Interview with actors Bryan Cranston, Hope Davis, Michael Stuhlbarg, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Andrene Ward-Hammond, and Rosie Perez and EP Joey Hartstone

TV Interview!

Interview with actors Bryan Cranston, Hope Davis, Michael Stuhlbarg, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Andrene Ward-Hammond, and Rosie Perez and EP Joey Hartstone of "Your Honor" on Showtime

Interview with actors Bryan Cranston, Hope Davis, Michael Stuhlbarg, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Andrene Ward-Hammond, and Rosie Perez and EP Joey Hartstone of “Your Honor” on Showtime by Suzanne 9/20/22

SHOWTIME FALL TCA PRESS CONFERENCE
YOUR HONOR
Bryan Cranston – “Michael Desiato” (he/him)
Hope Davis – “Gina Baxter” (she/her)
Michael Stuhlbarg – “Jimmy Baxter” (he/him)
Isiah Whitlock Jr. – “Charlie” (he/him)
Andrene Ward-Hammond – “Big Mo” (she/her)
Rosie Perez – “Olivia Delmont” (she/her)
Joey Hartstone – Showrunner / Executive Producer (he/him)
Virtual via Zoom September 20, 2022
© 2022 Showtime. All Rights Reserved.

“Your Honor” picks up the saga of Bryan Cranston’s Michael Desiato as he struggles to move forward after the devastating events of Season 1 all while competing forces swirl around him with even greater intensity.

This was a TCA panel, so I’m not allowed to use the transcript. Here is a summary of the questions and answers. I hope you enjoy it! The second season looks just as great as the first one.

Peter Moffat created the show, based on an Israeli TV series. He had to bow out of the second season for personal reasons. This second season, he was replaced by one of the show’s writers, Joey Hartstone, as showrunner. The first journalist asked if they’re using any of Moffat’s ideas for the second season. Star Bryan Cranston explained about Moffat not being there, for any of us that didn’t know that news. He affirmed that the show is “in good shape” with Hartstone. Moffat left behind a Season 2 outline that they were able to use. Since the first season was about “the central character [who] compromises his principles and loses himself,” the second season “is about redemption” and where that fits in the world, along with “sorrow and forgiveness,” and do the characters carry on. Cranston was also asked about his character’s look and how that helped him make the transition for his character, Michael, to season 2. Cranston spoke at length about how his character is affected greatly by his grief, and how it affects others in his orbit. He also spoke about how Michael is affected physically, which he, as an actor, had to reflect. He maintains that Michael wouldn’t care at all about how he looks, in his grief.

Another reporter references a previous drama that Cranston played in called “Faust” and asks why audiences love to watch “guys who make the wrong decision.” Cranston says that it’s because it happens so much, which he credits to male testosterone making men “do stupid things.” Men’s egos make them think they can handle any situation. He mused about Queen Elizabeth’s recent passing and noted that he wished there were more women in power because he feels that the world would be in a better place without so much aggression. He believes most men are looking for a more “peaceful” and “civilized” world but don’t know how to find it.

The next press person asked the cast to each tell what their character has taught them about themselves. Cranston thinks that his character’s grief allowed him “to mature in understanding all of life and its ups and downs” because of the grief he goes through and how he handles things. Andrene Ward Hammond shared that she enjoyed playing such a “colorful” character as Mo, so it helped her to be more comfortable “to take up a little more space” instead of her usual position of being supporting. Hope Davis said iit was a relief to take breaks from playing Gina becaus she’s so unhappy. She revealed that when she and Michael Stuhlbarg (who plays her husband) go out into the real world, people look at them as if they’re “shocked and scared.” Stuhlbarg agreed with a “Yes, dear,” which was adorable. He went further to say that playing these people made them really appreciate their real-life families and how much they mean to them. Isiah Whitlock Jr. answered that playing Charlie taught him “a lot about friendship.” Playing this role made him think about how many good friends we have and how far we would go for them. Rosie Perez, who’s new to the cast, playing Olivia, feels that “patience and confidence breeds power” as it pertains to her character, who is so confident. She doesn’t try to excuse her emotions, even in “a male-dominated world.”

Another journalist shared that watching Cranston’s character, who felt like “the walls were closing in on him,” due to his bad decisions, it felt a little “claustrophobic. He asked if season 2 would have that same sort of feeling, or whether it would be transferred to one of the other characters.

Joey Hartstone replied vaguely that we may “sense that in some of the characters.” He maintained that the new season is a continuation on from the first season, except that all of the characters have been affected and changed by what happened in season 1. Davis added that season 2 examines the repercussions from the events of season 1.

The next reporter pointed out that it’s fun for viewers to watch Cranston “completely disembowel himself, set himself on fire, and then blow himself up in a role.” She asked him when he decided that this character could come back for season 2 with more story. Cranston was curious about whether there is life after such terrible grief and after he sets morality, etc. aside. He wanted to explore that honestly to say that there can be “a reconstruction of a human being if that person follows certain kind of human protocols to get back in touch with their humanity.” He added that it’s all their characters; not just his. He praised Rosie and her character for adding “a slice of life” to things that is different than season 1. He pointed out that her character can be more objective and that their characters don’t agree on things.

The actors were asked where they find the “light” and “humor” in a show with so much “angst” and darkness. Davis answered they often laugh while rehearsing because they’re having the opposite reaction to what their characters are going through. Hartstone chimed in at her request to say that there is some sarcasm in the dialogue. He believes that even though the characters are having a lot of “trauma,” there has to be “real moments,” some with “dark humor” that the characters go through with each other, since they’re family. Ward-Hammond praised the cast and crew, saying that they all joke around a lot. “We have to find the levity in all of our drama.”

Perez related that she told Cranston and Hartstone, right after she was hired, that she knows a lot of federal prosecutors and people in law enforcement. When she watches other shows or movies, she doesn’t see them acting like real people in those positions. They tend to joke around a lot and make fun because they’re not the ones in trouble, “going to jail” or “being taken down.” She enjoyed listening to their stories and laughed along with them. She wanted to bring that to her character. She laughed a lot playing the role and watching Cranston’s reactions.

The next question was to Perez, asking about her character, Olivia, and what she does in terms of going after the Baxters and taking revenge. She wasn’t sure if she could say much without giving away the story, so the reporter asked, instead, what drives her or what her motivation is to get justice. Perez answered that she cares about the victims and their children as well as the “rule of law” and “justice.” These are her driving forces. She wants to convey the questions, “Does that mean that they are a degenerate that we should toss aside, you know? Or do we hold them accountable, let them pay their debt to society, and move on?”

Then Stuhlbarg was asked how he’s able to get into the dark place as an actor and then shut those feelings off when he has to. Stuhlbarg shared that he does a sort of “purging” of those feelings as he acts, so he’s able to leave it behind. He references the previous question about finding humor in the dark situation.

He was asked another question about whether he might be concerned that he’s been cast as a bad guy so much recently. Stuhlbarge replied that he enjoys playing “well-rounded” characters and figuring out what motivates them. He went on in detail to talk about his character in this show as well as the one he played in “Dopesick.” He enjoyed the challenges of the role. Ward-Hammon added that we all have “a bit of goodness” and that’s what makes “the best villains.” She feels that it’s that goodness that stops them going any further with their evil deeds. Cranston explained that all of the characters “have multiple facets to their personalities,” they’re not just all good or all bad. This “complexity” makes the audience pay attention.

Davis and Stuhlbarg, who play the married couple The Baxters, were asked about what more they could want from Michael now that his son died. Davis replied that she thinks Gina wants him to suffer as much as possible, whereas Stuhlbarg’s character Joey just wants “peace,” so he’s trying to “please his wife.” The other actors joked around about how Davis phrased her answer, which was a bit funny.

A journalist asked them about how the characters handled their grief differently. Michael ignores his grief, grows a long beard, loses weight, etc. but the Baxters don’t and are able to keep gong. He/she wants to know what the difference is between the parents and the father. Davis countered that Gina is in a “dark place” and is blaming her husband, so she’s not dealing with the grief that well. Stuhlbarg believes that Jimmy has to keep going because he has other kids and won’t allow himself to be “swallowed up by despair” the way Michael does. The reporter asked a clarification question that I didn’t quite understand. I mean, they already pretty much answered it. Davis tried to convey how Gina is feeling – her sense of emptiness and hopelessness in her grief. Stuhlbarg pointed out that their children are adults, so they’re just “forging forward as well as they can under these circumstances,” which doesn’t always work. Cranston added that there isn’t just one way for a person to deal with grief.

Next, a journalist asked Cranston what the process is to create a “great drama” that is “unique and authentic.” Cranston answered that it would take a longer answer, but he would start with “what is the concept” or “theme.” He related that the first season was interesting because it had “universal” themes, like “what would you do to save the life of your child?” Then, “would you be willing, knowingly, become a criminal in order to do that?” Then you go through each step and build it until the answers are not so easy or “clean.” That “ripple effect” is what happened to Michael. The second season explores beyond that to see how all these lives were affected by what happened the first season, and then Olivia coming in to make her own identity. He said that any good series, “has to stay malleable so that you can continue to shape it and grow.” He believes that part of the actor’s role is to bring in their own ideas to the show (not just go by the script and director). They all have to work as a team and then the showrunner has the final look at what they’ve developed. He sees it as a giant puzzle that they have to put together, without knowing what the final picture is supposed to look like. He noted, “It’s a fascinating process.” Then he added that it starts with the ideas and the story, and whether it’s important or resonates.

Isiah Whitlock Jr. was asked the last question about what kind of effect growing up in a large family had on him…whether it made him want more attention or made him want to be an actor. He answered that it made him want to take care of himself because no one else would if he didn’t do it. He added, “And that has stuck with me for my entire life. I just do things for myself. I figure things out. If somebody wants to chime in and help, it’s appreciated, but I don’t expect anyone to be there.” He thinks that helped him a lot as an actor because he learned to trust himself.

I didn’t ask a question for this one because I came in late, due to another commitment. I enjoyed listening to it, though.

MORE INFO:

SHOWTIME DEBUTS TEASER AND KEY ART FOR SEASON TWO OF YOUR HONOR

SHOWTIME® DEBUTS TEASER AND KEY ART FOR SEASON TWO OF YOUR HONOR

Series Starring Oscar® Nominee and Emmy® Winner Bryan Cranston To Return on Non-Linear Platforms on Friday, January 13 And On Air on Sunday, January 15 at 9 PM ET/PT

A person with a beardDescription automatically generated with low confidence

LOS ANGELES – November 16, 2022 – SHOWTIME has released the teaser and key art for the second season of YOUR HONOR, starring and executive produced by Oscar nominee and Emmy winner Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad). The 10-episode season will debut on demand and on streaming Friday, January 13, 2023 and on-air on Sunday, January 15 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The first season ofYOUR HONORranks as the top debut season ever on SHOWTIME. 

To watch and share the teaser, visit: https://youtu.be/pxFNLf60tfc.

In season two, some will seek salvation in response to the tremendous loss they suffered, while others will seek revenge. Michael Desiato (Cranston) has lost the will to live and any semblance of the upstanding judge he once was before the death of his son, Adam. But his life is thrown yet again into chaos by the arrival of Olivia Delgado (Rosie Perez), a laser-focused federal prosecutor determined to bring down a major crime organization. Meanwhile, crime boss Jimmy Baxter (Michael Stuhlbarg) is looking to go legit, but a war is brewing at home with his formidable wife, Gina (Hope Davis), who has other ideas for the family business. Moreover, daughter Fia Baxter (Lilli Kay) is forced to reckon with the true nature of her family as she deals with the fallout of her boyfriend’s shooting by a bullet that was intended for her brother, Carlo (Jimi Stanton), who is now more determined than ever to follow in his father’s criminal footsteps. Eugene Jones (Benjamin Flores Jr.), who mistakenly shot Adam, is on the run. Big Mo (Andrene Ward-Hammond) has big plans for her empire but little faith in Little Mo’s (Keith Machekanyanga) allegiance. New mayor Charlie Figaro (Isiah Whitlock Jr.) aims to keep the peace among the warring factions, but senses betrayal by an unlikely source. And Michael and his mother-in-law, Elizabeth (guest star Margo Martindale), uncover the truth about his late wife, Robin’s, murder, while Detective Nancy Costello (guest star Amy Landecker) unearths some startling revelations of her own. The domino effect of Adam’s death threatens everyone, and they will all be pursued by their enemies at every turn. Ultimately, the question remains: How far are you willing to go to protect what matters most to you?

YOUR HONOR is executive produced by Emmy nominees Robert and Michelle King and Liz Glotzer. Emmy-winning producer Cranston and Emmy-nominated producer James Degus (All the Way) executive produce the series for Moonshot Entertainment. Joey Hartstone is executive producer and showrunner. YOUR HONOR, produced by CBS Studios in association with King Size Productions, is based on the Israeli series Kvodo created by Ron Ninio and Shlomo Mashiach. Rob Golenberg, Alon Aranya, Ron Ninio, Shlomo Mashiach, Ram Landes, Ron Eilon and Danna Stern also serve as executive producers.

Showtime Networks Inc. (SNI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Paramount, owns and operates the premium service SHOWTIME®, which features critically acclaimed original series, provocative documentaries, box-office hit films, comedy and music specials and hard-hitting sports. SHOWTIME is available as a stand-alone streaming service across all major streaming devices and Showtime.com, as well as via cable, DBS, telco and streaming video providers. SNI also operates the premium services THE MOVIE CHANNELand FLIX®, as well as on demand versions of all three brands. SNI markets and distributes sports and entertainment events for exhibition to subscribers on a pay-per-view basis through SHOWTIME PPV®. For more information, go towww.SHO.com [sho.com].

Michael Desiato

Played by Bryan Cranston

Bryan Cranston

BRYAN CRANSTON is an Academy Award® nominee, and Emmy®, Golden Globe®, SAG, Tony® and Olivier Award winner. Cranston was most recently seen in THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN as well as EL CAMINO: A BREAKING BAD MOVIE, and on the big screen starring opposite Kevin Hart and Nicole Kidman in THE UPSIDE. On television, Cranston is best known for his portrayal of Walter White on BREAKING BAD and as Hal in MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE.

Cranston made his Broadway debut as President Lyndon B. Johnson in ALL THE WAY and went on to produce the film adaption of the play through his production company, Moonshot Entertainment. Cranston recently finished a Broadway run of NETWORK based on the iconic film by Paddy Chayefsky. Moonshot Entertainment has developed a multitude of television series including SNEAKY PETE, THE DANGEROUS BOOK FOR BOYS, PHILIP K. DICK’S ELECTRIC DREAMS and the animated series SUPERMANSION.

Aside from his acting career, Cranston is a New York Times bestselling author of A Life In Parts, where he revisits the many roles he’s played on and off camera, but ultimately his memoir is about the transformative power of hard work.

Gina Baxter

Played by Hope Davis

Hope Davis

Hope Davis, having extensive experience in theater, television and film, is one of the most versatile and poised actors working today. Davis recently starred in FOR THE PEOPLE. Her other TV credits include the critically acclaimed Emmy® nominated series AMERICAN CRIME as well as the hit series WAYWARD PINES. Davis also starred in the leading role of matriarch Katya O’Connor in ALLEGIANCE and had a multi-episode arc on Aaron Sorkin’s THE NEWSROOM. Davis received an Emmy nomination for her work on IN TREATMENT and was also honored with both Emmy and Golden Globe® nominations for her portrayal of Hillary Clinton in the film THE SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP. She can be seen opposite Anna Kendrick in LOVE LIFE. In 2003, Davis was named Best Actress by the New York Film Critics Circle for her work in two of the year’s most critically acclaimed independent features – Alan Rudolph’s THE SECRET LIVES OF DENTISTS and the Oscar® nominated AMERICAN SPLENDOR, for which Davis also received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role. Davis was seen on the big screen in Danny Strong’s REBEL IN THE RYE, opposite Sarah Paulson, and in Marvel’s CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo. Her other film credits include Simon West’s WILD CARD; Anthony Fabian’s LOUDER THAN WORDS opposite David Duchovny; Henry Alex Rubin’s DISCONNECT; Shawn Levy’s REAL STEEL; Michael Winterbottom’s GENOVA; Charlie Kaufman’s SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK, opposite Philip Seymour Hoffman; THE HOAX directed by Lasse Hallström; THE NINES, with Ryan Reynolds; CHARLIE BARTLETT, with Robert Downey Jr. and Anton Yelchin; and THE FAMILY TREE, opposite Dermot Mulroney. Davis was also part of an ensemble cast in the television series SIX DEGREES and the miniseries MILDRED PIERCE directed by Todd Haynes.

In theater, Davis received a Tony nomination for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play for her portrayal of Annette Raleigh in the Broadway run of God Of Carnage. Her other theater credits include Red Barn at the National’s Lyttelton in the West End; Camino Real at the famed Williamstown Theatre Festival; Pterodactyls; The Food Chain; The Iceman Cometh; Ivanov and David Mamet’s Speed-The-Plow.

Michael Desiato Gina Baxter

Jimmy Baxter

Played by Michael Stuhlbarg

Michael Stuhlbarg

Michael Stuhlbarg has long been a lauded actor in the New York theatre world, but it wasn’t until he played Larry Gopnik, the lead role in the Coen Brothers’ A SERIOUS MAN, that he earned serious recognition from the film community, including a Golden Globe® nomination for Best Actor in a Motion Picture.

His other films include Luca Guadagnino’s CALL ME BY YOUR NAME; Guillermo del Toro’s THE SHAPE OF WATER; MISS SLOANE with Jessica Chastain; DOCTOR STRANGE; Denis Villeneuve’s ARRIVAL; STEVE JOBS, directed by Danny Boyle; TRUMBO with Bryan Cranston; MILES AHEAD with Don Cheadle; Edward Zwick’s PAWN SACRIFICE; Steven Spielberg’s LINCOLN; Woody Allen’s BLUE JASMINE; CUT BANK; HITCHCOCK; MEN IN BLACK 3; Martin Scorsese’s HUGO; Ridley Scott’s BODY OF LIES; Tim Blake Nelson’s THE GREY ZONE; Sophie Barthes’ COLD SOULS and Martin Scorsese’s short homage to Alfred Hitchcock, THE KEY TO RESERVA. He most recently appeared in the feature film SHIRLEY starring alongside Elisabeth Moss.

For television, Stuhlbarg played the role of New York City mob boss Arnold Rothstein on the award-winning series BOARDWALK EMPIRE. He has recurred on the series TRANSPARENT, season three of FARGO, THE LOOMING TOWER (for which he earned an Emmy® nomination) and TRAITORS written by Bashsheba Doran.

In 2005, Stuhlbarg was a Tony Award nominee and a Drama Desk Award winner for his performance in Martin McDonagh’s The Pillowman. He has also been honored with the New Dramatists Charles Bowden Actor Award and the Elliot Norton Boston Theatre Award, the latter for his performance in Long Day’s Journey Into Night. The actor’s other Broadway credits include the National Actors Theatre productions of Saint Joan, Three Men On A Horse, Timon Of Athens, The Government Inspector; Ronald Harwood’s Taking Sides; Sam Mendes’ revival of Cabaret and Tom Stoppard’s The Invention Of Love. Stuhlbarg has worked numerous times with the New York Shakespeare In The Park Festival. His critically acclaimed credits include Twelfth Night, the title roles in Richard II and Hamlet, for which he won a Drama League Award, and most recently as the title role in Tim Blake Nelson’s Socrates. Other Off-Broadway credits include The Voysey Inheritance, for which he earned the Obie and Callaway Awards and a Lucille Lortel Award nomination, and Cymbeline, reprising his role in a U.K. stint of the production. Stuhlbarg received a Drama League Award for Old Wicked Songs, and a Lucille Lortel Award nomination for Measure For Pleasure. He can also be seen in The Grey Zone.

Charlie Figaro

Played by Isiah Whitlock Jr.

Isiah Whitlock Jr.

Isiah Whitlock Jr. is a veteran theater, film and television actor. He most recently starred as Melvin in Spike Lee’s DA 5 BLOODS. His other notable film credits include BLACKKKLANSMAN, PETE’S DRAGON, CEDAR RAPIDS and the voice of River Scott in CARS 3. Additionally, he can be seen in Spike Lee’s SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT, 25TH HOUR and CHI-RAQ, as well as CHIPS directed by Dax Shepard; PERSON TO PERSON directed by Dustin Guy Defa; DETACHMENT directed by Tony Kaye and SHE HATE ME written and directed by Spike Lee. Other films in which Whitlock appears include CORPORATE ANIMALS, ALL SQUARE, LYING AND STEALING, BROOKLYN’S FINEST, TWELVE, MAIN STREET, CHOKE, 1408, ENCHANTED, PIECES OF APRIL, EVERYONE SAYS I LOVE YOU, THE SPANISH PRISONER, EDDIE and GOODFELLAS.

On television, Whitlock starred as Senator Clay Davis on the acclaimed series THE WIRE and as Detective Burl Loomis on the series THE GOOD COP opposite Josh Groban, Tony Danza and Monica Barbaro. He appeared on the series THE MIST and SURVIVOR’S REMORSE, and he also played the role of Gunnar on the pilot THIN ICE. He recurred on the Emmy® winning comedy series VEEP as Secretary of Defense General George Maddox. Whitlock was also a series regular on LUCKY 7 as Bob Harris and has appeared on numerous television series INCLUDING ELEMENTARY, ATLANTA, LUCIFER, LIMITLESS, THE CARMICHAEL SHOW, LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT, LAW & ORDER: SVU, THE BLACKLIST, GOTHAM, LOUIE, SMASH, CHAPPELLE’S SHOW, RUBICON, MEET THE BROWNS, HUMAN GIANT, NEW AMSTERDAM, MADIGAN MEN, WONDERLAND, NEW YORK UNDERCOVER and the documentary LIBERTY!, as well as THIRD WATCH and ED.

Whitlock was nominated in 2002 for a Lucille Lortel Award as Best Featured Actor for his work in Four that enjoyed a renowned Off-Broadway run at the Manhattan Theatre Club. The Iceman Cometh, Merchant Of Venice and Mastergate are among his Broadway credits, while his Off-Broadway credits include Farragut North for the Atlantic Theatre Co. and the Geffen Playhouse, The Cherry Orchard, Everything That Rises Must Converge, Up Against The Wind, A Lesson Before Dying, High Life, Edmond, The American Clock, White Panther and The Illusion. He was also part of the national tour of the play The Piano Lesson, in the title role of Boy Willie.

Big Mo

Played by Andrene Ward Hammond

Andrene Ward Hammond

Ward-Hammond’s screen credits include 61st Street, Manifest, The Righteous Gemstones, Claws, Star and the films Just Mercy, Instant Family, The Hate U Give and Loving. She is repped by Grandview, Alexander White Agency and Myman Greenspan.

SHOWTIME HIT DRAMA SERIES YOUR HONOR SECOND SEASON TO PREMIERE ON FRIDAY, JANUARY 13

** PROGRAMMING UPDATE ALERT ** 

SHOWTIME® HIT DRAMA SERIESYOUR HONOR  SECOND SEASON TO PREMIERE ON FRIDAY, JANUARY 13 

Photo credit: Andrew Cooper/SHOWTIME

LOS ANGELES – October 31, 2022 – The premiere date for the SHOWTIME® drama series YOUR HONOR has shifted. The 10-episode second season of the series starring Oscar® nominee and Emmy® winner Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) will debut on demand and on streaming Friday, January 13, 2023 and on-air on Sunday, January 15 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The first season ofYOUR HONORranks as the top debut season ever on SHOWTIME. 

YOUR HONOR stars Cranston as Michael Desiato, a respected New Orleans judge whose upstanding life is derailed when his teenage son’s accidental hit-and-run killing of the son of notorious crime boss Jimmy Baxter (SAG Award winner Michael Stuhlbarg) led to a high-stakes game of lies, deceit and impossible choices. Emmy nominee Hope Davis (Love Life, American Crime) stars as Jimmy’s wife, Gina, who is at times more dangerous and driven than her husband, and Isiah Whitlock Jr. (The Wire) stars as Charlie, a local politician and Michael’s best friend. Andrene Ward Hammond stars as Big Mo, the formidable leader of the Desire Gang, with Keith Machekanyanga as Little Mo, her right-hand-man. Lilli Kay stars as Fia Baxter, Jimmy’s daughter who is forced to reckon with the true nature of her family as she deals with the aftermath of her boyfriend’s shooting (by a bullet that was intended for her brother). Jimi Stanton is Carlo Baxter, Jimmy’s only surviving son who wants to follow in his father’s criminal footsteps; and Benjamin Flores Jr. is Eugene, whose attempt to avenge his brother’s death has created a new chain of events that threaten to start a war on the streets of New Orleans. Season two guest stars include Oscar and Emmy nominee Rosie Perez (The Flight Attendant),Emmy winner Margo Martindale (The Americans) and Amy Landecker (Transparent).

YOUR HONOR is executive produced by Emmy nominees Robert and Michelle King (The Good Fight, The Good Wife, Evil) and Liz Glotzer (Evil, The Good Fight), with Joey Hartstone (The Good Fight) serving as showrunner and executive producer for season two. Emmy-winning producer Cranston and Emmy-nominated producer James Degus (All the Way) executive produce the series for Moonshot Entertainment. YOUR HONOR, produced by CBS Studios in association with King Size Productions, is based on the Israeli series Kvodo created by Ron Ninio and Shlomo Mashiach. Rob Golenberg, Alon Aranya, Ninio, Mashiach, Ram Landes, Ron Eilon and Danna Stern also serve as executive producers. 

SHOWTIME DEBUTS OFFICIAL TRAILER FOR SECOND SEASON OF YOUR HONOR

SHOWTIME® DEBUTS OFFICIAL TRAILER FOR SECOND SEASON OF YOUR HONOR

Series Starring Oscar® Nominee and Emmy® Winner Bryan Cranston
To Return on Non-Linear Platforms on Friday, January 13
And On Air on Sunday, January 15 at 9 PM ET/PT

LOS ANGELES – December 13, 2022 – SHOWTIME has released the official trailer for season two of YOUR HONOR, starring and executive produced by Oscar nominee and Emmy winner Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad). The 10-episode season will debut on demand and on streaming Friday, January 13, 2023 and on-air on Sunday, January 15 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The first season ofYOUR HONORranks as the top debut season ever on SHOWTIME. In season two, some will seek salvation in response to the tremendous loss they suffered, while others will seek revenge and they will all be pursued by their enemies at every turn. Ultimately, the question remains: How far are you willing to go to protect what matters most to you?

To watch and share the official trailer, visit: https://youtu.be/SQf1pv_yTD0.

YOUR HONOR is executive produced by Emmy nominees Robert and Michelle King (The Good Wife) and by Liz Glotzer (Evil). Emmy-winning producer Cranston (Breaking Bad) and Emmy-nominated producer James Degus (All the Way) executive produce the series for Moonshot Entertainment. Joey Hartstone (The Good Fight) is executive producer and showrunner. YOUR HONOR, produced by CBS Studios in association with King Size Productions, is based on the Israeli series Kvodo created by Ron Ninio and Shlomo Mashiach. Rob Golenberg, Alon Aranya, Ron Ninio, Shlomo Mashiach, Ram Landes, Ron Eilon and Danna Stern also serve as executive producers.

Showtime Networks Inc. (SNI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Paramount, owns and operates the premium service SHOWTIME®, which features critically acclaimed original series, provocative documentaries, box-office hit films, comedy and music specials and hard-hitting sports. SHOWTIME is available as a stand-alone streaming service across all major streaming devices and Showtime.com, as well as via cable, DBS, telco and streaming video providers. SNI also operates the premium services THE MOVIE CHANNELand FLIX®, as well as on demand versions of all three brands. SNI markets and distributes sports and entertainment events for exhibition to subscribers on a pay-per-view basis through SHOWTIME PPV®. For more information, go towww.SHO.com [sho.com].

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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Your Honor season 1 key art

Interview with Kate del Castillo

TV Interview!

Kate del Castillo, star of "La Reina del Sur" on Telemundo - photo from Instagram

 

Interview with Kate del Castillo, star of “La Reina del Sur” on Telemundo by Suzanne 8/8/22

NBCUNIVERSAL SUMMER 2022 TCA VIRTUAL PRESS TOUR
Telemundo La Reina Del Sur
Introduction: Claudia Franklin
Kate del Castillo, Talent
Virtual via Zoom August 8, 2022
© 2022 NBCUniversal Media, LLC. All rights reserved.

This was for the Television Critics Association panel. I was able to ask Kate a few questions, which was nice. The TCA panels usually have many journalists waiting to ask questions, so I’m lucky if I get to ask one! Anyway, if you know the USA Network show “Queen of the South,” it’s based on this show, which ran for 1 season in 2011, had a second season in 2019 and is now coming back for a third season. “La Reina del Sur” is “based on a novel of the same name by Spanish author Arturo Pérez-Reverte,” according to Wikipedia. If you watch Telemundo or other Spanish-speaking networks, I’m sure you already know about this series.

La Reina del Sur key artHere are the opening remarks, to tell you about the show. “Thanks for joining us to learn more about “La Reina del Sur,” Season 3.  In 2011, the launch of “La Reina del Sur” propelled Telemundo to the top of the charts, and gave way to Telemundo’s Super Series franchise.  The first two seasons of this blockbuster hit, which has since been adapted in English by USA Network, reigned as the #1 program in its time slot in the United States, regardless of language. Now Telemundo’s global hit returns for a third season with the unstoppable Teresa Mendoza, portrayed by superstar Kate del Castillo. Season 3 of “La Reina del Sur” opens four years after the second season with Teresa Mendoza behind bars in the U.S. for the murders of three DEA agents. Stripped of her freedom, she’s, once again, separated from her beloved daughter Sofia. After being freed in a dramatic jailbreak, Teresa returns to a covert world powered by alliances and secret deals. Risking her life throughout Latin America with the fervent hope that she can reunite with Sofia, and end her life as a fugitive, once and for all.  “La Reina del Sur” premieres in October. Joining us today is Kate del Castillo. We’re now ready to take your questions.

I asked Kate what has changed most for her doing the show and as an actress. She dove right in with a frank answer that aging has been a problem – it’s tougher on her physically. She explained that “it’s a very different show” because the first season was based on the novel, and these last two seasons are still written by the same author, Reverte, but not from a novel. She praised their “amazing writers.” Unlike the first two season, this season is not about narcotics or selling them. She’s extremely happy about that because she’s always stated that her character, Teresa Mendoza, “is Teresa Mendoza regardless of what she does for a living.” She went on to explain that she’s a survivor and not a victim (no matter what happened to her), and she lives in the man’s world, but “she makes the most out of it.” She also explained that Teresa is more mature and a mother. She also joked that the budget is a lot better, too.

In my second question, which was somewhat similar to the first, I asked her what challenged her in the new season, playing Teresa. She answered that playing a mom is challenging for her, since she’s not one – especially since her character’s daughter is a teenager. Also, this season they traveled to many different countries, wearing all different clothes, that are “amazing” and “culturally different.” She said they dress her in a very native way.

She also told us that she decided to really challenge herself physically, so she decided to change her body completely. She “got ripped” and lost a lot of weight. She worked out a lot, and told us, jokingly, that she only ate one lettuce leaf per day. She figured that Teresa would do that while she was in prison for four years. She worked hard to redeem herself, “to get freedom.” Also, “she’s coming out to revenge,” so she has to be “ready for action.” So this Teresa is a very different one physically.

Other press asked their questions.  Kate was asked whether she had expected the show to become “an international hit,” or was she surprised? She agreed that it was “a pleasant surprise.” She reminded us that the show is #1 in its time slot, regardless of language. The “crossover” effect gratified her. She revealed that she was in a play in New York that sold out, to which she credits the effects of the show being such a big hit. She continued that nobody knew it would be a hit before they made it. The book had been a “bestseller for decades,” but the show was very low-budget. She cried when it did well and thanked god. They shot it down in Colombia and Spain, where it was very difficult for them. So they were surprised, but very happy, when it was such a hit.

Another reporter asked a long and detailed question about how the production values of Spanish language television have evolved. She gave an example of the background music being used. Kate agreed enthusiastically that the production values have changed a lot. Their new show has “Miami Symphony Orchestra” and “Carlos Rafael Rivera, who’s an Emmy and Grammy winner” doing the scores for the show and the theme song. She compared this show to telenovelas, which typically go on for “up to 200 episodes” and are more low budget. Their show is a much more ambitious TV series for a Spanish-speaking audience.

Next she was asked how she felt about the USA Network version, so that those who don’t speak Spanish could enjoy it in English. While Kate agreed that it’s a good thing, she hopes that more people in the US would read subtitles and hear her voice. As a viewer, she likes to watch shows in other languages and hear the actors’ voices. She just wishes that Spanish-language shows all had the great budgets that English-speaking shows do. She hopes that will change.

The next reporter pointed out that Teresa started out as a naive young woman and then became a criminal and found her voice and strength. The person asked Kate how much of herself is in Teresa. Interesting question!Teresa Mendoza and a man getting close in season 3 of "La Reina Del Sur" on Telemundo

Kate replied that there is a lot of her in the character. She told us that she has given Teresa a lot, and Teresa has given her a lot as well. She ticked off their similarities: they both like men and tequila a lot, and they both like to say nasty things (which she admits is not so good). She said they both love passionately and neither one has been that lucky in love. Even though she’s not a mother, she thinks that the way she gives her love is very motherly and protective. She added, “I think we both survived a lot of stuff.” She also added that when she’s not feeling great about something, she asks herself, “What would Teresa Mendoza do?” It helped her sometimes. She hopes that in the future, though, that she’ll be more lucky in the romance department. It sounds like she’s as honest as her character, too.

Kate’s father was also an actor, in telenovelas, so she was asked about that. She disclosed that her father “just turned 88” and “is still working” quite a bit. She pointed out that he started in movies and has done over 350, as well as the telenovelas. She described what it was like for him, that the movies were really bad, and that as a Mexican actor, you had no choice but to do that or the telenovelas when they came along. Then the Cine De Oro came along, when Mexican movies improved, so now they’re much better. She also did some movies, and 10 telenovelas, which helped her learn her craft. She admires how they’re so popular everywhere now because they “sell fantasies.” When she was the lead of the telenovelas, though, it wasn’t as much fun for her as an actress. She came to the U.S. to find better roles.

Kate was asked whether Teresa being a mother made her stronger or more vulnerable. She reminded us that in the first season, she was revealed to be pregnant near the end, and she told another character that she was going to have the child because she had become fearless, and she wanted to know fear again. The second season was all about getting her daughter back (from being kidnapped). She was vulnerable in that sense. She pointed out that you have to have both strength and vulnerability in a character because “one feeds the other.”

She was also asked about being a woman starring in an action role. Kate replied that now women with power are coming into their own in TV and movies. She thinks it’s because women are smart and have to grow up and live in “this macho land.” Teresa is in “this terrible world of killing, and drugs, and trafficking,” but she turned lemons into margaritas. She went on about how women are still doing their traditional roles as mothers and keeping house, but they also work and do many more things than they used to. She, Kate, is looking for great women’s roles, as an actress and producer. She noted that it’s hard to find the line between empowerment and being sexy. You want the character to be strong and sexy but without “objectifying” her. Teresa walks that line. She feels that the character is sexy but “never cared about her looks.” She’s attractive because of being smart and generous, and how she makes her own decisions. She ended with, “she did commit many mistakes, which makes her this anti-heroine that a lot of people relates to because she has all these flaws, and I think that’s what makes her more interesting.” I have to agree with that.

She was also asked about Telemundo and what they’ve brought to the U.S. Latino market, quality-wise. Kate praised Telemundo for being daring. She said that other networks like Univision and Televisa remake telenovelas, but Telemundo comes out with their own original content. They take more risks. She knows they support her because of how successful the franchise is. She also loves that they made a great deal with Netflix for exclusive content.

Teresa Mendoza in season 3 of "La Reina Del Sur" on TelemundoThen she was asked why it took 8 years between the first and second seasons (I had wondered that, too). She explained that it was because she had gone to the U.S. and was doing other projects as a result of how successful “La Reina Del Sur” was. She didn’t expect another season, and neither did the author. Then Telemundo grew, and people became more aware of her because of movies and series she did, but she always had Teresa Mendoza on her mind. She expressed how much fun it was to play her. Eventually, they called her and told her that Reverte was involved, and they would make a new season. So she agreed because of that, and because she loved the idea of playing Teresa again. She was very surprised that it was even more successful than the first one. She didn’t think people would even care, since it was 8 years later.

Another person from the press asked her if viewers in Spanish-speaking countries enjoyed the same elements of the show as the fans in the U.S. did. Kate spoke a bit about the different types of Spanish used in the series and how people in different countries reacted to them. She feels that the show is very inclusive because they have 20 different nationalities represented by the actors. She said, proudly, “You’re going to see a Latin America that you’ve never seen before: Huge, beautiful, and magnanimous, like it is.”

She was asked a question about the American version of the show –  what impact that had on her show (if any). She said that the USA Network version didn’t get nearly as good ratings as theirs did, so she didn’t think it had much effect. She looks at that version as a very different Teresa Mendoza, like “an alter ego.” She didn’t think it had much to do with the book, as theirs does. She did, however, say that she thought the show was great and that the lead actress, Alice Braga, “did an amazing job.” She praised her beauty and talent.

MORE INFO: Trailer

La Reina del Sur key art

Based on Arturo Perez-Reverte’s novel, Telemundo’s globally acclaimed Super Series™ La Reina del Sur (The Queen of the South) returns for its highly anticipated third season of unparalleled magnitude, starring global superstar Kate del Castillo. Four years have passed since U.S. authorities convicted Teresa Mendoza for the murders of three Drug Enforcement Agents. Separated from her beloved daughter Sofia, Teresa lives behind bars in a maximum-security prison, stripped of all freedoms. Devising a highly sophisticated escape plan, Teresa’s old friends Oleg and Jonathan daringly extract her from prison to take her to Mexico, meeting President Epifanio Vargas. In a world motivated by alliances and secret deals, Teresa agrees to embark on her most dangerous mission yet, taking her throughout Latin America with the urgent hope that she can end her fugitive’s life and reunite with Sofia at last. La Reina del Sur 3 premieres in October on Telemundo.

Kate Del Castillo

Teresa Mendoza, “La Reina del Sur”

LA REINA DEL SUR -- Season:2 -- Pictured: Kate del Castillo como Teresa Mendoza -- (Photo by: Juan Manuel Garcia/TELEMUNDO)

A powerful artistic force since her teens, actress-producer KATE DEL CASTILLO returns to one of her most iconic roles as Teresa Mendoza in Telemundo’s blockbuster Super Series™ “La Reina del Sur.” One of the most anticipated television events, the second season of the groundbreaking series premieres on the network in 2019.

Following a decade as one of the most sought-after talents on Mexican television, Del Castillo’s American film breakthrough occurred with the award-winning 2007 hit “Under the Same Moon” (“La Misma Luna”), directed by Patricia Riggen. Co-starring Eugenio Derbez, the bilingual film remains one of the highest-grossing and influential Spanish-language theatrical releases in U.S. history.

Del Castillo has carefully nurtured a multi-national presence.  Among the highlights of her varied film career is her star turn as a Bolivian dancer in “American Visa,” winning Best Actress Awards at film festivals in Spain and Brazil, as well as a Best Actress nomination at the Ariel Awards. “American Visa” received its sold-out U.S. premiere at the AFI Film Festival in Los Angeles. Her feature film credits include “Julia” with Tilda Swinton, “Trade” co-starring Kevin Kline, and “No Good Deed” with Idris Elba.  In 2015, Del Castillo reteamed with director Patricia Riggen to join the ensemble cast of “The 33,” a powerful telling of the 2010 Chilean mining disaster. She currently can be seen with Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Common, and Chace Crawford in the Eva Vives-directed comedy “All About Nina.”

Del Castillo continues to court success on television, reaching beyond Spanish-speaking audiences on various platforms. In 2009, she starred with Guy Ecker in Univision’s first-ever webnovela “Vidas Cruzadas” (“Crossed Lives”), which she co-produced. Del Castillo hit a new career peak in 2011 in the title role of “La Reina del Sur”(“Queen of the South”), a gritty primetime serial produced by Telemundo and Spain’s Antena 3. As Teresa Mendoza, a Mexican woman who rises to amass great power within the world of international drug trafficking, Del Castillo’s indelible turn helped redefine the role of female lead in the telenovela genre. Based on the bestseller by Spanish novelist Arturo Perez-Reverte, the series became a cultural phenomenon, spawning an American version on the USA Network.

Her continuing relationship with Telemundo also include the 2015 ratings smash “Duenos del Paraiso,” which premiered at #1 and remains the network’s highest-rated premiere to date. That same year, Del Castillo joined the cast of the award-winning CW romantic comedy series “Jane the Virgin,” portraying Rogelio’s (portrayed by Jaime Camil) first ex-wife.

In 2017, Del Castillo starred as Emilia Urquiza in the Netflix political thriller “Ingobernable,” one of the first dramatic series produced in Mexico by the streaming giant. Its success generated a second season in 2018, now airing worldwide. Other noteworthy television credits include a five-episode arc on Showtime’s acclaimed series “Weeds.” Del Castillo also starred in Gregory Nava’s lauded PBS series “American Family,” which marked her crossover debut on American television.

A philanthropist and an outspoken global activist, Del Castillo, was appointed Ambassador for the Mexican Commission on Human Rights to combat human trafficking in 2009, launching the Blue Heart campaign in Mexico City. She remains a devoted spokesperson for PETA, earning the organizations 35th Annual Humanitarian Award in 2015.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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Teresa Mendoza and her daughter, Sofia

Interview with the cast of “Let The Right One In”

TV Interview!

"Let the Right One In" cast on Showtime.

Interview with actors Demián Bichir, Anika Noni Rose, Madison Taylor Baez and Grace Gummer; and EPs Andrew Hinderaker and Seith Mann on “Let The Right One In” on Showtime by Suzanne 9/20/22

This was another TCA panel – this one from Showtime.  I really enjoyed the episodes I’ve seen of this show so far. It’s a very good drama that just happens to have some vampires. Demián Bichir plays a man (Mark) whose little girl (Eleanor) is a vampire, so he works tirelessly to keep her alive (no matter what he has to do) and to try to find a cure for her.  There’s a lot of mystery about whether the vampires have a virus or what. Madison Taylor Baez plays the little girl. I’ve interviewed her a few times. The first time was for the TV show “Selena,” where she played the young Selena. More recently was for her competing in “America’s Got Talent.” She is an amazing singer. I doubt she’ll be singing in this series, though. Too bad because I know Anika Noni Rose is also a great singer. Hey, if they can do it on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”….  I have to also note that I loved Demián Bichir in this fun primetime soap a few years ago called “Grand Hotel.” I was very upset when they canceled it.  Anyway, Grace Gummer plays a scientist (Claire) who finds out that her brother is an ailing vampire. Their father has been trying to find a cure, too. Anika Noni Rose plays a cop (Naomi) that lives next door to Mark and Eleanor with her son, Isaiah. It’s a really interesting drama with a lot of family drama as well as the supernatural stuff. It’s unique in that way. The vampires are not “cool” or “sexy” like in many shows. They’re more like addicts and victims. Anyway, it’s really good, so make sure you watch it. It airs tonight, Friday, Oct. 7 on streaming and OnDemand, and then it airs on Sunday on Showtime.

SHOWTIME FALL TCA PRESS CONFERENCE
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
Demián Bichir – “Mark Kane” / Producer (he/him)
Anika Noni Rose – “Naomi Cole” (she/her)
Madison Taylor Baez – “Eleanor Kane” (she/her)
Grace Gummer – “Claire Logan” (she/her)
Andrew Hinderaker – Showrunner / Executive Producer (he/him)
Seith Mann – Director / Executive Producer (he/him)

Virtual via Zoom
September 20, 2022
© 2022 Showtime. All Rights Reserved.

Here is the introduction in our panel to the show: Next up we have the new Showtime genre-bending thriller “Let the Right One In,” starring Oscar nominee Demián Bichir. Bichir and Madison Taylor Baez play father and daughter, Mark and Eleanor, whose lives have never been the same since Eleanor was turned into a vampire a decade ago. Keeping the secret and staying alive present not only terrifying but emotionally-charged challenges, especially when Mark and Eleanor become enmeshed in the lives of others. “Let the Right One In” will premiere on streaming and on-demand Friday, October 7th, before its on air debut on Showtime Sunday, October 9th.

I tried very hard not to give spoilers in my question, so the producer gave me a pat on the back for that. First I mentioned that Maddie was on AGT recently and how well she sang. Then I asked my question: “Why does Demián’s character..I don’t want to give any spoilers; but, at the end, he does something kind of monstrous even though he’s human, and he is doing it for human reasons. Why does he choose to do that rather than, say, choose a few different other people and get the blood gradually without doing what he did?” I know, that was a very tortured question…

Producer Andrew Hinderaker offered to let Demián answer, but Demián let him instead. He said, “I want to commend your ability to ask a very specific question without spoiling. That was incredible.” Aw, that was such a nice thing to say. He alluded to “certain rules” in the show (as all vampire stories have), that they’re trying to stick to. Also, he said that Mark (Demián’s character) is trying to keep his child from starving, so he’s under pressure to do that, and quickly. He referenced the other producer, Seith, who had spoke earlier about the “core and the center and the lengths that we go to to take care of our children, and so there are specific rules that will only make that clear as we go forward. That’s what I’ll say to try to answer as eloquently as you do without spoiling anything as well.” I blushed and thanked him for his compliment. No one has ever called me eloquent before!

The other press asked their questions. Demián was asked what attracted him to the project and to tell us how he became producer as well. Demián spoke at length about how much he loved the original film, and how great the showrunner Andrew and EP Seith are. He said that when they audition actors, the actors audition them as well, “to make sure that they are wonderful people, knowledgeable and, you know, cultured if we are lucky.” He was very impressed with how Andrew was able to turn the movie’s story into a series. He had worked for Showtime before and remembered how brave they are when they let them create and say whatever they want. He said that he gets emotional talking about the great cast, especially “these three beautiful ladies.” He made a soccer analogy (what they call fútbol in his country) when he said, “I’m only as good on the field as when I have a beautiful team around me. And I have to say it’s been a tour de force every time we have scenes together, and it’s been wonderful.” He’s very grateful for all that he’s been given by Showtime, the cast, Tomorrow Studios, Andrew and Seith. He didn’t really answer the second question, but he gave a great answer, anyway.

The producers were asked to tell us how they took the movie and made it into a TV show, such as what they added and what they took away. Andrew answered first. He was touched by Demián’s words and agreed that they’re all having the same wonderful experience. He loves seeing his cast on Zoom. He says they’re “really just an extraordinary team of people and team of artists.” He believes the movie was the best horror movie ever made as well as very moving. He likes to begin with an emotional connection. The relationship between the two children in the film (one of whom is a vampire – not really a child) is “just astonishingly beautiful and poignant and poetic, and so there’s an opportunity to use that as an aesthetic inspiration.” That’s how they came up with the relationship between Eleanor and Isaiah. He wanted to use the parent-child relationship to explore the idea of a child struggling with addiction. He felt that it was “this incredible gift” to take these seeds in the film and create a new story for the show, to “explore the lengths that this father would go to to keep his daughter alive.” He reiterated that the characters in the TV series are brand new and not the same as the ones in the movie. It’s set in NYC in the current day (the movie was set in Stockholm, in 1980). They also created Naomi and Isaiah as well as the other family with a vampire, where Claire is the sister. Although it’s a new story, he feels that it’s “a love letter to the film.”

Seith chimed in to say that he also loved the movie, and the book. He was blown away by the pilot and the relationship between Mark and Eleanor. He admired the way he took this “beloved movie and found room to create a whole new dynamic.” He praised the way Andrew wrote the characters, which made him excited to work on it.

Another reporter, who hadn’t seen the movie, wanted to know if there would be some sort of explanation to explain what happened in the movie for the TV viewers who didn’t see it, especially regarding how the vampire infection came about.

Andrew joked that they need that reporter in the writer’s room and then asked Maddie to answer the question. Maddie said in a cagey way, “there’s definitely a way that all of this started, and it may or may not be answered. It most likely is, but, yes, you will get background information sometime this season.” Grace added that you don’t have to watch the movie to know what’s going on with the show or to enjoy it (and that’s true, for sure).

The group was asked why they think vampires are so popular in TV, since there are so many new vampire shows coming out. Andrew answered that, compared to all of the other monsters, vampires are the “most human.” They look and talk like us and their method of attack is “intimate.” He thinks we find them “exciting and thrilling.” They love writing for them on this show because they are so “deeply human,” which also makes it “more terrifying.”

Seith was asked how much he uses of the two previous movies, how he distinguishes the new series from those, what choices he makes and how much he shoots at night.

Seith admitted that he’s never seen the American remake of the Swedish film and didn’t want it to influence him. He feels that there’s “more love” in Andrew’s script than there was in the original movie (and more relationships). He wanted to make the city feel very “cold” and “harsh,” like the film, but with more light and love in the center of it. They used that metaphor when they shot the show. He spoke about how the show is different from the film by necessity. They loved the original but then had to “do your own thing.” He and Andrew had to rely on their own instincts as filmmakers to do that.

Maddie was asked what kind of physical and emotional adjustments he had to make “to become this predatory, dark character.” The reporter was impressed with her animalistic movements and asked if she had to train specially for that.

She replied that when she first got the script, she knew that she would have to go to “certain lengths,” which she had to accept. It worked out for her. She fell in love with the role right away. She spoke of late nights with blood all over her face but said that it was all worth it. She didn’t go through any particular training for her “unnatural movement” but just did it the best way she could. She’s excited to see the finished project.

