FreeForm’s upcoming drama series Motherland: Fort Salem is days away from making their premiere. Motherland is highly anticipated and the premise of the series involves a good blend of women who are training in the military while they are using magic. It is also set in the future and I recently got the chance to interview one of the stars of the series and she is Ashley Nicole Williams. We talk about her upbringing, how she got the chance to be on Motherland, her favorite memories in Vancoover from where the show was shot, and much more in this exclusive interview.
What was it like for you when you grew up in Dallas, TX?
Ashley: “Dallas is definitely home. Even though I consider myself an L.A. girl now, I absolutely love Texas. So I was born and raised in Dallas. It’s not country, but it’s also like you have that Southern hospitality a little bit.”
You have been acting since you were younger and you also have brothers and a sister. How did they feel once you started to pursue a career in acting?
Ashley: “I have two older brothers and one older sister and I’ve been acting since I was 5. It’s been a long time coming for a really, really big role. But they were all just over the limit for me because, they know how hard I worked. And they’d been there throughout the journey and throughout the rejections. It was just exciting for everyone, the whole family. And of course, my parents, because they’ve been part of my journey in my whole life.”
How has your life been within the last few years while you are going back and forth between acting and modeling?
Ashley: “I modeled I’d say a little bit. But I’m also in college. I go to Baylor, I modeled before I went to Baylor and then a little bit throughout my freshman year. But it kind of got hard to do both school and modeling. So then I did school at Baylor up until my first semester of sophomore year. And then I moved to L.A and I then continued online classes. So I am going to be graduating in May on time, which is amazing. But I moved out to L.A. I lived here for a while and then we filmed in Vancouver and then I went right back to school. It was like my last week of filming overlapped with my first week of school. So I was thrown right back into it. But I’m getting the degree and getting it done and that’s really cool that I can do both.”
You are playing as Abigail on Motherland. Tell me more of who Abagial is and what can we expect from Abigail
Ashley: “Abigail is a very alpha-female driven queen bee intelligent. She comes from a very high power in the military families and she also comes from a long lineage of lieutenants and generals and she has a lot to prove and has a lot to live up to. Abigail is thinking “Hey, I’m the best. I trained my whole life in this way” and she needs to realize that she has to work with other people that she thinks is in her way to get to where she ultimately needs to be. Literally, when I read the script and the pilot they sent me over, I ran to my mom and told her that ‘I have to be part of this because this is so fraking cool’. I had an instant shock to it and I cannot wait for everyone to see what Abigail will do on Motherland.”
Since Demetria is playing as a Anacostia, who is the sergent, will we see both of your characters in a power struggle since she is a high ranking member of that military?
Ashley: “Abigail definitely challenges Anacostia. I think they just dropped something else right now on the Motherland page. I saw it on Facebook, but it literally shows a sneak peek of one of our little towers. It’s about Anacostia. And you can see me charging at her with the the spear. Yeah, it’s definitely Abigail. She’s like, I am about whether I came for this. I know what I’m doing. Abigail is like ‘I know what I’m doing and why are you trying to tell me what to do?’ There definitely will be a power struggle during this season.”
Can you run down some of the stunt work you and the cast have done while you were all acting our your scenes?
Ashley: “We definitely had a stunt coordinator who we trained with, and so prior to filming the pilot, we trained for three weeks. As you see in some of the trailers with whips in our hands, that becomes our first weapon, which is called the surge. So definitely we had to train and learn how to use that. It’s freaking awesome and it was also hard because sometimes you hit yourself in the face and that’s not fun. But we definitely train and we have a lot of fight scenes during the week and on the weekends, we have a little break. We also learned the choreography, fight scenes and stuff later. So we did some training. And I hope it shows because that that was some fun!”
While you were in Vancouver, did you had time to explore the area when you were not on set?
Ashley: “Yes. So I went to Squamish, which is almost an hour away from Vancouver. Basically, it’s just like all these beautiful mountains and they have a gondola there too. You see all the water, the snow, and the beautiful landscapes and stuff like that. It blew me away and I am a sucker for beautiful views.”
What are some challengers and obstacles will we see Abigail go through during the season?
Ashley: “She has her inner struggles as well as her outter struggles with her mom. And her mom, of course, puts that pressure on her in a sense. She keeps letting Abigail know that she cannot fail this family. If she failed the family, she’ll be the first to know that she will feel like a failure about how has to live up to her name. And I think also, that put a lot of pressure on Abigail herself, because if she fails, she also fails in herself. And I think that is kind of a perfectionist way of how she thinks. She put so much pressure on herself to be the best and I don’t think she necessarily believes that she is the best because she has a lot of experience, which is kind of where that persona and the big ego get put out there to the field because she’s still so unsure.”
What are some goals you would like to accomplish within the next few years?
Ashley: “I definitely hope Motherland goes like a kajillion seasons if we could. I hope we go really far and I hope the world loves it as much as we do. And I also want to venture out into the movies and things of that nature. Maybe some drama and stuff like that. I love a good drama. I love the good cry being a good person. And in the meantime,when i’m just honing in on my craft and really working at it so I can get to where I want to be ultimately.”
Julian: “That’s really good because I hope I can see you within the next few years especially on the red carpet.”
Ashley: “Oh yes, that would be awesome. Then we’ll look at each other. We’ll be like, ‘you remember a few years ago when we did our first interview for Motherland season one?” (Laughs)
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Apple TV’s newest comedy series Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet debuted not too long ago and it follows a team of video game developers as they navigate the challenges of running a popular video game. Co-created by Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day, and Megan Ganz, Mythic Quest has a strong cast and of the cast, I got the chance to interview Jessie Ennis, Imani Hakim, and Danny Pudi as they given me the details on their roles in this exclusive interview as you can check out the key highlights below.
Jessie on the limits of her character “Jo.”
Jessie: There is a lot of times where they wanted me to explode, like we see in the pilot when I say “you’re a dick.” I remember being like “Is that funny” (laughs). And then it was really surprising at the screening to hear people laugh for that cause. I mean, I just I kept thinking this is too big, but it was such a blast to get to do. But no, Rob [McElenney] was really the one turning it up to eleven when it came to how much my character can say.”
Danny on playing as a villian.
Danny: “I’ve always wanted to be a villain. Like ever since I saw The Hunchback of Notre Dame, that bishop was like my inspiration on playing a villian. It was so it was awesome. It was a great time. I get a chance to explore something different. I always dreamed I’d get to work with Murray F. Abraham. I never thought I would be in that capacity. But yeah, in terms of the show, it’s been fun to just bounce around. The cast is incredible and to play a character that there’s just tension with him and the creators. It’s a lot. It’s great for comedy and fun for me.”
You each have these super strong characters, and they are what they are. If you want to pick a celebrity to play your character, who would you pick?
Jessie: I’m not letting anyone take this for me. I’ve got my teeth sunk into it (laughs) and it’s my favorite thing to do so I would not share it.
Imani: “I would chose the mother of my character for this question. I think I would say Jada Pinkett Smith. She would be a fun Mother to Dana. I’m attached to my character Dana too.”
Danny: I would say my real life uncle. I think he’d be really fun in my role as a celebrity. And Helena Bonham Carter would be a great second choice.”
What surprises or challenges come your way when all of you started your scenes for the show?
Danny: “For me, I hadn’t worked with Rob. I’d worked with Megan on Communities so I was really excited to work with her again. I think she’s incredibly talented, but I didn’t know Rob at the time yet. It feels like friends making a show together. And I think there’s a similarity there to how we created the show. Every scene was us coming together, building something together, collaborating, improvising, adding things. Rob would suggest something and add build a new thing in the scene. So there were multiple writers and actors in the show. And so that was a different perspective for me, a chance to work with people who are in the process of creating the show in the writers room. But also on set and in the scene. And that was really unique and I think it brought a different element to the show.”
