In celebration of the Blu–ray & DVD release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, directors Anthony & Joe Russo hosted a special Blu-ray & DVD signing at Amoeba Music, featuring a surprise appearance by the legendary Stan Lee! Fans were also able to participate in the S.H.I.E.L.D. Vs HYDRA Experience as they decoded custom Captain America flash drives with the help of S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents, and one lucky winner received tickets to the Avengers: Age of Ultron premiere!
ABOUT CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER:
From the studio that brought you the biggest Super Hero movie of all time, Marvel’s The Avengers, comes Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, now available on Digital 3D and HD and arriving on 3D Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray, DVD and On-Demand September 9th, from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment. Saluted by critics as “action-packed” (NY Daily News), “thrilling” (Cinema Blend) and “better than The Avengers” (Access Hollywood), this blockbuster second chapter in the Captain America series teams Marvel’s First Avenger, Captain America, with Black Widow and new ally The Falcon as they battle their most mysterious and powerful enemy yet, the Winter Soldier.
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The 6th annual J-Pop Summit Festival returned to the beautiful confines of Union Square for a twilight exhibition of the top musical artists from Japan. On the heels of last year’s very successful matinee main event featuring Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, organizers succeeded in providing programming surpassing any other previous festival to date. The headlining show, dubbed J-Pop Live, featured singer/model Una, human beatboxer Daichi, idol group Tokyo Girls’ Style, former-AKB48 member Tomomi Itano, and vocalist May’n.
Starting the night off was Una, a Harajuku fashion icon who debuted as a singer just one year prior. Donning an incredible yukata-like outfit befitting of a charismatic Aomoji-kei queen, she sparkled in her performance of her heavily electro-pop setlist, including her debut single “Juicy-Juicy”.
Next on stage was the return of Daichi, known around the world as one of the best beatboxers alive. Besides his amazing skill with the mic, Daichi was incredibly entertaining cracking jokes and initiating audience participation.
A brief intermission featured Koji Mizutani’s Merry Project. The project featured umbrellas printed with smiling faces from the children affected by the Fukushima tragedy. It is a reminder to stay strong despite overwhelming obstacles.
Anticipation grew as Tokyo Girls’ Style slowly appeared on stage, amidst a sea of sunflowers, and started singing “Himawari no Hoshikuzu”. The crowd went absolutely wild, cheering and dancing through their whole performance.
As a surprise, TGS sang “Himawari no Hoshikuzu” once again, this time in English.
The momentum continued with Tomomi Itano, who suddenly appeared from the curtain to the greeting of “Tomochin” chants. In her Swagalicious attire, she struck the audience with the same type of charisma as her days with AKB48, leaving many in attendance yelling “SWAG” as a recognition of her debut album.
Finally, May’n greeted the San Francisco crowd. But rather than just promoting her performance planned for the following night, May’n gave everyone a treat and began performing, much to the delight of everyone.
After such an amazing headlining show, it is easy to forget the rest of the events planned for the weekend. The rest of the fun would be held in Japan Town for the duration of the festival. Live events would be held at the Pagoda Stage, as each of the headliners performed once again along with many other artists such as Kylee, Yanakiku, Pinky Doodle Poodle, Black Diamond, DJ Coco and DJ Amaya. Cosplay, fashion, and idol events would also be held on stage.
Besides the main stage, New People Cinema hosted the inaugural Japan Film Festival of San Francisco featuring screenings for the entire week. The top floors of New People were reserved for the fashion events, with numerous appearances by iconic figures in Japanese youth fashion: Ayumi Seto, Una, Akira, and Misa Kimura. The fashion events featured live performances by Akira and Una, meet and greet sessions, and a fashion show.
Along the main street of Japan Town were dozens of vendors and booths of every kind. Kinokuniya and SEGA hosted a special signing session with Miku Hatsune illustrator, KEI, as well as featuring the upcoming video game of the digital diva. Along the other booths were many meet and greet opportunities with most of the Guests of Honor.
Down Post Street was the crowded Ramen Street event, with patron standing in line for over an hour just to try each ramen masterpiece. The Pop Gourmet Food Festival was also held offering creative snacks and sake tasting.
The J-Pop Summit had something for everybody, as intended by the organizers. This year’s festival easily surpassed last year’s attendance of 80,000 people with 120,000 attendees in 2014.
“The 2014 J-POP Summit was the biggest and most successful we have ever staged. The addition of the Ramen Street attraction and the array of artists, performers and other events also made it one of the most exciting. We are looking forward to presenting an even bigger J-POP Summit for 2015!”, said Seiji Horibuchi, President/CEO of NEW PEOPLE, Inc. and Chairman of the J-Pop Summit Festival Committee.
With this momentum, it is likely J-Pop Summit will continue to grow in popularity and feature even more headliners in the near future. We could be witnessing the genesis of a future marquee festival.
Our interviews from J-POP SUMMIT FESTIVAL 2014 will be featured in our upcoming J!-ENT ANNUAL 2014 issue to be released in late SEPTEMBER. Stay tuned!
Article by Kenneth Eric Tran, J!-ENT
Photos by Dennis A. Amith, J!-ENT
Videos by Charles Amith, J!-ENT
ABC Family’s Q&A Session with Italia Ricci of “Chasing Life” (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)
On June 10th, ABC Family will show the premiere episode of “Chasing Life” starring Italia Ricci, Mary Page Keller, Aisha Dee, Richard Brancatisano and Haley Ramm. The series is an adaptation of the Televisa Spanish-language Mexican TV series “Terminales”.
With the season premiere coming up, ABC family recently held a Q&A with lead actress Italia Ricci (“Don Jon”, “American Pie Presents Beta House”, “Unnatural History”, “Secret Girlfriend”, “Aaron Stone”) about her new role and more about the series and what viewers can expect.
In the series, Italia Ricci plays the character of April, a reporter who tries to balance her life with her widowed mother Sara (portrayed by Mary Page Keller) and her rebellious younger sister Brenna (portrayed by Haley Ramm), her grandmother and co-workers.
But just when she is trying to succeed in her career as a journalist and having a new boyfriend, she finds out that she has cancer. And now, April is determined to fight cancer and enjoy life the best she can.
Here is a transcript from the Q&A session.
Moderator Will we see more of your character’s chemo process? What sort of research did you conduct to prepare?
Italia You will see more of that, absolutely, because it’s all part of the horrible process that cancer throws at people, but you will see the stages. And the research — immediately after I booked the role, I thought I was going to learn everything I could about cancer, become and expert and be able to handle anything that the writers threw at me. But then I realized that my character doesn’t know everything about cancer and so I thought it would be better for my performance if I didn’t know more about it than April knew. So I wasn’t anticipating anything that was going to happen to her.
Moderator What attracted you to Chasing Life and your role as April?
Italia The show itself is just so incredible and it’s real. It could be happening to anybody. It is happening to anybody. It has happened and it will be happening and it’s such a real story and it’s written so well and it’s so inspiring. It has so much of everything in it that I’ve wanted to be a part of telling it. I feel so lucky —I was just an actor sent in on a mission to go in. I wasn’t sifting through scripts being like “I only want this one.” This is when I got the audition I was auditioning for everything during the pilot season and this one was like a golden ticket. This is the role that you’re just like “Oh my gosh, this is going to be one that everybody is trying to get.” I got so lucky.
Moderator Did you know Scott Michael Foster from Greek? What’s it like working with him again?
Italia We didn’t really stay in touch after the episode of Greek, which was five and a half years ago or something. He didn’t even remember me at the table read for Chasing Life for the second episode [laughs]. I introduced myself and I was like “we worked together” and he’s like “really, when?” I was like, “oh wow” because we had to kiss in Greek. But we are so close now. He’s hilarious. You can see we’ve had to post a couple of videos talking about the show and I can’t keep a straight face when I’m with him. He’s hilarious and he’s so talented it’s insane. It’s sort of intimidating sometimes and I’m like “can you try to suck a little more because you’re making me look really bad.” [laughs]
Moderator How would you describe your character April?
Italia She’s so many things. She’s just a regular girl. She’s a stubborn, smart, ambitious girl who just wants happiness and success in her career and love, everything that most people want. She’s written so well that I feel like she’s every man’s woman because she’s not always in the same head space. She gets giddy and girly and goofy and then she’ll just be an angry drunk, we’re all a little bit bipolar [laughs]. It’s just the way the world works, but she’s so inspiring and she makes mistakes and then she relies on people to help. She’s not a hero. She’s definitely a role model, but she knows she’s not perfect. I think that’s really important for a character we want audiences to relate to.
Moderator How did you get your start in acting and what do you enjoy most about it?
Italia I started when I was really young. I did a lot of local theatre. I always enjoyed it. I was always putting on shows for my family or even just myself in the mirror being a total psychopath just screaming monologues till I was crying or laughing or a complete nut case. And then I went to college and got my degree in drama, but I’m very much a Type A. I’m not really much of a risk taker. I’m very calculated, so I didn’t really want to just move out to LA and try my best at something that I didn’t know for sure I could succeed at.
So I decided to go to law school to do entertainment law. This way I could be in the industry, but in a controlled career within it. But before I got to start law school, a friend of mine is with an agency and was an extra on a movie near my hometown one summer and asked if I wanted to go for the day and get paid to pretend I was at a party. And the writer saw me and asked me to audition for a role and I got it and they wrote me into the next one and it all just sort of snowballed. I’m the luckiest girl in the world.
Moderator Do you think Chasing Life can properly portray what cancer patients go through?
Italia The show isn’t all about cancer. From the people that I’ve spoken to everybody goes through it differently, so there’s no one way to try and show the world what somebody would be experiencing. So I did my best to play April as authentically as we can within the confines of entertainment television. I’m sure there will be some people who completely disagree with how she’s reacting to certain things physically and emotionally and then there’s some people who might say that’s exactly what they experienced, or what they saw somebody experience.
I hope people can at least understand. They’re going to know it’s still television. It’s not a documentary, but at the same time being on set doing some of those scenes, it does get scary when you have to remind yourself that you’re not sick.
Moderator How do writers keep a show like this from getting too dark or depressing with such a heavy subject matter?
Italia People just have to take my word for it, it’s not depressing. It’s not dark. It’s not going to leave you feeling heavy after you watch it. The writers are so brilliant. It’s funny. They deliver the bad stuff or the dramatic stuff and then it’s right back at it just like real life is. There’s comedy in it and there’s so much more to it than the cancer. It’s about friendship and her family and her romance and there are episodes that you totally forget that she’s even sick.
Moderator What was your experience like filming in Boston?
Italia I had never been to Boston before shooting the Chasing Life pilot in 2012. I love it there! It’s so amazing and the sense of community there and it makes you feel like you’re in the movies. I found myself speaking like the locals saying “wicked good” and stuff, which I’m sure everybody in Boston hates, but I had a lot of fun there. Everybody was go grateful for us to bring the show there and they were all really informed about it, too. I went beside the hotel to get a bottle of wine somewhere and the guy asked me what I was doing. I was like “I’m here for a new show” and he goes “is it the one about the journalist?” And I was like “oh my gosh; you know the show! That is so cool.” Anyhow, I was more excited than he was. I almost wanted to take him out for dinner I was so excited.
And the food, oh my gosh, the food. Every time we go to do exterior shots, I leave ten pounds heavier. Good God, I love the North End. I love it!
Moderator Are there any other favorite landmarks that stuck out to you in Boston?
Italia I don’t have a lot of time off when I’m there to get to play, but the cast and I did get to go to Harvard, which is cool, very touristy. We all bought sweatpants. We went to the Beacon Hill, because that’s where the Carver family lives, which was also really, really cool. We got to shoot in Fenway, which actually got cut out of the pilot, but we spent the whole day shooting in Fenway. It was really, really cool. I think Fenway was probably the coolest, but I really do wish that I had more time. I went to the aquarium one day by myself. That was really nice, too. I want to explore it so much. There’s one street you feel like you’re in Europe and then the next street it looks like New York — there’s just so much to it.
Moderator What was your favorite part about filming “Chasing Life”?
Italia My favorite part about filming the show, we’ve got pretty good food on set [laughs]. Yesterday we had a mac and cheese bar, like four different types of mac and cheese, it was bizarre; it was amazing. But really, the cast and crew are my favorite things. I am so excited to go to work every day. They are some of my favorite people in the entire world. One camera man moved to another show in the middle of shooting and I broke down and cried on set. But definitely the cast and crew.
Moderator How are you and your character April are alike?
Italia We’re both pretty stubborn and hyper organized. I can’t function if there’s a dirty dish in the sink or if things aren’t where they belong. My friends when they come over, they’ll just try and mess with me by like turning a vase, rotating it, so that the handle is not out or something and I’ll stop in the middle of the room and notice something is different; this is not okay [laughs]. I’m a little OCD, so I think April and I share that. There’s a bunch of jokes in the show about how organized she is and I think that’s really the writers just taking shots at me. I wish I was as ballsy as her. I hope to be. She’s actually inspired me a lot more than I expected her to, which is great.
Moderator What was the audition process like for you? What was your reaction when you found out you got the role?
Italia The audition process, I was so nervous about this audition because it was for such a great role. Besides one other series that I did called Unnatural History, I had only ever played quintessential stereotypical hot girl one or something, so when this one came up, I was like “oh my gosh, it’s real.” It’s something that I can actually lose myself in and become and something that’s going to scare the hell out of me because I don’t know if I’m good enough for it.