The next journalist was a latina, who said that she was excited to see latinas in a fantasy world. She asked Demián and Maddie about working together and what we should expect from them in the series this season. Maddie said that she always enjoys working with Demián because she learns so much, and they formed a bond from working together and hanging out, which they took into their scenes. She said that he’s “just an amazing person, an amazing actor.” Demián said that he feels the same way about her. He was a child actor, too, so working with children always reminds him of those days. Watching Maddie and Ian makes him admire how much fun they have playing, and he praises the producers for creating such a great space where, even though it’s a dark show, the children can play and have fun. He said that Maddie is a “because she’s a true professional,” so she makes everything easy. She’s also never taken a break from the shooting, other than going to school. She’s always prepared, even though the role is very physically and emotionally demanding. He relates that it took a toil on him, he “was drained,” but the kids were not.

Another reporter asked how Maddie’s singing (which she loves) “informs” her acting and vice versa. Maddie gave a very intelligent answer about how singing and acting both get different aspects from each other. They both use different movements and emotions. She likes to take the styles from singing into her acting.

Grace was asked a tough question about where she finds her character’s “moral center,” since her brother is a vampire and her father is kind of a jerk. She feels that’s the main theme of the series: Where does the moral center lie? Her character was not in the movie. The writers gave her an impression of what Claire was like, and they answered her questions about her very well. She reveals that Grace is “very complicated” and “does very questionable things to save her brother and to find a cure.” She sees her as an “adversary to Demián’s character.” The show toes the line between good and evil. She believes everyone lives in the grey zone as three dimensional, complicated people.”

Grace was also asked if her family enjoys vampire stories, and has she shown them this series. Grace admitted that she had never been into them before, and she hadn’t seen the movie at first. She loved it, once she saw it. She learned a lot about vampires from this show and the movie.

Andrew was asked what their “vampire rules” are because every vampire movie or show seems to have their own rules. Andrew didn’t want to spoil too much but did tell us that vampires have to be invited in (alluding to the title of the show). Also, a line in the novel says that being a vampire is like an infection, and they repeat that in the movie, so he discussed that idea with a virologist. The doctor was happy to talk about vampires. The vampires can’t go in the sun and only eat blood. I thought this part was interesting. The virologist “talked about the part of the brain that very specifically manages pigmentation in the skin that acts as a shield for UV radiation from the sun being the same part of the brain that deals with the flight or fight mechanism and the mechanisms that would exist that would shut off the body to accept anything but oxygenated blood.” That became the idea for Claire, a scientist, who is trying a cure or treatment for her brother, and for Mark, who’s trying to find the same for his daughter. Obviously science can’t explain all of it, such as being invited into someone’s home. They tried to be as realistic as possible with the vampire mythology being explained by science to a certain extent.

Grace added that the vampires on the show are more like real people who happen to be victims. They’re not just “scary monsters or violent predators,” which is what makes them different from other vampire movies or shows. He added that because of these mechanisms in the brain, the vampire attacks “can be quite vicious and quite violent,” which is why Naomi is investigating “these homicides that are so gruesome and so violent in their nature,” which seem to be done some kind of monster.

Anika was asked how her character being a detective brought to her character and how it informed her “as a human being.” Anika thinks that her being a cop means that she’s more watchful than most neighbors and notices more. Mark and Ellie are hoping that they’ll be more comfortable there, but they can’t really be, since they live next door to Naomi. She always suspects the worst of people (even though she wants to see the best in people). Andrew praised the way she answered that question. He just spoke to the writing and how the characters and their stories weaved together well.

Seith praised the way Andrew wrote Isiah to be such a three-dimensional character because he wasn’t in the film. He likes the story between Isaiah and his mom, and how she tries to be a good parent to this bullied boy, but sometimes she fails (like most parents do).

Anika was asked how it works for her character to be the single mom as well as the hunter and how that affected her approach to the role. Anika praised the writing because Naomi is written as a real person and not your typical TV mom. She loves that this character is a hunter as well as loves her child. She often has the conflict between being a good mom and being a hunter or protector. She loves how Naomi is multifaceted and who changes constantly because of all that she’s juggling. She expressed that as an actor, she doesn’t like the “mom role” usually because it’s boring. Naomi, though, “is dealing with her own issues, who is tortured with her own things, but also has the capacity for great, strong, intense love, which makes for really good decisions and really bad decisions all in the same space.”

Anika was also asked whether she ever wanted to make any changes to the role or script. She explained how actors often know the character very well and want to ask questions or suggest changes, but in this case, they were very open to her questions and suggestions. They didn’t view it as a challenge, like some writers or producers would. She’s “grateful to be in this space.”

Demián has his own restaurant in Mexico, so he was asked how much of that real life experience he brought to this role (because Mark works as a chef). He told us about how he came to New York when he was 22, “trying to learn English,” and he “worked at a Mexican restaurant” while he was starting as an actor. He and his friend opened a restaurant in Mexico that’s been there “for 22 years,” and he still loves to go there and cook. He compares cooking to the theater, “from picking up the right products and picking up the right elements and making sure that everything’s right there on the table before you begin cooking. This is so similar to art in general.” He agreed that this helped him with the role. He’s very happy that Mark is a cook.

MORE INFO: Trailer

key art for "Let The Right One In" on Showtime

SHOWTIME ANNOUNCES PREMIERE DATE AND RELEASES OFFICIAL FIRST-LOOK TEASER FOR NEW THRILLER LET THE RIGHT ONE IN

The 10-Part Drama Will Debut on Non-Linear Platforms on Friday, October 7
And Premiere On-Air on Sunday, Oct 9 at 10 p.m. ET/PT

A picture containing person, nightDescription automatically generated

Photo: Francisco Roman/SHOWTIME

LOS ANGELES – July 26, 2022 – SHOWTIME will debut its new thriller drama LET THE RIGHT ONE IN on streaming and on demand for all SHOWTIME subscribers on Friday, October 7, before making its on-air debut on Sunday, October 9 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. Led by Oscar® nominee Demián Bichir (A Better Life), the 10-episode series from Tomorrow Studios (Snowpiercer) also stars Tony winner Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls, Power), Grace Gummer (Mr. Robot), Madison Taylor Baez (Selena: The Series), Kevin Carroll (Snowfall), Ian Foreman (Merry Wish-Mas), Jacob Buster (Colony) and Nick Stahl (Fear the Walking Dead).

To watch and share the first look of LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, visit: https://youtu.be/_abIA–OY3Y.

Inspired by the original hit Swedish novel and film, the series centers on Mark (Bichir) and his daughter Eleanor (Baez),whose lives were changed 10 years earlier when she was turned into a vampire. Locked in at age 12, perhaps forever, Eleanor lives a closed-in life, able to go out only at night, while her father does his best to provide her with the humanblood she needs to stay alive. With these emotionally charged and terrifying ingredients as a starting point, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN will upend genre expectations, turning a naturalistic lens on human frailty, strength and compassion.

LET THE RIGHT ONE IN is executive produced byaward-winning playwright, writer and producer Andrew Hinderaker (Away, PENNY DREADFUL) who also serves as showrunner. Seith Mann (HOMELAND, #FreeRayshawn, Raising Dion) is also an executive producer and directed the pilot, as well as multiple episodes. Marty Adelstein and Becky Clements are executive producers for Tomorrow Studios (an ITV Studios partnership).Alissa Bachner is co-executive producing, and Bichir serves as a producer on the series.

Demián Bichir Nájera (born August 1, 1963) is a Mexican actor. After starring in telenovelas, he began to appear in Hollywood films. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in A Better Life.

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Eleanor (Madison Taylor Baez ) about to bite Isiaiah's (Ian Foreman) neck on "Let The Right One In" on Showtime

Interview with the cast of Fire Country

TV Interview!

The cast of "Fire Country" on CBS.

Interview with stars Max Thieriot, Billy Burke, Kevin Alejandro, Diane Farr and Jordan Calloway; and Executive producers Tia Napolitano and Tony Phelan of “Fire Country” on CBS by Suzanne 9/16/22

This was a TCA panel, so there were a lot of journalists there, and we’re only allowed one question (more or less). I’m not allowed to give you a transcript or video, so below is my summary of the panel. I really enjoyed the first episode, so I’m adding this show to my watch list. It’s a unique idea and very well done.

CBS 2022 FALL TCA PRESS TOUR
FIRE COUNTRY
Max Thieriot, Creator/Star/Executive Producer
Billy Burke
Kevin Alejandro
Diane Farr
Jordan Calloway
Tia Napolitano, Showrunner/Executive Producer
Tony Phelan, Executive Producer

Virtual via Zoom September 16, 2022
© 2022 CBS. All rights reserved.

This was the first panel of the day, so we heard a general CBS introduction from Phil Gonzales, Senior Vice President, Communications, CBS Entertainment, and he played a promo for their shows. Then we heard from another executive, Mallor Mason. She told us, “We’d like to welcome you to the “Fire Country” panel. The drama inspired by series star Max Thieriot’s experiences growing up in northern California fire country premieres Friday, October 7th on CBS and streaming on Paramount Plus.” That’s right, the star of the show, Max Thieriot, is also the creator of the show, and it’s based on his own experiences! Also, he’s an executive producer (of course).

Then showrunner Tia Napolitano said, “We are so excited to bring you “Fire Country.” We’ve got a fun show that is about redemption and family. It’s a character driven thrill ride. We have had so much fun making it. I got excited just watching the sizzle reel again. It is inspired by the reality of the fires in California, and our characters are the heroes that are custodians of a community deep in fire country in California. Let’s get this started. We’re so excited to be here.”

Billie Burke and Diane Farr in "Fire Country"Most of the press asked Max questions, but I really love Billy Burke (ever since I saw him in the “Twilight” movies! And he’s been great in many shows I love, such as “Revolution” and “Major Crimes”), and Diane Farr (who plays Sharon) is also great. They play spouses in this show. There’s a bit of familial reveal at the end of the first episode, too. I asked them if they could speak a little bit about their characters’ relationship, and their relationship with the main character, Bode (Max).

Diane was very funny but really didn’t answer my question. She spoke more about working with Billy than about the characters. That’s fine – it was very entertaining. She revealed that it was fun to work with Billy because he’s “really not a morning person.” She made a funny noise and said that’s the noise he makes when he works. Then she compares him to Max, who comes in very bright, cheery and friendly. She said that he’s “Jesus, who was born in the manger” and then added, “And the juxtaposition of those two men is where I live.” She did say that she was just joking. She went on to speak more seriously about how she and Billy worked well together because they both have strong personalities, are veteran actors, “we negotiate our scenes. I usually want more emotional stuff, and he wants a little more action, and we literally negotiate, “Okay, if you kiss me here, I’ll do that thing you asked for.” Like, we barter for who’s going to give what.” I found that to be very interesting. She also praised Max for being such a great guy and full of heart.

Billy replied, “I’m going to go ahead and let you guess who wins most of those negotiations”. Then he praised Diane for making the acting easy and interesting. He’s very happy, he said, as long as he “feels like there’s something happening there.” He then went on to praise the entire cast, saying that they’re the best cast he’s worked with in a long time. He conceded that he does sometimes arrive in the mornings grumpy (or as he put it, “I’m all grumbly”) but working with them all makes things “a whole lot better.” They joked around a bit more. It was very fun to watch them play together.

The rest of the press had their own questions. The first one asked about how Max had to negotiate (there’s that word again!) his work on this show with his work on “SEAL Team,” where he’s also a part of the cast. Max admitted that it was a little difficult to “juggle,” but what helped is that they were already shooting season 6 of “SEAL team” before they started on “Fire Country” in earnest. He was able to make it work during breaks in the shows. He explained, “It’s been crazy, but, you know, life’s crazy, and I got a couple kids to throw in there, and I’m moving around, up to Vancouver to shoot a TV show…but I’m young, and I can keep up, and … I like staying busy, so it works for me.”

He added that when he started working writing this show, it was the start of COVID, and he didn’t know “how long this process would be.” He’d never tried to pitch an idea to a studio, and he’d never finished writing anything. He joked about being “a little bit of a hummingbird where, like, I’ll start on something and then I’m off to, like, another idea.” This started like that, but then he felt “locked into it.” He theorized that this is “just because it was personal.” He wasn’t sure whether he would play Bode, but then the producers convinced him that he needed to.

Max was also asked where he grew up in Northern California, and why he thought it would make a good TV show setting. The reporter also wanted to know whether the show will have self-contained episodes or be more serialized. Max answered that he grew up in Occidental, although he was born in Los Altos because his family was staying in a friend’s garage unit at that time. He told us that Occidental, which is in Sonoma County, only has about 1,000 people in it. He left there to work in the big cities, so he didn’t value how interesting the small town could be. He looked back on his life there and realized how different it is. He described it as “the comfort that you have and the familiarity you have with everybody and how close this community is. You know, in times of struggle and when everybody needs to come together, they really do, and they all support each other.” He felt that this would be a good “core foundation for the show.” Diane chimed to say that this is why she calls him Jesus Christ, because he was born in a manger.

Tony answered the other question, saying that it’s somewhat serialized, but he believes that it will be easy for the audience to catch up if they miss some episodes. He conceded, “There are obviously fire events, rescue events. Our firefighters battle wildfires from the Oregon border all the way down to Mexico..they also do water rescue, they do search and rescue. So there’s all sorts of stories to tell.” Their personal lives, and the mysteries involving them, will be the more serialized parts.

Billy was asked whether playing a fire captain on “911: Lone Star” helped him prepare for this role. Billy replied that he did a movie called “Ladder 49” (2004). He joked that maybe he’s a “closet pyro” because he loves fire. Then he thought about it and said that it’s really the characters he cares about, more than the world they’re in. His character on 911 was “just this despicable yet somehow likable guy,” which is completely opposite his character here of Vince. He’s not sure that he’s ever played a character like this one before.Manny and the other firefighters of "Fire Country" on CBS.

The same reporter asked Kevin (who plays Manny) about his role. He’s played a lot of cops, but here he’s more of a “fire cop.” Kevin is very honored to have played by many cops, but he’s new to the world of fire fighters. He shared that they, as actors, “dive as deep as we can to kind of figure out and respect not only the script but respect the job that’s put in front of us.” He’s really enjoying playing the role, but he feels that “it’s still a mystery to me. He just wants to do his best to represent firefighters on the show. He praised their “fire consultants” that show them how to do things. They have to stick close to the real firefighting but within the boundaries of entertainment. He agrees with Max about the small-town aspects of their show. He enjoys that aspect of “community and understanding that heart.”

The cast was asked whether anyone is afraid of fire in real life. No one thought that anyone there was. I mean, even if an actor had that kind of fear, I would think they wouldn’t want to admit it because they might lose their job (as long as they were able to conquer it and not let it interfere with the role). Max responded by talking about great their visual effects team is. Sometimes they have real fires in front of them, and sometimes it’s just visual effects, and their team “makes that look much scarier than it is.”

Max was asked about whether he’d experienced any great fire storms when he was living in Sonoma County; specifically whether his family ever had to be evacuated. Max revealed that there was one that happened when he was two, but he doesn’t remember. It. Most of his writing was based on the fires of the past few years, where a lot of Santa Rosa was destroyed by the fires. That one affected him the most emotionally because of all the damage and lives lost. He described to us that it came very fast, so the firefighters only had time to try to save lives and nothing else. He was texting with his friends who work as firefighters in that area and some of their stories were “pretty horrific.” He lives by the beach, but his mom lives up there, as well as friends. She had to be evacuated. How scary! She has horses and other animals on their faimly farm, so he had to go up and help them get the animals out and go to a safer area, like the dairy land in the southern part of the county.poster for "Fire Country" on CBS

Diane was asked about her past fire experiences on the movie “SuperFire” and in “Rescue Me” – specifically comparing real fire with CGI fire, and how it’s less risky now. She did agree that they’re much safer now.

She told a great story (she really should be on a podcast or writing) about her jobs. In the movie, she “had to learn how to fly a Cessna.” Then, with the series, “I had to learn everything because nobody thought I could be a firefighter. I trained with three ladies in three states. It was super hard.” She said that didn’t know anything before this series about Cal Fire (California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection) or about the different types of fires. She alluded to climate change making the world hotter and creating more fires, and how scary that is. She went back to the original point, saying that she doesn’t get to do too many dangerous things as an actor. However, she does “ride a motorcycle in real life,” which they wrote into the show. She thinks it’s probably too dangerous, but when a large stunt man tried to take it away, she didn’t let him, so we will see her riding that.

Actor Jordan Calloway (Jake) is most known for playing Khalil/Painkiller on “Black Lightning.” He was asked how “the physicality of that role” helped to prepare him to play a firefighter. Jordan said, “I’m still laughing after Diane. She’s hilarious. That’s mama bear on set.” He went on to explain that the two roles are very different. With the earlier show, “there was a heavy martial arts, heavy weaponry work.” He mentioned that Max probably has that on “SEAL Team” as well. He praised the real life firefighters for what they do, such as carrying around a heavy oxygen tank all day, as they had to do in one episode, as well as having to run around, check their surroundings, and deal with forest fires. He said admiringly that those are long days they have to stay fit and focused. He has some firefighter friends that deal with the fires in California because he’s from the Altadena area, which is in the mountains north of Pasadena. He remembers a big fire they had in 1996 where they had to evacuate. He laughed, telling us a story where his mom was up on the roof, watering it to make sure it wouldn’t catch fire. She also had “12 gauge shotgun” to keep looters away. However, they found out later that it wasn’t even loaded.

He went back to talking about how tough it is physically for the real firefighters, who spend long hours fighting the fires that can change very quickly. The stunt guys have it much easier, since the fire is fake, but he praised them for how great they are. He said they’re “crushing it.”

The journalist replied that he’s “been evacuated three times,” so he knows what it’s like for the real firefighters. He asked Max how he handles his heavy workload and whether it’s ever scared him. Max doesn’t think he’s ever been scared of the amount of work. He likes to “give a hundred percent” at whatever job he gets. He said that it may seem like his time is very “divided,” but compared to his “grandpa who farmed corn for 72 years,” it’s no big deal. His grandpa said, “Make hay while the sun shines.” He doesn’t shy away from the hard work. He enjoys “the sense of accomplishment in completing things.” He revealed that, “I have my work jeans on right now underneath my fancy shirt because I’m going to go out and finish my chicken coop that’s in the back as soon as we Max Theriot, star, creator and EP of "Fire Country" on CBSget off this call.” Whether he’s filming or working at home, it’s no different for him. He just has a bit more work than he’s used to, and he’s getting “a lot more emails” than he’s used to from his “Fire Country” co-workers, so he has a hard time keeping up on that, but he enjoys the work.

Actor/comedian Richard Kind, who was on the next panel for “East New York,” arrived early, so Diane Farr said, “I just want to welcome Richard Kind to our Zoom meeting. Richard, I’m so glad you can join ‘Fire Country.'” He didn’t seem to know where he was, so he asked, “Is that true? Am I with all you guys?” So she told him that he was. He replied, without missing a beat, “Well, I look forward to putting on my suit and wearing a big hat. Really big. How do I do that?” It was pretty hilarious.

Then they let Max give some closing remarks. He talked about how much he loves everyone on the show and how great they are. He’s excited to share the stories of the heroic firefighters.

MORE INFO: Trailer

"Fire Country" key art

MAX THIERIOT STARS AS BODE, A YOUNG CONVICT SEEKING REDEMPTION BY JOINING A PRISON RELEASE FIREFIGHTING PROGRAM WHERE HE AND OTHER INMATES ARE PARTNERED WITH ELITE FIREFIGHTERS TO EXTINGUISH MASSIVE, UNPREDICTABLE WILDFIRES, ON THE SERIES PREMIERE OF “FIRE COUNTRY,” FRIDAY, OCT. 7

Inspired by Series Star Max Thieriot’s Experiences Growing Up in Northern California Fire Country

Series Also Stars Billy Burke, Kevin Alejandro, Diane Farr, Stephanie Arcila, Jordan Calloway and Jules Latimer

“Pilot” – Max Thieriot stars as Bode Donovan, a young convict seeking redemption and a shortened prison sentence by joining a prison release firefighting program in Northern California where he and other inmates are partnered with elite firefighters to extinguish massive, unpredictable wildfires across the region. It’s a high-risk, high-reward assignment, and the heat is turned up when Bode is assigned to the program in his rural hometown, where he was once a golden all-American son until his troubles began. Five years ago, Bode burned down everything in his life, leaving town with a big secret. Now he’s back, with the rap sheet of a criminal and the audacity to believe in a chance for redemption with Cal Fire, on the series premiere of FIRE COUNTRY, Friday, Oct. 7 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+*. Series also stars Billy Burke, Kevin Alejandro, Diane Farr, Stephanie Arcila, Jordan Calloway and Jules Latimer.

REGULAR CAST:

Max Thieriot

(Bode)

Billy Burke

(Vince)

Kevin Alejandro

(Manny)

Diane Farr

(Sharon)

Stephanie Arcila

(Gabriela)

Jordan Calloway

(Jake)

Jules Latimer

(Eve)

GUEST CAST:

Marcelo Arroyo

(Julio)

Michelle Choi-Lee

(Ana)

W. Tre Davis

(Freddy)

Aleita Northey

(Lindsey)

Ty Olsson

(Cory)

Kaylah Zander

(Aydan)

STORY BY: Joan Rater, Tony Phelan and Max Thieriot

TELEPLAY BY: Joan Rater and Tony Phelan

DIRECTED BY: James Strong

GENRE: Drama

*Paramount+ Premium subscribers will have access to stream live via the live feed of their local CBS affiliate on the service as well as on demand. Essential-tier subscribers will have access to on-demand the day after the episode airs.

Website: https://www.cbs.com/shows/fire-country/

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cast shot for "Fire Country" on CBS

Interview with the cast of “Monster High: The Movie”

TV Interview!

June 25: "Monster High" cast members Case Walker, Miia Harris, Ceci Balagot and Nayah Damasen attend 2022 VidCon at the Anaheim Convention Center on June 25, 2022 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)

Interview with actors Miia Harris, Ceci Balagot, Nayah Damasen, and Case Walker and EP’s Todd Holland, Adam Bonnett and Phil Breman on Paramount+/Nickelodeon by Suzanne 9/21/22

This TCA panel was for a new Halloween special movie based on the popular animated series and children’s dolls, “Monster High.” It airs Thursday, 10/7.  It was fun seeing how excited everyone was.

PARAMOUNT+
2022 TCA PRESS TOUR
MONSTER HIGH
Todd Holland, Executive Producer & Director
Adam Bonnett, Executive Producer
Phil Breman, Executive Producer
Miia Harris
Ceci Balagot
Nayah Damasen
Case Walker
Virtual via Zoom
September 21 2022
© 2022 Paramount+ All rights reserved.

First we had an introduction from Todd Holland, and he played us a musical clip from the show.

I had researched the cast, and the only one that I knew very well at all was Nayah, who was on “Grey’s Anatomy.” I asked her how working this fantasy setting was different from working in her past projects, which were mostly set in the real world.

She agreed that this movie was the most extensive fantasy experience that she’s had. She maintained, “it’s not every day you are painted pink and waking up at 3:00 in the morning,” but she enjoyed it. Getting to play a monster is very different from real life. However, these monsters do “go through very real human experiences.” Of course that’s true because otherwise it wouldn’t be very relatable for viewers. She went on to say that her character, Draculaura, is “trying to find her place
in the monster world.” Similar to the other characters she’s played, they’re young kids growing up and trying to figure out who they are. She compared Draculaura to her character, Kimmie Park, in Grey’s. They both love to sing but are prevented from doing that, so they have “that same predicament.”

There were many other reporters there asking questions. The first one asked the cast what it was that they made them want to do the movie. Miia grew up loving “Monster High,” and she would “pretend to be Clawdeen Wolf and howl at the moon very
proudly in public.” She remembers that the show had a big impact on her, and it was great to identify with such a “cool character,” especially being “a person of color.” She’s glad to have the opportunity to do that for other children and to create “that safe space for kids everywhere.”

Ceci admitted that she was a “really weird kid” and liked spooky and creepy things. She also grew up “singing
and dancing.” The movie gave her an opportunity to sing, dance and be spooky on screen, so she loves it.

Nayah is another one who grew up watching old musicals, and being in a movie musical is her dream job. She’s also happy to be part of the MH franchise “with fashionable dolls and a really cool cartoon,” which she loved as a little girl.

Case is another one who loves live-action musicals, and it was a dream for him to do this.

Another reporter spoke touchingly about her daughter, who’s autistic and loves these characters. She had some questions from her little girl that she asked. She asked what the cast and producers there think about “old friends of the series” and how they’re “reacting to the new characters.” I think everyone here assumed that by “friends” she meant “fans” because that’s how they answered it.

Todd explained that they love the fans and value them. They made the movie because of how popular the series is. However, he knows that some people have complained about changes, but he believes that inclusion is important. He explained that Mattel decided that it was time to “change the body types and broaden some of the character histories to include more people.” He hopes that original fans will see how beautiful that message is and will enjoy the new dolls they come out with. The message is the same as it’s always been: “”All monsters welcome,” or as he said, “Be unique, be a monster, be yourself, and you
are invited.” EP Phil added in his own opinion that they love how passionate the fans are. He said, “We like to consider them our alumni.” He confided that he has to pre-teen daughters who are part of that group. He explained that “The
core tenants of the brand are still there from the inclusion and diversity and community, but most of all a sense of friendship.” He ended by saying, “We are excited about introducing this new world to a whole new group of kids.”

Miia was asked to discuss her musical background and whether she was surprised that she was able to get the chance to do a musical on TV. Miia told us that she grew up “in the musical theater world” and has been training her singing and dancing talents since she was 8. Once she hit high school, developed a “deep passion for songwriting,” which led to her singing publicly for money in her hometown. Professionally, she’s mostly done acting, but she’s always wanted to include music as well, so to do both things she loves is “a dream come true.” She said that she’s “a very happy monster.”

The same reporter asked if Todd or Adam wanted to add about the fun of creating the new music. Adam told us that the music mixes “many different genres,” with all of them having something creepy in them, thanks to Todd’s guidance. They tried to give all of their songs “their own really unique MONSTER HIGH personality.” He praised the cast members for being so talented in acting, singing and dancing. Also, they had to do all of their casting over Zoom. The cast blew them away with their auditions in spite of the limitations.

Todd spoke about how crazy it was to do try to get the songs and have them performed in such a short amount of time, which he had never done before. Musicals are new to him. He has 12-year-old daughters who are triplets, so they helped him choose the songs to use. Some of the songs they didn’t choose for the final cut were used in the background of the movie. He also mentioned that Nayah performs “with her Nickelodeon band Good News Girls.”

Phil chimed in again to praise the production, the music and the performers.

Next, the cast were asked which was most difficult: Singing, dancing or something else?

Miia piped up to say that she loves dancing, but having to do them in very tall monster boots, with little “peripheral vision” (because of the monster contact lenses) was challenging.

Todd concurred, saying that whenever Miia stumbled, she would say, “I’m okay!” and they were always asking, “Are you all right?”

Adam pointed out that they had to always hide her human ears under the wig (since she has costume wolf ears), but she was always concerned about her eyes popping out during the musical numbers. He said that the actors had a lot of those type of things to worry about while also singing and dancing.

Case gave his point-of-view that “keeping it all together at the end of the day” could be tough because of the long days, but he said that when it all came together through all the hard work, it was worth it. He also added that being all together in it “was the best part.”

Ceci said that what was tough for her was dancing with a big wig. She’s used to ballet dancing, where your hair is usually slicked back. She noted that all of their “amazing dancers” had to do the same thing, but with really big shoes. She thinks it looks “effortless” on screen, so she’s excited for everyone to see it. She thinks the filmed version looks more “relaxed” that how “stressed and diligent” they were during filming.

The next press person asked about how tough it was to take an animated show and make it a live-action musical and whether anyone had any criticism about it.

Todd admitted that it’s difficult to take a cartoon character or doll and translate that into a regular teen. They had to adapt and change things that didn’t work. There were a lot of conversations between them and Nickelodeon and Mattel to try to find the right look of the characters. That was difficult, and then how to make the live action people look realistic, like making “Frankie” blue and look real, not like “Halloween makeup.” He praised their “brilliant department heads in hair, makeup, and costumes that worked very hard” to make it all work.

Adam and Phil complimented Todd for his vision in wanting the “monster world” to be fun but also more believable. They didn’t want it to look like a cartoon. They hired “a brilliant production designer named Fred Andrews, who was just so smart and brought a level of sophistication to creating this world in Vancouver.” He had to create this scary school that doesn’t really exist, from scratch.

Phil noted that the main point of the show is friendship and being your “authentic self.” He credits the actors for bringing these characters to life in that way.

The actors were asked if they were big fans of Halloween and how they celebrate it.

Ceci reiterated that she loves anything “spooky and scary.” She and her brother have a “Halloween movie marathon” of scary or fun-scary movies for a month. She mentioned “Heathers,” “Hocus Pocus” and the Peanuts Halloween special. She hopes that others that love watching these movies will add “Monster High” to their list.

Nayah told us that she loves the scary mazes at places like Universal and Knott’s Berry Farm (in Southern California). She plans to go to the maze that has “OG monsters like Dracula and Frankenstein.” She joked that she plans to go there and take a picture with Dracula, her father (in the movie). She loves to dress up in costume as well. During the filming of the movie, Halloween occurred, so they all dressed up like scary characters from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Miia said that going to work on this movie was like “Halloween every single day,” which to her was “really cool.” She loves Halloween and dressing up. She plans to dress up this year “as the plant in ‘Léon: The Professional.'”

Case also said that he loves Halloween and dressing up, but he’s looking forward to next year when there are people dressing up as the characters from “Monster High: The Movie.”

MONSTER HIGH: THE MOVIE premieres Thursday, October 6th, on Paramount+ and that same evening at 7 p.m. ET/PT on Nickelodeon.

MORE INFO: Trailer

MATTEL, NICKELODEON AND PARAMOUNT+ DEBUT TRAILER FOR MONSTER HIGH: THE MOVIE, LIVE-ACTION MUSICAL PREMIERING THURSDAY, OCT. 6

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. and HOLLYWOOD, Calif., June 30, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Mattel, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAT), Nickelodeon and Paramount+ today revealed the premiere date and trailer for Monster High: The Movie, a live-action movie musical based on the iconic Monster High franchise about the children of famous monsters and creatures. Monster High: The Movie premieres Thursday, Oct. 6, at 7 p.m. (ET/PT) on Nickelodeon and streams that same day on Paramount+. The movie will encore on Nickelodeon on Friday, Oct.7, and Saturday, Oct. 8, at 7 p.m. (ET/PT). Internationally, the movie will premiere on Nickelodeon and Paramount+, beginning Oct. 6.

Monster High: The Movie follows Clawdeen Wolf (Miia Harris, Just Beyond), who was born half human and half werewolf, after she arrives at her new school, Monster High. She quickly makes friends with her classmates Frankie Stein (Ceci Balagot, Dispatches from Elsewhere) and Draculaura (Nayah Damasen, Grey’s Anatomy), and for the first time in her life, Clawdeen feels like she has finally found a place where she fits in and can truly be herself, despite keeping her human half a secret. When a devious plan to destroy Monster High threatens to reveal her real identity, Clawdeen must learn to embrace her true monster heart and find a way to save the day alongside her new friends.

Monster High: The Movie also stars: Case Walker (The Other Two) as Deuce Gorgon; Kyle Selig (Mean Girls on Broadway) as Mr. Komos; Marci T. House (Day of the Dead) as Headmistress Bloodgood; Scotch Ellis Loring (Firehouse Dog) as Clawdeen’s dad, Apollo; Steve Valentine (Mom) as Draculaura’s dad, Dracula; Jy Prishkulnik (Just Beyond) as Cleo de Nile; Lina Lecompte (Death Pursuit) as Lagoona; Justin Derickson (When the Streetlights Go On) as Heath Burns; Lilah Fitzgerald (Honey Girls) as Ghoulia; and Nasiv Sall (Descendants 2) as Abbey Bominable. Additional fan-favorite characters from the Monster High universe will also be seen throughout the movie.

In addition to Monster High: The Movie, an animated series based off the beloved Mattel franchise is slated to premiere later this year on Nickelodeon. Both projects join other Mattel Television content in production, including series and specials based on Barbie, Masters of the UniverseThomas & FriendsPolly Pocket, Pictionary and Fireman Sam, to name a few. Mattel first introduced Monster High in 2010, and it quickly became one of the most successful and beloved kids’ properties of all time. The franchise seeks to foster a more accepting world where everyone is proud to be their authentic self, which is more relevant than ever. Today, Monster High is back with a reimagined set of fangtastic characters, inspired by the original ghouls, for a new generation that embraces what makes them unique and rallies people everywhere to express themselves.

Monster High: The Movie is directed and executive produced by Todd Holland (The Real O’NealsMalcolm in the MiddleFirehouse Dog). The story is by Jenny Jaffe (Big Hero 6: The SeriesRugrats), Greg Erb, and Jason Oremland (Princess and the FrogPlaymobil: The Movie), and the teleplay is by Jaffe and Billy & Matt Eddy (Zapped, Teen Beach Movie). Adam Bonnett (Descendants franchise, Masters of the Universe: Revelation) serves as executive producer. Frederic Soulie, Senior Vice President & General Manager of Mattel Television and Phil Breman, Vice President of Live Action Development, oversee the movie for Mattel and serve as executive producers. Production on Monster High: The Movie for Nickelodeon is overseen by Zack Olin and Shauna Phelan, Co-Heads of Nickelodeon & Awesomeness Live-Action, along with executives Lee Rosenthal, Linda Halder and Jules Kovisars.

About Mattel
Mattel is a leading global toy company and owner of one of the strongest catalogs of children’s and family entertainment franchises in the world. We create innovative products and experiences that inspire, entertain, and develop children through play. We engage consumers through our portfolio of iconic brands, including Barbie®, Hot Wheels®, Fisher-Price®, American Girl®, Thomas & Friends®, UNO®, Masters of the Universe®, Monster High® and MEGA®, as well as other popular intellectual properties that we own or license in partnership with global entertainment companies. Our offerings include film and television content, gaming, music, and live events. We operate in 35 locations and our products are available in more than 150 countries in collaboration with the world’s leading retail and ecommerce companies. Since its founding in 1945, Mattel is proud to be a trusted partner in empowering children to explore the wonder of childhood and reach their full potential. Visit us online at mattel.com.

About Nickelodeon
Nickelodeon, now in its 43rd year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The brand includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, digital, location-based experiences, publishing and feature films. For more information or artwork, visit http://www.nickpress.com. Nickelodeon is a part of Paramount’s (Nasdaq: PARA, PARAA) global portfolio of multimedia entertainment brands.

About Paramount+
Paramount+, a direct-to-consumer digital subscription video on-demand and live streaming service, combines live sports, breaking news and a mountain of entertainment. The premium streaming service features an expansive library of original series, hit shows and popular movies across every genre from world-renowned brands and production studios, including BET, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures and the Smithsonian Channel. The service is also the streaming home to unmatched sports programming, including every CBS Sports event, from golf to football to basketball and more, plus exclusive streaming rights for major sports properties, including some of the world’s biggest and most popular soccer leagues. Paramount+ also enables subscribers to stream local CBS stations live across the U.S. in addition to the ability to stream CBS News Streaming Network for 24/7 news, CBS Sports HQ for sports news and analysis and ET Live for entertainment coverage.

For more information about Paramount+, please visit www.paramountplus.com and follow @ParamountPlus on social platforms.

PARAMOUNT+ PEAK SCREAMING RETURNS WITH MORE THAN DOUBLE THE SCARES

The Horror and Thriller Film Collection Includes the Highly Anticipated Premiere of “Significant Other” and Popular Horror Franchises Such as “A Quiet Place,” “Scream,” “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” “Paranormal Activity” and “The Descent”

Family Fright Night Favorites Include the Debut of “Monster High the Movie,” Plus Halloween Episodes from “Big Nate,” “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “PAW Patrol” and More

Click Here to Stream the Screams Now

NEW YORK – Sept. 22, 2022 – The Paramount+ Peak Screaming collection returns to the service today with an expanded screaming and streaming collection just in time for Halloween. The collection features more than double the programming from last year, including highly anticipated new originals, fan-favorite horror movies and iconic Halloween episodes from beloved series. This year’s seasonal collection will include the debut of MONSTER HIGH THE MOVIE (Thursday, Oct. 6), a brand-new live-action musical from Nickelodeon; the exclusive premiere of new thriller movies such as SIGNIFICANT OTHER (Friday, Oct. 7); the release of an all-new special Halloween episode of GHOSTS (Thursday, Oct. 27) and more. The Halloween-themed content on Paramount+ can be found here.

The thematic library, which includes entertainment for everyone in the household, is thoughtfully curated into subgenres to enhance discovery. Carousels within the Peak Screaming collection include:

  • Big Screen’s Big Screams: Blockbuster hits such as A QUIET PLACE, THE RING, THE DESCENT, WORLD WAR Z and 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE.

  • Buried Gems: Chilling thrillers such as THE BABYSITTER, as well as horror films like SPELL and SAINT MAUD.

  • Slash Hits: Spine-chilling films such as ORPHAN: FIRST KILL, SCREAM, CANDYMAN and THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN.

  • Suspenseful Series: Edge of your seat shows such as EVIL, PAROT, THE TWILIGHT ZONE and CRIMINAL MINDS.

  • Family Fright Night: Family favorites such as SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH, THE ADDAMS FAMILY and ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK.

  • Nickelodeon Monster Fest!: Beloved Halloween episodes from popular Nickelodeon series such as BIG NATE, SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS, PAW PATROL and BLUE’S CLUES.

  • Spooktacular CBS: Iconic Halloween episodes from some of the most popular CBS series, including BEVERLY HILLS, 90210, BLUE BLOODS, CHEERS, FRASIER and GHOSTS, which returns for its second season on Thursday, Sept. 29. The frightfully funny series will also debut a special Halloween episode, “Halloween 2: The Ghosts of Hetty’s Past,” on Thursday, Oct. 27.

  • Chilling Classics: Timeless films such as NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, PROPHECY, DEMENTIA 13 and ATTACK OF THE GIANT LEECHES.

  • Teen Wolf: The Beginning: The complete original series of TEEN WOLF, including popular episodes such as “Wolf Moon,” “Second Chance at First Line,” “Lunatic” and “Code Breaker.”

In October, the movie collection will grow again to include even more genre-defining hits and cult classics such as THE GRUDGE, I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER, SHUTTER ISLAND, JENNIFER’S BODY, ANNIHILATION and INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, among others.

Paramount+ with SHOWTIME® bundle subscribers can stream the SHOWTIME Bloody Good collection of series and movies, including the Showtime Original Series premiere of LET THE RIGHT ONE IN on Friday, Oct. 7, plus other killer series like DEXTER®: NEW BLOOD and Emmy-nominated YELLOWJACKETS. Fright fans can also watch the latest installment of the legendary franchise SCREAM (2022), horror hits from A24 like X, MIDSOMMAR and HEREDITARY, and other perennial Halloween favorites including THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS and ROSEMARY’S BABY. The bundle is currently offered at a special introductory pricing of $7.99 per month for the Essential Plan and $12.99 per month for the Premium Plan through Oct. 2.

The Peak Screaming collection is available to stream now. To view the Peak Screaming trailer, click here.

For more information about Paramount+, please visit www.paramountplus.com and follow @ParamountPlus on social platforms.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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"Monster High: The Movie" on Paramount+ and Nickelodeon Oct. 6

Interview with Jerry O’Connell and Rebecca Romijn

TV Interview!

Jerry O'Connell and Rebecca Romijn, hosts of "The Real Love Boat" on CBS

Interview with Jerry O’Connell and Rebecca Romijn, hosts of “The Real Love Boat” on CBS

by Suzanne 9/15/22

CBS 2022 FALL TCA PRESS TOUR
THE REAL LOVE BOAT
Rebecca Romijn, Host
Jerry O’Connell, Host
Captain Paolo Arrigo
Matt Mitcham, Cruise Director
Ezra Freeman, Bartender
Jay Bienstock, Executive Producer
Virtual via Zoom September 16, 2022
© 2022 CBS. All rights reserved.

They played a great preview of the show for us. The hosts, Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O’Connell, performed the theme song. They are certainly multi-talented. They also reminded us that “The Real Love Boat” premieres Wednesday, October 5th, on CBS and streaming on Paramount+.

Executive Producer Jay Bienstock addressed us with these opening remarks:

So when you hear “The Love Boat” theme song like we just did, you cannot underestimate the power of nostalgia. You can hum that theme all day long, and it will make you smile. So our new series “The Real Love Boat” caps into that nostalgia. So when you hear the theme song and when you see Ted Lange show up dressed up in that famous red bartender’s outfit that he wore when he played Isaac, when we see Jill Whelan, who played Captain Stubing’s daughter, Vicki, arrive on the ship, I mean, you feel like you are in the middle of a mist of friends. It feels like you are coming home. “The Real Love Boat” has this great sense of adventure. Now, the ship, the Regal Princess — which, by the way had 3,200 paying customers on board when we were shooting, no less. The ship visits these beautiful ports around the Mediterranean Marseille and Santorini and Crete it’s really magical, and it’s the perfect environment to fall in love. It’s fun to imagine that, at any port, at any given time, our singles may find the love of their life. And our singles, these are regular people who have great stories, have been in love and fallen out of love. We have a firefighter and a nurse, a youth basketball coach, real people looking for real love. So not only do we have the real ship and real singles and we have a real married couple as our hosts, Rebecca and Jerry, all we needed was the secret sauce. So, like the original series, we needed real crewmembers to be our matchmakers. So we have our captain. We have our bartender. We have our cruise director. And they are the real deal. I mean, those roles are their day jobs. They are not TV people. They are ship people, and over the years, they have made matches for many people on their cruises, and they did so on ours. It was sort of this interesting combining of roles of television and real life. So you take these real singles, take the real Princess Cruise Line, take real crewmembers, and you add them all together, and you throw in one of the most iconic theme songs ever, and — you heard Rebecca and Jerry — it’s amazing. I can listen to that all day long. It’s so fun the way they sing it together. You put that all together, and we have a really, really fun show, and that is “The Real Love Boat.”

I don’t normally watch any kind of unscripted or non-fiction TV shows. I would rather watch great acting and writing. However, I was very happy to speak with Jerry O’Connell and Rebecca Romijn, my favorite celebrity husband-and-wife team. At first it was just these two, and they brought out the crew later.

I’m not embarrassed to say I had a huge crush on Jerry from when he starred in “Sliders” on FOX back in 1995-2000. He was a child actor who got his start in the movie “Stand by Me” when he was only 12. Both he and Rebecca are now in different “Star Trek” series, which I love because I’m a long-time Trekkie. She stars as Number One in “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” and he does the voice of Commander Ransom in “Star Trek: Lower Decks.” I told them that I think they’re “amazing actors” and asked them what made them want to do this project. Rebecca answers that they “love watching reality television” and “watching love stories,” so they’re very excited to do it in person rather than from their sofa. They also enjoyed the “beautiful locations.” Jerry agreed, saying, “We as a couple consume an unhealthy amount of unscripted television.” They joked for a few minutes about how they shouldn’t be admitting that. They should, instead, say that they only watch “premium streaming shows” with “people with accents who live in manors.” They love the CBS competition shows and jumped at the opportunity to host this show. Rebecca had previously hosted “Skin Wars,” but he hadn’t hostead before. Since they’re actors, “This is a muscle we had not flexed before,” Rebecca said.

Jerry talked about how the show drew him in emotionally. Someone got eliminated in their first episode. He started to say something, but Rebecca interjected that he “cried.” He denied that, saying he was just “emotional,” but she repeated that he “cried.” It was a very funny moment. They have a great rapport that’s fun to watch. Jerry said that his “superiors” let him know that he can’t be so invested in what’s going on with the “singles” on the show. Rebecca agreed that being neutral is hard for Jerry. He gets “very caught up in the emotion” because he’s an actor. He added that when he watches at home, he definitely takes sides and shares his strong opinions on social media. Jay jumped in to say that this all proves how real the show is, that the singles wnat to find love and how real it is for them. He thinks that watching them do this is great TV. Jerry shared that he was shocked at how “emotionally attached I became to our couples and how much I was rooting for them.” When they’re acting, they know it’s pretend, but with this, it’s real.

Other members of the press asked their questions as well. They asked if the singles on the show remember the original “Love Boat,” since they’re so young? Rebecca assumed that they probably didn’t know about it. She thinks that the one of the show’s strengths is the nostalgia for people who grew up in the 80’s. Jerry wonders if some do have awareness of the show because of the Princess cruises, where there is a “Love Boat channel” and you can watch all of the episodes there.

This reminded him that he had asked Jay and their other boss, Eden, what he should do to prepare for the show. They just told him to watch the original “Love Boat” because it was all about people trying to find love. Rebecca agreed that both the old and new shows are about “people whose hearts have been broken, who are looking for a second chance at love.” Jerry hopes that people will watch the new show and get that same “warm, fuzzy feeling.”

Jay reminded Jerry that he’s not his boss. He talked about scouting to find the people for the show, and he met the ship’s captain, Captain Paolo. He explained how it worked to film on the ship. He impressed them all with how charming, good-looking, and well-mannered he was, so they decided they wanted him to be their captain on the show. They had to find someone else to actually drive the ship instead of him. He related that the Captain and others are the “matchmakers” on the ship. They “bring people together,” along with Jerry and Rebecca. At that point, they brought out their crewmembers and introduced them.

Captain Paolo Arrigo; Matt Mitcham, Cruise Director; and Ezra Freeman, BartenderCaptain Paolo was asked if he’d had any acting experience, but he hadn’t. He said he was just playing himself in the show, so he doesn’t consider this acting experience, but he said it was “incredible.” He was asked whether the singls on the show really talk to the captain about how much they want love and whether he believes their stories, and how did he help them. He confirmed that the cruise director, Matt, and the bartender, Ezra, gathered info about the singles and what happened with them, and they all worked to help them out, “to either fortify or strengthen their bond or maybe try to open themselves up to other opportunities out there with other singles until they find the real love.”

Jerry and Rebecca were asked if they’re good matchmakers in real life. Jerry claimed that he was responsible for two couples getting married. Jerry went on to talk about how the setting for “The Real Love Boat” is made for couples to get together and find romance because it’s in the Mediterranean and other beautiful locations. Jerry mentioned that he and Rebecca have been together 15 years. He also admitted that he’d never been on a cruise before. He thinks it’s a very romantic place. Rebecca added that “Water is sexy” while Jerry went on to say that “time stands still.” He understands it now. He compared it to other traveling, like by airplane, which is stressful and not romantic. Rebecca also admitted that she’d never been on a cruise before, either. She said she loved sleeping on the boat, “I have never slept better in my life, like, rocked like a little, gentle baby, oh, so beautiful.”

Bartender Ezra was asked how long it took her “perfect the iconic Isaac finger point to your liking” and what it was like to meet Ted Lange (who played Isaac, the bartender, on the original “Love Boat’). Ezra replied that the finger point is a lot harder than it looks and Ted helped her with it. You have to tuck the thumbs in but point the fingers out. She said that it was “amazing” working with Ted. She was already a huge fan of the original show because of working on the Princess cruise line. She had always joked “that it should be required viewing for crewmembers to watch Season 1.” So she was very excited about the show and to meet Ted. In fact, she said, “Jay told me to stay away from him until we got the cameras rolling because I was so excited to see him and work with him.” She gushed about great he’s been to her. Jay also shared with us that Ted is working behind the bar in some scenes.

Jay was asked whether their partnership with the Princess line was to help promote it and get the cruise industry to be popular again, since it took quite a hit during COVID and via several revealing documentaries. Jay denied that and said that it was just about being “The Love Boat” and nothing else. Jay was also asked whether anyone else besides Ted and Jill (Whelen, who played Vicki on the original series) were going to be on the show. He let Captain Paolo talk about Jill. He had meet Jill on a previous cruise. He used to watch the show with his grandfather who was on the original as an executive chef. They were discussing this before they show the new show, and “all of these nostalgic things.” It was a great conversation for both of them.

Rebecca said a few closing words about how much they love the show and enjoyed traveling to the various beautiful locations. “We are very proud to be a part of it, and we hope everybody enjoys it as well.”

MORE INFO:

The Love Boat key art

REBECCA ROMIJN AND JERRY O’CONNELL COME ABOARD AS CO-HOSTS OF “THE REAL LOVE BOAT”

The Dating Adventure Series Premieres Wednesday, Oct. 5, as Part of

CBS’ All-Reality Wednesday

CBS announced today Rebecca Romijn (Paramount+’ STAR TREK: STRANGE NEW WORLDS) and Jerry O’Connell (CBS’ THE TALK) as co-hosts of THE REAL LOVE BOAT. The husband-and-wife team will take the helm guiding viewers through the dating adventure series inspired by “The Love Boat,” the hit scripted series in the ‘70s that used Princess Cruises ships as its setting. The series sets sail Wednesday, Oct. 5 (9:00-10:00 PM, PT/ET), following SURVIVOR (8:00 PM PT/ET) and leading into THE AMAZING RACE (10:00 PM, PT), to create the Network’s all-reality night.

“After years of consuming, arguing about and dissecting unscripted television, hosting a reality series where a group of singles look for love while aboard a Princess Cruise ship, seemed like a dream come true,” said Romijn and O’Connell. “When we heard it was aboard THE REAL LOVE BOAT, that dream got an iconic theme song – ‘we promise something for everyone.’”

Rebecca Romijn continues to maintain her leading lady status in Hollywood since famously starring as Mystique in the FOX X-Men franchise. Currently, Romijn stars in the Paramount+ series STAR TREK: STRANGE NEW WORLDS, reprising her role as the iconic character Number One, whom she also portrayed in STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. As co-host of THE REAL LOVE BOAT, the former Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover model returns to familiar territory – she served as the host of MTV’s iconic “House of Style” and as host and executive producer of the GSN bodypainting competition series “Skin Wars.”

Actor, director and television personality Jerry O’Connell serves as host of THE TALK, CBS’ Daytime Emmy Award-winning talk show that examines topical events and contemporary issues. O’Connell began his acting career at age 11 when he co-starred as Vern Tessio in “Stand by Me,” spawning a career of roles in critically acclaimed films and televisions series. O’Connell currently voices Commander Jack Ransom in STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS for Paramount+ and he can now be seen in the thriller “Endangered Species” opposite his wife, Romijn, and Philip Winchester.