Imani: “I saw surprises. I think that as an actor, you just hope that you get to go to work and get along with your cast mates and the people that you work with. So I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this dynamic just works so very, very well. I look forward to going to work even on the days where I’m off and they’ve created such as safe space and like Danny said, is a very collaborative effort where we get to pitch in and chime in and have fun and freedom to improvise and to have to create our own voices for our characters.”
Jessie: “I’ve been lucky enough to come and visit the writers room for season two, and I’ve learned so much from Megan Ganz about breaking story and the structure of an episode. So that’s really the thing I feel is the newest to me. And it’s really inspiring to watch how our writers collaborate.”
It’s really fun to watch the clash of art and tech and business in these wonderful personalities inhabited the whole gaming culture. So I was just wondering if you could each talk about like your role in that.
Imani: “I didn’t know much about the world, but it’s really cool to play someone who portrays the one that’s very passionate about the world where she just loves nothing more than gaming. She plays all day at work. It’s literally her job. And then she goes home and she plays Mythic Quest. So it’s really cool to portray her well like that and also work with Ashley. But she was very much in the world of gaming and Ubisoft being very hands on and on set with Jason and Danielle. So I’m learning a lot. Being able to pick their brains. And if we have any questions that pop up like they actually track our eyeballs, that is a fun fact that I learned on set.”
Jessie: “I didn’t know much, but I was really lucky to work with Jason and Danielle from Ubisoft. I was curious if there was a Joe in their offices and was shocked to hear that there were people like that and unapologetically trying to get as much power as possible. Women who love having an ego and enjoy following their dreams. And I was just really thrilled to get to bring that to light.”
Danny: “I love videogames. I would play Zelda and I want to live in that world. You know, I wish I could just sit there and live in Hyrule. But I didn’t know how much went into the creation of videogames. And for my character, I play the head of monetization. I didn’t know anything about that. I also didn’t know about the tension of micro-transactions and Lootcrates and how that brings up a visceral response. And so that was kind of new and interesting for me to learn. I actually met with the head of monetization. He was always great about letting me talk and ask questions about how that works. And especially for Brad is a fun character to play because I get to operate as the sort of silo where I’m walking around bouncing off people. But there is this tension between creative and business. But ultimately, we have to work together to build this product, you know. And now I know how important it is because my son will pick up my phone and be like, ‘can I get this new skin for $4.99 dad?’ most times now.”
How did you all react when you first seen the trailer at E3 2019 since this was the first time that a television show trailer was shown at E3?
Imani: “Well we’ve been sitting on this project for over a year now. So now we’re moving into the space where it’s being released into the world. So it’s super exciting for us because we’ve been out having to keep a secret for so long and not being able to talk about this wonderful project that we got to be a part of. So now now that we get to talk about it openly, it’s it’s it’s super thrilling.”
Danny: “it was awesome to see and we didn’t get to see a lot of it before E3 2019. And this is a new experience for me to be on a streaming service where everything comes out at once. And so all the trailers and everything, it’s been it’s been a little while. So it’s like new for us to see it. We didn’t get to see a lot of the VFX, all the stuff that Ubisoft’s doing too. So we loved that it premiered on the biggest gaming convention of the world last year and that it was viewed by the millions that were in attendance.”
Imani on the toxic side of the video game community and Dana’s obsticles
Imani: “I think we do a really great job at touching on how the obstacles that comes with being a woman and gaining territory only way. So for Dana, she’s it very much in love with gaming. And as she finally lands something that she sees herself excelling in the streaming world. And then for that to be taken away, and and people calling her out and saying that she’s big and she’s not a true gamer when that’s all she wants to do. And it’s really cool that we get to highlight that. And I think it will follow Dana because she’s in her early 20’s and she’s trying to figure out exactly where her footing is in the company. And she’s going to try new things and she’s going to fail and she’s going to try to fit this. So that’s was really fun. Like with Danning saying it’s a story about the characters that happens to be in this video gaming world.”
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Netflix’s The Circle has proved to be a success and it also brought a discussion about how impactful social media is. From the hashtags, to having a conversation with random strangers, and to posting pictures online for you to be anxious on who noticed the picture, The Circle exploited the functions of social media from the first episode, to the end. One of the most popular members of The Circle is Sammie Cimarelli and she is here to talk about her time on the game show along with a few facts that you have not known about her until now in this exclusive interview.
Tell me more of yourself. What was it like growing up and what were your best memories with your family?
SC: “I grew up in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. I have only lived in Miami since June of 2017 and I have 6 sisters and 2 brothers. My best memories with my family are traveling and going on vacations. We also have a lot of holiday traditions. Egg hunts on Easter, finding the pickle in the tree on Christmas, playing games on Thanksgiving, etc. My family is really close and making memories has always been something important for us.”
You must have a lot of interests outside of the show and social media. What do you like to do in your spare time that you would like your fans to know?
SC: “In my spare time, I absolutely love to sing and dance. I have also been looking into taking acting and singing lessons because I really want to mold my talents into something other than just a hobby I do in my room. I have actually sang in my high school chorus and was part of a jazz band competition where I had a full jazz band playing behind me while I sang.”
How were you approached to join The Circle? and who pitched the concept to you?
SC: “I was approached through a phone call.”
Being that this is an episodic reality-based game show, how did you and everyone else kept it a secret to the general public?
SC: “We agreed through legal paperwork to follow regulations and restrictions in regard to the show.”
I also noticed that there were cameras all over the room. Were those the only cameras that were used, or was there also a camera crew there without the viewer noticing?
SC: “Camera’s were always rolling; the cameras were only unable to film when walking room to room. The cameras seen hanging in each room were the only cameras around. There was never a camera crew in the apartment.”
Were there any times that the voice activated app did not work, or did not hear your voice?
SC: “No. Not once.”
Do you feel that The Circle exposed the dark side of social media?
SC: “I feel The Circle exposed a lot of darkness and light for social media. I think it also exposed the precautions that should be taken when using social media and how careful one should be when interacting with others through an app, when you have no met this person directly.”
Some of my favorite moments watching The Circle were the game challenges as I was anxious to see who was going to win the challenge. What were some of your favorite game challenges?
SC: “I would say my favorite game challenge was the cake challenge and the painting challenge, simply because we were given items to use and create things. The other challenges were fun, however, my mind was being used differently for the cake and paint challenges. Which I feel like I needed while being secluded in that apartment for so long.”
One of the challenges involved everyone making an anonymous comment on everyone’s photo with a hashtag and this was at the point where I was hooked to see who would get exposed first. Before it was revealed who would be the next catfish, who did you think it was?
SC: “I think we all knew before, during, and after that game that Mercedez was the catfish.”
Was there at any point that you wanted to go to see if the other cast members were not catfishing even though you were not supposed to?
SC: “There actually was never a point in time where I wanted to go see the other cast members to see if they were lying or not. It was really fun having to guess and actually play the game to see who was real and who wasn’t.”
I love the show and I hope that it returns for season 2. If someone was auditioning for The Circle, what advice would you give them?
SC: “Bring a lot of things to keep you occupied!!!! Seriously, bring a suitcase of things.”
You also have a YouTube channel and you have a great amount of content. Did the cast recognized you from your channel when they first saw you?
SC: “No, they did not see my YouTube channel at first.”
What are some of your upcoming projects and where everyone can find you on social media?
