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Wingman Wednesday

Patrick Gilmore

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Photo By: Karolina Turek

It’s not often that an actor starring in a series is as big of a fan of the show as the fandom that supports it, but for Patrick Gilmore, Season 2 of his Netflix series “Travelers” is queued up and ready to stream along with the rest of us. As David Mailer in the time-traveling drama, the Canadian-based actor continues to be impressed by the grounded nature of the science fiction storytelling, relishing in the human moments that the writers craft for both his character and his costars’.

We recently sat down with Gilmore to discuss how he became a fan of his own show, what keeps him from calling it a science fiction series, and why he felt overwhelmed walking the floor of a recent comic convention.

TrunkSpace: For you, someone who is involved in the series, what was the most interesting aspect of “Travelers” that first drew you to it? Was it the premise? The tone? Or was it something else entirely?
Gilmore: For me it was, and I’ve been using this term a lot, the world building. The show is a sci-fi show about people from the future, so on paper you read this and you’ve got something in your head that belongs on the SyFy channel. But if you watch the show with the sound off, it’s just a normal show about people. It takes place in present day, and it’s about relationships. That’s the part that excited me, is that you don’t even get much of a glimpse of the future – in fact I don’t even think you see it. It’s alluded to, which allows you to embrace the show a little more because it’s a little more relatable, given that it’s in present day.

TrunkSpace: It’s an aspect of the story. It’s not THE story.
Gilmore: Yeah, and I think that allows the viewers to connect in a way that they might not connect to a show about people in a spaceship. These are people sitting in a coffee shop and breaking up. It’s something we’ve all gone through – more than once sadly. (Laughter) It just makes it more real. It removes that block. It allows our suspension of disbelief and again it raises the stakes.

TrunkSpace: And it probably opens the door to a wider audience because some people place a stigma on science fiction. “Travelers” isn’t what they’d expect.
Gilmore: Yeah, my parents are a perfect example. They’re not gonna watch a show about a spaceship or an alien, but they’re curious about this couple. There’s a woman raising a child practically on her own with an alcoholic husband who happens to be a police officer. That’s fascinating and that’s just one of the storylines in “Travelers.” When people ask me what kind of show it is, I always hesitate to say sci-fi. That’s the inroad for the show, but the show becomes so much more.

TrunkSpace: What were you excited to do with your character David that you have yet to tackle in the past with previous characters?
Gilmore: I have hinted at other romantic relationships, but I’ve never actually had a chance to really fully play out this will-they-won’t-they thing, which I’ve been such a fan of since the days of Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd in “Moonlighting.” They just set the bar so high.

It’s such a catalyst for so many storylines of keeping these two orbiting each other. As a fan, it breaks your heart to watch what these two characters go through, David and Marcy – Marcy being a time traveler and me being her ex-social worker, now romantic interest. That was really fun for me to watch, because you grow up and you want to be an actor and you want to be Bruce Willis. You want to play that guy that is trying to win the girl over, but all of these circumstances are keeping you apart. I think that is fun. If you like that, you’re gonna like the show, especially how Season 1 ended in such a dramatic fashion. But the way Season 2 ends… I went to the writers after I read the last script, and I said, “How are you possibly gonna pull out of this nosedive?” (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: And we’d imagine that because it’s still not fully fleshed out yet, you probably don’t even know how they’re going to pull out?
Gilmore: They give me hints. I think they just love torturing me, because they probably do know the answer. (Laughter) And I like it that way, because otherwise I’m seeing the strings of the show – and I’m a fan of the show myself. I remember being on “Stargate Universe,” which was another Brad Wright joint, and whenever the scripts would come out it was like Christmas. They would just print them off and you could see everybody during lunch break or during the downtime, in a corner of the studio just flipping through the script, because they couldn’t wait to see what happened. I was typically going through the last few pages to see if I survived the episode. (Laughter)

I feel the same way with “Travelers.” I’d love to know what happens with David, but I want to be a fan too. I want to go on the journey as much as I can from the outside.

Photo By: Karolina Turek

TrunkSpace: It has to be very exciting to be a part of this Golden Age of television, but at the same time, with so much quality competing content out there, does it get more difficult to bring eyes and interest to a show?
Gilmore: Absolutely. It gets harder to promote things. Back in the day – when I say the day, when I grew up I had, I think, two or three channels on my TV and you had everybody tuning in for the finale of “M*A*S*H” and “Dallas.” So what are you gonna watch? Well, you really only had a couple options. There was a template and you had your multi-cam sitcoms and you had your procedurals, and your “60 Minutes.” You really knew what you were going to get tuning into something. Now you have no idea. That’s fun, because you’ve got so much creativity being given a stage. As far as promotion goes, yeah, it’s tough. How do you say, “No, no, you should watch mine because mine stands out for X, Y, and Z reasons.” So you almost have to have some sort of MacGuffin or an angle that’s going to make you standout from the rest.

TrunkSpace: And the real trick for the viewer is, for the most part, everything is good now. The stories and characters are so complex. You spend more time deciding what you’re going to watch next than actually watching it.
Gilmore: Oh, I know. It’s like a kid in a candy store. I get overwhelmed. My buddy and I went to Fan Expo that was in Vancouver last weekend, and I’d never been. And we go to buy maybe a comic book or a little collectible toy or something, and we walk in, and it’s too much, there’s too much choice, and I felt overwhelmed. I had to just calm myself, do a little walk around and then decide. There’s a lot of time spent in that.

TrunkSpace: (Laughter) It’s like going grocery shopping when you’re hungry.
Gilmore: Exactly! That’s exactly what it is!

So what makes this standout? I think the fact that you have someone like Eric McCormack who is known for playing the – I almost compare him to John Ritter in his physicality. Eric is known as a really funny, straight laced guy, then you see him in this role – and they’re airing the same week, so it’s really fun to be watching “Travelers” and see him on “Will & Grace” a couple days later. He’s bringing something so dark and so new to what people are expecting, so that’s a ticket to watch this show. You’ve got a cast of up and comers like Jared Abrahamson, MacKenzie Porter, Nesta Cooper, Reilly Dolman, who a lot of people don’t know, but it’s just solid, solid acting. There’s not one false note in that whole score.

Again, I’m trying so hard not to be biased, but I am a fan of the show. (Laughter) It would make my job a helluva lot harder to be on the phone with you if I’m like, “Yeah, I’m on this show but there’s other cool things on TV…” I just think you’re gonna dig “Travelers.”

TrunkSpace: You guested on “Supernatural” way back in Season 3. It’s currently in its 13th season. If you were in a situation to be David in “Travelers” for 13 seasons, would that be something you’d be comfortable with and would you feel fulfilled playing the same character for that long?
Gilmore: That’s a great question. My immediate thought was paying my bills, and I’m like, “Oh, yeah! That would be awesome! 13 seasons!” But I think the beauty of “Travelers” is that they’re not bottle episodes – they’re not filler to get that 20 episode season that the network requires. Each episode builds on the other, and I think that to go beyond X amount of seasons – and I’m in no position to guess whether it’s five or six seasons – anything beyond that I think would do a disservice to the show as a whole. I think that the writers have an endpoint in mind – I know they do, but of course they’re not telling me. (Laughter) I can’t speak for the producer or the creators, but I feel like they have a certain amount of seasons in mind, and I don’t think that they would go beyond that, just for the sake of keeping the quality of the show where it is.

Now as an actor, and again someone who’s paying the bills, to be on a show for 13 seasons, that allows you a lot of flexibility to go on a vacation, buy food, or pay my bills. (Laughter)

Season 2 of “Travelers” is available December 26 on Netflix.

Season 1 is available now for binging. Check out the trailer below.

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Next Up

Kelsey Boze

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Name: Kelsey Boze

Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Current Location: Los Angeles, California

TrunkSpace: When did you know that you wanted to act for a living?
Boze: When I was 15. I chose to drop all other extra curricular activities once I began high school and focused solely on my school’s theater program. Then my senior year I did half days of school and half days at a pre-college program at Pittsburgh Musical Theater.

TrunkSpace: Was there a particular performance or actor/actress from your childhood that you remember being drawn to and inspired by?
Boze: I basically was a Disney princess as a child – always dancing around, singing, loving animals, and trying to get them to dress me. So they were a huge influence on my singing voice and acting style. As I got older I became a major fan of Audrey Hepburn and Julia Roberts. The most notable performance though was Angelina Jolie in “Girl, Interrupted.” I stayed up late one night with my mom and grandmother to watch that movie and was terrified of her character, Lisa. My mom explained to me that she was an actress just pretending and that stuck with me.

TrunkSpace: How did you decide to approach your career as an actor? Did you formulate a plan of how you wanted to attack what is known for being a hard industry to crack?
Boze: Truthfully my only plan was a choice of LA over NYC. I made the decision to come out here and I had always easily found success in Pittsburgh – getting agents and work – so I figured the same would be true out here. After three years of being out here… I think differently. But my plan is always changing as I step higher and higher in my career. With new successes come new plans of how to continue that rise up.

TrunkSpace: When did you decide to move away from your home and pursue acting as a career? How old were you at the time?
Boze: Technically my professional acting career began in college. I moved only 45 minutes away from home that time to attend Point Park University in downtown Pittsburgh. I was originally from Peters Township, PA. I was 18. The real move that continued my professional acting career came when I was 22 when I moved to Los Angeles.

