Interview with Reza Diako

TV Interview!

 

Reza Diako of "The Chosen" on The CW

Interview with Reza Diako of “The Chosen” on The CW by Suzanne 2/2/24

It was great to speak with Reza. He’s got a lovely voice, and he’s very handsome, but he’s also an amazing actor, and I think we’ll see even bigger things from him in the future. I hope you enjoy this interview, and his new role as Philip in “The Chosen.” You can watch it in theaters, and later it will be streaming on the Angel Studios site, on this website, or other sites, and probably on The CW.

 

MORE INFO: Trailer Official Site

"The Chosen" season 3 key artMeet a fisherman struggling with debt, a woman wrestling with demons, and a gifted accountant ostracized from his family and people. See how Jesus changes lives, works His first miracles, and embarks on His ministry to change the world. See Jesus through the eyes of those who knew Him. The Chosen is the first-ever multi-season series about the life of Jesus and the highest crowd-funded TV series project of all time. Watch the show that millions of people won’t stop talking about.

Mission

The Chosen, the first multi-season show about Jesus’s life, hopes to take you deeper into gospel stories by retelling and expounding on the character and intentions of Jesus and those who knew Him.

Reza Diako is an English/Persian actor of Austrian nationality and Iranian origin. He has taken over the role of ‘Apostle Philip’ in the worldwide influential TV series “The Chosen.” A historical drama based on the life of Jesus and those who knew him, the popular series returns in February via its fourth season with a singular viewing experience releasing bi-weekly in theaters. On the big screen, Reza has two upcoming projects: the indie film “The Astronaut” (Kate Mara and Laurence Fishburne) as ‘Ethan Marshall’ the director of NASA and “Reading Lolita in Tehran” alongside award-winning actress Golshifteh Farahani and Zar Mir Ebrahimi. The film is based on the best-selling memoir, and Reza portrays ‘Bahri’, an intellectual literature student caught in the middle of his role as a leading member of the student Islamic society at the University of Allameh Tabatabei in Tehran, and his deep love and respect for both literature for his professor, Azar Nafisi (Golshifteh Farahani), under the backdrop of the early days of Iranian Revolution and the Iran/Iraq War in the early 1980s.

 

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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Photo of Philip (Reza Diako) and another character of "The Chosen" from the official Facebook page.

 

Review of “The Flash: The Ninth and Final Season” [Blu-ray]

DVD Review!

THE FLASH: THE NINTH AND FINAL SEASON Blu-Ray DVD cover

The Flash: The Ninth and Final Season” Review by Suzanne 8/22/23

This is one of my favorite TV series, and I’m still in mourning that it ended. However, this season was so great that it almost makes up for it. I just wish the whole series had been as good as this season. The writing was excellent this whole season, and they really pandered to long time fans (in a good way) by bringing back so many favorite characters like Hartley and Wally (but not Ralph, unfortunately) as well as other Arrowverse characters (especially Oliver). It would have been really nice to see Kara again, though.

The only drawback to the DVD is that there aren’t enough features. There is just the gag reel, some deleted scenes, and an entertaining featurette, “The Flash: The Saga of the Scarlett Speedster,” which is about the legacy of “The Flash” from comic books and TV series (it oddly never mentions the movies). I guess we’ll have to buy the complete series set to get more.

“The Flash” Season 9 delivers an exhilarating and satisfying conclusion to the beloved series, taking fans on an emotional rollercoaster through time, alternate realities, and the very essence of heroism. With a gripping narrative, impressive character development, and the return of familiar faces, this season proves to be a worthy and thrilling final chapter.

The ninth season kicks off with a bang, as Barry Allen faces off against a trio of formidable adversaries: Red Death, Bloodwork, and Cobalt Blue. The stakes are higher than ever as Barry navigates through time loops, alternate timelines, and his own past mistakes. The writers skillfully weave together complex storylines that keep viewers engaged and invested in the characters’ fates.

One of the standout aspects of this season is the exploration of destiny and choice. Barry’s struggle with fate versus free will is beautifully portrayed as he grapples with the idea that some events are predetermined while others are shaped by his decisions. This theme resonates not only with Barry’s journey but also with the overall conclusion of the Arrowverse, creating a profound sense of closure for fans who have followed these characters for years.

The return of familiar faces, including Jay Garrick and Eddie Thawne, adds a nostalgic layer to the season, tying up loose ends and providing heartfelt moments of reflection. The interactions between characters, especially the poignant moments between Barry and Eddie, tug at the heartstrings and remind us of the deep connections that have been built over the course of the series.

The action sequences are as electrifying as ever, showcasing Barry’s super-speed in creative and visually stunning ways. The battles against the season’s antagonists are epic and well-choreographed, creating moments of suspense and awe. The use of the Negative Speed Force as a central plot element adds a unique and intriguing dimension to the superhero dynamics.

The character growth throughout the season is commendable, particularly for supporting characters like Chester and Allegra, who step into their own as heroes. The relationships between characters are given the spotlight, leading to heartwarming resolutions and growth that feel earned and authentic.

The narrative structure, divided into “Graphic Novel” storyline arcs, keeps the pacing engaging and the momentum flowing. Each arc contributes to the overarching plot while also delving into character-driven moments, ensuring a well-rounded viewing experience.

In its final episodes, the season delivers a powerful message about legacy and the impact of a hero’s choices. The decision to introduce new speedsters in the closing moments of the series not only encapsulates the essence of “The Flash” but also leaves the door open for future stories and possibilities.

Overall, “The Flash” Season 9 is a captivating and emotional journey that celebrates the show’s legacy while delivering a fitting and memorable conclusion. With its intricate storytelling, exceptional character development, and pulse-pounding action, this season is a must-watch for fans of the series and the Arrowverse as a whole.

Buy this DVD

MORE INFORMATION: Promo

cast pic from "The Flash Season 9" promo on The CWTHE FINAL RUN!

THE FLASH: THE NINTH AND FINAL SEASON

COMING TO BLU-RAYTM DISC AND DVD AUGUST 29, 2023

BURBANK, CA (June 1, 2023) – The fast-paced DC Super Hero drama ends its nine-season run as The Flash: The Ninth and Final Season arrives on Blu-rayTM Disc and DVD on August 29, 2023. The action continues through all 13 episodes of the final season along with brand-new bonus content. The season is also available to own on Digital via purchase from digital retailers.

Also available on August 29, is The Flash: The Complete Series on Blu-ray Disc and DVD, which includes 184 episodes from the exhilarating DC series along with hours of bonus content from all nine seasons in one complete set.

After defeating the Reverse Flash once and for all, the ninth season of The Flash picks up one week after their epic battle, and Barry Allen aka The Flash and Iris West-Allen are reconnecting and growing closer than ever. When a deadly group of Rogues descend on Central City, led by a powerful and unknown new threat, The Flash and his team including Meta-Empath Cecile Horton, the light-powered meta, Allegra Garcia, brilliant tech-nerd Chester P. Runk and reformed cryogenics thief Mark Blaine, must once again defy the odds to save the day. But as The Rogues are defeated, a deadly new adversary rises to challenge Barry Allen’s heroic legacy. In their greatest battle yet, Barry and Team Flash will be pushed to their limits, to save Central City one last time.

The Flash stars Grant Gustin (ArrowGlee), Candice Patton (The Game), Danielle Panabaker (Sky High, Friday the 13th), Danielle Nicolet (Central Intelligence), Kayla Compton (Making Moves), Brandon McKnight (The Shape of Water) and Jon Cor (Shadowhunters). Based on the characters from DC, The Flash is produced by Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television, with executive producers Greg Berlanti (Arrow, Supergirl, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Riverdale), Eric Wallace (Teen Wolf, Z Nation, Eureka), Sarah Schechter (Batwoman, Riverdale, Black Lightning, Supergirl), Jonathan Butler, and Sam Chalsen (Sleepy Hollow).

SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE:

  • The Flash: The Saga of the Scarlett Speedster (featurette)
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Gag Reel

The Flash: The Complete Ninth Season and The Flash: The Complete Series will be available to purchase August 29, 2023 on Blu-ray Disc and DVD both online and in-store at major retailers. The series is also available now to purchase Digitally from Amazon Prime Video, AppleTV, Google Play, Vudu and more.

Pricing and series information:

The Flash: The Ninth and Final Season

Includes 13 one-hour episodes:

  1. Wednesday Ever After
  2. Hear No Evil
  3. Rogues of War
  4. The Mask of the Red Death, Part 1
  5. The Mask of the Red Death, Part 2
  6. The Good, the Bad and the Lucky
  7. Wildest Dreams
  8. Partners in Time
  9. It’s My Party and I’ll Die if I Want To
  10. A New World, Part 1
  11. A New World, Part 2
  12. A New World, Part 3
  13. A New World, Part 4

PRODUCT                                                      SRP

Blu-ray Disc                                                    $29.98 SRP US ($39.99 in Canada)

DVD                                                                $24.98 SRP US ($29.98 in Canada)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS 5.1

Blu-ray Subtitles: English SDH

DVD Audio: English (5.1) DD

DVD Subtitles: English SDH, Latin Spanish​

Blu-ray and DVD Presented in 16×9 widescreen format

Run Time: Approx. 13 hours

About Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment

Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment (WBDHE) distributes the award-winning movies, television, animation, and digital content produced by Warner Bros. Discovery to the homes and screens of millions through physical Blu-ray Disc™ and DVD retail sales and digital transactions on major streaming, video-on-demand cable, satellite, digital, and mobile channels.  WBDHE is part of Warner Bros. Discovery Content Sales, one of the world’s largest distributors of entertainment programming.

About DC

DC, part of Warner Bros. Discovery, creates iconic characters and enduring stories and is one of the world’s largest publishers of comics and graphic novels. DC’s creative work entertains audiences of every generation around the world with DC’s stories and characters integrated across Warner Bros. Discovery’s film, television, animation, consumer products, home entertainment, games, and themed experiences divisions, and on the DC Universe Infinite digital comic subscription service. Learn more at DC.com.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

The opinions in these articles are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of TVMEG.COM or its other volunteers.

Photo from The CW site for "The Flash"

Interview with the cast of “The Winchesters”

TV Interview!

Actors and producers from "The Winchesters" on The CW

Interview with Jensen Ackles, Danneel Ackles, Drake Rodger, Meg Donnelly, JoJo Fleites, Bianca Kajlich, Demetria McKinney, Nida Khurshid and Robbie Thompson of “The Winchesters” on The CW by Suzanne 10/4/22

This was a very interesting panel. I loved “Supernatural,” and I enjoyed the first episodes of this new spinoff, which is a prequel. I was very happy to see Jensen Ackles there on the panel. You don’t want to miss the new shows, especially if you’re a fan of the original show. This was a very long panel, and I didn’t get to ask a question. That’s fine…it was great just to be there. Note: The transcript is from the network…it has mistakes in it.

THE CW NETWORK

The Winchesters

Robbie Thompson (Exec. Producer), Jensen Ackles (Star/Exec. Producer), Danneel Ackles (Exec. Producer), Meg Donnelly “Mary Campbell,” Drake Rodger “John Winchester,” Bianca Kajlich “Millie Winchester,” JoJo Fleites “Carlos,” Demetria McKinney “Ada Monroe,” Nida Khurshid “Latika”

HOST: Good afternoon and welcome to The CW’s virtual panel for The Winchesters, a prequel of the hugely successful show Supernatural. Before Sam and Dean, there were their parents, John and Mary. Told from the perspective of narrator Dean Winchester, The Winchesters is the epic, untold love story of how John Winchester met Mary Campbell and put it all on the line to, not only save their love, but the entire world. The hunt begins on Tuesday, October 11 at 8pm.

HOST: Please welcome executive producer and star, Jensen Ackles, Executive Producer Danneel Ackles, and executive producer Robbie Thompson and the cast of The Winchesters. We’re so excited to have you all with us, thank you so much. As a reminder to the press, if you would like to ask a question, please click the “raise your hand button” and we’ll put you in the queue and call on you when it’s your turn. If you have a two-part question or a follow-up, please let us know at the top of the question. Also, as a reminder, please, no photography or screen grabs or sharing of anything from this event on social media.

Question: Thank you. Hi, everybody. Ado-, it was sort of a two-part question. After 15 seasons of Supernatural, how did the decision for a prequel come about? And we know that Supernatural spinoffs has been in the talks for quite some time now. What made this one stick? So, two-part question, please. Thank you.

JENSEN ACKLES: I’ll dive in. This was a, obviously something that, that, like you said, has been long talked about, how to expand this world, what that would look like, how it would be done. There have been two, two attempts prior to this one that, that, unfortunately didn’t, didn’t make the cut, but here we are. We’re very excited, I guess, third time’s a charm. And it really came about as the show was wrapping up and the pandemic hit, and my lovely wife and I were forced to sit together and figure out how to be creative within the confines of our house, we started kicking around ideas and this one was, was one that we talked about for quite a while. And, and then we really kind of workshopped it and, and thought about how, what this would look like.

And, and that’s when we, we kind of threw it to the studio and, and threw it to the network and said, “Hey, what do you guys think about this?” And they were very quickly interested. Obviously, they, want to expand this world. And so, so that’s when we’re like, Well, I know the guy to write it, so let me call him and make sure that he’s even available or even interested. And luckily he was, and, and here he is today, and he has created an, I think, an incredible world within the world, and that’s not an easy thing to do, and I think Robbie’s just crushed it. And I think that the cast that we have has just absolutely crushed it.

Uh, so it’s, it’s, it’s exciting. It’s very exciting to, to see this. I was not ever ready to kind of put this to bed. I was ready to take a break, but I was never ready to put this world to bed. And so I’m very, very happy that it is it is extending and it is in the very capable hands of the wonderful people you see before you.

Question: Hi, My question’s for Meg. Does fight choreography have a lot of parallels to dance choreography? What are the big similarities and differences?

Question: Well, yes. I think there is definitely a lot of similarities. It’s been really hard, though, because with stunt choreography, it doesn’t have to look really pretty and put together because, you know, you’re technically beating someone up. So there is that, like, memorization wise, it is very similar, but it’s been really hard to get out of the whole dancing technique, if that makes sense. Yeah.

DEMETRIA MCKINNEY: While we have this moment, thank you so much, CW, for allowing us to have this opportunity, share this story, extend the story, build the family, find the beginning, and we’re, we’re really enjoying it. Thank you.

DRAKE RODGER: Took the words right outta my mouth.

DEMETRIA MCKINNEY: You would not say that.

DANNEEL ACKLES: What a professional.

Question: I’m sorry, Meg, I have a two-part question for you. Meg, how important was it for you, this role to be so different from everything else we’ve known you before, that we’ve known you for? And secondly, has there been discussion as how, how soon pregnancy will come into this character’s life?

MEG DONNELLY: Oh, um…

DEMETRIA MCKINNEY: Oh my God!

MEG DONNELLY: Well, I mean, knowing the story of John and Mary, it does happen eventually. I have no idea.

ROBBIE THOMPSON: Uh, that’s a spoiler for season question mark. I can’t tell you that yet.

MEG DONNELLY: Um, but, you know, I’m so grateful for everything that Disney has given me. But, you know, coming into this new franchise and these amazing new characters, and it’s so dark, it’s been a really amazing honor to kind of step into Mary’s shoes and, and it’s very different from everything I’ve ever done. So I’m really grateful.

Question: This is for Robbie and the Ackles. So, a spinoff of Supernatural was very important to Pedowitz. And I’m curious how yesterday’s announcement landed with you. Did you panic? And how are you feeling about your future?

ROBBIE THOMPSON: Look Marc is one of the greatest champions of, just television of the last, I don’t know how many years, and was an enormous champion of Supernatural. Um, and we, we had a note on the pilot. I don’t know if you guys remember, it was so granular like, I thought I was at a supernatural convention. When I say he watched every episode, he watched every cut. And as a writer, that’s an executive you dream about, because he’s fully invested in the show. So, honestly, all I thought about yesterday was, what a privilege I’ve had as a writer to spend a huge part of my career working with such an, a dedicated and smart leader. So, yeah, it was no panic. It was more just feeling of gratitude.

JENSEN ACKLES: Yeah. I’ll, I’ll echo what Robbie said there. You know, Pedowitz came in, the show was already established, and he really…it was, I mean, it was kind of [LAUGHS] it was kind of put, it had been put on Friday nights to kind of go away and die. We somehow found a way to survive. He came in, he recognized it, and he said, “Well, let’s move these guys to some better real estate.” And, and when we did, we quickly took off. And he was always a champion for the show. He continues to be a champion for this show and for everything that we do. You know, Jared and I used to always like to refer to him as the other Winchester brother. I think that, that he will certainly continue to champion the show from wherever he wants to. But I’m just so thankful for what he did, not only for the network itself, but for, for this this world specifically. He’s a true mentor of mine.

Question: Okay. Thank you for taking the time to speak to us. Um, this is for any of the producers. I’m wondering, when the show was first, you know, the idea came up, the show was pitched you form, you know, started formulating how, what you wanted to do, what stories you wanted to tell. Is it a situation where you have, you know, Season 1 planned, or is it something where you kind of look ahead and think, you know, I have, this is what I want to do in Season 2, Season 3. I mean, you know, Supernatural ran for 15 seasons, there’s obviously an audience for this, and I think, you know, there’ll be an audience again. So are you prepared for another 15 years? And I’m wondering how many episodes were ordered for the first season?

ROBBIE THOMPSON: I think our initial order is for 13, if that’s, I’m sure someone from Warners and CW here will correct me on that. But to answer your question, you know, at the end of every playback, I’ll go, Okay, that was great, guys, 326 more to go. You know, we, we would love to see this go, you know, the distance. You know, as, as, as writers and then as producers, we want to give ourselves flexibility so that we can be nimble as things change and adapt and, you know, getting to know… you guys are seeing them on best behavior right now. These kids are [OVERLAPPING] We have the anti-chemistry problem that most shows have, which is like, usually like, come on guys, like, get together and like, maybe get to know one another.

Like I, during the shooting of the pilot, it was the closest I’ve been to being in a dorm room in 20, 25 years of my life. (You’re not wrong) It was amazing. So we wanna give ourselves the freedom to, to be able to pivot where we need to pivot. Um, someone asked about pregnancy in case we want to get to that sooner rather than later. Um, but, you know, we, we do have a plan and, and we’ve talked I mean, I’ve heard, individually from all of these, you know, where these actors, where they would like to see their characters go. And I, I try to, to keep this, to be as open a collaboration as possible. Uh, Jensen and Danneel and I talked about an ending, oh gosh, it’s in two years we’ve been working on this almost. And then just completely organically, Drake pitched a, a very, very similar ending. So it was, it was, it was really cool to see how we were all kind of on the same page. Yeah. This guy, Yeah, go on, get him. He’s super shy, guys. They’re all super shy. If you start playing music, they will all start singing and or dancing.

Um, no, we, you know, it was exciting because it’s a similar feeling that you get in the writer’s room where it’s like, Oh, we’re all kind of headed in the same direction. The, the analogy I was always given as a young writer was, it’s this, this show is a road trip, and, you know, our destination was go from LA to New Orleans. We may stop in Austin and spend two weeks. We may get there and say, actually, you know what, we wanna spend two years there. Um, we always know where we want to get to, though. Um, and I hope, I hope we get the chance to go, to go the distance.

Question: Hi. So, with 15 seasons of Supernatural, a lot of characters came and went throughout the years, some of whom would’ve been alive in the 1970s. Are there any plans for us to see any of them? Like Bobby Singer, perhaps?

ROBBIE THOMPSON: Um, 100% yes. I don’t think I can spoil exactly who, but we have some very familiar faces that are gonna be coming up in an episode we’re gonna shoot in a couple of days. Uh, and then some more after that, and then some more that I can’t even reveal. Uh, hopefully someone that’s on the Zoom as well, at a certain point [LAUGHS] I’m looking at you, Ackles. Um so yeah, we, we, we have plans for that. And we also have plans you know, not just to bring back some of our familiar faces, but as you’re pointing out, younger versions of the characters that maybe we haven’t, we haven’t seen yet.

Question: Hi. Thanks for talking to us. My question is sort of in that vein, it’s for the producers. Is there anything that you did kind of to purposely, I guess, separate the way this is from the original as the show goes on? Or is it more gonna just feel like we’re in the same world we were before for the fans?

ROBBIE THOMPSON: That’s a, that’s a great question, and it was the first question I had when I talked to, to Danneel and to Jensen. They had this idea about the love story between John and Mary. And I think the extent of those first conversations were a lot of, Okay, how do we do this, and not undo anything, and not rewrite or, or anything like that. It was a bit like what is the expression, “physician do no harm.” You know, we don’t, we can’t recreate Supernatural. You can’t, like, there’s lightning in a bottle time many different… to Jensen, Jared, Kim Manners, Eric Kripke, everybody. We had to find a way to kind of carve our own path. We do have a plan for that. We’re not gonna totally reveal all of it today. But our plan is to sort of pull that curtain back in our 13th episode.

And to the point that you’re that you’re raising, which is how do we differentiate ourselves. It’s always the challenge in a show like this, you know, we used Better Call Saul a lot as a sort of creative North Star, which is, that’s a show that obviously predates the events of Breaking Bad, but it, it exists in its own, in its own little bubble, in its own little universe. You can watch Breaking Bad, and in fact, it’s insane to me, but I know a lot of people who have never actually seen Breaking Bad. Because we are a show that deals with the supernatural and paranormal, we have a few more tricks up our sleeves that we can kind of take advantage of. And we’ll be hinting at that throughout the season, and then really pulling it all back in Episode 13 to, to really let the audience in on, on, on what we’ve done.

JENSEN ACKLES: No, nope. Robbie, Robbie’s got all the, he’s got it all upstairs. And, and you just, I just hope that he’s somehow able to, you know, file it properly. That’s it. Just like the old school Dewey Decimal system up there. That’s, that’s what we got.

NIDA KHURSHID: I see what you did there.

JENSEN ACKLES: No, I got, I got the same thing in my head too, so it’s fine.

NIDA KHURSHID: Yeah, you know, same person, right?

JENSEN ACKLES: No, not at all.

ROBBIE THOMPSON: I’m just excited to finally meet Jensen. This is amazing. It’s been, this is the closest we’ve been. I, I, this, this is thrilling for me.

HOST: Up next, we have Damian Holbrook, followed by Vlada Gelman.

Question: Hey there. Um, so this is for Danneel. Hello. Danneel, so while you’re stuck in COVID in a lockdown with Jensen, and you guys are formulating this idea, having been part of the world, did you find yourself having to remind him of certain things that the show could touch on throughout the 15 seasons of Supernatural? And also for both of you, being actors as well, how involved in casting these people were you?

DEMETRIA MCKINNEY: Oh, this is interesting. We all wanna know this one.

DANNEEL ACKLES: Okay, I… no, because Jensen is actually really, really good at remembering every single detail about Supernatural. He, You are, you’re really, really good. I mean, you can, you can pick a scene. You can, if I, if I give you a scene, you can tell me exactly what year, what episode, what you were doing, where you were living, all of that. You…

JENSEN ACKLES: I don’t need people to know that about me. I don’t…

DANNEEL ACKLES: We, remember one time we thought about doing a game show, Supernatural game show, like quiz thing. You would’ve, you would’ve nailed that. Um, but to the casting question, yes, we were very involved in casting, and we had a lot of fun. Jensen and I and Robbie had a blast casting. And everyone that’s sitting before you, we have a really special story about, I think. Drake, we saw you day one, and that was it. I like, you know, I had like all these pictures up. I was like, I had you up there. And I was like, “Yep, it’s him. That’s him, for sure.” So…

ROBBIE THOMPSON: She still has those pictures up too.

JENSEN ACKLES: Yeah, those pictures are still there, which is just odd. Um…

DANNEEL ACKLES: We cast… but we did, we started looking for, for you first, I think that was the first role, right?

ROBBIE THOMPSON: It was, it was very clear. Yeah. Uh, we had a text chain and it was, it was very clear. There was a lot of hydration in that, that, that I think the second [OVERLAPPING] he drinks a lot of water. He stays hydrated. Uh, there may or may not have been, can I tell this story? [OVERLAPPING] Okay. There may or may not have been a beer at one point as well, which was, I mean, I wasn’t expecting him to go full method, but I, I thought it was a commitment, you know, to the bit. Um, but just to touch back for a second, and then we can talk about casting, but Danneel is being very, very humble here. One of the great things is, these two have the story of Supernatural in their brain. But there’s also, like, you know, Jensen lived it for, I think he’s still living it. I think those are actually Dean Winchester’s clothes that he’s wearing right now, guys. I wish I was kidding, but he hasn’t taken them off.

And I, obviously worked on the show for five years. But we need, you need something in that sort of like, balance for someone to be able to have, you know, a fresh set of eyes who knows it, but didn’t, like, wasn’t like, it wasn’t like obsessed, you know, that level… By the way, that was, that was our ghost that was in our stage by the way. I don’t know if you guys noticed that. That was amazing. Um, but it was really invaluable. And, you know, they have a partner that they’ve worked with, with their company Renee Reef as well.

And it was really great to kind of almost have like a balance there, of, of people who were giving the, the, the story its due, again to the point of finding new viewers. So I’m, I’m grateful to, to both of them, you know, for that, because it was really integral to, to the, the development of it.

JENSEN ACKLES: There was also…

ROBBIE THOMPSON: We cast, we cast all these wonderful human beings on a, on a hilarious text chain, which I will delete from the internet forever.

DANNEEL ACKLES: Oh, yes. God!

JENSEN ACKLES: Yeah, we can’t have, we can’t have that out there. Uh, Damien, I, I’ll add one more thing to uh, about Danneel is, you know, she didn’t, obviously wasn’t as close to, to Supernatural as, as I was. Um, but what she, she embodies, and I’m convinced that she is, that she was born in the wrong era, because I, I feel like she ha- she continues to embody the sixties and seventies. Um, so when that was the idea, she kind of dove in and, and took control of the steering wheel. And I was like, Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait…. I, I, I know a thing or two. Um, and…

ROBBIE THOMPSON: First email I remember early on was you sent a playlist. Danneel put together a playlist. (Oh yeah) And the first song is the first song in the pilot.

JENSEN ACKLES: That’s right.

NIDA KHURSHID: That’s dope.

DANNEEL ACKLES: I was like, we have to set this to music. We have to, you know, we have to cast it to music, everything. And I love that you were into that. That was really fun. Well, your wife’s a DJ too, right? Wasn’t she a big DJ?

ROBBIE THOMPSON: My wife, my wife was a DJ, that’s right. Yeah, she was.

DANNEEL ACKLES: His wife is super cool.

ROBBIE THOMPSON: She also dressed me today.

Question: Hi everyone. Thank you so much for doing this. Uh, so sort of also on the casting note, Jensen, on Supernatural, you worked with every version of Mary and John, played by Jeffrey, Samantha, Amy, Matt. So what was it about Drake and Meg that kind of evoked the spirit of those characters and those performances?

JENSEN ACKLES: Um, great question. I, you know, obviously there’s a…

DRAKE RODGER: Where do you wanna start?

JENSEN ACKLES: Obviously there’s a version of, of these characters that lives very um, very prominently in, in my head. Um, you know, and when, when we were going through the casting process, Drake really jumped off very quickly as somebody that almost seemed like a hybrid of Dean and Sam, not necessarily a replica of, a previous John Winchester. So that was really interesting to, to all of us was just the because this isn’t, this is, this is pre John turning into the person that we really knew and, and obviously the, that Jeffrey Morgan played. Um, this is pre that. So there was a kind of an innocence, a youthfulness and a thirst for life that Drake brought to this character that was really unique and, and refreshing.

But it also just, it, it reminded me of somebody that could very easily be the father of those two brothers. Um, and then with, with Meg, she’s just such a pro that any kind of like subtle thing that we said, “Oh, what if you tried this? Or what if you tried that?” she just knocked it out every time. And it, it was, there was a, there was a look and there was a, a confidence. And there, there…

DANNEEL ACKLES: Look at her!

JENSEN ACKLES: I mean, Yeah, I mean, look at her. How do you, how do you, not just…

Exudes confidence.

DANNEEL ACKLES: Well, Jensen, to be fair, to be fair, we, we knew Meg very well, because Meg’s movies played in our house every day for like years. Well, every day through COVID, we watched her sing and dance. And we were…

BIANCA KAJLICH: Do you have a chicken named after Meg? (No!) Cause we do.

JENSEN ACKLES: Well, Bianca, Challenge accepted. Yes, Danneel’s right. We, we were very familiar with, with Megan her work. Um I, I am probably shouldn’t say this, but I could probably sing just about any song that she sang.

DANNEEL ACKLES: Not probably, not probably. He can definitely do it.

DEMETRIA MCKINNEY: [INAUDIBLE]

JENSEN ACKLES: Don’t test me. Cause it’ll, I’ll never live it down. Um, so yeah, Meg was Meg was certainly, um somebody who just, she exuded something that we were all very interested in immediately. And she, yeah, there was, there was really no question… she’s, she’s so strong and she’s, and she has this this fantastic, It almost, it, to me, it reminded me kind of, kind of going back to what I said about Drake. Was there was almost a Dean-esque quality to the way that she was playing Mary, which I felt the role really needed. And, and she was really the only one that was bringing that. And, and it just kind of caught us all. It caught all of our attention. So that was yeah, it was, it was easy. We didn’t have to do too much convincing.

DANNEEL ACKLES: But every, everybody on that stage was a first choice. It, it’s kind of, and I know that doesn’t happen very often, but like, everybody was exactly who we wanted, you know, And we found out through casting that you don’t always get what you want, but we did.

ROBBIE THOMPSON: And to just touch on what Danneel said, she’s absolutely right. Like, and it’s a huge credit to Robert Ulrich and his team. (Yes) They put forth a murderer’s row of a lot of young talent. And then when we found the, the, this crew, this, this motley crew… it was amazing. Uh, and, and, and just to touch on what Jensen was talking about, it’s true what he’s saying about the, the, the Sam and Dean that you kind of see in both of them. And it was really apparent in their chemistry read, which I hope we can put on the DVD for, for hilarious reasons. [OVERLAPPING] We, we would a, we would actually say, “Hey guys, give us a second.”

And we would pause, but they would keep talking, not knowing that we were still watching. And there’s some adorableness in there that hopefully the rest of the world can see at some point. It was clear that these were, this was, this was Mary and this is John.

JENSEN ACKLES: I think that’s when, that’s when Beergate happened, wasn’t it?

DRAKE RODGER: That’s when Beergate happened. That’s also when she asked me out on a date.

MEG DONNELLY: I did not.

JENSEN ACKLES: That’s true, that’s true.

DANNEEL ACKLES: Yes, you, you definitely asked him to (OVERLAPPING) see Times Square with you.

ROBBIE THOMPSON: You asked someone out on the date, and I’m pretty sure it was him.

MEG DONNELLY: I just said like, like, we should go to New York sometime if we…

JENSEN ACKLES: That’s a date!

ROBBIE THOMPSON: Like you do.

NIDA KHURSHID: Casual.

ROBBIE THOMPSON: Let’s meet in Paris. It’ll be fun.

MEG DONNELLY: [INAUDIBLE] so it worked.

Question: Hi everyone, It’s Xandra Harbet. Thank you so much for sitting down and doing this in the show is so amazing. This is a two-parter. So, Danneel and Jensen, you’ve worked with each other a few times over the years, often in an acting capacity. What has your working dynamic been like on the production side of The Winchesters? And what were some of the core things that you wanted to hit on, and what were some of the things you wanted to avoid while developing the series? Especially given the passionate, supernatural fan base that’s already in place?

JENSEN ACKLES: M’lady…

DANNEEL ACKLES: Well, I, for one, loved working with you. Jensen, Jensen and I, Yes, no, we have a really good working dynamic. I do the work and Jensen watches. Yea, and he’s, yeah… no. It was, it was, it was fun. We do well together.

JENSEN ACKLES: I would say that the, the producing aspect has been a little different than from what acting with her. I mean, acting with her is, is she’s, she’s great, but we’re playing different characters in front of each other. So, so that’s a little different than, than producing when we’re just being ourselves and trying to get things done. It feels a little bit more like…

DANNEEL ACKLES: It’s a lot less polite.

