For fans of the Disney XD television show “Aaron Stone” (2009-2010), many will remember actor David Lambert as Jason Landers.
And now, David is back on another television series for ABC Family titled “The Fosters”, from executive producer Jennifer Lopez.
The series revolves around a bi-racial lesbian couple Lena (portrayed by Sherri Saum) and Stef (portrayed by Teri Polo) who raise a biological son and several adoptive children. Lena, an altruistic school principal wants to save children and tries to introduce new children into the family, while Stef is a police officer who is not always aware that Lena has brought new additions to their growing family. Especially with the addition of Callie (portrayed by Maia Mitchell), a troubled teenager who is known to turn family’s lives upside down.
In the series, David Lambert plays the role of Brandon Foster, the biological son of Stef and her ex-husband Mike. A musically talented individual who is caring for all his siblings, his kind nature makes him a bit naive to things that are going on with people around him.
“The Fosters” airs on Mondays on ABC Family, 9/8 central. Recently, ABC Family held a media Q&A with David Lambert to promote the show.
Here is a transcript from the Q&A with actor David Lambert:
Moderator Congratulations on The Fosters. How did you get started in acting?
D. Lambert Acting goes back a little ways for me. I supposed I started with theater growing up. It was mainly a social outlet and it was just kind of something I did for fun. I met a lot of good friends through it so it really kept me involved. Then as I got older, I’d say probably when I got to like seventh or eighth grade, I was living in Atlanta, Georgia at the time and I went for an open call for an agent, a local agent out there, a woman named Joy Purvis and she ended up picking me up.
I sort of was just going with it. I wasn’t really taking it seriously at this point. I just wanted to see what would happen. I guess one thing led to the next and I ended up going out to L.A. with my mom and seeing what would happen. I was fortunate enough to see good things happen to me, I ended up working and things just grew from there.
Moderator What celebrities, past or present, do you look up to or may inspire you in your career?
D. Lambert I’d say from the present Leonardo DiCaprio was always one that I really respected and looked up to. His work is amazing. I really like the roles he picks. He’s got some of my dream roles. If I could pick any role to play he’s got a few. So he would probably be on the top.
I actually really like Christopher Walken. I find him a really interesting actor. He’s such a character that I love everything he’s in. And you know, I love some of the greats as well, like De Niro and going back to like Marlon Brando and James Dean as well. I’m kind of a sucker for classic movies and kind of the old-timey feel. I watch a lot of that stuff.
Moderator I’m wondering if you can tell us a little bit about Brandon and Callie’s relationship?
D. Lambert They have a really interesting sort of connection right of the bat. In the pilot he’s really drawn to her and feels the need to help her. It is sort of reciprocated by her, but it’s one of those things where neither really knows what’s happening there. They just understand that there’s this connection.
Whether it’ll grow or not it’s kind of up in the air at this point, but they do understand there’s this mutual feeling between the two of them and it’s definitely a special connection. So yes, I guess it’s just one of those things that has to develop over time, but it’s not necessarily set in stone that they are in love or whatever. It’s just one of those odd connections, I would say.
Moderator What is it like working with Maia Mitchell and the rest of the cast?
D. Lambert They’re great. This cast is honestly one of the best casts I’ve ever worked with. It’s one of those things where I go to set and I think that’s the biggest thing that I’m looking forward to is getting to work with these people because everyone—with me, I have such a different connection with all of them and neither is better than the next but it’s such a unique connection with every single person. So every scene is very fun. It’s a really fun experience to work with everyone.
Maia’s great. Maia’s really, really awesome. She gives it her all just like everyone else does really. Everyone goes above and beyond to make this show as real as possible. It’s a respect thing. I admire my cast. I really respect them and I think everyone’s super talented.
Moderator I’m curious; what was the audition process like for The Fosters?
D. Lambert The audition process was—honestly, it started like any other audition for me in L.A. I just went to the first meeting and it was just for casting. From there I got a callback and that was a pretty regular feeling. I just kept coming back and then it was after the third meeting that I was really like, “Okay, this could go somewhere. This is interesting.”
But it felt normal and then it kind of just came out of nowhere for me and then before I knew it I was testing. I feel like that tends to happen. Whenever you book a job you don’t even realize how close you’re getting until you almost have it pretty much. So it was definitely one of those things for me. It almost blindsided me how fast everything moved.
Moderator How would you describe the character of Brandon if you had to tell somebody who maybe hasn’t watched the show yet? How would you describe him?
D. Lambert He’s the oldest in his family and he’s the biological son of one of the mothers, Stef, who’s played by Teri Polo. He’s a gifted musician overall, but his instrument of choice is piano. He’s classically trained in piano. He’s always playing really beautiful pieces from Rachmaninoff and all of those guys.
He’s brilliant and he’s a very smart kid and a little mature for his age just due to this unique setup that he has with his mothers and with his dad. He’s essentially raised by three parents so it makes for very interesting situations that he just has to deal with very normally because that’s just how it is for him. It kind of gives him an edge over other kids who don’t necessarily have to deal with that.
He’s a very fun character for me to play. He’s a really good kid though. He means well and he has a really big heart. Family is everything for him. He loves his family and he would do anything for any of them. So it’s a very special character to be playing.
Moderator I was wondering if you, in your words, could explain why you think people should tune into this show? Why it’s different from other family dramas?
D. Lambert In this day and age we’re kind of lacking in family dramas overall. I feel like we could use more and sort of step away a little bit from the big explosions and all of this visual eye candy that seems to be in everything these days. This show really sort of slows down and focuses on just the characters really.
Besides just the fact that there’s a same sex couple and we do have all of these relevant and current topics, the show really is a classic show. It has very classic vibes to it, in terms of a family drama, and we hope it’s very relatable.
The show has a way of just introducing these topics and these issues and being very blunt about it, which I sort of love. We don’t beat around the bush. We just say it how it is and we expect audiences to just be able to handle it and see how these characters deal with it, which I think makes for really good TV.
I think it’s a really great show to be a part of. It’s something that excites me whenever I read the new scripts. I think that people will be surprised at just how interesting these people are. And they’re not necessarily doing anything out of the ordinary. The kids go to school and they just deal with whatever it is that’s happening that day.
But it just makes for really interesting stuff because they don’t always do the right thing. They sometimes make mistakes just like kids do in high school but they learn they lesson as well. They always redeem themselves. It’s a very relatable thing to watch, as a person. So for me, I love that about the show. I love that everyone gets his or her chance to make a mistake but then learn from it.
Moderator Do you have any good stories from set so far, since there are so many of you especially in the house, in the Foster house and everything?
D. Lambert It’s really funny. We honestly have a really good time on set. Everyone does. From the adults to the kids, everyone is on the same page and we all have the same amount of fun. There’s no real line drawn in the sand or anything like that, which is great because sometimes you run into that on sets, which is really unfortunate. But on this set everyone is very tight knit, very close. I could go up to any of the cast members and have a full-on conversation with them and it’s very comfortable for me.
I’m trying to think of good stories in particular. I know Cierra Ramirez and Jake T. Austin, who play Jesus and Mariana Foster, the twins, had to dress up at one point to take these Halloween pictures, these sort of family Halloween pictures. So Jake had to dress up in this really great jester costume and I actually ended up getting a picture of it just as he was standing right in front of me. I don’t know, that stuck with me so much because it was so hilarious to watch him walk around in this jester costume for the hour or however long he had to wear it for.
But besides that, really, we’re always fooling around. There are so many jokes made. We try to keep it light because there are a lot of dramatic scenes that we’re filming and we think it’s important to not drive ourselves insane. So we try to lighten up the mood whenever possible.
Moderator What attracted you to the role of Brandon Foster?
D. Lambert I think he’s definitely the most similar to me from any character I’ve played. I think that’s really interesting for me. I haven’t really experienced that much with a character. So for me to be able to relate with him the way I can and sort of very easily imagine how he must feel in a lot of these situations. It’s very interesting for me. It’s not a stretch.
It’s one of those things where I don’t have to, in my preparation, work so hard to make it relatable in some way for me because I’m already mentally there. So it’s a cool role for me in my life because I get to play Brandon but also incorporate a lot of David into Brandon. That makes for really an interesting experience for me I guess.
I play piano in my life. I wouldn’t say I’m anywhere as good as Brandon is, but I’ve been playing for almost seven years now. I’m self-taught so I’m kind of on the other side of the spectrum from Brandon. He’s very precise and classically trained and whatnot, but we do share a love for music. That’s something that’s really cool to sort of portray on camera in the way that I get to with Brandon.
I don’t know; he’s a really interesting guy. I love that I get to have him and get to play him because he’s definitely a really close one to me.
Moderator How is filming The Fosters different from filming Aaron Stone and other shows you’ve done in the past?
D. Lambert Well it’s my first hour drama, in terms of TV. That’s interesting just in terms of pacing and the hours we’re working and how we do it. So that was a first for me. Aaron Stone was a half hour so we were getting two episodes done in like eight or nine days, whereas with this we’re getting one episode done in the same time. It’s interesting. We’re filming like little movies almost is what it feels more like.
It’s awesome though. It’s a really good, demanding, challenging experience and as an actor you can ask for nothing more. You want the challenge. You want to be kept on your toes. This is definitely doing that for me and I’m learning so much. I know even after this first season I’ll walk away feeling twice as much of an actor as I did walking in. I’ll just be that much better and that’s really great to know that this job is doing that for me.
Moderator You talked some about the similarities between you and Brandon. Can you tell us some about the differences between you and your character?
D. Lambert Yes. We definitely have differences as well. Brandon is very headstrong and a little impulsive when it comes to his emotions. He doesn’t necessarily always think things through and I feel like I’m a very analytical person. I’m a little in my head. That’s just kind of how I work. I’m very internal and I think a lot. I play things out in my head, whereas Brandon I would say is more external with dealing with things.
That’s an interesting change for me. Having to vocalize and externalize what I might be feeling inside. That’s something that Brandon would do. That’s a cool difference. As an actor, you obviously want differences. Its just Brandon is such a blend for me with similarities and differences.
I guess just his situation is obviously different from mine. The things that he has to deal with I’ve never had to deal with but I definitely had my share of—just like anyone else—troubles in my family. Things I’ve had to go through with my family. So I can relate with him still even though it’s not the exact situation. I can still relate to how it must feel as an older brother and son. So yes, I guess it’s a tradeoff.
Moderator Do you have any other future plans other than The Fosters in the works?
D. Lambert No, not entirely. There’s a smaller little indie movie called The Lifeguard that went to Sundance earlier this year. I think it’ll be coming out this summer. I wish I had exact dates, but I heard June.
I’m really proud of that project. It stars Kristen Bell and Martin Starr and Mamie Gummer. That was just a nice little project that I got to work on and I learned so much from that. It was a more mature role for me. So yes, as an actor I’m always so excited about those things that I get to stretch my legs and really get to do something that’s hard to do.
But besides that, no, I’m looking forward to taking a little bit of a break after filming and then I’ll be crossing my fingers and hoping for more of The Fosters. I would love to get to play Brandon some more and get to see where this family goes. So I guess we’ll just have to see what the future holds.
Moderator So Talya and Brandon’s relationship, how does that change now that Callie’s in the picture?
D. Lambert I think it’s one of those things for Brandon, at least, that he doesn’t even realize. He’s only now just beginning to realize what it means to have Callie around. That’s an interesting thing for him. I think Talya was much more quick to notice what this may do and to notice that Brandon may be interested or at least care for Callie, which is enough for Talya to lose her mind. It is only going to make for more interesting situations down the road, especially between the girls.
I think Brandon’s a little slower, in terms of picking up on things that are right under the surface. So for him he’s almost innocent in the way that he wants to make sure Callie’s good in this new environment, in this new world that she’s kind of been thrust into, but at the same time he does have a girlfriend. He’s not linking the two yet, whereas maybe Talya is seeing [it] a little differently.
