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Wingman Wednesday

Danny Nucci

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After five seasons of heartwarming storytelling, the beloved family drama series “The Fosters” is saying good-bye to fans with a three-day season finale event, which concludes tonight on Freeform. Star Danny Nucci, who plays Mike Foster, feels strongly that the viewers have come along with the cast throughout the storytelling process, growing as their characters have, and he relishes in the symbiotic relationship that has made his time on the show the most fan-centric project of his career thus far.

We recently sat down with Nucci to discuss the possibility of returning as Mike Foster in the future, why his time on the series was an eye opener, and where he is expanding on his career within the industry.

TrunkSpace: With the “The Fosters” coming to an end, you’ve had to say good-bye to your on-set family, but in a way, does it also feel like you’re saying good-bye to the fans? They have come with you on this journey since 2013 – are they part of the equation with it now signing off?
Nucci: Not at all. It’s more of a resounding “Thank you!” for your support through the years. Many of them are now interested in what’s next and seem to feel like part of an “ongoing” family. It’s almost as if we’ve all gone through these stories together and come out on the other side closer and more connected.

TrunkSpace: You spent over 90 episodes playing Mike Foster, which as we discussed last time you stopped by TrunkSpace, is the longest you have spent with a single character. Now that the job is officially done, is it easy to walk away from Mike knowing that you probably won’t be slipping into his skin ever again?
Nucci: There is a spinoff, so I can’t say that’s true as of yet. But it’s a feeling of gratitude that I’m left with – that I got to explore a character for that long.

TrunkSpace: Have you been surprised at how passionate and loyal the fans have been with “The Fosters” and have you ever directly experienced a group of viewers who were so invested in a project?
Nucci: I’ve never been part of any project with such a social media tie in and “exchange” so it’s all been a revelation of the affect being part of a show that people respond to can be.

TrunkSpace: Outside of starring on the show, you also had the opportunity to direct an episode of “The Fosters.” Was getting to step behind the camera an unintended side effect of your time on the series or was it always your hope to call “Action!”?
Nucci: The first time we all got together for a hang with the producers I made my pitch and they were very clear that it would be a few seasons in before I’d get the opportunity, but they made good on their promise and now I’ve got a new addiction.

TrunkSpace: Obviously you have such familiarity with the cast and crew. Does that make your job as director easier or more difficult? Do you think you would have had a different experience if you came to set not knowing anybody?
Nucci: Oh, I’m sure it would be completely different. The cast knows I’m one of them so there was an inherent trust. And the crew was rooting for me to do well and went the extra mile for me to make our day. And the execs felt like I had a great understanding of the time, story and characters, so there was an automatic trust factor.

TrunkSpace: Did the process of directing an episode of “The Fosters” give you a different perspective on your own character at all? Did it alter your own POV in terms of performance?
Nucci: No. Different mind set completely. Perhaps it would’ve been different if I had to direct myself.

TrunkSpace: We know you can’t really go into details, but you’ve been spending time developing a new series that you have been involved with on the writing side of things. Is that an area that you hope to spend more time focusing on in your career? Are the behind-the-scenes aspects becoming more interesting to you as you get older?
Nucci: As an actor, by the time I add my input most of the work has been done or prepped by the writers, producers or directors. The opportunity to be at the beginning of the storytelling process and make choices that impact the entire project is something I am really enjoying. I love exploring choices that are more “actable” and are “easier to accept” for an audience. Frankly, it’s thrilling. When we come up with a great line of dialogue or particular setting or motivation for a given character it’s as exciting as finding a great moment as an actor.

Nucci directing an episode of “The Fosters.” Freeform/Ron Tom

TrunkSpace: Have you ever been at a crossroads where you considered walking away from acting? Do you still get the same thrill walking on a set for the first time as you did when you started out in the industry?
Nucci: I always get a thrill from walking on a set I’m working on. It’s always that feeling of, “I snuck in – no one noticed and I’m in!” I love the challenge of acting. It’s always a risk/reward thing. I look forward to more experiences where I’m asked to have a creative voice. Sometimes, “Stand there, say these lines, thank you…” feels like a profession I have a modicum of skill to complete. It’s still a great job though.

TrunkSpace: If you could sit down and have a conversation with your 15-year-old self, what would he have to say about how your career has played out? What aspect of your life would surprise him the most?
Nucci: “Duuuuuuude,why aren’t you super famous??? C’mon!!”

I guess he’d be surprised that I’m not driven by a need to be adored or approved of, but a desire to feel all the things my characters have to feel so that the audience can just observe and relate or be entertained or in an ideal moment have their perspective altered in a positive way. And being the best I can be to suspend belief for the time I’m on screen or on stage.

TrunkSpace: Finally, as fans gear up to say good-bye to “The Fosters” for the last time, what do you want to say to them about the journey and how their loyalty to the show has impacted you over the course of its run? How have they made this a fulfilling chapter in your own life?
Nucci: I would just like to say that I appreciate the interaction, the kind words and encouragement that I’ve received. I have felt an added sense of responsibility to make Mike Foster a real person who suffers, struggles and celebrates life and love like the rest of us humans.

“The Fosters” series finale three-night event concludes tonight on Freeform.

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Wingman Wednesday

Hayden Byerly

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Freeform/Craig Sjodin

After five seasons of heartwarming storytelling, the beloved family drama series “The Fosters” is saying good-bye to fans with a three-day season finale event, which continues tonight on Freeform. Star Hayden Byerly, who plays Jude Adams Foster, grew up on the show alongside of his character and is both excited for what the future holds, but appreciative for what came before – namely, the family and fans that supported him throughout his “The Fosters” journey.

We recently sat down with Byerly to discuss the wonderful surprises that the series brought into his life, why he feels he never fully understood Jude, and how his ideal career involves working nonstop.

TrunkSpace: Is saying good-bye to “The Fosters” a bit of a mixed bag, as in, you’re excited for the future and the next chapter of your life, but at the same time, sad to see this chapter close?
Byerly: Of course. As to be expected. It’s always one of the bittersweet moments of life – moving forward and hoping for the best and wondering what the future holds, but making sure to remember and being appreciative of the past.

TrunkSpace: You have to say good-bye to your on-set family, but does it also feel like you’re saying good-bye to the fans as well?
Byerly: I would say in a way. I know for a fact that “The Fosters” fans, the people who have been so supportive of the show from the start, is such a great community. They are very kind people who have really made a change in the world and made a difference and allowed this show to continue for so long. I think it is definitely a goodbye in a way, but I can only hope that “The Fosters” fans see not only me, but everyone else in the cast moving forward in our careers and continue to support us in many other things that exist in the world.