SC: “Currently I am unable to speak on upcoming projects but there will definitely be more of me!!! You can find me on Instagram, Twitter and Youtube @itsssammiee”
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Kris Statlander is the newest member of the All Elite Wrestling (AEW) roster and she made her debut not too long ago on AEW Dynamite as Brandi Rhodes wanted to recruit her to her stable The Nightmare Collective. As she is there now, we look to her brief past on her time training at Create A Pro, traveling the road, and her tryout match on WWE Smackdown in this exclusive interview!
You are the first female graduate of Create A Pro. How does it feel to have that honor of being the very first of many females to graduate from the class of wrestlers over there?
KS: “Well honestly, there have been a few girls that have been training there before I have. But I was actually the first one to completely get through the training and it’s a very proud title for me to have for myself. I’m hoping I was able to set some sort of standard for the female and male trainees that come through the school.”
I must say, you and the rest setting the standard opens the door for future women that will go to the school. What was your first few months like over there and do you have any funny stories with Brian Myers? (Curt Hawkins)
KS: “I wish I had some funny stories, he got resigned with WWE shortly before I had debuted so I never got to go on the road with him like some of the other students have. But he’s been like a wrestling dad to me, as have everyone else at CAP. The first few months were incredibly challenging as have the rest of wrestling is. Wrestling itself is like the hardest thing ever. But everyone was beyond supportive and basically made sure I wouldn’t give up or quit because they all believed in me so much. It really became a family for me very quickly. “
I have seen you wrestle at places such as Beyond Wrestling, Chaotic, and Limitless Wrestling. How far in your training did you adjust to the travel schedule in the northeast for these promotions?
KS: “There’s no really way to adjust, at least there wasn’t really for me. I just started saying yes to everybody and kind of had to just deal with it and figure it out as I go. There’s nothing to prepare you for all of the driving and travel you have to do, it’s just sort of part of the job if you want to make it in my opinion.”
You also appeared on Smackdown Live a few months ago going against The IIconics. What was it like for you to finally be seen on television that is watched by millions and did you tell anyone that you were going to appear on Smackdown before the match happened? Or did everyone found out as they watched?
KS: “I was told the match would happen shortly before they opened doors to that episode of Smackdown. I didn’t tell anybody at home or anything I don’t think because I wanted it to be a surprise. I knew my family would be watching anyways. It was amazing to be on TV, although going into it I wasn’t really focused on that and I was focused and making sure I did my part to make sure the math went as well as it could have. It was also amazing to see how many people online knew who I was even though I wasn’t in my alien form haha.”
Outside of the ring, what do you like to do on your spare time? and how has life for you changed since you started your journey as a professional wrestler?
KS: “My life is always changing and I’m always adding new things in my life. The major change in it, is the amount of traveling I’ve been doing, which is exciting but also very tiring. I just like my time at home to be just time at home. With my dog and my loved ones. Get some good workouts in and just relax during some time off the road.”
Who do you see yourself having a match with in the future since you are now in AEW? And what are some locations around the world that you would love to wrestle at?
KS: “I just want to wrestle anyone and everyone everywhere, I love meeting new people and I love getting to create something new with somebody new. But Rhio is the Women’s Champion and she would be a great opponent!”
Amanda Goodman is a filmmaker, actress, and sex educator with over a decade of credits to her name in the industry with her work being seen on MTV, Comedy Central, Victoria’s Secret, and American Express. She has also filmed and produced horror films as well. She is also the founder of Tee Bitch International which is a design brand and TBI is also created by ThreeWay Product as well as founded by her and Seth Panman. Seth Panman is a producer and actor with his most recent film produced being Night Sweats which also starred John Wesley Shipp. Night Sweats made it’s New York Premiere last month and he has more projects coming in 2020. These two are a team and I recently got the chance to speak with the both of them in this exclusive interview!
Tell me about your upcoming show Threeway.
Seth: “The show is built around the product line. So we’ve reverse engineer the products to be into the marketplace before the show. And currently we have our wellness line and also a clothing and apparel line that is in the marketplace and three others to be delivered in by 2020. The show’s is awesome. It’s no were you know, obviously in development with it. And, it is definitely a underdog story. Classic New York underdog story.”
Amanda: “It’s been incredible to kind of take these characters and bring them to life in a way that they’re just stories basically in one that haven’t really been told before, which is the world of, you know, sex education and what that is. I mean, there was the recent show Sex Education on Netflix, which I love.I loved it so much because, a lot of the stuff that I teach and I believe in it, I also have that like 80s John Hughes kind of feel to it was so real and raw. I feel like besides that show, nobody’s really talking about sex ed in that way. And so obviously, this is sex education in an adult way and a very different kind of element like, you know, high school teacher. But she’s teaching concepts and she invents sex toys. And so it’s a nice kind of. It’s an interesting, weird little story that hasn’t been told. And then for his character and his world, kind of in the world of Wall Street, lending is also a side of Wall Street that really hasn’t been told. You know, we’ve seen Wall Street and the Wolf of Wall Street. You’ve seen like the lives of like brokers. But this is a totally different story. And then how their characters intertwine and how that storyline kind of goes away and they realize how much they have in common while they’re also involved in this. I can’t. Again, we can’t say too much, but something happens in the pilot to them that is insane.
Seth: “I would say kind of on the tip of Wall Street that it’s really about the people in power and kind of how they’re pushing down or belittling. They belittle and push on him and kind of how they don’t expect anything to happen or they feel like they’re above it.They’re superheroes in the sense that they’re using their mind. And it’s not a physical strength. It’s a mental strength. But they’re up against people that clean or self-proclaimed or are, you know, by society’s standards, very powerful and very in positions of authority. And they take down those pillars in very interesting ways, you know. So I think that’s kind of the common thread throughout the stories that what you think is going on, you know, what you think or expect of Wall Street or expect of sex education or expect of New York City is not what’s going to happen.”
Do you feel that many studios are afraid to explore the theme of sex? If they are, why do you believe so?
Amanda: “Well, I think the interesting thing is I think its American film and TV that’s so scared. I mean, one of the biggest things that come out of the box office in recent years, as far as a franchise goes, it’s 50 Shades of Gray and there’s barely any sex in it, or they touch on something and then they go in a different direction. And it’s because American media is so afraid of being Criticized for what they like or exploring their bodies or, you know, it’s just it’s a stigma. It’s an absolute stigma. They’re just being freer with that, including content. I mean, you go to Europe and you look at some of the commercials that are on just regular TV. You know, any kid can watch it. And whenever I’m there, I’m like, “oh, I love this commercial. I wish I directed it.” And so, in America, I think it’s like when shows like that come on like Sex and City or Sex Education. And Netflix has changed that because now it’s a streaming service. People are afraid to just embrace their beast within them and it’s really all that it is. And it’s like, no, you can’t be like that. But I just feel like people need to just embrace what they are and not in a bad way. For example, last summer I was in Europe and I spent a couple weeks there and I felt very free with my body because there and you’re looked at by strangers and the body scene as beautiful. I didn’t wear a bra for pretty much my entire time there because iit was summer and it was hot. And I felt so comfortable in my body. I was not looked at in any sort of like inappropriate way. It was just like, “great, good for you. You’re enjoying your body”. And then it came back to New York and I wore the same outfit and I was being stared at and judged by men and women because I wasn’t wearing a bra. And I felt very uncomfortable. And I think that’s part of it. I think people are just not comfortable. Not just in themselves, but also of other people, you know, because at the end of the day, we’re all animals. It does not mean you have sex on the street. I think with content, it’s the same thing. People are afraid to just show stuff that’s just to portray nowhere in a way that is natural and real. You know, my character (Bailey) is not trying to save the world.She’s just she sees things in a different way. And she just wants to share that in a way that is just unique to her.”