So it’s a fun thing that he has to sort of slowly realize. Like, “Oh, oh, I see that this might look this way and I guess now it’s sort of a little triangle here.” That’s just a fun little situation, one of the many that he is faced with, and I’m looking forward to seeing how that develops.
Moderator What episode are you guys filming now or are you done?
D. Lambert We are actually almost done. We are on episode eight now, finishing up episode eight and then moving to nine. We will be done soon I believe. I’m sort of getting information on and off. I kind of just show up to set and work and they will tell me what I need to know.
Moderator You mentioned earlier about playing music, especially piano. Do you see maybe pursuing music in your career?
D. Lambert That’s an interesting question because I sort of go back and forth. I love music so much. It’s really something that I hold dear, but I think as of right now I would much rather be an actor who just happens to play music than someone who’s trying to do both. I know acting has been just my number one passion. I don’t want to steal focus and put it other places. I’d rather commit 100% to one area and sort of develop that part in my career.
As of right now, just as a young person and where I’m at in my career, I think it’d be much smarter to try my hand at many, many different types of projects with acting and be all over the place with acting. Music will always be there. I own a piano. I have it in my apartment. I play it every day and I have a lot of musician friends who I play with.
It’ll always be there so I can always change my mind down the road, but I think it would be smarter for me to focus on acting. Acting truly is a love of mine. So yes, I think music will always be there but I’m definitely more of an actor.
Moderator How much of the actual playing of the piano and stuff do you actually do on the show?
D. Lambert I actually am pretty adamant about meeting with the composer on off days and rehearsing pieces that are coming up and from there we’ll discuss what I feel like I can handle and what I can’t. Usually what it’s worked out to so far is with more of the classical pieces, that is stuff that we use more playback on and whatnot, the more intricate, elaborate pieces.
But any original compositions that Brandon is playing or coming up with is me. So yes, usually the original stuff that Brandon is writing and all that stuff is usually me playing it live on the day and then the more classical pieces are things that I kind of need help with, just due to the difficulty of the piece.
Moderator You mentioned earlier that you’re self-taught in piano. So I was wondering if you could talk a little bit more about what inspired you to start playing?
D. Lambert Honestly, it started one New Year now almost seven years ago. It was my resolution to learn an instrument. It was my New Year’s resolution. So I went into the attic of my house and we happened to have this really old, beat up keyboard. It was about like half a piano. It wasn’t even a full size and I ended up just plugging that thing in and playing that for the next year.
The way I started was I took some lessons in the beginning but I ended up not having the patience for it, to be honest. So what I ended up doing was just listening to the music that I wanted to mimic and try my best to sound like it and figure it out on the keys. So now, flashing forward seven years later, that’s still essentially what I do. It’s worked for me.
It was definitely a lot of work at the beginning. It was a very clunky experience, but now it’s really cool because I’m getting to a point now where I can really explore with styles and different types of music and all that stuff. The piano’s a great instrument. It’s a really cool place to start musically because from here I could learn another instrument and still have an idea for just the general theory of music and the basis.
So yes, it was just one of those things that I loved. I’ve always loved music and now I just love it more now that I can sort of give more to it by playing an instrument.
Moderator How is your role as Brandon affected your outlook on foster families?
D. Lambert It’s an interesting thing because the show is all about how do you define family. That’s something that we say a lot with the show. What they mean by that, I think, is that it’s a same sex couple; it is adopted kids; there are foster kids, but it doesn’t really change the fact that we’re still a family.
It doesn’t matter if you have two moms or two dads or whatever, adopted siblings, foster siblings, at the end of the day you’re still going to go through the same problems that any ordinary or more generally accepted family would go through, and that’s the thing when you watch the show. You don’t feel like you’re watching this gay couple. You don’t think that when you watch it. You just see these two women raising these kids and they just happen to be together.
That’s the beauty of the whole thing. We’re not preaching it. We’re not trying to jam it down your throat, this image of these two women. We’re just saying that they can still be a family. There’s no difference, and it makes for really interesting situations, I supposed.
I learned a lot by playing Brandon. I learned a lot just more along those lines, just realizing in myself. I was like, “Wow, these two women can do this. There’s really no difference.” I watched the show and you don’t even think that it’s weird. It feels right. It looks right and they’re a family. That was something I realized only after filming it and watching it was how subtle it is. It’s a great thing. It’s really, really cool.
Moderator Are you looking forward to the instant feedback that you’ve been getting from fans about The Fosters?
D. Lambert I am. It’s really amazing. That’s like another kind of first for me. Having something like Twitter so integrated with the show is a really cool thing. I think it’s one of the beautiful things about living in 2013, that we have these means of connecting all around the world. It’s crazy.
But all the feedback has been amazing. It’s really, really cool to be able to—the episode has aired and now you can go on Twitter and see how people are responding because they really do, they add up. There are hundreds, thousands of people just talking about it and it’s really great to see people just enjoying it.
We’re only two episodes in and people are already saying things like it’s their favorite show and the characters are their favorites. It’s good to hear because we put a lot of work into the show. It’s a little bit of payoff, which is nice.
Moderator Was there anything about Brandon that wasn’t originally scripted for you that you added to the character?
D. Lambert I think like with most shows after a couple episodes the writers tend to cater to the actors and they start pulling little bits and pieces and mixing them. Brandon has definitely become more like me over time and I’ve probably become a little like Brandon, but that’s one of the beautiful things with acting.
You sort of—it’s a give and take scenario with any character you play. You do give a little bit of yourself but you also end up walking away with a little bit of that character, which is always a really cool thing for me. So yes, I’d say all the kids in the show really evolve. They do a lot of growth because they have so many things that they end up dealing with just overall.
So I would say—I know just for me, as an actor, every new episode it’s almost like I have to relearn my character because I have to take into consideration, “What have you learned in the past episode? What does that do to him in this next episode? And then what mistakes or lessons does he learn in this upcoming episode and what will that then do to him?”
So it’s a constant arc and it’s a constant stepping up with these characters, which is really fun for me and it’s yet another challenge that I get to constantly face. So yes, it’s a really cool thing. I think Brandon’s an ever-changing character. They’re all ever-changing characters, especially the kids.
Moderator We’ve seen Brandon kind of lashing out at his dad right now and I wondered if you could describe how Brandon feels about his dad?
D. Lambert That’s one of the most interesting relationships that Brandon has, I feel, is with his dad. You’ve got Mike, played by Danny Nucci, who’s a brilliant actor, awesome guy, who he hasn’t really been around. Like Brandon said, he calls every couple days, five-minute phone calls and that sort of gives you an idea of the relationship that they’ve had for some time probably.
Mike’s at a point now where he’s realizing Brandon’s only getting older and he has to make some moves now or it’s never going to happen for them. So Mike now is in the process of trying to make his way more and more back into the picture, which only poses more problems for Brandon because now he’s faced with, “What do I do? My dad’s coming back in. I have my moms. Who do I take orders from? Who are my parents? Do I have three parents? Do I ignore my dad? Do I ignore Lena? Whom am I supposed to be listening to?”
I think with his dad in particular, they are close and they do connect in a lot of ways, but there’s also a sense of frustration, especially on Brandon’s side that maybe his dad didn’t make these moves soon enough. “Why is he doing it all of the sudden? Why does he care so much all of the sudden?” It only happens more and more and there are more troubles that Mike deals with that in turn makes Brandon have to deal with them. So it’s a very interesting thing. It’s a very interesting thing.
I had my own problems with my dad growing up so that was yet another really, really personal issue that I actually ended up connecting with Brandon a lot on and I could really understand that whole relationship and how that must be for him. So it’s a very cool thing to have to play.
Moderator Is there any chance you’d be interested in doing musical theater here at some point?
D. Lambert Yes, you know, musical theater was where I started. It was actually one of those things where I felt like if I found a play that I really, really enjoyed enough I always said that I’d have no problems going back on stage because I feel like that’s where I started. So I kind of owe it that much, you know?
I love theater. I really do. I still respect it a lot and I think it takes a lot of work and dedication. I have a lot of friends still who are very into theater and are in New York and going to conservatories for acting and whatnot. Yes, it’s a very cool thing.
Moderator Do you have a favorite theater role that you’ve ever played?
D. Lambert All my memories are of all the community theater and little black box theaters that I did growing up. I did Oliver. I did Oliver Twist once and I got to play Fagin. That was a lot of fun. It was the musical and I loved the play. We did that over a summer. Yes, I still remember that entire experience. So yes, Oliver was a really great one for me.
Moderator There was a line in last night’s episode that kind of struck me that Jesus said to Brandon when he said, “Well you’re not giving up anything.” What is Brandon’s relationship exactly with the twins like?
D. Lambert I think it’s an interesting thing because Brandon is such a focused kid and he really does have goals and aspirations and places he wants to go with music. It might lead to him composing one day. Who knows where Brandon wants to go with his piano. He does want to go places. He’s in school for now but it’s just because he has to be.
I feel like Brandon has a lot of things he wants to do in his life and he’s very focused on doing them. So there are a lot of scenes with the twins where it’s not necessarily that he’s favored it’s just that the moms recognize that this kid will probably go places in his life and they just want him to have the best chance at doing that.
It’s sort of mistaken for favoritism or whatever, but it’s just one of the many situations in the house that they have to deal with day in and day out. Maybe that’s a situation that maybe a lot of families don’t have to deal with. But then there probably are a lot of families that do have to deal with that. It’s a very unique situation of The Fosters.
At the end of the day Brandon does not look at Mariana and Jesus as adopted. They grew up—they brought the twins home when they were babies and Brandon’s only about a year older than them. So it’s one of those things where they all grew up together. They all look at each other as blood even if they aren’t actually blood. So I think at the end of the day its just words that are said but they all really do love each other and they really do look at each other as a family.
Moderator If you could look into the future, where would you see Brandon with his career with his piano?
D. Lambert I don’t know. Like I said, I think he could go so many places with it. He could become a composer or just a musician in general. But I really do think he’s one of those kids who’s just so gifted it would be a shame if he did nothing with his music. I think he will. He will just get older and probably go to school for it. Go to college studying music and I think it’ll only go up, up, up for him. He’ll just keep working his way up and getting better and better.
Moderator What advice would you give to your fans if they wish to become actors or actresses?
D. Lambert I’d say it’s the craziest profession that you could possibly do so you better really love it. That’d be the first way to start it off, but I don’t know. For me, it started out as something that I just did for fun with friends. I really didn’t have any dreams of becoming famous and being an actor with lots of money and lots of cars and things. That was never something that I saw myself doing.
Acting developed and as I got older I realized I really did enjoy telling stories and touching people and doing things that not many people get to experience in their lives, going places that not many people get to see. Getting to be different people for me is very, very exciting and sort of I look at it as the greatest game of pretend ever made. Everyone’s in on it and it’s just great. You get to play all day, and it is also your work, and you can study it. There’s never an end game. You can always get better. There’s never an end game with acting.
So for me, I think it was all those things put together, but it definitely didn’t happen overnight. That was something that evolved and I had to realize that, as I got older. So for fans, I think everyone’s going to have a different journey, but if you find something that you love that much that you can pick at it and talk about it all day then it’s probably for you and you should definitely go after it. I would say the sooner the better.
It’s just one of those things where it’s very hard to tell anyone what’s right and what’s wrong. It’s more of a feeling that they just have to—if they really do feel the need they should go do it because it will work out. Things have a way of working out for people who give it their all and are in it for the right reasons. I truly believe that.
So for me, it’s just a matter of staying on the right course and doing the things that I want to do at the end of the day. So if people can make those decisions and be smart about where they want to go in life, I think there’s no limit to where you can end up.
Moderator Are there any personal messages from you to your fans that you’d like to pass on?