JENSEN ACKLES: Well, it’s more like, it’s more like our marriage where, yeah, like she said, Danneel handles everything and I just stand on the sidelines going, “Let me know what I can do.” (Yeah) And try not to get in the way.

XANDRA: And what were some of the core things you wanted to hit on and avoid?

JENSEN ACKLES: Well, certainly trying to recapture that heart that I feel Supernatural really had. You know, at the end of the day, the show was about the relationship between these two brothers. You could, you could paint as many ghosts and demons and vampires and, and ghouls and as you wanted on that canvas, but at the end of the day, it was, it really came back to the relationship that these two, these two guys had. And, how they fought, not only for, for the greater good, but they fought for each other.

And I felt like if we could, if we could tell that with, with John and Mary, but also have this love story be… you know, the kind of the, the kicker, I just felt like that was really important. That’s something that Robbie and Danneel and I talked about at length, was making sure that this, this truly had the heart that a show needed. That you can dress it up with all the frills and, and thrills, but it, it’s gotta have that relationship and it’s gotta have those cast of characters that you really want to keep coming back week to week to watch.

And I feel like we, I feel like we, we, we have that and we’re doing that. And the people before you now are the… I, I keep coming back and wanting to watch them. I keep reading intently the next, the next story arena and wanting to know what’s gonna happen. What’s gonna happen with Carlos?. I don’t know. Every week he surprises me. They surprise me. It’s just insanity. I love it.

XANDRA: And was there anything you wanted to avoid?

JENSEN ACKLES: Um, rewriting history? Um, I think that was a big important thing. And that’s obviously something that has been a topic of discussion with, with fans and, and critics of how we’re going to navigate what has already been established. We’re not looking to have, you know, we’re not looking to, to, to have the, Robbie and I use the, the Back to the Future reference quite a bit. We don’t want the picture of Dean and Sam to start being erased. This is not what we’re set out to do. This is something that we’re trying to, trying to preserve everything that we possibly can on the mothership. I think Robbie and his crack team of writers have come up with the way of doing that in a way that is servicing this show just as much as it’s serviced or will be servicing Supernatural.

Question: For the cast: How does it feel to be part of the franchise that means so much to many people?

JONATHAN FLEITES: It truly is an honor. I am just so grateful to be a part of this legacy. It’s absolutely insane. I never thought I would be a part of anything like this in my life. I mean, this is the biggest surprise and shock and most amazing thing to be a part of, especially with this group of amazing artists. Um, not to mention that I’m so proud of the inclusivity that’s involved in this show, and the diversity that we’re bringing onto this show. Um, and the space that I’ve been given as an LGBTQ identifying person on this show. Uh, not to mention also non-binary. I just feel so supported and I feel so seen, and I am just so incredibly grateful for Jensen and for Danneel and for Robbie and everyone opening… I’m so sorry. I’m having issues with my headphones. I’m just so grateful for this time and for this opportunity, and that’s all I can really say. So, thank you so much.

DEMETRIA MCKINNEY: It’s, if I may check onto that, it’s just a really cool challenge, getting to be with these younger people, because I’m not old. I refuse to accept it. Getting to be with this group of young people, telling this story that is so beloved by so many people in its beginnings and in its infancy. And getting to tell a journey that is so profoundly new within a space that is so familiar to people. It’s a really cool challenge. You know, they talk about not wanting to undo history, rewrite anything, but still keeping everything really fresh and organic. And I feel like just as hard as they’ve worked in the inception, you know, each time they’ve tried and then getting into this space where we’re doing it now, in the writing room, each idea they come up with, having the conversations that we’ve all had about the individual characters and then getting together and having the conversations about how we relate to each other.

It’s just been a daily challenge that seems so fun and invigorating and fulfilling. So you know, while we know everybody loves what was, we’re really excited about the challenge of them loving what is to come.

Question: So you’ve kinda touched on some of this Jensen, some of what you said, Robbie, what you said about Episode 13. There are obviously big twists here about what’s going on. We know this isn’t the version that the brothers were told, and it feels to me, just from the pilot, like it might not even be the version that John and Mary as we knew it remember. We also know in the world of Supernatural there’s like a lot of capability for like cosmic level trickery, which, you know, the final arc of Supernatural kind of depended on the arc Robbie started by revealing Chuck as God, stuff like that.

Question: Uh, we know there’s a lot of options for what could be actually going on here with the Winchesters, but we don’t really know when, you know, we might get a look at the answers. And I’m asking you this in kind of like the nicest, most supportive, good faith way, cause I know it matters to you guys. How long should we expect to wait in terms of clues about what the deal is? Or rather, how did you approach the job of maintaining fans trust regarding the twists and changes? Like, did you talk about a lot about what the right moment to show some cards? Or like, what was going on with the big picture?

ROBBIE THOMPSON: We, we, we’ve been talking, that’s a great question and we’ve been talking about it literally, since I think the first conversation that I had with, with these two and, and Rene. Um, it was crucial to us to kind of have an understanding of where we were going and why we were going. Um, but to your point, we have a lot of options was what we discovered, and a lot of different misdirects of, of where we’re going. And it’s one of the reasons why we, we are keeping our cards close to the vest now. Um, but we will, there’s, there’s some hints in, in the pilot and then there’s some hints in subsequent episodes.

Um, and as we get into this sort of… we have a, a little run at the end of these, this first 13 where we’ll start to turn over some more cards as well. But I promise we’re, we’re gonna turn ’em all over in, in 13. That’s, that was always the design that we came up with, with our partners at the studio and network. I can tell you this, like, it’s very rare to get to work with partners like Warners and CW, where they’re as invested as we are, and the integrity of what came before us, and, and what’s to come. So we, I totally understand where the question’s coming from. I won’t totally answer it.

Question: I’m super pro-, I’m super pro, but I was just curious about like, you know, I know that Jensen is obviously always at conventions answering a million questions about tiny details and a lot of expectations about that kind of thing.

ROBBIE THOMPSON: And, and part of that was what was exciting about this, you know. For me as a writer on Supernatural, I, I found my comfort zone was getting out of my comfort zone. Uh, the example I always gave is we did a musical episode and I was like, they came in there like, “we’re doing a musical.” I was like, “Oh God, that’s terrible. Can I write it?” Like, cause it just seemed very daunting and frightening. I’d never written songs before and it felt like we always had a, a thing, Kripke started it. And then, you know, great writers like Sarah Gamble, Jeremy Carver, Ben Edlund, they, they bent us, almost to the point of breaking. And you’re always at that point of like, Oh, is this gonna break? But that’s kind of our sweet spot.

And when Jensen and Danneel came to me with this idea, I was like, Oh, we’re starting in the sweet spot. Uh, that’s really exciting to me. Uh, and then get to, getting a chance to create, you know, these characters with this group of, of, of extremely well-behaved, almost suspiciously well-behaved actors right now. Um, Yeah. See that the voices are coming out and they. There it is, okay. Um it was, it was just really, really exciting. Um, but it’s I, I totally understand where you’re coming from and, and it was literally the first question out of my mouth as well.

Question: Jensen, Danneel, do you have anything on that? Cause I am very curious about it.

JENSEN ACKLES: Yeah. It, this, this, obviously this has been a, a, a topic of, of conversation like you said at, at conventions and, and it’s, you know, I, I would love to have an answer that that puts everybody at rest and say, Oh, okay, okay, we can breathe easy. Um, but in order to do that, I would, I would spoil half the season. (Yeah) And so without, without spoiling the, the half the season, I will say that like Robbie said, the, the integrity of, of the mothership is certainly something that is of, of vital importance to us that we do not want to tamper with.

Um, that said, we also want to make sure that this show has a, is given its space to be what it needs to be and what we all want it to be. Um, and doing so requires some you know, some, some tricky writing. And Robbie has, has come up with ways to facilitate that, that I think are, are not only acceptable, from my perspective, but exciting from the world from of a, as a fan of this world and of this show. And, and, and so I’m, I’m excited for when we can actually talk about it and dissect it.

Question: Yeah. Sounds ex-, it sounds like you’re keeping a lot like really excited to, to let it in on the secret eventually.

JENSEN ACKLES: Absolutely. Can’t wait.

DANNEEL ACKLES: I’ve never liked, I’ve never liked my mute button better. I’m like… not gonna talk about this.

Question: Hey everyone, thanks for doing this. Um, this question is for the producers. Two-part question. Um, the first part was obviously Jensen, you’re doing narration for this, and there’s always a question of, do we do that? Do we stay independent? You know, how much of that is involved? Is it just a booking-ending element, or is it something that could expand? Um, was, is that a conversation that came up about the rules of narration for that? And then number two, it’s dovetailing off of the creativity that, that Supernatural is really known for, as you were talking about a moment ago. It has never been afraid to really rock the boat in terms of format, structure, genre. Um, this is a first season so you certainly want to establish a world, but at the same time are, are you going to have episodes that will kind of honor that legacy and show your version of it in this world?

JENSEN ACKLES: Robbie.

ROBBIE THOMPSON: I’ll go in reverse order. Um, we, we kind of want to establish a little bit more of a foundation before we go crazy. But if you looked at probably most of the episodes of Supernatural that I wrote, I like crazy. So we’ll get there, I promise. Um, and I know that these… you need, you need partners for that. One of the reasons we were able to go a little crazy on Supernatural was we had a great cast that was game for it. Like Jensen told the story the other day where Andrew called him up and was like, “Can you dance?” He was like, Yeah. And then you’re doing like a tap dance number, you know, two, a month later or whatever it was. Um, and being able to have that, you know in your arsenal. We have a lot of… I think, kids who can play here, and, and people who can sing and dance.
So we’ll, we’ll get to that, I think, you know down the road.

Um, and then the, the first question was about narration. Um, that was a big selling point to me when, when they, when they reached out to me about it. Was the, the idea of it was very interesting, but I’ll just be completely honest and say the option to write some more dialogue for, for Dean Winchester, aka Jensen Ackles, or maybe that’s in reverse, I don’t know, was, was extremely tempting to the point of, of being a pretty big selling point. In fact, we were on these stages shooting our first scene, and it was, Megan did it in the van in the pilot.

And so I’m having this surreal moment of like, Oh my gosh, here we are, we’re doing it. And then Ackles sent me the first temp recording. And so I stepped into the other stage and listened to it, and he’s doing the, he’s doing the Dean voice, guys, he was doing it. It was down here. And it was like, Oh my God, it’s Dean Winchester in my ear holes. And I, I got goosebumps. I get goosebumps telling that story right now. Um, and it was, it was huge.

As far as like, you know, how, how do we go with it? You know, we, we talk a lot about, we did not want this to be wall-to-wall narration. A light touch, you know, was, was what we wanted. Um, you know, and it’s a real treat when you’re working on a script and you can say like, Gosh, what would Dean Winchester say? And then you text Dean Winchester, and then he tells you. And it’s been just a great dance. Like, we as writers will, will work on a, on a draft of the voiceover, I’ll send it to Jensen. He and I will get on the phone and like, “How about this? How about that? We, we said this one last one.”

And, and then, then I would say you kind of do like a final sort of pepper pass in the actual booth. Um, cause it’s gotta feel, that’s the part to me, I was like, this has to feel extra, extra… There’s our ghost again. Um you know, we have to do extra, extra due diligence. And it’s always, it’s always a fun phone call.

Question: Hi guys. Um, this is for Jensen, Danneel and Robbie. Um, is there a lesson or something that you three have learned from your time working on Supernatural that you use as executive producers on The Winchesters?

JENSEN ACKLES: Um, wow. Well, yeah, I mean, I think that that’s, that was kind of… that’s our, that’s our mind. That’s where we source a lot of, of inspiration. That’s where we source a lot of, of doing things, trying, not trying to recreate, but certainly utilizing… I, I’ll give you an example. You know, Robbie and Danneel and I talked extensively about the, the, the atmosphere on set. Uh, something that’s very important to us to have a, a fun, creative, exciting energy on set where people are, are able to, to come in and to, to create and to, to… You know, that was something that, that Jared and I did all the time, was we, we came in, we la-… I never laughed as much as I laughed when I was on that set.

And there was a reason why we stuck around for 15 years, and it was because we truly enjoyed doing what we, what we got to do. And, you know, I often say that we, we don’t have to do this. we get to do this. And it’s, it’s, it’s something where there’s, there’s, there’s no room for ego here. There’s no there’s, there’s no putting up walls and, and being, walking on eggshells and, and making people feel uncomfortable. It’s, it’s an all-inclusive, all captivating type of situation where we, we want this to be a fun space to create a fun show.

Um, if you’re not having fun, We, Kim Manners kind of set that tone early on in Supernatural. He said, “Listen, if you’re not enjoying your time on the set, we spend entirely too much time together to not enjoy it. So if you’re not having fun, find something else to do.” And I feel like that’s, that was really important to us to, to set a tone on this set that was, that was fun and exciting and that people enjoyed coming to work and, and playing with these, playing in this sandbox.

ROBBIE THOMPSON: I think, just to touch on that too, something that we carried over from the mothership, um… John Showalter, who’s our, our producing director, and obviously directed more episodes of Supernatural than I can count, and I can count pretty high. Um I mean, I’ve been teaching my son, he, he’s up to 30, guys. English and Spanish. Um, but he, he is really impressed upon us something that we did. And again, it’s about having trust with, with your partners that are telling the story with you, which is our amazing cast, is to let them play a little bit.

Um, you know, we used to always say to our producing directors that would come on Supernatural, like, “Give the boys another take, let’s see what happens.” And it always ended up in the movie and it’s something that we really wanted to, It’s, it’s, it speaks to what Jensen’s talking about, about like creating an environment where people can play. And, and, and I can tell you my favorite moment in every single episode comes from these people individually being alive in the scene, listening to one another, reacting to one another, and, and being present in a way that’s, it’s, it’s really, really inspiring as a writer. And look at, they’re doing it right now. You guys, this is, this is an organic, this, this is not scripted. Um…

JENSEN ACKLES: You can’t write that, you can’t write that.

ROBBIE THOMPSON: You’re actually freaking me out.

BIANCA KAJLICH: Can I, can I add something onto that too, which I know this is for the producers. But as a cast, I just want to acknowledge how true this is for us. And I think it starts with Jensen. Because, to have an actor who played a role for 15 years, continue to address this subject matter with such enthusiasm, it is a ripple effect down into all of us. And, you know, Demetria and I talk and, and try to tell these younguns (younger, younger ones). It is so rare to have the deal that we’ve got here.

We get to play, we get to show up, we get to ask for things. As an actor, after 25 years of doing this, I’ll tell you, that’s unheard of. And these guys walk the walk. So, it’s honestly the, the joy and the comradery and all of that that’s existing here. The, the drama too. It’s all real cause we get to be our pure vulnerable selves in this.

JENSEN ACKLES: Thanks, B.

Question: Yeah, starting with Bianca and then Jensen and Danneel. Have you ever had a metaphysical experience? Something you could not quite explain?

BIANCA KAJLICH: Yes. (Tell us) Um, well, I don’t, I don’t really wanna cheapen it, because it was such a beautiful experience. Um, but I had, in two different very traumatic experiences in my life, something show up that I could visually see. Um, and that presence showed up before both of the traumatic situations happened. And for me it was a nod to, that everything was gonna be okay.

Question: Jensen?

JENSEN ACKLES: Uh, sorry, something cut out. Could you repeat the question?

Question: Yes. Have you ever had a metaphysical experience, something you could not quite explain?

JENSEN ACKLES: Uh, my marriage. (No!) Oh, no? Okay…

ROBBIE THOMPSON: Thanks, everybody. Thanks very much.

JENSEN ACKLES: Um, you know, this is something that Danneel and I have talked about quite a bit, and [OVERLAPPING]

DANNEEL ACKLES: It happens to us all the time. We have a million of these, except Jensen thinks that, I think, because of all your years of Supernatural, you’re like, Oh, that’s not what that was. No, no, no. That’s something else.

ROBBIE THOMPSON: I mean, Dean Winchester would know.

DANNEEL ACKLES: Yeah, I know. That’s what I’m saying. But…

JENSEN ACKLES: There’s, there’s something that we, and, and I don’t know that this to be true or not, but Danneel I feel like is emotionally available for those kinds of happenings. And I, I might not be.

DANNEEL ACKLES: Willing and ready.

JENSEN ACKLES: Yeah, and it, it might be because I spent 15 years playing a character that kicked the shit out of ghosts and demons. And so I just figure like, no, that’s not, because if it is, they picked the wrong house. Um, and so it might have given me some sort of false sense of security. It’s, it’s almost like, listen, I played a doctor on TV for 15 years, give me the scalpel. I, I know that that probably isn’t what would happen if something, something like [LAUGHS] if a ghost walked in here. I, I don’t know how I would react. But I do feel like [OVERLAPPING]o

DRAKE RODGER: I feel like I’m getting yellow fever, my friend.

JENSEN ACKLES: Probably, probably, it would be, yeah, it would be more like that. But I, I do feel like I tend to jump to the, “there’s gotta be some sort of logical explanation for why that window just flew open,” or…

DANNEEL ACKLES: Why that hammer flew across the [OVERLAPPING] whole tool belt at [OVERLAPPING]

JENSEN ACKLES: Yeah. Danneel is much more, is much quicker to think that, that there’s an entity or there’s some, some sort of presence.

DRAKE RODGER: There is a whole conversation after this.

DANNEEL ACKLES: There’s just a reason. There’s an, there’s a house, we own a brewery together, and there is an old house on the brewery. And there’s a reason why the construction there has completely stopped. And so one day we’ll talk about that, maybe.

ROBBIE THOMPSON: That’s episode uh, 14 of Season 3. [OVERLAPPING]

JENSEN ACKLES: I will give you, I’ll give you one quick little story. Uh, I don’t remember what season of Supernatural this was, but we used to shoot at this, this decommissioned insane asylum in in Vancouver called [OVERLAPPING] River, Riverview. Demetria, you’ve been there?

So there, there were, there were four floors in a basement. And we generally filmed either in the basement or the first two, two floors. Uh, the third floor wasn’t really utilized, and the fourth floor was off limits. And one day I got the liaison of the, of the building of the property there to take me up to the fourth floor. And I said, I gotta know what’s going on. And she walked up and she said, “Well, this is the staircase that I was pushed down.” I was like, “Who pushed you?” She’s like, “I don’t know, I was alone.” Uh, then she walked into, opened this one door and she’s like, “and this is not the room. This is a room I will not go into.” And it was a, it was a single room that was floor to ceiling tiled. And in the center of the room was a drain, and there was a bathtub, a clawfoot bathtub just sitting in the middle of this room.

And, and I just, I don’t know, I was just walked right in and then laid down in the bathtub. And there was a moment where I was like, this, there’s nothing wrong with… And then I just felt something. I felt like a pressure on my chest and I was like, I’m gonna get up and get outta here. So you know, we get asked a lot, “Were there ever any, any things that happened on Supernatural that were unexplained?” And I was like, Yeah, but we don’t talk about it much.

Question: This is for Drake. I was just curious, how much did you watch Supernatural? And did you find anything in there that you said, you know, I wanna bring this to this show? (Yeah) Was there a [INAUDIBLE] for you at all?

DRAKE RODGER: Was there pie? Yes. There’s [OVERLAPPING]

Question: No, with your tie? T-I-E.

DRAKE RODGER: Oh, a tie. Pie is tie.

Question: Pie is good though too.

DRAKE RODGER: Pie is a tie, I’ll have you know, if you watch the show. Um, No, yeah, I watched Supernatural [OVERLAPPING] No, yeah, I grew up watching the show. Uh, I started on, I think Season 4 or 5, and then progressively watched through 12 until whoever started directing the last couple. Um… yeah, when I got the audition for John it was, it was something like, it meant a lot that Jensen actually said it. Um, but I, I tried, I tried my best to incorporate as much of Jensen and Jared as I could into the performance.

DRAKE RODGER: I figured this is the only opportunity where I have 15 years of material that I can steal everything from, and everybody will think that I created it, and they’ll think that, you know, Dean and Sam got all their mannerisms from me. So yeah, as much as I can, as much as I can, I go through and I steal all the brilliance that they had over 15 years.

ROBBIE THOMPSON: Drake, Drake will, and I, I, we’ve had many conversations about this character when the character’s going and he will cite chapter in verse of various episodes, you know, the title, all of it. Um, and it’s been, he’s been an amazing partner. Um, and everybody up here has, they’ve all, they’ve all done an incredible job of sinking their teeth into the source material. But as Demetria put it brilliantly, carving their own space as well.

DRAKE RODGER: I had this this interview recently, and I asked my PR team afterwards, I was like, Hey, is there anything that I can do better or like, you know, be more efficient? And she’s like, “Well, if you want to quote an episode, that’s fine, and if you want to even name the season and the number, that’s great. But she’s like, You don’t have to go to like the minute number of the scene that you’re talking about.” Um, she’s like, she’s like, “You could probably leave that.”

Question: Could you give an example? Can you give an example of something that we could look at and say, Oh my God, yeah, that’s something that he did.

DRAKE RODGER: Oh, oh everything. I mean [OVERLAPPING]

ROBBIE THOMPSON: There’s a bit in Episode 4 where I, I don’t know if I want to spoil it, but like, if you watch it, I think Showalter was saying, Showy was saying, was like, “Oh, I, I haven’t seen Jared in a while.” And it was like a mannerism that, that was some of the comedy chops that we were like, Oh wait, and, and yeah, it was, if you look for it in the first handful, but I’m pretty sure there’s one in Episode 4 that is, is um, is a great callback.

HOST: That’s all the time we have for today. Thank you to all the press that joined us, and thank you for everyone behind the scenes who made this happen today. We appreciate it. Don’t forget, The Winchesters premiers on the CW Tuesday, October 11th at 8:00 PM, 7 Central. Thank you so much everyone.

MORE INFO: Trailer

"The Winchesters" key art

“Gotham Knights,” “Walker: Independence” & “The Winchesters” All Head to Series

The CW is moving forward with all three of its drama pilots to series. Each of said trio is based on a previously existing property.

DC Comics-based “Gotham Knights” was formally detailed back in December: “In the wake of Bruce Wayne’s murder, his rebellious adopted son forges an unlikely alliance with the children of Batman’s enemies when they are all framed for killing the Caped Crusader. And as the city’s most wanted criminals, this renegade band of misfits must fight to clear their names. But in a Gotham with no Dark Knight to protect it, the city descends into the most dangerous it’s ever been. However, hope comes from the most unexpected of places as this team of mismatched fugitives will become its next generation of saviors known as the Gotham Knights.” Chad Fiveash, James Stoteraux, Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, David Madden and director Danny Cannon executive produce for Warner Bros. Television with Natalie Abrams as a co-executive producer. Anna Lore, Fallon Smythe, Misha Collins, Navia Robinson, Olivia Rose Keegan, Oscar Morgan, Rahart Adams and Tyler DiChiara star.

“Walker” prequel “Independence” is “set in the late 1800s. It follows Abby Walker (Katherine McNamara), an affluent Bostonian whose husband is murdered before her eyes while on their journey out West. On her quest for revenge, Abby crosses paths with Hoyt Rawlins (Matt Barr), a lovable rogue in search of purpose. Abby and Hoyt’s journey takes them to Independence, Texas, where they encounter diverse, eclectic residents running from their own troubled pasts and chasing their dreams, all while becoming agents of change themselves in the small town.” Seamus Kevin Fahey, Jared Padalecki, Anna Fricke, Dan Lin, Lindsey Liberatore and director Larry Teng executive produce for CBS Studios. Also starring are Gabriela Quezada, Greg Hovanessian, Justin Johnson Cortez, Katie Findlay and Lawrence Kao.

And finally, the “Supernatural” prequel “The Winchesters” is “the epic, untold love story of how John (Drake Rodger) met Mary (Meg Donnelly) and how they put it all on the line to not only save their love, but the entire world.” Robbie Thompson, Jensen Ackles, Danneel Ackles and director Glen Winter are the executive producers for Warner Bros. Television and CBS Studios. Bianca Kajlich, Demetria McKinney, Jojo Fleites and Nida Khurshid also star while Jensen Ackles narrates as Dean Winchester.

Pilot Season Episode 101

Airdate:

SERIES PREMIERE – Before Sam and Dean, there were their parents, John and Mary. Told from the perspective of narrator Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles), THE WINCHESTERS is the epic, untold love story of how John Winchester (Drake Rodger) met Mary Campbell (Meg Donnelly) and put it all on the line to not only save their love, but the entire world.  When John returns home from fighting in Vietnam, a mysterious encounter sparks a new mission to trace his father’s past. In his journey, he crosses paths with 19-year-old demon hunter Mary, who is also searching for answers after the disappearance of her own father.  Together, the two join forces with young hunter-in-training Latika (Nida Khurshid) and easygoing hunter Carlos (Jonathan “Jojo” Fleites) to uncover the hidden truths about both their families. Their investigation leads them to a rare book emporium, whose owner Ada (Demetria McKinney) takes an interest to the occult and could provide the missing pieces to their puzzle. But secrets run deep for both the Winchesters and Campbells, and despite the best efforts of John’s mother Millie (Bianca Kajlich) to protect her son from pursuing a dangerous life of demon hunting, John and Mary are both determined to work together to uphold their families’ legacies while beginning to form a family of their own. Glen Winter directed the episode written by Robbie Thompson (#101). Original airdate 10/11/2022.   Every episode of THE WINCHESTERS is available to stream on The CW App and CWTV.com the day after broadcast for free and without a subscription, log-in or authentication required.

Teach Your Children Well

Season Episode 102
Airdate:

FAMILY MATTERS – John (Drake Rodger) and Millie (Bianca Kajlich) are on different pages about his new interest in hunting and Ada (Demetria McKinney) tries to bridge the gap.  Mary (Meg Donnelly) follows a trail from her father that points to the disappearance of a teenage boy in Topeka.  Meanwhile, Carlos (JoJo Fleites) has a heart to heart with Mary as Latika (Nida Khurshid) dives into her books to identify the monster.  John Showalter directed the episode written by Robbie Thompson & David H. Goodman (#102). Original Airdate 10/18/2022.  Every episode of THE WINCHESTERSis available to stream on The CW App and CWTV.com the day after broadcast for free and without a subscription, log-in or authentication required.

You’re Lost Little Girl

Season 1 Episode 103
Airdate:

FACE YOUR FEARS – When Mary’s (Meg Donnelly) next-door neighbor mysteriously goes missing, she and John (Drake Rodger) start digging into the disappearance. During their investigation, John unexpectedly reunites with someone from his past.  Carlos (JoJo Fleites) and Ada (Demetria McKinney) bond as they stakeout a potential lead for the demon’s partner.  Meanwhile, Latika (Nida Khurshid) taps into old folklore passed down from her family in hopes it helps Mary and John. Claudia Yarmy directed the episode written by Gabriel Alejandro Garza (#103). Original Airdate 10/25/2022. Every episode of THE WINCHESTERS is available to stream on The CW App and CWTV.com the day after broadcast for free and without a subscription, log-in or authentication required.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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John, Mary, Latika and Carlos of "The Winchesters" on The CW

Interview with the cast of “Walker: Independence”

TV Interview!

The actors and EPs of "Walker Independence" on The CW.

Interview with actors Katherine McNamara, Matt Barr, Greg Hovanessian, Lawrence Kao, Philemon Chambers, Gabriela Quezada, Katie Findlay, Justin Johnson Cortez; and Executive Producers Jared Padalecki, Seamus Fahey and Anna Fricke on The CW by Krista 9/22/22

This was an interesting panel for this new show, which is a spin-off of the hit series “Walker” on The CW. Both shows air Thursdays starting Oct. 6. Unfortunately, they had a lot of press there, with a big cast who liked to chat, so I was not called on to ask a question. I enjoyed it, though. NOTE: This transcript below was provided by The CW. There are some mistakes in it.

THE CW NETWORK

Walker Independence

Seamus Fahey, Anna Fricke, Jared Padalecki, Lawrence Kao, Greg Hovanessian, Philemon Chambers, Gabriela Quezada, Katie Findlay, Katherine McNamara, Matt Barr, Justin Johnson Cortez

HOST:  Good morning, y’all!  Welcome to the virtual press panel for Walker Independence, our brand new series and origin story to our hit series, Walker. Walker independence is from CBS television studios and premieres on Thursday, October 6th, at 9:00 PM on The CW. Our executive producers like to call this a remix of a Western, and we’re thrilled to be bringing this genre to the CW. Set in the late 1800s, Walker Independence follows Abby Walker, an affluent and tough-minded Bostonian whose husband is murdered before her eyes, while on their journey out West.

After crossing paths with Calian and a curious Apache tracker, Abby arrives in the town of independence, Texas, where she encounters diverse and eclectic residents running from their pasts, chasing their dreams, and keeping their own secrets, including Kate Carver, an idiosyncratic burlesque dancer with perhaps too keen an interest in Abby’s origins. And Kai, a soulful Chinese immigrant who runs a local restaurant/laundry and offers Abbey friendship without agenda.

Abby also literally runs into Hoyt Rawlins, a slippery rogue thief and con artist with a dented heart of gold, who quickly eyes Abby as a mark until she turns the tables on him. In seeking justice for her husband, Abby encounters Independence’s noble deputy sheriff Augustus, and his new boss, Sheriff Tom Davidson, who she has reason to believe is a very bad man, indeed. Abby and Hoyt soon find themselves precariously aligned, both seeking to uncover the truth about the identity of her husband’s killer as they navigate the dusty roads of Independence, a frontier boom town, where nothing is what it seems. Old West, new rules.

Now we’ve had our premier episode available for everyone to view since June, and have just added two episodes, 2 and 3, to the press site this week. So we hope you’re all very familiar now with Walker independence. So please welcome the cast and executive producers of Walker Independence and starting here on the back row, in the left, we have Lawrence Kao as Kai. Greg Hovanessian as Tom Davidson. Philemon Chambers as Augustus, or Gus. Gabriela Quezada as Lucia Reyes.

And then moving up to our front row on the left.  We have Katie Findlay as Kate Carver, Katherine McNamara as Abby Walker, Matt Barr as Hoyt Rawlins. And Justin Johnson Cortez as Calian. Also say hello to our executive producers. Show runner and executive producer, Seamus Kevin Fahey. And executive producers, Anna Fricke and Walker himself, executive producer Jared Padalecki.

We’re so excited to have you all with us this morning. Thank you so much. And as a reminder to the press, if you’d like to ask a question, please click the “raise your hand” button, and we will put you in the queue and call on you when it’s your turn. If You have a two part question or follow-up, please let us know that this, please let us know this at the top of the question. And no photography or screen grabs or anything from this event on social media. Thank you so much. And first up, we have Jamie Ruby with Rick Bentley on standby. Jamie to you.

JAMIE:  Hi, thanks so much for talking to us this morning. So this is for the cast. Can you talk about sort of how these costumes inform your character and maybe some of the difficulties you’ve had with them?

KATHERINE:  Well, I’ll, I’ll speak.

PHILEMON:  You start, you start. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

KATHERINE:  Shall I start?

MATT:  Yeah. Ladies have fun with this one.

KATHERINE:  Ladies first, and it is the 1870s. You know, we have the most amazing wardrobe department. Marian Toy is our brilliant costume designer and she has taken such care to make sure everything is as historically- accurate as possible. And that comes down to us wearing corset. And a lot of these dresses, this one in particular, that is actually vintage from some year, I’m not, I don’t think it’s from 1870, but it is as historically accurate as possible.

And it really does change how you move, and how you walk and how you just exist in space. And you know, we have such an amazing cast of characters that has such a diverse wardrobe. But I will say that our women’s shoes in the 1870s were not made for function.

(audio problem here)

KATIE:  Not, everything in the 1870s was built to keep women from running and carrying things. Not good.

KATHERINE:  Keep us in our place. And getting on horses.

KATIE:  And getting on horses, [UNINTELLIGIBLE] with any goods of any kind. (It’s true) Not a [INAUDIBLE].

KATHERINE:  Although, they do give us pockets.

KATIE:  They give you pockets.

PHILEMON:  They give you pockets.

KATIE:  But the reason here, the reason I don’t have pockets is because, so like, Kat was saying, Marion Toy is maybe one of the smartest people I’ve ever met in my life. A lot of my stuff, cause Kate’s a bit of a fashion plate is, is borrowed from vintage collections as opposed to made. So I don’t get pockets, but then I’m also wearing things that are so beautiful, I’m terrified to sit down because if I rip, like they’re so old. And if I have one tiny rip, I feel like I’ve let history down. So… Hey, does anybody else wanna talk about [OVERLAPPING]

GREG:  The corset stance too, to make it more comfortable.

