When it comes to recognizable talents of the ’80s and ’90s, Alfonso Ribeiro is one of those talents.
Known for playing the leading role on the Broadway musical “The Tap Dance Kid”, his dancing would lead him to appear on the popular 1984 Pepsi commercial featuring Michael Jackson.
This big break would lead Ribeiro to prime time television, appearing on the popular ’80s show “Silver Spoons”.
But for many, it’s his notable role as Carlton Banks in “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” (1990-1996) that many still remember Ribeiro for and his memorable “Carlton Dance” to Tom Jones “It’s Not Unusual”.
Since then, Ribeiro has hosted game shows such as “Your Big Break” and “Catch 21″ and has directed episodes for television series such as “Meet the Browns”, “Are We There Yet?”, “Things We Do For Love” and “Shake It Up”.
Now, Alfonso Ribeiro will host a new primetime game show on ABC Family titled “Spell-Mageddon”.
To promote the new game show, Alfonso Ribeiro recently participated in an ABC Family media Q&A. Here is a transcript from the Q&A session.
Moderator Could you talk a little bit about how you got involved with the show?
A. Ribeiro I went in and they had called my management and my agents and wanted to see if I’d come in and be interested in reading or doing a screen test for the show. I felt like the idea was something that was really kind of interesting and intriguing to me. I definitely went in. I met with them. I did a little screen test to see how it all worked.
ABC Family and the producers decided, I guess, that I was the right one for it. We just jumped right in and we started filming, literally, like ten days later. It was a quick jump in, but something that seemed really exciting and fun to do.
Moderator How familiar do you get with the contestants?
A. Ribeiro You can only get so familiar with them, obviously, because it is a competition. You never want to give up anything or let them know what’s coming ahead or anything of that nature. You really are not allowed to talk much with them.
Obviously, our producers do a full interview with them. I have the paperwork on each contestant and kind of know their bio; the highs, the lows, why they’re playing, what they’re good at, what they do in their life. I have a lot of information on each contestant, obviously, before the show starts. We’re not really allowed to do too much interaction.
Moderator What do you feel is going to set this game show apart from maybe other game shows?
A. Ribeiro I think that we’ve obviously spent, at least for me, a lifetime of watching game shows, and ultimately it’s all about the competition. We’ve watched these spelling bees forever. The difference here is that it’s still a spelling bee but the distractions really kind of set it apart. It’s really a comedy show whereas most game shows is really simply about the game and how do you play it and who’s going to win. All of that still exists, but with the comedy aspect in terms of the distractions, the things that we are doing to these contestants are amazing.
We’ve got one game called Zapped where they’re trying to spell these words [while] we’re zapping them. Then we also have water that we’re shooting in their face and we’ve got a fire extinguisher going off on their back. We have blue icy slushes dumped on their head all while trying to spell; never knowing which one is coming next. The reactions of the contestants are priceless.
For me, what I really find that’s going to set it apart is the comedy of all of this. Obviously, this is on ABC Family’s comedy Wednesdays following Melissa and Joey and Baby Daddy. I think that the comedy aspect of this show is what’s really going to drive people to the show and keep people coming back week after week. It is really, really funny. Every episode that we’ve shot I’m laughing in the episode because I can’t do anything other than laugh. It really is just that funny. I think that’s what will set it apart.
Moderator How do you go about preparing yourself to host such a show?
A. Ribeiro You prepare yourself by listening. You ultimately learn how the games are played, what your part in driving the game, moving it along, keeping it moving. Ultimately, just being on your feet, thinking on your feet, ready for what’s coming up. It’s really a lot of ad lib. Ultimately, I bring us into the game. I take us out of the game, but in between while the game is being played I’m just ad libbing with the contestants. I’m rooting for them. I’m laughing with them. I’m laughing at them. It’s all kind of connected.
I don’t think that there’s really any preparation for this until you get in there and kind of see what it’s going to be and you just go with your natural instincts. I think that’s basically what I did. I just kind of went with whatever I felt in each segment. It feels like it really worked.
Moderator What do you think it is about these spelling competitions that are intriguing to so many people?
A. Ribeiro I think most of those spelling bees are with kids. Our show is very different. We have adults doing it. It’s the idea of there are words that we kind of know. The real spelling bees where there are words that we have no idea what they mean, the fact that these young kids are able to know what the words are, understand the meaning, the country of origin, all of those types of things; I think it’s quite fascinating.
What we do on our show that’s a little different is obviously we’re not taking words that people have never heard of. We’re taking words that people absolutely have heard and used and use in a daily basis and should know the spelling, but our distractions are what really take us in a very different way than those spelling bees. We’re having fun with these crazy distractions.
We’ve got one game where we have a dunk tank and we’ve got these kick balls and we’re launching these kick balls into the bull’s-eye. Every time it hits the bull’s-eye our contestants get dunked into literally ice cold water. We fill the dunk tank up with ice. Then we fill it up with water. We let it sit for 15 minutes so that it melts enough that it’s really just mostly super, super, super cold water. While dunking them into this tank while making them spell, the reactions are hysterical.
I think that people are fascinated with the spelling bee. When I got involved with the show, when I really saw the idea and kind of saw how it was being done I was like, duh. This is one of those shows were you go, this is an obvious television show. I think America, when they see it, will fall in love with it. I think it’s just so funny. It’s so much fun to watch. The contestants are having fun while having all these things done to them and it’s really cool.
Moderator Do you think people are going to watch the show for the spelling since it’s a little more lowbrow?
A. Ribeiro I disagree with the lowbrow aspect of that. Obviously, the spelling bees are maybe super brow versus being an everyday show. I don’t think it’s lowbrow in any way because we’re not spelling cat. We’re not spelling dog. We’re spelling psychedelic, psychology. We’re spelling words that some people have a hard time spelling if they’re not good at spelling.
It’s still difficult in many ways. It’s just not words that you’ve absolutely never heard of. There are words that you might be able to spell, but you might not also. The distractions are what really kind of keeps the fun of the show going.
Moderator What is the age range for the contestants on here? Is there a particular age range that you really like to see on the show?
A. Ribeiro Well, our age range is 18 and above. You kind of have to be an all-around intellectual, physical person. For me, I just want people who can spell. I want people who are fun and are of great energy and character. We’ve got some characters that are on the show. I think that is what makes great TV.
Just being a super nerd who knows how to spell and has zero personality; that’s not what we’re looking for. We’re looking for those big personalities, big fun. Certainly we’ve got some characters on the show, but these are also people who have won spelling bees growing up. They are intellectual, but they’re physical too. We have a guy who plays semi pro football who’s on the show. We’ve got a great range of characters.
Moderator What’s it like working with ABC Family compared to some of these other studios that you’ve been associated with?
A. Ribeiro It’s always about the individuals. A channel, in general, is made up of a group of people. The people that I’ve work with at ABC Family have been wonderful. Obviously this is a short run so far. Hopefully this show goes on for many, many, many years and I have a long running relationship with them. The talent typically doesn’t really spend a lot of time with the network people. You spend a lot of time with the producers of the show and that’s who you really spend your day-to-day with.
Everybody at ABC Family has been wonderful, obviously under the Disney brand. I’ve worked with Disney as a director. A little bit of an actor but mostly as a director on Shake It Up, which has been a lot of fun. They’re a great company and there are a lot of great people. I have a lot of friends that work for the company and in my everyday life. It’s been really fun.
I’m actually really proud to be part of the ABC Family because one of the things that I’ve noticed looking back on my entire career is that most of the things that I’ve done have been shows that are designed for families to watch. Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, even though it was in a different network, was a show that you could sit with your grandma, your grandchild, and everybody in between could sit there and watch an episode and enjoy it together. Most of the shows that I’ve done have really been that.
ABC Family is a network that is designed around that idea. It’s an adult network that kids can watch and adults can watch together. I think the family aspect is super important. I think we’ve lost a little bit of that in the last couple of decades. I think the idea of families sitting down together to watch television is a wonderful thing.
Moderator Could you talk about game shows you watched when you were a kid?
A. Ribeiro Even as a kid I sat down with my parents and we watched game shows when I was a kid. Every night at dinner we would watch game shows and then sometimes we’d turn it off and do our own game shows sitting at the dinner table. Family entertainment has always been important to me.
Moderator How and when you did decide to get into acting?
A. Ribeiro I started at eight years old in 1979. I was in New York and I auditioned for a PBS TV series called Oye Willie and I got it. It was the first audition I had ever gone on. I was really fortunate to land a role in my first opportunity. I’ve been working ever since. I’m 30 some odd years working and I’ve been very fortunate.
Moderator Is there anything [acting, directing, hosting] that you prefer over the other?
A. Ribeiro I love doing a little bit of everything. Growing up my dad was my manager and the thing that we always worked on in my career was the idea that if you had a basket of eggs you never knew which one was going to hatch and when they were going to hatch, but if you were capable of doing everything that was in that basket you were going to have the opportunity and a long career. That’s kind of what has happened for me in my career, obviously, dancing, singing and acting.
I’ve learned to direct so I’m directing mostly now. I’ve learned to host. I’m writing. I’m creating. I just believe that when you give yourself the opportunity to do many things you’ll be around a while. I’ve been fortunate enough to be good enough to work in all of those different arenas. It was a goal from the beginning to learn how to do it all.
There are very few, as they say, triple threats anymore, but back when I was a kid and before I was born that’s kind of what everybody needed to be. Now we have actors that just act. We’ve got singers who just sing. I grew up in a time when you kind of learned to do it all and I’m fortunate to be able to have worked in all of those arenas.
Moderator Did you have a chance to try out some of those obstacles before the show started?
A. Ribeiro I was smart enough to know that you don’t have to actually experience something to act like you know what’s going on. You see, that’s the whole acting thing. You don’t have to be a killer to play a killer, right. To be on a game show where they’re doing all these things to the contestants I’ve learned that it’s better to not do it but to experience it through their involvement. The only unfortunate thing was in one episode we’re shooting these kick balls at the contestants. This one kickball had a wonderful curve and it hit me dead in the face. So I’ve experienced it; not by choice [laughs].