Seth: There’s liabilities with sex. And I think even at one point when we were discussing product lines and what products we wanted to get involved with as far as the show and what was reverse engineered, we had brushed upon sex toys and we shied away from it. Just because there are these stigmas out there.And it just alienates other people or other companies from getting involvedI think obviously there’s a whole Subculture or sub issue about how the body is perceived or how people have freedom of sexual exploration.”
Amanda: “With a lot of these shows even on network television, it also portrays that idea of what beauty is and what perfection is or what you need to have. I mean, even on Sex in the City, it was groundbreaking at the time. And I like the show. I’m not saying anything against the show, But one thing about that show is that it also portrayed this idea that you had to value your life by being in a relationship or, this idea of them with marriage and the boyfriends and all that. And then they got together with their girlfriends to talk shit about them and about their sex lives. So I’m not necessarily as Samantha per say, but I think in Samantha’s way, Samantha was a boss. And yet sexually, she just took control and she said, “I don’t give a shit what you believe.” Whereas the rest of them, they had their good or bad days with guys. But again, it was that idea of I don’t believe it was like women supporting each other necessarily all the time. I think it was women against each other.I know for my character, one thing that she struggles with in the show when she kind of goes into this sex education world is feeling like she’s judged and feeling because she’s different than other women. And she believes in what she believes and how she feels about sex and her path and the things that she’s good at and the tech stuff. It‘s that kind of feeling and then relating that to Seth’s character, it’s the same thing. You also think differently. You see the world differently. And you’re made to feel like you’re nothing by these men. You know, it’s the same kind of thing.”
Seth: “Yeah, well, I mean, it could be, men or women. I think that’s what we’re kind of highlighting here, is that, typically in the work setting or, boss-employee relationship, there’s always that view of ‘oh, it’s a man is a boss or a woman as a boss’. But we’re trying to show that it’s both sides that are equally bad. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a man or a woman. They’re equally bad in their own right. You know, it’s not this isn’t a sex sexism thing. This is a person and power that everybody sucks.”
Did the both of you write the Threeway as well, or did you have a team of writers?
Amanda: “We wrote everything from the start to the finish!”
Seth: ”We have an interesting kind of think tank situation, but it’s a lot of bouncing ideas off each other. And a lot of the creation of the show comes from real life experience. So, experience that I’ve been through, but also, what Amanda has been through in her line of work. We’ve really kind of stayed true to that. So that’s very I think in a lot of the projects we do like we try to stay true to real life in some sense. And this is, I would say probably 60-40 in terms of what’s real and what is fabricated.”
Amanda: “Ourstorylines are pretty much ripped from things that have happened to us, even if it’s not chronological with our journeys on Wall Street and in sex education, we’re still pulling from other things and just putting it into that specific storyline. And then, you bring in fiction here and there. But I like to say that I like the idea to keep the audience guessing where it’s like, ‘OK. Did they do that? No, they couldn’t have done that in real life. Maybe they did that. No, I’m not sure. And we’ll never say what’s real, what’s not’.”
What is your favorite episode that the both of you have written and produced?
Amanda: “There’s an episode with a translator for when my character is going through her training. There’s a translator who is basically translating sex techniques and things like that and she wasn’t expecting to be there when that happened. And there is a lot of interesting things that go on in that episode. That is my favorite episode, but the pilot is special to me!”
Seth: “I’m biased towards the pilot. And I think that there’s a lot of deeper meaning as far as why these characters do what they do as far as their relationships with people. It’s in one perspective, it’s going to seem totally outlandish and crazy. And then in the other perspective, you’re like, ‘wow, I really understand why these people are doing what they’re doing’ or ‘I can really relate to that.’ And it’s definitely geared towards the everyday person to relate. It’s a very relatable show. And that’s kind of what we were going for is it doesn’t matter whether you live in New York City or not. Anywhere you live, you can relate to these characters and why they’re doing what they’re doing.”
What was the casting process like?
Amanda: “Fun fact, both of our parents is also in the show and I directed his mom, and he directed my dad. He’s an he’s a natural, which is nice. And that’s why when we have guest stars and costars, we work with people who really aren’t actors, you know. I mean, we have actors, but we also like people who are just real and genuine and who have something inside them. Like my dad, my dad’s not an actor, but at the same time, he’s like the best actor in my eyes and I think it’s relating to that childlike nature that we all had when we were kids where you’d be with other kids and you want to just use your imagination and play. That’s really what it is. But so many actors, especially aspiring actresses in New York City here and in L.A., they had caught up with the idea of celebrity or wanting to get famous or wanting to be a model or Instagram and all that stuff. So it’s nice when you have people who are just not of that world, don’t want that world, but can just show up and have fun. Like my dad’s like that and his mom is like that. And so many other people that we’ve kind of brought into our circle are like that. I sometimes would do seminars and workshops for actors and the one thing I always say is tell me what was the first thing you did today. You have to be a real person. Usually, their background they take from something real so they’re able to bring that into it. The idea of not really using traditional actors, we don’t care about headshots. Don’t care about resumes. We don’t care about where you went to school or if you never went to any school. And if you were just raised on a farm. And if your best friend was the pig named Wilbur. We care about the individuals before we can shoot for scenes.”
What was a normal day like for you Seth before you decided to take on this career?
Seth: “Well, I used to strip!This was years ago. I lived in Colorado and I was dating a girl who was a stripper. When she became a stripper, I was 21 or whatever and I was so upset by it. I was going through that phase or I want to break up with her and I want to be done with this so bad. But then I said, you know what? I should try it. I was snowboarding a lot of the time, so I was in the best shape of my life. So I was definitely comfortable with my body. The irony of the whole situation is that I had a lot of snowboarding accidents leading up to this, but I had what I call it ‘the cherry on the cake.’ I fell off a 100-foot cliff during a photo shoot and I got very, very hurt. But after that, I went back to the strip club about six months later and I was deformed because I had 90 stitches in my back because my pelvis was broken. But I’d healed before I went back. But I went back in there and nobody would even talk to me because I had you know, I look like Frankenstein just on my back.
If you had to describe the emotional aspect of Threeway, what would you say?
Amanda: “I think what’s missing is this idea of human connection. So I think our show definitely kind of harkens to or is like a callback to shows or films like The Goonies and Stand By Me and it was about human connection. It’s about a journey and it’s about a friendship. It’s about understanding other human beings and not living in this world that’s full of money and status and what can you buy me, what can you give me, You know, how do I look to others instead? It’s just what is a connection? What is a real human genuine connection? That is taking down CEOs one at a time on the show, not taking our CEOs to kill them though.”
You can follow both Amanda Goodman and Seth Panman on Instagram via @amandabgoody and @streetmeatshow
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Kelley Mack is known on The Walking Dead as Adeline who was a resident at The Hiltop. Adeline meet her demise back in season 9 as part of Alpha’s pike border victims. But before she was on the hit AMC series, she has directed and produced films such as A Knock at the Door, The Printer, and The Perfect One. She also has won awards for her roles including winning the award for the best leading actress on Simón, at the Madrid International Film Festival, the Student Visionary Award and Best Actress for her role on The Elephant Garden at the Tribeca Film Festival and the First Run Festival. With all of those accomplishments to her name plus more, Kelley Mack’s future is very bright. I recently got the chance to interview Kelley Mack as we go over her time on The Walking Dead and much more on this exclusive interview!
I would like to get to know more about you. What was it like for you to grow up in Ohio and what drew you into acting?