So I went to the first audition right after getting a couple of shots because I was getting my green card and I’m not good with needles, much like April, so I felt a little green. I didn’t even remember the audition. I remember getting into the car and just crying and thinking I ruined it; I screwed it up. I called my agent to see if I could get another appointment and they’re like “actually you’re screen testing” and I just about peed my pants [laughs]. Then I screen tested against two other girls who were amazing and then I booked it and I got the call October 9, 2012. I was at McDonalds and I grabbed my Big Mac, forgot my fries and went and had Big Macs and champagne at my manager’s.
My friend has a video of me getting the call and screaming and running around McDonalds like a complete psycho.
Moderator Do you feel like this role will give you more opportunities as an amazing actress?
Italia There’s so much to do with April and it’s so exciting that some days I get to come in and bawl my eyes out; and some days I get to come in and scream my head off. And some days I get to come in and laugh like a hyena. April gets to do so much and I don’t have to wake up and play the same tone every day, which keeps it so interesting and I think keeps the performance fresh. I feel like I’m just sitting here crossing my fingers and hoping people enjoy watching me, but I just hope that people relate and are interested in what I’ve done with her. I’m just so terrified still.
Moderator What is the hardest part about playing April?
Italia At the beginning the hardest parts were days when I would have scenes where I’d have to get to a pretty emotional place and then we would finish the scene and move on to a happy scene or a regular scene. I would feel like I hadn’t finished letting all those emotions out, so I would end up just crying in my car on the way home or in the shower or something just to let it out [laughs], so I didn’t project it onto to some other part of my life that didn’t deserve it.
But now that I’m getting a lot of fan mail and people are sharing their stories with me and it’s so beautiful and I’m so grateful that I can be somebody that makes them feel like they’re being heard. The hardest part, I don’t feel so great when I get to come home and not be sick when there are so many people who can’t turn it off.
Moderator What’s the atmosphere like on set?
Italia It’s amazing! We’re constantly laughing in between takes, you’re making all these jokes, but I feel like that’s just sort of what you have to do sometimes. Everybody just gets along so well and we know so much about each other, crew included. Everybody does such a fantastic job. We’re all just so grateful to be there. There are no egos anywhere. It’s like I have this gigantic new family that I get to hang out with every day and I would do it for free.
Moderator What is April’s role and relationship like within her family?
Italia April’s dad passed away two years before the pilot in a car accident, so she’s become almost the rock, the man in the house so to speak. Her mom is still dealing with it in her own way and her sister is just trying to become who she is and her grandma is just hilarious, so April is sort of keeping it all together. And you learn that she was planning to move away after college, but had to stay home to be there for the family, so she’s definitely the foundation that keeps all the wheels turning.
When she gets sick, I think a lot of her hesitation before coming clean about being sick is because she doesn’t want the people who she feels she has to take care of are needing to take care of her. She feels so much responsibility to make sure that everybody is happy and when she tells them that she’s going to need the help now and she can’t play that role as well as she would before then, then she thinks it will sort of all fall apart. Obviously she’s scared. She’s terrified.
Moderator What will viewers be most surprised by when they watch Chasing Life?
Italia How funny it is. The pilot is always tough and general audiences don’t always realize that you have to jam so many stories and so many characters and so much information into a pilot episode that a lot of the times it’s not like the rest of episodes. But even in our pilot, you feel that it’s not heavy. It’s a feel good show. It’s a feel good family show and I think that people are going to be surprised at how much more they’re going to laugh than cry.
Moderator What has been your favorite episode to film?
Italia The sixth episode was fun because I got to drive around in a Maserati as fast as I could, which was pretty cool. It’s more or so just moments in different episodes, scenes that are a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to this one scene in the finale that I’m going to be filming next week, but I can’t tell you what it is. I would say driving the Maserati around was pretty cool!
Moderator Can you share anything about the new upcoming season?
Italia The season is going to explore how the diagnosis elevates all of the stakes in April’s life. All of her decisions matter to her a little bit more than she thought they did at this point and how she handles that and the mistakes that she makes and the victories that she also accomplishes. It’s interesting to see her whole world getting massaged because of this big awful thing, but people can expect to see so many things. I read the scripts and I get so into it like “seriously, what, where, why?” It’s so cool.
Moderator Did you do any journalism or interview research to prep since your character is a journalist?
Italia When we filmed in Boston, we filmed at the Boston Globe, so I took some time and walked around and watched people more for physical mannerisms and posture and to see what being zoned in as a journalist looks like. I’ve been interviewed a few times, but I was never seeing this in the building at the desk, so that was really good.
Being interviewed now I feel like I’ve blacked out and then I finish the interview and I’m like “did I make any sense?” [laughs] But it’s hard now because I don’t want to be repetitive but I can only answer with the truth and what I know. So it’s frustrating and sort of embarrassing when I break down and cry like a baby!
Moderator Do you have some autumn memory that you can share?
Italia Yes, my birthday is in October, so those were always pretty great right near Halloween! But my favorite Halloween costume would probably be my parents would always bandage me up and say I was a mummy every time; it was so great. One year my dad built a shower around me with a rod and curtain and everything, so I was just walking roundabout in a shower; that was pretty cool, too.
Moderator What is something you hope fans get from the show?
Italia Hope and inspiration to never give up.
Moderator What is at the top of your bucket list right now?
Italia I feel like I should say something super prophetic, but I don’t [laughs]. I would say to travel. I’ve never really traveled much, so it would be nice to be able to do that.
Moderator Where would you like to go?
Italia I would like to go to Italy.
Moderator How difficult is it to portray the shows subject matter?
Italia As an audience member, I enjoy watching things that make me feel represented and I feel like people are interested in seeing this because no matter what role you play, there might be somebody you can relate to, whether it’s the mom of somebody who’s sick or the best friend or the boss. There’s something that you’re like “okay, I can relate to that and I feel that validation,” it piques a lot of people’s interest if they can find something that they relate to. And then there are people who just want to feel like they’re not alone in this and they’re not. There are so many people that feel everything that every character is feeling in the show.
I’ve seen The Fault in Our Stars, and it’s pretty similar to our show. The types of cancers are different and some of the plot points, but it’s a wonderful movie and I hope people watch it. But 50/50, when Joseph Gordon Levitt and I had reshoots for the movie we did, he actually is the one that pulled me aside and was like “I think it’s amazing what you’re doing, but don’t forget that you’re not sick.” I never really took it to heart before I started shooting and now I’m so grateful that he had said that to me, because like I said, that’s sometimes the hardest part.
Moderator Do you feel because you’ve taken on a role like this that means that now you have a responsibility when you’re off the set to help with cancer awareness?
Italia Yes, absolutely. As soon as I booked it, I was like what can I do. It always felt like this massive dark presence that I was uncomfortable addressing or even looking at because I didn’t know very much about it. Now it’s all about awareness we’re bringing and we’re taking that stigma away from that. We’re taking the power away from that and I think that’s great.
When I first started shooting and even when I booked it, it didn’t really cross my mind that people would look at me and I would be taking on these responsibilities. I don’t want to screw it up. I obviously hope that it’s going to help some people, but I’m still just a really lucky girl who booked a really great job.
Moderator Can you talk about the significance behind all the things April is chasing in Chasing Life?
Italia Oh gosh, she’s chasing everything! She’s chasing that success as a journalist. She’s chasing the happiness for her mother to find love after her father. She’s chasing her sister all around as she’s figuring out who she is becoming. She’s chasing —before she gets diagnosed —she was already chasing life. You can see she’s already working hard. The first scene of the episode shows you that, but now she’s just got to run a bit faster.
Moderator Could you talk a little bit more about what people are writing you and what that’s meant to you?
Italia People just share their stories or whether it’s having known someone or knowing someone or being someone who has been diagnosed. I get these letters and they’re just so amazing and inspiring to me. These guys are the real heroes. It’s incredible, the strength of the young adults and adults and children with cancer that I’m beginning to know. It’s a little overwhelming, but in a great way. I wish I could do more for them than just respond to a message. I wish I could really make a difference and I guess listening is all I could really do at this point, but I’m always going to try and do everything I can.
Moderator If you could play any other character on the show, who would you choose and why?
Italia I think maybe Beth, she’s just so funny and snarky and she’s got a great accent and her clothes are amazing. She’s got the coolest wardrobe. April’s is pretty cool, too, but I think it would be fun to play Beth. I think it would be fun to play all of them. Leo is a pretty fun character, too, because you think he’s a jerk for a lot of the time, because he’s just so sarcastic and ridiculous, but yes I think Beth.
For more information on “Chasing Life”, please visit the official website here.
ABC Family’s Q&A Session with Vanessa Marano of “Switched At Birth” (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)
With “Switched at Birth” to air its summer premiere on June 16th (the second half of season three), we revisit actress Vanessa Marano, one of the main lead characters of ABC Family’s hit drama series “Switched at Birth”.
Vanessa has starred in TV series such as “Scoundrels”, “The Young and the Restless”, “Dexter” and “Without a Trace”.
“Switched at Birth” is a one-hour scripted drama that tells the story of two teenage girls who discover they were accidentally switched as newborns in the hospital.
Vanessa Marano plays the character of 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 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.
The series also stars Lucas Grabeel (“High School Musical”) as Bay’s brother Toby, Lea Thompson (“Back to the Future”, “Caroline in the City”) as her mother Kathryn and Constance Marie (“George Lopez”, “Selena”) as Daphne’s mother Regina.
An ABC Family Q&A session was recently held with Vanessa Marano to promote the second half of the latest season of “Switched at Birth” and also to discuss the renewal of a new season of the series plus more about her character, her relationships and more.
Here is a transcript from the Q&A session.
Moderator How excited were you when Switched at Birth was renewed for a new season?
Vanessa You know, it’s so funny; I’ve been doing this for a very long time so I go into everything very cynically; like, “Alright, well, let’s see if we’re coming back.” We never know. But Switched at Birth is the first show I’ve ever been on that’s generated such a positive strong audience response. We’ve got incredible support from our viewers, specifically, the deaf community. There’s an amount of confidence there knowing that we have an audience rooting for us and wanting us to come back, so that was nice. What’s great about the way ABC Family works is that they split up your seasons seasonally, so to speak, so you have your winter season and your summer season. We have a hiatus, a break, for two months knowing that we were coming back airing in the summer, so that’s kind of nice to have a break and then also know that your job is coming back!
Moderator Is there any one topic on the program that has had a very large impact on your personal life?
Vanessa We deal with so many topics on our show. We’ve covered the deaf community. We’ve covered a lot of social and cultural differences. This last season, we introduced a character who was in a wheelchair, which actually was very close to my heart because I work with The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. And they’ve been working so hard to find a cure for paralysis. It was great Switched introduced the character who was paralyzed and was so hopeful to find a cure because that particular foundation is so close to finding a cure that it’s unbelievable. So that tugged at my heartstrings a little bit.
This coming season, it gets very emotional; and there’s a particular episode, in the middle of the season, that I found very relatable. I think everyone’s going to find relatable. I can’t give you too much information about that. All I can say is that it was a very emotional episode for everyone involved, and everyone’s experienced it.
Moderator What is going to happen between Bay and Emmett this summer?
Vanessa I think Bay and Emmett fans are going to be very happy this summer. But of course, it’s Bay and Emmett, so they’re not without their trials and tribulations. It’s a relationship that I think all the fans have been waiting to see, revisited and brought back to life. Now that they’re finally there, it’s not without its struggle. You can’t just get back into a relationship specifically the way they got back into the relationship. It left with Emmett cheating, and they got back together with her cheating on her current boyfriend. So there’s a little bit of a mess right now, but they’re together. They’re in the mess together.
Moderator What’s going to be happening with Bay and Daphne’s relationship?
Vanessa It’s a particularly difficult season for Daphne. She’s very nervous about her mother’s safety now that she’s involved in this East Riverside Project. In the premiere episode, Bay and Daphne team up to find the guy who threw the brick through the window in order to make peace with him so they know Regina is safe where she is. I don’t know if that’s going to go according to plan, but again, does it ever go according to plan?
Moderator How does Bay address her new relationship with Emmitt to her current boyfriend Tank?
Vanessa Bay has been cheated on. She’s experienced the heartache of it. She is very sensitive in that situation, and she immediately wants to tell him. She wants to break up with him. She wants to not hurt him. She doesn’t know what she wants to do, but she knows what the right thing to do is. So she’s being pulled into two different directions as far as her knowing she doesn’t want to hurt him, but she also knows that he needs to be aware of the situation. Bay is feeling so terrible about herself, and Emmett having no way to really comfort her. I think what hurts the most is in her situation with Emmett, it was someone who cheated on her who cared so much about her, and she cares about Tank, but not in the way that Emmett cares about her. I think that brings up a lot of scars for her as well. The premiere episode is a rough one for everyone involved in that triangle.
Moderator How will things continue to escalate between Emmett and Matthew after the Mandy ordeal?
Vanessa We find out a little bit more about Matthew and his reasoning. He is not exactly the most grounded, well-rounded human being in the sense that—that may be with a little bit of an overreaction, but, yes, we definitely find out more about him and his motives behind the whole ordeal this season.