TrunkSpace: Was that move an easy transition for you initially? How long did it take you to feel at home and find a good support group of friends and peers?
Boze: The initial transition from east coast to west was extremely difficult. I moved to LA not knowing anyone or anything about the city. I rented an apartment and drove my car cross country with my dad. He set me up for about a week (my uncle from Seattle helped) and then I was on my own. I’ve learned that I would never do that again. I strongly believe you should set up a life for yourself before you move to a new place. But within my first year here I was cast in my first feature film, “A Closer Walk With Thee,” which brought me a good support group and a new boyfriend. That is when LA began to feel like home.

TrunkSpace: What has been been your biggest break in terms of a particular role or project thus far?
Boze: “Stasis,” a feature film I am in, which is available on Netflix in most countries, iTunes and Amazon in the U.S. and comes to Netflix in the U.S. in December. It is the only project I’ve worked on so far that has brought me fan mail and international attention.

TrunkSpace: Is there a specific type of role you’d like to take on or a specific genre that you feel more at home in?
Boze: What I would like to work on for the majority of my career is dramatic features. I have an ear for comedy but I really enjoy taking on a drama. Whether in major motion pictures or plays/musicals on Broadway, I tend to favor drama. Anything with real emotional depth and complexity of character peaks my interest. Two bucket list characters I want to play are Poison Ivy and Ariel from “The Little Mermaid.”

TrunkSpace: What would you say is the greatest strength an actor/actress can have outside of acting ability itself?
Boze: Networking. Knowing what they have to offer as an actor and convincing people of that.

TrunkSpace: What is your ultimate dream when it comes to your acting career? Where would you like your path to lead?
Boze: My ultimate dream is to regularly take on lead or supporting roles in major motion pictures.

TrunkSpace: What advice would you give another young aspiring actor/actress who is considering moving away from home to pursue their dream?
Boze: Have a place to live, at least one person you know who you can explore the city with, and at LEAST job prospects for an income set before you make the move. An income, an agent, and a manager would be ideal things to have beforehand but aren’t essential. If moving to LA, have a car.

TrunkSpace: Where can people (and casting directors) learn more about you?
Boze: The easiest place would be my website: www.kelseyboze.com. And I have profiles on LA Casting, Actors Access, and IMDb. I also have a fan group that I send emails to with career updates; to join that, email updatemeonkb@gmail.com.

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Wingman Wednesday

Benjamin Papac

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Photo By: Diana Mantis

Benjamin Papac has the talent, look, and mindset to be a force in the entertainment industry. Only three years into his career, the Georgia-raised actor with the art-friendly eye (check out his Instagram!) is making bold choices with the roles he takes on and the life he breathes into them, which is currently on display in the Netflix drama series “Greenhouse Academy” where he portrays Max Miller.

We recently sat down with Papac to discuss how he turns the lemons of his craft into lemonade, why “Greenhouse Academy” is different from other teen-focused shows, and the reason he has yet to receive any grief over taking a bite out of Bob in “The Walking Dead.”

TrunkSpace: You’re still in midst of a somewhat early portion of your career. What does it mean, at this stage, to be involved with a company like Netflix and a series like “Greenhouse Academy?”
Papac: Netflix is this powerhouse in the entertainment industry. Digital shows is where entertainment is going. To be three years into my career and a series regular on a Netflix show – my jaw dropped when I booked that role, dude. I was overwhelmed by getting to be a part of something so cool, so early. Acting careers are chaotic. You’ll go from feeling like you’re on top of the world one week, to feeling like you’ve got a long road ahead the next. I’m super grateful to have gotten to be a part of something so cool. I know that there’s a lot of work to do. I’m ready to do it.

TrunkSpace: So much of the career of an actor is based on the actions or reactions of other people. So much of it is out of your control.
Papac: Yes, it really is. The one thing that I can always do is work on my art and do the best work I possibly can with whatever role that I’m getting. I’m not the one who decides whether or not I work on a job. There are so many things that don’t have to do with the ability of the actor, that decide whether or not you book. Like, is your hair a shade too dark? Are you an inch too tall or too short? Things like that really do go into the casting process. It’s really frustrating at times. I’ll get really passionate about a role and I’ll be so excited to work on it. The director and I work really well together in the room. Something else out of my control influences whether or not I book.

TrunkSpace: And from what we understand, an actor’s social media following can actually play into that these days?
Papac: Yes, that’s absolutely true. It’s not true for every job. Even as early as my first year in the industry, back in 2014, there were jobs where the breakdowns would come out and they would say, specifically, “Social media influencers.” It’s not every job, but some jobs, yes, your social media following is considered. That’s part of the teaching landscape for actors. I was really resistant towards it for a long time. I was really shy about being active on social media at all. What got me excited about it was a moment when I saw a buddy of mine’s Instagram page. His name is Dallas Hart and he’s also in the cast. I was just going on Instagram one time. I saw a shot that was really cool. Then, I clicked onto his feed. His feed was gorgeous. He had turned his Instagram page into art, at least on a certain level.

TrunkSpace: We actually just saw yours and the cool live action/animation mashups you’re doing.
Papac: Yes, dude! Turning my Instagram page into art came from this moment when I realized, “Oh, I don’t have to make this; ‘Oh, look at me. I’m Benjamin. I’m so cool and I’m an actor.’” I can be, “Let’s make art on Instagram. Let people interact with it. Let my following build from there.” That way, it’s still genuine and it’s something I believe in.

TrunkSpace: It becomes another tool in your toolbox.
Papac: Exactly. Instead of it being something that I’m intimidated by, it’s another way I get to be an artist. That whole mixed media series that I did over the past couple of weeks, that came out of that. My buddy Chris Labadie took the photos. When I told him my idea – I wanted to use bold colors and interesting objects – he said, “Whoa, dude, what if we imagine the objects and we have somebody draw them in?” I got so jacked by that.

We’ve got a couple other ideas for mixed media that we may throw out on Instagram and see where they go. I’m hoping to do more cool projects along those lines.

TrunkSpace: Jumping into “Greenhouse Academy,” we know that Netflix has been promoting it as a “new kind of teen series.” From your perspective, what is the series doing differently that other shows have yet to attempt?
Papac: When the whole cast first booked the show, we were talking to the show creator (Giora Chamizer) and he was telling us how the objective of “Greenhouse Academy” was to bring a higher quality form of storytelling to a younger audience. He felt that in younger audience television there’s a lot of comedy, there’s a lot of fun stuff out there, but that the depth of complex relationships and things not always working out the way you want and having to grow and become more complex as you get older was kind of missing.

“Greenhouse Academy” Photo By: Ronen Akerman /Netflix

TrunkSpace: That’s certainly true. Usually things are very rosy and everything works out in the end.
Papac: Exactly. Giora took a lot of inspiration from Harry Potter and how well that series of stories brought humanity to a young audience. That was what he was trying to do. I think we did a really solid job of that. The way the characters grow in their relationships is really interesting to watch. It draws the audience in. We don’t patronize the audience. What’s cool about that is an 11 year old can watch the show and love every minute of it, and an 18 year old can watch the show and love every minute of it, and a 24 year old can love every minute. Even a parent who is sitting down with their kid to watch the show, they’re like, “All right, here we go. Here’s another kid show my kid’s obsessed with.” Then, they watch a few minutes and suddenly they’re just as invested. That’s what I’m really happy with about the show.

TrunkSpace: It’s kind of like watching a Pixar movie. Different demographics can take different things from the viewing experience.
Papac: Yes, dude! I’m so happy you said Pixar. I love Pixar. That’s what I love most about the show – that we can do that and that audiences of any age can find something valuable in it.

TrunkSpace: What did the character Max allow you to do on-screen that you have yet to be able to do in a project before?
Papac: From a craft perspective, this was the first opportunity I got to consistently work on the same character for an extended period of time. Before that project, I worked mostly in television and when I shot a guest star, I would get the material, do the audition the next day, book it a couple days down the line. Then, I would work on the show, maybe for a week. There were a couple of exceptions. When I shot Bale for “Into the Badlands,” there was a lot of time involved, but there wasn’t a whole lot of material. Then, when I shot “Saving the Human Race” for CW Seed, I did get to do more, but again, it was like six short episodes. I got to spend a lot of time, but there wasn’t as much material to go over.

“Greenhouse Academy” let me work. We shot Season 1 and 2 at the same time. I did 24 30-minute episodes over three months. I got to work really hard on this one character for a long time. As an actor, that’s pretty challenging. It’s like you have to flesh out a full complete human being who is dynamic from one scene to the next. You’ve got to do that for 100 scenes.

TrunkSpace: 24 episodes over the course of three months sounds intense!
Papac: Oh, it was. It was incredible. It was like a huge growth experience. Super stressful. We were constantly working. To put it into perspective, we did the same number of episodes as a network sitcom or a procedural, but we did it in half the time. That was a huge experience. The next time I’m on a show, it’s going to be so much less stressful for me because I’ll be used to having to handle so much. That was really cool.

TrunkSpace: “Into the Badlands.” “Saving the Human Race.” “The Walking Dead.” That’s some serious post-apocalyptic street cred! Is that a purposeful career direction or something that has just sort of happened by chance?
Papac: (Laughter) No, it just sort of happened. It’s like Sean Bean and all of his death scenes – it’s just how my career has started forming. I made a joke one time that I think my sweet spot genre is going to end up being the Zom-Com. (Laughter) I’m always shooting these post-apocalyptic scenarios. Honestly, I would love for that to continue. I have so much fun. One of my favorite genres to work in is epic-level sci-fi. Post-apocalypse is all over that.

