Interview: Paola Lazaro on Princess’ PTSD, Memories on Crafting “Splinter” and Meeting Michael James Shaw

Paola Lázaro as Juanita ‘Princess’ Sanchez – The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 20 – Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC

Paola Lazaro has had a great time playing as The Princess on The Walking Dead. The funny, bubbly personality of the charismatic character is a bright spot in the dark world. But on tonight’s episode “Splinter”, The Princess is in a dark place.

I recently got the chance to speak with Paola Lazaro about the episode. We also go over what is to come for the character in the future, the possible Mercer pairing, and more on this exclusive interview

What went through your head when it was discovered that Princess beat up that Commonwealth soldier and not Ezekiel?

PL: “I think it was like blind rage. Princess went on overdrive and reverted back to being a child and feeling like she had no agency or control of her life. In the moment when she sees the soldier and she’s able to have control over something, she goes overboard with that control. I think that is a result of trauma and PTSD from her childhood.”

This episode really explored Princess’ PTSD and mental health. How did you get into the mindset of a person that went through what she went through after seeing her as a fun and expressive character? 

PL: “Comedic characters tend to be comedic because they have a dark past that they can use to lighten and create comedy out of their dark past or dark reality. And for me, I am a very light, fun, and welcoming person. But I also have my dark side too. So I had to tap in both those worlds and for me, it was exciting to tap into her dark side because it explains why she is so bubbly. It is her defense mechanism to be big, funny and loud even though it comes from fear and pain.”

Eleanor could not be physically there for this episode, can you tell me how her voice was used for your scene talking to her? 

PL: “The production crew asked me who I wanted to read her role that we were shooting my part of the scene. I asked Khary to do it. What we did is Khary, Eleanor, and I got together on facetime to go over the scene to see what Eleanor, Khari, and I wanted to bring out in the moment. It was really beautiful that we got together in that way so we can have each other’s presence in that moment. Eleanor, Khary, Josh, and I are super tight, and we are so supportive of each other and I am grateful for that.”

On issue #175, it was Lance that asked the questions to the group at the trainyard. On Splinter, it is a Commonwealth soldier. Did the soldier have a name because fans might mistake him as Lance?

PL: “I love working with the actors. I do not remember the soldier having a name when we all went over the script. But working with the actor was fantastic and he was really great and fun to work with. It was also a very physical scene and you have to be very respectful with your scene partner and very respectful with each other especially when it is physical. He was just great to work with”

Paola Lázaro as Juanita ‘Princess’ Sanchez – The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 20 – Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC

Going into this episode, did you know early on of the plot of who it would explore Princess’ mind of what was going on over what really happened? 

PL: “I receive the episode once it is written and once it is approved by various people and groups. When I got it, I read it while I was in my bathtub. While I was reading it, all the sudden the twist comes. It is well written, that I did not know it was going to happen until I finished reading it. That is how well these writers craft their work and I was completely blown away.”

Comic readers and fans cannot wait to see Princess and Mercer team up. Without giving too much away since you are part of the upcoming season that recently started filming, any hints of this popular pair up could happen in season 11? 

PL: “I have no idea what is in stored for the two of them because we have not filmed a scene together yet! I have meet Michael J. Shaw and he is fantastic. I am hopeful to have scenes with him in the future because I love their relationship in the comic book. I think it is unique and specific to the two of them. I think that they are such different characters and they are an exciting duo.”

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Young Rock Season 1, Episode 3 “Forward Together” Review

Young Rock — “Forward Together” Episode 103 — Pictured: Adam Ray as Vince McMahon — (Photo by: Mark Taylor/NBC)

This week’s “Young Rock” sees the debut of more big names in the wrestling universe. More specifically, Vince McMahon, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, and King Kong Bundy. There is more to unpack on this episode “Forward Together” than the debuts however.

The central story is Rocky Johnson seeking out for an action figure deal after he sees that Andre The Giant got a prototype of his figure. This all happens while he and Young Rock were planning the next autograph session. Towards the end of the session, a toy developer comes to Rocky’s table to pitch to him that he can make Rocky Johnson figures. You can tell that this person is shady due to his cowboy boots being the same color as UWF promoter Herb Abrams.