TrunkSpace: One of the things that we noticed was just how positive and supportive “The Fosters” fan base is. Was it a surprise to see how invested they became?
Byerly: It was. I was certainly taken aback, especially at a young age for so much positivity – not only that they were super interactive but people were so supportive as well. It was definitely surprising but in a wonderful way. I think it’s always beautiful when you have a show like this and so many people back it up and so many people love it and love what you do. It feels good to have that and it makes you happy to know that you’re doing something that changes the lives of so many people in such a great way.

TrunkSpace: You shot over 100 episodes as Jude. What was that long-term character journey like for you, especially not having spent that much time with a character before?
Byerly: It’s pretty remarkable because the interesting thing about it is that Jude and myself grew up together. I started the show when I was about 11 or 12 years old, as Jude was about the same age, and so he was learning a lot of things in life and growing up and going through a lot of the things that I had gone through or was also going through. And there was also many differences between the two of us. He was living a life that was very different from mine. A lot of the challenges he faced and that he had to overcome I personally did not. I was not only growing up and living my own life and trying to understand who I was, I was also going through all the trials and tribulations of Jude and all the things that he had to explore and understand about himself.

It was really wild. I never felt like I fully understood Jude because he was always growing and learning and that was something that I loved. I felt as though I was learning with him and that we were together on this ride to figure out who he was and these final three are a little… there’s a time jump, so Jude’s older. He’s got some more stuff figured out, but of course we all have pinnacle moments in our lives in which something else goes wrong or there’s a bump in the road and so Jude is still going through his own things in life – his own problems. It’s remarkable that even five years later he’s going through things that I won’t go through and that I won’t have to worry about. I’m very lucky and fortunate to live two lives and two kids who are so different.

TrunkSpace: Does it keep it fresh for you as an actor to show up and find Jude on a new path? Does that continuous growth in the character make your own journey with him more exciting?
Byerly: I feel like no actor can ever say that they fully know the character that they are, in my personal opinion. I think that there’s always so many things to learn and to understand about someone, because we are the same way. I know myself better than anyone else on this planet knows me and there’s still a lot of things that I don’t know about myself. There’s a lot of things that I question or have to figure out, and so for someone to say they completely understand a character, I don’t think that’s a possibility because we are constantly growing and changing, just as these characters are.

Freeform/Eric McCandless

TrunkSpace: After spending so much time and headspace with Jude, are you in a position within your own personal journey as an actor to sign on and play another character for that long? Is that something you’d be interested in coming off “The Fosters” at this stage in your career or are you more interested in going out and trying on as many new skins as possible?
Byerly: I think all of it. I would love to do everything. I would love to spend another 100 episodes as someone else. I would love to spend a couple months, a couple years, a few moments. I think that’s the beautiful thing about this industry is that you can be so many different people in such a long or short amount of time. You can choose to really dive and divulge in a particular person as little or as much as you’d like. You can walk onto the set of a commercial and just be some suburban white kid with an adopted family and just wander around driving trucks or something, and you don’t even have a name. And then you can walk on a show and spend 100 episodes being a young foster kid and going through someone else’s entire life story. There are so many things you can do and experience in this world and I think that’s the beautiful part is that I’m fortunate and lucky enough to understand and live the lives of many people.

TrunkSpace: The future holds so many question marks for everybody, but if you could pave your own path and write your own way, what would it look like? What’s the ideal career moving forward?
Byerly: I think the ideal career moving forward for me would be getting to continue to work nonstop. That’s the one thing I love. That’s the one thing I’m passionate about, is being on set. Everything else falls into place in life when you get to do what you love and when you’re passionate about what you do. And I don’t really have a particular set thing I want to do. I would love to knock it all out. I would love to do a huge movie, move onto another show. I did some motion capture for a video game a long time ago. I’d love to do more animated things. I’d love to do everything because it’s all so different and it’s all so incredible. I’ve got a hunger to do everything. I’ve got a drive to do it all.

The industry is constantly changing and evolving and if you don’t adapt and keep up with it you’re going to fall behind, so making sure that you stay up to date and try as hard as you can and continue to push and give 100 percent is the most important thing. I talked to my dialogue coach, who is a wonderful actor and was on “The Fosters” for a long time as the dialogue coach. I value him immensely as a person and as a friend and he was talking to me a lot about a couple of different auditions and he always helps me and he was saying that it’s a competitive industry and you can’t just walk around expecting anything to be yours. No one can ever expect something to be for you. Even if you’re the perfect fit for a character, even if a character is written for you, you still have to try as if it wasn’t. You still have to give it so much effort and care and attention and that’s what determines a good actor from a great actor is that it’s someone who never stops – it’s someone who always puts in more work than seems necessary to do better.

The Fosters” series finale three-night event continues tonight on Freeform.

 

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Wingman Wednesday

Sherri Saum

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Photo: Photo Credit: Freeform/Craig Sjodin

After five seasons of heartwarming storytelling, the beloved family drama series “The Fosters” is saying good-bye to fans with a three-day season finale event beginning tonight on Freeform. Star Sherri Saum, who plays Lena Adams Foster, is still in awe of the impact that the show has had on viewers, but she’s even more enamored by the impact that the viewers have had on her.

We recently sat down with Saum to discuss what she learned in her journey as Lena, how she will always compare future jobs to her time on “The Fosters,” and why she’d be extra motivated to solve mysteries on a full stomach.

TrunkSpace: With “The Fosters” coming to an end, you’ve had to say good-bye to your on-set family, but in a way, does it also feel like you’re saying good-bye to the fans? They have come with you on this journey since 2013 – are they part of the equation with it now signing off?
Saum: I feel I have forged a connection with the cast and the supporters of our show that will transcend the end of the series.

TrunkSpace: Over 100 episodes is a long time to spend in another person’s skin. It’s not your longest span with a character, but was Lena different? Did her journey affect you differently as an actress than that of previous jobs, and if so, why?
Saum: I’ve learned more on “The Fosters” than I’ve learned on any other show. Things that informed me not only as an actor but also as a person and especially as a mother. I’ll take these lessons with me for a lifetime.

TrunkSpace: How much did Lena grow and change from the first time you read for her to where she is in the final three episodes set to start airing tonight on Freeform? Within that span, what were some of the biggest character shifts or storylines that you didn’t see coming?
Saum: Lena began as a definite momma bear, the soft heart of the family. And while she was fierce in her role as momma and protector of her kids, she wasn’t always as good at fighting for what she deserved in her career. She became a fighter over the seasons – probably influenced by Stef – and in the end of the series we finally see Lena stepping up and owning her full power as a woman, a mother, and a community leader.