Moderator Did you have a favorite game show that you liked to watch growing up? If so, who was your favorite host and what was your favorite game show growing up?
A. Ribeiro My favorite game show was Family Feud as a kid. Richard Dawson was my favorite host growing up because we watched that basically every night. That was the last show we watched before going to bed as a kid. I certainly loved him on that show. As a kid we just watched them all. I loved Dick Clark. He was awesome in Pyramid. I just loved them all. This is my second “game show” and I’ve enjoyed the role of host in this genre.
Moderator What is your favorite distraction game that you’ve had on the show?
A. Ribeiro My favorite is the Zapped. I absolutely love that one because the idea of zapping them as they’re trying to spell, it really does create the most comedy, I find, in every episode. The next favorite is the game that we call Shower Power. It’s pretty cool. We put them in a shower and there are all kinds of things happening to them while they’re trying to spell; getting soaked, getting icy blue slush dumped on their head. We have like a sprinkler system that’s just literally hitting them in the face the entire time. The reactions are awesome. It’s just brilliant. Those are really like two of my favorite.
My third would obviously be the dunk tank. When I tell you it’s ice cold water it is super cold. You put your hand in and within a few seconds you’re like okay, I can’t take that anymore. We’re dunking them fully up to their necks in this water. The screams that our contestants make while trying to spell is awesome.
Moderator If you were a contestant on the show how do you think you would do?
A. Ribeiro I would be smart enough to not be a contestant on the show. Spelling was never my strong suit as a youth. Our smartphones really make me look wonderful. This is not a show for me to be a contestant, which makes it perfect for me to be a host because I can certainly empathize with our contestants when they get a word wrong.
Moderator What are some of the obstacles that they have to do?
A. Ribeiro We’ve got “Head Banger,” which is basically when we get down to three contestants we put them in a machine that basically has a big hammer that comes down and whacks them on the top of their head. Do you remember that game where you had the frogs and they’d come up and you’d have to take the hammer and you bop it back down to get points? Well it’s kind of inspired by that. It’s hitting them in the head as it’s shooting up.
We’ve got pies in the face. We’ve got water shooting at them at the same time, we’ve got people off on the side shooting them with hoses of water. We’ve got fake fire extinguisher coming up right up from underneath them which is pretty crazy.
We’ve got a game where we put them on a board where we spin them around upside down and we’ve got these cannons that basically shoot food at them. It’s food hitting them in the face and in the body as they’re being spun around. That one is pretty good. That one is kind of where they go upside down. We’ve got one where they’re just going around and around in circles. We’re dumping honey on them.
It’s very physical. There’s a lot of physical stuff that we’re doing to the contestants as they’re trying to spell. In some of the rounds we put one contestant up there and they have to try to spell as many words in 60 seconds as possible while all of this is happening to them. There are many different games. Each episode doesn’t have the same games in them. There’s some that we do every time and some that we do differently in each show. We kind of mix it up a little bit.
Our final game is not a physical game, it’s just all mental. It’s sounds. It’s letters. It’s all going off in their face where they’re trying to spell the words thinking of the letters but the letters are being shown to them right in their face and sounds and all kinds of craziness going on. We’re coming at them in every different way possible.
Moderator Do you have a favorite moment from the show so far?
A. Ribeiro My favorite moment is actually in our opening game, which is Buzzed In, which is our obstacle course, we have this log that gets swung down from the ceiling. There was this one little blonde girl about 5 foot 2, that as she came over one of our humps the log came down and caught her in the chest and literally lifted her up off the ground, spun her over in the air and she landed on her back. She was safe. She was okay, but then it happened again. Then the next time she made it underneath the log without getting hit except she stood back up and the log came and wiped her out from behind the third time. So it was a great series of events that happened to this lovely young lady.
Moderator How does it feel to be forever associated with Carlton from Fresh Prince of Bel Air?
A. Ribeiro It’s a blessing and a curse at the same time. Obviously, the fans who have adored me and loved me and show me their love on a daily basis is flattering to say the least. It’s certainly wonderful to know that people have loved what I’ve done on that show for now over two decades. The curse part is when you’re literally at a urinal in a public bathroom and people walk up to you, tap you on the shoulder and ask you to do a dance for them it’s typically not a good time.
This happens to me often, which is the curse part. I always say, “You’re asking me to dance for you. I’m not just going to dance for everyone as they come up and ask me to dance.” It’s like, that’s not okay. At the same time, like I said, I take it in stride and I laugh with them about it because it certainly means that they’ve enjoyed what I did on that show.
Moderator Do you still stay in touch with the cast members from Fresh Prince?
A. Ribeiro Absolutely. It’s very funny because you’ll read in the magazines or whatever Fresh Prince reunion and I’m always like, “What reunion?” It’s not a reunion if you get together with your friends. It’s a reunion if the network picks up the show and does another episode or we do a movie. That’s a reunion; not us getting together, having dinner, and someone taking a picture and going, “Oh look, it’s a reunion.”
I spend time with Will, with Karen, with Tatiana. I see James Avery every once in a while. I was fortunate enough to actually direct Daphne Maxwell Reid on an episode of Let’s Stay Together, which is a show that I direct. So I get to see people all the time and it’s wonderful to see them.
Moderator What other game shows that have aired in your lifetime would you like to take a stab at?
A. Ribeiro To be honest, mine would be the dancing and the singing stuff. Those are the things that I enjoy more than anything. The Jeopardy stuff is not really where I’m at. I like to use my talents in some way versus my brain. I think there are people out there who are smarter than me. So I let them do those types of game shows.
I certainly enjoyed Price Is Right growing up and watching that show. I don’t do much shopping anymore. I’m fortunate enough my wife loves to do the shopping, so I would probably have a hard time with the prices now. The singing and the dancing shows were certainly shows that I’ve enjoyed. I did a show called Celebrity Duets that I actually won and won $100,000 for my charity. Those are the shows that I enjoy.
Moderator How do you think Carlton Banks would do on a show like Spell-Mageddon?
A. Ribeiro I think Carlton Banks would win Spell-Mageddon. Obviously, he was super smart. He was still relatively athletic. He was unwavering in his convictions. I think Carlton would’ve done very well on that show.
Moderator I’m sure you’re a Disney fan right?
A. Ribeiro Absolutely. I’m a fan of Disney. I’ve got a 10-year-old daughter who watches an awful lot of Disney. Obviously, I direct Disney channels Shake It Up. I’m a fan through my child in that way.
Moderator Do you make it to the parks and things like that?
A. Ribeiro Of course. We go to Disneyland and Disney World all the time.
Moderator What is your favorite Disney character?
A. Ribeiro Well, you’ve got to go old school. So you’ve got to go Mickey Mouse.
Moderator Favorite Disney Park?
A. Ribeiro I love Disney World because obviously it’s bigger. It’s greater. You’ve got everything. You’ve got everything that you could ask for out of Disney all there at Disney World.
Moderator What’s your favorite Disney ride?
A. Ribeiro My favorite Disney ride? It’s close, because I love Tower of Terror but I’m also a huge Space Mountain fan because Space Mountain has been around longer so as a kid I enjoyed it. As the new rides I do love Tower of Terror.
Moderator What’s your favorite food or restaurant in a Disney park?
A. Ribeiro Blue Bayou. Every time we go we certainly make a reservation when we go to Disneyland. We definitely go to Blue Bayou.
Moderator What’s your favorite Disney movie?
A. Ribeiro Favorite Disney movie would have to be my daughter loves The Little Mermaid so I guess I have to go with that one.
For more information on “Spell-Mageddon”, please visit the official website here.
Since we last interviewed Kalafina back in 2009, so much has happened with the group. From chart-topping singles to now performing with a live band, Kalafina has become a hot group with a growing fanbase worldwide. With a recent concert at Anime Central in Illinois, J!-ENT’s Dennis A. Amith recently had the opportunity to interview Keiko, Wakana and Hikaru of Kalafina.
On July 7th, fans of the Japanese techno-pop girl group Perfume in Los Angeles had the opportunity to watch the trio’s a concert in the UK courtesy of a live viewing held at Regal Cinema.
For Perfume fans, these last seven years since being signed to a major label, have seen great things happening for Perfume, which consists of members Ayano Omoto, Yuka Kashino and Ayaka Nishiwaki. All three are from Hiroshima, Japan and debuted back in 2001 and are produced by Capsule and Meg producer Yasutaka Nakata.
From chart topping hit singles, three successful albums and their music being featured in Disney’s “Cars 2″ animated film, in early 2012, the trio announced they were leaving their label Tokuma Japan Communications and moving to Universal Music Japan in order to focus on performing internationally.
In July 2013, the group prepared for their first European tour with “Perfume WORLD TOUR 2nd” with concerts in Germany, UK and France.
Their July 5th UK show at Shepherds Bush Empire was broadcast in Los Angeles on July 7th in front of an enthusiastic crowd of nearly a hundred people who came out to sing and dance to the songs of Perfume. The live viewing was shown at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 7th with a box office price of $25 a ticket. The screening was not live but is a 2-day delay broadcast.
The set list for the concert were the following tracks and MC portions:
- Spending all my time (Extended Mix)/Welcome to Perfume World~
- Magic of Love
- Laser Beam
- Spring of Life
- SEVENTH HEAVEN
- Handy Man (instrumental)
- Electro World (Intro Short)
- P.T.A. no Corner
- FAKE IT
- Dream Fighter
- Chocolate Disco (ASIA Ver.)
- MY COLOR
- ENCORE: GLITTER (Europe Ver.)
During my viewing of the concert, one thing you will notice is the fans treated it like a real concert. Screaming to the performances of Perfume, singing a long with their songs and even the people sitting right next to me, dancing to each song and really getting into it. But most impressive was to see people knowing Perfume’s dance moves.
The live viewing was my first opportunity to see Perfume perform live. While there are examples on YouTube, it was exciting to not only see a J-Pop live viewing in Los Angeles, but to also see the crowd really into the concert. And makes me wonder why Perfume has not performed in the United States yet?
