimes we as actors can have that they will understand and not think it’s a different kind of behavior.  That always helps because somebody has been there.  And then when you’re working with a friend, it’s just even more — you’re even more free and more vulnerable.  I felt I could be freer and not be judged by certain things that I thought or was thinking, or nothing was a dumb question, or nothing was something that that they didn’t have time for.  And Elisabeth and I are dear friends.  I mean, we met doing “Family Pictures” a couple years ago for Lifetime.  So just being able to work with somebody that I already have such a great rapport with, just made work a lot easier and fun as much as we had to cry.

ELISABETH ROHM:  I was going to say.

JUSTINA MACHADO:  And we got to feel like this.  It was fun.

ELISABETH ROHM:  No more crying.  You did it perfectly.  Now it’s done.

JUSTINA MACHADO:  So that was my experience.

SKYLER SAMUELS:  Yeah. I think there’s always a benefit having someone direct you who’s been in your shoes.  But I think there’s actors-turned-directors, actors who are friends and there’s Elisabeth Rohm.  Elisabeth is my biggest girl crush of all time.  She knows this.  I announce it wildly to the world.  I met her over Zoom last year and I got off the call and I said to my reps, “Yeah, so I want to grow up to be her, so let’s figure out how we can be best friends” because I absolutely adore this woman and what she’s done.  And how absolutely poised and creative and intelligent and thoughtful she is in everything that she does.  No question this was some of the hardest work I think I’ve done in my career to date.  This is the closest character I’ve played to myself which is a lot more challenging than I anticipated.  And I don’t think I could have done the work that I did without Elisabeth.  She gave me permission to take up space and be free in a way that no one has before, and it’s been a gift moving forward.  I don’t know that how I feel about my job and my abilities would be the same without Elisabeth.  She’s just — I don’t know she’s my acting guardian angel always.  She’s a magical person.

ELISABETH ROHM:  I love you guys.  I think I’m going to —

QUESTION:  Your turn to cry now.

SKYLER SAMUELS:  I can’t help but cry.

QUESTION:  Thank you so much.

ELISABETH ROHM:  And so really, it’s a love story between these two, you know?  That’s really — outside of it being like a film that’s also — Lifetime’s so good at making not just movies, but movements.  This is a movement in a sense, but it’s really a love story between friends.  So, the friendship between them is really felt and like they both said, navigating grief and finding each other through it all.  So thanks, thanks for that, you guys.

QUESTION:  Thank you so much.

MODERATOR:  Thanks, Steve.  Our next question is from Jamie Ruby.

QUESTION:  Hi, guys.  Thanks for talking to us.  Skyler, you started to say how like playing something more towards yourself was more difficult.  Can you kind of talk like expand on that?  What was it that you found difficult about bringing that?

SKYLER SAMUELS:  Yeah, I mean you know I’ve been very lucky that I’ve worked for many years and gotten to play many parts, you know, a lot of which have been you know sort of like supernatural or superhero and I’m kicking ass and doing all kinds of fun things.  And I’ve loved those parts.  They’re wonderful.  But I think there’s something that when you prepare as an actor to play a role that feels like you, when I read the script, there are things that Olivia Crawford says that I’m like, “Oh god, that’s like straight out of my mouth.”  Or just like the way that she moves through space, it felt like me.  And I think what was both challenging and liberating about that experience was that I had to work through my own grief in real time doing this movie.  That there is no barrier between sort of — the barrier between Olivia Crawford and Skyler Samuels was like paper thin.  And I’m not used to being that close to the character.  And I think that it made — everything emotional that happens in the movie is as real as can be.  I had to really be okay with bringing my own real-life grief and experience and struggles and triumphs and just sort of putting it all out there in a way that I haven’t had to do before.  And like I just said, I couldn’t have done that without the guidance, love and support of Elisabeth Rohm and Justina.  What a partner to just like let you do your thing because it’s challenging.  But it’s also really liberating to be able to do that.  It sort of sets a part of you free.  That’s the best way I can describe it.

QUESTION:  Thank you so much.