THE REAL LOVE BOAT brings singles together to sail the Mediterranean on a luxury cruise ship while looking for love. Destination dates, challenges and surprise singles will test the couples’ compatibility and chemistry. Like the beloved original scripted series, the indispensable crew members, including captain and cruise director, will play pivotal roles in the matchmaking and navigation of the romantic (and sometimes turbulent) waters ahead.

After nearly one month at sea, one winning couple will dock in the final port and take home a cash prize plus a once-in-a-lifetime trip courtesy of Princess Cruises, the series’ exclusive cruise line partner.

THE REAL LOVE BOAT is produced by Eureka Productions in association with Buster Productions. Chris Culvenor, Paul Franklin, Wes Dening and Jay Bienstock serve as executive producers for Eureka.

Jerry O'Connell and Rebecca Romijn, hosts of "The Real Love Boat" on CBS

Biography

Jerry O’Connell is an actor, director and television personality. He serves as host of The Talk, CBS’ Daytime Emmy Award-winning talk show.

O’Connell began his acting career at age 11 when he co-starred as Vern Tessio in Stand By Me. Born and raised in New York City, O’Connell graduated from New York University with a BFA before returning to feature films. He received critical acclaim for his role as quarterback Frank Cushman in Jerry Maguire.

Most recently he appeared in the film Endangered Species, with additional credits including Scream 2, Can’t Hardly Wait, Mission to Mars, Tomcats, the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced comedy Kangaroo Jack, Yours, Mine and Ours, Man About Town, Obsessed, Piranha 3-D, The Lookalike, Deep Murder, and The Secret: Dare to Dream. O’Connell was also seen in the big screen follow-up to the cult hit television series Veronica Mars. In addition to his film work, he has been seen in multiple hit television series, including Scream Queens (FOX), Mistresses (ABC), The Big Bang Theory (CBS), Billions (SHOWTIME), The Mysteries of Laura (NBC), Carter (OWN) and currently voices Commander Jack Ransom in Star Trek: Lower Decks (PARAMOUNT+.)

Additionally, O’Connell hosted his own daytime talk show Jerry O in 2019 and starred in the Broadway play A Soldier’s Play in early 2020.

O’Connell resides in Los Angeles with his wife, Rebecca Romijn, and twin daughters. His birthday is Feb. 17. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @mrjerryoc.

Rebecca Alie Romijn was born on November 6, 1972 in Berkeley, California. Her father was Dutch-born and worked as a custom-furniture maker. Her mother was American-born, with Dutch and English ancestry, and was a teacher of English. Rebecca attended Berkeley High School where her nickname was the “Jolly Blond Giant”, then she attended the University of California at Santa Cruz where she majored in Music, but left in 1995.

She was a natural for modeling, and has posed for Sports Illustrated, Christian Dior and Victoria’s Secret, to name but a few. Rebecca first met John Stamos in 1994, at a Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and had her first date with him at Disneyland. They married in September 1998, but have since gotten divorced.

Rebecca’s favorite foods are fillet mignon, tuna sashimi and Häagen-Dazs Cappuccino Commotion ice cream. But to keep her weight at a svelte 130 pounds, she stays fit with a rigorous stretching and strengthening routine (her firm body tone is evident when compared to photos of her earlier modeling, where she was very slim but not toned). Rebecca’s most famous movie role, so far, was as the shapeshifting Mystique in X-Men (2000), based on the long-running comic book series about teenage mutant superheroes (that Jack Kirby and Stan Lee created in 1962). To play Mystique every day, Rebecca had to start out nude, and then two female makeup artists would apply blue body paint and other stick-on parts for 8 hours a day. Rebecca told Jay Leno on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (1992) that things like tissue paper would stick to her hips; and, one day, the long hours of wearing sticky paint makeup made her so upset that director Bryan Singer told her to have a glass of white wine and relax. Notwithstanding those technical difficulties, X-Men (2000) was a box-office bonanza, and Rebecca’s future in films was assured.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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Jerry O'Connell and Rebecca Romijn, hosts of "The Real Love Boat" on CBS

Interview with Jacob Batalon, Savannah Basley, Mandela Van Peebles and Em Haine

TV Interview!

 

Jacob Batalon, Savannah Basley, Mandela Van Peebles and Em Haine of "Reginald the Vampire" on Syfy

Interview with Jacob Batalon, Savannah Basley, Mandela Van Peebles and Em Haine of “Reginald the Vampire” on Syfy by Suzanne 9/15

NBC UNIVERSAL 2022 TCA PRESS TOUR
SYFY REGINALD THE VAMPIRE
Savannah Basley, Talent
Jacob Batalon, Talent
Em Haine, Talent
Mandela Van Peebles, Talent
Jeremiah Chechik, Executive Producer
Lindsay Macadam, Executive Producer
Harley Peyton, Showrunner/Executive Producer
Virtual via Zoom September 15, 2022
© 2022 NBC Universal. All rights reserved.

SHOW INTRODUCTION: Hello, and welcome to our panel for the new SYFY series “Reginald the Vampire.” The hour long series, which stars Jacob Batalon as the title character, will premiere on SYFY on Wednesday, October 5th at 10:00 p.m., following the Season 2 premiere of “Chucky.” Imagine a world populated by beautiful, fit, and vain vampires. Reginald Andres tumbles headlong into it as an unlikely hero who will have to navigate every kind of obstacle: the girl he loves, but can’t be with, a bully manager at work, and the vampire chieftain who wants him dead. Fortunately, Reginald discovers just a few unrecognized powers of his own. A new show with a lot of heart and just enough blood, “Reginald the Vampire” prove the end of life is just as complicated as life itself.

This was a great TCA panel about the show. I really enjoyed the episodes I watched, and you will, too. I told them this and jokingly thanked them for getting a certain earworm song they used in the show stuck in my head. Peyton replied that it’s stuck in all of their heads, too.

Savannah Basley plays the “evil” ancient vampire, Angela. Mandela Van Peebles (son of Mario Van Peebles!) plays Maurice, the vampire who turns Reginald. There is a very sexy scene in the show between them, so I asked them about what they had to go through as actors to do that scene, which was sexy but involved lots of blood. Savannah had already mentioned that there was lots of “stickiness.”

Savannah explained that it was fun and that she loves the horror genre. She loves being hands-on and said that being covered in blood and having it “squirting” was fun. She admitted that while there is a vain part of you that worries about how your hair and makeup look, you can let go of all that and have the freedom to wallow in the fake blood and just concentrate on acting in the scene. She did add that the stickiness was kind of annoying, but the rest was “a lot of fun.”

Mandela also answered that having EP Jeremiah Chechik and the other “great people behind the camera and being able to trust their vision” was the best part for him. He wants to look good in a sex scene and can be critical of himself. He also spoke at length about how the romance between Maurice and Angela spans many years, so the earlier sex scenes have more innocence, whereas the later ones have more confidence and “the strength of someone who has grown up a bit since the first time.” He agrees with Savannah that it’s fun and figures that when you’re immortal (like the vampires are), it would be difficult to keep holding a grudge (as Angela and Maurice do against each other). He enjoyed playing their relationship and is looking forward to seeing it on screen. Jeremiah also chimed in to compare these type of scenes with others he’s done in the past. He admits that “they can be very disquieting, can be very tense, and can be very uncomfortable.” However, they weren’t for these actors. He works hard to make sure that all of the actors “feel very comfortable and relaxed” and not “self conscious.”

He praised the actors for how they made the scenes fun. Savannah also replied that there was “safety on set.” They made sure that she and Mandela were comfortable, ready and feeling okay. They worked with an “intimacy coordinators,” which made them feel less vulnerable. She felt it was important to show Angela’s softer side, since she’s seen as angry or evil, so that we can see why Maurice fell in love with her. She might have put a wall up due to things that have happened in her 400-year lifetime.

Showrunner Harley joked, “She might pull your heart out of your chest, but other than that, she’s very, very soft inside.” Everyone laughed at that. There was quite a lot of laughing and joking around during the whole panel, which was very fun.

Most of the press questions were for Jacob, who’s not only the star of the show but famous for his role as Ned in the Spider-Man movies. He was asked about having to play a vampire. He praised Harley and the others for making the show as realistic as possible and turning the usual vampire “tropes” on their heads – especially the ones about vampires only being thin and beautiful. He jokingly added that the vampire blood gets everywhere, including in some “bad crevices.” He enjoys being the hero of the story, even though he’s not tall, thin or has “long, flowing hair.” He did have a hard time speaking, at first, because of the fangs, and tried to speak without a lisp on the first day of shooting.

He was also asked about how different it is being the lead in a TV show (after playing Spider-Man’s best friend). He answered that he just tries to make sure that everyone gets along well and enjoys their time on the set. He feels very fortunate that everyone he works with is “so great and so amazing and talented and sweet and willing to work.” He added that it shocked him how much you have to come to work prepared (he may have been joking here, but I’m not sure). He feels that working on the movies led to this way of thinking.

Harley praised Jacob because he wasn’t used to shooting 8 or 9 pages per day, and he was worried that he might burn out, but he is a “superstar.” He said that everyone in the cast is like that. He thinks they’re very lucky to have such a great cast and that is “such a key thing to a successful show.” He mentioned that Jacob is a real leader in the cast and that he never remembers him even having a bad day. Jeremiah added that Jacob was always completely prepared and ready; he set the tone for everyone else. Jacob modestly thanked them for being there for him. Then he joked, “but I am, like, on the title of the show, but whatever. It’s fine” which provoked more laughter.

Jacob was also asked about the trials his character is forced to go through, but he wasn’t sure what he could say without giving away any spoilers. Harley mentioned some difficult arcade games. Jacob said that the “vampire karaoke” was difficult for him (there is a great karaoke scene in the show, although it’s not part of his trials). This is where Savannah said that working with the sticky blood was difficult and got everywhere, which Jacob agreed with. Jeremiah concurred that they did use an awful lot of red liquid, but the cast “all kind of sublimated to that and drank deeply.”

Harley and the other producers were asked whether any particular vampire show or movie from the past inspired them. He acknowledged that it’s hard to forget about “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel,” but they mostly used the “Fat Vampire” books in which the series is based. They made many changes to that and “ended up with a kind of rom com workplace comedy drama.” Jeremiah also weighed in on how past vampire shows and movies inspired them, along with the book, to overturn all of the normal vampire clichés.

The cast were all asked about their favorite things about their characters. Savannah loves how Angela is strong, powerful smart and “claims this full autonomy over herself.” Em pointed out that Sarah is very real, since she isn’t playing a vampire. Sarah is “the grounded center” and she feels that she was able to grow along with the character as she tried to “find her place in the world.” Mandela enjoyed getting to do new things, such as playing a vampire. He tried to channel his granddad and great-grandad, since he was playing someone that’s lived a long time. He tried to bring “different generational traits to a modern character.” It was fun for him to do that as well as playing in a more diverse vampire universe. Jacob described how Reginald is very “thoughtful” and “enigmatic,” and he’s “uncertain about life” and yet aware of how people see him now in this situation (as a “fat vampire”). He used this big change in his life to become a better person. He also thinks that the other characters really affect Reginald’s life deeply. He really loves playing with all of that.

Everyone was asked what other creatures they would like to see on the show. Harley said in a mysterious way that they all would love to see “an angel with a flaming sword.” Jacob likes dragons, and Em agreed, but Harley said that he doesn’t think they could afford dragons. Jacob would also love to see a “vampire battle.” Jeremiah said that they could have just about any type of fantastical creature, since they have vampires. Savannah loves mythology and would love to see a wendigo. Someone else mentioned a Chupacabra. Em joked that she’d like to see a jackalope. Harley agreed that it would be “more appropriate” for their show and “that’s definitely affordable for our special effects.” Savannah asked if Angela could have a pet jackalope. Harley said that he had really wanted to have Mandela and Nikki holding puppies, but they weren’t able to make it happen (that may have been a joke). Em talked about how much fun their show is, that they can be absurd. She commented, “I love that. I love that shit.”

They were asked how their show will stand out from all of the other vampire series currently on the air or coming up. Harley pointed out that most of the shows are not humorous (aside from “What We Do in the Shadows”). He thinks that their source material created a certain type of tone where they have an “interesting dichotomy between the vampire world, where vampires are really vapid, vain, runway models” and they use that to address the issues of “body shaming and body positivity” where Reginald doesn’t fit into that same type, which is different from other shows. They get into how the vampires “love bureaucracy” and are very vain. He discussed the conflict in the vampires between what they see when they look in the mirror (which they do a lot) and whether their inner beauty matches up.

Jeremiah Chechik and Harley Peyton of "Reginald the Vampire" on Syfy

Jeremiah said eloquently that their show is “very rooted in real emotional dynamics. That is the rock solid foundation, and it’s based on how we fit in, how we present ourselves, what we think of ourselves, how we relate to others, what is expected of us, our sexual orientation…the color of our skin. All of these things are really social dynamics which we explore within the wrapping of a vampire show.” Their show is more about those aspects rather than sucking people’s blood. It’s about how you can improve your life after you die. He also mentioned that their show stands out both “tonally and visually” from other vampire shows. It’s not as dark. Lindsay put in her two cents that their show has a different heart than the other shows. It’s really more of “an underdog story” with a “positive message that’s baked into all the entertainment and comedy. So it’s very aspirational, and it’s just so much fun.” She also said that the other shows don’t have their talented cast. Jacob agreed that their show is more about “the human condition” and the journey of self that Reginald goes through, and “the connections he has through death.” He concluded that Reginald “learns life through death, and that’s a very poignant and deeper sort of meaning than just, like, wanting to kill people and look super hot.” Jeremiah informed us that Syfy ordered the show because it’s original; there is nothing else like it on TV.

Mandela was asked to comment on a story his father (Mario Van Peebles) told about how his grandfather (Melvin Van Peebles) wouldn’t help him when he wanted to become an actor because he wanted him to do it on his own. He asked if that’s the way it was with him as well. Mandela answered that he went to college, and then when he tried to get a “real job,” it didn’t work out. He found it very hard. He remembered how much fun it was when he was a kid, traveling all over the world with his dad to different places (for filming). He figured that working on a set was a lot more comfortable for him than working in an office. Once he decided to go for that, it worked out. He’s very excited to be doing the show. He didn’t really answer the question, but that’s fine.

Jeremiah joked, “I’d stick with this for a while.” The reporter asked Mandela what type of regular job he had been looking for, so Mandela answered that he made smoothies at a health food store, “Simply Wholesome.” I thought he was joking at the time (since Reginald and his friends make smoothies), but maybe he wasn’t. It was hard to tell in this panel because there was a lot of deadpan joking.

MORE INFO:

Ad for "Reginald the Vampire"

Reginald the Vampire

Premieres Wednesday, October 5, at 10 PM ET/PT on SYFY

Trailer

Imagine a world populated by beautiful, fit and vain vampires. Reginald Andres tumbles headlong into it as an unlikely hero who will have to navigate every kind of obstacle – the girl he loves but can’t be with, a bully manager at work and the vampire chieftain who wants him dead. Fortunately, Reginald discovers he has a few unrecognized powers of his own. A new show with a lot of heart and just enough blood, “Reginald the Vampire” proves the undead life is just as complicated as life itself.

“Reginald the Vampire” is produced by Great Pacific Media Inc., Modern Story Company, December Films and Cineflix Studios and executive produced by Harley Peyton, Jeremiah Chechik, Todd Berger, Lindsay Macadam, Brett Burlock and Peter Emerson. The series is based on the book series by Johnny B. Truant.

Jacob Batalon

Reginald Andres, “Reginald the Vampire”

Jacob Batalon plays Reginald Andres in the new SYFY series “Reginald the Vampire,” which premieres Oct. 5 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

Batalon is best known for his role as Peter Parker’s charming best friend Ned Leeds in the “Spider-Man” films starring Tom Holland, including the most recent box office smash “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” He’s also appeared in “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame” as well as several indie films.

Upcoming projects include the films “Horrorscope” as well as Netflix’s “Lift,” alongside Kevin Hart.

Born and raised in Honolulu to Filipino parents, Batalon attended a two-year acting program at the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. While working through his last year in the program, he sent in a self-tape submission for a vague supporting role in a Marvel movie, his first audition ever, which led to being cast in the “Spider-Man” films.

Savannah Basley

Angela Hibbert, “Reginald the Vampire”

Savannah Basley plays Angela Hibbert in the new SYFY series “Reginald the Vampire,” which premieres Oct. 5 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

Basley’s first TV role was in “The Art of More and she has subsequently appeared in multiple series, including “Tales from the Hood,” “Coroner,” “Utopia Falls” and “Wynonna Earp.” She’ll soon return for the second season of “SurrealEstate.”

Her first film role was in the 2015 short “White Lock,” which won the Special Jury Prize at the Amsterdam Film Festival.

Basley is a dual Canadian-US citizen, the daughter of a Canadian mom and an American military veteran.

Em Haine

Sarah Kinney, “Reginald the Vampire”

Em Haine plays Sarah Kinney in the new SYFY series “Reginald the Vampire,” which premieres Oct. 5 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

Born in Vancouver, B.C., Haine is the only child of an Austrian father and French-Canadian mother. They eventually moved to London to study the Meisner technique at the Actors Temple. While in both New York and Los Angeles, Haine took up Improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade.

Haine’s first break came with the role of oddball Noreen Vanderslice in the critically acclaimed miniseries “Fargo.” Other TV credits include “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” and “The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers.”

On the film side, Haine has appeared in “Deadpool,” “Tully” and the indie “Gregoire.”

Mandela Van Peebles

Maurice Miller, “Reginald the Vampire”

Mandela Van Peebles will play Maurice Miller on the new SYFY series “Reginald the Vampire,” which premieres Oct. 5 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

Van Peebles most recently recurred on Taylor Sheridan’s drama series “The Mayor of Kingstown.” He recently guest starred on season 2 of “Wu-Tang: An American Saga” and appeared in the biopic “Salt N Pepa.”

Past film work includes a starring role in “Jigsaw,” the latest installment of the “Saw” franchise, and USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage.”

Other television work includes the 2016 Emmy Award-nominated miniseries “Roots.”

Harley Peyton

Executive Producer, “Reginald the Vampire”

Harley Peyton is an executive producer and showrunner on the new SYFY series “Reginald the Vampire,” which premieres Oct. 5 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

Peyton was born and raised in Spokane, Wash., and attended Harvard and Stanford universities as well as the California Institute of the Arts.

On the TV front, Peyton has served as a writer and/or producer on “Twin Peaks,” “Moon Over Miami,” “Route 66,” “Dracula,” “Wedding Band,” “Reign,” “Dominion,” “Channel Zero” “Project Blue Book” and, most recently, “Chucky.”

On the film side, his credits include “Less Than Zero,” “Gold Coast,” “Heaven’s Prisoners,” “Bandits” and “Friends With Benefits.”

Jeremiah Chechik

Executive Producer/Director, “Reginald the Vampire”

Jeremiah Chechik is an executive producer and director for the new SYFY series “Reginald the Vampire,” which premieres Oct. 5 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

Chechik is an award-winning director who has worked in commercials, studio and independent film and domestic and international television for three decades. Among his several feature credits are “Christmas Vacation” and “Benny and Joon.”

In television, he has worked for all the major studios and/or networks and has directed pilots, produced miniseries and worked in every possible genre. Among his credits are “The Bronx Is Burning,” “Gossip Girl,” “Burn Notice,” “Helix,” “Criminal Minds,” “Chuck,” “Shadowhunters,” “Rogue,” “The Gifted” and many others.

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REGINALD THE VAMPIRE -- “Dead Weight” Episode 101 -- Pictured: (l-r) Mandela Van Peebles as Maurice, Jacob Batalon as Reginald -- (Photo by: James Dittiger/SYFY)

 

Interview with the cast of “Chucky”

TV Interview!

 

NEW YORK COMIC CON -- "Syfy’s ‘Chucky’ Panel” -- Pictured: (l-r) Björgvin Arnarson, Alyvia Alyn Lind, Bella Higginbotham, Jennifer Tilly, Devon Sawa, Lachlan Watson at the Javits Center on October 7, 2022 -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/Syfy)

Interview with Executive Producer Don Mancini, actors Zackary Arthur, Björgvin Arnarson, Brad Dourif, Alyvia Alyn Lind, Devon Sawa, and Jennifer Tilly of “Chucky” on Syfy by Suzanne 9/15/22

“Chucky” Season 2: Executive Producer and Cast Share Behind-the-Scenes Insights

Virtual via Zoom – September 15, 2022 – In a fun TCA panel discussion, executive producer Don Mancini and cast members of the hit USA Network and SYFY series “Chucky” offered a glimpse into the upcoming season. The show, which garnered immense popularity in its first season, will return on October 5 at 9:00 p.m. on both networks. Fans of the film franchise and newcomers alike will be treated to a thrilling continuation of the story, as Chucky seeks revenge on those he holds responsible for foiling his plans in the previous season.

The panel consisted of Don Mancini, the showrunner and executive producer, along with actors Zackary Arthur, Björgvin Arnarson, Brad Dourif, Alyvia Alyn Lind, Devon Sawa, and Jennifer Tilly. The discussion covered various aspects of the show, including the Catholic background that influenced Mancini’s storytelling, the evolution of Chucky’s character, and the actors’ favorite moments from the series.

When asked about his Catholic background and its impact on the show, Mancini revealed that he was raised Catholic but attended an Episcopalian school in eighth grade, which exposed him to different aspects of the Catholic Church. This intersection between Chucky and religious themes intrigued him, as the character often subverts authority figures and challenges institutions.

Mancini also explained how Chucky seamlessly transitioned from the film franchise to the TV series format. He attributed the character’s enduring popularity to Brad Dourif’s unforgettable performance as Chucky and the skill of the puppeteers who bring the doll to life. Furthermore, the serialized narrative storytelling, which the films had already established, allowed the TV series to delve deeper into character development and explore different sub-genres of horror.

The cast members shared their own experiences and favorite moments from the show. Devon Sawa expressed his excitement about returning for another season and the joy of working with young actors. He particularly enjoyed the video game scene from the previous season. Alyvia Alyn Lind highlighted the scene where Chucky flips them off, as it showcased the characters coming together and created an unforgettable moment. Björgvin Arnarson praised Chucky’s manipulative nature and the surprising twists it brought to the story. Zackary Arthur mentioned the “Snug as a fucking bug in a rug” line and the creepy lullaby scene as his favorites.

Reflecting on the evolution of Chucky’s character over the years, Brad Dourif acknowledged Don Mancini’s creative vision as the driving force behind it. He commended Mancini’s ability to adapt to changing horror trends and continually challenge the character, making each season an exciting and daunting experience for him.

As the panel concluded, the cast expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to work on the show and their excitement for future seasons. Despite the challenges and emotions that come with wrapping up each season, the camaraderie among the cast and crew made the experience rewarding.

With the return of “Chucky” just around the corner, fans can anticipate an exhilarating second season that pushes the boundaries of horror and explores new depths of the beloved character. The series continues to captivate audiences and carve its own path in the horror genre, thanks to the creative genius of Don Mancini and the exceptional performances of the talented cast.

MORE INFO: Chucky

“Chucky” Season 3 coming Fall 2023 on USA & SYFY.

CHUCKY is a continuation of the iconic film franchise chronicling the murderous escapades of the notorious killer doll. In the TV series, Chucky crosses paths with archenemies, old allies and new prey, as he seeks to inspire fear and mayhem wherever he goes. After his diabolical plan to invade America’s children’s hospitals was foiled in season one, Chucky now seeks revenge on those he holds responsible: surviving teens Jake (Zackary Arthur), Devon (Björgvin Arnarson) and Lexy (Alyvia Alyn Lind), along with his ex Tiffany, now his sworn enemy. Meanwhile, can “Jevon” make it as a couple in the face of adversity at their new Catholic school, not to mention a brand-new onslaught of terror from the demon doll?

The series is produced by UCP, a division of Universal Studio Group, and executive produced by Don Mancini, Nick Antosca, Alex Hedlund, David Kirschner and Jeff Renfroe.

Don Mancini

Executive Producer, “Chucky”

Don Mancini is the creator and an executive producer of the hit USA Network series “Chucky.”

Mancini created one of the most terrifying and iconic horror villains of all time with Chucky, the red-haired, freckle-faced doll possessed by the soul of a serial killer. Chucky slashed his way into the pop culture zeitgeist in 1988 with the premiere of “Child’s Play” and the franchise now includes six sequels.

Mancini is not only a standout figure in queer horror, he’s also one of the only franchise creators of any genre to continue overseeing his creation for over 30-plus years

Additionally, Mancini served as a writer and producer on “Hannibal” and “Channel Zero” as well as co-writer on “Tales From the Crypt.”

Brad Dourif

Chucky (Voice), “Chucky”

Brad Dourif plays the devilish title character in the hit USA Network series “Chucky.”

Over the course of a lengthy career, Dourif has appeared in more than 50 feature films, winning a BAFTA Award and being nominated for an Oscar and Golden Globe Award for supporting actor in the iconic Jack Nicholson-starrer “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” Other films on Dourif’s resume include “Dune,” “Blue Velvet” and “Mississippi Burning.” He is also known for his work on the “Lord of the Rings” franchises.

On the television side, Dourif played Doc Cochran on the mesmerizing HBO Western “Deadwood,” from David Milch. For his work on the show,” Dourif earned an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.

Jennifer Tilly

Tiffany Valentine, “Chucky”

Jennifer Tilly plays Tiffany Valentine in the USA Network drama “Chucky.”

Tilly received an Academy Award nomination for her role in Woody Allen’s “Bullets Over Broadway” and earned an American Comedy Award nomination for “Liar Liar,” opposite Jim Carrey.

Tilly’s film credits include “Bound,” “The Getaway,” “The Fabulous Baker Boys,” “Dancing at the Blue Iguana,” “Bride of Chucky” and “The Doors.”

On the TV side, Tilly has appeared on “Modern Family,” “Hill Street Blues,” “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show,” “Moonlighting,” “Cheers,” “Frasier,” “Drop Dead Diva,” and “CSI.” For the last 11 years, she’s been doing voiceover work for Fox’s “Family Guy” as well as the films “Monster’s Inc.,” “Monsters at Work,” “Home on the Range,” “Stuart Little” and “The Haunted Mansion.”

Equally at home on stage, Tilly has many theater credits under her belt, including “Tartuffe,” (LA Public Theatre) “Boy’s Life” (LAAT), “Baby With the Bathwater,” (LAPT) and “Vanities,” (Dramalogue Best Actress Award). She received a TheatreWorld Award for Best Newcomer for her performance in Second Stage’s “One Shoe Off” at the Joseph Papp Theatre. On Broadway in 2001, she co-starred in “The Women” with Cynthia Nixon and Kristen Johnson, and then returned to Broadway to co-star in “Don’t Dress for Dinner” in 2012.

She appeared with Miranda Richardson in the critically acclaimed world premiere of Wallace Shawn’s play “Grasses of a Thousand Colors” at the Royal Court Theatre in London. She then reprised her role in the American premiere at the Joseph Papp Theater.

Tilly is a skilled poker player and won a gold bracelet at the World Series of Poker in 2005.

Björgvin Arnarson

Devon Evans “Chucky”

Björgvin Arnarson plays Devon in the hit USA Network drama series “Chucky.”

Arnarson is a globetrotting military kid, discovered his love for acting after he booked his first role on Bounce TV’s “Family Time” sitcom. His recent credits include the series “PEN15” and the feature film “The Seventh Day.”

He pursued acting from a young age, participating in theater and making short films. When Björgvin is not on set, he’s an entrepreneur and filmmaker, active in the local art scene. He also plays piano and studies digital arts.

Zackary Arthur

Jake Wheeler, “CHUCKY”

Zack Arthur plays Jake Wheeler on the USA Network hit series “Chucky.”

Most recently, he lent his voice to “Secret Agent Dingledorf and His Trusty Dog Splat” and was previously seen in “Mississippi Requiem.” Upcoming, he’s set to co-star in “Jill” with Tom Pelphrey (“Ozark”).

Arthur made his feature film debut in “The 5th Wave” and additional movie credits include “Hero Dog: The Journey Home,” “The American Boys,” “Don’t Come Back from the Moon” and “Mom and Dad.”

He’s perhaps best well known for his role in Amazon’s Emmy Award-nominated series “Transparent,” appearing in 19 episodes throughout the show’s five seasons along co-star and Emmy winner Jeffrey Tambor.

Arthur has also guest-starred on a variety of TV projects, including Jim Carrey’s Golden Globe-nominated comedy series “Kidding,” Pamela Adlon’s Peabody Award-winning FX series “Better Things” and David Hollander’s critically acclaimed Showtime series “Ray Donovan.” Additional television credits include “Borrasca,” “SWAT,” “Teachers,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” and “Best Friends Whenever.”

He currently resides in Los Angeles with his family.

Alyvia Alyn Lind

Lexy, “Chucky”

Alyvia Alyn Lind grew up in Los Angeles in a houseful of actresses. She began her career at the age of 3 and at such a young age, has an impressive list of credits.

Alyvia is presently in production on the highly anticipated USA/SyFy television series “Chucky,” produced by NBC/Universal, playing the entitled, privileged “mean girl” ‘Lexy Cross.’

Lind is also a series regular in the popular, post-apocalyptic, genre-bending “Daybreak” currently streaming on Netflix, playing the role of ‘Angelica Green,’ a highly unstable kid genius.

Alyvia is often recognized for playing Anna Faris’s daughter in the remake of the comedy classic “Overboard.” She recently completed season 2 of “Futureman” with Josh Hutcherson, produced by Seth Rogen, airing on Hulu. She can also be seen in the Netflix original film, “Walk. Ride. Rodeo.”

Alyvia is best known for her portrayal of the living legend, Dolly Parton, in the NBC Universal telefilm, “Coat of Many Colors,” and immediately following, “Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love,” which was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award. Alyvia was recognized by the prestigious Critics’ Choice Awards by being nominated in the adult category at seven years old, for Best Actress alongside Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates, and Kirsten Dunst, and she was also nominated and won the Movieguide’s Grace Award for Best Actress. Not only did the MOW break records with 18.6 million viewers, which made COMC the highest-rated movie or miniseries on the broadcast networks in six years, the film walked away with numerous awards, including The Tex Ritter Award and the coveted Epiphany Prize given by the Movieguide Awards. One of Alyvia’s favorite parts of working on the film was singing her solos, and recording “Angel Hill,” an original duet with Dolly Parton.

Alyvia was also seen in the Amazon original movie “An American Girl Story – Maryellen 1955: Extraordinary Christmas” playing the lead character, a young girl who sets her mind to helping children with polio. In conjunction with the film, Aly teamed up with Lollipop Theatre Network to help bring awareness to children with life-threatening illnesses.

Alyvia is also known for the much publicized, campy Lifetime movie, “A Deadly Adoption” where she enjoyed the enviable role of Will Ferrell’s and Kristen Wiig’s kidnapped daughter.

One of Aly’s career highlights was playing Adam Sandler’s daughter in the Warner Bros. film “Blended” alongside Drew Barrymore and Bella Thorne. Alyvia plays the precocious and sweet ‘Lou Friedman,’ the youngest daughter of Sandler.

Alyvia’s television credits include the ABC hit series “Revenge,” playing the five-yearold ‘Amanda Clarke,’ the wisecracking ‘Charlotte,’ on the Nick@Nite comedy “See Dad Run” with Scott Baio, ‘Annika,’ a foreign exchange student (she learned to speak Swedish for the role) in the TNT comedy “Teachers,” “Gamer’s Guide” for Disney, ‘Sasha’ on “Alexa and Katie” for Netflix,’ Lily’ on the Ryan Murphy Fox hit “9-1-1,” and she can still be seen (since the age of 3) in the television daytime drama “The Young and the Restless” as ‘Faith Newman,’ in which she was Emmy nominated for Outstanding Younger Actor in a Drama Series in 2017 at the age of 9 and is again nominated for her work in 2020.

On the big screen, Lind appeared in Dimension Film’s “Dark Skies” (2013) with Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton, and was seen in Universal Pictures’ “Mockingbird,” a thriller starring Spencer List, and the feature film “Shangri-La Suite” opposite Ashley Greene and Emily Browning in which Alyvia portrays Lisa Marie Presley.

Alyvia is also known for her recurring role, ‘Gracie,’ on the groundbreaking, award winning Amazon show “Transparent”, and the critically acclaimed “Masters of Sex” for Showtime, playing ‘Jenny,’ Michael Sheen’s and Caitlin Fitzgerald’s daughter.

Alyvia grew up with two older sisters, Natalie and Emily, (both actresses) in an animalloving home. She has a passion for dogs and her favorite pastime is being a mom to her rescued malti-poo named “Georgie,” and her new goldendoodle puppy, “Rocky Lou.” In her spare time, she likes to record songs and make movies with her sisters, practice guitar, write music and dance. Alyvia has grown up watching her mom, actress Barbara Alyn Woods (“One Tree Hill” and “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids”) and looks up to her for acting inspiration.

Devon Sawa

Logan Wheeler / Lucas Wheeler, “Chucky”

Dewon Sawa plays Father Bryce on the hit USA Network drama series “Chucky.”

Born in Vancouver, Sawa is an industry veteran having gotten his start in such films as “Casper,” “Now and Then” and “Little Giants.” He soon became a household name after starring in the iconic horror franchise “Final Destination” as well as cult favorites “Idle Hands” and “SLC Punk” as well as its sequel, “Punk’s Dead.” He also starred opposite Sylvester Stallone and Dave Bautista in “Escape Plan: The Extractors,” opposite John Travolta in “The Fanatic” and opposite Guy Pearce in “Disturbing the Peace.”

On the TV side, Sawa can be seen on the HBO Max series “Hacks.” He also appeared on the CW’s “Nikita” as both Owen Elliot and Sam Matthews, a Special Forces operative with multiple personalities.

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NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 08: Brad Dourif attends "Wildling" New York Screening at iPic Theater on April 8, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)NEW YORK COMIC CON -- "Syfy’s ‘Chucky’ Panel” -- Pictured: Don Mancini at the Javits Center on October 7, 2022 -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/Syfy)

 

Interview with Skylar Astin

TV Interview!

 

Skylar Astin and Marcia Gay Hardin of "So Help Me Todd" on CBS. Photos from paramountpressexpress.com

Interview with Scott Prendergast, Elizabeth Klaviter, Marcia Gay Harden, Skylar Astin, Madeline Wise, Tristen J. Winger, Inga Schlingmann and Rosa Arrendondo of “So Help Me Todd” on CBS by Suzanne 9/21/23

CBS 2022 TCA PRESS TOUR
“SO HELP ME TODD”
Scott Prendergast, Creator/Executive Producer; Elizabeth Klaviter, Showrunner/Executive Producer; and actors Marcia Gay Harden, Skylar Astin, Madeline Wise, Tristen J. Winger, Inga Schlingmann and Rosa Arrendondo
Virtual via Zoom September 21 2022
©2022 CBS All rights reserved.

Here were some introductory remarks about the show. First, from the moderator: The series is inspired by our creator and executive producer Scott show premieres Thursday, September 29th, at 9/8 Central on CBS and Paramount+.
Joining us today is the cast and executive producers of the series. Please welcome creator and executive producer Scott Prendergast, showrunner and executive producer Elizabeth Klaviter, stars Marcia Gay Harden, Skylar Astin, Madeline Wise, Tristen J. Winger, Inga Schlingmann, and Rosa Arredondo.

The second remarks were from the creator/EP Scott Prendergast: “I’m so happy to be here with my showrunner Elizabeth Klaviter and our six incredible cast members. Just a quick recap. This show is based on a true story. My mother’s husband did disappear and I helped her find him and that’s where we drew the inspiration for the show. So it’s very exciting to be here. The cast is incredible. And I’ll just quickly tell you that when I pitched the show, the first thing I said to CBS was if you took Alicia, the lawyer, from “The Good Wife” and Kalinda, the investigator, made them mother and son and had them do “Moonlighting,” that’s the show, and here we are a year and a half later.

This press panel was for the TV Critics Association. They give us a transcript of the interviews, but we’re not allowed to post them verbatim, and there’s no video or audio.

This is a fun new dramady starring Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden (whom you may remember from “Law and Order” and other shows) and Skylar Astin, who’s probably best known for playing Zoey’s love interest in “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” (ZEP) I spoke with Marcia before, years ago, so I was very happy to get a chance to speak to Skylar because I really loved ZEP.
CBS/Paramount let us watch one episode before airing. It’s a quirky show, and those rarely do well on TV, but you never know. One of the more interesting things about it is that the idea for the story came from the show’s creator’s real life experiences.

With these large press panels, we’re lucky to get one question in, so I was ecstatic to ask him if he would be singing on this show. He not only starred in ZEP but was in the musical movie “Pitch Perfect.” He said that they had no plans to do that yet. He didn’t think his character, Todd, would be a very good singer.

The follow-up question to mine asked if filming the show was easier because there wasn’t choreography and everything, like on ZEP and Pitch Perfect. He felt very comfortable doing musicals, but this show has its own “specific rhythm,” so he treats it the same way. He was talking about the dialogue, which is “very rhythmic.”

“So Help Me Todd: A Quirky Blend of Comedy and Mystery Unveiled in CBS’ New Series”

In a recent Television Critics Association (TCA) panel, the creators, cast, and executive producers of CBS’ upcoming series “So Help Me Todd” gathered to share insights into this intriguing blend of comedy and mystery. The series, set to premiere on Thursday, September 29th, at 9/8 Central, promises to captivate viewers with its unique storyline and a cast that seamlessly mixes humor and drama.

Inspiration from Real Life

The show’s creator and executive producer, Scott Prendergast, kicked off the event by sharing the series’ origin story. He revealed that the inspiration for “So Help Me Todd” came from a real-life experience where his mother’s husband disappeared, and he played a pivotal role in helping her find him. This deeply personal narrative forms the foundation of the show’s premise.

Prendergast described the series as a blend of “The Good Wife,” “Moonlighting,” and classic CBS procedurals, with a strong focus on the unique mother-son dynamic at its core.

Balancing Comedy and Mystery

A recurring theme during the panel discussion was how the show successfully balances comedy and mystery. Skylar Astin, who plays the titular character Todd, explained that while the show has its comedic moments, it also explores deeper emotional aspects. Astin noted that Todd is a complex character, and he enjoys portraying the character’s messiness and vulnerability.

Executive producer Elizabeth Klaviter emphasized that the humor in the show is grounded in authentic character development. The cast’s performances and the witty scripts allow viewers to relate to the characters while enjoying the comedic elements.

A Cast of Characters

The cast of “So Help Me Todd” includes the talented Marcia Gay Harden, Skylar Astin, Madeline Wise, Tristen J. Winger, Inga Schlingmann, and Rosa Arredondo. Each actor brings their unique qualities to the series, contributing to the chemistry that makes the show stand out.

Finding Laughter in the Unusual

One of the standout aspects of the show is its willingness to embrace humor in unusual situations. Scott Prendergast shared a real-life anecdote where he pretended to be someone else to locate a missing person. This blend of absurdity and suspense is at the heart of “So Help Me Todd,” making it an engaging and entertaining watch.

Plans for the Future

When asked about the show’s future, Scott Prendergast revealed that they have ambitious plans for seven seasons. He believes that the evolving mother-son relationship and the characters’ growth will provide endless material for captivating storylines. The panelists expressed their excitement about exploring the family dynamics further, including relationships between siblings, colleagues, and adversaries.

A Quirky Family Saga Awaits

As the panel concluded, it was evident that “So Help Me Todd” promises to be a unique addition to CBS’ lineup, offering viewers a captivating blend of comedy and mystery while delving deep into the intricacies of family dynamics. With a strong cast and a commitment to maintaining the delicate balance between humor and drama, this series is poised to become a must-watch this fall.

Prepare to embark on a journey with the Todd family as they navigate life’s twists, turns, and absurdities, all while seeking answers to intriguing mysteries. Tune in on September 29th to catch the premiere of “So Help Me Todd” on CBS and Paramount+.

 

MORE INFO: Trailer

So Help Me Todd Skylar Astin and Marcia Gay Harden Photo: CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

SO HELP ME TODD stars Academy Award winner Marcia Gay Harden and Skylar Astin as razor-sharp, meticulous attorney Margaret Wright (Harden) and Todd (Astin), her talented but scruffy, aimless son whom she hires as her law firm’s in-house investigator. As the black sheep of the well-heeled Wright family, Todd is a laidback, quick-thinking, excellent former private detective who fell on hard times after his flexible interpretation of the law got his license revoked. Margaret’s penchant for excellence and strict adherence to the law is at complete odds with Todd’s scrappy methods of finding his way through sticky situations: by the seat of his wrinkled pants. When Todd inadvertently teams with his mother on a case, she’s surprised to find herself duly impressed by – and proud of – his crafty ability to sleuth out information with his charm and his wide-ranging tech savvy. At last, Margaret sees a way to put her son on a “suitable” path to living an adult, financially solvent life she approves of, and she asks him to join her firm. Todd agrees, since it means getting his license back and once again doing the job he excels at and loves. Mother and son working together is a big first step toward mending their fragile, dysfunctional relationship, and they may even come away with a better understanding of each other at this pivotal point in their lives. But whether Todd and Margaret will be able to accept each other for who they are is another case entirely.

Marcia Gay Harden Photo: CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.Marcia Gay Harden

July 2022

Academy Award-winning actress Marcia Gay Harden has forged an incomparable body of work, and like a chameleon she transforms into each character she plays. Her critically lauded performances are myriad – from glamorous Ava Gardner in “Sinatra,” to artist Lee Krasner in “Pollock” (winning an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress), to the down-and-out Celeste in “Mystic River” (Oscar-nominated in the same category) – and her versatility has been praised in other films such as “Miller’s Crossing,” “The First Wives Club,” “Meet Joe Black,” “Mona Lisa Smile,” “The Hoax” and “Used People.”

Harden stars in the comedy series “Uncoupled” opposite Neil Patrick Harris. She plays a socialite in the middle of a bitter divorce who commiserates with Harris’ character when his husband walks out on him.

On the film side, Harden will be seen in “Roadside’s Gigi & Nate” with Jim Belushi, Josephine Langford and Charlie Rowe, set for a September theater release, along with Greg Mattola’s “Confess, Fletch” opposite Jon Hamm.

Currently, she recurs on the Emmy-nominated series “The Morning Show” opposite Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, for which she was just nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series. Most recently, she starred in the Amy Poehler-directed comedy “Moxie” and the miniseries “Barkskins.”

Harden lives in Los Angeles. Her birth date is August 14. She can be followed on Twitter @MGH_8 and Instagram @mgh_8.

So Help Me Todd Skylar Astin Photo: CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.Skylar Astin

July 2022

Skylar Astin is a celebrated actor with a varied career across stage and screen. This past summer, Astin returned to the theater in the Off-Broadway revival of “Little Shop of Horrors” as Seymour, directed by Tony winner Michael Mayer. Also, he appeared in the documentary “Spring Awakening: Those You’ve Known.” Astin and the rest of the cast revisited their roles and re-sparked the cultural phenomenon which put Astin on the map and went on to win eight Tony Awards in 2007. Following the release of the documentary, he performed a special rendition of “Touch Me” at this year’s Tony Awards with the original cast.

Most recently, Astin starred in two seasons of “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” alongside Jane Levy, Mary Steenburgen and Peter Gallagher.

Additional television credits include appearing opposite Golden Globe-winner Rachel Bloom in the final season of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” the Golden Globe-nominated dark comedy “Graves,” Frank Coraci’s comedy “Hot Air,” “Ground Floor,” “Girls,” “Halt and Catch Fire,” “House” and “Love Bites.”

Astin is perhaps best known for his star turn as Jesse in the hit “Pitch Perfect” franchise. Additional big screen credits include “Ghosts of War,” “21 and Over” opposite Miles Teller, “Taking Woodstock” for director Ang Lee, the Sundance cult-hit “Hamlet 2,” “Flock of Dudes,” “Cavemen” and the beloved animated film “Wreck It Ralph.”

In 2020, Astin appeared in “Secret Society of Second Born Royals,” an original live action film. Astin was nominated for a Critics’ Choice Award in the category of Best Actor in a Superhero Movie for his role in this film.

A native New Yorker, Astin portrayed the iconic role of Tony in Carnegie Hall’s performance of “West Side Story” and received rave reviews in Encore’s production of Kurt Vonnegut’s “God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater.” He was also seen in Pulitzer Prize nominee Theresa Rebeck’s play, “What We’re Up Against.”

Currently, Astin resides in Los Angeles. He can be followed on Twitter @SkylarAstin and Instagram @skylarastin.

So Help Me Todd Madeline Wise Photo: CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.Madeline Wise

July 2022

 

Madeline Wise is an actress with a diverse background. After studying at Bard College, with a stint at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, she co-founded New Saloon Theatre Co. and worked extensively in the downtown theatre scene in New York.

Wise made her television debut in season three of the Pete Holmes semi-autobiographical comedy “Crashing,” produced by Judd Apatow. She also played Sir Patrick Stewart’s mother in season two of STAR TREK: PICARD and has appeared in “Single Drunk Female,” EVIL and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

Her film credits include Noah Hutton’s sci-fi “Lapsis” and Sophia Silver’s meditation on adolescent female friendship “Over/Under.”

Currently, she resides in New York. Her birth date is March 1 and she can be found on Twitter and Instagram at @wise_dumb.

So Help Me Todd Tristen J. Winger Photo: CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.Tristen J. Winger

June 2023

Born and raised in South-Central Los Angeles, Winger discovered his love for acting at a young age. He notes he was a “TGIF” kid, looking forward to Friday nights where he could tune in to “Family Matters” and see himself represented for the first time on television through Jaleel White and his on-screen character Steve Urkel. Winger attended the Amazing Grace Conservatory (AGC), where he was able to hone his craft in theater, bringing characters to life on stage. He went on to attend the King Drew Magnet High School of Medicine and Science, where he became friends with Issa Rae (who would eventually give him his first big break with “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl”), graduating one year early. While Winger initially thought he would pursue a career in the medical field, even studying science, math and engineering at California State University Northridge, the performing arts kept calling his name. He dabbled in music production and audio engineering, learning to produce and make music while in college, and took a few retail jobs while he auditioned for acting projects in Los Angeles. While working at the Apple store he landed one of his first big jobs on “Insecure,” and he has been booking film and television projects ever since.

On television, Winger has played a variety of characters that come from many different backgrounds. He is best known for his role as Thug Yoda on the award-winning series “Insecure” from creator/writer/producer Issa Rae. His other credits include “Bigger,” “East of La Brea,” “50 Central,” “Almost 30,” and his first big break, comedy web series “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl” opposite Issa Rae, which debuted on YouTube in 2011.

Winger’s feature film credits include Tripp in the short film “The Hostage,” which was accepted into the Nantucket Film Festival. Winger also appeared in the award-winning short “Baldwin Beauty,” which went to the Sundance Film Festival in 2020 and was nominated for Short Film Grand Jury Prize and Best Short Film. The project was also nominated for a NAACP Image Award in 2020 for Outstanding Short Form (Live Action).

Winger frequently lends his voice to projects. He voiced multiple characters in the highly popular PlayStation 5 video game “Horizon: Forbidden West.” Recently, he starred in the podcast “We Stay Looking” (six episodes), which was produced by HBO Max. The podcast was nominated at the 2022 Ambies for Best Scriptwriting, Fiction and secured back-to-back wins at the 2021 and 2022 Webby Awards in the Podcasts – Scripted (Fiction) (Limited-Series & Specials) category.

Winger is passionate about giving back to his community and bringing awareness to the growing food insecurity issues in South L.A. Winger is also an advocate for shining a light on the stigma around mental health and lack of adequate mental health resources for Black men, as he has been on a personal journey through therapy and building deeper, meaningful relationships with others, and himself. For years, Winger has championed the Amazing Grace Conservatory where he got his start, supporting emerging artists and at-risk youth in the performing and digital arts by offering a well-rounded and culturally enriching educational program in an environment that is nurturing for their personal, artistic and professional growth.

Currently, Winger lives in South-Central L.A. with his rescue dog, a Yorkiepoo named Frito. He can be found on Instagram and Twitter at @tristenjwinger.

So Help Me Todd Inga Schlingmann Photo: CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.Inga Schlingmann

June 2023

Inga Schlingmann is a first-generation American, whose parents immigrated to the U.S. from Taiwan and Germany. She attended NYU, where she was pre-med and majored in art history, with minors in chemistry and psychology.

While at NYU, Schlingmann was crowned Miss Manhattan, with a platform focused on lowering infant and maternal mortality rates. After NYU, she worked with Americorp as a birth doula and lactation aide for underserved and undocumented women in Brooklyn.

Schlingmann left healthcare to work at Bloomberg LP and later went on to work for LinkedIn, where she was a senior account director when she landed the role of Susan in SO HELP ME TODD.

Schlingmann currently resides in New York. Follow her on Instagram @ingaschlingmann.

So Help Me Todd Rosa Arredondo Photo: CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.Rosa Arredondo

June 2023

Rosa Arredondo’s career includes work in film, television and on stage. An Alvin Ailey-trained dancer, Arredondo transitioned to acting early in her career, though she continues to take dance class regularly. Her most recent film, “The Secret Art of Human Flight,” appeared in competition at the 2023 Tribeca Film Festival.

Arredondo’s stage credits include the Blair Underwood/Daphne Rubin-Vega Broadway production of “A Streetcar Named Desire” at the Broadhurst Theatre, Sonnet Repertory’s production of “The Maids” and Arredondo’s one-woman show “Journeys,” which she wrote, produced and performed herself as part of the Female Forward Festival at The Royal Family Theater in N.Y.C.

Currently, she resides in New York. Her birthday is Jan. 13.

Read Eva’s Review of the show!

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So Help Me Todd Skylar Astin and Marcia Gay Harden Photo: CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Interview with the cast and creators of “CSI: Vegas”

TV Interview!