The group performed a lot of their hit songs including my favorites such as “Chocolate Disco”, “Spending all my time”, “Polyrhythm”, “Spice” and “Laser Beam” but also to hear the encore of “GLITTER” (European version) was very awesome!
But it was also great to see a performance of their latest single “Magic of Love” for the live viewing.
The concert kicked off with one of my favorite songs from Perfume titled “Spending all my time”, a fantastic synth track and possibly next to “Glitter”, a track that I have listened to countless times.
With that being said, I admit this is their most accessible song probably for a western audience. For one, it’s almost all in English and it’s one of their most repetitive songs (and I usually dislike repetitive lyrics). Everything about the musical arrangement and vocals works perfectly with this track. A little techno style with Nakata’s arrangement this time around. The lyrics are pretty simple:
Spending all, spending,
Spending all my time
Loving you, so loving you forever
Spending all, spending,
Spending all my time
Loving you, so loving you forever
Spending all, spending,
Spending all my time
Loving you, so loving you forever
Spending all, spending,
Spending all my time
Loving you, so loving you I wanna do
The version performed was the extended mix which transitioned to “Welcome to Perfume World~”. But what is interesting thing about “Spending all my time” is that it may have never come to be. Written by Yasutaka Nakata, the lyrics were all in English and uncomfortable because of it, they each begged Nakata to rewrite the lyrics and incorporate Japanese lyrics and if it was not accepted, to not make the song an A-side. Personally, I’m glad that Nakata reconsidered because I don’t want to hear J-Pop performers forced to sing a whole song in English, if they can’t or feel uncomfortable of doing so.
The second song performed in the concert was their latest single “Magic of Love” and a fun and delightful pop track and was thrilled that their new song was featured in the concert. But I did notice that their single prior to “Magic of Love”, “Mirai no Museum” was not performed but the coupling song “Daijobani” was.
The third song performed was “Laser Beam”. A song with with cool synth and beats, catchy with that digital style, “Laser beam” is a song about a person who is excited of seeing a person you like gaze at you. The gaze is like a “laser beam” that pierces through the person’s heart and it’s a love beam that is the color of a rainbow.
The group then performed several of their popular hits such as “Polyrhythm”, “Spring of Life”, “SEVENTH HEAVEN”.
The seventh song “Spice” featured a catchy, upbeat single that continues to feature the synth pop arrangements that Yasutaka Nakata is known for. The single is about being excited about something unexpected and that the spice of curiosity that is within you. The song is about being in the same room with a person you like but the excitement makes the person tremble. But I loved how the fans reacted to the song.
While “Mirai no Museum” was not performed, it was cool to hear their quick upbeat coupling track “Daijyobani” performed. But throughout the concert, Perfume really went all out with their hits such as “Electro World”, “FAKE IT”, “DREAM FIGHTER” and “Chocolate Disco”.
The final song (before the encore) was “MY COLOR”, a song with a permeating synth groove and a track about a person who has been waiting for a mail from the person she likes. She wants to see the person badly and hopes that her color, which is the color of excitement, reaches the person that she likes. Great audience participation for this track!
The encore track was “GLITTER” (European Version) and is a catchy song featured in English that starts of at mid-tempo until it reaches the chorus. Am upbeat dance track that may seem happy, but the lyrics are somewhat sad as the song is about how a person has a sparkling dream, both people made a promise. But until that day comes, she won’t cry at all and will pray for the person and laugh with them. But instead of waiting, she feels she may need to take the chance and just do it or things won’t change, but she needs “Glitter”. It’s a bit hard to explain the lyrics but it is a song about hope and just taking the initiative.
As for the MC portions, because Perfume are not native English speakers, they kept the MC to a minimum and focused on the music.
Overall, having attended Japanese rock live viewings, it was great to see a J-Pop live viewing and I hope by the number of people that attended and their reaction to the concert, will lead Live Viewing Japan to bring more J-Pop concerts to the big screen to the U.S.A.
While I’m not sure if the East Coast will be able to see these concerts or they were exclusive to Los Angeles (it’s important to note that part of the success of the live viewings was partly because of Anime Expo 2013 which was held on the same weekend but also a few blocks away from Regal Cinema).
But the experience of attending Perfume’s “Perfume WORLD TOUR 2nd” was an amazing experience and I hope to see them perform live in the United States in the near future.
7!! (pronounced as “Seven Oops”) is a band that has caught the attention of Japanese music fans all over the world.
From their theme songs used on the anime series “Naruto Shippuden”, the band which consists of vocalist NANAE, drummer MAIKO, guitarist MICHIRU and bassist KEITA were welcomed in the USA with performances in San Jose, California and New York.
After their performance in the U.S., J!-ENT’s Dennis A. Amith had the opportunity to interview 7!!
ABC Family’s Q&A Session with Vanessa Marano of “Switched At Birth” (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)
With “Switched at Birth” having shown its summer premiere for 2013 (the second half of season two), 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 final half of episodes for season 2 of “Switched at Birth”.
Here is a transcript from the Q&A session.
Moderator Was there anything about Bay that wasn’t originally scripted for you that you added to her?
V. Marano Bay, in the pilot, wasn’t as comedic as she’s turned out to be. She was a little bit gloomier and I’d say even a little bit angrier than what she is, and then sort of through collaboration with directors and writers she becomes a little bit more comedic.
Moderator What kind of moments should we be looking forward to this season?
V. Marano This season is summer, and so we think of summer so bright and happy and fun in the sun, and it’s a very dramatic season, particularly for Bay it’s quite life changing for her.
Moderator Could you tell us more about the upcoming “What-If” episode and how it affects the families?
V. Marano The “What-If” episode is probably my favorite episode this season. I think it’s going to be a very satisfying episode for fans and it’s a whole “what if the families found out that the girls were switched at age 3 rather than at age 16?” “What if Regina had told the Kennishes what she had found out about the girls being switched?” And so I think it’s going to be very satisfying for fans because they get to see that, it’s in this whole push-and-pull of “did Regina do the right thing?”, and they get to see whether or not she did. And a lot of it has to do with John’s justification of what Regina did, and he’s still so angry about it and how everything would have turned out for each character.
So it’s really fun, because you get to play a character that you’ve been playing for so long but you also have completely different circumstances than what your character had grown up with. And Switched has always been about nature versus nurture, so this is what if the nurture wasn’t what it was because everything changed when the girls were three.
Moderator Will the change in family dynamic continue this season or will she be able to repair her relationships within her family?
V. Marano Well, she repairs the relationship with Daphne, which is nice. I like that those two can’t stay mad at each other as much as they used to. They used to really be able to stay very mad at each other. They’ve also evolved more into sisters. But this is a really big season for Toby. He’s usually a character that’s in the background that you lean on for support, but it’s a very big season for him. He’s talking about getting married, and whether or not that’s the right decision, and so it’s a lot about growing up and figuring out if you’re doing something for love, if that’s the right decision or not.
Moderator What has been the best thing about the show?
V. Marano I would say the people I work with. I really enjoy the entire cast, and the entire crew, and the producers and writers. I really do like everybody that I work with. And it’s nice to be in a situation where you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere for 12 hours and you haven’t gotten any sleep, but you like everybody around you.
Moderator What have you learned from working on the show?
V. Marano Sign language. I didn’t know sign language before the show, but I kind of know sign language now.
Moderator Do you find yourself subconsciously using ASL in your normal everyday conversations?
V. Marano I wouldn’t say I use it in my normal everyday conversation. But, yes, I definitely get into a mode when I’m whispering to somebody, because usually when I’m not using it on set for a scene, Katie and I, when they’re rolling and you’re not allowed to talk, we’ll sign a little bit back and forth just to talk in the middle of shooting. We’re mature like that. And so usually if I’m in a situation where I’m whispering and I have to be quiet, sometimes I’ll just end up doing it because I’m kind of used to mouthing the words while I’m using my hands. And it happens a lot with my sister and my one friend, Megan, and they always go, “Dude, I don’t know sign language. I don’t know how many times I have to tell you that. You’re not helping yourself.”
Moderator Has it been hard for you to learn it?
V. Marano Yes, it has been. It’s throwing yourself into a completely different element. It’s nice, though. It’s nice to be able to challenge yourself in that way, because Switched is a story that we all know. It’s a story about searching for identity and it’s a story about searching for a family, but it’s done in this different way involving the deaf community and involving deaf characters, and involving sign language. And so you can’t really get bored because you’re seeing a story that you’re familiar with told in a different light.
Moderator Could you talk about how Bay is feeling right now about both of the moms?
V. Marano Well, Bay right now is bonding more with Regina, and that’s not, even though I don’t think Kathryn sees it that way, anything against Kathryn. It’s just she’s never had an opportunity to bond with Regina and it always felt like Daphne and Kathryn got all of this mother-daughter time and Daphne still got to be a mother-daughter with Regina, and Bay got nothing. And so this season is really about them finding their mother-daughter connection, Regina and Bay.
Moderator Can you share a funny story with us about being on set?
V. Marano A funny story about being on set, let’s see, well, there are so many things. We all get along just so well. The only thing that strikes my mind immediately is Katie was a huge High School Musical fan, and at one point it was like 4:00 in the morning and Lea Thompson, you know she’s done Cabaret on Broadway, she’s done her share of musical theatre, as has Lucas Grabeel, who was in High School Musical, and everyone was tired and delirious and Lea at one point was like, “Just teach me the dance, teach me the dance from high school musical.” And so Lucas did it and Katie’s eyes lit up with this look of excitement. It was hilarious.
Moderator What was it like filming the all ASL episode that aired in March? Do you think there will be another one?
V. Marano Well, it was the first time it was ever done on television and it was the first time a whole episode had been done in sign language. So it was kind of nerve-wracking actually, because you were doing something that had never been done before, so all of a sudden you have this huge responsibility to do it right. And so it was actually pretty difficult, but the result was amazing. I hope we’ll do another one. There are no words for doing one right now. But it turned out great and it was really cool, because Switched in general is something that’s never been done before, there’s never been a show with a lead character that is deaf and so many deaf actors. So to be doing something that I’d never even done before on top of that, with an entire episode that was done in sign language was pretty cool to be a part of. Things that are groundbreaking, really.