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

QUESTION:  Thank you.  Justina, this is for you.  You’ve been at this career a long time.  And sometimes it takes that one galvanizing thing like “One Day at a Time” where things really break open and opportunities like this come your way.  Is it safe to assume this is an especially sweet time for you now?

JUSTINA MACHADO:  You know, it’s so bizarre because it’s so not a sweet time in the world with everything that’s happening.  But it’s kind of been, you know, I’ve been okay.  And I’m grateful.  I’m grateful for that.  And you’re absolutely right, I’ve been at it a long time.  So, I’m grateful to still be here, still at it.  And “One Day at a Time” did open this whole new world to me, for me.  And it feels good.  It feels really good to be in a place where you’re not just the person behind the camera, that people really — I mean, in front of the camera.  People really want to know your opinion, you know.  It’s valued what you have to say.  It’s more of — it’s the most I’ve ever collaborated in my life in my career, this time in my career.  So, it’s been wonderful.  And these movies — this movie that we did, Elisabeth and Skyler and I, and then Elisabeth was talking about the fact that we’re also working on some other things — it’s been liberating, exciting.  And yes, I’m happy because I’m getting old — so I’m happy.

ELISABETH ROHM:  And everybody’s who loves you is dying for you to direct.  That’s what’s going to happen next.

JUSTINA MACHADO:  Exactly.  I want to move to that, too.  I want to direct.  I want to do all these things.  Yes, that’s how I feel so yes.  It feels very good, Jay.  Thank you, it feels good.

QUESTION:  Thank you very much.  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  A big thank you to all our panelists.  Ladies, we really appreciate you taking the time to be with us today.

ELISABETH ROHM:  Thank you.

JUSTINA MACHADO:  Thank you.

SKYLER SAMUELS:  Thank you, guys.

MORE INFO:

Preview and more

Switched Before Birth
Premieres October 23 at 8/7c

Switched Before Birth follows Olivia Crawford (Skyler Samuels) and her husband Brian (Bo Yokely), who after multiple miscarriages, numerous failed IVF trials and stretching themselves to the limit financially, finally receive the joyous news that she’s pregnant with twins.  While going through her latest round of IVF, Oliva meets and becomes fast friends with Anna Ramirez (Justina Machado), who is struggling to have a child after years of focusing on her successful restaurants.  When Anna becomes pregnant as well, the ladies celebrate and begin to prepare for their babies.  Olivia is also there for Anna when she suffers a devastating miscarriage and struggles to move forward while her marriage to restaurateur Gabe Ramirez (Yancey Arias) crumbles. When Olivia and Brian finally welcome their twins Olivia’s life feels complete, but the happy couple’s world is turned upside down when they discover that not only are the babies not twins, but one of the babies is also biologically Anna and Gabe’s that was implanted into Olivia by mistake.  Now pitted against each other, Olivia will do anything to keep the baby that she carried, while Anna will stop at nothing to bring her son home.

Switched Before Birth is produced by Big Dreams Entertainment and Swirl for Lifetime.  Leslie Greif, Laurie Pozmantier and Stacy Mandelberg serve as executive producers and Elisabeth Rohm directs a script from Kelly Fullerton. Eric Tomosunas also serves as executive producer and Alex Kerr and Ron Robinson serve as producers.

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"Switched Before Birth" poster

Interview with Shannen Doherty, Favour Onwuka, and Jenika Rose

TV Interview!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JENIKA ROSE:  You go first.

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

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

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

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

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

BOTH:

You did.

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

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

JENIKA ROSE:  Thank you so much.

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

DANIELLE von ZERNECK:  No.

JENIKA ROSE:  No.

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

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

(Laughter.)

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

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

(Laughter.)

Suzanne:  Thank you.

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

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

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

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

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

QUESTION:  Thank you very much.

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

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

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

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Preview

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

DTB_04242021_DP_0295_TD

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

Interview with Kelley Kali and Deon Cole

TV Interview!

Deon Cole and Kelley Kali

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

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

Video of our chat!

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

Kelley:   I know, right?

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

Kelley:   Thank you so much for saying that.

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

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

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

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

Kelley:   Good choices.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kelley:   Wouldn’t that be fun?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kelley:   You know, sometimes you ask for forgiveness.

