Interview with Jesse Soffer and Jason Beghe

TV Interview!

Jesse Soffer and Jason Beghe of “Chicago PD” on NBC

Interview with Jesse Soffer and Jason Beghe of “Chicago PD” on NBC by Suzanne 3/23/21

These two are the stars of their show, but they’re humble. It was a pleasure to speak with them and listen to them answer all of the questions.

Here’s the video version of it.

Transcript will be up soon!

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

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Jesse Lee Soffer

Det. Jay Halstead, “Chicago P.D.”

CHICAGO P.D. -- Season: 5 -- Pictured: Jesse Lee Soffer as Jay Halstead -- (Photo by: James Dimmock/NBC)

Jesse Lee Soffer stars as brash young police detective Jay Halstead in the hit NBC drama “Chicago P.D.”

Born in Ossining, N.Y., Soffer’s acting career began at age 6 when he landed a Kix cereal commercial. He made his feature-film debut two years later opposite John Goodman and Cathy Moriarty in “Matinee.” Soon thereafter, he was cast as Susan Sarandon and Sam Shepard’s son in the family drama “Safe Passage” and as Bobby in both “The Brady Bunch Movie” and “A Very Brady Sequel.”

Continuing to work with some of the biggest names in the industry, Soffer starred as a runaway-turned-sleuth in the television movie “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler,” opposite Lauren Bacall, and then worked with director Richard Shepard in AMC’s longform presentation of “The Royale.”

In 1998, Soffer was cast as a series regular in the ABC comedy “Two of a Kind,” starring Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. When it ended, he returned to the East Coast and took a role on the CBS daytime serial “Guiding Light.”

After four months on the show, Soffer decided to focus on his studies and put himself through the Gunnery Boarding School in Connecticut. Upon graduation, Soffer realized that he still yearned to act and quickly landed a major contract role on the CBS daytime drama “As the World Turns.” His portrayal of troubled youth Will Munson earned him three consecutive Daytime Emmy nominations for outstanding younger actor in a drama series in 2006-08, as well as a Soap Opera Digest Award nomination for outstanding younger lead actor.

Soffer made his return to the big screen in Davis Guggenheim’s independent film “Gracie,” playing the son of Elizabeth Shue and Dermot Mulroney, and also appeared in the film “In Time.” In primetime television, Soffer had a co-starring role in the Fox series “The Mob Doctor” and had guest roles in series including “CSI: Miami,” “The Mentalist” and “Rizzoli & Isles.”

Jason Beghe

Sgt. Hank Voight, “Chicago P.D.”

CHICAGO P.D. -- Season: 5 -- Pictured: Jason Beghe as Hank Voight -- (Photo by: James Dimmock/NBC)

Jason Beghe stars as Sgt. Hank Voight, leader of the Chicago P.D. Intelligence Unit in the NBC drama “Chicago P.D.”

Beghe was born and raised in New York City, where he attended the prestigious Collegiate School.

Beghe portrayed a quadriplegic in the George A. Romero film “Monkey Shines: An Experiment in Fear.” He later appeared as a police officer in the film “Thelma & Louise” and played Demi Moore’s love interest in “G.I. Jane.” Other feature-film credits include “X-Men: First Class,” “The Next Three Days,” “One Missed Call” and “Atlas Shrugged: Part II.”

On television, Beghe’s recurring roles include “Chicago Fire,” “Law & Order: SVU” and “Californication.” He has guest-starred on countless series, including “Last Resort,” “Castle,” “NCIS,” “CSI: New York,” “Criminal Minds,” “The Finder,” “Prime Suspect,” “Law & Order: Los Angeles,” “Picket Fences,” “Chicago Hope,” “American Dreams” and “Cane.”

Beghe lives in Los Angeles.

From multiple Emmy Award-winning executive producer Dick Wolf and the team behind the hit series “Chicago Fire,” ‘Chicago P.D.” is a riveting police drama about the men and women of the Chicago Police Department’s elite Intelligence Unit, combatting the city’s most heinous offenses – organized crime, drug trafficking, high profile murders and beyond.

At the center of “Chicago P.D.” is Det. Sgt. Hank Voight (Jason Beghe), who is at ground zero against the war on crime in Chicago.  He will do anything to bring criminals to justice.

Hand-picked as the head of the unit is Voight, who has assembled a team of diverse detectives who share his passion and commitment to keep the city safe. They include Jay Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer), a brash young detective who previously saw active military duty in Afghanistan; Officer Kim Burgess (Marina Squerciati), who has proven herself valuable to the team after being brought up from patrol on several past cases; Officer Adam Ruzek (Patrick John Flueger), a quick-witted cadet plucked from the police academy; Officer Kevin Atwater (LaRoyce Hawkins), a charismatic patrolman who was brought upstairs; and Det. Hailey Upton (Tracy Spiridakos), the newest member of the team with killer instincts, humor and smarts. After going head to head with Voight, the two find a mutual respect for one another and see the value in working together.

Desk Sgt. Trudy Platt (Amy Morton) runs a tight precinct with tough love, although she lets her softer more vulnerable side shine through from time to time.

In addition to Wolf, executive producers include Rick Eid, Peter Jankowski, Arthur W. Forney, Derek Haas and Eriq La Salle.

“Chicago P.D.” is produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, in association with Wolf Entertainment.

Please visit the official show site at: https://www.nbc.com/chicago-pd.

For the latest “Chicago P.D.” news, videos, and photos, please like on Facebook, follow on Twitter and Instagram

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Jesse Soffer and Jason Beghe of “Chicago PD” on NBC

Interview with Ryan Eggold and Jocko Sims

TV Interview!

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

Interview with Ryan Eggold and Jocko Sims of “New Amsterdam” on NBC by Suzanne 3/23/21

These guys were very nice and interesting to listen to. They’re clearly enthusiastic not only about their jobs but about life in general. They have a lot of compassion for what we’re all going through this past year. I hope you enjoy the video! The transcript should be up soon.

Here’s the video!

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

Transcript will be up soon!

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

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Ryan Eggold

Dr. Max Goodwin, “New Amsterdam”

NEW AMSTERDAM -- Season:3 -- Pictured: Ryan Eggold as Dr. Max Goodwin -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)
Ryan Eggold stars as rebellious medical director Dr. Max Goodwin on the NBC hit drama “New Amsterdam.”

Eggold is also known to many for his role as Tom Keen on the NBC drama “The Blacklist.” His other television credits include the A&E miniseries “Sons of Liberty,” FX’s “Dirt” and HBO’s “Entourage.”

Eggold recently stepped behind the camera to write, direct, produce and compose the film “Literally Right Before Aaron,” which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and was originally based on Eggold’s award-winning 2011 short of the same name. The film follows a young man who attends the wedding of his ex-girlfriend. Cobie Smulders, Justin Long, John Cho and Kristen Schaal star.

On the big screen, Eggold played a supporting role in Spike Lee’s award-winning “BlacKKKlansman.” He can next be seen in Eliza Hittman’s new drama “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” which screened at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Other film credits include So Yong Kim’s “Lovesong,” opposite Riley Keough and Jena Malone; Gabriele Muccino’s “Fathers and Daughters,” opposite Amanda Seyfried and Aaron Paul; Tyler Perry’s “The Single Moms Club;” Megan Griffiths’ “Lucky Them,” opposite Toni Collette and Thomas Hayden Church; “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby,” with Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy; and Chris Lowell’s directorial debut “Beside Still Waters.”

On stage, Eggold starred in a revival of Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons,” opposite Alec Baldwin and Laurie Metcalf, at the John Drew Theater at Guild Hall in East Hampton, N.Y.

Born and raised in Southern California, Eggold is a graduate of USC’s theater program. When he’s not acting, he plays in his band as a musician and singer. He’s looking to turn his attention to writing and directing more content in the near future.

Jocko Sims

NEW AMSTERDAM -- Season:3 -- Pictured: Jocko Sims as Dr. Floyd Reynolds -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

Dr. Floyd Reynolds, “New Amsterdam”

Jocko Sims stars as Dr. Floyd Reynolds on the NBC drama “New Amsterdam.”

Sims is an actor, writer and producer with roles in numerous film and television projects, including “Dreamgirls,” “Jarhead” and 2014’s summer box office hit “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.”

Sims’ first series was a lead role opposite Dennis Hopper in the Starz original series “Crash.” For five seasons he starred as Lt. Carlton Burk in the TNT network hit “The Last Ship.” Sims portrayed Robert Franklin during Showtime’s second season of “Masters of Sex” and he has recurred and/or guest-starred on several television series, including “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Franklin & Bash,” “Castle,” “NCIS,” “Burn Notice,” “CSI,” “Bones” and Showtime’s “I’m Dying Up Here.”

As a writer and producer, Sims is currently developing a comedy movie with producers Jamie Neese and Jason Neese (“Umbrella Academy” and “Dear White People”) and has various TV series in development as well. His hobbies include producing music and managing music artists, and he loves cooking as demonstrated on “Home and Family” and “The Steve Harvey Show.”

Originally hailing from Texas, Sims graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in theater. He currently resides in New York.

Medical director Dr. Max Goodwin is committed to solving systemic health care issues at the hospital. Add in the grieving of his wife’s death, his responsibilities as a single father and his cancer still lingering in the rear-view mirror, everyone around Max must wonder how long he can sustain this impossible load. But “How can I help?” is not just Max’s catchphrase, it’s his reason for living. As long as he’s helping others, Max is able to find hope in the most hopeless of places.

While navigating their own personal journeys – Sharpe’s career shifts, Bloom’s reuniting with her mother, Reynolds’ departure, Frome’s struggle with body image and Kapoor’s upcoming grandchild – the doctors also strive to play out Max’s “How can I help?” mantra.

“New Amsterdam” is inspired by Dr. Eric Manheimer’s memoir “Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital” and his 15 years as medical director at the hospital.