Moderator If Toby and Nikki do get married, who do you think will be Bay’s date to the wedding?
V. Marano Oh, that’s a good question. Let’s see, episode three just aired, I don’t know if I can give away who Bay’s date is going to be to the wedding right now considering where we’re at.
Moderator Is Bay how you expected her to be in the “What-If” episode, or was it surprising to you?
V. Marano Personality wise, actually Bay hasn’t really changed that much. Personality wise she has changed the least out of everybody. The biggest difference with Bay is when we first meet Bay in the pilot of Switched at Birth, we see her as this confident, truly her own person type of teenager, and then her world gets turned upside down by the switch; all of a sudden she is vulnerable and she’s struggling and she’s building up walls, and everything she’s known is a lie. So we really catch Bay to the point of a nervous breakdown when we first meet her in Switched, and it’s just in the seasons that we’ve been shooting have been building her back up to become the person that she believes she was born to be. So this season we have Bay in the “What-If” episode being raised the entire time knowing that she didn’t belong to Kathryn and John, knowing that she was raised in a situation where she wasn’t a Kennish, and so that definitely changes her perspective on things. It doesn’t necessarily change Bay, but I think it numbs her a lot more.
Moderator Do you feel like your daytime experience helped prepare you for this role?
V. Marano You know what, I’ve said this so many times in interviews, I was so against doing a daytime show when I first got offered The Young and the Restless. I was like, “Oh, I don’t know. That doesn’t feel like it’s me. I don’t know if I want to do it.” And my mother talked me into it. My mother was like, “You need to do it.” And it was truly one of the best experiences I had personally and acting wise. I think I learned so much from that show that I really do apply to every role that I had afterwards. As far as memorization goes, I learned so much, as far as trusting your instincts you learn so much, and my hat is off to any daytime actor, because what they do is way harder than what anybody else in television does.
Moderator Where would you like to see your character go next?
V. Marano Let’s see, I really hope Bay keeps growing the way that she’s growing. She’s a character that kind of takes two steps forward and one step back, and so by the end of the series I just hope she’s a well-rounded person.
Moderator Are there any special celebrity guest appearances that you know of that are planned for this season?
V. Marano Well, we have a few returning characters, that much I can say. Everyone’s seen Blair Redford return as Ty. Bill Lucking is going to be returning as John Kennish’s father, and we also have a few more returning characters from the past season, so we’re going to be seeing a few people that we haven’t seen in a while.
Moderator If they would have a celebrity guest star, who would you like to see guest on the show?
V. Marano Well, I’m obsessed with Helen Mirren, so if we could get her that would be awesome.
Moderator Will Emmett and Bay be able to be just friends?
V. Marano Again, we will see. It’s funny, part of the “What-If” episode is a what-if for Emmett and Bay, so we get to see circumstances changed, what they would have been.
Moderator Are there any other struggles that Bay will be dealing with this season?
V. Marano Definitely Ty and Bay is a struggle. Bay and Emmett is a struggle this season. And Regina and Angelo and Bay all living under the same roof turns into a struggle as well, because it’s just not exactly what everybody expects it to be. But you know what, what family is?
Moderator Could talk about how similar or different you are from Bay?
V. Marano It’s funny, I think I’m actually very different from Bay. Obviously I’m playing her, so it doesn’t appear that there’s much of a difference, like the cadence of the way we speak is very similar, our humor is very similar, because the way that I inflect some certain words reflects on that. But there are so many times when I read a script and I’m like, “What are you doing, Bay?” Because Bay, believe it or not is, and she gets this from being raised by Kathryn Kennish, she almost is an optimist. She goes into every situation making a crazy decision and thinking that it’s going to turn out totally fine.
She decided to go to deaf school and she’s like, “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Well, Bay, the worst thing that could happen is that this group of kids who have been neglected from society because of the fact that they can’t hear are going to be judgmental towards you because you’re parading on to their campus thinking that you own it. Come on, Bay, think things through. Or like, “I want to run away to Mexico. What could be bad about that?” A lot of things, Bay. Running away to Mexico isn’t really the right decision. And just the main one, I’m going to move my biological mom and my “switchster” into the guest house across from where my parents live. There won’t be any fighting even though they’re complete opposites. She just doesn’t think things through and thinks everything’s going to turn out just fine, which is something that she gets from, not her biology mother but from being raised the way she was. And I constantly find myself saying, “Oh my God, think things through, Bay.” But she wouldn’t be the Bay that we all know and love if she did.
Moderator Do you possess any musical talent yourself?
V. Marano None whatsoever. We actually don’t know where Laura [Marano] gets that from in our family. I have a cousin on one of my family who’s really interested and talented musically, and the rest of us don’t have that gene at all. It’s really weird, but she has it. But, you know, kudos to my sister. I am very proud of her. The episode that just aired on Austin & Ally she actually wrote the song that she sang. So that’s really cool, 17-years-old and writing a song for the show that you’re on is pretty impressive and I’m really proud of her. I was sitting there in my parents’ living room with her, and I was like, “Yeah, you are finally you, Ally Dawson, played by Laura Marano.”
Moderator Would you like to work with your sister in the future on any projects, and what would that be maybe?
V. Marano Absolutely. I would love to work with my sister. I love my sister. Really anybody who will have us, I just want to work.
Moderator Who has influenced you professionally and who you would love to work with some day if you could pick anybody?
V. Marano Well, I would say Helen Mirren is the answer to all of those questions. But there are so many people, like I would love to work with Christopher Durang on a play. He’s one of my favorite playwrights. I think he’s fantastic. There are so many directors, and so many writers, and so many actors that I’ve learned so much from, from watching, but I would say influence wise so much of what I got influenced by was my mother directing theater. That was my perspective on acting, was because my mom was a theater director. So I would say the way that I learned things and the way that I thought of acting really came from that.
Moderator Do you have a Twitter handle?
V. Marano I do not use Twitter. Well, at this point it just makes me super unique, doesn’t it? I made a decision a very long time ago that I didn’t really be involved with social media. I don’t think I’d be very good at it. Judging by me answering all of your questions, do you really think I could keep it to 150 characters? I don’t think so. It is a great way to promote the show, it’s a great way to get to know your fans, but to me the more important, all-knowing thing of making eye contact with somebody and connecting with somebody that way and having a conversation with somebody face-to-face, I value so much more than hiding behind a computer screen and doing it that way. So I get it, I understand it, I do not naysay on anybody who does Twitter, I totally get it, it’s just not for me personally.
For more information on “Switched at Birth”, please visit the official website here.
You’re with a tour group visiting the White House and all of a sudden you feel and hear an explosion out of nowhere, what do you do? The first thing you worry about is your safety and those of your family.
Channing Tatum stars as an ex-military soldier who gets caught up in the chaos that ensues in the White House. Tatum plays his character with grace, definitely on point and very emotional. This film is a step up for Tatum. He was okay in “21 Jump Street” and “G.I. Joe”, but in my opinion, he came out of his shell and proved that he has the chops to play a lead role. Not just an action star with the looks, but he sold the character of John Cale, his role in the film. He plays a father who’s trying to rebuild a relationship with his daughter, Emily, played by Joey King.
Jamie Fox plays the President of the United States. Fox is an amazing actor, he was great in “Ray” and is just as amazing in “White House Down”. He definitely nailed the character of being the President. His sense of humor in the film is hilarious and adds to the film’s atmosphere.
Maggie Gyllenhaal is the head of the Secret Service. She played the character very well, with a “I’m in charge” attitude. Loved her in “The Dark Knight” and she is no different in this film.
Joey King plays Tatum’s daughter. I am not familiar with her work, but I found her to be an amazing actress. She has some resemblance to Tatum, making her character more believable as his daughter in the film. The chemistry between Tatum and King is all there, from the attitude down to the humor.
I had no idea what the film was about, as I have never even seen the trailer before going into the theater. Just from the look of the poster, I thought it was something along the lines of “Lethal Weapon”, but that wasn’t the case. “White House Down” is its own film, something that could very well happen today. It’s real, it’s emotional, and it’s got a lot of heart as a film. And yes, there is plenty of action as well!!!
What I noticed that was also amazing about this film was the cinematography. Very amazing camera views throughout the movie. The action scenes were just as great, not overly done nor heavily exaggerated, more on the realistic side.
Tatum and Fox are an amazing duo in the film. In fact, the entire cast has great chemistry, very fluid throughout the film and you can see how they all connect with one another. The film is a roller coaster on the way to suspense, a thriller that had me on the edge of my seat, making me wonder what will happen next! And when you think it’s over, it’s NOT! Don’t blink!
For fans of the Disney XD television show “Aaron Stone” (2009-2010), many will remember actor David Lambert as Jason Landers.
And now, David is back on another television series for ABC Family titled “The Fosters”, from executive producer Jennifer Lopez.
The series revolves around a bi-racial lesbian couple Lena (portrayed by Sherri Saum) and Stef (portrayed by Teri Polo) who raise a biological son and several adoptive children. Lena, an altruistic school principal wants to save children and tries to introduce new children into the family, while Stef is a police officer who is not always aware that Lena has brought new additions to their growing family. Especially with the addition of Callie (portrayed by Maia Mitchell), a troubled teenager who is known to turn family’s lives upside down.
In the series, David Lambert plays the role of Brandon Foster, the biological son of Stef and her ex-husband Mike. A musically talented individual who is caring for all his siblings, his kind nature makes him a bit naive to things that are going on with people around him.
“The Fosters” airs on Mondays on ABC Family, 9/8 central. Recently, ABC Family held a media Q&A with David Lambert to promote the show.
Here is a transcript from the Q&A with actor David Lambert:
Moderator Congratulations on The Fosters. How did you get started in acting?