TrunkSpace: It’s so hard to tell what will connect with people and what won’t when it comes to television. Was it a surprise just how invested viewers became in not only the series but in your character as well?
Saum: I think part of me is still in awe of the impact but the other part totally gets it. We gave much needed validation and visibility to families and people. It had been so sorely lacking in the landscape of TV.

TrunkSpace: What is something that you are going to take from your experience on “The Fosters” that you will apply to your professional life moving forward?
Saum: Being part of such a special project has set the bar high for me as an actor. I’m not so naïve to think I won’t have to take on some projects in the future for practical reasons – but I’m always going to have a sense of wanting to do more – to be part of telling better stories because of my experience with “The Fosters.”

TrunkSpace: What about personally? Where has the series impacted your life the most and what will you look back on in 20 years and think of fondly?
Saum: Personally I’ve been able to meet people and hear stories about the impact “The Fosters” has had on them. Stories that humble me beyond belief. I’ll never forget how it feels to make people feel included and loved. People all over the globe. It’s astonishing.

TrunkSpace: You posted a picture on Twitter about a month ago, drinking coffee (we assume that was just coffee!) while watching “Scooby-Doo,” referencing it as living your best life. So, we have to ask, if dropped into a real-life mystery complete with “jinkies” moments, which “Scooby-Doo” character’s mystery-solving skills would yours most resemble and why?
Saum: I’d be Scooby-Doo or Shaggy for sure. Always extra motivated to solve a mystery if I’m well fed!

TrunkSpace: Continuing with the idea of living your best life, as you look forward, what does your best professional life look like? If you could write your own future, how would you script your career moving forward?
Saum: In my perfect world I’d be a serial series monogamist. And some of my roles would include physical bad-assery. In some superhero way.

Photo: Freeform/Gilles Mingasson

TrunkSpace: You’ve guested on some great shows over the course of your career. Is there a character who was particularly interesting to you that you wished you got to explore further?
Saum: To be honest, I’m still in a love bubble stupor over “The Fosters.” It’s eclipsing anything I’ve done previously. I can’t recall ever being so emotionally and creatively fulfilled in my work as I have been with “The Fosters.”

TrunkSpace: Finally, as fans gear up to say good-bye to “The Fosters” for the last time, what do you want to say to them about the journey and how their loyalty to the show has impacted you over the course of its run? How have they made this a fulfilling chapter in your own life?
Saum: I just want fans of the show to know that their support and love of the show has elevated the experience into something I will never, ever let go of. And I will always remember how hard they fought to keep it going.

The Fosters” series finale three-night event kicks off tonight on Freeform.

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Wingman Wednesday

Miles Mussenden

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Photo Courtesy Of: Miles Mussenden

Spider-Man was always going to be a sure thing, but developing successful cinematic franchises out of characters like Iron Man, the Guardians of the Galaxy and Black Panther came with question marks attached. Never exactly A-listers in the comics, could they carry their own films? Turns out, they absolutely could, and now Marvel is looking to turn other “could they” characters into “absolutely could” gold.

Premiering June 7th on Freeform, “Cloak & Dagger” tells the story of a teenaged dynamic duo-to-be, newly super-powered and dealing with their own emotional struggles along the way. Starring Aubrey Joseph (Cloak) and Olivia Holt (Dagger), the series promises to add a layer of grounded realism to an otherwise high stakes imaginary world.

We recently sat down with “Cloak & Dagger” star Miles Mussenden to discuss playing the father of a superhero, why his character has been keeping secrets from his fictional family, and the reason fans will want to sit back and enjoy the explosive ride that is Season 1.

TrunkSpace: What does it mean for a career in 2018 to be involved in something within the Marvel Universe? Is it sort of a game-changer just by the nature of how many eyes could be on the series?
Mussenden: You know, I have to say yes. Marvel seems to be taking over the universe right now. With the success of “Black Panther” and “The Avengers,” it seems like everything they touch is gold pretty much. But, with this particular project, I think we have something special with it. I feel very fortunate to be a part of it. So, it’s my biggest opportunity to date and I couldn’t have picked something better.

TrunkSpace: One of the things that Marvel does so well is, although each of their properties exist within the same universe, every one has its own distinct feel and tone. As someone who has worked directly on “Cloak & Dagger,” what kind of show is it? Does it fall within a genre?
Mussenden: It’s interesting because I feel like it’s gonna just touch a lot of different things. What I loved about it is, during shooting, it felt like it was a feature we were filming. It feels like we have 10 little mini-movies, so to speak. You have something for that younger generation, that Freeform audience, that they’ll love with Aubrey (Joseph) and Olivia (Holt) playing Cloak and Dagger, but you also have something more because the family dynamics in both of these young people’s lives play big into this story.

I think it’s something that I would watch, because I look at it, and I think we have just as much gritty things that grab your attention, that holds you and makes you care, in the family relationships for Tyrone and Tandy, as do Cloak and Dagger. We have people like Gloria Reuben who plays Adina, my wife on the show, Tyrone’s mother, and she’s just an amazing actress. The kind of realism that we bring to this show is going to be something that any Marvel fan would enjoy.

TrunkSpace: In the series you play the father of hero-to-be Cloak. As a father in real life as well, did you find yourself saying, “How would I react to this if it was happening in my own family dynamic?” Did any of who you are as a parent bleed over into who Otis is as a parent?
Mussenden: Somewhat, because with this particular role it really resonated with me for some reason – from the very beginning. And my instincts seem to be the same instincts as the character, Otis’ instincts, except that Otis is a little bit more controlling and a little bit more buttoned up than I am, personally. But I couldn’t help but have some of it spill over because some of the same fears that I have for my children, he has for his. So, some of the same things that I want to protect my son from, he wants to protect his son from. There is some spillover but because he is different – he, meaning Tyrone – and because my wife is different, we just kind of play and everything’s kind of happening in the moment. I don’t purposely put any of it in, but whatever comes out, comes out, and I really don’t know what I’m going to see because I go and I do what happens, whatever comes to me at that moment, so it’s pretty much… and each take is a little bit different, so it’s the editor who is gonna have a lot of control over what is actually going to come across in the end product.

TrunkSpace: So you must be just as excited to see it as the diehard Marvel fans.
Mussenden: Yeah, exactly. I don’t know what I’m gonna see because even in ADR, they showed, again, very small clips, and so I couldn’t get an idea. I didn’t see the pilot and the stuff they showed at South by Southwest so, yeah, I’m in eager anticipation, waiting with bated breath.

