Elijah Wood Interview: Talks Wilfred and More

Elijah Wood took some time out of his busy schedule to talk to us about his show Wilfred that just started back up for its third season. Wilfred centers around two main characters, Ryan (Elijah Wood) and Wilfred (Jason Gann). Wilfred is actually the neighbor’s dog, but to Ryan, he is a real person. Throughout the show there are funny scenarios followed by real-life lessons learned by both characters.

Sometimes it is hard for Elijah to keep a straight face when he is filming certain scenes. “For some reason I sort of busted up more this season because of what Jason [Gann] was doing more than ever before. I’m so used to seeing him in the dog suit, and to a certain degree the context of a lot of the situations I’m very used to, but it’s still definitely serves to make me laugh. It’s a wonderful environment to work in. It’s something that all of us as a crew are kind of constantly laughing, so pretty wonderful thing to go in to work to that every day,” says Wood. Read more

Johnny Depp Talks About his Role in The Lone Ranger

lone ranger - tonto and horse

Soon we will have more wacky madness from Johnny Depp on the big screen when The Lone Ranger rides onto the big screen on July 3. And although Depp didn’t conceive of the Lone Ranger concept, he certainly put his stamp on the character early on.

“I was doing The Rum Diary with Bruce (Robinson) in Puerto Rico, and I had already found a painting of a Native American warrior with these stripes down his face. I asked my makeup artist, Joel Harlow, who is a wizard, to help me put something together. So we did the makeup and I asked the photographer, Peter Mountain, to take some shots. We went out into these filthy weeds and started taking some photographs and Peter printed them out and showed me and I was like, ‘Yeah, I think we’ve found him and now he needs to be brought to life.’ I called up Jerry and said, ‘Look, when I’m back in LA, I’d love to sit down with you.’  Read more

Constance Marie Talks About Switched at Birth

Fans know the story, Constance Marie plays Regina Vasquez, a single mom who raised a child who is not her own. Her biological daughter was instead raised by another family. In this series, as luck would have it, the two girls who were switched at birth find one another. That is what makes the show so interesting.

Now it’s time for the summer season premiere to get rolling and Marie has some fun insights to share about what fans can expect. Read more

An Interview with Andrea Riseborough

Most recently cast opposite Tom Cruise in the futuristic sci-fi thriller Oblivion, the talented Andrea Riseborough has appeared in such diverse films as Happy Go Lucky, Made in Dagenham and W.E.

In Shadow Dancer, Riseborough joins Clive Owen in a dramatic thriller set in 1990s Belfast. As an active member of the IRA, Riseborough’s Collette McVeigh becomes an informant for MI5 after being arrested for an aborted IRA bomb plot in London. The single mother is offered two choices: lose her son and face a 25-year prison sentence or return to Belfast to spy on her own family. Read more

An Interview with Carrie Preston

 

Carrie Preston-Russell Baer
Carrie Preston-Russell Baer

A gifted actress, director and producer, Carrie Preston has made a name for herself by playing pivotal roles in some of television and film’s most memorable projects. Most recently known for her roles as Arlene, the sassy redhead waitress in HBO’s True Blood, and quirky lawyer, Elsbeth Tascioni in the Emmy Winning The Good Wife, Preston has appeared in several episodes of CBS’ Person of Interest. Playing alongside real-life husband Michael Emerson, Preston reprised her role as Grace Hendricks, the former fiancée of Harold Finch. In this one-on-one interview, Preston shares some insights into what it’s like playing a courtship role with her husband.

Besides working with your husband, what do you like about playing Grace in Person of Interest?

Carrie Preston: It’s fun to play a character that is closer to me than some of the other characters I’ve been playing recently. So that’s been a real treat. Obviously, working with Michael comes quite naturally. There’s no pretending to be in love with him. So that’s been exciting. And the show’s just been really fun. I would definitely be watching the show even if I weren’t doing these guest appearances with Michael.

Do you and Michael sometimes ad-lib lines or do you always follow the script?

CP: We follow the script in this show. The writers are really good, so there’s no need to do any improv work.

imageIs it difficult to play characters that are just getting to know each other when you’ve known each other for so long?

CP: It’s interesting because when you’re doing something like that, you do forget you know the other person, and you really do get into the mind and the rhythms of the character that you’re playing. What’s nice is obviously having a comfort level with the other actor. But once the camera starts rolling and you’re saying these words that aren’t really your words and you’re playing a scene that is not from your own real life, you just forget all those things.  You get caught up in the moment and in the story, and your responsibilities in pushing that story forward.

The proposal scene in last week’s episode was very romantic. Was Michael’s real proposal even more so?

CP: It was fun to shoot that proposal and to remember when we got engaged. It was a Sunday, and we were out having brunch at our favorite place in the East Village. It was a total surprise. I had no idea it was coming, and the next thing I know, Michael is talking about taking our relationship to the next level and he brings out this family ring and suddenly I was sobbing and laughing. We were thrilled and it was a beautiful day in June in New York City. In Person of Interest, the day we shot that scene, it was very cold, so we were basically freezing and trying to not to think about how cold we were. I was very happy to see how they edited that together. The whole thing was pretty much the POV of the machine, which I thought was very clever and cool. They shot it in several different ways, and I didn’t know how they were going to piece it together. Finch’s whole life is the machine so it also witnessed it. The machine had been responsible for us getting together, so the machine is really the matchmaker.

Carrie Preston-Russell Baer
Carrie Preston-Russell Baer

Was your real first date as charming as the coffee shop scene in Person of Interest?

CP: It was. We were both doing a production of Hamlet at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. We had met during rehearsals and some of the social get-togethers with the cast. Then he asked me to join him for a Christmas party, which was basically for the company of Alabama Shakespeare Festival. When you’re in a small company like that, it sends ripples through the room with people wondering, “…did they come together?” From that moment on, we were smitten, in love and not looking back.

Is Michael really a computer wiz? Or are you?

CP (laughs): Michael can barely turn a computer on. He’d be the first to admit it. I’m definitely the tech person in the family. It is kind of ironic that he’s playing this computer expert.