The cast includes Ryan Eggold, Janet Montgomery, Freema Agyeman and Jocko Sims, with Tyler Labine and Anupam Kher.

David Schulner and Peter Horton executive produce along with Michael Slovis, David Foster, Aaron Ginsburg and Shaun Cassidy. “New Amsterdam” is produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, Pico Creek Productions and Mount Moriah.

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

Interview with Steven Weber and Brian Tee

TV Interview!

Steven Weber and Brian Tee of “Chicago Med” on NBC

Interview with Steven Weber and Brian Tee of “Chicago Med” on NBC by Suzanne 3/23/21

This was one of my favorite interviews from the past few months. I just love Steve Weber. He’s one of my favorite actors.  It was great fun to speak with both actors.

Here’s the video version of it.

Transcript will be up soon!

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

MORE INFO:

Brian Tee

Dr. Ethan Choi, “Chicago Med”

CHICAGO MED -- Season 3 -- Pictured: Brian Tee as Dr. Ethan Choi -- (Photo by Nino Munoz/NBC)
Brian Tee stars as Dr. Ethan Choi, a former Navy flight surgeon and a tireless, yet impulsive doctor who brings his battlefield skills to the front lines of Chicago’s busiest ER, on the NBC drama “Chicago Med.”

Tee is best known around the world for his starring role as lead villain DK, the Drift King, in “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift,” directed by Justin Lin. On the big screen, Tee was a lead in the summer hit “The Wolverine,” starring Hugh Jackman and directed by James Mangold. He played Hamada, the head of park security, in the box office smash “Jurassic World” and starred in Michael Bay’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2” as iconic villain Shredder.

Tee romanced audiences opposite Anne Heche in the Hallmark movie “One Christmas Eve” and starred in the series “Mortal Kombat: Legacy 2” as Liu Kang. He was the lead in Lifetime’s “The Gabby Douglas Story,” playing inspirational coach Liang Chow, and also appeared in Justin Lin’s comedy “Finishing the Game.”

Tee gave a memorable performance as Jimmy Nakayama in the drama “We Were Soldiers,” opposite Mel Gibson. On the comedy side, he was featured in “Austin Powers: Goldmember,” alongside Mike Myers, and “Fun with Dick and Jane,” with Jim Carrey.

On the small screen, Tee was a series regular in Starz’s “Crash” and recurred on the hit NBC series “Grimm,” CBS’ “Hawaii 5-0” and ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy.” Tee has guest-starred on many series, including “Lucifer,” “Zoo,” “Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “The Lottery,” “Legends,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Burn Notice,” “The Good Guys,” “C.S.I.,” “Dark Blue,” “Bones,” “Lie to Me,” “Jericho,” “Entourage,” “The Unit,” “Wanted,” “Without a Trace,” “JAG,” “Family Law,” “The Pretender” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

Internationally, Tee starred in the Korean-American romantic indie feature “Wedding Palace” and was the lead villain in Korea’s action film “No Tears for the Dead.”

On the theater side, Tee earned strong reviews for his lead performance in “Snow Falling on Cedars” at the prestigious Hartford Stage.

Tee is a 2020 NAMIC Vision Award Winner, Best Performance-Drama for “Chicago Med.”

A Los Angeles native with a mixture of multiple Asian descents, Tee is proficient in both Japanese and Korean and holds a bachelor’s degree in dramatic arts from the University of California, Berkeley. His muse is his family, including wife Mirelly Taylor, and daughter Madelyn Skyler, who are his life’s love and inspiration.

Steve Weber from IMDB

This Queens-born actor has certainly proven himself adept at everything from quirky comedy to flat-out melodrama earning TV stardom in the early 1990’s and maintaining a strong foothold on stage, film and TV in its aftermath.

Steven Robert Weber was born on March 4, 1961, to Fran (Frankel), a nightclub singer, and Stuart Weber, a nightclub performer, and Borscht Belt comic and manager. He was already appearing in television commercials by elementary school age. He later studied at the High School of the Performing Arts in New York and graduated from New York State University. The fair-haired, fair-skinned actor worked a series of menial jobs during his salad days as a struggling thespian (custodian, elevator operator, singing waiter) until earning his break on TV in a presentation of one of Mark Twain’s stories. Quickly making his film debut in the popular comedy The Flamingo Kid (1984), he nabbed a running role on the soap opera As the World Turns (1956) a year later. On the set he met first wife Finn Carter, another co-star on the daytime drama. Steven stayed put for a year then went on to gain recognition in more offbeat and/or prestigious productions on film and prime-time TV. He played a rock star in the thoroughly offbeat foreign-made film Angels (1990) and showed real command as John F. Kennedy in the epic miniseries The Kennedys of Massachusetts (1990).

That same year TV stardom came his way with the sitcom Wings (1990). Co-starring with Tim Daly as Brian Hackett, the looser, goofier more aimless half of the brotherly team who co-owned a one-plane, Nantucket-based airline, the actors’ chemistry, not to mention a terrifically eclectic supporting cast, kept the show on a steady course for seven seasons. Easily typed now as a genial, lovable loser type, Weber faced the prospect of severe pigeon-holing. So during the show’s off season, he started showing up in more serious roles. He suffered at the hands of the deranged Jennifer Jason Leigh in Single White Female (1992); appeared in a second chiller with The Temp (1993); and made a cameo in the highly depressing, award-winning Leaving Las Vegas (1995). His flair for comedy shone in is straight-man role as Johathan Harker in the critically acclaimed horror spoof, Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995) He truly impressed both critics and audiences alike as the complex title character in Jeffrey (1995), a gay romantic film comedy, and then completely defied all odds by starring in an epic TV-movie version of Stephen King‘s horror classic The Shining (1997), seizing the role inherited from Jack Nicholson and brilliantly making it his own while earning a Saturn award for his chilling efforts.

By the time “Wings” came to an end in 1997, Weber had divorced his actress/wife Finn Carter (they had no children) and married actress/TV executive Juliette Hohnen on July 9, 1995. They have two children, Jack and Alfie. He and Laura Linney were selected to play the TV-movie leads in the popular A.R. Gurney theater piece Love Letters (1999). While other TV series comebacks have fared less well, including the short runs of The Weber Show (2000) (which he produced), The D.A. (2004), Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (2006), Happy Town (2010) and Chasing Life (2014).

Steven bounced around solidly in other venues. In 2002, he joined the cast of the smash Broadway musical “The Producers,” taking over the nebbish Matthew Broderick role. In 2004, he went to London to appear on stage with Kevin Spacey and Mary Stuart Masterson in “National Anthems.” Other plays over the years have included “Throwing Your Voice,” “Something in the Air” and “Design for Living.”

Steven has remained quite productive into the millennium with recent film outings in Sexual Life (2004), The Amateurs (2005), Inside Out (2005), the title role in Choose Connor (2007), Farm House (2008), My One and Only (2009), A Little Bit of Heaven (2011), Son of Morning (2011), the comedy Being Bin Laden (2011) in which he played Osama Bin Laden, Crawlspace (2012), Kiss Me (2014), Amateur Night (2016), A Thousand Junkies (2017), The Perfection (2018) and Allan the Dog (2020). Seen even more prolifically on TV, he has graced such popular shows as “The D.A.,” “Will & Grace” (as Will’s brother Sam), “Monk,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Hot in Cleveland,” “Parenthood,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Sleepy Hollow” and “This Close.”

The actor continues to play a stream of comedic and dramatic recurring roles on such TV programs as Without a Trace (2002), Brothers & Sisters (2006), Dallas (2012) (the New Generation), Murder in the First (2014), Helix (2014), iZombie (2015), House of Lies (2012), NCIS: New Orleans (2014), Ballers (2015) and Get Shorty (2017) and more recently appeared as a regular on the mystery series 13 Reasons Why (2017) and comedy series Indebted (2020). In addition, he has given voice to a few animated programs including Ultimate Spider-Man (2012), Avengers Assemble (2012) The Bravest Knight (2019) and Puppy Dog Pals (2017).

From Emmy Award-winning executive producer Dick Wolf (the “Law & Order” and “Chicago” franchises), “Chicago Med” is an emotional thrill ride through the day-to-day chaos of the city’s newest state-of-the-art trauma center and into the lives of the courageous doctors, nurses and staff who hold it all together.

Dr. Will Halstead (Nick Gehlfuss) balances the stress of being an emergency medicine physician with his complicated relationship with Dr. Natalie Manning (Torrey DeVitto), a specialist in emergency pediatrics. Newly widowed, Dr. Daniel Charles (Oliver Platt) remains the Sherlock Holmes of psychiatry. Former Navy flight surgeon Dr. Ethan Choi (Brian Tee) brings his battlefield skills to the front lines of Chicago’s busiest ER, the go-to place for victims of the city’s gun violence. Work and personal life intersect with him and April Sexton (Yaya DaCosta), a smart, bold and intuitive nurse with the ability to adeptly tackle the most harried of circumstances in the hospital. Sharon Goodwin (S. Epatha Merkerson), the venerable head of the city’s largest hospital, is under intense fiscal scrutiny to preserve the bottom line while continuing to ensure that all patients receive nothing short of quality care and compassion. Maggie Lockwood (Marlyne Barrett), the charge nurse and eyes, ears and brain of the ER, is skilled and confident but finds herself dealing with profound family issues of her own. Recent addition to the ER is ace surgeon Dr. Crockett Marcel (Dominic Rains), a New Orleans-raised surgeon whose breezy manner hides a tragic past.

Together they will confront Chicago’s most critical medical cases and challenging ethical dilemmas with courage, compassion and state-of-the-art treatment. Inspired by ripped-from-the-headlines cases, “Chicago Med” will weave cutting-edge medicine with the personal drama that comes with working in such a high-intensity environment. Through it all, familiar faces from “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago P.D” will intertwine with Chicago’s finest medical heroes.