TrunkSpace: Now, within the storyline itself, Otis has a past that he hasn’t exactly reconciled with, right?
Mussenden: I wanna be careful how I frame this – I don’t want to give spoilers. Yes, Otis has a rich history, and he didn’t share it all with Tyrone…

Photo By: Frank Ockenfels. – © 2018 Freeform. All rights reserved.

TrunkSpace: Secrets are never good for a family.
Mussenden: That’s true, but sometimes I think, as parents, you want to keep some things away. You’re thinking you’re kind of protecting them by not sharing certain things, but I think everything is due season two so sometimes there’s a time and place for certain things to come out. And I think those things kind of unravel and reveal themselves somewhere in some of these episodes.

TrunkSpace: We know you can’t give away too much, but are aspects of your backstory going to see resolution in Season 1 or will it carry over into any possible future seasons to come?
Mussenden: A major part of it you will see in Season 1. Some very explosive things happen, so I think Season 1 will give fans more than enough.

TrunkSpace: From what we could tell from looking at your filmography as a whole, this is the longest time you have spent with one character, at least in terms of an episode count. What was that extended journey like for you, finding bits and pieces of who the character is along the way, because we would imagine it wasn’t all presented to you at the outset, correct?
Mussenden: Yeah, absolutely. It wasn’t at all. I had an idea after doing the pilot, I knew there was a heavy, emotional demand that would be required, so I went and spent a month, five days a week, working with Susan Batson at her studio, just getting myself emotionally prepared to deal with all the things that this character had to go through. There’s some trauma there. In some ways, he may have some form of PTSD with something that he’s been through, so I had to be able to be emotionally available to give an honest portrayal of these things. I didn’t want to act it. I think it was very important for people to see the realness of it. We see a lot of things happening on TV and the society we live in is a news flash, it comes and goes. We have an emotional feeling about something and then it goes away. But I think that this is going to give people a real feel for what goes on, and even for an African American family… I think we can touch people in a way that they would have a certain kind of empathy because they will live it with us, and I think that was real important. I’m excited about that.

TrunkSpace: From what we could tell, the series definitely seems accessible for viewers. You’re going along for the ride and you’re not necessarily on the outside looking in with these big, larger-than-life hero characters. This is ground level storytelling.
Mussenden: Yes, exactly. and that’s what makes me excited and that’s why I didn’t mind getting it piece by piece, because I felt like I was living it. And just being out there, in New Orleans, I tried to immerse myself in that world as much as I could. Some of the things that my character was doing, I tried to spend my time doing that. So, New Orleans kind of added a whole flavor. It’s like a blanket that we kind of cocooned ourselves in to really create that world.

Cloak & Dagger” premieres June 7th on Freeform.

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Wingman Wednesday

Rena Owen

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Owen in “Sirens.” © 2018 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.

Siren” star Rena Owen felt at home in her character’s skin (even with the skin condition that was revealed!) from the outset of joining the Freeform mermaid drama, but the more time she spent with Helen, the more she understood why she was cast in the role. The New Zealand-born actress describes the character as the “old eccentric girl on the block,” but the curious behavior Helen presents also hides secrets, many of which will be unraveled by the time Season 1 draws to a close on May 24.

We recently sat down with Owen to discuss the power of being herself in imaginary circumstances, how the show evolved throughout the course of production, and why you shouldn’t be sad when an influx of unicorn projects streams out of Hollywood.

TrunkSpace: What have you taken from your “Siren” journey thus far that you’ll carry with you through the rest of your career? What has been a pleasant surprise?
Owen: I don’t know if there’s been any surprises. I think the thing that you take from every job that you do as an actress is the people – the people and the place. I’d never worked with any of the actors or any of the key creators or any of our crew, so I got to work with some really amazing people and we very much became a family. I’d never been in Vancouver before and I loved living there for four months. I think the only thing that I can add that maybe is relatively new from an actor’s perspective is the older you get as an actor, if you survive the game, is the more you realize about the power of just being yourself in imaginary circumstances. I think, as all young actors seem to do, we all want to act, but the older you get, the more relaxed you become. So that’s what you’ll get to take to the next job. You watch the old pros. You watch them and they’re just so relaxed in who they are. And that gets easier with age because you’ve become more secure in who you are and more comfortable in your own skin.

TrunkSpace: So the more comfortable you are in your own skin, the easier it is for you to slip into somebody else’s?
Owen: Absolutely. You’re just bringing yourself to that role. You’re just bringing yourself to the game. So I’m just being me, as Helen, in these imaginary circumstances, and she was a perfect character for me. Because she’s quite eccentric, she’s left of field, she’s a little bit odd, she’s an enigma, and I’m all of those things so it was really great to just… I’m perfect for the role and you’ll find that even more so as we get to the last episode.

TrunkSpace: Have you seen the “Siren” fan base grow from the premiere episode to where you are now at the tail end of Season 1?
Owen: First and foremost, I’ve got to say I was incredibly grateful because I know that this is a young person’s show. You know, it’s a YA, a Young Adult show, and that’s what Freeform does. So initially from the first few episodes I was so grateful that the fans really liked Helen, the old eccentric girl on the block. (Laughter) I really was grateful that they liked Helen because most young people aren’t interested in old people. That includes my own nephews and nieces.

Quite a few fans picked up right from the trailer that I was possibly a merperson, because I know when the first trailer came out, there’s that look between Helen and Ryn, and quite a few fans then said, “Oh, I think she might be a merperson,” because another person said, “It takes one to know one.” And then there was the skin condition in Episode… well first, the behavior, the fact that she was being protective of Ryn, and people going, “Why is she doing that… I’m sure she’s a merperson.” And then the skin condition. A lot of fans did say, “I told you she’s a merperson!” But it wasn’t really until Episode 4 that it was like, “Yep, we knew it, we knew it.” And now there’s a hunger and a fascination to know exactly what her merperson history is, which you will find out. There’s some interesting little information that gets dropped in Episode 8 and you’re like, “Oh, okay!” And then there’s a lot more that you will learn about Helen’s history in Episode 10, and actually there’s another thing that kind of gets said in Episode 9 and I can’t really reveal it. But that’s the moment, this one line where I went, “Oh, now I know why they always thought I was right for this role.”