Do you think the show says something about where we’re headed in terms of personal privacy?

CP: I do. I think the show is right on target there. There are machines already in place. They’re not as sophisticated, but look how quickly they caught the Boston bombers with everyone recording in the area. Big Brother is definitely watching and we are participating. All of us have our phones and we’re documenting things. In a way, it provides a safety net but it could also be a little intrusive. It makes you wonder.

Carrie Preston-IMDB
Carrie Preston-IMDB

What’s the real Carrie Preston like–Grace, Arlene, or Elsbeth? Are you none of the above or leaning towards one?

CP: You have to find the character within yourself, so I draw on my own personal life and experiences. I would say, I’m very far from Arlene and Elsbeth. Grace, I guess, would be a little close to who I am, but even she is probably a little more shy and intellectual than I am as a person. I’m a Gemini. I have a lot of characters inside me.

Your mother was an artist and you studied fine arts in college. Did you paint those renderings we see on the show?

CP: No. The things I’m painting are created by the prop department. Then I go in and do my sad little squiggles of paint over the painting. They have to restore it so it can be used at the beginning of each take.

Will we be seeing more of you in the Season 3? If so, will Grace and Harold get back together? Will Grace be in danger?

CP: I don’t know. I haven’t seen the scripts. I’m sure if they can work it out, they would want to continue on that story because it shows such a great side of Finch that we don’t get to see anywhere else. In this past episode, Finch saw that Root (Amy Acker) knows who Grace is and might in some way try to harm her, so he’s willing to do whatever he can to prevent that from happening, which is very romantic and sweet.

Carrie Preston - Josh Williams
Carrie Preston – Josh Williams

What else are you doing in terms of film and TV?

CP: I recently finished Beneath the Harvest Sky, a wonderful indie film that I had a supporting role in. It was shot in the very northern part of Maine, near Van Buren on the Canadian border. The place where we were shooting was very remote with no hotels. It’s a part of the country that I don’t think has ever been depicted in film. The filmmakers are documentarians and even though it had a very well written script, they wanted the film to feel like a documentary, so we were encouraged to do a great deal of improv work.

You also just finished Who’s Afraid of Vagina Wolf. What can you tell us about that one?

CP: It’s about a woman filmmaker who’s creating a version of Virginia Wolf. It’s kind of a movie within a movie. I play Honey in the film. I got to play two different characters in that. The film is just now starting the festival circuit.

What about Vino Veritas?

CP: That’s a great script. It’s about two couples on Halloween night, and one of the women has this special wine that has a truth telling property. Ironically, it also has a Virginia Wolf kind of feel to it. There’s sadness and madness and hilarity.

 

An Interview with Hemlock Grove’s Emilia McCarthy

Emilia McCarthy (photo by S.Markus-Mathurin)
Emilia McCarthy
(photo by S.Markus-Mathurin)

Among the more normal inhabitants of Netflick’s Hemlock Grove is Alyssa Sworn (Emilia McCarthy), the daughter of the town sheriff, Tom (Aaron Douglas). While she appears to be just another teenager, Alyssa had a big secret that dramatically altered the dynamic of many inhabitants of the fictional Pennsylvania town.

The recurring role of Alyssa presents a great opportunity for 15-year old Emilia to introduce herself to a global audience. Emilia began her career playing Laura in two TV movies–Booky and the Secret Santa and Booky’s Crush. She also appeared in the feature film, Babel in 2006. Although still waiting for her breakout role, Emilia knows she made the right career choice in Hemlock Grove.

Emilia is not your average young actress. Coming from a multicultural family, she’s fluent in three languages—English, Spanish and French.  She’s also an accomplished dancer, having performed in productions of Hairspray and Aida.  In this one-on-one interview, Emilia reveals what it’s like playing a teen in Netflick’s gripping horror/thriller.

What attracted you to the role of Alyssa Sworn?

Emilia McCarthy: She’s more of a relatable character for me. She’s a teenage girl in high school. She worrying about boys while everyone else is worrying about werewolves killing people. I think she’s definitely lighter and upbeat compared to all the gloomy characters.

Did you audition for the role? And what was that like?

EM: I did audition in Toronto where I live. I auditioned for Eli Roth, the director. I got the role, and then I had a chemistry test to find my fraternal twin, played by Eliana Jones.

You’re in eight episodes of Hemlock Grove. What’s the most challenging part of playing Alyssa?

EM: Honestly, the only challenging part is that she’s so mean to her friend, Christina, at the beginning. She’s sometimes so inhumane, the things she says. But after awhile, she does become less shallow and grow as a character.

So you’re not a mean girl and you had to draw that out from deep within?

EM: (laughs) I hope I’m not mean. It’s fun to play characters that aren’t like you.

What’s the most enjoyable part?

EM: Probably that’s she’s comic relief. A lot of it (dialog) on the show is ad-libbed. My twin and I did a lot of ad-libbing. I was surprised that they kept a lot of things that we were just saying. Like goofing off.  A lot of things at the end of scenes weren’t in the script, stuff we just ad-libbed. I thought that was really funny.  

Do you work all day and night on location?

EM: Usually, it was nine hours, but sometimes, it was all night and I’d get home at four in the morning. I think it’s exciting to film during the night.

Emilia McCarthy (photo by S.Markus-Mathurin)
Emilia McCarthy
(photo by S.Markus-Mathurin)

So how do you make time for homework?

EM: I kind of juggle school and life and acting. It’s helpful that they have a tutor on set, because we’re under 18. Legally, we do have to have a certain amount of school hours.

(spoiler alert)

So what can you reveal about Alyssa’s big secret?

EM: My final death scene is definitely a surprise. And what happens to the twins is also a surprise and kind of a bummer. But when you think about it, it kind of makes sense because of what’s happened to many of the teenage girls in the series. It’s sad and I’m so upset about that. But I did have fun getting all bloody. But even after what happens to me, you’ve got to keep watching because in episodes 12 and 13, you understand why the teen girls were targeted by this werewolf.

What’s it like being in a series with so much gore, werewolves and violence?