KATIE:  So you prop yourself up on your own bones a lot when you get tired.

GREG:  The squat move.

(Overlapping chatter)

Send you guys a photo. I’ll send you…

JARED PADALECK:  I’ll post it.

JUSTIN:  Yeah please do Jared, Jared has it.

KATIE:  You’re so charming.

JUSTIN: Yeah, I wore it for about seven minutes and uh, it wasn’t fun at all.  So…

GABRIELA:  I think all the men on set should wear corsets.

(Overlapping chatter)

SEAMUS:  I thought we talked about no spoilers, but we’ll embrace them.

KATHERINE:  Already, first question, spoilers.

KATIE:  Justin, you have interesting costume stuff though.

JUSTIN:  I do, I do I, I mean, I, I love my costume.

MATT: It’s a little breezy in there.

Show us the back, Justin.

GABRIELA:  We need to see your thigh.

Yeah, I want to see the back.

Do you have a runway?

JUSTIN:  But, I asked for legit leggings. That way I could have some breathing…

KATHERINE:  It’s up to your imagination.

PHILEMON:  We will not go further into that.

GREG:  But every, every once in a while we’ll I, I’ll go to set for a rehearsal and I’ll be in my street clothes. And we do the blocking and it’s weird. It’s so weird because you’re not in costume and the costume is just everything. When you put that gun belt on, with the weight of the revolver and the bullets and the badge. It changes everything.

KATIE:  Greg’s got a cool hat too.

PHILEMON:  I’ve been meaning to talk to you about this gun belt now. Okay, look, when you’re running in a gun belt, it don’t work.

It bounces around.

PHILEMON:  It bounces around.

(Overlapping chatter)

KATIE:  I have so many videos of Philly trying to run in a gun belt. I say that like it’s a joke, maybe five or six, honestly.

Ten-pound pound thing around your waist.

(Overlapping chatter)

JUSTIN:  Nobody answered that in a good way.

MATT:  Here’s a red light. I was like, is that good or bad?

JAMIE:  Well, okay. How about this? I will ask a follow up then. Um, can you guys talk about sort of how the, like the, I guess the seed of the idea to go from the other show to this as being the prequel, like sort of how that came about?

SEAMUS:  Sure. Um, Anna and I were working on Walker, and basically there was a beloved character named Hoyt Rawlins that we decided to kill off. And we kind of regretted it, to be honest. And, and so we started to think about what did we do wrong with our lives, but also with that creative choice. And so it kinda started with just a text to Anna saying like, well, what if we went back to the first generation Walkers and, and Hoyt Rawlins was part of the, part of the ride. And a couple texts later and all of a sudden Jared’s on the hook and studio’s excited and it kind of just went from there, and we just built momentum and developed the pitch. And, and so there’s a lot of Easter eggs with Walker that we’re gonna do more and more. But, you know, we wanted it to kind of stand on its own and be its own thing, be the first generation and figure out like, what are all the expectations people might have. And how do we, how do we subvert them? How do we kind of have a fresh approach, new take to, to the proceedings and kind of just kept building with that in mind and that approach.

MATT:  I remember when, when Seamus was like, Hey, you know what, what if we went back in time? And I’m like, what, like two years before? He’s like, he’s like, he’s like maybe like 150. Love it.

KATIE:  So really what you’re saying is that Matt Barr just caused an existential crisis for you, like he does for the rest of us.

KATHERINE:  It makes perfect sense.

KATIE:   I don’t know what waking up every morning looking like that is like, I can’t, I can’t relate.

GREG: Oh, terrible.

HOST:  So next up, thank you so much, Jamie. Next we have Rick Bentley and on deck is going to be Vlada Gelman.

RICK:  Thank you. Can you hear me? Hey, Katherine, two-part question. First off, following up on that previous question, how do you see Abby as sort of setting the, the bar or for the legacy of Walker to follow her? And secondly, you seem to be always attracted to roles that aren’t set in just a modern-day person. I mean, they’re, they’re costume roles, they’re different time per-, those sort of thing. Is that something you’re attracted to or, or are casting people just see you in those roles?

KATHERINE:  You know, it’s interesting you say that because for years when they ask an actor the question, you know, what’s your dream role? I would always say, a period piece, you know, put me in a corset and a hoop skirt and I’m a, I’m a happy girl. And I guess manifestation works cause here I am. But no it’s, it really is an honor to kind of do something entirely different. And some, I love that somewhere in the CW verse, I’m Stephen Amell’s daughter 20 years in the future, but also Jared Padalecki’s great, great, great, great grandmother. Works for me. [LAUGHS] But somebody out that timeline and I’m, I’m very, very much can’t wait to hear.

But no, when it came to this character and this role in particular, it’s not necessarily something I look for it, it just sort of happened to be what fell into my lap. You know, I’m always attracted to characters that are challenging and that have interesting stories to tell. And this was that. You know, we read the pilot and Seamus had created such a wonderful world of characters that still felt as though it was akin to the world of Walker, but something new and something fresh in a genre that held so much nostalgia and so much familiarity for so many people.

So it’s a new opportunity kind of give a new look at a part of history that a lot of people feel they know. Also, I do have big boots to fill with the Walker legacy that our lovely Mr. Padalecki has set out for us.

RICK:  Thank you.

JARED:  She just meant literally bigger, I have big feet. That’s all she meant by it.

HOST:  Next up we have Vlada Gelman and on deck is Damian Holbrook. Go ahead Vlada.

VLADA:  Hi everyone. Thank you so much for doing this. I wanted to ask a little bit more about Hoyt, because obviously we saw a version Hoyt on the original Walker series. So can you talk about how this Hoyt differs or compares to that Hoyt. And Matt, how did that kind of inform your performance?

MATT:  Yeah, you know, I always thought of the modern day Hoyt as like a golden retriever with an unloaded gun. And 1800’s Hoyt is maybe like a, like a German shepherd, you know, he’s, he’s nice until you cross him. And then he is, he’s gonna bite. 1800’s Hoyt’s more dangerous. I think in the wild west you kind of had to be to survive. So I wanted to see that sort of DNA in him. But I also liked the idea that you can’t really outrun your fate. And so, there was that consistent kind of recklessness in the Rawlins’ DNA that just, you know, as we meet Hoyt 150 years later, they’re still, you know, still trying to figure things out and get in his own way. Um, and they’re equally charming, aren’t they? I mean, they have to be right? (Very charming)

KATHERINE:   It’s true. It’s hard to compare. There’s no comparison. That Rawlins’ charm is genetic, that’s for sure.

PHILEMON:  It’s, it’s a thing.

MATT:  Yeah. I wanted to, I want to differentiate them, but also, you know, feel very much that same kind of core bloodline there.

VLADA:  Thank you.

HOST:  Thanks, Vlada.  So next up will be Damian Holbrook. And then on deck we have Josiah Soto. Damian, go ahead.

DAMIAN:  Hey everybody. Um, so it’s good to see everyone. And I want to know about cowboy camp. And did the producers go and participate as well?

(Overlapping chatter)

PHILEMON:  They were there in spirit.

KATIE:  I’m the only one now.

PHILEMON:  Cowboy camp was fun.

GREG:  I’m waiting to do it with Katie Finley and she hasn’t kind of responded back.

KATIE:  You and I have a, have a talk to have.  I, so just, just to put this out in the open, I told Seamus that if I didn’t ride a horse by Episode 5, I was walking off the show. I am now the only person who was not ridden a horse. And I think I’m gonna trade it for a pony, cause I didn’t know we had ponies until a week ago and I love them.

KATHERINE:  They are adorable. But they’re twins, aren’t they?

KATIE:  Talk to a real person. Don’t talk to me.

DAMIAN:  So how was, how was cowboy camp? Who excelled?

PHILEMON:  Uh, we all did.

LAWRENCE:  I was gonna walk off the show yesterday, but then I decided not to, because they finally allowed me to go to cowboy camp.  They finally did.

KATIE:  I lost my only ally.

(Overlapping chatter)

KATIE:  You were my only person.

LAWRENCE:  We’ll go, we’ll go riding next week.

KATHERINE:  Also did enjoy cowboy camp with Justin.

MATT:  I think our first day at cowboy camp, we’re all like saddling up. And then everyone’s like, where’s Justin and he’s like hauling ass, you know, just loping with this horse [OVERLAPPING].

He’s already on top of a mountain.

MATT:  In your element.

JUSTIN:  This is when the hair grew. It just grew.

MATT:  That’s right. That’s right.

KATHERINE:  No, cowboy camp was a lot of fun. You know, we all had, I had a very different experience than most the other guys. I had to learn how to ride with Justin, with Matt, backwards on a horse with Matt, for the pilot. And then now, Abby has her own horse. And that whole arc has been a really interesting relationship getting to watch all of these guys do such amazing things and then joining the team myself.

MATT:  It’s kind of bonding for us too. You know, we all, we all were getting to know each other, you know, as we’re starting this journey together, hopefully for many years. And getting out there, riding together just was pretty special.

KATHERINE:  And there’s nothing like it. I mean the office that we have, being our town is just the most beautiful place in the world.

MATT:  Yeah.

PHILEMON:  And there are some beautiful shots on those horses. And I gotta give a shout out to Rainman. Thank you so much.

(Overlapping chatter)

GEORGE:  And T for being a butthead for trying to buck me off all the time.

KATIE:  I would too. Any of us would.

MATT:  You know, Philly… Nicholas… Philly, Nicholas Cage said Rainman tried to kill him in one movie.

GREG:  Oh!

MATT: You, you love him, so… Oh, Rainman loves

(Overlapping chatter)

GREG:  That’s A true story.

PHILEMON:  Nicholas, if you are listening, Rainman is great.

MATT:  He is good.

PHILEMON:  Okay? Thank you.

(Overlapping chatter)

KATIE:  My horse is also great.

GREG:  What horse?

KATHERINE:  Thank you.

HOST:  So thank you very much, Damian, I appreciate it. Next up is Josiah and on deck is Luaine Lee. Go ahead Josiah.

MATT:  Josiah, you around.

JUSTIN:  Thank you, Josiah. I’ll take that question. Uh, so I think when we start…

(Overlapping chatter)

JOSIAH:  I’m so sorry. Can you hear me? I’m so sorry, I don’t know why it was glitching like that, but thank you so much for letting me ask a question. Um, I just kind of wanted to ask more like of a general question to, like I guess, like the entire cast there’s a lot of like, I guess, conversation about method acting or just different methods actors take to, I guess prepare for their certain roles.  I guess just like how different was it for each of you to, I guess just prepare and also like what steps did you take, I guess, to like, just in advance, if that makes sense.

JUSTIN:  As you can see I’m in my wardrobe.

(Overlapping chatter)

KATHERINE:  Jokes aside, for us as a, as a group, at least, what I’ve felt is such a comradery. You know, we really have built this community together personally and among our characters. And I, I think you see that on screen. You know, all of us genuinely enjoy working together and genuinely enjoy finding these character relationships and bringing them to life and seeing how they grow and change. And that’s been the most fun for me is, you know, diving into a time that’s so foreign to all of us.

MATT:  I think sometimes you work from the inside out. And I think with our show too, like we were talking about earlier, the wardrobe, you walk onto our set, which is like this Western town, you know, in New Mexico. It’s beautiful and you’re, there’s horses and there’s goats and there’s, you know, all these, these beautiful background actors. And it’s like, you’ve time-traveled back in time. So it’s very easy to just walk right into that character and, it’s, or maybe it’s a crutch. I don’t know.

PHILEMON:  No, I found the wardrobe and the setting…

KATHERINE:  Special group of people.

JUSTIN:  Yeah. The wardrobe and the setting definitely informs, you know, I think how we’re working in this show in particular. Like Greg said earlier, and Matt just said. It’s like, if we’re doing it in our daily clothes, it’s just not really gonna work. It’s kind of hard to get in the head space. Um, but for me personally, what I’ve loved about this cast is, if I come to them and want to talk about our relationships in the show, or whatever it is, and everyone’s extremely open, you don’t always get that. Some people are very closed off and, or maybe they don’t make time. But everyone’s been amazing when it comes to, you know, meeting up. “Let’s talk about, you know, where are we coming from? How do you feel about this?” And, and it’s extremely valuable and I appreciate it.

PHILEMON:  Agreed, agreed. I mean, you know, it’s, I count it as a joy really to just work off of all of you. Because it is so nice and everybody’s just so good at their job, you know? I mean, no words, no words.

KATIE:  I think that we also, I don’t know if anybody’s deep enough into the internet to know what a head canon is. It, our head cannons for each other on this show, are we could write a whole extra show about how excited we all are to hang out. And when, like we realized uh… before Justin and I had ever met on the show, we were taking one prom photo per official photo shoot, until we met on the show. Like, we’re all so excited to be here together. And we write little storylines for each other, with each other constantly, and poor Seamus is like, “All right, guys, come on, like I’m writing an actual television program, can you calm down.”

MATT:  You know, for years I’ve been trying to find excuses, not to shower as much. So…

PHILEMON:  That is, that is very true. No, that is very true.

MATT:  I’m a method actor now.

PHILEMON:  Yeah, you are, yeah you are.

Can we go back to the fact that… I don’t know if anyone noticed…

GREG: The bond that we all had from day one is a very special relationship that we’ve all developed. And it just creates this, this really safe space where there’s a lot of trust where we can all be really vulnerable and kind of experiment and go the distance. And just this support of all of it really allows for a, you know, very experimental-type safe space, which helps a lot. Especially, you know, playing evil where I, I kind of have to turn it on and off.  Here comes the hand…

PHILEMON:  I was gonna say, I’m gonna cover your mouth.

KATIE:  Greg’s evil in real life. So it helps.

GREG:  I’M, I’m nothing like the character, so there’s gotta be, completely the opposite. I’m like a, a boy, like four-year-old goofy…

KATIE:  Greg’s a Great Dane puppy.

PHILEMON:  Me and Katie can actually, you know, prove that Greg is nothing like his character.

KATIE:  Yeah. I have, I have a bunch of blackmail materials.

GREG:  So that, that you know, safe space to be able to turn on and off like that and, and completely go outta my skin around all these beautiful people is, is very special. Yeah. It’s just so…  Way too much love here.

KATIE:  Everybody touch Greg. Everybody touched Greg.

GREG:  It’s such a joy, it’s, it’s such a joy to be working with everyone here.

KATHERINE:  No, but it’s true. The world of the west is not always the most happy place to be, for lack of a better word. And to have this group of people just sort of carry each other through emotionally on those days where we have several emotional scenes stacked together and, and these things that we, we feed off of each other’s energy and, and the commitment to the character and the commitment to the story. And it’s really a beautiful, wonderful place to work.

KATIE:  It is, she’s right.

LAWRENCE:  I also think like character-wise for all of our characters, we’re all going through like the same kind of thing. Like everyone’s trying to find themselves in this town, like, we’re all trying to find our identity. We’re all like starting off, like on a fresh start, like having new beginnings, like every single character. And I think that’s what, like brings us together too.

PHILEMON:  Agreed, community.

GREG:  It’s evolving. It’s evolving.

PHILEMON:  Community.

HOST:  Next up we have Luaine Lee and on deck will be Bruce Miller. Go ahead, Luaine.

LUAINE:  Yes, it’s actually Lou-Ane. Uh, I’d like to ask Seamus and then Jared, there is a Renaissance of westerns. Where do you think that started and why?

SEAMUS:  You want to go first Texan? Or do you want, you want the…

JARED:  Uh, I’ll defer to the boss and then I’ll chime in.

SEAMUS:  Yeah, I mean, I don’t know. I, I, I grew up, my dad loved westerns, so I, I watched westerns with him, and it was more interesting of like, which ones did my mom like? And just like, come at it more than like just the ones that dad liked. So I always had like a little bit of like, instead of just Butch Cassidy, what’s like McCabe and Mrs. Miller. What’s the little Western that’s a little off? And so I always loved them, the, the, the popular ones and the, you know, the obscure ones, One-Eyed Jacks, I think is one of the best westerns ever made, not many people talk about. So I think it always stayed with me. And I think it stayed with a lot of, a lot of folks, like creators and just people who, you know, rewatched ones. And I don’t know why it went dormant. Um, but obviously there’s Deadwood and gentleman by the name Taylor Sheridan, who kind of helped the revival. But, at the time, I think, I think there wasn’t a fresh take.

SEAMUS:  It’s kinda what we were talking about earlier. I think part of the reason was we’d seen a lot of the same things like over and over again. So I, I think the revival kind of started. I mean, it, it was funny cause when Anna and I were talking about it and we looped in Jared, it was, there was a little bit of like, they’re never gonna bite. No one’s gonna do a Western. Um, and then a couple shows came out and just changed the landscape. Um, and, you know, The Harder They Fall came out and, and kind of just was a big splash. So I think, to me, I think it went dormant because no one had figured out, how do we come at it from a different way? And that’s why we say remix. It’s not a remix of history at all. We’re shining a light at history with, that was there, voices that are there. Margins of history that just wasn’t told.

It’s a remix of how it’s told – the filmmaking, the storytelling, how, how we cast the show. So, I think that’s, that’s what kind of helped the resurgence for this show. And I think that’s what’s helping the resurgence of, not just TV, but film, is like everyone’s coming at like, what haven’t we seen before? What are different voices we haven’t highlighted, and storylines, we, we kind of, haven’t seen before? And maybe starting with the expectation, the tropes, and then like, I was talking about earlier, figuring out ways to subvert it or twist it, or go for the unexpected, or go for something that’s a little uncomfortable and being patient with the storytelling to get someplace that we haven’t, haven’t seen. I think fundamentally that, that was the biggest thing.

JARED:  Yeah. I think yeah, I, too kind of echo and, and go off on a bit of a tangent possibly. Well, first and foremost, I want to say

(Overlapping chatter)

SEAMUS:   Jared, a tangent?

JARED:  Seamus, I also love One-Eyed Jacks. I know you you’re upset that people don’t talk about it. Uh, we can talk about it. But I think you know, Seamus obviously, Seamus and Anna had the Western idea. And Seamus really spearheaded that. And I think, not just westerns, but I think genre stories in general. You know, I came from a, a show for 15 years, that was a sci-fi genre. And I think there’s a bit more freedom in telling a genre show. You know, you see this resurgence of superhero shows, and thrillers and sci-fi, and now westerns. And I think there’s some freedom that the, the actors and the writers are afforded. Because if you were to write some scenes like we have in Wendy that take place in 2022, people would be like, “Nah, this is BS,” and change the channel.

And so I think another part of it and kind of touch on what Kat was talking about earlier, Katherine, you know, the, the Old West wasn’t necessarily comfortable. And I guess I would say, you know, a version of that is it, it wasn’t conducive to comfort. And so there’s something about seeing characters in, in an unfamiliar situation, persevere and, and work to, to keep finding who they are, like Lawrence is talking about, and I think a lot of the, the cast has talked about. And I think that was something that really struck me during the casting process. You know, the, the writers, not only do they, do they create the road trip, you know, they say, Hey, you need to go from point A to point B, but they create the roadmap that it’s on in the first place.

And so you get some actors and actresses that come in and they get from point A to point B. May see somebody else come in and they go in a direction that you weren’t really expecting and get to point B faster, or more efficiently or better, or more emotionally. And so I think to, to a person, our cast, they came in and they were the character. And I think it was, I’ve never heard of a show that got every number-one pick. Always somebody has a conflict or, you know, they’re still tied into another show, they’re guest-starring on or something. But each and every single person, once we were watching all the videos, were like, oh, that person is already that person. I didn’t even see that.

And I think Seamus and Anna and the rest of the gang felt the same. But going back kind of closing the loop. Genre shows, specifically have a broader palette with which to play from. And so the Western, you know, it is making a resurgence and I think that’s wonderful.

LUAINE:  Thank you.

HOST:  Thank you, Luaine. And thanks for, thanks for correcting me. Next up is Bruce Miller, and then on deck is Bryan Cairns.

BRUCE:  This is for the minority actors. What kind of responsibility do you feel in giving a new kind of performance, or a new kind of portrayal of minorities in the Old West? And you know, how, how do you deal with that? It must be very difficult. And then I have a follow-up for Matt. So if I could.

PHILEMON:  Okay.  Um… it is a heavy responsibility, because, not all the time have our characters been showcased properly in westerns. And nine times outta 10, we do get the shorter end of the stick. And it’s unfortunate, but with Seamus and Jared, our writers, everybody’s doing a great job at showcasing us fully. And I’ll tell a little story and then I’ll let you go. Um, it was a, a young black kid on set, he was one of the extras for the day, and his name was Elijah. And he was just so excited to be there. He was just like, “I watched Walker and I, I watched Walker, Texas Ranger, and I’m a big thing of westerns.” And I just saw the excitement in his eyes. And that’s the reason why I do it. Because I want a little boy to see themselves and say, I can be that. Cause when I was growing up, I didn’t see that in westerns. I didn’t see that in a lot of media. So for me it is a very rewarding feeling to be here and to do this with these amazing people. That’s it.

LAWRENCE:  Yeah. And the fact that we can even just flesh out these kinds of characters, like back in the 1870s, like in, in a Western is like we, we never had the opportunity to do that. Just, just showing that we exist is already something in itself. And, yeah. You know, like I, I just feel like people normally would see a character that looks like me in a Western and, and you know, you would, it’s just, it’s just natural to look down upon a character like that. You know, we were never perceived in a, I guess in a cool light. And so just to, to exist in a way. Like even for Kai to be like, you know what, I’m gonna embrace this accent. I’m gonna make this accent cool. Like I’m gonna make this like character like soulful. You know, it’s a, it’s a, it’s just a cool opportunity. And it’s like a, it’s a huge responsibility, but um, it’s so much fun and I’m just so excited to be here.

PHILEMON:  Wow, don’t cry.

GREG:  Don’t cry.

JUSTIN:  No, I could echo a lot of what they just said. Um, Native people obviously have always kind of been around the Western genre, and I think, I think people have come to expect them in that genre. And I, and I, I think they need, they deserve to have a place in there. So for me, it’s, it’s that I just wanna make sure we’re doing it in a way that is respectful, authentic, that makes this character feel like a complex human that people could relate to, and not just there to serve plot or serve another character. And a big part of the responsibility for me is to treat the Apache language and the Apache culture, with the respect it deserves. It’s, it’s one of the few times we’ve seen this language on screen.

JUSTIN:  So the responsibility to do that right is, is heavy. And you know, I’m, I’m always doing my best, and I’m always nervous, you know, that, that people will, will kind of just not see the weight of that. So I hope people see how important it is that we’re hearing this, this language and people are gonna hear it all across the country, and maybe across the world and be incredible. And it’s, it’s a blessing. So I’m just thankful and, and I’m thankful to everyone behind it and, and everyone that’s supportive here, and, it’s exciting. It’s exciting. So I’ll rise to it., hopefully, and I’ll do my best.

PHILEMON:  Oh, not hopefully. You’re doing, you’re doing it.

LAWRENCE:  A quick one for Matt.

(Overlapping chatter)

GABRIELA:  I just want to add that, the US, at the end of the day, is made up of different cultures. That’s what we are. And the fact that there’s so many stories that have never really been told is interesting. So, I think that’s what’s so exciting about the show, is that we’re able to show so many different cultures that existed during that time, and everyone’s stories, and you know, that’s what makes the US the US. So why, why not show it?

SEAMUS: I, I wanna hear what Katie has to say, if, she was about to say something too. But I wanted to give a shout out to Larry Teng really quick. (Yes, yes) You know, when we, we pitched it and you know, you go through the process, and when the pilot goes, you’re obviously looking for a director. And I had worked with Larry before, and back of my brain, I, I knew, I knew he was kind of a perfect match, not just because he’s a great filmmaker, he’s, he’s just a solid human being, and he’s a logistical genius, which we needed to pull off. But, you know, it, it was, it was a tough thing again, at that time, like when we were pitching in getting into the pilot, it was very tough to kind of sell a Western. And, and Larry was onboard right away, And he was very excited when, when we met and talked about it.

And I hope he doesn’t kill me if he ever hears this or whatever, but he got the vision and he just knew how to like sharpen the vision and expand the vision. Uh, but I remember asking him, I was like, when we were out there in New Mexico and filming, I was like, “I never asked, like, why, why did you really want to do it?” And, and it was tough for him to even answer, based on everything that like Philly and Lawrence is saying, just like, “I haven’t seen a Western like this and I’ve been waiting.” And, and he couldn’t even finish his sentence. And it just meant a lot. And, and kind of like, you know, Justin’s saying, just that, almost burden of responsibility of, we know we’re not gonna get everything right, but we’re gonna, we’re gonna try, we’re gonna fucking try.

And we’re gonna leave it all on the field and, and do our best. But that was kind of like, that moment was like a little bit of a rallying call. And it just kind of spread between like how we talked to crew, how we were putting together the crew, how, how we talked to cast, we were putting, to how we approach the story, everything. But it was, it was a huge moment in realizing like what, what we we’re about to embark upon, no doubt.

KATHERINE:  We were so lucky to have Larry, because whenever you’re starting a series, you have to have that person who has the vision and who can be there to connect what’s on the page to what we’re all doing emotionally to what’s visually happening with the camera. And that was Larry, from the music to the camera, I mean, he had paintings on his vision board. He had all of these things that brought all of the elements of what the West is, all that nostalgia, but also added color and depth and interest and intrigue and all of this complexity, both in the way it was shot, to the way it was designed, to the way we played all of the moments. And it really added so much to make the pilot special. And that has kind of spurred us on, for lack of a better word, to continue on that. Thank you. I love puns. To continue on that, on that journey and on the trail with all these lovely folks.

GREG:  Also his leadership as well, was what really set the tone and set the bar. And yeah, Larry left us with something to, to carry on forward. Um, and we miss him. We miss him a lot.

(Overlapping chatter)

SEAMUS:  He’ll be back.

GREG:  What, what he, what he started, he catalyzed something that was…

MATT:  Justin just goes, “he’s not dead, you guys.”

KATHERINE:  He’s alive

(Overlapping chatter)

GREG:  He touched all of us. So, you know, and we all miss him. We all miss him. Thank you for that question, that was a great question.

LAWRENCE:  Who’s Larry?

KATIE:  You’re the worst person I’ve ever met in my life, and I want you to know that in front of all these people.

GREG:  Come on, Lawrence.

HOST:  You have a follow-up for Matt as well?

BRUCE: Yeah. I just have a quick one for Matt. And Matt, is there something that a viewer should look for that they would see that would connect the two characters?

MATT:  Oh my gosh. They’re, I mean, like I said, I think they’re, they’re 90% of the… [JUSTIN POINTS TO BEARD]

KATIE:  Have you seen this? Have you seen this? (The beard)

GREG:  You woke up like that.

BRUCE:  There’s not a gesture or anything that you would say, oh yeah, that’s something he would do?

MATT:  Yeah. There’s a, there’s a, a wink. I think Hoyt has this sort of, he, he’s so amused by

(Overlapping chatter)

PHILEMON:  Do it, do it.

Make him do it.

MATT:  Ready? [WINKS]

Perfectly executed.

GREG:  It got hot in here.

MATT:  I think there’s a, I think there’s this little, there’s a little swagger, the way that Hoyt walks

(Overlapping chatter)

KATIE:  It’s a walk that I can’t do cause

(Overlapping chatter)

PHILEMON:  You’ll see it on behind the scenes stuff.

JARED:  There are also some pretty great Easter eggs as part of the dialogue that Seamus threw in there that we can’t wait for the audience to see as they air, especially our crossover audience. Um, so yeah, I think, I think Matt is doing a great job of gingerly dancing around it, but there’s certainly a nod to the OG Hoyt. Or the, I guess it would be the new gangster. The old gangster.

MATT:  Who’s the OG, Jared?

JARED:  I guess you’re the OG now.

MATT:  That’s right. That’s right.

KATHERINE:  Matt Barr is the OG. That’s, that’s, end of story.

BRUCE:  Thank you so much.

HOST:  Thank you, Bruce. Next up is Bryan Cairns and on deck is Terrell Royster.

BRYAN CAIRNS:  Hey guys, this question is for Katherine.  Abby could have shot sheriff Davidson, but didn’t. Can you talk about what her sense of justice is? And in what ways is she redefining it as things are thrown at her?

KATHERINE:  You know, with Abby, I think she’s a woman who’s a bit out of her time. You know, she is very well educated, very intelligent, but still somehow finds her in a world where she knows nothing. She has to completely start over her entire life, literally, you know, is gone in the first 15 minutes of our show, and stumbles into this town that is also finding itself. And it’s, it’s such an interesting opportunity to see a woman in this time period have such agency, and to be able to start over on a life that is for her, and to create her own destiny, while also trying to take revenge for the death of the love of her life. And try and find some sense of justice in a world where justice is always a shade of gray.

But that is one thing I love about all of these characters is that I think everyone has their own sense of justice, and their own drive, and their own way of moving through the world that they think is right, and something that they’re striving for, and something that they’re hiding. So, you know, as the series unfolds, we get to see the different kinds of justice that happen in the West and the different ways in which these characters can go about accomplishing that.

BRYAN:  Thank you.

HOST:  Thanks Bryan. Next up is Terrell Royster and on deck is Jennifer Griffin.

TARA:  Hey guys, can you hear me? (Yes, loud and clear) All right, cool. This question goes out to the executive producers, obviously watching the pilot episode of Walker independence and, you know as Katherine said earlier, The CW verse at this point. Obviously there are actors in this show that have been in other shows. Are we in surprise for other, other actors, referring to Mark Shepherd that have been in other shows that we’re gonna see as the show goes on? Either this, either regular Walker, or Walker independence?

SEAMUS:  Yes.

JARED:  If they say yes, then I can say yes. So yes.

TARA:  So those will be surprise guest stars.

SEAMUS:  Yeah. Come on. You don’t want me to give away, right?

PHILEMON:  No, no.

JARED:  There are some people that there, there are some people from shows that also were on CW or WB back in the day, that are just perfect for certain roles. And I know that with Seamus and Anna’s knowledge of kind of the CW/WB lexicon, they probably have a few different actors in mind, they’re writing a few different things, and we’ll be sure to, to try and reach out to them, continue to reach out to them if, if the opportunity arises.

TARA:  Cool. Thanks.

HOST:  Next up is Jennifer Griffin and on deck is Briar. Go ahead, Jennifer.

JENNIFER:  Hi guys. Uh, thanks for being here today. Uh, my question is for Anna and Katherine. And I have a quick follow-up then for anyone who wants to answer it. Um, but basically we don’t often see westerns that are told from a female perspective. And I was wondering if you could talk to that a little bit.

ANNA: I think just, just to jump in, I think first and foremost, when Seamus and I were talking about this, it’s as, as Seamus was saying, like watching the westerns with his dad and, and paying attention to what his mom also liked, I think is a big part of it. It’s like, we know we had this great world in Walker, and wanting to move forward and telling, you know, a remix with this spin on it. And what’s, what’s another point of view. And Walker is such a legacy story, obviously this is as well. And so, you know, we wanted to, to go back and tell it from that, from that origin essentially.

KATHERINE:  I’ll follow up on that. You know, my, my favorite thing about my job is that I get to be a storyteller. And I think, you know, there are a few story tropes that are told over and over again. But, what makes stories interesting is when you find a new perspective, and a part of that story, or her perspective on that story that has not yet been told. Or has not yet been told in a certain way. And that’s what we get to do with, with Walker Independence. It starts with Abby. It starts with this woman who has to rebuild her life from the ashes of her expectations.

And then it brings in all of these other characters in this town that’s building itself up as well. And it allows for us to show what we hope is a more historically accurate version of the west than perhaps we’ve been able to see before on screen.

JENNIFER:  That’s great. Thank you, and I have a follow-up question. I don’t know who wants to answer this question, but what are you guys most excited for fans to see this season?

KATHERINE:  These people.

PHILEMON:  This right here.

KATHERINE:  All of this, all of these characters, all of the relationships, there’s so much, and so many layers that I think there’s, as Katie said, there’s so many head canons and things that we all want to explore even more, so hopefully we’ll be able to do so for the next several years.