Dick Wolf, Diane Frolov, Andrew Schneider, Stephen Hootstein, Derek Haas, Arthur Forney, Matt Olmstead, Michael Brandt, Michael Pressman and Peter Jankowski are executive producers.

“Chicago Med” is produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, in association with Wolf Entertainment.

Please visit the official show site at: https://www.nbc.com/chicago-med.

For the latest “Chicago Med.” news, videos, and photos, please like on Facebook and follow on Twitter and Instagram:

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Steven Weber and Brian Tee of “Chicago Med” on NBC

Interview with Eamonn Walker and David Eigenberg

TV Interview!

Interview with Eamonn Walker and David Eigenberg of “Chicago Fire” on NBC

Interview with Eamonn Walker and David Eigenberg of “Chicago Fire” on NBC by Suzanne 3/23/21

These guys were a lot of fun to speak with. I interviewed David back in 2016 as well. I hope you enjoy this short interview as much as I did!

Here is the video version of it.

Transcript will be up soon!

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

MORE INFO:

Eamonn Walker

Battalion Chief Wallace Boden, “Chicago Fire”

CHICAGO FIRE -- Season: 6 -- Pictured: Eamonn Walker as Wallace Boden -- (Photo by: John Tsiavis/NBC)

Eamonn Walker stars as Battalion Chief Wallace Boden, a fireman’s fireman, in NBC’s drama “Chicago Fire.” As chief of the firehouse, it’s Boden’s job to look out for the lives of the men and women who are the courageous firefighters and paramedics of Firehouse 51.

Walker is a compelling performer known for his depth, integrity and ability to give life to the most layered of characters. He credits Sidney Poitier’s performance in “In the Heat of the Night” as the inspiration that led him to become an actor.

Born in London, he is perhaps best known in the United States for his portrayal of Kareem Said, the Muslim leader on the critically acclaimed HBO series “Oz.” His work on this show earned him a Golden Satellite nomination and a Cable Ace Award for Best Actor in a Dramatic Series.

On the big screen, Walker received stand-out notices for his performance as Howlin Wolf in “Cadillac Records,” opposite Adrien Brody, Jeffrey Wright, Mos Def and Beyoncé Knowles. He also has given memorable performances in such films as “The Messenger,” opposite Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson and Samantha Morton; “Lord of War,” opposite Nicholas Cage and Ethan Hawke; “Duma,” Carroll Ballard’s critically acclaimed film; “Tears of the Sun,” opposite Bruce Willis; Laurence Fishburne’s “Once in the Life;” the psychological thriller “Legacy;” and M. Night Shamaylan’s “Unbreakable.”

Moving seamlessly between film and television, his numerous TV credits include the NBC series “Kings,” the Jerry Bruckheimer series “Justice” and the award-winning BBC series “Moses Jones.” He portrayed a modern-day John Othello in the BAFTA and Peabody Award-winning adaptation of London Weekend Television’s “Othello” and Tom Fontana invited Walker to portray the sympathetic killer in the “Homicide” finale, the two-hour teleplay “Homicide: Life Everlasting.”

Other credits include a special arc on “Lights Out,” “ER,” and the miniseries “The Governor” and “Supply and Demand.” He also appeared in the BBC’s groundbreaking Martin Shaw series “Inspector George Gently” and the Cinemax series “Strike Back.”

Walker was nominated in 2005 for a Drama Desk Award for his Broadway debut as Marc Antony, alongside Denzel Washington and Colm Feore, in “Julius Caesar” at the Belasco Theatre. He later performed to sold-out audiences as the first black actor to portray Othello at the historic Old Globe Theatre in London.

Walker co-founded the Flipside Theatre Company in London and starred in their production of “Danny and the Deep Blue Sea.” He also appeared in London’s West End and in plays on such venerable stages as the Citizens Theatre, the Royal Exchange and the Hampstead Theatre.

Walker starred in Chicago’s famous Steppenwolf Theatre for the company’s 2016 premiere of Stephen Adly Guirgis’ “Between Riverside and Crazy.” Walker was nominated for a 2016 Jeff Award, which celebrates excellence in Chicago Theatre, in the category of Best Actor in a Principal Role. The same year he also won the Black Theater Alliance Sidney Poitier Award for the same play performed at Steppenwolf Theatre in the Best Actor in a Drama or Comedy category.

Walker resides in both Los Angeles and London.

David  Eigenberg

Christopher Herrmann, “Chicago Fire”

CHICAGO FIRE -- Season: 6 -- Pictured: David Eigenberg as Christopher Herrmann -- (Photo by: John Tsiavis/NBC)
David Eigenberg stars as Christopher Herrmann, a seasoned firefighter and salt-of-the-earth family man, in NBC’s drama “Chicago Fire.” Herrmann co-owns and operates one of Chicago’s favorite pubs, Molly’s.

Eigenberg is known to film and television audiences for his former role as Steve Brady, the good-hearted husband and quintessential New York bar owner in the Emmy Award-winning series “Sex and the City.”

His film credits include “See You in September,” “The Trouble with Romance,” “The Mothman Prophecies” and “A Perfect Murder.”

Eigenberg’s selected television credits include “Justified,” “Criminal Minds,” “N.C.I.S.” and “Law & Order: SVU.”

A member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York, Eigenberg has performed in numerous Off Broadway plays. On Broadway, he received his break in 1990 playing a hustler in the original cast of John Guare’s “Six Degrees of Separation,” directed by Jerry Zaks at Lincoln Center. He also starred in the original cast of “Take Me Out,” directed by Joe Mantello, which was awarded the Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics, Drama League and New York Critics Awards for Best Play.

Eigenberg served in the United States Marine Corps for three years. He is married and living in Chicago with his wife and two children.

From renowned Emmy Award-winning executive producer Dick Wolf (“Law & Order” brand) and co-creator Derek Haas, the writer behind “3:10 to Yuma,” comes season nine of the high-octane drama “Chicago Fire,” an edge-of-your-seat view look at the lives of everyday heroes committed to one of America’s noblest professions. The firefighters, rescue squad and paramedics of Chicago Firehouse 51 risk their lives week in and week out to save and protect the citizens of their incredible city.

The family inside Firehouse 51 knows no other way than to lay it all on the line for each other. Capt. Matthew Casey (Jesse Spencer) leads the Truck Company and brash Lt. Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney) runs the Rescue Squad.

The firehouse also includes Battalion Chief Wallace Boden (Eamonn Walker), a fireman’s fireman. As chief of 51, Boden keeps his house running smoothly and his firefighters prepared to overcome all adversity. Paramedic Sylvie Brett (Kara Killmer) returns alongside seasoned veterans Christopher Herrmann (David Eigenberg) and Randy “Mouch” McHolland (Christian Stolte) as well as resourceful firefighter Stella Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo).

Completing the team are dependable squad member Joe Cruz (Joe Minoso), daredevil Blake Gallo (Alberto Rosende), engine newbie Darren Ritter (Daniel Kyri) and the newest addition, paramedic Gianna Mackey (Adriyan Rae).

Executive producers are Dick Wolf, Derek Haas, Todd Arnow, Andrea Newman, Michael Gilvary, Michael Brandt, Reza Tabrizi, Arthur Forney and Peter Jankowski.

“Chicago Fire” is produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, in association with Wolf Entertainment.

Please visit the official show site at: https://www.nbc.com/chicago-fire

For the latest “Chicago Fire” news, videos, and photos, please like on Facebook and follow on Twitter and Instagram:

https://www.facebook.com/NBCOneChicago
https://www.twitter.com/NBCOneChicago
https://www.instagram.com/NBCOneChicago/

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Interview with Eamonn Walker and David Eigenberg of “Chicago Fire” on NBC

Interview with Norbert Leo Butz and Scroobius Pip

TV Interview!

Norbert Leo Butz and Scroobius Pip of “Debris” on NBC

Interview with Norbert Leo Butz and Scroobius Pip of “Debris” on NBC by Suzanne 3/23/21

This is a good series, and it was great to speak to these two fine actors again. They’re very entertaining in the video. I hope you enjoy it!

Here’s the video version of it.

Transcript will be up soon!

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

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When wreckage from a destroyed alien spacecraft scatters across the Western Hemisphere, it soon becomes apparent the pieces are messing with the laws of physics, changing lives in ways we can’t comprehend. Two agents from different continents, and different mindsets, are tasked to work together to recover the debris, whose mysteries humankind is not quite ready for.

The cast includes Jonathan Tucker, Riann Steele, Norbert Leo Butz and Scroobius Pip.

Creator and showrunner J.H. Wyman will write and executive produce alongside his company, Frequency Films. Jason Hoffs, Jeff Vlaming and Samantha Corbin-Miller will also executive produce.

“Debris” is produced by Frequency Films and Legendary Television in association with Universal Television.

Norbert Leo Butz

Craig Maddox, “Debris”

Norbert Leo Butz stars as Craig Maddox on NBC’s upcoming sci-fi drama, “Debris.”

Butz is an award-winning actor whose talents span across television, film and theater. He most recently starred in the critically acclaimed Netflix series “Bloodline,” the FX series “Fosse/Verdon” and on Broadway in “My Fair Lady.” He also starred in “Mercy Street” on PBS and Danny Boyle’s FX series “Trust,” and had starring roles in ABC’s “The Deep End” and the CBS miniseries “Comanche Moon.”

On stage, Butz won his first Tony Award for his performance as Freddy Benson in the Broadway production of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” and earned his second Tony and a Drama Desk Award for his performance as Carl Hanratty in “Catch Me If You Can.” He additionally appeared on Broadway in “Big Fish,” “Dead Accounts,” “Enron,” “Speed-the-Plow,” “Wicked,” “Is He Dead?,” “Rent” and “Thou Shalt Not,” for which he garnered Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics’ nominations.