D. Lambert I can’t really think of anything profound or anything but I’d probably rely on what I just said. I think watch The Fosters I guess and then check it out and I guess that’d be it.
Moderator Like you, Maia Mitchell is also very into music. Do you think that we’ll ever see a Brandon and Callie collaboration on the show?
D. Lambert Yes, it’s definitely likely. I feel like Callie is sort of into the guitar and she seems to have been in episode two that aired last night and it seems like she’s kind picking it up. So there’s definitely a likely possibility that they will end up jamming at some point. Who knows? Brandon’s definitely always playing music in the house so I would definitely say that’s okay to say that they would end up playing more music together for sure.
For more information on “The Fosters”, please visit the official website.
On May 23-26, J!-ENT photographer Gilbert “Realm” Aquino traveled to Phoenix, Arizona to cover the cosplayers and the guests at Phoenix Comicon 13.
Please enjoy our latest pictorial for Phoenix Comicon 13!
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Directed by Zack Snyder
Screenplay David S. Goyer
Story by David S. Goyer/Christopher Nolan
Superman created by Jerry Siegel, Joe Schuster
Producer: Christopher Nolan, Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder, Emma Thomas
Executive Producer: Jon Peters, Lloyd Phillips, Thomas Tull
Music by Hans Zimmer
Cinematography by Amir Mokri
Edited by David Brenner
Casting by Kristy Carlson, Lora Kennedy, Claire Simon
Production Design Alex McDowell
Art Direction: Vlad Bina, Chris Farmer, Aaron Haye, Dan Hermansen, Craig Jackson, Helen Jarvis, Kim Sinclair
Set Decoration by Anne Juljian
Costume Design by James Acheson, Michael Wilkinson
Henry Cavill as Clark Kent/Kal-El
Amy Adams as Lois Lane
Michael Shannon as General Zod
Diane Lane as Martha Kent
Russell Crowe as Jor-El
Ante Traue as Faora-Ui
Harry Lennix as General Swanwick
Richard Schiff as Dr. Emil Hamilton
Christopher Meloni as Colonel Nathan Hardy
Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent
Ayelet Zurer as Lara Lor-Van
Laurence Fishburne as Perry White
Dylan Sprayberry as Clark Kent (13-years-old)
Cooper Timberline as Clark Kent (9-years-old)
The “Man of Steel” had its NYC red carpet premiere last night, with the cast making their appearances. Outside of NYC, there were also advanced screenings of the upcoming film, of which I was able to attend the San Diego screening. I didn’t get my pass until 2:30pm, so it was a last minute notice.
Having grown up with the past renditions of Superman, from Christopher Reeve and Dean Cain, to Tom Welling and Brandon Routh, I came into the “Man of Steel” with high expectations, that it would carry on what the past had already done.
But that wasn’t the case. I felt the film distanced itself from any other rendition of the Superman stories that we all grew up with. Sure we get the origin of Superman, but through his eyes. We learn who he is, why he is, and where he came from.
The “Man of Steel” portrays more of the human aspect of the character. In the comic books and previous films, Superman is more “God-like”. I felt both characters, Clark Kent and Superman, were both very similar in this film. Maybe because we are learning more about his Kryptonian side at the same time as Clark Kent.
The film does have a lot of action sequences, with laser guns, bug-like spaceships, Kryptonians in heavy armor, and lots of explosions. All of these aspects are very common in the comic books, but I’m not used to it in the film.
I was skeptic when Henry Cavill was chosen for the role, but as I watched the film, he definitely sold the character of Clark Kent and Superman. I could see some essence of Tom Welling in him, as they had scenes of Clark growing up and dealing with his childhood, much like in “Smallville”. But as the film progressed and when Henry had the costume on, he definitely looked and acted the part.
The visual design of the Kryptonians, the ships, costumes, and planet, were very sci-fi, with very intricate and detailed designs. Throughout the film, I felt it had an influence from the “Gears of War”, “Mass Effect”, and “Aliens” franchises. I’m not used to all the heavy armor and laser rifles, I grew up with the long robes and “not of this world” designs of the past. I felt like the Kryptonians were violent people with the armor and laser rifles. I grew up with the people of Krypton as peaceful and humble people.
The film has an amazing cast!! I definitely enjoyed Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent, playing a very emotional and powerful figure in Clark’s life. Amy Adams was great as Lois Lane, very modern and a believable character. Both Amy and Henry had great chemistry in the film as Lois and Superman. Russell Crowe as Jor-El? Maybe it was the armor, but I felt like he was about to hand Clark the sword of “Excalibur” or something.
But as Jor-El, Russell Crowe played a convincing character. Diane Lane as Martha Kent was just as amazing. Michael Shannon as General Zod, that guy played a very cold and souless villain. He nailed the role, although I kept thinking throughout the film that he looked like an international terrorist or something. Laurence Fishburne as Perry White, I didn’t see coming. Laurence is an amazing actor and I love all his work, especially “Boyz In The Hood”. His Perry White was on point and I could see him running a newspaper.
I read about how the film would not have the classic John Williams theme and I was disappointed to find out for myself that it wasn’t there. That is THE Superman theme and it wasn’t in this new version of the film. The score is so iconic, everyone knows it. But the film didn’t need it, seeing as how this is a different take on the Superman franchise.
J!-ENT MOVIE RATING: C
On June 8th, ABC Family premiered it’s new comedy clip show “Dancing Fools” hosted by Melissa Peterman (“Reba”, “Here Comes the Boom”, “Working Class).
The show features the funniest, most outrageous and memorable dances caught on camera. The dancers from the top two clips of the week get to compete on stage for a chance to win $10,000.
For Melissa, since her acting debut on the film “Fargo”, she has appeared on television and is best known for her role as Barbra Jean on the TV series “Reba” (2001-2007) and has appeared on sereis sucha s “Surviving Suburbia”, “Rita Rocks”, “Working class” and “Pretty the Series”.
But for her role on “Dancing Fools”, Melissa not only hosts the show but she also provides her own humorous voice-over narration for the video clips featured.
In promotion of the series premiere of “Dancing Fools”, a media Q&A was held with Melissa Peterman to discuss her new series. Here is a transcript from the series:
Moderator You seem like you’re just naturally funny.
M. Peterman I like to think that, but my husband would probably disagree sometimes, but I think that I find humor in a lot of things.
Moderator How did you discover your natural talent for comedy on stage and on TV?
M. Peterman I had always loved theater. People are really surprised, I was kind of a quiet kid but I was a natural observer. I loved to watch people and part of it was I was close to six feet tall in high school and got into theater. When you got someone to laugh it was like the power of “if I can just get them to laugh with me and not at me”, it was a powerful—the ability to get a laugh out of somebody, it doesn’t matter if you do it for a living or not, that’s an amazing feeling, humor is the glue that gets everyone together and it was a great defense for me in a way in high school. If you’re funny, it doesn’t matter that you’re towering over every boy there, and then I learned to embrace my height so it was a good combo. I think I was just on stage. I did a lot of theater in high school, and when I first got that first laugh, I was addicted.
Moderator Speaking of your humor and using it in your show, “Dancing Fools”, you do these voiceovers for the videos, and they’re really funny. I was wondering do you prepare for those when you’re recording them, or do you make it up on the spot?
M. Peterman We had a great team of writers led by Brennan Huntington who is fantastic and we had a couple of writers who used to work for the “Ellen” show. So we had a great team that would come in and they’d been watching them and they’d send them to me and I’d watch them and mull it over. So, I was able to have jokes prepared, but a lot of times, we would get in the booth and start watching them and either tweak that or I’d have an idea or they’d have an idea. So, we had a template that sometimes we went off of.
There was one, and we could not figure out what to do with this. It’s this older gentleman and I think he’s dressed as a baby dancing and we couldn’t come up with anything because it was hilarious but a little creepy but we wanted it to be funny. So over time, after a couple tries, we just came up with a voice of, “Hi, my name’s Clark Stevens. I’m here to audition for the part of the baby. Goo-goo gah-gah.” We just went “Okay, that works, we can do that.” So, a lot of times, we had a template, but we would definitely stray from it depending on what was happening in the booth at the time.
Moderator Were you part of the evolution of the series or did they come and talk to you about it because they know you’re naturally funny?
M. Peterman Phil Gurn, who’s the producer, I’ve worked with him in the past. He did the Singing Bee which I did for him for CMC, and so, he knew me as the host but he came to me with this idea, and no, that was all them. I thought it was such a great twist of it’s got the feel of America’s Funniest Home Videos but with dance, but then the twist is there’s a game show element. There’s a live element of getting them to come dance live, I think is just genius, and that was the most fun to see the people that we were watching all week over and over again because that’s what I love about the videos too.
Even though we don’t want to admit that we’re getting sucked into watching videos on YouTube at our work, we do. I love watching any sort of fun video like that, and so, it was fun to have them, to be watching them over and over and then to see them come live, and who doesn’t like a chance to win $10,000 for a video that they might have done in their basement or at a wedding reception for fun? So, I just thought the idea was a great twist. You just love to watch it. You can’t stop yourself.
Moderator Any chance we can get you a part on “Melissa and Joey” and just do a Melissa Peterman trifecta on Wednesday?
M. Peterman I would think that would be amazing to do. I would love that. I’m a big fan of the show and the Melissa and Joey cast and our cast, we share some of the same crew as in we share some of the makeup people that have to do both shows, and I just have this feeling that Melissa Joan Hart and I would—everyone who knows both of us are like “You guys should do something together. You would love each other”. So, I’d love to do something with her.
Moderator What’s your favorite part about working on Dancing Fools?
M. Peterman Meeting the contestants. I just love genuinely—I think everyone has a story and I love meeting new people and we met some amazing people. I like hearing people’s stories and what they do and I love that and also the professional dancers that we have, I love trying to dance with them. That also makes me very happy.
Moderator How does “Dancing Fools” differ from any other dance competition show that’s on television today?
M. Peterman Because at any given point, we could have a ten year old or a grandma or two best friends or bridesmaids or groups—at any given point, you could have a 5 year old or a 80 year old coming to dance live and compete. So, I think that’s what’s very different.
Moderator What is your most embarrassing dance memory?
M. Peterman How much time do you have? Probably one of the earliest was my first dance recital and I think it must have been eight or nine or something like that and we were doing 99 Red Balloons. Imagine an eight year old girl with red turtleneck, leotards with the balloons and so, we’d rehearsed it without the balloons because we were going to carry helium balloons and then let them go right when the “da-da-da-da” started and we let them go, and I guess nobody thought that when helium balloons are released in an auditorium or a stage and they hit the lights they would all explode, and so, all these balloons just started popping and all of us were screaming but we were trying so hard to keep it together and keep dancing and I might have wet my pants. I was afraid by the balloons popping and the sounds and it was pop, pop, pop. So, that was the first, which was just a high bar to set for many years of embarrassing dance moments.
I love it when you think you’re killing it at a wedding and you’re like, “Man, everyone is watching me dance” and then you realize your dress is tucked into the back. That’s happened before. I’ve had a lot. I guess I’m not that embarrassed by it because I enjoy it so much that I figure things happen and I’m not the only one they happen to, but yes, thinking that you’re killing it and realizing that the reason they’re watching you is not the reason you think.
Moderator “Dancing Fools” is a perfect show for you to host, then.
M. Peterman It’s a perfect show, and I love it. I love game shows. I love dancing. I imagine I’m a much better dancer in my brain and I do love to dance. These two best friends [did] a dance that they sprung at a wedding reception and it gave me so much joy to watch them because you could just tell they were having the best time ever and we could not stop watching it over and over again. We bring them to do it live and it turns out that they had said that the wedding was going to be the last time they were going to do this dance together. They’ve been best friends since they were 14, and we brought them out of retirement on Dancing Fools to redo it and they were just the nicest guys, both recently married. One’s expecting a baby. I love those stories, and they were amazing.