KM: “I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and most of my extended family lives in the Midwest. But I actually moved around a lot because of my dad’s jobs, so I grew up in several different states around the country! I think that upbringing caused me to be really adaptable to new situations and people, which translates really well to acting/constantly playing different characters and always working in different locations/environments. My mom was a theater minor in college, and she was the one who got my brother, sister and I into acting and taking us to auditions. Since I was so young, I didn’t totally understand what was happening, just that it was tons of fun and I got to meet a wide variety of people, which I absolutely loved and still do. Learning about different types of people, cultures, places, etc. (the research) is probably my favorite part of the acting process now.”
After you won your award from Tisch School of the Arts, you decided to step away from acting for a while and started to study film production. Was it because you found another passion, or was it for another reason that you stepped away for a while?
KM: “I think part of it was rebellion against my mom, who really wanted me to pursue acting because she thought I had a talent for it. But I also loved playing with cameras around that time. I was the one with video camera off to the side at family holidays and get togethers, just loving being a fly on the wall and capturing candid moments. So I went on to study film production & cinematography in college, where I realized a passion for cameras and pulling focus, but not so much for lighting. It’s such a challenging, important position on set (like every role), and it just didn’t click with me. I also did several internships at production companies and talent agencies, which by process of elimination, really, revealed to me that acting was my main true passion.”
What were some new things that you had to adjust to when you started producing films compared to acting at the time?
KM: “I started producing and taking my first official acting classes right around the same time, so I was really adjusting to both. Spending hours & hours preparing auditions, coordinating a film from beginning to end as a producer all while being a freelancer jumping from gig to gig to pay the bills. I have produced four shorts mostly so I could have more footage for my acting reel, but I discovered how much I enjoy producing and am quite good at it. Producing is definitely more of a left-brain job, which actually makes sense for me since I’m kind of type A. I love filling out paperwork, scheduling, spreadsheets, the whole thing… haha. So in that regard, it’s different from acting, which is way less concrete and of course doesn’t deal as much (at least in auditioning) with all the other areas of production. I’m still adjusting to both & learning every day, which is my favorite!”
How did you get your role as Adeline (Addy) on The Walking Dead?
KM: “My agent sent me a self tape audition email, I read for a character different than Addy, and then didn’t hear anything for a few weeks. I then got another self tape request, with the same lines, but the character description was a bit different. So I re-taped the same scene with the differences in mind (Addy was described as a bit more bookish and good-hearted than the previous character), then sent it in. My agent called me about a week later on a Monday morning saying that I was the pick for the role, then they asked for my demo reel, which we immediately sent over to the TWD team. A few hours later, they said I was booked and to fly to Atlanta for my fitting the very next day – which happened to be my birthday!”
What are some of your favorite memories being at The Hilltop and did you see any of the other communities during your time on the show?
KM: “The clearest memory is when Jackson Pace and I were driven to Hilltop for the first time – the crops leading up to the big fence and smelling all the food cooking and hearing all the animals – it just felt like woah, I’m home! It was really cool – such a spectacular set. I also of course loved my scenes with Norman Reedus – he’s a cool guy, and so kind. And other than working with people from the Kingdom and the Whisperer communities, we (Jackson, Joe Andi-Hirsh and I) also shot a short scene with the Highwaymen. Our shots when the Hilltop community meets them on the road were cut but it was really cool working with them & the horses that episode.”
You have any stories working with Alanna Masterson and Matt Lintz?
KM: “I don’t really have any crazy stories, but if I had to describe Alanna in a few words, I’d say she’s a chill badass. Matt is really sweet and kinda quiet & shy. He is in a family of actors, and because he was a minor, his parents were closeby on set most of the time. It was cool getting to know them more and seeing their unconditional support of him and his siblings’ careers.”
When did you know that Addy was going to be one of Alpha’s pike victims?
KM: “I found out via a phone call from one of the SFX makeup people while I was on set filming episode 913. It was pretty last minute! I was only supposed to be in 2 episodes originally, so I was grateful to have been able to work on five of them and hadn’t anticipated that I’d stay on the show for too long.”
How did you prepare for the scene at the barn where the tragedy took place over there?
KM: “I just did my normal script work preparation for the scene emotionally, and the stunt choreography all just happened right before we shot it, so there was nothing to really prepare in that regard. I mostly prepped myself for shooting my last episode of the show! The barn scene was actually the very last scene I shot and wrap was really emotional. Even though it was FREEZING that night, everyone waited until the very end of all the coverage so that all the characters killed off could say their goodbyes in a big circle; some people who have been involved in the show for a long time gave speeches… it was really intense and so sad!”
KM: “Well it was heartbreaking, of course! I get completely wrapped up in character stories, and when one is killed off in such a brutal and unimaginable way, it hits you. And also, from an acting perspective, the actors I admire & respect are truly feeling the emotions the character is going through on screen (in one way or another), so seeing someone experience loss, pain, etc. really reveals parts of that actor as a human-being. And that’s just so touching to be let into that person’s psyche a little bit and be able to connect with them on an emotional level, even if it’s via a television screen.”
Another film you have been part of is Profile and being that I am into the horror genre of that movie type (Other examples such as The Den, Unfriended, etc), I am intrigued to see it. Do you know when it will be available here in the United States?
KM: “I actually don’t! I know it has done quite well overseas in various festivals, but I haven’t even seen it myself yet!”
What are your upcoming projects that you would like to share?
KM: “I recently shot a film in Chicago called Broadcast Signal Intrusion, with Harry Shum Jr. and Chris Sullivan. I was hooked on the story and my character from the moment I got the audition. It could be described as a technological conspiracy thriller, and was inspired by actual broadcast signal hijackings in 1980s Chicago (the Max Headroom Incidents), which were never solved by the FBI. My character Alice is kind of a lost soul on a string of terrible luck, all while being a total street-smart badass. It was a super fun & challenging character to play, and I’m excited for the movie to come out, probably in late 2020!”
What are some of your hobbies that you enjoy outside of acting and producing film?
KM: “I played tennis competitively from age 8 through college, and now, I enjoy playing for fun when I can find someone to hit with. I also play piano and have a keyboard in my bedroom. I mostly play 90’s pop ballads and classical music haha, with some movie scores mixed in there. And of course reading, watching tv & movies, and I love hiking!”
What are some goals that you would like to accomplish within the next few years?
KM: “I would love to be part of producing a feature in the next few years. I’ve produced several shorts, but want to find the right script that I’m passionate about to make the jump to full-length film. Also, personally, I have a pretty long bucket list, so I’m planning to cross more of those off – hopefully several of the ones that involve traveling!”
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Lindsley Register is known as portraying Laura on AMC’s The Walking Dead. Laura was a Savior that eventually turned into not only a resident of Alexandria, but a member of The Council as well. But there is more to Lindsley other than The Walking Dead as she has more credits to her name such as House of Cards, Six, and Outcast. Not only has she been acting, but she also produced her upcoming film Scorn which is set to release in early 2020. I recently got the chance to speak with her and got to know more about her in this exclusive interview!
Before we get to The Walking Dead, you were raised in Virginia. What was it like for you when you grew up over there with your family and what are some of your great family memories that you cherish?
LR: “I was so normal hahaha. I grew up in a really conservative baptist Christian family. I was very invested in my highschool. I was captain of the cheerleading squad, I was in student government, I went to a lot of basketball games, etc. I really cherish holiday meals with my family. My mom is the best cook ever (isn’t everyones?). She always went all out for Christmas and thanksgiving. Every thanksgiving we’d go stay in these cabins on a beautiful lake and eat great food.”
How did your family react when you told them that you would like to pursue a career in acting?
