tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-20895546105995124462019-03-11T05:01:14.821-04:00Celebrity Extra (follow me on twitter: twitter.com/celebrity_extra)Cindy Elavskyhttps://plus.google.com/106692805345133429179noreply@blogger.comBlogger747125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2089554610599512446.post-24699322675151071422018-06-07T11:06:00.000-04:002018-06-07T11:06:11.752-04:00INTERVIEW: Lili Bordán’s Star Is on the Rise<table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; margin-right: 1em; text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-JHno_s3sS-I/WxlHAFkTOZI/AAAAAAAAFo8/Sd2ePhNh5qIlY9Qsalyu2Vgpg9anuAV9QCLcBGAs/s1600/Lili%2B2%2BJohn%2BDuarte.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1600" data-original-width="1067" height="400" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-JHno_s3sS-I/WxlHAFkTOZI/AAAAAAAAFo8/Sd2ePhNh5qIlY9Qsalyu2Vgpg9anuAV9QCLcBGAs/s400/Lili%2B2%2BJohn%2BDuarte.JPG" width="266" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Lili Bordán<br />(photo by John Duarte)</td><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;"><br /></td></tr></tbody></table>You might not know her yet, but you will soon. Daughter of Hungarian film legend Irén Bordán, <b>Lili Bordán</b> is a star on the rise who is making her mark on Hollywood. She has starring and co-starring roles on “Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome,” “X Company,” “Live or Die in La Honda” and the recently released feature film “Book Club” under her belt, and she has more parts in movies than I can keep track of that will soon be released and that she’s working on as you read this. I spoke with her recently, and she gave me the rundown on what’s going on in her life now, and what it took to get her there. <br /><br /><i>Celebrity Extra: Your mother is film actress Irén Bordán, so you grew up in that world. Did that help inform your decision to become an actress, or did you have other plans as you were growing up? </i><br /><br /><b>Lili Bordán: I think that because my mother saw talent and potential in me even as a young child, she thought I could succeed. She wanted me to have the same kind of experiences that enriched her life as an artist. I was very involved in theater as a kid and even filmed some short films and commercials (all of them with my mother playing my mother, coincidentally). It was something we never forced, but when I had the chance to perform, she was always right there driving me to rehearsals and location, supporting me in every way and rooting for me. </b><br /><b><br /></b><b>Mom introduced me to renowned acting teacher Susan Batson when I was 16. I really I felt like the work she was doing was just next level and that’s when I learned the depth of acting as a craft. I took theater classes and was part of some productions at Sarah Lawrence College as well. </b><br /><b><br /></b><b>When I graduated, I went to Europe — Hungary — to do a film, and I stayed there for four years. That’s when I really got my footing as an actor because there were so many productions that were filming there; it was the perfect place for me to be at that moment of my career to build credits and get to know the workings of a professional TV/movie set. Theater has a strong tradition in Hungary, and I got to work with some legends of the Hungarian theater. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Oh yes, theater training is the best for honing your craft. </i><br /><br /><b>LB: Yes, and it really stretched me because I was acting in two different languages and across many different mediums. I worked on commercials, films, TV shows and voiceover as well. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: I know you speak Hungarian — what other languages do you know? </i><br /><br /><b>LB: I speak French as well. And I’ve had to act in Italian and German and Russian too. So, I’m pretty good at picking up different languages and accents. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Tell me how your opportunity at “X Company” came about. </i><br /><br /><b>LB: I had been in Hungary doing “American Girl” for Disney, and then working on “The Martian” and “Strike Back.” For “X Company,” that was kind of a surprise. I played a woman called Kate who worked at the intelligence headquarters. I had moments in a few episodes, but the role was in no way pivotal. Still, it was an interesting show to work on with a wonderful cast and crew. I enjoyed meeting Evelyne Brochu and getting to watch her work. And then also Lara Jean (Chorostecki), my other colleague, was lovely. They called me back for season two, but I didn’t return. They were nice people and the show was fantastic; I was just making a career choice. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Tell me about “Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome.” All of those series and movies are so popular, with such a huge cult following, it must have been quite an experience to be a part of. </i><br /><br /><b>LB: That part was pretty meaty. Originally, it was made to be a pilot for a prequel series, but then it didn’t get picked up for whatever reason. But it turned out really well and was so anticipated by fans that it was released in a few different formats. It came out as an online series on Machinima, then aired as a TV movie on SyFy, and came out on Blu-ray and On Demand few months later. That was a really important role for me in my career. It was also one of those roles where I’m there basically the whole time as an integral part of the story. My character drives the story forward, and it’s all because of this secret she has. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: So now you’re officially a member of the ever-growing “BSG” family … </i><br /><br /><b>LB: It was a really great experience. I made friends with some of producers and cast who were on the original 2004 “Battlestar.” I met Edward James Olmos, Katee Sackhoff and James Callis. They are really nice and welcoming. I keep in touch with some of them to this day. And then for my “Battlestar,” I got to work with Luke Pasqualino, who’s gone on to have an amazing career. And also Ben Cotton, who is one of my favorite actors to work with and such a lovely person, as well. </b><br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-hgURVH-Gwd8/WxlJU6CZ9dI/AAAAAAAAFpI/MD864sNS2_wwpR0KKIbyqZd_Sd19B-c5QCLcBGAs/s1600/Lili%2B1%2BJohn%2BDuarte.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1067" data-original-width="1600" height="266" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-hgURVH-Gwd8/WxlJU6CZ9dI/AAAAAAAAFpI/MD864sNS2_wwpR0KKIbyqZd_Sd19B-c5QCLcBGAs/s400/Lili%2B1%2BJohn%2BDuarte.JPG" width="400" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Lili Bordán<br />(photo by John Duarte)</td></tr></tbody></table><i>CE: Tell me your work on Matt Damon’s “The Martian.” </i><br /><br /><b>LB: “The Martian” was a three-day shoot, and it was a really good tempo. It was paced but not rushed, with short days, which lent to creating a calm, productive set. Ridley Scott and his whole team had been working together for a while, so it’s just a really well-oiled machine. I played a reporter, so I obviously didn’t have that much to do, but I had three scenes. I got to work with a real CNN reporter, as well. He was like: “You want to be a correspondent? We’re looking for people.” I was like: “Wow. Am I that good? I’m flattered.” </b><br /><br /><i>CE: You have a nice role in the feature film “Book Club” — which came out on the big screen on Friday, May 18 — starring Hollywood legends Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen. Tell me about the movie and about that experience. </i><br /><br /><b>LB: It’s an ensemble cast. It’s about intimacy and finding or rekindling love at any age. My character is a dance instructor called Irene, and my scenes are with Mary Steenburgen’s and Craig T. Nelson’s characters. </b><br /><b><br /></b><b>It’s a supporting role and I’m grateful to be acting alongside veteran actors like Mary Steenburgen and Craig T. Nelson, and also to share a movie with some of my idols like Diane Keaton and Jane Fonda. It’s a true honor, and I’m excited to have been a part of this film. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: You’ve got another new movie, “CURTIZ” coming out. Tell me about that and the character you play in it. </i><br /><br /><b>LB: It’s a biopic about director Michael Curtiz that takes place during the time of his life when he was filming “Casablanca,” which was also a historically pivotal time because it’s when we declared war on Germany and Japan. Filming commenced in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor. “Casablanca” was important not only as a work of art, but some argue that it was important in garnering public support for our involvement in the war. I don’t think Michael Curtiz meant to sell a war. He was just trying to tell a good story, but that’s the power of film. My character, Irene Lee, was the story editor on </b><b><b>“</b>Casablanca.</b><b><b>”</b> She worked closely with “Casablanca” producer Hal B. Wallis and actually is credited with finding the play “Everybody Comes to Rick</b><b><b>’</b>s,” written by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison in 1940. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: You’ve got another movie that recently came out, “Live or Die in La Honda.” Tell me about that and the role you play. </i><br /><br /><b>LB: That came out a few weeks ago on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu and other platforms. I play the role of Vic Taylor, opposite Blake Shields Abramovitz, who plays Blake Baker. It all happens in this small town of 900 people called La Honda in the beautiful red-wooded mountains of Northern California. Vic and Blake have a toxic history together, but they can’t stay apart. It’s about their downward spiral back into old habits. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: I was reading in your bio that you are a certified autism movement therapist, and you work with children on the autism spectrum for an organization called Guidance Autism. How did you get involved with that cause? </i><br /><br /><b>LB: I was looking for a cause — some way to give back to my community. A friend had started a dance company for kids with autism in 2010, and it has blossomed into this beautiful program that uses dance as a means of helping theses children cope and just have fun. I started out as a volunteer, and now I’m a dance instructor. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: It must be a joy to work with those kids. </i><br /><br /><b>LB: It’s wonderful. It used to be challenging for me, but now I just fully enjoy it — the format is still in my system. It’s really fun, and I have a very special connection with these kids, and their parents as well. Dance really does have healing properties. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Before we close, can you tell me what else you have coming up that my readers should know about? </i><br /><br /><b>LB: I have a feature called “Welcome to Curiosity” coming out in theaters in the U.K. and North America. I’ll be heading to the London premiere in June. I’ve shot other films these past few years that are still in some form or other of postproduction, but I will keep you posted as they are released! </b>Cindy Elavskyhttps://plus.google.com/106692805345133429179noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2089554610599512446.post-68725517293833386102018-05-02T10:30:00.000-04:002018-05-17T14:39:26.646-04:00INTERVIEW: Bailee Madison Shines a Light on Good Witch's Grace Russell<table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; margin-right: 1em; text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-GpjjzQNni0I/Wv3L_aUWqqI/AAAAAAAAFoY/NL4ShXi2pbM7sxGIRIQfCtGfgVG_MTesQCLcBGAs/s1600/Bailee%2BMadison%2B5.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" data-original-height="824" data-original-width="596" height="400" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-GpjjzQNni0I/Wv3L_aUWqqI/AAAAAAAAFoY/NL4ShXi2pbM7sxGIRIQfCtGfgVG_MTesQCLcBGAs/s400/Bailee%2BMadison%2B5.jpg" width="288" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Bailee Madison<br />(courtesy Crown Media)</td></tr></tbody></table>We all know her as Grace Russell, the daughter of Catherine Bell’s character, Cassie, on “Good Witch,” which airs Sundays at 9/8c on the Hallmark Channel. But you also might remember her from “Bridge to Terabithia” or “Wizards of Waverly Place.” We’ve watched <b>Bailee Madison</b> grow up in front of the camera, and this season on “Good Witch,” Grace is growing up as well, dealing with her own teenager problems — with a touch of magic. I spoke with Bailee recently, and she told me all about this new season of the hit Hallmark show, and even reminisced with me about her previous groundbreaking roles. <br /><br /><i>Celebrity Extra: Let’s start off by telling me how you got into acting — it seems like you’ve been doing it your whole life. </i><br /><br /><b>Bailee Madison: This question I get asked a lot, and I’ve yet out of all these years come up with a really cool story. But I started when I was so young. I never took any classes ever. I have such a beautiful family and love and support. My sister is an actress, and she was working in Orlando. And then I went off to do “Bridge to Terabithia” and came back home for a year to just be a kid, and then I came back out to Hollywood for the premiere when I was 7, and that’s when things started to happen. But from the first set that I stepped on, I knew that it felt like home to me. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: And you’re from Fort Lauderdale, correct? </i><br /><br /><b>BM: Yes, I live in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in a little town called Lauderdale-By-The-Sea. I still have so much of my family there, and I go and visit whenever I can. I’m actually back home right now. But I love it. That’s truly where my heart is, and I love to get to go back there. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Going back to “Bridge of Terabithia” — that was your breakout role. And you were so young! What was that experience like? </i><br /><br /><b>BM: I was 6, yeah. Oh my gosh, it was such a wonderful experience. I was in New Zealand for over six months, and it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited. The black-sand beaches and just the people and the culture — it was such a special time for me. But, obviously, that movie is so iconic to so many people on so many levels. And I got to be a part of bringing a book to life. I don’t think I realized how special that really was, and now that I’m older, I’ve read the book and I have talked to kids who are reading the book, and it’s such a beautiful thing that I got to be a part of it. I’m so grateful. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: It really was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for you, and it really jump-started your career. </i><br /><br /><b>BM: I had all these beautiful people who helped to guide me but also let me feel confident and free enough to just get to experience things on my own, as well, and to try different things. But I really mean it when I say I will forever be thankful for it. It’s a part of my heart, and it allowed me to grow up and really discover who I am. Not a lot of people can say that. So, I’m very, very grateful. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: You came onto the show when it was already established as a popular movie series. Were you nervous or excited — how were you feeling? </i><br /><br /><b>BM: I was told that they were going to convert the movies into a series for Hallmark, and about how they’ve had this incredible success with the “Good Witch” movies. I went home and watched them with my family, and we all agreed that they were fantastic. And then found myself in Toronto (where the series is filmed). I was able to walk on to something that clearly almost every single person on that crew and the majority of the cast had basically lived together for the past seven years. I think that’s what it was. For me to walk into that, it could have gone any way. But I was received with open arms and support, and we really just wanted to give it our best shot. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: What is it like to work with Catherine Bell and the rest of the cast and crew? </i><br /><br /><b>BB: Catherine is wonderful. It’s a joy to get to work with someone’s who’s so lovely and supportive. I’ve known her for almost five years now, which is crazy! The last season has been so fun for her, and for me, because as her daughter, I journeyed with her. Cassie has all these questions and I’m trying to help her with it. But we have a good time together. I love these people, and I have to say we have an amazing crew who are so hardworking. And our cast is so wonderful. They really work their butts off. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: You film in Toronto — how do you like filming there? </i><br /><br /><b>BM: I love Toronto! I wish that we could film sometimes at the end of summer (laughs). We’re always up there when it’s cold, which is still a lot of fun. Last year I took so many fights back and forth from Toronto to LA. I flew home to LA every weekend for 24 hours to see my family and give them a hug. And then I’d fly back to Toronto, my home away from home. And I always, obviously, count Florida as well. But I have so many friends up there (in Toronto), and I have had such a great time so far. I just enjoy it so much. It’s such a beautiful place to get to work. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Tell me what’s going on with Grace and Nick this season. Are they going to adjust well to their parents marrying each other? </i><br /><br /><b>BM: Nick and Grace left off on a very heated note at the end of season three. And I honestly think if you look back at the past three seasons, they have had an interesting relationship where they can just go from real hot and cold so quickly. And we’ll pick up on that in season four. They are still as contemptuous with each other as ever. I think that they have to try to pull themselves together for the sake of their parents but in a way they are doing it for each other. As they grow, it is really going to be interesting for the audience to get to see. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Tell me about Grace’s journey this season. </i><br /><br /><b>BM: I have to say without a doubt this is my favorite journey for Grace as she develops as a teenager. She’s a very good girl. She doesn’t go out. She’s kind of that picture-perfect daughter who every mother dreams of having. But she’s also a teenager who’s dealing with newfound insecurities and questioning how good she really is. She’s in love for the first time. I think for her there will be a lot of downs, but then there will be a lot of ups, as well. But I think what’s cool is she’s imperfect, and they shine that light on her this season. I found it really refreshing to get to play. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: What else can you tell me about this season? </i><br /><br /><b>BM: I’m really excited this year; I think that this is one of my favorite seasons yet. I just feel like all of the characters mesh so well together. The storylines were exciting and different and intense and lovable. And a show like this, it has such a great ensemble cast, so I’m excited for them to have their moments in this season of “Good Witch.” I hope the audience just reacts to it because we are excited for them to see what’s coming. </b>Cindy Elavskyhttps://plus.google.com/106692805345133429179noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2089554610599512446.post-39489162289738943572017-10-11T16:15:00.002-04:002017-10-11T16:15:34.014-04:00INTERVIEW: Kara Tointon Hopes You've Checked into The Halcyon<table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; margin-right: 1em;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-_PuBqG7aHzs/Wd519_uZ1uI/AAAAAAAAFmY/rWsFGWTrJ3Ap5SXfyhdbWMwH7G1epPrPQCLcBGAs/s1600/Kara%2BTointon%2B1.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" data-original-height="640" data-original-width="640" height="320" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-_PuBqG7aHzs/Wd519_uZ1uI/AAAAAAAAFmY/rWsFGWTrJ3Ap5SXfyhdbWMwH7G1epPrPQCLcBGAs/s320/Kara%2BTointon%2B1.jpg" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="font-size: 12.8px; text-align: center;">Kara Tointon<br />(photo courtesy: ITV/Ovation TV)</td></tr></tbody></table><b>Kara Tointon</b>&nbsp;is a familiar face across the Pond, but here in America, she is just starting to make her mark. With the help of Ovation TV’s “The Halcyon,” she should soon become a household name. The British series, which is produced by Chris Croucher, who also produced “Downton Abbey,” airs on Mondays at 10 p.m. EST on Ovation. And while the show is similar to “Downton” — it’s been called “Downton Abbey” in a five-star hotel — the fact that it’s a British period piece during wartime is where the similarities end. Recently I spoke with Kara, who plays the seductive and sassy songstress Betsey Day, and she gave me the inside scoop about the series.<br /><br /><i>Celebrity Extra: Can you give me a bit of background about yourself? How did you get your start in acting?</i><br /><br /><b>Kara Tointon: I’ve been acting since I was about 11 years old. My parents wanted me to have an outlet to get my confidence up other than through school means because I didn’t always find school and academia so easy when it came to reading and writing. So I did lots of speech and drama festivals. I really enjoyed public speaking. That’s what sort of got me into acting.</b><br /><b><br /></b><b>And when I joined the agency at the age of 11 — a young age, it seems — I just auditioned around, and I did lots of ads for different TV shows in the U.K. That was my introduction into doing this sort of job. I took it more seriously when I got 16. I did a show called “Teachers,” which is a British comedy (which also starred Andrew Lincoln of “The Walking Dead” fame). I guess that’s when I decided that I would take it more seriously. And I decided to make this my career.</b><br /><br /><i>CE: You’ve done your fair share of British television, most notably “EastEnders,” which seems to be a rite of passage for most British actors.</i><br /><br /><b>KT: It’s really funny because when we in the U.K. watch American shows; they look so beautifully done, and I guess it’s quite funny because our equivalent is “EastEnders,” which is very gray and quite depressing. I was actually an extra on the show when I was about 12 years old. And then I ended up going into it as a character when I was 21. I think it’s maybe different in the States, but in the U.K., when you’re on a show, sometimes it can be a great thing, but people get to know you as that character. I went into acting basically because I enjoy playing different characters. I would say I’m more of a character actor; I enjoy different personalities and accents. So that was interesting to be in one place with “EastEnders” for four years. And at the same time, it was really nice to feel part of a team. I do enjoy that kind of teamwork. And then I was ready to do other things, like theater. I feel like I’ve learned more through my time doing theater work than I have in the whole of my career — having an audience and doing the voice work. When you then come back to filming again, you realize the strength that you’ve built up from doing live theater.</b><br /><br /><i>CE: You’re in rehearsals now for a play, right?</i><br /><br /><b>KT: Yes, I’m rehearsing for “RSC Live: Twelfth Night.”</b><br /><br /><i>CE: I love that play — it’s so much fun to read and to watch performed.</i><br /><br /><b>KT: So I think as well. It’s a really good one.</b><br /><br /><i>CE: And you starred in “Pygmalion” on the West End with Rupert Everett and Diana Rigg.</i><br /><br /><b>KT: That was a great job, actually. And Rupert, he’s very funny and charismatic. He’s a bit romantic that you just want to be with him and listen to what he has to say. There’s never a dull moment. And that was such a great female role. A dream job, actually.</b><br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-KPBuMO613N0/Wd53QOvEWhI/AAAAAAAAFmg/F5pp4qQ8YWEaW36My9hR2_IeCMt15ATbwCLcBGAs/s1600/the_halcyon_itv.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" data-original-height="500" data-original-width="1000" height="198" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-KPBuMO613N0/Wd53QOvEWhI/AAAAAAAAFmg/F5pp4qQ8YWEaW36My9hR2_IeCMt15ATbwCLcBGAs/s400/the_halcyon_itv.jpg" width="400" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="font-size: 12.8px;">Cast of&nbsp;<i>The Halcyon</i><br />(photo courtesy ITV/Ovation TV)</td></tr></tbody></table><i>CE: Tell me your impressions of “The Halcyon” when you first read the script.</i><br /><br /><b>KT: I got sort of caught up in it very quickly because you could see that this was going to be a very atmospheric, fast-paced series. And they said that music was going to absolutely be at the heart of this show. And that can sometimes be difficult logistically when you’re trying to film and always have music in the background, especially when the scene is performance-based. But they managed it really well.</b><br /><b><br /></b><b>I just loved all the characters, and I just felt that it was something that could go anywhere. They introduce the characters really well. And for me, it’s funny, but in the first couple of episodes, I don’t have very much, but you understand what each character is about and their part within the realm of the hotel. And because the backdrop is a hotel, it gives you so much scope because you’ve got the upstairs-downstairs aspect, but you can peer behind those closed doors. It’s just a wonderful idea for a show.</b><br /><br /><i>CE: Tell me about your character, Betsey.</i><br /><br /><b>KT: I’d describe Betsey as a complete alley cat. She’s very streetwise. She hasn’t had the easiest upbringing. But she thinks the best of herself. And she’s not scared to say that as it is. I love to play a character like that. It’s so enjoyable. Because most of the time, you’d love to be like that in your own life. It’s a lot of fun. And she has a voice and she sort of banks on being sexy. She’s not actually sexy; I think she’s a tomboy. But she’s found by Sonny Sullivan, who’s the bandleader of the hotel’s band, and it’s given her a place and she’s found her feet in this hotel. And she’s having the time of her life.</b><br /><br /><i>CE: There are hints early on that she hasn’t had the best parental role models in her life. How does her mom play into that? And how does this translate to her relationship with Sonny?</i><br /><br /><b>KT: When her mother turns up, you get the gist that she has a difficult relationship there with her. And her mother sort of flutters in and out of her life. And we see a nice development with Sonny and Betsey because of this in that he’s the first male who she can depend on. He has become a true rock in her life, and she’s never quite had a relationship with a man like that before. So we see where that develops and that strong friendship that they have, along with their love of music together. It works really well.</b><br /><br /><i>CE: Can you give me a little historical background of how and when the series begins?</i><br /><br /><b>KT: Absolutely. When we pick up the series, the Second World War hasn’t started yet, or England hasn’t officially entered the war. So at this point, people aren’t feeling quite so scared yet; for a long time, when the sirens would go off, I didn’t realize, but there wasn’t a sense of urgency because they didn’t think it was coming. They didn’t believe it was happening until that first time that bombs do start landing, and it shakes everyone up. And then life changes. So it’s kind of nice to see that buildup of what’s happening before the bombing raids and then when it actually becomes a reality. It really does kick things off for all the characters.</b><br /><br /><i>CE: Just the opening scene — which is actually the penultimate scene from the last episode, but we get a glimpse of what is to come as the series then flashes back to “Six Months Earlier” — they don’t quite take the sirens seriously until a bomb blasts through the lobby of the hotel.</i><br /><br /><b>KT: We filmed that scene last, actually, which is quite strange, isn’t it? When you do a whole series and that’s the beginning. And that final scene I think is my favorite scene of the whole series. It was quite special because I got to sing “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square,” which is one of my favorite songs.</b><br /><br /><i>CE: I really like the relationship between Betsey and Emma. There is a real love there; it’s not women trying to backstab each other.</i><br /><br /><b>KT: Yes, it’s really nice because she’s a bit older than Emma, but she really cares about her. She says it straight. She can see that Emma hasn’t had an easy time growing up — you know, she lost her mom. But Betsey has a real empathy for Emma, and she wants the best for her. Which is really true friendship there.</b><br /><br /><i>CE: I have read that it’s been described as “Downton Abbey” set in a five-star hotel, but aside from being a British period piece set in wartime, for me that’s where the similarities end. “The Halcyon” truly is its own show.</i><br /><br /><b>KT: It’s such a compliment to have a comparison to anything that’s been so successful like “Downton Abbey.” I can see the similarity because you’ve got the upstairs-downstairs element, but it’s a completely different backdrop of the hotel and storyline-wise and character-wise. The best way to watch anything is just to go in completely fresh-eyed, and just take it for what it is; you’ll get the best outcome when you do that. It’s a really warm show with a great heart, and it’s fun to get carried up by the journey.</b><br /><br /><i>CE: What was life like on the set?</i><br /><br /><b>KT: As a set, it was probably the most elaborate set I’ve ever seen. And I got to see it from the beginning stages where it looked nothing so opulent as was the outcome. There’s just a warmth about it, because we all know the Second World War so well — not the stories behind the facts, but rather the facts of it and what ultimately happened. What’s interesting is that when one is put in those scenarios, where you’re living on the edge, you just live for the moment. And I think that really resonated with me that when you’re living like that, things actually develop quickly, especially with relationships and with your friendships. And you appreciate so much more because you don’t know how long you’ve got to enjoy it.