Butz’s film credits include “Better Living Through Chemistry,” with Sam Rockwell and Olivia Wilde; Daniel Algrant’s “Greetings From Tim Buckley”; “Luce,” opposite Octavia Spencer and Kelvin Harrison; “Disconnect”; “The English Teacher,” with Julianne Moore; “Higher Ground”; “Fair Game”; the animated “Wonder Park”; and “Dan in Real Life.”

His self-penned album, “The Long Haul,” was released in 2019.

Butz received a BFA from Webster University and an MFA from Alabama Shakespeare Theatre.

Scroobius Pip

Anson Ash, “Debris”

Scroobius Pip stars as Anson Ash on NBC’s upcoming sci-fi drama, “Debris.”

Pip is an actor, spoken-word poet and hip-hip recording artist. First gaining recognition as one half of the hip-hop duo “Dan le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip,” he has since made the transition to television. Pip was most recently seen in the independent mystery feature “Kill Ben Lyk,” as well as the British wrestling comedy “Walk Like a Panther” with Stephen Graham. He was also seen in the FX series “Taboo” and Kurt Sutter’s series “The Bastard Executioner.”

Pip is originally from Essex, England.

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Norbert Leo Butz and Scroobius Pip of “Debris” on NBC

Interview with Andrew Leeds and Alice Lee

TV Interview!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alice:   Does it? I don’t know.

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

Alice:   Yeah, yeah, do the next one.

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

Alice:   There’re some throwbacks in there.

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

Alice:   Yeah. Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Andrew:   Yeah.

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

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

Here’s the video!

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

MORE INFO:

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

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

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

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

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

Andrew Leeds

David, “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alice Lee

Emily, “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”

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

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

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

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

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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

Interview with “Young Rock” actors

TV Interview!

Stacey Leilua and Ana Tuisila

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

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

Here’s the first interview, with the women.

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

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

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

Ana:   Yes, I am.

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

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

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

Stacey:   It’s coming soon, I think.

Suzanne:   Oh, good. I can’t imagine.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ana, do you want to speak to that?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can see the video here!

Joseph Lee Anderson and Matt Willig

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Suzanne:   Oh, that’s good.

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

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

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

Question:   Definitely. Matthew, what about you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is the video of this call!

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

MORE INFO:

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

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

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

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

Stacey Leilua

Ata Johnson, “Young Rock”

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

Ana Tuisila

Lia Maivia, “Young Rock”

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

Joseph Lee Anderson

Rocky Johnson, “Young Rock”

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

 

 

 

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

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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Young Rock cast members

Interview with Dick Wolf, Chris Meloni and Ilene Chaiken

TV Interview!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is the audio version of it.

Interview Transcribed by Jamie S.

MORE INFO:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christopher Meloni

Elliot Stabler, “Law & Order: Organized Crime”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dick Wolf

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ilene Chaiken

Executive Producer, “Law & Order: Organized Crime”

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

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

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

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

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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Interview with Milo Ventimiglia

TV Interview!

Milo Ventimiglia of "This Is Us" on NBC

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

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

Here is the Video!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MORE INFO:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ventimiglia currently resides in Los Angeles.

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

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

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

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Milo Ventimiglia of "This Is Us" on NBC

Interview with Melissa Roxburgh and Matt Long

TV Interview!

Melissa Roxburgh and Matt Long of "Manifest" on NBC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matt: Interesting question.

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

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

Here is the video of our interview.

Check out our

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

MORE INFO:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Melissa Roxburgh and Matt Long of "Manifest" on NBC

Interview with Jeff Rake and Parveen Kaur

TV Interview!

Parveen Kaur and Jeff Rake of "Manifest" on NBC

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

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

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

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

Here’s the transcript:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jeff:   Parveen?

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

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

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

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

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

Question:   How COVID affected the production.

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

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

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

Parveen:   Um…

Suzanne:   Put you on the spot, huh?

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

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

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

Suzanne:   Thank you. Good answer.

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

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

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

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

Here is the video of the interview.

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

MORE INFO:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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Parveen Kaur and Jeff Rake of "Manifest" on NBC

Interview with Tarun Keram

TV Interview!

Tarun Keram of "The Stand" on CBS All Access

Interview with Tarun Keram of “The Stand” on CBS All Access by Suzanne 2/25/21

This was a delightful interview. He’s a very talented young actor, and I think we will see a lot more of him. I was excited to learn that he’s been in some of my favorite shows. I’m looking forward to seeing his “Debris” episode coming up.

Here is the audio version of it.

Suzanne: So, tell us about your character in The Stand, which, I think, just finished up last week.

Tarun: Yeah, it just finished. So, I play Steve, the orderly. He used to be a vet technician, and the apocalypse hit. Everyone’s dead, so there’re no doctors around. So, I have to step up and become a doctor and assist in labors.

Suzanne:
Great. And I heard you did a little research about being a vet technician.

Tarun: Yeah, I’ve done a little. I have a dog. So, I’d ask the vet some questions and all that, because there wasn’t – my character doesn’t exist in the book. So, the only information I had was the vet technician part and what it would be like to transition into being a doctor.

Suzanne: Great. What kind of dog do you have?

Tarun: I have a husky.

Suzanne: Oh, I love huskies.

Tarun: So great. So much hair, though.

Suzanne: They’re so pretty though. We almost got one.

Tarun: So pretty. Then, he’s got two different colored eyes.

Suzanne: Oh, that’s great. We when we had our first dog, we went to the shelter, and we wanted this husky there that was so pretty, but it had kennel cough, so we couldn’t get it.

Tarun: Aww.

Suzanne: I know.

Tarun: That’s too bad. Poor dog.

Suzanne: I hope it ended up okay.

Tarun: Yeah.

Suzanne: Do you have Instagram? Do you have pictures of your dog on there we can see?

Tarun: Yeah, absolutely. It’s just my first name last name, and you can check out my myself and my dog on Instagram.

Suzanne: Oh, cool. I’ll have to check that out. I’ll definitely do that. I follow a lot of dog and cat and other pet things on Instagram.

Tarun: Oh, really?

Suzanne: Yeah.

Tarun: I do too. Do you follow Loki, the wolf dog?

Suzanne: I don’t know. There’s so many that I follow. I don’t remember. I’ll look for him though.

Tarun: He didn’t do it, like the celebrity of dogs.

Suzanne: Oh, okay, cool. So anyway, you finished The Stand right before the pandemic, correct?

Tarun: Yeah, that’s right. I think it the first week of March was my final day, and I think everything shut down the week after or the week after that, but we just made it, and we didn’t have a wrap party.

Suzanne: Aww. Well, I know it’s a mini series, but is there any talk of a sequel that you’ve heard?

Tarun: Not that I’ve heard of yet. But the ending, if you’ve seen it, has changed from the book. So it’s sort of open ended.

Suzanne: No, I haven’t seen it, but I heard that it was left that way. So, that’s why I was wondering if maybe [it would].

Tarun: Yeah, I mean, I hope it does, but I haven’t I haven’t heard anything quite yet.

Suzanne: You’re also going to be an episode of the new NBC series, Debris?

Tarun: Absolutely.

Suzanne: What role are you playing there?

Tarun: I play a secret agent that’s a tech head. So, I deal with computers and spyware, figuring out where people go, that sort of thing. That’s pretty much all I can really say about it.

Suzanne: Are you in just one episode or multiple episodes?

Tarun: So far, just one.

Suzanne: I saw the first episode, and I interviewed two of the guys from there the other day. It looks like a good show.

Tarun: Yeah, looks like NBC is really pushing the sci-fi now for – What is it? They have a new streaming platform, right?

Suzanne: Do you mean besides Peacock?

Tarun: Oh, yeah, that’s the one, I guess. I don’t know if it’s out already.

Suzanne: Yeah. It’s hard to keep track. There’re so many.

Tarun: There’re so many now, yeah.

Suzanne: Do you have anything else coming out that you tell us about?

Tarun: Yeah. So, I’m in an episode of Nancy Drew that’s coming out. I just shot that. I just shot that one [recently]. It’s been super busy. Then, I’m working on Legends of Tomorrow, I think, next week.

Suzanne: Cool. Is that one episode or do you have a recurring role?

Tarun: It’s like a pseudo guest star for Legends.

Suzanne: Okay, cool.

Tarun: I don’t want to think too much, because there’s a lot of moving parts of that show.

Suzanne: Sure. I love that show. I watch all the CW superhero shows.

Tarun: Awesome.

Suzanne: I’ll watch for you on there.

Tarun: Yeah, please do. I actually quite like them. The last one I saw was Flash, but I haven’t seen any other ones since then.

Suzanne: Yeah, I think Flash is coming back soon.

Tarun: Yeah, that’s right. I have been auditioning…for for some roles. I’ve been in Supergirl already, so now I’m in Legends, and I was in Arrow before, so I’m trying to try to make the rounds here.

Suzanne: Yeah, I saw that you were in there. Those are all my favorite shows. It’s great.

Tarun: That’s awesome.

Suzanne: Well, there’re so many TV shows of all different sorts, and there’s a lot of good ones out there. So, you have to sort of like, figure out and prioritize which ones [to watch].

Tarun: Yeah, you’re going to have to get all the streaming services.

Suzanne: Right. Well, I pretty much do have almost all of them, but I try to watch them all, at least one episode for reviewing, for my site. But, I mean, for my personal viewing, I try to prioritize superhero shows and some sci-fi and other things.

Tarun: …Yeah, that’s right; you have to.

Suzanne:
Yeah, because, otherwise, you’re always behind, and you’re always stressed out and like, “Oh, I can’t watch it all. It’s too much.”

Tarun: Yeah, I feel that.

Suzanne: Did you grow up reading comics?

Tarun: I did not. I did not read any comics. I mostly read – I wasn’t a big reader, to be honest. The last book I read was Eragon, all the way through, but then I picked up a Vertigo graphic novel. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it. It’s called Fables.

Suzanne: No, but that’s okay.

Tarun: It’s all about fairy tales, but they all live in New York and have to deal with a bunch of problems. Beauty and the Beast is in it, Cinderella. It’s pretty cool.