D. Lambert Acting goes back a little ways for me. I supposed I started with theater growing up. It was mainly a social outlet and it was just kind of something I did for fun. I met a lot of good friends through it so it really kept me involved. Then as I got older, I’d say probably when I got to like seventh or eighth grade, I was living in Atlanta, Georgia at the time and I went for an open call for an agent, a local agent out there, a woman named Joy Purvis and she ended up picking me up.
I sort of was just going with it. I wasn’t really taking it seriously at this point. I just wanted to see what would happen. I guess one thing led to the next and I ended up going out to L.A. with my mom and seeing what would happen. I was fortunate enough to see good things happen to me, I ended up working and things just grew from there.
Moderator What celebrities, past or present, do you look up to or may inspire you in your career?
D. Lambert I’d say from the present Leonardo DiCaprio was always one that I really respected and looked up to. His work is amazing. I really like the roles he picks. He’s got some of my dream roles. If I could pick any role to play he’s got a few. So he would probably be on the top.
I actually really like Christopher Walken. I find him a really interesting actor. He’s such a character that I love everything he’s in. And you know, I love some of the greats as well, like De Niro and going back to like Marlon Brando and James Dean as well. I’m kind of a sucker for classic movies and kind of the old-timey feel. I watch a lot of that stuff.
Moderator I’m wondering if you can tell us a little bit about Brandon and Callie’s relationship?
D. Lambert They have a really interesting sort of connection right of the bat. In the pilot he’s really drawn to her and feels the need to help her. It is sort of reciprocated by her, but it’s one of those things where neither really knows what’s happening there. They just understand that there’s this connection.
Whether it’ll grow or not it’s kind of up in the air at this point, but they do understand there’s this mutual feeling between the two of them and it’s definitely a special connection. So yes, I guess it’s just one of those things that has to develop over time, but it’s not necessarily set in stone that they are in love or whatever. It’s just one of those odd connections, I would say.
Moderator What is it like working with Maia Mitchell and the rest of the cast?
D. Lambert They’re great. This cast is honestly one of the best casts I’ve ever worked with. It’s one of those things where I go to set and I think that’s the biggest thing that I’m looking forward to is getting to work with these people because everyone—with me, I have such a different connection with all of them and neither is better than the next but it’s such a unique connection with every single person. So every scene is very fun. It’s a really fun experience to work with everyone.
Maia’s great. Maia’s really, really awesome. She gives it her all just like everyone else does really. Everyone goes above and beyond to make this show as real as possible. It’s a respect thing. I admire my cast. I really respect them and I think everyone’s super talented.
Moderator I’m curious; what was the audition process like for The Fosters?
D. Lambert The audition process was—honestly, it started like any other audition for me in L.A. I just went to the first meeting and it was just for casting. From there I got a callback and that was a pretty regular feeling. I just kept coming back and then it was after the third meeting that I was really like, “Okay, this could go somewhere. This is interesting.”
But it felt normal and then it kind of just came out of nowhere for me and then before I knew it I was testing. I feel like that tends to happen. Whenever you book a job you don’t even realize how close you’re getting until you almost have it pretty much. So it was definitely one of those things for me. It almost blindsided me how fast everything moved.
Moderator How would you describe the character of Brandon if you had to tell somebody who maybe hasn’t watched the show yet? How would you describe him?
D. Lambert He’s the oldest in his family and he’s the biological son of one of the mothers, Stef, who’s played by Teri Polo. He’s a gifted musician overall, but his instrument of choice is piano. He’s classically trained in piano. He’s always playing really beautiful pieces from Rachmaninoff and all of those guys.
He’s brilliant and he’s a very smart kid and a little mature for his age just due to this unique setup that he has with his mothers and with his dad. He’s essentially raised by three parents so it makes for very interesting situations that he just has to deal with very normally because that’s just how it is for him. It kind of gives him an edge over other kids who don’t necessarily have to deal with that.
He’s a very fun character for me to play. He’s a really good kid though. He means well and he has a really big heart. Family is everything for him. He loves his family and he would do anything for any of them. So it’s a very special character to be playing.
Moderator I was wondering if you, in your words, could explain why you think people should tune into this show? Why it’s different from other family dramas?
D. Lambert In this day and age we’re kind of lacking in family dramas overall. I feel like we could use more and sort of step away a little bit from the big explosions and all of this visual eye candy that seems to be in everything these days. This show really sort of slows down and focuses on just the characters really.
Besides just the fact that there’s a same sex couple and we do have all of these relevant and current topics, the show really is a classic show. It has very classic vibes to it, in terms of a family drama, and we hope it’s very relatable.
The show has a way of just introducing these topics and these issues and being very blunt about it, which I sort of love. We don’t beat around the bush. We just say it how it is and we expect audiences to just be able to handle it and see how these characters deal with it, which I think makes for really good TV.
I think it’s a really great show to be a part of. It’s something that excites me whenever I read the new scripts. I think that people will be surprised at just how interesting these people are. And they’re not necessarily doing anything out of the ordinary. The kids go to school and they just deal with whatever it is that’s happening that day.
But it just makes for really interesting stuff because they don’t always do the right thing. They sometimes make mistakes just like kids do in high school but they learn they lesson as well. They always redeem themselves. It’s a very relatable thing to watch, as a person. So for me, I love that about the show. I love that everyone gets his or her chance to make a mistake but then learn from it.
Moderator Do you have any good stories from set so far, since there are so many of you especially in the house, in the Foster house and everything?
D. Lambert It’s really funny. We honestly have a really good time on set. Everyone does. From the adults to the kids, everyone is on the same page and we all have the same amount of fun. There’s no real line drawn in the sand or anything like that, which is great because sometimes you run into that on sets, which is really unfortunate. But on this set everyone is very tight knit, very close. I could go up to any of the cast members and have a full-on conversation with them and it’s very comfortable for me.
I’m trying to think of good stories in particular. I know Cierra Ramirez and Jake T. Austin, who play Jesus and Mariana Foster, the twins, had to dress up at one point to take these Halloween pictures, these sort of family Halloween pictures. So Jake had to dress up in this really great jester costume and I actually ended up getting a picture of it just as he was standing right in front of me. I don’t know, that stuck with me so much because it was so hilarious to watch him walk around in this jester costume for the hour or however long he had to wear it for.
But besides that, really, we’re always fooling around. There are so many jokes made. We try to keep it light because there are a lot of dramatic scenes that we’re filming and we think it’s important to not drive ourselves insane. So we try to lighten up the mood whenever possible.
Moderator What attracted you to the role of Brandon Foster?
D. Lambert I think he’s definitely the most similar to me from any character I’ve played. I think that’s really interesting for me. I haven’t really experienced that much with a character. So for me to be able to relate with him the way I can and sort of very easily imagine how he must feel in a lot of these situations. It’s very interesting for me. It’s not a stretch.
It’s one of those things where I don’t have to, in my preparation, work so hard to make it relatable in some way for me because I’m already mentally there. So it’s a cool role for me in my life because I get to play Brandon but also incorporate a lot of David into Brandon. That makes for really an interesting experience for me I guess.
I play piano in my life. I wouldn’t say I’m anywhere as good as Brandon is, but I’ve been playing for almost seven years now. I’m self-taught so I’m kind of on the other side of the spectrum from Brandon. He’s very precise and classically trained and whatnot, but we do share a love for music. That’s something that’s really cool to sort of portray on camera in the way that I get to with Brandon.
I don’t know; he’s a really interesting guy. I love that I get to have him and get to play him because he’s definitely a really close one to me.
Moderator How is filming The Fosters different from filming Aaron Stone and other shows you’ve done in the past?
D. Lambert Well it’s my first hour drama, in terms of TV. That’s interesting just in terms of pacing and the hours we’re working and how we do it. So that was a first for me. Aaron Stone was a half hour so we were getting two episodes done in like eight or nine days, whereas with this we’re getting one episode done in the same time. It’s interesting. We’re filming like little movies almost is what it feels more like.
It’s awesome though. It’s a really good, demanding, challenging experience and as an actor you can ask for nothing more. You want the challenge. You want to be kept on your toes. This is definitely doing that for me and I’m learning so much. I know even after this first season I’ll walk away feeling twice as much of an actor as I did walking in. I’ll just be that much better and that’s really great to know that this job is doing that for me.
Moderator You talked some about the similarities between you and Brandon. Can you tell us some about the differences between you and your character?
D. Lambert Yes. We definitely have differences as well. Brandon is very headstrong and a little impulsive when it comes to his emotions. He doesn’t necessarily always think things through and I feel like I’m a very analytical person. I’m a little in my head. That’s just kind of how I work. I’m very internal and I think a lot. I play things out in my head, whereas Brandon I would say is more external with dealing with things.
That’s an interesting change for me. Having to vocalize and externalize what I might be feeling inside. That’s something that Brandon would do. That’s a cool difference. As an actor, you obviously want differences. Its just Brandon is such a blend for me with similarities and differences.
I guess just his situation is obviously different from mine. The things that he has to deal with I’ve never had to deal with but I definitely had my share of—just like anyone else—troubles in my family. Things I’ve had to go through with my family. So I can relate with him still even though it’s not the exact situation. I can still relate to how it must feel as an older brother and son. So yes, I guess it’s a tradeoff.
Moderator Do you have any other future plans other than The Fosters in the works?
D. Lambert No, not entirely. There’s a smaller little indie movie called The Lifeguard that went to Sundance earlier this year. I think it’ll be coming out this summer. I wish I had exact dates, but I heard June.
I’m really proud of that project. It stars Kristen Bell and Martin Starr and Mamie Gummer. That was just a nice little project that I got to work on and I learned so much from that. It was a more mature role for me. So yes, as an actor I’m always so excited about those things that I get to stretch my legs and really get to do something that’s hard to do.
But besides that, no, I’m looking forward to taking a little bit of a break after filming and then I’ll be crossing my fingers and hoping for more of The Fosters. I would love to get to play Brandon some more and get to see where this family goes. So I guess we’ll just have to see what the future holds.
Moderator So Talya and Brandon’s relationship, how does that change now that Callie’s in the picture?