Now to Vince McMahon. Mark Taylor plays as Vince McMahon. It took me a few minutes to not think of the Vince McMahon character that I seen on television for years and to see this version of McMahon on a business side. While I did not sense or see the mannerisms and voice of Vince that Mark Taylor acted, He did good on the way Vince McMahon was in the early 1980’s when he was a boss than a character.

Young Rock — “Forward Together” Episode 103 — Pictured: (l-r) Joseph Lee Anderson as Rocky Johnson, Adrian Groulx as Dwayne — (Photo by: Mark Taylor/NBC)

Kevin Makely as Macho Man did not work for me. He looked, talked, and acted like a cosplayer than me suspending my disbelief to believe that he could be Macho Man at that time period. Macho Man was a force to be reckoned with even outside of the ring.

Kevin Makely did not bring that larger than life persona of the WWE legend on the screen. I was really looking forward to seeing him as Macho Man. But it turned out to be the Nacho Man.

There are also great subplots on this episode of “Young Rock” that I did also like. Ata watching home movies with Sika and Lia. The barbecue where they all discussed the battle royal plans and discovering why King Kong Bundy and Junkyard Dog backed out the match. And Young Rock asking for an alcoholic beverage before Ata and Rocky joking with him that he cannot have it are bright spots.

The end of this episode is an ad for his presidential campaign and this was an odd choice to end an episode. Other than a few hiccups, I enjoyed it!

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Michael James Shaw Will Play as The Walking Dead’s Mercer

The Walking Dead has finally found the actor to play as the head of security at The Commonwealth Mercer. That person that will be Mercer is Michael James Shaw.

Michael James Shaw is best known for his roles as FBI Agent Daryl in Limitless, and Aiden Shaw on Blood & Treasure. Most recently, Michael James Shaw appeared on the Marvel Cinematic Universe films Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame as Black Order member Corvus Glaive.

Mercer first appeared on The Walking Dead comic book series back in 2018 on issue #177. He is also on the cover of that issue and it is also an introduction to the character. From issue #177-#193, Mercer attempts an uprising against Pamela and The Commonwealth due to how things are operated over there. Mercer also has a number of verbal conflicts with Pamela’s son Sebastian during the time as well.

Mercer’s attempted uprising was stopped by Rick Grimes as Rick did not want a war against The Commonwealth. Outside of the uprising, Mercer develops a close relationship with The Princess and they eventually become a couple. On the last issue which was #193, Mercer and Princess are still together over 25 years later and they both have a dog that they both love.

It will be quite interesting to see how the television version of Mercer will be similar or different than his comic book counterpart. But I know for sure that fans of The Walking Dead are ready to see Mercer and The Princess team up to take down walkers!

Are you excited to see Michael James Shaw as Mercer? Or do you think someone else should have been Mercer?

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Young Rock Season 1, Episode 2 “On The Road Again” Review

YOUNG ROCK — “On the Road Again” Episode 102 — Pictured: (l-r) Bradley Constant as Dwayne, Lexie Duncan as Karen — (Photo by: Mark Taylor/NBC)

This week’s episode of “Young Rock” teaches the viewer a valuable lesson. That is, after the huge spotlight of a major star is over, they have to wrestle at smaller scale shows.

That is the focus for this episode of “Young Rock” as Dwayne Johnson told the story to the reporter about taking Karen on a date to a wrestling show. Teenage Rock wanted to do as much as he can to convince Karen to go out on a date with him. When she does, the most interesting aspect of professional wrestling is on full display.

“Young Rock” did not shy away from the reality of wrestling that the casual fan would never know. And Karen was exposed to this when she saw where the actual show took place. It was at a local carnival where there were less than fifteen people at the show. Even though Karen did not like the environment, Teenage Rock was also there to support Rocky Johnson and this shows that anyone should support their family and friends no matter how big or small the crowd is.