EM: Hemlock Grove was the first show where I performed in the horror genre, so it was new for me, but also fun at the same time. I really enjoyed it. I think there’s a big difference in watching the gore and violence and being behind the camera and seeing how it’s all made. It really puts things in perspective. You don’t expect to see a guy with a bucket of red syrup splashing you with a brush. Once you see that, you’re not so affected by it because you know that it’s not real.

A far cry from Booky and the Secret Santa.

EM: It’s definitely a step up and different.

What do your parents think of you being in a show with so much blood, gore and violence?

EM: They’re cool with it. My character isn’t part of the adult content. I still get bloody because it is a horror show, but my character is light and upbeat, adding comic relief to the show.

Emilia McCarthy (photo by Megan Vincent)
Emilia McCarthy (photo by Megan Vincent)

So is your death scene violent and bloody or is it implied?

EM: It’s violent and bloody and definitely the horror scene you’d expect in Hemlock Grove. There’s a lot of blood, but it’s not too graphic.

 What types of feature films would you like to work in?

EM: If I had a choice, I’d love to portray a strong female lead. I would like to continue in this genre. I did enjoy it a lot. It was a great experience. It’s so out there and so different.

 Would you like a role that has lots of action with you doing martial arts?

EM: That would be so much fun. Kind of like Katniss in Hunger Games.

I read you’re an accomplished dancer.

EM: Yes. That another thing I love to do. It’s kind of my hobby. I’m a part of my local theater here in Castor, Ontario and I’ve been in productions a few years. And that’s cool because I get to combine acting and dancing.

Any chance we’ll see you on Dancing with the Stars?

EM: Oooh. That would be great. That would be so much fun.

What’s your next project?

EM: I have two other series. I just finished filming one called Unlikely Heroes. It’s definitely more light, upbeat and family oriented than Hemlock Grove. And I just started filming another series called Kids Town, and that’s also light and more of a family show.

 All 13 episodes of Hemlock Grove are on Netflix

You can follow Emilia on her twitter @EmiliaaMcCarthy 

 

 

Interview With Beauty and the Beast’s Kristin Kreuk

Kristin Kreuk & Jay Ryan (photo by Nino Munoz/The CW)
Kristin Kreuk & Jay Ryan (photo by Nino Munoz/The CW)

A modern day Beauty and Beast fairytale, CW’s update has Catherine (Kristin Kreuk) inexorably connected to Vincent (Jay Ryan) through her scientist mother, who conducted the military medical experiments that changed Vincent into a beast. Catherine first encountered Vincent years earlier, when he saved her from the killers that took her mother’s life. Although the show began primarily as a procedural drama, Beauty and the Beast has morphed into a mythology love story.

In this roundtable interview, Kristin Kreuk talks about the show, her character and what viewers can expect in episodes to come.

Catherine (Kristin Kreuk) Photo by Alex A. Kecskes
Catherine (Kristin Kreuk) Photo by Alex A. Kecskes

How excited were when you found out that Catherine and Vincent were finally getting together?

Kristin Kreuk: I’m happy about that. I think there’s a certain energy to the “will they or won’t they” in any TV relationship, but that goes away. There’s a certain energy to the beginnings of something. But I’m really interested in how two people actually relate, because that’s what love is. Over time, through difficulty, how do you survive this, and they do have a lot of difficulties. But I love them. They can be really funny and honest with each other. They can both screw up and discuss it. And I like that. They’re really a team.

How awkward is it to do those steamy scenes?

KK: I’ve always found it very awkward, but I tell myself, I’m gonna get over this. Like, who cares? It’s a weird environment. And it’s not what people think it is. What I wanted to portray was a loving interaction between two people. Because I see things on TV sometimes, especially for shows with young people, and they’re going, “I’m sexy, you’re so sexy, we’re sexy, let’s make out.” I talked about this with everyone, and I said, I just want this to be as loving as possible. And that’s what we tried to do. That makes it less awkward, because I’m really bad at being sexy.

Now that Tess knows the secret, will she be getting into mischief?

KK: Well, now there are four of us, so there’s more hands on deck. Tess obviously doesn’t know as much about the situation, but I’ve always wanted to see Tess and JT engage with each other, even before we started the show. Those two will be so funny together, since they’re kind of similar and they’re both so biting in their humor. So there’s some good scenes with them. And it becomes Catherine and Tess as a team again, and JT and Vincent as a team. I like that about our show—that kind of Friends team dynamic.

B&B KristinWhat’s the one thing that attracted you to the role?

KK: In part, it was our executive producers, Sherri Cooper-Landsman and Jennifer Levin. That and the role itself: I thought there was a potential for an incredibly strong woman. And I think Catherine is becoming that more and more. I really like her. I think she’s fascinating and I love working on her story lines and developing her.

When you landed the role, did you study the 1987 Linda Hamilton-based series?

KK: I didn’t study it, but I did look at it. I try to understand the underlying metaphors in light of the material we have. It’s very different, I think, although we have a lot of little tributes and homages. There’s so many of them up until the end of our season.

How has the show changed since it began, not so much your character but the show in general?

KK: I think it’s a first season thing; trying to find what the show is. We started as a procedural in many ways and now we’re not. Now it’s a full mythology show. So that’s been really interesting to watch. The writers have had quite the task to build that mythology quickly. You try something and you go, wait a minute. The best thing about this show is the love story and the mythology. So it’s been a real dynamic to see that change.

How much of a problem is Evan going to be in the coming episodes?

KK: It’s going to be a really big issue for them, and Catherine is going to feel a lot of guilt and responsibility for it. Because she didn’t tell him and she handled the situation poorly.

Will he go to the dark side?

KK: That’ll be the struggle you’ll see in the next episode—Evan’s struggle with that, and if he chooses love in Beauty and the Beast themes or not.

Another big conflict throughout the season is Heather, she being Catherine’s roommate and also finding out about Vincent. Will that come up later this season or will she learn more about Vincent?

KK: I think with Heather, and with Darius dying, they’ve kind of put that whole thing out of her mind. So you’ll see Heather again but it’s going to be more about their family. So it will be Heather and dad. Especially when we get into he episode called “anniversary,” which is about the anniversary of Catherine’s mom dying.