Suzanne: Oh, it sounds a little bit like – there was a show like that on NBC awhile back…Grimm.

Tarun: Oh, I didn’t watch that one.

Suzanne: Yeah, that was a good show. Anyway, it’s similar to that with fairy tale characters in modern day society type of thing.

Tarun: Same idea. I guess [its], like Once Upon a Time; it’s kind of like that.

Suzanne: Yeah, it’s similar to that, but I think it was more of a gritty show than Once Upon a Time. So, are you back to auditioning now for other stuff, then?

Tarun: Absolutely. I don’t think that’s ever going to end. It’s changed a little bit now though, where I’m on set, and I have a call from my agent saying, “Send in a tape for before tomorrow morning.” So, it’s a little bit different than before where I’m sort of waiting around.

Suzanne: Well, I guess if you get big enough, at some point, you won’t have to audition.

Tarun: I hope so. I mean, I kind of like auditioning, but I remember Odessa Young from The Stand. One of the days we were there, she had an audition for the next day, and it was like twelve pages long or something, but she was on set shooting sixteen hours. So, I’m not sure. I’m not sure when when that would end, if the leads are doing it on The Stand.

Suzanne: But you actually like auditioning?

Tarun: I do. I do. The game’s sort of changed a little bit where there’s not many callbacks around for TV and film. So, when I showed up to set for Debris, I hadn’t met anyone, and I didn’t really know what their vision was for this character. So, I would do something one way, and then they would go a complete 180 on me. That sort of would have been figured out at the audition, or the callback, I would say, but it’s just adjusting.

Suzanne: Is that because of the pandemic and having to do everything remotely?

Tarun: Yeah, absolutely. You can’t really go in the room anymore.

Suzanne: So, they basically audition you on tape, and then they hire you, and then you sort of figure out the character together. Is that what you’re saying?

Tarun: Yeah, yeah, pretty much. You can give them your take, and you can show up to set with how you presented the character, but you’ve just got to be ready for some changes, as always.

Suzanne: To your knowledge, have they ever hired someone, and then when they get there, they find they just really can’t get this person to act the way they want to, and then they say, “Nevermind,” and they get somebody else?

Tarun: Oh, I don’t know. I feel like that might be a little costly. Yeah, you just kind of have to roll with the punches and work with what you’ve got.

Suzanne: Well, it’s good that they streamlined it, especially nowadays. Everything moves so fast anyway with the filming.

Tarun: Yeah, exactly.

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

Tarun: Oh, I started a garden in my backyard. I built a fence, and I just relaxed. It’s a huge change of pace from auditioning all the time.

Suzanne: I’ll bet. Was this in Vancouver or somewhere else?

Tarun: Yeah, I live in Surrey, which is about an hour from Vancouver. It’s kind of like the [unintelligible].

Suzanne: That’s cool. So, did you know anything about gardening before, or did you have to learn everything?

Tarun: Absolutely not. I knew nothing. I just thought everything took the same amount of water; that’s not true. I ended up picking peppers and a bunch of other plants, and obviously, the peppers don’t need as much water, but I’d still water them the same amount. But after a week, I figured it out pretty quick[ly], because they did not look good.

Suzanne: I think that was very smart of you. Most people it takes awhile, or they just give up.

Tarun: Yeah, no, I didn’t. I actually enjoy cooking now. So, it’s nice having fresh thyme and fresh rosemary on hand. It’s so nice.

Suzanne: Great. And I see you’ve been a both a producer and a director. What do you like best actor, producer, or director if you had to choose?

Tarun: I feel like it depends on what kind of mood I’m in, because sometimes I just want to create my own project, and in that case, I love being the producer. Sometimes I just want to act. I don’t know. I don’t know. I would say that I like producing and acting more than directing, but I also like writing more than I like producing and directing, if that makes sense.

Suzanne: Sure. Well, I guess it’s a good thing you don’t have to choose, then.

Tarun: Yeah, exactly.

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

MORE INFO:

Tarun Keram’s stirring and rooted performances have the industry taking notice. He was born and raised in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada where he grew up spending his days playing sports with friends after school. In grade eleven Tarun began playing Ultimate Frisbee where he won multiple MVP medals. He came to the craft in his last semester of high school when he enrolled in a theatre class and uncovered his joy for acting. It took him a few more years to acknowledge his passion and talent for it but soon after he began landing coveted roles in TV and film. After high school, he dedicated himself to acting through the Vancouver Film School and an agent and roles soon followed.

Tarun has worked on numerous TV shows including The CW’s “Arrow”, “Supergirl”, “iZombie” and “Supernatural”, Amazon’s “Upload”, Netflix’s “Travelers”, Lifetime’s “UnREAL”, NBC’s “The Arrangement”, FOX’s “Prison Break” and ABC’s “Once Upon a Time”. He also had prominent roles on CBS’s “Twilight Zone”, The CW’s “Charmed”, Hulu’s “Marvel’s Helstrom” and SYFY’s “The Magicians”.

Most recently Tarun landed the coveted role of Steve on CBS All Access’ anticipated limited series “The Stand”, an adaptation of Stephen King’s classic novel. The series premieres December 17th.

LIMITED SERIES: The Stand

ABOUT THE SERIES: The Stand is Stephen King’s apocalyptic vision of a world decimated by plague and embroiled in an elemental struggle between good and evil. The fate of mankind rests on the frail shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abagail (Whoopi Goldberg) and a handful of survivors. Their worst nightmares are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg (Alexander Skarsgård), the Dark Man. THE STAND will close with a new coda written by the famed author himself.

CHARACTER: Steve

PREMIERE DATE: December 17th on CBS All Access

Get to Know Tarun

I did a DNA test and I’ve got Welsh and Japanese ancestry.

I was the Captain of my Ultimate Frisbee team in high school and won an MVP medal.

I’m very superstitious.

When I auditioned for Star Trek it was in a warehouse full of people who were auditioning for the Bridge Crew members.

I’m still in close contact with my Bridge Crew members to this day.

I grow my own ghost peppers to spice up my mom’s curry recipe.

I’m the owner of a print shop.

It takes me an hour to get to my auditions on a good day. I commuted an hour and a half every morning and evening .

When I was going to film school, I once thought I met Idris Elba , but it was actually his stunt double in an alien costume.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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Tarun Keram of "The Stand" on CBS All Access

Interview with Norbert Leo Butz and Scroobius Pip

TV Interview!

"Debris" actors Norbert Leo Butz and Scroobius Pip

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

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

Here’s the video of our chat!

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

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

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

Scroobius: Yeah.

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

Scroobius: It’s debris, yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scroobius: Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MORE INFO:

When wreckage from a destroyed alien spacecraft scatters across the Western Hemisphere, it soon becomes apparent the pieces are messing with the laws of physics, changing lives in ways we can’t comprehend. Two agents from different continents, and different mindsets, are tasked to work together to recover the debris, whose mysteries humankind is not quite ready for.

The cast includes Jonathan Tucker, Riann Steele, Norbert Leo Butz and Scroobius Pip.

Creator and showrunner J.H. Wyman will write and executive produce alongside his company, Frequency Films. Jason Hoffs, Jeff Vlaming and Samantha Corbin-Miller will also executive produce.

“Debris” is produced by Frequency Films and Legendary Television in association with Universal Television.

Norbert Leo Butz

Craig Maddox, “Debris”

Norbert Leo Butz stars as Craig Maddox on NBC’s upcoming sci-fi drama, “Debris.”

Butz is an award-winning actor whose talents span across television, film and theater. He most recently starred in the critically acclaimed Netflix series “Bloodline,” the FX series “Fosse/Verdon” and on Broadway in “My Fair Lady.” He also starred in “Mercy Street” on PBS and Danny Boyle’s FX series “Trust,” and had starring roles in ABC’s “The Deep End” and the CBS miniseries “Comanche Moon.”

On stage, Butz won his first Tony Award for his performance as Freddy Benson in the Broadway production of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” and earned his second Tony and a Drama Desk Award for his performance as Carl Hanratty in “Catch Me If You Can.” He additionally appeared on Broadway in “Big Fish,” “Dead Accounts,” “Enron,” “Speed-the-Plow,” “Wicked,” “Is He Dead?,” “Rent” and “Thou Shalt Not,” for which he garnered Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics’ nominations.

Butz’s film credits include “Better Living Through Chemistry,” with Sam Rockwell and Olivia Wilde; Daniel Algrant’s “Greetings From Tim Buckley”; “Luce,” opposite Octavia Spencer and Kelvin Harrison; “Disconnect”; “The English Teacher,” with Julianne Moore; “Higher Ground”; “Fair Game”; the animated “Wonder Park”; and “Dan in Real Life.”

His self-penned album, “The Long Haul,” was released in 2019.

Butz received a BFA from Webster University and an MFA from Alabama Shakespeare Theatre.

Scroobius Pip

Anson Ash, “Debris”

Scroobius Pip stars as Anson Ash on NBC’s upcoming sci-fi drama, “Debris.”

Pip is an actor, spoken-word poet and hip-hip recording artist. First gaining recognition as one half of the hip-hop duo “Dan le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip,” he has since made the transition to television. Pip was most recently seen in the independent mystery feature “Kill Ben Lyk,” as well as the British wrestling comedy “Walk Like a Panther” with Stephen Graham. He was also seen in the FX series “Taboo” and Kurt Sutter’s series “The Bastard Executioner.”

Pip is originally from Essex, England.

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"Debris" actors Norbert Leo Butz and Scroobius Pip

Primetime TV Review: “Mr. Mayor”

TV Review!

Mr. Mayor cast

“Mr. Mayor” on NBC Review by Suzanne 1/9/21

This show is created by Tina Fey and her writing/producing partner Robert Carlock (who also did “30 Rock,” “Good News” and “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”) and stars Ted Danson (“The Good Stuff,” “Cheers”). However, it’s not as funny as it could be. I watched the first two episodes. The second episode was funnier (where the Mayor gets stoned), so you do need to stick with it to enjoy it. It’s no “30 Rock” or “The Good Place,” though.