Moderator Are there any comedians that have influenced you or that you admire?
M. Peterman Carol Burnett is a huge [influence]—I watched her Saturday night when I was a kid and just fell in love. Gilda Radner, I absolutely adored and would get to watch Saturday Night Live at my aunt’s house when I slept over and my parents didn’t know, so Gilda Radner, Catherine O’Hara, Andrea Martin. More recently, Tina Fey, I think is just a genius, Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, anyone who’s fearless. I feel like that’s what I love to see in another woman comic, be fearless and don’t worry about being pretty.
You’ll do anything if you know it’s funny, and you don’t care how you look and don’t be afraid to be the butt of the joke and I think that’s just the secret. It was very exciting for me when we were shooting Baby Daddy that Hot in Cleveland shot next door and Betty White was like four doors down from me, and I wrote her a letter and sent it over to her dressing room and she said I could come over and meet her, and for me, she did three of the most—Rose Nylund and Sue Ann Nivens—she created so many amazing sidekicks that were just hilarious, and she’s 92 and she’s fearless. So, for me, it’s any woman who is completely fearless and willing to go for it and commit.
Moderator When do you find time to sleep with everything that you’re doing and what else do you have coming up?
M. Peterman Well, it looks busier because they’re all airing right now. The reality is I’m done shooting them all so now they’re just all airing. So, it’s extreme periods of business followed by a good chunk of time off, but during the shooting, it was extremely busy.
I do it because I do have so much downtime when it’s over, and I have a husband who’s a stay-at-home daddy so I have that support at home, but it appears busy because they’re all airing at the same time. Right now, I’m off until July 15th when I go start Baby Daddy again, but it is busy but I enjoy it so much. If it was a show that I wasn’t having fun on or I didn’t enjoy, I don’t think I could do it or commit to that much, but I’ve honestly really enjoyed everything I’ve been doing. So, it’s fun. It’s never a job when you like what you’re doing. So, that helps.
Let’s be honest, what I get to do is—I’m not a miner. It’s a great job and I’m really blessed and lucky to get to do what I love. So, I still think as an actor when most of your career people are saying no to you, when people are finally saying yes, it’s really hard to say no especially if it’s a project that really appeals to you.
Moderator When it comes back to “Dancing Fools”, can you tell us some of your other favorite moments from this season, what else we have to look forward to?
M. Peterman There’s this awesome kid. His name is Juan and he dances as a character that is called Granny Myrtle, and when I first saw the YouTube clip, I was completely blown away because I thought it was a 90-year-old grandma dancing to Black Eyed Peas and completely killing it. I just thought “Oh my gosh, this grandma is amazing and I need to know what she’s eating because I need that”, and it turns out it’s this young guy and we bring him to dance live and I always like to go meet everyone before the show and I was just talking to him and he had the greatest story.
He created this character because he felt that he’d been bullied before and he didn’t have a lot of friends and he just started to make up a character and he thought what would be fun and make people happy and he came up with this Grandma Myrtle character and would go spontaneously dance and bust her out in public places, and I just remember this kid and I wanted his phone number and I wanted to keep up with him because I just thought what a great story, but he created a character because he felt sort of different. That’s again, like the human interest of seeing them live that makes me really, really happy.
Also, I think looking forward to you’ll get to see a lot of our own professional dancers. I do hone in a lot more as I get more comfortable, which is sort of funny, but there are some great contestants, and to me, that’s the best part of the show.
Moderator As far as “Baby Daddy” goes, what attracted you to the role of Bonnie?
M. Peterman Because she doesn’t have an editor. She just does whatever she thinks, and when you first audition, you basically just get that first pilot script so you don’t really [know the character]. [Creator] Dan [Berendsen] was so great and I think every great pilot, the characters are already super defined right there, and when I read it, I just loved her. I thought she was loud. She could come off as overbearing and whatever, but at the end of the day, she would kill for her kids and she was funny. It was a completely different character from Barbara Jean but it still had some of the fun elements of things just come out of her mouth, and she was single and she was this woman who her kids are all grown up and they’re on a new journey and she’s divorced.
So, she has a whole new chapter coming up and she’s not 22, but she gets to still date and see what happens now that you’re not a mom full time anymore. So, that sort of attracted me. I don’t know if you’ve seen the cast, but that was sort of attractive too to get to work with them every day.
Moderator You’ve acted in movies, television programs, you’ve hosted, is there one that you prefer over the other?
M. Peterman I don’t know. I always kind of think of myself as an actress first in a way, but the hosting comes so naturally because of my improv. I don’t think I prefer anyone over the other. I think what I like about it is if I go host, I think that makes me a better improviser because it makes me faster on my feet, and if I go improvise, that makes me a better standup, and if I go do standup, that works on my timing which makes me better at a sitcom role, and if I go do a movie, that’s a whole other sort of muscle. Everything’s smaller and it’s a little bit—just a very different feel. So, I think I enjoy them all because I think they make me better and help me exercise a different muscle that makes me better for another thing. I don’t know if that makes sense.
Moderator I was wondering how close do you get with the contestants?
M. Peterman As I’ve hosted a few other shows, I found that if you take the time to go before the show starts and say hello, welcome them and take a moment to chat with them, it puts them at ease and they can have fun because here’s the thing—their time on the show is—this is the clip or the moment that every family’s going to watch at every holiday. They’re going to e-mail it to everyone. This is their time to shine and this is their moment. They get to be a star and this is the clip that their family will air forever.
So, I just always think it’s really important to go say hello and welcome them and it puts them at ease and they can have fun, but I always spend a few minutes or even longer before the show starts with all of the contestants there. I don’t follow them home or anything, but I would a couple of them. They were pretty fun.
For more information on “Dancing Fools”, please visit the official website here.
The Future Girls
The Next Girls
The Top 16
Interview with Melody Dassance by Dennis A. Amith
Melody Dassance was one of the guest commentators on the YouTube AKB48 32nd Single Senbatsu Sosenkyou (General Elections) YouTube live streaming on Saturday. Melody who is based in France, has appeared on various television shows showcasing her as a big fan of the Japanese idol group, AKB48 and their sister groups.
While commentators voiced their opinion (which was dubbed in English for viewers at home), it helped to see Melody’s emotions come out during the election as some of the emotional speeches really affected her at times during the live streaming and it added to the emotional element of the AKB48 32nd Single General Election.
J!-ENT recently had a chance to speak to Melody hours after the live streaming event. (Note: The names on this interview use the Japanese family name first, first name second)
You have been on Japanese television prior for shows showcasing international AKB48 fans. How were you discovered in Japan?
Melody: Well, it was different each time… first time was that I passed a sort of casting for FujiTV’s “Iine JAPAN! Nippon Daisuki Gaikokujin No.1 Kettensei” that was posted online, looking for foreign fans. This time, it was more private, producers contacting several people about it in a very short amount of time. But that wasn’t related at all!
The main host for the streaming event was Georges, is he a TV host in Japan?
Melody: I didn’t know him beforehand but he’s actually a radio show host here! From what I’ve heard, he’s hosting a lot of regular radio shows right now. Can’t tell much more about him, but I’ll look for more info in the Internet. By pure curiosity! He is very nice.
You’re from France and how was communication with the guests? Are you fluent in speaking Japanese?
Melody: I am not fluent at all but I have been communicating with them in English. Some of the staff didn’t speak English either though so I was struggling with my own Japanese (very basic) skills, but I think it went okay overall!
How was the experience to take part in such a major AKB48 event?
Melody: It was amazing! It was my first AKB48 concert so I was kind of nervous, but everyone was very welcoming and it was an amazing experience. Being able to witness both a huge concert and the senbatsu sousenkyo ceremony was incredible!
You have seen many AKB48 performances but how was the experience of watching their concert before the elections? And did they hook you up with great seats?
Melody: It was great! It was my first AKB48 concert and it was such an awesome way to experiment it. We watched it from the studio corporate boxes up the stadium with the staff members.
What was the most moving speech for you at the AKB48 General Election?
Melody: I think it was showing on my face but Miyazawa Sae’s speech moved me. I was feeling very proud she managed to convey her true feelings without hiding anything. I am very glad she’s so determinate about SNH48. Shinoda Mariko’s speech was also both heartbreaking, but it is a beautiful way to announce her graduation.
When the announcement was that it was either Yuko or Sashihara going to be #1…before Yuko’s announcement, how was everyone inside the room? Was it tense? And how did you feel? Were you expecting Sashihara to take #1 because of how well she did during the preliminary votes?
Melody: Honestly, everyone was making different predictions and seeing how surprising the rest of the ranking was, everything could happen! I was more thinking Yuuko would get #1 because she is Oshima Yuuko, you know. She has this huge mainstream appeal and image that I didn’t picture Sashihara having. But it was very interesting and everyone’s reaction, girls and commentators, was great!
What was the biggest surprise for you in terms of members dropping or members moving up at this year’s elections?
Melody: I think Shibata Aya being totally new in rank this year and ranking center for the undergirls was the biggest good surprise! But I’m very happy, I like this girl a lot and I hope this will get her the chance to shine more in SKE. Kuramochi Asuka ranking so low was kind of a bad surprise too, but it feels she’s on the same roll as Akimoto Sayaka and all of these old generation members who are getting less and less love from management as months go by.
It was very fascinating to see how quickly the English dubbing was for the announcers and for the commentary crew including yourself. Did you have a chance to hear yourself being dubbed?
Melody: Not at all! Someone was translating me the questions and speeches but Georges-san was translating himself my answers to his questions so I didn’t even know I was dubbed!
So, you were unaware that on the left audio, you were all being dubbed and on the right audio, the whole general election, announcers were being dubbed simultaneously.
Melody: Totally! Actually we couldn’t really hear us since we were talking, we could only see how it looked on the monitor.
I was wondering because both audio were coming all at once and confusing viewers in the beginning, if the staff were knowing how to respond to the criticism on the fly?
Melody: I really don’t know, honestly. I guess technical staff members were receiving feedback and trying to fix possible issues but I can’t be sure, I really had no idea of how it sounded like and I was way too busy watching the election (laughing).
After the elections, did you get to go backstage or did everyone go home?
Melody: Everyone went home. We just walked across Nissan Stadium’s buildings to get our car. We ran into Maeda Atsuko and theater managers Togasaki-san, Yuasa-san and Shiba-san though.
Did you get a chance to meet Atsuko and Togasaki?
Melody: I just saw Togasaki from far away but he seemed rather busy! We ran into Maeda Atsuko after the election ended but she looked busy too, I think she was meeting Mariko upstairs. I only told her “thank you” and “good job, good night” though, nothing special. She sure is a gorgeous lady!
While watching Sashihara give her speech and how worried she was as being the new ace center, I know that Yuko found it very interesting to have Sashihara in the center position. Knowing that Yuko and Mayuyu will be behind her. I also find it interesting because for the 32nd single, I’m expecting it to be more of an upbeat dance track, nothing cute or idol pop like the songs Sashihara tends to perform (solo or with HKT48). What do you think about Sashihara being the center for the 32nd single?
Melody: This is definitely going to be interesting! As Sashihara told Yuuko, “This is going to be a weird song”! Everything is unexpected and this is great to look forward to it. Change feels good!
Who is your oshimen (favorite member) and having been on several shows about AKB48, have you had a chance to meet her yet?
Melody: My oshimen is Takahashi Juri and unfortunately I have never met her! I hope I will be able to take part in a handshake event one day!
Are you headed back to France or do you get to have a little more R&R in Japan for a little while?
Melody: I wish I could have stayed more but I have to go back to France for work! I already took a day-off on Friday to come here and I couldn’t take more of them
Having seen how the elections went and seeing how we are starting to see the transition of older members leaving and younger members now starting to get their notice and ranking much higher. As a longtime AKB48 fan, what is your feeling of seeing this transition?