LR: “I can’t say they were thrilled. I think they were surprised and maybe a little scared. They agreed to pay for my schooling as long as I was studying to be a teacher or a nurse. I got around the rules by getting a degree in acting simultaneously while I got my teaching license. I think they’re still kind of confused by what I do!”
Have you always wanted to act? If you were not acting, what would have been the career path for you?
LR: “I remember when I was super young, I said once that I wanted to be an actor. But I also said I wanted to be a super model, a missionary, a painter, and lots of things. I’ve known that I’ve always been a performer, but I never revisited acting until college. I always saw that as an unattainable career and not practical at all. I learned Spanish when I was a preteen and decided that I wanted to work with the Latino immigrant community in some way. Maybe teaching English as a second language, translating, or something.”
The first time I have seen you was on Netflix’s House of Cards. How did you get the opportunity to be part of the show?
LR: “I got my first agent when I was a senior in college and was auditioning for professional projects for the first time then. I had auditioned for that show multiple times before for much smaller roles, and I’m so thankful that’s the role that worked out for me. It was momentous for me, and I felt like my dreams were coming true during that time. They were and still are. I made a selftape in my childhood bedroom while I was visiting my parents in VA. I gave the scene everything I had and played it with lots of conviction. Casting said they liked my tape and wanted to see me do it six different ways so I sent in six more tapes. They liked me and booked me, giving me my first real professional opportunity.”
When you were auditioning for The Walking Dead, did you know which character you would audition for?
LR: “No, I didn’t. It’s a super secretive process. I remember auditioning for a fake character with fake sides. If I remember correctly, I was playing a scene where I shot some guy and was “bummed” afterwards because he was cute. I played it with lots of dry humor.”
Laura was one of Negan’s lieutenants during season 7 and 8 of The Walking Dead. How did it feel for you to be part of The Saviors during that time?
LR: “It always the most fun to play the bad guy. They’re always infinitely complicated. This role was so different from anything I’d ever played so I was flattered to get the chance to play someone I felt was at the far end of my range.”
Laura also tried to intimidate Eugene many times while he was in The Sanctuary including when she made him watch Negan threw Dr. Carson at the burning furnace. Do you remember how many takes it took for that scene to finish?
LR: “That scene took most of the day. There were lots of practical and special effects to make it work which meant it was very time consuming. However, it was so cool seeing all the moving pieces. We’d be pausing the scene all the time to switch out the real bat for a plastic one, and then switching it out with a rubber one. Then we’d pause to grab stunt double Carson and then pause to get a dummy Carson. It’s insane all the work that goes into those scenes.”
Laura was also the one to tell Negan that Dwight (Austin Amelio) has double-crossed The Saviors. I love how that scene played out on camera as Dwight returned to his room to find you there. Do you have any great stories working with both Austin Amelio and Jeffrey Dean Morgan?
LR: “Austin Amelio was one of the coolest people I met doing that show. He’s so down to earth and like this sweet polite cowboy. I really respected him as an actor and he was also just very kind to me. JDM and I didn’t interact much. I never got the impression that he was a very open and chit chatty person.”
In the comic book series, Laura has a tattoo on her neck at the same place as her TV counterpart but they are different tattoos. Did you have any input to what the tattoo would look like?
LR: “Oh my gosh! I didn’t know that! Now I’ll have to look her picture up again. I just found out that she makes it to the very final comics (Issue #193) which was exciting for me. During my hair makeup test, I got to have input into my character’s look and I loved the tattoo and voted to keep it. I’ll be posting a youtube video soon about the neck tattoo so keep an eye out.”
After the final battle at the season 8 finale, Laura becomes a resident of Alexandria. She is also a current member of the council. Do you believe that everyone can fully trust her more than ever since she is no longer a Savior?
LR: “Every now and then, we’ll be filming a council scene and Ross Marquand will look over at me and be like “I can’t believe you got here.” And I’ll be like, “Yeah, honestly me either” and we’ll have a good laugh. I’m surprised that Laura has come as far as she has, and if I were an Alexandrian, I’m not sure I would trust her. But she really is a contributing member of the community now.”
We have not seen Laura and Negan interracted while he was in the cell. If he was still in the cell, what would you believe that Laura would tell him if she visited him?
LR: “Oh this is a great writing prompt. I’d love to write this scene just for fun. I think it would be such a still and powerful moment. I think she’d tell him that she followed him because she thought he was strong, but she knows now that he was weak. His way of doing things never could’ve lasted. He was a dictator and her life is so much better in Alexandria now.”
What has been your best fan experiences since you have been part of The Walking Dead?
LR: “It’s really difficult to pinpoint just one. I believe The Walking Dead fans are the best. I’ve experienced so much kindness, so much support for what I do and my other projects from them. Whenever I go to cons, people are so sweet and just easy to hang out with. I love seeing how much joy the show brings them and how caught up in the drama everyone gets. It’s just fun.”
Within the next few years, what are some goals you would like to accomplish?
LR: “I want to do more comedy. I’m currently writing some projects that I’m excited to refine and eventually start pitching. I’m excited to challenge myself by playing a role that is very far removed from both Laura and myself. I’m ready to get caught up in a new character. I’m hoping to learn French and improve at the piano. I love a good challenge.”
Below is where you can find and contact Lindsley Register
On this season of The Walking Dead, we were introduced a new character from the comic book series and his name is Dante. But the television version of Dante is much different than his comic book counterpart. Here to talk about the role is Dante himself Juan Javier Cardenas.
When you first appeared earlier this season, many fans including myself were surprised to see that Dante is a doctor over his comic book counterpart. How long did you know in advance did you know that Dante would be a doctor on the television series?
Juan: “I was made aware of that when I first received the script for the first episode which came like a couple of weeks before my first day of work. My experience auditioning for a show like The Walking Dead is that you have to kind of assume that you’re on a need to know basis and that information will come when it’s given. If you’re like me and you kind of embrace that process, you have a really great time because, it’s exciting going through the process as somebody who’s watching the show. When I auditioned for the character of Dante, the audition materials were different than what I acted in the show as far as like the scene work that I was given I auditioned for a character that was not even named Dante. I was under a different name so when I finally got the script, all those differences really shot out at me because I was familiar with the source material with The Walking Dead and I knew the Dante character from the books. But all those changes from the book to the show would normally throw you off but what that does typically, it invigorates you because you get excited about saying that ‘okay, I have a chance now to kind of pay hommage to the source material’ but actually, I’m getting a lot of leway now to build a kind of a unique character that can kind of stand on its own within this universe so to have a hand in that, that’s actually a super exciting thing and very fun to do. Plus, I get to play doctor on T. V. That’s always fun. Now I can brag and say I played a doctor.”
You and Avi Nash (Siddiq) had many scenes during this season. What was it like for you to work with Avi on the development of your characters for this season especially since it is the aftermath of Alpha slaying her victims?
Juan: “Avi Nash, I can’t say enough about the guy. I had a fantastic time working with him. It’s kind of interesting working on a show like The Walking Dead depending on what character you’re playing because, as you know as an audience member, the world is extremely diverse and it’s really compartmentalized. There’s different communities, there’s different story lines, and there’s multiple characters. So when you watch the show, you realize that certain characters really inhabit different worlds and they kind of interact with these characters over here and etc. Every day when I was going to work, I went with a smile on my face because it was a fantastic environment. Avi Nash and me tend to have a lot of similarities in our background. As far as our training, we both come from a theater background and we both kind of approach things with kind of a similar kind of intensity too. We are trying to tell whatever these lines mean and what does it mean for these characters and really kind of go the extra mile as far as committing to it. I love working with Avi and I feel like it was mutual so I had a great time working with him and happy of the development of Siddiq and Dante.”