D. Lambert I think it’s one of those things for Brandon, at least, that he doesn’t even realize. He’s only now just beginning to realize what it means to have Callie around. That’s an interesting thing for him. I think Talya was much more quick to notice what this may do and to notice that Brandon may be interested or at least care for Callie, which is enough for Talya to lose her mind. It is only going to make for more interesting situations down the road, especially between the girls.
I think Brandon’s a little slower, in terms of picking up on things that are right under the surface. So for him he’s almost innocent in the way that he wants to make sure Callie’s good in this new environment, in this new world that she’s kind of been thrust into, but at the same time he does have a girlfriend. He’s not linking the two yet, whereas maybe Talya is seeing [it] a little differently.
So it’s a fun thing that he has to sort of slowly realize. Like, “Oh, oh, I see that this might look this way and I guess now it’s sort of a little triangle here.” That’s just a fun little situation, one of the many that he is faced with, and I’m looking forward to seeing how that develops.
Moderator What episode are you guys filming now or are you done?
D. Lambert We are actually almost done. We are on episode eight now, finishing up episode eight and then moving to nine. We will be done soon I believe. I’m sort of getting information on and off. I kind of just show up to set and work and they will tell me what I need to know.
Moderator You mentioned earlier about playing music, especially piano. Do you see maybe pursuing music in your career?
D. Lambert That’s an interesting question because I sort of go back and forth. I love music so much. It’s really something that I hold dear, but I think as of right now I would much rather be an actor who just happens to play music than someone who’s trying to do both. I know acting has been just my number one passion. I don’t want to steal focus and put it other places. I’d rather commit 100% to one area and sort of develop that part in my career.
As of right now, just as a young person and where I’m at in my career, I think it’d be much smarter to try my hand at many, many different types of projects with acting and be all over the place with acting. Music will always be there. I own a piano. I have it in my apartment. I play it every day and I have a lot of musician friends who I play with.
It’ll always be there so I can always change my mind down the road, but I think it would be smarter for me to focus on acting. Acting truly is a love of mine. So yes, I think music will always be there but I’m definitely more of an actor.
Moderator How much of the actual playing of the piano and stuff do you actually do on the show?
D. Lambert I actually am pretty adamant about meeting with the composer on off days and rehearsing pieces that are coming up and from there we’ll discuss what I feel like I can handle and what I can’t. Usually what it’s worked out to so far is with more of the classical pieces, that is stuff that we use more playback on and whatnot, the more intricate, elaborate pieces.
But any original compositions that Brandon is playing or coming up with is me. So yes, usually the original stuff that Brandon is writing and all that stuff is usually me playing it live on the day and then the more classical pieces are things that I kind of need help with, just due to the difficulty of the piece.
Moderator You mentioned earlier that you’re self-taught in piano. So I was wondering if you could talk a little bit more about what inspired you to start playing?
D. Lambert Honestly, it started one New Year now almost seven years ago. It was my resolution to learn an instrument. It was my New Year’s resolution. So I went into the attic of my house and we happened to have this really old, beat up keyboard. It was about like half a piano. It wasn’t even a full size and I ended up just plugging that thing in and playing that for the next year.
The way I started was I took some lessons in the beginning but I ended up not having the patience for it, to be honest. So what I ended up doing was just listening to the music that I wanted to mimic and try my best to sound like it and figure it out on the keys. So now, flashing forward seven years later, that’s still essentially what I do. It’s worked for me.
It was definitely a lot of work at the beginning. It was a very clunky experience, but now it’s really cool because I’m getting to a point now where I can really explore with styles and different types of music and all that stuff. The piano’s a great instrument. It’s a really cool place to start musically because from here I could learn another instrument and still have an idea for just the general theory of music and the basis.
So yes, it was just one of those things that I loved. I’ve always loved music and now I just love it more now that I can sort of give more to it by playing an instrument.
Moderator How is your role as Brandon affected your outlook on foster families?
D. Lambert It’s an interesting thing because the show is all about how do you define family. That’s something that we say a lot with the show. What they mean by that, I think, is that it’s a same sex couple; it is adopted kids; there are foster kids, but it doesn’t really change the fact that we’re still a family.
It doesn’t matter if you have two moms or two dads or whatever, adopted siblings, foster siblings, at the end of the day you’re still going to go through the same problems that any ordinary or more generally accepted family would go through, and that’s the thing when you watch the show. You don’t feel like you’re watching this gay couple. You don’t think that when you watch it. You just see these two women raising these kids and they just happen to be together.
That’s the beauty of the whole thing. We’re not preaching it. We’re not trying to jam it down your throat, this image of these two women. We’re just saying that they can still be a family. There’s no difference, and it makes for really interesting situations, I supposed.
I learned a lot by playing Brandon. I learned a lot just more along those lines, just realizing in myself. I was like, “Wow, these two women can do this. There’s really no difference.” I watched the show and you don’t even think that it’s weird. It feels right. It looks right and they’re a family. That was something I realized only after filming it and watching it was how subtle it is. It’s a great thing. It’s really, really cool.
Moderator Are you looking forward to the instant feedback that you’ve been getting from fans about The Fosters?
D. Lambert I am. It’s really amazing. That’s like another kind of first for me. Having something like Twitter so integrated with the show is a really cool thing. I think it’s one of the beautiful things about living in 2013, that we have these means of connecting all around the world. It’s crazy.
But all the feedback has been amazing. It’s really, really cool to be able to—the episode has aired and now you can go on Twitter and see how people are responding because they really do, they add up. There are hundreds, thousands of people just talking about it and it’s really great to see people just enjoying it.
We’re only two episodes in and people are already saying things like it’s their favorite show and the characters are their favorites. It’s good to hear because we put a lot of work into the show. It’s a little bit of payoff, which is nice.
Moderator Was there anything about Brandon that wasn’t originally scripted for you that you added to the character?
D. Lambert I think like with most shows after a couple episodes the writers tend to cater to the actors and they start pulling little bits and pieces and mixing them. Brandon has definitely become more like me over time and I’ve probably become a little like Brandon, but that’s one of the beautiful things with acting.
You sort of—it’s a give and take scenario with any character you play. You do give a little bit of yourself but you also end up walking away with a little bit of that character, which is always a really cool thing for me. So yes, I’d say all the kids in the show really evolve. They do a lot of growth because they have so many things that they end up dealing with just overall.
So I would say—I know just for me, as an actor, every new episode it’s almost like I have to relearn my character because I have to take into consideration, “What have you learned in the past episode? What does that do to him in this next episode? And then what mistakes or lessons does he learn in this upcoming episode and what will that then do to him?”
So it’s a constant arc and it’s a constant stepping up with these characters, which is really fun for me and it’s yet another challenge that I get to constantly face. So yes, it’s a really cool thing. I think Brandon’s an ever-changing character. They’re all ever-changing characters, especially the kids.
Moderator We’ve seen Brandon kind of lashing out at his dad right now and I wondered if you could describe how Brandon feels about his dad?
D. Lambert That’s one of the most interesting relationships that Brandon has, I feel, is with his dad. You’ve got Mike, played by Danny Nucci, who’s a brilliant actor, awesome guy, who he hasn’t really been around. Like Brandon said, he calls every couple days, five-minute phone calls and that sort of gives you an idea of the relationship that they’ve had for some time probably.
Mike’s at a point now where he’s realizing Brandon’s only getting older and he has to make some moves now or it’s never going to happen for them. So Mike now is in the process of trying to make his way more and more back into the picture, which only poses more problems for Brandon because now he’s faced with, “What do I do? My dad’s coming back in. I have my moms. Who do I take orders from? Who are my parents? Do I have three parents? Do I ignore my dad? Do I ignore Lena? Whom am I supposed to be listening to?”
I think with his dad in particular, they are close and they do connect in a lot of ways, but there’s also a sense of frustration, especially on Brandon’s side that maybe his dad didn’t make these moves soon enough. “Why is he doing it all of the sudden? Why does he care so much all of the sudden?” It only happens more and more and there are more troubles that Mike deals with that in turn makes Brandon have to deal with them. So it’s a very interesting thing. It’s a very interesting thing.
I had my own problems with my dad growing up so that was yet another really, really personal issue that I actually ended up connecting with Brandon a lot on and I could really understand that whole relationship and how that must be for him. So it’s a very cool thing to have to play.
Moderator Is there any chance you’d be interested in doing musical theater here at some point?
D. Lambert Yes, you know, musical theater was where I started. It was actually one of those things where I felt like if I found a play that I really, really enjoyed enough I always said that I’d have no problems going back on stage because I feel like that’s where I started. So I kind of owe it that much, you know?
I love theater. I really do. I still respect it a lot and I think it takes a lot of work and dedication. I have a lot of friends still who are very into theater and are in New York and going to conservatories for acting and whatnot. Yes, it’s a very cool thing.
Moderator Do you have a favorite theater role that you’ve ever played?
D. Lambert All my memories are of all the community theater and little black box theaters that I did growing up. I did Oliver. I did Oliver Twist once and I got to play Fagin. That was a lot of fun. It was the musical and I loved the play. We did that over a summer. Yes, I still remember that entire experience. So yes, Oliver was a really great one for me.
Moderator There was a line in last night’s episode that kind of struck me that Jesus said to Brandon when he said, “Well you’re not giving up anything.” What is Brandon’s relationship exactly with the twins like?
D. Lambert I think it’s an interesting thing because Brandon is such a focused kid and he really does have goals and aspirations and places he wants to go with music. It might lead to him composing one day. Who knows where Brandon wants to go with his piano. He does want to go places. He’s in school for now but it’s just because he has to be.
I feel like Brandon has a lot of things he wants to do in his life and he’s very focused on doing them. So there are a lot of scenes with the twins where it’s not necessarily that he’s favored it’s just that the moms recognize that this kid will probably go places in his life and they just want him to have the best chance at doing that.