Photo By: Diana Mantis

TrunkSpace: All the on-screen experience could lead to real-life knowledge should society ever crumble. You could be one of the only survivors!
Papac: Yes! If ever the apocalypse comes early, I’m ready. (Laughter)

I actually have occasionally considered what I would do in those scenarios. Stay away from the main road, get some simple tools, canned foods, water filter, and a couple other things. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: Staying with the idea of post-apocalyptic worlds, has “The Walking Dead” fandom let you live down eating Bob yet?
Papac: (Laughter) I never got any hate for that. I actually get the most fan mail from people about that role on “The Walking Dead.” People love that show so much. I still get letters from my Atlanta agent. Every few months they’ll send me a packet. People are like, “Dude, I’m such a huge fan of ‘The Walking Dead.’ I loved your portrayal of Albert. This was the line you said and it was so cool. Can you please send me a headshot?”

It’s awesome. “The Walking Dead family” is just nothing but love. It’s one of the best fan bases I’ve ever encountered. The cool thing about “The Walking Dead” is it was my first professional job as an actor.

TrunkSpace: Not a bad first job to have!
Papac: I know! I was so jacked. I booked it right when I graduated college. I’m on campus, getting ready to walk into my ceremony, and my agent calls and says, “Congratulations. You just booked a job on ‘The Walking Dead.’ You’re going to be filming in two weeks.” It mostly films in Senoia, Georgia, or did at the time that I was working on it. To put that in perspective, that’s 15 minutes from my hometown. I grew up taking trips to Senoia every now and then to go to the local diners on the main street. It was such a cool job to have as my first job because it was in my hometown and a show that I had thought was so freaking cool. I remember watching the pilot my freshman year. That whole world of acting felt so far away when I watched the pilot. Four years later, that was my first job.

TrunkSpace: And then to go full circle when Rick Grimes puts a bullet in your head!
Papac: (Laughter) Yes! When we were filming, they were originally planning to have me be one of the people they hatcheted. Then, after I booked, they were like, “We can’t do that to the little teenager guy. It’s too brutal.” So, they switched me over to getting shot in the back of the head. But, yes, full circle, all the way.

Season 1 of “Greenhouse Academy” is available now on Netflix. Season 2 arrives in early 2018.

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Wingman Wednesday

Caitlin Carmichael

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There is a new generation of young actors prepared to take over Hollywood. Standing at the forefront, already having amassed an incredibly-impressive body of work, is 13-year-old Caitlin Carmichael. Currently starring in the gritty crime drama “Wheelman” for Netflix alongside on-screen dad Frank Grillo, the Georgia native’s work can be seen next in the family drama “Epiphany” and then opposite pretty much everybody who is anybody in the upcoming Dan Fogelman film “Life Itself.”

We recently sat down with Carmichael to discuss how her recent character journeys have become more multidimensional, why she hopes to do more of her own stunts in the future, and what she expects her path to be going forward.

TrunkSpace: You’ve been working since you were very young. How has the experience changed for you since those early days and do you enjoy different aspects of acting now more than you did back then?
Carmichael: Well, I started acting when I was three and a half. Growing up I always told my mom that my favorite playground to be on was a set, because it’s always where I wanted to be, and where I wanted to spend my free time. Now that I’m older I’ve started to appreciate the art form of acting in film and television more, and I have a deeper appreciation for it. I see how it takes everyone on the set to really make this project. It takes the crew, and the cameramen or women, it takes the DP, it takes the hair and makeup team, it takes the wardrobe. It takes every single person to come together to make this project, and I’m grateful to see that and I recognize the little things more. I’ve matured in my understanding.

TrunkSpace: Have the roles themselves become more interesting as you’ve gotten older?
Carmichael: I think the older that I get, the roles become more multidimensional, in a sense. I get to show different layers in the sides that I read for my audition, or the scripts that I perform on screen. They require a deeper understanding to get into the headspace and evolve into that character on script.

TrunkSpace: You have a number of high profile projects ahead of you. From your perspective, do you feel like you’re at a turning point in your career?
Carmichael: I definitely hope so. I’ve been working for 10 years. My Netflix original movie “Wheelman” was released at midnight last night, or officially today, and I was able to do all of my own driving stunts in the movie in a 1982 Porsche 911, stick shift. That was very exciting for me. Because we filmed in a parking garage, I was able to do all my own stunts myself. I’ve worked so hard to get to where I am today and I really hope that “Wheelman” is opening a door for me to be able to do more of my own stunts in movies in the future.

TrunkSpace: And certainly there’s no better place for a creative person to be right now than with Netflix where so much of the focus is on unique content and character-driven storytelling.
Carmichael: I am so grateful to be a part of the Netflix family now. They have been so fantastic with the entire “Wheelman” journey, and we are just so excited to be a part of the team.

TrunkSpace: For those who haven’t seen the movie yet, can you walk us through a little bit of where your character falls into things?
Carmichael: Yes, so my dad Wheelman, AKA Frank Grillo, is the getaway driver for bank robberies. When he finds out he’s being double-crossed by two handlers, he has to call on me, his daughter Katie, to help save the day in a sense. I don’t want to spoil it, but you will get to see me drive in the movie and that is all of my own stunts. We filmed that in Boston for five weeks – entirely night shoots – so it has a very authentic feel to the setting and that really creates the tone of the movie.

It has a gritty feel, which is very authentic and natural, so that’s why that was a great choice for us, and I loved getting to work with Frank Grillo. He was the best on-screen dad I could have asked for. The way that he just embodies his character is fantastic to watch on screen.

TrunkSpace: If you look at “Wheelman” and then the other projects that you have due up, “Epiphany” and “Life Itself,” they’re all so different. From a diversity in character standpoint, that must be a nice journey to go on personally for you?
Carmichael: I think my favorite thing about acting is how the roles that I audition for, or I get to portray, are constantly changing. I always feel like I’m able to evolve into a new character. I’ve done more research now for my characters before I go on set so that I can really understand the person that I am when I step on the set and when I’m on screen.

TrunkSpace: And certainly the older that you get, the more life you live, which translates into your work.
Carmichael: Exactly. It’s great now being able to draw from my own experiences.

TrunkSpace: I mentioned “Epiphany,” which looks like a very heavy, dramatic film. Do you find yourself drawn more to dramatic roles?
Carmichael: Yes, definitely actually. I’ve worked in dramas and comedies, and all different genres since I was three, but dramatic films are particularly the ones that I’ve worked in the most and it’s just been my path.

TrunkSpace: Are you someone who can leave that heaviness on set when you wrap at the end of a long day?
Carmichael: I think because I try to do a lot of research, I’m prepared to be in that headspace when I’m on screen. I’m able to leave it on set at the end of the day, and being a part of a cast and crew that’s so supportive of each other, we leave the set on a positive note and I’m able to walk away with my set family at the end of the day.

TrunkSpace: The other film we mentioned is “Life Itself,” which has about as stacked of a cast as we’ve ever seen. When you do a project like that with so many great, talented actors who have been around for such a long time, do you view it just as much as an education as you do a job?
Carmichael: I was so grateful to be a part of that cast. I played young Olivia Wilde in the movie, and I was just ecstatic when I found out that it was a Dan Fogelman movie. I’m a huge “This Is Us” fan by the way. I did a series called “Chosen” where I played Milo Ventimiglia’s daughter for three years. It felt like everything was just coming full circle when I get to work with his director and showrunner Dan Fogelman on a movie. Then getting to film in New York with all of these amazing actors and getting to be a part of that set family was just wonderful. I’m really grateful and blessed for that experience. Milo Ventimiglia encouraged me before I went to set and we were texting back and forth and it was so nice to have his support on this project.

TrunkSpace: All of Dan’s work always has this amazingly rich dialogue that is so real and steeped in emotion. Did you feel that was also the case with “Life Itself?”
Carmichael: Let me tell you, he knows how to tell a story. That is what he does best, and I think it’s gonna be beautifully and exquisitely showcased in “Life Itself.” I’m so excited to see it.

TrunkSpace: You’re still so young and yet you’ve had these incredible opportunities in your career to work on all of these amazing projects. As you look forward in your career, what kind of path do you see yourself on?
Carmichael: Acting has been my path since I was three years old, and I think it’s going to continue to be my path, my trajectory for the rest of my life. I’m so grateful to have found my thing so early and now I can really grow and work on it as I’m growing up, and I can enjoy it. Honestly it doesn’t feel like work to me, it feels like fun because it’s something that I enjoy so much. I love being on set and I always have, and I definitely see that as my path.

Wheelman” is available now on Netflix.

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Wingman Wednesday

Nadia Gray

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Nadia Gray is not yet a household name, and although she would prefer to remain somewhat anonymous as she ventures forward in her career, the self-described “hardcore introvert” is going to find it difficult to maintain separation between her professional and personal lives following the release of her upcoming film “Bright.” Directed by David Ayer (“Fury,” “Suicide Squad”) and starring Will Smith (no credits needed), the Netflix original film is not only building a steady fanboy buzz leading up to its December premiere, but it could single-handedly change the way we consume big budget tentpole features.

We recently sat down with Gray to discuss working with one of the most sought after directors in Hollywood, how the film helped to change her professional focus, and why learning an elvish language had her feeling like she had left the planet.

TrunkSpace: “Bright” seems like the kind of movie that could be a real game changer in terms of how the industry operates, particularly at the theatrical level. Did it feel a bit revolutionary while you were filming it?
Gray: Yeah, I think right away I knew. I mean, with David Ayer in general, you’re just like, “Holy shit!” He’s the best at what he does.