B&B Kristin 2Did Catherine handle the things with Vincent and Heather poorly or is it more important that Heather remains in the dark?

KK: I think it’s better that Heather remains in the dark. Does Catherine want her sister to remain in the dark? Obviously, ultimately, no. But for everyone’s safety, which is Catherine’s primary concern, it’s better if Heather remains in the dark. It’s going to get harder for her to do that in her life.

Any thoughts of co-habitation at this early stage?

KK: No thoughts of co-habitation yet. It would be too difficult, too. How’s she going to explain that one? Let’s give that a couple of seasons.

Interview with the cast of “Hemlock Grove”

 

High HeelsNetflix’s new horror/thriller Hemlock Grove will soon make its debut. Based on Brian McGreevy’s novel, the supernatural murder mystery stars Famke Janssen, Dougray Scott, Lili Taylor, Bill Skarsgard, Landon Liboiron, Penelope Mitchell, Freya Tingley, Kandyse McClure, and Aaron Douglas. The story begins with the brutal murder of a young girl. The two likely suspects, Peter Rumancek (Liboiron), a Gypsy trailer trash teen rumored to be a werewolf, and Roman (Skarsgård), the heir to the Godfrey estate, decide to hunt down the killer. In this roundtable interview, the cast talk about their characters and how they prepared for the riveting new series.

Dougray Scott & Famke Janssen (photo by Alex A. Kecskes)
Dougray Scott & Famke Janssen (photo by Alex A. Kecskes)

What attracted you to your roles?

Famke: There is a scene in the pilot episode, where Olivia asks her son if he wants to go shopping, and she gets her way by putting her cigarette out on his jeans. So I thought, “well, that’s kind of an interesting character to play.” I wonder what else they have up their sleeve. And I wanted to work with Dougray Scott my whole life.

Dougray: I really wanted to work with Famke. To be honest with you, that was a big attraction for me. I also read the novel before agreeing to the series, and I found the character of Norman to be fascinating and interesting, I liked who he was–very intelligent. And I liked the euphoric and tumultuous relationship with Olivia.

Bill Skarsgard & Penelope Mitchell (photo by Alex A. Kecskes)
Bill Skarsgard & Penelope Mitchell (photo by Alex A. Kecskes)

Did you both read the book once you knew you had the role?

Penelope: Yes. It’s amazing. The book is a total blessing for us because with a project like this, you have a trajectory. So if you know where your character is headed, you have to pace yourself and find variation in your performance. The book is like a blueprint. When we collaborated with the writers, we were allowed to develop our characters and take them on different journeys.

Bill: I’d read the book before. I did an audition and took a meeting with the writer. When I read the pilot, I completely fell in love with it. Brian (McGreevy) gave me a copy of the book before I knew I’d gotten the part. And when I read the book, I thought, I need to do this. It’s also good to have a book to know where the season and characters are going. I’d never done TV before and I thought that a book was reassuring to have. If we do season two, we won’t have a book, so every new script will be, “well, I hope I don’t die.” We have 13 hours to tell the story, so the series goes deeper and explores each character more than what’s in the book.

Bill Skarsgard (photo by Alex A. Kecskes)
Bill Skarsgard (photo by Alex A. Kecskes)

Do you see the developing relationship between Peter and Roman as positive or potentially dangerous?

Bill: I don’t want to reveal that, but it’s kind of critical to their relationship. You don’t know where it’s going to end up. When Roman and Peter meet, they both instantly know that this relationship is really important for some reason. But they don’t know if it’s for something great or terrible to happen.

Are you allowed to do some improv work as far as dialog goes?

Bill: We were allowed to but the scripts were so well written.

Penelope Mitchell (photo by Alex A. Kecskes)
Penelope Mitchell (photo by Alex A. Kecskes)

Penelope: The characters were so well developed and innate within the writers. I know it sounds peculiar, but the writers really had our voices down. It was really quite remarkable. There were very few occasions where I kind of not felt comfortable about what I was saying.

Bill: I’m Swedish, so I had to work on the accent a bit and I wouldn’t feel comfortable improv’ing—not with this character. We didn’t need to. This show is so well crafted, I wouldn’t want to go in and touch it too much.

Do you like the way your characters are arcing?

Bill: It’s good to have the book to know where we’re going. Because you can plant seeds in episode two that you know will have significant meaning in episode six. TV shows are definitely a writer’s medium. And you’ll ask a writer, “Why am I saying this?” and they go, “You’ll find out.” All our characters go through so many tense changes. It’s super intense. It’s such a cool project to be part of.

Landon Liboiron (photo by Alex A. Kecskes)
Landon Liboiron (photo by Alex A. Kecskes)

Did you watch Twin Peaks for inspiration?

Landon: It was really cool watching Twin Peaks to help get inspired by all the similarities: the small town, the idiosyncrasies, the strangeness. Ours is a lot darker and more vicious. There’s still a lot of humor in our show and there’s a lot of room for it.

What attracted you to your roles?

Freya: It was my first pilot season from Australia. It was something that I auditioned for and I wanted every role that was going for. This project was different from all the age stereotypes. It was real three-dimensional characters going through what real people go through. And I think that’s what most actors are drawn to.

Landon: When I first read the book, I thought, I don’t know. When you’re reading it, you don’t really know what these creatures are, what these people are or their past. It’s all kind of mysterious and dark and twisted. And the writing is such a page-turner. I remember when I read the first script; I wanted to know what was going to happen. But when I finished it, I was still saying, what’s going to happen? And that’s the most interesting thing about it. Each episode ends with you wanting to know what’s going to happen—pretty much like a punch in the face. It’s an investigation—the entire season—with all the characters, their past and their secrets.

Have you watched the sequence of your transformation, yet?

Landon: Yeah. I was terrified even before watching it. I didn’t know what something like that was going to look like. But I was happy with it. It’s something very different.

Freya Tingley (photo by Alex A. Kecskes)
Freya Tingley (photo by Alex A. Kecskes)

In preparing for the role, did you immerse yourself more in the book or the script?