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

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

Kelley:   Oh, yeah.

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

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

Suzanne:   That was all improv, that whole part?

Deon:   Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

Deon:   Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MORE INFO:

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

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

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

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

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

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SXSW Review

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

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Deon Cole and Kelley Kali

Interview with RJ Mitte

TV Interview!

RJ Mitte of "Triumph" - photo by Bobby Quillard

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

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

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

Here’s the video of our chat!

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

R.J.   Thank you. Thank you so much.

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

R.J.   I hope so too.

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

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

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

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

Suzanne:   Okay, that must have been helpful.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Suzanne:   Cool. And where was the film shot?

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

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

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

Suzanne:   Wow.

R.J.   So, we had a massive hiatus.

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

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

Suzanne:   Okay, what happened?

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

Suzanne:  

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

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

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

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

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

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

Suzanne:   That’s when you finished it?

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

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

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

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

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

Suzanne:   Oh, tell us about the foundation.

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

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

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

Suzanne:   You sound busy.

R.J.   I work every day.

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

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

Suzanne:   What about your acting role models?

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

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

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

Suzanne:   Yeah, I’ve heard of it.

R.J.   Cool.

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

R.J.   Late 90s. Yeah.

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

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

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

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

Suzanne:   And Johnathon played…Jonah Hex.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MORE INFO:

RJ Mitte Biography

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

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

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

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

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

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RJ Mitte of "Triumph" - photo by Bobby Quillard

Interview with Cybil Lake

TV Interview!

actress Cybil Lake

Interview with Cybil Lake of the film “Central Park Dark” by Krista

Cybil was very nice and excited to talk to me. She is so enthusiastic about her work and seems to be a hard worker. She talks about how she is always pitching an idea and always coming up with new ideas. I think some of the ideas she is pitching are interesting, and I hope they will come to fruition. I wish her the best in all her endeavors.

Krista: How did you get started in acting and how did you decide you wanted to write and direct?

Cybil: I have always loved performing. I have always loved acting and writing. I kind of like, even as a kid, you know, and as soon as I could, like even in high school and junior high [break in audio] …Everybody’s student films. I was at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, and then, from there, I started making my own films, because I [knew] a lot of actors at that point, and I saw how it was really hard for them to find any roles. So, since I was a writer, I just kind of wrote my own part. Most of the things that I think about I create, so I can act in them. I usually don’t get story inspirations with other characters, not always. I’m more excited when it’s a female lead that I can play, because thus far those roles haven’t been given to me. Thus far.

Krista: Well, hopefully that will change.

Cybil: Yeah.

Krista: For your new movie Central Park Dark, I see you directed as well as acted, portraying Anna. How did the idea for that movie come about and the idea to direct as well as act in it?

Cybil: I was actually working on a serious project. I was writing sort of a serious project, and then I decided I wanted to write something that was light and fun and entertainment. It was like I just wanted entertainment after that more serious project that I was working on. I thought, “You know, that’s why I like movies.” I like movies to kind of – well, for two reasons. One is for entertainment…which is educational, which is like documentaries, but the rest is really entertainment and having the chance to have an adventure.

So, I love the dynamic of the three characters. You know, I love a love triangle. Love triangles are like my thing, because I think at the heart of everything, a lot of arguments and a lot of stories always boil down to a love triangle. And this initially started as a love triangle, because Tom (Tom Sizemore) is married to a friend that is having an affair with [my character]. That has drama inherent in it. 100% there’s drama inherent in that situation, because there’s going to be problems. Someone’s going to get hurt; someone’s going to get mad.

Krista: What was your experience like directing and acting in the movie? How did you balance that?

Cybil: Since I’m sort of used to it, I enjoy it. As long as I give myself a second to switch gears, it’s okay. There are some times in the movie when I can tell that I didn’t, if I remember that I didn’t. So, I think I can see it on the screen, but I don’t know if other people can. So, if I give myself the same time that I give other actors, then I’m good.

Krista: Without giving anything away, can you give a short summary of what the movie is about?