TrunkSpace: You have done a lot of television work over the course of your career, but from what we could tell, it’s been a few years since you’ve spent this much time with one character. Do you enjoy the process of discovering who a character is, in this case Helen, as you go through the season?
Owen: Absolutely. You’re right, the last TV show I did as a series regular was with Brian Cox on an Australian TV series called “The Straits.” I think we did 10 episodes. And we were meant to go to Season 2 and then ABC took a budget cut and we were their most expensive show. So, the luxury of doing a series is, first and foremost, you get to be in one place for longer than a week. (Laughter) You get to actually live in a place for four months and you get to have a routine and a life. Recently I went down to the Gulf Coast to do two weeks on a movie. You’re in and out and you’re on a lot of planes and then a lot of hotel rooms, so it really is a gift to be on a series because you really do get to have a life and have a routine. And Vancouver is a stunning place to live and work. And absolutely, more was revealed about Helen with each episode. Initially it was kind of a little frustrating because all of us actors want to know the whole story arc and everything about our characters, but they didn’t give that to us. They kind of gave it to us when we needed it, because they just didn’t want us getting locked down on certain concepts or certain ideas. I think it was a clever strategy because for us actors it kept us on the edge thinking, “What’s going to happen?” We were just like the audience, like, “What’s going to be happening in the next episode?” We wouldn’t know until we got the script, which would be often a week before we started shooting it.

So yeah, you learn new things, you evolve, and then if things were dropped in an episode and I didn’t quite understand… Eric Wald, our writer, and our showrunner, Emily Whitesell, they were always available to us if we go, “Hey, I just want a little bit more understanding of what’s the history here.”

Owen in “Sirens.” © 2018 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.

TrunkSpace: The first season is 10 episodes long, which for a viewer is great because with these shortened seasons, there’s never any filler. It’s all A storyline stuff that you’re going to be seeing, so it keeps the audience engaged.
Owen: Absolutely. And that’s something of great value to me because I’m also a writer. And so I’m always looking to what makes things, or helps things, work. That was kind of relatively new for me where you’re working on a show that’s really evolving day by day. Or week by week. Or episode to episode. The writers are finding the episodes with their directors and then the actors come on set – you’re doing scenes and then it takes a different shape or a different course. And the gift of being able to be that flexible to a certain degree, and because I’ve been a writer, I’m more introspective, so I’ll always go, “Look, do you mind if I say this word instead of that word?” And if a writer says no, you say the words the writer wants you to say. It’s a collaborative thing and I, coming out of theater, I guess I’m lucky in that way because it is collaboration – you work with the writers, you work with your fellow actors, you work with your director.

TrunkSpace: There have been famous mermaids on the screen before, but tonally “Siren” is so different than anything we’ve seen on the subject as of yet. That has to be a big part of the appeal, at least at the outset for new viewers.
Owen: Absolutely. And when I first got the pilot, I was really impressed because it had destruction – it had the formula that we’ve all become familiar with. But its content was so original and its content was so cutting edge. Here you’ve got this really exotic sea creature and she’s beautiful and she’s an enigma. She’s just all of these things, but she’s also a top level predator and I’m like, “Oh my god!” This is like “True Blood” but with mermaids, not vampires, you know? And when you look at those kind of fantastical creatures, the only one left after mermaids is unicorn. So don’t cry when the wave of unicorn stories start to happen!

Siren” airs Thursdays on Freeform.

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Wingman Wednesday

David Kaye

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Photo By: Taseda Knight

Generally those with a fear of flying don’t become pilots, or those who shy away from crowds aren’t known for standing calmly in a sea of people, so it’s a surprise to learn that someone who doesn’t like fish has landed in a show about them. Well, sort of about them.

In the Freeform drama series “Siren,” a dark tale about mermaids and their impact on a small town, David Kaye plays a laid-back employee at the local marine research center who he describes as a “loyal” and “affectionate” friend. And although the mermaid Ryn (played by Eline Powell) at the center of the series is part fish, she wasn’t Kaye’s source of seafood discomfort.

We recently sat down with the Canadian-born actor to discuss why he loves working on the series, playing his character like a dog, and how his fishy fears were stoked being elbow deep in a bucket of bait.

TrunkSpace: How are you enjoying your “Siren” journey thus far?
Kaye: It has been such a wild ride. I’m having a blast.

TrunkSpace: What have you taken from your experience that you’re going to carry with you through the rest of your life?
Kaye: That’s a great question. Firstly, some of the relationships with the other actors and some of the crew members is something that has really blossomed for me. I’ve met some amazing people – super talented, super passionate – who really want to be there. And one of the things that I love about going to set, for “Siren” specifically is, everyone is so happy to be there. It’s just such a wonderful energy. And on top of that, just learning from some of the other actors and just watching them work. I talked quite a few times about how Eline Powell, who plays Ryn, is just such a powerful actor. But also Alex Roe, who plays Ben and Fola (Evans-Akingbola), they have been such a pleasure to work with and it’s really interesting watching them just kind of do their thing. I love watching them do their American dialect warmup, which is always highly entertaining. (Laughter) I’ve had the opportunity to work with just so many amazing actors, like Ian Verdun. His performance last week in episode 106, it was just mesmerizing. I hope that the series gets picked up and I get the opportunity to work with more of these amazing actors.

TrunkSpace: In a lot of ways the show has the elements of a series that could stick around for a really long time. You look at a show like “Supernatural,” which we know you guested on, and while tonally different, that’s a show that has been on the air 13 years. Are you someone who could play the same character for that long? Could you be Jerry for 13 years?
Kaye: I mean, it depends on the show… as a viewer for me anyways, it depends on the show. I’ve definitely binge-watched shows that have more than 10 seasons and I love playing Jerry… I think he’s such a fantastic character and just such a loving person, so if I have the opportunity to step into Jerry’s shoes for a decade or more, I would be thrilled.

TrunkSpace: It terms of finding him as a character, was he somebody that was easy for you to tap into or did it take some discovery?
Kaye: A little bit of both. There’s a lot of myself, I’d like to think, part of Jerry, but there were definitely some things that I had to amp up. One of the things that I really try to do, when I’m playing Jerry, is treat him like a dog – just like his presence. He’s very in the moment. He’s very loving and affectionate and loyal and he’s just always happy to see his people.

TrunkSpace: So he’s man’s best friend in human form?
Kaye: Yeah! Just a little scruffy guy, that you wanna take home.

TrunkSpace: In terms of the mermaid focus of the series, that isn’t a subject that Hollywood has really tapped into on a large scale. In an industry where it seems like everything has been done and done again, why haven’t we seen much of mermaids on screen?
Kaye: This is purely speculative on my part, but I think when you say mermaids to somebody, today, most people, their immediate response, their immediate image in their head is Ariel from Disney’s “Little Mermaid.” Some people might go straight to “Splash,” but there are some really, really iconic mermaid characters that I think immediately come to mind when people talk about mermaids. So for a show like “Siren” to come out, where it just completely turns everything on its head, like mermaids are not these wonderful, singing creatures, they’re there for adventure and exploration, they are apex predators, they are viscous, they are strong, they are highly intelligent, they have a dark, green take on it that is really fascinating, so I think there was definitely a niche to be explored and I think Freeform just hit the nail on the head with it.