It’s sort of mistaken for favoritism or whatever, but it’s just one of the many situations in the house that they have to deal with day in and day out. Maybe that’s a situation that maybe a lot of families don’t have to deal with. But then there probably are a lot of families that do have to deal with that. It’s a very unique situation of The Fosters.
At the end of the day Brandon does not look at Mariana and Jesus as adopted. They grew up—they brought the twins home when they were babies and Brandon’s only about a year older than them. So it’s one of those things where they all grew up together. They all look at each other as blood even if they aren’t actually blood. So I think at the end of the day its just words that are said but they all really do love each other and they really do look at each other as a family.
Moderator If you could look into the future, where would you see Brandon with his career with his piano?
D. Lambert I don’t know. Like I said, I think he could go so many places with it. He could become a composer or just a musician in general. But I really do think he’s one of those kids who’s just so gifted it would be a shame if he did nothing with his music. I think he will. He will just get older and probably go to school for it. Go to college studying music and I think it’ll only go up, up, up for him. He’ll just keep working his way up and getting better and better.
Moderator What advice would you give to your fans if they wish to become actors or actresses?
D. Lambert I’d say it’s the craziest profession that you could possibly do so you better really love it. That’d be the first way to start it off, but I don’t know. For me, it started out as something that I just did for fun with friends. I really didn’t have any dreams of becoming famous and being an actor with lots of money and lots of cars and things. That was never something that I saw myself doing.
Acting developed and as I got older I realized I really did enjoy telling stories and touching people and doing things that not many people get to experience in their lives, going places that not many people get to see. Getting to be different people for me is very, very exciting and sort of I look at it as the greatest game of pretend ever made. Everyone’s in on it and it’s just great. You get to play all day, and it is also your work, and you can study it. There’s never an end game. You can always get better. There’s never an end game with acting.
So for me, I think it was all those things put together, but it definitely didn’t happen overnight. That was something that evolved and I had to realize that, as I got older. So for fans, I think everyone’s going to have a different journey, but if you find something that you love that much that you can pick at it and talk about it all day then it’s probably for you and you should definitely go after it. I would say the sooner the better.
It’s just one of those things where it’s very hard to tell anyone what’s right and what’s wrong. It’s more of a feeling that they just have to—if they really do feel the need they should go do it because it will work out. Things have a way of working out for people who give it their all and are in it for the right reasons. I truly believe that.
So for me, it’s just a matter of staying on the right course and doing the things that I want to do at the end of the day. So if people can make those decisions and be smart about where they want to go in life, I think there’s no limit to where you can end up.
Moderator Are there any personal messages from you to your fans that you’d like to pass on?
D. Lambert I can’t really think of anything profound or anything but I’d probably rely on what I just said. I think watch The Fosters I guess and then check it out and I guess that’d be it.
Moderator Like you, Maia Mitchell is also very into music. Do you think that we’ll ever see a Brandon and Callie collaboration on the show?
D. Lambert Yes, it’s definitely likely. I feel like Callie is sort of into the guitar and she seems to have been in episode two that aired last night and it seems like she’s kind picking it up. So there’s definitely a likely possibility that they will end up jamming at some point. Who knows? Brandon’s definitely always playing music in the house so I would definitely say that’s okay to say that they would end up playing more music together for sure.
For more information on “The Fosters”, please visit the official website.
On May 23-26, J!-ENT photographer Gilbert “Realm” Aquino traveled to Phoenix, Arizona to cover the cosplayers and the guests at Phoenix Comicon 13.
Please enjoy our latest pictorial for Phoenix Comicon 13!
Download the Pictorial Here (PDF/52.5 MB)
Directed by Zack Snyder
Screenplay David S. Goyer
Story by David S. Goyer/Christopher Nolan
Superman created by Jerry Siegel, Joe Schuster
Producer: Christopher Nolan, Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder, Emma Thomas
Executive Producer: Jon Peters, Lloyd Phillips, Thomas Tull
Music by Hans Zimmer
Cinematography by Amir Mokri
Edited by David Brenner
Casting by Kristy Carlson, Lora Kennedy, Claire Simon
Production Design Alex McDowell
Art Direction: Vlad Bina, Chris Farmer, Aaron Haye, Dan Hermansen, Craig Jackson, Helen Jarvis, Kim Sinclair
Set Decoration by Anne Juljian
Costume Design by James Acheson, Michael Wilkinson
Henry Cavill as Clark Kent/Kal-El
Amy Adams as Lois Lane
Michael Shannon as General Zod
Diane Lane as Martha Kent
Russell Crowe as Jor-El
Ante Traue as Faora-Ui
Harry Lennix as General Swanwick
Richard Schiff as Dr. Emil Hamilton
Christopher Meloni as Colonel Nathan Hardy
Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent
Ayelet Zurer as Lara Lor-Van
Laurence Fishburne as Perry White
Dylan Sprayberry as Clark Kent (13-years-old)
Cooper Timberline as Clark Kent (9-years-old)
The “Man of Steel” had its NYC red carpet premiere last night, with the cast making their appearances. Outside of NYC, there were also advanced screenings of the upcoming film, of which I was able to attend the San Diego screening. I didn’t get my pass until 2:30pm, so it was a last minute notice.
Having grown up with the past renditions of Superman, from Christopher Reeve and Dean Cain, to Tom Welling and Brandon Routh, I came into the “Man of Steel” with high expectations, that it would carry on what the past had already done.
But that wasn’t the case. I felt the film distanced itself from any other rendition of the Superman stories that we all grew up with. Sure we get the origin of Superman, but through his eyes. We learn who he is, why he is, and where he came from.
The “Man of Steel” portrays more of the human aspect of the character. In the comic books and previous films, Superman is more “God-like”. I felt both characters, Clark Kent and Superman, were both very similar in this film. Maybe because we are learning more about his Kryptonian side at the same time as Clark Kent.
The film does have a lot of action sequences, with laser guns, bug-like spaceships, Kryptonians in heavy armor, and lots of explosions. All of these aspects are very common in the comic books, but I’m not used to it in the film.
I was skeptic when Henry Cavill was chosen for the role, but as I watched the film, he definitely sold the character of Clark Kent and Superman. I could see some essence of Tom Welling in him, as they had scenes of Clark growing up and dealing with his childhood, much like in “Smallville”. But as the film progressed and when Henry had the costume on, he definitely looked and acted the part.
The visual design of the Kryptonians, the ships, costumes, and planet, were very sci-fi, with very intricate and detailed designs. Throughout the film, I felt it had an influence from the “Gears of War”, “Mass Effect”, and “Aliens” franchises. I’m not used to all the heavy armor and laser rifles, I grew up with the long robes and “not of this world” designs of the past. I felt like the Kryptonians were violent people with the armor and laser rifles. I grew up with the people of Krypton as peaceful and humble people.
The film has an amazing cast!! I definitely enjoyed Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent, playing a very emotional and powerful figure in Clark’s life. Amy Adams was great as Lois Lane, very modern and a believable character. Both Amy and Henry had great chemistry in the film as Lois and Superman. Russell Crowe as Jor-El? Maybe it was the armor, but I felt like he was about to hand Clark the sword of “Excalibur” or something.
But as Jor-El, Russell Crowe played a convincing character. Diane Lane as Martha Kent was just as amazing. Michael Shannon as General Zod, that guy played a very cold and souless villain. He nailed the role, although I kept thinking throughout the film that he looked like an international terrorist or something. Laurence Fishburne as Perry White, I didn’t see coming. Laurence is an amazing actor and I love all his work, especially “Boyz In The Hood”. His Perry White was on point and I could see him running a newspaper.
I read about how the film would not have the classic John Williams theme and I was disappointed to find out for myself that it wasn’t there. That is THE Superman theme and it wasn’t in this new version of the film. The score is so iconic, everyone knows it. But the film didn’t need it, seeing as how this is a different take on the Superman franchise.
J!-ENT MOVIE RATING: C
On June 8th, ABC Family premiered it’s new comedy clip show “Dancing Fools” hosted by Melissa Peterman (“Reba”, “Here Comes the Boom”, “Working Class).
The show features the funniest, most outrageous and memorable dances caught on camera. The dancers from the top two clips of the week get to compete on stage for a chance to win $10,000.
For Melissa, since her acting debut on the film “Fargo”, she has appeared on television and is best known for her role as Barbra Jean on the TV series “Reba” (2001-2007) and has appeared on sereis sucha s “Surviving Suburbia”, “Rita Rocks”, “Working class” and “Pretty the Series”.
But for her role on “Dancing Fools”, Melissa not only hosts the show but she also provides her own humorous voice-over narration for the video clips featured.
In promotion of the series premiere of “Dancing Fools”, a media Q&A was held with Melissa Peterman to discuss her new series. Here is a transcript from the series:
Moderator You seem like you’re just naturally funny.
M. Peterman I like to think that, but my husband would probably disagree sometimes, but I think that I find humor in a lot of things.
Moderator How did you discover your natural talent for comedy on stage and on TV?
M. Peterman I had always loved theater. People are really surprised, I was kind of a quiet kid but I was a natural observer. I loved to watch people and part of it was I was close to six feet tall in high school and got into theater. When you got someone to laugh it was like the power of “if I can just get them to laugh with me and not at me”, it was a powerful—the ability to get a laugh out of somebody, it doesn’t matter if you do it for a living or not, that’s an amazing feeling, humor is the glue that gets everyone together and it was a great defense for me in a way in high school. If you’re funny, it doesn’t matter that you’re towering over every boy there, and then I learned to embrace my height so it was a good combo. I think I was just on stage. I did a lot of theater in high school, and when I first got that first laugh, I was addicted.
Moderator Speaking of your humor and using it in your show, “Dancing Fools”, you do these voiceovers for the videos, and they’re really funny. I was wondering do you prepare for those when you’re recording them, or do you make it up on the spot?
M. Peterman We had a great team of writers led by Brennan Huntington who is fantastic and we had a couple of writers who used to work for the “Ellen” show. So we had a great team that would come in and they’d been watching them and they’d send them to me and I’d watch them and mull it over. So, I was able to have jokes prepared, but a lot of times, we would get in the booth and start watching them and either tweak that or I’d have an idea or they’d have an idea. So, we had a template that sometimes we went off of.