Cybil: Yes. So, the tagline that we’ve been using, is it’s a one night stand that turns into a never ending nightmare. So, basically, Tom is an alcoholic married doctor who during a relapse reconnects with Anna, my character, and I’m an unstable woman with whom he has a past. We start up again; I think we’re gonna have this great relationship, and then he kind of lets me know that’s not going to happen, that it was just a mistake. So, in a heated argument, I jump out of the window, and then I begin to torment him. So, it’s unclear if I’m alive or not. So, that’s when it kind of shifts into more horror elements. And a part of the story…Anna appears to Tom in his dreams and lets him in on a secret about the long history of dark forces in Central Park. Then, she uses these forces to take revenge on Tom. Then, Tom is trying to get back to his normal life and keep a secret from Brenda (Margaret Reed), and it’s sort of a descent into more of a nightmare.

Krista: Oh, wow, that sounds like a great movie.

Cybil: Thank you. Thank you.

Krista: What was it like working with Tom Sizemore? Did you know him, or had you worked with him before?

Cybil: No, I didn’t. I didn’t know him. I reached out, and it was perfect timing. He had a window before another project, and I was pregnant at the time, so I had to shoot now as well, so we shot ASAP. You know, there wasn’t much pre production or anything. I wish there was a little more planning; we jumped into it. He’s a great professional. I kept my eye on him most of the shoot, that was the biggest job that I had. He was [did] professional work. He knew his lines, and he was very good with showing up when he needed to.

Krista: I just didn’t know if you had known him in the past or if he was a new contact.

Cybil: It was a new contact, and we hit it off well. We had things in common. We both struggled with addiction, so that’s a good bond. That kind of levels the fear, and you can talk to each other with a common language and have an understanding and compassion for each other. We were lucky. Actually, I think looking back, there was sort of a rapport that we had immediately, and that’s actually just luck too. You know, with having never met somebody, that’s not always achievable. You see it even on movies and TV shows. You’re like, “Those people don’t look like a couple.”

Krista: What was the biggest challenge for you for Central Park Dark, and did the pandemic impact any of the filming or anything?

Cybil: The biggest challenge was definitely the budget, because we didn’t have one. When that ended up being a bigger problem, because I also rushed to [into] shooting, and so I had problems with the script. I probably could have done a rewrite, but there wasn’t a time for it. So, I tried to fix it in the editing process and [with] reshooting, I think, two times. I did what I could, and I kind of rewrote the story when I was editing. But, for sure, in an independent film, always I would say that answer is going to be cash flow. You’re just not able to do certain things with with a small budget, but I also think that sometimes those constraints open up the project to creative answers instead of monetary ones.

Krista: Think outside the box.

Cybil: Yeah, exactly.

Krista: What was your favorite moment from Central Park Dark, either on screen or behind the scenes?

Cybil: Because I’m a mushy mother now, I would say the ending – this isn’t giving it away, don’t worry. She’s holding a baby. That was my three month old baby, which I had in reshoots. So, seeing him, that was the best.

Krista: I can imagine.

Cybil: But I also love the scene when we have a really heated argument, and that was definitely my favorite stuff. The horror stuff I enjoyed. I surprised myself, and I liked that stuff, but I really liked the heated, you know, one person to another person argument, because as an actor, that’s the most fun, because it’s sort of alive. It is on fire. He was really angry at me, and it’s kind of fun.

Krista: Well, how does acting and directing in Central Park Dark compare to the other work that you’ve done in the past?

Cybil: You know, I think that [for] this I had to learn all the ugly technical details. I knew some things, like I knew how to edit, you know, rudimentary, and things like that. But it taught me to really persevere in complete, like completion became the option, because I could I could quit. I could set it aside, knowing it has issues, but instead, compelling myself to complete it was the biggest challenge. It really shows me there’s something to be said about finishing a project, even if it’s going to be imperfect, because actually, things that have a $200 million budget are also super imperfect. So, just finishing it. And now, I feel that I’ve had a lot of opportunities with the press, and it’s something I get to talk about while I move forward, and I’m ultimately proud of accomplishing it, of completing it. Completing a film is probably the hardest thing. As an actor, you go, and you do a few days here and there. When you’re done, you don’t even hear again [from] the TV shows and network stuff, like I rarely even hear people say, “I saw you on such and such.” I’ve never seen most of my work, because there wasn’t any communication. It’s interesting. So, it’s night and day. This is maybe too much control, because there’re too many details. This is, for me, personally, wearing too many hats. I love just showing up and acting. I think that’s what I’m going to be looking forward to more of. I think that’s hopefully within my future, because the nitty gritty technical stuff can be rough…

Krista: I understand that.