MATT:  I think, I think a lot of the, the magic in the show is the interactions between these characters and how, I mean, story in general is about change and how people, you know, how characters reinvent themselves. And so, it’s fun to see how we ping-pong off each other. And, and the, the chemistry is so different between each of our, you know, our, our cocktails, I guess if you will.

PHILEMON:  Yeah. And finish each other sandwiches.

KATIE: I’m sorry. I’ll give you space.

KATHERINE:  But sometimes we do finishes other’s (sandwiches) sandwiches.

MATT:  So westerns are, are just badass. There’s horses, horse chases, bank robberies, gunfights, romance.

PHILEMON:  Oh, why’d you say romance like that?

(Overlapping chatter)

MATT:  I love romance.

KATIE:  Let, it be known today, there is romance, that’s true.

MATT:  I’m a lover, not a fighter. You know?

KATIE:  That’s the first thing I tell people about you.

PHILEMON:  That’s true.

KATIE:  So tell people to stop asking me about you.

GREG: We’re all, we’re all learning it as we go along too. So…

EVERYONE PUTS THEIR MICS IN GREG’S FACE

GREG:  But, but every, every time we get these scripts for each episode, it’s like, we’re so blown away about how all the plot points shift. And we, we, you know, we’ve discussed the, the direction of each… What are you guys doing? Get outta here. The direction of each character and, and we’ve, you know, want to get some insight on it, to try and hone it all out. And then there’s shifts in the way it’s presented by the writers. I think we need a shout-out to the writers and how incredible they present all of these plot twists and these, you know, evolution of each character.

GREG:  So if I, I mean, if I’m blown away every time I read the script, I can’t imagine what viewers are gonna think. Cause it’s like Christmas morning every time you get a script, a new episode.

KATHERINE:  And I think too, we’re also proud of this community that we’ve built, both on camera and behind the lens. Every single person on this set is so passionate about telling the story and about the detail and every element of bringing this show to life. And I’m looking at a photo of our town right now, and thinking about the costumes, to the sets, to the props, to every single element. It really brings it together and creates this sort of visceral magic for all of us.

JARED:  Yeah. I think the interplay, what I’m excited about, the interplay between the cast, for sure. The storylines are incredible. And as a lot of the journalists and a lot of the cast and other producers that are here know already, TV is a giant machine. Making a TV episode is hundreds of people over weeks and/or months, long days and long nights to bring you 42 minutes every week, if we can. And so, sometimes you have to just have somebody there to get the job done. You know, somebody who might go, “they went that way.”

Here on this show, every single character could have their own show. No, one’s there just to progress the storyline. They’re all exciting and intriguing and kind of touch on what Matt touched on. Their interplay with each other is different. They’re not just this person every single time. If they’re talking to this character from the town, they have this relationship. And then it’s very obvious what the relationship is with that person, and so on and so forth. Um, and so I’ve, I’ve really enjoyed, you know, I see the scripts obviously before they get filmed, but getting to watch some dailies and, some of the earlier cuts of the episodes. I’ve been like, I didn’t even, I didn’t think of that. Like how did they figure that out? So I’m just, you know, bravo all around from top to bottom.

JENNIFER:  That’s fantastic. Thanks so much, guys.

HOST:  Thank you, Jennifer. We’ll get to Briar in just a second, but I also wanted to find out what Gabriela thinks about, you know, women in westerns. And I mean, she plays this really unique character also and would love to hear her, her thoughts on that.

GABRIELA:  Yeah. I mean, as Kat said, I feel like you never get to see the perspective of women. And I think what’s interesting is that all three of our characters seem to be very modern-day women in, in a western. My character Lucia is, I think trying to find herself, and she comes from a very traditional Mexican family. And gender roles in Hispanic families, there’s the machismo and there’s the marianismo. And women are often taught to self-deny, and it’s family, it’s family first, which I love, I love family. But I think that there’s a cool journey of her trying to find herself and her independence and where she fits in this world. And that’s different than what you, I think would normally see in a Western. And it’s also very modern. It’s a cool, modern twist on, I guess what would be traditional.

(Overlapping chatter)

PHILEMON:  Well said, I love Gabby too.

HOST:  Next up is Briar. And then on deck is Margie Barron. Go ahead, Briar.

BRIAR:  Hi. Um, my question is for everybody. I want to know, what is a historical event or moment, or even something that you’ve seen in westerns before that you loved, what you love to see explored in Independence?

PHILEMON:  Heavy question.

(Overlapping chatter)

PHILEMON:  Okay, put me on the spot. Um, you know, for me, I, I really loved The Harder They Fall, and I’m glad that Seamus brought that up. Like everybody can tell you, I watch it probably six times a day. But I just loved that. They brought characters to life that didn’t have light, that were played by different races, and now they’re being more authentic. So I, I love that, and I would love for that to continue. But I have to go, because I gotta go to set and I gotta film.

JARED:  Love you, Philly!

(Overlapping chatter)

KATHERINE:  Mine is a bit of a lighter version. I grew up in the Midwest. I’ve always loved, you know, I grew up playing the Oregon Trail computer game. I’ve always loved this idea of putting your entire life on a wagon and going out west. But there’s such a romanticized idea of it. In the pilot, we actually had a historically accurate-sized covered wagon for part of it, and put in, you know, a piano, and a bunch of stuff that would’ve been their life: a bed, a bunch of clothing, books. It was tiny.

You put myself and one other actor in there, you couldn’t even fit the camera inside. We had to find creative ways to go from the outside. And it really just puts perspective to what people went through in that time, just to even get around.

KATIE:  I have one. I haven’t, I haven’t done a very good job. I’ve just been sitting here cracking wise. And I feel like everybody’s been waiting for me to do this. The west was queer. It was queer. It was all kinds of people, all kinds of gender presentation, all kinds of… And, and I think that’s something we see so rarely. Cowboys lived together in domestic marriages that were sometimes romantic and weren’t. People ran away to the frontiers so that queer women could marry their wives and masquerade as men, because women couldn’t own property. So they bound and bought a damn ranch.

And I, I am so looking forward to the opportunity to explore it, both through my own queerness and, and the queerness of others, which sounds like a hilarious thing to say. But, but I think that, yeah, it’s something that’s not often touched on, sort of the, the wildness of frontier self-discovery and the kind of refuge that was available for people. I mean, not only of different sexualities and genders, but of, of cultures. To find peace or adventure or acceptance or escape or respite from the societal norm of the time.

And obviously in westerns that are a bunch of old, straight, white guys, you’re, you’re not gonna see that. So, I’m really delighted to have been given the opportunity to, to get in there and wiggle around a little bit. I’m using weird verbs this morning, and I’m not sorry about it at all.

JUSTIN:   Wiggle, wiggle.

KATIE:  Everybody hates me.

KATHERINE:  I can’t wiggle in the corset, I’m sorry.

KATIE:  You can wiggle like a paper doll. Justin, go.

JUSTIN:  Keep wiggling. I think for, for me, the historical part of it, that would be really interesting to see, is the reservation system at this time in history for native people, a lot of land is getting taken away and they were getting forced into, either smaller parts of their own land or getting moved to completely new places that they know nothing about. They know nothing about the, the land, what grows there, what food’s there, and they were expected to thrive. Um, so that could be a really interesting to get thing to get into Seamus.

SEAMUS:  We will.

JUSTIN:  And, you know, I, I think, I think Calian’s character and his relationship with the town right now is, is a really cool thing that we’re exploring, because the landscape was changing so much at this time. And, and native people did interact as people came west. So, it’s, it’s been really fun to find these relationships and find truth in them, and it’s stuff we haven’t really seen in the past. So, you know, a lot of times what we, what we write, we have really clear examples of. And so I, I almost feel like we’re on a new frontier right now with this show, and exploring these relationships that I’ve never seen shown in TV and film. And I’m sure they’re out there somewhere, but I never had the opportunity to see that. So that’s been a really interesting part of this journey for me.

MATT:  Just real quick, like when, as the railroad moved west and these little towns sort of popped up, cause the railroad started to splinter, I always loved the idea of what they represented. Which was that American dream of like, you, you can make what you want in this world. You know, you can build your own life. And it is, it is what you make it. And people fought and died for it. And yet they still kept coming west, still came because of what that meant to people, to have the freedom, to define your own life. And so that sounds romantic and it’s… we, we’re still doing it today, I guess, you know?

KATHERINE:  Well, that’s exactly it. To follow onto what you were saying, you know, this story is such a, a classic story of a western, of people who are building their own lives and choosing their own independence. But it’s such an allegory for today. We’re at this point in the world where we have a chance to, in some ways, start over and in some ways reset. And I think getting to see a town go through that on such a small scale, on a network like The CW can be an example and an interesting allegory for our world today.

KATIE:  Well, because it also is the intersection of other people’s freedoms, right? Because you can hold a personal freedom, like sure, we’re going west. I want my own life. You get there, and suddenly your freedom is intersecting with the freedom of everybody who was already there. And there is, there is potential for, for damage and for harm, and watching how humans try, fail, try again to live peacefully with one another under various systems that sometimes, let’s be real, really don’t work, and sometimes do. Like there’s a lot of tension, and often tenderness involved in those interactions.

And I think that’s one of the, thematically, what a gigantic idea to then fold up in, you know, this little town full of people in the absolute middle of nowhere, who are all, like, many of them are experiencing each other, people like each other for, like literally the first time in their lives. There’s no YouTube, you know, you’re walking out in the middle of the desert all by yourself. So I think that, yeah, I, I agree with Kat that it is, it is sort of a, a microcosm of, of quite a, quite a, a contentious and broad thing about the world that we live in.

LAWRENCE:  I think another fun thing to explore, history-wise would be the Chinese exclusion act. And you know, at that time, like they just stopped allowing Chinese people to come to America and, and, you know, not even own any businesses. So like to, to experience that, to actually explore that, if we get there would be pretty awesome.

SEAMUS:  Yeah, just to piggyback off of everybody. I mean, we’re all saying the word change a lot, and we’re all saying the word identity. And, and, and I think, from day zero, day one onward, the idea of taking moments from history, you know, the railroad’s coming, we know, you know, Chinese Exclusion Act, different Native American tribes being forced into reservations. All these historical events are happening. And I always thought it was interesting to be like, what were the very small conversations in a town in the middle of nowhere that were happening before these huge events that we just read about in history books. And just kind of reducing it down to characters, and like focusing on like the emotional impact of that, and moments that we don’t necessarily think about when we’re in a history class.

Cause it’s called Independence for a reason, too. So it’s like, everyone’s trying to figure out like, who they are on their own while these massive events are happening and there’s this huge turning point of what the country was, what Texas was, what this town could be, and who these people are and how they’re gonna adapt. I think it’s just combining that, the historical backdrop of that, while being excited about building the characters in a way where they’re heading toward a certain direction, and then you, you flip it. You flip the script, you, you know, pull the rug out from under people and, and have some unexpected turn.

in the marriage of character and history, I always think that’s another thing, going back to what Jared was saying earlier. I think westerns can do that better than any other genre, you know, for all the obvious reasons. But I think the potential of that, we haven’t even tapped into yet.

HOST:  Thank you, Briar. And I do wanna get to Margie, if you’re still there. Margie, you’ll have to be our last question for today. If you didn’t get to get to your question, please feel free to email me, and we will do our best to get you answers. But Margie, go ahead and we will wrap up for today.

JARED:  And blame Katie.

MARGIE:  Thank you. I’m really excited about this. I love westerns. Uh, grew up on the, you know, the great TV era of, of TV westerns, Maverick, you know, Rifleman, A Man From Black Hawk, a little treasure in there. Anyway, Seamus talk about watching classic westerns with his dad. I, I want to tap into a few other people, Justin and, and Matt and anyone else who wants to chime in. Can you relate Walker independence with any of the classic westerns, whether, and you can combine them like, Dodge City with a touch of Lone Ranger, or High Noon with a touch of Maverick. What, is there any classic old Western that just has a wink and a nod that you see there in Independence?

MATT:  I see it more, I see it more with characters, you know? What was kind of cool about when Wyatt Earp and, and his brothers went to Tombstone, you know, what, what was cool was that these were like, they were kind of anti-law. If you remember, they were like gunslingers that became lawmen. And I think we have some of that DNA in our show. Um, I can’t talk too much about that maybe, but we will, we will see about how, you know, these, these towns were… What’s funny is that these sheriffs and these lawmen were actually, you know, outlaws at one point in time. Um, and we see that in a lot of those classical westerns, like, you know, Tombstone, to mention one.

JUSTIN:  I just love Chavez from Young Guns.  Like I, that’s the one Western I watch. I was like, yeah, him. The rest of ’em, you know, it’s like, you wanna be, you wanna be the guys from Tombstone, because they’re taking care of business. (Right). But for me, you know, I, I think we’re doing something different. Again, like I’ve said, if I, I don’t think I would relate to doing this character, or even agree to, if I thought there was something out there that I’d already seen before. Um, and I think that’s why we’re doing it.

MATT: I do see a, I see a lot of Matt Dillon in, in Augustus’ character that, that nobility, you know, his moral compass is right on target.

KATHERINE:  I mean, I would hazard to say, no. I think that’s our whole goal here, is to make something new. And to take a genre that yes, there’s elements of it. There’s characters, there’s the warm nostalgia of seeing, you know, a horse walking down a western street and women in these grand dresses, and a cow in Congress in the middle of town for no reason. Spoiler alert. But, [OVERLAPPING] a cow. But that’s what our goal is here, is to create a new perspective on this genre, and to create something that you haven’t seen before, and to shed light on things that are very uncommon in this genre. And, and, you know, yes, we will have homages to things throughout, but hopefully we can accomplish that.

KATIE:  I, I’m gonna say that Kate’s Blazing Saddles all by themselves. But other than that, yeah, that’s something I do find refreshing is that, you know, you can look back into a lot of classic westerns, but there are gonna be people who are misrepresented, insulted, left out completely. Um, so, you know, you can say that the, the spirit of High Noon walks around in everyone handling their problems without giving it away, holding the weight of the world on their shoulders, without, you know, joining in community, refusing to join in community until it’s a desperate situation.

But I, I see us as a Western about community, rather than separation or isolation or violence, per se. Even though, you know, lots of people ride horses through barns and do cool stuff, I’m not allowed to swear. Um, but, but yeah, I think, I think there is sort of a… a unique communal support and an emotional side to Walker Independence that that just sort of shifts it slightly away from most, most of the classic westerns that I’ve seen, which is a reasonable amount, I think. Don’t look at me like that.

JUSTIN:  Love you so much.

HOST:  Thank you, Margie. Thank you so much. And thank you to everyone. Thanks to all the press who joined us today. Thanks to everyone at The CW. Thank you for everyone behind the scenes who made this happen today. It was three different time zones and lots of people, we appreciate it. Also big thanks, not only to our cast and executive producers here, but also to Dan Linn, Lindsey Liberatore, Laura Terry, and Larry Teng. Also to Lawrence and Greg, and big shout-out to Philly who’s out there working already, to Gabriela and Katie and Katherine and Matt and Justin. Jared, thank you for being here. Anna, thank you for being here. Seamus, thank you so much. Once again, we will premiere on Thursday, October 6th on The CW at 9:00 PM. Hope everybody gets to finish watching all the episodes, if you didn’t get to. And wishing you a wonderful day. Thanks.

"Walker: Independence" key artMORE INFO: Trailer

Walker: Independence is an upcoming American television series developed by Anna Fricke for The CW. It is a prequel to the television series Walker, which also airs on The CW. The series stars Katherine McNamara in the lead role, along with Matt Barr as Hoyt Rawlins, with Greg Hovanessian, Lawrence Kao, Justin Johnson Cortez, Philemon Chambers, Katie Findlay, and Gabriela Quezada also starring.[1]

The series was ordered in May 2022[2] for a fall premiere, paired with its parent series in a Thursday time slot on October 6, 2022.

Pilot

Season 1 Episode 101
Airdate:

SERIES PREMIERE – In the late 1800s, Abby Walker (Katherine McNamara), an affluent and tough-minded Bostonian, embarks on a journey out west with her husband Liam (guest star Brandon Sklenar), when her husband is murdered before her eyes. After crossing paths with Calian (Justin Johnson Cortez), a curious Apache tracker, Abby arrives in the town of Independence, Texas, where she encounters diverse and eclectic residents running from their pasts, chasing their dreams, and keeping their own secrets, including Kate Carver (Katie

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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Cast of "Walker: Independence" on The CW

Interview with the cast of “Family Law”

TV Interview!

cast of Family Law on The CW

Interview with Victor Garber, Jewel Staite, Zach Smadu, Genelle Williams, Jory Randall and Susin Nielson of “Family Law” on The CW by Suzanne 9/29/22

I really love this cast, but I’m worried that the show’s writing is not as good as it should be. I believe they’ve made Jewel’s character too unlikable. We’ll see, I guess. This is a Canadian show, renewed for a third season, so it must already be popular up there.

It was a very fun panel with a lot of joking around. I really enjoyed it. I love Victor Garber from “Alias,” “The Flash” and “Legends of Tomorrow,” and Jewel Staite from “Firefly” and “Stargate: Atlantis.”

THE CW NETWORK

Family Law

Jewel Staite “Abigail Bianchi,” Victor Garber “Harry Svensson,”

Zach Smadu “’Daniel Svensson,” Genelle Williams, “Lucy Svensson,”

Jory Randall (Executive Producer), Susin Nielsen (Creator/Showrunner)

HOST:  Hello, and welcome to the virtual press panel for the CW’S new drama series, Family Law. We are excited to have Jewel Staite, Victor Garber, Zach Smadu, Genelle Williams, creator and showrunner season, Susin Nielsen and executive producer Jody Randall participating on the panel today. Family Law follows lawyer and recovering alcoholic Abigail Bianchi, struggling to put her career and family back together after hitting rock bottom. As a condition of her probation, Abby is forced to work at her estranged father, Harry’s firm, Svensson & Associates, and practice in family law for the first time, while figuring new relationships with half-brother, Daniel and half-sister, Lucy, whom she’s never met. The result is a dysfunctional family law firm operating to help other families with their own dysfunctions. Premiering Sunday, October 2nd at 8:00 PM, this is Family Law.

HOST:  Please welcome the cast and executive producers of Family Law. And as a reminder to press, if you’d like to ask a question, please click the “raise your hand” button and we will put you in the queue and call on you when it’s your turn. Um, on deck we have Jamie Ruby, and first up, we have Suzanne Lanoue.

SUZANNE:  Hi. Thanks for talking to us today. You guys are great.  I love the show. My question is for Victor and Jewel. Uh, can you tell us about your character’s father-daughter relationship and what it’s been like for you to play that?

VICTOR GARBER:  Well, Jewel can’t talk, so you, do you wanna, do you wanna give them a clue as to why, why I said that?

JEWEL STAITE:  Yeah. I, I have a really bad cold, but I sound worse than I feel.

VICTOR GARBER:  That’s good. Cause you sound terrible.

JEWEL STAITE:  I know. Really bad  [OVERLAPPING] Do you want me to talk, do you want me to talk first? [OVERLAPPING]

VICTOR GARBER:  Uh, hi. Nice of you to all be here. I can’t see you all, but I’m, I’m, I’m very excited that the show’s premiering on The CW. Um, I think it’s a great show that, the, the relationship between, Abigail and Harry is, is fraught, it’s fractured. And this is an attempt on, on both their parts to try to mend it. Um, and it’s, it’s, of course like all relationships, it takes more than you realize. And, and that is the thrust of the first… that is, that that’s the beginning, and it continues throughout the, the season. Uh, and it’s you know, it’s, it’s family law and in, in, in so many different ways. And they’re trying, they’re trying to find common ground, and they’re, they’re just not quite making it.

JEWEL STAITE:  Which is interesting because Abby and Harry are very similar [LAUGHS]. They’re both really stubborn. They both like to win the argument. They both love to argue. So the dynamic is, is fraught, but it’s also really interesting to play because there are so many similarities between the two them that they haven’t noticed yet, of course.

VICTOR GARBER:  They, they don’t notice that for quite some time. [LAUGHS]

SUZANNE:  All right, thank you. And you don’t sound so bad, Jewel.

JEWEL STAITE:  Aw. Thanks. See guys?

JORDY RANDALL:  She’s being polite.

HOST:  Okay. So, on deck we have Terrell Roister, and up now we have Karen Moul.

KAREN:   Hi. thank you so much everybody, for speaking with us today. Jewel, I hate to make you talk, but I have a question about Abby. Uh, as the, as the series opens in that first episode, I think on paper, Abby is, she’s abrasive, she’s in denial about her mistakes. She’s, on paper, she’s maybe a little hard to like, and yet she hits the screen and I’m instantly rooting for her. And I hope you could talk a little bit about what audiences will see in Abby in these early episodes.

JEWEL STAITE:  Um, first of all, that makes me feel so good. Because, initially when I started playing this role, I had this silly, you know, worry that she wouldn’t be likable. And then I realized in order to make her as authentic as possible, I had to throw that out the window. And it didn’t matter if she wasn’t likable or, you know, she just had to be as authentic as possible. Um, but she, she uses all of these coping mechanisms – the abrasiveness, the haughtiness, the overconfidence, her sense of humor to hide all of this hurt and this pain that she just simply doesn’t feel like dealing with. That is not something she’s interested in facing for a really, really long time. So it takes her quite a journey to admit any sort of mistake. And, and she’s only willing to do it, to get her family back and get her children back, really, that’s, that’s her sole priority. And unfortunately, her addiction gets in the way of that priority. Um, but she’s, she’s a person in a lot of pain. And it’s incredibly hard for her to be vulnerable to show them.

KAREN:  Thank you.

JEWEL STAITE:  Thank you.

HOST:  On deck we have Mike Hughes and now we have Terrell Roister.

TERRELL:  Oh, I guess is my turn. Hey guys, how you doing? Hey Terrell, Big Ol’ Bell Media, question for Jewel, Victor, Zach and Genelle. Uh, you know, watching, watching the episode and seeing you guys work as a family is super tense on the show. Very, very uncomfortable at times, cause you know, you guys don’t know each other. Um, what, what was the kind of like, what got you in the mindset to get you to, “Oh yeah, we’re, we’re all a family,” or to feel like a family on set? Or at least say, I guess a broken family, if I wanted to say [LAUGHS]?

JEWEL STAITE:  You wanna go first?

ZACH SMADU:  Yeah, I mean that, that, that is the fun of the, the dynamic between all of us as, as Victor and Jewel has kind of have touched on, the fact that we’re somewhat combative and, and private people who are all kind of forced together, both within the family life and also within the law firm. And how was that to play? I mean, to be honest, that’s, that’s not so easy, cause we actually genuinely really get along. But maybe that’s probably why it’s, it’s, it’s easy to kind of step into that in the acting world, cause we, we trust each other, we love being around each other on set, going to work. And, you know, there’s no egos, there’s no, no, no problems, interpersonal problems, it’s just fun. And so, you know, whatever the scene requires, it kind of, kind of came second nature to us. We were able to find that dynamic between all the siblings and, and with our, our father figure  Harry as well, I think.

JEWEL STAITE:  Yeah. I think, you know, we, we shot this show at the beginning of COVID. So we, we shot for two weeks and then we took this big long break, the whole world took a break. And in that break we had a lot of time to text each other and to really bond in this weird way. So, when we did start filming again in July to finish out the season, we were really, really close. And then, because we had to be in this safety bubble to make sure no one got COVID we, we became even closer. And, and, I don’t know about you guys, but like, I trust you so much that it, it makes the job so much easier. Because I know that whatever I kind of throw at you, you’ll riff on that and throw back at me, and vice versa. So it, it makes these interactions really fun. You know, we love playing combative because, you know, in real life we’re all just like sickeningly in love with each other.

GENELLE WILLIAMS:  Not in “real life,” in real life. [LAUGHS]

JORDY RANDALL:  But I what I want to know is how did the sibling relationships on the show play in real life. That’s the question, Jewel [INAUDIBLE]

GENELLE WILLIAMS:   Yeah, because you stole my point, just like a big sister would. She literally said what I was gonna say. So yeah. [LAUGHS]

JEWEL STAITE:   I would say, like Zach is more like the big brother. You know, like Genelle  and I we, we’re, Zach is very good at kind of calming everyone down. (We’re crazy, that’s what she wants…) He’s the voice of voice of reason and he’s like, he’s a calming presence. So when Zach is around you, I, you just automatically feel, like my shoulders drop and, and he’s just got that kind of presence. So I would say if anybody, you know, in the sibling relationship is like the older, sage, more wise sibling, it would be Zach.

ZACH SMADU:  Enough with the sage.

SUSIN NIELSEN:  What do you think of that, Zach?

VICTOR GARBER:  I find him confrontational. And kinda, it’s, it’s difficult some, some days, but I have overcome that. And now we’re, we’re doing, we’re doing much better.

JORDY RANDALL:  Zach, you’re the father figure to Victor it sounds like.

ZACH SMADU:  I guess, it sounds like that. It really plays into the Daniel/Harry story.

VICTOR GARBER:  I will just say, I, I will just say they take care of me, 100%. I am, I am so in, I, I can’t really do anything without their help. And I mean, anything,  order cereal on the, on… Ask Genelle how much money she’s forked out to get me the proper granola. It’s just, I rely on them for everything. And now that I’m home, I think, “Where, Oh, they’re not here.”

GENELLE WILLIAMS:  If they ship to America, I literally thought, “Oh, I have to get Victor some cereal.”  [LAUGHS]

HOST:  We have actually a question for Susin and Jordy. Uh, what was the inspiration in creating the show? How near and dear to you is this project? And how did you get this amazing cast together?

JORDY RANDALL:  Susin, you do have to speak. I told you.

SUSIN NIELSEN:  Uh, yes. Alrighty. Well, um yeah, I, the, the, the idea is very near and dear to me. Um, my own [LAUGHS] my own family background isn’t as dramatic as the show, or these four. But, but certainly the nubbin of the idea came from a lot of my own family history. Um, I didn’t grow up with my dad, I grew up with my mother. I didn’t meet my father until I was a teenager, at which point I also met my half-brother and my half-sister. Now my father only had one subsequent relationship, not two. Um, but I think that I, in a lot of my work, you know, a lot of our, I think we’re, we’re all informed by our families. And so that was where the idea started to percolate. And I love working in the realm of drama and comedy. And so it just felt like the world of Family Law was a perfect place for this very dysfunctional family to be operating, and attempting to help other dysfunctional families, you know, while Abby is also trying to win back her husband and children as well. Um, so that was kind of the inception of the idea. And then in terms of the cast, Victor Garber, when somebody mentioned Victor Garber, I thought, well, yes, that would, that would be amazing. [LAUGHS] That will never happen.  But that would be so amazing. So [LAUGHS]

VICTOR GARBER:  Thank you, Susin. Your check is in the mail.

SUSIN NIELSEN:  Um, and then when we were auditioning Abby, I just remember when, when we saw Jewel, I believe it was her callback audition. And you know, I just tell the story of just getting a jolt of electricity up my spine and just realizing, this is Abby, this, this is her. And it was such an exciting feeling. And then, of course we, and then we got Jewel together with some callbacks for the siblings. And again, it was just so obvious that it was Genelle and that it was Zach. And I was so excited because Zach actually rides a road bike [LAUGHS], so you didn’t have to fudge any of that.

ZACH SMADU:  Yeah, that was one of the questions you asked as we were walking out the rooms. “Do you actually ride a bike?” I’m like, “I do. Got it. I got it.”

JORDY RANDALL:  I think it’s one of those great stories where we look now and like, there’s nobody else who could have played these four parts other than these four people. Like, this is, what Susin visualized in this series is only possible with these four people, so we’re incredibly lucky. And I think when we look back at the development of the show, you ask if we’re passionate about it, I think we first talked about doing the show 10 years ago. I think we first had the idea, we started to develop it. And it’s been a journey and a labor of love. One of those things that you knew was gonna be a show. You knew it was gonna be a great show, but you kind of had to wait for the opportunity to rise, wait for the world to change and for it to open up. And I think we were lucky. We waited and we found that right moment where we got to finally do the show with the right people. So we’ve waited a long time to do this, so we, every day we’re thankful that we’re, we’re here and doing the show.

SUSIN NIELSEN:  Well, and that’s kudos to you, Jordy for sure, that you kept believing in it as well. So, yeah.

JORDY RANDALL:  But we’re right where we need to be now. So you can see the passion, you know, all of you watching these squares here, you can tell these, everyone here loves it.

HOST:  I love it. So on deck, we have Abby Bernstein, and right now we have Mike Hughes.

MIKE HUGHES:  This is for Susin and Jordy, and it kind of follows up on what Susin was saying before. We used to have quite a few shows like this, ones that had some comedy, some drama, and managed to solve a case at the end of each week. It kind of disappeared from American TV, but they’re making a comeback this year, “So Help Me, Todd, Rookie’s Fed and this one are three shows in that format. So, first of all, is Canada always consistent? We had these kind of comedy drama combinations throughout the years. And second of all, what is it that you really like about doing a show that has all of these things together and solves a case?

JORDY RANDALL:  Well, I’ll answer the first part cause I think Susin will be best suited to answer the second part. I think for us, no, this is not a type of show that’s prevalent in Canada more than the United States. I think, as, you know, producers, we looked at this and, and said, this is the kind of show the world needs right now. You know, there’s a lot of darkness, there’s a lot of controversy over the last few years. Like, it felt like the world doesn’t need another dark serial killer show. What they need is something where you care about family and you laugh and you cry a little bit and you solve the case. Like we wanted the audience to feel something, go on a journey where they actually have a pleasant experience and have fun. Um, so no, I think that was a conscious choice that’s turning out to yes, be the trend now, but I think it felt like what the market needed.

MIKE HUGHES:  And Susin, you mentioned…

SUSIN NIELSEN:  You, I mentioned what?

MIKE HUGHES:  That you like both comedy and drama and you like to combine them. So tell us about why you like that.

SUSIN NIELSEN:  Yeah, I, I, you know, it’s funny. I think it’s just always been my sensibility. Um, uh, I also write young adult novels, and they’re always in that vein of, of comedy and drama. Um, for me I don’t know, for me that’s life, right? You laugh, you cry. And I tend, it tends to be my own viewing tastes as well. I love watching shows that can both kind of punch me in the gut emotionally and, and make me laugh. Um, you know, my favorite writers do that as well. Um, I, and I think on, you know, I actually think it’s, it’s really hard to do to, to have that blend of, of, of comedy and drama and know what the right balance is.

SUSIN NIELSEN:  And certainly what’s so wonderful about our cast is that they get both of those avenues so well. So, you know, within the course of a few scenes, um… well, Episode 1, I mean, I’m, I’m feeling so bad for Abby when she’s talking to Nico on the phone and you realize that she’s separated from her children for the first time in the episode. And then she goes to AA and we realize, okay, she’s in AA and then she calls herself a shmalcoholic, and suddenly the tone changes again. And I just, I love playing with that kind of emotional journey.

JORDY RANDALL:  And I think that’s one of, that’s, well that’s, that’s like a Susin Nielsen superpower, honestly. Is like, you can call this a light procedural, but it’s a comedic procedural with heart. Cause every single episode, you’re gonna feel something. And I think that’s the beauty of the show.

SUSIN NIELSEN:  Well, and I do like to think of myself as the, as an optimist. It, sometimes it’s hard. But yeah, I like, you know, I’ll, I’ll be honest, like, I like writing a show that’s very hopeful. And we all have really effed up families, right?  So I think we can also [OVERLAPPING]

VICTOR GARBER:  What do you mean, Susin? What do you mean?

JORDY RANDALL:  I thought we weren’t gonna talk about that.

SUSIN NIELSEN:  And our, and most of our families make us crazy, but they also make us laugh sometimes too, hopefully.

HOST:  Um, on deck we have Rick Bentley, and up now we have Abby Bernstein.

ABBY:  Hi. Thank you all for doing this. Um, for anybody and everybody who’d like to discuss this, was there anything you had to learn in order to either write or play a legal procedural, comedic or dramatic in terms of how lawyers present themselves, or in terms of what the law is, or in terms of how to say the jargon?