Danson stars as the new mayor of Los Angeles, Neil Bremer. He’s a former retired local businessman, widowed, that got into the race after the previous mayor flamed out in that last horrible year, 2020. Holly Hunter plays a sarcastic city councilwoman, Arpi Meskimen. She reminds me a bit of Tig Notaro’s character in “Star Trek: Discovery.” Mikaela Shaw plays Vella, the mayor’s chief of staff. Others in the mayor’s staff include Mike (Tommy Tomás) and a really annoying dumb guy, Jayden (Bobby Moynihan).

The joke of the show is that the mayor knows nothing about politics, and they’re all worried about what dumb things he’ll do, but really, he’s a bit more savvy than they give him credit for because he’s good with people. He’s softened a bit by his teen daughter, Orly (Kyla Kenedy).

Unless the show gets a lot funnier, I doubt it’ll be a hit. Hunter and Danson are both way too good to be in this sitcom.

MORE INFORMATION:

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

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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.

Mr. Mayor cast

Interview with Eli Henry

TV Interview!

Eli Henry on "Connecting..." on NBC.

Interview with Eli Henry of “Connecting…” on NBC by Suzanne 10/8/20

This was a really interesting interview. I watched the first 3 episodes of the show last night. What was very exciting was the way they’re filming this show remotely, over the iPhone. It makes it a fairly unique show.

Suzanne: Tell us how you got the role of Rufus.

Ely:   Sure. Well, it came at a point in lockdown when I’d pretty much sacrificed myself to doing nothing. I’d accepted the fact that it was going to be a while before any work came up. Occasionally, there’d be some auditions for, you know, things shot traditionally on a set with everybody, and it kind of felt like fan fiction to me. I was kind of like, “Yeah, okay, sure, you’re gonna make this?”

Then, when I got this audition, it was cool, because they said [what] the plan was, how they’re planning on shooting it, and they wanted the audition to be unique and [to] make it your own. You know, usually it’s just in front of a blank wall with someone reading off to you, but this time, they encouraged you to do it where you would shoot it in your home. So, I am lucky enough to have this bizarre, detached garage office in my home, and it’s covered in wood paneling, and it looks like a conspiracy bunker. So, I went in there; I brought as much vitamin C cold medicine, all the masks. I had a face shield and just kind of put it all over the frame. It was nice to be able to have a place to vent all of my COVID frustrations, and, yeah, I’m glad that everyone at NBC agreed.

Suzanne:   Great. So, when did the filming take place?

Ely:   Well, we’re shooting episode eight. Actually, we’re finishing it tonight and tomorrow, but we started very quickly after I got hired, and we’ve been going for a while, I guess, a couple months now.

You know, [it] was a very, very quick turnaround audition. I got tested, maybe a week later, and I was hired the next day, and the day I was hired, they said, “Okay, tomorrow, you’re gonna do the workplace safety meeting on Zoom in the morning.” Then, it was like we hit the ground running. From that point on, it was non stop deliveries of props and equipment and all this stuff to me. It was like Santa Claus when he starts getting all the packages nonstop. It was just like that. It’s kind of amazing that we’ve reached the end of these first eight episodes now, because of how busy I’ve been.

Suzanne:   So there’s eight episodes total?

Ely:   So far; fingers crossed for more, but that’s where we’re at.

Suzanne:   I’m a little confused. Was the show filmed virtually? I mean, in your home, or do they have a set for you to go to?

Ely:   It was completely in our homes.

Suzanne:   Wow.

Ely:   We all have gotten a crash course in technology. We filmed the show entirely on iPhone 11. So, the only people that I have ever seen in a work context from the show, are PAs would come at the end of the day and pick up my phone and drop off a new one. So, I have one phone on my desk, which I use as the camera, and another phone I use to control that phone. And then I’m on zoom on my computer with the cast and crew.

And that’s how we do it. I have a mic I plug into the phone; I have a mic I wear, and at the end of the day, we sanitize the phone, sanitize the sound card and give it to the PA, and it’s the whole process.

Suzanne:   Wow, that’s amazing. So, they should be paying you to be a cameraman too, right?

Ely:   You know, the decision of how much to pay me is above my pay grade.

Suzanne:   It seems like they should at least put you in the union for like camera, sound, makeup, all the stuff you’re doing.

Ely:   I mean, I am very sure, but at the same time, I don’t need to be paying those union fees.

Suzanne:   Well, yeah. Well, if they paid you the same for all those.

Ely:   You know what? I think I’d like to hire you to be rep.

Suzanne:   Right. I feel bad though. I feel bad for the people who normally do those things, I hope they’re able to do something.

Ely:   They’re actually still involved, because these are complex things that we are required to do, and they’re in unusual circumstances. We have an entire crew on Zoom who is there to walk us through everything. So, when they’re setting up cameras, setting up lights, we have our incredible crew, camera department, saying, you know, to change this, do that move there, makeup and hair on there, too. I’ll get a text saying, “Powder your forehead; fix your hair,” that kind of stuff. So, everyone’s still there.

Suzanne:   Oh, that’s good.

Ely:   It’s funny, because it’s a whole group of people who I’m sure would much rather be doing it themselves too. I’m not good at these things.

Suzanne:   Well, they had to get, I guess, smart people on both sides to be able to [do it]. You had to learn a lot of stuff, and then they had to learn a lot of stuff and convey it to you. That’s amazing.

Ely:   For sure. It’s incredible as to how different it is; you know, we’re on episode eight now from episode one. The setup time used to take a long time there was a whole thing, but then we’ve developed our own language of just memorizing settings and doing all these things. I’m sure everyone on the cast is now so much smarter or so much more technologically proficient than we were right before all of this.

Suzanne:   Right. Well, it makes sense; you have shortcuts now.

Ely:   Exactly.

Suzanne:   You and your cast mates really seem like you’ve been good friends a long time. Did you do any type of pre tape bonding to make that happen?

Ely:   You know, we didn’t, really, before we got started. I think the minute we got hired, Parvesh [Cheena] started a Whatsapp group chat for us and gave us a place to all communicate, and we reached out to each other on social media, found out who of us have mutual friends, people in common.

I think it was just kind of an interesting thing, where I remember I was saying when we first started, I had resigned myself to not meeting anybody new for months. I’m very much an extrovert. I very much like to socialize. So, I was kind of accepting of the fact that I wasn’t going to meet anybody. So, then we all got this chance to get to know a whole new group of people, and I think we all just jumped at it. It’s such a loving, wonderful group, and based on the nature of the show and how different it is and, well, how new it is, I think we were all perfectly willing to just dive in headfirst. We check in with each other often; the group text is is chaotic and frequent. We’ve had Zoom hangs outside of recording to just chat and catch up, and there have been a couple socially distanced gatherings outdoors. I’ve gone over to Jill [Knox] and Keith [Powell]’s place; they’ve got a huge backyard. I went over with my girlfriend; we sat far away, but that was even, you know, a month after we started.

So, it is kind of amazing to see that we actually made this chemistry without having spent much time together.

Suzanne:   Yeah, good. I’m glad you guys were able to get together and be friends in real life.

Ely:   Yeah, for sure.

Suzanne:   Had you met any of the cast or crew previously?

Ely:   No, I had not. I mean, I think I’d auditioned for something Martin [Gero] had created, a show called La Complex. I’d auditioned for that when I was living in Canada. Brendan Gall, Martin Gero, and I are all Canadian. So, he remembered me from that, but that was maybe ten years ago. Then, I’ve had mutual friends with some of the other cast and friends with one of the writers, Carl Tart, who is going to be on the show later.

So, it was one of those things where when we had that first Zoom workplace meeting, and, you know, the whole crew’s on Zoom. I remember just looking through trying to figure out who everyone was, seeing my friend Carl and sending him a message on Instagram and just trying to pick out who might be in the cast. It was very interesting, kind of Where’s Waldo situation.

Suzanne:   When you do the Zoom thing, it has to be on the phone, right? You can’t have like a big computer screen.

Ely:   I have a desktop computer, so my setup is different. Every one of the actors has a bit of a different setup, and I’m fortunate that I’m always in this bunker, so my angle is basically the same. So, I can have my tripod in front of my big desktop computer, and I have the zoom on there, so that makes it easier in terms of seeing the actors. When we actually do the scenes, we’re doing it straight to the to the lens of the camera, but we do one rehearsal before we actually record, where we just look at the computer screen, so we know what each other is doing. Because otherwise, we’re just kind of winging it.

Suzanne:   Yeah, that’s a lot of people to try to see on a little phone, or even a big phone.

Ely:   It can certainly be overwhelming.

Suzanne:   Aside from the obvious things, what was the biggest challenge you faced during filming?

Ely:   I think the technology was a challenge in its own sense of, of course, we could have expected that these things are not designed to be doing what we’re doing with them, but we’ve all found a way. I think it’s certainly a challenge to know what to do with yourself with all this going on.

I think beyond the actual show and filming the show, it’s an incredible experience and an incredible thing to be on an NBC sitcom. It’s definitely the dream for an actor to wind up in this situation, yet at the same time, we’re still on lockdown. We’re still in our homes; we’re still not going out. Things are still closed; there’s still a pandemic. There’s still a social justice movement going on. So, it’s definitely bizarre and challenging to accept that this is happening at the same time as, you know, I finish shooting and then I’m still in my house.

I drove to go see the billboard that we had on the Sunset Strip, but then back to my house. I got the premiere tonight, but I’m still in my house. iI’s hard to wrap your mind around, I think.

Suzanne:   Right. Well, at least you have a good commute, though.

Ely:   Yes, my commutes great. Fortunately, I’m very rarely late.

Suzanne:   And no more LA traffic, so that’s good.