TrunkSpace: We know you’re also a voice actor. Do you view both aspects of performance as separate career paths or do they both lead towards the same end goal?
Kaye: To me it’s just about telling stories. One of the reasons I’ve kept on doing this for so long is because I love telling stories. I don’t particularly care about the format if it’s on screen or if it’s on the microphone, in front of the camera, behind the camera even – I’ve done some producing myself – or theater, I just love being part of telling a story.

Kaye with Eilene Powell in “Siren.” © 2018 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.

TrunkSpace: You have your own production company, Whiskaye Films. Where does that fit into your focus these days?
Kaye: Currently I am just working on the last, final touches on the distribution of my first feature that I produced, which is called “Prodigals.” That will be hitting theaters in June, so look out for that. That’s a project that I’ve been working on since 2013 and so it’s been a labor of love and there’s some fantastic actors in it. It’s a great story. You’ll see Sara Canning is one of the leads. She’s on “A Series Of Unfortunate Events” and in “War for the Planet of the Apes.” Kaniehtiio Horn, who’s in “Letterkenny” and “Man in the High Castle,” and David Alpay. It’s just some really, really talented people and it’s a story that I think is incredibly relatable about second chances and whether or not anyone actually deserves a second chance.

And other than that my other passion project… Season 2 is coming out shortly of “White Ninja.” That will be released on Toonstar, so you can check out the Toonstar app because that will be coming out end of May.

TrunkSpace: So does one scratch the back of the other? For example, does a high profile acting gig help on the producing side, and vice versa?
Kaye: I’m not sure yet, to be perfectly honest. I think it’s been a really interesting ride. I’ve been acting since I was a child, so I’ve got 25, almost 26 years, in the industry now. I started producing because I’ve grown up on set and in the studio and seeing all these people doing all these jobs, not really knowing how those parts fit into the overall machine, and so I took an intro to film production course in 2008, as part of my undergrad, and I was like, “Oh, this is what everyone’s doing.” And I just had a deeper appreciation for everyone on set and how hard everyone works and how integral everybody really is to the final product. So production gave me a whole new appreciation for the industry.

TrunkSpace: Finally, David, we read that you have a fear of fish, which made us wonder… was a show about a half woman/half fish really the way to go?
Kaye: (Laughter) Well, I was less scared of her, because of the whole human aspect and knowing that Eline is, in fact a human. However, Jerry feeds the sea lions and in order to feed sea lions, you need to go elbow deep in a bucket of fish, and so that for me, that was probably the most challenging thing I had to do on set and it has actually helped my fear, in a big, bad way. So I’m grateful to “Siren” for that.

TrunkSpace: But still, no 100-gallon aquariums showing up at your house anytime soon, right?
Kaye: You know what, I think I would probably avoid it if it was offered to me. (Laughter)

Siren” airs Thursdays on Freeform.

Featured image by: Taseda Knight 

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Wingman Wednesday

Ian Verdun

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Photo By: Claudia Greene

Unless you’re a sailor from the 15th century with a belly full of wine, you probably don’t have a lot of experience with mermaids. That being said, Ian Verdun, star of the new drama series “Siren,” which premieres March 29 on Freeform, promises viewers will find plenty to relate to when mermaids come ashore in the fictional town of Bristol Cove.

The Los Angeles native portrays a salt-of-the-earth fisherman in the new series, and it’s these types of real, recognizable people that he says helps to ground the fantastical elements of “Siren.”

We recently sat down with Verdun to discuss why he thinks the series will have no problem finding an audience, how success won’t mean it arrived overnight, and the reason he genuinely loves portraying his character Xander.

 

TrunkSpace: Freeform has an amazing track record of building and establishing shows that amass really passionate fandoms. In everything that you have experienced and seen of the show thus far, does it have that same fandom-building potential?
Verdun: Absolutely. I think it could do it on a number of levels, actually. First and foremost it’s about mermaids, so I think there’s already such an avid fan base for that creature, for that folklore, all across the planet. There’s no country in the whole world that doesn’t have some kind of dedication to mermaids, some kind of cultural cornerstone where it deals with those creatures, so I think that alone is gonna have a lot of people very interested from the beginning. And then when they really get into the story and they get into the characters, and they get into what we’ve actually done with these characters, I really think people are gonna find a passionate new angle. And my character, he’s not a supernatural thing. I definitely am not a mermaid. Spoiler alert. (Laughter) But I think there’s something so human about him. When you have characters who do things that are just incredibly relatable, incredibly human, especially against the backdrop of something so crazy and so out there and off the wall, you really find a way to just see yourself in all of these people, in all of their situations, and in all of their hardships in spite of all the zaniness that’s happening.

And I think that the writers have really done a great job of keeping everybody grounded, so when people watch, it’s not just about flippers and fins and intrigue and mystery and all of that other stuff, which is great and awesome, and I enjoy it – I enjoy genre TV like anybody else – but I think the thing that keeps you coming back and makes you really passionate is the people. I tip my hat off to them (the writers) because I was just so excited to get a script every time, because we would just eat it up and just zoom right through every script. It was the only opportunity for us to be fans, because it’s spoiled for us. We already know what’s happening. If anybody watching the show is as involved and intrigued as we were reading it, then, yeah, I think it’s really gonna find a big audience.

TrunkSpace: What’s interesting about mermaids is that, while it’s a recognizable creature, they haven’t been overly exposed in the world of modern pop culture.
Verdun: I totally agree. And I think there’s actually a couple of reasons for that. One I think is that it’s probably just incredibly expensive, technically, to do it, especially on television. It’s a lot of water. It’s a lot of stuff. So I think we’ve just kind of come to a point in time in television, just technically, where we’re able to pull off something like this and make it believable and real and fresh. But I also think culturally we’re just in a different place where Women’s Liberation, the #MeToo movement, Time’s Up and all of these things are happening when it comes to narratives that center on women in positions of power, and I think that before now, it’s been very rare to actually look at these kinds of creatures, these stories, and actually focus in on them and break them down because people weren’t paying attention before.

TrunkSpace: The show is already creating a buzz, and again, Freeform is very good and finding audiences for their programming. With all of that being said, does it feel like “Siren” could be a game changer for you as far as your career is concerned?
Verdun: I mean, one can only hope, right? Don’t count your fish before they’re caught, right? (Laughter) But I would hope so. For me, it’s not really an overnight success. It takes years to become an overnight success. I graduated from college back in 2007, so it’s been a long haul for me.