 

"CSI: Vegas" banner

Interview with Paula Newsome, Marg Helgenberger, Matt Lauria, Mandeep Dhillon, Jason Tracey and Anthony Zuicker of “CSI: Vegas” on CBS by Suzanne 9/16/22

It was great to be on this TCA panel and ask Marg Helgenberger a question. I’ve watched the show since it’s first episode, so I’m a huge fan. I think the newer version is just as good! Although the original cast is missed, I’m glad they’re able to bring some of them back, occasionally.

CBS 2022 FALL TCA PRESS TOUR
“CSI: VEGAS”
Paula Newsome, Marg Helgenberger, Matt Lauria, Mandeep Dhillon, Jason Tracey (showrunner/EP) and Anthony Zuicker (EP/creator).
Virtual via Zoom September 16, 2022
© 2022 CBS. All rights reserved.
Opening remarks: The new season premieres Thursday, September 29th and will also be available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+. Joining our panel today is our showrunner, Jason Tracey; “CSI” creator, Anthony Zuiker; Paula Newsome who plays Maxine Roby; reprising her role as Catherine Willows, Marg Helgenberger; Matt Lauria as Joshua Folsom; and Mandeep Dhillon as Allie Rajan. This is a fantastic time in the “CSI” culture, coming back after five iterations. We started this whole shebang on October 6th of the year 2000. Yet here we are on our 841st episode in a 21 episode run season with “CSI: Vegas” with a fantastic showrunner Jason Tracey and an awesome cast. Our show has always been about justice for victims. We’re a forensic procedural show. We’re still here solving crime and providing hope. And we welcome you and we’re very excited about season two.

CBS 2022 Fall TCA Press Tour: CSI: Vegas Panel

CSI: Vegas, the iconic crime procedural series that has captivated audiences for decades, is back with a second season, and the CBS 2022 Fall TCA Press Tour provided a unique opportunity to dive into the world of forensic science once more. In this virtual panel, key figures from the show, including showrunner Jason Tracey, creator Anthony Zuiker, and the talented cast members, Paula Newsome, Marg Helgenberger, Matt Lauria, and Mandeep Dhillon, offered a fascinating glimpse into the upcoming season and the enduring legacy of “CSI.”

The panel began with a warm welcome from Sienna Sanders of CBS Network Publicity and Rachel Wesolowski from CBS Studios. They introduced the panelists, setting the stage for a lively discussion about the show’s evolution, themes, and its profound impact on both the entertainment industry and the real world.

Creator Anthony Zuiker, reflecting on the show’s enduring popularity, said, “It’s our show that has always been about justice for victims. We’re a forensic procedural show. We’re still here solving crime and providing hope.” With 841 episodes under its belt, CSI: Vegas continues to deliver gripping stories of justice through the lens of forensic science.

The first question addressed the unresolved serial killer storyline from the previous season. Showrunner Jason Tracey assured fans that this storyline would indeed continue but not immediately. He emphasized that the show would explore other compelling narratives before delving deeper into the serial killer plot.

A highlight of the panel was the collaboration between Marg Helgenberger and Anthony Zuiker on a Catherine-centric episode. The two reminisced about a breakfast meeting at the Beverly Hills Hotel, where they discussed the episode’s creation. Helgenberger revealed that their motivation for the episode came from the personal loss of their mothers, making the episode particularly meaningful to both of them.

Marg Helgenberger, who reprises her role as Catherine Willows, shared her experiences working with a new cast and a different set. She expressed her gratitude for the warm welcome she received from the new team, praising their professionalism and enthusiasm. Despite the changes, Helgenberger conveyed her love for the character and her excitement about exploring Catherine’s continued growth.

The panel delved into the fascinating world of forensic technology, with a focus on the advancements that have excited the creators and writers. Jason Tracey mentioned intriguing developments in arson technology and molecular map making, while Anthony Zuiker shared his experiences at a facial reconstructionist workshop in Austin, Texas. He highlighted that advancements in both old and new technologies continue to play a vital role in the show.

Phenotyping, a technique using DNA to determine physical characteristics, was discussed as a valuable tool for storytelling and investigative purposes in the series. Paula Newsome, who plays Max Roby, a geneticist on the show, emphasized how the series highlights the real-life dedication of forensic professionals who work tirelessly to solve cases.

Marg Helgenberger’s return to the role of Catherine Willows was a significant topic of discussion. She shared her personal journey of rediscovering the character after a hiatus, explaining that she missed Catherine’s passion, swagger, and spunk. Helgenberger also discussed the personal growth she has experienced, both as an actress and as an individual, through her portrayal of Catherine.

The panelists reflected on the unique legacy of “CSI,” a series that has inspired countless individuals to pursue careers in forensic science. Anthony Zuiker recalled that when the show first aired, there were only 10 applications for crime scene analyst positions, but today, there are over 10,000 submissions annually. The show’s influence on aspiring forensic professionals has been immense.

Paula Newsome, who portrays Max Roby, the boss of the crime lab, shared her thoughts on the importance of representation. She expressed the significance of being a woman in a leadership role in a male-dominated field and how her character sets an example for others interested in forensic science.

The panel concluded on a heartfelt note, with the cast and creators expressing their gratitude to the real-life forensic scientists who inspire their work. Marg Helgenberger dedicated the season to these dedicated professionals and emphasized the importance of science, facts, and evidence in a world often marred by divisiveness.

As “CSI: Vegas” returns for its second season, it continues to uphold its legacy of showcasing the power of forensic science in seeking justice for victims. With a talented cast, engaging storylines, and a commitment to authenticity, the series remains a beloved and enduring fixture in the world of crime procedural television.

MORE INFO: Trailer

CSI: VEGAS returns for its third season and continues the legacy of the global hit franchise. Amidst the neon lights and long shadows, dark threats lurk in Sin City. Maxine Roby (Paula Newsome) leads her brilliant team of crime scene investigators – Catherine Willows (Marg Helgenberger), Allie Rajan (Mandeep Dhillon), Detective Serena Chavez (Ariana Guerra), Chris Park (Jay Lee) and Beau Finado (Lex Medlin) – as they use science to solve baffling mysteries. Chief among them: who framed their colleague, Joshua Folsom (Matt Lauria), for a gruesome murder? The most daunting and dangerous cases in the history of this storied franchise are coming, and the team will have to deploy the latest forensic techniques to preserve and serve justice in Sin City.

FORMAT:

Drama (Filmed in HD)

 

STARRING:

Paula Newsome

(Maxine Roby)

Marg Helgenberger

(Catherine Willows)

Matt Lauria

(Joshua Folsom)

Mandeep Dhillon

(Allie Rajan)

Ariana Guerra

(Detective Serena Chavez)

Lex Medlin

Jay Lee

(Beau Finado)

(Chris Park)

PRODUCED BY:

CBS Studios in association with Jerry Bruckheimer Television

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS:

Jason Tracey, Jerry Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman, KristieAnne Reed, Anthony Zuiker, Carol Mendelsohn, Ann Donahue, Craig O’Neill, William Petersen, Cindy Chvatal, Steven H. Kram and Steven H. Blume

Marg Helgenberger (Catherine Willows) on "CSI: Vegas" on CBS. CSI: Vegas Season 2 Photo: Sonja Flemming ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Marg Helgenberger reprises her role as Catherine Willows, a single mother working as a crime scene analyst, in season two of “CSI: VEGAS.” She earned two Emmy Award nominations as well as two Golden Globe nominations for this role in the critically acclaimed series “CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION.” Helgenberger ended her twelfth season of this global hit series in 2013.

Helgenberger was last seen in the CBS series “All Rise.”  She also starred in “Intelligence” and “Under the Dome” for the Network. Marg’s breakout role as K.C. on “China Beach,” won her an Emmy Award in 1990.

In Fall of 2017, she starred in the off-Broadway premiere of Theresa Rebeck’s play “What We’re Up Against” at the WP Theatre. Other recent stage appearances include the Arena Stage production of “The Little Foxes” in which she played Regina and the Barrington Stage Company’s production of “The Other Place.”

Helgenberger appeared in the May 2019 Universal/Amblin release of “A Dog’s Journey,” starring alongside Dennis Quaid. Her other film credits include: “Erin Brockovich,” “Mr. Brooks,” “In Good Company,” “Fire Down Below,” “Species,” “My Fellow Americans,” “Cowboy Way,” “Bad Boys,” and “Always.” She has also appeared in numerous mini-series including starring as Patsy Ramsey in the highly rated CBS miniseries, “Perfect Murder, Perfect Town” based on the bestselling book about the unsolved murder of Jon Benet Ramsey.

Helgenberger was raised in North Bend, Nebraska, and is a graduate of Northwestern University. She currently resides in Los Angeles. Follow her on Twitter @MargHelgen and Instagram @Marghelgenberger.

Paula Newsom (Maxine Roby) on "CSI: Vegas" on CBS. CSI: Vegas Season 2 Photo: Sonja Flemming ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Veteran film, television and stage actress Paula Newsome, prior to CSI: VEGAS, is best known for her standout performance opposite Henry Winkler and Bill Hader as the fierce, funny, and fragile ‘Detective Janice Moss’ in HBO’s Emmy-winning series “Barry,” and hanging from a car in the international blockbuster “Spider-Man No Way Home”.

Newsome was born and raised in Chicago. Four months after moving to New York, she was cast in Lincoln Center’s Tony Award-winning “Carousel.” She then performed in several Off-Broadway and regional productions, before making her big screen debut opposite Dolly Parton in the romantic comedy “Straight Talk.”

Newsome co-starred alongside Angie Harmon in the police drama “Women’s Murder Club.” She has made numerous guest star appearances on notable television series, most recently an emotional arc on the popular Dick Wolf franchise’s “Chicago Med” and Steven Bochco’s “City of Angels,” with Viola Davis and Gabriel Union. Other television credits include “Suits,” “Transparent,” “Pretty Little Liars,” “NCIS,”, “Suburgatory” and “How to Get Away with Murder,” opposite Viola Davis.

On the big screen, Newsome appeared in “Guess Who” opposite Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher, “Little Miss Sunshine,” “Things We Lost in the Fire,” “Black or White” and “Reign Over Me” alongside Don Cheadle, Adam Sandler and Jada Pinkett Smith.

Newsome attended Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri and earned her degree in Musical Theatre. She is trilingual, speaking English, French and Italian, and enjoys riding horses. Currently, she resides in Los Angeles. Follow her on Twitter @mepaulanewsome and Instagram @therealpaulanewsome.

Matt Lauria (Josh Folsom) on "CSI: Vegas" on CBS. CSI: Vegas Season 2 Photo: Sonja Flemming ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Matt Lauria is perhaps best known to audiences for his role as ‘Luke Cafferty’ on “Friday Night Lights.” Most recently, he co-starred opposite Juno Temple in Sky TV’s original series “Little Birds” in the UK; opposite Hailey Steinfeld in the Apple series “Dickinson”; and on the Paramount+ series “Tell Me A Story.” For four years, Lauria starred in the critically acclaimed drama “Kingdom.” His additional television credits include Shawn Ryan’s “The Chicago Code,” Jason Katims’ “Parenthood” and “Lipstick Jungle,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” on the Network, “Burn Notice,” “The Forgotten,” “Traitors,” “30 Rock” and the ‘February’ episode of “Down” from Hulu/Blumhouse.

In film, Lauria will next be seen opposite Andrea Riseborough and Allison Janney in “To Leslie.” He last appeared alongside Samuel Jackson and Jesse T. Usher in New Line’s “Shaft,” and with Gina Rodriguez and Anthony Mackey in Catherine Hardwick’s “Miss Bala” for Sony. On the stage, Lauria starred in Paul Down Calaizzo’s play “Really Really” at MCC for director David Cromer, and David Auburn’s “(Proof) An Upset”.

Lauria was born in Washington, D.C. and is a graduate of University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Currently, he lives in Los Angeles.

Mandeep Dhillon (Allie Rajan) on "CSI: Vegas" on CBS. CSI: Vegas Season 2 Photo: Sonja Flemming ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Before CSI: VEGAS, Mandeep Dhillon is perhaps best known for her reprisal of sarcastic and uptight math-geek ‘Saz Kaur’ on the BBC hit “Some Girls” written by Bernadette Davis. Recently, she starred in a pivotal role in “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” In 2020, she starred alongside Ricky Gervais in season two of the critically acclaimed Netflix series “After Life.” Also, she starred opposite David Morrissey in the BBC crime thriller “The City and the City,” and alongside Ashley Walters and Noel Clarke in Sky 1’s cop crime thriller “Bulletproof.”

Prominence on the big screen came in “David Brent: Life on the Road,” alongside Ricky Gervais. It was nominated for best comedy at the National Film Awards. Other film credits include Jamie Adams’ “A Wonderful Christmas Time” and “Garfield,” for which she won Best Actress at the Underwire Film Festival.

Dhillon’s television credits include “Doctor Who,” “24: Live Another Day,” “Finding Fatimah,” “Hospital People,” “Wolfblood,” “Fried” “Whitechapel” and “Lucky Man,” written and produced by Marvel movies legend Stan Lee. Additionally, Dhillon stars in a new BBC3 sitcom, “Avoidance,” as writer Romesh Ranganthan’s sister Danielle.

Dhillon hails from London and currently resides in Los Angeles. She trained at the prestigious Central School of Speech and Drama. Her birthday is Dec. 21. Follow her on Instagram @mandidhillon.

Jason Tracey wrote and served as an executive producer on “Elementary,” on the Network, and “Burn Notice” on USA. Prior to that, he was a child. Well behaved. The kind that would not bother you if you sat next to them on an airplane.

Anthony E. Zuiker is the creator of the “CSI” franchise, which has earned the title of the “most-watched show in the world,” spawned three television spin-offs (“CSI: Cyber,” “CSI: Miami” and “CSI: New York,” all on the Network), aired hundreds of episodes, and even garnered a GUINNESS WORLD RECORD®. As one of the most groundbreaking storytellers today, Zuiker continues to innovate across every platform, from TV to Digital to Books and Broadway. He was the creator of “Cybergeddon,” the first digital blockbuster for Yahoo and the best-selling digi-novel series “Level 26.” In addition to his publishing company, Zuiker Press, which he co-owns and co-runs with wife, Michelle, Zuiker is also executive producing the “Soul Train” musical for Broadway.

Zuiker grew up in Las Vegas and currently lives in Los Angeles. His birthday is August 17. Follow him on Instagram @aezuiker.

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Lex Medlin, Paula Newsom and Eric Szmanda on "CSI: Vegas" on CBS. CSI: Vegas Season 2 Photo: Sonja Flemming ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 

Interview with the cast and EP for “Quantum Leap”

TV Interview!

 

QUANTUM LEAP -- Pictured: (l-r) Raymond Lee as Dr. Ben Song, Caitlin Bassett as Addison, Mason Alexander Park as Ian, Ernie Hudson as Magic, and Nanrisa Lee as Jenn (Most Photos by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC; Photo of Raymond Lee by: Todd Williamson/NBCUniversal)

Interview with Caitlin Bassett, Ernie Hudson, Nanrisa Lee, Raymond Lee, Mason Alexander Park, and showrunner/EP Martin Gero of “Quantum Leap” on NBC by Suzanne 9/15/23

I love this show, and I’m excited about the season. This was a TV Critics Association Virtual Panel, so there many press there.

NBC UNIVERSAL 2022 TCA PRESS TOUR
“QUANTUM LEAP”
Virtual via Zoom September 15, 2022
© 2022 NBC Universal. All rights reserved.

Opening remarks: Hello, everyone, and welcome to the “Quantum Leap” panel. I know many of you are fans of the original series, and we’re excited to bring this reimagined version back to NBC. The series will premiere Monday, September 19th, at 10:00 PM and will be available the following day on Peacock. It’s been nearly 30 years since Dr. Sam Beckett stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator and vanished. Now, a new team, led by physicist Ben Song, has been assembled to restart the project in the hopes of understanding the mysteries behind the machine and the man who created it. Joining us for the panel from left to right, our executive producer and showrunner Martin Gero, Raymond Lee, and Caitlin Bassett. On the second row are Ernie Hudson, Mason Alexander Park, and Nanrisa Lee.

In an exciting unveiling during the NBC Universal 2022 TCA Press Tour, the reimagined version of the iconic series “Quantum Leap” was showcased, sparking a wave of nostalgia among fans of the original series while promising a fresh take on the beloved concept. The panel, hosted virtually via Zoom, featured the talent behind the new “Quantum Leap,” including Raymond Lee, Caitlin Bassett, Ernie Hudson, Mason Alexander Park, Nanrisa Lee, and the showrunner and executive producer, Martin Gero.

The introductory session began with a warm welcome from Matt Lifson of the corporate communications team, setting the stage for an insightful discussion. As fans eagerly awaited details about the upcoming series, the show’s premise and its connection to the original were teased.

A Nostalgic Revival

For fans of the original “Quantum Leap,” which aired nearly 30 years ago, the memories of Dr. Sam Beckett’s time-traveling adventures were brought back to life. The reimagined series, set to premiere on Monday, September 19th, at 10:00 PM on NBC and available the following day on Peacock, promises to revive the essence of the original while bringing new elements to the table.

The core concept remains intact: a team, led by physicist Ben Song, assembles to restart the Quantum Leap project and explore the mysteries surrounding the machine and its enigmatic creator, Dr. Sam Beckett. This fresh perspective allows for a continuation of the legacy while introducing a new set of characters and stories.

The Cast Shares Their Excitement

The panelists were eager to share their enthusiasm for the show. Raymond Lee, who plays Ben Song, acknowledged the enormous shoes to fill left by the iconic character of Sam Beckett. He highlighted the common thread that connects both characters: their commitment to doing good and their strong sense of empathy.

The cast, which also includes Ernie Hudson, Mason Alexander Park, and Nanrisa Lee, expressed their fondness for the original series. Ernie Hudson reminisced about watching the show with his children and shared his excitement about joining the new iteration, while Mason Alexander Park humorously revealed they had no one to watch the show with as a child.

Caitlin Bassett, who plays the hologram Addison, admitted to missing the original series but now relishes the opportunity to share the experience with her father, who was a devoted fan. Her portrayal of Addison adds a unique dimension to the show.

Martin Gero on the Essence of the Show

Showrunner and executive producer Martin Gero shed light on the essence of “Quantum Leap” and the character of Ben Song. He emphasized that the show centers on hope, heart, humor, and history, with Ben embodying the first three elements. Gero spoke passionately about the importance of humor, a key aspect of the original series, and how the new cast, especially Raymond Lee, continues that tradition.

Caitlin Bassett’s Remarkable Journey

One of the standout moments during the panel was Caitlin Bassett’s incredible journey to the role. A former military officer, Bassett decided to pursue acting after completing her service. She acknowledged the role as a dream come true, reflecting on the show’s ability to bring hope and positivity to viewers’ lives.

Gero praised Bassett’s performance, emphasizing her extraordinary talent, which shines through in her role as Addison despite her being relatively new to the acting world.

Time-Traveling Adventures Await

The cast and showrunner revealed their personal preferences for time periods they would like to visit if they could leap through time themselves. Nanrisa Lee expressed a desire to explore her family’s history in 1920s Korea, while Mason Alexander Park yearned for the vibrant atmosphere of 1920s Weimar Cabaret in Berlin or the opportunity to witness Judy Garland’s legendary performance at Carnegie Hall in 1961. Caitlin Bassett was drawn to the tumultuous era just before World War I as a history enthusiast.

Ernie Hudson’s choice was the 1960s, a time of significant cultural and political change, while Raymond Lee humorously mentioned a fondness for the early 2000s, complete with memories of board shorts and popular music of the time.

Continuity and the Return of “Magic” Williams

One burning question among press was how the new series would handle continuity and references to the original. Martin Gero confirmed that “Magic” Williams, a special name for “Quantum Leap” fans, would indeed return as the same character from the original series. Ernie Hudson, who portrays “Magic” Williams, expressed excitement about delving into his character’s backstory and providing answers to long-standing questions from the original show.

The panel concluded with an insightful look into the balance between the episodic nature of the series, its serialized elements, and the mystery surrounding Ben Song’s journey to leap home. Gero assured viewers that while answers would be provided, the focus would remain on the thrilling time-traveling adventures that have captivated audiences for generations.

As the premiere date of “Quantum Leap” approaches, fans can eagerly anticipate a nostalgic revival with a fresh and exciting twist. With a talented cast and creative team at the helm, “Quantum Leap” is poised to capture the hearts and imaginations of both longtime fans and a new generation of viewers.

 

MORE INFO: Trailer

QUANTUM LEAP -- Pictured: "Quantum Leap" Key Art -- (Photo by: NBC)Quantum Leap

Season Premiere Wednesday, October 4 (8-9pm ET/PT) on NBC. Streaming next day on Peacock.

It’s been nearly 30 years since Dr. Sam Beckett stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator and vanished. Now, a new team, led by physicist Ben Song (Raymond Lee), has been assembled to restart the project in the hope of understanding the mysteries behind the machine and the man who created it.

Everything changes, however, when Ben makes an unauthorized leap into the past, leaving the team behind to solve the mystery of why he did it. At Ben’s side throughout his leaps is Addison (Caitlin Bassett), who appears in the form of a hologram only Ben can see and hear. She’s a decorated Army veteran who brings level-headed precision to her job.

At the helm of the highly confidential operation is Herbert “Magic” Williams (Ernie Hudson), a no-nonsense career military man who has to answer to his bosses who won’t be happy once they learn about the breach of protocol. The rest of the team at headquarters includes Ian Wright (Mason Alexander Park), who runs the Artificial Intelligence unit “Ziggy,” and Jenn Chu (Nanrisa Lee), who heads up digital security for the project.

As Ben leaps from life to life, putting right what once went wrong, it becomes clear that he and the team are on a thrilling journey. However, Addison, Magic, Ian and Jenn know that if they are going to solve the mystery of Ben’s leaps and bring him home, they must act fast or lose him forever.

Martin Gero serves as executive producer along with Dean Georgaris, Deborah Pratt, Chris Grismer, Alex Berger, Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt.

Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, produce in association with Quinn’s House Productions.

Raymond Lee

Dr. Ben Song, “Quantum Leap”

QUANTUM LEAP -- Season: 1 -- Pictured: Raymond Lee as Dr. Ben Song -- (Photo by: Brendan Meadows/NBC)

Raymond Lee stars as Dr. Ben Song on the new NBC drama “Quantum Leap.” Ben is a brilliant quantum physicist leaping through time to put right what once went wrong.

Lee also stars on the AMC series “Kevin Can F*** Himself,” which begins its second season Aug. 22. Previously, he was a series regular on Alan Ball’s HBO series “Here and Now.” Additional recurring roles include the HBO Max series “Made for Love,” Fox’s “Prodigal Son,” Amazon’s “Mozart in the Jungle” and ABC’s “Scandal.”

On the film side, he is currently appearing in the box office smash “Top Gun: Maverick.”

Theater credits include the world premiere productions of “Vietgone” at Manhattan Theater Club, for which he was awarded the Theatre World Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Debut; “Office Hour,” opposite Sandra Oh, and “Cambodian Rock Band” at the South Coast Repertory.
Lee speaks fluent Korean and resides in Los Angeles.

Caitlin Bassett

Addison, “Quantum Leap”

QUANTUM LEAP -- Season: 1 -- Pictured: Caitlin Bassett as Addison Augustine -- (Photo by: Brendan Meadows/NBC)

Caitlin Bassett stars as Addison Augustine on the new NBC drama “Quantum Leap.” Addison is an ex-Army intelligence Officer who works in the Quantum Leap program. She is Ben Song’s guide in the past and, during his leaps, appears in a hologram that only he can see and hear.

“Quantum Leap” marks the professional acting debut for Bassett. A military veteran, she spent seven years in U.S. Army Intelligence and the National Security Agency, with two combat tours to Afghanistan and a third abroad.  After completing her service with multiple accolades, she began studying law in New York while moonlighting in theater classes. After being asked to audition, she was accepted full time at the Stella Adler Conservatory and later trained with Bob Krakower.

In 2020 she was selected from over 40,000 applicants to join the Disney Discovers Talent Showcase cast, leading to the start of her professional career.

Mason Alexander Park

Ian Wright, “Quantum Leap”

QUANTUM LEAP -- Season: 1 -- Pictured: Mason Alexander Park as Ian Wright -- (Photo by: Brendan Meadows/NBC)
Mason Alexander Park stars as “Ian Wright” on the new NBC drama “Quantum Leap.” Ian is the lead programmer on the confidential program that has rebuilt “Ziggy,” the Artificial Intelligence unit which provides important information on Ben’s leaps.

Park is a nonbinary artist who will next be seen as Desire in Netflix’s highly anticipated adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman.” Previous TV roles include Netflix’s “Cowboy Bebop.”

Park is also an accomplished theater actor, most notably portraying the title role on the first Broadway national tour of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”

Ernie Hudson

Herbert “Magic” Williams, “Quantum Leap”

QUANTUM LEAP -- Season: 1 -- Pictured: Ernie Hudson as Herbert “Magic” Williams -- (Photo by: Brendan Meadows/NBC)

Ernie Hudson stars as Herbert “Magic” Williams on the new NBC drama “Quantum Leap.” Magic is the head of the Quantum Leap project and juggles taking care of his team while also answering to his bosses at the Pentagon.

Hudson recently reprised his signature character Winston Zeddemore in the new Jason Reitman movie “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” and wrapped the Bobby Farrelly-directed “Champions,” opposite Woody Harrelson.

For television, Hudson executive produces and stars in the BET series “The Family Business” and will next be seen in the upcoming third season of Showtime’s “City on a Hill.” He will also appear in the Catherine Hardwicke film “Prisoner’s Daughter,” opposite Brian Cox and Kate Beckinsale. Hudson also starred on the award-winning Netflix series “Grace and Frankie.”

Nanrisa Lee

Jenn Chu, “Quantum Leap”

QUANTUM LEAP -- Season: 1 -- Pictured: Nanrisa Lee as Jenn Chu -- (Photo by: Brendan Meadows/NBC)

Nanrisa Lee stars as Jenn Chu on the NBC drama “Quantum Leap.” Chu is the head of digital security and works alongside Magic in hopes of solving why Ben Song leaped in hopes of bringing him home.

Lee was born in Oakland, Calif., and is best known for her breakout recurring role on “Bosch.” She has also recently appeared in “CSI: Vegas,” “Westworld,” “The Morning Show” and “American Crime Story.”

Martin Gero

Executive Producer, “Quantum Leap”

Martin Gero serves as an executive producer on the NBC drama “Quantum Leap.”

Gero is an award-winning executive producer, creator, writer and director. He recently co-created and executive produced, under his Quinn’s House production banner, the Netflix series “Keep Breathing.” The drama stars Melissa Barrera as Liv, a lawyer from New York and the lone survivor of a plane crash who battles both an unforgiving wilderness and her personal demons to survive the remote Canadian frontier.

Next up, his Hollywood Critics Association TV Award-nominated show “Kung Fu” will return this October for its third season on the CW. Gero will once again serve as executive producer. The series focuses on a young Chinese-American woman who goes through a quarter-life crisis and drops out of college to go on a life-changing journey to an isolated monastery in China.

On the film side, he wrote and directed the cult classic “Young People F—-” and the Paramount/MRC comedy “The Lovebirds,” starring Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani, which was released in 2020.

Gero created the hit drama “Blindspot” and was creator, director, and executive producer of the comedy series “Connecting.” He also created the critically acclaimed CW series “The LA Complex,” directing half of the episodes. Before that, Gero helped run all three seasons of the HBO series “Bored to Death,” which starred Jason Schwartzman, Ted Danson and Zach Galifianakis. He also served as an executive producer on the magical drama “Deception.” Gero started out working on “Stargate Atlantis” for SYFY, eventually rising to executive producer

Gero currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

 

QUANTUM LEAP -- “July 13, 1985” Episode 101 -- Pictured: (l-r) Caitlin Bassett as Addison, Nanrisa Lee as Jenn, Ernie Hudson as Magic, Mason Alexander Park as Ian, Raymond Lee as Dr. Ben Song -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

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Interview with “Dark Winds” cast

TV Interview!

Dark Winds poster

Interview with TCA panel Zahn McClarnon, Kiowa Gordon, Jessica Matten, Rainn Wilson, Noah Emmerich, Chris Eyre and Graham Roland of “Dark Winds” on AMC/+ by Suzanne 2/10/22

“Dark Winds” premieres today, June 12 on AMC and AMC+. I’m most interested in its star, Zahn McClarnon (who plays Joe Leaphorn), because he was so great on “Longmire,” a show I loved. Noah Emmerich is also great (you might know him from “The Americans” on FX); and, last, but certainly not least, the cast also has Rainn Wilson, who’s always wonderful. This was a fun virtual panel back in February for the TV Critics Association.

AMC NETWORKS
CTAM PRESS TOUR WINTER 2022
AMC+ and AMC
Dark Winds
Graham Roland, Creator, Writer, Executive Producer
Chris Eyre, Director, Executive Producer
Zahn McClarnon, Cast, Executive Producer, “Joe Leaphorn”
Kiowa Gordon, Cast, “Jim Chee”
Jessica Matten, Cast, “Bernadette Manuelito”
Rainn Wilson, Cast, “Devoted Dan”
Noah Emmerich, Cast, “Special Agent Whitover”
2022 Virtual Tour
Los Angeles, CA
February 10, 2022
© 2022 AMC Networks. All rights reserved.

Here is the introduction from the clip they showed us:

Our new series “Dark Winds” is 35 years in the making. It’s based on the popular Leaphorn & Chee Book Series by Tony Hillerman. Robert Redford optioned these books more than three decades ago and we’re honored that this remarkable series has found a home with us. Our dream team is comprised of Native American Director and Executive Producer Chris Eyre, Native American Actor and Executive Producer Zahn McClarnon, who also starred in AMC’s “The Son,” Native American Writer-Creator Graham Roland, and Redford as well as George R.R. Martin who also serve as Executive Producers. We’re proud of this show for so many reasons. For starters, Leaphorn & Chee are two iconic characters that will live right alongside Don Draper, Walter White, Rick Grimes, and others in the AMC Hall of Fame. It’s a thrilling murder mystery that takes place in and around the lands of the Navajo Nation in the Monument Valley, which hasn’t been accessed for filming since the days of John Ford. And also, the series features the rich and vibrant Navajo culture and community in ways it’s never been seen before. “Dark Winds” is set to premiere this summer on AMC+ and AMC.

Zahn McClarnon of "Dark Winds" on AMC+.Zahn told us that the cast and his experience on the show were “wonderful,” and he believes the series will be a hit because of George R.R. Martin and Robert Redford being Executive Producers. He’s excited to be working at this current time because not only are there more indigenous actors in TV shows that ever, but he hopes that this show opens doors for more indigenous talent behind the scenes of the shows. He’s glad to see it happening in our “unique time … with Native representation in media.”

Zahn was then asked a specific question about his role on the show as Joe: how torn is Joe as a “police officer trying to solve this crime” and as a member of his Native community? He was also asked if he had any trouble wearing two hats (that of actor and executive producer).

Zahn reminded us that Joe “is a Navajo tribal cop who is tasked to solve these double murders and also a bank robbery.” He pointed out that many tribal police members don’t get much cooperation from the people in “indigenous communities,” and they’re made to feel like they’re outsiders. Joe is also struggling with losing someone in his family and juggling all of these things at once. He has to make peace with both the people in his community as well as the FBI, and it’s very difficult for him. Zahn is new to being executive producer, but he admits that he was given a lot of support from his fellow cast. He learned quite a bit, which he found to be very positive. He hopes to be able to use his experiences next time, either in another season of this show, or in another show. He has his “fingers crossed” for all of that.

The other actors were asked about working with Zahn and how much they knew about him before filming the series.

Kiowa said that he met Zahn in 2013. “We were working on ‘The Red Road’ for Sundance TV and he immediately was just like the coolest guy ever. And I was taking a liking to him, and I followed his career throughout there. And he’s been a huge inspiration for me, so it’s great to be able to work with him in such a capacity.”

Jessica added that she met both Zahn and Kiowa on the set of the show “Frontier.” She commented that they’ve both been like family to her, so “it was a complete joy to hop on board this and do it with family. It’s been so collaborative.” She added about Zahn, “First and foremost, I knew him as a human being and a person, and he was wonderful. And then I was like, oh, he’s kind of a big deal.” There was a bit of joking around after that.

Jessica then continued seriously about how great it is to make these friendships and then to “uplift our community in the best way that we can.” She also admitted that she is a big fan of Rainn’s, so it was extraordinary to meet him. She also confided that she “drove almost two hours to set” to meet Rainn, even though she wasn’t shooting with him. She was very nervous, so she didn’t tell him that. She joked around a bit and then said that she called him “The Beyoncé of my life.” Rainn was amazed and flattered to hear this, and he made his own jokes.

Rainn thanked her and then went on to praise the show’s scripts, set design, costume design, etc. He especially loves the ’70s feel to it and said it’s “just such a pleasure to be a part of this show.” His part is a fun supporting role, which he describes as “the epitome of corruption, which was super fun.” He predicts that Zahn will win many acting awards because of his performance in this show.

Zahn thanked Rainn as well. He mentioned his age a few times during the panel but said that he feels like he must have worked with every single Native actor or actress in the TV and film community. He noted that the cast is “exciting,” and he can’t wait for us all to see the show.

Jessica Matten and Kiowa Gordon of "Dark Winds" on AMC and AMC+.Jessica went on to praise their director, Chris Eyre: “for us Native kids growing up, the film ‘Smoke Signals’ was a very big film.” She mentioned that it “really put Natives in a very contemporary setting, so it’s very full-circle for me to be able to work with Chris…because I grew up in awe of that movie and what he created. And to be able to work [in this], it’s just magical.” She gushed quite a bit, but it was very charming.

One journalist asked Rainn about his character, “Devoted Dan,” and how he compares to Rainn’s other characters from his past work. Rainn replied that he’s never played a character like this before. He joked a bit about showing some skin in the series. He also described him in this way: “he’s a car dealer, and a double dealer, and a born-again, and a preacher, and wherever there’s corruption happening around, you’ll find Devoted Dan right in the middle of it.” He also added, “I asked for the largest cowboy hat they could find and it dwarfed my already enormous head.” He said that he’s very happy to be part of the show.

The director agreed with Rainn and also pointed out how great Noah was in this show.

Noah also said that he was grateful to be part of it, “a project that is so fundamental in bringing unheard voices to light in our culture that have not been recognized, that have not been paid attention to, that Hollywood has sort of reduced and presented cliché. This is a full, three-dimensional examination of these characters and I just was grateful to be the outsider, to be the minority. It was a new experience.”

Zahn joked with Noah by saying that he was “around a long time, too” and also praised his long and impressive résumé. There was more joking around. Noah, too, loved Chris’ movie “Smoke Signals,” which he saw in the theater.

The moderator also asked everyone how they felt to be involved with the series, which took 35 years to get here. Of course, they’re all glad to be a part of it. Kiowa was somewhat philosophical about it, saying, “I’m just saying it’s a long time coming. Good things happen to those that wait and I think we’re all born to be here and making this right now, so here we are. So thank you all for coming together and making this awesome story.”

Jessica is Canadian. She said that up there, they’re called “First Nations” and have a small network called “the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network,” where they were able to tell many stories. However, getting past that into other networks has been difficult. She’s very grateful to AMC and the others to be their allies and to “continue to humanize the experience of being indigenous in this day and age or even in the 1970s where this show is taking place.”

Chris told us that the writers on the show were all “Native American writers,” including three that were of Navajo origin. They also had support from the president of the Navajo Nation as well as Navajo consultants. He also said, “It’s been 35 years in the making, but George and Bob were both fans of Hillerman, and all of us were as well. So, to bring that to the screen now is just a dream come true.”

Graham credited Chris for being on this project the longest, along with George R.R. Martin and Robert Redford. He added, “it shows the passion that Robert Redford had for this project and the importance he thought of getting a story like this put in front of a mainstream audience. So, a lot of credit goes to him for keeping up that fight for so long. ”

Another person from the press asked Chris a tough question. He thought that the show attacks the old western movie-making from the John Ford days and disparages the actors from them, and the hotel that had rooms named after the actors. He asked if there were some bad feelings about those days. He also asked about filming in the same areas where those old westerns were made. Chris took the second question, saying he loved those areas, such as Monument Valley, and the rest of the Southwest. He thinks of it all as part of the American story, and it’s all mashed together and seen through the eyes of their characters. He avoided the first question.

Graham answered the other question with great finesse. He pointed out that the hotel, which is based on a real one, had rooms with the names of the famous actors, but many of of them were white people playing the Natives. He was quick to point out that he loves those old westerns. They had to acknowledge in this series what it was in reality, and he doesn’t think that he went out of his way to intentionally put the westerns down. It was a great end to an amazing panel!

MORE INFO:

View Trailer 

Based on the iconic Leaphorn & Chee book series by Tony Hillerman, Dark Winds is a psychological thriller that follows two Navajo police officers in the 1970s Southwest, as their search for clues in a grisly double murder case forces them to challenge their own spiritual beliefs and come to terms with the trauma of their pasts. Created and executive produced by Graham Roland (Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, The Returned, Almost Human, Fringe), the series stars Zahn McClarnon (The Son, Westworld, Fargo), who is also an executive producer, Kiowa Gordon (The Red Road, Roswell, New Mexico), and Jessica Matten (Tribal, Burden of Truth). Vince Calandra (Castle Rock, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, Sharp Objects) is showrunner and an executive producer. Chris Eyre is director and executive producer. Executive producers include George R.R. Martin, Robert Redford, Tina Elmo and Vince Gerardis.

AMC and AMC+ today released the trailer and key art of its upcoming original series, Dark Winds. The noir thriller, based on the iconic Leaphorn & Chee book series by Tony Hillerman, premieres Sunday, June 12 on AMC and AMC+, with the first two episodes available on AMC+. One new episode will debut every Sunday on AMC, and AMC+ subscribers will have advance access to an additional episode each week, beginning June 19.

Set in 1971 on a remote outpost of the Navajo Nation near Monument Valley, Dark Winds follows Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn (Zahn McClarnonThe Son, Westworld, Fargo) of the Tribal Police as he is besieged by a series of seemingly unrelated crimes. The closer he digs to the truth, the more he exposes the wounds of his past. He is joined on this journey by his new deputy, Jim Chee (Kiowa GordonThe Red Road, Roswell, New Mexico). Chee, too, has old scores to settle from his youth on the reservation. Together, the two men battle the forces of evil, each other and their own personal demons on the path to salvation.

Created and executive produced by Graham Roland (Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan), the AMC original series stars award-winning film and television actor Zahn McClarnon, who also serves as an executive producer, Kiowa Gordon and Jessica Matten (Tribal, Burden of Truth) as Bernadette Manuelito. Dark Winds also stars Noah Emmerich (The Americans, Suspicion) as FBI Special Agent Whitover, Deanna Allison as Joe’s wife Emma Leaphorn, and features Rainn Wilson (The Office, Backstrom) as Devoted Dan, a full-of-faith car salesman.

Vince Calandra (Castle Rock, Sharp Objects) is showrunner and executiChris Eyreve producer.  is director and executive producer. Executive producers include George R.R. Martin, Robert Redford, Tina Elmo and Vince Gerardis.

About AMC

AMC is home to some of the most popular and acclaimed programs on television. AMC was the first basic cable network to ever win the Emmy® Award for Outstanding Drama Series with Mad Men in 2008, which then went on to win the coveted award four years in a row, before Breaking Bad won it in 2013 and 2014. The network’s series The Walking Dead is the highest-rated series in cable history. AMC’s current original drama series are Better Call SaulFear the Walking Dead, Kevin Can F*** Himself, The Walking Dead, The Walking Dead: World Beyond and the forthcoming series 61st Street, Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches, Dark Winds, Moonhaven, Pantheon, Ragdoll and Tales of the Walking Dead, among others. AMC also explores authentic worlds and discussion with original shows like Talking DeadAMC Visionaries and Ride with Norman Reedus. AMC is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc. and its sister networks include IFC, SundanceTV, BBC America and WE tv. AMC is available across all platforms, including on-air, online, on demand and mobile.

About AMC+

AMC+ is the company’s new premium streaming bundle featuring an extensive lineup of popular and critically acclaimed original programming from AMC, BBC America, IFC, and SundanceTV and full access to targeted streaming services Shudder, Sundance Now and IFC Films Unlimited, which feature content such as A Discovery of WitchesCreepshow, and Boyhood. The service features a continually refreshed library of commercial-free content, including fan favorites Mad Men, Halt & Catch Fire, Turn: Washington’s Spies, Hell on Wheels, NOS4A2Orphan Black, Rectify, Portlandia, and series from The Walking Dead Universe, among many others. The service also offers a growing slate of original and exclusive series including Gangs of London, Kin, The North Water, RagdollThe Beast Must Die, Too Close, The Salisbury Poisonings, Cold Courage, Spy CityUltra City Smiths, Anna, Anne Boleyn, Firebite, La Fortuna, That Dirty Black Bag and upcoming The Ipcress File. AMC+ recently launched in Canada, Australia, and India and is available in the U.S. through AMCPlus.com, the AMC+ app, and a number of digital and cable partners.

Zahn McClarnon

Zahn McClarnon is an award winning film and television actor who has appeared in over 80 film and television productions. He is most known for his role as “Hanzee Dent” in the second installment of the critically- acclaimed series Fargo, his recurring role of “Akecheta” on HBO’s award- winning series Westworld, and for his portrayal of “Officer Mathias” on the television series Longmire.

Zahn was also a series regular on National Geographic’s Barkskins, starring opposite Marcia Gay Harden and David Thewlis, and on the AMC show The Son. McClarnon has most recently co-starred in the crime-thriller The Silencing starring alongside Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and in the Stephen King film, Doctor Sleep. Zahn is currently recurring on the upcoming FX series Reservation Dogs, the much anticipated Disney+ series Hawkeye, and stars in the upcoming film The Last Manhunt with Jason Momoa. McClarnon is currently starring in and an executive producer for the AMC series Dark Winds.

Kiowa Gordon

Kiowa is a prolific Native American actor with award winning film and television credits. Born in Berlin, Germany, he moved to the States shortly thereafter to live on the Hualapai Indian Reservation in Peach Springs, AZ and moved around quite a bit growing up until settling down in Phoenix, AZ where he landed the role of Embry Call in THE TWILIGHT SAGA. In 2013, Kiowa won Best Supporting Actor at the American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco for his role in the indie film, THE LESSER BLESSED. On the small screen, Kiowa had a Series Regular role in the Sundance original series, THE RED ROAD, starring Jason Momoa, Julianne Nicholson and Martin Henderson and Guest Starred on the Netflix series FRONTIER. In 2019, he had lead roles in 2 features which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival – BLOOD QUANTUM (multiple festival nom and winner) from director Jeff Barnaby and CASTLE IN THE GROUND (TIFF nominated for best Canadian feature) from director Joey Klein. That year he also had roles in the Netflix comedy LADY DYNAMITE, a recurring in the technologically groundbreaking series THE LIBERATOR from A+E Studios for Netflix, and a recurring role on the CW series ROSWELL.

More recent work includes a lead in the feature TWO EYES, directed by award winning filmmaker Travis Fine which was the closing film at Outfest 2020, and a cameo in Taika Waititi’s RESERVATION DOGS (FX).

Up next, he just wrapped his Series Regular role as JIM CHEE on the forthcoming series DARK WINDS for AMC, based on the book series from Tom Hillerman, and produced by George R. R. Martin and Robert Redford.

Jessica Mattsen

Jessica Matten is of Red River Metis-Cree descent and is directly a descendant of Cuthbert Grant, the first rebel Metis leader famously known for the Battle of the Seven Oaks in Canada. Most recently, Jessica is set to star in Robert Redford, George R.R. Martin (Game of Thrones) and Graham Roland’s produced “Dark Winds” television series opposite Zahn McClarnon and Kiowa Gordon for the AMC Network this Fall 2021.

Jessica is the star and Associate Producer of the new critically acclaimed Crime Drama “Tribal” Season 2 the on APTN Network.

Jessica stars in Season 3 of Discovery Canada & Netflix’s TV show “Frontier” starring Jason Momoa. She also can be seen in the new CW Network and CBC drama alongside Kristin Kruek in “Burden of Truth”. Jessica also can be seen in the upcoming comic adaptation movie “The Empty Man” for Disney/20th Century Fox studios.

Jessica can be seen on 3 Canadian Screen Award nominated and winning shows: Frontier, Blackstone and Mohawk Girls.

Jessica has developed a small cult following in North America for her performance in the starring role of Elle-Maija Tailfeather’s short film, “A Red Girl’s Reasoning”. Other TV and films include the Gemini award winning show “Blackstone” and “Pilgrims” written and directed by Marie Clements that Jessica starred in, was an official selection for the Cannes Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival 2013.

Besides acting, Jessica runs an Indigenous wellness and fitness company with her family called Lemon Cree where they have helped thousands of Indigenous people achieve their fitness, wellness and health goals. She also runs the viral campaign #N8Vgirls to help spread awareness globally on the issue of murdered and missing Indigenous women in Canada.

She is currently in development with Herd of 1 Media with Julian Black Antelope creating an Indigenous Film Academy. The Counting Coup Indigenous Film Academy (“CCIFA”) is a progressive, state-of-the-art, holistic educational environment for intense creative work, where emerging and aspiring First Nations artists can effectively and successfully gain expertise and experience and establish the foundations of a professional film career.

Jessica ran multiple monthly articles and the magazine “Active Cree” distributed monthly to 60,000 people and 10 communities across the James Bay area throughout Northern Ontario. She is a guest speaker along with her mother across North America called: “Indigenous Women Breaking Barriers: A Mother and Daughter Story”. Jessica also instructs acting workshops, and has had many wonderful success stories with the youth over the years.

Rainn Wilson

Rainn Wilson is an American television and movie actor, director, writer, and producer. He became a household name in 2005 with his inimitable portrayal of ‘Dwight Schrute’ in the U.S. version of the popular British sitcom, The Office. His first breakthrough role came when he played assistant mortician ‘Arthur Martin’ in HBO’s Six Feet Under, winning him a Screen Actors Guild Award for “Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.” He then went on to appear in films like Almost Famous, House of 1000 Corpses, and America’s Sweethearts. Wilson catapulted to fame during his nine seasons on the Emmy-winning comedy, The Office, in which he also directed three episodes. He has starred in films like The Rocker, Monsters vs. Aliens, The Meg, and Don’t Tell A Soul. On the TV side, Wilson has also starred in the Fox crime drama Backstrom, where he played the lead role of ‘Everett Backstrom,’ and in Amazon Prime’s Utopia as ‘Michael Stearns.’

Wilson has an MFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and spent ten years doing theatre in New York before moving to Los Angeles. Wilson founded the YouTube channel Soul Pancake, which has over 3.5 million subscribers, and he published his memoir The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy in 2015. He is originally from Seattle, Washington.

Rainn Wilson will next be seen opposite Bryan Cranston and Annette Bening in the film Jerry and Marge Go Large for Paramount+ and as ‘Devoted Dan’ in AMC’s Dark Winds.

Noah Emmerich

Noah Emmerich recently completed the Netflix feature “The Good Nurse” opposite Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne. He is currently shooting the AMC series “Dark Winds” and will next be seen starring in the Apple series “Suspicion” opposite Uma Thurman. On the comedic side, Emmerich continues his role of “General Kick Grabaston” opposite Steve Carrell in the Netflix series “Space Force.” He was last seen co-starring in the Netflix mini-series “The Spy” opposite Sacha Baron Cohen.

Emmerich’s breakout performance was in Ted Demme’s cult hit “Beautiful Girls” alongside Natalie Portman, Uma Thurman, and Matt Dillon. His next role, opposite Jim Carrey in Peter Weir’s Academy Award-nominated “The Truman Show,” firmly established his outstanding talent.

Emmerich’s film work includes Todd Field’s Academy Award nominated “Little Children” (Kate Winslet), J.J. Abrams’ “Super 8,” Gavin O’Connor’s “Pride & Glory” (Edward Norton, Colin Farrell), Doug Liman’s “Fair Game” (Naomi Watts, Sean Penn), “Sympathy for Delicious” (Mark Ruffalo), “Miracle” (Kurt Russell), “Frequency” (Dennis Quaid), “Beyond Borders” (Angelina Jolie, Clive Owen), “Windtalkers” (Nicolas Cage), “Life” (Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence), “Copland” (Sylvester Stallone, Robert DeNiro, Harvey Keitel), Guillaume Canet’s “Blood Ties” (Marion Cotillard, Clive Owen, and Zoe Saldana), “Warrior” (Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton), and “Jane Got A Gun” (Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor) and “The Wild Wedding” (Glenn Close, John Malkovich).

Emmerich played FBI Agent Stan Beeman opposite Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys on F/X’s critically acclaimed drama series “The Americans.” His performance was recognized with a Critic’s Choice Award and a SAG Award nomination. He also appeared to great acclaim as Dr. Edwin Jenner in Frank Darabont’s long running hit series “The Walking Dead.” He has guest starred on shows including “The West Wing,” “Monk,” and “Master of None.”

Emmerich’s stage work includes Stephen Belber’s “Fault Lines” at the Cherry Lane (dir. David Schwimmer) and the Kennedy Center’s production of “A Streetcar Named Desire” opposite Patricia Clarkson.

Emmerich received an honors degree in history from Yale University and studied filmmaking at New York University. He was born and raised in New York City, where he currently resides.

Chris Eyre

Chris Eyre (Cheyenne/Arapaho) is an internationally recognized film and television director and producer who has received many awards for his work including, a Peabody (1998, 2009), an Emmy (2005) and the Sundance Audience Award and Sundance Filmmaker’s Trophy (1998).

Eyre began his career by attended the graduate film program at New York University and went on to the Sundance Institute’s Directors’ Lab being mentored by Robert Redford in 1995.