</b><br /><b><br /></b><b>And that electricity — I remember the atmosphere being on set. It was just delighting in the colors and everything. There’s something about that time, as awful as it was, that was electric and beautiful. You have this music influence and people just wanting to have fun because life was pretty hard. There was a lot of love, and often good things can sometimes come from bad times.</b><br /><b><br /></b><b>I just remember being in love with the atmosphere. It was a great cast and crew, and everyone enjoyed being at work. It was great, great fun, the most enjoyable thing I’ve done. I was getting to wear these beautiful outfits, and the people were acting as if I were Rita Hayworth or something. It was a fun part for me especially.</b><br /><br /><i>CE: What can viewers look forward to as they begin watching “The Halcyon”?</i><br /><br /><b>KT: The show is heartwarming, fast and furious. We can look forward to love triangles, and the trials and tribulations of people who are in different societal classes, and what the war would bring. There’s going to be gut-wrenching moments, but all with great music and upbeat fun. There’s just some really great characters too, my favorite being Lady Hamilton. I’m just really excited to see everyone’s development throughout.</b><br /><br /><i>(It was recently announced that the show had not been picked up for a second season, however, Chris Croucher is shopping it around to other networks. If you like what you see, please make your voice heard to help bring this phenomenal series back for another season.)</i>Cindy Elavskyhttps://plus.google.com/106692805345133429179noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2089554610599512446.post-34880112624983243092017-08-08T16:00:00.000-04:002017-08-10T13:05:36.792-04:00Felisha Cooper's Transition to Prime Time in Pop TV's Swedish Dicks<table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; margin-right: 1em; text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-X0RJiOOqY04/WYyPbhKGU5I/AAAAAAAAFlA/obcrxIfKpdYqy3mT_6BrK1_8QgwWKepNwCLcBGAs/s1600/Felisha%2BCooper%2B1.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1600" data-original-width="1155" height="400" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-X0RJiOOqY04/WYyPbhKGU5I/AAAAAAAAFlA/obcrxIfKpdYqy3mT_6BrK1_8QgwWKepNwCLcBGAs/s400/Felisha%2BCooper%2B1.jpg" width="288" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Felisha Cooper<br />(photo courtesy Pop TV)</td></tr></tbody></table><b>Felisha Cooper</b>, who is best known to many as Sasha Thompson on “The Bold and the Beautiful,” has been moonlighting as a comedian, so to speak. Felisha co-stars in Pop TV’s newest comedy called “Swedish Dicks,” which premieres August 9 and centers on Ingmar (Peter Stormare), a washed-up ex-stuntman-turned-private investigator who pairs up with a Swedish DJ named Axel (played by Johan Glans). Together they set out to solve some of LA’s weirdest crimes. Keanu Reeves plays Tex, a fellow stuntman whose mysterious death has haunted Ingmar for decades. Felisha plays Sarah, Ingmar’s daughter, and she gave me the scoop on this quirky new comedy. <br /><br /><i>Celebrity Extra: Aside from playing Sasha on “The Bold and the Beautiful,” you’ve had a lot of guest spots on some really great shows, such as “The Last Ship,” “Criminal Minds” and “Rosewood,” to name a few. How did all of that prepare you for this latest role as Sarah on “Swedish Dicks”? </i><br /><br /><b>Felisha Cooper: Just the diversity going from a college student who had her parents killed to being a soldier in the military to being a whore on a soap opera (laughs). It made it a fun trip, and really opened the window of where I can go as an actress. Like how diverse I can play, and it just gave me a lot of confidence that I can really do any role myself, as long as I can understand it, and it shows me walks of life that I have never been through. But I have to make sure the character has been brought to life and that somebody out there on the planet can relate to it. That’s most important for me. It gives me a sense of “I can do this.” There’s definitely a challenge to go to one role from the other, that’s for sure. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: What are some moments that stand out to you working on those other shows? </i><br /><br /><b>FC: The one that stands out most in my mind is being on “The Last Ship,” and I was working opposite Charles Parnell. He’s such an incredible and intense actor; he’s such an incredible master chief that you feel like you’re actually in the military. You’re on this ship, and your captain is talking to you so you can save the rest of the world. He just gives you that intensity and that focus that you have to pay attention to it, and you have to react to it. It was so fulfilling. He was just an incredible actor to work with. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Your father was a drill sergeant in the U.S. Army, so you had some practice being around that. </i><br /><br /><b>FC: I was a little bit prepared going into that show. My dad taught me a lot of respect, a lot of manners, and so I felt like I was paying homage to him in a certain way by being on this show. It was so incredible and so fun, it was almost like it was a world I already knew without having to be in the military. It was a fun dynamic. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Tell me about the dynamic of being on “The Bold and the Beautiful.” </i><br /><br /><b>FC: It was very fun, and it was definitely a sort of acting boot camp. For the most part, it’s such a well-oiled machine that it’s kind of like a 9-to-5 job. You’re there, you do your job, there’s not a lot of room to screw up, and then we move to the next scene because we have so much footage to cover in such a short amount of time. You know your shit or you get out. It’s very exciting for me because I like thinking on my feet, I like the challenge, I like the pace of it. It’s fun, but as I said, it also can be very challenging. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: What are some memories about “The Bold and the Beautiful” that stick out to you? </i><br /><br /><b>FC: I worked opposite Rain Edwards. I played her sister and she is this beautiful young actress. She’s full of passion and heart, and she has this incredible history that she draws from. Which was awesome to be with someone around my age who gives just as much intensity. But working with Anna Marie Horsford and Obba Babatundé, that was just like transcending. They’re iconic in film and television, and I learned so much from them, not only professionally but personally. </b><br /><br /><b>When you connect with them on a personal level and then someone yells action for you to play the script, it just makes it so much more connected. They taught me that; they created that within me. We would rehearse our scenes together all the time, and Obba gave so much depth and clarity, it was almost like he was my teacher, not just my scene partner. He was absolutely amazing to work with because he’s done so many incredible films and plays. He’s really knowledgeable about what he’s doing, and he has a way to find the subtext in a script. It was mind-blowing for me. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: So the way your career has progressed, from guest spots to a lead role in daytime television to another lead role in a groundbreaking prime-time comedy — did you plan this all out, or are you taking it as it comes? </i><br /><br /><b>FC: Oh, I’m a crazy control freak. I remember being like 17, and I had this little notebook from homeroom or something, and I wrote down stuff like, by the time I’m 21, I’ll win an MTV movie award, by the time I’m 30, I’m going to win an Oscar. I wrote all that stuff down just because I was trying to speak it into my life. But honestly, the reason why I became an actress is because when I was 6 years old, I wanted to be Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen — that was my biggest goal in life from the very beginning. It sounds so silly, but what else do you expect from a 6-year-old? </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Nothing against Mary-Kate and Ashley, but are you shooting higher now? </i><br /><br /><b>FC: Yes, now I want to be Meryl Streep. Oh, and Viola Davis. My tastes have grown a little bit. I can’t think of many actors I’d be starstruck by, but them, they are definitely at the top of my list. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: So now you’re doing a bit of a transition … </i><br /><br /><b>FC: Yes, we’re transitioning from daytime television to primetime television. We’re getting up there, climbing the ladder. </b><br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-_6PLcbt2lFs/WYySN0vdDbI/AAAAAAAAFlM/vP13b9XMlTsOzkg4aSD5dmQi6EtL8bY5ACLcBGAs/s1600/Felisha%2BCooper%2B2.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" data-original-height="900" data-original-width="1600" height="225" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-_6PLcbt2lFs/WYySN0vdDbI/AAAAAAAAFlM/vP13b9XMlTsOzkg4aSD5dmQi6EtL8bY5ACLcBGAs/s400/Felisha%2BCooper%2B2.jpg" width="400" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Felisha Cooper as Sarah in <i>Swedish Dicks</i><br />(photo courtesy Pop TV)</td></tr></tbody></table><i>CE: Tell me about “Swedish Dicks.” With a name like that, it definitely needs some explaining. </i><br /><br /><b>FC: Girl, my first reaction was: “Wait, is this porn? I have a mother!” But seriously, I remember sitting on my bed, I think I was watching “Glee,” which is my favorite show, and I got an email from my manager, and it read: “Appointment for Felisha Cooper — Swedish Dicks.” I thought, “You’re kidding!” So I went through and read the role of Sarah and thought, “Oh, this girl sounds awesome.” It’s as if someone imagined me before they knew me. I am perfectly Sarah. That’s exactly how I think, exactly how I talk. I got sass, I got this quick wit, I got all the fast talking. </b><br /><br /><b>So I went to the audition, and like a week or so later, I got a callback, and then on the day of “The Bold and the Beautiful” Christmas party, we’re all taking selfies in the photo booth they had set up, and I get a call from my manager to tell me that I had booked “Swedish Dicks.” I started screaming right then and there because I was so excited. I loved the role, and I couldn’t believe they had picked me. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Tell me about Sarah. </i><br /><br /><b>FC: Well Sarah is Ingmar’s daughter; they were estranged. He left when she was little, and she was raised by her mom. Now Ingmar has come back into her life and wants to have a father-daughter relationship, but she’s kind of like: “You haven’t been here for me. I don’t really want anything to do with you.” But the undertone is that she does want a relationship with her father, and she does love him. She’s angry that he was gone for so long, but she is happy that he’s back. She feels like she has somewhat of a family again. The more the relationship builds, I think her heart will soften and she will realize he’s actually a genuine guy. He’s made some mistakes, but he has no ill intentions, and that’s kind of the dichotomy of our relationship. Sarah is a hotshot lawyer, takes nothing from nobody, she’s beautiful, she dresses well, she makes good money, and she’s just doing her damn thing. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Sarah and her father, Ingmar, have a rocky start getting to know each other. Tell me more about that. Does he get her involved in the cases he goes on? </i><br /><br /><b>FC: Sarah definitely has a soft spot for her dad, so he’s gotten her to go on chases and stuff with him. She gets him out of the scrapes he gets into it, and she does it pro bono because he’s her father. She hates it, but the reason she does it is because she loves him. Even if she won’t admit it, she loves him.&nbsp;</b><br /><b><br /></b><i>CE: In real life, Peter Stormare and Keanu Reeves are good friends, and Keanu plays a pivotal role in this series. What is Keanu like to work with? </i><br /><br /><b>FC: Oh my God, Keanu is such a delight. He is reserved and he’s calm, and he’s got this very strong demeanor. But just let him open his mouth, and he is the nicest man in the world. He’s so kind, he’s so engaged. His eye contact is so perfect; you can tell he cares about people when they speak to him. He’s not all like, “Oh, I’m Keanu Reeves”; to him, he’s just Keanu, and that was one of the most endearing qualities about him. I think he’s wonderful. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: What else can you tell me about the show? </i><br /><br /><b>FC: It’s relationship-based. They all go on cases together, but everyone is tied together. Ingmar and Axel are partners; Ingmar is very headstrong, which is where I think Sarah gets it from. Axel is trying to be headstrong — he’s learning, kind of like an understudy to Ingmar. He’s very passionate, very kind and very sweet. Sticks his foot in his mouth and is a bit naive, but he means well. </b><br /><br /><b>Sarah is kind of the outsider looking in, thinking that these people are all crazy, but there’s something tugging at her heartstrings that makes her want to participate. She recognizes that her dad is actually trying. It took him too long, but he is actually making an effort, and she realizes that. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: What’s the vibe of the show? </i><br /><br /><b>FC: It’s heightened comedy, but we all take it very seriously. That’s what is so incredible about it. It has that film-noir “Breaking Bad” vibe to it. If you watch it, especially the intro — it’s kind of like “Breaking Bad” as a comedy, if you will. I find it to be so incredibly fresh and new and an awesome show to watch. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: This really does sound like a smart and fun show. </i><br /><br /><b>FC: It is. It really is a great show; it’s a new, unconventional comedy. I think it will do well. I know it’s been very well-received in Sweden, and hopefully America will feel the same way. </b>Cindy Elavskyhttps://plus.google.com/106692805345133429179noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2089554610599512446.post-19233842835930899642017-05-03T17:43:00.002-04:002017-05-03T17:44:43.990-04:00Interview: A Look Back at John Cusack's Career<table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-qEGIR-0GUVo/WQpOpjKAcoI/AAAAAAAAFkA/-nMJRDb49BEeUK_8QANwKTVRoNUCa4DBACLcB/s1600/John_Cusack_Headshot.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="270" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-qEGIR-0GUVo/WQpOpjKAcoI/AAAAAAAAFkA/-nMJRDb49BEeUK_8QANwKTVRoNUCa4DBACLcB/s400/John_Cusack_Headshot.jpg" width="400" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">John Cusack</td></tr></tbody></table>With this year’s MegaCon in Orlando, Florida, fast approaching, what better time to share the <b>John Cusack</b> panel from last year? If you’re like me, you grew up watching his movies. From “Better Off Dead” and “Sixteen Candles” to “Gross Pointe Blank” and “The Raven,” John really is a household name. I had the opportunity this fall to join a panel discussion with John about his career, past and present. So buckle up and take a ride through cinema history with me.<br /><br /><i>Question: One of my favorite of your collaborations is with Nick Hornby, who wrote and adapted “High Fidelity.” Any chance of more stuff from you two? </i><br /><br /><b>John Cusack: It’s up to Nick because he writes the books, but I stay in contact with him, and his books are in such demand and he’s in demand. I thought it was a pretty good combo, so I’d love to do it again, definitely. He’s a terrific writer. </b><br /><br /><i>Q: You often used to work with your hometown Illinois crew (including sisters Joan and Ann, and friend Jeremy Piven) on films; any chance we’ll see you guys together again? </i><br /><br /><b>JC: I haven’t done anything with any of my friends that I used to work with a lot before because life seems to take us in different directions. We’re all in different places. But it will always be fun to get back home again. </b><br /><br /><i>Q: How about Broadway; have you been offered anything or would you like to tread the boards one day? </i><br /><br /><b>JC: On Broadway there’s a play called “The Price”; it’s an Arthur Miller play, which I like, but I haven’t found or been offered anything that I really wanted to do. </b><br /><br /><i>Q: More recently, tell me about your experience filming “Chi-Raq.” </i><br /><br /><b>JC: I don’t know how familiar you are with the film — we shot on the Southwest side of Chicago with 1,400 extras, but it’s real terrible, terrible situation. But there’s a lot of people doing great work over there trying to take back the city block by block. I play a white Catholic priest (Father Mike Corridan) on the South side of Chicago who’s been there 40 years. And so he’s spent every Sunday preaching there, and (director) Spike (Lee) and I were taking notes. Spike was writing and we were doing stuff. We spent a lot of time there and found a way to bring the story to the screen. </b><br /><br /><i>Q: Would you like to be involved more in indie movies? However, you seem to be proficient at any genre you try your hand in. </i><br /><br /><b>JC: I really like doing the supernatural genre. It just depends on what I can get going. The movie business is strange. I think it might be easier to do something like that on cable TV now because people seem to want to make movies either where they make it for like 4 million bucks and they’re art movies, or they want you to put on the tights and be a superhero. You can’t pick ones in between at the moment. But maybe I’m capable of something like that. </b><br /><br /><i>Q: In your opinion, what makes a movie work? </i><br /><br /><b>JC: I don’t know. I think any time when movies work and they’re good, there’s some part that you relate to. And sometimes you are doing them, and you think they are going to do one thing, and then the producers and the studio jump on and change it so that they don’t really reflect what they had in mind. So, it depends on the film. But usually when they work out, then you feel that there’s some part of you that’s connected to them. </b><br /><br /><i>Q: You’ve been known to really get into your roles, and acquire the skills that your character has. </i><br /><br /><b>JC: I think sometimes if you learn a skill, you pick it up right. So, if the character is doing something, you immerse yourself in it. So, like when I played Lloyd Dobler and he was a kickboxer, that’s when I started doing martial arts, and I’ve been doing that for 25 years now. </b><br /><br /><i>Q: I’ve read where you’ve really enjoyed working with Billy Bob Thornton. </i><br /><br /><b>JC: The best thing about playing with Billy Bob is just to hang out with him all the time on the set, because he’s one of the coolest, funniest people you will ever meet. One of the best people you will ever meet too. You can come on the set, and all of a sudden you’ll walk in and he’s put barnyard animals in your trailer. He’s an awesome guy. </b><br /><br /><table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; margin-right: 1em; text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-S5FN0lJFP7A/WQpOw3baeTI/AAAAAAAAFkE/RjLnT-_gXxUVXad6M9RY-V2g0qk0mREZACLcB/s1600/John_Cusack_Cannes_2014.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="400" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-S5FN0lJFP7A/WQpOw3baeTI/AAAAAAAAFkE/RjLnT-_gXxUVXad6M9RY-V2g0qk0mREZACLcB/s400/John_Cusack_Cannes_2014.jpg" width="282" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">John Cusack in 2014 at the Cannes Film Festival</td></tr></tbody></table><i>Q: How do you feel about this rash of folks remaking old movies instead of creating new ones, and also all the sequels? Is there a movie you would like to remake, or a sequel you’d do? </i><br /><br /><b>JC: I don’t think it’s good to do a remake of a movie unless you think you can do it differently or can add something to it that it didn’t have. There is an old movie that was based on a novel called “Fat City.” It was a John Huston film, and it starred Stacy Keach and he played a boxer. I’ve been a boxing fan for a long time, so I thought, “Man, I’m 49, so I’d like to do one while I can still do it.” So I thought, “If I could do ‘Fat City’ that would be really cool.” It was done in that sort of Technicolor ’70s era when they started to make everything super-bright. At the same time it was thought to be cool, but it actually looks dated now. But I thought that might be a cool remake to do. </b><br /><br /><b>And then with sequels, you have to get people back together and do it the right way. If I were offered to do a sequel to one of my own movies, I’d do it, but you want to do it right. </b><br /><br /><i>Q: Are you hooked on any TV series at the moment? </i><br /><br /><b>JC: I really like “Better Call Saul.” I like everything that Vince Gilligan is up to. I think it’s such interesting stuff he’s doing. Any of those types of shows. And I’m also like a strangely secret zombie-movie fan. So, I could show up on “The Walking Dead.” </b><br /><br /><i>Q: You have been in the movie business for so long; what keeps you coming back? </i><br /><br /><b>JC: The love of it and luck, and just getting out of Hollywood whenever I can. What I’m saying is, when you stay in it all the time, it’s good to get away from it and be a normal person. </b><br /><br /><i>Q: Any advice for someone who wants to make it in Hollywood? </i><br /><br /><b>JC: If you can do some theater. Make your own movies. I mean, you can shoot it anywhere. Don’t ask permission. Learn it as you go. Make it up as you go along. And just do it because everyone says, “Well, I want to be an actor.” And then they don’t act. If you want to be a basketball player, you have to play basketball. You just couldn’t walk out onto the court and never been to the game. If you can, just do theater and do plays. Do scene classes. It’s like athletics. You just have to do it. And do it yourself. Don’t ask permission. Make your own movies. </b><br /><br /><i>Q: What are some parts of the business that you don’t like? </i><br /><br /><b>JC: Sometimes doing press work. The acting part you can do, but it’s like the stuff around it. I think sometimes selling is a lot different than acting. </b><br /><br /><i>Q: What is a recent movie role that you’re glad you took on? </i><br /><br /><b>JC: I got to go to China last year and film “Dragon Blade” with Jackie Chan. If you get a call saying, “Hey do you want to go out to the Gobi Desert and do this fight scene with Jackie Chan in a Chinese-language movie?” You just go: “When am I ever going to get a chance to do that? I’ve got to go do that!</b><b>”</b><b>&nbsp;So, it was a wild experience and really fun. And then usually if the movies work out, those are really good experiences.</b><br /><br /><i>Q: Do you get or have you even been star-struck while working on a movie? </i><br /><br /><b>JC: Yeah, especially when I was younger. I remember Paul Newman, and I was like, “Oh, man!” Paul Newman was such a gentleman. He was pretty great to do a movie with. I couldn’t believe it. I got to work with a lot of my heroes growing up. And I couldn’t believe it. How did this happen, you know? Woody Allen and Al Pacino. Gene Hackman. All those guys. I grew up watching them. </b><br /><br /><i>Q: You’ve done a bit of voice work for animated movies. Do you like doing that kind of work? </i><br /><br /><b>JC: Yeah, I do like it because it’s fun to watch them figure out how to create the characters visually, and then you start to do the voices, and then you see a little bit more of it. Then you see more and more again. And the work that they put into those movies is incredible. It’s sort of a lazy job to do the voices because you just get to go into a studio and play. It’s a fun gig. </b><br /><br />Don't miss this year's MegaCon Orlando from May 25-28 at the Convention Center on International Drive in Orlando, Florida. Find all the info you need <a href="http://megaconorlando.com/tickets/#tickets" target="_blank">here</a>. Cindy Elavskyhttps://plus.google.com/106692805345133429179noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2089554610599512446.post-24656605974845465512017-04-21T13:56:00.000-04:002017-04-21T13:58:55.994-04:00INTERVIEW: Nikki DeLoach on Taking Risks<table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; margin-right: 1em; text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Sah3cBbfw7k/WPpHBgNzWOI/AAAAAAAAFjs/I8aU8Ss6C7wcjgCkTK6ehgpkljGgpzIkACLcB/s1600/Nikki%2BDeLoach%2B3.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="400" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Sah3cBbfw7k/WPpHBgNzWOI/AAAAAAAAFjs/I8aU8Ss6C7wcjgCkTK6ehgpkljGgpzIkACLcB/s400/Nikki%2BDeLoach%2B3.jpg" width="276" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Nikki DeLoach, left<br />Photo courtesy Hallmark Channel</td></tr></tbody></table>Ever since the brilliant and groundbreaking MTV comedy series “Awkward” ended in 2016, series star <b>Nikki DeLoach</b> has been hard at work on the silver screen, forming quite a relationship with the Hallmark Channel. Next up for Nikki is Hallmark’s “The Perfect Catch,” which premieres Saturday, April 22 at 8 p.m. EST/PST. Nikki stars as Jessica Parker, a local diner owner who is a single parent to an 8-year-old son. When Jessica’s former high school boyfriend, superstar baseball player Chase Tanner (played by Andrew Walker), returns to town, Jessica finds the inspiration to reinvent her struggling diner and revisits the past to find something even better for the future. I spoke with her recently about this role, as well as her burgeoning relationship with Hallmark. <br /><br /><i>Celebrity Extra: Can you tell me in your own words what “The Perfect Catch” is about? </i><br /><br /><b>Nikki DeLoach: It’s really interesting because this movie was really a two-hander, wherein a lot of Hallmark’s movies are just about the woman with the male playing a secondary role. What I really loved about this particular movie was the fact that it’s a bit of a two-hander for me and Andrew Walker, who plays my love interest, Chase. He gets to have a really great storyline as well as my character, Jessica. Essentially, Jessica is a girl who never left her small town, and her life hasn’t turned out as she thought it would. She’s a dreamer whose dreams never really happened. She’s now a single mother who is struggling to make life work and struggling to run her grandfather’s diner, which has become a dream of hers to make it a success and keep it going. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Enter her ex-boyfriend … </i><br /><br /><b>ND: Yes, Chase had a very different life from Jessica. He left town right out of high school, and he went to the big leagues and became a professional baseball player. He has since experienced a fall from grace after a bad game in the World Series. He was cut from his team, and all the fans are angry with him. He comes back to his hometown to lick his wounds and to regroup, and also to wait on a new contract, for another team to pick him up. So he comes back to town, ego a little bruised, and Chase and Jessica run into each other. They were high school sweethearts, and when he went away, she decided not to go with him because she didn’t want to hold him back, and that was the last time she ever saw him. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Now that they are adults, having lived their lives away from each other, how does his return affect Jessica? </i><br /><br /><b>ND: He inspires her to dream bigger, to take some risks in her life and go after the dreams that she always wanted to have. And she in turn reminds him of what’s really important in life and that sometimes maybe you can come home. I won’t totally give away the ending, but it is Hallmark, so they do end up together, but with some twists and turns along the way. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: How does Jessica’s son fit into all this? </i><br /><br /><b>ND: Well, her son’s father left town to pursue his musical dreams. He gave her son the baseball bug, but he never gave him the training. And here Jessica is, the single mom who is terrible at baseball, trying to pitch to him and practice with him. The other kids make fun of him because everyone else has their dads around to help them, and here he has just a sad mom. But she’s doing her best, and then in comes Chase, who’s a professional ballplayer, and her son brazenly asks him, “Can you help me practice for this game I have this weekend?” Through her son, Chase and Jessica reconnect. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: In what ways could you relate to and empathize with your character, Jessica? </i><br /><br /><b>ND: I’m not a single mom because I have a husband, but he’s an entertainment attorney who leaves in the morning and gets home after my son goes to bed. His job is a lot — it’s a lot of work — and so a lot of times it feels like I’m raising my son on my own, and it’s really hard. Granted, it’s not half as hard as real single moms out there, but I felt like I could really relate to her because I’m taking my son to soccer practice and doing all these things with him that of course my husband would want to be a part of, and it’s hard to do that on your own. </b><br /><b></b><br /><b></b><b>I also related to her in terms of your dreams coming to fruition. I’ve been in this business for 30 years; I started out as a child actor, and there have been several times in my career where I lost everything and had to start all over again. And every single time you have to start all over, it gets harder and harder to take those risks because your heart has been broken and you’ve been disappointed so many times. So I really related to the dreamer in her whose dreams never really came to fruition. In the script, she takes that one last risk to make everything happen for her, and I feel like I did that in my own career and in my own way. And it’s paying off, but I really loved that about her story because I think there are a lot of women out there where it’s hard to make the time to make their dreams come true, and it’s hard to also find the courage. They have been disillusioned and their hearts have been broken. It’s never too late to go for what you want in life. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: What other messages would you say this movie has for its viewers? </i><br /><br /><b>ND: The message for Chase’s character is that sometimes it’s not too late to come home and essentially start your life all over again. For Jessica, it’s sometimes it’s not too late to start your life over again and to have the life you’ve always wanted. Both of them are parallel in similar yet different ways. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: What was the shoot like? I hear it was pretty cold while you were filming. </i><br /><br /><b>ND: Yes, we filmed in Vancouver, and it’s a spring movie, but it was freezing outside. They were having a winter that all the locals said they had not had in 30 years. It seriously rained every single day of production, and it snowed and rained for the first two weeks, and it even hailed for two of the days. We were up against a lot — when half of your movie is supposed to be exteriors and then rain is pouring down every single day, it makes it difficult. On any given day, if we caught a break in the rain for an hour or so, we would book it outside and try to get what we could outside. You had to be prepared for that because they would say, “Let’s just go to scene 36,” and you have to wrap your head around 36 and learn the lines for 36, and get out there and be ready to do it. And sometimes you would get only one take in before the rain came back. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Were you guys able to make the most of a tricky filming situation? </i><br /><br /><b>ND: On any other set, those circumstances would have made it a very difficult shoot and a very unhappy shoot, but this was quite the opposite. Everything we were up against with the weather, our director was sensational; he had a great attitude. Our crew was wonderful. The cast — we were always in such good spirits. We were just happy to be there and filming this movie. </b><br /><br /><table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-ga-Vs1nGEko/WPpHVdF7iWI/AAAAAAAAFjw/jLyrIeUGY1MxxkAAiEAdO-Ltbex8ywRCgCLcB/s1600/Nikki%2BDeLoach%2B1.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="400" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-ga-Vs1nGEko/WPpHVdF7iWI/AAAAAAAAFjw/jLyrIeUGY1MxxkAAiEAdO-Ltbex8ywRCgCLcB/s400/Nikki%2BDeLoach%2B1.jpg" width="310" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Nikki DeLoach (center) on the set of<br /><i>The Perfect Catch</i>Photo courtesy Hallmark Channel</td></tr></tbody></table><i>CE: You’ve worked with Hallmark before — tell me what they are like as a boss. </i><br /><br /><b>ND: It seems so sterile to call them an employer because what they are is family. I get to belong to this wonderful family that is making really great programming. An entire family can sit down and watch, and you can never find that on network television. I so appreciate that, and everything they say that they stand for, they really do. From the president, Bill Abbott, to his top executives Randy Po and Michelle Vicary — they all stand for the values that they say they maintain. And they treat you so well; I’m treated so well by them, my family is treated so well by them. They take care of us, and honestly, I have an amazing time every time I get to do a project with them. It’s really brought a lot of happiness into my life. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Since you like working with Hallmark so much, and you previously made a Christmas movie with Andrew Walker and now this spring-fling movie, I think you two should make a Hallmark movie for each season. Next up, the Fourth of July. </i><br /><br /><b>ND: Yes! Hallmark needs to see us as the seasonal couple, where we’re in four movies together and, honestly, that would be Andrew’s and my dream come true. We love working together. I have a family; he has a family. We both have a lot going on in our lives, and actually he loves my husband more than he loves me. We did a movie together in Winnipeg, and my husband came up to visit for a week. The boys went out — they went out every night — and I’d be at home, studying my lines and having to get up at 6 the next morning. And the boys would be out watching hockey games and football games, just having a blast. The two of them became really great friends. I absolutely love his wife. You meet good people sometimes, and you feel like you’ve known them your entire life. Andrew feels like the older brother I never had, and he’s become family to me and vice versa, so we really love working together. I have said to Hallmark, “Put us together as much as you want because that really works for us.” </b><br /><br /><i>CE: One of my all-time favorite shows was MTV’s “Awkward.” The writing was brilliant, the casting absolutely wonderful. Do you all ever discuss doing a reunion movie? </i><br /><br /><b>ND: We do! We have a lot of people who tuned in, and they really want more. There have been ideas bounced around of doing a movie for MTV that would bring everyone back together over a summer, and I really hope that happens. I’m like, “Maybe I’ll pitch the idea; I’ll come up with a concept and pitch it.” And thank you for saying that. That was one of the greatest experiences of my life, getting to work on that show and do that material every day and to play the character of Lacey, who will go down in history as one of my favorite people that I’ve ever gotten to play. I just love her, and I miss her every day. I miss that whole cast, just being with them. We talk all the time and we see each other all the time, but it’s different when you’re used to seeing them every day. </b>Cindy Elavskyhttps://plus.google.com/106692805345133429179noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2089554610599512446.post-28571137765818531982017-04-14T13:43:00.000-04:002017-04-21T13:44:43.409-04:00Interview: Cassidy Gifford on Finding Balance in Your Work and Life<table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; margin-right: 1em; text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-900oASG0Fgk/WPpEqxiuj7I/AAAAAAAAFjc/VKHtxr_1VwYH8nNqLQoRQopZ6ldQWyxrACLcB/s1600/Cassidy%2BGifford%2B1%2Bby%2BStephanie%2BDiani.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="400" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-900oASG0Fgk/WPpEqxiuj7I/AAAAAAAAFjc/VKHtxr_1VwYH8nNqLQoRQopZ6ldQWyxrACLcB/s400/Cassidy%2BGifford%2B1%2Bby%2BStephanie%2BDiani.jpg" width="266" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Cassidy Gifford<br />Photo by Stephanie Diani</td></tr></tbody></table><b>Cassidy Gifford</b> isn’t a household name — yet. Her parents, Kathie Lee and the late Frank definitely are, but Cassidy is making her own mark in Hollywood. The talented actress is just getting her start, but she is certainly one to watch. On April 15 at 9 p.m. EST/PST, she stars in the Hallmark Channel original movie “Like Cats and Dogs.” Cassidy plays Lara Hale, a dog lover, who through some mix-up is stuck sharing a vacation rental for the summer with Spencer, who is a cat lover. Spencer and Lara could not be more different, and they will have to figure out a way to get along without killing each other. I spoke with Cassidy recently, and she is thrilled to play this role and to star in her first romantic comedy. <br /><br /><i>Celebrity Extra: Tell me about the role of Lara and what attracted you to her and the movie. </i><br /><br /><b>Cassidy Gifford: Lara Hales is a 22-year-old free spirit who has hit a point in her life that I think most of us at this age can relate to: a stagnant existence where we’re not really sure where we want to end up or what we want to do. So she ends up renting a place for spring break to get away from my very, very serious and by-the-book parents, who own an accounting firm that she works at in this sweet little town in Michigan called South Haven. So, it’s kind of an escape for her and her dog Frank —whose name is Billy in real life, and I fell absolutely in love with him. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: And then enter Spencer (played by Wyatt Nash) … </i><br /><br /><b>CG: Wyatt is just terrific. He plays Spencer Hopkins, who is the seeming antithesis of Lara; he’s very serious and he’s writing his thesis and he’s dating this girl who is very similar to him. He’s very straight-laced, to the point that it’s almost debilitating. Some people are so stuck in their ways, and it can almost be toxic. And I know a lot of people who are actually like that. He ends up booking a place on our version of Airbnb, which is called Go BnB in the movie, and we end up living in the same spot. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Let me guess: This is where the cats and dogs come in? </i><br /><br /><b>CG: Yes. He has a cat; he’s a cat person. And I have a dog, and I’m a dog person. Hilarity ensues, as you can imagine, because we end up at the same place and we end up trying to stick it out together, and it’s just a very sweet story. It’s the story of two young people seemingly stuck in their own respective ways and not realizing that is what is getting in their way. It’s a tale of two people who are at different but similar points in their lives, and they don’t realize that what they need is the opposite of what they are getting. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: How was the filming process? What was it like to work with the cast and crew? </i><br /><br /><b>CG: The movie is really sweet and it’s real, and as actors, we were given the chance to play a little bit. Our director, Ron Oliver, is terrific, and he gave us a lot of freedom to improv, and if it didn’t feel right, he would say, “Try it again until it does.” It was a really cool, collaborative project, and that’s something that I hadn’t had the opportunity to do before, and it was awesome. I fell in love with Vancouver — that’s where we were shooting — and the people there and just everything. I can’t even begin to describe how grateful I am to have had the experience. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: You were saying earlier how much you enjoyed filming in Vancouver. Tell me more about that experience. </i><br /><br /><b>CG: It was so stunning. We were staying downtown, so our commute to work every day was about an hour, an hour and a half. And I had always thought that California is cool because if you go a couple miles in any direction, you can be at the beach or you can go downtown, a couple hours north and you can be in the mountains, but Vancouver was like, you go 4 miles in any direction and it was almost a different climate. It was crazy! We’d be downtown and it would be raining when we got picked up, and then we would end up where we were filming and it was like Narnia — there was just snow. I’m from the East Coast, so I’m used to snow, but we were filming a spring romantic comedy, and so it was slightly different because we ended up having to shoot around a lot of it. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: How did you work your way around it? </i><br /><br /><b>CG: The first week we had shot some things on different locations on the water, and we were out on the pier getting a lot of our exterior shots, and then when we moved to the house, it was snowing pretty much every single day for the rest of the shoot. We had to get everything outside that we hadn’t shot, and then one morning it was just stunning — the snow had melted because it had gotten just warm enough, so we completely flipped the schedule around. We were shooting outside all day, even though it was cold; it was warmer than it had been, so we got everything we needed outside. Our director and the entire crew had a good eye for what we needed, and they flipped everything around and made it work, and it ended up being more than we could have ever imagined. </b><br /><b><br /></b><b>Basically, it was like trying to film a springtime rom-com in Narnia. But it worked out. It made us laugh, and it was funny because we were cold and freezing our butts off, but it was fun because we were all in it together. It definitely made it more interesting, especially with the dog and the cat, who were such good sports about it too. They were just the cutest things in the world, even though the cat wouldn’t listen — he would not listen. He was so stubborn, but it made it funnier. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Speaking of dogs and cats, you said that you are a dog person; what about your co-star Wyatt Nash? </i><br /><br /><b>CG: It was so funny because going into it, Wyatt was a cat person, and I am obviously a dog person, but over the course of the movie, I would give him a hard time. It’s not that I don’t like cats; I love animals. But I grew up being allergic to cats. I grew out of it, but I have this intrinsic thing to stay away from them, otherwise I would break out in hives, and so it’s this subconscious thing where I don’t get that close to them because of spending 15 years of my life being afraid of them because I couldn’t breathe or I would break out in hives. As filming went on, Wyatt would come to set every day and go to the dog first, and by the end of the shoot, he was like, “OK, I think I’m a dog person.” So, we started fighting over who loved the dog more, whose name is Billy in real life, but we were fighting over him and who could give him more treats. </b><br /><b><br /></b><b>Wyatt and I had so much fun. We ended up becoming such good friends, and the fact that he lives in LA ... on the first day, we learned that we went to the same church and went to the same place to work out. His fiancee came to visit, and she was just so sweet, and I ended up being their third wheel for the last week and a half of filming. It was a blast. If I had to choose between the two of them, it would be a tie because they are both so sweet, and we all had so much fun and became like a unit. </b><br /><br /><table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; margin-right: 1em; text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-PE4F8hsLDwY/WPpE6TWbYHI/AAAAAAAAFjg/9X9FE3b_rzsdpNJpFUZBAg4aQx1DXsdAQCLcB/s1600/Cassidy%2BGifford%2B4%2BCourtesy%2BHallmark%2BChannel.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="400" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-PE4F8hsLDwY/WPpE6TWbYHI/AAAAAAAAFjg/9X9FE3b_rzsdpNJpFUZBAg4aQx1DXsdAQCLcB/s400/Cassidy%2BGifford%2B4%2BCourtesy%2BHallmark%2BChannel.jpg" width="298" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Cassidy Gifford<br />Photo courtesy the Hallmark Channel</td></tr></tbody></table><i>CE: Can you tell me in which ways you can relate to your character, Lara? </i><br /><br /><b>CG: I wouldn’t say I’m the crazy free spirit. I definitely have structure in my life, but I am very much a go-with-the-flow kind of person. I tend to believe that things are going to work out even when you’re at your crappiest point; there will be a light at the end of the tunnel — to keep throwing clichés at you. I believe that things do end up working out, and there are going to be more pitfalls that you stumble upon because that’s life, but I think that balance is key. </b><br /><b><br /></b><b>Lara definitely likes junk food, and so do I — much to my dismay. That’s another thing that Spencer and Lara don’t have in common; he’s very healthy and blending his smoothies. I always have Fritos in my bag or a jar of Skippy peanut butter or something that isn’t good for me. I believe that yes, you have to do healthy, of course, but at the same time, if you’re cheating yourself out of every little pleasure in life, that’s no way to live. I think you should be able to work out and eat healthy, and on the weekends you should be allowed to binge a little bit and have some fun. I think that balance is key. That’s something my dad (Frank Gifford) always said growing up: Moderation is the key to life. I think that is a similar quality that Lara and I share as well. It made it a little bit easier to relate to her. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: I’ve heard great things about working with the Hallmark Channel. What was the experience like for you? </i><br /><br /><b>CG: It is wonderful, and I can’t tell you how much I loved them there. I had been meeting with them for about a year. There was another project that I couldn’t do because of scheduling for another thing I was shooting. But then when they came to me with this about two months ago — I’m a dog person anyway — so when I read the script, I thought, OK, this is something I am definitely interested in. And then our director, Ron Oliver, rewrote a lot of parts about it, and the whole ending he changed, which ended up filtering into the beginning, which ended up changing a lot of things. And when I got the new script, I thought, I have to do this. </b><br /><b><br /></b><b>The people at Hallmark are so kind and so sweet, and they are trying to bring a little bit of goodness back into this world. Everything from the news — you’re just bombarded and every day — it’s just all bad news. I feel like Hallmark has a really good eye for realizing that there really is an audience who wants to see something that’s endearing but still has family values. And there’s a way to have that wholesome quality without being corny or cliché and over the top. I think with this project, people are going to like it because it’s sweet and it’s fun, but it’s real. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Tell me what it was like filming this movie, with it being your first romantic comedy. A lot of your earlier work has been in horror movies and thrillers, so this must have been a nice change of pace. </i><br /><br /><b>CG: There’s a running joke between my family and friends that any time I get cast in something, they’re like, “Oh, are you going to die in it?” Which I don’t think is that funny because I’m the one doing it. The life of an actress is you take the work when you can get it. You hear “no” a lot more than you do “yes.” So I was so excited to play this role because it’s completely different from my previous roles. It’s similar to other movies I’ve done in that you get to know your cast and find your rhythm day in and day out, but this role was so much fun to play. </b><br /><b><br /></b><b>Wyatt (Nash, who plays Spencer) and I got to know one another after about a week. We got comfortable on the first day — it was so great. And you can’t always expect that, and I feel very fortunate that the people I’ve worked with and the different casts that I’ve been a part of that we’ve gotten along so well. But Wyatt and I had a blast because it was pretty much us and the two animals for a majority of the movie, so it gave us a lot of freedom to play and to improv. It was so much fun because there wasn’t this looming darkness hanging over. You can’t help that if you’re doing a horror or thriller. </b><br /><b><br /></b><b>I just finished doing an independent thriller this past fall in upstate New York where I play a girl suffering from bipolar disorder, and even though I was learning so much, there is just this lightness of doing a romantic comedy. I love watching romantic comedies, and if you love watching them, then being a part of one is a dream — it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. And to have the freedom to improv, it makes it feel like it’s yours, and you feel like you have more of a stake in it because it allows you to be vulnerable in a completely different way. </b><br /><b><br /></b><b>Sometimes, being funny is more nerve-wracking than it is to scare someone. It’s easier when you know that’s the extent you’re going to go to, but when you’re doing comedy, there’s a risk in it that’s different. I was kind of nervous going into it, but once I got to know Wyatt, we realized that we have very similar senses of humor and we could poke fun at each other; it just made a world of difference for us. We’d ride to work in the morning and we’d laugh pretty much the entire way, and by the time we got there, it was like, oh, we’re just continuing what we’ve been doing. It doesn’t even feel like work. It was really cool, and it was totally different from anything I’ve ever done. I couldn’t have loved it more. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: What do you hope people take away from “Like Cats and Dogs”? </i><br /><br /><b>CG: I think we as humans get so easily stuck in ruts of complacency and feeling comfortable and being in our safe space, that even small changes to our daily life can be great as long as we’re open to them. It’s so much easier to just be the way we are, especially when it works — that’s when it’s easiest to do. Even when making smallish changes, we tend to think, I’m going to stay the course because it’s getting me where I need to go. But to just be open to small little lifestyle changes, like making a healthy choice in our diet (which is what Spencer makes Lara do) or just loosening up (which Lara teaches Spencer). Just making little concessions that you don’t realize could actually be good for you. Finding a balance between lightening up and also having structure — it’s worth it to see both ends of the spectrum and to realize that there is a healthy, happy medium. </b>Cindy Elavskyhttps://plus.google.com/106692805345133429179noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2089554610599512446.post-64093992110328566562017-04-02T19:01:00.001-04:002017-04-02T19:12:17.149-04:00INTERVIEW — Jewel: "I Want My Life to Be My Best Work of Art<table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; margin-right: 1em; text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/--Kv4I6yXxMs/WOGBkDtEWiI/AAAAAAAAFis/lfE1pWiE2RMOVQL7JRA-oSuf13fYkod9gCLcB/s1600/FUM_CrownedandMoldering_0072_CB.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="400" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/--Kv4I6yXxMs/WOGBkDtEWiI/AAAAAAAAFis/lfE1pWiE2RMOVQL7JRA-oSuf13fYkod9gCLcB/s400/FUM_CrownedandMoldering_0072_CB.jpg" width="266" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;"><span id="yui_3_16_0_ym19_1_1491172685189_9293" style="color: black; font-family: &quot;arial&quot; , &quot;helvetica&quot; , sans-serif; font-size: x-small;">Jewel<br />(Copyright Crown Media United States, LLC <br />Photographer: Ryan Plummer)</span></td></tr></tbody></table>Hot on the heels of the super-successful first installment of the “Fixer Upper Mysteries” franchise on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries channel comes “Concrete Evidence: A Fixer Upper Mystery.” The series stars singer/songwriter/poet/actress <b>Jewel</b>, who plays Shannon Hughes, the owner of Hughes Restoration and an expert in Victorian-era home restoration. Through her work, she stumbles across clues hidden in the old homes, uncovering past secrets, making her an unlikely sleuth to crack these unsolved mysteries. I spoke with Jewel recently about the movie, which premieres tonight, April 2, at 9 p.m. ET/PT, and she was gracious and humbled by the reception the franchise has received so far. <br /><br />“We signed on for nine installments, depending on the success of the series. And I guess the first one broke a lot of ratings records, which I was really humbled by, and I was very excited to do a second one,” Jewel says. <br /><br />The multifaceted star was able to channel what she has learned in her life up until now to help prepare herself for the role of Shannon Hughes, telling me: “I started building off this mindfulness platform based on exercises I used to overcome anxiety and panic attacks. And sharing a lot of exercises in my book, ‘Never Broken,’ and a website I just founded, <a href="http://jewelneverbroken.com/">JewelNeverBroken.com</a>, where I share the actual exercises. <br /><br />“One of the things that I’ve been teaching people and talking a lot about is getting out of your head and not overthink things and how to listen to your intuition. To help quiet the fear, help quiet the anxiety and actually hear that inner voice when you’re talking — and that’s actually what Shannon’s superpower is. She is a woman who once didn’t trust her intuition, and it cost her very dearly with her mother, and she made a promise to herself to never ignore her intuition again. Her fight is really every woman’s fight, and every human’s right, which is to speak up for your inner knowing, and to act on that. It was so synergistic with the platform that I’m building, and getting to act a character that’s actually trying to live the same thing was a real fun opportunity. And it fits my ideal of trying to switch my work so I can be a mom and still be creative.” <br /><br />The shooting schedule was intense, but she still found time to have fun with her son while on-set in British Columbia. “Shooting days were 16 hours to 18 hours. Sometimes it was just: ‘Holy mackerel! This is long.’ But my son had a really great time in Victoria; he really loves it.” <br /><br />While the shooting may have been intense, the crew was on-point when it came down to getting the job done, as Jewels explains: “It’s a little bit of mad dash, and I think everyone was so buried in having to get through their work. The poor director, I don’t know how he did it. It’s so many thoughts in one day. Everyone shows up really prepared, and you’re kind of underwater. But everyone is so good spirited — the crew works so hard. The cast is so professional, and fun. They’re all nice people, so we had a good time grinding it through.” <br /><br />As a lot of movie crews have found out while filming in Vancouver earlier this year, the area had record snowfalls — which didn’t bode well for movies that are supposed to be set in springtime. But they worked around it. “The producers handled it — it’s kind of this giant puzzle piece of how can we be efficient with everybody’s time, the actors’ time, the locations’ time. It’s this amazing puzzle that gets put together. They did a great job of switching everything around so we were shooting interiors, hoping the snow would melt by the time we got to the exterior shots.” <br /><br />As the action of “Concrete Evidence” begins, Jewel tells me: “You find Shannon renovating Mac’s house, kind of where we left off in the last movie. We discover a body, which leaves us trying to solve the crime of a young girl’s disappearance from when I was in high school. We meet some of the characters I went to school with, go back to the school that my character went to, and those types of things.” <br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-3gsCF7dBRjE/WOGCCedkRXI/AAAAAAAAFiw/unIZVb3nl2QO9ecFJwB1x8dI-8MBUC91ACLcB/s1600/FUM_CrownedandMoldering_0300_RT.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="266" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-3gsCF7dBRjE/WOGCCedkRXI/AAAAAAAAFiw/unIZVb3nl2QO9ecFJwB1x8dI-8MBUC91ACLcB/s400/FUM_CrownedandMoldering_0300_RT.jpg" width="400" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Jewel and Colin Ferguson<br /><span style="font-size: xx-small;">(<span id="yui_3_16_0_ym19_1_1491172685189_9293" style="color: black; font-family: &quot;arial&quot; , &quot;helvetica&quot; , sans-serif;">Copyright Crown Media United States, LLC / Photographer: Ryan Plummer)</span></span></td></tr></tbody></table>For those of you who saw the first movie, there were some sparks between Shannon and Mac (played by Colin Ferguson), so will that carry over into this second installment? Jewels explains: “There is a very slow build. There are definitely more sparks between them in this movie. He is a professional investigative journalist, and he helped her a lot in the first film, helped her find her way. They partner up again on this film.” <br /><br />According to Jewel, it’s easy to partner up with an actor who’s as great to work with as Colin is. “He’s a dream. He’s a really gregarious, outgoing, funny, sweet person. He’s great to work with.” <br /><br />She also works closely with Erin Karpluk, who plays Shannon’s best friend, Jennifer. “She’s kind of my partner in crime as we go back to the school to investigate. There are so many people at the school that we’re looking at, so we’re all pitching in and helping.” And like Colin, Erin made each day a pleasure for Jewel at work: “She’s a good girl. I really love her; I think she is a very talented actress. I’d like to see her have a bigger role in coming installments, for sure.” <br /><br />With all this love and camaraderie going on, surely there were some fun and candid moments on the set, especially when you’re into the 16th hour of the working day and getting a little giddy. Jewel revealed: “I’m trying to remember specific moments. I don’t know if any of them are PG. When I get tired at night, my retention is not very good, and I wasn’t able to get through this one scene very easily, and I just kind of took to swearing at myself. It probably sounded like very prudish, 1950s swear words. It was a very odd mix, but it was making the crew laugh. <br /><br />“There was another time in the first movie where there was this crazy windstorm that we were filming in, and every time they went for my close-up, the wind would just hammer me and blow me almost off my feet. And it was without fail. I bet we did about 20 takes, and every single time I reached my mark, I was blown off my mark, as if God was playing a joke on me. It was pretty funny.” <br /><br />As a singer, songwriter, poet and actress, Jewel explains how they each compare and how she gets into the mindset of preparation and execution of each particular craft. “There are definitely different aspects of the craft. But the way I find my way into acting is pretty similar. I wasn’t formally taught music; I taught myself guitar, and you teach yourself songwriting — same thing with poetry. I never formally graduated school, just studied writing. But I’ve always had an intuitive sense of looking inward, which again came from my mindfulness practice and meditating from such a young age, and being curious and reading a lot. And so I was able to look inward to find my own authentic way. <br /><br />“I think if you’re willing to sit in the silence and be uncomfortable and really look inward, you’re going to find originality. It’s a little harder, but hopefully it makes for something a little more interesting to listen to — and we’ll see about watching. I’m a little farther behind on the acting part. I just use my same skill set for looking inward and trusting my instincts, listening to my body. The way my body feels in a scene is usually the right instinct, and following that and listening to it intuitively in real time as it’s happening. I don’t preplan how I’m going to behave in a scene because I think that it makes it fake, and if the other actors aren’t doing what you thought they were going to do, you’re going to be out of sync with real life and what’s happening in front of you in the room. I just like to push it intuitively as I do anything.” <br /><br /><table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/--hVyCFXP26o/WOGCmSedjII/AAAAAAAAFi4/zap0FgKDMhA_XgpDk_PS-ZjYloMBVpokwCLcB/s1600/Screen%2BShot%2B2017-04-02%2Bat%2B7.00.08%2BPM.png" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="400" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/--hVyCFXP26o/WOGCmSedjII/AAAAAAAAFi4/zap0FgKDMhA_XgpDk_PS-ZjYloMBVpokwCLcB/s400/Screen%2BShot%2B2017-04-02%2Bat%2B7.00.08%2BPM.png" width="262" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Photo courtesy JewelNeverBroken.com</td></tr></tbody></table>Jewel has had to rely on her instincts and intuition from a young age, explaining: “I wrote my memoir ‘Never Broken’ because I’m often asked how I could go from an abusive background to going out on my own, to being homeless, to a lot of the things that I’ve faced, and then ‘succeed.’ For me, I don’t perceive my success with my career; I perceive my success with my piece of mind. Because I knew when I moved out at 15, statistically kids like me end up repeating the cycle they were raised in. Statistically I should be in an abusive relationship or on drugs and repeating what I call the emotional languages that I was raised with. So I wanted to see if I could beat the odds, and I did well for a couple of years. Fast-forward three short years, and I was homeless, shoplifting a dress, and I looked in the mirror and thought, I’m a statistic. I didn’t beat the odds. I was having severe panic attacks, and I remembered what Buddha said: ‘Happiness doesn’t depend on who you are or what you have. It depends on what you think.’ And I had the amazing privilege of having nothing left in my life but my thoughts. I had no home, I had no food, I had no family surrounding me — I just had my thoughts.” <br /><br />Through this mindfulness, Jewel turned her life around “one thought at a time, and to do that, I had to figure out what I was thinking. I started developing exercises and tools that were basically mindfulness tools — but those words weren’t around then — to help me become aware of myself in real time. I really learned so much that year about fear and how fear is a thief that robs you of the only opportunity you have to change in your life, which is right now. So it takes that past and it projects it into the future, and that’s how anxiety works on a self-fulfilling prophecy. I had to learn how to interrupt those fear cycles and those anxiety cycles and the agoraphobia. I developed these little exercises that really helped me stop the panic attacks. I started strategically one by one looking at different emotional languages or patterns of my life and how to rewire my brain. I realized that my brain was addicted to negative thinking, and could I get it addicted to positive thinking?” <br /><br />This positive thinking came to fruition for her when she started writing. “I turned to writing instead of feeling and replacing behaviors. And the more that I’ve learned about neuroscience, and Dr. Judson Brewer — who is the foremost scientific expert on mindfulness and the effects on the brain — became my scientific adviser on my website. There’s research on the addictive nature of the brain, and it’s amazing. This has been a really neat experience to share, and the next chapter of my life will be what I’ve always done, which is talking about this stuff.” <br /><br />So with all this talk of her career in the music business and acting, Jewel knows that that’s not where true success and happiness lie. She explains: “I want my life to be my best work of art. I want me to be my best work of art, and that means I have to set a tone in every area of my limbs. I can’t just have a strong and buff career arm — that means the rest of me will have atrophied, and I won’t have emotional intimacy or good parenting or emotional fitness or physical fitness. A lot of times in life, we’re not taught how to do that. We’re taught to develop strength, usually in one limb, and I want to help people learn how to have tone in every area of their life because that’s how happiness is achieved. It’s a byproduct of having tone and harmony in each area.” Cindy Elavskyhttps://plus.google.com/106692805345133429179noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2089554610599512446.post-43169078999331468742017-03-10T18:12:00.000-05:002017-03-10T18:14:27.416-05:00Ben Watkins Delivers on the Second and Final Season of Hand of God<table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; margin-right: 1em; text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-3M5xmY8vJrc/WMMyB6StCFI/AAAAAAAAFiI/ku7bCg5yvM4b7GBuHpS89-F5SNAq2_1EgCLcB/s1600/ben-watkins.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="247" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-3M5xmY8vJrc/WMMyB6StCFI/AAAAAAAAFiI/ku7bCg5yvM4b7GBuHpS89-F5SNAq2_1EgCLcB/s320/ben-watkins.jpg" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Ben Watkins, creator and writer of Amazon's <i>Hand of God</i></td></tr></tbody></table>When Amazon entered the original-content streaming game, one of its first series was “Hand of God,” which stars Ron Perlman, Dana Delany and Garret Dillahunt. Ron plays Pernell Harris, a morally corrupt judge who suffers a breakdown and believes God is compelling him onto a path of vigilante justice for his son. The creator of this breathtaking and groundbreaking series is <b>Ben Watkins</b>, who also wrote every episode and even directed a few. And starting today, Amazon is now streaming the second and final season of this edge-of-your-seat drama, and I spoke with Ben recently about the series, his beginnings in Hollywood, and any scoop he could give me about season two. <br /><br /><i>Celebrity Extra: Tell me a bit about your background. I know you were homeless at one point and have had to adapt to circumstances that many of us haven’t even dreamed of. </i><br /><br /><b>Ben Watkins: I’ve encountered some really challenging circumstances growing up. Spent most of my life very poor with a single mom raising three kids mostly in the inner city. We moved a lot. I think with moving that much, it makes you come up with ways to fit in quickly. One of the ways to do that is to become an expert in mimicry and in observing people, and very quickly seeing what makes them tick. I think that turned into a really good way for me to be a storyteller. I also had a lot of hours spent with a brother and sister where most of our entertainment came from our imagination. When I look at where I am right now, I look back on how I got here, I think those early years were formative in that I started to acquire some of the skills as a storyteller. And part of that had to do with acting. That is the first way that it expressed itself. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: How did writing come into play? </i><br /><br /><b>BW: I always knew that I wanted to write at some point. I picked up a lot of different things that I felt like I wanted to express about my experience and how I saw our society. I love a good story, but my favorite stories are the ones that are really trying to make a statement about who we are as people and this world that we live in right now. I was someone who grew up really poor and saw society from that side, but there were times where we actually went back and lived with my mother’s family, who was raised upper middle class. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: That must have been a culture shock for you! </i><br /><br /><b>BW: I went from being this kid who was living in the hood in Oakland, California, and then the next year, I’m living in a gated community in a suburb of Chicago. I saw this amazing swing in lifestyles and status. It was a really tough upbringing, but it gave me a great insight into different aspects of society. I try to bring that to my storytelling. I feel like it is a unique perspective that a lot of people don’t really have or get a chance to live. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Could you have thought in your wildest dreams while you were struggling as a kid that you’d have this acclaimed drama on Amazon starring all of these amazing actors who are bringing your story to life? </i><br /><br /><b>BW: This is something that is so fortunate, but when I was a kid, I didn’t even have any expectations that even bordered anything close to what has happened to me. I was just trying to make it day by day. In the toughest times, like you mentioned, we were actually homeless. I remember being in an apartment one time; we were basically squatting in the apartment, homeless. </b><br /><b><br /></b><b>I really didn’t have any expectations that any of this was going to happen. But I just kept chipping away, and there were a few key moments where people influenced me the right way. Even though we had tough times, my mother always made me feel like I was special. And so I always felt like even in the toughest times, there were brighter days somewhere down the line. I just didn’t know what it could be. I finally got around people who could influence me and would say, “Look, if you keep your focus, if you work hard, there will come a time where you have more control over what’s going to happen to you.” My feeling is, I’ve been through as hard as it gets. So being told “no” a hundred times in Hollywood does not even compare with sleeping in a car and not knowing where your next meal is going to come from. And so that really helped with my resiliency and perseverance. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Tell me about how you started to find your voice in college. </i><br /><br /><b>BW: I went from being a student who was on the verge of being expelled from high school to being a guy who came full circle and ended up going to UC Berkeley for college. When I went there I was leaning toward being a journalist. I already had an affinity for writing; I just didn’t really know it was going to be on the creative, narrative side. But I jumped into a theater class and I fell in love with theater. That is what the first breakthrough was. I did it, actually, to just fill out units, just to have enough for the semester, and I ended up falling in love with it. I acted in some plays and that was my initial love. I had a couple of mentors, directors who were teaching at UC Berkeley. One was Margaret Wilkerson, who is sort of a legend in the African-American theater community. And the other was Gilbert McCauley, who is still directing today. They both encouraged me to pursue it. And so I really focused on acting to begin with, but I did have one project where it required me to write something. It became one of those things where you have a great experience, but it’s not part of your focus at the time, so you just sort of file it away. I filed it away and thought, “I’d like to get back to it someday.” I did some theater out of college, and I had a fluke experience where a casting director for a soap opera saw me. I went to New York for one of those general auditions for a soap opera casting director. We had a mutual friend, and she was seeing me as a favor. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: And that favor turned into your first television role. </i><br /><br /><b>BW: She ended up casting me in the soap. And that’s part of the acting career. I went down that road for a while. I had my ups and downs. When it got to a really, really low point, I was in Los Angeles and I had made an agreement with my wife that if I wasn’t a huge star in two years, we would move back to northern California and I’d go back to school. I hit a low point, so we started making plans to do that, but it was going to take six months to get everything in order. So she said: “You know what, you should do that short film that you’ve been talking about for a long time. Then you’ll have something to remember Los Angeles by.” So I did the short film and, ironically, the short film just sort of blew up. It went to all of these film festivals, including the American Black Film Festival, where it won the top award for short film. And it went to Sundance, and it actually got me some exposure for another job: I ended up getting a contract role on “The Young and the Restless.” But even more important, it was sort of a liquefier for me as a writer because that is something that I wrote, produced and co-directed. Even as my acting career was starting to pick up, I knew that my end goal was to be a writer, to create the content. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: How did that lead to “Hand of God”? </i><br /><br /><b>BW: It’s funny, because within Hollywood circles, when Amazon said it was going to start doing what it calls the Amazon pilot season, where they actually give the fans a chance to respond to the material and vote for the series they want to get made, there were a lot of people in the Hollywood circles who didn’t like that idea. But I actually thought it was a great idea, because I had gone down the road of developing great projects and no one ever saw them. Usually the decision on whether or not to make a pilot into a series is made by 10 people in a boardroom. Whereas when you do Amazon pilot season, you’ve got millions of people who get a chance to chime in. I think that’s cool in and of itself. The fact that Amazon was giving people a chance to actually see the pilot before they decided whether it would go to series, I felt was a great opportunity. And I think it was especially important for a show like mine, one I knew was going to be controversial and push a lot of buttons. Can you imagine if I had left that in the hands of 10 network executives who’d never seen anything like it? I think that the fact that the audience reacted to the pilot as well as they did was a huge reason we got our series order. </b><br /><br /><table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; margin-right: 1em; text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-wNWPAhUjtX8/WMMyipvOP_I/AAAAAAAAFiM/PdJIqCGMbtQ81RZnfvjeIfQ5lobNkLp_ACLcB/s1600/hand-of-god-poster.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="249" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-wNWPAhUjtX8/WMMyipvOP_I/AAAAAAAAFiM/PdJIqCGMbtQ81RZnfvjeIfQ5lobNkLp_ACLcB/s320/hand-of-god-poster.jpg" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;"><i>Hand of God</i>, courtesy Amazon</td></tr></tbody></table><i>CE: What was your inspiration to create “Hand of God”? Not to put it too lightly, but this is some deep, dark subject matter. </i><br /><br /><b>BW: First of all, my inspiration started with my being fascinated with fidelity and people in history who have been zealous. I would include John Brown and Nat Turner, obviously, in that category. But I would also even say in the modern day, you have people like David Koresh, and you even have these musicians like John Coltrane or Charlie Byrd, or you have scientists like Albert Einstein. I feel like they are all operating on another level. Because they are so committed, they have opened up their minds to something that most of us don’t have any grasp of. In some cases it really affects how they behave and whether they can really navigate regular life. </b><br /><b><br /></b><b>So I was fascinated not just by the people who become zealous, but also by how society reacts to them. And so I wanted to do a story about a modern-day zealot. Pernell Harris became this vehicle for me to show someone who believed in something so wholeheartedly that everything he does going forward is related to that. Then the other thing is I really want to explore the duality that I think exists in all of us. In movies and on TV, there’s a lot of storytelling where you have flawed characters, but they are usually going to end up in one category: good or bad. What I wanted to do was tell a story that had characters who were more reflective of who we really are as humans, which is that those good and bad characteristics are always there and they always exist simultaneously. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: And how exciting was it that your work attracted talent like Ron Perlman and Dana Delany? </i><br /><br /><b>BW: It was amazing. We’ve got world-class filmmaker Marc Forster, who said he wanted to make this his first TV show and was interested in directing the pilot — that was a great sign. And then the very next day we found out that Ron Perlman was interested. For two of the characters I thought, “In an ideal world, Dana Delany and Garret Dillahunt would play these characters.” Fast-forward, and we’re shooting the pilot, and Dana Delany is playing Crystal Harris and Garret Dillahunt is playing KD. Of course the rest of the cast is stellar as well. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Originally Faye Dunaway was going to play Pernell’s aunt, but now it is Linda Gray. </i><br /><br /><b>BW: There were some scheduling conflicts and some other issues that came up, so she has been replaced with Linda Gray. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Who is absolutely fabulous … </i><br /><br /><b>BW: You can’t go wrong with Linda Gray. When we realized it wasn’t going to work out with Faye, we started looking around elsewhere, and we came across Linda Gray. In season two, Pernell’s empire is in jeopardy, and part of that Harris family empire includes Linda Gray. With Pernell on shaky ground, she becomes a bigger part of the story because she wants to make sure that if he goes down, the Harris family doesn’t go down with him. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: What else can you tell me about season two? </i><br /><br /><b>BW: When there are things that we can’t explain, we feel compelled to find an answer for it. We say it’s science or religion or it’s crazy or it’s magic. We continue to ask that question in season two. Pernell continues to explore this question of whether he’s truly crazy or if he has touched into something supernatural. We also get to explore a little bit about what was going on with PJ and the software that he was working on. And there’s a connection there to Jocelyn Harris; there’s a connection there to Nathan Brooks, who is the founder of the company that came into town in season one. There’s a mystery related to that, and that mystery is driven by Crystal Harris, who in season one showed that Macbeth-type wife who was trying to maintain control and manage her husband and manage the lifestyle and the empire that she had built. In season two, she really steps into a leading role and drives the story forward because she is intent on finding out what happened to her son’s software and fulfilling his legacy. Initially there are two driving forces: Pernell is on trial for murder, and Crystal is trying to find out what happened to PJ’s software. And then, of course, they are always going to be surrounded by these amazing characters who are dealing with the same things that we deal with through the contradictions of human nature. What makes us tick? What do we really believe in? If we really do believe in something, or really want something, how do we change our lives to make that happen? </b>Cindy Elavskyhttps://plus.google.com/106692805345133429179noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2089554610599512446.post-9946309277436852892016-09-14T14:42:00.000-04:002016-09-14T14:42:43.575-04:00Q and A: Week of Sept. 12<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-HsAJq9SpFmk/V9mZvS2ASuI/AAAAAAAAFf8/KTl10Q1zdJEoq9s6K_NKJqjlfHb6kD6vACLcB/s1600/Kong_Skull_Island.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="400" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-HsAJq9SpFmk/V9mZvS2ASuI/AAAAAAAAFf8/KTl10Q1zdJEoq9s6K_NKJqjlfHb6kD6vACLcB/s400/Kong_Skull_Island.jpg" width="270" /></a></div><i>Q: Is it true that they are making a new version of “King Kong”? If so, do you know how or if this will be different from other iterations? — Dave G., via email </i><br /><br /><b>A: “Kong: Skull Island” will premiere March 10, 2017 on the big screen. This latest version of the action-adventure movie stars Tom Hiddleston (of “Thor” and “The Avengers” fame), Brie Larson (who won the Academy Award for Best Actress for “Room”), Samuel L. Jackson and Tom Wilkinson, and takes place in the 1970s, focusing on the origins of Kong. Hiddleston’s character, Capt. James Conrad, is the leader of an expedition venturing deep into an uncharted island in the Pacific Ocean, where you can bet they are going to run smack into everyone’s favorite giant gorilla. </b><br /><b><br /></b><b>But if you can’t wait until March to get up close and personal with the mythical beast, you can head over to Skull Island yourself — that is, the one at Universal Studios Orlando Islands of Adventure. Its new ride, “Skull Island: Reign of Kong,” opened over the summer, and let me tell you that it is exhilarating and actually quite scary. It really does get you primed to want to see the movie. Here’s an insider’s tip: Try to sit as far on the right-hand side of the car as you can. </b><br /><br /><i>Q: I haven’t seen Catherine Zeta-Jones in anything recently. I know she took time off while her husband, Michael Douglas, was recovering from cancer, but did she full-on retire? — Linda F., Baton Rouge, Louisiana </i><br /><br /><b>A: The gorgeous and talented Oscar winner recently signed on to star as Olivia de Havilland in FX’s eight-part miniseries “Feud,” which centers on the bitter rivalry between “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” stars Bette Davis (Susan Sarandon) and Joan Crawford (Jessica Lange). The miniseries will premiere sometime next year, and co-stars Stanley Tucci as studio chief Jack Warner, Judy Davis as gossip columnist Hedda Hopper and Alfred Molina as director/producer Robert Aldrich. With a powerhouse cast like this, I can’t wait to see the series. </b><br /><br /><i>Q: I remember hearing talk of a “Lost Boys” movie remake. Any word on that? — Larry T., via email </i><br /><br /><b>A: Rob Thomas — creator of “Veronica Mars” and “iZombie” — is bringing the vampire cult classic to television over at the CW network. According to “Deadline,” the new series is being envisioned for a seven-season run, “spanning 70 years, each season chronicling a decade.” With each season, “the humans, the setting, the antagonist and the story all change — only the vampires, our Lost Boys, who are like the ‘Peter Pan’ characters who never grow up, remain the same.” There is no word yet on whether the vampires will be all-new characters or a reimaging of the movie- version ones, but seeing how they all died in the end, they’d have to get pretty creative if they are planning to reintroduce them. </b>Cindy Elavskyhttps://plus.google.com/106692805345133429179noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2089554610599512446.post-22228699677658014102016-09-13T11:06:00.000-04:002016-09-13T11:06:19.205-04:00INTERVIEW: Taylor Hicks, "State Plate Is a Home Run!"<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-tPNd0B6_lT4/V9gVNfEBQeI/AAAAAAAAFfk/2n8m4r3PTq89W8JDjIb7rOTcuj2Vp9zFwCLcB/s1600/Taylor%2BHicks%2BHead%2BShot.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="400" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-tPNd0B6_lT4/V9gVNfEBQeI/AAAAAAAAFfk/2n8m4r3PTq89W8JDjIb7rOTcuj2Vp9zFwCLcB/s400/Taylor%2BHicks%2BHead%2BShot.jpg" width="266" /></a></div><b>Taylor Hicks </b>won the hearts of music fans countrywide — and then worldwide — when he won the fifth season of “American Idol.” He went on to tour the U.S., co-star as Teen Angel in the Broadway touring production of “Grease,” was a part of Jimmy Fallon’s Grammy-winning album “Blow Your Pants Off” … and the list goes on. Now members of the Soul Patrol (Taylor’s large and dedicated fan base) can catch Taylor this fall when he hosts “State Plate,” which debuts on the INSP network Oct. 21. I caught up with Taylor recently, and he filled me in on performing on the series finale of “Idol,” his hectic tour schedule and “State Plate.” <br /><br /><i>Celebrity Extra: Earlier this year, you came back to “American Idol” to mentor this last crop of singers. Why did you decide to do that, and what was the experience like? </i><br /><br /><b>Taylor Hicks: I love the educational process, instructing the singers and trying to cultivate their talent. That’s one of the things that I tried to do. Also, I have a saying, and someone told me this when I was going through my so-called break in the business. They said, “If you weren’t supposed to be here, then you wouldn’t be.” I have some friends who have caught a break, and I can see that they are nervous, and if you put that in perspective, that if God hadn’t intended for you to be there, then you wouldn’t be there. I think calming of the nerves is probably the most important thing to really be able to entertain and perform and move through the process of a show like that. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Tell me about coming back to perform on the series finale. </i><br /><br /><b>TH: The finale was great, and I think I can speak for all of the idols and the winners and even the contestants who have been on the show that the way “American Idol” took its final bow was a true class act. The whole world celebrated, especially this country, they celebrated the last year. I think the way they celebrated the last season, and I think the way they celebrated the show in the finale, was a really wonderful way for all of America to have celebrated it. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: It’s so amazing when you think that the show was on for 15 years! </i><br /><br /><b>TH: “Idol” being on for 15 years, that’s just a testament to what the show has been able to do and how much talent has come from it. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: As a performer, you play big stadium gigs as well as more intimate club settings. Is it fun — and beneficial — for you to get to exercise those different kinds of performance muscles? </i><br /><br /><b>TH: I’ve always been a live performer, and I’ve been doing a lot of little intimate venues and acoustic shows. I think it’s not only important to do the full band, the big live shows, but I also think it’s important to do the smaller acoustic, intimate settings where you can really be up close and personal with the audience. And also you can be more of a storyteller. I think people enjoy that part of it just as much as they do kind of the live big-band atmosphere. I love both. I just love performing, so it’s the best of both worlds. You get the storyteller version where you get some stories about “Idol,” and also I get to explain my journey — people get to understand my past. And then the live big-band show is obviously more of a full production. </b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-68Rrd6OkYiQ/V9gVUOt3x3I/AAAAAAAAFfo/_tCTG9v3VhgmHRoXy2Mg2-PI4Jw-60fVQCLcB/s1600/Taylor%2BHicks%2BLive.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="400" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-68Rrd6OkYiQ/V9gVUOt3x3I/AAAAAAAAFfo/_tCTG9v3VhgmHRoXy2Mg2-PI4Jw-60fVQCLcB/s400/Taylor%2BHicks%2BLive.jpg" width="313" /></a></div><i>CE: So your fans get the best of both worlds, and you do, too, as the performer. </i><br /><br /><b>TH: Yes, very much so. I think it’s fun to exercise both. Luckily I grew up in both settings, so I’m familiar with both. I grew up on the panhandle of Florida playing at a place called the Flora-Bama, and that taught me a lot. Great musicians and songwriters like Sonny Throckmorton, Jimmy Buffett and Jimmy Louis were in that group. They’ve entertained people in that setting just as much as you would with a full band. I’ve been lucky to be privy to both of those. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Tell me about “State Plate.” From what I’ve read about it, I really like the concept. </i><br /><br /><b>TH: In my opinion — and I might be a little bit biased because I’m hosting the show — the concept rivals any travel and food show on TV. And I’m speaking from a conceptual standpoint. Everybody from their respective states is very prideful of what comes out of their state, whether it be entertainment, whether it be sports, whether it be food. And this particular concept — being able to fill up a plate of food that’s an appetizer, entree, dessert that’s completely indigenous to each state — is a concept I think has got so much potential, and that’s the reason I’m so excited about it. Having traveled all my life and being from Alabama, you can’t not be a foodie. That’s just the way it goes, and we have so many different styles of food that have cross-pollinated our food culture. It’s got the potential to become a really popular show because people want to know what foods are indigenous to each state, and people want to see their state do well. I couldn’t be more excited for this show. </b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-IOTPKRmqLZ8/V9gVrrC1y9I/AAAAAAAAFfs/1HMsPz-6bDUqZqn4-rkdhhj9RhYrZ6NFACLcB/s1600/Taylor_Hicks_State_Plate.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-IOTPKRmqLZ8/V9gVrrC1y9I/AAAAAAAAFfs/1HMsPz-6bDUqZqn4-rkdhhj9RhYrZ6NFACLcB/s320/Taylor_Hicks_State_Plate.jpg" width="216" /></a></div><i>CE: How did you become involved with the show? </i><br /><br /><b>TH: I’ve been pitching shows since I had my Vegas show for two years. Obviously, you can tour the food of Las Vegas for years and still not eat everything. So, I’d been pitching food ideas to particular networks for years, and this concept from the folks at INSP network was brought to me, and it was just a great concept and fell in line conceptually with my Vegas idea. It broadened it to be able to hit every state in America. If you want to have something that is successful, you have to appeal to a broader audience. I just think this idea is a home run. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Explain the concept of the show to me. </i><br /><br /><b>TH: There’s a farm-to-table element to it. I look at it like “Dirty Jobs by Mike Rowe,” but it’s only farm-to-table food. I definitely get my hands dirty — whether it’s dairy, whether it’s cattle — I just go into the particular food and really just dig in about where it comes from. What’s the origin of it? And sometimes that takes a little digging, no pun intended. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: I live in Orlando, Florida, so I have to know if you’ve come to Florida yet and if you’ll divulge any secrets from your trip. </i><br /><br /><b>TH: As a matter of fact, I’m in Florida right now. We’re wrapping up shooting here. I wish I could spill all of the info to you, but Florida is such a diverse state. We cover from the northwest to the southwest to the northeast — we try to cover all of the state. This one was tough, but I think we conquered it. And you can’t really cover the state in one plate in some of these states like Florida, Texas, California and some of the bigger states. So maybe we’ll come back for a second helping. Who knows? </b>Cindy Elavskyhttps://plus.google.com/106692805345133429179noreply@blogger.com2tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2089554610599512446.post-75549069397348546712016-09-08T14:49:00.001-04:002016-09-08T14:49:40.991-04:00INTERVIEW: Victoria Laurie on the End of an Era, the Continuation of Another, and the Beginning of Exciting New Ventures<table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; margin-right: 1em; text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-CCuggQ9422M/V9GvXLCusDI/AAAAAAAAFfA/uECCCAR3ePAJ3-Tvfs41q9dfmHj8t_IkACLcB/s1600/Victoria%2BLaurie.