YOUNG ROCK — “On the Road Again” Episode 102 — Pictured: (l-r) Bradley Constant as Dwayne, Lexie Duncan as Karen, Joseph Lee Anderson as Rocky Johnson — (Photo by: Mark Taylor/NBC)

Fifteen people or not, what mattered most is that everyone left home happy. Not everyone did as Rocky Johnson was stiffed out of pay from the shady promoter. The promoter promised Rocky Johnson more money than what he paid him and they both had a conversation about that. Shady independent wrestling promoters are still like this to this day so I was not surprised to see this went down the way it did.

I also started to root for Teenage Rock when he punched the kid at the school hallway for poking fun at Rocky Johnson’s appearance at the independent show. Rock did this while also saying the same words Andre The Giant said to him when he was younger about the “F” word.

Also during this episode, Rocky Johnson had matches against Ric Flair and Roddy Piper that are told in flashbacks that I enjoyed.

Overall, I enjoyed “On The Road Again” far better than the pilot as it showed the trials that every professional wrestler has to go through. It affects them in each level no matter how big of a star they are, or was. Some may see this like a step down to the fans that idolizes the mega stars. But this should be a valuable lesson to every fan of wrestling once they see this episode. Professional wrestlers are normal people too and they have families to support.

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Fear The Walking Dead Return Date Announced

Alycia Debnam-Carey as Alicia Clark – Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 7 – Photo Credit: Ryan Green/AMC

Fear The Walking Dead took a brief hiatus over the fall after their seventh episode. Enough time has gone by as fans are anxious for the return of Fear. The return of Fear The Walking Dead is coming shortly after the final episode of the tenth season of The Walking Dead.

AMC oficially announced that Fear The Walking Dead will return for the second half of the sixth season on April 11th. A trailer that was uploaded on The Walking Dead’s official account showcased the announcement.

It is also to note, that I reached out to AMC in early January for the status of the return of Fear The Walking Dead. A representative told me that Fear will return in April. But the exact date was not revealed at the time.

New cast members will also join the sixth season of Fear The Walking Dead. John Glover (The Good Wife, Smallville, Scrooged), Nick Stahl (Carnivale, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Sin City), and Keith Carradine (Madam Secretary, Fargo, Deadwood) will all make their debuts on this season.

The synopis of the second half is the following: As Morgan’s (Lennie James) bid to free the remaining members of the group becomes bolder, Virginia (Colby Minifie) grows increasingly desperate to find her sister and protect the settlements from forces working inside and outside her walls. The second half of Season Six reveals the impact of what living under Virginia’s control has done to each person in this group, who once saw themselves as a family. New alliances will be formed, relationships will be destroyed, and loyalties forever changed. When everyone is forced to take sides, they discover the meaning of, “The End is the Beginning.”’

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Star Wars Titles Announced on Disney Investor Day

The LucasFilms portion of Disney’s Investor Day stream made the major headlines for Star Wars fans. After weeks of speculation, all of the questions were answered today as the vision path of the Star Wars franchise were revealed today. From Obi-Won Kenobi, to Ashoka, there is a ton to look forward to within the next few years. I will go over each announced project of LucasFilms and give brief details of what they are.

Rangers of the New Republic and Ashoka Series

Two spinoffs of The Mandalorian are coming to Disney+. Popular Star Wars character Ashoka Tano is getting her own spinoff on Disney+. This comes after she made her live action debut on the current season of The Mandalorian. And will also focus on Ashoka’s wherabouts after her appearence on The Mandalorian. Rangers of the New Republic is the second spinoff that was revealed. The two shows will be executive produced by Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau.

Andor

Andor will be a spy thriller. It will serve as the prequel of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story as Andor will be a 12 episode Disney+ series. On the teaser trailer, We got a glimpse of what everyone can expect from the prequel series. Diego Luna will return to reprise his role as Cassian Andor.