Freya: When I landed the role, I read the book several times and didn’t really understand it, but the show’s writers did a great job turning this great piece of literature into a classically gothic work for television.

Landon: I read the book as soon as it came out and I had the same thing happen to me. I had to stop and re-read sections. Brain uses such specific language, but in translating it to the show, the language is pretty much there. What’s unique about Brian’s writing is that he has such a unique way of conveying emotion, or someone’s torment or happiness.

Will viewers be confused in going from the book to the series?

Landon: What’s great about the series is that it leaves room to explore the characters in a more in-depth way than the book does. There’s still a lot of backstory in the season that isn’t necessarily explained in the book. I used the book as a backbone to work off, then I interpreted things for myself while staying pretty close to the book.

Freya Tingley3Freya: The TV series expands on the book. In your typical movie, things are left out that are in the book. Here, it’s just the opposite, there’s humor and character development that you may not find in the book.

In researching for the role, did you watch other werewolf movies?

Landon: No, I didn’t want to watch other werewolf films. What’s special about Peter’s werewolf, it’s not a curse and it’s not a manwolf. You turn into a wolf. I also think that’s what’s so ingenious about using the gypsy culture. Some people actually believed them to be like cannibals and monsters. But to Peter and to actual gypsies, their culture is a beautiful, poetic thing. Peter’s grandfather was a werewolf who taught Peter how to hunt and be content as a werewolf. So I researched how wolves hunt and behave in packs.

Hemlock Grove premieres April 19, 2013.

Interview with the Cast of “Falling Skies”

fallingskiesFans of Falling Skies were delighted to learn that the intense alien-fighting drama would return for 10 more episodes this summer. Season 2 did leave viewers with some eye-opening cliffhangers: Maggie attacked by a mysterious creature, Hal’s parasite, and of course, the arrival of a new alien (played by Hellboy‘s Doug Jones). All will make for a nail-biting third season. As die-hard fans will agree, the new alien has completely reshaped the mythology and sci-fi aspects of the show. Yet the show’s core remains unchanged—family, survival, and growing relationships.

In this roundtable interview, Drew Roy (Hal Mason), Sarah Carter (Margaret) and Seychelle Gabriel (Lourdes) offer their takes on the many questions left unanswered by season 2’s cliffhangers.

So what’s going on with Hal and Maggie?

Sarah Carter & Drew Roy (photos by Alex A. Kecskes)
Sarah Carter & Drew Roy (photo by Alex A. Kecskes)

Drew Roy: Their relationship continues but in a whole new way. We saw the ins and outs of their relationship, or Hal’s pursuit of the relationship, last season. So we start the new season where we’re more like a married couple. We live with each other and have our own room. And then there’s the thing going in his ear. He needs some help, but he’s not the kind of guy to ask for it. Because of what these two have and their relationship, she’s really the only one who has seen his inner pain. Because on the outside, he’s put up this front of having everything in control.

Does everyone know at this point that he’s been infected?

Drew: Nobody knows. Maggie’s privy to it because of her intuition.

Do we see that Maggie figures it out?

Sarah Carter (photo by Alex A. Kecskes)
Sarah Carter (photo by Alex A. Kecskes)

Sarah Carter: Off the top, there’s curiosity as to why Hal’s having these extreme mood swings. He’s treating Maggie differently. She actually finds it sexy at times. And it was really fun to play with that. It wasn’t so much a marriage for me. It’s interesting, how Drew playing Hal would interpret it and how Maggie would interpret it. There’s friction, but there’s deep loyalty and ultimately that prevails.

Does she question his ability?

Sarah: She likes to empower her men. She knows that his spirit will die if he isn’t out in the field. So he’s never emasculated by Maggie in any way.

Does Hal have any misgivings about doing his job competently?

Drew: Yeah, in the same way we saw Tom in the second season. Knowing something’s off, he’s questioning how much he can trust himself. Hal’s going through the same thing. But Tom was infected by Red-Eye, so he’s got the eye bug in him for good. But this time, it’s looking like Hal might have this coming from not such a good place. So he’s having more extreme feelings. And it’s showing itself in a more physical way.

Can Hal get his brother to help him out with that?

Sarah & Drew3Drew: The interesting thing about this season was, they we were all so caught up in our own stories that there wasn’t a whole lot of interaction between us, which is how a lot of us end up going down darker paths and sliding off the deep end. Hal’s already proven that he can take care of himself, so doesn’t need to waste time with Hal. He sort of drifts off into this darker place. Maggie gets to see that. With Ben, you’d think that would’ve been somewhere he could have gone. But at the same time, those two characters have become a lot closer to each other. Still, Hal had a pride thing going on, as well, being uncomfortable about asking his little brother for help. And there’s the fact that he knows something’s wrong.

What about Ben and Matt’s relationship this season?

Sarah Carter 3Sarah: Ben takes on the role of the older brother. Hal’s so wrapped up in his won conflict. Ben steps up and takes Matt under his wing. Actually, Maggie does that too. There’s a lot of coming together for the sake of Matt, which is what brings the family aspect of the show together.

How will Matt and Hal’s relationship evolve?

Drew: Hal’s still caught up in his own problems. Later, we’ll see a little something. But for the bulk of the season, he’s so focused on just keeping everything contained and not letting anything slip because he knows for the benefit of the entire Charleston area that he’s essentially dangerous to people. Does he want to come clean? What does that mean? There’s a lot of people that aren’t happy with that kind of stuff: We got Ben who’s had spikes and Tom’s had the eye bug. We’re like this whole family of half aliens, so do I really want to come out and say, “You know what, I’m feeling a little freaky too.”

Can you comment about interacting with the unknown species?

Drew: With this unknown species coming in, one has to ask, what are their motives? They seem good—they’re definitely helping us. In the very beginning, we see some of their technology at work. But are they really that transparent with us? Having a new alien creates the potential for more drama.

With Jamil dying, will your character take on a more serious role?