Melody: I think it’s a good thing. Older members can’t stay in AKB forever, they have to live their own lives too. This changing feeling has been going around for the past year and it feels great. They are different parts of AKB48 history, and it is very interesting to watch the process. Next generation looks promising, with such caring and determinate senpai!
Right when Sashihara was riding the float after her speech, you were given a chance to talk about this year’s elections but the audio cut out during the live streaming. Can you tell us what you said? So, people will know what you were explaining to George during that portion.
Melody: I was saying that even if I got kind of cold towards Sashihara after her scandal, we could see tonight she is a modest and honest girl who does her best and everything she can for HKT48. She’s very hard-working and such a caring senpai. HKT girls still need someone to lead them forward and Sashihara is doing a perfect job so far. I am very happy for her!
Anything you want to add about your experience on Saturday?
Melody: It was great and I’d like to thank everyone for giving me such opportunity! It was perfect. I’d jump in another plane to do it again any day!
The Day After…
Morning newspapers in Japan featuring Rino Sashihara.
2013 vs. 2012 General Election Stats Comparison
Your votes do matter?
Consider how tight some of these votes were. The answer is yes. For the #20 and #21 position, Rie Kitahara was only 8 votes behind Aki Takajo:
#21 – Rie Kitahara (北原里英) – AKB48 Team K – TOTAL VOTES: 33,121
#20 – Aki Takajo (高城亜樹) – JKT48 Team J – TOTAL VOTES: 33,129
Meanwhile, there was a tie at the #54 and #53 position:
#54 – Mayu Ogasawa (小笠原茉由), NMB48 TEAM N – TOTAL VOTES: 13,613
#53 – Ami Maeda (前田亜美), AKB48 TEAM K – TOTAL VOTES: 13,613
Former AKB48 member Atsuko Maeda (who placed #1 twice in previous AKB48 General Elections) was at the stadium and a few clips captured her reaction to Yuko Oshima taking #2 and Rino Sashihara taking #1.
Atsuko Maeda joined Mariko for a post-interview.
How the AKB48 SoCal Fan Club reacted to Yuko Oshima ranking #2 and Rino Sashihara ranking at #1. Video by David Chang.
Yui Yokoyama (AKB48 Team A) and Nana Yamada (NMB48 Team M) posing together post-senbatsu sosenkyou
Takagi Yumana may have not ranked in this year’s senbatsu sosenkyou but it’s good to see her positive attitude along with her fellow SKE48 members who did rank.
Amazon Japan has listed the 32nd AKB48 singles for release on August 21st.
Post-interview with Yuko Oshima and Sae Miyawa and Rena Matsui videobombing during her interview.
Takamina delivering her speech to the members after the election.
SKE48′s Kanon Kimoto posing with her trophy.
For those wanting to follow the AKB48 32nd Single General Election, I recommend the following sites:
If you are living in California, I highly recommend joining the AKB48 So. Cal page on Facebook
Also, I recommend visiting Stage48
5:18 AM PST/9:18 PM (Tokyo) – THE NEW # ACE CENTER – Rino Sashihara (指原 莉乃)
Rino Sashihara of HKT48 has now become the #1 ace center for the 32nd single. Unfortunately, the stream ended before we got a chance to see her sit on the center chair. But it’s definitely going to be an interesting 32nd single with Sashihara as the new #1 center for AKB48. It’s important to note that Sashihara’s 150,570 votes is the highest for an election for a member who took first place. Yuko’s 136,503 was the highest at #2. In 2012, when Yuko Oshima took #1, she earned 108,837 votes. But the margin of votes between #1, #2 and #3 were not even close.
3:15 AM PST/7:15 PM (Tokyo): TOP 16
#16 – Akari Suda (須田亜香里) – SKE48 Team KII (Last year #29) – TOTAL VOTES: 43,252
3:22 AM PST/7:22 PM (Tokyo): TOP 16
#15 – Miyuki Watanabe (渡辺美優紀) – NMB48 TEAM N (Last year #19) – LATEST VOTES: 44,116
3:28 AM PST/7:28 PM (Tokyo): TOP 16
#14 – Sayaka Yamamoto (山本彩) – NMB48 Team N (Last year #18) – TOTAL VOTES: 51,793
3:36 AM PST/7:36 PM (Tokyo): TOP 16
#13 – Yui Yokoyama (横山由依) – AKB48 Team A (Last year #15) – TOTAL VOTES: 53,903
I thought Yui may faint again, it took her awhile to recover but a few minutes on stage and she was back to normal!
3:42 AM PST/7:42 PM (Tokyo): TOP 16
#12 – Haruka Shimazaki (島崎遥香) – AKB48 Team B (Last year #23) – TOTAL VOTES: 57,275
One of the more interesting speeches as the announcers try to get more out of her, but she was unwilling to budge. She had all she had to say and didn’t want to add to it. So Paruru! Nice and salty!
3:49 AM PST/7:49 PM (Tokyo): TOP 16
#11 – Tomomi Itano (板野友美) – AKB48 Team K (Last year #8) – TOTAL VOTES: 63,547
3:55 AM PST/7:55 PM (Tokyo): TOP 16
#10 Sae Miyazawa (宮澤佐江) – SNH48 (Last year #11) / Sae just said she will focus only on SHN48! – TOTAL VOTES: 65,867
4:01 AM PST/8:01 PM (Tokyo): TOP 16
#9 – Haruna Kojima (小嶋陽菜) – AKB48 Team B (Last year #7) – TOTAL VOTES: 67,424
4:06 AM PST/8:06 PM (Tokyo): TOP 16
#8 – Minami Takahashi (高橋みなみ) – AKB48 Team A (Last year #6) – TOTAL VOTES: 68,681
4:13 AM PST/8:13 PM (Tokyo): TOP 16
#7 – Rena Matsui (松井玲奈)- SKE48 Team E (Last year #10) – TOTAL VOTES: 73,173
4:19 AM PST/8:19 PM (Tokyo): TOP 16
#6 – Jurina Matsui (松井珠理奈) – SKE48 Team S (Last year #9) – TOTAL VOTES: 77,170
4:28 AM PST/8:28 PM (Tokyo): TOP 16
#5 – Mariko Shinoda (篠田麻里子) – AKB48 (Last year #5) – Mariko Shinoda announced she is graduating! – TOTAL VOTES: 92,599
For those who didn’t catch Mariko’s graduation announcement, here is the clip.
Here is a clip of Takamina’s reaction and comments about Mariko graduating.
4:39 AM PST/8:39 PM (Tokyo): TOP 16
#4 – Yuki Kashiwagi (柏木由紀) – AKB48 Team B (Last year #3) – TOTAL VOTES: 96,905
4:44 AM PST/8:44 PM (Tokyo): TOP 16
#3 – Mayu Watanabe (渡辺麻友) – AKB48 Team A (Last year #2) TOTAL VOTES: 96,905
4:52 AM PST/8:52 PM (Tokyo): TOP 16
Will Rino Sashihara who was #1 in the preliminary votes take #1 or last year’s #1 Yuko Oshima, have another repeat?
4:56 AM PST/8:56 PM (Tokyo): TOP 16
#2 – Yuko Oshima (大島優子) – AKB48 Team K (Last year #1) – TOTAL VOTES: 136,503
The stunning announcement that Yuko Oshima took second place!
5:03 AM PST/9:03 PM (Tokyo): TOP 16
#1 – Rino Sashihara (指原莉乃) – HKT48 Team H (Last year #4) – TOTAL VOTES: 150,570
A very surprised Rino Sashihara winning #1!
For those wanting to follow the AKB48 32nd Single General Election, I recommend the following sites:
If you are living in California, I highly recommend joining the AKB48 So. Cal page on Facebook
Also, I recommend visiting Stage48
2:40 AM PST/6:40 PM (Tokyo): UNDER GIRLS
#32 – Reina Fujie (藤江れいな) – AKB48 Team B – TOTAL VOTES: 21,324
#31 – Kanon Kimoto (木本花音) – SKE48 Team E – TOTAL VOTES: 21,385
#30 – Anna Iriyama (入山杏奈) – AKB48 Team A – TOTAL VOTES: 22,869
#29 – Masana Oya (大矢真那) – SKE48 Team S – TOTAL VOTES: 23,588
#28 – Nana Yamada (山田菜々) – NMB48 Team M – TOTAL VOTES: 23,950
#27 – Airi Furukawa (古川愛李) – SKE48 Team KII – TOTAL VOTES: 24,490
#26 – Sakura Miyawagi (宮脇咲良) – HKT48 Team H – TOTAL VOTES: 25,760
#25 – Rena Kawaei (川栄李奈) – AKB48 Team A – TOTAL VOTES: 26,764
#24 – Kaori Matsumura (松村香織) – SKE48 – TOTAL VOTES: 27,566
#23 – Akane Takayanagi (高柳明音) – SKE48 Team KII – TOTAL VOTES: 29,199
#22 – Yuria Kizaki (木崎ゆりあ) – SKE48 Team KII – TOTAL VOTES: 30,307
#21 – Rie Kitahara (北原里英) – AKB48 Team K – TOTAL VOTES: 33,121
#20 – Aki Takajo (高城亜樹) – JKT48 Team J – TOTAL VOTES: 33,129
#19 – Ayaka Umeda (梅田彩佳) – AKB48 Team B – TOTAL VOTES: 36, 282
#18 – Minami Minegishi (峯岸みなみ) – AKB48 Kenkyuusei – TOTAL VOTES: 38,985
#17 – Aya Shibata (柴田阿弥) – SKE48 Team K II – TOTAL VOTES: 39,739
2:18 AM PST/6:18 PM (Tokyo): NEXT GIRLS
#48 Mina Oba (大場美奈) – AKB48 Team B/SKE48 – TOTAL VOTES: 15,064
#47 – Ami Kobayashi (小林亜実) – SKE48 Team KII – TOTAL VOTES: 15,533
#46 – Haruka Ishida (石田晴香) – AKB48 Team B – TOTAL VOTES: 16,072
#45 – Tomu Muto (武藤十夢) – AKB48 Team K – TOTAL VOTES: 16,221
#44 – Fuko Yakura (矢倉楓子) – NMB48 Team N – TOTAL VOTES: 16,281
#43 – Aika Oota (多田愛佳) – HKT48 Team H – TOTAL VOTES: 16,401
#42 – Makiko Saito (斉藤真木子) – SKE48 Team S – TOTAL VOTES: 16,508
#41 – Rena Matsumoto (松本梨奈) – SKE48 Team KII – TOTAL VOTES: 16,715
#40 – Kei Jonishi (上西恵) – NMB48 Team N – TOTAL VOTES: 17,381
#39 – Madoka Umemoto (梅本まどか) – SKE48 TEAM E – TOTAL VOTES: 17,819
#38 – Yuka Tano (田野優花) – AKB48 TEAM A – TOTAL VOTES: 18,125
#37 – Haruka Kodama (兒玉遥) – HKT48 Team H – TOTAL VOTES: 18,145
#36 – Asuka Kuramochi (倉持明日香) – AKB48 Team K – TOTAL VOTES: 18,435
#35 – Mariya Nagao (永尾まりや) – AKB48 Team K – TOTAL VOTES: 18,978
#34 – Haruka Katayama (片山陽加) – AKB48 Team B – TOTAL VOTES: 19,158
#33 – Amina Sato (佐藤亜美菜) – AKB48 – TOTAL VOTES: 19,569
2:11 AM PST/6:11 PM (Tokyo): THE FUTURE GIRLS
#64 -Yuka Nakanishi (中西優香), SKE48 Team S – TOTAL VOTES: 11,602
#63 – Shiori Kaneko (金子栞), SKE48 Team E – TOTAL VOTES: 11,620
#62 – Natsuki Hirajima (平嶋夏海), graduated AKB48 – TOTAL VOTES: 11,888
#61 – Suzuran Yamauchi (山内鈴蘭), AKB48 TEAM B – TOTAL VOTES: 11,888
#60 – Sakiko Matsui (松井咲子), AKB48 TEAM A – TOTAL VOTES: 11,961
#59 – Mio Tomonaga (朝長美桜), HKT48 – TOTAL VOTES: 12,126
#58 – Kyoko Ishihara (磯原杏華), SKE48 TEAM S – TOTAL VOTES: 12,319
#57 – Miori Ichikawa (市川美織), AKB48 TEAM B/NMB48 – TOTAL VOTES: 12,616
#56 – Misaki Iwasa (岩佐美咲), AKB48 TEAM B – TOTAL VOTES: 13,246
#55 – Meru Tashima (田島芽瑠), HKT48 – TOTAL VOTES: 13,422
#54 – Mayu Ogasawa (小笠原茉由), NMB48 TEAM N – TOTAL VOTES: 13,613
#53 – Ami Maeda (前田亜美), AKB48 TEAM K – TOTAL VOTES: 13,613
#52 – Sumire Sato (佐藤すみれ), AKB48 TEAM A – TOTAL VOTES: 13,692
#51 – Ayaka Kikuchi (菊地あやか), AKB48 TEAM A – TOTAL VOTES: 13,944
#50 – Akari Yoshida (吉田朱里), NMB48 TEAM N – TOTAL VOTES: 14,684
#49 – Shu Yobushita (藪下柊), NMB48 – TEAM BII – TOTAL VOTES: 14,745
For those wanting to follow the AKB48 32nd Single General Election, I recommend the following sites:
If you are living in California, I highly recommend joining the AKB48 So. Cal page on Facebook
Also, I recommend visiting Stage48
1:49 AM PST/5:49 PM (Tokyo)
Members of the groups are now coming down the stage. Still conflicting audio….