Chris Eyre’s directorial debut was the Miramax Classic Film “SMOKE SIGNALS (1998),” which won Eyre the 1998 Sundance Filmmakers’ Trophy and the 1998 Sundance Audience Award. 20 years later, in 2018, “SMOKE SIGANALS (1998) was inducted by the U.S. Library of Congress to the National Film Registry for movies “of historic and cultural significance to be preserved for all time.”

Eyre’s television credits as a director include multiple episodes of “FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS” (NBC) and work on “LAW AND ORDER – SVU” (NBC), as well as directing the award-winning dramatic mini-series “WE SHALL REMAIN” (2009) for PBS.

Eyre’s film “EDGE OF AMERICA (2004)” was selected as the “Opening Night” film at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, and garnered Eyre the highly prestigious, Outstanding Directorial Achievement from the Directors Guild of America (DGA) in 2005.

Eyre has directed and/or produced over fifteen-feature films. Including Eyre’s SXSW award winner for Best Cinematography “HIDE AWAY (2012)” starring Josh Lucas and James Cromwell released theatrically in May 2012.

In 2015, Eyre executive produced the documentary feature film “THE SEVENTH FIRE (2015),” with fellow producers Terrence Malick and Natalie Portman. In 2016, THE SEVENTH FIRE was invited to screen at The White House in Washington, D.C.

In 2017, Eyre was named annual-honorary Chair at the University of Hawaii in memory of the late Senator Daniel Inouye. Later 2017, Eyre’s company created and supervised the cultural team that advised language and Cheyenne Native American culture for the Christian Bale feature film “HOSTILES (2018)” directed by Scott Cooper.

Chris Eyre is currently directing a television series, DARK WINDS with fellow producers George RR Martin (Game of Thrones) and Robert Redford for AMC Networks.

Chris Eyre resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Chris Eyre is represented by Frank Wuliger at the Gersh Agency, manager Andrew Hersh at Thrive Entertainment and attorney Eric Feig in Los Angeles.

Graham Roland

Graham is a former US Marine and has written on PRISON BREAK, LOST, FRINGE, and THE RETURNEDGraham would later co-create JACK RYAN with Carlton Cuse, which has already been ordered for a fourth season. In addition to his work in television, Graham also wrote and executive produced MILE 22 for Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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"Dark Winds" cast members on the TCA panel - all photos from actors' social media or Amazon

Interview with Josh Duhamel

TV Interview!

Actors Josh Duhamel, Renée Zellweger, Judy Greer, Glenn Fleshler; and producers Liz Cole, Jenny Klein and Chris McCumber of "The Thing About Pam" on NBC.

Interview with Actors Josh Duhamel, Renée Zellweger, Judy Greer, Glenn Fleshler; and producers Liz Cole, Jenny Klein and Chris McCumber of “The Thing About Pam” on NBC by Suzanne 2/11/22

This show is very well done, so I hope you can watch and enjoy it. It’s a sort of docu-drama, where real actors portray real people in their real situations (in this case, murder), but it’s also done with a slight bit of humor. It has a great cast.

I was very happy to be able to speak to Josh Duhamel, who’s one of my favorite actors. It was great to see Renée Zellweger and Judy Greer, too. Of course Renée is not only the star of the show, but she’s the most famous person in the show and in our panel. Greer does one of the voices on “Archer” on FX, so I’m quite familiar with her. She’s done a lot of other acting, as well. Almost everyone in the press asked Renée or the producers a question, so I was glad to be able to ask Josh one. I felt bad for the other actors that were ignored.

THE THING ABOUT PAM -- "She's a Good Friend" Episode 101 -- Pictured: Renée Zellweger as Pam Hupp -- (Photo by: Skip Bolen/NBC)NBCUNIVERSAL
WINTER 2022 TCA VIRTUAL PRESS TOUR
NBC The Thing About Pam
Josh Duhamel, Talent, “Joel Schwartz”
Glenn Fleshler, Talent, “Russ Faria”
Judy Greer, Talent, “Leah Askey”
Renée Zellweger, Talent, “Pam Hupp”/Executive Producer
Liz Cole, Executive Producer/President, NBC News Studios
Jenny Klein, Showrunner/Executive Producer
Chris McCumber, Executive Producer/President, Blumhouse Television
Virtual via Zoom February 11, 2022
© 2022 NBCUniversal, Inc. All rights reserved.

“The Thing About Pam” is based on the 2011 murder of Betsy Faria that resulted in her husband Russ’s conviction, although he insisted he didn’t kill her. He was later exonerated. This brutal crime set off a chain of events that would expose a diabolical scheme deeply involving Pam Hupp. A thorough examination of the scheme was featured on several episodes of “Dateline NBC,” becoming one of the show’s most popular subjects. It also became the subject of a popular 2019 podcast, “The Thing About Pam,” which has been downloaded over 20 million times. “The Thing About Pam” will premiere Tuesday, March 8th, at 10 p.m., and run for six episodes.

Josh Duhamel in "The Thing About Pam" on NBCHere was my question for Josh: “What can you tell us about your character, Joel?”

He replied, “Gosh, where do I begin?” He told us that he became “pretty good friends” with Joel “throughout this process.” The Joel in the TV show “was just a really fun character to dive into. He’s a defense attorney and has defended the worst of the worst, and I think [he] came into this expecting the same as what’s he done in the past, [which] is defending a guilty man, and [then] he quickly finds out that …Russell didn’t do this.” He enjoyed picking Joel’s brain about how “he evolved throughout the process.” At first Joel was just doing his regular job, but then he realized that his client was not guilty, so he was determined, “like, a dog with a bone” by the end of it. He “really took it personally and really wanted to see justice. And I think that that’s what was really fun for me.” He added, “You know, obviously, it wasn’t as much of a stretch, this character, as it was for Renée or, you know, Glenn, or even Judy, but it was really fun to sort of try to [act out] the frustration that he had to feel throughout this process [because it] was something that was [difficult], but at the same time, he was a really cool dude; never really lost his temper, except for a few times….Me, as Josh, I would have lost it several times, but Joel Schwartz didn’t.” What was interesting for Josh was figuring out how Joel handled that. “And so, he was a really valuable resource for me throughout this whole process, and turns out to be a really great dude.”

Of course, almost everyone wanted to speak with Renée, the star. First, she was asked about her return to TV, since she’s mostly done films. Renée answered that she really liked it. The pace and everything suits her. She said, “I love that it’s quick, and you have to think fast on your feet. Yeah, I enjoyed it a lot. Not so different from making the independent films. You know, you’ve got to make the most of the little bit of time that you have. So, it’s good training, I think, for independent films,” she laughed.

She was next asked to compare the role she played of Judy Garland in he 2019 film with playing Pam, since both were real life people. The reporter figures that she had more leeway to play Pam, since she’s not as famous.

Renée mostly agreed with what was said. There is a lot more material of Judy to use than Pam Hupp. She’s not sure that she has much more freedom to play Pam, since there is some information out there already, and they had to recreate her as best as they could so that people who were familiar with her could recognize her. She admitted, “Yes, of course, I could see that people project their own life experiences in making assumptions about the character of this person, whom they think they know. That felt important. And it’s pretty well established, her looks. So, we did what we could to come as close as we could.”

Renée Zellweger as Pam HuppRenée was also asked how much the prosthetics, costumes and wigs affect her performance and whether those present any special challenges. Renée laughed at that question and said that most of them would agree that using those things benefit an actor as it’s “part of your toolkit that makes it …easier to achieve what it is that you’re trying to, in terms of telling someone else’s story.” Speaking as an actor, she said that “the further you are away from yourself, the safer you feel to explore.” All of the actors went through “pretty remarkable transformations” to represent the real people. She asked Judy if that was “half the fun.” Judy agreed that it does make it easier to act like the person when you “have all that stuff on” and that it is like you’re “hiding” and “don’t feel as vulnerable.” She added, “And the crew is always surprised to see what you really look like when you do show up as yourself.” She laughed.

Josh joked, “Personally, I loved the wig. It made me feel like I had a full head of hair again. Like Judy said, I looked like Tom Hanks in ‘Splash.'” Everyone laughed at that. Judy made a joke at her expense that “Splash” is “such a hip reference. I got my finger on the pulse, you know?” which evoked more laughter.

Renée was asked next what about the character or the writing brought her to the series.

Renée confided that the script hadn’t yet been written when she signed on to the project, but she wanted to be part of the process of creating the show from the materials that were available, such as the podcast and the episodes of “Dateline.” She said that it was “Thrilling to be …alongside to witness that.” She remarked that it was the kind of story that “you couldn’t make up.” She shared with us that she listened to the entire podcast “when I was driving up and down the 5 Freeway, going to take my dog to get his hip replaced up in San Francisco, and I couldn’t believe it.” She called it an “experience of escalating absurdities.” She felt it would make an interesting show and would also allow them to “discuss some really important, current, relevant social issues.” Some people laughed at this as well.

The next reporter asked the producers how they figured out what tone they wanted to use for the series, since it was true crime, and how they cast Renée, and how she had to change her looks to play Pam.

Producer Chris let us know that Renée was the one to call him: “I’ll say this, and I’ll keep it really simple: When a two time Oscar winner calls and says, ‘I’m obsessed with this story, and I want to play Pam, and I want to produce,’ I mean, you say, ‘Yes, yes, yes, and yes.’ And our job, at that point, is to, you know, provide Renée, and the rest of the cast, with all the tools that they need to embody these characters.” He concluded that it was an easy choice, with this cast.

The cast of "The Thing About Pam" on NBCCreator/Producer Jenny also added, “Yes, we’re so lucky to have Renée embodying this totally unique character, and on the show, a lot of the absurdity comes from Pam herself.” She addressed the question about the tone of the show. She described how they had to have a real balance between the tragic story and how it was “so disturbing and unspeakable,” as well as showing the “absurd details that Pam really did or said.” The heart of show, she relayed, was Betsy and her family, and “that grounding emotional center with Russ, or Betsy’s daughter, Mariah. And so, when you’re really feeling their raw pain and frustration, it can actually make Pam’s actions all the more upsetting. So, I’d say it’s a real push and pull between the levity and the drama. It’s like a hybrid.”

Chris praised Jenny’s pitch, where she described the tone of show using examples from “Fargo.” The dark streak of humor comes from Pam’s psyche.

Jenny admitted that she’d never seen someone like Pam on TV before. She’s “completely unfazed when caught in a lie, and changing her story so much. It almost creates like a game for the viewer, where they’re the only ones actually tracking Pam’s lies through her world because they’re the only ones taking in the show as a whole.”

They were also asked why this murder case was different from the others that they wanted to make it into this miniseries.

Jenny let us know that the cooperation between NBC and all of the reporting done by Dateline, along with the other production companies were what infused the horror and other elements into the show. She believes that, “it’s a true-crime story that, in some ways, won’t leave you feeling depressed, but will keep you on the edge of your seat because there’s so many twists and turns.”

Chris asked Liz to chime in on this particular question. Liz revealed that they’ve wanted to make a good script based on one of the “Dateline” stories. This story about Pam Hupp was the only one they considered because it’s so rich and resonates well with “Dateline viewers. She added, “when we first embarked on this, I don’t think I imagined, in my wildest dreams, that we would have Renée Zellweger staring as Pam, and the rest of the incredible cast, and, you know, working with Blumhouse has just been a joy. So, it’s been a wonderful partnership.” Chris agreed with those comments and praised the partnership.

Josh also put in his two cents, saying, “I can’t believe this hasn’t happened earlier” because he’s a long-time “Dateline” fan and remembered thinking that this story would make a great movie or TV show. He stated, “You wouldn’t believe this story if it weren’t true.” To this note, Liz added that they called their second episode “Stranger than Fiction.” She also jokingly said to Josh that they needed to send Josh his own “Dateline” hat. He replied, “Please do. And if you could have Keith Morrison send me a Christmas card every year, that would be great, too.” Liz postulated, “An audio card.” Then, Josh did a fantastic imitation of Keith Morrison, saying, “Merry Christmas, Josh”, so everyone laughed.

The next reporter asked two questions in one, even though we’re not supposed to do that. He or she asked whether any of the real-life family members were involved in creating the show, as well as asked Renée how she prepared to play such an evil person, when she’s not that way at all in real life.

Jenny replied that they took their responsibilities of bringing a real-life story to life seriously. They contacted many of the people involved with Pam Hupp’s case who knew her, and many spoke with them so that they could get the full story. However, she stipulated that they also had to make it a dramatic story for TV, so some of it is fiction. Renée added her answer to what Jenny said. Hearing about the real life Pam, seeing videos, reading books etc. helped prepare her for the role.

Judy Greer as Leah AskeyRenée was also asked about using prosthetics on the show to look like Pam. This type of process was pretty new to Renée, so she learned quite a bit about it. Apparently the pieces often fall off or turn into something else by the end of the day. She had to learn to act more with her whole body covered in these prosthetics. She had to learn a new skill. At the beginning of shooting, it took “about four hours” by prosthetic makeup designer & creator Arjen Tuiten and his team, but then because of his “genius,” they were able to cut it down to 2 1/2 hours. She found it to be quite “fun creatively.” Then she reflected that it might make her “a crazy person to find that fun, gluing stuff to your head every day, but I did find it fun.” She said that Judy also had some prosthetics, but Judy replied that she just put on a wig. Everyone laughed at that. Josh pointed out that she also had contacts to deal with.

Glenn added that he just had to sit there. He couldn’t imagine what Renée had to go through every day, spending hours putting the prosthetics on, and then “show up on set with the spirit that she had and has every day, it’s really remarkable.” He praised her quite a lot.

The next journalist asked about Renée’s accent and how she put on Pam’s attitude. He/she asked if Renée visited a lot of “convenience stores” to get more of a feeling for them (which seemed like kind of an odd question).

Renée said kindly that she loves to take road trips, so convenience stores are not new to her. She had a hard time getting the accent right, saying it was “elusive.” She found that even within the region she lived, Pam had a “peculiar” accent that was uniquely hers. She listened to a lot of recordings of Pam, repeating what she said until she got it right.

Next the producers were asked how they’re able to have the actors portray real-life people (other than Pam) – whether they have to be sensitive to how they are and whether they worry about having them be too comical or whether they get permission.

Glenn Fleshler as Russ FariaJenny replied that they tried as much as possible to stick to the facts, which they had from court transcripts and video coverage (thanks to NBC news). She pointed out that “there’s certainly the law enforcement and prosecution side of the story that is very specific to this town and brings out one of our greater themes, which is about confirmation bias, and what happened to Russ Faria.”

They were also asked about what challenges they faced with creating a fictional story based on a pretty recent true story.

Jenny told us that the goal is to make the viewers feel heartbroken when they should be (about the families involved) and to also “recognize the absurdity” about it.

Chris jumped in to say that they also had the goal to make it a “really great entertaining piece of premium television.” He mentioned that it’s difficult in today’s TV landscape to get people’s attention and to create an event that will make the show break out from the other “millions of hours of shows.”

The producers were also asked about how they went about making this fiction and not just another retelling of the Dateline episodes or a podcast. Jenny praised their “amazing cast” for “bringing these people to life in ways that a podcast, by its nature, simply can’t.” They also “were able to just delve deeper into who Pam is” and really show the emotion of the story to the audience that those other outlets couldn’t do.

When the panel concluded, and the host said that the next panel would be for “Law & Order,” Josh joked, “Can I be on that one, too?” and Jenny replied, “No.” That ended the panel with more laughter. All that laughter is the sign of a great panel, and they also made a great show on top of that. It airs Tuesdays, 10/9c.

MORE INFO:

The Thing About Pam

Tuesdays on NBC (10-11 p.m. ET); Series Premiere: March 8

NBC’s “The Thing About Pam” is based on the 2011 murder of Betsy Faria that resulted in her husband Russ’s conviction, although he insisted he didn’t kill her. He was later exonerated. This brutal crime set off a chain of events that would expose a diabolical scheme deeply involving Pam Hupp.

A thorough examination of the scheme was featured on several episodes of “Dateline NBC,” becoming one of the most popular topics to ever air on the hit franchise. It also became the subject of a popular 2019 podcast, “The Thing About Pam,” which has been downloaded over 20 million times.

The series stars Renée Zellweger, Josh Duhamel, Judy Greer, Katy Mixon, Glenn Fleshler, Gideon Adlon, Sean Bridgers, Suanne Spoke and Mac Brandt.

“The Thing About Pam” is executive produced by Renée Zellweger, Carmella Casinelli, Jenny Klein (showrunner), Mary-Margaret Kunze, Scott Winant, Jessika Borsiczky, Liz Cole, Noah Oppenheim, Jason Blum, Chris McCumber and Jeremy Gold.

Blumhouse Television, NBC News Studios and Big Picture Co. will produce.

Renée ZellwegerRenée Zellweger

Pam Hupp, “The Thing About Pam”

Renée Zellweger stars as Pam Hupp in the NBC limited series “The Thing About Pam.”

Zellweger most recently starred as the legendary Judy Garland in “Judy,” winning the Academy Award, BAFTA, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and Critics Choice awards for the film.

She will soon begin production on the feature film “The Back Nine” in the role of a former golfer who set her clubs aside to make way for her husband’s pro career and raise her son, only to then turn pro during the “back nine” of her life. Zellweger serves as an executive producer on both “The Back Nine” and “The Thing About Pam” through her production company, Big Picture Co.

Zellweger is known globally for her starring role as the seminal British everywoman in the film “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” for which she received an Oscar nomination, and the sequels “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason” and “Bridget Jones’s Baby.” She also earned an Academy Award nomination as convicted killer Roxie Hart in “Chicago” and won her first Oscar in the category of Best Supporting Actress for Anthony Minghella’s “Cold Mountain.”

After graduating with an English degree from the University of Texas, Zellweger made her feature film debut in Richard Linklater’s seminal coming-of-age film “Dazed and Confused.” Other film roles quickly followed, including “Reality Bites,” “Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation” and “My Boyfriend’s Back.” Zellweger soon after won the affection of audiences with her breakthrough role in “Jerry Maguire.”

Additional credits include “One True Thing,” “Nurse Betty,” “Me, Myself & Irene,” “White Oleander,” and “Cinderella Man.” She has also lent her voice to such animated features as “Shark Tale,” “Bee Movie” and “Monsters vs. Aliens” and made her television debut in the Netflix limited series “What/If.”

Josh DuhamelJosh Duhamel

Joel Schwartz, “The Thing About Pam”

Josh Duhamel plays Joel Schwartz in the NBC limited series “The Thing About Pam.”

Duhamel most recently starred in the Netflix original series “Jupiter’s Legacy,” based on the comic series of the same name. Next up, he co-stars opposite Jennifer Lopez in “Shotgun Wedding,” which is slated for a summer release. Duhamel also recently wrapped the bank heist thriller “Bandit,” alongside Mel Gibson, and the action crime film “Blackout.”

On television, Duhamel is known for his role on the NBC drama “Las Vegas.” Additionally, he lent his voice to Nickelodeon’s Emmy Award-winning animated series “Fanboy & Chum Chum” and starred in several seasons of the long-running ABC soap opera “All My Children,” for which he received three consecutive Daytime Emmy nominations. Other recent TV credits include CBS’ “Battle Creek” and the J.J. Abrams mini-series “11.22.63” on Hulu.

Film credits include “Think Like a Dog,” “The Lost Husband,” “Love, Simon,” “Transformers” and “New Year’s Eve.”

Duhamel made his directorial debut at the 2019 Mammoth Film Festival with “The Buddy Games,” for which he also co-wrote, co-produced, and starred.

Glenn FleshlerGlenn Fleshler

Russ Faria, “The Thing About Pam”

Glenn Fleshler stars as Russ Faria in the NBC limited series “The Thing About Pam.”

Fleshler recently played Randall in “The Joker,” opposite Joaquin Phoenix, and continues to recur on Showtime’s “Billions.” Previously, he portrayed the terrifying Yellow King on the first season of HBO’s “True Detective.”

Other TV roles include “Barry,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “For Life,” “Watchmen,” Waco,” “The Twilight Zone” and “The Night Of.”

In film, Fleshler has worked with A-list directors that include Barry Levinson, Woody Allen, Kenneth Lonergan, Tom McCarthy, JC Chandor, Todd Phillips and Andrew Jarecki.  In the theater, he has worked with directors and playwrights that include Mike Nichols, Tony Kushner, Edward Albee, Tom Stoppard and David Hare.

Fleshler earned an MFA from the NYU Graduate Acting program.

Judy GreerJudy Greer

Leah Askey, “The Thing About Pam”

Judy Greer stars as Leah Askey in the new NBC limited series “The Thing About Pam.”

Greer’s career in both film and television has been extremely prolific, with her appearing in nearly 200 roles to date, including the Blumhouse reboot of “Halloween, directed by David Gordon Green and starring Jamie Lee Curtis. She most recently filmed HBO’s limited series “White House Plumbers,” opposite Woody Harrelson and Justin Theroux, and will be co-starring in “Reboot” from “Modern Family” co-creator Steve Levitan.

Greer’s feature credits include “The Descendants,” “Jurassic World,” Driven,” “Where’d You Go, Bernadette,” and many others.

On the TV side, Greer’s many credits include “Archer,” “Kidding,” “Let’s Go Luna,” “Married,” “Arrested Development,” “Casual,” “Two and a Half Men” and “Masters of Sex.”

Greer made her feature film directorial debut in 2018 with “A Happening of Monumental Proportions.” The film premiered at the Bentonville Film Festival where it won the Audience Spotlight Award. Previously, she directed an AOL original short that documents the practice of Transcendental Meditation and how it has changed the lives of teachers and students who learned the practice from the David Lynch Foundation.

Chris McCumberChris McCumber

Executive Producer, “The Thing About Pam”

Chris McCumber is the President of Blumhouse Television. In his role, he oversees all aspects of the television business for the company, known for pioneering a new model of studio filmmaking: producing high-quality micro-budget films and provocative, award-winning television series.

The multimedia company is one of the most successful independent studios in history with more than $4.8 billion in collective box office receipts from its films and has produced over 150 films and television series.

McCumber oversees a development slate of more than 20 sold projects, with several in production for Netflix, NBC, HBO, Disney+, Peacock and Epix, including the ongoing series “The Horror of Dolores Roach.” Since joining the company a little over one year ago, he has secured rights to develop elusive and highly sought after IP, including Patricia Cornwell’s “Kay Scarpetta” series of books; the WWE’s first dramatic scripted series, “The United States vs. Vince McMahon”; and “Battersea Poltergeist,” based on the wildly popular BBC Radio 4 podcast. He was instrumental in Blumhouse Television and ITV America’s exclusive pact to produce unscripted, large-format television series, developing projects such as “Escape the Maze,” a genre-themed escape and competition format, and “Celebrity Castle,” based on the international hit “I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!”

Upcoming is the highly anticipated NBC limited series “The Thing About Pam,” starring two-time Oscar winner Renée Zellweger; John Lee Hancock’s film “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone,” based on the Stephen King novel for Netflix; “Torn Hearts,” starring Katey Sagal and airing on Epix; and “Worst Roommate Ever,” a docuseries for Netflix.

Before being named President of Blumhouse Television, McCumber held several positions at NBCUniversal over a successful 20-year tenure, most recently as President, Entertainment Networks from 2016-20 overseeing the company’s USA and SYFY cable networks. Prior to that, he held several leadership roles at USA as Senior Vice President, On-Air Promotion and head of marketing before becoming President, USA Network, during which time USA remained the #1 entertainment network on cable for 14 consecutive years – the longest streak in television history – and launched top-rated and award-winning original programming, including “Mr. Robot,” “The Sinner,” “Suits,” “Chrisley Knows Best,” “The Purge,” “Monk” and “Psych.” McCumber also oversaw USA’s long-term relationship with the WWE, including the top-rated marquee programs, “Monday Night Raw” and “NXT.”

Before joining USA, McCumber was creative director for the media and entertainment practice at Lee Hunt Associates and Razorfish, where he led teams focused on brand strategy and creative solutions for linear and broadband entertainment companies. While there, he worked with more than 100 media brands, including NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX/News Corp, Disney, HBO, SiriusXM and Turner Networks

McCumber began his career at MTV Networks as associate producer before joining the on-air promotion team that launched Comedy Central. An accomplished commercial film director, he helmed 14 short films for NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” titled “Fuzzy Memories by Jack Handy.”

McCumber is a government and law graduate of Lafayette College and currently serves on their Board of Trustees. He was recently named to Variety’s 2021 Dealmakers Impact Report alongside Blumhouse CEO and founder Jason Blum and Blumhouse President Charles Layton.

Liz ColeLiz Cole

Executive Producer, “The Thing About Pam”

Liz Cole is the president of NBC News Studios, a new division of NBC News that produces premium documentaries, docuseries and select scripted programming. She is also the executive producer of “Dateline NBC,” the longest-running series in NBC primetime history.

Since launching NBC News Studios in 2020, Cole has developed and executive produced an array of premium documentaries and docuseries, including “Memory Box: Echoes of 9/11,” which screened at the Toronto Film Festival, and the upcoming “Diamond Hands: The Legend of WallStreetBets,” which will premiere at SXSW next month.

Serving as executive producer of “Dateline NBC” since 2011, Cole is responsible for the production of all episodes, investigative reports, podcasts and special series. Now in its 30th season, the series airs across NBC, cable and in broadcast syndication, with hundreds of hours available to stream on Peacock’s Dateline 24/7 channel. The newsmagazine, which was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame in 2019, also reaches millions through its #1 podcasts and its showcast.

Cole has won six Emmy Awards. She is also the recipient of two Peabody Awards, three Edward R. Murrow Awards and two Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Awards.

Cole graduated from Vassar College, where she co-founded the campus TV station, VCTV. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, Christian Martin, and their two children.

Jenny KleinJenny Klein

Executive Producer, “The Thing About Pam”

Jenny Klein is executive producer and showrunner for NBC and Blumhouse TV’s limited series “The Thing About Pam.”

Klein is currently in a first-look deal with Blumhouse Television and was previously under an overall deal at Amazon Studios, serving as co-executive producer on the upcoming limited series “Daisy Jones & the Six.” Her past work includes Marvel’s “Jessica Jones” and “The Witcher” for Netflix, for which she co-wrote the #1 Billboard rock single “Toss a Coin to Your Witcher.”

Klein is from Skokie, Ill.

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The cast of "The Thing About Pam" on NBC
THE THING ABOUT PAM — “Red Carpet Event” — Pictured: (l-r) Judy Greer, Glenn Fleshler, Suanne Spoke, Renee Zellweger, Josh Duhamel, Gideon Adlon, Sean Bridgers, Mac Brandt at the Maybourne Beverly Hills, February 28, 2022 — (Photo by: Todd Williamson/NBC)

“Killing Eve” Ends Its Successful Run

“Killing Eve” Article!

KILLING EVE Season: 4 poster - Sandra Oh as Eve, Jodie Comer as Villanelle - Killing Eve _ Season 4, Key Art - Photo Credit: Claire Rothstein/BBCA

“Killing Eve” Season 4 premieres this week on AMC/AMC+ and BBC America by Suzanne 2/28/22

On February 10, I watched the TCA (Television Critics Assocation) panel for “Killing Eve,” which is beginning its 4th season. I was not able to ask a question, but I enjoyed watching the panel (and all of the AMC panels that same day). I don’t watch the show regularly, but I do plan to go back and finish watching it one of these days. There are just too many good shows to watch.

This is one worth watching, as I’m sure everyone knows by now. It’s one of the few shows that not only has critics raving but fans watching. This is its last season, unfortunately. It will be missed by its many fans. I’m sure the actors and writers will go on to many other great projects.

The panel included actors Sandra Oh (Eve), Jodie Comer (Villanelle) and Fiona Shaw (Carolyn); and executive producers Sally Woodward Gentle and Laura Neal (Oh is also executive producer). Many journalists were there to ask questions. It was great to listen in.

"Killing Eve" Sandra Oh, Jodie Comer, Sally Woodward Gentle and Laura Neal

You can read about the panel here on my friend Jamie’s site.

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Trailer

Sandra Oh as Eve Polastri and Jodie Comer as Villanelle; photo from bbc.comFOURTH AND FINAL SEASON OF EXPLOSIVE AND CRITICALLY-ACCLAIMED DRAMA, KILLING EVE, RETURNS SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 27 ON BBC AMERICA AND AMC+

January 01, 2022

Eight-Part Final Season To Also Air Mondays on AMC, Beginning February 28

AMC Networks today revealed the premiere date and first-look photos for the fourth and final season of the irresistible cultural phenomenon and award-winning drama series, Killing Eve. The must-watch conclusion to this epic journey will debut on Sunday, February 27 at 8:00pm ET/PT on BBC AMERICA, with the first two episodes also streaming that date on AMC+. In addition, episodes will premiere weekly on AMC beginning Monday, February 28 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.

After the emotional climax of Season Three, Eve (Golden Globe® winner Sandra Oh), Villanelle (Emmy® Award winner Jodie Comer) and Carolyn (BAFTA winner Fiona Shaw) are in very different places. Following Eve and Villanelle’s exchange on the bridge, Eve is on a revenge mission, while Villanelle has found a brand-new community in an attempt to prove she’s not a “monster.” Having killed Paul, Carolyn goes to extraordinary lengths to continue to chase down The Twelve and the person that ordered Kenny’s hit. This season follows our extraordinary women, each driven by passion, revenge and obsession, building towards a messy, nuanced and totally glorious series finale.

Laura Neal (Sex Education, Secret Diary of a Call Girl) continues the Killing Eve tradition of a new lead writer every season, following Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Emerald Fennell and Suzanne Heathcote. Neal is also an executive producer on season four.

Killing Eve stars Golden Globe®, SAG® and Critics’ Choice Award winner Sandra Oh, Emmy® and BAFTA winner Jodie Comer, Emmy® nominee and BAFTA winner Fiona Shaw and BAFTA nominee Kim Bodnia.

Executive producers for the upcoming season are Sally Woodward Gentle, Lee Morris, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Gina Mingacci, Damon Thomas, Laura Neal and Sandra Oh.

Killing Eve is produced by Sid Gentle Films Ltd. for BBC AMERICA. The series is financed and distributed by Endeavor Content.

Sandra Oh as Eve Polastri and Jodie Comer as Villanelle; photo fromAbout AMC Networks

AMC Networks is a global entertainment company known for its popular and critically acclaimed content. Its portfolio of brands includes AMC, BBC AMERICA (operated through a joint venture with BBC Studios), IFC, SundanceTV, WE tv, IFC Films, and a number of fast-growing streaming services, including the AMC+ premium streaming bundle, Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now and ALLBLK (formerly branded “UMC”). AMC Studios, the Company’s in-house studio, production and distribution operation, is behind award-winning owned series and franchises, including The Walking Dead, the highest-rated series in cable history. The Company also operates AMC Networks International, its international programming business, and 25/7 Media, its production services business.

About BBC AMERICA:

BBC AMERICA is a hub of innovative, culturally contagious programming including the Peabody Award-winning series Killing Eve starring Golden Globe® and SAG® Award-winner Sandra Oh and Emmy® Award-winner Jodie Comer. The network is the definitive television home and co-producer of the most iconic natural history series including Planet Earth II, Blue Planet II, Dynasties, Seven Worlds, One Planet and upcoming Meerkat Manor, Eden (w/t), Frozen Planet II and Planet Earth III. BBCA transforms every Saturday into Wonderstruck, a weekly 24-hour destination for wildlife and wonder. A joint venture between AMC Networks and BBC Studios (the commercial arm of the BBC), BBCA’s influential shows such as Doctor Who, Orphan Black, and Luther, have attracted critical acclaim and earned Emmy® Awards, Golden Globes®, Peabody Awards, Critics’ Choice Awards, NAACP Image Awards, TCA Awards and more. BBCA is available across all platforms, including on-air, online, on demand and mobile. Find out more by visiting press.amcnetworks.com. BBCA on social: YouTubeTwitterInstagramFacebookTumblr

About AMC

AMC is home to some of the most popular and acclaimed programs on television. AMC was the first basic cable network to ever win the Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series with Mad Men in 2008, which then went on to win the coveted award four years in a row, before Breaking Bad won it in 2013 and 2014. The network’s series The Walking Dead is the highest-rated series in cable history. AMC’s current original drama series are Better Call Saul, Fear the Walking Dead, Kevin Can F Himself, NOS4A2, Quiz, Soulmates, The Walking Dead, The Walking Dead: World Beyond and the forthcoming series 61st Street and Pantheon. AMC also explores authentic worlds and discussion with original shows like Talking Dead, AMC Visionaries and Ride with Norman Reedus. AMC is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc. and its sister networks include IFC, SundanceTV, BBC America and WE tv. AMC is available across all platforms, including on-air, online, on demand and mobile.

About AMC+

AMC+ is the company’s new premium streaming bundle featuring an extensive lineup of popular and critically acclaimed original programming from AMC, BBC America, IFC, and SundanceTV and full access to targeted streaming services Shudder, Sundance Now and IFC Films Unlimited, which feature content such as A Discovery of Witches, Creepshow, Riviera and Boyhood. The service features a continually refreshed library of commercial-free content, including fan favorites Mad Men, Halt & Catch Fire, Turn: Washington’s Spies, Hell on Wheels, NOS4A2, Rectify, Orphan Black, Portlandia, and series from The Walking Dead Universe, among many others. The service also offers a growing slate of original and exclusive series including Ragdoll, Kin, Gangs of London, The North Water, The Beast Must Die, Too Close, The Salisbury Poisonings, Spy City, Ultra City Smiths, Anna, and Firebite. AMC+ recently launched in Canada and Australia, and is available in the U.S. through AMCPlus.com, the AMC+ app, and a number of digital and cable partners.

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KILLING EVE Season: 3 - Jodie Comer as Villanelle, Kim Bodnia as Konstantin Vasiliev, Sandra Oh as Eve Polastri, Fiona Shaw as Carolyn Martens - Killing Eve _ Season 3, Gallery - Photo Credit: Paola Kudacki/BBC America
Jodie Comer as Villanelle, Kim Bodnia as Konstantin Vasiliev, Sandra Oh as Eve Polastri, Fiona Shaw as Carolyn Martens – Killing Eve _ Season 3, Gallery – Photo Credit: Paola Kudacki/BBC America

Interview with actors, director and writer of “State of the Union”

TV Interview!

"State of the Union" panel

Interview with actors Brendan Gleeson, Patricia Clarkson, and Esco Jouléy; director Stephen Frears and EP Nick Hornby of “State of the Union” on SundanceTV by Suzanne 2/10/22

This was such a fun and funny TCA (Television Critics Association) panel to listen to. These are great actors in an emotional show. You should check it out if you can. It airs on Sundance and SundanceNow. They’re only 10 minute episodes, so it’s easy to watch, in that sense.

Brendan and Patricia were asked if they ever had to adjust the speed of their dialogue to keep the episode length to 10 minutes, or whether they ever went longer than 10 minutes. (I’m sure the editing would take care of this. It’s not like it’s live.) Brendan explained that their director kept them going at a fast pace. However, the way the dialogue is written makes them want to go fast. He found it “exhilarating.” Patricia agreed and said that they had to make the most of their “brilliant 10 minutes.” No time was wasted, and they love how director Frears kept them going. Esco jokingly imitated Frears, saying, “Faster. Faster.” Frears made jokes of his own that all esteemed directors Billy Wilder and Steven Spielberg ever said was “Faster!” This was a very fun panel with a lot of jokes and laughing.

A journalist asked if they felt the same frustrations as Scott did (ordering coffee, etc.) and whether they were on his side in the story, or more on Ellen’s side. Brendan replied that he wasn’t familiar with a lot of the subjects addressed in the show, such as using the correct pronouns. Esco helped him with that. He said, “it was very liberating to explore how gender has become such a kind of imprisoning definition.” He loves how the writing makes Scott very curious about things, even though he does complain a lot. Esco chimed in to say he learned from the script, too. Nick added that he didn’t have the same problems as Scott does in the show, but he does “completely understand the mindset,” which is how he was able to write it. He agrees with Brendan that he “discovered a lot of things through the writing and then through talking to Esco.” He explained that “I go into a complicated coffee order, then it’s difficult the first time, and then I order the same thing 3,000 times in a row.” This made everyone laugh. Nick quoted one of Scott’s lines, where he was yelling at himself for saying the wrong pronoun: “Oh, Scott, you stupid old man.” Nick confided that someone had pointed that out to him one time, and he said it to himself. So it worked out well to give it to Scott. Everyone laughed at that, too.

Esco admired how Scott was able to recover from making a mistake a recognizing that someone else wasn’t pleased by it. He said, “Because at the end of the day, we all want to be respected. This person just wants it differently than you and it’s like, okay, I’m going to go on this journey with you to respect you the best way I can because I appreciate you.”

Patricia joined in the conversation by explaining that there were non-binary assistants and others on their set, so they had to do in real life what their characters were doing on-screen, so it was “wonderful” and helpful for them to learn all of these things. She noted that it was “quite remarkable at times.” Nick joked that “I think it’s kind of a miracle that Brendan, Stephen, and I managed to get through it without Esco stalking off the set and never coming back.” Everyone laughed and joined in the joking. Esco complimented them all for being “amazing.” He points out that the intention matters. If someone isn’t being mean (just ignorant), then he’s happy to help them learn because he’s meeting them for the first time, too.

Patricia told Esco that he’s “one of the coolest people ever put on this planet.” She went on to compliment him more. Brendan added in his own praise, too. Esco talked about how we all “make assumptions” so it’s amazing how people can see you differently that you see yourself. In the show, Jay is able to “know Scott even more.” There was more joking around after that.

A journalist asked Nick if there was any difference for him, writing for men or women. Nick says that he just writes for people, and there are so many different kinds of people out there to write about. He starts with a character and then builds the story from there. He doesn’t think of them as being a particular gender. A writer’s job is to write everyone. Of writing people of different sexuality than him, he said, “you’ve just got to hope for the best, observe as much as you can, and get people to read.” He asks for help from others if he’s not sure about certain things, which he did for the part of Jay. He turned the question over to Patricia. She replied, “Oh, honey, I’ll take anything you want to write me, any day of the week.” This led to more laughter, of course. Then Patricia praised him a lot, saying, “I’ve never had such a delicious, glorious feast of words.” She says that his dialogue is very fast and funny. She added, “it moves so quickly between the emotional and the poignant and the poetic and then into brilliant comedy. It’s just all in one quick breath sometimes and it’s an actor’s dream. It’ll kill you, but it’s an actor’s dream.” There was more laughing.

Esco piped up that he really loved that he writes for humans because once he read the script and saw that Jay was a real person, he had to do it. He added, “it made me feel so three-dimensional.” Brendan joked, “I think it’s worth mentioning on top of that that men are humans, too.” He also praised Nick’s writing. He noticed that, “even when they’re chatting to each other, the whole idea of being able to learn and listen, and also then a certain generosity of spirit, I mean it’s what obviously has united this particular troop.” He said it was a “a joy” to work with these people because they were “so committed and so vigorous in what they were doing, but also emotionally brave.” He went on and on, but you get the idea.

Esco was getting emotional and said he missed them all, confessing that he felt all the feels at that moment. He just thought it was “amazing” and it made him feel “like a superhero and we were on the A-Team.”

Another press person asked Brendan and Patricia if the dialogue, which is sometimes “so raw and painful” ever made them feel things about their own lives or reflect on their own mistakes. Brenda replied that as an actor, you always have to use part of your own experience to fit your character. Patricia told us that it was never easy to say these type of lines as an actor, that it’s “brutal.”

Brendan added that he can really relate to Scott’s confusion, and Nick agreed. The press person agreed that it’s probably “a male thing…We’re all baffled. We’re all baffled in relationships.” There was a lot of laughing and agreeing.

Nick was asked a question that had nothing to do with the show. He was asked whether any of his other books would be turned into TV shows. He also asked his opinion about “Ted Lasso.” Nick refused to talk about “Ted Lasso.” He enjoys when he books become movies or TV shows, so it’s fine with him if it happens more. He said that back when he sold “High Fidelity,” it was a new experience for him. He related that he made “incredible friendships with people that I might not otherwise have met, one of them the director of this series and another one with the writer of the original movie.” It allowed him to learn about other industries. He mentioned that another TV series of his novel “Funny Girl” will be coming out later this year, so he’s enjoyed getting to know those people.

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"State of the Union" season 2 posterEmmy-winning State of the Union Renewed for a Second Season with New Cast on SundanceTV 

BACK FOR A LITTLE MORE, THE EMMY AWARD-WINNING SHORT FORM SERIES STATE OF THE UNION RENEWED FOR A SECOND SEASON ON SUNDANCETV

CREATOR NICK HORNBY AND DIRECTOR STEPHEN FREARS REUNITE TO DELIVER A PROFOUND EXPLORATION OF HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS IN THE NEXT INSTALLMENT OF GROUNDBREAKING SERIES FROM SEE-SAW FILMS

NEW SEASON PREMIERING LATER THIS YEAR ON SUNDANCETV AND SUNDANCE NOW STARS BRENDAN GLEESON, PATRICIA CLARKSON AND ESCO JOULÉY

NEW YORK/LOS ANGELES – January 27, 2021 – SundanceTV announced that it has renewed the Emmy®award-winning short form drama series, State of the Union, for a second season. Produced by See-Saw Films, Brendan Gleeson (In Bruges), Patricia Clarkson (Sharp Objects) and Esco Jouléy (High Maintenence) will lead the second installment of the innovative format, 10 episodes, each 10 minutes in length, which commenced production in January. The second season will premiere on SundanceTV and AMC Networks’ streaming service Sundance Now later this year.

Written by Nick Hornby (BrooklynAn Education) and directed by Stephen Frears (The QueenA Very English Scandal), State of the Union, cleverly explores relationships and the human experience. In this season, liberal campaigning Ellen (Clarkson) drags her traditional, self-made husband Scott (Gleeson) out of his comfort zone and into a hipster Connecticut coffee shop, where they have ten minutes before their marriage counseling session to drink a coffee, gather their thoughts and argue about everything from Quakerism to pronouns. Amongst the bickering they also discuss betrayals from their past, how they’re changing as people, and what the future of their relationship might look like in a changing world.

“The first season of State of the Union was a triumph of storytelling form, captivating audiences – 10 minutes at a time – by smartly and authentically exploring our fundamental humanity and curiosity around what makes people think, feel, love and interact,” said Dan McDermott, president of original programming for AMC Networks. “We are thrilled to once again partner with the great Nick Hornby and Stephen Frears, and welcome Brendan, Patricia and Esco, to break new ground in short-form storytelling with a series built on the most universal and unifying element of all – the human relationship.

“We are over the moon to be given another opportunity to work with Nick and Stephen on a new season of State of the Union with our friends at SundanceTV.” Said Jamie Laurenson and Hakan Kousetta, Executive Producers, See-Saw Films. “We are incredibly happy to welcome Brendan, Patricia and Esco to the team for a new story this season.”

Emmy Award-winning and multiple Golden Globe nominee, Brendan Gleeson recently played the role of Donald Trump in the CBS miniseries The Comey Rule and will soon be seen in the role of King Duncan in Joel Coen’s film adaptation of Macbeth. Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe- Critics’ Choice- and Emmy Award-winning actress, Patricia Clarkson was recently seen in the HBO limited series Sharp Objects and the sixth and final season of Netflix’ House of Cards. Burgeoning multi-talent Esco Jouley recently wrapped a role on the upcoming Starz series Blindspotting, from creators Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs, and was recently seen in HBO’s High MaintenanceFull Bios and Headshots

Jamie Laurenson, Hakan Kousetta, Iain Canning, and Emile Sherman are executive producers along with Hornby and Frears, with Sophie Reynolds producing the series for See-Saw Films. Kristin Jones, EVP of international programming for AMC and SundanceTV, is the executive in charge for SundanceTV. Endeavor Content is handling international sales.

The first season of State of the Union starred Oscar®-nominee Rosamund Pike (Gone GirlA Private War) and Emmy®-winner Chris O’Dowd (BridesmaidsGet Shorty) in an innovative look at a couple who meet for drinks ahead of their weekly marriage counseling appointments. The short form series premiered as an official selection of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and screened at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival.  State of the Union received three Emmy awards: Short Form Comedy or Drama Series, Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama (Pike) and Actor in a Short Form Comedy or Drama (O’Dowd).

About SundanceTV

Since its launch in 1996, SundanceTV has remained true to founder Robert Redford’s mission to celebrate creativity and distinctive storytelling through unique voices and narratives found in the best independent films. From delivering critically acclaimed Emmy®, Golden Globe® and Peabody Award-winning television featuring some of the world’s most talented creators and performers, to showcasing some of the most compelling and iconic films across genres and generations, SundanceTV is a smart and thought-provoking entertainment destination.  SundanceTV is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc.; its sister networks include AMC, IFC, BBC America and WE tv. SundanceTV is available across all platforms, including on-air, online at www.sundancetv.com, on demand and mobile.

About Sundance Now

AMC Networks’ streaming service Sundance Now is for culture craving TV watchers looking for their next series to obsess over and offers a rich selection of original and exclusive series from engrossing true crime to heart-stopping dramas and fiercely intelligent thrillers from around the world, all streaming commercial-free. Adding exclusive new programs every week, Sundance Now has exclusively premiered several distinctive, critically acclaimed Sundance Now Original Series, including supernatural drama A Discovery of Witches; glamourous thriller Riviera; and critically acclaimed French spy drama The Bureau; plus Sundance Now Exclusives, such as Nordic noir thriller Wisting and British drama Des starring David Tennant; as well as riveting true crime series like No One Saw a Thing.

Follow Sundance Now on:

Twitter@sundance_now

Facebook@SundanceNow

Instagram@SundanceNow

YouTube@Sundance Now

About See-Saw Films

Academy Award®, BAFTA and Emmy Award winning producers Iain Canning and Emile Sherman founded See-Saw Films in 2008. With offices in London and Sydney, See-Saw specializes in international film and television production.

See-Saw’s film projects include this year’s awards contender Ammonite, written and directed by Francis Lee, starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan which was selected for the Cannes, Telluride, Toronto and London Film festivals. In 2016 they released the six-time Academy Award® nominated Lion, starring Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman and Rooney Mara, as well as The King’s Speech, which was nominated for twelve and won four Academy Awards® in 2011 including Best Motion Picture. Recent projects include Widows directed by Steve McQueen and starring Viola Davis. Upcoming projects include Operation Mincemeat, directed by John Madden and starring Colin Firth, Matthew Macfadyen and Kelly Macdonald; The Power Of The Dog, written and directed by Jane Campion, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons; and The Unknown Man directed by Thomas M Wright, starring Joel Edgerton and Sean Harris.

See-Saw’s television division kicked off with the multi-award winning first season of Jane Campion’s ‘Top of the Lake’. Campion returned with ‘Top of The Lake: China Girl’ starring Elisabeth Moss, Nicole Kidman and Gwendoline Christie which premiered at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for a Golden Globe.  ‘State of the Union,’ written by Nick Hornby, directed by Stephen Frears and starring Rosamund Pike and Chris O’Dowd had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival 2019 and won three Emmy Awards. Recent projects include Samantha Strauss’ ‘The End’ for Foxtel and Sky Atlantic, starring Harriet Walter and Frances O’Connor. Upcoming projects include ‘The North Water’ for BBC Two written and directed by Andrew Haigh, starring Colin Farrell, Jack O’Connell and Stephen Graham; ‘Slow Horses’ for Apple TV+, starring Gary Oldman, Jack Lowden and Kristin Scott Thomas; and ‘The Essex Serpent’ for Apple TV+, directed by Clio Barnard.

Nick Hornby Bio

Nick Hornby is an Oscar®-nominated screenwriter and award-winning author. He won an Emmy for his short form series State Of The Union directed by Stephen Frears and starring Rosamund Pyke and Chris O’Dowd. He adapted Nina Stibbe’s memoir Love, Nina into a BBC1 television series and received Academy Award® and BAFTA nominations for his screenplay adaptation of Colm Tóibín’s novel Brooklyn, which was directed by John Crowley. The film starred Saoirse Ronan, Domhnall Gleeson, Julie Walters and Jim Broadbent, received three Oscar nominations in total and was awarded BAFTA’s Outstanding British Film. Nick’s previous film and television projects include his Oscar and BAFTA-nominated adaptation of Lynn Barber’s memoir An Education, which was directed by Lone Scherfig and starred Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard, Dominic Cooper, Rosamund Pike and Emma Thompson, his adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s New York Times bestselling memoir into the film Wild, which starred Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern, and his adaptation of his own memoir for the screenplay of Fever Pitch starring Colin Firth.

Nick’s best-selling books have served as a rich stream of inspiration for filmmakers: the British film of Fever Pitch was re-made by the Farrelly brothers, starring Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon; High Fidelity was directed by Stephen Frears, starring John Cusack and Jack Black, and in 2020 was re-imagined as a TV series starring Zoe Kravitz; About A Boy was directed by the Weitz brothers, starring Hugh Grant, Rachel Weisz and Toni Collette; A Long Way Down was directed by Pascal Chaumeil, starring Pierce Brosnan, Aaron Paul and Toni Collette, and his young adult novel Slam was adapted into an Italian language feature directed by Andrea Molaioli. Jesse Peretz directed an adaptation of his novel Juliet, Naked, starring Rose Byrne, Ethan Hawke, and Chris O’Dowd.

Nick’s other novels include How to be Good (2001), Funny Girl (2014) and Just Like You (2020). His non-fiction work includes Fever Pitch, 31 Songs, and The Complete Polysyllabic Spree, a collection of Nick’s book columns for US magazine The Believer, to which he continues to contribute a bi-monthly column. Among other recognition for his literature, Nick received the EM Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. In 2010, he co-founded the children’s writing charity The Ministry of Stories, located in East London and now expanding to other UK cities.