Seychelle Gabriel (photo by Alex A. Kecskes)
Seychelle Gabriel (photo by Alex A. Kecskes)

Seychelle Gabriel: I think, serious but in a different sense of the word. Serious more in the direction of her life. We come in 7 months after we left off. She’s in a really dark place, and I think that she’s dealt with it, coming to her own peace with it. When we come back, Lourdes is rock solid in the medical arena in Charleston. She’s become a doctor and very helpful, more so than Anne, because Anne’s become a mother, so Lourdes has grown into herself and channeled her hardships into her work.

How will Lourdes’ personality change now that she’s a doctor? 

Seychelle: I don’t get to go on all the missions, but everyone comes to the hospital as some point, so I get to work with almost every character. Hal and Lourdes haven’t really connected because of everything’s that’s going on with him and things that are going on with Lourdes.

How do other characters react to Lourdes being such a young doctor?

Seychelle Gabriel3Seychelle: I think in an apocalyptic world, with kids carrying guns, age is not a big issue. They know that we’ve been on the road for nearly a year and a half, so you’ve got the experience and the degree. There’s also a lot of trust within the group. Charleston has embraced the fact that Lourdes is now a doctor.

What was the most exciting thing you got to do?

Seychelle: I got to say cool things like, “you can’t put weight on that ankle for a couple of weeks.” (laughs) I got to work on some aliens and alien experiments that haven’t been introduced until this season. It’s like a whole new frontier.

Are they tapping into her ability to create biological weapons?

Seychelle: Not so much weapons but definitely to enhance people.

Interview with the Cast of “Vikings”

Lagertha, Ragnar, Rollo and the Viking raiders (Photo credit: Jonathan Hession)
Lagertha, Ragnar, Rollo and the Viking raiders (Photo credit: Jonathan Hession)

Created and written by Michael Hirst (Elizabeth, The Tudors), History Channel’s Vikings is packed with conflict, warfare and bloodshed. The family saga follows the adventures and conquests of Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) and brother Rollo (Clive Standen). Deeply frustrated by the unadventurous policies of local chieftain Earl Haraldson (Gabriel Byrne) and his wife Siggy (Jessalyn Gilsig), Ragnar and Rollo set out to invade the British Isles. Ragnar’s wife, Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) keeps the home fires burning, fending off foes with admirable skill. Representing the conquered is Athelstan (George Blagden), a young, innocent Christian monk captured by Ragnar during his first raid on England.

In this roundtable interview, Katheryn Winnick, Travis Fimmel and George Blagden talk about their roles, adding their unique insights into what makes Vikings such a success. Read more

An Interview with Beata Dalton in “Dead Man Down”

Beata Dalton
Beata Dalton

When beautiful and talented Beata Dalton landed her breakout role in the upcoming action thriller Dead Man Down, she was elated. The highly anticipated neo-noir film presented an opportunity to work with Niels Arden Oplev, the acclaimed director of the Swedish International hit The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. As Anka, the wife of a New York City enforcer, played by Colin Farrell, Dalton joins a stellar cast that also includes Terrence Howard, Noomi Rapace and Dominic Cooper. In this one-on-one interview, Dalton reveals how she landed the role, what it was like working with Colin Farrell and Niels Oplev and the many passions that drive her to grow as a versatile actress. Read more

Director Cate Shortland on Her Post-WW II film, “LORE”

Director Cate Shortland
Director Cate Shortland

After her successful feature debut with Somersault, Australian director Cate Shortland focused her talents on adapting Rachel Seiffert’s “The Dark Room”—a novel set in post WW II Germany—to the film Lore.

Lore follows the lives of five German siblings at the onset of the Third Reich’s collapse. The film stars Saskia Rosendahl, Hans-Jochen Wagner, Ursina Lardi, Nele Trebs, Mika Seidel, Andre Frid and Kai Malina. Lore forces its key characters to address the physical and emotional challenges imposed by a defeated nation and the lingering prejudice instilled by parents, neighbors and Hitler’s media and schooling. Read more

An Interview with Anne Heche

photo courtesy of Brian Bowen Smith

A versatile and highly talented actress, writer and director, Anne Heche made her big-screen debut with a brief appearance in The Adventures of Huck Finn.

Her first leading role in the big-budget romantic adventure Six Days Seven Nights with Harrison Ford catapulted her to prominence. She landed her second leading role in the exceptional drama Return to Paradise.

TV fans applaud her exemplary performances in Gracie’s Choice, The Dead Will Tell, and recurring guest roles on “Everwood,” “Nip/Tuck” and her own primetime series, “Men in Trees.” She later landed a featured role in the independent film Spread with Ashton Kutcher and the indie comedy Cedar Rapids.

In That’s What She Said, Dee Dee (Anne Heche), Bebe (Marcia DeBonis) and their new acquaintance, Clementine (Alia Shawkat) embark on a series of misadventures in New York City. Based on writer/actress Kellie Overbey’s play Girl Talk, the delightful, low budget indie has some laugh out loud moments that bring out the pain and often crushing disappointments endured by women seeking love and acceptance. In this interview, Anne Heche talks about the film, its humor and pathos, and the talented ensemble cast that brought it to life.

The scene where you’re brushing your teeth while smoking a cigarette was a riot.

Anne Heche: When I read that in the script, I thought, if I can pull this one scene off, this is going to be a funny movie. I would practice it because it’s such an odd choice to make as a human being–to do both of those things at the same time. I thought, this is only going to get worse–she is a mess, she is one hot mess. My whole preparation for that character was making her even more disastrous than a girl who was smoking while brushing her teeth.

What attracted you to the role of Dee Dee?

AH: That one scene. What I’m always wondering about any character I play is, can I make it truthful?  If I can make her truthful then I’m hoping I can pull it off. Dee Dee is such a self-destructive personality, which is heartbreaking. The best of these characters are the ones that can be redeemed. So it’s my great hope that that was going to happen in the movie and that the lower she began, the bigger and taller the mountain she needed to climb.  So I think we started pretty low, for sure. It was just fun to figure out how to really make her resist any hope of growing up.  And I love that about this movie. I also love that the people helping her climb were also disasters.  Nobody in this movie is a hero. There’s no nice, sweet character.  They’re all have zero self esteem. They don’t like themselves or each other. That’s an equation for comedy. I wanted to do that in this movie.