TrunkSpace: And that’s just it… the caliber of talent involved should even further define its game changer status.
Gray: Yeah, I think it’ll be really interesting to see how it plays out. I personally can’t speak about what they’ll end up doing ultimately because I don’t even know if they figured it out yet. I just know that they’re really pro consumer choice and they’re totally changing the movie watching experience. It’s happening.

TrunkSpace: What about for you and your career? Does “Bright” feel like a personal game changer?
Gray: Oh yeah, absolutely. When I moved to Los Angeles, I didn’t know anyone, or anything really, about the business. As I kind of learned, I initially thought, “Sitcoms, oh my God, this is where I want to be!” Because you kind of have a little bit of stability at some point and a schedule. And a lot of those actors are able to fly under the radar still. Then I met David Ayer and he totally ruined my life, because now this is all I want to do. (Laughter) I’ve had the best time, so now I feel so spoiled. I just want more of this and that’s it.

TrunkSpace: You mentioned being drawn to sitcoms because of the possibility of being able to fly under the radar. This is a huge, high profile project. Are you worried what that could mean in terms of how the public starts to perceive you?
Gray: Oh yeah, I am terrified, which is why I think I’m so uncomfortable right now even. (Laughter) I’m a hardcore introvert to begin with and I’m super private. Even just the notion of having to be active on social media in a way that matters toward my career is stressful.

TrunkSpace: And in a lot of ways, you’re sort of contractually obligated to be active on social media with a lot of projects these days, right?
Gray: I think. I haven’t been hit with that yet, knock on wood, but I also want to participate in a way that shows that I’m a game player for the production and that I’m supportive of the project that I did. Of course, I want to promote the job that I was lucky enough to be a part of, but as a human, as Nadia, I don’t really.

I also feel like, who cares even? (Laughter) I have a hard time even rationalizing that in my mind, but I of course want to participate, and talk incessantly about this film I’m so excited about. That part is easy, but the personal stuff is…

TrunkSpace: It’s a slippery slope in the social media age. Even if you don’t want to put yourself out there, people will put you out there regardless.
Gray: Isn’t that weird? I feel like the age of the movie star doesn’t really exist anymore because you didn’t know anything about these people. They were these mysterious aliens and you were so consumed by whatever character they did because you knew nothing about them personally. I don’t think that exists anymore sadly.

Photo By: Julio Duffoo

TrunkSpace: Speaking of character, can you give us a little insight into Larika, your character from the film?
Gray: Yeah, without saying too much, she ends up doing a lot of bad shit that causes trouble for everybody. I know that’s so vague, but yeah. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: So is she the catalyst that kicks off some of the story elements?
Gray: Yeah, totally. Where she fails is what kicks off a lot of the storyline… in terms of the repercussions of that.

TrunkSpace: And you’re playing an elf, which nowadays, people love to play for free at comic conventions, so to get paid for that… epic!
Gray: Right? (Laughter) It is the coolest.

I don’t know that I was attempting to play an elf. I think she is just a complicated person, like anyone else with her motives and her drives. So, I think that was kind of at the forefront, but of course learning Elvish from David Peterson, who created language for “Game of Thrones,” was like, “Holy shit, I am literally on another planet right now.” It was way cool.

TrunkSpace: But like you said, you approached her as a complicated human, which sort of speaks to how grounded in reality it is, right?
Gray: Absolutely. Very grounded, very realistic, and just, really, kind of this warped version of LA… this warped version of the world. It’s the gritty LA streets and the dirty cop world, which David Ayer just nails. He just takes you there and he makes it so authentic for you to be immersed in that.

TrunkSpace: You have mentioned David Ayer a few times now. What did you take from him and his direction that will stay with you and that you’ll apply to your acting and career moving forward?
Gray: Oh wow, so many things. I have to concentrate on just one thing?

Everything. He just is so impressive. Somebody with a name like his, he just is really approachable, cool, calm, a collected guy who treats his crew, his actors, every single person with respect. He just really took his time. Without even going too much into it, he just really cares, and I so appreciate that. He really gives a shit, and he talks to you on your level.

I can’t say enough about him. He’s wonderful. He’s like an evil genius. I’ve never seen anyone with attention to detail like his. Even small detail on my wardrobe… he would personally come and adjust, or give me a note about it. It’s just crazy. I’ve never experienced anything like that on set before.

TrunkSpace: It sounds like future directors you work with are going to have a lot to live up to!
Gray: I swear, I’m totally ruined now. It’s all his fault. (Laughter)

“Bright” premieres December 22 on Netflix.

Featured image by: Julio Duffoo

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Wingman Wednesday

Rebekah Graf

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Graf in Lycan

Welcome to the fourth installment of our LYCAN WEEK ongoing feature!

Opening Friday in select theaters, “Lycan” tells the story of six college kids who revisit an old Georgia legend, the strange and puzzling story of Emily Burt, the Talbot County werewolf. Based upon true historical events, the film stars relative newcomer Rebekah Graf (“Hawaii Five-0,” “Fat Camp”) as a spoiled Southern debutante who is not only unhappy about not getting her way, but we assume, werewolves!

We recently sat down with Graf to discuss showing up early for her audition, Texas ghost stories, and finding inspiration in other creative people.

TrunkSpace: How did “Lycan” and the character Blair first come into your life?
Graf: I got the audition from my manager and he was really excited about it. He loves Dania, so he was a really big fan and he loved the script. I went in and read for the casting director and Bev Land, and I loved Bev right away. I was really able to tap into the character.

I actually… funny story… I went the wrong day for the audition. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: (Laughter) Nice!
Graf: (Laughter) I was sitting outside, and it was all guys, and I was really confused. I was there for about an hour and a half, and no one was taking me in, so I went and knocked on the door and asked the casting director. She told me I was supposed to be there the next day. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: At least you were there a day early instead of a day late!
Graf: (Laughter) Yep. It could have been the day after and that would have been way worse.

So, Bev let me audition that day. We got to talk about Blair a lot, and then the next time I came in, he talked about Georgia and told me how excited he was and how wonderful it was. Dania was there and I got to meet her and really work on the character. When I got the phone call that said that I was going to be playing Blair, I was so excited. I’d never been to Georgia and I just loved Bev and Dania right off the bat.

TrunkSpace: And where you shot in Georgia was really set away from any major population centers, right?
Graf: Yes. It was really, really beautiful. I mean, unbelievably beautiful. Just gorgeous green, wide open fields. So it was kind of the perfect setting for a group of people who didn’t know each other to become really close over the course of a couple of days because there was nothing to do but talk to each other.

TrunkSpace: It sounds like even just getting away from the set to get supplies required a journey.
Graf: Yeah, exactly. It was very much a camp setting. There were days where I wasn’t working and I would just go on set and hang out anyway. It was a blast and everyone involved was just really great.

TrunkSpace: So where does Blair fall into things in terms of the story?
Graf: Blair is a very spoiled Southern debutante. She is in college with the rest of the cast, and Blair’s very entitled. I think everything has always come pretty easily to her in life. She’s not getting what she wants when we meet Blair, for probably the first time in her life, and she is not thrilled about that. (Laughter) Dania’s character is taking something away from her, and that’s probably all I can say. She does not handle it very well.

TrunkSpace: And what’s so great about the eerie factor of “Lycan” is that it is actually based upon historical events.
Graf: Yeah, which is so cool. I told people about it and they had no idea that this existed at all. The cast and crew had no idea that this was a true story and that it was something that could actually happen. We were pretty amazed.

TrunkSpace: Did you have any local legends like that of Emily Burt where you grew up?
Graf: Yes! I grew up in Corpus Christi, Texas, so it’s somewhat of a small town. Not too small, but there are definitely a lot of legends. There’s a train track in San Antonio, I think, where apparently if you stop, there are children that will push you off of the train track to save you. There’s a ranch that we used to go to, and there is the Lady in the White Dress who would come out at night.

TrunkSpace: Yikes! And that’s what’s so great about the movie is that everyone who grew up in a small town can relate to the local legend angle.
Graf: Definitely. I remember us staying up really late to try to see the Lady in the White Dress. It was a rite of passage. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: What did your journey look like in terms of going from dreaming of being an actress as a child to where you are today starring in “Lycan” and in other projects?
Graf: Well, I started acting when I was probably five or six years old. I had a ton of energy and my parents didn’t know what to do with me, so they put me in local theater and I loved it. I just fell in love with it and I kind of knew from that point on that it was what I wanted to do. But of course, as you grow up you try to reason with yourself. “What can I do?” Your parents try to reason with you because they want you to do well in life. Maybe they suggest being a doctor, which was never going to work out, because I faint when I see blood.

TrunkSpace: (Laughter) Well, good thing you’re an actress then because now you can play a doctor on TV!
Graf: (Laughter) There you go!

So, then I went to the University of Texas where I was a theater major. After that I stayed in Austin for a little while, just kind of trying to do other things, and I finally realized that acting was really all I wanted to do. So I moved out to LA and found representation and kind of never looked back.

Graf in Lycan

TrunkSpace: You went from a creative, hip community in Austin to another creative, hip community in Los Angeles. Does being around other creative people inspire you?
Graf: It definitely does. Austin has changed a lot since I left it. I think that it’s a lot more creative now. I think that there’s a lot more room and respect for artists and actors than when I was there. But yes, it is 100 percent inspiring to be surrounded by actors. My friends are all working actors and it’s incredible.

It was definitely a transition though. I mean, it’s a bigger city, but I think I was pretty lucky when I moved here. I fell into a group of amazing friends, a lot of them from Texas. It felt like home, probably, at the first year mark.