Obi-Wan Kenobi

The Obi-Wan Kenobi series has been in the talks within the year. The news of Hayden Christensen reprising his role as Darth Vader made this announcement great as he will be the co-star. Production of the series will begin in the spring of 2021. Obi-Wan Kenobi will take place 10 years after Revenge of the Sith. The big question, is if we will see Anakin Skywalker in his Darth Vader outfit.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch

Star Wars: The Bad Batch will follow characters on various missions in a rapidly changing galaxy. The crew of clone warriors, known as Clone Force 99, will be the central focus. The animated series will take place at the beginning of the Empire based on the teaser trailer.

LANDO and The Acolyte

LANDO will be produced and written by Justin Simien. Simien’s most notable work was producing Netflix’s Dear White People. Lando is about Lando Calrissian himself in the Star Wars universe. Casting announcements were not been made

A Droid Story

C3PO and R2D2 will have their own miniseries. Titled A Droid Story, is produced by Lucasfilm’s visual effects team, Industrial Light & Magic. A Droid Story will introduce a new droid to the Star Wars Universe, and feature an adventure with C3PO and R2D2.

Rogue Squadron

Rogue Squadron is what Star Wars fans wanted. Not only that this news confirmed the upcoming Star Wars film, Patty Jenkins will direct Rogue Squadron. Patty Jenkins most recent work, is Wonder Woman and Wonder Woman 1984. This is an interesting decision, and I am looking forward to see how she will shape Rogue Squadron in her vision.

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Fear The Walking Dead Season 6, Episode 7 “Damage from the Inside” Review

Alycia Debnam-Carey as Alicia Clark, Alexa Nisenson as Charlie – Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 7 – Photo Credit: Ryan Green/AMC

“Damage From the Inside” serves as the mid season finale of Fear The Walking Dead’s sixth season. That was not the original plan as AMC halted production of the actual mid season finale at the start of the pandemic. Even so, this episode has a ton of strong performances by Alicia Debnam-Carey and Lennie James.

The surprise reveal at the end made my jaw drop. I will have to admit that because Grace was not on my mind at the time. Grace seems like she is going to give birth at any moment now. Virginia is going to use her as leverage against Morgan. When this does happen, it can make Morgan’s uprising go to a bad turn. That also depends on how many people he can gather to go against Virginia.

Alycia really stood out on “Damage From the Inside.” Especially the scene when her and Charlie was talking about The Stadium from season 4. Timeline wise, it has been almost a year since they were last there. So going back there to look for Madison could be a longshot. The Stadium was overrun by walkers. And I still wonder if Madison is alive.

When we were first introduced to Ed, I thought for a second that it was the same Ed from the Althea Tapes. But it turns out that this Ed is a animal hunter. The collection of his trophies in his shed spooked me out. Ed also attached horns on the walkers to weaponize them. That came back to haunt him later in the episode as the walkers came in. Ed accepted to be eaten by the dead and Alycia, Charlie, and Dakota were saved by Morgan.

Alycia Debnam-Carey as Alicia Clark – Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 7 – Photo Credit: Ryan Green/AMC

Another scene I like, is the standoff between Strand, Alycia, and Morgan. I thought that Strand aligning with Virginia was just a plot for him to turn on her. But he is a full fledged member. It will be very interesting to see which side he is on once everyone is together against Virginia. All of which, could happen on the next episode.

How Morgan will react to seeing Grace will be something to look forward to. I also suspected that Morgan was the one who took out the rangers because of the way the tree was chopped down. Morgan is doing everything that he can to launch the revolt against Virginia. And so far, the pieces are coming together for his plan.

With Virginia having Grace, and Morgan having Dakota, this situation could be smooth, or deadly. I like this episode and episode 8 needs to arrive ASAP! Fear The Walking Dead’s current season is the best in years and it left me more satisfied and anxious than ever before.

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I Watched The First Few Episodes of The Saved By The Bell Reboot and it is Good!

When I first heard that there will be a reboot of “Saved By The Bell”, I did not react to it that well. The general thought in my mind was that it was going to be another 90’s reboot that did not need to be revived. My curious mind opened up to the idea of the reboot. And I must say, it is one of the better reboots.