Cybil: Yeah.

Krista: I see that you recently moved from New York City to Los Angeles. How’s that been?

Cybil: Oh my gosh. I mean, talk about crazy timing. I guess I moved here seven months before the pandemic, and now I can’t believe it, because I’ve been here for a year and a half. So, I can’t believe that now, the majority of my time in California has been pandemic life, which is different all around. It’s a big shift, because I’ve been in Manhattan, in Brooklyn, in New York City for a long, long time, 22 years. This is – I’m used to [unintelligible], but people say, because of the pandemic, that’s not really there now, but I really thrive in – I like the feeling of a crowd and that there’s lots of people around. I like the activity, it gives you this sense [that] there’s always something that’s about to happen, even if there’s not. And that’s what’s actually kind of weird, is that now, living somewhere different, I’m like, “Oh, wow.” Like, even then, if you want to make something happen, you actually just have to do it, but with New York, you sort of think you’re just gonna be swept up and something’s gonna happen. Here it’s just like flatline. It’s just not loud. There’s not that energy. Just, especially with the pandemic, it’s like you and your mind, and me and my mind and my two tablets.

Krista: [When you moved] to Los Angeles, was it for an acting career to hopefully give you more opportunities?

Cybil: Yeah, yeah, exactly. And actually, both, ironically, fell through. It’s funny, but not graceful, actually, because I do really like LA, and I’ve been out here for different things, but even with those opportunities, I was bummed out that they fell apart, which, that’s what happens with projects. I mean, in fact my project would be one of those many that fall apart, if I didn’t say, “Let’s reshoot.” [unintelligible] It’s so interesting, because now I really see how easy things can just fall apart, you know, because problems come up.

Krista: Do you have any other upcoming projects that you can tell us about?

Cybil: Yes, I have a feature film that I wrote. It’s called White Lies and Darker Ones, and I can tell you that’s about Nina, a mother who seeks revenge for her daughter’s death, [but] instead uncovers the small town’s darkest secrets, including those within her own marriage. So, that’s a dark thriller.

I was pitching that for a little bit, and then people were kind of saying, “You know what? We’re not doing dark stuff.” So, then, I wrote a dramedy, you know, because I think the pandemic people were like, “We need lighter stuff.” That was the feedback I was getting from different people I pitched it to. And pitching now is 100% on Zoom and Skype. So, then, I wrote a dramedy called by Bicoastal, and that’s a fish out of water drama about a New Yorker who moved to LA to become a talent agent while struggling to stay sober and reconnect with her husband and find forgiveness. So, that’s a little bit lighter.

So, those are some of my options. Then, I also started writing something called Really Light, because I was like, they keep saying “light.” I’ve got to write something lighter. I started writing something called the Malibu Mother of Two. I just started writing that one.

Krista: Oh, well, they all sound good. I hope they all come to fruition.

Cybil: Thank you, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

Krista: What do you do when you’re not writing, acting, or directing? What do you do in your free time?

Cybil: I was going to say, I start pitching, pitching people the ideas. I meditate and [unintelligible]. I meditate, and I go to the beach, and I take care of my two toddlers. I also paint; I love painting.

Krista: I like the beach too.

Cybil: The beach is the best. I grew up in Rhode Island, which is on the East Coast, and now I’m on the west coast. It’s different. It’s different but equally beautiful, but it’s really different. Unless you were near the beach in the pandemic when everything shuts down. We can still go and sit in the sand, and that’s something really to do, and go for a long walk or run. So, I do that a lot. Yeah, even when things are closed, and there’s mountains here, which is really cool. We go hiking as well. It’s just the quality of life in California is superduper high. It’s a quality, beautiful place. It’s expensive, and it’s gorgeous.