Stephen Frears Bio

Unanimously regarded as one of Britain’s finest directors, Stephen Frears has always embraced a wide variety of styles, themes and genres. He worked almost exclusively for the small screen in the first 15 years of his career, with programs such as One Fine Day by Alan Bennett and Three Men In A Boat by Tom Stoppard. Stephen’s more recent TV work includes Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight for HBO and Channel 4’s The Deal starring Michael Sheen and David Morrissey. In the mid-1980s he turned to the cinema, shooting The Hit (1984), starring Terence Stamp, John Hurt and Tim Roth. The following year he made My Beautiful Laundrette for Channel 4, which crossed over to big-screen audiences and altered the course of his career. After directing its companion piece Sammy And Rosie Get Laid and the Joe Orton biopic Prick Up Your Ears, he began working in Hollywood, with Dangerous Liaisons and the Grifters (for which he was Oscar®-nominated) among his most notable titles.

Returning closer to home, he directed The Snapper and The Van, two Irish films based on Roddy Doyle stories and, after a second spell of making American films (The Hi-Lo Country and High Fidelity), based himself largely in Britain. Frears showed his versatility with two vastly different movies – Dirty Pretty Things, a realistic account of immigrant life in London, and Mrs Henderson Presents, a nostalgic backstage comedy-drama. For his 2006 film The Queen he was again nominated for an Oscar. His subsequent films included Cheri and Tamara Drewe. He followed these with Philomena, starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, which won a BAFTA and was nominated for three others, along with three Golden Globe and four Oscar nominations; The Program, which starred Ben Foster as seven time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong; and Florence Foster Jenkins, starring Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant, which received various accolades including a Golden Globe nomination for Best Picture and an Oscar nomination for Streep. Frears followed this with Victoria & Abdul, which starred Judi Dench, who received a Golden Globe nomination for her performance. Frears’ return to TV was with the acclaimed three-part BBC television series A Very English Scandal, which won Stephen a BAFTA for Best Director. He followed this up with an Emmy win for Nick Hornby’s short form series State Of The Union – starring Rosamund Pike and Chris O’Dowd; and most recently directed James Graham’s QUIZ for ITV starring Michael Sheen and Matthew Macfadyen.

Patricia Clarkson as Ellen and Brendan Gleeson as Scott - State of the Union _ Season2, Episode3 - Photo Credit: Laura Radford/See-Saw Films/Sundance TVSTATE OF THE UNION Season 2 BIOS
Brendan Gleeson (Cast, Scott)

Brendan recently played the role of Donald Trump in the CBS miniseries The Comey Rule. He will next be
seen in the role of King Duncan in Joel Coen’s film adaptation of The Tragedy of Macbeth, which is due
for release this year.

He played the lead role in three seasons of the acclaimed, Mr. Mercedes based on the Bill Hodges novel
trilogy by Stephen King.

Other recent projects include Frankie opposite Marisa Tomei and directed by Ira Sachs, The Ballad of
Buster Scruggs directed by the Coen Brothers, Paddington 2 directed by Paul King, Hampstead opposite
Diane Keaton and directed by Joel Hopkins, Live By Night directed by Ben Affleck, Justin Kurzel’s
Assassins Creed with Michael Fassbender, Vincent Perez’s Alone in Berlin opposite Emma Thompson,
Adam Smith’s Trespass Against Us, Sarah Gavron’s Suffragette with Meryl Streep and Carey Mulligan,
and In The Heart of the Sea directed by Ron Howard.

Other projects in recent years include Calvary directed by John Michael McDonagh, Doug Liman’s Edge
of Tomorrow with Tom Cruise, and Cartoon Saloon’s Song of the Sea, directed by Tomm Moore. He is
also wellknown for his role as Professor Alastor Moody in the Harry Potter films, and for his portrayal of
Sergeant Gerry Boyle in John Michael McDonagh’s The Guard.

Brendan was nominated for Golden Globe and BAFTA awards for his role as Ken in Martin McDonagh’s
In Bruges, and won an Emmy for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in HBO’s Into The Storm, directed by
Thaddeus O’Sullivan. He was also nominated for a Golden Globe and BAFTA for this performance.

He is an accomplished musician, playing the fiddle and mandolin.

Patricia Clarkson (Cast, Ellen)
Academy Award nominee, Golden Globe Award, Critics’ Choice Award and Emmy Awardwinning
actress, Patricia Clarkson takes on roles as varied as the platforms for which she plays them. This multi
faceted approach makes her one of today’s most respected actresses.

Clarkson’s continuous innovative work in independent film earned her the 2018 British Independent
Film Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Sally Potter’s film The Party. In 2010 she received
rave reviews for her starring role in the award winning romantic drama, Cairo Time, which put her
career in the American spotlight. She won the Independent Award for Acting Excellence at the 2009
ShoWest Awards. In 2003, her role in Pieces of April earned her nominations for an Academy Award,
Golden Globe, SAG, Broadcast Film Critics and Independent Spirit awards. The National Board of Review
and the National Society of Film Critics named her Best Supporting Actress of the Year for her work in
Pieces of April and The Station Agent.
2019 garnered Clarkson the Golden Globe Award and Critics’ Choice Award for her role in HBO’s Sharp
Objects. Last year she was also seen at the helm of the Krewe of Muses Mardi Gras Parade, she was
honored with the Precious Gem Award at the Miami Film Festival, and honored with the prestigious
Crystal Globe for Outstanding Artistic Contribution to World Cinema from the 54th annual Karlovy Vary
International Film Festival.

Clarkson’s recent films include Isabel Coixet’s The Bookshop, the independent film drama Jonathan,
opposite Ansel Elgort, the final installment of the Maze Runner trilogy, the detective film Out of Blue
based on the Martin Amis novel, in which she plays the lead character, and Sally Potter’s film The Party.

Recent television projects include the HBO limited series Sharp Objects and the sixth and final season of
Netflix’ House of Cards. She will next be seen in State of the Union.

In 2014 she starred alongside Sir Ben Kingsley in Learning to Drive directed by Isabel Coixet. The film
won runner up honors for the People’s Choice Award at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival and
was released in August 2015 and opened to critical acclaim. Other recent films include the timely thriller
The East, opposite Brit Marling and Alexander Skarsgård, the comedy Friends with Benefits, in which she
costars with Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis and the Lone Scherfig directed drama, One Day with Anne
Hathaway and Jim Sturgess. In 2010, she was seen in the box office hit Easy A.

Clarkson and the cast of Good Night, and Good Luck. with George Clooney and David Straithairn,
received both Screen Actors Guild and Gotham Award nominations for Best Ensemble. Far From Heaven
won her a New York Film Critics Circle Award for Supporting Actress, All The Real Girls won her a Special
Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, and The Safety of Objects earned her an Acting Prize at the
Deauville Film Festival. The Green Mile earned Clarkson and cast (including Tom Hanks and James
Cromwell) a Screen Actors Guild Best Ensemble Award nomination, and High Art earned her an
Independent Spirit Award nomination for Supporting Actress.

Other film credits include: Martin Scorsese’s thriller Shutter Island, Woody Allen’s Whatever Works and
Vicky Christina Barcelona, Blind Date with Stanley Tucci, Elegy, No Reservations, All The King’s Men, Lars
and the Real Girl, Simply Irresistible, The Pledge, Jumanji, Rocket Gibraltar and The Untouchables.

In 2011, Clarkson was seen in Lifetime’s Five, an anthology of five short films exploring the impact of
breast cancer on people’s lives directed by Jennifer Aniston, Alicia Keys, Demi Moore, Patty Jenkins and
Penelope Spheeris. She previously guest starred in the critically acclaimed HBO series Six Feet Under, for
which she won an Emmy in 2002 and again in 2006.

In December 2014, Clarkson returned to Broadway, after a 25 year hiatus from the stage, to star in The
Elephant Man, opposite Bradley Cooper and Alessandro Nivola. Following its successful run on
Broadway, the cast reprised their roles on the West End at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in London the
following year. That year, Clarkson was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle award for “Outstanding
Featured Actress in a Play” and a Tony Award nomination for her role in The Elephant Man.

Esco Jouléy (Cast, Jay)
Esco Jouléy is an actor, singer, dancer, clown, movement artist, and creator located in New York City.
Esco recently wrapped a role on the upcoming Starz series Blindspotting, from creators Rafael Casal and
Daveed Diggs. Recent credits include HBO’s High Maintenance, Netflix’s upcoming series Inventing Anna,
Hulu’s Monsterland and Bravo’s In A Mans World, where they appeared as a movement coach. Esco’s
theater credits include: Interstate, Runaways, Galatea, The Demise (Magic Theater Player), and Beowulf.
Esco was a resident actor at the historic Barter Theater for three and a half years and is an alum of the
ABC Discovers Showcase.
As a movement artist, Esco is the creator and performer of One, a mute character that lives in the same
world as the great artists Charlie Chaplin, Burt Williams, and Harpo Marx. Esco has used this character
to explore the language of movement and how one would communicate with people if one could not
speak. Esco is a Penn State University graduate with a BA in Integrative Arts and a minor in Dance. Esco
also graduated from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in NYC. Esco was awarded the Robert
J. Prindle and Doris P. Prindle Memorial Award and the Lauren M. Becker Memorial Award in creative
art. More information about Esco and their work can be found at
escojouley.com, @escojouley,
onezlife.com
, and @onezlife.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

Patricia Clarkson as Ellen, Brendan Gleeson as Scott and Esco Jouléy as Jay - State of the Union_Season 2, Episode 10 - Photo Credit: Laura Radford/See-Saw Films/Sundance TV

Interview with “Law and Order” cast

TV Interview!

"Law and Order" actors and producer on TCA panel

Interview with actors Anthony Anderson, Hugh Dancy, Jeffrey Donovan, Odelya Halevi, Camryn Manheim, Sam Waterston, and EP/Showrunner Rick Eid of “Law and Order” on NBC by Suzanne 2/11/22

I really enjoyed this TCA panel because it was a lot of fun. I love this show and have watched most of the episodes. I’m so glad that they’re bringing it back.  Dick Wolf was originally scheduled to be on this panel, but unfortunately, he wasn’t able to make it.

NBCUNIVERSAL
WINTER 2022 TCA VIRTUAL PRESS TOUR
NBC -Law & Order
Anthony Anderson, Talent, “Det. Kevin Bernard”
Hugh Dancy, Talent, “Assistant District Attorney Nolan Price”
Jeffrey Donovan, Talent, “Det. Frank Cosgrove”
Odelya Halevi, Talent, “Assistant District Attorney Samantha Maroun”
Camryn Manheim, Talent, “Lt. Kate Dixon”
Sam Waterston, Talent, “District Attorney Jack McCoy”
Rick Eid, Executive Producer/Writer/Showrunner
Virtual via Zoom
February 11, 2022
© 2022 NBCUniversal, Inc. All rights reserved.

We were told this about the show before they ran a clip: “During its astonishing 20 year, 456 episode run, ‘Law & Order’ garnered 52 Emmy Award nominations and became one of the longest running primetime dramas in television history. Set and filmed in New York City, each episode follows the investigation of a crime by NYPD detectives and the prosecution of a defendant by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. ‘Law & Order’ returns to NBC on Thursday, February 24th, at 8 p.m.”

Executive Producer Rick Eid told us that Dick Wolf sent his apologies because he has laryngitis and was told to rest by his doctor.

For the first question, Camryn Manheim (Kate) talked about how one of the greatest things about being on the show is that “New York’s finest actors just come and play with you.” She thinks viewers will be as “surprised and excited” as she’s been to see them.

Sam Waterston (Jack) and Rick were asked about whether there were previous attempts to bring the show back. Sam asserted that there were. Rick wasn’t involved in the previous efforts, but Dick Wolf had been talking about it for a few years. Then this past summer, he was told that it was happening and asked if he would be interested in getting involved. He says that he “jumped at the opportunity.” Sam added that Dick was talking about it to him about around “five years ago too, and I don’t think he’s ever stopped talking about it.” He credits Dick’s “persistence and determination and his complete conviction that it was a terrible mistake to stop in the first place” with the show coming back. He also added that the audience kept watching all the “Law and Order” shows on TV, on streaming, on cable, etc. and so they’ve always had a “persistent appetite” for the show. He thinks they’re the reason the show is back.

A journalist mentioned that it’s great to have Sam and Anthony back, but he said that Sam had “teased” that some “fan favorite individuals” would be coming back and wanted to know if they could tell us anything about that.

Those of us who have watched the first episode in advance know that a certain actress will be returning for the first episode (we don’t know if it’s for future episodes as well or not).

Rick said that they can’t tell yet who the returning actors are, but “You’ll definitely see some familiar faces along the way.” He said that want to find ways to bring back former “Law & Order” actors.

Sam was asked if he had any idea how successful the show would be and that so many Broadway actors would love guest-starring on the show. Sam admitted that he had no idea how it would turn in to this massive juggernaut in multiple forms. Sam told us that he’s long wanted Dick Wolf to get a Tony award because of what the show has done for NYC actors, but so far they haven’t been interested in that. Anthony (Kevin) joked, “Hey, Sam. Can you talk to the Television Academy about giving me an Emmy? I’m 0 for 11. Could you make that phone call for me too, then?” and Sam joked back, “Oh, sure. I’ll take care of that.” Anthony replied, “Okay. All right. Thank you.” And Sam finished with, “If you can spare me, I’ll go do that now.” Everyone laughed. Maybe these two should get a comedy show on the side! They’re both very funny, as they showed throughout this panel.

Anthony and Sam were asked if it was difficult to get back into their character’s shoes are all this time. Anthony replied that it “felt like no time had passed at all.” He was glad to talk to Dick about coming back to the show. Coming back to NYC and putting on the same badge, in the same squad room and sound stages felt like “sitting in a well worn saddle.” Then he joked that “The hard part is working with someone like Jeffrey Donovan.” Jeffrey grinned, saying that he knew Anthony would say that. They joked around for a little bit, too. The three of them did a lot of joking around during the whole panel.

Sam and Anthony were also asked if it was difficult to do other acting jobs when they were “so tied” to the show. This was not a great question because of course, they’ve both been very successful since they left the show. Anthony was also asked how it felt to end the comedy “black-ish” and then jump back into a heavy drama.

Sam gave this answer that sounded like he’s probably used it many times in interviews: “ever since I saw this on a crosstown bus on 57th Street, a quotation from Satchel Paige that said ‘Keep on running and don’t look back because somebody may be gaining on you,’ and that’s kind of been my motto about show business ever since.” He added that he’s always done more than one acting job at once, whenever he can. When he was doing “Law & Order” before, he would do stage or other projects.

Anthony let us know that after ending 8 seasons of “black-ish,” joining this show again “was a no-brainer.” He hopes that in 20 years, they’ll be asking him for a “black-ish” reboot. He’s always been a “Law & Order” fan, so he thought it would be foolish not to return. He also said that having Sam back, and the two of them being familiar to viewers, and to join with the other new cast members, was an added bonus.

Rick Eid was asked about the trailer we saw, which hinted at the fact that there might be changes in the way they do policing and with criminal justice. He pointed out that “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” has also addressed this a little bit. He wondered how this show will approach that.

Rick replied that they’ll try to “reflect the world we live in now.” He believes that “2022 is a unique moment in time and our stories and our characters reflect what’s happening in society.” Police business is different than it was when they left the air in 2010, and so is the way the D.A.’s do their business. There’s more awareness of certain things than there was before. He hopes they reflect this in their stories.

Sam admires the way Rick has been telling exciting stories, addressing all of the current conflicts rather than ignoring them. He says, “he’s just walked up, straight up to one after another. Every show is a shock.” Sam pointed out that the press were ignoring the other actors.

The next press person asked Odelya (Samantha) and Jeffrey (Frank) what it was like to step into a show with such great history and a large fan base. Hugh (Nolan) took the question and joked that it was the opposite of that “well worn saddle” Anthony described. There was much joking and laughing after that. He said, seriously then, that figuring out how the show works has been wonderful. Odelya answered the question as well, saying that being here “still feels like a dream, like, you know, someone pinch me.” She grew up in another country and has been watching the show with her mom since the 90’s. She wanted to be a lawyer on the show ever since. Her mom told her that she just wanted to play a lawyer on TV, and now here she is. She gushed that she’s learning a lot from the others and enjoying it all.

Jeffrey said, completely deadpan, “They don’t let me have a saddle. I’m not sure why. I think it has something to do with Anthony saying that I can’t have things.” Everyone in the panel was laughing. It was really hysterical. He went on to say that he’s a huge fan of the show and the cast. He watched back in college at NYU in the 90s, and he always dreamed to be a guest-star on the show.

Camryn answered that her first job when she graduated from NYU in 91 was, in fact, at “Law & Order.” She noted that it’s hard to believe that it was 30 years ago. She’s played three different characters on the show. She explained that they’ve updated the show in many ways, and the stories are very current, but they have “that same old precinct. Nothing is updated. I mean, the phones are still from, you know, Edison’s time.” She praised the cast, saying she loves them, and they keep her laughing. She feels very lucky to be there and can’t wait for the people at home to see it. She’s proud to be part of it.

Sam and Anthony asked if there was anything they could tell us about where their characters are since we last saw them. He or she also asked if the others can tell us anything about their characters. Great question!

Sam told us that, “Dick always says that action is character, and the actions of McCoy are being defined by Rick, and it’s different and interesting, and it’s great to find out.” He said you found out about your character from “the next script.”

Anthony loves that they don’t share too much about the characters’ personal lives, so you can watch the show at any time and not feel lost. It’s about solving the crime, the story moving along and then “bringing law and order to the world.” He thinks this is part of the special “magic” of the show.

Sam chimed in to say that one of the great things about the show is that the characters are just working and doing their jobs, so everyone can relate to that.”

The next person asked about that very topic because the other “Law & Order” series focus on the personal lives of the characters. He asked if they’ll do this with this new season.

Rick agreed with Sam that the action is the character. “People’s characters are sort of defined by the decisions they make and the choices they make.” He allowed that there may be some other relatives or backstories of the characters, but the crime stories are put first. We may see how some of the histories of the characters influence how they make certain decision. He hinted that in the first episode, this happens with Samantha (played by Odelya).

Rick was also asked if there will be crossovers with the other “Wolf Franchises” and other “Law & Order” spinoffs. Rick didn’t want to say much, he just said that it could happen.

A reporter asked Anthony if he had a hard time adjusting to just being an actor rather than executive producer, like he was on “black-ish.” Anthony had no trouble with it at all. He knows that they all have different jobs at different places. He confided that he learned a lot about the way show business works the last time he was on “Law & Order,” which he used when he worked on “black-ish.” He credits this show for making him “more well-rounded entertainer.”

Hugh joked, “Although he did say to me on my first day, ‘I’m the star, and never forget that.’ So take it how you will.” Then Anthony joked, “Well, when Sam is not around, I am. When Sam is not around, I am.” There was more joking around and laughing.

The next journalist asked if the show will address hate crimes against Asians because it was recently in the news that the real-life New York City D.A. prosecuted the highest number of them. Rick admitted that they don’t specifically have that story planned, but they have stories about hate crimes. They could address the Asian angle of it in the future.

After that, the cast teased Rick for a bit.

Another person in the press asked a rather obvious question that had already been addressed by asking how much the show was going to “draw directly from the headlines.” Sam answered that it would be a “huge” amount. He said that it must be difficult for the writers to figure out which ones to choose first because “There’s so much.”

Hugh addressed the question, and quoted what was said earlier, about how they hope the “engine of the show” can spark debate in any moment and reflect what’s happening in the real world. There was more joking around after that.

Sam concluded with, “I think the interview part ended. I think all of the journalists have gone home,” and everyone laughed. It was, indeed, the end.

Please visit our Law & Order page!

MORE INFO: Trailer

The Original Returns "Law & Order" Key Art -- (Photo by: NBCUniversal)NBC is bringing back one of its most treasured and honored dramas with the 21st season of “Law & Order.” The series, which will continue the classic bifurcated format that was created for its original run, will once again examine “the police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders.”

Sam Waterston, Anthony Anderson, Jeffrey Donovan, Camryn Manheim, Hugh Dancy and Odelya Halevi star.

Dick Wolf is creator and executive producer. Rick Eid, Arthur Forney and Peter Jankowski are executive producers.

“Law & Order” is produced by Wolf Entertainment and Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group.

breaking news | September 28, 2021

• NBC is bringing back one of its most treasured and honored dramas with the 21st season of “Law & Order.” The series, which will continue the classic bifurcated format that was created for its original run, will once again examine “the police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders.”

• “There are very few things in life that are literally dreams come true,” said creator and executive producer Dick Wolf. “This is mine.”

• “‘Law & Order’ is quite simply one of the most iconic shows in television history, and the idea of continuing its legacy and partnering with Dick on an all-new season is nothing short of exhilarating” said Susan Rovner, Chairman, Entertainment Content, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, “This is great news for NBC as well as TV fans everywhere.”

• “The return of the flagship ‘Law & Order’ series for a pivotal 21st season is a proud moment for Dick and a proud moment for us, his studio partners,” said Pearlena Igbokwe, Chairman, Universal Studio Group.
• The series was nominated for more than 50 Emmy Awards and won in 1997 for Outstanding Drama Series.

• A premiere date and cast will be announced at a later date.

• “Law & Order” will be executive produced by Dick Wolf, Rick Eid (writer/showrunner), Arthur Forney and Peter Jankowski.

• The series will be produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, in association with Wolf Entertainment.

Anthony Anderson

Det. Kevin Bernard, “Law & Order”

LAW & ORDER -- Season: 21 -- Pictured: Anthony Anderson as Detective Kevin Bernard -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)
Anthony Anderson plays Det. Kevin Bernard on the 21st season of the NBC drama “Law & Order.”

An Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated actor, Anderson is the star and executive producer of ABC’s multi-award nominated sitcom “black-ish.” He also currently hosts the ABC game show “To Tell the Truth” and “House Haunters.” Anderson is also executive producer of both “black-ish” spinoffs “grown-ish” and “mixed-ish” as well as “Road Trippin,’” which airs on Snapchat.

Anderson has numerous other TV and film credits, including “Transformers,” “The Departed” and “Hustle & Flow.” A winner of seven Image Awards, Anderson has also hosted the NAACP Image Awards for the past eight years and in 2020 was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Jeffrey Donovan

Det. Frank Cosgrove, “Law & Order”

LAW & ORDER -- Season: 21 -- Pictured: Jeffrey Donovan as Detective Frank Cosgrove -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

Jeffrey Donovan plays Det. Frank Cosgrove in the 21st season of the NBC drama “Law & Order.”

Donovan is perhaps best known for his leading work as former CIA operative Michael Westen on the Emmy Award-nominated USA series “Burn Notice” for seven seasons. Donovan received strong notice playing North Dakota off-kilter mobster Dodd Gerhardt in FX’s critically acclaimed second season of Noah Hawley’s “Fargo” and was cast as series lead Charlie Haverford, a tarot reading con-artist, on Hulu’s “Shut Eye.”

On the film side, Donovan recently filmed a sequence of back-to-back films – “National Champions” for director Ric Roman Waugh and starring opposite J.K Simmons; the Western ”Surrounded,” opposite Letitia Wright and Jamie Bell; the hostage drama “892,” opposite John Boyega and Michael Kenneth Williams; and the family drama “First Love,” opposite Diane Kruger. Past features include “Wrath of Man” for director Guy Ritchie, “Let Him Go,” alongside Kevin Costner and Diane Lane; and Noah Hawley’s “Lucy in the Sky,” alongside Natalie Portman and Jon Hamm.

His other film credits include “Soldado,” opposite Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro; “Villains,” opposite Bill Skarsgård and Kyra Sedgwick; and “Honest Thief,” opposite Liam Neeson,” Denis Villeneuve’s “Sicario,” Clint Eastwood’s “J. Edgar” (playing Robert F. Kennedy) and “The Changeling,” Rob Reiner’s “LBJ” (as John F. Kennedy) and Ric Waugh’s “Shotcaller.”

Camryn Manheim

Lt. Kate Dixon, “Law & Order”

LAW & ORDER -- Season: 21 -- Pictured: Camryn Manheim as Lieutenant Kate Dixon -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

Camryn Manheim plays Lt. Kate Dixon on the 21st season of the NBC drama “Law & Order.”

Manheim is best-known for her Emmy Award-winning and Golden Globe Award-winning role on “The Practice” as well as roles on “Stumptown,” “Waco,” “Ghost Whisperer,” “Person of Interest,” “Utopia,” “Criminal Minds,” “Code Black,” “Masters of Sex,” “Two and a Half Men,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Extant,” “Chicago Hope,” “Harry’s Law,” “Younger,” “Hand of God,” “The L Word,” “Will & Grace,” “Ally McBeal,” “Family Guy” and “The 10th Kingdom,” among others.

Manheim was also nominated for a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Gladys Presley in the CBS mini- series “Elvis.”

Her feature film credits include “Cop Car,” “Return to Sender,” “Slipstream,” “An Unfinished Life,” “Without Men,” “Twisted,” “Scary Movie Three,” “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion,” “Happiness,” “The Laramire Project,” “Dark Water,” “The Road to Wellville” and “Eraser.”

Manheim made her Broadway debut in Deaf West’s Tony Award-nominated production of “Spring Awakening.” She also won an Obie Award for Craig Lucas’ “Missing Persons” at the Atlantic Theater Co.

She received her M.F.A from New York University.

Hugh Dancy

Assistant District Attorney Nolan Price, “Law & Order”

LAW & ORDER -- Season: 21 -- Pictured: Hugh Dancy as ADA Nolan Price -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

Hugh Dancy plays Assistant District Attorney Nolan Price on the 21st season of the NBC drama “Law & Order.”

Dancy received critical acclaim for starring as Will Graham in NBC’s “Hannibal,” receiving two Critics’ Choice Award nominations for Best Actor in a Drama Series. He also starred in Hulu’s “The Path” opposite Aaron Paul and Michelle Michelle Monaghan and most recently wrapped production on the Apple TV+ anthology series “Roar” with Nicole Kidman, Cynthia Erivo and Issa Rae.

Dancy will next star in the upcoming film “Downton Abbey: A New Era,” which Focus Features will release in theaters in March.

 

Odelya Halevi

Assistant District Attorney Samantha Maroun, “Law & Order”

LAW & ORDER -- Season: 21 -- Pictured: Odelya Halevi as ADA Samantha Maroun -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

Odelya Halevi plays Assistant District Attorney Samantha Maroun in the 21st season of the NBC drama “Law & Order.”

Halevi most recently landed a major role in the DC Entertainment film “Black Adam,” opposite Dwayne Johnson, set for release in 2022. Additionally, Halevi just wrapped a major recurring role on Freeform’s “Good Trouble” as well as a pivitol role in the Amazon series “Good Girls Revolt.”

Notable guest-star credits include “New Girl,” “Mike and Molly,” Midnight, Texas,” “NCIS,” MacGyver” and “Why Women Kill.”

Halevi’s grandparents immigrated to Israel from Yemen where she was born and raised.

 

Sam Waterston

District Attorney Jack McCoy, “Law & Order

LAW & ORDER -- Season: 21 -- Pictured: Sam Waterston as D.A. Jack McCoy -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

Sam Waterston plays District Attorney Jack McCoy in the 21st season of the NBC drama “Law & Order.”

Waterston was born in 1940 in Cambridge, Mass., where his father was a language teacher and his mother a landscape painter. He attended Brooks and Groton prep schools before earning a scholarship to Yale University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1962. Later that year, Waterston made his New York debut at the Phoenix Theater in “Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feelin’ So Sad.”

Over the next five decades, Waterston’s career has included a plethora of film and television credits as well as repeated returns to the stage. His trophy case includes an Emmy, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award as well as an OBIE and Drama Desk for theater. Other accolades include an Academy Award nomination for his role as journalist Sydney Schanberg in 1984’s “The Killing Fields” and six Emmy nominations for his roles in “I’ll Fly Away” and “Law & Order.”

Waterston co-starred on Aaron Sorkin’s “The Newsroom” for HBO and soon can be seen in the final season of Netflix’s “Grace and Frankie,” opposite Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Martin Sheen. In 2022 Waterson will be featured in the Hulu limited series “The Dropout,” opposite Amanda Seyfried and William H Macy.

A passionate activist for decades, Waterston is currently Chairman of the Board of Oceana, the world’s preeminent ocean conservation NGO, and also serves on the Board of Refugees International.

Rick Eid

Executive Producer, “Chicago P.D.”; Executive Producer, “Law & Order”; Executive Producer, “FBI”

Rick Eid is executive producer and showrunner of the hit NBC dramas “Chicago P.D.” and “Law & Order,” as well as the CBS drama “FBI.”

His prior credits include “Law & Order: SVU,” “CSI,” “Hostages,” “The Guardian” and “Dark Blue.”

Eid has also written essays for a variety of blogs and magazines. Prior to his writing career, he was a corporate attorney specializing in mergers and acquisitions at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom.

He currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter.

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LAW & ORDER -- "The Right Thing" Episode 21001 -- Pictured: (l-r) Camryn Manheim as Lieutenant Kate Dixon, Anthony Anderson as Detective Kevin Bernard, Jeffrey Donovan as Detective Frank Cosgrove -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

Interview with the cast of “All-American: Homecoming”

TV Interview!

"All-American: Homecoming" poster

Interview with actors Geffri Maya, Peyton Alex Smith, Sylvester Powell, Cory Hardrict, Kelly Jenrette, Camille Hyde, Mitchell Edwards and Netta Walker, and executive producer Nkechi Okoro Carroll of “All-American: Homecoming” on The CW by Suzanne 1/27/22

This was a really fun panel. These actors really seem to enjoy their work and have a lot of congeniality with their fellow cast and crew.   I watch MANY shows on The CW (mostly superheroes).  I watched 5 episodes of this new spin-off. It started slowly but started to get better by the end of the third episode. It’s basically a soap opera set in a fictional HBCU, just as the original show is a soap opera set in a high school. That one is mostly about football. This one is about baseball and tennis. I’m sure you’ll recognize a lot of the actors from the first show. However, you can watch this and enjoy it even if you’ve never seen the show from which it’s spun off.

Nkechki (whom they refer to as “NK”) answered the first question from a journalist about what role will HBCU* experiences play in the series. She said Bringston University, where the show is set, is a character itself on the show. Even though it’s not a real institution, it seems real because it’s the “life force of the show” and it’s everything for the students. She also asked whether the show is still about football, and whether there are new characters (besides the ones from the original show). NK answered that show is about tennis and baseball, as well as about “HBCU life in general.” She also took a moment to praise the cast as beautiful and amazing. She can’t wait for us to get to meet the characters of the show because she feels like they’re her friends. She continued on to explain that the cast is mostly new people who represent “”the absolute spectrum of what it is to be young and Black and at an HBCU.”

I then asked her if there was a particular real-life campus that she based Bringston on. She replied, as expected, that it’s “an amalgamation of a few different campuses.” She complimented their production designer as “brilliant” because they sat down and envisioned what they wanted, and then they brought it to life. Viewers who went to an HBCU should recognize the campus as being similar to the campuses in DC, Atlanta and other places. NK confided that she didn’t go to an HBCU, so she wanted to create her own. I asked a followup question about whether she directed her actors to train in tennis and baseball ahead of time, or did they hire actors who already knew how to play. As I’d hoped, she asked the stars Peyton and Geffri to give their two cents. Peyton, whom you may know from “Legacies” on The CW, plays baseball star Damon Sims. Geffri plays tennis star Simone Hicks. I was happy to be in a conversation with Peyton because I was so unhappy when they wrote him out of “Legacies.” Now I see that it was for the best because he’s able to go on to bigger things in this show.

Peyton joked, “Uh, honestly I’m just a natural-born talent in like whatever I do.” There was laughter and NK jokingly said he was going to let him talk. Geffri told us truthfully that she hadn’t ever held a racket until they found out about this backdoor pilot. Once they knew it was going forward, she found a good tennis coach and started working hard on the sport. She said that tennis is “beautiful” and that it takes respect and work with your “full mind, full body and full spirit.” She hopes we can see it and feel it. I assured her that it worked out great from the four episodes I saw.

Peyton then answered more seriously. He used to play but hadn’t played baseball in about 17 years. When they shot the pilot, he was very scared as soon as he got up on the mound, since he was playing “super athlete.” After that, he and Sylvester worked on pitching and batting with a scouting coach with the Atlanta Braves. They did a lot of work not only baseball, but just working out in general as well. Then he flew to Bellingham, Washington to work with the college kids there at Western Washington University. He said he “had no idea that was a place.” Ha ha! I have a friend who teaches there, and I felt the same way when I heard he was moving there. “Where the heck is Bellingham?” Anyway, he said it was great to see the kids in their environment, and it not only helped him with playing but with his acting. He gave an example: “we see how those kids react to the coaches.” He gave baseball props because he discovered that it’s not an easy sports. He used to think it was boring to watch, but now he knows more about it and finds it interesting. NK then praised him for being “so incredibly locked.” I’d never heard that term before, but I assume she means that he’s very focused.

NK then praised Camille. She really nailed the part in her audition, and then she was asked if she played tennis, almost as an afterthought, and she answered with a list of her tennis accomplishments. They were shocked but knew they found the right actress to play Thea. They never have to use her double because Camille is “unbelieveable.” She’s their expert, in fact, if they want to know how they’re portraying tennis correctly.

Camille said that it was lucky for her that she and her character had a lot in common. She never lost a match when she was in high school. She brought some of that “can’t lose” attitude in her acting as well. The mentality includes, “even if we come close to losing and we win, it wasn’t good enough. So you train harder, you work harder and that’s, that’s definitely just scratching the surface of what it means to be a college tennis athlete. Um, there’s never enough serves you can hit in a day. There’s never enough drills you can do in a day. That’s how I was until, you know, my hands are bleeding and the blisters were all popping on my feet, but you know, that’s what it means to be a college athlete.” She says they definitely earned their respect.

The cast was also asked by a journalist about whether they tell people when they go in to audition whether they can play the sport or not. He said he would be worried that someone said he got it wrong if he wasn’t very good at it.

Cory joked, “Fake til you make it.” He was joking, but Geffri confided that she was always told to say yes on auditions when asked if she could play something, and then go practice to make it real. She did say that it “just depends on the person.” Peyton said he’s seen that go wrong before where someone said they could play basketball but had to leave, embarrassed. Mitchell admitted that happened to him. He told the people at the audition that he could play basketball, but he couldn’t. He was terrible. Sylvester jokingly consoled him by reminding him that he’s a football player. Then Geffri joked, “But you know what they said, Mitch? They said, That boy got beautiful skin, though.'” They joked around some more.

Cory added in that you should always tell the truth, get the job, work hard and “keep your faith.”

Geffri admitted that she told them for this part that she can’t play, but she promised to learn. NK confirmed that Geffri did say exactly that. They just hoped that would be enough so that they could do the spin-off. Geffri joked that she would never tell NK no. She jokingly said, “’Are you an astronaut?” Yes. I am going to spacecamp. Yes.'”

A reporter asked how good they think they’ve become. Peyton joked that after the series was over, in about 6 years, he’s going to play professional baseball. Geffri teased that he woudl be going pro in the spinoff of the spinoff.

Geffri then answered seriously that she definitely sees growth in everyone’s playing. She already knew Camille before the series and thinks that she has grown as a person. She thinks, while “there’s always room for improvement” she thinks she’s improved at tennis and will continue to work hard at it because it “requires dedication.” She added that it’s also very fun to play.

NK praised them all for their hard work, which she saw in the many hours of footage that she had to edit for the series. They had very little notice to get in shape for the pilot and learn how to play well. She applauded them for not only their hours of commitment to playing but also acting, learning lines, and showing up for long days of shooting. Also, some of them had to learn to dance. Netta plays Keisha, who’s a dancer and choreographer, so she had to really work hard to “nail the routines we give her,” and Mitchell has to sing as well. She saluted their “bringing excellence, which is the theme of the show.” She felt honored for them to all bring their A games to the series.

Peyton also added that he felt if he worked really hard on the baseball, then it became easier, so then he could focus more on his character and the art of acting.

Another journalist asked about what the characters find out or learn as they go through this time in their lives where a lot of change happens.

Netta talked about playing a college age young person on the show, which she can really relate to because she made a lot of the same mistakes and going through self-discovery. She feels like they’re doing it in a way that’s not filled with bias, which is unusual. Then having the “extra layer of Black excellence on top of it” makes it even more enjoyable. She told us that when you’re at an HBCU, you have to be at your best: “you gotta be on. You can’t slack, edges better be laid, hair better be pressed, outfits better be on top, and everyone’s been doing it for it.” She’s happy to be playing Keisha, who’s the top girl socially at the school.

Cory cracked that Keish is the one they all wanted to be in college; “She’s the “it” girl.” Netta joked back at him that he couldn’t possibly think that way because his face “is perfectly symmetrical”.

Camille added that her face is symmetrical, too, but she credits everything to their stylists, who put together their clothes, hair, makeup, etc. It makes their jobs easier because it “represents us in our community and Black excellence and the hair and you know, how much, you know, young, Black culture, a lot of it is hair. A lot of it is style.” She believes that it will translate well on the screen. Geffri agreed with that and went on at length about HBCU and the black excellence they represent. She feels privileged to show what this life is like to young kids who might be thinking about going to college.

Cory took the opportunity to praise NK for creating this world. He’s happy to be a “positive influence in these young male figures lives, and especially this Black experience.”

NK redirected the praise toward the cast, saying that she capture “lightning in a bottle” with all of them. Meeting Geff, in particular, inspired her to create this world. There was a lot more to this panel, but you get the idea about the show and how much this cast loves each other.

*HBCU refers to historically black colleges and universities, in case you didn’t know. Famous examples include Spelman, Howard and Xavier University.

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"All-American: Homecoming" posterALL AMERICAN: HOMECOMING”

Mondays (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET) on The CW

ALL AMERICAN: HOMECOMING is a young adult sports drama set against the backdrop of the HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) experience at Bringston University, where Black excellence is a way of life. The series follows Simone (Geffri Maya, “All American”), a young tennis hopeful from Beverly Hills who is trying to fight her way back to great after some time away from the court, and Damon (Peyton Alex Smith, “Legacies”), an elite baseball player from Chicago who is carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. After Simone’s aunt Amara Patterson (Kelly Jenrette, “Manhunt”), a journalism teacher and activist, exposes a scandal that threatens to derail the school’s beloved baseball program, new coach Marcus Turner (Cory Hardrict, “The Chi”) is determined to bring a championship back to Bringston the honest way — with Damon’s help. Damon will adjust to his new normal with fellow baseball player and childhood friend JR (Sylvester Powell, “Five Points”) by his side. Meanwhile, as Simone struggles to find her footing, she will get a little guidance from Thea (Camille Hyde, “Katy Keene”), the super-competitive queen bee of the Bringston tennis team, and Keisha (Netta Walker, “Come as You Are”), the school’s unofficial mayor, who will help Simone learn how to live her best life. As they contend with the high stakes of college sports, Simone and Damon will also navigate the highs, lows, and sexiness of unsupervised early adulthood at a prestigious HBCU.

ALL AMERICAN: HOMECOMING stars Geffri Maya as Simone Hicks, Peyton Alex Smith as Damon Sims, Kelly Jenrette as Amara Patterson, Cory Hardrict as Coach Marcus Turner, Sylvester Powell as JR, Camille Hyde as Thea Mays, Mitchell Edwards as Cam Watkins and Netta Walker as Keisha McCalla.

ALL AMERICAN: HOMECOMING is from Warner Bros. Television and CBS Studios in association with Berlanti Productions, with executive producers Nkechi Okoro Carroll (“Rosewood,” “The Resident”), Greg Berlanti (“Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Riverdale”), Sarah Schechter (“Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Riverdale”), David Madden (“You”) and Robbie Rogers (“All American”).

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All American: Homecoming -- "Start Over" -- Image Number: AHC101a_0697r.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Rhoyle Ivy King as Nathaniel Hardin, Geffri Maya as Simone Hicks and Netta Walker as Keisha McCalla -- Photo: Ser Baffo/The CW -- (C) 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Interview with Javicia Leslie, Meagan Tandy, Billy Gardell, Folake Olowofoyeku and Clayton Echard

TV Interview!

Warner Bros. TCA panel with actors from "Batwoman," "The Bachelor" and "Bob Hearts Abishola"

Interview with Warner Bros. actors by Suzanne 2/14/22

This was a fun panel for TCA (Television Critics Association) put on by Warner Brothers. I enjoyed the one they did last year, so I knew I would love this one, too. They didn’t disappoint.  Last year’s was about comedy, and this year’s was about romance (since it was held on Valentine’s Day). It was called “With Love, Warner Bros. Television Group” and featured some of their best romances from their current shows: Javicia Leslie (Ryan Wilder) & Meagan Tandy (Sophie Moore) from Batwoman, Billy Gardell (Bob) & Folake Olowofoyeku (Abishola) from Bob  Abishola, and Clayton Echard from The Bachelor.

I never miss an episode of “Batwoman” or “Bob Abishola,” so it was great to see the actors here. I’ve spoken with Javicia before, but it was great to see Meagan Tandy as well. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to ask a question this time around, but I enjoyed being there.

With Love, Warner Bros. Television Group

Javicia Leslie, Batwoman

Meagan Tandy, Batwoman

Billy Gardell, Bob  Abishola

Folake Olowofoyeku, Bob  Abishola

Clayton Echard, The Bachelor

2022 Virtual Tour

Los Angeles, CA

February 14, 2022

© 2022 Warner Bros.  All rights reserved.

First, Javicia and Meagan were asked if they feel any special responsibility, since they’re the “first black lesbian leading couple on a superhero show.” Javicia answered that the whole show was a huge responsibility and featured many firsts. They make sure that they present themselves in a good way, both on- and off-camera, especially since their audience includes many children. It’s important to them to show a positive representation. Meagan agreed with that. She realized, after talking with teens, that having LGBTQ and black women on their show is a lot bigger than just the actors. She tries to tell the stories as authentically as she can. She was also asked about going from loving Kate to being with Ryan. She admitted that it was a “love rollercoaster” for Sophie, since she was married to man and in the closet in the first season. Then she had to deal with her feelings for Kate, and then all that happened with Kate leaving, and then Ryan coming into the picture. She said that it was “quite the journey for her,” but it’s been fun for her as an actor.

Javicia was asked whether she had been more concerned beforehand about taking over the physical part of playing Batwoman, or the emotional parts (with all of her family and romantic relationships). Javicia said she was most worried about whether the fans would approve of her or not, since she’s a superhero fan herself and loves “Batman.” She wasn’t worried about the physicality because she had done martial arts before, which is fun. She’s a dramatic actor, so she loves crying and all that. She loves that there are many fans of the show who love “Batwoman,” even if they may have lost some comic fans who don’t like that it’s not the Batman or Batwoman that they knew from the comics. She’s proud to be a part of this “new representation.” She tweets with her fans all the time, and they make it worth while for her. She’s “honored” to be a part of the show’s fanbase.

All of the actors were asked, which TV shows they used to watch that taught them “the most about love and how it gave you more perspective.”

Ryan and Sophie kissing on "Batwoman"Javicia spoke about the show “Martin” and how the characters Martin and Gina teased each other. It showed her that you need to have friendship and laughter in a relationship. She also mentioned watching the show “Family Matters” and other shows from that time.

Meagan said that she watched those shows, too, but her favorite was “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” because it was about a whole family’s love for each other, not just a couple. Her friends all loved the Disney movies with princess, which she didn’t like. Now they tease her because she’s in her 30’s and not married, but she has a boyfriend, so she hopes they’ll make it work. Javicia spoke encouraging to her about her boyfriend, saying, “Y’all will,” which was very cute. Then Meagan replied, “We’ll see where he takes me to dinner tonight,” and everyone laughed.

Meagan was asked about Sophie falling for two Batwomen and whether that’s her “type,” and also whether she’ll be talking to the writers about suiting up, like everyone else has. Meagan chattered about how originally she wasn’t going to be with Ryan, but then they changed their minds. Also, she was with Julia, who had also dressed like Batwoman, so it was really three Batwomans that Sophie was with. She joked about it, saying she probably has a bit of a fetish. She said that she doesn’t know about getting any kind of superhero suit. She was wearing the Crows uniform, but now that’s gone. She finished with, “So, for now, it’s just the suit of love,” which made everyone laugh.

Javicia and Meagan were asked what they thought people loved about superheroes – is it the need to be protected, or the need to be strong? Why do we fall in love with them? Javicia thinks that her partner is a superhero because a great partner puts your needs before their own, which is “attractive” and “sexy.” So is maybe having kids one day. She thinks that having a person out there saving everyone and helping people makes them attractive and you feel protected and it “just feels like home.” She said it seems to be the same kind of theme with all of them. Meagan agreed with that. She also observed that previous Batman actors were always portrayed by someone “who was really hot,” which made her desire them a bit. She also said that having a protector who is kind and honest, who wants to save people and “doing bigger work than themselves.” She hopes that might inspire people to be like that. Then there’s the fantasy aspect of having a super suit that keeps them protected.

Billy was asked about his Ozempic commercial and whether it was made, in part, to advertise his show. Billy seemed a bit taken aback by the question. It was a very odd question. Billy told us honestly that he didn’t do the commercial for that reason. He had developed Type 2 diabetes, and he had been on a medication that helped him. They asked him to try their medication, so he did, and he waited a year to make sure it worked before he agreed to do the commercial. It helped him get healthier, and not he doesn’t have to take ANY medication. He was able to “turn the corner,” thanks to the medication and being on the right track. He figured he would do the commercial to help others who might need help as well. He just wanted to hold himself accountable to it. He added, “I had to take that journey.” The journalist who asked that question told him that he did look great (and he does!).

Billy and Folake were asked about the possibility of their characters having a baby together on the show. Billy talked in general about how you have to have the discussion with your partner in marriage about whether you’re going to have children, and when, and that the relationships evolve and change. He said that their ages might be factor, and they might have to discuss that. He gave the example of whether Bob would be asking Abishola, “are you gonna be changing my diaper and the baby’s diaper?” Everyone laughed at that. He then praised the show, saying that “it’s never preachy.” It’s just two people in love and trying to do the best they can to be open and honest with each other, to be a strong couple. He told us that he’s been married for 22 years in real life. Folake talked about how much she has enjoyed the season, especially when they went to Nigeria. She says she watches those scenes over and over and loves how they were able to “share a Yoruba wedding with the world.” She also previewed that there are some good scenes coming “with the entire cast.” They’re going to have “a sock commercial,” which will be “really entertaining.” Neither of them really answered much about the baby plot point. They were obviously trying not to share any spoilers.

It was interesting to hear Folake’s real accent. She’s from Nigeria, but she went to boarding school, so she doesn’t have nearly as much of an accent as Abishola does.

In answer to the TV question, Billy talked about how much he loved “The Honeymooners” growing up, which his dad shared with him. He said that at the end of the day, Ralph knew that no matter how much he had messed up, his wife loved him, which made him a little bit more humble. He thinks that’s still a great message. Folake said that she used to watch Spanish telenovelas with the other girls at school, so that’s where she got most of her TV love experience.

Bob and Abishola kissing at their wedding on "Bob Hearts Abishola"They were each asked what they liked best about their real-life “sweethearts”. Folake replied that hers are her cats, which are named Bob and Abishola! She said, “They’re very adventurous and they can take on coyotes!” Billy said that he likes best about his wife that she stays with him. He went on a bit about how great she is: “She’s an amazing woman, and she has always been my rock.” He says that you should always do whatever your wife says. (As a wife, I agree with that)

They were also asked if they were surprised that the show has been embraced so well, given America’s problems with race. Billy said that he wasn’t surprised because the show is about love, and “love is always the secret sauce.” He said it so beautifully, that the audience knows it’s about love, and how the two love each other but have crazy families, and the show is also about how these families merge and can look past their differences. He stated, “it’s the common thread that we all share. In this world, all anybody wants is someone to love, somewhere to live, and a way to pay for that. If you keep it that simple I think people identify with it.”

Folake agreed that the show is all about love, which is what we all want. She also added that it was always going to be successful because it has Chuck Lorre in charge, and his whole production team that is so well-run. She finished with, “everyone is on their A-game, myself included, because we want to live up to that standard.” Billy agreed to that, too. She says it’s not surprising at all, and she thinks it has effects worldwide. It does very well in Africa and India.

Billy was also asked how much weight he’s loss, and he told us that he’s lost 102 pounds. It really does show. He joked that he would like to go on “The Bachelor” next year.

Folake also added her own comments in to the question about why we like superheroes so much. She thinks that is makes a great escape for viewers to just imagine being in that world. She also complimented the show, saying “this generation of Batwoman is like literally the Batwoman of my dreams. I wish I grew up on this shit. I wish I was a kid growing up watching you guys. It is so awesome. You guys are doing a great job.”

Billy loves the superhero stuff and sharing it with his son. He thinks there’s a “hopefulness with it, and I think that’s what superheroes give you, and it’s the feeling of safety. You feel like, wow, I wish someone was out there looking out for us like that.” He also agrees that it’s a way for people to escape, like Folake said.

Clayton was asked how he’s celebrating Valentine’s Day this year (even though he can’t tell us with whom he’s celebrating). He was also asked whether the show helped him with his holiday plans or if they hindered them. Clayton answered that he was recovering today from a “really fun weekend,” so he was drinking a lot of water and trying to save his voice, which was “a little shot.” He said that the dates on the show were “incredible” and he certainly did some things that set the bar very high, but of course he has to be realistic in the future (and on his own budget).

Clayton Echard kissing a blonde woman
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnlLc4EMRz0
HED: ‘Bachelor’ Colton Echard Says ‘I’m In Love With 3 Women’ In Explosive 1st Look At Season 26

Clayton was also asked about what he learned with being on the show, especially about dating, relationships and what he might not have been doing before. Clayton gave the question some thought before answering. He admitted that he learned a lot, and watching it now on TV has also taught him a lot. He said that learning how to “pick up on body cues” was something that he had previously missed because there is a lot you can miss if you only pay attention to verbal cues. He added that he’s learning more about himself and “how to be a better person” so that he do better in the future.

Clayton replied to the question about TV shows to say that “Spongebob Squarepants” was the one that showed him the most about love. He enjoyed the friendship between Spongebob and Patrick. It showed him that “good friends stand by each other.” He said that we all want that love from both friends and family. Meagan agreed with him about it, saying she watched that show, too.