The original stars Mario Lopez, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, and Elizabeth Berkley Lauren are heavily featured on the first few episodes. But not to the point where they all have more screentime than the new cast. Even the Tiffani Thiessen cameo worked and told a brief story as Kelly and Zach Morris are now married. Zach is now the governor of California, and his son Mac (Mitchell Hoog) attends Bayside High School.

SAVED BY THE BELL — Pictured: (l-r) Mitchell Hoog as Mac Morris, Belmont Cameli as Jamie Spano, Dexter Darden as DeVante, Josie Totah as Lexi, Aisha Alycia Pascual-Pena as Aisha and Haskiri Velazquez as Daisy at The Max — (Photo by: Chris Haston/Peacock)

Mac is very similar to his father. In fact, Jamie Spano (Belmont Cameli) is similar to A.C Slater on the original show. When they appear on screen, the duo can be compared to the original characters. Whether if it is the dialouge, or their pranks, much of Zack Morris and A.C Slater’s personalities are passed down to these two. But the rest of the cast, are their own characters.

Haskiri Velazquez, the lead actress of Peacock’s Saved By The Bell, plays as Daisy. Daisy and her friends Aisha (Alycia Pascual-Pena) and Devante (Dexter Darden) were from a different school. The three were transferred to Bayside High and it is a surreal experience for them. What they were used to in their past high school, will not be the same anymore. This really hit hard for the three as they struggle to adjust to the new changes.

On the first episode, Daisy and Max’s chemistry is a highlight for the episode. Daisy’s bubbly and straight forward personality really stretched out the flow of “Saved By The Bell”. She actually became my favorite character during my time watching. There were really good moments that made me giggle and also feel for the character too.

There are also key features and easter eggs that pay homage to the original Saved By The Bell. Such as Daisy breaking the fourth wall, “time out”, the silly tricks and pranks, and even The Max. I found it quite amusing that the characters questioned why everyone eats at The Max every day since the food is expensive. It not only ads to the culture shock these characters go through, but it also addresses real world millennial problems not only in tyhat scene, but other scenes as well.

The characters are really enjoyable. Other than Mac and Jamie, the characters do not feel like they are copycats of the originals. There is a lot to know about them and it is surprising to know what their backstories are and what is in their minds.

Peacock’s “Saved By The Bell” is a nice way to revive the franchise. After the first episode, you will see that it is a completly different show than the original. The comparisons to the original is only by structure. But within that structure, there is a good balance of substance that will keep you engaged. I can easily say that Saved By The Bell is back and better than ever.

Peacock’s Saved By The Bell premieres on November 25th, 2020.

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The Walking Dead World Beyond Season 1, Episode 6 “Shadow Puppets” Review: Don’t Listen to Strangers

Nico Tortorella as Felix – The Walking Dead: World Beyond _ Season 1, Episode 6 – Photo Credit: AMC

There are five more episodes left of World Beyond to finish the first season. “Shadow Puppets” is one of those episodes that has great directing and cinematrography. But it falls flat when it comes to the dialouge and some of the character’s actions.

What did not make any sense at the first five minutes, is how the cliffhanger on the previous episode is resolved. Percy approached them with a weapon and Felix stops him from behind. Then Percy said that he will now leave. What was the point of revealing yourself if you were going to leave. Iris is ready to trust anyone that tells her a false story and believe every word they say. I find that ridiculous that they are easy to trust anyone.

But they got a harsh reality later on when Percy and Tony almost drove away with their belongings. Speaking of Tony, it boggles my mind that nobody else checked his body to see if Tony was really dead. Felix should have been the one to have done that. I also want to bring up the ending scene. While it did not made me blow a gasket like that dance scene did, the shadow puppet show should have happened inside. There is no reason to have loud music outside while everyone is sitting down and not paying attention to see if there are any sights of the undead around. There is no excuse for that scene to happen the way it did at all.