ZACH SMADU:  Uh, well, I will, I will say, I know Abby and well… Jewel and myself, continually have to learn and check with each other and check with Susin and the writers going, “Sorry, how do you say that word? And what does that mean again? What does that exactly mean?” Cause I, I can speak for myself, I didn’t know too much about the law in detail, let alone pretending to be a lawyer and, and make that realistic and make that, you know… There’s, there’s, it’s like any other procedural, if it’s a medical or, or a police procedural, there’s certain terms and, and lingo and ways in which that, there’s a turn of phrase that people use that if, if you don’t understand, and if you, if you’re not with what it actually means and how it’s used, it can fall very flat.

ZACH SMADU:  And so I know, at least for myself, it’s been a challenge and something that I really wanted to make sure that I was always on, because, you know, you can, when you see it on television and it doesn’t ring true, well, it affects the show deeply. So, I’ve been studying law, I’m halfway through getting my diploma.

VICTOR GARBER:  Oh, stop it.

JORDY RANDALL:  It isn’t what it’s called.

ZACH SMADU:  It’s a law degree? No, it has, it has a challenge.

VICTOR GARBER:  Mythical law degree.

JEWEL STAITE:  Um, Zach and I have talked a lot about the, the courtroom… bravado that you have to have as a lawyer. So it’s like, it’s like being an actor when you’re on stage, right? So when you’re doing your thing and you’re up there and you’re questioning the witness, what, what does this person do with their body? How do they exude confidence? What’s their walk in the courtroom? Um, and, and we both have our little tricks and things. And [LAUGHS] remember Zach, I was watching him question a witness, remember? And he, and he came out, he like, he like did this really good thing where he sort of like leaned on the witness box, in this like, casual way as he was just sort of tearing this person apart. And after that take, I was like, “I like the lean, buddy. I like the lean.” And he’s like, “Thanks.” And I’m like, “I’m gonna steal that.” And he’s like, “Don’t you dare.”

ZACH SMADU:  Don’t you dare, that’s mine!  [LAUGHS]

JEWEL STAITE:  But you know, each character has to have their way of kind of taking control of the courtroom. So, that was interesting to learn. And, and I think, you know, I can speak for Zach as well as myself in saying that the courtroom days are the hardest. And it takes a lot of prep to learn the dialogue, to make it sound like it’s second nature, and to choreograph your moves. What line are you walking on when you have to hand over a prop, an envelope, a thing to the judge, to the, to the other lawyer, you know, the opposing council? There’s so many things to remember, that it’s literally, it’s like a dance. And, and we work on those for weeks [LAUGHS] before we actually shoot.

ZACH SMADU:  Well, and it’s really important, because there’s so many little details in a single court scene that, you know, there’s one line or there’s one piece of information that the audience needs to understand. And if, you know, you don’t build to that part, and it is a dance, or it’s like a song, right? If you don’t actually hit the melody at the right time and make it clear and make it obvious and, and let that scene sing, then it’s not gonna work. And so it can fall flat.

SUSIN NIELSEN:  Yeah. And I guess I would say from the, you know, from the writing point of view, I too know very little about family law. But I know more now than when I started. Um, and we have wonderful consultants who, who really help us out. And so we’ll often start with, you know, we’ll, we read copious articles and books and we have all sorts of ideas for cases. Some are torn from the headlines, some are…. there’s a beautiful episode in, in Season 1 where some of it takes place in a memory care home, a woman who has early onset Alzheimer’s. And that came from reading an article in, in the New Yorker.

SUSIN NIELSEN:  And we figured out a way to build it into a court case. And so, often what we’ll do is we’ll come up with the idea and we’ll come up with the things that we’d like to have happen, and then we run it by our consultant. [LAUGHS] And, and she’s great because she actually helps us figure out how to make it work within, mostly the realm of the law. We call it TV law. Um, you know, some of our law is maybe a little more Canadian, some of it’s more American. It’s TV law.

ABBY:  Thank you.

HOST:  We have a question actually for Genelle. What similarities are there between you and your character, and what are the differences, and how do you relate to your character?

GENELLE WILLIAMS:  Similarities? Um, I, I actually don’t, I, I get asked this question often, and I could be wrong. Maybe Jewel or Zach or Victor might say something different. Um, but I don’t find myself that similar to Lucy other than her being, you know, very empathetic and caring and loving. I guess that’s a lot of things, huh?

VICTOR GARBER:  Yeah, that’s a lot. You’re, you’re exactly like her.

GENELLE WILLIAMS:  I think she’s way smarter than I am, cause she really genuinely is. She’s an incredibly intellectual young woman. Um, I’m smart, but not that smart. Um, I, I thoroughly enjoy playing Lucy for those reasons, I think just because she is very strong. She’s wise beyond her years. Um, and as much as she’s very self-aware of herself, she’s also, like I said, very sympathetic and very loving. And she’ll see, you know, both sides of things. Where I sometimes, especially with Abby and Daniel, where they can be very, by-the-book or extreme one way or the other, she tends to kind of be able to give this middle ground, which is nice. Which I guess again, is similar to me. So, ignore what I said in the beginning about me.

VICTOR GARBER:  Yeah, exactly. She’s exactly like you.

GENELLE WILLIAMS:  I’m, I’m more like Lucy than I think.

VICTOR GARBER:  I’m so glad you worked that out. I’m so glad you worked it out.

GENELLE WILLIAMS:  I didn’t know!

JEWEL STAITE:  You’re more fun. (Pardon?) You’re fun and silly and like, I don’t know, you’re just like a very warm, kind of radiating, like a, you know, you’re, you’re just like a super friendly kind of person and…

ZACH SMADU:  Yeah, you don’t take yourself too seriously. (More guarded) But yeah, I would say, I would say Lucy is way more guarded.

GENELLE WILLIAMS:  Lucy is much more guarded.

ZACH SMADU:  But you have the same superpower that Lucy has. You can see it in the, in the scenes when she’s doing therapy sessions or whatever. You have the same, in real life of being able to instantaneously connect with people. Right? You know, we’re out for dinner and you, you know everybody’s, every, every server, every person, every, the host, all their names and their backstory. Like, we’ve been here for five minutes. Like, how, how do you know? How do you know what? But she just said she, you have the, the exact same [OVERLAPPING]

VICTOR GARBER:  Genelle, Genelle is the personification of joy that’s just… (Oh, guys) Every time she walks in a room, there’s like, “Oh, why is, Oh, I feel, oh, this is… [INAUDIBLE].”

JEWEL STAITE:  That’s true.

GENELLE WILLIAMS:  I love you all. Thank you. Thank you. Well, you made me cry.

VICTOR GARBER:  That’s the point, yeah.

ZACH SMADU:  Something that Lucy also does, yes.

GENELLE WILLIAMS:  Lucy, Lucy definitely, Lucy can be emotional. I just, the other day, wasn’t I, Susin told the other day, to not be so emotional. I remember this clearly. Lucy, Lucy, sometimes yeah, could be a little emotional. [LAUGHS]

HOST:  Genelle, we need to be friends. Um, so on deck, we have Bruce Miller and up now we have Rick Bentley.

RICK:  Thank you very much. Victor, I have a two part question for you.

VICTOR GARBER:  Oh now, can’t do two parts.

RICK:  Then we’ll do it as A and B.  (Okay) Could you talk a little bit about play,  the, the differences between playing Harry, the father and Harry, the legal eagle? And then on the, the second question is, do you look at yourself as sort of the personification of authority figures? Cause I think going all the way back to Godspell, you have by characters who are, who are in charge, people who lead. And I’m just wondering, are those the roles that attract you or, or do they see you, casting people see you in those roles?

VICTOR GARBER:  You know, I honestly don’t know how casting people see me. But I know when I read something, if it’s something I feel compelled to do. And this, this role, I, I was, this, this came out of the blue, this, this, this script. And I said, Oh, this is really good. Um, and I want to, to do this. And I, you know, I, I think I, I do have a need to… I, I think I’d be a terrible lawyer because I would be on both sides all the time. And I, that’s, that’s, I, I do find that I, it’s hard for me to, you know, I, I know what I think is right and um, but I also have compassion for people who don’t… know what’s right. And I think that’s why it’s a good fit for me. I think this role is… and as a father, that’s, that’s the, the joy of playing this role because it’s so, it’s, it’s always, it’s always changing, you know?

VICTOR GARBER:  And, and Harry’s problem or, or relationship with Abigail is, is so compelling. And it, and it, it’s shifted for those reasons. That he, he, he wants to be paternal, she won’t let him. And then he real and then, and then she’s, she’s so adversarial and he won’t, and he can’t, he can’t not fight. So there as, as, as, as Joel was saying, they are so similar. And that was really one of, that’s the joy of playing this role. It’s so multidimensional. Uh, and it, it’s challenging for me, which is really all I asked for in a role.

VICTOR:  Did I answer the second part? (Yes, sure) Okay. Do you wanna know what I had for breakfast?

ZACH SMADU:  Was it cereal?

VICTOR GARBER:  It was cereal.

HOST:  On deck we have Laura Novak, and up now we have Bruce Miller.

BRUCE:  This is for Victor, too. I, I was just curious, how many lawyers have you played?

VICTOR GARBER:  You know what, you have to read the resume, cause I don’t remember. Not that many. I mean, I know, not that many. Um, I’m sure I have… Oh, I was, oh, in Legally Blonde, I was a really terrible lawyer. (Bad one) Um, that’s the most, I think that’s, I, but I’m sure I’ve played more. But, I really don’t remember. I, I, I sometimes wonder how I’ve gotten this far because I don’t remember how I got here.

BRUCE:  So nothing carries over then from one lawyer to another?

VICTOR GARBER:  Well, of course, I mean, I, I, I mean, on some level, but not consciously. Because, you know, you can only do what the script is giving you to do. You know, and all scripts are different, and some are better than others. The, the, these scripts are better than other scripts I’ve, I’ve… been involved with. And, and so it’s, it’s really, it’s a gift really for an actor. It’s always on the page, always starts on the page. And that’s what, that’s what I always am completely taken with. Um, and I made decisions, for other reasons and I was wrong because the script wasn’t, I knew the script wasn’t right for me, and I shouldn’t, I, I think, oh, well, like, sorry I did that. I’m not, I’m not gonna give you the names of those things.

SUSIN NIELSEN:  Later Victor, over drinks.

VICTOR GARBER:  Yeah. Oh, you know.

HOST:  I wanted to do a quick last call for questions. Um, on deck we have Lou Ann Lee, and up next we have Laura Nokak.

LAURA:  Hi this question is for Jewel. I’d also like to hear from Zach and Genelle. Uh, how did you feel about inheriting half siblings you’ve never met and then having to work with them daily?

JEWEL STAITE:  Well, I mean, that’s a pretty wild concept, to begin with. I cannot imagine having to do something like that, especially in the position that Abby’s in where her tail is between her legs, and she is so ashamed and is, you know, living at her mom’s, and her life is falling apart and she’s gotta strut into that office acting like she already owns the place. And I think deep down she’s probably pretty terrified. Um, so it takes her a long, long time to figure out what her relationships are with these two people. I think Lucy comes on pretty strong, wants to be buddies, wants to be sisters.

JEWEL STAITE:  And Abby, by nature is just not super into that, and doesn’t have very many friends. Abby is not the type of person to have a best friend. Um, and so that’s just completely foreign to her. And Lucy, you know, is often quite affectionate and tries to link arms with her and give her hugs. And it’s like, you know, there’s like one moment where Lucy’s really despondent and sad and at a loss, and Abby sits next to her and doesn’t know what to do. Um, and just sort of like puts like a really awkward, like quick hand on her lap, cause she really is just so clueless.

JEWEL STAITE:  Um, and then with Daniel, you know, I think Abby really respects Daniel when she sees what he can do in the courtroom, she, she thinks he’s a pretty great lawyer. And they’ve got this weird relationship where she slams into his face, but talks really nice about him behind his back. [LAUGHS] And, and it, sort of does this, like this sisterly thing where, you know, she comes to Harry and says, “you gotta give him more credit. He’s really good at this. And the way you treat him is not okay.” You know, and, and essentially stands up for her brother, but Daniel never knows, He never knows about that. And it’s really interesting that Abby’s not willing to give that away.

GENELLE WILLIAMS:  I think the beautiful thing is that, it’s not in, in this situation, especially for, for all three of us, it’s not that we didn’t know each other existed. So, yeah, you know, Lucy’s always known that she’s had this sister and she’s always wanted to have a relationship with her. It wasn’t a surprise that she existed. So, I, I think this longing to have her, as Abby said, she comes on strong because all she’s ever wanted was to have this sisterly bond. She’s always been close with Daniel, of course. Daniel and Lucy have had a relationship from the very beginning. But unfortunately with Abby, she hasn’t. So she does try every single tactic to try and get Abby to love her, and she does, in her own sort of messed-up way.

JEWEL STAITE:  That’s true. [INAUDIBLE]

GENELLE WILLIAMS:  Yeah. I mean she, she does, she does love her. She plays hard to get. But I think, based off of your question, it’s, it’s a, it’s a nice thing because it’s something that Lucy has always wanted. And she’s always known that she’s been there. And this is a day that she’s been waiting for. So there isn’t this big surprise. So, to play it was fabulous. I mean, I wanted her to like me even in the, in the casting, in the audition process, I wanted…

JEWEL STAITE:  And I love you.

GENELLE WILLIAMS:  And I don’t whether she, she took to my love very well the very first time I met her. But [LAUGHS] other than that, I mean…

JEWEL STAITE:  She was overly friendly in the audition room, and I was so stressed because, hey, guess what, I was auditioning. And Genelle [OVERLAPPING]

GENELLE WILLIAMS:  I could have wrapped her in my arms, I could’ve.

JEWEL STAITE:  It was so annoying. She was like, “I love your shoes. Where are you from? Have you been in this restaurant?” And I was like, Oh my God, I’m trying to memorize this monologue. Like, I wanna get this job, girl. [OVERLAPPING]

ZACH SMADU:  Well, in, in big contrast to, to Lucy, I think for Daniel it’s quite the opposite. I think Abby showing up is kind of the worst thing, both for his professional world and also the family dynamic that he has. He’s, he’s, it’s literally changes the pecking order in the family, you know, as Genelle and, and Jewel have said that we’ve known about each other, but we’ve never had any interaction. So when Abby shows up, Daniel goes from being, you know, the, the older son in his own mind, to being the middle child, to also being, you know, a partnered lawyer with his stepsister that he doesn’t know, who is quite competent and quite good, despite all the, the shame and the, the backstory that she comes into.

ZACH SMADU:  So it’s really a challenge for him to find where he lands within the family with, within Harry’s eyes. And also how he, Daniel is quite competitive in, in nature. So Abby is, is quite the foil for him constantly. And I think Daniel’s also very protective of the relationship, the, the one relationship he has with, with Lucy. So  even Lucy’s, you know, eyes and arms, you know, reaching out to, to welcome Abby is, is kind of threatening to Daniel. So it provides a lot of, a lot of a lot of conflict for, for him especially. Well, I mean, I think it still does as the seasons have gone on. So it’s, it’s very fun to play.

HOST:  Okay. So last question is with Lou Ann Lee.

LOU ANN:  Yeah. Victor, you’ve played everything from Jesus to the devil. Actors tell us that villains are much easier to play than the good guy, but you are so good at the good guy. What are the secrets of playing that kind of character?

VICTOR GARBER:  I have no secrets. I, I don’t know. I, I all, all I can tell you is that everyone is complex. Everyone has, you know aspects of their personality that they can rely on. And, and some, and they’re lost in, in other situations that they don’t know how to respond. And it’s, honestly, I don’t really think of them as evil or good. I just think of them as people. Do they have a problem? Do they, is there a challenge? Is there, you know, and I use this word “objective.” But it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s really, really dependent on what the writing is, and who you’re acting with.

VICTOR GARBER:  You know, you, I mean, Jewel and I have had scenes where things have come up at where, where we’re having a confrontation or something, where something comes up and sort of… and because we’re both in the moment, it hits us in a completely, an undiscovered way. Cause you can’t plan anything as an actor. I mean, you can plan certain things, of course, but I mean, in terms, if you start planning how you’re going to respond to people, you might as well just stop acting, because that’s just not okay.

VICTOR GARBER:  And, and so really  honestly, it’s about being in the moment. And, you know, it’s, if it’s in the script that you do something that is, that is not okay, you, you have to somehow believe that you’re, it is in your, in your own way. And so really, it’s really acting and, and I’m just so grateful that the three actors, that your other three actors are on this panel, are just, I, I cannot tell you how impressed I am by their level of professionalism, of talent, of support, of empathy, of and humor.

VICTOR GARBER:  We, we, that’s the secret, to me, of why this show is working as well as it is, aside from the incredible writing. It’s, it’s this chemistry, and it’s a magical thing, and it’s indescribable and it doesn’t always happen.

LOU ANN:  Thank you.

HOST:  Perfect way to end the panel. Um, thank you for joining us today. Thank you to everyone for your participation. As a reminder, Family Law premiers Sunday, October 2nd on The CW. I hope everyone has an awesome day.

MORE INFO: Trailer

Family Law key artSins of the Father

Season 1
Episode 101
Airdate:

SERIES PREMIERE – Abigail (Jewel Staite) begins her probationary period at Svensson and Associates, forced to work with her estranged father Harry (Victor Garber) and her half-siblings Daniel (Zach Smadu) and Lucy (Genelle Williams). She immediately oversteps her low-level position by helping Jeanette, a woman who found her sperm donor via Craigslist, track down the father of her now 13-year-old daughter and sue him for retroactive child support. But when Abigail sees the toll this case is taking on her client’s daughter (who simply wants a relationship with her dad) she fears her intervention might tear this family apart; mirroring her own family situation. Meanwhile, Abby is still stung by her separation from her husband Frank (guest star Luke Camilleri) and misses her kids terribly. Lastly, Daniel, is dealing with a custody battle of his own…an arbitration over a pug called Craig. Lauren Holly also stars. The episode was written by Susin Nielsen and directed by Jordan Canning (#101).  Original airdate 10/2/2022.

Parenthood

Season 1
Episode 102
Airdate:

PARENTHOOD – Abigail (Jewel Staite) and Daniel (Zach Smadu) represent a couple with Down syndrome who must prove to authorities they are fit to raise their unborn child. Social services has threatened to take the baby away unless Ellie and Levi can prove they are capable parents. Abigail and Daniel agree to represent them and try creative ways to come up with a workable parenting plan, but obstacles – including Harry (Victor Garber) – litter their path. Meanwhile, Lucy (Genelle Williams) prefers to avoid the whole topic of parenthood altogether, which proves difficult when her wife Maggie (guest star Ali Liebert) ups the pressure to start a family. And when Abigail discovers Nico (guest star Brenden Sunderland) is being bullied at school, she confronts his tormentor but takes it too far. Lauren Holly also stars. The episode was written by Susin Nielsen and directed by Jordan Canning (#102).  Original airdate 10/9/2022.

Deadline Article about the show

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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Jewel Staite and Eden Summer Gilmore of Family Law on The CW

Interview with actors from “Tom Swift”

TV Interview!

Poster for "Tom Swift" on The CW

Interview with actors of “Tom Swift” on The CW by Suzanne 5/6/22

This was a fun press day for the new show on The CW. The character of Tom Swift was previously seen on their show “Nancy Drew,” so this is a spinoff. It was a very fun panel. I wish I could have asked more questions. They didn’t tell us ahead of time who would be there, and I would liked to have asked April Parker Jones a question because she’s been on many great shows that I watch. She plays Tom Swift’s mother.

THE CW NETWORK
Tom Swift
Noga Landau, Melinda Hsu Taylor, Cameron Johnson (Exec. Producers)
Albert Mwangi “Rowan,” Ashleigh Murray “Zenzi Fullington,” Tian Richards “Tom Swift,” Marquise Vilson “Isaac Vega,” April Parker Jones “Lorraine Swift”

MODERATOR: Hello, and welcome to the virtual press panel for The CW’s devilishly-charming new series, TOM SWIFT. We are so proud of this project and look forward to sharing it with you. As an exceptionally-brilliant inventor with unlimited resources and unimaginable wealth. Tom Swift is a man who many men would kill to be, or be with it, a man with the world in the palm of his hand. If that world gets shaken to its core after the shocking disappearance of his father, thrusting Tom into a breathtaking adventure, full of mysterious conspiracies and unexplained phenomena. Premiering Tuesday, May 31st at 9:00 PM this is TOM SWIFT.

(CLIP shown)

TOM SWIFT: Honored guests. A core value at Swift Enterprises is that if you can dream it, we can make it happen.

What does a genius inventor do when he’s not inventing?

TOM SWIFT: I multitask.

ROWAN: While I’m gone, you need to grow up. Be a man.

ROWAN: You will have more responsibility heaped upon you than you even know.

ROWAN: Everyone you love will end up dead.

TOM SWIFT: My name is Tom Swift. I’ve got this.

PANEL

MODERATOR: Please welcome the cast and executive producers of TOM SWIFT. We are so excited to have you here with us. And as a quick reminder to press, if you’d like to ask a question, please click the “raise your hand button” and we’ll put you in the queue and call on you when it’s your turn. If you have a two-part question or follow-up, please let us know at the top of the question. Thank you for joining us today. Thank you to everyone for your participation. Now let’s get started. First up is Suzanne Lanoue followed by Fred Topel.

SUZANNE: Hey, good afternoon, everyone.

ALL: Hey, Noga!

TIAN RICHARDS: Noga, you look good.

NOGA LANDAU: You all look so good. I feel like (You too!) [UNINTELLIGIBLE] explode from all the gorgeousness.

CAMERON JOHNSON: Well, beauty combusts.

NOGA LANDAU: It’s a scientific fact.

SUZANNE: Hi, this is Suzanne from TVMEG.COM. And my question is for Tian.  I read that there are some supernatural elements in this show as well, but I didn’t see any in the pilot. So can you tell us about any of them?

TIAN RICHARDS: Ooh, well, our show takes place in a beautiful tech world. So tech is the leading, the leading factor in our show. Though in NANCY DREW, Tom did get his first experience with the supernatural, that’s not really a big theme of Tom Swift. But who knows? I mean, but right now we’re just, we’re just, we’re tech-heavy over here. [LAUGHS]

CAMERON JOHNSON: As long as there’s no [INAUDIBLE] here, there may be ghosts. But yes.

TIAN RICHARDS: Yeah. Again, who knows?

CAMERON JOHNSON: Anything is possible, but yes.

MELINDA HSU TAYLOR: Cosmic wonder, I would say.

CAMERON JOHNSON: Mm, cosmic wonder.

SUZANNE: Thank you.

MODERATOR: Next step is Fred Topel.

FRED: Uh, also for Tian, this obviously isn’t your first time playing Tom Swift, but how is it different having a show centered around Tom, and how is he different in this show?

Tian Richards (Tom Swift) guest-starring on "Nancy Drew" on The CWTIAN RICHARDS: OK, a question I love. First of all, yo, it’s been three years since Tom Swift was in Horseshoe Bay. So that takes place in 2019, we take place in current day. So, Tom has definitely grown up a little more. When we first meet him, he’s still trying to get the, the meteorite to, to build the, you know, spaceship for his father. At the top of our series, we meet him when he has just completed that spaceship. So again, definitely further along his journey.

TIAN RICHARDS: We look a little different, I like to say. I mean, a, a little bit, a little bit, we’re giving a little more, you know, grown-man energy, definitely this time around. And it was so beautiful this time, you get to see Tom in his element. You get to see him with his family, with his friends, you get to see him in his hometown. So, you really do open up the fullness of who this man was. We got like a prequel, like an appetizer of Tom and, and NANCY DREW. But now you get, you get a full course. So come on, baby. We not snacks, we meals.

ASHLEIGH MURRAY: Right, are you hungry?

CAMERON JOHNSON: We got like the edemame of Tom. Now we have the sushi.

TIAN RICHARDS: Come on! I love that. I love that.

FRED: You feel different being the center of the show?

TIAN RICHARDS: Yes, yes! Before, I got to come in and be cute and be in Horseshoe Bay and like just follow Nancy’s lead and really watch Kennedy lead. But I needed that because that was the most I’d ever done in an episode of television. I’d never been [in] a series. Yeah, I’d never been a series regular before. So just to watch Kennedy take control of the set as a leader and be so beautiful and fearless, it really gave me insight on what was to come or, or what I hoped to come at the time.

TIAN RICHARDS: So I just sat back and watched how open and given, giving she was, and hope to do the same. But yes, it feels totally different. I, I say this all the time and I love my cast for just, and, and, and, and my creators for just really huddling around me and, and allowing me to find my voice in this space and really come into my own as an artist, as a man, you know, I definitely feel a lot more grown [LAUGHS] this time around. Cause I came in with a bit of imposter syndrome, and I, I’ve been definitely finding myself in this space, so, so seamlessly. And that’s a life experience that I’ll, I’ll take with me. So yeah.
Yeah, growth. I think growth is the main thing that I’m, I’m having in this journey.

CAMERON JOHNSON: Truly it’s been so wonderful and heartwarming to watch Tian realize and understand inside of himself that he is incredible, and that like, he is just as good as all of them really that, that, that, that we all knew that he would be. And it’s, it’s been really beautiful to watch, and it’s made my, my, my, my little heart smile.

APRIL PARKER JONES: Yeah. I, I have to piggyback on that. I think I, I tell you all the time, I do. And I, I, I’m learning so much from you the way that you are taking leader, this role as a leader. And it’s so beautiful. And, although I’m probably the oldest one here on set, I’ve learned so much from your example, and I’m so proud of you for stepping into this with such confidence and such compassion for all of us. So, thank you, I see you.

TIAN RICHARDS: Thank you. Thank you, April. Can we, can we tell ’em really quickly, tell them a story?

TIAN RICHARDS: Let’s talk about it. So I met the beautiful, wonderful Miss April Parker Jones, I’m not gonna tell ’em how long ago, but we were a lot younger. I was 18 and I used to be a personal assistant. And the guy I worked for used to put actors on tape. So, so many people would come through and I was fresh out of high school. I think I had just turned 18. And then in walks this beautiful woman, honey tone, nice commanding voice and presence. And she gets on tape and does it in one take. And I say, who is that? And it was April Parker Jones, ladies and gentlemen. And all these years later, we’re now doing a series together in the same city that we met.

APRIL PARKER JONES: Absolutely full circle, full circle. Yes, my friend. I love you.

TIAN RICHARDS: I love you.

MELINDA HSU TAYLOR: Yeah. I will say actually, when we were doing the casting, the chemistry read, April was one of three final contenders. And she came on the screen and said to Tian, just forgetting about the audition entirely, “I am so proud of you.” That’s real, feel that hug. (Oh yes) And right away we like, oh, this is [OVERLAPPING]

APRIL PARKER JONES: Oh yes, Mama Swift.

MELINDA HSU TAYLOR: Also, your performance is right.

CAMERON JOHNSON: It’s hard to hug via zoom. So we’re, that was, that’s true talent.

TIAN RICHARDS: Thank you, Cameron.

MODERATOR: Next up is Yana Grebenyuk, followed by Jay Bobbin.

YANA: So, speaking about Nancy Drew, I know that they’re in different timelines right now, but we don’t know where Season 4 is headed with the show. So, I was wondering, is there a possibility that there could be a crossover in the future? And if so, what would you like to explore between the two shows?

NOGA LANDAU: First of all, hi Yana, I love all of your coverage of the Drew. I really appreciate you. So right now they are in two completely different years. NANCY DREW, it’s still kind of 2019 and TOM SWIFT is, has jumped forward to the present date in the future, or the “present.” So as far as the two shows speaking to each other, if they do, it’s gonna happen eventually, and it’s gonna happen in a really interesting way. But, you know, what’s important to us is that these two shows really stand on their own. Like they’re in the same universe, the characters know each other, we’ve put a lot of really fun, little Easter eggs if you’re paying attention between Tom and Nancy.

NOGA LANDAU: But, you know, they’re such different shows. NANCY DREW is about a bunch of kids in a small town in Maine, you know, solving ghost stories in a crab shack. And this show is about billionaires and… [LAUGHTER] and people who build rocket ships and go to space. So they’re so different and they’re so, but they’re both so, like I think what links them together is how earnest they are and funny. And at their core, they’re kind of about similar issues of claiming your own identity and growing up and figuring out who you are in relation to your family and your parents and the secrets you carry with you. Um, so yeah, it’s, there, there’s the similarities for sure. But they’re, they’re definitely their own things at this point.

CAMERON JOHNSON: I just want to see Nancy in our clothes. Like I just wanna see Nancy, Gucci to the floor. Like that’s, that’s important for me. I wanna see that.

YANA: Yeah. I want, I want Zenzi to like, to talk to Nancy one day. Like I think a Zenzi [OVERLAPPING] right, Ashleigh?

ASHLEIGH MURRAY: Yes, yes, yes. I love her. Let’s go shopping. Yes. Yes.

MELINDA HSU TAYLOR: That actually sort of gave me an idea, but I can’t talk about it.

MODERATOR: Next up is Jay Bobbin followed by Karen Moul.

JAY: Hello. Thank you. Hi everyone, thanks for doing this. Tian, this is for you, too. There was a period of several months after the put pilot for this aired on NANCY DREW before the official series pickup came. Were you able to keep the faith during that, that this would go?

TIAN RICHARDS: Ooh. Yeah. I mean, it, that was, that was a period. But, again, just throwing it back to divine connections. I met Cameron Johnson, Noga Landau, and the beautiful Melinda Hsu Taylor on zoom and they became a true family for me, like during that time. I went to their homes. I visited, you know, and at, with different parties we would go to, and met their children. And they, you know, because I’m in LA by myself, like, you know, figuring out life. And they really just, they poured into me and they became a, a, a family for me within this experience. And I got to meet LeVar Burton and it was like, it was a great experience.

TIAN RICHARDS: So to have them during that time and they, it wasn’t like a thing of, you know, oh, we’re only about business, and once, you know, the show is kind of, you know, waiting to get the green light, we’re not dealing with, you know, they check in and just see how it was doing or just, you know, send nice, beautiful words of inspiration. And Cameron’s like, you know, “what clothes are you buying?” Like… I have stepped my fashion game up tremendously because the people know I only wear gym clothes, 24/7. (Adidas)

CAMERON JOHNSON: That’s cause you stay in the gym 24/7.

TIAN RICHARDS: Oh, yes, yes. But no, during that time, something just always told me, like, I didn’t get to this point by accident. It’s been a long journey to get here. Again, since I graduated high school, the year I met April, like, and just going forward. Um, but in that time, like I kept my faith. I researched, I did things like, I just didn’t sit at home being idle. Like, I went to visit MIT. I went to space museums. I researched, I read books. So, I was really able to keep myself immersed in the world of TOM SWIFT and be adjacent without racking my brain.

TIAN RICHARDS: So, you know, at times, yeah, it’s like, what’s happening, what’s happening, what’s happening? But I would hear little updates say, “Hey, we’re not, you know, it’s not gone yet. It’s still happening. It could happen.” So yeah, I kept the faith and… look at us, who woulda thought?

MODERATOR: And next up is Karen Moul, followed by Bruce Miller.

KAREN: Hi, this is Karen from ScifiVision.com. (Hello) Um, like NANCY DREW, TOM SWIFT is a pretty old piece of intellectual property from like the book series from the thirties. But as I watched this episode, I saw shades of Tony Stark, Bruce Wayne, definitely the Lions family is in there, I think. And I’d love it if the executive producers could tell us a bit about the great stories and characters that have inspired you as you created the show.

MELINDA HSU TAYLOR: Well, you know, we definitely wanted to make a show that was way more inclusive than the original IP. The books from back in the day are from a different era. They don’t hold up, really. However, what we loved about the core concept of optimism and friendship and kind of relentless positivity, that we brought into the show. And then we populated with a black, gay billionaire and, you know, all his found family and friends. And, at the time also, I had just done a thing where my son, who’s trans, had, you know, had to answer this question, like what TV shows are out there that you’re like, “Oh, that’s me, that’s my story.” And he was like, “Well, there aren’t any.” And I said, “I’m gonna change that for you, honey, if I can.”
MELINDA HSU TAYLOR: And that’s part of what we put into this show. So, we really wanted to make it a show where, no matter what kind of intersectional identity you have, you have somebody to relate to, somebody to cheer for, somebody to hope for and, and feel like, “That’s me. I’m, I’m the one who’s in love. I’m the one who’s being desired and pursued. And I’m the one who has friends, and I can change the world. It doesn’t matter where I came from, what I look like, you know, who I love or how I feel on the inside. I’m being celebrated here and now for who I already am.”