1:44 AM PST/5:44 PM (Tokyo):
What is irritating is that the left speaker is broadcasting the English dub of the narrators while the right speaker is broadcasting the English dub of the announcers. They are conflicting with each other and the narrators are much louder.
1:35 AM PST/5:35 PM (Tokyo):
It appears these guys will be talking during the elections. Darn! They are narrating but I hope they don’t interrupt during the speeches.
1:30 AM PST/5:30 PM (Tokyo):
I’m so happy that they are now showing the concert while these guys talk. On the right are the Google+ comments.
1:24 AM PST/5:24 PM (Tokyo):
Surprised the dialogue is being live dubbed. But the two Japanese men are discussing about how they write about AKB48 and how they are fans of AKB48. The person on the left is pulling for Oshima and Takamina. The man on the right (dark jacket) is a hardcore AKB4 fan.
1:15 AM PST/5:15 PM (Tokyo):
And the YouTube live streaming of the AKB48 General Elections has begun! Wow…the stream is dubbed in English. Interesting!
1:00 AM PST:
We are less than half an hour until the AKB48 5th Annual Senbatsu (General Elections) for the 32nd Single. A reminder that you can watch the general election live on YouTube.
China AKB48 fans contribute over 9,100 votes for Sashihara Rino.
A fan took out an ad on a sports page for SKE48 Team S’s Makiko Saito.
Tower Records in Kagoshima supporting Yuki Kashiwagi to take #1. Kashiwagi is from Kagoshima and has taken 3rd place for the 3rd and 4th Senbatsu Election. The May 22nd preliminaries have her at #5. It will be interesting to see where she will place. (Photo source: HKT48 Sakura Miyawagi’s grandfather)
For AKB48, SKE48, NMB48 and HKT48 fans, many have been waiting for this year’s 32nd Single General Election.
And today in Japan (June 8th) and all around the world, people will get a chance to watch and see who will be the #1 ace center and who will be this year’s top 16 (and who will place in the top 64).
While Fuji TV will be airing the 4 hr., 40 min. coverage on television, those outside of Japan will be able to watch it on YouTube (1:15 a.m. PST).
For those not familiar with the AKB48 General Election, this year will be the fifth annual General Election (Senbatsu). In May 2013, AKB48′s 31st CD single “Sayonara Crawl” was released. Fans who made a purchase of the single would get a number in which they can vote on their favorite member. Part of the reason why “Sayonara Crawl” did extremely well in sales is because some fans bought dozens of the single, in order to make multiple votes for their favorite member. The person who gets the most votes will be the #1 ace center for the upcoming AKB48 CD single but it’s also used as a barometer to show one’s popularity of the fans.
Those who make the top 12 are the ones who will typically get television and magazine coverage, the top 16 will take part in the 32nd single. While the next 16 will be known as the Undergirls and will get to perform the B-track (C/W song on the next single).
Because people know the General Election is a popularity contest, a second senbatsu competition is held in which members compete in a Rock-Paper-Scissors competition in September known as the Janken Senbatsu. So, unranked members can still have a chance to be the next center for the December CD single release.
As for this fifth senbatsu, there are a few interesting things that new fans will be interested seeing:
- Atsuko Maeda, who has been #1 several times in the General Elections, will not be competing (she also graduated from AKB48 in 2012)
- The favorites coming into the election are last year’s #1 – Yuko Oshima, #2 – Mayu Watanabe and #3 – Yuki Kashiwagi
- The last four Senbatsu elections have been dominated by Atsuko Maeda and Yuko Oshima.
- On May 22nd, the preliminary votes were released and Rino Sashihara was #1.
- Those who have dominated the top 10 in the past few years have dropped considerably in the preliminary vote. AKB48 Team Captain Minami Takahashi was at #18 and Haruna Kojima was at #21.
- In the “Yahoo! Children Japan poll” and the Goo Japan “General Audience” poll, Yuko Oshima was at #1.
So, one can expect surprises in this year’s general election and we are just hours away.
For many anime fans, Aoi Eir (note: Eir is her first name but for the label, Aoi Eir is used) is a name that many remember for her songs featured on “Mobile Suit Gundam AGE”, “Fate/Zero” and most recently with “Sword Art Online”.
But what is fascinating is how Aoi became a music star.
Originally hailing from Sapporo, Hokkaido, Aoi was first noticed through her music videos posted on the Nico Nico Douga video sharing site.
As a person that has been interested in music at a young age, in high school, Aoi used to have a high school band. After graduating, she continued to pursue music and by 2011, she released her debut single “Memoria” that was used on the series “Fate/Zero”.
By 2012, she would have two hit anime theme songs with “Aurora” which became the fourth opening theme song for “Mobile Suit Gundam AGE” and her third single “Innocence” was released in November 2012 and was used as the second opening theme song for “Sword Art Online”.
For music artist, Luna Haruna (note: Luna is the first name and Luna Haruna is used by the label), she is an anime fan and loves gothic lolita.
Her song “Overfly” was featured as the second ending theme to “Sword Art Online” and recently debuted at #7, a pretty solid showing since her debut single “Sora wa Takaku Kaze wa Utau” (which was used for anime series “Fate/Zero”).
A big anime and music fan, by the time she entered junior high, she became obsessed with gothic lolita manga characters and Western clothes. By the third year of junior high, Haruna Luna was auditioning for the Internet radio program of “Renta Magica” and won the opportunity to perform the opening theme.
And from that point on, her life would immediately change. Haruna Luna would become an imoto-kei amateur model for “Kera” fashion magazine and modeling for “Marui” but with anime as her passion, she would become popular for competing and becoming a finalist for the fourth All-Japan Anime Song Grand Prix. With this new found popularity, she was signed to SME Records.
For both Aoi Eir and Luna Haruna, with their work on “Sword Art Online” and “Fate/Zero”, both performed in concert in April at Sakura Con in Seattle. Their very first performance in the United States.
J!-ENT recently had the opportunity to talk with the duo alone and also take part at the Sakura-Con press conference:
Here is our brief interview and a transcript of the press Q&A with Aoi Eir and Luna Haruna:
J!-ENT: Many people are probably wondering how your stage names came about. Can you please tell us?
Aoi Eir: “Eir” is actually the name of a Norse goddess. It has always been my childhood dream to become a singer, but there was a time that I had given up on this dream. And at that time, I thought about becoming a nurse. I had even started studying to become a nurse and so I became very fond of the goddess Eir, who was the goddess of medical skill and healing. So I got “Eir” from that, and as for “Aoi”, I had always been very fond of the name “Aoi” or “Aoi-chan” and always thought it was cute, and my username on the computer had always been “Aoi”. So it’s always been a nickname that I liked a lot, so I combined the two and came up with “Aoi Eir”.
Luna Haruna: As for me, I have always admired the name “Luna” since I was a child. And I have always liked the moon, so I chose “Luna”. I was also using the name “Luna” while I was a magazine model (dokusha model) and got the name “Haruna” added when I started singing. The head of my agency was the one that came up with “Haruna”, because I thought it was would nice for people to refer to me as “Luna Luna” someday, so that’s how we got “HaLuna Luna”. Also, the kanji for “Haruna” means good luck, and that was another reason it was chosen.
J!-ENT: Did you know there were many people in the US who listen to and are fans of Japanese music? And are you pretty surprised to see the support that you are receiving from fans around the world?
Aoi Eir: I had heard about it, but I had never seen it until now. I was able to experience their love of anime up close. There was a person that said they had learned Japanese through anime, so I felt their love for anime very strongly. I go to Winter Comi and Summer Comi quite often and had seen people from overseas there, so I had known that it was popular to some point. But I had never imagined the love was so very deep as I found out here… I’m very moved and I felt that I had to step it up a little myself.
J!-ENT: Is there any American food you’d like to try or places you’d like to visit while you’re in Seattle?
Aoi Eir: Starbucks is really famous, so I had some Starbucks coffee. I’d like to walk around as well, but haven’t had the chance to just yet. I’m hoping we’ll be able to do that tomorrow, and then I’m hoping to enjoy various American style foods. I was rather surprised to hear that it’s very common to eat sandwiches and potato chips together, so I’d love to do that.
J!-ENT: The first Starbucks is actually in Seattle, at Pike Place Market, so please check it out.
Aoi Eir: We totally will!
Luna Haruna: I love Subway, and I really love their oven potatoes (Note: they’re like french fries and not available in the US) and I’m wondering if they’re different in the US. I eat them all the time in Japan. So I’d love to try the US version if they’re available. I’d like to conquer that. I heard that it’s the biggest fast food chain in the US, and that there are even more Subways than McDonalds.
J!-ENT: What kind of students were you in high school? The artsy student? The book worm? The prankster? The athlete?
Aoi Eir: I wasn’t the smart kid at all (laughs). I played basketball quite a bit, but I also loved music and had started getting more interested in it while I was playing basketball in high school. But I never really explored it until I got into high school. In high school, I formed a band. I started playing the guitar in junior high school, and then in high school I started a band, doing the vocals and playing guitar. I even studied the bass guitar a little bit. So it was in high school that I really started to explore music.
Luna Haruna: By the time I was in high school, I was already a complete otaku. The thing was, everyone in my class was an otaku. Not to mention, it was an art class, so everyone was really good at drawing and everyone was able to draw manga. So it was completely normal for everyone to be reading manga during class. You pretty much couldn’t find text books in our desks… so it was a very interesting class. We were able to express ourselves to the max, so it was a very fun high school life.
J!-ENT: Both of you had the opportunity to have your songs featured on two popular anime series. How was that first experience when you heard your song on an anime series?
Aoi Eir: It didn’t feel like it was real at all at first… So every week, I would be watching the episodes just to confirm that it was real. Yet still, I felt, “Is this really happening?” Now I’m a little more used to it, so now I concentrate on what I can do to repay all of my fans and how I can express myself even more.
Luna Haruna: I feel the same way. When I first saw the anime footage going along with my own song, I was so moved. My overall goal in life is to become one with the anime world, so I felt that I had come closer to that goal, and I took a picture of the footage with my phone… Even though you can’t hear it.