TrunkSpace: As you look forward in your career, what do you hope to achieve? Are there any items that you want to check off of your career bucket list?
Graf: Oh my goodness… I would love to do a comedy series. I really think that’s where my heart is. There are so many people that I would love to work with, I don’t even know where to begin. I just think that I have a long way to go. A lot of things to accomplish.

TrunkSpace: And you have a film called “Riptide” up next, correct?
Graf: I do. I have “Riptide” coming up, and I’m really excited about that. I think that will be a really, really wonderful cast. The director is a blast. The producers are amazing people. Yeah, that will be a really good time!

Then I recently did a Netflix original film called “#REALITYHIGH” playing Lana, a trophy wife. She’s a blast and very, very different than how I actually am in real life.

“Lycan” arrives in theaters this Friday.

 

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Wingman Wednesday

Kelvin Yu

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Kelvin Yu has been making television viewers laugh in two very different ways. As a writer and producer of “Bob’s Burgers,” he has helped bring the animated Belcher family to life by shaping their personalities and giving them each their own distinctly unique point of view. As an actor on the Netflix series “Master of None,” he portrays the affable Brian, bringing fervency and cinematic composure to each scene that he appears in. Separate they would be two impressive career paths, but together, it’s lightening in a bottle with Yu as Zeus, bolt in hand.

We recently sat down with Yu to go full Oprah on his past, to learn why he became a Bob Dylan guy, and to discuss how he went from a Starbucks writer to a television staffer.

TrunkSpace: We know you write, produce, and act, but where did the bug first bite you in terms of your interest in the entertainment business?
Yu: It depends on how Oprah you want to get.

TrunkSpace: Full Oprah!
Yu: (Laughter) A kid pushed me and I was like, “I’m going to win an Emmy someday!” (Laughter)

No. I’ll go 7.5 Oprah, out of 7.6.

My parents are immigrants. They tend to be fairly reticent and very pragmatic. You don’t get here to dillydally. My dad went to Mississippi in 1966. He’s 5’4, 106 pounds, and it was the height of the Civil Rights Movement. You don’t get here without a plan. They’re very pragmatically-minded, upward mobility-oriented people. He ended up getting a PHD in Engineering. They did more than I’ll ever do in terms of trajectory.

We didn’t grow up wealthy or anything, but a solid middle class household. But it wasn’t an artistic household, and on top of that, they spoke Taiwanese all day. My theory is that my brother and I, because of that and because we’re not fluent in Taiwanese and didn’t understand most of what they were talking about, grew up vibrationally. You grew up trying to figure out what the fuck people are saying and what this really means. “Are they going to fight? Are they happy?”

TrunkSpace: So almost listening to the tone as much as the words themselves?
Yu: Yeah. Imagine watching a foreign movie your whole life and just going, “Are these two people about to kiss or fight? How does this scene end? What scene am I in?”

My brother started writing very early, but for me, I might have been looking for a place to express myself and emote… a place where I could access. That’s one angle.

Another angle is that I was a latchkey kid, like a lot of people of my generation, and maybe you were too, who grew up on the television. Kids now grow up on the internet and that’s terrifying, but the TV was my babysitter. Maybe I just wanted in.

Around 14 a teacher tapped me on the shoulder and said to me, “Hey, I think you should audition for the spring musical.” I always credit her because I just think it’s important for people to understand how informative and pivotal they can be in a young person’s life.

TrunkSpace: Did she see something in you that you didn’t even see in yourself?
Yu: Yeah, and maybe it wasn’t good. Maybe I was just a loud asshole. (Laughter) She tapped me on the shoulder and said, “I think you should maybe exorcize some of those demons.” (Laughter) My point is, she was right. And I did. That was the first step in a 1,000 step journey. She had no reason to do that. No incentive. The butterfly flaps its wings and you just don’t know.

So that was that, and outside of athletics and surfing, that became my primary extracurricular activity. My brother was highly academic. He had taken calculus as an 8th grader. He was a math mind. I was not. I was searching, and so I landed in drama and literature. I found theater. I have to say, pretty early on, I just got Shakespeare. Maybe because I wanted to. Do you ever want to be into something so bad that you force yourself into it, and then you get it after even if you don’t get it at first?

TrunkSpace: Absolutely. Especially during adolescence, a time when you’re still trying to discover yourself.
Yu: Exactly. Even if you start with the idea of it at first and then get to the reality of it. I forced myself to like Bob Dylan. I decided I was going to be the kind of guy who liked Bob Dylan at 16. Then I, to be honest, didn’t like Bob Dylan for probably a year and a half. Then one day you’re like, “Okay, I kind of like…” (Laughter) It’s like drinking coffee. “This tastes like shit, but I’m going to keep drinking it.” It didn’t take me that long to like Shakespeare and to like theater, and early, just classical theater. I don’t know why.

Then I auditioned for colleges and the one that I chose was UCLA, so I got into the theater program and I was there. That’s the Oprah answer. The IMDb answer is that I got my first job on the WB. It’s Oprah VS. IMDb in this binary. (Laughter)

BOB’S BURGERS ™ and © 2010 TTCFFC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

TrunkSpace: So when did it start to become a career pull?
Yu: Somebody came up to me, actually, of all places, at church. I’m not a church-attending Christian at this point in my life, but I was when I was younger. Somebody tapped me and said, “Hey, there’s an audition for a 16-year-old Chinese kid on this new show if you want to go there.” I went in there, just beginners luck, so free and loose that I think, for that reason, I got the role. I hurdled a lot of early firewalls. I never had to search for an agent or I never had to do extra work because I walked into this audition and booked it and it was six episodes on a network show. When you do that, an agent will find you and you don’t have to do the search.

It could be a curse as well as a blessing, because then within a few seconds you realize that it’s not going to go like that forever.

TrunkSpace: At the same time, you probably nailed the audition because your mind was a clean slate and it wasn’t bogged down with so much extra industry “advice” on how you should have approached those types of things?
Yu: I think that’s right. Are you a sports fan?

TrunkSpace: Yes.
Yu: I’ve been pontificating on this recently and it applies to this for some reason. You have somebody like Peyton Manning and you’ve got somebody like Tom Brady. That’s a binary that a lot of people talk about, because Peyton Manning was a number one draft pick and Tom Brady was something like 194. I think that never leaves you. I just don’t think your entrance ever goes away, even though they end up having a lot of parody later on. I think when you’re Steph Curry and nobody thought you would be a star, that chip on your shoulder, even after two championships, it never goes away.

Sometimes I wonder what it would have been like if I had to grind and I had to hustle for a year and a half right out of the gate. I ended up grinding and hustling afterward. I waited tables for seven and a half years. I definitely wasn’t a super star out of the gates, not that I am now. All of that informs who you are in your life.

TrunkSpace: A lot of times we talk to actors about what it’s like playing the same characters for an extended period of time when they’re doing a series. You’ve been writing on “Bob’s Burgers” since 2011. What is that process like in terms of not only writing the same characters for that long, but building out the world for that long and keeping it fresh for yourself, and is it as exciting as it was in year one?
Yu: It is. It actually is. To what we’re talking about with me as an actor, at least my own POV of my last several years as an actor, Bob’s has had, in a way, a similar trajectory, which is that the vast majority of people still don’t know about “Bob’s Burgers.” It’s not like we pierced the culture like “The Simpsons.” I’m not shy about saying that. We talk about that openly here. And yet at the same time, the culture is different than it was in the early 90s when “The Simpsons” was in their heyday and making their mark. Things are different. There was five channels, now there’s… you couldn’t even really put a number on how many channels of entertainment there are that exist.

We’re not really trying to pierce the culture that way. What we have here is, I would say, maybe not the quantity of fans, but the quality of fans of “Bob’s Burgers” is tremendous. The people who love “Bob’s Burgers” is heartwarming. Everybody here feels that. I’m not speaking for the show, I’m speaking for myself, but I think that the access point for that has been the kids. I think there’s a whole legion of girls out there that just met Tina Belcher and she resonated immediately with them. Gene and Louise have a similar following.

During the first season, I had a writing partner at the time. We called ourselves Starbucks writers. We were just two guys with laptops at Starbucks, like there are here in LA everywhere you go. We got some traction on a spec script and we got a meeting off of that script. We went and sat down, and within five or six minutes it became more and more clear that we were getting the gig. At the time, I was just an actor. I was almost, in a sense like, “Is this going to interfere with my ambitions and goals as an actor?” Then I put that aside quickly and thought to myself, “You know what? This is going to be an awesome six months.” That’s really what I thought. It’s going to be a really fun six months. Here we are, eight years later.

What I’m trying to paint for you is that, the first year was a lot of figuring out how to ride a bike while on a bike. To the credit of Loren Bouchard and Jim Dauterive, they actually went out and tried to find a few people like that. Steven Davis and I being two of them. The Molyneux sisters had never staffed. Holly Schlesinger, a writer here, never staffed. You had a nice mixture of “King of the Hill” alum with people straight out of Starbucks. Straight out of their apartments.

TrunkSpace: Who were all unjaded to the process at that point in their careers.
Yu: Totally unjaded. Not that the older writers were jaded, but when you talk to them, people like Garland Testa who had written on “Roseanne” and Greg Thompson who had written on “3rd Rock from the Sun,” I’m endlessly interested in the stories that they have coming from that generation.