Clayton also answered about the superheroes. He said that “we’re all dreamers in some aspect, and so as kids we’re told to dream big. And that’s where these superhero movies really allow us to – as we grow up on them, watching them fight and all that – see their super powers. We hope, as we’re kids, to be able to have those same super powers.” We know that we can’t really be that way, but when we’re grownups, we remember that time, back when we were kids and thought we could be Batman or Superman.

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About WarnerMedia

WarnerMedia is a leading media and entertainment company that creates and distributes premium and popular content from a diverse array of talented storytellers and journalists to global audiences through its consumer brands including: HBO, HBO Max, Warner Bros., TNT, TBS, truTV, CNN, DC, New Line, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Turner Classic Movies and others.

JAVICIA LESLIE

Ryan Wilder in “Batwoman”

Javicia Leslie stars as Ryan Wilder, a goofy, relatable, and street-smart lesbian who transforms into the hero Gotham’s been missing in The CW’s highly anticipated new drama “Batwoman.”

Leslie is known to television audiences for her role as Ali Finer on “God Friended Me” and Paris Duncan on “The Family Business.” On the feature film front, she recently tackled the lead role in hilarious new comedy, “Always a Bridesmaid,” penned by NAACP nominated Yvette Nicole Brown. Leslie also directed two short films this year, “Black Excellence” and “Howl.”

Born in Germany and raised in Maryland, Leslie graduated from Hampton University where she appeared in several productions including “Seven Guitars,” “For Colored Girls” and “Chicago.” As driven philanthropically as she is in her career, Leslie started The Chandler Foundation which gives back to youth in her community. When not filming, she spends her free time with her dog and staying healthy through her passion for fitness.

MEAGAN TANDY
Sophie Moore in “Batwoman”

Meagan Tandy stars as Sophie Moore, a high-level private security agent and one of Gotham’s staunchest protectors in The CW’s highly anticipated new drama “Batwoman.”

Tandy’s television appearances include roles in “Survivor’s Remorse,” “Teen Wolf,” “Jane By Design,” “Baby Daddy,” “The Mayor,” “Red Band Society,” “Necessary Roughness” and in the breakout critical darling “UnReal,” opposite Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer.

On the big screen Tandy starred in John Gulager’s remake of the iconic “Piranha 3DD,” “Unstoppable” and “The Trap,” opposite Queen Latifah and Mike Epps.

At 19, Tandy entered and won the Miss California Teen Pageant. One year later she was named Miss California, USA.

Billy Gardell
Bob in BOB ♥ ABISHOLA

Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Birthday: August 20

Emmy Award-nominated actor and comedian Billy Gardell starred with Melissa McCarthy in the hit Network series “Mike & Molly” as Officer Mike Biggs from 2010-2016. The series continues to air in syndication. Also, he had a recurring role as Herschel Sparks on YOUNG SHELDON, on the Network, and starred as Col. Tom Parker on the series “Sun Records.” In 2016 he received a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Game Show Host on “Monopoly Millionaires’ Club.”

Prior to “Mike & Molly,” Gardell co-starred in the critically acclaimed series “Lucky.” His other television credits include “Yes, Dear” and “Judging Amy,” both on the Network, “My Name Is Earl,” “The Practice,” “Monk” and “Gary the Rat,” among others.

He made his major motion picture debut alongside Anthony Quinn and Sylvester Stallone in “Avenging Angelo,” and had a memorable scene with Billy Bob Thornton in the film “Bad Santa.” Also, he appeared in “You, Me & Dupree.”

As a stand-up comedian, Gardell took the long road to Hollywood, stopping at every small-town lounge, military base and comedy club along the way. His comedy act took him to Los Angeles where his dedication to acting and stand-up comedy allowed him to grow consistently in both arenas. His stand-up show is a powerhouse with its grounded, down-to-earth point of view that strikes a strong chord with American audiences. Stories about his rough childhood, wild adolescence and new family life are executed with the skill of a master craftsman.

In 2011, his comedy special “Billy Gardell: Halftime” premiered on Comedy Central. His next special “Billy Gardell Presents Road Dogs” premiered on SHOWTIME in 2013.

A native of Pittsburgh, Gardell currently lives in Los Angeles. He loves Steeler football, stand-up comedy and his wife, Patty, and son, Will. His birthday is August 20. He can be followed on Twitter @BillyGardell and Facebook @billygardell.

Folake Olowofoyeku
Abishola in BOB ♥ ABISHOLA

Birthday: October 26

Nigerian-born actress Folake Olowofoyeku has won the hearts of critics and audiences as Abishola in BOB ♥ ABISHOLA. She received the 2019 Breakout Actress in TV Award for her work on the series on behalf of the Sync Con Honors. Her additional television credits include a recurring role on “Transparent” and guest roles on “The Gifted,” “Modern Family,” “How to Get Away with Murder,” “Westworld,” “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” among others.

Olowofoyeku’s feature film credits include “When They Could Fly,” which earned her a Best Actress award at the prestigious ReelHeART International Film Festival in Toronto, “Central & Broadway,” for which she won Best Actress in a Fashion Film at the CinéFashion Film Awards, “Female Fight Club,” “The Bride,” “The Child Within” and “Hellbenders-3D,” among others.

As a voiceover artist, Olowofoyeku voiced the Priestess on the video game “Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series – Episode 1.” Olowofoyeku’s other passion is music.

Olowofoyeku grew up in Lagos, Nigeria and spent time in London. Her native language is Yoruba. The youngest of 20 children, she always dreamt of being in the arts, a dream that went squarely against the wishes of her parents, Chief Babatunji and Chief Mrs. Felicia Olowofoyeku, who insisted on the family profession of law and politics. During a summer vacation in New York City, unbeknownst to her family, she began to pursue her goal as a student at City College of New York, where she distinguished herself on the basketball court competing with CCNY’s Beavers in the NCAA and earning a B.A. with honors in theater. Additionally, she earned a diploma in audio engineering from the Institute of Audio Research (IAR).

Currently, Olowofoyeku resides in Los Angeles. Her birthdate is Oct. 26. She can be followed on Twitter and Facebook @TheFolake and on Instagram @the.folake.

Clayton Echard

The Bachelor
DOB : April 29th – St. Louis, Missouri

Clayton Echard, who was first introduced as one of Michelle Young’s suitors in season 18 of “The Bachelorette,” not only connects romantically with the captivating Minneapolis school teacher but is also a favorite of Michelle’s middle school students. Ultimately, however, Michelle sends Clayton home, leading to one of the most emotional and heart-wrenching moments in “Bachelor” history. In that one touching moment, Clayton’s genuine desire to find a partner and start a family shines through, and never has it been so evident that one man deserves a second chance at finding that great love.

Nicknamed “Claynos” by his friends in the house due partly to his sculpted physique, Clayton grows stronger with every rose, opening himself up to Michelle in ways he never thought possible. This Midwestern man proves he is so much more than just a good-looking guy with a rock-hard bod. He’s a throwback romantic who’s not afraid to put himself out there for love.

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Warner Bros. actors panel

Interview with Lorna Watson, Jerry Iwu, Max Brown and Will Trotter

TV Interview!

Lorna Watson, Jerry Iwu, Max Brown and Will Trotter of "Sister Boniface Mysteries" on BritBox

Interview with stars Lorna Watson, Jerry Iwu, Max Brown and producer Will Trotter of “Sister Boniface Myseries” on Britbox by Suzanne 2/9/22

BritBox logoThe Britbox Winter TCA panel started with the “Sister Boniface Mysteries,” which had premiered February 8, the day before, in the U.S. (in the UK, it premieres March 11 on the UKTV Drama channel). It’s a fun, quirky show, despite being a murder mystery. We had all three major cast members in attendance, as well as the producer, Will Trotter.

Sister Boniface (played by “The IT Crowd”‘s Lorna Watson) is an unusual nun who drives a Vespa around the small town of “Great Slaughter” and helps the local police solve murders. In the spirit of shows like “Murder, She Wrote” and “Grantchester,” this small town happens to have many murders. Although the series takes place in the 1960’s, Sister B. has advanced knowledge of forensics and a PhD in chemistry. The policemen, DI Sam Gillespie (played by Max Brown, whom you may recognize from “Beauty and the Beast” as well as many other shows) and DS Felix Livingstone (played by Jerry Iwu, “Sex Education”), are grateful to have the good sister’s help (as unusual as it is). The show is smartly written and is not only a good mystery series but explores issues that are still relevant today, such as sexism, racism, class division and more. However, the show is not at all preachy or heavy-handed.

Although Sister Boniface is very intelligent, Watson believes that she is quite innocent and has a “childlike element” as well as often being “silly.” Watson admits that she, too, can sometimes be “surprisingly naïve.” She has never played such a smart character before, so it was a “real joy” to put on the habit again. Getting into character was easy because the nun’s habit helped so much. She dubbed it a “quite transformative costume.” She also shared that the costume is quite freeing because she doesn’t have to spend much time in makeup. Before shooting, she spoke with the other characters playing nuns about where they would place their hands and so forth.

At Trotter’s urging, Watson told us an amusing story. When the director of the first episode, Paul Gibson, saw her, he acted like he didn’t know her because she was dressed as herself, not as Sister Boniface. He had no idea how she really looked out of the nun’s habit. He later came by and apologized. Lorna is hopeful that others will be the same way, so that she will be able to keep her anonymity if she runs into fans.

Watson told us that she had only ridden a Vespa once before, while on vacation. It took her quite a while to get used to driving it on the show to make it look natural. She also did a wheelie, but not on purpose. Brown joked with her about running the Vespa into his police car and how huge the Vespa’s sidecar is. Iwu joked that he “never felt terrified” while riding in the sidecar with her.

Iwu’s character Felix arrives in town in the first episode, expecting to be working in London, much to his disappointment. Eventually, the mistake is corrected, and he heads towards London, but of course, predictably, he ends up staying (I don’t think that’s really a spoiler). Not much else in the show is predictable, I’m glad to say. My only other observation about Felix is that he certainly wears a lot of suits for someone who came from a tropical country like Bermuda! Every TV show seems to have someone like Felix that arrives new into the situation so that he (and we) can be told what’s going on. Iwu told us that Felix observes about the town, “this is insane. Why is everyone killing themselves or killing each other?”

Brown noted that they all had great chemistry. The series started filming with episode 4, but they all “fell into our characters and our relationships” immediately. Watson agreed that they did “form a bond very quickly”. Brown observed that having all of these characters around in nun’s habits made them all want to behave better on set, but Watson and the other nuns felt that it was a very relaxed set. Brown and Iwu joked that a group of nuns is called a “gaggle.”

The cast was asked which mysteries they liked to read or watch.  Brown told us that his favorite mysteries to read are the classic Sherlock Holmes stories, but he’s also looking forward to the upcoming Hugh Laurie series, “Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?” (which comes out this spring on Britbox). Iwu grew up with “Murder, She Wrote.” Watson grew up with “Columbo” and also enjoys the Miss Marple movies. She joked that now she can solve the mysteries with her “new forensic skills.”

Trotter observed that the combination of Watson’s “fabulous face,” which he described as “owl-like,” combined with the habit and the glasses, gave them a lot of character to work with. He said, somewhat facetiously, “the blinking of the eyes every now and again are just like little messages to the directors: cut there, cut there, closer there.” Her pushing her glasses up on her nose became part of the quirkiness of the character. He also spoke a little bit about why we love mysteries so much, particularly this type, which he called “cozy crime.”

Trotter assured us that the Catholic Church has been fully supportive of “Father Brown” and most likely will for this show, too, because it doesn’t put them in a bad light, and the nuns are three dimensional characters (not caricatures). Also, the show is very light and fun. It doesn’t have blood and gore or other dark things.

The convent in the series is shot at a school, “Princethorpe College,” which used to be a convent, so it looks authentic. It has a chapel and stained-glass windows. Trotter’s children went there because he lives nearby. The rest of the show is mostly “shot in the Cotswolds” which is also where “Father Brown” is shot. He praised the area, which is “fantastic” with many large churches, homes and “beautiful rolling countryside.” He called the area “timeless,” which makes it great for shooting this show, set 50 years ago. He explained that “all the stone is the same and the architecture is just beautiful.” It was made “in the 16th century and so on.” Watson was “super-excited” to be there and to see where Sister Boniface sleeps each night, and to see her crime lab/winery. Iwu praised the locations they use as “beautiful” but observed that the convent in particular has a calming effect.

At the very end of our interview, Trotter revealed that the series has been renewed for season two (or as the Brits call it, “Series 2”). Everyone was happy and excited to hear it. Don’t miss this wonderful series, especially if you love mysteries.

MORE INFO:

Photos from "Sister Boniface Mysteries" on Britbox

From the makers of Father Brown and Shakespeare & Hathaway – Private Investigators comes this light-hearted murder mystery series starring a Vespa driving, crime solving Catholic nun: Sister Boniface. It’s the 1960s and police forensics are rudimentary. Luckily the residents of Great Slaughter, nestled deep in the British countryside, have a secret weapon. Sister Boniface. This nun might be predisposed to forgive – but she’s also one hell of an amateur detective. If there’s evidence to be found, Boniface will find it, with a little help from dashing maverick DI Sam Gillespie and buttoned-up Bermudan DS Felix Livingstone, who’s horrified to be stuck in the eccentric world of Great Slaughter.

poster for "Sister Boniface Mysteries"
Sister Boniface Mysteries
Picture Shows: L-R – Ruth Penny (MIRANDA RAISON), DS Felix Livingstone (JERRY IWU), Sister Boniface (LORNA WATSON), DI Sam Gillespie (MAX BROWN), WPC Peggy Button (AMI METCALF)

Lorna Watson Bio
Lorna Watson is an actress and writer, known for The IT Crowd, The Wrong Door and Horrible Histories.
She has a strong background in comedy as the co-creator of the sketch comedy show, Watson & Oliver.
Most recently, Lorna reprised her role as Sister Boniface from the popular Father Brown series. She stars
in the upcoming BritBox Original spinoff series, Sister Boniface Mysteries.

Jerry Iwu Bio

Jerry can currently be seen as the guest lead Oba in the latest series of SEX EDUCATION for
Netflix.

Following this, he will be seen as the series regular role of DS Felix Livingstone in The Sister
Boniface Mysteries for Britbox/BBC Studios which will premiere in early 2022.

After graduating from Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, he went straight into
filming Innocent (Series 2) for ITV opposite Katherine Kelly and Shaun Dooley. Alongside this, he
filmed a significant role in Intruder for Channel 5 and ITV Global.

Prior to this, he played the role of Neville in the IFTA-nominated Conor McDermottroe’s
feature Halal Daddy opposite Sarah Bolger and Colm Meaney.

Whilst at Central, he played the leading role in Sophie Treadwell’s Machinal directed by
Suzanne Gorman.

His other credits include Hastings in Richard The III, Stanley in Street Car Named Desire, Orsino
in Twelfth Night and Tuzenbach in The Three Sisters.

Max Brown Bio
Max Brown is an English actor with an impressive career spanning across film and television. He
first appeared on screens in 2001 to play Danny Hartson in BBC’s Grange Hill. Since then, he
has appeared in several hit television shows including The Royals, Mistresses, Agent
Carter, Spooks (MI-5) and Foyles War. Some of Max’s most notable roles include Edward
Seymour in The Tudors for Showtime and Evan Marks in the CW’s Beauty and the Beast series.
He has also been seen in films including the Downton Abbeymovie for Carnival Film &
Television, 29/29 and Stone Village Films’ Turistas and Flutter for Sunrise Films. Most recently,
Max played DI Sam Gillespie in Sister Boniface Mysteries, a new BritBox Original serie
s.

Will Trotter Bio
After nearly 30 years with the BBC, in 2014 Will took up the role of Head of Midlands Drama.
From his office in the Drama Village, Birmingham, he is responsible for overseeing a team
of over 200 people and delivering over 130 hours of Television Drama every year.

Alongside the hugely successful Continuing Drama – Doctors, Will has consistently
developed and produced new returning series including Land Girls, Father Brown, WPC
56, The Coroner, and Shakespeare & Hathaway – Private Investigators and most
recently Sister Boniface Mysteries. In the past year he also developed and Exec Produced a
four-part serial of Oscar Wilde’s The Canterville Ghost for BYU.

Will specialises in pre-watershed crime that has an international appeal – Father Brown
currently sells to over 230 territories, Shakespeare and Hathaway was the most viewed
new TV series in its first year of the BBC Showcase event. Essentially though Will thrives on
making great drama and exploiting ideas commercially and as part of BBC Studios.

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Interview with the cast of “Wolf Pack”

TV Interview!

 

Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jeff Davis, Rodrigo Santoro, Bella Shepard, Chloe Rose Robertson, Armani Jackson, and Tyler Lawrence Gray, stars of "Wolf Pack" on Paramount+. Photos from https://www.paramountpressexpress.com of the premiere night.

Interview with Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jeff Davis, Rodrigo Santoro, Bella Shepard, Chloe Rose Robertson, Armani Jackson, and Tyler Lawrence Gray of “Wolf Pack” on Paramount+ by Suzanne 9/21/22

Sarah Michelle Gellar stars as Kristin Ramsy in "Wolf Pack" on Paramount+. Photos from https://www.paramountpressexpress.comI really enjoyed this TCA panel because I’m such a huge fan of Sarah Michelle Gellar from her work on both “All My Children” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Also, I really loved showrunner Jeff Davis’ other werewolf show, “Teen Wolf.”  The young cast seems very nice as well. I hope this will be a great show and a huge hit!

WOLF PACK Takes the TCA Panel by Storm

Virtual via Zoom, September 21, 2022 – The highly anticipated TCA panel for the new original series, WOLF PACK, took place yesterday, introducing an exciting lineup of talented cast members and producers. Led by showrunner and executive producer Jeff Davis, the panel included executive producer and renowned actress Sarah Michelle Gellar, along with Rodrigo Santoro, Armani Jackson, Bella Shepard, Chloe Rose Robertson, and Tyler Lawrence Gray.

The virtual event, hosted by Brian Bahr from the Paramount+ Communications Team, kicked off with introductions and a warm welcome to the panelists. Each member shared their excitement for the upcoming series and their roles within it.Rodrigo Santoro as Garrett Briggs and Lanny Joon as Officer Jason Jang in "Wolf Pack" on Paramount+. Photos from https://www.paramountpressexpress.com of the premiere night.

Jeff Davis expressed his enthusiasm for the show, acknowledging that he didn’t expect to work on another series about teenage werewolves so soon. However, he expressed his excitement about the captivating story and the talented cast involved. Davis revealed that WOLF PACK offers a unique tone, setting itself apart from his previous work on “Teen Wolf.” To provide a glimpse into the series, two exclusive clips were showcased during the panel.

The first clip featured Armani Jackson as Everett, portraying a pivotal hospital scene following a harrowing encounter with an animal. The intense sequence offered a glimpse into the horror elements that define the show. Davis emphasized that WOLF PACK would offer a fresh and distinct take on the werewolf genre, promising an engaging viewing experience.

The second clip showcased Sarah Michelle Gellar’s return to the horror genre, much to the delight of fans. Davis expressed his eagernest about Gellar’s involvement, highlighting her significant contribution to the show’s chilling atmosphere. The clip also featured the other main cast members, including Rodrigo Santoro, who impressed the audience with his entrance.

After the clips, the floor opened for questions. One question directed to the younger actors revolved around the impact of Gellar’s previous work, particularly her iconic role in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Tyler Lawrence Gray and Armani Jackson confirmed their familiarity with the show, expressing excitement about working with Gellar.

The panel continued with discussions about character development and the overall premise of the series. The cast members provided insights into their roles and how their characters cope with the transformations they experience throughout the show. Each actor shared their enthusiasm for the complex and relatable journeys their characters undertake.

When asked about her return to the horror genre, Sarah Michelle Gellar explained her initial hesitation and how the unique aspects of WOLF PACK enticed her to accept the role. Gellar praised the script’s ability to address important topics like anxiety, depression, and the impact of technology on youth. She also highlighted the show’s exploration of environmental issues, particularly the backdrop of wildfires, drawing from her personal experience during the Los Angeles fires.

Jeff Davis discussed the adaptation process, acknowledging the inspiration from Edo van Belkom’s books but emphasizing the show’s departure from them. He expressed a desire to create a new universe with a distinct tone, unique mythology, and edgier storytelling. Davis emphasized his enthusiasm for exploring adult themes and showcasing diverse and inclusive characters.

Chloe Robertson as Luna Briggs; Tyler Gray as Harlan Briggs; Armani Jackson as Everett Lang; and Bella Shepard as Blake Navarro in "Wolf Pack," Episode 108, Trophic Cascade. Streaming on Paramount+.The panel concluded on a lighthearted note, with the cast members and producers sharing playful banter. Sarah Michelle Gellar jokingly expressed her initial reluctance to undergo extensive makeup and prosthetics, while Jeff Davis and the rest of the panelists playfully discussed the inclusion of actors named Tyler in werewolf shows.

The TCA panel for WOLF PACK showcased a promising and dynamic series that merges horror, complex character arcs, and thought-provoking themes. With an exceptional cast and experienced producers at the helm, the show aims to captivate audiences and push the boundaries of the werewolf genre. Fans eagerly await the premiere of WOLF PACK to witness the thrilling and transformative journey that lies ahead.

MORE INFO:

"Wolf Pack" key art

PARAMOUNT+ ORIGINAL SERIES “WOLF PACK” TO PREMIERE THURSDAY, JAN. 26; ADDITIONAL CAST ANNOUNCED

Official Teaser Trailer Revealed Today During New York Comic Con

Series Produced by MTV Entertainment Studios

Official Teaser Trailer HERE

Oct. 7, 2022 – Paramount+ today announced that the original series WOLF PACK will premiere Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023, exclusively on the service in the U.S. and Canada. The series, written and produced by Jeff Davis, will premiere the following day on Friday, Jan. 27, 2023 on Paramount+ in the U.K., Australia, and Latin America. Premiere dates for other Paramount+ international markets will be announced at a later date.

Paramount+ also revealed the series’ official teaser trailer during today’s joint TEEN WOLF: THE MOVIE and WOLF PACK panel at New York Comic Con. The WOLF PACK panel featured a conversation between writer and executive producer Jeff Davis, executive producer and cast member Sarah Michelle Gellar and cast members Rodrigo Santoro, Armani Jackson, Bella Shepard, Chloe Rose Robertson and Tyler Lawrence Gray. The panel was moderated by Rotten Tomatoes editor Jacqueline Coley.

Additionally, the streamer announced that Bailey Stender (“iCarly”), Chase Liefeld (“Chang Can Dunk”), Hollie Bahar (“Westworld”), Lanny Joon (“Baby Driver”), Rio Mangini (“Everything Sucks”), Stella Smith (“Stargirl”), Zack Nelson (“Loot”) and James Martinez (“Love, Victor”) will join in recurring roles. Additional casting includes Amy Pietz (“Caroline in the City”), Bria Brimmer (“Doom Patrol”), John L. Adams (“The Dead Zone”) and Sean Philip Glasgow (“Diary of a Future President”).

Based on the book series by Edo Van Belkom, WOLF PACK follows a teenage boy and girl whose lives are changed forever when a California wildfire awakens a terrifying supernatural creature and drives it to attack a highway traffic jam beneath the burning hills. Wounded in the chaos, the boy and girl are inexplicably drawn to each other and to two other teenagers who were adopted sixteen years earlier by a park ranger after another mysterious wildfire. As the full moon rises, all four teens come together to unravel the secret that connects them – the bite and blood of a werewolf.

Written and executive produced by Jeff Davis, the series is a part of his multi-year deal with MTV Entertainment Studios. Davis is also writing and producing the upcoming Paramount+ original film TEEN WOLF: THE MOVIE. In addition to Davis, Joe Genier, Mike Elliott and Karen Gorodetzky serve as executive producers for Capital Arts. Jason Ensler, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Christian Taylor serve as executive producers.

About Paramount+

Paramount+ combines live sports, breaking news and a mountain of entertainment. The premium streaming service features an expansive library of original series, hit shows and popular movies across every genre from world-renowned brands and production studios, including BET, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures and the Smithsonian Channel. The service is also the streaming home to unmatched sports programming, including every CBS Sports event, from golf to football to basketball and more, plus exclusive streaming rights for major sports properties, including some of the world’s biggest and most popular soccer leagues. Paramount+ also enables subscribers to stream local CBS stations live across the U.S. in addition to the ability to stream other live channels: CBSN for 24/7 news, CBS Sports HQ for sports news and analysis and ET Live for entertainment coverage.

For more information about Paramount+ and TEEN WOLF: THE MOVIE, please visit www.paramountplus.com and follow @ParamountPlus on all social platforms and Teen Wolf’s Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok.

About Paramount Media Networks & MTVEntertainment Studios

Paramount Media Networks & MTV Entertainment Studios is one of the preeminent media entities in the world that connects with global audiences through its nine iconic brands – MTV, Comedy Central, VH1, CMT, Pop, Logo, Smithsonian, Paramount Network and TV Land – as well as MTV Entertainment Studios which produces acclaimed series and movies and the award-winning, Oscar-nominated MTV Documentary Films.

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"Wolf Pack" cast pose; Photos from https://www.paramountpressexpress.com of the premiere night.

 

Interview with the cast of “Yellowjackets” Part 2

TV Interview!

Christina Ricci, Samantha Hanratty, Tawny Cypress, Jasmin Savoy Brown and Ella Purnell of "Yellowjackets" on Showtime

Interview with actresses Christina Ricci, Samantha Hanratty, Tawny Cypress, Jasmin Savoy Brown and Ella Purnell, and producers Ashley Lyle, Bart Nickerson, Jonathan Lisco and Karyn Kusama of “Yellowjackets” on Showtime by Suzanne 8/25/21

SHOWTIME SUMMER 2021 TCA VIRTUAL PRESS TOUR
YELLOWJACKETS
Virtual via Zoom August 25, 2021
© 2021 Showtime Networks Inc. All rights reserved.

Part 2:
Christina Ricci (she/her), “Misty Quigley”
Samantha Hanratty (she/her), “Teen Misty Quigley”
Tawny Cypress (she/her), “Taissa Turner”
Jasmin Savoy Brown (she/her), “Teen Taissa Turner”
Ella Purnell (she/her), “Teen Jackie Taylor”
Ashley Lyle (she/her), Creator/Executive Producer/Showrunner
Bart Nickerson (he/him), Creator/Executive Producer/Showrunner
Jonathan Lisco (he/him), Executive Producer/Showrunner
Karyn Kusama (she/her), Executive Producer/Director

This was a two-part panel for the show, and this is the second part. See the first part here. The show premieres Sunday, November 14. Don’t miss it!

It has a large cast, but the focus for both panels was on the women (the stars of the show). I asked Tawny Cypress and Jasmin Savoy Brown if they could speak a little bit about what it was that drew them to this project, how they got to know each other, and whether they did anything to try to sync their characters teen-Taissa and adult-Taissa together.

Cypress loved the project right away, in part because she’s from New Jersey (where the characters are from), so she enjoyed being right in there with her character and the soccer team. She told us, “Her vulnerabilities come out fairly quickly, so it was great to see where she cracked. It’s always fun to play people who crack a little bit. Like when she had the scene with Shauna and the pilot, you know, You can see her — that she’s not — maybe not the one in charge. And that drew me to her. Because it’s easy to play somebody powerful, but it’s more fun to play somebody who just thinks they’re powerful. And then as far as connecting with Jasmin, it was very easy. We connected early on. We get together a lot. We talk about the character a lot. We talk about the scripts a lot. We lived one building away from each other. We actually have the same landlord. All this weird stuff.”

Brown pointed out the “weird random” fact that they were the only ones in the entire cast and crew that both brought their cats there (to the filming) and that both are the tortoiseshell breed. Cypress agreed that they had a lot of things in common that were cool and led to a connection between them. She added that they do talk about the scripts a lot. One time Brown texted her at the beginning to ask if they say “EE-ther” or “EYE-ther.” They also go through different types of movements. They “try and keep her a nice through line.” Cypress added that the fact that the script is so well written shows the through line.

Brown chimed in to agree that “The writing is incredible. And that’s what drew me to this project. Along with what the women said in the prior panel. Women are the most important thing in my life. My female relationships, friendships. I was raised by a single mom. I have a ton of aunts. And I was an only child, and so my female friendships were the most important thing from early on. And I love any script, any piece of art that examines female relationships and how complex they are. I felt the writing was incredible. I love dark, mysterious stuff. And, also, I hadn’t worked for a few months and was on vacation when I got the audition. And that’s always how I know that something’s good, if it brings me home from vacation. So, I went — because I’m turning right back around.”

The next reporter asked the actors to answer a hypothetical question, “if you crashed on an island, how do you think you would fare? And not meaning killing people and eating people, but just in general with survival… How do you think that you would do?”

Christina Ricci jumped right in to answer that she loves TV shows like “Survivor,” so she thinks she would do really well. Also, she added, “I know how to do pull—ups, because I know if you fall off a cliff, you need to be able to pull your body weight onto things.”

Brown joked that she wouldn’t want to crash with Ricci, then. The women kept joking around about what they would do. Samantha Hanratty mentioned the show “Naked and Afraid.” Ricci thought that Hanratty would shoot first. Cypress piped up to say that she definitely would shoot first. Ricci also mentioned that she could be helpful and build a fire.

The next journalist asked a long question that was a bit hard to follow. He spoke a little about Ricci and Hanratty’s character, Misty, who starts out as a bit shy (and bullied), but then changes quite a right once they crash. He/she asked what it was like playing such a “quirky” character and wondered if she knew girls like this in school (not the extreme part of the character, of course).

Ricci spoke at length about how she and Hanratty met and discussed the character. She there could be “many different interpretations” of Misty. She described Misty as “socially inept” as well as “so emotional and emotive, but unable to really mold those emotions to fit with other people and to be socially successful.” Then, once this type of person becomes an adult, and life has punished her, and she doesn’t have the protection of childhood, she’s left just “”functioning, getting through with the passive aggression and the artifice. Because I feel like artifice is something you learn as a coping mechanism in adulthood.”

Hanratty took her turn to talk about how much fun it was to play Misty. We learn more about her in the second episode as we see her at age 13 and her past (before the crash). She wants people to like and accept her instead of bullying her, yet she’s constantly rejected. She’s a very optimistic person that refuses to be sad about how she’s treated. We see when she does get broken by what happens. She finished, “I think we see glimpses of it with me, and then you definitely get to see with Christina kind of where those shattered pieces are. It’s really magical to be able to work with Christina on that.”

The producers were asked about the plane crash and what happened, which she describes “pretty graphic.” She wonders how they decided where to draw the line for what viewers would see.

Nickerson answered the question. They never talked about it specifically. He just feels that he can watch it as an audience member and decide whether it’s too much (“distracting”) or not.

Lyle agreed with what he said and explained that they didn’t want to focus on the plane crash and the aftermatch so much as why it happened, such as “How did they get from point A to point B?” They start out as a championship team, working together. She joking interjected, “It really wasn’t so much about, you know, the sports, by any stretch of the imagination. Spoiler alert: not really a soccer show.” The show is about how they worked together as a group, and then they start falling apart over the season. She quoted the actress who played young Shauna, Sophie Nélisse, who said, “the circumstances bring out both the best and the worst in them.” They wanted to answer the question, “Who do these women become?”

Nickerson thoughtfully said that other producers probably have a different because they’re “”laying the groundwork to … shoot it,” but he and Lyle are “reacting to some of what you created in terms of the visuals of it.”

Karyn Kusama felt that the extreme moments in the flashbacks help to answer the bigger question of the series, which is, “What are human beings capable of?” As she put it, “to go from keggers and carpools and, you know, winning a soccer match in high school, to something so extreme that’s meant to happen, you know, 18, 19 months later, it begs that question.” It creates a set of question inside the women that “help drive the whole series and enrich the larger question of the series.”

The next question was for Ella Purnell, who plays Jackie. We see her before the plane crash, where she’s the team captain and able to get everyone to do what they need to do. However, when they’re on the island, she loses her grip after she makes one bad choice (leaving someone on the plane). The journalist asked Purnell what might Jackie be going through during this drastic change? And for her, or the producers, should we make any assumptions about the fact there’s no adult Jackie either in this panel or in the first episodes we’ve seen (unlike the other characters), and she wants to know if they’re worried the audience might predict something happened to her.

Purnell seemed a little bit surprised by the long question. What she loves about the role she said, is that Jackie’s attitude is really all just “a front,” which no one knows until she makes that mistake in the second episode. “And the stark contrast between Jackie’s social stand in Episode 1 and 2 is amazing. I love playing it. I think that when you — you take these kids out of the society that they’re in and that they’re building of high school, you know. Who’s the popular one? Who’s the nerd? They’re all athletes. But that kind of hierarchy system that they’ve created and participated in. And you put them in this unbelievable life or death scenario.” She says that people can surprise themselves, and in many different ways, when “the true essence of who you are comes out.” Jackie is interesting because instead of “flight or fight,” she freezes. She wants to take control and act like she did back in Jersey, she’s frozen in place, because she’s so young and in shock. She believes that’s very frustrating for Jackie – not knowing where she stands. It’s not normal for her. “She loses her footing. She has no idea who to be out here. Whether she picks that up or doesn’t pick that up throughout the rest of season, you’ll find out. But it was definitely fun to play, like, that very sharp decline of sort of social standing between the episodes.”

Lyle repeated that show has “a lot of twists and turns over the course of the season,” but what’s imoprtant is “why” rather than “what.” She concluded with, “take that as you will.” Obviously, she didn’t want to give too much away. Nickerson countered that he would rather viewers “read a lot into everything and sort of, like, go in like a million different directions with it and just have like a great time.”

The next press person asked Ricci and Hanratty about their character, Misty. He said, “The character that you’re playing has absolutely no cachet, zero, prior to the plane crash, and then suddenly she is the linchpin for this entire survival. But in the process of doing that, one action that she takes creates the fact that they’re going to be stuck there for a very, very long time. And I’m wondering what — how does that psychologically affect her in her later life, knowing what she has done? It’s got to have some type of ramification in her adult life.”

Ricci explained that for Misty, everything is about her, and her “wants and her longing and her needs. And, so, when they crash, you know, and she does finally become important…she creates a situation in which she will stay important.” She didn’t want to speak for the younger version of the character, but she doesn’t think Misty has any regrets (about what she did) as an adult. Instead, when things get interesting for her as an adult, she’s “thrilled that her life might become exciting again.” Her adult life is not great. Being stranded on the island was the highlight of her life (unlike the other characters on the show).

Hanratty added that before the crash, Misty “was always everybody else’s biggest cheerleader.” She was really rooting for the team to do well. Hanratty discussed with the producers that “maybe Misty is not so good at love, but obsession. And she kind of replaces those two. And, so, she is really obsessed with these girls, and just loves them, but, you know, in her own way. But has never really felt that in return.” When the plane crashes, she takes over while everyone else is still in shock. She has “some medical background and kind of does what she can.” They talked about whether her parents were doctors, so she’s looked at medical books growing up as well as taking the “Red Cross babysitter training class twice.” She finally hears people talking about her in a positive, which thrills her and gives her a reason to go on. She makes this decision (as the reporter mentioned) to keep going with that purpose for as long as possible, and doesn’t feel bad about it. To Misty, “”It’s exciting and it’s liberating and thrilling.”

The producers were asked about whether there might be “something” out in the woods with the soccer team, and it’s possible that it came back with them and is still around in the present. He asks if there might be some sort of supernatural element to show, or something more realistic. He added that in case they can’t really answer that question, he would like to know “what was the human meat actually made out of, and how does it taste?” Ha ha! Good way to handle that question.

Lyle said that the meat was venison (deer meat), which was difficult for Hanratty, who’s a vegan in real life. Hanratty answered that she didn’t eat the venison. She and Brown both at “Beyon Meat” instead (a vegan alternative beef).

Lyle tried to answer the supernatural question. She said they discussed what types of inspirations they would draw on, such as “Rosemary’s Baby.” They were interested in the line between “genuine supernatural phenomenon or sort of a mass hysteria or some sort of madness that takes hold. And so that’s a line that we’re going to be playing throughout the show.” Very interesting.

Nickerson explained that it was difficult to answer the question without spoiling things for the viewer.

Kusama had an interesting way to answer the question. She mused, “I do feel like what the show does in Season 1 that is surprising — and I’m going to throw this — I’m going to throw this bit to Jasmin and to Tawny. Because I think what we’re doing is we’re exploring what ‘supernatural’ means. In this case, it’s about the mysteries of human behavior. And in many respects, Jasmine’s Taissa is one of the most competent in the wilderness, but also suffers terrible trauma very deeply. And when we see Tawny as adult Taissa, she in many respects is the most together and competent, and yet there’s still so much mystery underneath all of that.” She then asked Brown and Cypress to talk a little about how they played Taissa with the idea in their heads of of “what’s possible in human behavior.”

Brown thinks that Taissa’s strength and weakness is the same: she’s very competent and smart, and she can see the world in a realistic way. It “offers solutions, but it doesn’t offer a lot of comfort, at least not on a deeper emotional level… I’m a nerd for the enneagram, so I did a lot of enneagram research and presented her with what I think Taissa’s enneagram number is, and everything that means, and we discussed that. It was a really good tool for me, and she is a very practical person.”

Cypress agreed that “practicality is her strong point. She’s definitely most comfortable at the helm. And as far as the genres go, she seems, like, to have her entire life together. Everything’s on the up and up, and then of course the mysteries start happening, and all of the sudden we’re in, you know, a completely different feeling for the show. And coming to that as an actor, you know, it’s — I don’t really have a reference to have started with, so it was really just acting mystery as drama for me. And that’s how I approached it, anyway.”

The last press person asked if it was difficult for the younger actresses to put their careers on hold (when they’d barely started) wait for the show for two years (between the pilot and filming the rest). Hanratty nodded, so he asked her what it was like during those two years, and what did she do in the meantime, and how did it feel?

Hanratty confessed that she’s an impatient person, so she was a bit on pins and needles, waiting to hear if they would film the rest of the series. Then, because of COVID, she moved home with her parents, so she wasn’t as focused on getting work as she normally is. She started getting more anxious later on.

MORE INFO:

ABOUT THE SHOW

Created and executive produced by Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson (Narcos), the one-hour drama series, YELLOWJACKETS stars Melanie Lynskey (Castle Rock), Oscar® and Emmy® nominee Juliette Lewis (Camping), Emmy® nominee Christina Ricci (Z: The Beginning of Everything) and Tawny Cypress (Unforgettable).

Equal parts survival epic, psychological horror story and coming-of-age drama, YELLOWJACKETS is the saga of a team of wildly talented high school girls soccer players who become the (un)lucky survivors of a plane crash deep in the remote northern wilderness. The series chronicles their descent from a complicated but thriving team to savage clans, while also tracking the lives they’ve attempted to piece back together nearly 25 years later, proving that the past is never really past and what began out in the wilderness is far from over.

The series also stars Warren Kole (Shades of Blue), Ella Purnell (Sweetbitter), Samantha Hanratty (SHAMELESS), Sophie Thatcher (Prospect), Sophie Nélisse (The Book Thief), Steven Krueger (The Originals) and Jasmin Savoy Brown (The Leftovers). Jonathan Lisco (Animal Kingdom, Halt and Catch Fire) joins Lyle and Nickerson to serve as executive producer and showrunning partner.

Produced for SHOWTIME by studio Entertainment One (eOne), Karyn Kusama (Destroyer, Girlfight) executive produces and directed the pilot. Drew Comins of Creative Engine also serves as executive producer.

Christina Ricci (born February 12, 1980) is an American actress. She is known for playing unconventional characters with a dark edge. Ricci is the recipient of several accolades, including a National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress and a Satellite Award for Best Actress, as well as Golden Globe, Primetime Emmy, Screen Actors Guild, and Independent Spirit Award nominations.

Ricci made her film debut at the age of nine in Mermaids (1990), which was followed by a breakout role as Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family (1991) and its sequel. Subsequent appearances in Casper and Now and Then (both 1995) brought her fame as a “teen icon”. At 17, she moved into adult-oriented roles with The Ice Storm (1997), which led to parts in films such as Buffalo ’66, Pecker and The Opposite of Sex (all 1998). She garnered acclaim for her performances in Sleepy Hollow (1999) and Monster (2003). Her other credits include Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998), Prozac Nation (2001), Pumpkin (2002), Anything Else (2003), Black Snake Moan (2006), Speed Racer (2008), and The Smurfs 2 (2013). Despite being known predominantly for her work in independent productions, Ricci has appeared in numerous box office hits – to date, her films have grossed in excess of US$1.4 billion.

On television, Ricci appeared as Liza Bump in the final season of Ally McBeal (2002), and received acclaim for her guest role on Grey’s Anatomy in 2006. She also starred as Maggie Ryan on the ABC series Pan Am (2011–12), and produced and starred in the series The Lizzie Borden Chronicles (2015) and Z: The Beginning of Everything (2017). As well as voicing characters in several animated films, Ricci provided voices for the video games The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon and Speed Racer: The Videogame (both 2008). In 2010, she made her Broadway debut in Time Stands Still.

Ricci is the national spokesperson for the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN).

Samantha Lynne Hanratty (born September 20, 1995) is an American actress. Her first lead role took place in 2009, portraying Chrissa Maxwell in An American Girl: Chrissa Stands Strong. In 2011, she played the role Whitney Brown in the film The Greening of Whitney Brown. Hanratty is considered a Celebrity Friend for the Starlight Children’s Foundation.

Tawny Cypress (born August 8, 1976) is an American actress. She has appeared in various television and stage plays. She starred as Cherie Rollins-Murray on the television series Unforgettable, on the second and third seasons. She previously had recurring roles on several TV series, including Fox‘s drama K-Ville as Ginger “Love Tap” LeBeau, Simone Deveaux on the TV series Heroes, and Carly Heath on House of Cards.

Her mother is of Hungarian and German extraction and her father is Accawmacke American. Tawny Cypress was born and raised in Point Pleasant, New Jersey and now lives in New York City.

Jasmin Savoy Brown (born March 21, 1994) is an American actress best known for her role as Evangeline “Evie” Murphy on HBO‘s The Leftovers. She also provided the voice and motion capture for Phin Mason / Tinkerer in Spider-Man: Miles Morales.

Ella Summer Purnell (born 17 September 1996) is an English actress best known for her roles in the films Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016), Churchill (2017), and Army of the Dead (2021).

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Girls in "Yellowjackets" on Showtime

Interview with Cast/Crew of “Blade Runner: Black Lotus”

TV Interview!

Elle of "Bladerunner: Black Lotus" on Adult Swim

Interview with actress Jessica Henwick, producers and directors of “Bladerunner: Black Lotus” on Adult Swim by Suzanne 9/21/21

This is a great animated series that premieres November 13 on Adult Swim (Cartoon Network). I don’t watch much anime, but I loved the “Bladerunner” movies, and this is as good as the original movie (if not better). The way the people move is very realistic – not at all like a regular animated show.  The two directors, who are Japanese, were translated by the producers in this TCA panel.

Blade Runner: Black Lotus

Jason DeMarco (SVP, Anime/Action WarnerMedia), Shinji Aramaki (Co-Director), Kenji Kamiyama (Co-Director), Joseph Chou (Producer), Andrew Kosove (Producer)and Jessica Henwick (Voice of Elle)

2021 Virtual Tour Los Angeles, CA September 21, 2021

© 2021 Adult Swim.  All rights reserved.

Actress Jessica Henwick told us that she didn’t know much about her character when she started. She preferred to learn about her as they recorded her lines. They made them in chronological order. She also praised the lighting and cinematography as “stunning.” Later, she spoke about how well the show fits into the “Bladerunner” universe because it asks the same fundamental questions about what it is to be human or alive, and what separates humans from replicants as well as humans from animals. She approached playing Elle like you would play a child, since she is child-like when she first awakens.  She said that she “has to figure out her limits and what she thinks is okay and what her moral compass is in the same way that we all have to as we’re all growing up.”

The show is set in 2032, between the two films, Andrew Kosove of Alcon told us. They own the rights to the whole franchise, so it was very important to them to keep the series in tune with the source material and to make fans happy. He mentioned that there are many Easter eggs for fans in the series. Joseph Chou, translating from the directors, asserted that they based the show’s visual style in part on the movies while also making it look distinctly for that time period and because it’s anime. Kosove praised the four filmmakers involved with the movies and this series, saying that we have “the vision of different filmmakers because you have the ability both to honor what’s been done before, but to bring something new and to build on what has occurred previously and be fresh and original.”

They told us that the animation was full CG and they used motion capture. Because they were using actors who spoke English, they did the motion capture first and then did the recordings later (because of the pandemic).

Kosove hinted that there may be some interactive elements to the series later on (perhaps a video game based on it) and that there will be some announcements coming up about that. They were asked whether video games were their biggest competition, but he said that they couldn’t possibly compete with videogames. They just focus on doing this great series. Jason DeMarco answered that all of them (meaning TV networks) are competing with videogames and streaming networks as well as everything else because we all only have so many hours in the day for entertainment. He thinks that their show is good enough that people should stop playing videogames and spend their half an hour per week to watch it. He would also love a “Bladerunner: Black Lotus” videogame because he’s a fan and nerd himself, but he thinks the show lives up to the quality of the movies.

Chou spoke about the animation. They did it to look partly realistic and partly animated. They used CG rather than 2D because they thought the lighting would look better. The lighting and atmosphere are created to give it that “Bladerunner” look. It took them a while to get it exactly the way they wanted.

Don’t miss this series, especially if you’re a fan of scifi or animation. The story is really good, and the rest is phenomenal.

MORE INFO:

Based on the Blade Runner franchise, comes the highly anticipated new anime series Blade Runner: Black Lotus.  The newest edition of the franchise follows a young woman who wakes up in Los Angeles, the year is 2032, she has no memories and possessing deadly skills. The only clues to her mystery are a locked data device and a tattoo of a black lotus. Putting together the pieces, she must hunt down the people responsible for her brutal and bloody past to find the truth of her lost identity.  Join directors Shinji Aramaki and Kenji Kamiyama, Jason DeMarco (senior vice president, anime and action series/longform at Warner Bros. Animation/Adult Swim) alongside voice starts Jessica Henwick* (voice of Elle), Samira Wiley* (voice of Alani Davis) and Wes Bentley* (voice of Niander Wallace Jr.) as they discuss bringing the series to life and explore the Blade Runner universe.  Set to premiere later this year on Adult Swim and Crunchyroll, the series is produced by Alcon Entertainment and animation studio Sola Digital Arts.

Trailer

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Poster for "Bladerunner: Black Lotus" on Adult Swim

Interview with the cast of “Yellowjackets” Part 1

TV Interview!

actresses Melanie Lynskey, Sophie Nélisse, Juliette Lewis, and Sophie Thatcher, and producers Ashley Lyle, Bart Nickerson, Jonathan Lisco and Karyn Kusama of "Yellowjackets" on Showtime

Interview with actresses Melanie Lynskey, Sophie Nélisse, Juliette Lewis, and Sophie Thatcher, and producers Ashley Lyle, Bart Nickerson, Jonathan Lisco and Karyn Kusama of “Yellowjackets” on Showtime by Suzanne 8/25/21

This was part of Showtime’s TCA Virtual Press Tour for this show. There were two panels, and this is the first. It’s a really good show that jumps back and forth between the past (when the girls were teenagers) and the present (when they’re all older). They’re part of a soccer team that is flying to the finals when their plane goes down in the Canadian wilderness. They have to do terrible things to survive.

I also enjoyed these panels because the person who ran them was a really nice guy, and he ran them very efficiently. The show premieres Sunday, November 14. Don’t miss it!

SHOWTIME SUMMER 2021 TCA VIRTUAL PRESS TOUR
Virtual via Zoom August 25, 2021
© 2021 Showtime Networks Inc. All rights reserved.

YELLOWJACKETS
Part 1:
Melanie Lynskey (she/her), “Shauna Sadecki”
Sophie Nélisse (she/her), “Teen Shauna Sadecki”
Juliette Lewis (she/her), “Natalie Scatorccio”
Sophie Thatcher (she/her), “Teen Natalie Scatorccio”
Ashley Lyle (she/her), Creator/Executive Producer/Showrunner
Bart Nickerson (he/him), Creator/Executive Producer/Showrunner
Jonathan Lisco (he/him), Executive Producer/Showrunner
Karyn Kusama (she/her), Executive Producer/Director

The Upcoming drama “Yellowjackets” premieres on Sunday, November 14th.

Here was my question: “Good morning everyone. My question is for EP Bart Nickerson. There have been quite a few “Lord of the Flies” type shows with teens, like “100” and “Society,” etc. Can you tell us what you think makes your show different – besides the fact that it’s a female soccer team and that we see them later, in their 40s?”

Nickerson replied that he hadn’t really seen those other shows, so he couldn’t speak to the comparison. He feels that the two elements I brought up (being a female soccer team and seeing them later on) were important parts of the premise that give them “a lot of different places to go.” He felt that other shows probably wouldn’t be that similar without those elements. These elements are able to give us insights into the characters’ psyches in ways we wouldn’t be able to do otherwise.

I thanked him and then told him how much I enjoyed the episodes I saw (there were two, I believe).

The rest of the questions were from other journalists in the panel. Melanie Lynskey was asked what she thought when she first read the script, whether she wanted to do it – what her first impression was (particularly since she has to do a lot of really strange things, particularly “where small animals are concerned.” She replied that she was “so excited to read something that was so different” and with a real edge to it. She said the writing was “tense” and also centered on women, each of which was interesting and well written. “By the end of the pilot, I felt like I knew everybody, and they were all unique individuals.” She jumped at the chance to sign up, even though she normally doesn’t like to sign long-term contracts for shows. She didn’t have her usual doubts about the show.