Was there more to Dante’s backstory that we have not seen on screen that you know of?
Juan: “I’ll tell you that I personally have backstory that I’ve thought about with the character of Dante. Things that I kind of keep close to myself. There might be possible backstory ideas that were running around production and the writer’s room. What I like about the shortness of Dante’s character of this time of this season, is that it makes the character of Dante even more kind of mysterious and unnerving because we don’t get to see a lot of him. All we have are these moments leading up obviously to the tragedy in episode 8 of his death. But there’s so much that’s unanswered about the character that I think makes the character much more interesting because, sometimes you don’t know what’s scary or the devil you know is what you don’t know so having the audience only get the snippets of this character in trying to piece together what’s true, and what’s not true. I think that’s actually part of the fun so I’ve got my ideas, but I don’t know if I’ll tell people about it.”
How did you prepare for your death scene?
Juan: “I did a lot of stretching and put on elbow pads and knee pads because I knew it could be a rough afternoon. but in all seriousness, all you all you can do is read the material and you try to play the honesty of the moment by moment in the scene and you just concentrate on what that character is trying to cheat at the moment because the character of Dante doesn’t know that he’s seconds away from being killed. He doesn’t know that his death is around the corner so what is Dante trying to convey to Gabriel in those last moments that we see a doctor’s life so I concentrated on that and I just try to present the idea of what possibly propelled Gabriel to act out so violently and to drop all level of stability and all levels of emotional control that we see Gabriel doing for the majority of time is him reacting to Dante’s unerving and frightening certainty that all this civilization that they’ve built, all the civility that they’ve built, all these laws and all of these kind of semblance of normalcy that they’ve built in Alexandria is a facade and that eventually, it’s going to rot from the inside. And I’m an agent of that rock and that’s an unerving and a frightening thing to present to Gabriel. So if I just knew in that day that I just had to push and push and to finally give the straw that broke the camel’s back and to force to have Gabriel to not see any other way out, but to extinguish me as a threat to the community and in that way, breaking down something very integral piece of Gabriel’s character and shocking the audience in seeing how someone like Gabriel could end up acting that way or committing to intentionally murder someone.”
I find it poetic that Dante told Siddiq to open his eyes to see the last moments of his friends lives at the barn and then in the opening of 10×08, Dante closes Siddiq’s eyes after he killed him. Do you feel that way too with the way it was presented to you?
Juan: (Laughs) “I think you really did pick up on something! At the end of episode 7 when Dante’s alone in that room with Siddiq at those final moments of his life, this whole season audience members have been watching Dante interacting with people while he’s on call like under cover so it’s up to the audience to kind of decipher when Dante was saying this, or when he was speaking in this way, how much of that is true, and how much it is not. And you have to think about who he was talking to, who was he talking with in front of people. I think about which is what you’re talking about, is that in those last moments of Siddiq’s cyclical life, it’s just Dante and Siddiq alone in that room and Dante doesn’t have to say anything in those final moments. The fact that it comes out of him, I think that’sa totally legitimate moment and more expressing himself. That’s a reveal of something very true. I think that it’s a sad coda ending to the story of Siddiq and Dante that started with an act of brutality, and it ends with an act of brutality. There’s pain there for both people and there’s a sense of regret and there’s a sense of sadness on both sides. So I do find it very poetic from all sides and that could also be written in a book too.”
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A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood makes will make it’s worldwide premiere on November 22nd and this is a film that you do not want to miss. The anticipation is very high for the film ever since it has been announced last year. I recently got the chance to speak with Wendy Makkena about the film in this exclusive interview as we got to talk about her role as Dorothy, her reaction to seeing Tom Hanks play as Mr. Rogers, her best memories on the set of Sister Act, a great fan expierence, and much more.
So tell me how you got the role as Dorothy on A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. Did you know at the time that it would be for this film?
WM: “I auditioned like everybody else. It just a regular audition. And I got a call back and then I heard a guy. I was so thrilled about the role. And they often don’t give you a script anymore. You just get (What they are called now) sides. So all I had was my character’s scenes of the film. So no, I didn’t. I knew it was about Mr. Rogers after I auditioned, but not before it.”
I watched the film last week at the screening. I loved it and brought back a lot of childhood memories for me. When you first heard of the project did it bring back those memories for you as well?
WM: “It brought back memories of watching it with my daughter. I guess it was in reruns at the time and my daughter is now 20. I really wanted her to not watch your typical fast-cutting type of kid show. She was like relegated to Teletubbies and Mr. Rogers and she really loved Mr. Rogers and I started watching it with her. And I said ‘this is really interesting what he’s doing’. When I was younger I was just sort of like ‘yeah, I am too cool for this’ But I started to love it even more when I watched it with my daughter when she was younger.”
The scene where Dorothy watched Lloyd (Matthew Rhys) and his dad Jerry (Chris Cooper) argue and fight the few times that they did in the film, What went through your head as a person when you’ve seen that and what went through your head as the character when you see those two arguing?
WM: “As an actress, the acting was so authentic and so grounded that I became Wendy the actress that was watching Matthew Rhys and Chris Cooper as if it was really happening. And part of me was also thinking ‘I know they’re actors, but look at what they’re doing’. And so I suddenly would forget what I was supposed to do. I would forget that I had a cross here and give the baby to Susan Kelechi Watson because I’d be like ‘Oh look at them, they’re so real.’ I felt like I was really witnessing a father and a son having a fight. So I was very involved in it. As the character, I thought ‘well, this is got to be what Dorothy is feeling too.’ She’s not thinking about them acting, but she’s certainly thinking ‘wow this is pretty heavy’. You think that Dorothy saw something in Jerry that nobody else saw. Jerry And Mr. Rogers saw something in everybody including Lloyd that he didn’t see in himself. So I think a lot of that went on in the film was other people saw the humanity in someone else they didn’t see in themselves just like Mr. Rogers.”
When you and everyone first seen Tom Hanks in the costume and makeup, Did it feel like Mr. Rogers was in the same room as everyone else?
WM: “Yes it did! The crazy thing was, I would get so involved in what was going on in front of me because Dorothy doesn’t have a lot to say because she’s an observer and I felt a lot like Dorothy felt when I walked onto that set. Once I was on the set and I went to speak with Tom while he was in costume, I was just star struck and so I decided I would use that a little bit and go ‘Well this is got be how Dorothy feels.’ She doesn’t know anybody and she’s new to the family. She has not been introduced to anybody, so just lean into that. So I lean into my discomfort. I really felt like I was with that family. When I with Tom Hanks, I felt like he was Mr. Rogers. And I felt like Matthew was Lloyd. If a new series would happen, it would be Tom Hanks starring as Mr. Rogers and Tom Hanks would keep his spirit alive!”
One great thing that I love about the film’s production is that they went out of their way to make it feel like you are watching the show again in certain scenes such as the asthetics, the toys, the puppets, and even the costumes. Did you see the production of those scenes before or after the movie premiered?
WM: “I did not see it firsthand, But I heard Marielle Heller had a lot to do with that. She’s the genius behind all of this. She has a sense of whimsy and she’s so smart and she was an actress first and also a writer before she became a director. I heard from my conversation with her that they were shooting on the same set that the show was set. They tried to re-create it keep it as authentic as possible. I know that the puppets weren’t exactly the same puppets, but they’re probably in the Children’s Museum of Pittsburg. I know that they had taken great pains to be as authentic as possible.”
Being that you are in a lot of movies and television shows going back for over 25 years,What can you say is be the biggest accomplishment you’ve made in your career?