Moderator What’s it like working with Marlee Matlin?
Vanessa So fabulous! She is the definition of a fantastic actress. She is so talented, but also so lovely to work with. She brings this humorous energy to a set that’s contagious, and she really is a joy to work with. The fact that we had her on our show, a show that is really the first show on television to feature a guest character so prominently, and then feature the deaf community so prominently, was such an honor that she agreed to be on. She’s part of the Switched at Birth family, and we wouldn’t have it any other way, and we love every minute that she’s on set.
Moderator What’s your favorite part about working on “Switched at Birth”?
Vanessa I would say the people that I get to work with. I think part of the reason that the show has resonated with audiences is the energy that we all have with each other, and we really all got along from day one. It’s nice because I’ve worked on many television shows and what we have on Switched at Birth is actually something very special and very difficult to find. I can say I love going to work every day: 12 hours, 5 days a week, no sleep; I love going to work every day!
Moderator What is it like working on the actual “Switched at Birth” set?
Vanessa It’s great! It’s one of the best sets I’ve ever worked on. I really love everybody I work with!
Moderator What was your favorite episode of this past season?
Vanessa I would shockingly enough say the field hockey episode where I was in the goalie outfit because I love the woman who directed that episode. It was the first time that they’ve written into a script that Vanessa skills and Bay skills matched up with one another, which is that they had no skills — so that was very easy to play.
Moderator What is your personal fashion style like and what influencers are involved with Bay’s style?
Vanessa Our fabulous costume designer, Courtney Stern, is very collaborative, so she’s definitely open to suggestions and ideas. I would say what’s similar about me and Bay is definitely we both go dark, we like our dark colors, but that’s because Bay and I have the same coloring, obviously [laughs]. Bay is definitely more of a fashion risk-taker, which I think you see reflected because our costume designer is as well. Bay does more of the combat boot thing, the lacey thing. She dresses herself up in that artistic way, which is a little bit different than me, but always something that I’m working on, like, “Okay, how can I take that and put it into my wardrobe and mesh it together?”
Moderator How does it feel to consistently be recognized and part of a program that has an outstanding achievement in television?
Vanessa Awesome! It’s something that you don’t necessarily expect coming into a show about family and a show about teenage girls. It’s not a genre that actually gets recognized and honored in the way that Switched has been honored, so it’s such an amazing feeling. It’s so great because you feel like you’re doing something that people really enjoy, and it’s really resonating with people. That doesn’t come around very often, so we’re enjoying every minute of that.
Moderator Are there any special guest star in the upcoming season of Switched at Birth?
Vanessa We will be seeing a lot of the guest stars from last season in this season of Switched at Birth, as well as some new people too. I’m not sure that I can reveal too much about who’s coming on, but we love our guest stars! We’re a big fan of guest stars on Switched at Birth.
Moderator Are you big a fan of the Disney brand?
Vanessa I was just at Disneyland Resort on Memorial weekend with my little sister, funny enough, and she was just at Walt Disney World and Disneyland, so I’m going to go with a yes on that one [laughs].
Moderator What is your favorite Disney theme park?
Vanessa I’m going to go with Disneyland, the original in California, because I’m a California girl so all my childhood memories are there. You can’t beat the park that you were going to when you were two years old!
Moderator What’s your favorite Disney ride or attraction in a Disney park?
Vanessa I would say it’s a coin toss between Splash Mountain or Pirate of the Caribbean. I do enjoy water.
Moderator What’s your favorite food or restaurant within a Disney park?
Vanessa There’s something about a pretzel shaped like Mickey Mouse that fills my heart with glee. I love soft pretzels. That’s a big guilty pleasure of mine, it’s shaped like Mickey’s face and it makes me feel like I’m five years old again.
Moderator What is your favorite Disney character?
Vanessa My favorite Disney character of all time, that’s hard. I think it changes; my favorite princess growing up was Belle. I watched Pinocchio over and over again as a child because my dad’s from Italy and that was the movie that he was like, “Look, it looks like where I used to live!” Also, Peter Pan, I watched over and over again. I love Alice in Wonderland and then Lion King. It’s really hard to choose; there’s so many that I enjoy!
Moderator What’s one piece of advice you would personally give to Bay?
Vanessa Think things through! Girlfriend doesn’t think anything through [laughs], she says the first thing that comes to her head. She does not ever think of the negative repercussions of anything. It’s funny because I think that’s directly related to her two mothers. Regina is very independent and very much does what she wants no matter what anybody says. And Kathryn always looks on the positive side of things, always, everything’s going to turn out okay. Those two combinations create Bay, someone who does what she wants and never thinks anything negative is going to happen.
Moderator What’s going to happen on the upcoming season with Bay and her art?
Vanessa This is their last year of high school for the Switched at Birth gang, so I’m sure as all the teenagers who watch the show know that’s a very stressful time when you’re applying to colleges and your future is right there in front of you. Bay has always known what she wanted to do with her life, so she’s applying to art colleges and that’s where she’s at right now. It’s a very scary process because you just don’t know what’s going to end up happening.
Moderator What’s going to happen with the families this season?
Vanessa As always, they’re together and have each other’s back. That’s not without their conflicts because the Vasquez/Sorrento clan is very different than the Kennish clan. We’re reeling from Toby’s divorce, so everyone’s trying to get him back up on his feet; as well as Bay feeling whether or not it’s the right time to tell everyone that her and Emmett have rekindled an old flame. As always, there’s Regina’s safety at this point in time just because the project that she’s working on in East Riverside with her boss, Wes, is such a dangerous idea to the point where a brick gets thrown through your window. It’s a matter of taking care of her as well. No matter what’s going on in their lives, they always have each other’s back.
Moderator What has been the most challenging storyline you’ve had to play as Bay?
Vanessa Bay and Emmett have so many different aspects of their relationship that are so difficult. For the first portion of their time together, it was me having to learn sign language, which was very hard. For the second portion of their time together, it was him cheating on her and still playing that you’re in love with someone who’s cheated on you — because I have my own opinion about cheating, which is that you don’t go back to the person — but Bay obviously went back to him. So that’s a very challenging thing for me to portray. You throw in trying to sign all of that when you’re angry, when you’re sad, when you’re happy, and all the rants that she could be going on because she’s at so many different emotional levels of the whole thing, it gets very challenging. But at the same time, that’s some of my favorite stuff to do because I like being challenged when I’m performing.
Moderator Could you talk about your work with Cruelty Free International?
Vanessa I’m not a vegetarian or anything like that, but I can’t stand the idea of animals not being treated properly. There’s something so terrible about the fact that we take advantage of creatures who can’t speak for themselves, and they do so much for us from a place of happiness, from so many other aspects in this world, that I feel like it’s our human duty to make sure we treat them with care. Cruelty Free International really wants to promote that there are so many other ways to test cosmetics. For something as narcissistic as putting makeup on your face, you really should be going to the other options that don’t involve hurting an animal.
Moderator What are some of your hobbies/talents outside of acting?
Vanessa I’ve been asking for a very long time, so I’ve devoted a lot of time to that. I also draw a little bit. I’m not as talented as Bay whatsoever. Other than that, really if I have a massive amount of time off when I’m not working, I try to go to school. That’s the extent of the Vanessa Marano talent book — her ability to sit and take notes in a class and doodle on those notes [laughs].
Moderator Who would you personally choose, Tank or Emmett?
Vanessa I don’t like cheating, but Bay cheated on Tank, so there you go. It’s a really interesting situation that she’s in because I think she was with Tank because she felt so safe with him, and she hasn’t felt safe with Emmett for so long, so she wasn’t really with Tank for the right reasons. She wants to be with Emmett, but there’s a lack of trust there that’s going to be a hard relationship to be in as well.
Moderator How do you get into character?
Vanessa I don’t [laughs]. I’ve been acting for a very long time and I started in children’s theater and really you don’t have the time in theater to really get into character. It’s so quick. The philosophy that theater has is that you really get yourself into the headspace. You just kind of turn it on and off. For me, that’s how I do it just because I wouldn’t be able to be staying in the headspace of the character for so long. It wouldn’t feel real to me because I know in my gut that I am not that character. While imagining and performing it, and being able to slip in and out of it feels real to me because I know it’s not me and I’m creating something. I feel like it’s similar to creating a painting or creating words on a page. That’s the same thing that acting is to me.
Moderator Do you have any fun summer plans during your next filming break?
Vanessa Not at the moment, there’s a possibility that I might go to New York a little bit to visit family, but other than that, nothing planned out right now. It’s very hard to plan your life as an actor because you never know when you’re going to be working. I think that actually goes for anybody who’s in the entertainment industry because you never know when you’re going to be working!
For more information on “Switched at Birth”, please visit the official website here.
Cassandra (Cassie) Scerbo is a familiar face for ABC Family.
Her breakthrough role was in the TV series “Make It or Break It” as gymnast Lauren Tanner and appeared in movies such as “Teen Sporit”, “A Holiday Heist” and most recently in the cult film “Sharknado”.
Currently Cassie Scerbo is the voice of Heidi Weinerman in “Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja” and will now appear in the ABC Family comedy series “Baby Daddy”.
“Baby Daddy” stars Jean-Luc Bilodeau as Ben, a man who’s ex-girlfriend left a baby girl on his door step. Now Ben, the surprised and inexperienced new father, must raise the baby with the help of his mother Bonnie (as portrayed by Melissa Peterman), his brother Danny (as portrayed by Derek Theler), his best friend Tucker (as portrayed by Tahj Mowry) and his close female friend Riley (as portrayed by Chelsea Kane), who happens to have a secret crush on him.
Cassie Scerbo will play the role of Heather, a young woman who will cause trouble for Riley.
In promotion for her appearance on “Babby Daddy”, Cassie recently took part in a media Q&A. Here is a transcript from the Q&A with Cassie Scerbo:
Moderator What attracted you to the role of the frenemy character you will be playing on Baby Daddy?
Cassie I knew Chelsea before I even read the part of the show! I just love her, I think she’s great. I was really excited to work with her. My character basically comes in and stirs up a bunch of trouble for Chelsea’s character [Riley]. I tend to have a lot of fun with these characters and happen to be cast as this type of girl very often so it’s very fun for me — I guess I play it quite well! It was just fun to hop back on board and play another fun, catty character and stir up some trouble.
Moderator Were you a fan of Baby Daddy before you got the role?
Cassie Yes! I was actually just laughing about this with somebody. I was on ABC Family for a couple years on “Make It or Break It”, and I’m that person that is such a fan of their own network. When I was on the show, I would watch so many shows on the network, Switched at Birth, Pretty Little Liars. Now, I’m very into Twisted. So, I was very aware of Baby Daddy and I was a fan. I’m a fan of all the shows. I think they’re great!
Moderator How does your character on Baby Daddy compare to your character on Make It or Break It?
Cassie We all know that my character on Make It or Break It [Lauren Tanner] was pretty snarky and catty. She was kind of the “B-word” of the show [laughs]. Make It or Break It was a drama and Lauren Tanner had a lot of layers. She had a very vulnerable side, and I think as the show progressed, people were able to understand why she was so promiscuous and always causing trouble. There were a lot of things in her life that had caused her to be that way.
With my character on Baby Daddy [Heather], it’s a comedy. She just comes in right off the bat super snarky. It’s just one of those girls you’re like “Ugh, I can’t stand you!” [laughs].
Heather is just better than Riley in everything by a little bit and it’s really funny. There are just so many funny things that happen throughout the two episodes, but I would say they’re both very catty; yet, the difference is that on Make It or Break It, I was playing a much younger character. In this show, I’m playing a young attorney, and it is a little bit of an age difference and whatnot. It’s a comedy opposed to a drama, but it’s just another one of those fun catty characters that you just can’t help but to hate.
Moderator How was it working with the Baby Daddy cast?
Cassie I honestly had the best time! They are such a down-to-earth cast. They’re so much fun. I still keep in touch with all of them, I think they’re amazing. They’re like one big family. Definitely one of the most amazing casts I’ve ever worked with by far.
Moderator How did your guest appearance on Baby Daddy get started?
Cassie I actually had gone out for a bunch of auditions that week and they had all went really well, and I’d been waiting. I was waiting around like every actor does to hear feedback and to figure out if I booked one of these jobs. Then the phone rang and I was like “Oh, so which one was it, which one that I auditioned for” and they’re like “No, we actually have a different offer on the table,” and I think the fact that I’ve been a part of ABC Family for a couple years now, they just felt that I would fit this character really well and they had offered me the role. I didn’t actually audition for the role of Heather, but I was so excited when I got that phone call. I was like “Look at that, I’m sitting here around my phone wondering what on earth it’s going to be and it’s the one I didn’t audition for,” but I was so excited and it was such a surprise. I said yes right away because I already knew Chelsea and I love her. I think she’s an amazing girl. I was so excited to work with her and I was happy to be back on ABC Family.
Moderator Do you prefer working on TV or films, since you’re really well rounded in both areas?
Cassie It honestly just depends on the script. People sometimes ask would you rather pursue film in the future, is it going to be TV, and it’s honestly just whatever script comes along that intrigues me that I get to try something new and pursue a different character.
Moderator How did the cast welcome you to the show?
