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Trunktober: The Worst Witch

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This October we’re focused on one thing and one thing only… watching as much horror-related programming as possible to prime the pop culture pump in celebration of Halloween. Our consuming will be taking place nightly, and while there’s no rhyme or reason to how we’re going about choosing our scary screenings, we’ll do our best to tell you how we did it so that you can watch them as well.

Title: The Worst Witch

Directed By: Robert Young

Starring: Diana Rigg, Charlotte Rae, Tim Curry, Fairuza Balk

We Watched On: VHS (Yes, we’re old school!) That said, you can also find it on YouTube.

Trunktober Approved Because: Anyone who was born after 1990 has probably never seen this, witch (pun) is understandable, but for those of us who spent the ‘80s, the era of MTV and Saturday morning cartoons, trick-or-treating in highly flammable store-bought costumes, this is a nostalgic gem worthy of your attention. No, it’s not scary, but if you were a kid when it was released on HBO in 1986, it sums up Halloween for you in more ways than one. (Also important to note, this was based on a series of popular books dating back to 1974, and for kids of today, a new television series premiered last year, which is available now on Netflix.)

Biggest Scare: Okay, it’s not a scare, but Tim Curry’s amazing arrival as The Grand Wizard, which immediately kicks into the best Halloween song of all time – “Anything Can Happen On Halloween” – is a green screen marvel that screams cable access gold! This is how we officially kick of the month of October every year, singing along to wondrous lines like, “There may be a toad in your bass guitar or your sister could turn into a bat.” YES!

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Wingman Wednesday

Patrick Cage

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Photo By: The Riker Brothers/Grooming By: Andrea Pezzillo/Styling By: Laurie Delguidice

Imagine yourself pursuing a career as an actor, seeking out interesting characters and projects, and then landing a pivotal role on one of your favorite television shows. That’s exactly what happened to Patrick Cage who joined the cast of “Westworld” in Season 2 as Phil, a technician at the Sector 19 Remote Refurbishment Facility. Performing since he was a kid, the Los Angeles native describes the job as a dream come true, and it’s one he’ll never take for granted.

We recently sat down with Cage to discuss how being on the show doesn’t shed any additional insight on the plot, why that is important to him as a fan, and the reason he and his character Phil are both discovering the ongoing “Westworld” storyline at the same time.

 

TrunkSpace: How does one celebrate landing a gig on one of the hottest shows on TV?
Cage: I haven’t really celebrated, I guess. I mean, I celebrated that day that I found out. I had just moved into my apartment, and then I got the news that I booked the job as well. So I just kind of went on my roof, watched the sunset and cried. Tears of joy, you know? I think that was the best celebration I could have had.

TrunkSpace: What a crazy time to get the job, when you’re also in the middle of a transitional life moment like moving?
Cage: Yeah, it was actually just crazy timing as well. I was trying to move while planning a trip to Ibiza, and then it was just too much was happening. That call just kind of made everything slow down, which was great.

TrunkSpace: What kind of emotions have you been juggling with leading up to your run on the series?
Cage: I’m just hoping that the response to Phil is very positive. People can see themselves in Phil, and kind of attach themselves to him, and see themselves in the world with him a bit more. I feel like he’s kind of everybody else – he’s one of us. Westworld is made for the 1 percent elite, the people that have a ton of money, or $15,000 a day to spend at this park. Phil can’t afford to go to the park. He works in the park. I think his mindset is just someone that’s just more normal – just one of the average people in the world going through this experience.

TrunkSpace: You were a fan of the series before you landed the part. Does that make the gig all the more sweeter for you personally?
Cage: 100 percent. It’s one of those, kind of, pinch yourself moments, because it’s things you always dream up. You dream of those ideal situations where it’s like, “I’m going to be on my favorite show.” Then, when it happens, it’s like, “OK, don’t mess up, and add something great to this show. Add something, an element, that wasn’t here before, and really, just help serve the overall story.” Because the world and the intricacy that Lisa (Joy) and John (Nolan) have put into this show is so amazing, and it’s like I just want to help them tell their story.

TrunkSpace: We have to ask… being on the show, does it help it all make a bit more sense? (Laughter)
Cage: It’s actually, it’s so interesting, because… no. It really doesn’t. (Laughter) I think there’s a ton of secrecy within the show and on set, and so it was very need-to-know based. I never got a full script, I only got pages. So as I was filming, I was learning everything Phil learned, as he learned it. It was such an interesting way to go through it. It was almost better, in a way, because I’m realizing when you have the influence of knowing the plot points and where the story’s headed, it can tend to get in your head. And you can kind of put something in there, a bit of foreshadowing that shouldn’t be in there. When you’re confused, and on the same level as your character, if you don’t understand something as Patrick, Phil won’t understand it either. And that will show. They’re just very smart with the way that they play their own game on set.