APPLAUSE

CAMERON JOHNSON: I think for me, I mean, it’s funny that she said the, the, the Lion family, spoiler alert, I used to write for Empire. And I was, it was a wonderful time. I had the great, good, the good fortune of working for Brett Mahoney and Lee Daniels. And I think what was interesting about working, especially working on those shows is that I’ve always worked on shows that prime, that had primarily black casts. And so as a consequence, I’ve never thought about too much about like, okay, so, but like, what do we, how do we tell this story in a way that like, is, you know, gonna be that other people, that is going to be understood by people who aren’t necessarily black?

CAMERON JOHNSON: Because it’s like, okay, well, who’s the audience? But the beautiful thing about this particular show and what we were able to do, and what was always so important to me is, how do we tell a show that is, tell a story about a group of people that is authentically black, that is steeped in black culture, that gets to that, but that tells universal stories that anyone can tap into? One of my favorite movies is Clueless. I am not blonde, I do look great in plaid though. (Yes) And I’m not above having a white Jeep.

CAMERON JOHNSON: But my point is to say that like, that’s what we were able to do here, is gather a group of people together and tell a story about a person who has lost something and who is trying to reclaim that, and also figure out what do I take from my parents? What do I leave behind? And what is the life that I can build for myself when surrounded by the people that I love. And I have been feeling incredibly fortunate to, to do that.

TIAN RICHARDS: Oh, you forgot one thing.

CAMERON JOHNSON: Oh, what’s that?

TIAN RICHARDS: And you’re not a virgin who can’t drive.

CAMERON JOHNSON: That’s true, I drive beautifully. There’s a stick shift joke in there, but I’m gonna leave it.

MODERATOR: Okay, next up is Bruce Miller, followed by Damian Holbrook.

BRUCE: Sorry, about the sense of style of this show. Everybody is like, wow. But how do you decide that. And do the actors get a chance to like say, no, I wouldn’t wear that or that’s not me?

ASHLEIGH MURRAY: Oh, yes.

CAMERON JOHNSON: Yes, they do.

MELINDA HSU TAYLOR: Ashleigh, I want you to talk about the things that, just this morning, you’re saying, this doesn’t fit me right. There’s a designer I know.

ASHLEIGH MURRAY: Oh yeah. Okay. So, you know, there, there’s an outfit that I’m wearing in this episode that we’re shooting currently, and it was made from scratch. Our seamstress made the, the pattern herself. And we’re still trying to get the pattern measurements right, and it wasn’t quite, you know, hitting where we need it to, it’s gonna take a little bit more work. And I brought up the fact that I know this really wonderful designer, Cynthia Rowley, who makes beautiful clothing, very, very feminine, very statement pieces. And she also makes like SCUBA attire as well. And I thought…

CAMERON JOHNSON: As one does.

ASHLEIGH MURRAY: There happens to be a similarity to the outfit in which I’m wearing today. Well, not this one. But the one in the episode that we could, you know, see if maybe she would be willing to, you know, create one for us, and then we can put the logos and things and such to match the show. And so that collaborative effort on top of having such a wonderful, smart in-touch costume designer, like spiritually rooted in each and every one of these characters. It’s hard to say no to outfits. There’s only been like two or three times where I’ve said, hm, I don’t wanna wear that. But honestly, I’ll go in there and I’ll be like, “Yes, yes, yes, that’s mine. Um, yes!”

CAMERON JOHNSON: Our costume designer is Ayana Kimani James. She did the first several seasons of Insecure. She works on the new ALL AMERICAN spinoff as well as a bunch of other things. And you know, when we were interviewing custom designers, we interviewed a lot of people who, like some people who like, just didn’t quite get it. Who were like, there’s the, they had good ideas and they were well intentioned. And then we met Ayana, and Ayana sat down and she had a vision for what Tom was gonna look like. She had a vision for what Zenzi was gonna look like. She understood the luxury and she understood all of the random black fashion references like Charles Harbison or Pierre Moss, or, you know, all of those or curb or every, what else is there? There’s so many.

CAMERON JOHNSON: But my point is just to say that, like, she understood all of those things. She said, I can take that and I can get you a sweatshirt with a [UNINTELLIGIBLE] Wiley on it, and I can make it work on this show, and I can do it for your budget. And I was like, yes, yes, of course. And we hired her, we hired her on the spot. And what I love about the collaboration I feel like we’ve been able to have with the clothing is that, I feel like all of you and you can, if I’m lying, don’t tell me.

CAMERON JOHNSON: But I, I feel like all of us have been able to be like, Hey, I like, I like the way that looks on me. Can we do more of that? Or I hate the way that this looks on me. Can we do less of that? Or can we find something that’s gonna be, you know, keep up with the fashion of it all. But also, I just want to make it really difficult for people to Cosplay Tom. Like I want them to be like, okay, that first look, the one from the trailer, okay, wait. So that’s a black Telfar jacket, Gucci pants, Gucci boots, and a Gucci shirt. Ah, I’m gonna have to knock that off. It’s gonna be tough. Look out Comic Con.

NOGA LANDAU: And yet, and yet possible! And yet very possible.

CAMERON JOHNSON: And yet totally possible, and yet totally possible.

MELINDA HSU TAYLOR: You know, in the small details, like Albert wears earrings just in his real life. (Love, love) And he’s wearing them his first audition for us. And we’re like, who’s that guy with the earrings, you know, and the cool accent. And we just, you know, we used his, we said other things, your performance is great. And then, you know, his earrings are part of the character now. Like, how do you pick your earrings? You know, we talked about this, like…

ALBERT MWANGI: Yeah. I, I, I think I’ve always used my earrings as a form of expression. Um, so they clocked that and loved it. And it’s, it’s, it’s rare to, to have that, you know. So, to have producers be like, we love your package as it is. So, and whatever you’ve added to the acting for the character, then go, go. I was like, yes. Why not? Any chance to wear earrings, I’m down. [OVERLAPPING]

CAMERON JOHNSON: We do have Marquise in some better fashion in the future though. He’s in a lot of black military looks. What do you wanna see yourself in, Marquise? What do you wanna see you in? What do you wanna see Isaac in?

MARQUISE VILSON: I’m fine the, the, the way that Isaac is, right, like his intention is to often be present. He’s the eyes, he’s the ears, he doesn’t necessarily need to be seen. So that’s okay. I have, I have a life outside of [OVERLAPPING] I get to wear what I wanna wear. And also I happen to be wearing black today anyway [OVERLAPPING].

CAMERON JOHNSON: We will do Isaac. We will be the eyes and ears in Gucci. That’s fine. A nice print.

APRIL PARKER JONES: Lorraine doesn’t wear any black, you know, April wears black all the time. You notice that Lorraine’s not worn any…well, I take that back… (the funeral) Besides that though in her casual every day, like know, like, and so, so maybe we’ll introduce a little bit more the darker side of Lorraine.

TIAN RICHARDS: For the record, Isaac’s fashion and attire is my favorite on the show, is how I would dress in my actual life.

MARQUISE VILSON: It’s, it is exactly how he dresses.

CAMERON JOHNSON: And I hope to someday be able to afford Tom’s clothes. Like that’s my, that’s my goal.

MODERATOR: Next up is Damian Holbrook, followed by Porsche Monique.

DAMIAN: Hey, hey everybody, how are you?

TIAN RICHARDS: We love Damian.

DAMIAN: I, I have two questions. First, for Ms. Ashleigh. Um, having gotten to see the, the pilot, I was so excited that this, this really feels like your first grownup role. You know, like, like we met her as a teen, and even when she was living in New York in Katy Keene, she was still struggling, but this is a fully realized woman who is not to be messed with. How fun is that to have that role?

ASHLEIGH MURRAY: Honestly, it’s so wonderful because, you know, I, I’ve always been a very mature person, even in my youth. And it’s nice to be able to finally step and walk in that same maturity. You know, it, it feels good to, to feel like a woman and to be received as a woman, and to be respected as a woman, that I can show up and I can command a space and I can command attention and I will be listened to, I will be understood, and I will be enmeshed and welcomed and received. That’s, that’s, it’s, it’s wonderful. It’s also wonderful to be able to… do I curse? I be cursing. I get to curse. I get to be funny.

CAMERON JOHNSON: Network TV, on network TV.

ASHLEIGH MURRAY: Well, you know, network cursing. So it’s, it’s dainty, but it’s there.

DAMIAN: Nice. And for Cameron and the showrunners or the, the executive producers, is the, is the brewing love triangle between a trans ex-military man, a Kenyan government official or, or related government person and a black gay billionaire, is this a historic moment? Like this has gotta be the first time we’ve seen it, right?

CAMERON JOHNSON: Well, I mean, we’re making a couple different types of history here on TOM SWIFT. I think that love, we like to do love squares on TOM SWIFT. There are other love interests involved. They are all overlapping. It is just a series of Venn diagrams of mess in the best way possible. Nothing like a geometry joke. But in terms of, but in terms of like the first things we’ve seen on TV, there has, as far as I know, never been a network TV show where it’s lead, where they title, where the titular character, the #1 on the call sheet is a black gay man.

CAMERON JOHNSON: And we’ve never, I’ve never seen a show where those sorts of stories are explored with, like us, I am a gay black man, duh. And like our, are the center of the story and didn’t get to be able to explore love and romance and fun and et cetera, without being somebody’s like, you know, just additional character. And so, I think it is historic. I think it is messy and I think it is really fun. And I think you’re gonna love it. I don’t know. I, I, I just, I suspect.

ASHLEIGH MURRAY: May I say one more thing? The thing that I’m most excited about being able to play this role is… I want to be a part of myself that I feel like I haven’t been able to be for a long time. There, there is… there’s an essence of Ashleigh in, in her womanhood and in her blackness that I, I just get to, I just get to flourish. It’s, I’m, I’m so thankful for this. I really am.

CAMERON JOHNSON: Wonderful for you. I mean, it’s, well, one, I mean, just Ashleigh, come on…that’s, I can’t cry, I have on makeup. Oh my God. (Sorry) But I mean, the, the character of Zenzi is, is something that we came up with, but the name is after Zenzelay is the full name, is named for one of my best friends who has been, I don’t know one of my, just my backbone since I was about 12. And it was such an honor to like, see you bring her to life. She has the personality of my godsister, Danielle. We have blended them together. And Danielle is my, if Zenzi’s my backbone, then Danny’s my rib cage, maybe my legs.

But they are, you, you bring these women to life in such a beautiful, honest, vulnerable, true, incredible, hilarious, sassy, bad bitch kind of way. There was literally a moment, there’s a moment in the episode where I was literally throwing stuff at the screen when I was watching. So, thank you. Glad we can do it.

Next up is Porsha Monique followed by Rick Bentley.

PORSHA: I wanted to circle back to the earlier conversation when you guys were hitting a little bit on just some of the redefining the blackness and giving a different portrayal of, of blackness to the, to the general audience. So, I wanted to go ahead and ask, what do you think is the importance of showing black faces and people of color onscreen in a story that is geared towards, you know, something that’s more positive, it’s more fun, it’s more aspirational as opposed to playing into like black trauma and those types of themes?

CAMERON JOHNSON: Well, here’s the thing for me, I, I guess I, I guess I’ll, I’ll be black and answer. But, I mean [OVERLAPPING] There’s a couple of things that are at play here. So one, we had six black people sitting on this stage and we all come from different places, have different points of view, have different backgrounds and that we can all bring to life. I don’t really have any interest as a writer or as an artist, if I can be so pretentious, in exploring like stories of trauma for the sake of trauma. Like that’s just not something I’m really interested in doing.

CAMERON JOHNSON: What I would, when we were working on this, I was in what I like to call, like my, my, my black joy phase, where I was trying to create TV shows that were about black people being happy, looking fabulous, having fun, falling in love, you know, having deep, emotional connections being resonant, but doing so with joy. And so, is there crazy traumatic shit that happens on this show? Maybe. But I, but I think we’re trying to do it in a way that sort of opens the door to… content that is about black people existing in their own lives and making choices, but without it being about, you know, pain or, you know, some horrible thing that happened, or even racism even, or… it’s a show about black people being black in the same way that, you know, Step by Step is a show about white people being white, it’s a show about a family. It’s a show about people existing that anyone can watch and identify with, even if they’re not the same color as the people on the screen. It’s just that we do it with some swag and, you know, some good shoes.

TIAN RICHARDS: Yeah, come on. If I could just piggyback, it’s also just a, a, a beautiful thing to see black people exist that we haven’t seen before, particularly. We are of like the black elite, the 1%, but not by way of, you know, music or basketball, which are great professions. But, you know, it’s the idea of legacy and heritage and, and we, and our heritage and legacy is tech, which is another thing in and of itself. But, for that to be the basis, we get to bring forth so many more conversations. Like, with my research, I got to, you know, go into the arsenal of black inventors and creators. We got to talk about Benjamin Banneker and, you know, George Washington Carver, and Lonnie, Lonnie Johnson.

TIAN RICHARDS: There’s so many people who, whose names that haven’t been spoken in history, but now, through this current modern vessel, we can like look into that. And, you know, and also get the young kids interested in STEM and tech, because that’s never looked cool before like this, you know? It’s so many intersections that this show gets to take part in that, it’s, I’ve never witnessed anything like this. And to be a part of it is, I still like can’t believe it.

ASHLEIGH MURRAY: You know, one, one of my favorite things about this show is that, if you haven’t noticed, we are of a very rich complexion. And I can speak from my experience. I have, I have been… muted in my expression of emotion, because I may emote a very human reaction in a situation that anyone else would have that same reaction. But when I have it, it’s often received as too much. It’s too angry. You’re too sad, you’re, it’s, it’s never received as understood. It’s just too much. And it’s wonderful that we have this show where people are just living in their human experience, and you get to see that spectrum and recognize it and relate to it without being felt like you’re feeling too much.

APRIL PARKER JONES: I think another wonderful thing about this show that I love so much is that that Tom’s superpower is his brain. You know, we were celebrating his genius, you know? And, and I, I hope that that when young people or, or anyone who watches this show, they’re able to, to tap into the reality that we all have within us that genius. (That genius, yeah) You know, so I, I think that that superpower is, is, is one that’s, that, that’s awesome and relatable, and, and, and hasn’t really been seen a lot, you know, that, that, that’s your superpower, your intelligence. Yeah.

MELINDA HSU TAYLOR: One other aspect that I’ll speak about as somebody who’s outside of this experience, but I’m so excited that the audience also is gonna get invited into this world. We have a lot of very specific moments and situations in the show. There’s a black cowboy rodeo that we visit. There’s a black cotillion that we go to. There’s a lot of stuff that is kind of subtly talking about big themes and currents in the world, in the country, but in a way that becomes so personal and so relatable that, it’s a show that invites everybody in and embraces whatever you’re coming from. And just kind of like, let’s all be together. I think it’s really exciting to watch as somebody who’s not black, frankly.

CAMERON JOHNSON: And I, for the, if you get me drunk enough, I will show you pictures from my cotillion.

TIAN RICHARDS: They’re great.

ASHLEIGH MURRAY: They’re so great. They’re great!

CAMERON JOHNSON: You know, Tian spoke about legacy, and I think the other important thing to remember is that as we look at this show is that black people like this have always existed. (Right) Madame CJ Walker, first black, one of the first millionaires, black female millionaires in this country. She lived in, in, in a villa, in a, in an estate, not unlike Swift manor. Jack and Jill, which is an organization for the children of, of professional black people is, it’s like about a hundred years old. There’s always been Boule, there’s always been The Links. Those things have always been existed, but they’ve always been kind of secret.

CAMERON JOHNSON: And so our goal is not necessarily to like, make them not secret or do some sort of like black excellence porn. Our goal, that’s not it, that’s not it, that’s not the goal. Our goal is to talk about people who you haven’t seen before living lives that you may be familiar with. And that, as Melinda said, you know, you can excitedly become a part of.

ALBERT MWANGI: Could I, could I add something as well? You know, coming from Kenya, having born, being born and raised from Kenya, being on a show like this is, it’s, it’s awesome because I feel like all of us as characters get to dare to be ourselves. And, and, and just adding to that aspect of, this show just shows just any other human condition, the same as all stories that are well told, do. And so it’s, I think it’s brilliant for audiences to come out of this thinking and knowing that they can dare to be, to, to be themselves, whether they have a different racial background, different sexual background or gender, or country. It doesn’t matter, just dare to be yourself and do it unapologetically.

OVERLAPPING

CAMERON JOHNSON: And get into that accent on Albert? (OVERLAPPING) We heard that on the zoom, we were like, wait, what? Yes, keep talking.

ASHLEIGH MURRAY: I’m sorry, your mic isn’t working. Can you [INAUDIBLE]

NOGA LANDAU: How was the thing is at, as, at first Rowan, the character, was not supposed to have this beautiful, majestic accent that he now has. And then, and then we heard how Albert actually speaks, and we were like earrings and his real accent, and that’s who he is. We’re gonna go with it.

ALBERT MWANGI: Yes. And I’m so glad you guys gave me that opportunity to do it. I think it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s amazing. And, and yeah, it’s, it’s a privilege and, and fun, I think. I love it. To do it with all of you guys.

PORSHA: Can you guys speak to the, having LeVar Burton, LeVar Burton’s role and just having that combination, having the, yeah, the creative team and the producers, having that strong mentor figure, but having it be distilled in AI. That’s such an interesting combination to me. So if you can speak on how that came to life and how it enabled you to be a little bit more creative with that type of role.

MELINDA HSU TAYLOR: We wanted somebody who was a best friend to a lonely kid, whose parents were off and out of the house, who didn’t have folks he could relate to, you know, at his level, but also of his age. So, he created this robot essentially, who would be kind of his Obi-Wan. And be encouraging and smart and protective and loving, and, you know, secretly in the ways he wished his dad were. But at the same time, you know, the shape of the drone, the flying Barton Barclay, I’m sorry, drone is a little bit like the Starship Enterprise. And you know, my first piece of fiction when I was eight, was writing little stories about, it was fan fiction for Star Trek.

MELINDA HSU TAYLOR: Cause I grew up in this little town in Bangor, Maine. And so everybody else was white, and they were nice, but I was terribly self-conscious and timid because I didn’t look like anybody else. And so I spent my whole childhood hiding in my bedroom reading like the Lord of the Rings over and over again. Cause in those books, if you were different, it was cool. And you brought something to the party, and it gave me hope. And having LeVar Burton voice this character is such a crazy full-circle thing for me. I wanna like get in a time machine and tell my younger self, “Just keep writing in your bedroom and reading these books and writing fan fiction for Star Trek.”

MELINDA HSU TAYLOR: But it’s also a thrill as like a grownup to meet LeVar Burton, who is a lovely person and so talented and so cool and just like mentoring Tian in the most beautiful way. And it was kind of like, we couldn’t have asked for a better Barclay. It’s a thrill.

TIAN RICHARDS: Can I add to that? (Go ahead) Okay. Cause I have to, I have to say this. To meet LeVar Burton, and they were here to witness this.

CAMERON JOHNSON: They all burst into tears. I was the only one who kept it together.

TIAN RICHARDS: And I experienced that with, with Melinda, Noga and Cameron on both zoom and in person. But it’s otherworldly because you really sit down and you think about it, he encapsulates the entire experience. Like you think about “Roots” and history and the voice to America. You think about Star Trek in the future. You think about just, you know, present day and shaping young minds that are going to become. And come on rainbows, he’s an ally.

ASHLEIGH MURRAY: Rainbows!

CAMERON JOHNSON: Butterfly in the sky.

TIAN RICHARDS: Yes! But, his, his spirit is, is so, so beautiful and so open. Cause, you know, I didn’t know what to expect. You know, he’s a, he’s a legend. So when I, when I met him, it’s like, he just saw me. I, I just felt like he saw me. And um, we just sat and talked about life. And he, he poured into me and, and told me, you know, stuff that Cecily Tyson and Maya Angelou had told him, like what a flex by the way. (Right) Just to pull that outta your pocket. But um, but no, he’s, he’s an amazing, you know, person. And I just wanna shout out and give him his flowers cause he doesn’t get them enough. We love you, LeVar Burton, we love you, man.

PORSHA: Thank you all so much.

MODERATOR: Next up is Rick Bentley, followed by Karama Horne.

RICK: Thank you very much. I have two quick questions regarding the books. Tian, for you first, your Tom Swift is certainly not the same as the Tom Swift that was introduced over a hundred years ago. But did you feel compelled at all [INAUDIBLE] those books. And for the executive producers, the Tom Swift books were really driven by the technology, because at that time, what we considered everyday was really phenomenal back then. But in this case, did you have, is it, do you feel like this show is more driven by the personal stories with the technology as a support?

CAMERON JOHNSON: Why don’t you go first.

TIAN RICHARDS: So to answer your first question, I did read one of the books. And again, it is very outdated material, but I just wanted to read it just to experience what it was like growing up. I did read Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys, but had never really come across Tom Swift. And what I can say a, a, a cool aspect about the books is how much tech came from it. Like if you think about the taser, is the Thomas A Swift electric rifle. And you know, that’s a piece of tech today. Um, so yeah, we are, we are very different though. Our show is definitely driven by the personal stories of today and of the modern world. But you will see so many references and new iterations of stuff that was in the book, little Easter eggs that we’ve had since NANCY DREW to now that, that tie it back to the universe. But yeah, I, I, I read one.

CAMERON JOHNSON: I, too read one. We are absolutely still driven by the tech though. Um, just to be clear. I mean our rule with the tech on the show though, is that, you know, there’s a, do I tell them of the Tomtage? (Sure) We should speak of the Tomtage. Okay, so we were working on the pilot and Melinda was like, Cameron, you know what? We just need, we need something that looks like, she said, like, just like, it’s like when you turn the A Team and you know you’re watching the A team, it’s like, what can we do that’s gonna make people know that you’re like, you’re watching TOM SWIFT?

CAMERON JOHNSON: So after I Googled the A Team, I then thought to myself, OK, cool. I then was like, okay, let’s do this, let’s do this. And so the thing that we came, that the three of us came up with is something called a Tomtage, which is a montage in which Tom does a thing that he finds, figures out what he is gonna need to go on the mission of the day. The first thing is the car. Uh, we have a lot of cars on this show. I’m definitely at car gay… unapologetically. Thanks, dad. And then there is the shoe, which is of course the most important thing I think in it, what, what are we wearing to go do some (In the car) And then finally, today it’s an Air Force One. It’s just something simple, I didn’t wanna do anything too crazy. But it also is monochrome with the outfit. That’s what matters.

CAMERON JOHNSON: And then, finally there is the invention. And so the, our rule for the inventions is that the inventions all have to be, at least come from, in some way, something kind of dumb. So, and what we mean by that is like, is what was the frivolous reason that this genius decided to invent, I don’t know, a camera made of steam or something like that? Could it be for taking better nudes? Something along those lines? And so, it’s things like that, that I think, but that are part of it. But the spirit of invention and the spirit of technology and the spirit of possibility is kind, are sort of the defining characteristics of our show.

CAMERON JOHNSON: Yeah, it is a, it’s a show about people and family relationships and those sorts of dramas. But it’s, what can we invent and how can we invent it and what can, how can we do that in a way that feels like cool and approachable and accept and accessible, so that maybe someday someone will read, watch our show and be like, I can make that thing real in the same way someone did with Tom Swift and his electric rifle, AKA, the taser.

MELINDA HSU TAYLOR: Absolutely. We definitely base it in science. And we do a lot of research. We’ve got a very busy writer’s room of wonderful minds, and they’re constantly coming to us, like this thing really happened. This guy really invented an invisibility cloak. Who knew? And we’re incorporating those things in the show. And we also want to reach out to the audience. As we get into the season, you will see a social media account for an incubator run by Zenzi called Swift Horizons. And we wanna ask people to actually send in their STEM ideas and, you know, we’ll try to promote it on social media, or at least have a, a forum for people to talk to each other and share ideas about tech and innovation.

MODERATOR: Next up is Karama Horne, followed by Ronda Penrice.

KARAMA: Hi there, it’s Karama, aka the blurred girl. What’s up? How y’all doing? Cameron, Cameron, love the nail polish. I have a question for Cameron, Tian and Ashleigh, but quickly, separate. Cameron. This is higher… there you go. Which one’s higher, the car budget or the fashion budget?

CAMERON JOHNSON: Car budget or shoe budget? Okay. Um, let me think about this. So in 101, we have a G63, we’ve got a Jaguar XKE we’ve got, this is a deep cup on 1988 Buick Grand National GNX. A Land Rover Defender 110, and Isaac, Albert, of course has a Toyota Camry. Of course, as one does. Oh, and then wait, Zenzi also has a drop-top Benz. So I think, oh wait, and then Lorraine’s got a series of Maybachs. I forgot about that. She’s got a fleet. I forgot about the Maybach fleet. So, I would, I think that it would be, I just listed about $2 million worth of cars…

MELINDA HSU TAYLOR: But they were mostly rentals.

CAMERON JOHNSON: But they were mostly rentals. So I think, I think we may have outdone it with clothes. I think we may have outdone it with clothes.

MELINDA HSU TAYLOR: I think, for sure, the clothes were more money.

CAMERON JOHNSON: Absolutely spent more money on clothes. But I mean, who doesn’t wanna live that way? I don’t know, that’s fun.

KARAMA: No, I do. So, Tian, which character do you feel Tom Swift is more aligned with, Batman or Tony Stark in your, in your mind?

TIAN RICHARDS: I would definitely say Tony Stark. (Tony Stark) Yeah. Yeah, Tony stark. And you know what’s crazy? I just saw “Ironman” for the first time like last…

CAMERON JOHNSON: You shouldn’t say that out loud. You shouldn’t say that to people.

KARAMA: Unfortunately, now I can’t, now I can’t write about you. Sorry.

CAMERON JOHNSON: Wow! How was it for the 15th time?

TIAN RICHARDS: No, like I was aware, like I sit down and like, watch it in its entirety. Like I seen clips and stuff over a friend’s house, but, you know, after seeing it for the story, I had seen him in the Avengers film. Like I knew who he was, but just the original Ironman film, like I wanted to, you know, sit down and experience it. But yes, I will say Tony Stark.

KARAMA: Awesome. And final question is for Ashleigh, about, well, first of all, Cynthia Rowley is the truth. So thank you for getting her on the show. (Yes. Yes, she is) Uh, what does Zenzi want? Does she really want to, does she want to really stay running his company? And will she stay Tom’s friend, or are we gonna see a little bit of competition there? Because she really is the brains of the operation.

ASHLEIGH MURRAY: Well, let’s, let’s just set this clear. [LAUGHTER] Zenzi and Tom will always be friends. (Aww) This, it’s like, it’s, I just love you. It’s, it’s like that, it’s like chosen family. You know, they are, they are longtime family friends, but they’re like cousins. They’re like, they’re like siblings, you know, they can finish each other’s sentences or know what the other person needs and what they don’t need. You know, that’s, that’s a bond that is really, really hard to break.

ASHLEIGH MURRAY: And there’s nothing about the two of them that wants to lose that. You know, there’s, there’s definitely friction as they both grow. But the goal is not to grow apart, but together. You know, that we could both rise up together and support each other in our journeys. So I, I, I know that, at least we better always be. [LOOKS AT CJ]

CAMERON JOHNSON: Will do as we’re told. Thank you.

ASHLEIGH MURRAY: No Zenzi, my Zenzi, you know, it, it is, I mean, it was a chemistry that, you know, I immediately felt when we did our, when we did our chem read. (Yes) I was, it was like, I was talking to my brother, my best friend. Like he really felt like a confidant right away. And we bring so much of that to the show naturally. And for Zenzi, if she’s gonna stay within the company within the Swift, you know, world and orbit, I think it’s really, time will only tell. It’s, it’s a hard, it’s a hard choice because they are family, you know? And, and it’s not, walking away from family is not an easy decision for anyone. You know, it’s, it’s do you choose the people that love you, or do you choose yourself, or is there a way that you can choose both?

TIAN RICHARDS: Nobody [INAUDIBLE]

MODERATOR: Next up is Ronda Penrice followed by Rhayne Coleman.

RONDA: Hey, well, speaking of family, I’m actually your cousin, but… Darryl is my own father. Yes.

ASHLEIGH MURRAY: Oh my God! Did you see my face when they were like, “And then next up Ronda Penrice.” I was like [GASPS]

RONDA: I’m so proud of you, so proud of you. (Yes!)

NOGA LANDAU: Oh my gosh.

ASHLEIGH MURRAY: I’m gonna cry. [OVERLAPPING] Real family. Hi!

RONDA: You kinda alluded to it, but I wanted to ask directly, why is this the right time for TOM SWIFT? And why is The CW the right place?

ASHLEIGH MURRAY: Is that for me? Not for me. [OVERLAPPING]

RONDA: It’s for whoever [OVERLAPPING]

MELINDA HSU TAYLOR: I feel like… Noga, if you wanna speak to this [OVERLAPPING]. I will tell you folks that Noga was the first person who said, this should be a black gay billionaire story. Ooh, let’s give some credit to Noga Landau. [APPLAUSE]

NOGA LANDAU: Yay. Well, I’m, I’m not a black gay billionaire, believe it or not. I wanna come out and be clear about that… But…

CAMERON JOHNSON: I had a whole plan to date her, here we are.

NOGA LANDAU: I know, I know, we were so close. You know, as we said before, this show is, is making history in many ways. It is the first, you know, network broadcast show where you have the titular character as a black gay man. Marquis is also making history. I don’t want to like put you on the spot, but I would love to just call out, you know, your contribution to this and how, how so many [OVERLAPPING] Yeah, I mean, so many, so many kids are gonna grow up seeing you on their TV screen and it’s going to, it’s gonna show them who they can be. And it’s so powerful.

NOGA LANDAU: And you know, regardless of what your politics are, regardless of, of who you are and where you think the country is going, I think the fact that… I think the fact that we’re seeing people be able to live more and more authentically, and yet the, the struggle is not over, and the fight is not over, I couldn’t think of a better time to have a show like this come out. And honestly, it would’ve been great if a show like this came out 50 years ago. But now is our opportunity. And now we finally have allies in, you know, our studio CBS, and in our network CW who are gonna let us tell this story.

MELINDA HSU TAYLOR: Yeah, they have been incredibly supportive (Truly) We’ve come to them with some fairly out-there ideas and they’ve been like, “Great, can you do more?” You know, like seriously, they’re so encouraging and embracing of our creative ideas. And they’re great collaborators, great partners in this. They’ve been really, really, really supportive. We love the trailer, thank you. And you know, also I feel like The CW is sort of the network that could. And it’s doesn’t have the same sorts of pressures in some ways that some of the, I don’t know… Say you’re a giant streamer like Netflix, you have a different kind of target you’re trying to hit. Say you’re a giant you know, corporation like ABC has a certain thing that it’s trying to do.

MELINDA HSU TAYLOR: The CW has been able to do these very kind of, this is just for you, and yet everybody feels like, oh, I could tune into that too. And they have a really good blend of very targeted and yet very accessible programming. So I think it’s a great home for us.

CAMERON JOHNSON: The CW is the right place for us, because The CW is the place that said go further, do more, make it gayer, make it queerer, make it blacker. I’m literally not joking. Like we’ll be on notes calls and I’m like, oh God, there’s no way they’re gonna let me get away with this. And then they’re like, there’s absolutely no way. And then like, and then, you know, the execs are like, yes, absolutely. We are not only gonna let you get away with this, we’d like you to do more.

CAMERON JOHNSON: And I think the real, the other reason why The CW is the right place for this is that this is where youth go to see universal stories. I watched every single episode of “Gossip Girl” three times. Like, I have, there’s a, an ongoing joke, what is it? “Party of Five” is the show that I’m supposed to watch. Anyway, that I, that I, I…

NOGA LANDAU: Dawson’s River, you’re supposed to watch Dawson’s River.

CAMERON JOHNSON: Dawson’s River apparently was a show on the, on our network at some point. But this is a place where stories about young people learning about themselves, learning about their lives, starting off in existence can be broadcast on a large scale. And the fact that they’re willing to take this sort, to be like risky enough to be like, yeah, yeah, yeah, let’s make it about a black gay guy. Let’s do that. And he’s gonna be actually black and gay. He’s gonna kiss boys and he’s gonna, you know, do more than that. And we’re gonna, and you can populate the world with other people who are like him is why they’re the place for this. And I think they’ve been such a wonderful creative partner, and I’m obsessed with them. Thank you.