Cassie The first day on comedy you start off doing your table readout on Monday, and I had to come in so sick. I had food poisoning the night before, of course [laughs]. I walked in and thought “Oh my God, this is so embarrassing! It’s my first day here, I’m clearly ill & pale just trying to battle this terrible sickness [laughs],” and everybody was so welcoming. They were all asking if I needed anything to help me out. It was so good to see Chelsea. It was so fitting!
Because it’s ABC Family, there were a lot of the same people in the room. I know some of the executive producers very well, and our dialogue coach, Eva Charney was there. Also, the costume designer is the same costume designer for Make It or Break It. It felt so familiar to me because I had known a lot of the faces in the room, and then on top of it, everyone was just so welcoming. Everybody was so kind, and they’re just so fun. They’re just such a fun cast.
Moderator Who was the biggest jokester on set?
Cassie I think everybody is so funny on that set! Melissa Peterman, she’s so great with improv and she’s always throwing the most hilarious lines out there — especially during the live tapings. It’s such a different adrenaline rush, so some of these fun & different things come out. It’s really exciting and it’s obviously different from Make It or Break It, which is a drama. They’re both great, but it was just cool to try something different and to have this live audience. So many things are just so exciting, you have this adrenaline running.
I can’t think of specific moments, but we all had a great time. We would laugh constantly and try different things while shooting. There’s this one scene in my second episode, “The Bet”, where Ben is in a hospital bed and there’s one line he says that I lost it every single time [laughs]. It was even on the gag reel at the wrap party a couple weeks back. I could not keep it together. It’s just the little things with comedy and with live audiences that give you this rush.
Moderator Are there any other acting genres you are hoping to get into?
Cassie Yes, every genre if I can! I think that’s the best part about being an actor is that you get to step out of the box and try out all these different characters. You also learn so much about an array of people playing these different characters and researching how they would act in certain situations. I think that’s the beauty of acting. I would love to take on many different types of characters and roles.
I want to play the furthest thing from who I am, that’s always the most fun. That’s why I took those science fiction roles because they were just so fun and they were just so different. I finally get to play a tomboy – and mess with guns and sharks and random sea vampires, and I mean that’s what I think it’s all about. It’s just having fun, trying out different things. I would like to dabble in many different genres.
Moderator Who has influenced you the most in acting?
Cassie There’s so many! First of all, I don’t know any young actress who wouldn’t say Meryl Streep. She’s incredible. I would do anything to work with her, just to be on set and learn from her. I’m a big fan of Leonardo DiCaprio from his roles in Titanic, Romeo and Juliet, Gilbert Grape, so definitely big fan of him. I love Ashley Judd.
I love some of these younger actresses out there that are so incredible. Blake Lively, she has had a great career path. I think it’s so cool the different things she’s done, going from Gossip Girl, which is a fun & younger audience with all of the clothes and teen drama — to Savages and The Town with the really gritty roles. There are so many.
Moderator What was it like filming in front of a live studio audience?
Cassie It’s so fun! My parents actually were in town visiting that weekend and they got to be there and watch right front and center. Your nerves are in knots, but it’s so exciting. It’s so different because you have a couple of takes, but just the fact that there are people watching you. It’s just really exciting.
You have the director, the producer, everyone behind the scenes and they’ll give you different notes here and there and you try different things out and it’s really exciting to do that in front of an audience. It makes it so much more fun to act just knowing that you’re entertaining people. It raises the bar a little bit and makes you a bit nervous but excited.
Moderator What are some of your talents outside of acting?
Cassie Sometimes it surprises people because I come off as this blonde, bubbly girly-girl, but I’m actually really into boxing. I’ve been boxing for seven years. That’s one of my favorite things to do, one of my favorite sports. Ever since I skydived two years ago for charity, I’ve been really into that. I love skydiving now. My mom hates the fact that I love it [laughs]. Oddly enough, my roommate is a professional skydiver, so I’m dabbling in that. It’s crazy but it’s so much fun. I did karate for a very long time. I was a high Brown Belt in Taekwondo.
That sometimes surprises people, and another thing is I also played soccer for nine years. So, I’m actually kind of a tomboy underneath the girly appearance and the high heels.
Moderator Do you have any other upcoming projects?
Cassie As of now, it’s just pilot season. I’m just auditioning. There are a couple of great projects I’m crossing my fingers on that I’m really excited about. I’m on a cartoon on Disney Channel. It’s a new cartoon. It’s called Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja and it’s just so fun. It’s just a different thing, and you can go in your pajamas and just have some of the different voices. I play Heidi Weinerman.
I’m getting back into my music. I finally released a very simple fun cover video because I told my fans when I reached 100,000 followers on Twitter that I would. So, I released my first one and I look forward to continuously releasing some others.
Moderator What are some of the hardest thing about adjusting from the east to west coasts?
Cassie For me, it’s being away from my family. I have a very big Italian family. It’s like the Scerbos’ Sunday dinners. Every time my parents are in town, they cook a huge pot of sauce and a ton of meatballs and pasta and everyone’s like “Oh, can I come this Sunday, can I come!?” So, it’s just being away from my family and we have a lot of traditions and we’re a very close family. So, that’s hard for me.
It’s just a different pace too. California is a lot more laid back whereas—even though it’s the entertainment industry and all, but the vibe is way more laid back. On the East Coast, especially in New York, which is where I was born and I grew up part of my life before we moved to Florida, like every other New Yorker, New York is so fast paced. It’s just very different. So, I would say that would be the main difference really.
Moderator Do you ever get the chance to visit the Disney parks in Florida?
Cassie Yes! That was my favorite thing in the world was to go to Orlando and go to all the different parks and water parks. ABC Family had hooked it up and I spent my 22nd birthday there! I have loved Disney my whole life. So, I got my family and a couple friends out, and I just went there almost two years ago now for my 22nd birthday and had the best time. Ever since I was a kid I’ve been enjoying the parks.
Moderator What’s your favorite Disney Park?
Cassie I would say Magic Kingdom.
Moderator What is your favorite Disney attraction or ride?
Cassie I really love Space Mountain. It’s just so cool. It’s super dark with all the stars and I’m just really into all that.
Moderator What is your favorite Disney character?
Cassie If we’re going to do princesses, I’d have to say Belle. When you’re a little girl, you want to look like the princess that looks like you and I was always like the blonde little girl that just wanted to be Belle. I just wanted to be Belle. So, she’s always been my favorite.
Baby Daddy is seen on Wednesdays at 8:30/7:30c on ABC Family
Actress Nicole Gale Anderson may be known for her supporting role on the Jonas Brothers series “Jonas” and others may be familiar with her from the series “Beauty and the Beast”, but now Nicole stars in the hit ABC family show “Ravenswood”.
A series that takes place in the fictional town of Ravenswood, Pennsylvania, the series revolves around five strangers whose lives become intertwined by a deadly curse that has plagued Ravenswood for generations. And now all five work together to solve the mysterious curse.
Nicole Gale Anderson plays the role of Miranda Collins, a teenager who has lived as a foster child and takes off to Ravenswood to find her uncle, the person who raised her but put her in a foster home as a child.
Having died in the series and now as an immortal ghost, Miranda assists others to find out more about the mysteries in Ravenswood, Miranda uses her power to find victims of the curse that has affected people of Ravenswood.
To help promote ABC Family’s “Ravenswood”, Nicole Gale Anderson recently took part in a media Q&A. Here is a transcript from the Q&A:
Moderator How does Miranda handle Hanna showing up in Ravenswood?
Nicole Well, see Hanna shows up by surprising everyone, so it definitely takes Caleb and Miranda off guard for sure. But she’s very respectful of what they’ve shared together, and she really likes Hanna. I mean Hanna was so helpful and supportive of her journey to Ravenswood and having Caleb stay out there with her. So she definitely allows for them to talk things through, but she’s definitely heartbroken for sure.
Moderator What are your hopes for Miranda in the second season?
Nicole I would like to see maybe more of her connecting with her uncle again, maybe he’ll be able to start seeing her. And then maybe something like, I don’t know, a ghost companion.
Moderator Did you know before you got the role of Miranda that you’d be playing a ghost character?
Nicole I did. Yes, I found out during the testing process. So during the original audition I had no idea, during the callback I had no idea, and then when it came time for me to go to studio network and have my chemistry reads with Tyler. The new scene that they added to the audition process was the scene where Caleb sees Miranda for the first time as a ghost. So I was going through it, preparing for the test, and I was just like, “Whoa, wait. What? She’s a ghost?” And then my next thought was, “Oh, wait, so if I get this and then I die I have to make sure that I die in a really comfortable outfit.”
Moderator Did you have to do any research about ghosts or the paranormal for your portrayal of Miranda?
Nicole I did a little bit just for fun. I watched a couple of movies, like Ghost with Patrick Swayze. Yes. But it’s an ABC Family ghost, and I think at the end of the day Miranda, even though she is a ghost, she still is Miranda and she still was the girl that she was before all of this. She just has a lot of other problems in her life now. But, yes, I have fun with it.
Moderator Were you excited to learn that your character was killed in the first show, since it’s something you’ve never really done before?
Nicole Yes, I think that with the ghost component of Miranda aside, Miranda as a character in itself is just different than anything I’ve played before. I’ve played the hyperactive, bubbly Macy and I’ve played a lot of mean girls before, but never really played a bad ass, if you will. And even though Miranda has a sweet side, she definitely is, I think, stronger and more outspoken than a lot of the other characters I’ve played. So, yes, I think I’ve really just been enjoying playing that kind of role.
Moderator How do you interact with other actors who aren’t able to see Miranda’s ghost?
Nicole I think my biggest challenge playing a ghost has just been not being able to touch anything. As an actor you want to fill the scene with movement — like if you’re walking through a kitchen you go into the cupboard and get a glass of water and you fill it up, and it keeps a realness to the scene and a realness to your character. But as a ghost I can’t touch anything, I can’t play with anything, and if I sit down on a couch it can’t sink underneath me because ghosts can’t transfer energy in that way. So I think that for me is it’s been a challenge for me being able to feel comfortable within a scene.
Then as far as all of the sneaking up on people, especially with Steven, who plays Uncle Collins, we’ve just had fun with it. I’m just always like, “I’m just always snooping on you.” So, yes, that part of it I think is fun.
I get to watch really cool scenes! There was one between Uncle Collins and Mrs. Matheson in the police station, I think it was in the last episode, and it was just a beautiful, well-played scene. Being able to watch them as two actors connecting that way — I just had to stand there and watch them do their thing. So, yes, it’s fun!
Moderator How did you handle of the spiders being on set for the most recent episode?
Nicole It was really creepy! I hate spiders, and I thought they were just going to tease you. I went in and I had no idea that they were planning on having a huge tarantula on set. But the wrangler was so awesome, and he was just taking them out and playing with them and scratching their heads. So that made me feel a lot better, and luckily I didn’t have to have it on me; it was all on Tyler. So, yes, I think being able to have that on set made it easier for me to naturally react to it, because I hate spiders. So reacting in that scene was just easier.
Moderator What is it like working with Meg Foster?
Nicole She’s brilliant, I love her! One of my favorite moments with her is when Miranda decides to haunt Mrs. Grunwald, and she gets up right by her ear and says, “I’m getting better at this,” and that whole moment playing that out with her. She was just giving me tips on acting along the way and telling me certain things about inflections in your voice and little nuances that you could add in to just make it fuller. Every time I work with her I learn something new. She’s amazing.
Moderator What do you find most rewarding about playing Miranda?
Nicole Being able to go in and do what I love to do every day has been really awesome, and to be a part of this really successful team has been really exciting.
But my favorite part about playing Miranda specifically has just been the transition that’s she gone through, being so confident and just really tough and sure of herself to then lose everything, including her life, and then starting from square one. She became vulnerable and scared and timid, and she really lost herself in the way. So I think being able to progress throughout the season and help her get her fight and spunk back. Especially in episode 108 where she enters Remy’s dream and takes on Abaddon I think that was a really pivotal point for her in terms of becoming more of her own person again.
Moderator What is it like working with Tyler Blackburn?
Nicole Oh, it’s the best! I honestly couldn’t ask for a better partner in all of this. Ever since the Pretty Little Liars episode he’s been amazing. He’s been a big support throughout this whole thing. Any time we have questions or concerns or anything, we can call each other up and vent it out and just be there for each other throughout the whole process. So, yes, he’s really collaborative and a huge professional and a really easy person to get along with. I could just go on; he’s great.
Moderator What is your favorite part about filming Ravenswood?
Nicole Probably just working with the cast! We have so much fun. Brett is hilarious; anything that he just says, anything that comes out of his mouth I’m immediately laughing. I had a lot of fun getting to know Merritt, and we hung out a lot off set and it was really nice to have a gal pal in New Orleans. So, yes, I think getting to know the cast this first season has been a lot of fun.
Moderator Do you ever get scared or experience anything supernatural like your characters?
Nicole I don’t think anybody ever sees anything supernatural. I think that the show has definitely made us paranoid, like if anything slightly odd happens we’re just immediately like, “Oh, my gosh, where’s the ghost? What is happening?” But nothing actually supernatural has happened, I don’t think, but it’s made for a lot of good on set pranks. Steven totally got Tyler just by pranking him when we shooting in a haunted abandoned children’s hospital. It’s made for good pranks, but I don’t think anything has really happened.
Moderator How does the costume designer approach the changing wardrobe of Miranda since she is a ghost?