TrunkSpace: Not knowing much about the future of your character, does it then make it more difficult to make those early choices with Phil?
Cage: Well, I think that was the fun about it. The introduction scene for Phil, they laid out his essence very well for me. So I got the sense of who Phil was, and so it was just about that person going through these experiences and how they would react, really. Just, what it would be like. It was really just a fun, true game of exploration with Phil.

Photo By: The Riker Brothers/Grooming By: Andrea Pezzillo/Styling By: Laurie Delguidice

TrunkSpace: Because the series is shrouded in spoiler alert secrecy, does it make it kind of nerve wracking talking about and making sure not to slip up and say something that you shouldn’t?
Cage: I don’t want to slip up, but more so, I don’t want to give anything away because I think it’s so fun when we all get to figure it out as a community. I think the “Westworld” community is so large, and even with the Reddit forums and all the Twitter pages that have been made, I think there’s such a great community, and such a great connected feeling when we all figure out these big puzzle pieces together. I don’t want to ruin that. Because I feel like they’ve created a lot of those throughout this season. There’s so many things I didn’t even know, so it’s fun to find things out. Episode 1 was a trip for me. I knew nothing. I knew nothing about what went on in that, so that was all crazy.

TrunkSpace: That’s what’s kind of cool about it from your perspective. You’re involved, but your viewer side isn’t having anything ruined. You still get to be the fan.
Cage: Yeah, and that’s really the best part. It’s like I do start to see, like with Episode 1, I’m like, “Oh! I see how that’s going to tie in!” I’m starting to connect my own dots. But I still don’t see the whole storyline, and I really love that because being a fan of Season 1, I get to continue to be a fan of the show.

Westworld” airs Sundays on HBO.

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Wingman Wednesday

Jasmin Savoy Brown

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Photo By: Matt Darlington

Fans of HBO’s “The Leftovers” will instantly recognize Jasmin Savoy Brown. As Evie Murphy in the critically-acclaimed series, she served as the centerpiece for the puzzling drama that captivated viewers throughout season 2 before a shocking fate befell her at the start of the third (and final) season. Now the Oregon native is going from a catalyst of mystery to a mysterious character as she looks to represent the historical legacy of the enigmatic Emilia Bassano, Shakespeare’s muse, in the new TNT series “Will.”

We recently sat down with Brown to discuss how the series is bringing theater to the screen, why Shakespeare is so timeless, and how she will always be grateful to “The Leftovers” and the doors it has opened.

TrunkSpace: Your new series “Will” is due out in a few days. As you gear up for that reveal to the world, what emotions are you going through?
Brown: I’m excited. I get a little bit numb right before something comes out. Maybe that’s a defense mechanism. I kind of check out of it and forget that it’s happening, even though I know that it’s happening and I’m promoting it all of the time. So yeah, I’m excited, but I’m also kind of not feeling anything. (Laughter) When you work so hard on something and then you put it out there and everyone judges it and can bash it, that’s really vulnerable.

TrunkSpace: Everyone has an opinion in the social media age! (Laughter)
Brown: Exactly!

TrunkSpace: With the shorter season orders that a lot of TV shows are working with now, it must make it feel a bit more like a film in terms of roll out because you’re done shooting by the time that it airs.
Brown: That’s true. We wrapped in March, so it’s been a minute. It was nice because the premiere was just a couple of days ago and the whole cast, the producers, writers, and directors met up in New York to have the premiere party. It was nice to see everyone and that made it more real.

TrunkSpace: So much of the content that’s being produced these days is often based on something else and a lot of that stuff is starting to feel the same. On the other hand, “Will” is obviously based on something else, but it feels wholly original at the same time.
Brown: Yeah. It’s interesting. It is really cool.

TrunkSpace: You have an extensive theater background. Did the series have an extra layer of interest for you, doing Shakespeare in this way, having worked on the stage so much in the past?
Brown: Absolutely. I thought it was really interesting that they would mold those together. You’re going to get to see theater and pieces of theatrical productions on screen. You don’t mix those two very often. It’s not just a recorded play, which is a whole different experience than watching it in a theater, but it’s theater on screen and for TV, so it’s this whole other weird genre. It’s really interesting.

TrunkSpace: In terms of wardrobes and set pieces, from what we’ve seen, that certainly helps give it that theatrical feel as well.
Brown: 100 percent. And I was spoiled. I got to wear some of the best costumes. She has some beautiful pieces and I was pretty spoiled in that sense.