Krista: Sounds pretty peaceful, and it probably helps a lot to clear your head and give you some inspiration.

Cybil: Absolutely, totally, totally. I think I’m actually more creative here, and I am so surprised, because I don’t know, like I’ve just been creative in this pandemic and over here in California. I don’t know what it is, and I don’t know what’s contributing into it to it, but I’ve been feeling like I just have a lot of different ideas.

I wrote another project called Moontown, and I was pitching that, but that was too big budget. I’m just always trying to hustle these days, because I think that’s the only way that things can happen. I actually I want to believe that things will just kind of roll towards me now peacefully. That would be nice.

Krista: What is the most memorable piece of advice that you’ve ever been given that has helped you in your career?

Cybil: I would say it’s really simple, but it’s be inside your own skin, because as an actor, that’s really good advice. Be inside your own skin, because that’s sort of like a ground view. So, I always find that very powerful.

Krista: Be yourself.

Cybil: Yeah, totally.

Krista: What piece of advice or tips would you give to someone who wants to get into a career with acting or directing?

Cybil: Definitely, I would say, start making your own work. You know, learn the mistakes, because I remember when I made my first short films, you make a film, you make so many mistakes and learn so much quickly, and then you do it again. And then you do it again. That’s the same feature that shows you just that you – it is always learning. Be willing to be learning. Be open to always be learning. It doesn’t stop; you have to keep working. You have to keep working on your own development as an artist, and you can choose to anytime give up, but if you really want to succeed, you have to really just stay on the path. You have to really stay on the path.

What I regret is I got discouraged when I was in my 20s. I made a feature film that was really good selling myself. In today’s market, I could totally sell it, [but] back then, there weren’t too many options. It was like you either get in Sundance, or you just sort of have a few small things and that’s it, but today, it’s so different. I mean, there’re so many outlets. And I got discouraged, and I kind of didn’t do stuff in film and TV for a few years. I really regret that time. I should have just kept going, but it pulled me back in anyway. I got cast in a commercial, and then I remembered how much I enjoyed acting, and I kind of got roped back into the business. When I did that, when I decided to come back, I was like, “Okay, but you have to understand, it’s unfair, and you have to deal with that.”…It’s an unfair business; you’re going to have a lot of failure. I have had so much failure that I don’t like to even tell people who are starting out. People ask me for advice. I don’t even want to tell them the truth. You don’t want to know. You don’t want to know, because the people who achieve it really young and continue to do so forever are real exceptions. You have to love it, and if you don’t love it, don’t do it; do something else.

Krista: I would say that you probably have to achieve your dreams and go for your dreams, but you probably have to also learn to accept the word “no.”

Cybil: Totally, totally, totally, totally, totally. Yeah. It’s all you’re gonna hear. In fact, I heard a producer, and I was like, I hope that’s not true, but I once heard a producer say, “You have to hear 1000 no’s before you even get a meeting.” I was like, “I don’t want to hear that.” I don’t know if I believed him. I hope he was exaggerating.

Krista: Well, that’s all the questions that I have for today. I thank you very much for talking with us. Talking was me today. I really did enjoy it. I hope that Central Park Dark will be very successful for you, and I hope all your upcoming projects will come about as well.

Cybil: Well, thank you so much. I am so happy we got to talk. It was super fun…It’s on Amazon and iTunes. Central Park Dark is on Amazon and iTunes now.

Here is the audio version of it.

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

MORE INFO:

Cybil Lake stars in the horror/thriller film CENTRAL PARK DARK, about a one-night stand that turns into a neveCentral Park Dark posterr-ending nightmare. Cybil is also the director of this mind-bending horror film that follows ‘Thomas’ (Tom Sizemore), an alcoholic married doctor who has a one-night stand with ‘Nina’ (Cybil).

Please see new trailer here: Central Park Dark Official Trailer

CENTRAL PARK DARK is a ‘Fatal Attraction meets Blair Witch Project set in Central Park’. Cybil recast Central Park as a darker place of unknown forces. The picturesque parts of the park are displayed, but Cybil’s film digs into the park’s underbelly, the off-limits woods that might as well be in the middle of nowhere. This film illustrates how individuals can be completely isolated in a city of nine million people.