Nicole The opportunity that Miranda has to change from the green jacket to the purple sweater was in her dream state, where she was at her parents’ house and she had that closet and she was changing in and out of her pajamas and everything just felt real to her. So she was able to change in that world. I was like, “Gosh when she was in Remy’s closet in her dream in episode 108 she should have stole a bunch of clothes, have like five different wardrobe changes.” But she didn’t; they were too busy running away from Abaddon, so totally understandable.
As far as collaborating with the costume designer, there are a good three or four different versions of those outfits so I don’t have to keep wearing the same one over and over and over again. I think when we chose the purple sweater, even though Miranda was more punk when we met her in the Pretty Little Liars episode; she had the garter belt with the big jacket, the big jean jacket and she just looked a bit more punk. We figured with her being at her parents’ house and her being happier we wanted something softer, and then it just ended up playing for the rest of the season.
Moderator Is there any hope for your ghost character to ever have a physical connection?
Nicole I think that the huge cliffhanger at the season finale will definitely leave that window of opportunity open for Miranda. There’s definitely a huge cliffhanger at the end of the season; it’s literally the last scene of the episode where Miranda could have a ghost companion. So you will see!
Moderator What’s your most and least favorite thing about your character, Miranda?
Nicole My favorite thing about her is that she’s so loyal. She will bend over backwards for anyone that she cares about, and I think that’s a really nice quality to play in a character. The fact that I can really like Miranda and enjoy playing her in that sense has been a lot of fun. My least favorite part about playing Miranda is not being able to change clothes!
Moderator What’s your favorite episode that’s aired so far?
Nicole My favorite episode was the winter return episode, it was episode 106 with all of the flashbacks. I had so much fun being able to change in general, but also being able to dress up in all of the old Edwardian clothing. It was a lot of fun for me! I love historical fiction and Keira Knightley movies, so I was eating it up.
Moderator Has anyone ever considered what could happen to Miranda if they do break the curse?
Nicole Yes, definitely. It’s all discussed during this huge showdown between the kids of the pack and Abaddon in the season finale. There’s this huge battle between them, and there are a lot of questions that are answered as far as Miranda being able to come back to life or staying dead. It’s all brought to the surface during this whole battle.
Moderator Do you think the gang should be thinking about ways to bring Miranda back before they do anything drastic?
Nicole I don’t think they’ve really thought of it as a possibility up until the showdown. I think Miranda’s finally coming to terms with being a ghost and being content. Well, not content, but just more accepting of her situation. I don’t think they’ve really thought whether or not to be able to bring her back.
Moderator Have you had a chance to go out and experience the haunted city of New Orleans?
Nicole I visited New Orleans two times prior to shooting Ravenswood, so I had already gone on the haunted history tours and all of that stuff, because I love all of that!
I think while I was down there I was pretty busy shooting the show. But I know that Brett had a lot of weird things happen to him in his apartment; he said that he felt a ghost in his bathroom. So after that I was like, “Well I’m never hanging out in your apartment again. I guess hangouts are now in my place. [laughs]” I think the city’s really, really cool in that way. You feel it in the energy and in the people.
Moderator What do you think is going to happen with Mr. Collins’?
Nicole I think Steven does such a great job at confusing people! His true colors finally show in this upcoming episode and during the season finale, which I think will be very exciting for fans to see.
Moderator If you could play any other character on Ravenswood, who would it be?
Nicole I would probably want to be Remy. I think she’s a really smart and quirky character. Her sleeping nightmares have been a really cool aspect to her storyline as well.
Moderator How did you get your start in acting?
Nicole I started acting when I was 13. It all began with this random pageant that I decided to sign up for, and one thing led to another and I finally come out to LA for one pilot season, and it ended up going well. Ever since then I’ve been taking commercial gigs and print modeling. Then it led to a couple of pilots, and after that I booked JONAS when I was 18; that kind of started everything.
Moderator Do you ever hang out with the Jonas brothers since the filming of Jonas?
Nicole We hung out a couple of times since we’ve wrapped; it’s an annual reunion for the cast. We’re all busy; Kevin’s all the way on the East Coast getting ready to be a dad! But we definitely try to all get together when we can.
Moderator What are your thoughts about Kevin and Danielle expecting their baby?
Nicole I think it’s all so exciting! When we were shooting JONAS they were still this long-distance couple, not even engaged or married yet. So to see them married and moving back to Jersey and having a kid is all really, really exciting. I think Danielle is so sweet. She’s going to be the best mom ever; she’s just so soft-spoken and nurturing. I’m very excited for them!
Sterling Knight as Zander and Taylor Spreitler as Lennox Scanlon on ABC Family’s “Melissa & Joey” (Image courtesy of ABC FAMILY)
Actor Sterling Knight is known for his Disney Channel role, starring alongside Demi Lovato in “Sonny with a Chance” (2009-2011)and also on the show “So Random!” (2011-2012), as a talented singer/guitarist, he showing his musical talent in the 2010 Disney Channel film “StarStruck”.
And now, Sterling Knight has joined the cast of ABC Family’s sitcom “Melissa & Joey” as the character Zander, a good friend of Lennox Scanlon (portrayed by Taylor Spreitler).
To promote the current season of “Melissa & Joey”, Sterling too part in a media Q&A.
Here is a transcript from the media Q&A:
Moderator How did you meet Demi Lovato?
Sterling I actually met Demi at the audition for the pilot of Sonny with a Chance, which is interesting given the fact that we’re both from Texas; she’s from Dallas, I’m from Houston. But we actually met in the audition in front of all of the producers and writers and all the scary people in suits. I think, actually, our first meeting or second meeting is online on YouTube in my audition video.
Moderator Do you hang out with the cast of Sonny with a Chance and So Random?
Sterling We do, we all try and get together every once in a while. It’s been a couple years now — everybody’s pretty busy on other things, but we do try and make time and hang out with each other. It’s a good little family that we all started out with, and it’s always fun to get the gang back together.
Moderator Could you describe your character on Melissa & Joey?
Sterling Zander is the nicest lovable idiot, I think. He’s not the brightest bulb in the batch. He constantly puts his foot in his mouth, but he’s very well intentioned and he wants good things for people. He just kind of ends up messing things up every once in a while and can’t really get his foot out of his mouth. He’s been really fun to play.
Moderator What is it like working with Taylor Spreitler?
Sterling Well it’s helpful playing against Taylor’s character, because her character’s humor is so dry and witty, it makes my job a lot easier to sell the dummy a little bit. But I’ve known Taylor for years; I think we’ve been friends for, gosh, seven years, eight years now. So it’s been really exciting to finally get to work with somebody that I’ve known for so long.
We have a really great relationship, both personally and professionally. We hang out outside of work, and it’s always nice to go into your job and have a friend there and hang out. We usually make each other laugh when we’re not making each other angry [laughs].
Moderator What would you tell those readers who haven’t yet watched Melissa & Joey?
Sterling I think the writing on Melissa & Joey is probably one of the better sitcom writings I’ve watched, and especially these later seasons. Obviously because I’m there, I think the writing’s gotten a lot better [laughs]. But every show it takes them a while to kind of find their groove, and I think this show has really found it. I think it explores the ABC Family tagline. It does explore a modern take on the household, and especially the banter between Melissa and Joey is kind of priceless. I’m a big fan of the show!
Moderator Will you and Joey Lawrence ever work on some music together?
Sterling Actually a couple weeks ago I brought my guitar to set, just because I wasn’t very heavy in one of the episodes so there’s a lot of downtime. So I was messing around with the guitar, and Joey came in and we had a little jam session. I mean that was fun, but I don’t know if that will ever happen professionally. He may not want to work with me; he’s a lot more talented, especially as a dancer, than I am [laughs].
Moderator What is it like to film in front of a live studio audience?
Sterling I love it! I grew up in theater, so the multi-camera sitcom with a live audience is about as close to putting on a play as you can get while still not having to rehearse for 19 weeks and then do eight shows a week, which is always kind of nice. But I really think that it makes something special out of a weird, awkward situation. As soon as the audience is there it kind of freshens everything up; all the jokes that you’ve been hearing and rehearsing all week get new energy and new life, and I know that the entire cast responds really well with a good high-energy audience. It’s really fun to hear people screaming at you while you’re trying to take directions.
Moderator How hard is it to keep a straight face while filming?
Sterling Impossible. I’m really bad at it, which is awful. I’ll go ahead and I’ll throw myself under the bus here, I actually practice keeping a straight face sometimes. So I’ll watch really funny standup comedy routines or something like that and try to not laugh while watching it. Which essentially makes watching the stand up comedy not enjoyable, because I don’t get to laugh. But it’s really difficult; that’s something that I have trouble with. I don’t know, everybody on that show is capable of making me laugh, so it’s hard.
Moderator Who is the funniest on set?
Sterling Everybody’s funny in different ways. Melissa has out-of-context quotes that are just so left field and they’re hilarious, but Joey has better rant comedy. If he gets really worked up about something he’ll take a good two minutes and just kind of let loose on a topic, and that’s hilarious. Everybody has their own kind of style, but I don’t know, Joey probably makes me laugh more than anybody.
Moderator What’s your most and least favorite thing about your character, Zander?
Sterling Probably my most favorite thing about Zander is sort of his likeability. He’s just a good guy and he’s trying, which is pretty different from the Chad Dillon Cooper on Sonny with a Chance and So Random, who was the likeable jerk, or at least I tried to make him likeable. So I think my favorite part is Zander is just a genuinely good person and it’s hard to get mad at him or dislike him in any way.
My least favorite part is probably that he’s an artist, simply because I can’t draw a stick figure very well but I have to pretend I’m making these amazing sketches and photos. I have to hold the pencil like an artist would, and I feel useless every time. Every time they hand me the sketchpad I’m like, “I don’t know what to do.”
Moderator What is your favorite character you’ve gotten to play in your career?”
Sterling Character wise was probably either Chad Dillon Cooper from Sonny with a Chance or Alex from 17 Again. Just because the Chad character was so ridiculous and very not like myself. And then the Alex character from 17 Again — I used to be that kid, and so it was nice getting back in that socially awkward position, like you don’t enjoy going to high school. So I know not to take for granted that progress I’ve made socially.
Moderator What other TV shows beside Melissa & Joey are you watching?
Sterling Well, I mean I just got done with Breaking Bad, and that was quite epic, obviously, because it’s Breaking Bad. I’m actually kind of behind on a lot of the shows. So I’m in season two or season three of Nip/Tuck, so I’m catching up on a lot of the really good television shows from a couple years ago.
But the ones that are currently on, obviously I’m anticipating the next season of Game of Thrones, like everybody. And, oh goodness, Shameless is like my guilty pleasure, because I hate admitting that I watch it because the characters are just such bad people [laughs]. But the acting and the writing on it are phenomenal, and I just can’t get enough of it. So that’s probably my guilty pleasure right now.
Moderator If you could pick someone to work with, either past or present, who would it be and why?
Sterling Leonardo DiCaprio. That’s probably too quick of a response, but I’ve always really liked his work and his choices. Oddly enough, I don’t see it, but a lot of people say I remind them of a young Leo. I don’t see it, but I’ll take the compliment.
He started out in a sitcom like I did, you know he started out with Growing Pains, and I think that the choices he’s made as an actor creatively and professionally navigating those uncharted waters, just trying to figure everything out, I think he’s done a really good job of it. He’s gone all across the board with the characters and the movies that he’s done, and I find that really respectful. That’s probably the guy I would want to work with just to sit him down and pick his brain a little bit.
Moderator Can you compare working with ABC Family and Disney Channel?
Sterling Well, they’re in the same building, but on different floors. That’s fun; I know exactly where I’m going when I have a meeting. But I think they’re pretty similar; they run a tight ship in regards to how they do their shows and the network’s interest level in the production. But, obviously, we get to say a little more on ABC Family, which is always exciting. But I think it’s fairly similar, other than the sexy jokes and some of the content’s a little different.
But I think it’s a nice step for me personally. I think Melissa & Joey’s been great. I love working there, and it is a natural progression for my fans. But they’re getting older, it’s been a couple years since the Disney stuff, and I think the content is age appropriate for that late teen, early 20s demographic. Yes, it’s been great.
Moderator If Disney Channel would bring back So Random or Sonny with a Chance would you go for a reunion?
Sterling Yes, I’d love to do a reunion show, get the whole gang back together and go make some laughs. I think that would be really fun. So, yes, I’m down!
Moderator How familiar were you with Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence as actors on notable shows in the 80’s and 90’s?
Sterling It was actually pretty funny. I’m usually not very star struck or get nervous or anything like that, but I grew up on Clarissa Explains It All and Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Drive Me Crazy. And then Joey’s stuff, I watched Brotherly Love religiously, which was his show with Matt and Andy on the Disney Channel, and all those Disney movies that all the Lawrence brothers did.
So I was actually very nervous to be on set, you know I grew up watching these guys. They couldn’t be nicer people and nicer co-stars. They’re very welcoming and very professional. Obviously they both know what they’re doing, been doing it for long enough. So it’s been a real blessing to work with them. They’re just good people.
Moderator Can you recall the very first moment that you went on set and filmed a scene with them?