TrunkSpace: Your character Emilia Bassano is Shakespeare’s muse, but how does “Will” present her to viewers?
Brown: Well, you see their relationship develop on screen, which is very cool. Apart from Will, Emilia is pretty mysterious. People don’t necessarily know what she’s about or who she is because every time we see her, we’re seeing different sides of her. She’s very much a chameleon. She takes the role of whatever she needs to play for whoever she is around in that moment. She has to be a mistress to the Lord in order to survive. She actually very much liked him, but at the same time she wants to do her own creative stuff. She’s just constantly changing depending on who she is around and it’s really interesting to watch.

TrunkSpace: So often creative endeavors start to feel stale and sort of frozen in the time that they were created, but Shakespeare is timeless. Why do you think that is?
Brown: It’s forever. I think because all of the themes he uses are just so human. Love, lust, war, family, sex, betrayal… all of those things are human things. And not that there’s anything wrong with aliens or a lot of technology, but that’s not timeless and not human, so to just look at human emotions and how we relate to one another, that will never expire.

TrunkSpace: In terms of performance, over the course of the first season, where were you the most surprised that you got to go with Emilia?
Brown: That’s a great question. Something that we’re taught or at least that is talked about a lot in acting is how much you hold back in the character. There’s so much going on inside, so much going on in your eyes, but you’re not actively showing it. You’re showing it by not showing it. All of these contradictions. And I feel like the stuff that I have done so far has been a lot more of showing my cards and Emilia can’t or she will die. She’s a woman in that period of time… she can’t just go around being herself all of the time. So having to hold so much back and be this incredibly intelligent, outspoken, progressive woman who is totally herself, but at the same time isn’t always showing who she is, is a beautiful contradiction that was challenging and I hadn’t done that before. It did stretch me and it was really rewarding and really fun.

TrunkSpace: Prior to going to that place with Emilia, did you have reservations that you could?
Brown: You know, I didn’t know anything. (Laughter) When I first booked it, I just knew that she was a real person and I had three pages of sides and I knew that I’d get to go to the UK. It wasn’t until I was on the plane flying there after I booked it that I got to actually read the script. So I had no idea. There wasn’t really a way to be nervous. Everything happened so fast. I booked the job, got on a plane on a Friday, and then I was shooting that Monday. I didn’t really have time to think about it, which was a good exercise for me because I tend to overthink.

TrunkSpace: Is that where you’re hardest on yourself as an actress?
Brown: Oh, 100 percent! And just as a human. I overthink things and I will be incredibly hard on myself. I’m working on that… just letting go and moving on and not lingering on things that took place a week ago.

TrunkSpace: When you booked “Will” it was a new show that had yet to establish a tone on set and a family within that world. How different is it coming into a new series as opposed to jumping in and doing a guest spot or reoccurring on a series that already is established and how does either reflect on performance in terms of comfort level?
Brown: Oooh. They’re so different and I love them both in different ways. Selfishly, and I would imagine most actors are like this, I want to do what I want to do because I prefer it this way. (Laughter) No one can tell me I’m wrong when no one knows what we’re doing, so we’re all figuring it out together and creating it together. It’s not so much about, “You’re wrong!” It’s, “Oh, that was interesting, but let’s try it this way.” That’s how I should think about it all of the time, but specifically on a new show that’s how it feels. There’s this excited creative energy that is just different from an established show.

TrunkSpace: And you’re all discovering your characters together at the same time.
Brown: Yeah. And that was one of the great things about this particular production. We had rehearsal and a lot of them, especially the cast in the first few episodes because they had a lot more time before they started shooting. It was a lot of rehearsing to just discover and explore our characters and who they are and how they fit together. I’ve never had that before. It just made the environment so much more supportive and creative and safe knowing that we were all figuring this out and rehearsing and discovering together.

Brown in “The Leftovers”

TrunkSpace: “The Leftovers” has been praised for its final season. We’ve seen a number of outlets calling it one of the greatest series send offs of all time. How important was that show to you and your career?
Brown: Being a part of the show, in every single way… in my personal life, in my spiritual and emotional life, in my creative an artistic life, and my career trajectory, I will forever have nothing but praise and thanks to “The Leftovers.” I owe it so much because it gave me everything, including mentors in my life and great friends and different perspectives on acting. I really felt like it was a paid master class, like I was being paid to learn from the most brilliant people. That’s another scenario where I have to distance myself for awhile because in the midst of all of the buzz, I haven’t actually watched the final season. I watched the first episode at the premiere, but I haven’t watched any of the rest of it. I probably won’t for about six months because it’s just a little overwhelming. The reviews came out and everyone is praising it so much, and just knowing that that chapter’s over, I just can’t yet.

But I’ve heard that it’s really good! (Laughter)

Will” premieres July 10 on TNT.

Featured Image By: Matt Darlington

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