It’s basically a study of flawed characters. What do you think people will take away from the film?

AH: I think, people would say, “Thank God there’s a movie where I can actually see myself.” Nobody has a great day every day. These girls never have a great day. I think it’s really a surprise to see the worst possible image of yourself and what we laugh at. So I think anyone watching this movie will find their worst possible self in one of these moments in the film.

Were changes made to the script to include how well the three of you played off each other? It was a delight to watch you and the cast bring this film to life.

AH: Thank you. One of the things we really needed to do was unheard of–and that was to rehearse. Because, we were filming in so many spots in New York, we didn’t know if we’d be getting kicked off and get another take, let alone the fact that our film budget was very low. We didn’t want to waste any time on film not getting it right. So in our rehearsals, we definitely found some fun rhythms using Alia’s and Marcia’s personality to see how we contrast each other. We found some really funny nuances, but I will say this script was so tight and so funny with the characters. Our writer, Kellie Overbey worked so hard for years to make this film work. So the words sang from the very beginning. We added a couple of jokes but it was really there.

Did you like the physicality of the script—fighting on the floor with Marcia?

AH: Like I said, if you brush your teeth and smoke at the same time, you can’t start there and not do anything crazier than that. So I couldn’t wait to go through the script to see what else was going to happen. And when I read that we were going to get into a fistfight, I was like, get outta here! That was really raw. To have girls really take each other down. You want to own that and earn that. I was so proud that someone had written that kind of balsy physicality for women and so thrilled to be asked to play it. We were bruised, I’m not kidding you, honestly, from head to toe. We didn’t have enough budget, so we didn’t have a blanket to rehearse on. We were throwing each other down, morning, noon and night. We could hardly walk when we were done.

So no stunt doubles?

AH: We hardly got catering.  The food we ate was mostly leftovers. We always shot at weird times because we had to be working in places that we didn’t really have to rent.  So the bar where we ended up shooting that fight scene, we had to start shooting at four o’clock in the morning when the bar closed, and stop at four o’clock in the afternoon when the bar opened. We were all just struggling to have a cup of coffee. I came in one morning for breakfast, and on the craft service table where you’d hope to get a cup of coffee we found leftover snack Dorito bags from a previous lunch.  So I said, “I know you asked me to do this movie for you, but Doritos for breakfast?”

The ensemble cast really clicks, how did you react when you discovered who would be in the film?

AH: When I met with Carrie and Kellie, they told me that Marcia was someone they believed in from doing the play and they wanted to hire her. So I loved that they were giving their friends that much commitment and belief. I always thought there was one girl that could play Clementine, so I asked them if they would reach out to Alia and that was that.  The other characters are friends of Carrie’s and Kellie’s from New York, and Kellie is one of the girls in it.  Kellie and I did a play called 20th Century together with Alec Baldwin, and Alec gave me the script and told me that you’re the only girl fucked up enough to pull this off. I really loved that he said that and believed in me enough to give me this role. I think it’s a killer role and it was an amazing experience.

Do you prefer doing these dialog heavy comedies?

AH: It’s like bringing the theater to film. You don’t get to do that very often. This is a dialog driven piece. I thought it was a riot. You don’t usually get to talk that much on screen, and you definitely don’t get to talk that much if you’re a girl. It was fun to be in a film with this many chicks all talking at the same time.

 

Summer Qing Talks About “Looper”

A native of Beijing, Summer Qing made her film debut as the female lead in Chen Kaige’s 1990 Cannes Film Festival entry, Life on a String. Soon after, she played the lead in Lin Zifeng’s Kuang Crazy, and was nominated for Best Actress in China’s Hundred Flowers awards.

Her work in the TV series, “Close to Forbidden City” catapulted her national prominence as a sweet-natured ingenue. Qing has since appeared in the Chinese historical epic, The Emperor’s Shadow. She was also the voice of Mulan, in the Disney animated film of the same name. In 2007, she was featured in the Hong Kong action hit, Flash Point. She is perhaps best known in Asia for her pivotal role of Soong Ching-ling in the hugely successful 2009 film The Founding of a Republic for which Qing won a Hundred Flowers Award for Best Supporting Actress.

In 2011, Qing joined the cast of Looper, her first Hollywood production. A time-travel action film starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt, Looper depicts a future where crime syndicates can send their enemies back in time to be “wacked” by killers known as ‘loopers.’ When hit man, Joe (Gordon-Levitt) learns that the mob wants to close the loop by sending back Joe’s future self (Willis), Old Joe is reluctant to give up his “looped life” with his wife (Qing). The film includes some head-spinning intersecting storylines that weave telekinesis with intricate time-paradox plotting. In this one-on-one interview, Qing reveals how she landed the role, her views about Looper and the challenges she faced in working with her first major Hollywood production.

What attracted you to the role of playing Joe’s wife?

Summer Qing: It was a great script and when I read it, I was impressed by the amazing story-telling talents of writer/director Rian Johnson. I liked the fact that my character was a believable Chinese character in this futuristic story. I also enjoyed the opportunity to work with Bruce Willis.

Did you audition for the role of Joe’s wife in Looper? If so, what was that like?

SQ: I didn’t audition for the role. Rian had seen some of my previous work and said I had the ideal figure for this woman. He set up a video conference call with me, then made the decision right there to cast me in the role of Joe’s wife.

How did you prepare for the role of Joe’s wife?

SQ: The character didn’t present that great a challenge. I had already played similar characters in some of my other films. The challenge was dealing with the language barrier, since everyone on the crew and cast spoke English. I anticipated having to deal with some cultural differences, but once I arrived on set, I realized that I was able to connect with the cast and crew.

Looper was your first Hollywood production, what are some of major differences when working in Hollywood as opposed to Asia?