Ely:   Yes, exactly.

Suzanne:   What was the best thing about playing this character?

Ely:   You know, I think that, for me, playing Rufus has been a lot of fun, because we’re not entirely dissimilar. I’m not as crazy as he is. I’m not as out there, but I certainly take this virus a little bit more seriously than a lot of people I know. So, getting some of the pandemic aggression out in a funny way was very nice for me.

I think it’s also nice, because he genuinely cares about his friends. I think there are people that can be angry, and certainly I spoke about it with Brendan and Martin about not making him too grading and angry, but he’s somebody who genuinely cares. When he gets mad, it’s because he’s worried about his friend, and that was nice.

Suzanne:   Actually, that’s one of the things I like about this show is the people seem very real, and you know, your character could have gone too far. You don’t want to be one of those sitcoms, where you’re like, “Oh, I hate that person. Why are they using that person so much?”

Ely:   Right, exactly.

Suzanne:  

That drives me away from sitcoms, sometimes.

What do you think audiences will like most about the show?

Ely:   I’m hoping that audiences enjoy seeing people who are going through what they have gone through and are still going through. From my perspective, I think we’re seeing a lot of people in the country and in the world wanting this to be done. They want the virus, the pandemic, to be over, and they want to kind of think of it as out of sight out of mind. But I know that there’re so so many more of us who are still taking it seriously, still being careful, so we can take care of our friends and our neighbors and our family and, you know, keeping people from getting sick and doing what we can to protect everyone else. I think it’ll be really nice for them to see people doing that, too and still having a good time being together and still being connected. I think that that’s gonna be wonderful. But also, the people that don’t do that stuff, they can laugh at us for whatever reason they deem necessary. Something for everyone.

Suzanne:   That’s right.

And what had you been doing to pass the time, as it were, during the pandemic before this?

Ely:   Well, before I got the show, I definitely went through all the phases. I think we all did. I was baking. I really got to a point where I was really nailing this Julia Child sandwich bread, a white sandwich bread recipe, and I got that down – a lot of butter. That was good; I was doing that.

My girlfriend and I were doing a lot of movie marathons. Early on the pandemic, we watched all the Harry Potter movies, watched a lot of TV, but, interestingly enough, it took until yesterday to do our first puzzle. We bought 1000 piece puzzle we just started. I don’t know how it took us this long, well, at least what I didn’t know until we started. Then, I was like, “Right, hat’s why we didn’t do this.” We had missing pieces or dropped the puzzle on the ground; it’s a whole thing. But it’s been it’s gonna be a challenge, and that’s my next project, is getting this puzzle built.

Suzanne:   Wow. I have a friend who likes puzzles, and she was having trouble finding puzzles at the beginning of this. I think, eventually, they were more available.

…It’s like the toilet paper. You couldn’t get it for a while, because people were hoarding it, but then now you can get it.

Ely:   Exactly. I live near a small independent board game and comic book shop. I went there to get the puzzle, and the guy that runs place was like, “You know, I wouldn’t say we’re recession proof, but certainly for this, whenever when everyone’s stuck at home and they need entertainment, we’re in a good spot. I can imagine that everyone was selling out of puzzles.

Suzanne:   Right, and probably the comic books too.

Ely:   Yeah, exactly.

Suzanne:   So, do you have any other projects coming up, or that you’ve been working towards, or were working towards, before the pandemic?

Ely:   Nothing that I can really speak to right now. There’s always stuff kind of up in the air, and I think with the pandemic, it put a lot of a pause on a lot of things, and I think we’re just kind of waiting it out.

But I write stuff, and I think that the best stuff I was doing before the pandemic, that I’d like to do more of eventually, is a friend of mine runs a home alone film challenge that he started at the beginning of all this, where you’d have one weekend to write, direct, edit, and star in a movie by yourself at home. So, in a way, it prepared me very well for this, because we use the same app that we’re using to shoot the show on. So, I made a few little films, and it got my creative juices flowing in a really nice way. So, hopefully more stuff like that in the future.

Here is the audio version of it.

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

MORE INFO:

BIO

Ely Henry plays Rufus on the new NBC comedy “Connecting…”

Henry, who has been a professional actor since 2003, started his career in Toronto working on films such as “Cheaper by the Dozen 2” and “Mean Girls,” as well as TV shows and specials, including “Skins” and “I, Martin Short, Goes Home.”

Since moving to Los Angeles in 2012, he has had recurring roles on “Suburgatory” and “Twisted,” and guest-starring roles on “The Middle,” “Good Luck Charlie” and “Superstore.”

Henry had leading roles in the superhero comedy film “Zeroes” and the indie drama “Some Freaks,” from executive producer Neil LaBute. He also had a leading role in the animated film “Smallfoot” with LeBron James, Channing Tatum, Gina Rodriguez and Danny DeVito.

Henry also had a recurring role on Showtime’s “Roadies,” created by Oscar winner Cameron Crowe and executive produced by J.J. Abrams.

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poster for "Connecting..." on NBC

Interview with Hamza Haq

TV Interview!

Hanza Haq of "Transplant" (photo from Fabrice Gaetan/Sphere Media/NBC)

Interview with Hanza Haq of “Transplant” on NBC by Suzanne 10/9/20

It was great to speak with Hanza, who’s a smart, thoughtful guy, clearly on the rise. I’m enjoying watching his work on this show.  If you haven’t watched “Transplant,” yet, you’re really missing out.

Suzanne:   So, tell us how the audition for your show went. I know it was a while ago now.

Hamza:  Well, I had a pre-existing relationship with both CTV, the network, and Joe, the showrunner, on two different shows. So, when they decided to partner up together, I was kind of the unofficial front runner…[But then] they wanted a Syrian for the role. So, they told me, you know, “We all wanted you to play it, but we’re really going to make a concerted effort to try to find a Syrian within Canada to really tell the story.”

As much as I didn’t like losing a part, if there was Pakistani character that I didn’t even get to read for, I would have been quite upset. So, I just accepted that that was the way that it was gonna be.

Then they did their due diligence, and they searched for actors of Syrian decent across Canada for several months, and I was just fortunate that they couldn’t find him.

I’m sure…just given the nature of the opportunity certain people get and what they hear about it, you know, I ended up getting the part, and I’ve been doing my best to do justice to it ever since.

Suzanne:   Great.

(crosstalk)

Have you started shooting season two yet?

Hamza:  We have not. We have not. We were slated for August, and here we are in cozy old October, still waiting. You know, frustration aside, everybody’s very happy to make sure that we provide a safe environment for everybody to work and all that jazz, cope with precautions, etc, etc.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I hope they start on that soon, because, the the daytime soaps here in the US have already started all back. They just do it very safely. I don’t know the details, but I guess they test everyone regularly, and everyone wears masks, and whatever else they do. Some of the other shows, I think some of the primetime shows, have started, but you never know, right?

Hamza:  Absolutely not.

Suzanne:   Did you do any research for the role before you started filming it?

Hamza:  Oh, of course, I mean, as far as the medical stuff is concerned, we’re all very happy that we had – first things first, the writers did all their research to make sure that everything was medically accurate. Then all of us on the cast, we went to boot camp to try to, you know, choreograph all the things that we have to do in trauma situations and surgeries and all of those things. So, that was taken care of.

As far as character is concerned, I was given several documentaries and readings and novels to sort of get into the mindset and really understand better the the conflict that happened and is currently happening in Syria still ten years after the fact, you know, since [then], and just trying to understand and have conversations with people who went through it or something similar. We had a wide range of consultants who lived this exact experience, who were able to be very generous with their time and their experiences. So, all that money [went] to bringing this to life.

Suzanne:   Great. And what about your accent? What are you basing that on?

Hamza:  So, I had a couple of dialect coaches to help get the accent right. Then there was some fine tuning based on the region that he [is from]. You know, he’s from Aleppo, so we tried to get that regional accent but also tried to use a little bit of the fact that he may have gone to school in more of an upper scale, maybe British, educational system, that kind of thing. So, there’re a couple subtleties here that aren’t completely, you know, Syrian Syrian, but it’s sort of an amalgamation of his life experiences. So, I worked with about three or four people tirelessly, and three of them were actually Syrian refugees. So, I was very happy to have that experience – fortunate, rather.

Suzanne:   Wow. So, it’s very authentic, in a lot of ways, this show.

Hamza:  We’re doing our best, I think. With such an important story, I think everybody is just going to try to do their best to do justice to the story and the experiences of the people who went through it. So, I think authenticity was definitely the goal, and I certainly hope we hit it in a lot of areas. And there’s a lot of areas yet to go, and, hopefully, we’ll hit those in seasons two, three, etc.

Suzanne:   I saw a video of you, and you had tattoos on your hands. Do they have to cover those up with makeup when you do the show?

Hamza:  No…it was just Henna.

Suzanne:   Oh, temporary?

Hamza:  I had a little red carpet affair in Berlin, and I like to flex my own culture and get a little South Asian Henna done before the ceremony or whatever. So, yeah, that was fun, but it it faded within four or five days.

Suzanne:   Okay, so it was temporary. So, were you surprised when the show got picked up for TV in the US?

Hamza:  I’m cocky, but no. It’s a very good show; the goal was to try to get as many eyes on it as possible. It’s a very universal story. So, we heard, “Hey, they have enough faith in the show that they’re gonna take this to American audiences,” and everything like that. So, I will say I was very happy when it happened, but surprised, no. It was like, “Well yes.” The fact that it happened, you know, we’re all very fortunate. We’re very blessed with the getting such tremendous feedback from American audiences. Also, it’s very nice.

Suzanne:   Oh, good. So, you’ve gotten a lot of fan reaction?

Hamza:  Yeah, I mean, I’m not on Twitter, which is where a lot of those things happen, so, I hear about a lot of these things, which is really great. The numbers don’t lie, either, you know, the team will [be] like, “We held 4 million or $3 million,” or however many it was. That’s just great. So, I would imagine that if people are maintaining it, there’s x amount of million people watching it every day, I would imagine that it’s generally positive, that those who are watching it are enjoying it. So, I’m happy about that.