The first two or three years, we were trying to find the show. It’s a very small club. You have the Seth MacFarlane shows, Mike Judge shows, and “The Simpsons” and Matt Groening. To try to even get into that room is presumptuous. It takes a lot of bravado. I think the show is pretty humble and the people that work for it are pretty humble, so we were just like, “Just happy to be here everybody,” while in the corner. And low and behold, I think people started to find it mostly on other media… on Netflix and on Hulu. It pairs nicely with the college kids and I think with marijuana, from what I’m told. It’s a nice pairing.

TrunkSpace: (Laughter) Imagine if it was legal across the country, the ratings would be through the roof.
Yu: (Laughter) We’d make so much money if we could just get everybody stoned, watching “Bob’s Burgers.”

Photo by K.C. Bailey/Netflix – © 2015 Netflix

TrunkSpace: You also star in “Master of None,” which seems like a really important show in the grand scheme of things because it presents all of these characters of different ethnicity and backgrounds, strips away the stereotypes and just presents them as people. Do you think the series is going to help change the way that Hollywood represents people on screen?
Yu: It’s so funny working on both shows because Bob’s is a slow, lazy river… a perfume that slowly invaded the room. And you hear like, “Did somebody spray perfume?” It takes you 20 minutes to realize it’s there. “Master of None” came out and it was in the zeitgeist. It was in the moment. It was totally right now. It was the cool, hip, popular kid in the room. It just was everything opposite of Bob’s. Yet, such a joy in just the opposite way. I’m writing on Bob’s, I’m acting on “Master of None.” One’s in LA, the other one’s in New York. So I was having these really parallel, totally different experiences flying back and forth.

People of color, gay and lesbian people, and people who might feel less than represented over the past several decades or centuries or feel slightly marginalized, it’s interesting because it’s not new to us. I don’t walk around with chopsticks all the time. I’m just living my life. I think the best thing that Aziz and Alan did, the way that they penetrated or permeated that membrane into relevance, was to make it look really, really attractive.

When you think of “Master of None” in your reptilian brain, people are like, “I want to eat all of those episodes tonight. I want to go home and eat all of it tonight.” I think that’s really genius, because what they’re doing is like sushi in the 80s or yoga in the 90s. It’s this thing that might have been incredibly exotic to mainstream America, that’s just found a way into the culture because people were smart enough to say, “Hey, raw fish is delicious, but I’m not going to freak you out. And we’re not going to shame you and make you feel like you don’t understand Indian people or lesbian people or trans people. We’re going to make it all really fun. And you’re going to feel a part of it.” I think that when I take a step back and look at “Master of None” as a viewer and as a fan of Alan and Aziz, I’m actually really grateful. I realized that they were able to do a service for so many different communities and they had a great time doing it.

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Wingman Wednesday

Kimmy Gatewood & Rebekka Johnson

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Photo By: Mandee Johnson

The new Netflix series “GLOW” may have thrust the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling into the spotlight, but the female-driven ensemble is stacked with members of a group we just now invented called GLOC, or as costars Kimmy Gatewood and Rebekka Johnson are proof to, the Gorgeous Ladies of Comedy.

We recently sat down with the hilariously infectious Gatewood and Johnson to discuss the importance of women working behind the scenes in Hollywood, riffing as The Beatdown Biddies, and how having the other person’s back means never being afraid to pull the Spandex out of their butt.

TrunkSpace: You are both content creators. How important is it that more women pursue creating content?
Gatewood: I think it’s really important. I think it’s important for women to be learning how to direct and edit, in addition to writing and producing. Our show was very proactive. It was probably 80 percent women writers and the creators were women.
Johnson: So were the directors.
Gatewood: Six out of the nine directors were women and there were 14 women in the cast. It’s all about storytelling. You need the storytellers, which are the writers and the directors, to be a part of that.
And also something we noticed, all 14 of our characters were these layered, amazing women and they felt
like real people on the page.

TrunkSpace: Absolutely. Each of the “GLOW” characters were interesting, dynamic, and as you said, layered.
Johnson: I had an audition for something after “GLOW” and the women were main characters in this show but didn’t have any character description. The only characters that had the character descriptions were the men.
Gatewood: The character descriptions were their age and that they’re “beautiful.” So it’s nice when you can be in a show where the descriptions are within the dialogue or it actually explains what kind of person they are and not just how they look.
Johnson: Yeah, in fact that, for “GLOW” there was nothing about our physical appearance at all in the breakdown. It was just such a cool thing to be a part of. I hope it inspires and encourages more women to tell female-driven stories and to tell their own stories.
Gatewood: When Rebekka and I first started comedy, we were the only women on the improv teams and you can imagine how daunting that was.

TrunkSpace: That’s a lot of pressure.
Gatewood: And it was almost an unwritten rule that there was one woman allowed on the team. It’s so weird. I am very happy to see that these days at the UCB, at The PIT, and everywhere else, that there are definitely a lot more women. And now it’s time to push even further and get them inside the writers’ room. We take particular care to encourage young women to be writing for themselves.
Johnson: Yeah, and we’ve been writing for ourselves and trying to create stuff for us. We’ve been working in comedy with our comedy group The Apple Sisters, which is three gals. You know, we’re just three gals, trying to make it in Hollywood.
Gatewood: We’re so progressive.
Johnson: Yeah. (Laughter)
Gatewood: Ahead of our time! (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: Who better to know your voice than yourself, right?
Gatewood: Yeah, in fact, for the show, when we were doing The Beatdown Biddies, the writer looked at us and said, “This is why we hired you guys, so you don’t have to stick to what’s on the page at all.” And that was just such a vote of confidence. Obviously we’ve been working together for so long and we know each other’s voices, so we know what will make each other look the funniest.
Johnson: Yeah, and when you come from an improv and sketch background, you end up doing everything for yourself.
Gatewood: From writing to producing…
Johnson: To cleaning up. (Laughter)
Gatewood: Yeah.

Photo By: Mandee Johnson

TrunkSpace: Is it difficult at times to turn off the improv switch and just focus on the story as presented in the script?
Gatewood: Sometimes, yes. (Laughter) We’re always thinking about what’s not on the page and oftentimes that helps you as an actor… to kind of know what’s happening before or after. That’s a pretty common thing, I guess, in acting school. It is hard to turn off our brains because we pitch jokes constantly. And it was only when they were like, “Yeah, yeah, we don’t have time…” (Laughter)
Johnson: Yeah, like in episode 5 when we did the prank calling scene. That was all totally scripted. Everything we said was scripted.
Gatewood: But episode 10…
Johnson: We are able to do it. (Laughter)
Gatewood: In episode 10 as The Beatdown Biddies, they just let us go hog wild.
Johnson: Yeah, and we will not stop talking unless you make us. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: Getting to improv in “GLOW” is kind of perfect for that world because so much of professional wrestling, at least in terms of character work, is unscripted.
Gatewood: I have to say, I was very surprised how much sketch comedy was a like wrestling. You’re doing a lot of improv, a lot of comedy, and wearing stupid costumes most of the time. (Laughter)
Johnson: You’re committing really hard to a character and that’s what makes the best kind of sketch comedy, when you’re really committed to whatever it is that you’re doing character-wise.
Gatewood: And trying to make each other look good. The cool thing about wrestling, which I think I learned over time, is that it’s unlike regular sports where you don’t know what’s going on. With wrestling, it’s always guaranteed to be an awesome match because they’re going to hit certain beats and I think that’s the same thing with sketch comedy.
Johnson: Yeah.
Gatewood: If you don’t get a laugh per minute, you’re not doing your job. And I think if you’re not wowing the audience per minute with wrestling, you’re not doing your job.
Johnson: It’s another art form for storytelling. It’s a cool, athletic art form and a way to tell stories in this physical way, which is just so fun. I could wrestle right now if you’d let me.

TrunkSpace: (Laughter) One of the cool things for you two must have been the idea that you were actually getting to play multiple characters in “GLOW.” You were your real-life series personas Dawn and Stacey, but then also your wrestling personas.
Johnson: Yeah, I feel really lucky that we got to do that because we do come from this sketch background and we love playing all different kinds of characters. Even in episode 3 when we had to do the Kuntar play, it was just so much fun to stretch and do all different kinds of voices.
Gatewood: To play good guys and bad guys.
Johnson: Yeah.

TrunkSpace: Speaking of bad guys, at one point your characters are tasked with wrestling under the guise of a couple of members of the KKK. From what we read, you had no idea that was going to happen, right?
Johnson: Yeah, it was just for that one episode. We go back to the Biddies too. (Laughter)
Gatewood: We were really nervous. When we saw that, we had no idea what we were doing. They held that information from us until the last minute when the scripts came out.
Johnson: We started working on the match and we thought we were gonna be the Biddies. It’s just like what happened in the show.
Gatewood: (Laugher)
Johnson: We were like, “So we’re gonna be the Biddies,” and then they were like, “Well, actually you’re the bad guys.”
Gatewood: “You’re gonna be wearing, you know, some things that might make your wrestling weird.”

TrunkSpace: (Laughter) Surprise!
Johnson: Yeah, and Kimmy looked over the shoulder of our wrestling coach and read his script. Her face turned white and she was like, “Um… it’s the KKK.” And we were both freaking out.
Gatewood: “We’re bad. We’re bad guys. We’re really bad guys.”
Johnson: Yeah, we didn’t know how it was gonna be handled, but it ended up being such an important and cool thing to do.
Gatewood: And surprisingly funny too.
Johnson: Yeah.