Cybil Lake in "Central Park Dark"Cybil Lake is an American actor and filmmaker who has significant experience in the TV and film world. Her TV credits include “The Black List” with James Spader on NBC, “The Following” with Kevin Bacon on Fox, and “Show Me a Hero” directed by Academy Award Winner Paul Haggis for HBO. She has written, directed, and acted in numerous shorts, including An Echo Remains, which she screened at the Cannes Film Festival. Cybil was selected by NBC for a new filmmaker’s program, The Screening Room in 2010. She’s a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where she majored in film and acting.Tom Sizemore in "Central Park Dark"

Tom Sizemore who stars alongside Lake, has established himself as an unforgettable tough-guy actor, sought by the most respected directors in Hollywood. His first break came when Oliver Stone cast him in BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY and NATURAL BORN KILLERS. Sizemore wowed audiences and critics in Michael Mann’s crime thriller, HEAT. He was then cast in Martin Scorsese’s BRINGING OUT THE DEAD, RED PLANET, PEARL HARBOR. He then starred in Steven Spielberg’s WWII epic SAVING PRIVATE RYAN followed by another leading role in BLACK HAWK DOWN directed by Ridley Scott. Recently, he starred in “Shooter” on USA Network with Mark Wahlberg and the reboot of the TV series “Twin Peaks” directed by David Lynch.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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actress Cybil Lake

Primetime DVD Review: “Gunsmoke Movie Collection”

DVD Review!

Gunsmoke Movie Collection DVD cover

“Gunsmoke Movie Collection” Review by Suzanne 8/30/20

If you enjoy the classic “Gunsmoke” TV series, then you’ll probably enjoy these movies as well.  Even though the cast is older, they still do a great job on these later movies. The stories are solid. It’s not my favorite show, but I’ve seen many of the episodes because my dad used to watch it.  It’s fun seeing Matt Dillon with long hair and acting like John Wayne in these films. Sadly, the actress who played Kitty (Amanda Blake), died after the first movie.  Michael Learned stepped in to play an old romance of Matt’s.

There are 5 total Gunsmoke movies, but this collection only has the first three. It doesn’t appear as if the last two movies have come out yet. I wish I knew why. At any rate, if you’re a fan of the show, you’ll enjoy these movies. They have twice the action of the Gunsmoke TV series.

I wish they had more features on the DVD set. It has none. This set was clearly done cheaply.

MORE INFORMATION:

The classic ‘Gunsmoke: The Complete Movie Collection’ featuring James Arness in his  Emmy®️ -nominated role as Marshall Matt is coming to DVD, featuring all three movie sequels: Return to Dodge, The Last Apache, and To The Last Man on August 25 from CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Entertainment.

Gunsmoke: The Complete Movie Collection

Street Date: August 25, 2020

Format: DVD

The Gunsmoke Complete Movie Collection will feature all three movie sequels, starting off with the Return to Dodge, where Will Mannon (Steve Forrest) is released from prison and looking for revenge on Marshal Matt Dillion and Miss Kitty (Amanda Blake) for putting him there. Following the second film, The Last Apache, Matt Dillon responds to a letter from “Mike” Yardner (Michael Learned), an old friend where they discover a ranch has been raided by Apaches and Mike’s daughter, Beth, is kidnapped by ‘Wolf’, a rogue Apache. The film follows Dillion as he begins his search and rescue for Beth. Lastly, To The Last Man, retired Marshal Matt Dillion finds trouble in regards to rustlers stealing his cattle. Dillion tracks down rustlers in Pleasant Valley, Arizona, where a land-grab war arises.

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

Gunsmoke movie DVD covers

Primetime DVD Review: “G-LOC”

DVD Review!

G-LOC DVD cover

“G-LOC” Review by Suzanne 8/30/20

I really wanted to like this movie because it stars Stephen Moyer, who was so great in “True Blood” and “The GIfted.”  Also, I like scifi. However, the movie is a mess. If you like action, maybe you’ll like it, but it has a lot of slow, boring parts as well.  The name of the movie is based on what happens when you lose consciousness in space, due too much G-force.