TIAN RICHARDS: Dare to defy.

RONDA: Well, thank you guys. Great job so far, but of course I’m biased.

ASHLEIGH MURRAY: Thank you.

CAMERON JOHNSON: Mess up your question, question wasn’t for Ashleigh though. I’m just gonna point that out at the family reunion, like they’ve got…

MODERATOR: We’re approaching our final two questions. Next up is Rhayne Coleman and followed by Walker Ragsdale.

ASHLEIGH MURRAY: Well, come on back, Ronda!

RHAYNE: Can you guys hear me? (Yes) Okay. My apologies. Okay. Thank you all for having me, glad, glad to be here. Um, I have two questions. So one dealing with the identity, there are some very tough conversations being had by Tom and his father. The word sensitive being thrown around. I loved, loved, loved that. But this is the story that a lot of queer people have these very same experiences. And this is really for, I guess, anyone, how important was it to capture that? Cause you did mention, you know, not wanting to kind of rehash black trauma. But this very specific thing is happening a lot. And I wanted to get into the fight with Tom and with Tom and Zenzi, if you could speak to that as well.

TIAN RICHARDS: Okay. I’ll take that one. What I will say, I definitely have my own set of daddy issues, though the, the problems are a little different with, with my own. But, what I hope to have happen, or what I hope to see is a world where we see less and less of that resistance from our, our parents. Thankfully I have a mother and father who, we don’t have that issue. Where they did fully accept me and my journey and everything in-between. We have other issues, but not that one.

TIAN RICHARDS: But it is great to grow up in a household where you can be fully realized and fully self-actualized. And since I am the product of that I, I hope that everybody gets a chance to experience that. But that’s, you know, not, that’s not the reality. So, there are many people who deal with parents who, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s, sometimes it’s a little more micro-aggression in-between. It’s not, we always kick you out of the house or disown you, but it’s like little micro-aggression, little comments that they make, little, you know, side jabs that you, you feel it. And come on, I’m black in a, in a, in a black family. Like people say stuff, you know? People say little things they think are, are, are (Funny) Yeah, funny or passable, like yeah, yeah.

CAMERON JOHNSON: Sweet, sugar in the tank. (Yes) Like the lovebirds.

TIAN RICHARDS: Yes. All of that, all of that. So it’s, it’s circulating the conversation to where we see people that look like us go through these things as well, and, and, and in the world scope. So yeah. Yeah. That’s, that’s, that’s always a hard issue and I’m, I’m just struggling a little bit, because I know friends that have definitely experienced the, the brute of their parents not understanding who they are and, you know, things being pushed upon them. And I even think about my own journey just a little bit, where, though I get got to actualize, you know. At a time, like I was really on some heavy, like I gotta be masculine out here in the world to survive, you know? And not letting other parts of my femininity and, and, and the full breadth of my humanity show.

TIAN RICHARDS: So, you know, I, of course you got uncles and cousins and grandfathers that, you know, you have to assimilate with, as well as in the world, because you’ll be seen a certain way. And yeah, so it shows that somebody who, on paper has everything, still has human issues. Because, though we have money and access and status, we are not void of human issues within the human experience.

MELINDA HSU TAYLOR: Yeah. And I think for folks who might be watching it from the other side of the Barton argument, not saying that our viewers are necessarily like this, but everybody knows somebody who struggled with their kids’ identity. And to have hope for those folks that maybe they could come around or maybe they could evolve Barton, you know, spoiler, he won’t always be that angry. I’ll leave it at that. But, you know, you gotta start someplace to get someplace.

MELINDA HSU TAYLOR: And then, you know, one of the things that I’m really proud of also, you know, we’ll, we’ll get to this in series, but Lorraine being a church-goer and actually being incredibly accepting. And that those two things can be completely feeding off of each other, that you have a religious faith and that you also embrace somebody’s identity. Those two things can exist right at the same time, they could actually make each other stronger.

CAMERON JOHNSON: That’s true. Amen. You know, it’s, it’s interesting in thinking about that scene in particular and the relationship between Barton and Tom, I think it was, look, my dad would really appreciate it if I said that all of this is fiction, wink-wink, nudge-nudge. Um, but with that said, you know, I, I do have to give my parents credit because they were never, you know… I, I’ve been very obviously gay first ever since I bought my first Spice Girls album. And it is, it was great. It was a vibe, I loved it. My friends did not. They had notes, but it was great. But with that said, it wasn’t a P-flag, rainbow-sticker-on-the-car type of acceptance. It was an acceptance that came with, you, there are still standards that you, as a black man from this type of particular type of respectable family, need to live up to. And if you don’t live up to those things, if you don’t meet those standards, there’s gonna be problems.

CAMERON JOHNSON: And underneath that, there was always, and there still can always be, a little bit of like a soupçon of homophobia that comes out. And I think for Barton, that’s what he’s working through. But at its core, I mean, I’ll tell a small little personal story, I don’t think I’ve ever told before. But basically, so the day that I came out to my dad, I had had a dream, I was home for spring break in college. I woke up and I was like, I must tell my father that I am gay, and I had a full panic attack. And I got on the phone to call like this, a mentor of mine who was Dr. Jones. And I said, if I, and she said, well, what’s the problem.
And I was like, well, if I tell my dad I’m gay, is he going to still love me?

CAMERON JOHNSON: And she paused as if I had said something insane. And she said, of course. Barton and Tom love each other dearly. The problem is that their vision for what being a man is, is so different that it’s a big bridge to cross. And so, for Barton that’s, well, I mean, you’re gay and your life’s gonna be harder and you’re not like the type of person I wanted you to be. And Tom is like, I can do so many things, I just do it differently. I just am doing it gay. I’m doing it fabulously, as one must. And it’s that collision that drives so much of the story. And that is sort of, is the thing that one can recover from.

CAMERON JOHNSON: It’s less about like becoming less homophobic, which is important. Yes, we should all do that and transphobic and all of the other, all the sorts of phobias that, and racist and all the things that we all have internally. But what it’s really about is accepting that your child’s vision, the person you love’s vision of what their life should be, can be different. And your job is not to like, try to beat them into submission and doing like what your dream of, of them was. It’s to help them be the best possible version of that, of themselves.

APRIL PARKER JONES: Amen.

ASHLEIGH MURRAY: There was a sec-, what was the other question?

RHAYNE: Yes, I’m sorry. It was about the, can you hear me? OK. It was about the argument between Tom right after the, the big criminal event. That was so intense. Like I was on pins and needles. Like that back and forth. So you spoke to your chemistry, like, how was it filming that scene?

ASHLEIGH MURRAY: Okay, you know what? So when we shot that scene, that was actually a scene that I had auditioned with. And I, I, like, I know that fight. I have siblings, you know, I have cousins, I have friends. You know, people that you really, that you guys are on the same wavelength, and if somebody’s given you a little energy, you’re like, “Yeah, I know, I heard that, but I’m still gonna talk to you.” And it was, it was that moment where Tom can reach a frequency that Zenzi is really trying to get him to come down from. And he keeps going and keeps going, and now she has to meet him there. And we are, you wanna have a conversation? Well, we can have a conversation?

TIAN RICHARDS: Who was having that?!

ASHLEIGH MURRAY: Exactly. And what’s so funny is, that when we did that, we, we shot it, you know, several times. And we definitely both had, I feel like we both had an idea of what it was supposed to feel like, what it was supposed to look like. And our director, Anton was like (Shout-out to Anton Cropper) He was like, okay, listen, I need, y’all like, you got it, but I just need you to stop. I need you to talk to him like you talking. And it’s funny because I thought I was talking to him, like I was talking to, he was like, talk to him like you talking to your cousin.

TIAN RICHARDS: No, no, no. Tell him though. Cause Miss Mama was pacing back and forth. And I was, oh, oh, okay. I was waiting.

ASHLEIGH MURRAY: I started pacing.

TIAN RICHARDS: Oh okay. I was waiting for my cue. And she was…

ASHLEIGH MURRAY: Because I had been waiting for you all night!

TIAN RICHARDS: Oh, I’m trying to get to the observatory. And, and then “action!” Whoa!

ASHLEIGH MURRAY: It was, it was so intense and it was so wonderful. And that’s one of my favorite, favorite things about working with Tian, is that he commits, (Yes) he commits. He does his homework and he’s there with you, and he listens and it comes from here and he gives it, and you take it and you throw it right back. It’s like, it’s like tennis, the whole time. And it’s such a wonderful, thrilling, fulfilling workout. And the fact that you had that reaction, that’s what we were having.

TIAN RICHARDS: Zenzi, my Zenzi!

MODERATOR: Okay. We’ve gone over, so we need to wrap things up. I just wanted to thank everyone again for participating. This has been amazing. I hope everyone has a great weekend. And just a reminder, TOM SWIFT premieres Tuesday, May 31st at 9:00 PM on The CW. Thank you guys so much. Thank you everyone.

MORE INFO:

Tian Richards as Tom Swit and Ashleigh Murray as Zenzi on "Tom Swift" on The CWTOM SWIFT”

Tuesday (9:00 – 10:00 p.m. ET) on The CW

As an exceptionally brilliant inventor with unlimited resources and unimaginable wealth, the devilishly charming Tom Swift (Tian Richards) is a man who many men would kill to be, or be with – a man with the world in the palm of his hand. But that world gets shaken to its core after the shocking disappearance of his father, thrusting Tom into a breathtaking adventure full of mysterious conspiracies and unexplained phenomena. On his whirlwind quest to unravel the truth, Tom finds himself fighting to stay one step ahead of an Illuminati-scale cabal hellbent on stopping him. Tackling this treacherous pursuit armed with his vast intellect, his roguish wit, and an endless supply of designer sneakers, he will also rely on his closest companions: his best friend Zenzi (Ashleigh Murray), whose unabashed and unvarnished candor keeps Tom grounded while she forges a path for herself as a business visionary; his bodyguard Isaac (Marquise Vilsón), whose fierce commitment to his chosen family is complicated by his own simmering feelings for Tom; and his AI, Barclay (voiced by LeVar Burton), whose insights and tough love have been a constant throughout Tom’s life.

At home, Tom’s relationship with his mother Lorraine (April Parker Jones) becomes conflicted as she urges him to take his father’s place in elite Black society. But unbeknownst to Tom, his mother’s request is driven by deep secrets of her own. What’s more, the mysterious and dangerous Rowan (Albert Mwangi) intersects Tom’s path with hidden motivations and undeniable mutual chemistry. While Tom navigates these emotionally charged dynamics, his missions will require his genius and his flair for innovation guided by romance, friendship and the mysteries of the universe yet unsolved.

The character of Tom Swift was originally introduced to audiences in season two of NANCY DREW. The series is inspired by the Tom Swift book series that hails from Stratemeyer Syndicate, which also publishes the Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys and Bobbsey Twins books.

TOM SWIFT stars Tian Richards, Ashleigh Murray, Marquise Vilsón, April Parker Jones and Albert Mwangi, with LeVar Burton as the voice of Barclay, Tom’s AI.

TOM SWIFT is a production of CBS Studios in association with Fake Empire. TOM SWIFT was co-created by Melinda Hsu Taylor (“Nancy Drew,” “The Gifted”), Noga Landau (“Nancy Drew,” “The Magicians”) and Cameron Johnson (“Empire”). Taylor, Landau and Johnson also serve as executive producers along with Josh Schwartz (“Nancy Drew,” “Gossip Girl,” “Dynasty”), Stephanie Savage (“Nancy Drew,” “Gossip Girl,” “Dynasty”), and Lis Rowinski (“Nancy Drew,” “Gossip Girl,” “Dynasty”)

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Panel for "Tom Swift" on The CW

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.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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Warner Bros. actors panel

Interview with cast of “Naomi”

TV Interview!

 

Mary-Charles Jones, Kaci Walfall and Camila Moreno of "Naomi" on The CW

Interview with actors from “Naomi” on The CW by Suzanne 1/6/22

This was a great panel with the cast and creators of the new teen superhero show on The CW. I love all of their superhero shows, so I was very grateful to be there. There was a lot of youth and passion in our little Zoom press panel.

THE CW NETWORK

Naomi

Cast Zoom:  Ava DuVernay (EP), Jill Blankenship (EP), Kaci Walfall “Naomi,” Cranston Johnson “Zumbado,” Alexander Wraith, “Dee,” Mary-Charles Jones, “Annabelle,” Barry Watson, “Greg,” Mouzam Makkar “Jennifer,” Daniel Puig “Nathan,” Camila Moreno “Lourdes,” Will Meyers “Anthony,” Aidan Gemme “Jacob,” 2022.0106

Here’s the description of the series that we were given in the panel:

“This is a truly fresh take on the superhero genre from executive producers Ava DuVernay and Jill Blankenship. And we’re so happy you’re joining us today to hear from them and our incredible cast. The DC drama Naomi follows the journey of a cool, confident, comic book-loving teenager as she pursues her hidden destiny. When a supernatural event shakes her hometown of Port Oswego to the core, Naomi sets out to uncover its origins with a little help from her fiercely-loyal best friend, Annabelle. She also has the support of her adopted doting parents, veteran military officer, Greg and linguistics teacher, Jennifer. After an encounter with Zumbado, the mysterious owner of a used-car lot leaves her shaken, Naomi turns to tattoo-parlor owner, Dee, who becomes her reluctant mentor. While unraveling the mystery about herself, Naomi also effortlessly navigates her high school friendships with kids on the military base, as well as local townies, including ex-boyfriend and high school jock Nathan, Annabelle’s long-time loyal boyfriend, Jacob, proud townie, Anthony, and fellow comic book enthusiast, Lourdes, who works in a vintage collectible shop. As Naomi journeys to the heights of the Multiverse in search of answers, what she discovers will challenge everything we believe about our heroes. Don’t believe everything you think. This is… Naomi. New series, Tuesday, January 11. Only on The CW.”

I was able to ask just two question because it was a large press panel with many journalists. First I asked the show’s star, Kaci, if she had been a fan of this (or any other) comic book prior to the show. She answered that she’s an “avid reader,” but not of comics. However, she did love The CW superhero shows, such as “Supergirl” and “The Flash.”

I love Barry Watson because I used to watch “7th Heaven,” where he played the hunky oldest teen boy. Here, he plays Naomi’s adoptive dad on the show. I asked him if he’d ever played a military man before. He replied that he hadn’t, as far as he could remember. He added that he does come from “a bit of a military family,” but this is his first time playing someone in the military.

Ava DuVernay chimed in to say how much she likes him “with the salt and pepper beard.” She said it’s a shame that he can’t wear it on the show, since he’s in the military. Then she mused that they might have to find a way to write it in the show. I had just been thinking the same thing, that he should keep the beard because he looks great with it. I thought, “Should I say that? Do I have time?”… so I’m glad she said it! She said that he looked “fantastic.” He grinned modestly. I’m sure he’s used to women complimenting him. He said that this is “how I roll.” Like so many men, he doesn’t shave when he’s not working. I don’t normally like beards, but it looks good on him. She joked again that she’ll have to write it in the script. He agreed and revealed that “shaving it every day hurts my face.”

DuVernay was very chatty during the panel and had a lot of energy. I could tell that she’s really the driving force behind the show as well as its biggest cheerleader. I can see now why people are so inspired by her.

Jamie asked where the show might fit in the DCU and whether it might be involved with some of the CW crossovers. Executive Producer Jill answered that this is the third DC show she’s worked on, and she loves how they have something for everyone. She doesn’t think that anything is “ever off the table” (including a crossover). That’s great to hear.

Max asked Ava and Jill about where the idea came from to develop the series and what their experiences were with comics beforehand. Duvernay informed us that through her production company Array, which is via Warner Brothers, she had been involved with a DCU movie “New Gods” (unfortunately, this film had been canceled because it conflicted with the “Justice League” movie). She also worked with them on another new show, “DMZ,” which comes out on HBO Max later this spring. Then she heard about a new comic about a black girl superhero, so she really wanted to be involved with it. She liked it because it was different from other superheroes, since this girl is figuring out her destiny and who she is. She praised Jill as one of the “top two best writing partners I’ve ever, ever had,” so she wanted her for the show, and they started working on it. Then she went on to heap loving praise on all of the cast and crew and said they’ve had a good time creating the show together.

Max then asked a second question, for Kaci, about what her audition process was like; he also asked the producers why they chose her. Kaci described her audition. She sent in a self-tape and didn’t hear anything for 2 weeks. Then Ava emailed her and wanted to do a Zoom call with her and two others. She did some scenes with them and answered questions, and then they flew her to L.A. She went with her mom out to L.A., where they had her do some readings (for chemistry). Then they talked about the show over lunch and got to know each other. A week later, Ava phoned her to say she got the part. This sounds like a very thorough audition. They never answered his second question, unfortunately.

Fred was called on next. Ava recognized him from when he was a publicist and she used to pitch (story ideas) to her. Awww, that was nice. Ava said he was very sweet and that they’d both been doing this a long time.

Fred asked Kaci whether the fact that Naomi just discovered her powers gives her a little leeway into training a little bit, and he also asked her how extensive her physical training has been.

Kaci agreed that she has been able to ease in to the training. She’s finding things out as Naomi does and is able to grow over time. She credits her stunt coordinator, Elizabeth, for telling her that she’s just at the right place (the same as the character). She just works out to stay fit and keep her energy going, but Naomi gets better every episode.

Fred followed up with asking Alex about his own physical training for the role of Dee. Alex admitted that while he was “pretty athletic,” he’d given up on heavy training and martial arts for a few years, so he had to start training again. He pointed out that it feels very good, and he feels that he’s back on track.

Ava disappeared for a moment to get her charger, just as Rick was going to ask her a question, so everyone laughed because it was a funny moment. He asked her whether she thinks first of the scifi elements of the story, or the coming of age stuff first, and what have been the pitfalls, as well as positive things about adapting a popular comic to the screen.

Ava answered that she thought of it first as the coming-of-age story and that’s what she loves most about it. She believes that all comic book stories are “really personal human stories about the … journeys that we all take, written in with issues of heroism and … magic.” The best ones are the ones we can relate to. She shared some of her favorite scenes in the show. There was one she was editing today that brought a tear to her eye. She was getting emotional editing this “young adult drama.” There’s another scene where Naomi and Cranston talk about love that made her cry. She also spoke highly about Barry and Mouzam, who play Naomi’s parents. She praised them for having “an edge” and “mystery. She added that Naomi has three love interests (one a girl). Lastly, she said that her favorite couple is Jacob and Annabelle; she said they might get a spinoff one day. All of these things make it more than just a superhero show to her.

Jill answered the other part of the question. She’s a fan herself of the comic book and loves how “characters jump off the page.” She’s excited to honor the writing in that and how the story progresses, yet still “expanding the world even beyond the comic.” She added that seeing this wonderful cast bringing it to life has been “spectacular.”

Judy asked Cranston and Alex to describe their characters, whom have known each other a long time and lived in the same town for years. She wants to know what their relationship is and whether they wrote their own backstory for them. Cranston relayed that he had been told that his character doesn’t like Dee, and we’ll find out why. Also, “the feeling is mutual,” but they may have to work toward a common goal. Ava praised him for avoiding any spoilers, saying “Well done!”

Alex doesn’t agree that Dee hates Zumbado. Dee keeps to himself to avoid any kind of drama, which he’s been through before. He just knows that Zumbado will be responsible for any problems that might come up.

Judy pointed out that the series relies on Naomi’s relationship with her friends, so she asked each of the young actors what they did outside of the set and hanging out together to get their chemistry. Ava asked Mary Charles to start. She shared that she and Kaci had done one scene together over Zoom for the pilot (so they could work looking like best friends). Then they started doing a group Zoom with the other younger people. She revealed that they “did very teenagery icebreakers,” such as asking each other’s “star signs” and what their favorite ice cream flavor was.

Camila remembers that and said she really liked “this amazing group of people. She thought that building this relationship was going to be very easy. She’s blessed to part of it and says that they’re a very likable group.

Ava pointed out that this is Daniel’s first job. Puig agreed that making the chemistry with them all was “awesome” and reminded him of hanging out with his high school friends. He feels that they’ll all be close forever. Will was wearing a suit, so Ava pointed out that he was “”looking so debonaire” and asked him his thoughts on it. He noticed that at the beginning, they were all just working on their characters and anxious to get started, but then they were told to get to know each other, which made him more excited. He said that they were all “wonderful” and that getting to know them has been “such a joy.” He echoed Daniel’s sentiments, saying, “I really feel a connection with every single one of you, and it’s been nothing but fun. ”

Ava called on Aidan last. He said there was some awkwardness when they did their first table read, but since then, they’ve all been building on their relationships. He feels that “everybody wants to be here and [is] open and engaging.” It makes him feel “humbled” to be included. Then Ava praised them all and talked about how they support Kaci, which is “extraordinary.” She said that Kaci is the star and lead of the show, and they all work to rally around her, even though she’s only 17 and the youngest person in the cast. She complimented her on handling things with such “grace.”

Abbie asked Ava if she’ll be addressing issues such as “race and civil rights” in a real or metaphorical way, since that’s what she’s done in previous projects. Ava says they will be doing it with a process she calls “normalization,” which means having diversity of race, gender and class as if it’s an every-day thing and not anything out of the ordinary. She feels this is a “radical revolutionary thing.”

Abbie also asked Kaci about how she views her character, whether it’s through being excited that she has superpowers or something else. Kaci replied that the show is very realistic, so she asks herself the question of what she would do if she had superpowers. She wouldn’t necessarily be “joyful,” which is how the character is dealing with the issue. Being a teenager, she doesn’t want to be “different.” Abbie went on to ask whether Naomi feels that she has a greater responsibility to protect her community (now that she has superpowers). Kaci believes anyone with powers would feel that way. Being 16, it may not be a good thing to have to struggle with, which she does throughout the show.

Jim asks about Naomi’s flirting and romances in the show and whether we’ll see some of that as a story point in the first season. He feels that some viewers might be struggling with their own sexuality and want to see that addressed.

Jill, adding on to what Ava said about normalization, replied that she admires how the younger people today are very different when it comes to sexuality. She finds their “attitude towards sexuality and toward this sort of aversion to labels so inspiring.” They do use that through the season, grounded in the reality of their show.

Ava asked Barry and Mouzam to give their opinions on this, since they’re playing Naomi’s parents. She reminds us that there’s a conversation in the first episode where they’re talking about the other teens that Naomi is involved with. Mouzam agrees with Ava that there are many different people in the world, and their characters raised Naomi to believe that “love is love.” They have great communication between them. She praises their family dynamic and how Naomi can be free to be herself and that it’s all coming from reality. Barry agrees and says they have “an openness” to everything and they really want their daughter to be happy, more than anything.

Jim had a follow-up question. He calls the teens the “Scooby gang.” Ava chimed in to say that the kids don’t know that ancient reference, but they all do (of course, because “Scooby-Doo” has run in re-runs and remakes forever, and the phrase has been used many times, over and over, in the media). Kaci said that they do call themselves that already.

Jim asks them if they knew the backstory of their characters, whether it was in the script or not. Camila answered that they have great access to asking Jill questions. She and Ava are very open about answering their questions. She’s very curious about her character’s background and personality. Aidan agrees. He comes from the theater, where there’s always an end, so they don’t have as much opportunity to explore their characters. This show has been fun because they’re all on a journey together. Every time he opens his script, he learns something new about the characters.

Ava piped up again to say that they gave Mary-Charles, Will and Daniel the most background material. She mentions who the characters each are. She doesn’t like giving them too many details because they want the actors to help fill in those gaps. They listen to the younger actors and how they speak, so they use some of the slang terms they use. Jill agrees that she feels “10% cooler just from my text exchange …with these actors.” Mary-Charles backed them up by saying that what is really great is that they listen to them in a respectful way about how they speak and whether this or that is still trendy to say.

Dawn asked Ava and Jill what made Kaci just right for the role (which is great, since that question was asked earlier and never answered). Ava says that besides the talent, she looks for a person that has certain qualities because she has to work closely with them, possibly for years. She asks if she wants to be in a relationship with this person. She knew after Kaci auditioned that she is “flat out incredible, beyond good enough” as an actor. She had to fly her out and meet her, have a meal and get to see who she was as well. Even though Kaci was only 16 and just had a little theater experience, she had a great “work ethic, the professionalism, the talent, the vibrancy, the charisma, all of it.” She also liked her as a person. She knew Kaci would be able to shoulder the responsibility of being the title character of a TV show. She feels very lucky to have found her, and she felt the same way about other actors she found for roles in her TV and movie projects (which she listed). Jill also added how impressed she’s been with Kaci. She sometimes forget she’s 17 “because she’s so thoughtful. She’s so mature. She’s so considerate and such a great leader, as Ava said that again, it’s just, she’s exceeded my wildest expectations, personally.” Kaci blushed a bit and smile at all of the nice things they said about her.

Ava also added that the rest of the cast was also great. They all like each other in real life, which is not always the case. She complimented Cranston, Alex, Barry and Mouzam again.

There was more, but this was a really long interview. I’ll add the rest later if I see anything worth adding, but you get the idea. I hope you enjoy the series!

MORE INFO:

NAOMI

Tuesday (9:00 – 10:00 p.m. ET) on The CW

 

From Oscar® nominee/Emmy® winner Ava DuVernay and Jill Blankenship (“Arrow”), and starring Kaci Walfall (“Army Wives,” “Power,” “The Lion King” on Broadway) in the title role, the DC drama NAOMI follows the journey of a cool, confident, comic book–loving teenager as she pursues her hidden destiny. When a supernatural event shakes her hometown of Port Oswego to the core, Naomi sets out to uncover its origins, with a little help from her fiercely loyal best friend Annabelle (Mary-Charles Jones, “Kevin Can Wait”). She also has the support of her adoptive, doting parents, veteran military officer Greg (Barry Watson, “7th Heaven,” “The Loudest Voice”) and linguistics teacher Jennifer (Mouzam Makkar, “The Fix”). After an encounter with Zumbado (Cranston Johnson, “Filthy Rich”), the mysterious owner of a used car lot, leaves her shaken, Naomi turns to tattoo parlor owner Dee (Alexander Wraith, “Orange Is the New Black”), who becomes her reluctant mentor. While unfolding the mystery about herself, Naomi also effortlessly navigates her high school friendships with kids on the military base as well as well as local townies, including ex-boyfriend and high school jock Nathan (Daniel Puig); Annabelle’s longtime, loyal boyfriend Jacob (Aidan Gemme); proud “townie” Anthony (Will Meyers, “Bad Education”); and fellow comic book enthusiast Lourdes (Camila Moreno), who works in a vintage collectible shop. As Naomi journeys to the heights of the Multiverse in search of answers, what she discovers will challenge everything we believe about our heroes. Based on the characters from DC, NAOMI is written and executive produced by Ava DuVernay and Jill Blankenship (“Arrow”), and executive produced by Sarah Bremner and Paul Garnes of ARRAY Filmworks. Amanda Marsalis (“Echo Park,” “Queen Sugar”) directed and co-executive produced the pilot episode. The series is from ARRAY Filmworks in association with Warner Bros. Television.

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"Naomi" poster

Interview with Nicole Maines

TV Interview!

Nicole Maines from a video on her Instagram

Interview with Nicole Maines of “Supergirl” on The CW by Suzanne 10/14/21

I’m not ashamed to say that I worked very hard to get this interview for the last year or so. I’m glad we finally got the chance to chat over the phone! She is really great on the show, and as a person, and as an advocate for LGBTQ++ rights. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

NICOLE MAINES ISN’T DONE WITH DREAMER! That’s what she keeps saying, anyway, and I think if she says it enough, perhaps she will get the chance to reprise her character (or keep writing about her).

Suzanne:   Are you still in Palm Springs… I saw on your Instagram…?

Nicole:   Oh, that was a couple of weeks ago. No, no, I’m in Los Angeles.

Suzanne:   Okay, back in LA. Is it nice out?

Nicole:   I don’t know. I woke up at noon.

Suzanne:   Oh, well, that’s good.

Nicole:   I’m unemployed. [laughs]

Suzanne:   I understand, believe me. So, there are just five episodes left of Supergirl. How do you feel?

Nicole:   I mean, I’m excited. I mean, especially the next episode. That’s our big Nia episode. It’s Nia, who’s back.

Suzanne:   Oh, good.

Nicole:   Yeah.

Suzanne:   So, how do you feel about the show ending though?

Nicole:   I mean, it’s bittersweet. I’m excited for what’s gonna come next and what new opportunities are there for me, but this was home for three years, and I miss the people, and I miss the crew, and I miss getting to be Nia and getting to play around with Nia

Suzanne:   Right. Oh, I forgot you were only on there for three years. I watch the show religiously, I promise. You seem like you’ve been there forever, like everyone.

Dreamer posterNicole:   It felt like I was there forever. I mean, I really, really loved and I do love that character and to be her, and that was my first sort of initial thought when they gave me the call and told us we didn’t get picked up for seven. I was like, “I’m not done. I have more to do with her.”

Suzanne:   Do you think fans will be happy with the way it ends?

Nicole:   I think so. I think we have a really, really fun ending, and getting to shoot that last episode was really fun. And we have some stuff that I think people have been wanting for a while, and it’s going to be great.

Suzanne:   Oh, good. Yeah. As long as they don’t kill off Supergirl, I’ll be happy. I’m not happy about the way they ended Arrow. Too depressing… but that was a more downer show than than yours anyway.

Nicole:   Yeah.

Suzanne:   I don’t know if anybody has died on Supergirl?

Nicole:   Yeah, Astra died.

Suzanne:   Oh, her mother, right.

Nicole:   Aunt.

Suzanne:   Aunt, right. Oh, well, she was a villain anyway. Well, the nice thing about most of these kind of shows, they can always bring them back again.

Nicole:   Totally.

Suzanne:   So, what did you find most challenging about playing Nia/Dreamer?

Nicole:   Oh, gosh, I mean, where to start? I think the hardest part, for me, was finding my sea legs and coming onto the show pretty new, pretty green and trying to keep up. Everyone on our show is so stupid talented that it’s intimidating. And for someone who didn’t really have a lot of experience under my belt and didn’t really have a lot of formal training to fall back on, it was really scary. It felt like I was flying by the seat of my pants at all times, but I wouldn’t change a thing. It was the perfect first show for me, and, I don’t know, as soon as we were done, I was like, “Okay, now I’m ready! This is just rehearsal. Let’s go back. Let’s do it again. Okay, now I’m ready.”

Suzanne:   Well, it probably added to your character though, because, she was pretty insecure and everything when she first started.

Nicole:   Exactly. I was able to bring all of that energy into Nia. That was really nice, because, simultaneously, with me going coming on to Supergirl and sort of finding my sea legs there, she was coming into CatCo brand new, and she was finding her sea legs as a superhero. So, I was able to bring that energy to the character, and I think it really worked. I hope it worked.Dreamer and Supergirl

Suzanne:   No, it did.

Nicole:   Nobody told me otherwise.

Suzanne:   Well, they would have told you if you weren’t doing it right. So, I think that’s good.

Nicole:   I hope so. [laughs]

Suzanne:   So, what was the most fun part of playing her?

Nicole:   Oh, gosh. Getting to create a superhero. I mean, that is a dream come true, just getting to watch her powers evolve, and watching her fighting style evolve was so fun. Getting to do the Hurricanrana in fourteen, everyone was calling it the Black Widow move. [laughs] It was f – sorry, excuse me, I don’t know if I can swear, but it was fucking cool!

Suzanne:   It’s fine.

Nicole:   Getting to kind of see where she came from and now seeing her kicking all of this butt was so much fun, and getting to be a part of that and getting to help shape this character. And now I have this character who is forever part of me.

Suzanne:   Yeah, it’s it’s a shame. I mean, obviously, I’m upset that they canceled the show, but it’s a shame that they cancel it now that she’s finally got hold of her powers and everything.

Nicole:   I know, I’m like, “You haven’t really seen Dreamer at 100%.” We haven’t seen Dreamer not struggling for a second, just like, be Dreamer. So, if I could have done anything else, I would have wanted to show just what a full power Dreamer can do and what Dreamer at 100% looks like.

Suzanne:   Well, is there any chance of her showing up on a crossover with the other shows or joining Legends of Tomorrow or anything like that?