There was one, and we could not figure out what to do with this. It’s this older gentleman and I think he’s dressed as a baby dancing and we couldn’t come up with anything because it was hilarious but a little creepy but we wanted it to be funny. So over time, after a couple tries, we just came up with a voice of, “Hi, my name’s Clark Stevens. I’m here to audition for the part of the baby. Goo-goo gah-gah.” We just went “Okay, that works, we can do that.” So, a lot of times, we had a template, but we would definitely stray from it depending on what was happening in the booth at the time.
Moderator Were you part of the evolution of the series or did they come and talk to you about it because they know you’re naturally funny?
M. Peterman Phil Gurn, who’s the producer, I’ve worked with him in the past. He did the Singing Bee which I did for him for CMC, and so, he knew me as the host but he came to me with this idea, and no, that was all them. I thought it was such a great twist of it’s got the feel of America’s Funniest Home Videos but with dance, but then the twist is there’s a game show element. There’s a live element of getting them to come dance live, I think is just genius, and that was the most fun to see the people that we were watching all week over and over again because that’s what I love about the videos too.
Even though we don’t want to admit that we’re getting sucked into watching videos on YouTube at our work, we do. I love watching any sort of fun video like that, and so, it was fun to have them, to be watching them over and over and then to see them come live, and who doesn’t like a chance to win $10,000 for a video that they might have done in their basement or at a wedding reception for fun? So, I just thought the idea was a great twist. You just love to watch it. You can’t stop yourself.
Moderator Any chance we can get you a part on “Melissa and Joey” and just do a Melissa Peterman trifecta on Wednesday?
M. Peterman I would think that would be amazing to do. I would love that. I’m a big fan of the show and the Melissa and Joey cast and our cast, we share some of the same crew as in we share some of the makeup people that have to do both shows, and I just have this feeling that Melissa Joan Hart and I would—everyone who knows both of us are like “You guys should do something together. You would love each other”. So, I’d love to do something with her.
Moderator What’s your favorite part about working on Dancing Fools?
M. Peterman Meeting the contestants. I just love genuinely—I think everyone has a story and I love meeting new people and we met some amazing people. I like hearing people’s stories and what they do and I love that and also the professional dancers that we have, I love trying to dance with them. That also makes me very happy.
Moderator How does “Dancing Fools” differ from any other dance competition show that’s on television today?
M. Peterman Because at any given point, we could have a ten year old or a grandma or two best friends or bridesmaids or groups—at any given point, you could have a 5 year old or a 80 year old coming to dance live and compete. So, I think that’s what’s very different.
Moderator What is your most embarrassing dance memory?
M. Peterman How much time do you have? Probably one of the earliest was my first dance recital and I think it must have been eight or nine or something like that and we were doing 99 Red Balloons. Imagine an eight year old girl with red turtleneck, leotards with the balloons and so, we’d rehearsed it without the balloons because we were going to carry helium balloons and then let them go right when the “da-da-da-da” started and we let them go, and I guess nobody thought that when helium balloons are released in an auditorium or a stage and they hit the lights they would all explode, and so, all these balloons just started popping and all of us were screaming but we were trying so hard to keep it together and keep dancing and I might have wet my pants. I was afraid by the balloons popping and the sounds and it was pop, pop, pop. So, that was the first, which was just a high bar to set for many years of embarrassing dance moments.
I love it when you think you’re killing it at a wedding and you’re like, “Man, everyone is watching me dance” and then you realize your dress is tucked into the back. That’s happened before. I’ve had a lot. I guess I’m not that embarrassed by it because I enjoy it so much that I figure things happen and I’m not the only one they happen to, but yes, thinking that you’re killing it and realizing that the reason they’re watching you is not the reason you think.
Moderator “Dancing Fools” is a perfect show for you to host, then.
M. Peterman It’s a perfect show, and I love it. I love game shows. I love dancing. I imagine I’m a much better dancer in my brain and I do love to dance. These two best friends [did] a dance that they sprung at a wedding reception and it gave me so much joy to watch them because you could just tell they were having the best time ever and we could not stop watching it over and over again. We bring them to do it live and it turns out that they had said that the wedding was going to be the last time they were going to do this dance together. They’ve been best friends since they were 14, and we brought them out of retirement on Dancing Fools to redo it and they were just the nicest guys, both recently married. One’s expecting a baby. I love those stories, and they were amazing.
Moderator Are there any comedians that have influenced you or that you admire?
M. Peterman Carol Burnett is a huge [influence]—I watched her Saturday night when I was a kid and just fell in love. Gilda Radner, I absolutely adored and would get to watch Saturday Night Live at my aunt’s house when I slept over and my parents didn’t know, so Gilda Radner, Catherine O’Hara, Andrea Martin. More recently, Tina Fey, I think is just a genius, Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, anyone who’s fearless. I feel like that’s what I love to see in another woman comic, be fearless and don’t worry about being pretty.
You’ll do anything if you know it’s funny, and you don’t care how you look and don’t be afraid to be the butt of the joke and I think that’s just the secret. It was very exciting for me when we were shooting Baby Daddy that Hot in Cleveland shot next door and Betty White was like four doors down from me, and I wrote her a letter and sent it over to her dressing room and she said I could come over and meet her, and for me, she did three of the most—Rose Nylund and Sue Ann Nivens—she created so many amazing sidekicks that were just hilarious, and she’s 92 and she’s fearless. So, for me, it’s any woman who is completely fearless and willing to go for it and commit.
Moderator When do you find time to sleep with everything that you’re doing and what else do you have coming up?
M. Peterman Well, it looks busier because they’re all airing right now. The reality is I’m done shooting them all so now they’re just all airing. So, it’s extreme periods of business followed by a good chunk of time off, but during the shooting, it was extremely busy.
I do it because I do have so much downtime when it’s over, and I have a husband who’s a stay-at-home daddy so I have that support at home, but it appears busy because they’re all airing at the same time. Right now, I’m off until July 15th when I go start Baby Daddy again, but it is busy but I enjoy it so much. If it was a show that I wasn’t having fun on or I didn’t enjoy, I don’t think I could do it or commit to that much, but I’ve honestly really enjoyed everything I’ve been doing. So, it’s fun. It’s never a job when you like what you’re doing. So, that helps.
Let’s be honest, what I get to do is—I’m not a miner. It’s a great job and I’m really blessed and lucky to get to do what I love. So, I still think as an actor when most of your career people are saying no to you, when people are finally saying yes, it’s really hard to say no especially if it’s a project that really appeals to you.
Moderator When it comes back to “Dancing Fools”, can you tell us some of your other favorite moments from this season, what else we have to look forward to?
M. Peterman There’s this awesome kid. His name is Juan and he dances as a character that is called Granny Myrtle, and when I first saw the YouTube clip, I was completely blown away because I thought it was a 90-year-old grandma dancing to Black Eyed Peas and completely killing it. I just thought “Oh my gosh, this grandma is amazing and I need to know what she’s eating because I need that”, and it turns out it’s this young guy and we bring him to dance live and I always like to go meet everyone before the show and I was just talking to him and he had the greatest story.
He created this character because he felt that he’d been bullied before and he didn’t have a lot of friends and he just started to make up a character and he thought what would be fun and make people happy and he came up with this Grandma Myrtle character and would go spontaneously dance and bust her out in public places, and I just remember this kid and I wanted his phone number and I wanted to keep up with him because I just thought what a great story, but he created a character because he felt sort of different. That’s again, like the human interest of seeing them live that makes me really, really happy.
Also, I think looking forward to you’ll get to see a lot of our own professional dancers. I do hone in a lot more as I get more comfortable, which is sort of funny, but there are some great contestants, and to me, that’s the best part of the show.
Moderator As far as “Baby Daddy” goes, what attracted you to the role of Bonnie?
M. Peterman Because she doesn’t have an editor. She just does whatever she thinks, and when you first audition, you basically just get that first pilot script so you don’t really [know the character]. [Creator] Dan [Berendsen] was so great and I think every great pilot, the characters are already super defined right there, and when I read it, I just loved her. I thought she was loud. She could come off as overbearing and whatever, but at the end of the day, she would kill for her kids and she was funny. It was a completely different character from Barbara Jean but it still had some of the fun elements of things just come out of her mouth, and she was single and she was this woman who her kids are all grown up and they’re on a new journey and she’s divorced.
So, she has a whole new chapter coming up and she’s not 22, but she gets to still date and see what happens now that you’re not a mom full time anymore. So, that sort of attracted me. I don’t know if you’ve seen the cast, but that was sort of attractive too to get to work with them every day.
Moderator You’ve acted in movies, television programs, you’ve hosted, is there one that you prefer over the other?
M. Peterman I don’t know. I always kind of think of myself as an actress first in a way, but the hosting comes so naturally because of my improv. I don’t think I prefer anyone over the other. I think what I like about it is if I go host, I think that makes me a better improviser because it makes me faster on my feet, and if I go improvise, that makes me a better standup, and if I go do standup, that works on my timing which makes me better at a sitcom role, and if I go do a movie, that’s a whole other sort of muscle. Everything’s smaller and it’s a little bit—just a very different feel. So, I think I enjoy them all because I think they make me better and help me exercise a different muscle that makes me better for another thing. I don’t know if that makes sense.
Moderator I was wondering how close do you get with the contestants?
M. Peterman As I’ve hosted a few other shows, I found that if you take the time to go before the show starts and say hello, welcome them and take a moment to chat with them, it puts them at ease and they can have fun because here’s the thing—their time on the show is—this is the clip or the moment that every family’s going to watch at every holiday. They’re going to e-mail it to everyone. This is their time to shine and this is their moment. They get to be a star and this is the clip that their family will air forever.
So, I just always think it’s really important to go say hello and welcome them and it puts them at ease and they can have fun, but I always spend a few minutes or even longer before the show starts with all of the contestants there. I don’t follow them home or anything, but I would a couple of them. They were pretty fun.
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