Aoi Eir: I did that, too! (laughs)
Luna Haruna: And then, I uploaded that to my blog.
Aoi Eir: I took a picture of when my name shows up in the credits.
J!-ENT: If there is one word to describe yourself, what word would that be and why?
Aoi Eir: I think the word “fun”. I’m always having fun. I’m having fun when I’m performing, and singing. I’m having fun all the time.
Luna Haruna: It’s not one word, but rather one phrase: anime otaku. I really believe that anime is my life. I believe that anime is the only way that I can truly express myself. So I intend to keep pulling through as an otaku.
Last night at your concert, people seemed to enjoy your song from “Puella Magi Madoka Magica”, the collaboration, what made you pick your songs last night and do you two plan on doing anymore collaborations in the future?
Aoi Eir: I personally love ClariS and ClariS and I are actually from the same hometown. I look up to and respect them very much and so I’d like to do more collaborations with them.
Luna Haruna: I also like doing collaborations. Since I usually sing by myself, singing with various other artists is always stimulating and is also a learning experience. It’s also very exciting so I’d love to do it again.
American Robot Records has recorded various artists and found that most artists have a routine. What are things that you concentrate on before recording or during recording?
Aoi Eir: I actually work out. I think that having a strong core is very important, so I get a good night’s sleep, drink a lot of water and then do a lot of sit ups. Then I try to imagine the world of the particular song I’m recording and then I record.
Luna Haruna: Expression is very important to me, so I read the lyrics and let my imagination go to work. I love anime very much, so it’s very important that I don’t ruin that world. I keep that world very important to me and imagine the lyrics, and then go into recording with that image in my head.
J!-ENT: Before performing to an American audience, was it a bit stressful, scary, exciting? How were you feeling when you found out that you would be performing in America?
Aoi Eir: I was a little nervous, but the people of Seattle are very passionate and there are many people who are very good at having a great time. So I was also able to have a great time and perform. In the end, I was a little nervous, but my feelings of excitement were much, much greater.
Luna Haruna: I was also very nervous and excited at first. This is my first time anywhere overseas, so I was very excited about what kinds of environments I would see. And last night, I was able to perform at the concert and it almost felt like it wasn’t the first time I was here. Everyone welcomed me so warmly and I was very happy that I came.
So how have you evolved as a singer? Since you both have been singing since a young age, has your presence in the anime world changed you?
Aoi Eir: Before I debuted, I had always just worried about my pitch. But as a singer, I want to express something, to say something. That is vital in being a singer, but before I debuted, I hadn’t thought of that at all. But since I’ve debuted, I’ve always considering how much people would be accepting my songs in their hearts and how I can excite the people who come to my concerts more and more. I think about those points very much now.
Luna Haruna: I have always loved anisongs and singing in general. Now that I’m a singer myself, I am able to experience bringing smiles to the people who listen to my music and see that there are people who feel something when they listen to my songs. So I want to become an even better singer and I was able to really understand the wonderfulness of songs, so I actually feel like I was given an even bigger dream to pursue and I’m having a lot of fun. So I’d like to become an even better singer.
Aoi, how does it feel to have two top ten singles so early in your career?
Aoi Eir: Honestly, I never thought that would happen, so I was very surprised at first. It actually felt quite unreal. But I feel that was able to happen because I have so many fans who support me and I’m currently trying to figure out what I can do next so I can repay all of them for their support.
Luna, how was it working with the legendary Kajiura Yuki on your debut song?
Luna Haruna: Well, I loved the TV anime series, “Gundam SEED” which Kajiura Yuki-san did the music for and I have always loved the worlds she was able to create through her music. So when I was told I would be able to work with someone has amazing as her, it was very surreal. When I listened to the song I was going to sing, I was able to really get a feel for the world that song created and I was very happy.
What do you like to do to relax when you’re not singing?
Aoi Eir: I play games. I absolutely love the Xbox 360, PS3, PSP and Nintendo DS and I’m playing all the time. And among all of those, the thing I’m most into right now is online gaming.
What types of online games? MMOs? Shooters?
Aoi Eir: I mainly play FPS’s. For example, I love “Left 4 Dead” and “Gears of War” very much. Well, I guess “Gears” isn’t technically a FPS, but I also like “Call of Duty” as well.
Luna Haruna: I’m very much an anime otaku. I love watching anime and walking through Akihabara. I go to a lot of events and even get on the first train to do so, so I’m very passionate about being an otaku. Anime is my everything.
Now that you’ve worked in anime, is it something you’re eager to continue with? Is there any particular anime you’d like to work with in the future? If not, what is your true passion in music?
Aoi Eir: I have always loved and grew up with anime since I was in kindergarten, so I’m very honored that I’m able to sing anime theme songs. I’d definitely like to continue singing anime songs. Also, I’d like to try even harder so the audience overseas will continue listening and enjoying my music as well.
Luna Haruna: I feel the same. I would love to continue singing anime songs. I believe that anime is a vital part of Japanese culture and I was able to feel the excitement of becoming one with anime. So I’d like to continue to convey those feelings and worlds that anime creates to the other anime otakus.
Are there any other Japanese or Foreign artists you’d like to collaborate with?
Aoi Eir: For Japanese artists, I’d have to say I would absolutely love to collaborate with Mizuki Nana-san, Nakagawa Shoko-san, and Hirano Aya-san. As for American artists, I really love rock music, so I’d love to collaborate with Linkin Park.
Luna Haruna: I would love to do a collaboration with ALI Project. I had been able to collaborate with them before for an event for KERA, a Harajuku fashion magazine, called GothLoli Revival. But this time, I’d like to collaborate with them musically. I love the fashion and the world of gothic lolita so I’d love to express that with them. It would make me very happy.
For the songs you did for “Fate/Zero” and “Sword Art Online”, how much input do they give you and how much input were you able to give? Do you try to read as much of the source material as much as possible or do you just try to go with a general feeling of the material?
Aoi Eir: Since I got the song before it’s actually an anime, I go back and read the original work and try to imagine the feelings of the characters and try to convey those into the lyrics, since i also write lyrics myself. So I do use the source material to heighten my feelings for the song I’m about to sing.
Luna Haruna: So far, I’ve been singing the songs that appear in the second season so there is already a story that’s been created. So I go back and watch that, read the original material, and if there are prior series involved, I go back and read or watch those as well. Being an otaku, I really like to delve into that world and I love each individual character and try to keep in mind what they are trying to express as well as the world of that anime itself. I then take that and imagine how to interpret that into the songs.
How does it feel to be able to start out as an anime fan and now be able to do work that is involved in these anime? Does being an anime fan give you a different perspective doing these songs?
Aoi Eir: When I was watching anime, I didn’t think much about it, but now that I’m on the side that’s involved with making an anime, it can be hard to find the right feelings, words and voice that I’m trying to express. For example, thinking about what wording would impact the fans the most and in the songs, thinking about what parts should be softer in singing to help convey certain feelings. So I discuss all of this with the director and it’s a lot of fun going through this creative process and there is also a difficulty doing so. I believe that this has all been learning experiences for me.
Luna Haruna: Up until recently, I was on the side that was watching the anime. But now that I’m on the side that is creating anime, and expressing the worlds it creates to other fans, I think it’s only natural as an otaku. Seeing my voice being connected with the visuals of an anime, I feel like the real world and the anime world have finally connected, and I feel that a lot of dreams have been answered.
Haruna-san, you’ve mentioned that you walk around Akihabara. This question is for the both of you: have you been recognized on the street, and if fans approach you, how do you react?
Luna Haruna: Well, when I walk around Akihabara, I’m dressed very plain. So it’d be pretty hard to track me down, but if a fan were to find me, I think we’d be able to get excited together about anime and such so I’d be very welcome to that.
Aoi Eir: When I had gone to Akihabara in search of a brand new game that had come out, and my album came out on January 31st so there was a very big sign with my face on it… but no one had found me. I was even eating a crepe in front of that sign, and even then, no one approached me, so I’d like to try even harder.
With both of your successes with “Fate/Zero” and “Sword Art Online”, what other series are both of you aiming for to contribute your voice to?
Aoi Eir: I love fighting and in games, I love fighting games and even when watching anime, I watched alot of shows with a lot of fighting in it. For example, “Dragon Ball” and “Sailor Moon”. So just like “Fate/Zero” and “Sword Art Online”, I’d like to work on even more series filled with intense fighting.
If you had a chance to work on “Accel World”, would you have done it?
Aoi Eir: I would have loved to! I love ALTIMA and when I hear their song from “Accel World”, I get very excited.
Luna Haruna: As for me, as long as it’s an anime, I’m very happy. As long as I can sing anime songs, that itself is a dream come true for me. So if I can work on any anime, it makes me very happy.
Are there any American or western artists that have influenced your works?
Aoi Eir: They may not all be American, but Marion Raven, Slipknot, and Evanescence. Other than that, because of my father, I love Whitney Houston. I sing her songs a lot at karaoke. Also, on our way here, I was watching Eminem’s music video.
Luna Haruna: I mainly listen to ani-songs, so I don’t listen to very much western music. But when I want a slight change of atmosphere, I listen to U2, and I used to listen to Britney Spears quite often.
For more information on Aoi Eir, please click here.
For more information on Luna Haruna, please click here.
Single/album images are courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment Japan
Convention photo of Aoi Eir and Luna Haruna was taken by J!-ENT’s Michelle Tymon
Actress Constance Marie is well-known for her role as Angie in the family comedy sitcom “George Lopez” (2002-2007), the television show “American Family” and her role as Marcel Quintanilla in the 1997 film “Selena”.
Having had a career which began as a dancer in films such as “Salsa” and the TV series adaptation of “Dirty Dancing” back in the late ’80s, Constance returned to television as Regina Vasquez in “Switched at Birth”, a one-hour scripted drama that tells the story of two teenage girls who discover they were accidentally switched as newborns in the hospital.
“Switched at Birth” is a series that focuses on Vanessa Marano (Bay Kennish), a girl who grew up in a wealthy family with two parents and a brother, while Daphne Vasquez (played by Katie Leclerc), who lost her hearing at an early age due to a case of meningitis, grew up with a single mother, Regina (played by Constance Marie) in a working class neighborhood.
Things come to a dramatic head when both families meet and struggle to learn how to live together for the sake of the girls.
In the series, we have seen the character of Regina Vasquez go through tough times and put in rehab due to alcoholism. But also, a real life situation happened to Constance who was diagnosed with double tendonitis, carpel tunnel and cubital nerve damage from learning American Sign Language (ASL) and having to perform it on the series.
Because of her injury, it was written into the show how Regina is unable to communicate with her daughter, now that she can not use sign language because of the permanent damage.
With the second half of season two about to air on ABC Family on June 10th, Constance Marie talked about the upcoming season, her character and also her injury in a media Q&A.
Here is a transcript from the Q&A.
Moderator Could you talk about how your relationship with Bay will develop in the second half of the season?
C. Marie That’s one of the great things that happens right when the show premieres is Regina comes out rehab and realizes that how things were before are not going to work for somebody who is in rehab. She ends up living — or residing for a short while anyway– at Angelo’s house, and somehow the way that [Executive Producer ]Lizzy Weiss wonderfully works it out, they end up living there also; and so the entire Vasquez/Kennish family, but the Kennish being Bay this time, get to know each other and live together in the Vasquez house.
C. Marie I know, well, actually I guess it’s Vasquez/Sorrento/Kennish house.
Moderator Can you talk about if we’ll be getting to see you sign at all this season now that your hands are a little bit better?