TrunkSpace: Do you each have your own favorite moment from a performance standpoint?
Johnson: Well, I’ll say it was when I saw episode 3, at the end when we first play The Beatdown Biddies, and we’re doing the promo for it. Kim and I had crafted those jokes and when I saw they were in, honestly, I cried so hard. And it’s so ridiculous, because I say, “I’m like a good fiber cereal, I’ll make you shit your pants!”
Gatewood: (Laughter)
Johnson: And I cried. I was like, “It’s in, man! That made it in there!” Which is a ridiculous thing to cry about, but I’ve been doing comedy for so long that it just meant so much to me. (Laughter)
Gatewood: I think the scene in episode 7, right before we put on our hoods, was a really awesome moment. It was the first scene where you saw Dawn and Stacey by themselves and you got to see just a little glimpse of them not being total clowns.
Johnson: Right. They were not “on.” We weren’t putting on a show for anybody.

TrunkSpace: We get the impression that you guys really have each other to rely on, not only in performance but in life.
Johnson: Yeah, we have each other. That’s been really lucky.
Gatewood: It is the benefit of being in a duo that you can constantly watch each other’s back, whether it’s finding a good joke or if it’s that your spandex is caught up in your butt.
Johnson: Yeah, she had to button my jeans for me one day because I couldn’t button them. I had to lay down flat and she had to button them. We had each other’s back. (Laughter)

Season 1 of “GLOW” is available now on Netflix.
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Wingman Wednesday

Jason Butler Harner

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Great performances happen all of the time, especially in this day and age when so much quality content is just a click away. What’s more difficult to achieve is a great career with a body of work that not only improves upon itself with each new role, but that collectively elevates the projects contained within it. Jason Butler Harner has managed to achieve this career potency, seemingly without trying. His natural on-screen magnetism draws you in and never lets go. He is an actor who can say more with a look than a full page of a dialogue, a skill he has put to use in “Ray Donovan,” “Homeland,” and most recently, Netflix’s “Ozark” opposite Jason Bateman and Laura Linney.

We recently sat down with Harner to discuss the complexities of his “Ozark” character, the comfort (and discomfort) of lying in a pool of blood, and the best stages he has ever performed on.

TrunkSpace: In “Ozark” you’re playing rogue FBI agent Roy Petty. What did Roy offer in terms of interesting character elements that felt different from what we’ve seen before from other representations of FBI agents on screen?
Harner: That’s such a good question actually because I’ve seen and certainly played a lot of Feds. Every character in the series is human and conflicted in surprising ways. That’s a testament to what Bill Dubuque created and certainly what Chris Mundy and our staff of writers kept alive throughout the 10 episodes.

With Roy… his name is Roy Petty, which that tells you something… but with Roy, he has a very hard edge. Within Petty’s drive and his expertise as this focused, seasoned FBI agent (albeit complete with some dangerous, unpredictable blinders) is the fact that he has no shame. And I mean that in a good way. He doesn’t give a fuck. Okay, he may have a dash of it, but it doesn’t control him. He is unapologetic about his laser sharp intent to bring down the cartel, no matter how. He’s not interested in the protocol within an agency that is mired in bureaucracy. And, perhaps most importantly, he has ZERO shame about being a gay man, and particularly a gay man in this typically homogeneous, predominantly straight male profession. That was a revelation to me. Huge. It gets no airtime. It’s a non-entity and that is incredible. It surprised me how it exactly evolved as I got more information about him, and of course how I got to reveal more of him. Listen, I’m not an idiot, he’s definitely shutdown, particularly emotionally, in certain areas rooted in guilt and pain. And he may ultimately unlock some levels of regret that could lead to capital letter shame after this first season is over. (You’ll see why in Episodes 9 and 10.) But, for now, his primary motivation comes from so many other places, and shame is just not one of them. That was profound to witness and then make manifest.

They gave me the benefit of a backstory that would unfold much later in the series, and they told me what that story was early on.

TrunkSpace: So as a viewer we’re presented with him, but we don’t yet learn what makes him tick?
Harner: We don’t know what’s going on yet, and listen, a lot of times, and I’ve played some of them, you’re given characters that are very two-dimensional. They’re a mood. They’re very by the book, they’re very eager for a fight. They’re angry, they’re dangerous, psychotic, crazy, for example, and we don’t really explore why, so fortunately for me and for the viewers of “Ozark,” Roy is humanized. That’s my job as an actor, to create my own backstory, find reasons why, try to fill something out, flesh something out so that the producers and editors can decide whether or not they’re interested in that. Fortunately in this case, especially Chris Mundy was like, “Listen here’s what’s going on…” and it gave me something to go from.

I basically have one of those sleeper characters where he’s in it a little bit, a little bit, a little bit, and understandably anybody could think that this character is just going to be in this episode, and then he just keeps coming around and you’re like, “Oh shit, what’s going on?”

TrunkSpace: The series as a whole seems different tonally from a lot of what’s on the air today where, even in the darkest of stories, there’s some sort of comedy woven throughout. But with “Ozark” it strikes that serious tone throughout, and in the process, feels a bit like a throwback in that regard.
Harner: Yeah, especially in that first episode, it’s maintained throughout the whole thing. The color palette of the series is very specific and that was exciting. It definitely was Pepe (Avila del Pino) and Ben (Kutchins), the DPs, and Jason (Bateman) establishing the world of that tone. It was really very clear about what it was.

TrunkSpace: It felt very reminiscent of early Coen Brothers, like “Miller’s Crossing.”
Harner: I love that movie so much. Marcia Gay Harden before anybody knew Marcia Gay Harden.

TrunkSpace: One of the other cool things about the show that is sort of reminiscent of TV in general these days is that creators are showing interesting segments of the country that haven’t been spotlighted before. “Justified” in Appalachia, “True Blood” in the bayou, “Longmire” in Wyoming, and then the Ozarks here, which as far as we could recall, is a picture we’ve never seen painted in television.
Harner: It’s so true. I’m from a small town in America, raised in the suburbs of DC, and then lived in New York City for 23 years and now I live in LA, so I have a great affinity and appreciation for small town America and the fullness of America. I was just at dinner last night with some friends and they introduced us to this friend from Norway, and of course they had no idea what the Ozarks were. I was like, “Well…”

I didn’t know this when the series started and I could be getting this wrong, but the waterfront, the shoreline… there’s more shoreline of the Ozarks than in the state of California. The lakes are so big and what’s around them is so amazing. We have this last shot in the first episode, which is unbelievably beautiful and is not CGI’d at all. That’s shot from a helicopter that’s pulling away and is 100 percent the Ozarks and for real. I think it’s so amazing. (Laughter)

Jason Bateman is just the most amazing person in the world. He is the kindest and the smartest. About halfway through production he rented out a movie theater and shared with the cast and crew the first episode just to sort of be like, “Hey, just so you know this is what we’re making here in case you had any doubt. And thank you.” Which nobody else does on any other show I’ve worked on. Nobody else does that. When that last shot came on, and only a skeleton crew had been there in the Ozarks when they filmed that so only the skeleton crew knew about it, everybody just started hooting and hollering and cheering. It was really great.

TrunkSpace: You mentioned how the first season is 10 episodes in length. From a performance standpoint, does that shorter episode order benefit you as an actor because you know that the story is not going to be stretched out and that each episode will have as much character bang for the buck as possible?
Harner: Yeah, I mean, no offense to procedurals, but you’re not stuck in that format. When they say it’s going to be character-driven, in this case, they really mean it. Obviously there’s a lot of plot that happens in each episode. I remember sitting in the editing room after the second episode and I looked at Jason and said, “I cannot believe how much content we have in one hour!”

The benefit of being on a platform like Netflix and in a series like this is that you also have scenes where you can uncharacteristically sit down with a character or a couple of characters and have what would seem like a long amount of time. I have a monologue coming up, I don’t think they kept all of it, but I have this scene coming up where I’m fly fishing with a character that you’re going to meet and we were really shooting at 5 a.m. on a river in Atlanta with the fog coming up. It was so beautiful, and when you get those opportunities in your life as an actor, you think, “This is why I’m doing this. I’m in waders in the middle of a fucking river fly fishing, which I have been studying for over a month to look like I know what I’m doing, and I’m just going to tell this story and we’re going to sit here for a period of time.” Magical. For everyone too, including the viewer.

TrunkSpace: And what’s beautiful about things right now is that audiences not only expect that, they crave it. They want to see their storytelling play out in that way.
Harner: One of the things I really appreciated was that they really were not interested in the more sensationalist aspects, although there are some colorful characters and situations that happen in the series. It was, “How do we get into the nitty gritty of this family having to survive and adapt to living and completely changing their lives.” But also, be as interested in the nuance of that translation as in the larger concept of everything else happening. I always appreciate that. Jason Bateman’s attention to detail on seemingly mundane things is so good. Just silly things like, if you pick up a phone that’s not yours but you have to access it, Jason makes sure that those details are built in in some way. Those small little details, they credit the whole thing. It makes you go along with the story a little bit more and not have to add your own sort of magical realism that can happen a lot in the things that we see.

TrunkSpace: Could those little details exist in another platform? Could Jason have been able to do that on a major network?
Harner: I don’t know actually. The highest compliment that I can say in terms of my experience, and I’ve been really lucky because I’ve had some wonderful experiences on a variety of platforms, but I have never had the kind of leadership and involvement the way that I have witnessed on this production. Patrick Markey is a great creative producer. Mundy is a diplomatic showrunner. Laura is a Godsend. And Jason is a confident leader. He’s been doing this since he was 10 years old. He understands not only how every department works and how the camera works, but how the productions works. I’m sure there were tons of conversations and meetings with Netflix and MRC as it was going, everything from budget and tone and all that, but it didn’t have the micromanagement feel that a lot of other things that I’ve worked on have had, which is a road to hell paved with good intentions. A road to mediocrity. It takes the vitality out of it.