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="400" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-CCuggQ9422M/V9GvXLCusDI/AAAAAAAAFfA/uECCCAR3ePAJ3-Tvfs41q9dfmHj8t_IkACLcB/s400/Victoria%2BLaurie.jpg" width="260" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Victoria Laurie</td></tr></tbody></table>When you’re as prolific a writer as <b>Victoria Laurie</b>, this is what your dream board looks like: You’ve just written the 10th and final book in one popular series; you recently published the 14th in an equally popular series and are almost done with the 15th; you’ve got an exciting new young-adult book coming out in a few months, with three more completely different YA-book ideas fully fleshed out; and you’re working on an entirely new series that you’re currently pitching to your publisher, which promises to blow the minds of all your fans. <br /><br />Just reading all of that exhausts me. But not Victoria — she thrives on the excitement and chaos of bringing all of her ideas and characters to life on the written page (or e-book digital page, as it were), and she’s as giddy as a schoolgirl when she thinks about the reaction her fans will have when they are presented with this smorgasbord of fiction. I spoke with Victoria recently, and in a spoiler-free way, she told me all about her latest works, her future plans, and why she felt it was time to say goodbye to M.J. and the Ghost Hunter Mystery series. <br /><br />First up: M.J., Gilley, Heath and Doc, and why the series had run its course. When Victoria announced that the 10th book in the series, “A Ghoul’s Guide to Love and Murder,” would be the last, her fans were understandably upset — and in universal agreement that she gave all of her characters a deserving send-off. But Victoria knew it was time to wind down the series by book eight: “‘The Ghoul Next Door’ was just such a struggle to write. And it was a progression of each book becoming more and more difficult. I almost felt like the books had started out with a sense of realism and less fantasy ... more like, this stuff actually happens. And then I pushed the envelope throughout that series to try to scare the pants off you while making you laugh in the next paragraph. That tricky balance just is a very difficult thing to reproduce book after book while making each story unique. <br /><br />“After book eight, I was like, I don’t know that I have a lot left in me for the series. M.J. has been so beaten up and pummeled throughout the series. I felt like she’s being abused by her creator; I kind of felt like I was the abusive husband in this game. I just didn’t want to beat her up anymore. I really wanted her to earn a rest and respite for all that she had been through. I wanted to do a full-circle moment for book 10 with M.J. still being chased by those demons. I feel it all came together in that 10th book.” <br /><br />Victoria truly feels empathy for her fans who are distraught that the series ended; she’s been there as an avid reader herself. “I understand. I hate it when a good series — either television or book — ends for me. When it goes away, it kind of leaves a little hole in your heart. And so I really struggle when fans are like, ‘Please don’t end the series.’ It was a really, really hard decision for me. I did this for the characters and knowing it’s the right move for them.” <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Akr841imvNY/V9GymHLITQI/AAAAAAAAFfQ/Ise5c-rMGNMunmRaFQiLVtmiswhFLuzSgCLcB/s1600/grave.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Akr841imvNY/V9GymHLITQI/AAAAAAAAFfQ/Ise5c-rMGNMunmRaFQiLVtmiswhFLuzSgCLcB/s320/grave.jpg" width="211" /></a></div>Moving on from the Ghost Hunter series, in her latest Psychic Eye book, “A Grave Prediction,” Victoria tells me the reason behind her decision to have Abby work with the L.A. bureau of the FBI: “It’s an opportunity for Abby to explore the possibility of working with people she doesn’t trust and who don’t trust her. It’s not an easy profession, being a psychic; you get a little flinchy. You get a little defensive because you are always prepared for people to think the worst of you, for people to believe that you’ve got a screw loose or, even worse, that you’re a charlatan. It’s that attitude I really wanted to explore in this latest book. I wanted to throw Abby into a situation where she wasn’t trusted and had to prove herself again.” <br /><br />One of the many elements that attracts readers to this series is the dynamic duo of Abby Cooper and her trusted BFF and confidante, Candice Fusco. And while we don’t get much of Dutch and Brice in this installment, as per usual, Candice is by Abby’s side to help suss out the clues as she tries to stop the murders of four people that she saw in a vision. Candice is there to support Abby with a kind of girl power that we don’t often see between women in pop culture nowadays. “Personally, I have been so wholly supported through my female friends,” Victoria reveals to me. “I have truly been blessed in this lifetime with the most loyal, wonderful, fabulous, amazing, strong, independent, wise women who have honestly made me a better person. Candice is an amalgam of two specific friends of mine who just inspire me every day. And there’s that kind of loyalty that comes inherent with their friendship. I think it’s because these two women are incredibly secure. And when you can have a friend who’s as incredibly secure, as Candace is to Abby, then Abby is just free to be herself.” <br /><br />While many fans of the series who enjoy swooning over Dutch and/or Brice were disappointed that they were in this book so little, Victoria promises: “Dutch and Brice are definitely in the next one; Abby needed to find herself and find her way in this one.” This book’s “sisters are doing it for themselves” vibe was very much intentional on Victoria’s part, and very much appreciated by her countless fans. We saw the introduction of another strong and supportive female character, Special Agent Hart, who helps grease the wheels for Abby at the L.A. office. “I like strong, supportive women who don’t feel insecure around each other,” Victoria explains. “It’s exhausting to be catty and jealous. Women don’t tell each other enough how dazzling and amazing we are. Life can beat women down and women can beat women down, and I’m tired of it.” <br /><br />Unlike her other books, however, this one was a struggle for Victoria to write. “I never had writer’s block until this book. I hit a wall. I battled a bad bout of depression during it, and it became a physical struggle to write. Exercise was key for me to come out of that state. I wrote it in about four weeks; it was fast-going once I was able to crawl out of the well of depression. I was struggling so much, and I found that Abby’s humor helped me through it.” <br /><br />As far as the idea for this intriguing storyline — Abby helping the FBI office in San Diego solve a series of bank robberies only to get a vision of four buried bodies who are victims of murders that haven’t happened yet — she actually turned to TV for inspiration. “My sister is a big fan of ‘Medium,’ and she told me about an episode where the main character, Allison, has a dream where she sees a car and sees the license plate, and there’s a dead body rolled up in a rug in the trunk of the car. They trace the plate to Arizona, but it’s a style that wouldn’t be made for another 10 years, so she realizes her vision was of a future murder. I thought that was a brilliant idea.” <br /><br />Speaking of mediums, those of you who are familiar with Victoria know that she is more psychic than medium, one who can assess the energy you carry in your aura, where she can see your health, emotions, wishes, hopes and bits of the future. She puts on her psychic goggles and focuses on that. She also can feel pulled in a certain direction. “I’m pulled to do things that might seem spontaneous, but it’s my intuition telling me to do this or do that.” <br /><br />Victoria is just finishing up the 15th installment of her Psychic Eye mysteries series, and she promises that we won’t be disappointed. “I am really enjoying myself with this one. It’s fun, and I’m really ratcheting up the tension. The premise is Dutch, Milo, Brice and Dave are building panic rooms for Austin’s wealthy clients. One day, Dave doesn’t show up for a meeting and no one can find him. Someone is murdered and all signs point to Dave.” <br /><br />This will be our first deeper glimpse into this minor character who has had a big impact on Abby. “Dave is a mystery. Fifteen books in, and we may or may not learn his lady’s name. This is a fun and funny romp. It’s a unique book to the series, and I am super-excited about its release.” <br /><br />And that’s one of the things that fans love most about the series: Each book brings us a fun and intriguing new adventure. Victoria feels the same way, especially about this book, as she explains: “I am proud of this book, and proud of the series as a whole. It hasn’t repeated on itself yet. I want every book to be its own original story. I want you to remember stories wholly and not mix them up.” <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-6eeagk05soI/V9GyXrsN0mI/AAAAAAAAFfM/u8dVhy0nDxcCzNSzu4Y931bs852x9iTHwCLcB/s1600/foreveragain.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-6eeagk05soI/V9GyXrsN0mI/AAAAAAAAFfM/u8dVhy0nDxcCzNSzu4Y931bs852x9iTHwCLcB/s320/foreveragain.jpg" width="212" /></a></div>Next up for Victoria’s fans is “Forever, Again,” which is a young-adult book about reincarnation that will be released Dec. 13. The story centers on Lily Bennett, who is the new kid in town as she starts her junior year in high school. Soon after classes begin, she meets a classmate, Cole Drepeau, with whom she forms an immediate and intimate bond. As they grow closer, Lily learns about the murder that divided the town more than 30 years before. In 1985, graduating senior Amber Greeley snapped, killing her boyfriend Ben — Cole’s uncle — and taking her own life. <br /><br />Lily feels inexplicably linked to Amber, and she can’t help but think that there’s more to the girl’s story. Determined to investigate the truth about Cole’s uncle’s death, Lily and Cole are pulled into a dark mystery — one that shakes the constraints of the world they’ve always believed in. <br /><br />For this book, Victoria explains, “I did a lot of research through the University of Virginia, where they have a whole department devoted to reincarnation studies.” <br /><br />And if that’s not enough, Victoria is in the early, pre-pitch stage with her publishers for a new series to replace the M.J. series, which she says M.J. fans will love. “I’m very excited to explore these characters more. I’ll be able to let you know more about this in late fall.” <br /><br />Undaunted, I was able to coax a little bit more out of Victoria pertaining to the new series, so prepare to be teased. “My new protagonist, Esmé, is the most courageous, fierce, kick-ass character I’ve ever created,” Victoria reveals. “She’s a definite force to be reckoned with, but she’s also got a soft, compassionate side — and of course she meets, falls for, and tangles with a guy who’s totally her match. These two won’t know if they’re made for each other, or made to kill each other.” Of course, I love&nbsp;Esmé&nbsp;already, and Victoria’s legions of fans will too. <br /><br />Last but not least, she has three more YA books fully fleshed out and outlined, which she is going to pitch to her publisher soon. And, as Victoria says, “I think this will be even bigger than ‘When.’ It’s an angle no one’s approached before; it was inspired by an email subject line: ‘Why human beings do the things they do.’” <br /><br />So update your GoodReads “to-read” list for the many exciting things to come from this crazy-talented author. And for all the latest updates, follow Victoria on Twitter (<a href="http://twitter.com/@Victoria_Laurie" target="_blank">@Victoria_Laurie</a>), and join her Facebook fan page (<a href="http://facebook.com/groups/VictoriaLaurieFans" target="_blank">facebook.com/groups/VictoriaLaurieFans</a>). Cindy Elavskyhttps://plus.google.com/106692805345133429179noreply@blogger.com1tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2089554610599512446.post-65537692265936770382016-09-07T10:36:00.000-04:002016-09-07T10:36:28.130-04:00Q and A: Week of September 6<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-TOrORe7Q7vk/V9Aljd_Et2I/AAAAAAAAFew/Pk26R8FRnZgArycTZFclbUr-8cCfpGInwCLcB/s1600/Grave%2BPrediciton%253AVictoria.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="305" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-TOrORe7Q7vk/V9Aljd_Et2I/AAAAAAAAFew/Pk26R8FRnZgArycTZFclbUr-8cCfpGInwCLcB/s400/Grave%2BPrediciton%253AVictoria.jpg" width="400" /></a></div><i>Q: First I want to thank you for giving an address to write to for people like me who have nothing to do with computers to have the chance to try to respond to all life has to offer. Please consider me for entry in your contest to win an autographed copy of Victoria Laurie’s “A Grave Prediction.” — Danan G., Chino, Calif. </i><br /><br /><b>A: You are very welcome, Danan. I like to give everyone a chance to win cool stuff, especially when it’s an autographed copy of a book by one of my favorite authors. I randomly drew four names to win the four copies of the book I have, and you are one of the winners! The other winners are Kimberly Fischer (who won via email entry), Lara Baker (who won via Twitter entry) and Kerri Snow-Hugmeyer (who won via Facebook entry). </b><br /><b><br /></b><b>I spoke with Victoria to get the inside track on “A Grave Prediction” and her insight behind having Abby working with the LA bureau of the FBI: “It’s an opportunity for Abby to explore the possibility of working with people she doesn’t trust and who don’t trust her. It’s not an easy profession, being a psychic; you get a little flinchy. You get a little defensive because you are always prepared for people to think the worst of you, for people to believe that you’ve got a screw loose or, even worse, that you’re a charlatan. It’s that attitude I really wanted to explore in this latest book. I wanted to throw Abby into a situation where she wasn’t trusted and had to prove herself again.” </b><br /><b><br /></b><b>Come back tomorrow to read my full and compelling interview with Victoria about “A Grave Prediction,” the end of the Ghost Hunter series, and what she’s got in store for fans next. </b><br /><br /><i>Q: I just got my copy of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” and I also can’t wait for “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” to open. What else is happening in the Harry Potter world? — Nina F., via email </i><br /><br /><b>A: NBC Universal just signed a seven-year deal with Warner Bros. for exclusive broadcast and basic-cable rights to the eight “Potter” movies, as well as the three planned “Fantastic Beasts” movies. In a press release, NBC Universal announced: “Through this deal, Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Japan can explore a range of new opportunities, including fan events, movie screenings, and promotional activities tied to the ‘Harry Potter’ franchise and the upcoming ‘Fantastic Beasts’ film series.” </b><br /><br /><i>Q: “Casual” is one of my favorite shows, and I already miss it even though season two just ended. Will it be back for another? — Nico T., via email </i><br /><br /><b>A: Hulu has picked up the dark-comedy series — starring Tommy Dewey and Michaela Watkins — for a third season. In more Hulu news: “The Path” is in production on its second season, while season five of “The Mindy Project” premieres this fall. </b>Cindy Elavskyhttps://plus.google.com/106692805345133429179noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2089554610599512446.post-3469084704865864802016-09-06T16:29:00.004-04:002016-09-06T16:34:26.764-04:00Yvonne Zima Talks StartUp, ER, Al Pacino and Method Acting<table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; margin-right: 1em; text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-P7Jf-fgKtBM/V88jF18yiBI/AAAAAAAAFeU/JAU2kS5Yr70liV26nlOSqLLwvSqnInAiQCLcB/s1600/Screen%2BShot%2B2016-09-06%2Bat%2B4.11.44%2BPM.png" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="400" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-P7Jf-fgKtBM/V88jF18yiBI/AAAAAAAAFeU/JAU2kS5Yr70liV26nlOSqLLwvSqnInAiQCLcB/s400/Screen%2BShot%2B2016-09-06%2Bat%2B4.11.44%2BPM.png" width="266" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Yvonne Zima</td></tr></tbody></table><b>Yvonne Zima</b>, who recently starred in the Lifetime original movie "Killing Mommy," has an exciting new project coming up, the much-anticipated crime thriller for Crackle called "StartUp." The series stars Martin Freeman (of "Fargo," "Sherlock" and "The Hobbit" fame), Adam Brody ("The OC") and Edi Gathegi ("Twilight"). The story takes place in Miami, where a desperate banker needs to conceal stolen money; a Haitian-American gang lord wants to go legit; and a Cuban-American hacker has an idea that will revolutionize the future of money itself. Forced to work together, they unwittingly create their version of the American dream: organized crime 2.0. The 10-episode series premieres today on Crackle (go to <a href="http://crackle.com/">crackle.com</a> for details).<br /><br /><i>Celebrity Extra: Earlier this year I saw a preview for "StartUp," and I am excited about this one. What can you tell me about it and your role in it? </i><br /><br /><b>Yvonne Zima: I think that it will be fantastic. I saw the trailer and I was like, "This is such a steamy, sexy thriller with so many fun layers of different characters from different places." It's really a kaleidoscopic view of crime. I love the idea of Adam Brody doing this serious role. I've always been a fan of him from "The OC." He's just such a terrific actor and a very nice person. </b><br /><b><br /></b><b>Martin Freeman is amazing in it. He is a fantastic actor. His performance in this is a feast. He's so intense, which is so magnetic. He's amazing to watch. I play Megan, who is a receptionist who is hired at their company because of her looks. Which means she's terrible at her job. She is a quintessential millennial, who's always taking selfies and is just totally inept. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: It sounds like a fun role to play, especially against the intensity of the rest. </i><br /><br /><b>YZ: She's the comedic relief in an otherwise very serious drama. I shot three episodes — we filmed in Puerto Rico — so I'm recurring, and I hope if the show goes on that they'll bring me back because I had so much fun with the locals. We wrote songs in Spanish and were singing together; it was so much fun. Puerto Rico is a very interesting place. </b><br /><b><br /></b><b>But yeah, I'm this clucky, bumbling, idiot character, and I think that the audience will be quite relieved sometimes from the tension of the other scenes. This is an intense, crazy drama, but it's super-grounded. It feels very real, and I interrupt that for a laugh or two. That was fun to play. And some of the wardrobe is scandalous. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: What are some more of your memories of the shoot? </i><br /><br /><b>YZ: I did have a scene with Wayne Knight, who was on "Seinfeld." He was so fun to work with this old-school Hollywood charm in terms of his wit and his humor. In real life he's just a bright light to be around. That was a highlight for me in terms of that gig. I was so happy to have a scene with him. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: "ER" was the quintessential hospital drama, reigniting the genre and opening the door for lots of copycats to come. Tell me about your experience working on the show. </i><br /><br /><b>YZ: I played the daughter of Anthony Edwards, who was amazing as Goose in "Top Gun," so he wasn't new to this. He was actually a bigger star than someone like George Clooney at the time. I had done several pilots with him long ago, and this was his first show that was successful. And it was cool to see him as an actor early in his career, being so humble and kind. There are all these amazing stories about him defending background actors who aren't treated as nicely as principal actors. </b><br /><b><br /></b><b>I watched him as he observed these background actors who weren't getting as much food as us regulars on the show, and he was like, "Well, that is not right." So he went to this big food cabinet and essentially took a crowbar, because it was locked, and he was just tossing chips to everyone. He was like: "Who wants carrots? Who wants this?" He felt that this treatment, this class system, it's not right, and I agree it's not right. To witness that as a child, it was very important. Just a lesson in the person I wanted to become and how I want to treat people on a set. And that really stuck with me. </b><br /><b><br /></b><b>There are wonderful people in this business who look out for each other, and he's one of them. And then there was Noah Wyle and Eriq La Salle, and they're all these hunky, wonderful actors, and this was the beginning of their careers. And that was really cool to be a part of, and it was the beginning of mine as well. </b><br /><b><br /></b><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-7WThcd7hNrg/V88mwGyXjfI/AAAAAAAAFeg/u1_lPhJ38iEi4k04-nfdpevKKeqPyj8RwCLcB/s1600/Screen%2BShot%2B2016-09-06%2Bat%2B4.26.46%2BPM.png" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="148" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-7WThcd7hNrg/V88mwGyXjfI/AAAAAAAAFeg/u1_lPhJ38iEi4k04-nfdpevKKeqPyj8RwCLcB/s400/Screen%2BShot%2B2016-09-06%2Bat%2B4.26.46%2BPM.png" width="400" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Tom Sizemore and Yvonne Zima in <i>Heat</i></td></tr></tbody></table><br /><i>CE: Speaking of the beginning of your career, pretty much the first movie role you got was opposite Al Pacino in "Heat." I can't even imagine that experience! </i><br /><br /><b>YZ: I think I was 5. Basically I had to personally audition with Al Pacino. It's barely a part in the film, but he cared who the child was. And I remember, there were no lines or a scene to do, but I was coloring in a coloring book, and it was kind of an interview. And he was talking to me, and he handpicked me to play that part. And then when we filmed that scene, which is like this epic shoot-out — it is crazy — and I remember I collected a lot of the bullet shells because I thought they were cool keepsakes. I thought Uzis were a cool gun. </b><br /><b><br /></b><b>In the scene, Al Pacino takes me from Tom Sizemore, who gets shot in the head, and he rescues me. I remember him staying in the scene long after they called "cut," and that was my first experience with method acting. Someone who doesn't break character, just doesn't interrupt the flow of the scene and this scene to the next. Now remember, I was only 5, and I was just like, "You know they called 'cut'?" I didn't get it. Of course, I know now in retrospect. He's a method actor. But I was like: "This is silly. He doesn't know that they called 'cut.' I think that I'll tell him." </b><br /><br /><i>CE: I can't stop smiling just picturing little Yvonne telling Al Pacino that he can stop acting now. </i><br /><br /><b>YZ: (Laughs) I'm like: "Excuse me, sir, I need to get a bagel. You can just continue by yourself." I was thinking about this the other day, if I ever have a couple of kids of my own, I would love to expose them to the theater very young. I would love for them to see films that invoke empathy, and I think that with millennials and these generations that are slightly younger than me, I'm worried about them as a generation coming up and not being exposed to enough theater and enough stories. I think that the value of my childhood as an actress is really understanding story, human emotions and humanity. And that far supersedes any struggle it might have been. It wasn't ever that hard. I was lucky. I think it was a positive experience. </b>Cindy Elavskyhttps://plus.google.com/106692805345133429179noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2089554610599512446.post-47705209766784847062016-07-14T10:24:00.001-04:002016-07-14T10:24:48.483-04:00Interview: Bruno Gunn on the Groundbreaking Officer Downe and Westworld<table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; margin-right: 1em; text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-29Ae4wTRNLw/V4eduS16RzI/AAAAAAAAFdU/WM141dBDILINt91iSSex96o-BMzYwJoUACLcB/s1600/Bruno%2BGunn%2B1%2Bby%2BByron%2BAshley%2BBryson.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="400" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-29Ae4wTRNLw/V4eduS16RzI/AAAAAAAAFdU/WM141dBDILINt91iSSex96o-BMzYwJoUACLcB/s400/Bruno%2BGunn%2B1%2Bby%2BByron%2BAshley%2BBryson.jpg" width="266" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Bruno Gunn<br />(by Byron Ashley Bryson)</td></tr></tbody></table>The last time I caught up with <b>Bruno Gunn</b>, he was just coming down off the high that is playing a pivotal role in a ridiculously popular movie franchise: He was Brutus, the scary and lethal career tribute from District 2 in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." He's been quite a busy man since those days. He currently co-stars in the movie "Officer Downe," which is generating quite a lot of buzz as a groundbreaking entry into the graphic-novel film genre. He also plays a role in the upcoming HBO original series "Westworld." I spoke with Bruno recently about these latest projects, and I can tell you without a doubt that he is beyond excited for us to experience these roles with him. <br /><br /><i>Celebrity Extra: First tell me about "Officer Downe." It's been getting such rave reviews. It's been described as groundbreaking in its genre and is being compared to "Deadpool." </i><br /><br /><b>Bruno Gunn: No one has seen anything like this. This is a rated-R movie, much in the vein of "Deadpool," and it doesn't shy away from its origins of being a graphic novel. It's a comic book that is graphic, and they didn't hold back any punches. It is a punch in the face that the world has been waiting for. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: I can't wait for this to open wide, because I have been hearing such great things about it. Just the preview alone had my jaw on the floor! </i><br /><br /><b>BG: I'm super-excited. It's been getting great press, and deservingly so. Kim Coates (who plays the titular character) is fantastic. It's one thing to watch him while you work, and it's another thing to see him onscreen. He's pretty amazing. He really is. He does justice to "Officer Downe," and pardon the pun, because that is what "Officer Downe" does. He's justice -- just in a different way. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: What can you tell me about your character, Fritch? </i><br /><br /><b>BG: Fritch is a veteran officer, and he's assigned to clean up after Officer Downe, and he doesn't like it. He thinks he should be further along than where he is; he feels like he's due for that promotion. And instead he keeps getting assigned to cleaning up Downe's messes. But the great thing about Fritch is, and I've said this before, any great character goes through a change. They have an arc. They start in one place and finish in another. You don't want your character to start in one place and then finish in the same place. There's no arc. There's no growth. There's no change. And ever so subtly Fritch does this. He goes through that change. And it's pretty cool. </b><br /><br /><b>That's a product of Joe Casey, the writer, who just stayed true to the comic book. He would come in, and he'd have conversations with you and ask, "What do you feel?" And he would take those notes and come back the next day and shirt off, he would find places for these notes. So he was fantastic. I encourage everyone to get the comic book. Chris Burnham, the graphic artist, is sensational. He is such a pro. His stuff is so captivating and unique. The comic book is a treat to have. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Are most of your scenes with Kim? </i><br /><br /><b>BG: Yeah, mine are mostly with Kim and with Reno Wilson, who played Carl on "Mike and Molly." And Tyler Ross, who's the other supporting star in this film. He's fun. That's really the core of it. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: This sounds like a really fun and intense movie. </i><br /><br /><b>BG: Yeah, you'll be along for a ride. Your jaw will be open most of the time. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Isn't it amazing how much the world of comic books has blown up in recent years? </i><br /><br /><b>BG: It's interesting, right? The whole superhero graphic-novel world is just exploding. And I was new to it. I wasn't a comic book guy. I didn't know much about that culture. And I'm just blown away at the popularity and how good these comic books are: the artwork, the storytelling. It's impressive. And we'll be seeing more of it. I don't think it stops here. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: "Westworld" sounds like it's going to be amazing! Tell me how the whole thing came about for you. </i><br /><br /><b>BB: I went in to audition for it. At the time I had just come off "Officer Downe," so I had this ginormous mustache, and I thought, "God, this is perfect." I mean, this really is. The character is a wanted outlaw. He thinks he runs the town -- and I emphasize "thinks." The character's name was originally Bulldog. And so I read for it, and a couple of weeks later, I get a call and they're like: "Hey, you booked the job. And not only is it yours, but they have changed the name of the character. They changed it to Walrus." </b><br /><b><br /></b><b>That mustache had a life of its own, I swear to God. I think that thing was booking me more jobs than just me. It dictated a lot. There have been a lot of conversations about that mustache. So, that's how it came about. I read for it, and it was one of those reads where you leave it and you're like: "Ah, that was terrible. That's just never going to happen." I've come to learn to not even remotely try to figure out if that was a good read or a bad read. You always want to feel good about coming out of something, but sometimes you don't. And then the ones that don't always go well can be the one. You never know. </b><br /><br /><table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; margin-right: 1em; text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-2sAFJWFw_gM/V4ef1dImyuI/AAAAAAAAFdg/hHNg5CPiMkUd1an_ubpt2hHWpbLmpolmwCLcB/s1600/Bruno%2BGunn%2B2%2Bby%2BByron%2BAshley%2BBryson.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="400" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-2sAFJWFw_gM/V4ef1dImyuI/AAAAAAAAFdg/hHNg5CPiMkUd1an_ubpt2hHWpbLmpolmwCLcB/s400/Bruno%2BGunn%2B2%2Bby%2BByron%2BAshley%2BBryson.jpg" width="266" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Bruno Gunn<br />(By Byron Ashley Bryson)</td></tr></tbody></table><i>CE: How would you describe "Westworld"? </i><br /><br /><b>BG: It's a straight-up Western meets sci-fi. It was my first period piece, since it's set back in time in the Wild West, and it was just mind-blowing, the authenticity of it all. That's really what impressed me the most was the authenticity of it all. Everything from your costumes to the sets to the people. It was just mind-blowing. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Tell me about Walrus. </i><br /><br /><b>BG: He's on the run. He's a wanted lawbreaker. And he feels that the town is his, and he gets put in his place. Which is awesome, because it's a great piece, and I'm super proud of it, and I'm incredibly excited for everyone to see it. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: How was the cast to work with? </i><br /><br /><b>BG: Every single person I came in contact with was fantastic. Everyone. I'm working with James Marsden in this. He and I have a scene together, and he was terrific. We were bouncing ideas off each other and saying: "OK, well, maybe you try this and I try that. Let's see what happens." That's what any actor really wants to do is get in there and just play around. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: He does seem like a nice guy, so I'm happy to hear that he really is. </i><br /><br /><b>BG: One hundred percent. He's always smiling. I'm like, "Dude, it's 6 o'clock in the morning." He's just smiling. People like that on set are good to have. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: With all the shows that viewers have to choose from nowadays, what sets "Westworld" apart, and why should we watch it? </i><br /><br /><b>BG: Great question. I feel like it is groundbreaking. Look, Westerns are hard to do. A good Western, that is. And then let alone throw in sci-fi. That's a heck of a cocktail, Western and sci-fi. So, I really think of it as groundbreaking television. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: One of the fan-submitted questions for this interview was "What was the hardest role that you've ever had to play?" </i><br /><br /><b>BG: It was Walrus from "Westworld." It's definitely Walrus. And that's because it was my first period piece. It's one thing to bring yourself to a character, and it's another thing to have to explore who this character is in a different time. Especially when your wardrobe is dictating how you walk, and the words you say are different. Just doing a period piece like that was fantastic. Every turn it was something new, like, "Would I do that in present day? How would I hold that?" So, all those things are important, and it was by far the hardest. So many different things were dictating the character: the time period, the sets, the boots, the costumes -- all of it. </b><br /><b><br /></b><b>The most physically challenging role would have to be Brutus (from "Hunger Games: Catching Fire"). That was a physical role. I spent three months wielding that spear and climbing rocks and jumping in 10-degree water. It was intense! That water was cold. It was November in Atlanta. So, physically that was the most demanding. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: What's next for you? </i><br /><br /><b>BG: There are a couple of projects on the horizon there. It's always a waiting game until things are finalized. But I'm excited. I'm in a film called "Craftique," and it takes you into the world of crafting. Believe it or not, it's a billion-dollar industry, and they have these huge conventions. The movie is a mockumentary, like "Best in Show." So, it's a comedy and, again, I'm so excited to be doing more comedy. It's something I love to do. It's challenging. And when do you get to see a big bald guy be funny? It's not like a common thing. I love it and I'm having fun with it. I can't give away anything about the movie, but let's just say I have special skills. </b><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-vwPDN6T15QE/V4egd8OJr7I/AAAAAAAAFdk/hQzmZI3fEsUj2WgTxYQKis2C0g0owBnPgCLcB/s1600/URhand4Ecuador.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-vwPDN6T15QE/V4egd8OJr7I/AAAAAAAAFdk/hQzmZI3fEsUj2WgTxYQKis2C0g0owBnPgCLcB/s320/URhand4Ecuador.jpg" width="240" /></a></div><i>CE: You are also involved with the #URhand4Ecuador campaign, which was started by fellow actor Augusto Aguilera. So far you've raised more than $20,000 for victims of the Ecuador earthquake and have gotten celebrity friends to join in, including Alyssa Milano, Nikki Reed, Sophia Bush, Nina Dobrev, Max Carver, Taylor Hicks, Michael Raymond-James, Lance Bass, Johnny Whitworth and Kendrick Sampson. (Go to <a href="http://gofundme.com/letsbuildhope">gofundme.com/letsbuildhope</a> to learn more about the campaign and how you can help.) </i><br /><br /><b>BG: I got involved with this because it was unimaginable, these unthinkable statistics I was hearing. The idea there was hardly any media coverage of this: 2,200 people dead; 26,000 people left homeless; scores of children who are now orphans. This was a no-brainer. This needs to have a voice. I was really happy to be able to help out and participate in that. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: I, too, did not realize the devastating statistics of the tragedy! I'm happy to do my part in getting the word out about this. </i><br /><br /><b>BG: It's just so disheartening that we are not on top of that, so I am, again, really grateful to have that opportunity to help them. You know, "Westworld" and "Officer Downe" will take care of themselves, but we've got to help spread the word about this. </b>Cindy Elavskyhttps://plus.google.com/106692805345133429179noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2089554610599512446.post-91613137582412321512016-06-23T11:16:00.000-04:002016-06-23T11:16:45.625-04:00Win an Autographed Copy of A Grave Prediction by Victoria Laurie<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-7Kw31NOiA30/V2v64SPLEnI/AAAAAAAAFdA/UYWj9RABNr8ROGIZF6HiV6MLepsEf3wagCLcB/s1600/51w839s4SVL._SX329_BO1%252C204%252C203%252C200_.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="400" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-7Kw31NOiA30/V2v64SPLEnI/AAAAAAAAFdA/UYWj9RABNr8ROGIZF6HiV6MLepsEf3wagCLcB/s400/51w839s4SVL._SX329_BO1%252C204%252C203%252C200_.jpg" width="265" /></a></div>Readers: It’s contest time! My favorite paranormal-mystery author, <b>Victoria Laurie</b>, has a new book coming out on July 26. It’s the 14th installment in the Psychic Eye Mysteries called <i><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Grave-Prediction-Psychic-Eye-Mystery-ebook/dp/B016JPTNIY" target="_blank">A Grave Prediction</a></i>. This go-round, Abby Cooper has a vision of four buried bodies and is in a race against time to prevent the future murders of these four people — however she has no idea who the potential victims are or when it will happen. <br /><br />To celebrate the book’s release, I’ll be giving away four autographed copies of “A Grave Prediction,” and there are four ways you can enter:<br /><br /><ul><li>Write to me at King Features Weekly Service, 628 Virginia Drive, Orlando, FL 32803</li><li>Email <a href="mailto:letters@cindyelavsky.com">letters@cindyelavsky.com</a></li><li>Follow and tweet me at <a href="http://twitter.com/celebrity_extra">twitter.com/celebrity_extra</a></li><li>Like and comment on my Facebook page <a href="http://fb.me/celebrityextra">fb.me/celebrityextra</a>.&nbsp;</li></ul>Increase your chances and enter all four ways! But hurry — <b><span style="color: red;">the contest ends JULY 24</span></b>.<br /><br /><br /><b>Praise for the <i>New York Times</i> Bestselling Psychic Eye Mysteries </b><br /><i>“If you like to mix a bit of witty banter with suspense and a touch of mysticism, this series is for you.”—</i>Examiner.com<br /><i><br /></i><i>“It’s a nail-biter for sure, with twists and turns all along the way.”—</i>Kings River Life Magazine <br /><i><br /></i><i>“Entertaining...Abby uses her psychic powers in ways that often have humorous results. Fans of hard-edged cozies will be rewarded.”—</i>Publishers WeeklyCindy Elavskyhttps://plus.google.com/106692805345133429179noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2089554610599512446.post-55778630717490772332016-06-10T16:07:00.004-04:002016-06-10T16:07:58.166-04:00Interview: Yvonne Zima Takes on Two Roles in Lifetime's Killing Mommy<table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; margin-right: 1em; text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-d_Thpq4HI3I/V1sd3nzec7I/AAAAAAAAFcs/v9GX311R2rYntn4mEjRlMXfzTLQ0O81DgCLcB/s1600/Yvonne%2BZima%2B1%2Bby%2BDanika%2BSingfield.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="400" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-d_Thpq4HI3I/V1sd3nzec7I/AAAAAAAAFcs/v9GX311R2rYntn4mEjRlMXfzTLQ0O81DgCLcB/s400/Yvonne%2BZima%2B1%2Bby%2BDanika%2BSingfield.jpg" width="266" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Yvonne Zima <br />photo by Danika Singfield</td></tr></tbody></table>You might know <b>Yvonne Zima</b> for playing Mark Greene’s daughter, Rachel, on “ER.” From 2009-12, she played Daisy Carter Romalotti on “The Young and the Restless.” She’s also been in numerous blockbuster feature films, like “Heat,” “The Long Kiss Goodnight,” “Bed of Roses,” and “Iron Man 3,” to name a few. Next up for this talented actress: playing twin sisters Deb and Juliana Hansen in the Lifetime original movie “Killing Mommy,” which premieres June 11 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. The story goes: When their mother announces her plans to remarry and sell the family estate, twin sisters Juliana and Deb have different reactions to the news. Juliana feels her mother will continue to support her, while Deb begins to threaten her mother’s happiness to the point of threatening her life. <br /><br /><i>Celebrity Extra: What did you think when you first heard you’d get to play twins? </i><br /><br /><b>Yvonne Zima: I haven’t seen the finished product yet, but I’ve seen pieces of it, and the parts I saw of the twins together, the special effects are pretty cool. And it’s cool to watch, but it’s also weird for me because I don’t like watching myself, so I definitely don’t like watching two of myself. </b><br /><b><br /></b><b>But I think it’s a really wonderful script. It was written by Trent Haaga. He gave us a really fun script, but I think he took the typical Lifetime movie to the next level, and I can’t wait to see just how fun it will be to watch. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: I know you’ve previously worked on another Lifetime movie; what made you decide to be a part of this one? </i><br /><br /><b>YZ: The person behind all these films is Peter David. He has made, I think, at least 200 of these movies. He’s French-Canadian. He smokes. He swears. He’s a real person. So working with him again was a big factor. He’s elegant and an old-school producer. Also it’s nice to get to work with the same people. It’s the same crew. I felt like I was coming home to these people, who are just wonderful at their jobs. They’re a little family, which is really nice. </b><br /><b><br /></b><b>And from the first time around (in “The Girl He Met Online”) to this one (“Killing Mommy”), this one appeared darker. I don’t think I would have done it if they were similar or the same kind of film. It’s so different. So much more fun. And it’s challenging playing two people. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: How did you prepare for the difficulty of playing two different characters, making them separate from each other, each with her own personality? </i><br /><br /><b>YZ: The preparation was trying to keep these two people separate and to find characters that are quite opposite. You have Juliana, who is a materialistic brat. Then you have Deb, who is kind of a barfly and completely in pain. She’s emotionally stunted and not really able to deal with her pain. She drinks and she smokes and she gets into fights. For those kinds of people, it’s not like they want to do that, it’s just that they are in pain a lot of the time and it’s an outlet. </b><br /><b><br /></b><b>Keeping those two people separate was the main challenge because you don’t want to watch a movie where you have twins and they are doing the same stuff and they seem the same. A lot of it helped with the look of the character to keep them separate. And just preparing, obviously, reading the script several times, and knowing it backward and forward. But really, knowing the inner life of these two separate characters and their separate relationships with their mother, which I think every family has. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: You get to work with your sister in this movie too. </i><br /><br /><b>YZ: Yes, Juliana has a best friend — played by my sister, Vanessa Zima — who’s richer than her, and she’s always trying to keep up with the Joneses. She always trying to buy the nicer purse — and that might be a motive for the plot to thicken. That was amazing, because Vanessa and I didn’t have to work on a relationship. We didn’t have to act when we were together. We are best friends. Onscreen, that will be a genuine interaction. Vanessa did a fabulous job. She’s really fun to watch in this. I’m excited to see it to watch her. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Your other sister, Madeline, is also an actress. I loved her as Mia in “Californication” and how she put Hank Moody in his place. </i><br /><br /><b>YZ: It’s delightful to watch her as this wicked character that you love to hate. You want to see someone like Hank Moody get slightly tortured because he’s flawed. He’s flawed and you’re like: “You know what? Someone should screw that guy over. Not just one but all of the ladies out there.” </b><br /><br /><i>CE: We need to get all three of you sisters together on a project soon. </i><br /><br /><b>YZ: We should at least play the Brontë sisters. There were so many of them, or at least enough that we can each play a sister. </b>Cindy Elavskyhttps://plus.google.com/106692805345133429179noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2089554610599512446.post-22783713110771502792016-06-07T11:17:00.000-04:002016-06-07T11:17:28.984-04:00Interview: Michael Emerson on the Final Days of Person of Interest<table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; margin-right: 1em; text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-VzaYfGlt_gc/V1bj751NJ_I/AAAAAAAAFcI/ZyKA8yOM7wQNiTVy5HwTZwQA1X6uKUvfwCLcB/s1600/MichaelEmersonFinch.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="400" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-VzaYfGlt_gc/V1bj751NJ_I/AAAAAAAAFcI/ZyKA8yOM7wQNiTVy5HwTZwQA1X6uKUvfwCLcB/s400/MichaelEmersonFinch.jpg" width="280" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Michael Emerson as Harold Finch<br />(photo courtesy CBS)</td></tr></tbody></table>“Person of Interest” has been a CBS mainstay for five years. Starring Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson, this sci-fi crime drama wraps up its fifth and final season June 21. While I’m sure the ending won’t disappoint, all roads leading to the series finale are paved with action and intrigue. Will the Samaritan (the rival AI to Reese and Finch) destroy The Machine (Finch’s AI) and keep its stranglehold on the world? I spoke with series star <b>Michael Emerson </b>recently — who previous to this series spent five years on an island as Ben Linus on the cult phenomenon “Lost” — and he told me all about filming the exciting, and brutal, final season. <br /><br /><i>Celebrity Extra: Going into it, you knew this would be the last season of the show. Was your time with everyone bittersweet? How was that whole filming experience? </i><br /><br /><b>Michael Emerson: The days were just full to the brim with impossibly hard work. And always at the back of our minds we knew: “Hey, this is it. This the end.” But there was no way to enjoy the moment or celebrate it in any way because we had budget restrictions, and they were trying to shoot way more than can be humanly done in eight days. </b><br /><b><br /></b><b>So there we were the last night, and your dream would be, “Well, we’ll wrap at midnight, and there’ll be champagne.” But when it goes until 4 in the morning, and everybody is frozen and exhausted, and then they say, “Well, that’s a wrap!” The producers made a couple of statements, but no one had it in them to hang around and do anything. We just left it on the camera. I mean, we were aware it was drawing to a close, but what’s to be done about that? People exchanged gifts and mementos and things like that over the course of those final 10 days. But the work was brutal. </b><br /><b><br /></b><i>CE: Without giving too much away, how do you think the fans will react to the ending? </i><br /><br /><b>ME: I think that the ending is really satisfying. And you do worry about that. You think, “Oh God, how are we going to wrap this thing up?” But they, I mean, you think: “Well, what can they do? Samaritan has taken over the world.” I mean, we’re going to try to find a way for The Machine to do battle with it, but as you can see from the episodes that have already aired, it’s not looking that good. So, what cards have we left to play? It seems like a losing battle now. </b><br /><b><br /></b><b>And I couldn’t figure out, but it ended in a way that I wasn’t expecting. It’s not an illogical ending, but it’s great and surprised me. I kept thinking as we shot the final 13 that I would begin to see the end coming, that I would begin to see how things were lining up. I would begin to think, “Oh, this is how it is going to happen.” I did not know how it was going to happen until the final two episodes. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: So you’re happy with the ending, and you think viewers will be too? </i><br /><br /><b>ME: When I realized what we were doing, I thought: “We’re going to do that? OK.” To me it’s highly dramatic. I had a fairly important role in the finale. And I can’t think of a better way, but it also leaves a slight sliver of daylight in it where you could one day revisit this narrative. I don’t know what form that would take. I don’t think anyone currently working on this show has any plans to reprieve it or extend it or anything like that, but you never know. Ten years from now, somebody might say they’re going to do a miniseries reboot of “Lost” or something, and would I be interested? And then I’d have to think about that. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: What can viewers expect in the next few episodes, before we gear up for the big ending? </i><br /><br /><b>ME: You’re going to see in the next few episodes that we kind of go back to our problem-of-the-week format, the stand-alone-episode stuff. But the problem with the warring superintelligence (The Machine versus Samaritan) is that it’s always percolating in the background. All of our numbers now have something to do with Samaritan’s domination of the world. And the solution to that problem is only going to gel very slowly and very late. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: In its five years of production, “Person of Interest” attracted so many wonderful guest and recurring stars. What are moments that and who are some actors who stick out in your mind most as you look back on your time on the series? </i><br /><br /><b>ME: I got to work with so many great stage actors because the show shoots in New York. I remember having great scenes with Laila Robins and Brian Murray and all kinds of veteran stage players who have wonderful chops. I had a big episode with Blair Brown. She’s wonderful. There’s Saul Rubinek, who played Arthur, Mr. Finch’s friend from school who invented Samaritan. We had a couple of wonderful episodes together. And then just all these tons and tons of super-gifted young people playing warriors and hackers and misfits and assassins and all the — my God, how many characters have we had over the years? It’s so great. </b><br /><br /><table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; margin-right: 1em; text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-_6grpFgcUOQ/V1bkehe11SI/AAAAAAAAFcQ/_CeHujMItXsEtrpHjQwOvEbvZ-24Ez6sgCLcB/s1600/MEmerson_HiRes_01.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="400" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-_6grpFgcUOQ/V1bkehe11SI/AAAAAAAAFcQ/_CeHujMItXsEtrpHjQwOvEbvZ-24Ez6sgCLcB/s400/MEmerson_HiRes_01.jpg" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Michael Emerson<br />(photo by Jeane-Claude)</td></tr></tbody></table><i>CE: What is life normally like on the set? </i><br /><br /><b>ME: When people say, “I’d love to come to the set of your show,” I always discourage them, because the day-to-day work — although everybody is good-natured and there is some wisecracking and stuff — but we’re a very serious outfit. Every day we have more work than can humanly be accomplished on that day, and somehow we have to do it. I certainly am not a person who is a practical joker on the set or anything like that. It’s a really professional set. Everybody is quite serious, because they know how much they have to do and they have little time to do it. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: You finished shooting this past December. As the end of the series approaches, have you been reunited with any of the cast, whether for press reasons or just personal? </i><br /><br /><b>ME: We really haven’t seen each other. I see Amy Acker because she’s still in New York. And some people from the production team, we get together. But everybody has scattered to the four corners. Kevin (Chapman) went back to Boston, and Jim went to Washington state, and Taraji (Henson) went back to Texas and then to L.A. She was in town last week, but she came and went before I could get together with her. We haven’t done any press together. There’s been, actually, very little press. I think because CBS set the dates of the broadcasting so late that it was a little hard to come up with the huge press push for it. And they are going to burn these episodes off fast, airing two and three episodes a week. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: That’s good for us fans, because we get to binge on it. </i><br /><br /><b>ME: Yeah, it’s like CBS is feeding a binge viewing of the show. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Tell me about working with Jim Caviezel. You two are so different, yet your differences brought this wonderful onscreen chemistry. </i><br /><br /><b>ME: It’s been good, and we made a good odd couple, I think, because in real life we are an odd couple. He and I could not be more different fellows or more different kinds of actors. The way he goes about it and the way I go about it are opposites, but we arrive at something that where the differences between us are palpable while serving the narrative of the show. We lucked out. You can’t plan to have good chemistry among your actors, but we actually do. It was a good, odd chemistry. And we didn’t tinker with it much. We really never talked about it. We just came in and did our best every day, and it seemed to take care of itself. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Is there anything more you want to tell me about the ending? </i><br /><br /><b>ME: The ending is cool, and I have so many thoughts about it and so much to say about it, but it’s an epic spoiler, so I shouldn’t really say it. And even saying it now, it makes it sound like, “Oh, it’s the greatest ending in the world.” And I don’t want to oversell it either. It’s an ending. It’s an ending, and I thought it was a good one. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: You’ve acted with your wife, Carrie Preston (of “True Blood,” “The Good Wife” and “My Best Friend’s Wedding”), a few times, including multiple episodes of “Person of Interest,” where she played your fiancee. What is it like to work with her? </i><br /><br /><b>ME: It’s fun, but it also gives me the giggles. It’s kind of hard to play scenes with her because it just sounds goofy saying made-up words to your spouse. There’s also because we’re in the same profession, we tease each other about our work at home, so it’s a little hard to turn off the teasing. It’s extra hard because when you’re working with your spouse, you have to tune out the spouseness of her. You have to forget that you woke up in the same bed with her this morning. She has to be the character that she’s playing. That’s like a two-tiered acting problem. But we manage all right. And we even got our dog on the show, so that was fun. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: You landed on one hit show “Lost” for five years, then another one, “Person of Interest,” for another five. Any chance you want to go for the trifecta and star in another successful network series? </i><br /><br /><b>ME: The one thing I cannot contemplate is going right back onto a network series. It seems like hell. That’s too much. I don’t know how people do it when they’re on “Law and Order” for 15 years or something. My God. No, I want to mix it up a little bit and knock around a little and recharge my battery and do some other kinds of things. Maybe do a play somewhere or get some guest spots. Play some odd, quirky character that I haven’t been able to do before. Do something historical or odd. I don’t know what it’ll be exactly. And it’s nice to have enough time to maybe do an audiobook or some voiceover work of some sort. I’ll just see what comes my way. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: I was going to ask you about audiobooks. I saw quite a few on your credits, and I thought that must be a lot of fun but also a lot of hard work. </i><br /><br /><b>ME: I love audiobooks. I listen to them all the time. And I’ve done a few of them in my day. I seem to do an all right job with it. I’ll have to wait and see if any of that work is out there and if it presents itself. It’s hard work, audiobooks. It’s not for everyone. And being a good actor doesn’t necessarily guarantee success at audiobooks. It’s like a different kind of beast. And it needs a little bit of character work, but never too much. It’s funny and the pacing can be tricky. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: And you have to voice ALL the characters in the book, so that can be daunting. </i><br /><br /><b>ME: What do you do when you get to a scene where there are eight people at a table talking? And they all have direct quotes. And you have to know, well how far do I go with this? How far do I go with an old woman? How far do I go with children? Do I have to imitate the dog? It’s tricky because everything has to be managed so the story can be told, but the characterizations should be light. A really light touch. Just a sort of a suggestion. Just to help the listeners know who’s talking. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: With all the platforms we now have for original content — Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, network TV, cable — it must be exciting for you to think about all the choices that are out there for actors. Especially if you are cast in a summer series on one network, a winter series on another, etc., you could, as you said earlier, really mix it up with all the characters you get to play, and with a shorter season. </i><br /><br /><b>ME: I agree. That’s more attractive to me. I would be happy to do a series that shot only 10 episodes a year. Then you would have seven or eight months to do other things, whatever you please. You could conceivably be on two different television shows, if you worked out the scheduling right. </b><br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-A3XtHpsgPqc/V1blJZjtqFI/AAAAAAAAFcY/x9CnU0Tl8VwoAoEWoXGaEmU8LMhORbWAQCLcB/s1600/Michael%2BEmerson%2Bas%2BBen.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="240" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-A3XtHpsgPqc/V1blJZjtqFI/AAAAAAAAFcY/x9CnU0Tl8VwoAoEWoXGaEmU8LMhORbWAQCLcB/s400/Michael%2BEmerson%2Bas%2BBen.jpg" width="400" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Michael Emerson as Ben Linus on <i>Lost</i><br />(photo courtesy ABC)</td></tr></tbody></table><i>CE: It’s so good to get the chance to interview you, because literally just last night I finally finished watching “Lost” for the first time, after binge watching it all year. </i><br /><br /><b>ME: Well, still, you watched in a good way. Although I have to say, you’ll never get those hours back (laughs). No, it’s a good show. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Do you come across a lot of people who were a little late to the island party, like I was? And those who complain about the ending? </i><br /><br /><b>ME: Every day 20 people stop me on the street and go: “Hey man, you were on ‘Lost,’ right? Ah, I really liked that show, but what the hell was that ending?” Everybody wants you to give them an easy answer. And I always say, “If you have 10 minutes I can explain to you why that is a great ending.” But they never have 10 minutes. They don’t want to hear it. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: I didn’t have any trouble understanding the ending, but it might be because I got to watch the episodes back-to-back-to-back and not wait a whole week in between to forget the continuity of things. </i><br /><br /><b>ME: That’s right. That’s important. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: I think those of us who watched it that way are the ones who liked the ending. I can’t believe so many people were hollering about it. I would look up stuff online, and people were so angry! </i><br /><br /><b>ME: Yep, those people are in the majority, and that majority includes people who were writers on the show. It makes my heart ache when I see Damon (Lindelof, “Lost” co-creator, co-showrunner and co-head writer) apologizing for the ending not being better. I don’t know how it could have been better. Every show kind of dictates its own ending. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: I know a lot of actors don’t really like to discuss previous work all the time because they have moved on, and for them, that show is in the past. </i><br /><br /><b>ME: Well, with “Lost,” as we were saying, plenty of people are just now discovering it. For a lot of people, it’s current. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: So it doesn’t bother you to keep getting asked “Lost” questions 10 years later? </i><br /><br /><b>ME: Oh, no. It was a wonderful show and a show I am proud of, and it’s always thought-provoking and fun. I’ll never stop talking about “Lost.” It was good. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: I remember reading an interview where your wife (Carrie Preston) would get freaked out by your character, Ben Linus, and tell you, “You’d better never look at me that way,” and so on. Were there times when you’d do or say something as Ben, and you’d creep yourself out? </i><br /><br /><b>ME: Sometimes I’d watch the show when it was in broadcast and I’d go: “Well, sh*t. That’s really bad. He’s a really bad person.” But on the day you’re filming it, you’re not thinking of what it looks like or how it comes across, you’re just playing your character’s strategies. And you don’t really have a sense of what it looks like. I never looked through the lens. I never see daylight. So, it’s always a big surprise when I watch the broadcast of the episode. That’s the first time I actually see the stuff. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: You mentioned in a previous column the possibility of a “Lost” reboot, which doesn’t seem all that inconceivable when you consider the success of the recent reboot of “The X-Files,” which I think a lot of us weren’t expecting to happen. </i><br /><br /><b>ME: But that is also educational and cautionary. I know some people were not that excited about the recent “X-Files” miniseries. And some people might have thought it might have been better had they not chosen to do it, but you go for it. If it’s a writing team or a production team that you feel confident with, then it might be fun no matter what. </b>Cindy Elavskyhttps://plus.google.com/106692805345133429179noreply@blogger.com1tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2089554610599512446.post-24317054283628969372016-06-01T11:48:00.000-04:002016-06-01T11:48:16.907-04:00Interview: Rebecca Wisocky on Devious Maids' Juicy Season 4<table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; margin-right: 1em; text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Q-xtJCrXGf0/V08DAJmp3DI/AAAAAAAAFbw/GQUMqLKGqNsJAZhYKivAycOdLCJa7FZPACLcB/s1600/Rebecca%2BWisocky%2B1%2B-%2BGlen%2BCampbell.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="400" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Q-xtJCrXGf0/V08DAJmp3DI/AAAAAAAAFbw/GQUMqLKGqNsJAZhYKivAycOdLCJa7FZPACLcB/s400/Rebecca%2BWisocky%2B1%2B-%2BGlen%2BCampbell.jpg" width="266" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Rebecca Wisocky<br />(photo by Glen Campbell)</td></tr></tbody></table>When we last saw the ladies (and gents) of “Devious Maids” this past summer on Lifetime television, it was explosive. Sebastien blew up the Powells’ house — accidentally taking out himself and Michael in the process — leaving the fates of several of our favorite characters up in the air, so to speak. I recently chatted with the always delightful and insightful <b>Rebecca Wisocky</b> (who plays Evelyn Powell) about this upcoming 10-episode fourth season of “Devious Maids,” which premieres June 6 at 9/8c, and she and the rest of the cast are “pretty excited” for fans to see what they have in store. <br /><br /><i>Celebrity Extra: Last we saw Evelyn Powell, she was flying through the air from the explosion of her house. </i><br /><br /><b>Rebecca Wisocky: Yes, and I did my own stunt, thank you very much (laughs). That was a fun night. That’s the kind of thing we all geeked out on. The house, Powell Mansion, literally ends — it exploded. And I think it’s a great metaphor for what happens to Evelyn. The world she is used to is gone; you’ll watch her go on a very surprising and new journey this season. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Jog my memory for me: Adrian’s fate is up in the air — literally and figuratively, yes? </i><br /><br /><b>RW: Yes, Adrian went back into the house after I told him in no uncertain terms that I wanted a divorce. And then all of this happened with Sebastien. So he goes back in to get a prized family portrait of Adrian, Evelyn and Barrett. And his fate remains unknown. Dun, dun, dun. I’ll tell you this, whether he’s dead or whether he’s alive, Adrian Powell looms large in season four. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: For my own sake, I have to believe that Adrian is still alive. </i><br /><br /><b>RW: Well, you’ll find out in the very beginning of the season. And it’s worth tuning in for, for sure. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Another surprise from the end of last season, this one being an awesome surprise, was the reappearance of Peri at Spence’s bedside. </i><br /><br /><b>RW: I know. I love Peri. I love Mariana (Klaveno, who plays Peri) so much. We’ve become good friends. I can’t get enough of her. It’s a shame, though, that Evelyn and Peri never cross paths. Although I don’t know if that much evil can exist in the same room. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: I know you are saying “evil” in the context of a joke, but one of the things I really love about Evelyn is that she isn’t merely evil. In these past few seasons, we’ve really seen her grow. She’s complicated and vulnerable, and she has a reason for her sharp tongue, but she’s not your two-dimensional “evil” character. </i><br /><br /><b>RW: She will always have that edge and that defense and that wit. But I do feel that not only has she filled in and become more dimensional — so thank you for saying that — but she’s actually downright adorable in some ways now. Because she’s not afraid of being foolish. Well, she doesn’t necessarily realize she’s being foolish, but she’s softened. I think the journey that you saw last year with (Evelyn trying to adopt) Dion, that’s who she really is. That’s who she wants to be. She’s just had to defend herself from the onslaught of her marriage and the loss of her child and everything else. But she’s pretty lovable. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Exactly. And we really saw that this past season, as you said, with Dion. I loved seeing that side of her. </i><br /><br /><b>RW: And, as is often the way with Evelyn Powell, she often gets it wrong. But her intentions are good. And so she’ll find new ways to muck it all up this year, I’m sure. But the hair will be down, so to speak. Yeah, she has every privilege afforded to her, and she still manages to be tortured and miserable. But she’s trying. She’s just blind to the obvious in many ways. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: It’s been such a delight to watch Evelyn grow and develop over these past three years. How much fun is she to portray? </i><br /><br /><b>RW: I’ve enjoyed playing this character immensely, and I’ve felt so lucky to have a real family develop with this cast and with this crew. I couldn’t be happier. I could play this character for years. And I hope we get the opportunity. </b><br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-RJfq67d6-hs/V08DMktpPsI/AAAAAAAAFb0/u79QfjD8OvQ44v3ZCgKKsA-ghQ6pGyXBgCLcB/s1600/Rebecca%2BWisocky%2B3%2B-%2BDanny%2BFeld.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="266" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-RJfq67d6-hs/V08DMktpPsI/AAAAAAAAFb0/u79QfjD8OvQ44v3ZCgKKsA-ghQ6pGyXBgCLcB/s400/Rebecca%2BWisocky%2B3%2B-%2BDanny%2BFeld.jpg" width="400" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Rebecca as "Evelyn Powell"<br />(photo by Danny Feld)</td></tr></tbody></table><i>DD: Me too! Tell me about how Evelyn develops in the fourth season. </i><br /><br /><b>RW: You will definitely see a new side of Evelyn. There will be some struggles of identity, and she will go on a journey this year that you wouldn’t have expected. The very things that define her will be taken away. Evelyn is going to get a little taste of — you know how we explore the upstairs-downstairs motif? Well Evelyn is going to get a little taste of downstairs this year. </b><br /><br /><b>And she’ll develop a friendship with Marisol. You’ll see a lot more of that this year, which is delightful. I love working with Ana (Ortiz) so much. And I think people really enjoy Evelyn and Marisol together. And there will be a new man for Evelyn before the end of the season. I think the overarching theme continues to be that Evelyn has and gets precisely what she wants, and it still manages to make her miserable. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: I’m glad you mentioned Evelyn and Marisol, because I love watching them together. </i><br /><br /><b>RW: You actually feel a real relationship and friendship develop between Marisol and Evelyn. They become compatible in ways that make perfect sense that I think people will find enjoyable to watch. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Please, I just can’t imagine a world without Adrian, especially Adrian with Evelyn. Tell me that he survives the explosion. </i><br /><br /><b>RW: I’ll just say, dead or alive, once again, he looms large. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: You just finished up shooting for this season. Tell me what this year’s shoot was like. </i><br /><br /><b>RW: It’s a little bit shorter this year — we have 10 episodes instead of 13. But we’re escaping the state of Georgia before the year is rained out. We’re very happy about that. But it’s been wonderful. Most of the whole of our crew has returned — and I’m not just saying something pat when I say that they’ve become family, but we’re all very tight. And that’s lovely. It’s really wonderful to enjoy your job so much and to be surrounded by people who are this talented and this committed. It’s a fantastic place to work. And it just keeps getting better — this year in particular. We’re having a blast. Couldn’t be better. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Will we see more random, ridiculous moments for Evelyn, like last year when she found a body part in her garden? </i><br /><br /><b>RW: Evelyn continues to get herself in completely ridiculous situations. I won’t tell you why or how, but Evelyn ends up in jail at a certain point. There is lots of ridiculousness happening. And the cliffhanger this year will knock your socks off, for sure. It’s our most shocking. It’s not as explosive as last year’s, but it is definitely our most shocking. I wish I could say more, because there are so many more juicy things that happen. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: I was thrilled a few months back to see you guest-starring on an episode of “The X-Files.” </i><br /><br /><b>RW: How much fun was that? I was so excited to be asked to do that. I was so, so, so excited. They are legends and, yeah, I was thrilled. I was happy that people responded well to it. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: I know I would probably fangirl out a bit, if even for a moment, on that iconic set. Did you have a little moment of awe? </i><br /><br /><b>RW: Oh, I had a little fangirl moment. I definitely asked for a selfie. How could you not? I mean, that show is iconic. That show changed everything. I was thrilled to have a tiny part in that. And they were both lovely and gracious. </b><br /><br /><b>I think Gillian (Anderson) ended up tweeting about this, but when my character threw that apple at the cat — and in my defense, the window was very, very small, and there was a camera right there in between Gillian and David (Duchovny) — I really nailed Gillian in the chest with that apple once. But to her credit, she dissolved into a pile of giggles on the floor. Because it was a ridiculous situation. But that was a lot of fun. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: The character you played was just so tortured — I really felt for her. </i><br /><br /><b>RW: I would imagine you certainly would quite literally lose your mind at the loss of a child in that way. But then also to be conspired against to the degree where you are in such a heightened place of grief, and you’re told by everyone around you that you are crazy and are going to be locked up for the rest of your life. She’s a shattered woman. And very different from Evelyn Powell. To get any chance to play a role that is painting with a different palette than Evelyn Powell’s, I’ll do it. It adds to all the fun. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: I read that you’re also going to guest-star in a series called “Graves.” What can you tell me about that? </i><br /><br /><b>RW: I think it’s going to air on Epix in the fall. I’m not sure exactly when. I had a great time. It’s an incredible script, and they got an amazing cast together. I look forward to watching the show. I’m only in one episode — episode six. I think it’s a 10-episode season. I had a great time. I mean, it’s Nick Nolte! Nick Nolte plays the former president of the United States (named Richard Graves) and is working out a lot of demons. His wife (played by Sela Ward) is contemplating getting involved in politics and having a life of her own. And they have children who have suffered the consequences of having been in the public eye. The writing is incredibly sharp and funny. I think people will really love that show. Again, I have a really small part in it — I’m in one episode — but I was so happy to go play with them. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: What else do you have going on? </i><br /><br /><b>RW: I don’t know if it’s still in the theaters (it premiered April 1), but people should go see “Hello, My Name Is Doris.” It stars Sally Field. Again, I play a small part in that, but I was so excited to get to play with those people. </b>Cindy Elavskyhttps://plus.google.com/106692805345133429179noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2089554610599512446.post-78777093978328819712016-05-24T14:17:00.000-04:002016-05-24T14:18:08.436-04:00Eugene Kim of Showtime's Dice on Working with an Icon, and the Art of the Indie<table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; margin-right: 1em; text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-ElpwcnRCqkw/V0SaNJgqR-I/AAAAAAAAFbY/Ixw7rNkX9PU3oyoNzkSAIatxvvg1AgsbgCLcB/s1600/EK_HighRez.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="320" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-ElpwcnRCqkw/V0SaNJgqR-I/AAAAAAAAFbY/Ixw7rNkX9PU3oyoNzkSAIatxvvg1AgsbgCLcB/s320/EK_HighRez.jpg" width="213" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Eugene Kim / Photo by Teren Oddo</td></tr></tbody></table><b>Eugene Kim</b> isn’t a household name — yet. He’s a stand-up comedian who got his big-screen break in an indie film called “Sake-Bomb,” which took the film-festival circuit by storm. He’s also got a film coming out soon called “Car Dogs,” which is an ensemble piece co-starring the likes of George Lopez, Nia Vardalos, Josh Hopkins and Octavia Spencer, to name just a few. But first, let’s talk about Andrew Dice Clay. Eugene’s guest-starring role on Showtime’s “Dice” has everyone talking. I spoke with him about it recently, and he gave me the scoop on working with the legendary showman. <br /><br /><i>Celebrity Extra: What were your thoughts about the project when you decided to audition for “Dice”? </i><br /><br /><b>Eugene Kim: I got a call from my agent, the same day of the audition, at 10 in the morning, and my agent said: “Hey, you have an audition today at 2. It’s for Andrew Dice Clay’s new show.” And I love Andrew Dice Clay. As a person who has done stand-up, I can tell you that he’s one of those iconic comedians that you look up to and hope to meet. I had seen him at The Comedy Store, and he just brings this power when he walks into a room; he just has that star quality, that charisma. </b><br /><b><br /></b><b>So when they told me the audition was for his show, I was immediately excited and terrified at the same time, just because I had only so much time to prepare for this audition. At that point, you just have to be as on as possible in every moment. They wanted somebody that could work with someone as big as Dice. So, I just worked on the passion of the character of David, who marries into Dice’s family. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Tell me about David. </i><br /><br /><b>EK: David is a gay man who gets married to the brother of Dice’s girlfriend (played by Natasha Leggero). It’s the first episode — it actually was supposed to be the fourth episode, but they made it the first one. It makes sense because it establishes what the show’s about, which is the misunderstanding of the character of the Dice Man versus Andrew Dice Clay. And my character is somebody who hates him in the beginning of the episode because of his stand-up act. </b><br /><b><br /></b><b>Andrew has gotten a lot of flak because of his act. People don’t realize that’s actually not who he is; it’s a character. Once you realize that you actually see how brilliant Andrew is as an artist. It’s almost Kaufman-esque, you know, because he is so committed to this character. But you don’t realize he’s actually a loyal friend, a loving father and a sensitive soul who’s got a lot of depth. </b><br /><b><br /></b><b>And so my character goes through an arc from hating him to loving him. And it kind of clears up any misunderstanding people might have about him as a misogynist or a homophobe. Because Andrew himself in real life is none of that. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: What are some other misconceptions people have about Andrew, things they would be surprised to learn about him? </i><br /><br /><b>EK: First and foremost, when it comes to the Dice Man, it’s just a character. In a way it’s almost a compliment, because if you can convince somebody that you are this character, then you are doing a pretty damn good job. </b><br /><b><br /></b><b>And as an actor, he’s extremely nurturing. All of our scenes, he was just so available and so nurturing. That is something that I appreciate as an artist, because you want to feel safe in your environment. And somebody who is a legend like Andrew could have easily been a jerk, but he was a really great person to work with. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Tell me about “Car Dogs.” </i><br /><br /><b>EK: It’s an indie film that we filmed a couple of years ago in Scottsdale, Arizona, at an abandoned car dealership. The film happens over the course of one day. The main character, Mark Chamberlain — who is played by Patrick Adams, who is in “Suits” — has a quota of 35 cars to sell by the end of the day. And he needs us, his car salesmen, to meet that quota. He’s the sales manager, and his father, Malcolm, is the owner. The question is will he do whatever it takes to make that happen, as far as ethics go. </b><br /><b><br /></b><b>It was a fun project to film. It felt like camp. We were out there for a month in dry, dry Arizona, where I used a lot of Visine because I had no idea how dry it would be out there. I worked with George Lopez and Cory Hardrict and all these stellar actors. It was just so much fun. It’s been going around the festival circuits; it’s making the rounds. Hopefully we’ll get a release sometime in the next year. This whole business is a waiting game. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: That’s true, because you filmed it a few years ago, yet it’s just now making its tour. </i><br /><br /><b>EK: I know. And sometimes you do a project like a project I did three years ago. It was my first lead in a film, and it went to South by Southwest (SXSW), and it was accepted on the rough cut. It was the fastest turnover. They had a month or two to do the editing and the sound correcting because they had to get it ready for SXSW. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Are you talking about your debut film, “Sake-Bomb”? </i><br /><br /><b>EK: Yeah. I’m very proud of it. It was definitely a challenging film to film, but it was something I will never forget, especially for it being the first real big film that I did. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: In your bio it says that you studied child psychology at Pepperdine. I would think that would be very helpful to you as an actor in dissecting the characters that you portray. </i><br /><br /><b>EK: You’re absolutely right. I basically put each of my characters through a therapy session. I ask a lot of questions to get down to the core of who a person is. For instance, in “Sake-Bomb,” I play a jerk. I play a really horrible human being. But as an actor, I have to be extremely nonjudgmental and not play him as a jerk or a horrible human being. I have to play him as a person who is hurting. Why is he a jerk? Where is that coming from? And that brings you a lot more depth than just playing the result of a jerk. My studying psychology took things to that. I definitely still use it. </b><br /><b><br /></b><b>I’d still like to work with kids in the future. I used to work in special education in high school, and that was the catalyst of why I wanted to study psychology. I still think that’s something that I will do in the future, but I’ll be doing it from a different place. I’ll be doing it in a different way. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: What else do you have in the works? </i><br /><br /><b>EK: A lot of things are pending that I probably can’t talk about. But I did an audiobook. It’s a novel by Ryan Graudin called “The Walled City.” It’s a beautiful book. I never thought I’d do an audiobook, but my voiceover agent said I would be right for it, so I auditioned for it. It’s extremely challenging. It was one of the most amazing experiences, because when you do an audiobook, you have to bring life to all of the characters in the book. There were 10 or 12 different characters I had to play. That was something I was really proud of. You can find that on iTunes right now. </b>Cindy Elavskyhttps://plus.google.com/106692805345133429179noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2089554610599512446.post-23535020067220138162016-03-23T12:20:00.002-04:002016-03-23T12:20:37.299-04:00Interview — Scandal's Joe Morton: "Rowan Has No Boundaries"<table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; margin-right: 1em; text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-UmKCF0IjCHA/VvLB49g1BpI/AAAAAAAAFYI/7QyQCK8rOF8lNHFNo1Tl8si5L7hVD_NQw/s1600/Joe%2BMorton%2B3%2B-%2BBobby%2BQuillard.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="400" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-UmKCF0IjCHA/VvLB49g1BpI/AAAAAAAAFYI/7QyQCK8rOF8lNHFNo1Tl8si5L7hVD_NQw/s400/Joe%2BMorton%2B3%2B-%2BBobby%2BQuillard.JPG" width="266" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Joe Morton<br />(photo by Bobby Quillard)</td></tr></tbody></table>If you watch “Scandal,” then you know that Rowan/Eli Pope strikes fear in the heart of everyone who crosses him — and even if they don’t cross him, but only accidentally get in the way. His portrayer, <b>Joe Morton</b>, is nothing like his character. In fact, aside from the dulcet tones of his mesmerizing baritone voice, you’d be hard-pressed to find any similarities … thank God. When I spoke with Joe recently, he gave me the rundown on all things “Scandal,” as well as his new one-man show in New York City called “Turn Me Loose,” which opens in May. <br /><br /><i>Celebrity Extra: Did you know how huge “Scandal” was, and was going to be, when you signed on to play Rowan, Olivia Pope’s father, in season two? </i><br /><br />J<b>oe Morton: It’s interesting, I think, because the first season that it was on, I certainly had heard of it, but I didn’t really know a lot about it. I knew about Kerry Washington and that she was involved. I didn’t really sit down and pay close attention to the show until the second season. I had come out to L.A. for pilot season, and I sat down with my computer and started streaming “Scandal” on Netflix and just fell in love with it. It was an amazing show, beautifully written, beautifully shot; I loved the cast, loved what was going on. I said to myself, “I wonder if there is a way I can sort of wrangle my way into one episode of the show as a guest artist?” </b><br /><b><br /></b><b>Even before I had the opportunity to talk to my agents about it, I got a call from them saying that in fact “Scandal” wanted to talk to me about coming onto the show. They said they wanted me to come on as a guest artist, and I had to keep it a secret. And the secret was that in the last episode of season two, the last two lines belonged to Kerry and me, and they would reveal that I was her father. So I said, “You’ve got me.” So, I took it up and here I am. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Because of the type of character you play, I have to assume that it is immensely fun for you as an actor. </i><br /><br /><b>JM: It’s a huge amount of fun. I mean, it’s very intense, obviously, and the scenes that they write for Kerry and me, in particular, are just wonderful. So it’s a real joy. </b><br /><b><br /></b><b>I’ve spent most of my career playing good guys for very deliberate reasons. When I started in this business, a lot of the opportunities for black actors, male actors in particular, were centered on playing drug addicts or drug dealers or pimps or some kind of gangster. And I just thought, that’s not how I want to begin my career. I wanted to try to put together a portfolio of diversified black male characters who didn’t necessarily go around hurting people. But when I came out to L.A. at the end of season two for “Scandal,” I was looking for a very smart, very intelligent, very devious bad guy, and this just fell into my lap. So, it’s secondary how much fun it is. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: So much of what Rowan does and says just makes my jaw drop. What are some scenes for you where you couldn’t believe what you were saying or doing? </i><br /><br /><b>JM: It was a couple of seasons ago, the scene between Tony Goldwyn (who plays President Grant) and me where I called him a boy. I mean, that was unbelievable that they created this incredible monologue where a black man in chains sitting in a captive sort of situation is telling off a Southern, white Republican president of the United States, telling him that he’s a boy. I just thought, if my father were alive and he were able to witness my doing this speech, he would be shaking his head in disbelief. How did this ever happen? </b><br /><br /><i>CE: After having spoken with Tony Goldwyn (who plays President Grant) a few years back, as well as Bellamy Young (Mellie Grant), I get the impression that this is a great environment, a great set to work on. </i><br /><br /><b>JM: It really is. Without any exaggeration, they’re the kind of group where you go to work every day looking forward to seeing your friends and doing whatever it is you have to do that day. It’s a real joy. It’s really relaxed. A lot of my scenes are very intense. But a lot of the Olivia Pope and Associates scenes, from what I gather, are a lot of talk and a lot of joking and a lot of standing around, but it really is a family. We are a group of people who are there to watch each other’s back and then to serve the material, to really get in there and do the best we can with what Shonda has given us. And so it makes it just very comfortable and a lot of fun. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Now that Olivia knows the kind of man Rowan is, we haven’t had a lot of scenes with only them, just being father and daughter, with no hidden agendas. Do you miss that? </i><br /><br /><b>JM: I think he’s always, generally, I don’t know what the word is — nice? But he’s always loving toward her in one way or another. Even if he’s scolding her. Even if he’s in some way disappointed with some specific thing she might have done. I think that what holds all that together is this very odd and clearly unhealthy relationship between father and daughter. But there it is. It’s still there, and it’s very present, and it’s very powerful, and it’s unbreakable so far. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: My impression of Rowan is that he truly believes that no matter what he does or who he kills or who he ruins, that he is doing it to protect the country and that it makes it all OK. What do you think? </i><br /><br /><b>JM: I think you are absolutely right. I think his job is to protect the republic by any means necessary. Whatever it takes to make sure that the Republic of the United States’ protection is maintained. So, he will do whatever it takes. There’s no boundary to that. I think he’s even said that. There’s no one above him to say, “Don’t do it that way.” It’s his job to figure out how to make sure XYZ gets done, and gets done quickly and efficiently, and the result is that the country is protected. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Even if that means killing the president’s son … </i><br /><br /><b>JM: That’s Rowan in terms of his own view of revenge. His view was you have dishonored and hurt my daughter, so this is what I do in return. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: And it didn’t hurt that it helped Grant get re-elected. </i><br /><br /><b>JM: Right. If he can do two things at once, fine. But I think there is a strain that is very personal and very dangerous. </b><br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-rlWm61t7bvY/VvLCHdOqGRI/AAAAAAAAFYM/7e2SZGrw82EgjeTUDtkmXKGXrwswFD45g/s1600/Joe%2BMorton%2B2.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="225" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-rlWm61t7bvY/VvLCHdOqGRI/AAAAAAAAFYM/7e2SZGrw82EgjeTUDtkmXKGXrwswFD45g/s400/Joe%2BMorton%2B2.jpg" width="400" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Joe Morton (photo courtesy ABC)</td></tr></tbody></table><i>CE: What scoop can you give me about “Scandal” as we start to close out the fifth season? </i><br /><br /><b>JM: The only thing I can tell you is that it is an election year. So, since this is Fitz’s last term in office, I think there are going to be lots of people affected by his moving out of that office and trying to determine who’s going to take his place. But, if you want to know anything else, you’re just going to have to wait and see it. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Prior to researching Dick Gregory for this interview, shame on me that I had not heard of him. What an influential man he was, and still is! What had you known about him before taking on this role, and what made you decide to play him? </i><br /><br /><b>JM: I’d met him many years ago, so I knew who he was and I knew what he’d done. I knew about his activism in terms of the civil-rights movement. I knew about his work in terms of nutrition. He had the Bohemian diet that came out in the ’70s, I believe. I’ve seen and heard his stand-up routine. And it was all of that that attracted me to want to do the part. We are talking about things today in politics and in nutrition that he was talking about 30 and 40 years ago. So he definitely was a trendsetter. He was definitely someone enormously ahead of his time and someone who had great courage to do the kinds of things that he did. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: How did he get involved in the civil-rights movement? </i><br /><br /><b>JM: Medgar Evers was the big pull for him into the civil-rights movement. He and Medgar Evers became the best of friends. They rode the buses together, they did fundraisers together, etc. In fact, the name of the play, “Turn Me Loose,” is the last three words that Medgar Evers spoke before he died. Medgar was his idol in a lot of ways, and he felt pressed to make sure that he came up to Medgar’s measure in terms of what needed to be done with the civil-rights movement. And he continues to do it today. He still goes out on speeches and he goes to college campuses. I was just talking to him recently at BB King’s in New York, but he also goes from campus to campus talking to students and whomever wants to listen about what’s going on in the world and his point of view. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: What do you hope comes from this play when audiences see it; how would you like the audience to react to it, or what do you hope they take from it? </i><br /><br /><b>JM: I hope it reaches as many people as humanly possible. That’s the point of the play, in many ways, is that it is in some ways a call to action. A lot of what he did, a lot of what he speaks about, a lot of his humor really was basically telling the audience or asking the audience to take stock of their own situation individually and as groups, and do something about it. The woes that we find ourselves facing as individuals or as groups — whether it’s black people or Hispanics or women or whatever — it might be you need to take stock in these situations and act on it and do something to make it better. That’s on all of us. That is our obligation. And that is what he preaches, even if he’s doing a stand-up comedy routine. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: What is the time frame in Dick Gregory’s life that the play covers? </i><br /><br /><b>JM: It flips back and forth between the ’60s and present day. It’s just me on stage, playing him at different ages. When he was younger, when he broke the color line on the Jack Paar show, and then when he’s older and talking directly to the audience that’s in front of him. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: What else should audiences know about the play? </i><br /><br /><b>JM: Just that John Legend is also involved. He is one of our producers. It will be “Turn Me Loose, presented by John Legend.” So that will hopefully be really helpful. And I believe he’s, if not writing at the moment, has written a song for the play that will be introduced at the end of the play opening night. </b>Cindy Elavskyhttps://plus.google.com/106692805345133429179noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2089554610599512446.post-75757827899584162812016-03-18T17:05:00.002-04:002016-03-18T17:05:56.286-04:00Interview: Fiona Gubelmann's Thrilling Turn in Mommy's Little Girl<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; margin-right: 1em; text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-CkNvf-HnlXs/VuxtS4V53fI/AAAAAAAAFXU/CKan4GyoO6MxAouf0tOWmIkWohaXcwvXg/s1600/Screen%2BShot%2B2016-03-18%2Bat%2B5.03.50%2BPM.png" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="320" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-CkNvf-HnlXs/VuxtS4V53fI/AAAAAAAAFXU/CKan4GyoO6MxAouf0tOWmIkWohaXcwvXg/s320/Screen%2BShot%2B2016-03-18%2Bat%2B5.03.50%2BPM.png" width="266" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Fiona Gubelmann, photo courtesy Lifetime</td></tr></tbody></table><b>Fiona Gubelmann</b> is best-known for her work on the hilarious and surprising FX comedy series “Wilfred,” which starred Elijah Wood as a man who saw his neighbor’s dog as a grown man in a dog suit, and all the high jinks that ensued from that. She’s also made numerous television and feature-film appearances, including “Blades of Glory,” “Castle,” “Parenthood,” “New Girl” and “Don’t Trust the B---- in Apartment 23.” Now fans can see her in a completely different role: that of a young mother who is raising a murderous child. <br /><br />Touted as a modern-day “Bad Seed,” “Mommy’s Little Girl” — which premieres on Lifetime Saturday, March 19 at 8 p.m. ET/PT — centers on Theresa, a young mother who lost her husband shortly after they were married. Feeling ill-equipped to care for an infant, she left her daughter, Sadie, in the care of her paternal grandmother, unaware that the bitter, resentful woman isolated the girl, home-schooled her, and never allowed her to socialize with other children. When the two are finally reunited, 10-year-old Sadie is thrilled to leave behind the life she hated to begin a new life with her mother and soon-to-be stepfather, Aaron (James Gallanders). Although her intentions are good, Sadie’s skewed perception of the world and her inability to distinguish right from wrong will ultimately prevent her from having the life she so badly desires. <br /><br /><i>Celebrity Extra: I was just catching up on “Castle” before our interview, and I was so happy to see you guest-starring on the last episode I just saw! </i><br /><br /><b>Fiona Gubbelman: That’s so nice to hear. It was a great experience. You never know it when you step onto a drama set, and you’re wondering if everyone is going to be serious or dramatic but, no, everyone was so much fun. Most of my scenes were with Stana (Katic, who plays Capt. Kate Beckett), and she is so silly and sweet. And also, she is really talented, and so it was great getting to work opposite her because it was just so natural. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: And you also guest-starred on one of my favorite comedies, “Don’t Trust the B---- in Apartment 23.” </i><br /><br /><b>FG: That was such a great show. Getting to do it was just so much fun. I loved my character on it. She was kind of a bitchy girl, which is fun because I don’t often get to do that. And James Van Der Beek, he is so funny. That is one of my favorite things I’ve seen him in. And I ended up getting to be on another comedy he was on, “Friends with Better Lives,” maybe a year or two ago. I’m a huge fan of his work and his work ethic, and he’s just great in comedy. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: You’ve had the chance to work on a lot of great comedies. </i><br /><br /><b>FG: It’s really wonderful when you get to work on a show that you also watch. A lot of the comedies that I’ve gotten to work on — “Modern Family,” “New Girl,” “Key and Peele” — these are all shows that I watch. And then getting to be a part of it is just great. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Your latest project, “Mommy’s Little Girl,” definitely would not fall into the comedy category. Tell me a little about the story and your role in it. </i><br /><br /><b>FG: My character, Theresa, is finally taking her daughter, Sadie, home to live with her. She’s finally getting married. She’s finally doing well in work, so she’s finally going to raise her own daughter. Sadie had been living with the paternal grandmother. And the paternal grandmother did not do the best job raising Sadie; she is akin to the mother in “Carrie,” to give you an idea. She’s been messing with Sadie’s head all these years. It’s sad too because this poor, sweet girl, all she wants to do is be with her mother, so because of the fear that has been created in her by her grandmother, she will stop at nothing to make sure she stays with her mother and that no one gets in the way. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: What kinds of things will Sadie resort to? </i><br /><br /><b>FG: It might include some murder and some foul play. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: This is being compared to the cult-classic “The Bad Seed,” which was known for its sometimes-unrealistic melodrama. How would you say that “Mommy’s Little Girl” differs from it? </i><br /><br /><b>FG: What’s so great about the film is that it could be just silly, and you could be like, “Oh, yeah, would a kid really do this?” But what the writers did so brilliantly — as well as under the direction of Curtis Crawford and producer Pierre David — is that they made sure the story was motivated by true feelings and emotions of this little girl just wanting to be close to her mom. It’s really psychological, and you actually feel bad for the little girl — even though she’s scary — and at the same time, it’s a sad story. I think they did a really great job of balancing the fun and popcorn-movie aspect of that. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: So Sadie isn’t evil for evil’s sake; there is an underlying need to be loved there. </i><br /><br /><b>FG: Exactly. She’s just trying to please her mother. She’s just trying to be mommy’s little girl, and she just doesn’t quite know how to. But she’s definitely not doing it the right way. </b><br /><br /><table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; margin-right: 1em; text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-oeLEOhP7Vqc/VuxtddllliI/AAAAAAAAFXY/vTv1BVf_eU0pXrAFHTQ3IuxLuvMrLfiug/s1600/_DSC2889.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="320" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-oeLEOhP7Vqc/VuxtddllliI/AAAAAAAAFXY/vTv1BVf_eU0pXrAFHTQ3IuxLuvMrLfiug/s320/_DSC2889.jpg" width="213" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Fiona Gubelmann and Emma Hentschel,<br />courtesy Lifetime</td></tr></tbody></table><i>CE: Tell me about the shoot. What were the cast and crew like to work with? </i><br /><br /><b>FG: We shot for a month up in Canada. It was great. And what’s really neat about Pierre, the producer, is he has you shoot for four days on and then you take two days off. So instead of doing five days in a row, you actually do only four, which gives you a chance to recuperate on those two days off. And then the crew and cast and everyone have way more energy. Pierre found that his sets were more productive that way. Our days were long, probably about 15 hours. Since Emma (Hentschel, who played Sadie) is a minor, that definitely affected the hours and shooting schedule. I was pretty much there every day as first up and then the last to leave because we had to make sure that we were getting Emma in her eligible hours. It was fun — the whole cast and crew were such a great group of fun, kind, talented, hardworking people that the shoot just flew by. I still keep in touch with them, even here on the West Coast. I feel like Emma is my little sister now. We still send each other funny videos and text messages. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Since this kind of movie is such a departure for you, what did you take away from the shoot? </i><br /><br /><b>FG: I am just so grateful that I was able to work on this. Right before filming this, I shot another film for Lifetime called “911 Nightmare.” I played the lead in that as well, and I was a cop. It was so great to play that because, again, I never get to play cops, and I never get to play tough characters. Like you said, it’s generally more the comedic roles, even in dramas. The producers of that film were talking, and somehow word got around and Pierre heard about that, and so gave me the opportunity to do this film. I am so appreciative of him for taking the chance on me and letting me play this type of character because it’s not every day that people are willing to do that. It was so much fun getting to play Theresa. I had a really great time. Also, I have to say, working across from Emma, she’s so talented naturally that when we would act together, it just felt completely natural. I never had to work hard to get emotional or to find anything like that because when she and I would speak, the emotions just came naturally. We had such great chemistry and such a great bond. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: What do you hope viewers take away from the movie? </i><br /><br /><b>FG: I just hope they have a really fun time. It’s a wild ride, and there are a lot of twists and turns. And the relationship between all of us, I think, is really beautiful. I really hope that they see the heart in the movie as well as the suspense. </b>Cindy Elavskyhttps://plus.google.com/106692805345133429179noreply@blogger.com1tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2089554610599512446.post-72292601682462907232016-03-17T11:09:00.000-04:002016-03-24T11:09:58.273-04:00Just in Time for the Holiday: Mim-Mim's Eggscellent Easter<table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-3n6-L15aPqg/VvQDBUsMVJI/AAAAAAAAFYg/oChCmS0y8PEnpfTVNUlknP2H7XZzLnFDA/s1600/mim-mim-2.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="222" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-3n6-L15aPqg/VvQDBUsMVJI/AAAAAAAAFYg/oChCmS0y8PEnpfTVNUlknP2H7XZzLnFDA/s400/mim-mim-2.jpg" width="400" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Photo courtesy Disney Junior</td></tr></tbody></table><b><u>PRESS RELEASE </u></b><br /><br />Inspired by a real life little girl, <i>Kate +&nbsp;Mim-Mim</i> follows the fantastical adventures of 5-year-old Kate, who, together with her toy rabbit Mim-Mim, travels to the fantasy world of Mimiloo, where Mim-Mim comes alive as a larger-than-life playmate. In each episode, Kate and Mim-Mim and their group of lovable friends discover exciting new places and set off on adventures, all in the hope of solving a puzzling problem Kate has encountered in the real world. <br /><br />In this special Easter event — airing March 18 and 25 at 7 p.m. EST — on Disney Junior, <i>Mim-Mim’s Eggscellent Easter,&nbsp;</i>it’s Easter morning and Kate wakes up super early. She and Mim-Mim twirl away to Mimiloo while they wait to search for chocolate. Upon arrival, however, they discover that Boomer, the youngest of the Mimiloo gang, along with his mini dinosaur buddies, the Tee-Hee Rexes, have already collected all the Easter eggs, leaving none for everyone else! It’s up to Kate, Mim-Mim and the rest of their Mimiloo friends to hop to it and help the Easter Bunny save Easter before the rest of Mimiloo wakes up!<br /><br /><i>Kate +&nbsp;Mim-Mim</i>, now in its second season on Disney Junior, was developed by the husband and wife creative team of Scott and Julie Stewart who based the character of Kate on their real life daughter. In another added bonus, the real Kate, now 8 years old, voices the character of the Easter Bunny on&nbsp;<i>Mim-Mim’s Eggscellent Easter</i>.Cindy Elavskyhttps://plus.google.com/106692805345133429179noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2089554610599512446.post-70618604556605767682016-02-19T15:18:00.000-05:002016-02-19T15:18:05.226-05:00INTERVIEW: Josie Bissett Turns the Tables<table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; margin-right: 1em; text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-X2LaoIYxKKI/Vsd39JyhswI/AAAAAAAAFVw/L2G0RFpWhU8/s1600/JosieBissett1.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="400" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-X2LaoIYxKKI/Vsd39JyhswI/AAAAAAAAFVw/L2G0RFpWhU8/s400/JosieBissett1.jpg" width="266" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Josie Bissett (photo courtesy josiebissett.com)</td></tr></tbody></table>We all know and love <b>Josie Bissett </b>from “Melrose Place,” where she played Jane Mancini off and on for about a decade. In February, you can catch Josie in the Lifetime original movie “Pregnant at 17,” where she plays a wife named Sonia, who realizes her husband (“Days of Our Lives” and “Pretty Little Liars” alum Roark Critchlow) has had an affair with a 17-year-old girl … and has gotten her pregnant. I spoke with Josie recently about this heart-wrenching role, and she is excited for fans to see her exploration of this character. “Pregnant at 17” premieres Saturday, Feb. 20 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. <br /><br /><i>Celebrity Extra: Tell me a bit about the premise of the movie, and about your character, Sonia. </i><br /><br /><b>Josie Bissett: I play Sonia, who is a veterinarian and is married to Jeff. She’s unable to have children and has had a miscarriage. Roark plays my husband, who is a really great actor. I’d never worked with him before. Sonia finds out that he’s having an affair, and of course that’s devastating. She becomes obsessed about finding out who she is, but a lot of it is that feeling that anyone would get when someone is being betrayed. She figures out where the girl works, and she goes in and gets a sorbet. She ends up chatting with her, and she realizes that Chelsea is just this really sweet, innocent, young girl who’s only 17 and pregnant. She also realizes that the girl has no clue about Jeff being married. She finds out through Sonia and ends up not wanting to have anything to do with Jeff. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: How does Sonia feel about Jeff after learning all of this? </i><br /><br /><b>JB: I just love what my character does with the situation. There’s nothing in her that wants to salvage the marriage after what has happened. And she develops a friendship with this young girl, Chelsea, and can’t help but want to help her and help take care of her and the baby. The relationship is just beautiful between Sonia and Chelsea. It’s just a really sweet relationship that develops, and they both grow throughout the film. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: What about Roark — how is his portrayal of Jeff? </i><br /><br /><b>JB: He really does a great job of making you want to punch him. Jeff is just awful. And he is one of those guys where there are no redeeming qualities in him. What I love is that there’s not even an ounce of Sonia that wants to forgive him or wants it to work out. We all make mistakes in life, and he realizes he made one, but there’s just no chance for him. You really see the torture and the pain in him for what he did. You see it in his eyes. The dialog that is coming out of him might not be what Sonia wants to hear, but inside, the way he plays it, you can just see this tortured soul. Roark does a great job. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: The viewers will find out pretty early on that Sonia doesn’t go all revenge-y and postal on Chelsea — I love that twist, that they put the blame where it belongs and they don’t get into some big catfight over a cheating man. </i><br /><br /><b>JB: I really love that twist. I’ve never seen it in a cheating movie where the one who’s hurt the most ends up just really rising above the situation. But, of course, there’s a bunch of drama that comes about — someone from Chelsea’s past comes back into her life, and Sonia and Chelsea have to save themselves and the baby. There are scenes where we’re fighting in the woods and trying to escape people trying to kill us. I got to do all my own stunts. They weren’t big stunts, just fighting and running through the woods, but it was fun. And it was like, “Hey, I got a workout today.” It was a pretty intense 14-day shoot. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Tell me about working with Zoe De Grand Maison, who plays Chelsea. </i><br /><br /><b>JB: She’s got this look that is a mixture of stunning but then haunting but then sweet. It’s all these different emotions. It’s hard to explain unless you work with her, but she just has this incredible way about her. She’s just very good, and she takes her time, and she’s unique. I think she’s going to do really well. She can just look at you, and you see everything in her eyes. And she’s also an incredible singer and plays guitar. She’s really talented. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Tell me your big news! </i><br /><br /><b>JB: I’m so excited. I’m playing Liam Neeson’s wife in this movie called “Operation Chromite,” which is about the Korean War. It’s going to be fun, and I get to bring my daughter. I love shooting in places like that, where it’s a foreign crew and it’s such a different experience. It’s only one scene, but I’m just so grateful to go over there and to be a part of this. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: When we spoke before, you touched on the book series that you had written. Tell me about that, and if you have plans to write more. </i><br /><br /><b>JB: What happened with my first book was I was five months pregnant with Mason, who is now 16, and “Melrose Place” had ended, so the timing was perfect for me. And when I had him, I didn’t want to go back onto another show, especially in those infant years. So that’s when I decided to write children’s books. It wasn’t a purposeful, “Oh, I’m going to start writing.” It just was a natural process of, “I have all this stuff I want to share and how do I go about it?” And I always had something going on creatively. The first two books I did, “Making Memories” and “Little Bits of Wisdom,” were parenting stories and advice from parents around the world. </b><br /><br /><b>Then the children’s books came after. And all of these books come from the kids — listening to them play and listening to their words. They have such incredible imaginations, things we could never make up on our own. “The Tickle Monster” came from that. Mason and I were tickling one night. I wrote the book in a night, and then it took six to seven years to get it finished because lots of things were happening at the time, and then I had Maya. I’m working on another series right now, but I don’t know the title yet, until we secure the trademark. I really love writing. I love the process of it. It’s something that I can control and do in my own time, and see it through from beginning to end. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: I must ask the obligatory question of whether you still keep in touch with any of your former “Melrose” castmates. </i><br /><br /><b>JB: I haven’t seen anyone since the shoot we did for “Entertainment Weekly” (in fall 2012). I don’t keep in touch regularly with anyone except for Laura Leighton. But I will see what everyone’s up to now that we have this wonderful thing called social media. I can see what everyone is doing, and we’ll have a little bit of communication through that. But living in Seattle, I’m a bit away from all of that. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Did you see that not-so-great TV movie about “Melrose Place” on Lifetime called “The Unauthorized Melrose Place Story”? </i><br /><br /><b>JB: I didn’t see it, and I actually didn’t hear anything about it. Like, I didn’t hear if it was good; I didn’t hear if it was bad. I didn’t even know it was airing. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Yeah, it wasn’t so good, so be glad you didn’t see it. </i><br /><br /><b>JB: (Laughs) I bet they had Jane crying all the time. </b>Cindy Elavskyhttps://plus.google.com/106692805345133429179noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-2089554610599512446.post-2315992572563299492016-02-16T14:43:00.000-05:002016-02-16T14:43:08.887-05:00Rachel Hunter Is on a Tour of Beauty<table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: left; margin-right: 1em; text-align: left;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-bwoq8P82vYk/VsN6wzp9yqI/AAAAAAAAFVU/LOx8m4hCu6U/s1600/RACHELHUNTERPHOTO1-ImaginationTV.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="320" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-bwoq8P82vYk/VsN6wzp9yqI/AAAAAAAAFVU/LOx8m4hCu6U/s320/RACHELHUNTERPHOTO1-ImaginationTV.jpg" width="292" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Rachel Hunter, photo courtesy ImaginationTV</td></tr></tbody></table>Supermodel <b>Rachel Hunter </b>has graced the cover of countless magazines, hosted numerous television shows and was married to a rock icon. Now she’s undertaking a different sort of role — that of detective and discoverer. On Ovation television’s “Rachel Hunter’s Tour of Beauty,” which premiered Jan. 17, Rachel is in search of beauty secrets from all cultures and walks of life: from France and Greece to China and Fiji. In each of these 13 hour-long episodes, Rachel will take viewers on her own tour of beauty, and she’s hoping we’ll want to come along for the ride. <br /><br /><i>Celebrity Extra: First of all, how did the idea for the series come together? </i><br /><br /><b>Rachel Hunter: I was working with Bettina [Hollings], who’s the executive producer, and we were working on “New Zealand’s Got Talent.” And my background, as a child, I was very exposed to different religions, different cultures. I was brought up on natural, organic foods. Always had an intrigue with health because I was a dancer. And New Zealand is very much that kind of feel. We sat around and threw out some ideas together. And we came up with this one other show, which didn’t work. And then we thought, “How do other cultures live?” It kind of came from us just sitting around and talking. At that point I really thought I’d traveled around the world and seen things from being a model as well as being married and going to different places. </b><br /><br /><b>To be honest, my appreciation of the world in different cultures has deepened incredibly after going to these 13 different countries, because I really got to see the underbelly, and see women and men and cultures, see why some of them live so long, why some of them are so healthy, why some of them are so spiritual and have a sense of peace. The people that I met who have eaten these superfoods or have different ways of life, they are the superstars of the show. I am merely the conduit; I loved what I was doing. I got a lot from this journey, but I hope everybody else has a better and bigger understanding that inspires people to really look and feel and appreciate other different cultures, ideas, beauty, longevity and wellness. This show really means a lot to me. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: So you basically go to these different countries and just seek out these different ways of life, of living, of eating, etc., and bring it to us? </i><br /><br /><b>RH: Yeah, there’s no script. I go from eating bullfrogs to tea to emus to burqas to gurus to different types of superfoods to understanding why the French have this incredible style and they don’t get fat. I also look at the entirety of the pressures in different societies, and take the human side of them and really look at that. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: What are some other things viewers can expect to experience? </i><br /><br /><b>RH: We get a broad view of the world and have a look at the different cultures. And clearly in different cultures there’s different religions, different ways of life. And I think to involve that gives us a really good sense of the people, and it was a good idea for what the concept for the show was. We made the decision to go to all those places so our experiences could be extremely spread out. India has a wealth of ancient ways. China has a wealth of ancient ways and knowledge. Australia is full of incredible scientific information for me, with the DNA testing, which is very helpful information that I needed to learn about myself. We hear about coconut water, we hear about chia seeds, but what the heck do they do? Everyone is on this bandwagon of longevity wellness, thinking, “Yeah, let’s sit down and crank out some juice and get some chia seeds, and we’re all going to be great.” Well, what do they actually do? So we explain some of those superfoods and what they actually do, how they can actually help us. And for how long have they been helping us. We cover all of that kind of stuff. </b><br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-4lwH4i5haqY/VsN7i8VabQI/AAAAAAAAFVY/BXqY1Qc-bfg/s1600/RachelHunterTour.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="223" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-4lwH4i5haqY/VsN7i8VabQI/AAAAAAAAFVY/BXqY1Qc-bfg/s400/RachelHunterTour.jpg" width="400" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">(photo courtesy ImaginationTV/Ovation)</td></tr></tbody></table><i>CE: It’s not all just about diet and physical health, but you also delve into emotional and spiritual well-being. </i><br /><br /><b>RH: Yes. We met with an amazing guru, and his concept of beauty is everything that I believe in and that’s how he feels. When we go through struggles in life, we reach out, usually, to spiritual or religious places because we really need to understand ourselves — what’s our purpose, where are we going in our lives, what is God, what is the universe? We have all these big questions, which, basically, never really get answered. But I think that when you go to some of these spiritual places that they give you great ideas and great clues to settle that down and give you critical tools, really amazing tools to live with. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: What are some of the things you learned in your travels for the show? </i><br /><br /><b>RH: On my journey going around these places, I think that the biggest thing that I learned is that until you walk in someone else’s shoes you can’t judge them. If we feel comfortable with ourselves, then how can I possibly say to someone who isn’t happy with herself, “Well, you need to learn to fall in love with yourself and do this and do that”? I mean, who am I to talk when I spent 20 years of my life on magazine covers? Until you walk in somebody else’s shoes and become involved in their culture, and when you kind of get in there, you can understand why. I’ve always kind of said, “You can look in the mirror and you can look beautiful, but you actually want to love the person looking back at you.” </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Tell me about some of the uplifting moments we’ll see in the series. </i><br /><br /><b>RH: Oh my God! There are so many uplifting moments. We were in Greece during the moon harvest, and we got drunk on this really, really raw wine with a high percentage of alcohol. We danced all day long and laughed. I’d say that Greece and the Full Moon Harvest that we filmed and dancing and singing and laughing was a huge bright spot for me. And France was eating cheese. And you just eat and eat. You also dance in Brazil. There was a lot of dancing in Brazil. What an amazing place! The melting pot of all these incredible, different places. There’s a lot of laughing and there’s a real funny side to the show. There are serious moments, but I think you have to have a laugh too. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: A lot of places you visit, you are really roughing it, aren’t you? </i><br /><br /><b>RH: We all love a five-star hotel, or whatever floats your boat, but I think to actually go into places and live with people, like we lived with Elaine and George on their winery and woke up with them and ate their food. She cooked and we sat in their kitchen while she was cooking. New Zealanders travel a bit young, and you know when you start traveling, you have this awestruck look on your face. Like, I can’t wait to investigate the world. For me, this series, it is like, how do we get that vibe back again? To have this opportunity to go and see different cultures deeper — going on to the farm, going and living with people — that was so different from the life that I led. It wasn’t magazines or concerts or all that kind of stuff. It was more about hanging out on the farm and how are we going to put this turmeric into a facial. </b><br /><br /><i>CE: Was there a time when you didn’t think you were going to be surprised by something, but then you were? </i><br /><br /><b>RH: The France episode was like, oh my God, it’s Paris, which is about beauty at the time. This is going to be a no-brainer. And I fell in love with France all over again. The grape is a very amazing little piece of fruit. It has resveratrol, which is important to anti-aging, and just incredible for our system. And the French just know how to do everything in moderation. A little bit of everything is what works for them. </b>Cindy Elavskyhttps://plus.google.com/106692805345133429179noreply@blogger.com0