C. Marie Well, the thing about that is they’re still not what they were and every once in a while I try it out and the problem that this kind of injury, it just flares up and you use your arms so much in life just normally besides the sign language, so I think it’s going to be a bit longer. I keep asking with my doctor and the problem is he’ll say we don’t know yet until it goes away because it just has flare-ups; and you can’t stop the flare-ups without stopping the activity that’s making it flare up, and in this case being the sign language, so unfortunately not yet. I’m hopeful. I’m very hopeful. I’m a very strong woman and I just hope that it’ll come back soon.
Moderator I hear that when Regina comes out of rehab, she’s actually coming out a little bit early. Is that really a good idea or will we see her alcoholism continue to play out, or is she good now for a while?
C. Marie I think what happens is Regina realizes how much her rehab stay has sort of added to the disconnect between Daphne and her. She realizes that she’s missed so much time with the girls as it is that her coming out early to honor a tradition that she and Daphne had ends up being a mistake; and she has to remove herself again. That’s why she ends up at the Sorrento house, Angelo’s house, for a while because she just made a mistake and it was too soon. But she is clearly on the path of trying to stay sober, so will do anything including moving in with Angelo if that’s what it takes to stay sober to get space from the Kennishes.
Moderator Does that mean we’ve seen the last of the boyfriend? He kind of gave her the old I’ll call you when I’m back in town kind of thing when he left?
C. Marie Oh my goodness. I swear I’m envious of my character’s life. She has so many beautiful men everywhere. Actually, yes, that storyline as of yet that I know doesn’t pan out. We focus more on Regina’s rehab. One of the things that are great this season is before it was all about Daphne and everybody getting to know Daphne and the struggles that Bay and Daphne had together, but this is really a chance for Bay and Regina to connect and to explore that relationship, which was really not touched on in the first season at all.
The dynamic of that and we include Angelo into that and all of us living together is really and truly an amazing, amazing dynamic that gets to be explored. Also the thing is Ty is back; Blair Redford is back on the show by popular demand. They get to explore those relationships, that relationship and him and his PTSD and coming back from war. It’s really, really amazing how dynamic the show is even still.
Moderator The wardrobe on “Switch at Birth” is fantastic. Do you get any say on what you wear on the show?
C. Marie Thank you so much. I am going to relay that to our wonderful wardrobe department.
It’s sort of a collaborative process because especially since Regina has gone through so many transformations from more earthy … artist, hair stylist forward trashy dressing a little bit too young to her drinking phase and rehab days and now since she has a new job that I’m not sure—I can tease on it, but let’s just say she’s very, very fashionable; and my wardrobe just gets so much better.
Moderator Speaking of Regina and art, she’s a very artistic character and obviously you have artistic abilities within acting, I was wondering do you have any additional artistic talent?
C. Marie I did major in art. I can paint and draw. I was also a dancer, which is also an art form and acting. I can sing, but if I have to. Lea Thompson is an amazing, amazing singer. I can carry a tune and she can also direct, which is she is going to end up directing an episode, which I’m so excited to take direction from her. She was also a dancer, so we’re just really multi-faceted over here at Switch at Birth.
Moderator It comes through in your part in so many ways. I really enjoy watching you.
C. Marie Thank you so much. I love that this show is very empowering for women and women’s struggles, and it focuses on how much women have to hold it all together and particularly the Regina character being a single mom, a working mom with a deaf child. Really that’s one of the things that attracted me to the role was because it was an homage to the single moms of America, who oftentimes are more seen as victims instead of these empowered, well rounded still flawed characters that we can champion and role model. I really love that.
Moderator Could you tell us a little bit about what it’s like working with Katie and Vanessa?
C. Marie It is wonderful. I am so appreciative and it’s so refreshing to see young women as centered and talented and grounded and just hard working, quality individuals. I cannot gush enough because at the age that they’re at to be this together is just inspiring. It’s like when I grow up, I want to be Vanessa Marano, that’s how amazing she is. Katie Leclerc, this being one of her first major vehicles has such a wonderful attitude and such a wealth of talent. I really, really respect my TV daughters and we get along swimmingly. For that many females to work together and have a united front and really respect each other, it’s just so wonderful. I really and truly love it.
Moderator There’s rumor to be what if episode coming up this season.
C. Marie It was amazing because Regina, my character, traditionally throughout the show has carried a lot of the blame and a lot of the residual effect of everybody blaming her that she didn’t tell about the switch, which is interesting as Lizzy Weiss told me that my character knew from the pilot; and at first I was conflicted by that. Then I realized that I, probably, Constance, would not tell either because your child is four years old and you’re not going to give away a child that truly believed that you are the mother.
In this episode, the what if episode that’s airing in July, it’s so exciting because my character does tell. It has a crazy butterfly effect that changes everybody. There are physical changes, emotional changes with the daughters, you won’t even recognize them, and John and Kathryn’s relationship is different. My character’s life is completely, completely different and it’s just riveting.
When I read the script I cried like three times and it was just so moving. I think everybody is going to really be intrigued by this what if episode and just how far it stretches the effect.
Moderator Is your own daughter about the same age?
C. Marie Exactly. I had to shoot some scenes that as an actor I had to go to places that were incredibly, incredibly difficult and I might not even be able to watch them, they’re so moving and well written. Our writers just did such a great job creating this what if reality. It’s so expansive and I was like I never thought about how that would be different and how that would be different and how they would be different; it’s amazing.
Moderator We should all watch this one with a box of tissue, huh?
C. Marie I would say definitely.
Moderator What was your inspiration in creating the Easy Greeny Mommy that you have on your website?
C. Marie The inspiration for me was I struggled with fertility issues for three and a half years. One of the things I did was a tremendous amount of research about what could be impeding my fertility like toxins or BPA in the plastic bottles we drink with water, all that sort of stuff. Once I ended up getting pregnant and having a baby, I realized oh my gosh, I know about the toxicity of the environment so much, why don’t I also translate all that information to my daughter.
One of the things was I’m so proud that I used cloth diapers instead of the petrochemicals they have in disposable diapers. I used glass bottles. I would tell people that I would meet as a mom and they would be like, where do you get this information from? That made me realize somebody needs to come up with some things that can relay the information to a mom in a simple way, not so many details that it’s overwhelming because literally you’re not getting any sleep. You’re breastfeeding. You just need it easy and so I got Easy Greeny Mommy.
Moderator Do you plan on having a book coming out with more details in the future?
C. Marie Yes. I have to say Switched at Birth, to maintain that quality and that character Regina it takes a tremendous amount of time, so I have had to put the book a little bit on the back burner. It’s something that’s always in the works, so when I have an episode that I’m not in so much, which thankfully that hasn’t really happened yet, the book has to take the back burner to Switched because that’s my number one love right now.
One of the best things about Switched is that I hear that moms and their children watch it together, and especially the daughters and the moms. I think it’s a wonderful bonding experience that I’ve heard is a phenomenon and sometimes they even get the dads in there, too, which is wonderful.
Moderator Congrats on Switched at Birth receiving three Teen Choice Award nominations this year.
C. Marie Yay, I’m so excited. I want everybody to vote for our young talent, because they deserve it. They’re actually using their celebrity for good, and I think that needs to be rewarded.
Moderator Is there anyone you’d love to work with some day?
C. Marie Of course, Meryl Streep; that would be number one. I would be willing to play anything in any scene, even a shrub, with Meryl Streep. I mean there’s nobody better, if you ask me. She’s wonderful.
Moderator Are there any other additional struggles for Regina this season?
C. Marie One of the struggles that she has is dealing with the rehab—that’s huge, and when and if she and Angelo ever are to get together. That is a huge one and that is an amazing push me/pull you relationship; and the dynamic between Gilles Marini and myself is truly, truly wonderful.
Plus she also had to deal with the baggage of this new baby that he has and how far involved, is she going to help raise that new baby? Is she going to be insta-mom to an out of relationship situation that Angelo, a one night stand that he had? That is a huge dynamic and also the resentment and the relationship of Bay, that’s something we’ve never really explored and that she has to handle with kid gloves.
It’s now with Daphne, Daphne has always been the one that I championed and I stuck by. Now Daphne is threatened by Bay living with me and me getting to know Bay, and so you get to see a side of Daphne you’re not used to seeing.
Moderator What is your favorite episode from the ones that have aired already?
C. Marie Oh, that’s tough. I would say just because of the cathartic moment that it was the one when I tell Daphne about the suitcase and that I knew about the switch. That moment gives me chills when I even watch it; and the pretend wedding to Angelo was so awesome. I love my reaction at the end, you know like what am I doing here? That was great.
Moderator Could you tell our readers a little bit of a behind the scenes moment or something fun that would give them and idea of what it’s like to be on the set at Switched at Birth?
C. Marie People would be just crazily surprised at how funny D.W. Moffett is, and you see him as this intense dad and how silly he is and how funny he is. I think people would be also surprised to see how silly Lea Thompson is. She is just hilarious. When she gets really tired, she channels her inner Ethel Merman and it’s hilarious.
I think people would be surprised at how long it takes to shoot every single scene. We’re there for hours. Yesterday Gilles Marini and I and Vanessa Marano shot three scenes in Angelo’s apartment and it was just like all day long. We literally just go change our clothes and come back and do a completely different scene. One right—and they’re out of order. People would be startled by the process.
Moderator How does it feel knowing you are part of such a positive impact on the ASL world?
C. Marie Honestly I feel truly, truly blessed. Working on the show has expanded my mind and now I can say that I speak a fourth language; and I’ve just fallen in love with the deaf community. They have been so helpful and so supportive of this show. Now that I’m not signing it doesn’t mean that I still can’t read the signs and communicate with everybody. It just really has been refreshing, but to me the most important thing is that, because I’m very active on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook, that’s a major mode of communication for the deaf community.
A lot of hearing students, I’ve heard back from them that they’ve actually petitioned their high schools to start having American Sign Language as a second language in their high school. A lot of people have been motivated to become interpreters because they really didn’t even know that it was a career path and it was a language that they would fall in love with. Then the vast majority who have learned sign language by watching the show because there’s never been anything like it before where you could actually see the words as it’s signed and all you would have to do is freeze frame and watch the language.
They’ve learned and some people have told me stories where they run into somebody with sign language and they can sign nice to meet you and that that deaf person was so appreciative that they tried to make the connection with them. I cannot sing the praises of Lizzy Weiss and ABC Family enough for taking the risk to do a project like this and I’m just really proud.
The biggest compliment I got was when I was in rehab for my arm, and they had never dealt with anybody who had this repetitive motion syndrome and the nerve damage from sign language before.
I’m in the middle of my rehab and my therapist realized that there was one other person who was an interpreter who had a little bit of rehab done on her arm. She tried to introduce us and the interpreter turned to me and she said, “I know who you are and I really love your work. I believe you as a person who has been doing sign language for 12 years.” I was like yes! If an interpreter will tell you that, then that’s the best compliment in the world. I really felt like yes, I’ve done something good.
Moderator How is Regina’s relationship with John and Kathryn?
C. Marie Let’s just say John and Kathryn are not happy with the fact that I’ve been in rehab, and they’re not happy with the fact that I’m actually returning from rehab, because everybody has gone on with their lives. They’ve bonded with Daphne; Daphne has been living with them. Now they haven’t had to deal with the co-parenting issues, which are a major part of the drama. The Kennishes are wonderful parents. Regina is a wonderful parent. We just do it differently. Let’s just say Regina doesn’t get a warm welcome when she comes home.
Moderator We see Regina and Angelo living in the same house. How does that pan out? Do they see sides of each other that they didn’t expect to see, or learn more about each other?
C. Marie Yes. Let’s just say Angelo knows nothing about being a parent, so he thinks like this easy breezy and that doesn’t necessarily happen. Also you get to learn a lot of the cultural things, how Bay’s life would be different with different kinds of food and different artistic outlets. It’s not quite a what if episode, but it’s just a different view on parenting. To say that that threatens the Kennishes would be an understatement.
For more information on “Switched at Birth”, please visit the official website here.