Nicole:   I mean, never say never. I haven’t heard a dang thing, but I’m ready. I am here waiting to take your calls. Please call in. [laughs]

Suzanne:   Right. And what was the most fun part of playing her?

Nicole:   Oh, my gosh, I mean, getting Dream energy was really fun. Getting to do all those blasts and getting to come up with the choreography for it was really fun. I think one of my favorite moments was, and I’ve said this before, on the 100th episode, when I put up that giant shield against Reign, and the wind and the fans were blowing and debris was going everywhere…I felt so cool in that moment. That was the kind of stuff I loved, getting to be a superhero. That was the best part.

Suzanne:   Is that what you’ll miss the most?

Nicole:   No, I think I’ll miss the people the most. I think it’s the people the most. I just saw Staz. He came and visited me for a couple of weeks. We saw Jesse while he was down here. So, it was good. I [had just been] with Katie. So, I keep in touch with all of them.

Suzanne:   Good. Good.

Dreamer PosterNicole:   I really miss them, and I miss having the Superfriends together.

Suzanne:   It’s so funny that they started calling them Superfriends on the show. [laughs] You know, the old cartoon. I don’t know if you ever saw it.

Nicole:   Oh, yeah, I know, I know. I thought it was great. What a great revival.

Suzanne:   Yeah, people of my age and slightly younger grew up watching that.

Nicole:   We all have hoodies that were made that have the Superfriends on them in that Golden Age comic style, and it has the logo [for] Superfriends on it, and I wear it all the time.

Suzanne:   That’s neat. Were you a comic book fan before you joined the show?

Nicole:   Not too much, honestly, no. I read comics, and I had some comics, but I wouldn’t say was a comic book fan or a comic nerd. This show definitely changed that, and I still have a ways to go. I’m still not by any standards like an aficionado, but I definitely developed a new appreciation for it. And after writing Dreamer into the comics, my relationship with that has definitely changed in a much more “hungry for more” way.

Suzanne:   Yeah, I read that you wrote part of the the Dreamer story for the pride comic book. Will you be writing some more?

Nicole:   Well, not part of it. I wrote the whole thing.

Suzanne:   Oh, the whole thing, okay.

Nicole:   I wrote the whole thing. They asked me to do it, and it was a really great experience. I got to play around and pull a bunch of different things that I wanted to do. We have some nods to the Nolanverse Batman movies. I got to have fun. I did not realize, however, that people thought that the comic was set in the Arrowverse still. I had a lot of people lamenting that. They’re like, “Oh, we really want her to be [in] the DC Comics universe, and this is clearly still the Arrowverse.” I was talking to my editor about it a little while ago, and we were like, “It is?” We had every intention of it being in the DC Comics universe, and I think what happened was I made a mistake. In the title in the location tab, I wrote “National City” instead of “Midvale City” which I had not realized not being a comic book fan at the time and just not properly knowing my stuff. I take credit for that. I did not know that in the comics Supergirl is in Midvale City and not National City. I didn’t know that there was a difference. If anyone asks, I’m just saying that National City is Dreamer City.

Suzanne:   People always find something to complain about. So, I wouldn’t worry that much about it.

Nicole:   Oh, who knows, but yeah, so for anyone wondering, that was DC Comics canon; Dreamer is DC Comics canon, I swear.

Suzanne:   So, do you know if there’s a plan to have a Dreamer comic or have her join any of the other DC Comics?

Nicole:   I mean, I have plans. I don’t know if anybody else [laughs] has plans, but this is at any given moment. This has really unlocked something in me that just as I was writing it, it just occurred to me – not occurred to me, but it just felt right, and it felt like something that I was supposed to be doing and and building this superhero up and being on the show and knowing what her potential is that we never really got to fully explore with Dreamer just being Dreamer. I want to get to explore all that, and I want to get to show people what this character can really do and just how powerful a superhero she really is. And we’re going to be seeing that more and more. We’re going to be seeing that in this coming episode even. Someone was posting – in the promo, you’re seeing this kind of tug of war, energy battle between Nyxly and Dreamer, and someone pointed out, they were like, “Dreamer’s holding back Nyxly,” which was two the Totems powering her, and they’re like, “If Nia’s holding all that back, she’s a god.” And I retweeted that, and I was like, “Yes! This is what I’ve been saying!” I’m shocked that no one stopped me, but I guess they haven’t stopped me, because I’m right, [but] I’ve just gotten unapologetic about it. I’m just honest. I’m just honestly saying, “Dreamer is the most powerful character in the Arrowverse.”Dreamer poster

Suzanne:   Okay.

Nicole:   And I’m like, “Please, if I’m wrong, feel free to show me,” but I’ve done my work. I’ve shown my work, and I’ve done the math, and I’m like, “Show me where my math is wrong.”

Suzanne:   I think you could definitely make a case for that. I think that’s something they should have done the next season, if they had another season, is something where Supergirl and Dreamer are fighting.

Nicole:   Oh, I had a whole pitch, and there were different ways we could have done [it]. I think it would have been interesting for sort of the darker side of Dreamer that we got to see a little bit in “Reality Bytes” and show the difference in philosophy between Dreamer and Supergirl, and then we could kind of explore that [relationship]. Okay, so what about when the mentor and the mentee disagree on the no killing rule? Because dreamer had very good reason and motivation for wanting to kill the transphobe in “Reality Bytes.” I think that would have been interesting to explore, but I also understand. We also kind of agreed and we’re like, “I don’t know if the trans superhero should kill anyone.” From a storytelling perspective, on the other hand, that would have been a really, really interesting thing to explore and explore that moral gray area.

Suzanne:   Well, I’m sure at some point they will have a trans character that can do things like that. I remember that one of the soap operas a while back, they had a black person that was a villainness, and it was the first time they’d ever done that on a soap opera.

Nicole:   It’s a question of [unintelligible] representations, how to frame these characters, and are we responsible for keeping them in a positive light? I’m of the opinion that I don’t think we should limit these characters to their identity and limit their character arcs to that identity. I think it’s important that we’re showcasing trans people as three dimensional people, and that includes their flaws, and I think that if Dreamer had gone through with that, that could have been a really, really interesting narrative, even bringing into it her powers and her seeing the future. And if she sees the future, why wouldn’t she, you know, just nip this in the bud? There’s so much down the road that she has to deal with, she’s like, “If I can stop this person from hurting anybody, why shouldn’t I?”

Suzanne:   Is she seeing the future or a possible future?

Nicole:   Well, that’s the question. Another thing we could have explored is in the comic books, of course, Nura Nal’s power. Dreamgirl was always infallible. You didn’t always have the context for her dreams, but her dreams always came true. And I think with Nia, it’s much more of a possible future that she can now take steps to alter that course, if she chooses, which I think, from a storytelling perspective, is a little more interesting.

Suzanne:   Definitely.

Nicole:   Just because we already know what’s going to happen. [laughs] Why are you watching the show?

Suzanne:   Yeah, and the comic books, at least the ones when I read when I was growing up, they were a lot more simplistic than TV is today. So, you can do that without – you know what I mean.

Nicole:   [unintelligible] kind of have to add a few extra layers.

Suzanne:   Yeah, audiences expect more now.

Nicole:   Give me a couple more twists and turns.

Suzanne:   Yeah. So, have you been doing anything besides sleeping in and going to Palm Springs since you wrapped Supergirl?

Nicole:   I mean, just planning, lots of auditions. But I’m planning. I have all of these ideas for Dreamer. I have all these ideas for Nia, and it’s just lots of plotting on my part.

Suzanne:   Are you going to be maybe writing something up?

Nicole:   Maybe, who knows. I would love to continue. I would love to get to do another DC pride issue; I would love to keep that going. And this is the thing with representation, and this is where the next step is going to be. You can’t just tap the balloon once and let it sink; you have to keep it in the air, and I think that’s how representation is. So, now, the next step, it’s not a question of…“Is Dreamer gonna pop up next?” It’s, “Where? Where [unintelligible] this character next?”

Suzanne:   And I’m definitely looking forward to that.

Nicole:   Me too. So, to all those reading, I assure [you] she’s not done.

Nia and BrainySuzanne:   And this is your first ongoing TV series, right? Your character has the romance with Brainy. Was that your first onscreen romance as well?

Nicole:   No, no, right before Supergirl,  I had done a movie, Bit, and I had the pleasure of having a romance with the lovely Zolee Griggs. So, that was fun. So, that wasn’t like my first, but it was fun, and getting to do those things with Jesse was really nice, too, because he’s just so great. He’s frickin’ talented and hilarious, and getting to do those Midvale episodes, especially, was some of the most fun I’ve had on that show, because we really just got to ham it up together.

Suzanne:   Oh, yeah, those were fun.

Nicole:   We both love to do [that]. We had such great comedic chemistry that we didn’t always get to play on in the show, and so having those two episodes is a great opportunity to [be] like, “Okay, let’s like Brainy and Nia be like be [unintelligible].

Suzanne:   Yeah, they definitely had some of the comedy relief.

Nicole:   Yeah.Brainy and Nia

Suzanne:   So, you don’t have any other projects coming up that you can talk about?

Nicole:   Not yet, but hopefully, soon. Stay tuned. Watch [unintelligible].

Suzanne:   No, definitely. I just have two more questions. What shows do you like to watch for fun?

Nicole:   Well, my favorite show is Supergirl, airing on Tuesdays on The CW at 9/8 central! [laughs] I’ve started Squid Games. I know I’m a little late, sorry, but started that, loving it. I was watching that. [It] was like “green light” and they kept running, and I was like “You guys! Stop running! It’s not working!” I love any show that I get to scream at the TV.

Suzanne:   You’re supposed to wait until you’re old to do that. And anything else that you’d like to say to your fans?

Nicole:   Just thank you so much. Thank you for making this character a hit. Thank you for loving her and supporting her and being excited about her, and if you want to see more of her, say so. Talk about it with your friends. Talk about it on social media. Let people know what you want to see, because I am totally down. Keep going.

Suzanne:   All right. Well, I really appreciate you calling me.

Nicole:   Yeah, of course. Thank you so much for taking the time.

Suzanne:   Oh, yeah. No, I’m a big comic book fan and especially a CW superheroes fan. So, I love it.

Nicole:   Yeah, it was really fun to get to do that. I mean, my era was like [unintelligible] back in the day, so to be on Supergirl was insane.

Suzanne:   Oh, cool. All right. Well, thanks a lot.

Nicole:   Thank you.

Here is the audio version of it.

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

Please visit our Supergirl page!

MORE INFO:

Nicole Maines2020 VARIETY “Power of Young Hollywood” Honoree, 2020 VARIETY “Power of Pride” Honoree, 2020 HRC Upstander Award Honoree and 2020 GLAAD Media Award nominated actress, Nicole Maines, is a hero for the LGBTQ+ community in many unique ways as she makes her debut and shines as the breakout star and standout character ‘Nia Nal’ aka ‘Dreamer,’ TV’s first transgender superhero, on The CW’s incredibly popular adaptation of the DC Comic “Supergirl” (Season 6 returning 2021). Maines is brilliant as she brings to life ‘Nia/Dreamer,’ ‘Kara Danvers/Supergirl’ (Melissa Benoist, “Glee”) strong, hopeful and inspirational second half, who is a truth-seeking news reporter at ‘CatCo’ with ‘Kara Danvers/Supergirl’ when not protecting the citizens of ‘National City’. Nicole Maines on the cover of "Shape" Magazine
Nicole Maines is just as much of a superhero on screen, as she is off screen… if not more! Born and raised in Maine, Nicole made her extraordinary mark on the world by being an LGBTQ+ activist and an indisputable voice for the transgender community. In 2014, Maines fought and won the Supreme Court case, Doe v. Clenchy, that moved the needle for transgender children by allowing them to use Nicole Maines on the cover of "The Advocate"the school bathroom designated for the gender with which they identify. She is an inspiration on-and-off screen paving the way for the next generation of LGBTQ+ youth and being a beacon of light for all. Maines booked her first role guest starring in USA’s “Royal Pains” while studying at University of Maine and landed the lead role in 2019’s BIT, a movie about a transgender vampire moving to Los Angeles. Being able to be vulnerable and open to share with the world her journey of being transgender with the help of Amy Ellis Nutt in her New York Times Bestseller biography, “Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family” ignites us to share our truth.
When Nicole needs to recharge from being super actor-activist hero on-and-off screen, she loves playing video games on Xbox and the Nintendo Switch. In addition, Maines enjoys cosplay; anything to give her a reason to dress up, especially Star Wars themed. Growing up, Maines loved playing dress up because it was how she could express herself before transitioning, she believes playing dress up gave her most of her inspiration and desire to pursue acting in college. Beyond gaming and cosplay, Nicole has an infatuation for art; it runs in her family with her mom being quite the illustrator/painter, Maines loves creating digital art and is currently assisting in creating the scenery for an adaptation for the book “Throne of Glass” by Sarah J. Maas. As being as creative, inspirational and artistic as she is on the screen, if not more, off the screen Nicole shows her passion in everything she does and believes in, a hero in many unique ways. You can follow her on social media here @nicoleamaines.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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Nicole Maines as Nia Nal AKA Dreamer on "Supergirl" on The CW

Interview with Javicia Leslie and Robin Givens

TV Interview!

 

"Batwoman" season 3 poster

Interview with Javicia Leslie and Robin Givens of “Batwoman” on The CW by Suzanne 10/11/21

This was a short but enjoyable interview! I watch this show every week, so I was thrilled to speak with them. Because there were 8 people at this press panel, I was only able to ask one question, unfortunately.

Question:   Javicia, could you talk about Ryan’s initial encounter with Poison Ivy?

Javicia:   Oh, my goodness. We haven’t had Ryan’s encounter with Poison Ivy yet, so it’s a little bit harder to talk about. You know, actually, Bridget [Regan] just started, and I wasn’t the first character that she’s worked with yet, but I’m super excited to work with her. I think it’s going to be an amazing addition and an amazing character to play with.

Question:   This question is for Javicia. In season two, there was a lot around the cowl. It felt like Mary and Luke were both like, “This is temporary. This is a temporary thing,” and it wasn’t until the very end of the season, where they were kind of like, “Yeah, this is yours now, and Ryan is Batwoman.” How has that changed the way that you approached the character in season three?

Javicia:   …I feel like a lot of the journey of Ryan feeling like she was worthy enough to be Batwoman did happen in season two, and yeah, you’re right, by the end of season two – she goes into season three with the acceptance of like, “I am that woman. This is my job. It is my job to protect the citizens. It is my job to keep order. It is my job to make sure that there is really a middleman between the GCPD and Gotham City. So yeah, it makes a huge impact on this season, on a lot of the things that are happening this season, just the confidence of knowing that Ryan no longer has to prove herself as Batwoman, but, I mean there’s still a lot of challenges that come up where she starts to kind of feel like, “Oh, no, did I mess other things up that are very important to the bat?” I can’t say what they are, but yeah.

Question:   This question is also for Javicia. What was it like when you read the season two finale scripts and found out that your mom was alive? Then, what was your reaction when you found out Robin Givens I was gonna be your mom?

Javicia:   I knew that was gonna be a question…So, at the end, I was shocked. I think I found out a little bit before I read the script, but even when I found out, I was shocked, because I just knew Ryan’s mom isn’t alive, that’s the story of my character. Then, I got super excited, because all I could think to myself is, “Oh my goodness, you’re gonna get to find out more about [Ryan]. I’m gonna get to find out more about Ryan.” You know what I mean? I’m gonna get to find out about her history and her story and what influences her, what could influence her.

Then, come on now, it’s Miss Robin Givens. I grew up watching Robin Givens. First of all, I still don’t think that we are even at the age distance apart for her to play my mom, but it’s really cool to pretend like this can be realistic, because she is such a joy to work with, and as an actor, it’s an honor to be able to really play with the greats. You know, you’re lucky if you can even sometimes grace presence with them on the stage together, but then for her to play my mom, and we’re having these one on one scenes together – I was saying earlier, I’m just constantly like, “Oh, okay, I see what she did there. I’ll try that later.” You know what I mean? I’m taking notes, because that’s the whole part of this journey, as well, is learning throughout the process.

Question:   I want to know, Javicia, if you could talk about what it was like for you stepping into the Batwoman suit for the first time? And then, Robin, It looks like you have a wardrobe of designer dresses and everything, so if you could talk a bit about that too.

Javicia:   The suit is epic. I think Maya Mani, our costumer at Batwoman, does such an amazing job with the suit. I think the way it fits, the streamlining, the the shape and silhouette that it creates, it’s so powerful. It’s so womanly, yet it’s still very badass, like, “Don’t mess with me.” So, I always say, whenever I put on the suit, I automatically feel like a superhero, because it does grab me up like this, and it makes me walk with my shoulders back and my head high, and you automatically kind of like feel the responsibility of being a hero.

Robin:   I have to say, in a similar way for Jada Jet, it’s not this superhero costume, but you really see how people and costume designers win Oscars right for what they do, and it really helps you create a character. So, everything about the way Jada dresses says everything about her. I’m so different than Jada and a lot of the women that I play, but clearly when you put on those tight dresses, there’s only one way to walk in those high heeled shoes, and it really establishes the character. So, yeah, she’s dresses very well.

If you don’t mind go back, I just thought about something. Javicia and I’ve been talking quite a bit off set, and then, today we’re on set, and then whenever you kind of talk about me, it’s interesting, because I think of the first time when I did The Women of Brewster Place, and I found out Cicely Tyson was going to be my mom. I remember being so intimidated the first day walking into hair and makeup. Javicia and I got to have dinner together, so we got to feel each other’s rhythm a little bit. But I’ll never forget being in hair and makeup, and Cicely had her headphones on, and I was just thoroughly intimidated. She just seem like, “Oh my gosh.” And when I got to meet this lady, we became dear dear friends, and she’s the funniest person you could imagine. She’s like Javicia; like the times we have when we’re just cracking up. So, I don’t know. I just had a little bit of a flash of of that, you know, that sense of things. So, it warms my heart.

Javicia:   Yeah, it’s an honor.

Suzanne:   Javicia, Ryan has a lot to deal with this year. Last year, she almost gave up and died. What do you think gives her the inner strength, and the will to keep going despite all the odds against her?

Javicia:   You know what she reminds me of? There are people in this world that they know their goal. They know what makes them feel like they’re alive, and they will do that to the day they die, to their last breath. That’s kind of what I take Ryan for. She’s a type of person where it’s like, “I can’t sit still. I have to help people, because no one helped me, and I want to make sure that I can help others the way I wish someone could have helped me.” So, it’s just like that’s why she gets into these moments of like, “This may be my last breath, but I’m not going to stop.” There was never a moment where she would have ever quit helping people. Whether she quit being Batwoman is different, and that’s because she felt like it wasn’t hers. You know what I mean? But she definitely would have never stopped helping people, because it’s who she is from the core.

Question:   …Can you both talk about Nick, as the son for you Robin, and Javicia, as your brother?

Javicia:   …Yeah he’s my brother. So, Marquis is a very interesting character. He’s so dynamic, and he’s so colorful and layered. I really look forward to you guys watching the development of Marquis. I think Marquis is going to be one of the biggest unexpected twists in the show, and it’s really going to open up a lot of doors and a lot of conversations.

What I love that Caroline [Dries] has done, is every season, it’s really her focus to bring up something that’s really happening in the world and it being something that we focus on through our storytelling. So, like, last season, the Black Lives Matters episode and everything that kind of surrounded it was obviously mirroring what was happening in the United States.

So, for this season, a lot of it has to do with mental health. So, I’m really excited, because Nick Creegan, who plays Marquis, is such a talented, dynamic actor, and to be able to play in this world, but also play with a theme that’s so personal and real to so many of us, he does it so amazingly well. So, it’s just an honor to be able to play with him. Literally, when he and Robin and I have scenes together, we leave like, “Yo, that was so much fun. I can’t believe we were able to do that.”

Robin:   I have to say…we need to have this gathering again a little bit later. You’re going to be blown away by Nick and what he does. This character, it is unbelievable, and history making as well, and captivating and current and cool.

And for me, I have to say, what I love about this character, and I’ve been saying it, is yes, I played some powerful women before, and Jada Jet is so awesome and so powerful and runs a major company in Gotham City, but she’s a mom. She is a mom, and this is her soft spot, to the point where it could be her Achilles heel that she’s willing to do anything. And listen to me; hear me when I say “anything” for her children. I think the dynamic between Jada and Ryan, I mean, at first she keeps Ryan at bay, because of the guilt she feels about not being in Ryan’s life, but then, do we get close? Will I put her in danger being close to her, wanting to protect her, just loving her so much? So, I love that, because I’m a mom. So, I love that. I’m playing this powerful woman, but I’ve never kind of done it with that kind of sensibility of mom underneath it all. And even Javicia tells a story about one of the scenes that she and I and Nick did where she’s so much of a mom and does such peculiar things that Javicia was even like, “Maybe I don’t want to be a part of this family. Uh oh.”

Question:   I have a question for Miss Javicia. So, Batwoman has pretty much always been a queer icon and icon in the queer community, but with your casting, now she’s also a an icon in the black community. So, my question is, when did it hit you that you’re representing these minority communities, and what does that mean to you?

Javicia:   Honestly, no matter what role I do, I’m representing that, because that’s my community, you know what I mean? It’s really cool when the stories represent me as well, obviously, but I feel like one of the most important parts of representation is that even if the story isn’t about race, even if the story isn’t about gender, just us existing is that representation. So, anytime I get the honor of playing any character on TV, I feel like it’s my job to be my community’s representation [of] the best that I can be. Since that’s what always my goal is, it allows me not to put so much weight onto that and just put more weight into the work, you know what I mean? Like, it’s beautiful that it checks these boxes.

So, what I want to do is I want to match the quality of the storytelling with the history that it’s making. I don’t want to just be the first black Batwoman…When you turn it on, you’re watching it, and you’re captivated by the storytelling, by the storylines, by the the castings and the dialogue and the performances, that’s what I want to bring to life. I want that if I’m that representation, that I’m worthy to be of that representation. I think that this show, in the writing of it and the characters involved, allow that to happen. That’s why I’m really, really excited about the season. I’m more excited about this season than my first season. I’m really excited about this season, because I think that everything matches to the level of being able to say, “Wow, she’s black, she’s queer, and I feel proud of what they’re doing over there. I feel proud of that show.” It is a great representation of my community. That’s what I want to be a part of.

Question:   My question is for both of you, starting with Javicia. I was wondering, as Ryan, when she finds out her mother’s alive and later on, interact[s] with her, from a psychological standpoint, does that have any influence [on you] or impact you as Batwoman? For Robin, can you talk about the psychological impact as well of learning more about Ryan?

Javicia:   I mean, it definitely influences [her], because at the end of the day, there’re so many secrets that are happening at the same time that Ryan’s on this journey, and then, they start to conflict. Her journey of her trying to figure out this situation with her mom starts to conflict with her role as Batwoman, because at the end of the day, my job is to protect Gotham City. And if at any time, someone I love is interfering in that, it becomes a very complicated situation. That plays on a lot of different levels this season, like a lot of different levels, not just with, obviously, Jada Jet, but with other characters as well. So, psychologically, I think that it’s a very, obviously, tricky situation to be in when it’s your mom. You know what I mean? Like, no matter how much she wasn’t there, Ryan wants this relationship, because who wouldn’t want this relationship? And I think, more than anything, what Ryan wants to find out is that there had to be a reason why you gave me up. Ryan doesn’t want to feel like, “Oh, you just gave me up, because you didn’t want me.” She wants to feel like you gave me up, because, I don’t know, were you being hurt? Was it unplanned? So, that becomes very conflicted in her journey as well.

Robin:   Yeah, I think that whole mother-daughter, you really see it, and especially being in the inside doing a scene with Ryan, and it seems adversarial at first, Ryan for her reasons, and Jada for her reasons of wanting to keep her at bay. Then, it’s nice to watch them become mother and daughter. Then, my daughter just happens to really know how to kick butts, like a serious bad ass. We do one scene, [and there’s] a look of, “Whoa!” But I think the psychology of dealing with the guilt that Jada feels, you know, and Jada just as a woman, I love the fact that her being a mother is really, like I said, could be her Achilles heel, and her love for her children. I mean, she loves and adores Ryan, and that brings up, I think, a lot of guilt for her that she wasn’t in her life. I think Ryan, you know, I can feel Ryan wanting to protect her. I can feel Ryan feeling her vulnerability. In spite of however Jada comes off, I see Ryan looking at me with these big eyes saying, “Love me. Am I okay? I did okay.” And that’s really nice to watch an actress play, to be this bad ass, put on this suit, kick butt, then, in a simple way, just say, “Am I enough? Do you think I did okay?”

Question:   What is something that we’re going to see this season for Ryan or Batwoman that we haven’t seen before?

Javicia:   The dynamic of a mother, which is a huge influence, mentally, emotionally, especially, is going to be a huge influence on the bat team. I don’t think that we realize how much that’s going to affect Ryan’s place in the bat team and the bat team’s place in Ryan’s life, because there’s a difference between the family that you choose and the family that you were born into. I think the moment that Ryan starts to feel like she has a family, starts to feel like [she] belongs somewhere, where she went a long time not feeling like she had anywhere to belong.

Another big change is we might see a little bit of romance in Ryan’s life, because we really didn’t get to see that last season. So, I’m excited for for that side of Ryan; I haven’t played that side of Ryan. So, I’m actually excited to play it, because I haven’t played it, and I would love to see what my natural Ryan instincts are going to be in the romance world. I’m probably a dork, to be honest, [laughs] because I am, and me and Ryan are so much alike. I’m glad I don’t have to like make the first move, because I kind of suck at that.

What else will we see? Oh, we’re bringing in a lot of the bat villains, so you’re gonna get to see Ryan interact with characters like Poison Ivy and the Mad Hatter, and like, come on; that’s really cool. This season of Batwoman is gonna be epic. It really is.

Here is the audio version of it.

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

MORE INFO:

Wednesday, October 13 SEASON PREMIERE – “Mad As A Hatter” – (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET) (TV-14, LV) (HDTV)
SEASON PREMIERE – As Batwoman (Javicia Leslie) continues to keep the streets of Gotham safe, Batwing (Camrus Johnson) joins in on the action, but Luke quickly realizes he hasn’t quite mastered his suit. Meanwhile, as Alice (Rachel Skarsten) sits hopelessly imprisoned in Arkham, Sophie (Meagan Tandy) fully enjoys her freedom. When Ryan pays Alice a visit to ask about the bombshell she dropped – that Ryan’s birth mother is still alive – Ryan must decide if she should go down the rabbit hole of her past. As Mary (Nicole Kang) prepares to finally graduate from medical school, she feels the absence of her family more than ever. But when an Alice admirer stumbles upon one of the missing Bat Trophies, Gotham and the Bat Team get mixed up in the madness, culminating in a shockingly gruesome graduation… and an equally shocking new partnership. Also starring Robin Givens and Victoria Cartagena. Holly Dale directed the episode written by Caroline Dries (#301). Original airdate 10/13/2021. Every episode of BATWOMAN will be available to stream on The CW App and CWTV.com the day after broadcast for free and without a subscription, log-in or authentication required. Promo

BATWOMAN”

Wednesday (9:00 – 10:00 p.m. ET) on The CW

In season three of “Batwoman,” Ryan Wilder (Javicia Leslie) has shed her parole for the Batsuit and her van for the Batcave to carry out the legacy of Batwoman and protect Gotham’s underserved communities. Her journey continues as she and the Bat Team focus on finding Batman’s scattered trophies, a collection of objects seized from Gotham’s most infamous villains, before they land in pernicious hands. Meanwhile, Ryan personally struggles with the bombshell dropped by Alice (Rachel Skarsten) – that her birth mother is still alive.

Alice is locked up in Arkham and holding on to hope that her father, a recently incarcerated Jacob Kane, will save her…but nothing can keep an evil woman down. Mary (Nicole Kang) is graduating from medical school and finding difficulty juggling her roles as a full-fledged MD at her clinic and as a vital part of the Bat Team. At the same time, Luke (Camrus Johnson) is winging it as a superhero after discovering a suit made for him by his father, but he soon realizes it takes more than a suit to be super. Having said goodbye to Kate and the Crows, Sophie (Meagan Tandy) feels free to find a new purpose, but while making the most of her newly liberated lifestyle, she finds herself in the middle of an exciting but very unexpected love triangle.

As visits from villains past loom over Gotham and anyone can become a baddie by finding a wayward Bat trophy, Renee Montoya (Victoria Cartagena) steps in to supervise recovery of the scattered artifacts, forcing an unwelcome partnership between Gotham’s favorite hero and most notorious ne’er-do-well. And despite best efforts to avoid her newly uncovered past, Ryan is thrust into the world of super mogul Jada Jet (Robin Givens) and her son Marquis (Nick Creegan) when Wayne Enterprises lands on the radar of another one of Gotham’s most powerful families.

BATWOMAN stars Javicia Leslie, Rachel Skarsten, Meagan Tandy, Nicole Kang, Camrus Johnson, Victoria Cartagena, Robin Givens, and Nick Creegan.

Based on the characters from DC, BATWOMAN is from Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television with executive producers Greg Berlanti (“Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Supergirl”), Caroline Dries (“The Vampire Diaries,” “Smallville”), Geoff Johns (“Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Titans,” “DC’s Stargirl”), Chad Fiveash (“The Vampire Diaries,” “Gotham”), James Patrick Stoteraux (“The Vampire Diaries,” “Gotham”) and Sarah Schechter (“Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Supergirl”).

CREDITS FOR “BATWOMAN” ON THE CW

Day and time: Wednesday, 8:00 – 9:00 PM ET/PT
Network debut: October 6, 2019
 

Short Synopsis:

 

 

In season three of BATWOMAN, Ryan Wilder (Javicia Leslie) has shed her parole for the Batsuit and her van for the Batcave to carry out the legacy of Batwoman and protect Gotham’s underserved communities. Her journey continues as she and the Bat Team focus on finding Batman’s trophies, a collection of objects seized from Gotham’s most infamous villains, before they land in the wrong hands.

Cast:

Javicia Leslie as Ryan Wilder/Batwoman

Rachel Skarsten as Alice

Meagan Tandy as Sophie Moore

Nicole Kang as Mary Hamilton

Camrus Johnson as Luke Fox

Victoria Cartagena as Renee Montoya

Robin Givens as Jada Jet

Nick Creegan as Marquis Jet
Executive Producers: Greg Berlanti, Caroline Dries, Geoff Johns and Sarah Schechter
Produced by:

 

 

Format:

 

Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television

 

Drama 60 min

(Filmed in HD)

Origination: Vancouver, British Columbia

JAVICIA LESLIE

Javicia Leslie (from Batwoman video on Instagram)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.

Robin Simone Givens (born November 27, 1964) is an American actress and model. She is also a graduate of SarahBatwoman -- “Loose Tooth” -- Image Number: BWN302b_0018r -- Pictured (L-R): Robin Givens as Jada Jet -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Lawrence College.

Givens landed her breakthrough role of Darlene Merriman in the ABC sitcom Head of the Class in 1986, and remained on the series for its 5-year duration. Her troubled marriage to boxer Mike Tyson from 1988 drew considerable media attention, as did their acrimonious divorce. She later went on to become a spokesperson for the National Domestic Violence Hotline for several years.

Givens continued her career with film and television roles such as The Women of Brewster Place (1989) and Boomerang (1992). In 1996, Givens co-starred on the sitcom Sparks, which aired for two seasons on UPN. In January 2000, she took over hosting duties on the syndicated talk show Forgive or Forget. In 2007, Givens released her autobiography, Grace Will Lead Me Home. She has since had recurring roles on The Game, Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, Chuck, Riverdale and its spin-off Katy Keene. She starred in “Ambitions” on OWN in 2019.

From Entertainment Weekly:

She has been cast in the series regular role of Jada Jet, the powerful CEO of Jet Industries who “isn’t bossy — she’s the boss.” Described as “passionate and hard-working,” Jada is “a woman who has worked her way through life’s ups and downs to climb her way to the top — all while being extremely protective over her impetuous son.”

But perhaps the most important part of Jada’s character description is the revelation that she has “a deep past that forced her to give up her first-born child.”

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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Javicia Leslie as Batwoman and Camrus Johnson as Lucius Fox