Suzanne:   Well, I see you on Instagram. Is that not you? Or somebody posting for you?

Hamza:  No, Instagram is me; Instagram is me, but I try not to get too big headed. So, I don’t read all the comments. It’s really easy for me to get big headed, and I love the attention, and I love all that stuff. But I try my best not to lean too far into it. I’m grateful. I’m grateful, yes, everybody commenting on my eyelashes. I appreciate it. Yes, they are real. Yes, I’m sorry that a lot of people have to spend a lot of money getting these eyelashes, but, sorry, I got them from my dad.

Suzanne:   So, how are you and Bashir different besides the obvious, like not being Syrian.

Hamza:  Bashir has a tremendous amount of confidence in who he is as a person. His ability to stay steadfast in decision making outside of his work is something that I very much look up to; I’m very easily influenced by other people. I’m quite insecure about a lot of things, and Bashir has this very, you know, fortified sense of self and a sense of identity, which is something that I’m working towards.

Where we’re similar, is our brashness and our arrogance when it comes to the jobs that we do. I [lose] the insecurity as soon as I’m on set. I feel like I know what I’m doing, and I feel like I can tell a story. And sometimes, I would say, not to the degree that Bashir is, I can rub people the wrong way in terms of, you know, like me arguing with the director or the writer that this is the way that it should be done and everything like that. I don’t think it gets to a point where I’m ever yelling or going behind someone’s back being sneaky about anything, but when it comes to work, I think we’re both similarly confident in what we do.

Suzanne:   The only problems he seems to have, is the whole PTSD and not wanting to get help for it and maybe a little too much pride that some people have, you know, not wanting to get help, not admitting that he has problems.

Hamza:  Yeah, that’s a predominantly male issue, I think. I think a lot of guys can relate to that. That wasn’t too far of a stretch for me either, like, “No, I got it. It’s fine.”

Suzanne:   What can you tell us about working with Sirena, who plays your little sister?

Hamza:  Oh, those are easiest scenes. I feel so connected to her and protective of her. You know, a young actress comes on to set, and you just want to make sure that she’s doing okay, and it was very easy. I see her as my little sister, and I want her to succeed, and I want her to be safe. I want her to have fun and learn and all of those things. So, you know, the dialogue just lent itself to this very immediate connection that the two of us already had. So, it was beautiful. Like, it’s not difficult to want to provide, you know, to want to make the world a better place for Amira, or Sirena as well.

Suzanne:   Yeah, the scenes with her, you can tell that you like her, and she’s adorable. So, I can’t imagine even now.

Hamza:  Yeah, she’s really cool. Easily she’s gonna be the biggest star out of this. Right now I’ll go on record saying she’s going to be the biggest star out of all of us, mark my words.

Suzanne:   Do you have any funny stories about filming the show?

Hamza:  I have several. I just don’t know what I’m allowed to say.

Did you know John Hannah was in The Mummy? He hates that I keep bringing that up, but I would say that on the first day that we all met, I was so excited when I heard that he was going to be a part of the show. And I thought we waited a whole 30 seconds before we yelled that at him. I was like, “I’ve seen that movie like one hundred times. It’s my favorite movie,” and stuff like that. I think the more I say it, the more it grinds his gears a bit, but I’m never gonna stop doing it.

Suzanne:   Oh, that’s funny.

Hamza:  Yeah, I mean, the whole thing was really fun. Like, you know, we would all get together after work, like often party together. You know, we went rock climbing with Jim Watson, and we did Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with Ayisha Issa, you know what I mean? You know, anytime we wanted a good restaurant to go to (unintelligible) incredible, you know, recommendation, and she could get those reservations too. So, it was just everybody brought their own thing to it. And we just loved each other from go.

Suzanne:   Oh, that’s cool. That’s great. Yeah, it’s it’s a great cast. I enjoy it. I liked him; he was in so many great TV shows. And Tori Higginson, she was wonderful in Stargate Atlantis. I don’t know if you ever saw that show.

Hamza:  Yeah, I worked with her on the show in Canada as well, called This Life. That’s where I worked with Joseph Kay before. So, it was really nice when she joined the team as well.

Suzanne:   Oh, cool. That’s nice. Yeah, it’s always nice to see people you know, already. Is there anything else that you’d like to tell your fans?

Hamza:  Keep on watching. I’m grateful that people are learning so much about Muslim culture and Arab culture and, you know, go up there and vote. Register to vote and make your voices heard.

Suzanne:   Well, thank you. And I really enjoyed the show. I’ve been watching it. NBC let me have all the episodes, but I like to watch them on the TV. So, I enjoy it. And I’ve been telling everybody to watch it. So, good luck, and I hope – and you said you already have a second season right? You just haven’t filmed it yet.

Hamza:  Yeah, we’ve been picked up, and we’re we’re in limbo, like much of the world. But, hopefully, as soon as we get we get the go ahead, we’ll be all like tremendously happy to continue telling the story.

Here is the audio version of it.

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

MORE INFO:

Bashir “Bash” Hamed

 

“Transplant”

Hamza Haq stars as Bashir “Bash” Hamed, the new ER doctor who fled his native Syria and must overcome numerous obstacles to resume his career in the high-stakes world of emergency medicine, in NBC’s drama “Transplant.”

Raised in Ottawa, Haq is the youngest of four siblings born in Saudi Arabia to Pakistani parents and has called Canada home for almost 20 years.

His television credits include the CTV miniseries “Indian Detective,” opposite William Shatner, Russell Peters and Anupam Kher; the CBC Gem crime-drama miniseries “The 410”; and the CBC drama “This Life,” which garnered critical acclaim and earned him a 2018 Canadian Screen Award nomination for Best Guest Performance.

He has had recurring roles on the Cinemax series “Jett,” starring Carla Gugino; “Quantico,” opposite Priyanka Chopra; and “The Art of More,” co-starring Dennis Quaid and Kate Bosworth. Other notable credits include “Designated Survivor,” “The Bold Type,” “Being Human,” “Michael: Tuesdays and Thursdays” and “Best Laid Plans.” Haq also served as host of the TVOKids program “Look Kool.”

On the big screen, he’s held supporting roles in “Bon Cop Bad Cop 2,” with Colm Feore; “The Death and Life of John F. Donovan,” directed by Xavier Dolan; Darren Aronofsky’s “Mother!”; “Run this Town,” opposite Mena Massoud and Nina Dobrev; and most recently, “My Salinger Year,” starring Margaret Qualley and Sigourney Weaver.

In 2017, he was named one of Canada’s Rising Stars by the Hollywood Reporter. Haq holds a Bachelor of Arts in film studies with a minor in law from Carleton University.

August 2020

“TRANSPLANT”

Premiere: Sept. 1, 2020

When Dr. Bashir Hamed (Hamza Haq, “Quantico”), a charismatic Syrian doctor with battle-tested skills in emergency medicine, flees his war-torn homeland, he and younger sister Amira (Sirena Gulamgaus) become refugees, struggling to forge a new life in Canada. But if Bash ever wants to be a doctor again, he must redo his medical training from the ground up and obtaining a coveted residency position is nearly impossible.

When a horrific truck crash nearly kills a senior doctor right in front of him, Bash saves the doctor’s life and earns a residency in the biggest Emergency Department of the best hospital in Toronto.

Yet for all Bash’s experience, it’s a tough road. Bash’s training is different, his life experience are unique to him and he’s not an exact match for his new colleagues, who include Dr. Magalie “Mags” LeBlanc (Laurence Leboeuf, “The Disappearance”), a ferociously analytical second-year resident who pushes herself relentlessly; Dr. June Curtis (Ayisha Issa, “Polar”), a reserved, ambitious surgical resident whose loyalty doesn’t come easily; and Dr. Theo Hunter (Jim Watson, “Mary Kills People”), a pediatric Emergency Fellow whose small-town upbringing is cracking wide open as life at the hospital changes his worldview.

The team works tirelessly to save lives and win the approval of the legendary head of the Emergency Department, Dr. Jed Bishop (John Hannah, “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”), all the while managed by sharp-eyed, acerbic Dr. Wendy Atwater (Linda E. Smith, “19-2”) and supported by longtime head nurse, the deadpan, confident Claire Malone (Torri Higginson, “This Life”).

Through it all, Bash tries to meet the demand of his new country and new job, while trying to pay the bills, raise his little sister and carve out a new life for them both in this unfamiliar land. It’s a journey that’s universal to people everywhere. Bash aims high and is determined to succeed, and those around are quick to see that his passion and hopefulness are contagious. But will his newfound life reject him, or will this “transplant” take?

A major success story as CTV’s the most-watched Canadian series in total viewers this broadcast year, “Transplant” will showcase its bold and powerful storytelling to a brand-new audience.

Joseph Kay, Jocelyn Deschênes, Bruno Dubé, Randy Lennox, Virginia Rankin, Jeremy Spry and Tara Woodbury serve as executive producers.

“Transplant” is produced by Sphere Media in association with CTV and NBCUniversal International Studios, a division of NBCUniversal Content Studios.

August 2020

Please visit the official show site at: https://www.nbc.com/transplant.

For the latest “Transplant” news, videos, and photos, please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram:
https://www.facebook.com/NBCTransplant/
https://twitter.com/NBCTransplant  #Transplant
https://www.instagram.com/nbctransplant/

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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Hanza Haq of "Transplant" (photo from Fabrice Gaetan/Sphere Media/NBC) TRANSPLANT -- "Trigger Warning" Episode 106 -- Pictured: (l-r) Hamza Haq as Dr. Bashir "Bash" Hamed, Jihn Hannah as Dr.Jed Bishop -- (Photo by: Yan Turcotte/Sphere Media/CTV/NBC)