Sterling Absolutely. I just remember it was so nice having Taylor there, because I could pull her aside and go, “Ah, oh my God, that’s, oh it’s Melissa Joan Hart.” And she’s like, “Calm down” so Taylor was a really helpful friend to have there to calm me down as we’re rehearsing and I’m getting to know everybody. It’s tricky when you’re a recurring character coming in for the first time; you’re a guest in their house, and you have to navigate those waters carefully. But they’re fantastic, so my nerves were for nothing.
Moderator How do you feel about Mel and Joe dating on the show?
Sterling I love it! I especially love it because I know that they’re not attracted to each other at all on camera, so it’s kind of funny to have to watch them go, “I don’t want to kiss you. Uh. Okay” [laughs].
I know a lot of the times with these shows where it’s two people that you really want to get together – when they finally do a lot that magic and tension is gone, but I think that both Melissa and Joey have done a really great job keeping that chemistry there. That banter keeps everyone interested. I think that’s the best part of the show, their banter together.
Moderator What is it like on set since you’ve done both television and film?
Sterling I’m going to go ahead and say a multi-camera sitcom is pretty much the best job in the entertainment industry; it’s as close to 9-to-5 as you can get, it’s Monday through Friday, and you can have a social life outside of work, which is nice. And movies is shooting six days a week, sometimes fourteen hours, sixteen hours a day, and I love that.
So they’re both very different and they’re both challenging for different reasons. I’m just weird enough to enjoy being covered in my own blood and mud and climbing through the swamps of Louisiana for sixteen hours a day, and put me in a nice, cushy soundstage for a couple hours to rehearse. I’m good either way!
Moderator Which country would you like to visit?
Sterling A couple years ago I went to Australia and New Zealand and I had the time of my life, so I would love to go back there again. But places that I haven’t been — probably Japan or England, and England would probably be easier to navigate seeing as we speak close to the same language.
Moderator What is your favorite food?
Sterling My favorite food is actually escargot, as weird as that sounds, and that’s only because I never get to have it. That’s always just a nice, special thing that I get to have every once in a while.
But my favorite food that I actually get to eat more often than not is just a good steak. I’m a Texas boy, so you get me a good steak and some veggies, and I’m good.
Images: (ABC FAMILY/Bruce Birmelin)
TAYLOR SPREITLER, STERLING KNIGHT, MELISSA JOAN HART
Cierra Ramirez has come a long way as an actress. From earlier roles on “CSI: Miami”, “Desperate Housewives”, Cierra would eventually appear in multiple episodes of “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” and on the final season of “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” and her first feature film with Ava Mendes in the 2012 film “Girl in Progress”.
Cierra Ramirez is one of the stars of the ABC drama “The Fosters”, playing the character Mariana Foster.
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.
Previously in the series, the character of Mariana Foster is one of the adopted daughters who is the fraternal twin sister of Jesus. She is popular, smart and cares for her appearances a lot. But she has recently connected with her real mother who needs money and so Mariana resorts to drug trafficking. But when she gets in trouble, she puts the blame on the new adopted and troubled girl of the family, Callie.
With the second half of the season for “The Fosters” airing on ABC Family, a media Q&A was recently held with Cierra Ramirez to promote the second half of the season.
Here is a transcript from the Q&A:
Moderator What do you think has made The Fosters such a quick fan favorite series?
Cierra The fact that it deals with topics and issues that are so real and relevant right now in the world — but they aren’t often on television for the viewers to see. I think it has done really well, being able to connect to the audiences. That’s the best part about the series — having people approach you saying that they really relate to a certain character or storyline. That’s what the whole idea of the show is, it’s so universal. I think that’s really awesome to see.
Moderator Who are some of the great guest stars we’ll be seeing this season?
Cierra Well, you did see Rosie O’Donnell, that’s going to be really awesome. I’m really
excited for that. I wasn’t really a part of that whole filming process, so I’m excited for that as well. Garrett Clayton will be guest starring as one of Mariana’s possible love interests, so that’s going to be interesting as well.
Moderator Will this half of the season finally give Mariana the chance to be happy with her new possibly love interest?
Cierra Well, you did see Mariana deal with some very dark issues on the first half of the season, so it has definitely lightened up. But I wouldn’t say that it’s all just gone. A lot of her stuff will come back to haunt her, so you can definitely look forward to some dark stuff coming up.
Moderator Would you say Mariana is struggling without Lexi around?
Cierra It is a story that will continue, and you’ve kind of seen how the relationship and dynamic has changed with Lexi now dating her brother. You’re going to see how that kind of comes into play. And with her leaving, yes, I definitely think that she will miss Lexi in her life.
Moderator What has been Mariana’s most important & pivotal moment?
Cierra I think it would have to be episode 9, where Stef is in the hospital. You see all of the issues that she’s dealt with bottle up and come out. The reason her mother is in the hospital is because of her, so she’s left with this guilt. She got shot because she was in contact with the biological mom and with that she wonders if Lena and Stef want to keep her or if they still love her. I think that she really needed to hear from Lena and Stef that she really is part of this family. It was just something she dealt with, growing up and being curious it did get her into some trouble, and I think that at the end of the day she really needed to know that she was loved. I think that’s one of my favorite moments.
That was my most favorite. It was the toughest. I’m a sucker for anything, you know, I’m very dramatic. I love crying, and I just think that episode was just so beautiful.
Moderator Is there anything that you would like to have changed about the character in the past?
Cierra Up until now, she’s no longer keeping in contact with her mother. I think that was one thing I was a little iffy about, was how close she was getting with her mom, and you see the results of that.
Moderator Is there anything special you’ve had to do in order to prepare yourself for the role of Mariana?
Cierra I didn’t really know much about foster care, so my learning process was gradual with the pilot. The cast and crew also helped out. Luckily we’ve been able to meet with foster care companies, and we were able to meet a lot of kids who come from the foster care system. They’ve been able to give feedback, tell us how they relate to something, or if they don’t relate to something. It’s been really great to see how they relate to The Fosters, and I think that has really helped me shape my character as well.
Moderator How much of Cierra are you allowed to bring to Mariana?
Cierra One thing I’m really big about is that I love nail polish! I just love getting my nails done and I’m really into really funky colors and patterns. They’ve really helped me bring that into Mariana. I think that’s helped shape her style – she’s very daring and colorful. I love being able to bring the Cierra nails into Mariana.
Moderator How does Mariana feel about the near loss of a potential sister after Callie ran away?
Cierra I think that’s really hard, especially coming from a fostering background. Up until the Foster’s Mariana hasn’t really known a family, and up until Callie she was the only girl sibling in the household. At first she was a little territorial and she didn’t really take a liking to Callie. But you’ve seen their relationship bond. They’ve gotten so close, and for her to leave like that was hard on the whole family, especially Brandon. I think it is really hard. She’s never had a sisterly figure in her life, and for Callie to disappear like that was very hard.
Moderator What do you think Mariana would be like as a girlfriend?
Cierra She’s never had a boyfriend, so she’s going to have a little hit-or-miss. She’s not going to really know how to be a girlfriend, but I think at the end of the day she will be very romantic and thoughtful. She’s very creative, so I think she would be very romantic.
Moderator What is it like working with Garrett Clayton?
Cierra It’s awesome! Our friendship actually started from our mutual obsession with Kristen Wiig. We’re just constantly doing some of her impersonations and impressions. I love working with him. He’s such a great actor and he brings so much to his character Chase. I’m really excited to see how it all turns out and have a blast with him on set.
Moderator Can you give away any hints behind Mariana’s deep and dark secrets?
Cierra She doesn’t really have as many this half of the season, but like I said, her mistakes will definitely come back to haunt her.
Moderator Do you see Mariana as the nice girl she is portrayed to be, or something more?
Cierra I see Mariana as a 15-year-old girl who is growing and with that she’s going to make a few mistakes here and there. At the end of the day she loves her family and it means the world to her. But she is growing and she comes from a different background. She’s very curious, but she’s sassy, she’s witty, she’s loving and caring at the same time. I love her. I think she’s a great character and I love being able to portray her.
Moderator How are these perceived expectations of teen normalcy (having a boyfriend) going to affect her actions this half of the season?
Cierra It actually unravels in one of the upcoming episodes. There is a lot of pressure, and especially if there’s competition. I don’t want to say too much but there might be a little competition in the running towards a love interest. But, yes, there will be pressure, and you’ll see that all unravel.
Moderator What other actresses do you look up to?
Cierra Angelina Jolie! She is fabulous, on and off screen. I just think she’s an awesome person. I love Kate del Castillo, I’ve got to represent for my Latinas. Rachel McAdams is such a beautiful person. They are all some of my biggest inspirations.
Moderator What is it like working on The Foster’s set?
Cierra Oh, it is amazing! It’s constant laughter. They really are a great reason to wake up early in the morning. Whenever I’m rolling out of bed and my bed is just so comfy, I just look forward to seeing them. They make the day go by so much faster. It’s honestly not work. It’s so much fun. The relationships on and off screen are just so light, it’s just so full of love. I love it. It’s a dream.
Moderator What issues in the upcoming episodes would you like to see Mariana take on?
Cierra If I had to go back to the idea of pressures, pressuring in the teen dating life, I think maybe dealing with the idea of sex or virginity. They have touched it briefly on the show. But I think it’s different with a girl. I think Mariana would be interesting in that scenario. You might be able to see something like that on this upcoming season. It will be interesting.
Moderator Is there any type of social issue or a problem that you would not like to see Mariana take on?
Cierra No, actually. The one thing I really admire about the writers is that they can really touch base with a lot of different topics really fast, but it all blends so well and all of the storylines just match. I love the idea of touching so many different universal topics that people can relate to. I think that’s really awesome. I don’t think I would be against anything.
Moderator How is working on The Fosters similar or different than working on The Secret Life of the American Teenager?
Cierra When I was on The Secret Life of the American Teenager I had signed on the last season of a total of five, so Iwas the new kid on the block. That was different because on The Fosters we started as strangers on this pilot and took it on from there. It was kind of a whole different ballgame with The Secret Life, coming in as the new student. Everyone on The Secret Life was so welcoming and so warm, it was a family already. It was so much fun acting on The Secret Life — the drama, I couldn’t get over it, it was awesome. It was the same in the sense that on both sets the cast and crew were just such family, so that was really fun. It was such a huge blessing to hop on one awesome project to another. It’s been a great ride!
Moderator Did you already know that you had this role before The Secret Life ended?
Cierra No, actually. My auditioning process was very different. The creator of The Secret Life had called to tell me that The Secret Life was no longer being picked up for another season, so I got on the phone with my agent and I told him, “I’m out here. I really want to get a new project,” and he told me about The Fosters, but they were already testing for the role of Mariana. As a spur of the moment I wanted to put myself on tape. The day after we sent it in, I found out that I had booked the role, so it was a really different process. It was a huge blessing. It was really unexpected.
Moderator Is there a possibility of something happening between Mariana, Zac and Chase?
Cierra Oh, I don’t want to give too much away, but maybe you’re on to something! You know she’s never had a boyfriend, so a lot of that topic will surface and there could possibly be a love triangle.
Moderator What do you think about Jesus finding a new love outside of Lexi?
Cierra I don’t think that Mariana’s going to be okay with that. The idea of him dating Lexi — it took so long for her to be okay with. Now that she’s fine with it and she’s away, I don’t know how that’s all going to pan out for Jesus.
Moderator What does Mariana feel about Brandon and Callie’s relationship?
Cierra Her relationship with Callie has grown and progressed so much over the first half of the season into this sisterly relationship. She’s known Brandon for so much of her life, that’s her brother, and for them to be dating, I don’t think she approves. Cierra is definitely Team Brallie, but Mariana’s definitely not. I’ve got to say I love those moments. Brandon’s truth comes to play — you’ll see how the whole Foster family really approves or disapproves of it.
Moderator What is it like working with Hayden Byerly?
Cierra Hayden is literally a 40-year-old man trapped in a 13-year-old body. He is the most mature person, he’s probably the most mature out of everyone in the cast, I swear. He’s so awesome, so giving, and I love being able to work with him. I love those moments too, because I just love his character Jude. Being able to interact with him as Mariana is just so awesome. I love it. I think you’ll definitely see a lot more of them and their friendship in this season.
Moderator What information or advice do you receive from your friends and family regarding the show and subject matters?
Cierra My family is just so supportive of everything I’ve taken on, and they are the first people to tell me about the episode! They’re always watching it live and I love hearing their feedback. They love everything that The Fosters has talked about or dealt with, and the same for my friends. It’s just been so amazing, the whole process and the whole ride of the show. It’s a huge blessing that people like it so much. It’s really fun to hear that from my family and friends as well.
Moderator If you could take on the role of any other character on The Fosters who would it be?
Cierra Probably Jude, just because he has a special place in my heart – if I was a boy [laughs]! I think he has so much underneath that has come into play, and he’s such a strong character, he’s so brave. For a 13-year-old boy he’s just so brave with everything he’s had to deal with, it’s just so cool. I definitely would want to be Jude.
Moderator If you weren’t an actress what do you think you’d be doing?
Cierra I would probably want to be an investigator. It’s always just been a dream of mine. I love mysteries and stuff like that!
Moderator What are some of your other talents other than acting?