WM: “You know, what I think my greatest accomplishment is staying grounded. I would say we have modest celebrity right. And so I don’t know how stars do it when they’re being followed, and when they’re being talked about all the time in pictures. I have no idea how they do it. But For me, the industry period can get you a lift you off the ground a little bit like a Kite. And I think it’s just staying grounded. You know, I started a company when I realized I’m getting older and the roles as a woman, they start falling off your in your 40s and then they really start falling off. There’s just not many roles and I thought ‘well, I’ve got to figure out something else, what I’m going to do?’ I’m not going to sit around and complain, that’s just not going to happen. I started this food company that I didn’t know was going to be well known and now we’re at 4000 doors nationwide. And so I think that’s my biggest accomplishment was knowing that wasn’t all there is. And it’s easy done. It’s easy to remember that when you’re not getting a ton of roles and it’s easy to remember because you have more time in between. But my accomplishment was I’m not going away and to go strike down right now!”
Do you have any great memories when you were on the set of Sister Act?
WM: (Laughs) “We could sit here for weeks. It was so fun. The cast were delightful, they were talented, they were mischievous. We got ourselves into a lot of trouble all the time. We had a lot of downtime where they were lighting the church like ‘oh we need more smoke’. So guys go outside and hang for a little bit. And the nuns and me, Kathy Najimy, and Mary Wickes would go outside and sometimes, there’d be hours and we’d just get bored so we got the car to take us into San Francisco. We would go to stores and shop as nuns and we thought that was hysterical. We were in character the whole time we went there and we would be like ‘we would take our characters out for a walk’. Like let’s take our characters out for a walk and see what is Sister Mary Robert like would be like if she was there. The beautiful thing was nobody knew who I was. So they really thought I was this nun is just the perfect storm. So we had a really great time and Whoppi Goldberg, there are really are no words to describe how great of a person she is. She’s a generosity of a spirit that is unmatched.
What has been your best fan interraction that you remember?
WM: ” My greatest fan interaction, I was at Lincoln Center with my daughter who was at the time about 8 or 9 years old and we were just hanging out walking etc. I was showing her where I used to dance because I used to be a ballerina. We were right in front of the Metropolitan Opera House on a beautiful spring day and a bus pulled up and let out a bunch of kids from my home in Wisconsin. And it looked like this was a high school maybe middle school kids. And this class got out and they were doing a tour and one of the kids recognized me. They went ‘Oh my God are you Sister Mary Robert’. And my little girl, of course is like ‘mom you’re being reckless. And I said ‘Yes I am’. And the whole class lined up and they were quiet. They were there because they were a choir. They lined up and they started singing Hail Holy Queen for me and my daughter at Lincoln Center in front of the fountain. And then they all started blowing kisses and said Thank you. I was in tears. That’s the best fan interaction I have ever had.”
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This week on The Walking Dead, we got a glimpse on what happened at the barn where Siddiq was forced to watch Alpha slay the pike victims. We also got to see a huge plot twist as it was revealed that Dante is a Whisperer the entire time he has been at Alexandria. Although there are many questions to how he got there, what is more important is that Siddiq has been killed. Avi Nash breaks down the shocking plot twist of that episode along with more topics on this exclusive interview!
How did you react when you seen the script of your death scene?And also, were there any hints that gave away that Dante was a Whisperer?
AN: “I knew from the top of the season because Angela Kang is an extremely gracious leader and she let me know prior to starting season 10 that this would Siddiq’s swan song. But I was actually very excited about it because we got into all the complexities of what he was going to go through with PTSD and survivor’s guilt and having a new child. And I was really excited because I’ve played a character who’s been instrumental to the storytelling and the arc of the season as a whole. So for me, the chance to serve that story in such a significant way was very exciting. And it gave me a lot of work to look forward to the day that I finally got the script for the episode. If anything it was just like ‘oh shit, I’m in a lot of scenes I’ve got to get to work’. And yes, There are hints that was right in everyone’s faces on the earlier episodes of the season. I think Siddiq was slowly piecing it together and that is sort of a dual-tragedy for him in this because, I think on one hand, it was the first person he’s sort of able to open back up to about what he’s going through because he’s a brother in arms of a fellow medical professional that has been through PTSD himself and reached out to Siddiq. And I think truthfully, they’re were forming a friendship now from Dante’s point of view. Maybe that’s all fake or maybe based on some of the language that he uses, he had romantic feelings for Siddiq. I’m not sure what the tragedy being that Siddiq is starting to open up to this guy, while meanwhile in his subconscious, something about this guy is off to him. And you see that starts to affect him you know whether it’s in the first episode when he focuses on his mouth or in the later episode when they’re performing surgery on Carol and Dante sort of makes that verbal tick-tick sound and Siddiq then has a bit of a flashback. He’s not quite able to realize that he is causing those flashbacks, But it’s definitely happening and it’s only at that final moment when Dante is in the same physical space behind Siddiq, he put it all together because that’s also a great layer of the tragedy for Siddiq which is that he’s carrying around the guilt that after they all fought back a little, but it was not enough. Alpha lined them up and started to decapitate them and he was actually unable to move when in fact because of Dante holding him down as a whisperer. He was trying to move and scream and shout and get up and fight back again. But they were all held down by Whisperers and his eyes were forced to open by Dante to see how these other people he cares about decapitated. And so all those pieces of memory coming together I think are there in the season but he is only able to put it together too late.”
Will we see an explaniation on how Dante came into Alexandria?
AM: “Angela and her team of writers are great and they know how to craft good storytelling without sort of sacrificing character development and without sacrificing suspense, terror, and the comedy and all these things that make us fall in love with The Walking Dead and that have kept us tuned in for ten years. So I can’t tell you exactly what you may or may not see, but I can tell you that you will hopefully be satisfied when it does get revealed.”
What was it like to work with Samantha Morton on those PTSD scenes of the barn flashbacks?
AN: “You know, that woman should get nominated for an Emmy or Oscar. She is an incredible actress. When she gets into character and comes on the set, all the air is sucked out because she goes from being a lovely bubbly Sam to being cold and deadlyy Alpha for us. I remember in particular there was a night that we shot majority of those flashbacks where Siddiq in his mind, he thinks he’s sitting there on his own and it’s frozen. But in actuality, it’s Dante behind him holding him down and turning his head and ripping his eyes open the watch. And we shot both versions of me on my knees, on my own struggling just sort of with my mind not able to move and then a version where Dante was behind me literally ripping me forward and holding me down and stopping me from moving and screaming and shoving his hands all in my face. And during all of that, Samantha was on the other side scaring the shit out of me. And we were there probably four or five hours one evening and she is the most gracious actress. She might not be in every one of those shots, but she’s there giving a thousand percent. And I hope I tried to return the favor. There were takes were I wasn’t in the shot because I was just on her coverage and she was like ‘You know darling, you don’t need to do this. Like you’ve just you’ve just been through so much’ because I’m over there crying in my snot. And I was like ‘Samantha snot aside, I got to be there for you because that’s you how I was trained. You know, this is British theater and this is frankly a generous act’. You’re there for your partner. And so, we got to share a really nice moment together giving each other fear and terror and ultimately though compassion.”
If Carl Grimes was still alive, what do you think he would say to Siddiq?
AN: “I think if he was alive, he would have definitely been somebody that Siddiq would have tried to open up to. I feel like there was the beginning of a very beautiful friendship that would have kept developing. He was sort of adopted into that Grimes family and so, I think those two would have been brothers. Hopefully Saddiq has been a character with enough of a legacy and enough love on the show and enough powerful storytelling that he can stand along with Carl, Glenn, and Abraham shoulder to shoulder and look down on the rest of The Walking Dead survivors.”
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