Alexa Mansour as Hope, Nicolas Cantu as Elton – The Walking Dead: World Beyond _ Season 1, Episode 6 – Photo Credit: AMC

There are some good moments that I liked. The scary moments really brought my anxiety up. And I believe the sense of urgency worked better for this episode than the others. Specifically when they were all helping Iris out of the dumpster. I was made to believe that she was going to get bit by the undead for a second.I also want to praise Michael Cudlitz for directing the episode because the cinematrography felt sharp and differernt than all of the previous episodes. Especially when Felix smashed the mirror in which he thought was the empty that he had to kill. Also, bonus points for making Tony act like a walker when he got up for a few seconds to trick the viewers.

It is getting close to the point where Hope will reveal that she killed Elton’s mother. The guilt is coming out of her whenever they are talking about his mom. Hope will have the feeling to confess that she did kill her within the next few episodes, or she will let it slip out by accident to another character. How Elton will react, will be intriguing to see.

Although not enough information was revealed at the post-credit scene, it seems like CRM is aware of Hope and Iris’ arrival. What could happen to their father is up in the air for now. Maybe CRM might have him as a test subject before their arrival, or have him stationed somewhere else. Since the truck that Tony stolen is property of CRM, it can make their trip much faster. Putting my criticisms aside, I thought that “Shadow Puppets” is a decent episode and better structured than the previous two episodes.

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The Walking Dead World Beyond Season 1, Episode 5 “Madman Across the Water” Review: It is FINALLY Picking Up

Nico Tortorella as Felix, Annet Mahendru as Huck, Alexa Mansour as Hope – The Walking Dead: World Beyond _ Season 1, Episode 5 – Photo Credit: Macall Polay/AMC

After last week’s disastrously bad episode, World Beyond has finally found it’s footing. “Madman Across the Water” made up for it in a great way. The memories of a cringe dance sequence followed by a wolf that served no purpuse has erased from my memory. On this episode, there was a sense of urgency, suspense, and danger that the group encounters.

The strongest praise I will give is Elton. Nicolas Cantu’s performance on “Madman Across the Water” is his best perfomance on World Beyond so far. That is because of how well his flashback scenes were used to enhance the character. Watching Nicolas portray Elton on this episode compared to the last four is night and day. I say this because for the first four episodes, Elton was a character that was trying way too hard to fit in with the rest of them. Since everyone was forced into a situation where they had to adapt, Elton came off more human than robotic.

Nico Tortorella as Felix, Aliyah Royale as Iris- The Walking Dead: World Beyond _ Season 1, Episode 5 – Photo Credit: Macall Polay/AMC

The dialouge for most of this episode reminded me of how ridicilous most of the dialouge was on some of the season 8 episodes of the main show. Did we really need to see Iris break up a verbal fight just so she can have this giant speech? Felix is older than all four of them. He should have showed more authority towards Iris at that moment. Felix also should remind all of them that they have no idea what they are in for because this is not a trip to disneyland. It is dangerous out there.

I will admit, that I was jumpy when that thunderbolt hit that shed. When that happened, the tension rised when the empties started to arrive.

The scene with Hope and Elton towards the end is building towards something. Little pieces like this that will come to play in later episodes. Hope now knows that she shot Elton’s mom and when the time comes for her to tell Elton that, I would like to see how he will react. It made me gasp once she seen the photo and I am sure that everyone reacted the same way.

The most interesting part of Elton’s flashback scenes, is his last one. After the military left the museum, Elton found a map that lead him to the Campus Colony. I wondered how the characters ended up there. And I am happy to see at least one of the characters go there.

The final moments of the episode really made me look forward to the next episode. They were all in a situation that could cost them their lives. And this is their first test on how to survive a bad encounter because people are worse than the undead. What worked on this episode better than the last episode, is the task of building a boat with the resources they had. Although the scripting of the dialouge is questionable, the setting and urgency of needing to get something done in a quick time mattered more than dancing in a school gym.

Overall, I enjoyed “Madman Across the Water” for what it was. This is the first strong episode that did not have CRM attached to it at the end. “Blaze of Glory” also did not have a CRM scene, but there were huge inconsistencies that took me out of the moment. Next week, we will see how they all deal with a threat.

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