Cierra I originally got into acting through singing. I grew up in Texas, so I would do lots of local county fairs, so I grew up competing. I did a competition here in L.A. and they had acting as another category, and since I was out here I thought I might as well just try it. I didn’t know that I’d end up falling in love with it, I got my agent through that competition, and I’ve been with him ever since. I love singing and I love acting!
Moderator Have there been any noteworthy stories or great perceptions from fans that you’ve received?
Cierra You know that’s one of the main things I love being able to experience — the fans coming up and saying that they relate to a certain subject. I met a few lesbian couples raising families and blended families, and I’ve been able to speak with them about the show. They’re so excited about the fact that there’s something on the air that they can relate to. I think that’s just so awesome that the show is honestly making history. It’s ground breaking and it’s real, and being able to speak with fans is just an awesome thing.
For more information on “The Fosters”, please visit the official website.
“The Fosters” airs on ABC Family on Monday nights, 9/8c
Aki Con 2013 was held at the Seatac Airport Double Tree Hotel in Seatac, WA from October 25-27th.
Although it’s not big like Sakura Con that’s held in Seattle every year, attendees definitely had a great time cosplaying, attending panels, interacting with and getting autographs from the guests, and sharing the love they have for anime, manga, video games with fellow fans.
I’ve been attending Sakura-Con here in Seattle every year since 2004, but this year was the first time I attended a smaller local anime con, Aki-Con. Though it’s a much smaller con than Sakura-Con, the attendees seemed to really enjoy themselves.
The con last year had gotten a lot of negative reviews because of what happened with Artist Alley and the dealers’ hall, but it was very apparent that they were doing their best to make this year’s con the best they could, and I think they did a good job… and I think the attendees noticed as well.
Like most other days in the fall, the weather was rather wet here in the Seattle area during the con, but driving up to the hotel, you could see attendees all around, proudly wearing their cosplay as they headed to the nearby Taco Bell, Subway or Dennys for food. The venue, the Seatac Airport Double Tree hotel, was a great choice for a smaller con, as it wasn’t a huge venue, but was just big enough to hold a con of this size… though there were a few times it started getting overcrowded in the hallways. Overall, everyone seemed to have an excellent time.
The guests at Aki Con this year definitely brought in a huge number of the attendees. Guests of Honor for Aki Con this year were voice actors Johnny Yong Bosch, Monica Rial, Lisle Wilkerson, David Vincent, and Josh Goring. Other guests included reality TV personality, Molly McIssac, cosplay groups such as the Living Dead Girls, and the featured band was Johnny Yong Bosch’s own Eyeshine. (Click here for the complete guest list)
Attendees had plenty of activities they could enjoy throughout the weekend. They had huge cardboard cutouts of characters from various video games and anime throughout the hotel, and even had a room with various scenes set up where cosplayers could take photos using those as backgrounds. The venue itself had tons of parking, so that didn’t seem to be a problem. The hotel was pretty scenic and also provided various areas for photographers and cosplayers to hold photoshoots. The dealers’ hall was about the size of two panel rooms, but attendees were able to find plenty of stuff to buy.
“Attack on Titan” was definitely a huge highlight for cosplayers and the dealers’ room had no shortage of “Attack on Titan” goods. Artist Alley was held in a few rooms upstairs, and it seemed that the artists this year were much better accommodated than last year and each time I passed by, the rooms were full with attendees. There were a couple rooms dedicated to gaming of all kinds (old school arcade, console, etc) and there was even a room where they had a Hetalia Cafe. Anime viewing rooms were showing current anime that could be found on Crunchyroll.com and there was also a manga library. And of course, there were panel rooms and main ballroom for events with the guests such as panels, concerts, masquerades, and more.
The voice actor guests had a few panels together where they answered questions and fulfilled requests from the various fans that came to see them. They also had multiple signings, where each of the guests took their time and interacted with their very eager fans. One of the biggest events of this con that everyone was excited for was the Eyeshine concert Saturday night. The band performed a full set and stayed around to sign merchandise and take pics with their fans after the show. Possibly one of the biggest highlight for many of the attendees was the fact that because this was a smaller convention, the guests’ schedules weren’t as tight and they had a lot more time to interact with all of the fans. All of the guests took time to give autographs and take pictures with fans that randomly came up to them outside of their panels if time had allowed.
For individual panels, Johnny Yong Bosch answered various questions about his career, the voice acting business and told a few funny stories that had happened to him on his way to work. David Vincent held a panel where he not only gave tips and answered questions on how to get into voice acting, but he had people come up on stage with him and had them do various voice acting exercises and gave them personal tips and praise. After the panel, he even stayed around for quite a while and took pictures with fans, signed autographs, and continued to answer any questions fans didn’t get to ask during his panel. Monica Rial did a similar panel where she just opened the floor to the fans and she answered various questions about the industry and even called a friend of an attendee to surprise them. At each of these panels, all of the guests were extremely approachable, friendly, and down to earth, which I’m sure the fans all appreciated and it was apparent they all had a lot of fun.
Despite all of the things that may have gone wrong at last year’s con, it really was apparent that the con staff was working extremely hard to do a much better job at this con. The venue they got was great, the con staff was friendly, they booked guests that the attendees loved, and they did their best to make sure everyone had a great time. I think they did a great job, but I do have a few minor complaints… The lighting in the main ballroom where they held the opening ceremonies, the concert, and other big panels could have probably used better lighting.
During the opening ceremonies, the cosplay contest, and the concert, they turned off the house lights and had very odd red spot lights only on stage. It may have been for artistic effect, but it was incredibly hard to see anyone unless you were up close to the stage. Also, I thought that the registration was set up in a very awkward spot. It was located in one of the hallways and so when lines had formed, the whole hallway would be blocked. They did have it roped off, but at times it really was hard to get around. Also, there was slight overcrowding, especially on Saturday, but overall that is a good thing since that means they got that much of an attendance and I don’t think it ever got too bad that it wasn’t bearable.
Though it’s not the biggest anime con in the Pacific Northwest, Aki Con was a great con to go to for people who want a smaller convention, or want another event other than Sakura Con to go to since that’s only once a year. It’s also a great con for those who want to be able to interact with the guests more and not have to be around 10,000+ people like you would at Sakura Con. A smaller convention doesn’t mean that it’s not as great and fun. Both big and small conventions have their pros and cons and I thought that this year’s Aki Con was a great convention to visit for people who wanted another con to go to. If they are able to book the same venue again or a similar sized venue (if not a bigger one), I highly recommend fans in the area to check it out next year.
It’s that time of the year for ABC Family’s “25 Days of Christmas” and to kick things off is a new holiday film titled “Christmas Bounty” starring Francia Raisa (“The Secret Life of the American Teenager”) and WWE superstar Mike “The Miz” Mizanin.
“Christmas Bounty” will air on ABC Family on Nov. 26th at 7/6c.
“Christmas Bounty” is about former bounty hunter turned elementary school teacher Tory Bell (portrayed by Francia Raisa), who was ready for a new life when she left the family business behind and moved to Manhattan. But when an old enemy is released from jail and vows retribution on Tory and her loved ones, she returns to New Jersey to take care of him once and for all.
When Tory’s upper-class fiancé, James, follows her home for Christmas, she tries to keep her bounty hunting ways a secret, but the plan backfires when James unwittingly becomes involved in the Bells’ mission. Further complicating matters, Tory must work closely with her ex-boyfriend, Mike (portrayed by Mike “The Miz” Mizanin) to bring down their target and keep James out of certain danger.
But as Tory becomes further entrenched in her old life, she finds herself torn between whom she once was and her plans for the future. Will Tory choose her new life with James, or will the thrill of bounty hunting and unresolved feelings for Mike prove too powerful to ignore?
To help promote “Christmas Bounty”, Francia and “The Miz” took part in a media Q&A. Here is a transcript from the Q&A:
Moderator: What was it that initially drew you to this role?
Mike “The Miz”: With WWE it’s theater, it’s live, you’re in front of a live audience, you only get one take. If you mess up the entire world is going to see it and are either going to boo you or cheer you at that moment.
However, acting in a movie — you don’t get that initial reaction and you don’t get that live audience feel. Doing a movie is a lot nicer on my body. I just got back from Europe for WWE — we did a European tour for 14 days of constant wrestling, so my body’s tired, my mind’s tired. When you’re shooting a movie it’s exhausting in a different way, where you’re mentally going at it and you don’t get that much sleep. But I do enjoy movies. I do enjoy WWE. I enjoy them both the same. They’re a lot different, and they’re also very similar.
I’m really excited about “Christmas Bounty” premiering on November 26, because the cast just got along so well. It’s not every day that you get to enjoy such a close-knit cast. Every time we were done with a shoot we would all go sit and just talk. I think you’ll see that closeness and that bond that we all had and that love for each other in Christmas Bounty. I think when a cast becomes close you can really see that they enjoy working with each other, and I think we all really had a pleasure working on “Christmas Bounty”.
Francia: I agree! Coming off of “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” I am not used to doing any sort of action. This was my first time doing action scenes on camera. I did grow up doing martial arts. So, I was intimated to work with Mike, because he is a wrestler and has done this for a long time. But he was really welcoming and really encouraging. In Secret Life it was very “go, go, go, go”, because TV tends to have more time. It was a lot of fun and we were able to pick it up really well.
Like Mike said, we all really enjoyed working with each other; we became a family, we definitely bonded. We are genuine friends, so it’s definitely going to show on camera. I’m just as excited, because we just watched the movie and you could just tell that there was so much chemistry between all of us!
It was definitely a transition, just because I hadn’t done film in a while, but I was really happy to know that this was the first project that I was going to do outside of Secret Life and TV.
Moderator: Did either of you spend any time with bounty hunters to learn stunts for the role?
Mike “The Miz”: I definitely watched Dog the Bounty Hunter leading up to doing this role, just checking out exactly what bounty hunters do. So that was the extent of what we did. The casting process was put together fairly quickly, so there wasn’t an excess of time where you could find a bounty hunter and talk to him.
Francia: It happened so fast; I found out on a Sunday and I was a plane by Wednesday. So my research was with the director and my cast. I did watch The Bounty Hunter with Jennifer Aniston!
Moderator: What was your most memorable moment from filming?
Mike “The Miz”: My most memorable moment is one having to do with Francia. I’m so glad I got to be with her in this movie because she taught me a lot on the acting realm and was a constant professional. But there was one day where she was trying to do this savate kick for the movie. And let me tell you something, I can’t even do a savate kick. I’m the type of person that likes to give people a hard time, and I enjoy doing little pranks, if you will. If I see someone getting a little aroused I have to keep pushing that button. So I kept pushing it and at one point she was like, “You have to give me a moment!”
So I gave her a moment, and she did the savate kick and it was literally the most perfect kick. I think I’m going to take credit for her savate kick, because of the energy that I gave her during that moment.
Francia: That made me so mad, haha! That was a pretty memorable moment for me.
Mike “The Miz”: Another memorable moment for me was that I had my first on-screen kiss.
Francia: Oh yes! I was really excited about that!
Mike “The Miz”: I’ve been on TV for a while and I never had a movie or TV series where I’ve had a kiss with another actress, so this was my first time. I guess you could say I was pretty nervous about it, because I didn’t know what the rules were. I just went for it, and I think it was Francia’s best kiss she’s ever had on screen, to be completely honest with you. I mean I’m a really good kisser. You can ask my fiancé!
Moderator: What traditions or rituals do you have for the holidays?
Francia: I like to cook a lot, so I’m really excited to cook next week for Thanksgiving. I’m the only one doing it, so I will be up bright and early. Other than that, I like to sleep and watch Christmas movies. This year I will have my entire family watch “Christmas Bounty” over and over again!
Mike “The Miz”: I don’t know how to cook. If you asked me to cook you macaroni and cheese I could get you that, maybe a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, so you definitely don’t want me cooking.
Normally WWE has Survivor series on pay-per-view right around Thanksgiving, which is happening this Sunday. Then I fly to my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, which is my hometown. I celebrate a day that I call “Miz Fest”, which is every Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I rent a school bus and I bring about 60 of my high school friends– yes I said high school — I basically bring them all on the school bus and we just have a blast through the entire city of Cleveland.
The next day my family goes over to my aunt’s house for Thanksgiving. We eat my aunt’s dry turkey and her other food that she usually cooks. I’ve never seen someone try so hard to cook great food and still cannot do it well. So my Aunt Lynn isn’t the best cook, but you have to give her an A for effort.
During Christmas, I always love the Christmas movies. I love Christmas Vacation, I love Elf, and now I’m going to be watching “Christmas Bounty”. I’m actually having a little viewing party on Tuesday over at my friend’s house in Cleveland, and I think everyone’s going to really enjoy “Christmas Bounty”, because there’s something for everyone. It’s not just for girls, it’s not just for guys, it’s not old people, young people, it’s everybody; there is something for everyone. If you like comedy, if you like drama, if you like romance, if you like a little action, guess what, you’re going to get it all in “Christmas Bounty”, and it’s going to show that true holiday spirit.
Moderator: What should fans expect while tuning in to “Christmas Bounty”?
Mike “The Miz”: It’s one of those feel good movies! I think everyone watches their special Christmastime movies. This is a movie that’s going to be right up there with all the other ones. I think people are going to really watch, and when they’re done watching this movie they’re going to come away with a smile on their face, they’re going to cuddle with their loved ones a little closer. I think it’s just one of those movies that will stand the test of time, and I think people will be shocked to see how great it truly is.