It’s about the integrity of the story that you’re telling and it’s about the craft, no matter what the project is, you know? You always wanna do your best work and you always wanna be able to stand up and stand behind what you’re doing and be able to defend it, and I’m very lucky with this show that I genuinely enjoy it and I genuinely think it’s a great show. I’m very lucky to be going into this particular process with a project that I really, really, really love. It makes things, I imagine, so much easier. This is the first time I’m doing any of this, so it’s not like I have a lot of comparative experience.

TrunkSpace: Like many other shows nowadays, “Siren” is adopting a smaller season order (10 episodes), which for viewers, feels more consumable. You’re getting story, not just filler content.
Verdun: Exactly. You don’t have those little standalone episodes. It really kind of felt like we were shooting a movie every week. It’s just the production value and the amount of people that are involved, and sometimes, the depths that we had to… pun totally not intended, but kind of intended… the depths that we had to go to to really find characters and to really tell a very honest story about them in light of, like I said before, all the craziness. So I think it’s also advantageous to have smaller episode orders because you’re able to put some money into it, and put some bang into the episodes that really just, you know, knocks everything home, because when it looks beautiful and when everybody’s happy, it shows up on screen.

TrunkSpace: We know you can’t go into too much of the story, but can you give us a taste of what Xander’s personal journey is over the course of that first season?
Verdun: I would love to go into details, but obviously, I can’t. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: (Laughter) Contractually you can only confirm that you’re NOT a mermaid.
Verdun: (Laughter) Yeah. All I can say.

What I can say about Xander is I think his journey is incredibly relatable, even though, you know, it’s mermaids and I doubt too many people can relate to dealing with mermaids. I’ll be very surprised if they do. (Laughter) But I think his journey is about friendship and it’s about loyalty and maybe misplaced loyalty. And I think it’s also about family for him. His entire outlook is very tied up in the people that he’s with and he’s around. I think he’s an incredibly smart guy, he’s incredibly intelligent, but I don’t think people give him credit for it. What I do love about him too is he’s just this regular dude. He’s a working class, blue collar fisherman, and I think to give that perspective a younger face, and even to give that perspective a brown face, to me it’s really interesting. I rarely ever see fishermen on TV or even blue collar characters as people of color. They generally aren’t. But we exist, they exist. I don’t come from a high class, upper class, or even upper middle class family at all. I grew up pretty poor. We have blue collar people that have very different faces and it’s almost an honor to be able to represent that and to put a human face on it that looks a bit different.

Siren” premieres on Freeform March 29.

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Wingman Wednesday

Michael McGrady

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Photo By: Shimon Karmel

Michael McGrady of “Ray Donovan” and “Beyond” has seen the entertainment industry go through numerous changes throughout his storied career. Many of those changes have been improvements based on innovation, ultimately leading to what is currently being called the Golden Age of Television. Technology has advanced, making it possible to translate any concept imaginable to the screen. Storytelling itself has changed, not only becoming more realistic and gritty, but profoundly more character-driven. And with so many different platforms presenting original content to the public, the number of jobs for actors has greatly increased. But even as the positives of this prolonged revolution continue to outweigh the negatives, there is always a voice softly speaking inside the head of the nostalgic mind.

Are we moving too quickly for our own good?

We recently sat down with McGrady to discuss the continuously-evolving entertainment industry, how he would have never gotten away with so many F bombs 20 years ago, and why now, at 57, he finds himself being drawn to the past.

TrunkSpace: One of the things we love about the current TV landscape is that an actor can do a show like “Ray Donovan” and a show like “Beyond,” both at the same time and reach different audiences. It wasn’t always that way, right?
McGrady: No. Absolutely not. That’s why it’s such a fun time right now for actors. There’s so much airtime out there… so much product. My gosh, back when I started back in the 80s, I think FOX was new, believe it or not. There weren’t 500 channels. You had maybe a handful of dramas that you could do on three or four different networks and that was it. You could maybe do a film here or there… indie films weren’t even big yet during the early 80s. They were just kind of coming on the scene then. So for me now, after three decades of doing this, I had no idea the landscape would be so wide and so deep.

TrunkSpace: Back in the 80s it must have been difficult to land consistent guest spots because once you were on a show, they weren’t going to have you back to play someone else… and with so few shows on the air, the ceiling must have been low?
McGrady: Yeah. That’s absolutely true. You would do a handful of guest stars that year and unless you were a series regular on the show, that would be pretty much it. They wouldn’t ask you back. Every once in awhile there were a few shows back then like “Murder, She Wrote” and a handful of others that would ask you back if they liked you… even as different characters, believe it or not. I believe it was that as long as you allowed one or two years between the last time you did a guest spot, they would allow you to come back and do another one. Bread and butter for me was guest starring roles and I was very fortunate because I would pick up two or three decent film roles along the way during the off-season, so I was always busy. I was very lucky in that respect. But the opportunities were not nearly as vast as they are now.

TrunkSpace: Strictly from an acting perspective, the content itself must be so much more interesting now due to so much of the content on television being character-driven.
McGrady. Oh yeah. It’s funny because my wife and I were just having this conversation not too long ago and I was telling her that after being in this business for as long as I have, I have really seen some very serious, tangible changes in terms of the product. Again, going back to the 80s and earlier on in my career, television was pretty clean. It was pretty traditional, conventional, and I’d say pretty far right. I’d go so far to say even sanitized, to a certain extent. And then we started breaking some ground with “NYPD Blue” and some other shows that kind of opened the way for darker characters, darker subject matter, and stuff that had some gravitas to it. Then of course cable blew it all wide open with all of the stuff they started coming out with. “The Sopranos” of course came along and then “Six Feet Under” and then “Nip/Tuck.” We really ventured off into some different adventurous lands. Everybody had to kind of bring a different game. Writers, actors, producers… everyone who is involved in filmmaking had to up their game in order for this transformation to take place, at least on a global level like it did. It was slow, but when it happened, boy did it happen! It just snowballed pretty quickly and now you have these amazing shows like “Ray Donovan” and another show I was on called “Southland.” That was a really great show. To this day I have law enforcement personnel and firemen who come up to me and say, “That show was probably one of the most accurate depictions of law enforcement that we’ve ever seen.” They were huge fans of it and they still are because we were able to explore things in a way that dealt with real life.

I also think that reality TV had a lot to do with that too. As much as it became a bane of our existence in the beginning, it also helped to open the doors to a little more of the reality of what we’re doing and what we’re seeing. If you watched “Cops” or all of these other shows we had on TV, you can’t have anything less exciting than that when you’re doing a cop show. People won’t watch it. It has to have those realistic elements and the drama behind it, the good storytelling, and the interesting characters. We kind of cross-pollinated.