That journalist then asked Sophie Nélisse and Sophie Thatcher (“The Sophies”) what they thought of the “pretty harrowing plane crash sequence” and compared it to various movie plane crashes. Nélisse said that the plane set was “very claustrophobic” and somewhat “tilted to the side” which helped with the realism of their situation. When they saw it in person the first day, it helped them feel scared and get into their characters more. Thatcher added that she felt, “it was a really immersive experience.” They didn’t have to act very much. Also, it was their first day since they’d shot the pilot (two years before, because of the pandemic), so they went right into shooting and all felt “this adrenalin rush” that they all had. It added to the intensity of the situation.

Lynskey was asked to compare her role in “Heavenly Creatures” to her role here (since it was a similar role in the 90’s). She also asked if Nélisse was aware of Lynskey’s past roles in the 90’s and whether she used any of her earlier performances for playing her as a younger person.

Lynskey noted that “probably wasn’t alive” when she started in the business. She didn’t think of that role specifically, but she did think about her own life and relationships with women. She said that her feelings for the women she made friends with on this show made her want to cry. She said, they “are the most precious thing to me.” She really loved how the story “got to the heart of female relationships,” since her own female friends were so important to her growing up. It was a more complex writing of girl friends than most scripts have.

Nélisse agreed that she was born in 2000 and added that she hadn’t watched Lynskey’s work before she got the part. Once she did get cast, she watched some of her work online. She knew she wouldn’t be able to match the high pitch of her voice, and she didn’t think they looked that similar. However, she’s “very honored to be able to play her younger self.” She added that this character of Lynskey’s is so different from any others that she just focused on having chats with her over coffee and discussing the character, so they would make sure they were in the same place about her and what happens to her in the show.

The next question was for the executive producers. The reporter asked about the casting of the actresses, since they had to match up so well (even taking hair, makeup and costuming into account).

Ashley Lyle revealed that, “It was a long and tortured process.” However, they were lucky to be able to cast some of their actresses, such as Lynskey, fairyl early on. She added, “Which was an absolute dream come true.” They mostly focused on getting the most talented people for the roles instead of making sure they all looked alike. Then they matched up photos of the people they wanted to try to see if it would work. She credits the actors with being talented, understanding the story and filling the shoes of their characters. She finished with, “it’s really about the spirit of the character more than anything else, in my mind.” She answered that question so well that no one else had to say a thing.

Lynskey was asked what it was about the character that really made her want to do the show. Lynskey hesitated, thinking of what to say, so Juliette Lewis jumped in. I guess she felt left out because no one had asked her a question yet! That was kind of funny. She said that the script was one of the best she’d read in over 10 years. She praised it a lot, saying it was “riveting,” just reading it, which is very unusual. She also said, “I’m always interested in dichotomies or contrasts and all these multi—layered problems within a human being. And I just loved the way my character is bourgeois on the surface, or, you know, faking her way through life. And then with this, like single—purposed mission to go home and find out a few things.” She admitted that when you say yes to a role, you’re always hoping that it will turn out as well as you think it will. She liked hearing the way the whole season will play out. Also, she’s a big fan of Lynskey’s, mostly because of her earlier work in “Heavenly Creatures.” She said the role was a dream because of the story being so exciting and how much potential it has for future stories.

Nélisse agreed with Lewis. She stated, “The arc of the characters is so interesting. I think what I really loved about it is that for our storyline, we’re just — the younger kids are kind of put in a situation where you get to know yourself on, like, a deeper level. And I think we’ve all imagined what it would be like to be facing a life and death situation. And it brings out the worst in us, but also the best in us.” She found that conflict to be the most interesting. You think you know how you might act in that type of situation, but you don’t really know until you’re faced with it. We get to see “how far these women will go, and how they have to rely on each other but are also kind of against each other.” She loves her character and how introverted she is. She watches the action that’s going on, but as the show progresses, “inside of her a slow burn, that will develop as the show goes on, and you can see how she’ll start to, like, speak for herself and have a voice and find her voice.” The character’s arc is what interests her.

Thatcher spoke up to say that she admires her character’s “grit and her resilience, and how from the very beginning she just remains true to herself, and her lack of filter.” She admitted that in real life, she’s been trying to “incorporate a lot of those qualities into who I am. And it’s cool, because I get to live — like half of my time is living that on camera, and just to, like — it’s empowering. And I think that says a lot about the script and how rich and complex Natalie is. Yeah, there’s a very — she’s incredibly layered. She has this sensitivity that’s not really brought out until a couple episodes in. And I don’t think anybody was expecting that side. She has this — so much lightness in her that she’s really hiding and masking. Because — I don’t know. She’s a teenager. But she’s really, really complex. And she’s made a profound impact on me, which is rare.”

The next press person asked Juliette, who started acting in some pretty tough roles when she was very young, what did she think of it then, and did she have any advice for these younger actresses now who are doing this “really serious series.”

Lewis answered that she really took a shine to her “Sophie,” Sophie Thatcher, whom she admired for being an incredible young actor. She loves that their speaking voices are similar (deep). She pointed out that, “I’ve always been attracted to what I call the “primal energies” and “high stakes” genre or dramas, which is what I cut my teeth on early on. That’s so fun…I always had this empathy as a kid for hardship in others. And when I would look at people and imagine their worlds, I just had a sensitivity, oddly, to pain. And emotionality. I don’t know why, but I had it in myself.” She spoke more about this ability to transfer others’ pain to herself for her character, using her imagination. She thinks children already have the ability to play “make believe” when they’re young, and they can develop that into “theatrics” as they get older, for acting.

The next man wanted to know about what the actors who each play the adult and teen versions of the character talk about, when they get together to discuss the characters, and whether they include “the cadence of their voice” or other things.

Lynskey let us know that the characters had certain secrets that they didn’t know at first, so they had to find them out from the producers, which is usually the case with TV series. They had to piece the parts of her together, based on what they were told. They also had a long discussion about “Shauna’s kind of innate self—confidence and belief in herself, and the fact that she’s like quite a sexual being who is quite secure in her sexuality.” She enjoyed the fact that they were “subverting the expectation of” Jackie being “the beautiful, popular one, while Shauna held her own and knew who she was. The two actresses came at it from the same place and built the character together.

Nélisse agreed that Lynskey had it dead on. She did admit that it was difficult because the adults and teens don’t shoot at the same time, so they didn’t always have time to speak about it. She didn’t always know what Lynskey was doing. However, they kept Shauna’s “personality and her spirit and her journey in mind” while adding in some personal details from her own life because she relates to the character very well.

Lewis credited the “magic of casting” because she and Thatcher “felt a kinship.” Their character, Natalie, is “expressed in her exterior, in her clothes and her music.” Lewis spoke to EP Ashley Lyle quite a bit about Natalie’s attributes. She’s an artist who didn’t really express herself. She is “a natural athlete.” Most importantly to her is that she and Thatcher shared music from that era that the younger version of her character would like.

Thatcher agreed that the music was important to Natalie, so it was important to her as well. She recalls speaking with Lewis on the phone about how Natalie dresses is important to her. She brought up specific things that she hadn’t thought of. It really opened up her mind to the possibilities. She and Lewis both can really relate to the character, so she agreed that they did have a “kinship.” They discussed people Natalie would admire, such as (German singer) Nina Hagen. They both had a very clear image of what she would be like, and what she strived for. They were very lucky to be on the same path about the character.

The penultimate journalist asked how Lynskey and Lewis felt about the two younger actresses acting like them (whether they were successful or not). Lynskey answered that she felt like she really “won the lottery” after watching Nélisse play the character in the pilot. She praised her for having “so much emotional intelligence and depth.” She said that the younger actress was just natural at playing the character and that it really wasn’t like an imitation of her. There were a few things she noticed that they did in a similar way, such as “looking out from under their eyebrows.” Also, they both gave her a certain type of “physicality.” Mostly, she was just very grateful.

Lewis said that she felt the same way that Lynskey did, that she really lucked out. She wants to claim her, but says that Thatcher is really her own person. She said, “The casting was phenomenal. And Sophie’s phenomenal, because she’s Natalie. She’s our Natalie who’s all in the teenage land.” She talked about how teenage girls are before they evolve into womenhood and put on certain faces for life. She really praised her voice placement once again. Thatcher told her that she watched her to find that low pitch. Some of her expressions were also similar.

Lynskey was asked what the best and worst parts of her job are, since she’s been acting since she was really young.

Lynskey put it very well when she replied, “I think any of us would probably say the best part of the job is the moments between action and cut.” She went on to explain how she feels when acting, “something transcendent happens where you leave your body a little bit and you don’t know what’s going on, and something magical happens between you and another actor.” She also added that it’s “beautiful” seeing the talented young actors on a project like this one, who have so much enthusiasm and are so good at what they do, and they have strong voices. The worst part, she admitted, is “having to get up early. Even though I have a two year old now and I have to get up early every single day, it’s just still — just not how I’m made.”

MORE INFO:

ABOUT THE SHOW

Created and executive produced by Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson (Narcos), the one-hour drama series, YELLOWJACKETS stars Melanie Lynskey (Castle Rock), Oscar® and Emmy® nominee Juliette Lewis (Camping), Emmy® nominee Christina Ricci (Z: The Beginning of Everything) and Tawny Cypress (Unforgettable).

Equal parts survival epic, psychological horror story and coming-of-age drama, YELLOWJACKETS is the saga of a team of wildly talented high school girls soccer players who become the (un)lucky survivors of a plane crash deep in the remote northern wilderness. The series chronicles their descent from a complicated but thriving team to savage clans, while also tracking the lives they’ve attempted to piece back together nearly 25 years later, proving that the past is never really past and what began out in the wilderness is far from over.

The series also stars Warren Kole (Shades of Blue), Ella Purnell (Sweetbitter), Samantha Hanratty (SHAMELESS), Sophie Thatcher (Prospect), Sophie Nélisse (The Book Thief), Steven Krueger (The Originals) and Jasmin Savoy Brown (The Leftovers). Jonathan Lisco (Animal Kingdom, Halt and Catch Fire) joins Lyle and Nickerson to serve as executive producer and showrunning partner.

Produced for SHOWTIME by studio Entertainment One (eOne), Karyn Kusama (Destroyer, Girlfight) executive produces and directed the pilot. Drew Comins of Creative Engine also serves as executive producer.

Melanie Jayne Lynskey (born 16 May 1977) is a New Zealand actress. She is known for playing quirky, soft-spoken but headstrong characters, and works predominantly in independent films. Her accolades include a New Zealand Film Award, a Hollywood Film Award and a Sundance Special Jury Award, as well as Critics’ Choice Award, Gotham Award, and Golden Nymph Award nominations.

Sophie Nélisse (born March 27, 2000) is a Canadian actress. She is known for her Genie Award–winning performance in Monsieur Lazhar, as Liesel Meminger in the film adaptation of the best-selling novel The Book Thief, written by Markus Zusak, and as Caroline in The Kid Detective.

Juliette Lake Lewis (born June 21, 1973) is an American actress and singer. She is known for her portrayals of offbeat characters, often in films with dark themes.[2] Lewis became an “it girl” of American cinema in the early 1990s, appearing in various independent and arthouse films. Her accolades include a Pasinetti Award, one Academy Award nomination, one Golden Globe nomination, and a Primetime Emmy Award nomination.

The daughter of character actor Geoffrey Lewis, Lewis began her career in television at age 14 before being cast in her first major film role as Audrey Griswold in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989). She went on to garner international notice for her role in Martin Scorsese’s remake of Cape Fear (1991), which saw Lewis nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, as well as the Golden Globe in the same category.

Sophie Bathsheba Thatcher (born 2000)[1] is an American actress who made her feature-film debut in the 2018 American science fiction feature length film Prospect. Thatcher’s work on stage includes productions of Oliver, Seussical, The Diary of Anne Frank, and The Secret Garden.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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The cast of "Yellowjackets" on Showtime

Interview with the cast of “Queens”

TV Interview!

TCA panel for Queens on ABC

Interview with actors Eve, Brandy, Naturi Naughton, Nadine Velazquez, Taylor Sele, Pepi Sonuga, and executive producers of “Queens” on ABC by Suzanne 8/26/21

ABC ENTERTAINMENT / DISNEY TELEVISION STUDIOS

SUMMER 2021 TCA VIRTUAL PRESS TOUR

Queens

Eve, Cast
Naturi Naughton, Cast
Nadine Velazquez, Cast
Brandy, Cast
Taylor Sele, Cast
Pepi Sonuga, Cast
Zahir McGhee, Executive Producer
Sabrina Wind, Executive Producer
Tim Story, Executive Producer
Swizz Beatz, Executive Music Producer

Virtual via Zoom
August 26, 2021

This was a fun chat with the cast and producers of the show. I asked Brandy (Norwood) and Eve (Jihan Jeffers) about the differences they’re feeling between doing their comedies long ago and this show now. Brandy starred in “Moesha” in the 90’s and Eve starred in “Eve” 2003-2009. They had great answers to my question. I had said “a long time ago” and then stopped myself because I didn’t want to sound like I was calling them old! I said, “And I don’t want to make it sound that long…” and Eve said, kindly, “It was a long time ago. A long time ago.”

Brandy spoke about the differences between doing that sitcom, where they would rehearse all week and then shoot before a live audience. This show is shot like a movie. She admitted, “It’s a little bit more challenging, but I love the challenge. So, I absolutely love the way that we shoot and how we have to learn things quick. And it just keeps you on your toes.”

Eve answered that she was very young, “the youngest person on the cast. So I was running from clubs to table reads, which is — I never recommend that at all.” She beamed that it’s nice to be back working as a woman and to be “working with an ensemble again that I actually feel really close to.” She was close to the people on “Eve” as well, and she enjoys that. She loves being able to create a new character that has some parallels to her own life. She said, “Definitely, I’m finding some, like, new things and being able to do — and to be like a rapper, a different rapper, an alter ego, to a certain extent. So I mean, it’s — there’s a lot. There’s a lot. And I would have to say, as much as I loved my show then, I’m able to enjoy it even more now, with maturity.”

Brandy chimed in again to say that the fact that this new show has music is a bonus for her.

Normally, I refer to all interviewees by their last names, as a sign of respect and professionalism, but since these actresses/singers go by their first names, it seems kind of silly to do that in this particular interview, so I’m not going to do that.

Other questions were asked by journalists at this TCA panel. One asked them whether the show will be playing up the rivalry between the characters or whether it will be more about their friendship. He/she observed that from what he/she had seen already, “it seems like you’re laying the groundwork here for more sisterhood.” Brandy and Eve agreed with that last statement. Nadine also agreed that they’re showing more of the friendships between the women. “I think our show is about sisterhood and family. And you fight with your family, and these are people that have been brought back together after a long period of time. And we have fights, but we want to see people supporting one another and coming back together. There’s always going to be arguments. There’s always going to be a hierarchy that exists, and shifting. But we do want to be on the friendship more so than a rivalry or bickering or backstabbing.”

A reporter asked Swizz Beatz how he chose his name (he was formerly “Kasseem Dean”) and how he found his voice and style as producer. Swizz Beatz replied that he got the name growing up in the Bronx. The name started out as “K-Swiss” because he wore Kicks sneakers, and then he became “DJ K-Swizz,” which evolved into “Swizz Beatz.” He answered the second part of the question that he just found his voice by doing the music. He asserted, “I just wanted to be disruptive, and I just wanted to make people happy.”

A member of the press noticed that the premiere had some connections to their real-life pasts and wondered if that was something that would continue throughout. Eve said that they want to be very authentic, especially about the times they lived through. There will be “moments” from them. “When people listen to the music, when they see our outfits, they see our hair, everything, we want them to be transported back to that moment. So it’s all about the authenticity.” Brandy agreed with that.

He/she also asked whether Eve will be coming out with a new album (besides the music from the series). Eve pointed out that Swizz would be the one to determine that, and Brandy would be involved as well.

Sabrina Wind suggested that the music from the show will be great, and she can’t wait for us to hear it. Eve jumped in on that to agree that the music is “incredible.” She liked doing the music for the series because it was a way to dip back into music “without having the actual pressure of an album.”

This was the next question for the cast, which was a good one: “Do you find doing rap more like singing or more like acting, or is it its own performance style completely? Or is it a blend of the two?”

Naturi Naughton answered first that she thinks rap has it’s own style but is a lot harder work than just singing. She’s a singer but felt that doing the dancing, performing, etc. was exhausting, and that she wasn’t in shape enough for it. She added, “I’m having so much fun. I never knew I could really rhyme, and I actually feel like I’m — I’m feeling myself a little bit.”

Brandy replied that she always loved rap and has “been a hip-hop head from since the ’90s.” She loves to rap as well as sing, but she says the rapping they do on the show “is really, really difficult. It’s so fun and so challenging, and I absolutely love it.”

Nadine Velazques said honestly that she’s never rapped before, but she’s loving it now. She’s been finding new rap music, listening to it and studying rappers to hear things that she’s never heard before. She concludedthat  it definitely used her acting ability because she’s never done it before.

Pepi Sonuga said thoughtfully that acting like her character, Muffin is all about acting. She tries to break the script down into different acting techniques. Then, when it comes to the rap, it’s different. “When I’m breaking down a rap, I get to colors and animals. I might say ‘This chunk reminds me of rapping like a fox, and then a bunny.’ Or like, ‘This is green,’ you know. So it’s really cool. I break down the raps just how I would break down a script. Because she’s so out there, I get to use all these techniques I’ve learned but never got to use before.”

They were asked more about the raps – some of them are more like soliloquies with a beat behind them, rather than a conventional song.

Eve agreed, saying, “I think what we want to convey is that, you know, we want to bring the artistry back to hip-hop. We want to bring back those amazing stories. We want to bring back the lyricism, which is what I’ve always been attracted to as an MC. And really rap means rhythm and poetry. You know what I mean? So we want to — you know, we want to give emotion and really show how skillful hip-hop really can be, used to be, is, depending on who the artist is.”

Zajor McGhee put in his own two cents that they always want the music tied to the story. When people have asked him before about the show, he explains that they’re not just a show with music, but more of a musical show. They use the music to help us learn about the characters and what’s going on. “And those are little tidbits that I think make the music not only amazing, with the job Swizz had done, and the amazing job these women do performing it, but we are always pushing our story forward if you were paying attention to the lyrics. And then on top of that, you can just dance. When I get to practice to Swizz, I just dance in my house.” Swizz Beatz thanked him for that.

A journalist reminded Brandy that she and her husband interviewed her (Brandy) quite a few times in the past (early in her career), and she was very ambitious back then during those interviews. Brandy had said that she wanted to do it all. She wanted her own show, to sing in records, concerts and movies, and to produce. She said, “You wanted to be a queen back then.” Brandy was surprised to hear from her. She said that Brandy had “ticked off a lot of those boxes” and asked, “What boxes are left, and what gave you that ambition to be Queen Brandy way back at the start?”

Brandy suggested that the passion is something you’re born with. She said you go after the things you dream about. She’s always wanted to sing and inspire people. She felt it was her purpose, so she pursued it. She tied the question into “Queens,” saying that it’s a blessing because she gets to do all of the things she loves in one show, “with amazing people. And I’m just so excited. I can’t even believe this is happening or that it’s even real. So I’m just in the moment, excited.”

Brandy was asked about her future and long-term goals. She would like to do this for as long as she can and to do more film and more music. “I love music, until the day I die. So it’s more to do.”

About the show, the cast was asked where the names came from and whether it would really be possible for a group like this to “reboot” and try to make it in the music business again. Nadine quipped, “Not without a Valeria.” Naturia thinks it might be easier to reboot because they “have things like Verses, for example. We should revive the music and give even a new generation an opportunity. So thanks, Swizz, for doing things like that. Even things like social media. We are able to bring old school to the new school. So if a group like New Edition or a group like Nasty B’s wants to revive themselves — I actually think it’s very possible and attainable if they want to. That’s actually what our show explores. Do you really want this life again? That’s the question.”

Saladin pointed out that Backstreet Boys did a reunion tour as well as New Kids on the Block and Boyz II Men… “We’re seeing it happen a lot in the world. So I think people are passionate for the good times that they had back in the day, and what those memories are.”

Zahir couldn’t give specific reasons how he came up with the characters’ names. He said, “one by one, when I was thinking about the show, the names sort of came to me first. And I would pitch them to, like, my reps as they’d come up with a new name. But how they came about, I really don’t have any idea.” Then the cast members joked around for a minute about the names.

A reported noted that the group of artists is unusual “you have …former solo artists and girl group singers, rappers, and singers.” She asked how they got them together and whether it was a big adjustment for Nadine (who never rapped or sang before).

Nadine admitted, in a very sweet speech, that she was intimidated by the idea, but she “was ready to face the things that I’ve been keeping from the world. So, you know, I am musical in my soul. I am a poet in my soul. I am a dancer. And she’s in there. And this job is making her come out. And I’ve been hiding her forever. I’m going to cry. And like — the support of Eve, and the way that Tim Story supports, and Brandy supports, they gave me life to just, like, every scene bring her out more and more. And I’ve had a really traumatic experience in the entertainment business, because I was so afraid to show so much. But I get to be that here. And so, like, kind of like the character; it’s like a second chance, and it’s like an opportunity to become something, to redefine myself, just like these characters are.”

No one answered the reporter’s first question after that, unfortunately. That happens sometimes in these panels.

A reporter reminded Nadine that when he/she interviewed her a few years ago, she said that she doesn’t do singing and dancing. He/she asked how she was handling choreography for the show. Nadine replied that she feels like she has two left feet, but she’s getting it. She’s had tremendous growth since the pilot and feels a lot more comfortable and free with her dancing.

Taylor was asked if he’s playing “a composite of producers and managers that we’ve heard about from the past.” Taylor answered in a sort of roundabout way. “I think I’m playing a full and complex human being who is on a quest for self—discovery and searching for meaning. And I think producers in the past have been on that journey themselves. They’re human beings. So I’m trying my best not to be a caricature, but behind the scenes, when they get to see this character, he’s confronting himself in many ways. And that’s where his growth will come from. And hopefully people can relate to that.”

Brandy and Eve were asked this question, “each of you are adapting sort of different aspects of your styles in these characters. How did that combination work?”

Eve said that when they all first got together, they just instantly clicked. The others agreed. She did specify that they all were used to working different ways, so they had to make adjustments. She was used to doing dance rehearsals a certain way, for instance. She admitted that she got frustrated because she was having trouble with the steps. She added, “But it just was like Nadine said, it’s the support of each other that has helped all of us be able to gel together. And the respect for one another. And the understanding that we all do work in different ways. And we’re still learning and gelling. It’s honestly been incredible, really.”

Brandy added her own feelings, that she wouldn’t want to do it with anyone else because it’s “magical” with this group. Naturi added, “I always wanted sisters growing up, and now I feel like I’ve got them.” Brandy said, “And you’ve got them, girl.” It was a very sweet, genuine moment.

Zahir was asked who inspired him for the character Li’l Muffin. He said that he was “just inspired by the freedom and the character of all of the rappers that are out today, whether that’s Nicki or, you know, Cardi, Megan. You know, Rico Nasty, right? Like, they’re just out there. And part of it is an image thing, but also there’s a level of self—expression with these young artists today that didn’t exist. Megan, in one of the songs, is rapping about Sasuke. And I looked it up, and it’s an anime character, or whatever. And I’m like, ‘Wow, hip-hop has changed.’ But that’s cool, you know.” He went on to say that Li’l Muffin is a combination of all of these artists. He was impressed with the way Pepi came in and just nailed the character and then brought it to another level.

Swizz Beatz was asked how he keeps the lyrics of the music “fresh and entertaining and on trend.”

Swizz said that he grew up doing this type of thing in the 90’s and liked reliving his youth. He said, “doing it in 2021, it just feels good. It feels natural. And being that it’s a show, I get to have extra fun, you know. I don’t have to be so serious with the music. You know, we can have fun and put risky things in there and, you know, make the characters come out even more. So it’s been a fun journey.”

A journalist asked Brandy about going from “Disney Princess” to “ABC Queen” – what will her fans from “Cinderella” think about this new show?

Brandy thinks they’ll enjoy it because it’s versatile and very different. She’s definitely not a princess on this show.

The others commented that Brandy is very different on “Queens.” Nadine said, “She’s very powerful on the show, very. Very badass and raw and beautiful.”

Taylor chimed in to say that, “Zahir has been able to capture with his writing, the evolution of human beings, with the spirit and people fighting for what they want and fighting themselves. Just watching these women work every day, just not only as artists but as performers, has been inspiring to learn something from them every day. So I think that’s what fans will really grasp and feel when you watch this.”

Another reporter asks what makes this show different from shows like “Star” and “Girls5eva.” I would have asked this question, too, so I’m glad someone did. Zahir answered that he thinks there is room for all of their shows, although he’s not a regular viewer of the other shows. He wasn’t able to compare them very well. As he said earlier, this is more of a musical and character drama about the women and their lives, “and second chances.” He thinks those other shows “were potentially a little more focused on the music business.” Actually, I would say it’s a lot like a combination of both shows.

He also pointed out that many of the people in their cast were around in the music business back in the 90s, so that gives their show, “a certain level of authenticity.” He also doesn’t think most networks have a show with “five women of color and a man of color front and center.” He said, “we have the opportunity to tell the breadth of stories about the experience of women of color and Black women in this country that isn’t the pressure of Eve having to be the one Black character to say the thing that matters, right? Like we are varied; we’re great. We are beautiful. And I think that the time was yesterday for this show, and the time is today, and the time is tomorrow for this show.”

MORE INFO:

QUEENS (Tuesdays, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT) Series Premieres Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021

Starring Eve, Naturi Naughton, Nadine Velazquez and Brandy, “Queens” follows four women in their 40s who reunite for a chance to recapture their fame and regain the swagger they had in the ‘90s when they were legends in the hip-hop world.

“Queens” stars Eve as Brianna aka Professor Sex, Naturi Naughton as Jill aka Da Thrill, Nadine Velazquez as Valeria aka Butter Pecan, Taylor Sele as Eric Jones, Pepi Sonuga as Lil Muffin and Brandy as Naomi aka Xplicit Lyrics.

“Queens” is produced by ABC Signature, a part of Disney Television Studios. The pilot episode was written by Zahir McGhee and directed by Tim Story. Zahir McGhee, Sabrina Wind and Tim Story are executive producers. Swizz Beatz is executive music producer. The series will be filmed in Atlanta.

BIOS

Eve, star of "Queens" on ABCEve is a GRAMMY®, Daytime Emmy®, BET and MTV Video Music Award winning artist. Previously, she served as the host of CBS’ “The Talk” and appeared in the Netflix show “Feel Good.”
Eve is best known for her multimillion-selling records “Who’s That Girl,” “Gangsta Lovin’” and “Let Me Blow Your Mind” featuring Gwen Stefani, which won the inaugural GRAMMY Award for Best Rap/Song Collaboration in 2002. She has released four multimillion-selling albums and 32 singles, and she has collaborated with some of the biggest artists in the world throughout her career – Dr. Dre, Alicia Keys, Ludacris, Jill Scott, DMX, Swizz Beatz, Juicy J, The Roots and Missy Elliot. Currently back in the studio after seven years, she is working with some of the biggest producers and writers from around the world – Dallas Austin, Jin Jin, Jessie Ware and Toddla T.
In July 2019, Eve released her first single in six years, “Reload,” to a huge wave of applause with plays across BBC 1Xtra from Mistajam and BBC Radio 1 from Annie Mac and Clara Amfo. She embarked on her biggest UK dates ever last year playing over 10 UK arenas with Kiss FM. 2021 looks to be the year Eve debuts her new live shows at UK and U.S. festivals, marking her debut at any festival in the world.
In October 2020, Eve announced joining the BBC and BBC Sounds exclusively for her debut podcast “Constantly Evolving,” where she speaks to cultural figures from all backgrounds talking about life, how they got through their struggles in both personal and business life, and how they are still “Constantly Evolving.”

Brandy, star of "Queens" on ABCBorn to a musical family, Brandy, the Mississippi-born daughter of Willie and Sonja Norwood, became one of the most successful multimedia stars of the ’90s thanks to her constant presence on both the pop and R&B charts, her popular hit sitcom “Moesha” and the classic made-for-TV movie phenomenon “Cinderella” (starring Whitney Houston), which attracted more than 60 million viewers and broke new ground with its multicultural cast.
Since emerging with her 3x-platinum self-titled debut album in 1994 (released when Brandy was only 15 years old), this trailblazing pioneer has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide (including the 5x-platinum-selling “Never Say Never”) and is ranked one of the bestselling female artists in American music history by the RIAA, having sold over 11 million albums in the United States. During her reign, she recorded five albums: “Never Say Never” (1998), “Full Moon” (2002), “Afrodisiac” (2004), “Human” (2008) and “Two Eleven” (2012).
Brandy has also earned scores of awards, including a GRAMMY®, an AMA, two Soul Train Music Awards, two NAACP Image Awards, three Billboard Awards, four MTV Awards, six Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards, two Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards and three BMI Awards. While maintaining a recording career, she also gained fame for starring in several film and TV projects including the popular UPN sitcom “Moesha” (1996-2001), a 1997 version of “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella,” a supporting role in the 1998 horror sequel “I Still Know What You Did Last Summer,” BET’s series “The Game” and as a judge on the No. 1-rated talent competition “America’s Got Talent.” All of this success landed Brandy features in Billboard, Uptown Magazine, Essence Magazine, NY Daily News, Rolling Stone, The Today Show, PlayBill, and more. Additionally, she has also been a spokesmodel for Cover Girl, DKNY and Ultima/Kaneka brand by Brandy.
Taking things to the next level in spring 2015, she made her Broadway debut in the Tony® Award-winning, record-breaking musical smash “Chicago” as Roxie Hart. “Chicago” is the No. 1 longest-running American musical in Broadway history and Brandy is now a part of that history.
At the top of 2016, Brandy released “Beggin & Pleadin,” a bluesy trap-soul melody that was greeted with much admiration. Her first studio album in eight years, “b7,” was released on July 31, 2020, to critical and fan acclaim, and debuted at No. 1 on the Independent and Current R&B Charts. Recently, Brandy teamed up with singer Monica in a Verzuz celebration. The celebration of R&B and the culture garnered 6 million views and 5 billion impressions on the virtual platform, making it the most-viewed Verzuz battle to date.

Naturi Naughton, one of the stars of "Queens" on ABCSinger, songwriter and actress Naturi Naughton is known most recently for her globally recognized role as Tasha St. Patrick in the six seasons of Starz Network’s No. 1 hit series “Power,” created by powerhouse producer/writer Courtney Kemp and executive produced by 50 Cent. Having wrapped the sixth and final season of “Power,” Naughton’s character has been extended into the “Power” franchise spinoff, “Power Book II: Ghost,” which debuted on Sept. 6, 2020, and has already been renewed for a second season in which she will continue her role as Tasha St. Patrick. Naughton is the two-time recipient of the 2017 and 2018 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her work on “Power.”
She has also been honored at the 2019 Triumph Awards, as well as been recognized by the Women in Entertainment Executive Network (WEEN), Black Women in Film Summit and the National Urban League of New York for outstanding works in TV and film.
Naughton’s critically acclaimed work as an actress includes her compelling performance as Lil Kim in Fox Searchlight’s hit film “Notorious,” as well as her role as Denise Dupree in MGM’s remake of the classic film “Fame.” In August 2020, Naughton starred as Sarah Green in the film “Emperor,” based on an escaped slave who travels north and has chance encounters with Frederick Douglass and John Brown. She has also starred in various other projects including Warner Bros.’ “Lottery Ticket,” opposite Loretta Devine, Ice Cube, Mike Epps and Bow Wow. On the small screen, Naughton is known for her memorable guest performances on “Mad Men” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” and her roles on “The Playboy Club” and “The Client List.” She also appeared on Broadway in the Tony Award®-winning musical “Hairspray” for three years.
Before her transition into film and television, Naughton was a member of the platinum-selling pop trio 3LW. She was greatly inspired Nadine Velazquez, one of the stars of "Queens" on ABCby Whitney Houston as a child and knew by the age of 5 that she wanted to be a singer and an actress. In 2021, Naughton will begin releasing fresh music as a solo artist and is excited to dive back into the craft that launched her ever-blossoming career.
She currently splits her time between Los Angeles and New York and is the mother of 3-year-old daughter Zuri.

Nadine Velazquez is an American actress and writer. In addition to her work on “Queens,” she wrote and will star/produce her series “La’Tina” at Showtime with Will Smith and Frankie Shaw. She previously starred in HISTORY’s series “Six” with Walton Goggins and starred opposite Kevin Hart in “Real Husbands of Hollywood.” Other features include Paramount’s “Flight” opposite Denzel Washington, Summit Entertainment’s “Snitch” opposite Dwayne Johnson, and 20th Century Fox’s “The Bounce Back” opposite Shemar Moore and Bill Belamy. Velazquez also starred in NBC’s “Love Is a Four Letter Word,” the FX beloved series “The League,” and as recurring characters in CW’s “Hart of Dixie” and TNT’s “Major Crimes.” She is also known for her lead role as Catalina in NBC’s Golden Globe-winning series “My Name Is Earl.”

Taylor Sele, one of the stars of "Queens" on ABCBorn in Monrovia, Liberia, Taylor Sele immigrated to Queens, New York, at an early age and has always been drawn to performance and entertainment. First finding a love of sport, his athleticism landed him a football scholarship at Boston College followed by the opportunity to play professionally in the NFL.
As an actor, Sele is compelled by the nuanced choices characters make and the inherent drama of that decision-making process. A grounded yet versatile talent, he has starred opposite Claire Danes in “Homeland” (Showtime) and Forest Whitaker in “Godfather of Harlem” (Epix). Sele is honored to star alongside the four female forces of “Queens.”
His additional credits include “The Deuce” (HBO), Ava Duvernay’s “When They See Us” (Netflix), “Orange Is the New Black” (Netflix), “P Valley” (Starz), “Blue Bloods” (CBS) and “FBI” (CBS).

Pepi Sonuga, one of the stars of "Queens" on ABCPepi Sonuga is one to watch on both the big and small screen.  Sonuga also stars in the Hulu limited series “Pam & Tommy” opposite Lily James, Sebastian Stan and Seth Rogen.
On film, Sonuga appeared in A24’s neo-noir crime drama thriller “Under the Silver Lake” opposite Andrew Garfield, Jimmi Simpson, Riley Keough and Topher Grace. Written and directed by David Robert Mitchell, the film premiered at Cannes in 2018. She also starred in the Netflix feature “Thriller” opposite Mykelti Willamson and RZA.
Sonuga got her first start in 2013 in the drama “The Life of a King.” The film is based on the true story of Eugene Brown, played by Cuba Gooding Jr., an ex-convict who starts the Big Chair Chess Club for inner-city youths in Washington, D.C. Other film credits include the SyFy feature “Leprechaun Returns.” On television, Sonuga plays a young Angela Bassett on Fox’s “9-1-1” and the lead in an installment of Hulu’s “Into the Dark” anthology series. She previously starred in Freeform’s drama series “Famous in Love” for two seasons and Starz’s comedy horror series “Ash vs Evil Dead,” created by Sam Raimi.
Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Sonuga currently resides in Los Angeles, California.

Episodes:

Queens: SERIES PREMIERE – 1999 (10/19)

“1999” – Starring Eve, Naturi Naughton, Nadine Velazquez and Brandy, “Queens” follows a fractured girl group living in the shadows of their once prominent hip-hop dynasty. After their popularity skyrocketed with the success of their chart-topping single, “Nasty Girl,” they were once regarded as one of the greatest girl groups of their generation. Despite critical and commercial success, the group was plagued by internal conflict and jealousy. Estranged and out of touch, the four women, now in their 40s reunite for a chance to recapture their fame and regain the swagger they had in the ‘90s when they were legends in the hip-hop world. The series premiere of “Queens” airs TUESDAY, OCT. 19 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on ABC. (TV-14, DLS) Watch episodes on demand and on Hulu the day following their premieres.

“1999” was written by Zahir McGhee and directed by Tim Story.   Repeats 10/24.

Queens: Heart of Queens (10/26)

“Heart of Queens” – While Brianna deals with the shattering truths of her marriage, Jill risks losing the safe community she has built for herself when she decides it is time to stop living a lie and comes clean about who she really is. Meanwhile, after a fateful meeting with Cam’ron, Naomi struggles with finally putting herself first on an all-new “Queens,” TUESDAY, OCT. 26 (10:01-11:00 p.m. EDT), on ABC. (TV-14, DLS) Watch episodes on demand and on Hulu the day following their premieres.

Guest starring is Cam’ron as himself.

“Heart of Queens” was written by Zahir McGhee and directed by Tim Story.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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poster for "Queens" on ABC

Interview with creators of Covenant, Lace and Partners in Rhyme

TV Interview!

TCA Panel for ALLBLK shows

Interview with creators of Covenant, Lace and Partners in Rhyme on ALLBLK by Suzanne 8/17/21

AMC NETWORKS
CTAM PRESS TOUR SUMMER 2021
ALLBLK’s Developing and Creating While Black: Covenant, Partners in Rhyme, and Lace
Nikki Love (VP, development and production for ALLBLK)
MC Lyte (Star/Co-Creator, Partners in Rhyme)
Kaye Singleton (Creator, Covenant)
Katrina Y. Nelson (Creator, Lace)
Michelle Ebony Hardy (Creator, Lace)

“Covenant” premieres October 14th. There are no exact premiere dates set yet for “Lace” or “Partners in Rhyme” – they’re premiering “in the fall.”

This was an interesting TCA panel because it wasn’t about just one show. There were a few panels like this, where the panel consisted of a group of people from different shows that they had united under one umbrella topic. The problem with that is that we only get one or two questions, and if they have a lot of different stars that we want to talk to, it makes it difficult to choose. This one, though, was mostly writers and producers. I wasn’t familiar with most of them. I believe MC Lyte was the only one I’d heard of before.

I greeted them all and said, “It’s great to see an all-female panel. That’s wonderful.”

Kaye Singleton agreed with a “Yes.” I asked Nikki Love, “Was there a push from the networks to have more female-centered shows on the network?”

She replied that women are their target audience, “so obviously we want to give them characters that they can look at and see themselves or a sliver of themselves and get some representation for them. So yeah, like I said, it wasn’t necessarily a huge push for it but it was kind of ingrained in what we do, content for our women, yeah, for our subscribers.”

I was surprised she said that women were their target audience because when I looked around on Google, I didn’t see anything about that. As far as I knew, their target audience was African-Americans. I guess I learned something here! I felt a little stupid, though.

MC Lyte and Precious Way on "Partners in Rhyme" on ALLBLKI asked MC Lyte about working with Precious Way, who was on “Days of Our Lives” for a while and now plays her niece. I asked her if she saw Precious on Days. She thanked me for the question and said that Precious is also on another show where she plays Brandy’s daughter (that would be “Queens” on FOX). She said, “She’s super talented, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and excited about being in the business so it works out really well.” I pointed out that she seems like the character she plays on her show, “Partners in Rhyme.” She agrees that she is.

MC Lyte was also asked, by another reporter, about the change in rap over the years, since there are more women in it now. She pointed out that hip hop can open the door for artists to go into other fields, even though sometimes “there is a box sometimes that’s put around us” as well as people in the industry that can help you pursue those dreams. She went on to say that it makes sense for women to be rapping their own points of view…”And quite frankly hip hop wouldn’t be the same without the touch of a woman.”

She was also asked how she feels that being an influential rapper has improved her life. She seemed a little flummoxed by that question, but said that “hip hop has been a complete blessing for me through and through.” She thanked her mom for letting her become who she wanted to be, as well as pushing her and supporting her. She thinks that what she achieved is possible for anyone who can work hard. She also said, “But that’s just like all of the women, the creators that are here today. I’m sure that they have been told no at some point in their lives and it didn’t stop them. They continued on with the mission. And so I’m happy to be here amongst all the creators.”

Kaye Singleton produces the drama “Covenant,” which is an anthology show based on bible stories. She was asked how much religion was a part of her life, how she thought of the series, and did she try to shop it to other networks before coming to ALLBLK as well as asked to tell us how the show came about.

Singleton replied that she grew up in the church and since she’s been in Hollywood for 6 or 7 years, has wanted to do something like “Covenant.” She agreed that there was a lack of faith-based programming, and she wanted to make something that spoke to church-goers. She named some religious movies from the past and said that she wanted something that was more modern that younger people would like. She didn’t shop it to other networks. She said she went straight to ALLBLK with the idea. “And thankfully they were really, really receptive to it. And I think Nikki and Brett, that they saw the vision like I saw it. And so when I pitched that show along with the slew of other shows, I was surprised that that was the one — even though that was the one closest to my heart — that they chose it because sometimes it is a little hard trying to figure out how faith-based is going to look and feel in this secular world. But I think the way it’s posed, because it’s not scripture-heavy on the surface, it is really welcoming to all and not polarizing, it’ll appeal to all different kinds of crowds.”

Then Love was asked why she liked it so much. She agreed with Singleton that it was very different from other shows, being faith-based in a modern setting. “So there are a lot of stories that we don’t necessarily hear a lot about in the Bible. So to kind of shine a light on what it would look like today is great and we kind of stayed away from the typical like Noah and the Ark-type of stories. We had Kaye diving into that Bible and plucking out some stories like, ooh, this would be great and it totally applies to today. So it was just something different, something edgy, and told from a different point of view that we really, really gravitated towards.”

Singleton added that they tie in modern dilemmas, such as COVID, infertility and the Capitol insurrection, which is what makes it exciting.

The questions went back to MC Lyte about her show. She was asked about the raps in her show – who writes them and do the raps or the story come first?

She responded that she, Precious and the producers are all writers, and they have two other writers as well. They all write the raps. First they wrote the shows and raps, and then they recorded the songs before they filmed the shows. She added, “we looked at the different episodes and the storylines and said, “Okay, what is going to be most fitting for this area?” And so, we really strategically worked it out and was purposeful with every rhyme.”

She was asked to clarify if “the rhymes are written towards commenting on the episode in some way rather than having the rhymes and then structuring an episode around them?” She agreed with that. She gave an example of two songs that fit into the story but not into the storyline.

Another journalist called MC Lyte, “a hip hop icon and a female influencer in this space who has spent the past several years transitioning into film and TV,” which MC Lyte seemed flattered by. She was asked how the show represents or adds to her legacy.

MC Lyte says that it took her a long time to get to where she is. She feels that other rappers that came about at the same time as she did have already done sitcoms and then moved onto other things, but she’s just starting it. She had been in other sitcoms, but this is the first one where she’s the star. She spoke about those shows, “For Your Love” (1998-2002) and “Half and Half (2004-2006).” She enjoyed having fun on those shows. She felt it was time to do this show now. She wanted to commit to it and to give opportunities to others to be writers, actors, wardrobe and other production people on the show. It brings joy for her to see others “working in their super power…to me, it’s just an extension of being in hip hop.” Her objective is mainly to inspire, so however that works out, she’s happy about it. She likes to try different types of things. “There’s nothing that can stop me if I want to be a photographer one day, and then be an engineer the next, a music supervisor — which I’ve actually done, I spent four years doing not too long ago. For me, it’s just about really creating opportunities for other people. And in that legacy, my thing is to give. So, whatever I’m giving, I get it, then I give it back. So, you know, hip hop sisters, we give away scholarships to young people attending HBCUs. Our partnership is with Dillard University right now. And so I’m just earning money to put kids through school, honestly, part of the legacy.”

Maryam Basir as Lacey McCullough on "Lace" on ALLBLKThe panel was asked what they specifically bring to TV, as black women, that hasn’t been seen before. Love insisted that “Lace” creators Michelle Ebony Hardy and Katrina Y. Nelson talk about their shows first.

Nelson explained that they started their project in 2012, when there weren’t many black women in lead drama roles. Their lead is an attorney, and all of the cast is very diverse and beautiful. They wanted to see black women that weren’t portrayed as drug dealers or crackheads. They wanted to see women that were like them, such as businesswomen…”that as women, we get that moniker that we’re strong, but there are vulnerabilities to us, you know?”

Hardy echoed what she said, saying that viewers will get the chance “to see all the many different layers and personalities and experiences. And again, just being powerful, being intelligent, being beautiful, but also having vulnerabilities, being relatable.”

The last reporter said that he loves “rich and powerful soapy legal stuff” himself, but he wondered if people will want to see that now, since the general public doesn’t love the rich and powerful so much now. He asked if they were concerned that the viewers wouldn’t want to see the rich people “get away with bad stuff anymore.”

Hardy informed him that their character Lace has a lot of enemies, so there are many that won’t want to see her get away with anything. She concluded, “This will be an exciting series. You’ll see.”

Nelson chimed in that she’s a third generation soap opera viewer. She loves the soaps. “Right now, my mom and them, they’re here on vacation. But she’s got to watch her soaps every single day, right? It’s time. I don’t care if she’s on the East Coast or on the West Coast,” she chuckled. She pointed out that Lace may be rich and powerful, but she can also “get down and dirty. And so that’s one of the things that we’re talking about, is that there’s not just one way to be a woman. There’s not just one way to be Black. There’s not just one way for people. Like, you know, she can go in any world, whether it’s the rich and powerful elite, or she can go down in the gutter, into the dungeon. So, just keep watching and you’ll be able to see the diversity with all of our cast in the show.”

MORE INFO:

ALLBLK’s Developing and Creating While Black: Covenant, Partners in Rhyme, And Lace

Premiere Date: Fall 2021 

ALLBLK’s original programming slate is full of bold, unique and imaginative storytelling – from the thought-provoking and contemporary portrayal of classic biblical tales in the new anthology, Covenant, to the trials of an up-and-coming female high school rapper and social media sensation in the new sitcom, Partners in Rhyme, to a prolific Los Angeles attorney who often blurs the lines between right and wrong to protect her rich and powerful clientele in the new legal drama, Lace. The ALLBLK panel of talent and creatives discuss their hard-fought journeys to create high-quality scripted dramas featuring predominately Black cast and crew in Hollywood.

TALENT BIOS: 

Kaye Singleton – Kaye Singleton is a full-time writer and actress born and raised in Central Florida. As an actress Dumplin with Jennifer Aniston, Claws, American Soul, Tales, and more. As a writer, to date she has won 3 screenwriting awards including Best Comedy Script (Archive Entertainment Screenplay Competition – Trap Queen), Best Comedy Teleplay (Content Creators of Atlanta Awards – The Check List), and Best Web Series (Content Creators of Atlanta Awards – Trap Queen). Kaye’s first foray as a writer/producer resulted in her short film, The Check List, which was an official selection and nominated in seven categories for 2019’s Black Women Film Network Short Film Festival, and the 2019 Bronze Lens Film Festival.

Katrina Y Nelson – Katrina Y. Nelson is a multitalented writer, director, comedian and award-winning producer. Nelson produced the web series The Enemy: The N in Me, Life Coach Chronicles (which won the Award of Merit at the Indie Fest), and Breaking Point (winner of the Outstanding Achievement Award – Best Ensemble Cast: Drama at the LA Web Fest), both in 2012. Her short and feature length film producing credits include: Always Remember, A Killer Surprise, Showrunner, and The Wake (which she wrote, produced and directed) Misogynist (winner of the Best Narrative Feature at the Los Angeles International Underground Film Festival in 2013), Past Impulse (which won the Best Dramatic Short Film Trinity International Film Festival in 2014), and Still (winner of the Audience Award – Best Film-at the Los Angeles International Underground Film Festival in 2017).

Michelle Ebony Hardy – Writer-Director-Producer, Michelle Ebony Hardy, is the creator of her most recent project, Lace. Hardy’s other credits include documentary short Game Changers: An Exclusive Look at Inclusion in Hollywood and short film Chump City.

Nikki Love – Nikki Love is a skilled producer and line producer specializing in the physical production of filmmaking from development to postproduction. She has produced festival and award-winning feature films, short films, web series and music videos. She creates tight budgets and has great crew and equipment at her disposal. Her specialty is making quality projects at reasonable costs. Putting her skills to use, she most recently signed on as VP of Development & Production for ALLBLK, the number one streaming service for black film & television. As the landscape continues to change for filmmakers, she continues to seek to push the envelope in producing innovative and creative content!

MC LYTE – a legend in the world of music and entertainment – is a pioneering artist and a formidable actress of television and film. Her most recent acting credits include a series regular on last year’s New York Undercover pilot (a reboot of the original Dick Wolf series), and she has recurred on S.W.A.T. (CBS), Power (Starz), and Queen of the South (USA). Lyte’s film roles include acclaimed Sundance Winner Patti Cakes, the Universal hit Girls Trip; Bad Hair, from Director Justin Simien; and the upcoming features Loved To Death, and Sylvie, with Tessa Thompson and Eva Longoria. Her newest venture has her taking on the role of show Creator & Executive Producer alongside Lynn Richardson & Bentley Evans for ALLBLK TV’s sitcom, “Partners In Rhyme.” Recently, MC Lyte made her directorial debut with a feature short film, Break Up In Love. MC LYTE is also an iconic Rapper and DJ. Her groundbreaking music career spans 30 years – this Hip Hop LEGEND was the first female rapper ever to be nominated for a Grammy Award, the first rap artist to perform at Carnegie Hall, and the first female artist to earn a gold single. A true leader in the music industry, MC LYTE has also performed at the Kennedy Center Honors and the White House for President Barack Obama. In addition to a busy on-screen career, MC Lyte has several television and film projects — both scripted and unscripted — in various stages of development. She serves as the CEO of Sunni Gyrl, Inc., a full-service entertainment management and production firm that provides executive leadership and customized strategies in the areas of celebrity/artist support, development and management; brand development and management; wealth maintenance; community affairs and outreach; and production / creative services. Her voice work is also well known and admired, representing dozens of Fortune 500 companies as well as being the voice of the BET Awards, Emmys, Grammys, Comcast, NBA, and the NAACP Image Awards. As an author, motivational speaker, and philanthropist, MC LYTE has written books and speaks globally on many inspiring topics from her vast knowledge of the entertainment and hip-hop industries, to entrepreneurialism and economic empowerment. Her charity, “Hip Hop Sisters Foundation,” has presented over $1,000,000 in scholarships.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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Covenant on ALLBLK