Francia: I agree! It’s just one of those feel good movies that you enjoy watching, and you take yourself away from reality a bit and you tap into someone else’s happiness, and you’re around your loved ones and you’re cozied up in your house. It’s one of those movies that’s a perfect ending to your night.
Mike “The Miz”: Here’s what I want everyone to do on Tuesday night. I want you to get some popcorn, I want you to get your most comfy clothes on, I want you to snuggle with one another, and I guarantee you by the end of that movie you guys are going to look in each other’s eyes and say, “I love you.”
Moderator: Can you give a brief synopsis of your characters and “Christmas Bounty”?
Mike “The Miz”: “Christmas Bounty” is a movie about Tory Bell, played by the lovely, gorgeous Francia, who does an amazing job. Tory Bell is from New Jersey, she has a New Jersey family, she’s raised there, and her family is all bounty hunters. Francia’s character wants to get out of that life. She moves to New York City, becomes a school teacher, is living the average, ordinary, everyday life like everybody else. She meets a new guy, who’s played by Will Greenberg. She has this new life.
Tory has to come back to New Jersey with her bounty hunters to protect her family, and her new fiancé tags along to meet the family. The family is very eccentric; it’s very loud, it’s very New Jersey. My character is the ex-boyfriend who is a bounty hunter with her, and we basically have to find the bad guy before he finds us.
There could be a love triangle. You’re going to have to tune in at 7:00/6:00 Central this Tuesday, November 26th to check it out.
Moderator: What preparations did you have to take to make it work between the two of your characters?
Francia: We met on set! I was working as an actress on “Secret Life”. I’ve been training my entire life for something like this. As I mentioned earlier, I did martial arts for ten years.
I think we both just came in with an open mind. We both just wanted to just make a great project, we both were really passionate about the script, we both loved the script, and there was no reason to not get along. Mike’s a great guy and he has a great outlook on work, his work ethic is incredible, and he was really trying to make this character great. He was really into learning how to get in deeper with the character and not just have very surface choices. I really wanted to make it look great when it came to fighting, so we worked together to make sure that happened.
I can see us being friends for a lifetime, but we’ve only known each other a few months! I’m really grateful that he’s in my life, even though he gives me a hard time sometimes, but he’s like a big brother to me.
Mike “The Miz”: Aw, me too! It was an instant connection between the entire cast; we all just clicked, and it’s not every day you get that, to be completely honest with you. I’ve been on TV shows where people don’t like each other, but they have to work with one another. This couldn’t be more opposite; everyone was truly likeable, everyone liked each other and wanted to be around each other. Some people would come to set during their off days just to hang out with one another because we were such a close-knit group.
To prepare for this movie I think “The Real World” got me comfortable in front of cameras, and then the WWE got me comfortable in front of a live audience and theater. I’ve also done acting coaches, I’ve done Improv Olympics, so to prepare for this movie I got involved with my acting coach and then just listened.
Whenever I do a movie I always like to base my character off of a couple different characters. When I was in Marine 3: Homefront I went with the Paul Newman, Clint Eastwood, Bruce Willis type of theme. With this one, since Gil did “10 Things I Hate About You”, I watched some of his movies and his work. Heath Ledger was in “10 Things I Hate About You” and really connected with me with this kind of character. I took that realm and brought it to “Christmas Bounty”.
Gil is a tremendous director, and did a great job with the entire cast. He made everyone look great and be at their best, and created such an ease on set that you can feel.
Francia: I think we all had the same goal coming into this project, and I think it really shows on camera and it really created a bond between all of us. That’s what’s important with every cast — having the same goal to get to the end result. No one was trying to be the star, no one was trying to stand out more. We all really just wanted to work together.
Moderator: Could you talk about where “Christmas Bounty” was filmed?
Francia: We were on location in Vancouver at a house. I loved it out there — We had so much fun! We were at a mall at one point; that was fun. We both live in LA right now, so we had to leave our home.
It was raining a lot, but the weather did not disagree with us at all times. There was a day where we needed to shoot outside and we could not afford to have rain, and it did not start raining until we stopped shooting and we were done for the day. It’s a great city. I loved it out there.
Mike “The Miz”: This is a very fast paced movie and anything weather wise could have really affected the movie, but luckily we got very lucky with a lot of the locations. Vancouver is gorgeous, it’s beautiful, it’s very green. I like the rain, because I live in Los Angeles now, and it’s never raining. I never get to see rain anymore. I’m from Cleveland. I like thunderstorms; I like a little rain in my life. So going up to Vancouver, seeing that rain, seeing the greenery. The people are just absolutely wonderful and so nice.
Moderator: Did have an action background (martial arts and WWE) help for the action sequences in “Christmas Bounty”?
Mike “The Miz”: Along with WWE, acting in :The Marine 3: Homefront: really got me prepared for all the action scenes for “Christmas Bounty”. I think WWE is as action packed as they come; it’s non-stop. It’s what we do, learning the performances, adding little things here and there to make sure that the scene flows right and it’s perfect.
Francia: I think Mike had a bigger advantage than me, because he does it all the time. First, I’m not use to action sequences. Second, when I grew up doing martial arts I actually hit people, so it was really hard for me not to actually hit some of the stunt guys or the actors. I was at an advantage, because it helped me with the choreography. It helped me really show that I make it look real. But I was at a disadvantage, too, because I did bruise some people up sometimes.
Mike “The Miz”: You did a very good job, Francia! I think people are going to debate whether or not she showed me up on these action scenes or not, because she has some really cool acrobatic scenes in there. There’s a scene where she’s on a guy’s shoulders. It’s pretty incredible some of the maneuvers that she pulled off.
Francia: You’re so sweet. Thank you. I did do all my own stunts! I was fighting to do my own stunts. The only stunt I didn’t do myself was jumping off the building in the beginning of the movie. But other than that, I’m on the car, rolling off the car, all of that was me.
Moderator: If you could describe your “Christmas Bounty” character’s [Tory and Mike] in one word what would it be?
Mike “The Miz”: I would say “strong”. That’s not just muscle wise, but strong mentally.
Francia: My nickname on the movie is Tornado, it’s Tory “Tornado” Bell, so I’m just going to say tornado.
Moderator: What was your favorite scene in the whole movie?
Francia: The fight scenes, the action scenes for sure. Seeing the chaos and having to fight all these guys and really having my dream come true to do action was amazing.
Mike “The Miz”: We did a lot of fun stuff in the bar scene! I’ve shot guns, I’ve done fight scenes, I do it all the time, so I like more of the drama stuff where you could really dive into the drama. There’s a lot of love, there’s a lot of romance, there’s a lot of people torn in different directions. I really enjoyed the emotional roller coaster that my character had to go through.
You will see in the credits, we do this little dance number and it was just so much fun. We spent the whole day doing this wonderful scene, and then at the end they were like, “Just go dance up there and see what happens,” and we all just had a blast and it was great.
Francia’s a professional dancer. Will [Greenburg] and I are not professional dancers. We know what we get from “The Grind” on MTV. Francia gets her moves from professionals. She’s hanging out with Selena Gomez and dancing around with her. I’m a little outside; I’m really good at doing the Harlem Shake.
Moderator: What’s your number one gift on your Christmas list this year?
Francia: The success of “Christmas Bounty”. That’s what I want – for everyone to enjoy it!
Mike “The Miz”: I don’t like giving or receiving gifts because I don’t like that initial reaction. Although I do enjoy the love and the family aspect of Christmas, and I love eating with my family and friends and reconnecting with them. I think we all can sit down and watch “Christmas Bounty” together and really enjoy that. So that’s what I enjoy about Christmas and the holiday time.
Moderator: How did you [Mike] manage to take the MTV brand that you created into your dream career?
Mike “The Miz”: I still look at my life to this day and I’m in awe of it and I don’t know how I did it or why it happened. I would say it’s all a little bit of everything; it’s preparation, it’s hard work, it’s determination, but also there’s a little luck involved. It’s not willing to settle for anything less than success. People always told me that I couldn’t do something. When I tried out for The Real World people were like, “What’s going to stand you out from 40,000 people?” And I would tell them, “I don’t know, but I’m still going to try out.” I try out and I make it.
Then once I wanted to be a WWE superstar people were telling me that, “You’re not 6’ 7”, you’re not 300 pounds, you’re not full of muscles, you’re not athletic enough,” and I just wanted to prove them all wrong. So I think it’s my motivation and my dedication to prove everyone wrong whenever they tell me I can’t do something. So I think it’s a little bit of everything, but I think it was just my mentality that I wouldn’t take no for an answer.
Moderator: How much of The Miz did you bring into your [Mike] character in the movie?
Mike “The Miz”: None. Whenever I come to these movies, with “The Marine 3: Homefront” and “Christmas Bounty”, I don’t want people to look and go, “Oh that’s The Miz.” I want them to go, “Oh that’s Jake Carter. That’s a new character; that’s something I haven’t seen from The Miz before.” And in “Christmas Bount”y I want them to say, “Oh Mikey Muscle is a completely different character.” I want them all to have their separate entities. But whenever I’m around backstage you definitely get to see The Miz and witness The Miz, because it’s more fun that way.
Francia: I am going to interrupt! When I met Mike he was so welcoming. He had his dog with him, and I’m a dog person. He treats her like his own daughter. So it was nice seeing the soft side to him.
Mike “The Miz”: I get it all the time, by the way, that “I love Mike but I hate The Miz.” I get that at least once a day, so it’s nice. It’s definitely one of those things I know when to turn it on, I know when to turn it off.
Moderator What’s your favorite thing about each of your characters?
Mike “The Miz”: My favorite part was just how different he is compared to me. I’m not really a Jersey type guy; I don’t really wear leather jackets. He was just fun to play, because he’s very sweet, and granted I’m a sweet person, but I think Mikey Muscles is a little bit more Jersey than I am. So it’s nice to play someone different from where you’re originally from. I definitely turned on a lot of Jersey music stations. I watched The Real Housewives of New Jersey just to see how these women really talk, and it was a lot of fun putting on a little bit of an accent. So it’s cool.
Francia: I love the heart that Tory has. The minute she felt her family in danger she ran back and wanted to make sure they were okay. She has a big heart for her family, for her fiancé, and even for Mikey Muscles, her ex-boyfriend. The movie is all around love, and you definitely see Tory’s heart grow and show throughout the movie.
Moderator: What projects are you [Francia] currently working on?
Francia: I actually just got back from Atlanta yesterday, and I ran into Mike at the airport. I shot a pilot for Lifetime called “Unreal”. It goes behind the scenes of reality TV. This one in particular is a popular reality contest similar to “The Bachelor”, and I play a field producer. I’m working along Shiri Applebee and Megyn Price and a wonderful cast. Marty Noxon is one of the show creators, along with Sarah Shapiro. I’m excited to get that project going next year once Lifetime picks it up.
I also recorded a Christmas song, so I’m dropping that right before Christmas. It’s called “Wish List” so it’s going to be my first single coming out.
Moderator: Do you think you [Mike] might want to make more of an acting career?
Mike “The Miz”: With WWE I think there’s a tremendous amount of acting that we put across. The Miz is arrogant, egotistical, cocky, believes everything he is, and more, so with WWE you’re doing a lot of that kind of stuff anyways. WWE Studios has been doing a great job of dishing out some really good movies as of late, I mean “Marine 3” being one of them, but also “The Call”. We have “Scooby Doo” coming out in March, so I’m really excited about that because I got to be a voice in “Scooby Doo”. Anytime you get to play a voice in “Scooby Doo” you have to be pretty ecstatic, and I was. So that’s always fun as well.
I’m also dipping into I have my own radio show on SirusXM 87, “Sirius Fantasy Footbal”l. It’s the fantasy football show, but it also has a little bit more than just fantasy football; it has a little bit of wrestling, a little bit of pop culture, so I have fun with that as well. As far as acting goes, I love it. I do have the acting bug, and WWE satisfies that bug for now. Hopefully I can get more movies with WWE Studios and keep the whole trend going.
Moderator: What’s your favorite Disney theme park?
Francia: I love going to Toon Town in Disneyland. I’m so mad that it closes so early, because by the time I get to go it’s already closed!
Mike “The Miz”: Disneyland.
Moderator: What is your favorite Disney ride or attraction?
Francia: Space Mountain! Hands down is the best ride ever. But also Roger Rabbit. I don’t know why I have such a love for that little ride.
Mike “The Miz”: It’s a Small World after all. I like that one.
Moderator: What is your favorite food or restaurant within a Disney park?
Mike “The Miz”: Funnel cakes.
Francia: I love the chimichangas they sell at California Adventure, they’re really good. The corn dogs at the entrance at Disneyland are really good, and the churros are really good. I eat a lot. Oh, the turkey legs, you have to try the turkey legs.
Mike “The Miz”: Oh, man, turkey legs definitely. I couldn’t have said it better. Turkey leg is good.
Moderator Who is your favorite Disney character?
Francia: I’m going to say Jasmine, because I want to play her if they ever do a movie.
Mike “The Miz”: I say Mickey Mouse, but I also like Roger Rabbit and Jessica Rabbit.
Be sure to tune-in to ABC Family this Tuesday, November 26 at 7/6c for the premiere of “Christmas Bounty” during the Countdown to 25 Days of Christmas!
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