TrunkSpace: You mentioned how cable stepped in and helped to change the TV landscape, but you actually appeared on one of the first scripted cable shows, “1st & Ten.” It has to be pretty cool to think that you were a part of that seed that ultimately grew into what TV is today?
McGrady: You know, that’s interesting. I’ve never really thought about it like that. I haven’t thought about that credit in… probably since I ended it 30 years ago. (Laughter)

We kind of thought of it as soft porn at the time. (Laughter) There was a lot of T&A on that show. O.J. Simpson was one of the stars of the show. They had all of these NFL players who came on board. Yeah, they were exploring some pretty trippy subject matter, no doubt.

TrunkSpace: And yet still there’s a big difference between how they were handling storytelling then to how it is being handled now.
McGrady: Just the technology allows us to do things that we weren’t able to do back then. Cable can take you places now without all of the restrictions of the FCC and what not. It is much more exciting and much more adventurous… taking you to deep and dark places, both metaphorically and physically as well. There’s nowhere a camera can’t go now with CGI and all of those different elements. I guess every product is ripened at its own time. I look back at the stuff I did in the 80s, like “1st and Ten” and a lot of the Aaron Spelling shows and stuff, and they were kind of rather pedestrian in terms of the subjects. I look at “Ray Donovan” and my character uses F bombs every third word. (Laughter) I’m like, “Wow, I could never have gotten away with this 20 years ago.” (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: What’s great about a show like “Ray Donovan” is that not only is it entertaining people in the present, but it will no doubt inspire people in the future much like some of these earlier shows have done.
McGrady: Absolutely. That’s what’s exciting about it. It almost seems like every year and certainly every half decade or so that I’ve been in this business… and I can only speak from my experience… but you can watch how the technology is changing with our understanding of human nature and understanding of what a story is and what is truly interesting to us and what isn’t. Also what we are allowing ourselves to have the courage to explore about relationships, gender, sex, race, nationality… all of those things. We’ve come to a place where there really is no limit to any of it. I always think, “Gosh, I’m pretty excited about what’s going on now, but what about five years from now?” I keep telling my kids, “When Dad’s dead and gone, mark my words, you’ll have holograms and you guys won’t be going to movie theaters.” My kids are laughing at me and I’m going, “You watch!” (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: Well, a dad decades ago probably said something similar to his kids. “When Dad’s dead and gone, mark my words, you’ll be watching movies with sound!”
McGrady: Yeah, that guy came from my camp! (Laughter) I’m right there with him.

TrunkSpace: Things always improve when it comes to technology, but at the same time, there always seems to be a place for what came before. Vinyl is a perfect example of that.
McGrady: That’s absolutely right. I have that same philosophy. I think in many ways technology is sort of overwhelming. Let’s face it, there is a dark side or different side to every coin. Technology has been a bit of a set back for us in many ways. Look how people are texting and how nobody talks anymore. Kids don’t talk to their parents and they bring their phones to the dinner table. That technology is also separating us as well.

I love film. In fact, I have an old AV-1 Canon that I’ve been thinking about taking out. I have a really nice digital, but I’m thinking about going back to my Canon just because I actually took better pictures with it than any that I’m taking now with a high end digital. And I don’t think it’s just the technology. I think back then you had to be a lot more thoughtful about composing a photograph and getting the light and shot just right. Because it was expensive to develop, a couple of bucks a shot, it’s not like you had 900 tries at it. So I think it forced you to put a little more thoughtfulness into it. The emotion of film has that quality.

Photo By: Shimon Karmel

TrunkSpace: That’s really interesting and very true. When you can take as many tries as you want and see the results immediately, it sort of becomes manufactured at that point and less about the art itself.
McGrady: You know what’s funny about it… I almost think of it this way. For me, it’s almost like we have found ways to make things accessible to anybody… a cross section of people. You don’t necessarily have to have the technical knowledge because you have automatic settings on your expensive digital camera. You don’t have to be a great skier anymore… just good enough with 190 cm skis. Back in my day, if I wore the skis you wear today, they would have laughed at me. “Dude, you’re wearing children skis.” (Laughter) But they figured it out. They went, “If we shorten the skis, we can increase the volume of people who can do this sport.” If they make it easier for people, more people will do the sport, the activity, the project, or whatever it is. It’s even with surfing. For a long time, up until about 10 years ago when longboarding came back in, very few people surfed unless you were a young kid who had the power to swim out into the bigger waves and get up to pop up quickly… all on a little wafer thin potato chip. But when the longboard retro movement hit, it made surfing accessible to anyone even over 50 or 60 because now you’ve got a bigger board, it’s accepted on the beach and nobody is laughing at you. And then the kids started getting into it and they got extremely proficient at it to the point that they started having competitions and going back to the old 1960s style of smooth groove riding and walking the board and hanging ten and all of that. That created a whole entirely new surf category… old new.

And so, we’ve done that across the board with so many things. That’s been great on one level, but now when you go to a mountain… it’s crowded. When you go to a beach… it’s crowded. We went kiteboarding the other day and it was crowded. There must have been 100 kites out in this one bay and I was thinking, “My God, we look like a bunch of ants running around out here.”

But, this whole thing about moving forward and pushing that bar forward… whether it be in film, TV, music or whatever… yeah, I’ve got kind of a love/hate relationship with it. I love it because of all of the cool stuff that we get out of it, but I hate it because in many ways there is a lot of negative energy to it as well.

I just turned 57 in March. I don’t feel it. I don’t live it. I’m pretty active for a guy my age, but I have to say, the older I’m getting, the more nostalgic I’m getting. I’m in Vancouver right now and I’m from Seattle originally. I’ve only spent very short, brief spurts of time up here growing up because it wasn’t the burgeoning city that it is now, but being up here now for this length of time… four months for this season… I really have evolved this strong connection to my past and the Pacific Northwest. I find myself sitting on the deck of the house that we’re renting… and we have this beautiful view through the woods to the ocean… and my wife must have heard me say this a thousand times, “My God, it’s beautiful.” I could stare at this all night long. If this was 20 years ago, I would have been bored out of my mind, but now I look at it and go, “A lot of this is going away.” A lot of the green is going away. A lot of the trees. We’re losing a lot of this. There’s a lot of buildings going up in Vancouver right now. Everywhere you look there’s a crane or there’s a house being built or torn down.

I can’t seem to, within my soul, move forward into the future. Part of me wants to hang onto the past and not leave it behind because I have such great affinity with where I grew up and how I grew up.

Beyond” airs on Freeform. Season 2 is currently filming. A premiere date has not yet been announced.

Season 5 of “Ray Donovan” premieres on Showtime August 6.

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