The basic “universe” the movie is set in was interesting.  Earth is facing a new ice age in the future. A mysterious worm hole dubbed “The Gate” appears over the Earth, so humanity builds space ships to fly through it, to get to another world, Rhea.  Time is different on the other side, however. By the time the remaining humans decide to go through, the earliest human settlers of Rhea have decided not to take any more refugees. That part is interesting (and, of course, timely).  The hero, Bran (Moyer), is stranded in space on a dying ship, with just his A.I., Edison (who sounds a bit too much lik C-3PO).  They board another ship, but most of the crew is dead.

At this point, I was thinking, “How many times have we seen THIS scenario before?”  Answer: a lot, especially on “Doctor Who,” but also in many movies.  Then Bran (dumb name) meets a Rhean woman named Osha. Now, “Bran” is bad enough, but Osha? As in, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration?? No. Terrible names. Bran and Osha spend a lot of time trying to kill each other.  Throughout the movie, we can’t figure out if they’re going to have a romance or not.  The problem is, Moyer looks a lot older than her.  She seems closer to the age of his daughter.  In the end, though, they never become more than friends.  That question remains unanswered, and it’s not the only one.

One of the interesting parts of the movie is when Bran is thinking back to his family on Earth.  Unfortunately, that’s a pretty sad story.  John Rhys-Davies has a small part as his father-in-law.  The movie has a good ending, except we never get to see Rhea.  Most of the movie happens on a claustrophobic spaceship set.

I think this could have been a good movie in the hands of an experienced filmmaker.  Unfortunately, it moves too slowly and has a little too much going on at once.  It seems to be trying to be a dark, grim movie, but it has a facile ending that doesn’t match the tone of the rest of it.

MORE INFORMATION:

G-LOC Lionsgate PR

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

An epic sci-fi adventure set in a distant world, G-LOC premieres on DVD, Digital, and On Demand August 18 from Lionsgate. Fan favorites Stephen Moyer and Casper Van Dien star in this poignant, allegorical story set in a fantastic otherworld where humans are pitted against one another for survival. Also starring Tala Gouveia, Toby Osmond, and Shayne Ward, the G-LOC DVD will be available for the suggested retail price of $19.98.

OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS

With Earth virtually destroyed, Bran Marshall flees to the Rhea, a planet hostile to Earthlings. Escaping onto a Rhean supply ship, he finds the crew slaughtered, with the only survivor a female warrior named Ohsha. As the two try to kill one another, the ship is damaged by meteorites. Bran (Moyer) and Ohsha must join forces to salvage the craft before it impacts the planet below — and the humans that live there. This gripping sci-fi epic stars Stephen Moyer, Casper Van Dien, and John Rhys-Davies.

DVD / DIGITAL SPECIAL FEATURES

  • “Making Of” Featurette

CAST

Stephen Moyer                       TV’s “Fortunate Son,” TV’s “The Gifted,” TV’s “The Bastard Executioner,” and TV’s “True Blood”

Tala Gouveia                          Cold Feet, Before We Grow Old, TV’s “Scream Street”

Toby Osmond                         TV’s “Game Of Thrones”, Summerland, Black Ops

Shayne Ward                          TV’s Coronation Street, You Are Beautiful, Black Ops

with Casper Van Dien             Alita: Battle Angel, TV’s “All American,” Starship Troopers, Sleepy Hollow

and John Rhys-Davies           The Lord of the Rings franchise, Indiana Jones franchise, TV’s “Once Upon a Time”

Trailer: https://youtu.be/8hG6oX5BNaw

PROGRAM INFORMATION

Year of Production: 2020

Title Copyright: Program Content and Package Artwork © 2019 Goldfinch Science Fiction Limited. All Rights Reserved. Package Design and Summary © 2020 Lions Gate Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Type: Home Entertainment Premiere

Rating: PG-13 for violence and some strong language.

Genre: Sci-fi, Action, Fantasy

Closed-Captioned: No

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish Subtitles

Feature Run Time: 93 Minutes

DVD Format: 16×9 (1.78:1) Presentation

DVD Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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

G-LOC poster