SQ: I really feel lucky to be part of Looper because it was my first Hollywood film. I always felt cared for the whole time I was on set by the cast and crew. You can’t really see a difference in production between Hollywood and Asian films. There are good and bad films in both venues. Luckily, I’ve had the good fortune of being part of well-produced films in China and now Hollywood.

You appeared in the Hong Kong action movie Flash Point. How would you compare the two action-packed movies?

SQ: I prefer Looper and like the fact that my character has such a strong presence in the story. I had so much fun working with Bruce Willis. In comparing the two films, I would say that they are very different in how the story unfolds.

When you read the script—a film about people being sent back in time to be killed by their younger self–what did you think about this compelling time-travel concept?

SQ: I was very impressed with the script and applaud Rian for bringing this interesting story to life.

What was it like working with Rian Johnson?

SQ: He’s a great director and I had a wonderful experience working with him. He was very quiet when I first met him, but once I was on set, he was very complimentary of my work. He provided excellent direction and was very helpful. I look forward to working with him again.

What was it like working with Bruce Willis?

SQ: I loved working with him. He’s a loving, caring person. He’s was such a gentleman. I’ll never forget the day I arrived on the set. I was about to shoot a very emotional scene with Bruce, but we didn’t really know each other at that point. To break the ice, he came over to me, pulled me into his arms and held me for an entire minute without saying a word. This set the tone for our two characters, that we were a real couple. I was ready to play the role of Joe’s wife.

Do you prefer dramatic films that have some action or action films that have a bit of drama?

SQ: I prefer action films with a lot of drama. I’ve made many action films in China.

When did you realize you wanted to become an actress?

SQ: Not until my sophomore year in film school. At the Beijing Film Academy.

What’s your favorite Hollywood movie?

SQ: I have so many. But one would be The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Another is the latest Batman. I also like the TV series “Homeland.” I like Claire Danes’ character–Carrie Mathison.

Who is your favorite Hollywood actress?

SQ: I’ve always admired Meryl Streep when I was in school. I also like Kate Blanchett, Claire Danes and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

What are you working on now—anything new?

SQ: I’ll be working with the renowned writer/theater director Stan Lai on an 8-hour play to be produced in China. We’re hoping to show it in the US.

Interview with Spartacus’ Cynthia Addai-Robinson

photos by Alex A. Kecskes
photos by Alex A. Kecskes

Beautiful and stylish Cynthia Addai-Robinson was born in London to a mother from Ghana and a father from America. She was raised in the US by her mom in a suburb of Washington, DC.

A graduate of NYU’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts, her growing TV credits include guest starring roles on “CSI: NY,” “CSI: Miami,” and “Numbers.” Her recent recurring roles include F/X’s “Dirt” and ABC’s “Flash Forward.” On the big screen, she most recently appeared opposite Zoe Saldana in Columbiana.

As the battle-hardened slave girl in “Spartacus: War of the Damned,” Robinson continues her role as Crixus’ love interest, Naevia. In this roundtable interview, she reveals how she landed and developed the role, and what fans can expect in the series climactic final season.

Is Naevia the head female of the camp now?

Cynthia Addai-Robinson: I’m one of the few ladies. They’re important to the story. Of course, we lost a lot of good ones—Lucretia, Illythia, Mira. But fans love the new and returning female characters. Now we have myself, Ellen Hollman (Saxa), Anna Hutchison (Laeta), Jenna Lind (Kore) and Gwendoline Taylor (Sibyl).

Did you have to “boot camp” with the boys?

CAR: I had to boot camp with the boys. We had about a month of training—including lifting weights. I’d never done anything like that before in my life. The first week, it was like trying to get myself out of the bathtub, flipping around because my muscles were limp. I was really proud of myself because it was not only a physical challenge but a harder mental one. It really served to bond the group. We stuck together. We’d sweat and cheer each other on. You will definitely see the results of all our training.

What about your relationship with Crixus? How will that continue or change?

CAR: It will definitely continue. I can’t give too much away, but in response to the storyline, at the end of the day, Manu and I were really passionate about honoring the love story, the fact that we’ve gone to hell and back. Who wouldn’t want that level of love? So you’ll difintely see those two characters move forward.

At the beginning of the season, Manu was saying that Crixus and Naevia were in a good place for a short time. Was it nice for you to play a happy character, at least for a little bit?

CAR: My God, she’s been through so much. This is such a heightened environment that if you can find those small moments of levity and just being able to crack a smile. They’re few and far between, but when they do happen, it’s interesting to see those small moments, the conversations behind closed doors. I think those are the things that people feel connected to. So yeah, you’ll still see a few laughs in there.

Did you audition for the role? If so, what was that like?

CAR: When I auditioned for the role, I was in Los Angeles. And when I didn’t hear anything, I thought, okay, that went away. Then I got a call telling me that Steven DeKnight wanted to meet me. So I met with him and he said, “How’d you like to go to New Zealand and swing around a sword?” So I said, “okay.”  Then I had a week to pack up my life and go to New Zealand. It was a dream come true, going to this exotic location, meeting all these amazing people, and playing a role that’s unlike anything on television right now. It’s a female role that gets to kick ass, so I feel pretty lucky.

Will the character of Naevia continue to evolve?

CAR: When the character of Naevia was first established, she was pretty naive. Basically, just a young slave girl. Life was pretty much laid out for her: She was living in the house of Batiatus and serving Lucretia. All the things that Naevia experienced forced her to become a woman. She’s a survivor. There’s a reason why she’s still alive after everything that’s happened.

What would you like to see happen to Naevia at the end of this final season?

CAR: That’s a tough one. We’re halfway through filming, so we haven’t actually done the things that are down the road. There’s sort of an inevitability to some of these story lines. I’m just happy to be in the story. And the response so far has been great. We’ll see how it all ends. There’s still some stuff that I don’t know. Who knows, if I’m killed, maybe I’ll come back as a zombie (laughs).

The climactic final season of “Spartacus: War of the Damned” will begin airing in January 2013. Globally, the series will air in 150 countries in more than 15 languages. The Emmy® nominated series, with its groundbreaking production and visual style, will also feature new sets, including a full city, a Roman Villa, and the scene of the epic battle along the Appian Way.