SCANDAL – “Run” – (ABC/Nicole Wilder) JASON BUTLER HARNER

TrunkSpace: We know you have a theater background and it sounds like as far as that community experience of theater goes, “Ozark” seems to have had that vibe based on the way you speak of it.
Harner: Yeah. I also recognize I’m a series regular so I have a lot more agency. When you’re a guest star, there is a certain amount where, more often than not, you sort of get in and get out, do your thing and hopefully don’t offend anyone. Our set was very inviting to everyone.

I have a joke with a couple of friends of mine who are far more successful than I am. We always talk about the “first day of school” regardless of the project. It’s always slightly nerve-wracking. I’m confident in my abilities and I’m also self-effacing, but when you have the ability to not be intimidated and to ask a question that you know you’re going to get an answer to or, even better than an answer, you might get an, “I don’t know,” that’s assuring. When you’re a guest star and you’re just there for a little bit, it’s very rare that you have the luxury of being able to ask that question.

TrunkSpace: From a performance side, is there any character from a previous series or film that you wish you had more time to spend with just because of the interesting nature of the character itself?
Harner: Yeah, there’s a number of them. Whenever my character is not killed off, I’m really excited. (Laughter) I’m personally excited from a logistics standpoint that I’m not going to be lying in a pool of blood for a period of hours, and I’m also excited for the possibility of returning to that work, of course. (Laughter)

The character on “Homeland” was such an anomaly. All of a sudden he does this violent act and then disappears, so you think, “Well, that person is still around somewhere. Could he come back?”

On “Scandal” it was a wonderful Shonda Rhimes sort of teaser where it was an episode where Kerry got kidnapped and we were in a jail and you didn’t know where we were, but you thought we were in another country. It was great. Kerry was so generous. I got killed, but I thought he was really interesting. I thought that his duplicity was particularly interesting, but then he got shot in the back of the head two episodes later and that was it. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: And there’s that pool of blood again!
Harner: There’s that pool of blood. (Laughter) It’s funny, there’s such respect in terms of the different ways that different sets deal with that… the way they shoot it. Some are very kind so you’re not actually physically in that pool of blood for a long period of time, and some don’t care. “Scandal” was very kind. “Ray Donovan” was very kind. I won’t mention the ones that maybe weren’t so kind. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: We were looking over your theater credits and saw that you have stood on so many great stages. It had us thinking, what is the best stage you’ve ever performed on?
Harner: Wow, that’s a great question. I need to really think about that. So many come to mind for different reasons so I’ll try to compartmentalize them.

I’ll tell you a personal story, and then I’ll tell you some stages that really moved me.

Jason Butler Harner as Varick in Ray Donovan (Season 3, Episode 3). – Photo: Michael Desmond/SHOWTIME – Photo ID: RayDonovan_303_821.R

When I got out of grad school and I started really performing, I went to A.C.T. in San Francisco. I did a play up in Seattle called “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” by Martin McDonagh. Great play. While I was up there, I got hired to do “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” because Garret Dillahunt pulled out, I think to do “Deadwood.” He’s a good friend of mine now, but Garret pulled out and I got short notice to go do “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” at A.C.T. in San Francisco. The Geary Theater. So “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” is obviously a classic, iconic, huge American play to have to climb. It was everything that I had been trained to do, that kind of big play, so I walked into the theater because I wanted to see The Geary. I was curious about this intimate play in a big space. I don’t know what the seat number is, but it’s got to be like 1000, and it’s three tiers and I walked in and I looked up and I just started crying because I thought, “Whoa. How am I going to do this?” And then, “I’m ready to do this.”

The other two theaters that come to mind… I did a play in the West End by Lanford Wilson, which I think is a beautiful play called “Serenading Louis.” Lanford Wilson wrote “Burn This,” which is the major play of his that people remember, but “Serenading Louis” is a tremendous play that gets shortchanged. People call it sentimental in that modern, misappropriated redefinition of melodramatic. And that’s not true. Anyway, the Donmar Warehouse is an incredibly intimate space, audience on three sides and a balcony, but the balcony is maybe at 12 feet so it’s very… it’s like an old-fashioned observing laboratory.

The last theater that I’m going to mention is one that was built and it was incredible. I did this Mike Bartlett play. I do a lot of American premieres of English and Irish plays for some reason, which I love. So it was this Mike Bartlett play called “Cock” after a cock fight, and interestingly enough, in America, the New York Times wouldn’t even print the title “Cock.” We had to call it “The Cock Fight Play.” But anyway, the set designer built a raw plywood stage in the round… a fully immersive experience for the audience. It was incredible.

What I love the most about live theater is every night is its own organism and dialogue, so you have to be incredibly alive and you are hopefully fed by the audience’s reaction, and if not, you’re working towards making them conscious and communal.

TrunkSpace: And it’s something that is only shared with those in attendance. It can’t be tweeted or forwarded or passed on.
Harner: Yeah, not to get too arty-farty about it, but I do think on some cellular level as human beings, we crave a communal experience. I love all of my devices and I love watching various storytelling through various mediums, but sometimes now you have to get tricked into having that communal experience because it’s not a part of our routine. Then when you get there, you appreciate it. Sometimes it’s like going to a wedding, a family commitment, or a church service or whatever where you think, “Oh God, I have to go…” and some of it is just about navigating how to deal with it and lots of people you don’t know. And then inevitably when you get there you have some type of experience with people around you where you are collectively witnessing or processing something. I don’t know what happens, I just know that something happens, and I appreciate that. Somehow it’s reassuring. There’s a sense of humanity, which right now, just as a side note, I am so interested in any storytelling that we can offer or create that’s encouraging humanity and compassion. It can be messy, it can be bloody, it can be a lot of things, but ultimately I feel like we have a slight responsibility in storytelling towards flexing those muscles, reminding those muscles that humanity and compassion exist right now because I feel things are getting a little disparate, you know?

“Ozark” premieres July 21 on Netflix.

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Wingman Wednesday

Jae Suh Park

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With the sheer volume of content flooding our brains on a daily basis, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to keep tabs on what new television series are launching, at what time, and on what platforms. That being said, it’s hard not to get excited for the ones that are being spearheaded by the best and brightest talent both behind and in front of the camera. That is certainly the case with the new Netflix series “Friends From College,” an ensemble comedy with a stacked cast (Cobie Smulders, Keegan-Michael Key, etc) and a creator/writer/producer (Nicholas Stoller) known for bringing the laughs with films like “Neighbors” and “The Muppets.”

We recently sat down with “Friends From College” star Jae Suh Park to discuss her expectations for the series, being the weirdo at the bus stop, and the perks of being married to a superhero.

TrunkSpace: Your new show “Friends From College” is a high profile series, stacked with a high profile cast, set to premiere on Netflix, a high profile platform. It is it difficult not to view it all as a career changer?
Jae Suh Park: Well, I feel like I’ve been in the business long enough to know that not one thing is a career changer. I don’t think you can point to that one thing. I mean, I hope it does well and I hope for a season two. It definitely had people wanting to talk to me, like you. So I guess it’s a little bit more high profile than… well, a lot more high profile than things I’ve done in the past, so… I hope so.

TrunkSpace: Have you had to emotionally disconnect from it since you wrapped shooting or is it something you can’t help but get excited about as it gears up for release?
Jae Suh Park: Well, we shot it last fall in New York for about three months and right after it, I did kind of forget about it. But I’ve been thinking about it a lot more now because we were just in New York for the premiere last week, and then I’ve just been hearing stuff about it and seeing stuff, so I’m thinking a lot more about it now. But I didn’t for a long time, because you just kind of move forward.

TrunkSpace: There must be a bit of a defense mechanism aspect to it because you ultimately have no control over things once your job is done?
Jae Suh Park: Well yeah, and you just never know how long it’s gonna take. Sometimes you shoot something and it comes out right away, and other times it can take years. Especially cable shows. I guess it’s partly a defense mechanism, because you never know. As far as movies go, or even TV, maybe you got cut out. Maybe your part is not as big as you thought it was. I definitely had experiences like that in the past. (Laughter) So you can’t just go ahead and tell everybody that you’re going to be in this big show, or be in a big movie, and then have all your things cut out. So yeah, I did some of that for sure.

TrunkSpace: We saw the poster for “Friends From College” and there you are, front and center with the rest of the cast. Did that help it all feel more real for you?
Jae Suh Park: Oh yeah, definitely. And then we have separate posters… each of us has a separate poster. It says what we are and I’m “The weirdo.” The friend who’s a weirdo. And it’s been on all the bus stops here in LA. So I’ve had friends text me and I saw two of them by where I live, and I was like, I worked a really long time and very hard to be a weirdo at a bus stop. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: (Laughter) In order to be the weirdo at a bus stop you really have to stand out.
Jae Suh Park: (Laughter) Especially in LA.

TrunkSpace: The series creator is Nicholas Stoller and he has become synonymous with quality comedy, especially on the feature side. From a performance standpoint, comedy must be very fun to explore in a series because you sort of get to see the funny spread out over the course of what is usually multiple arcs, not just one arc.
Jae Suh Park: Yeah, that’s what’s so exciting is that you can explore the character in so many different situations and they just kind of take twists and turns. But I know Nick really wanted to make this kind of like a very long movie. It definitely ends open-ended. It’s not like the complete series. It’s not like “Big Little Lies” or something where it’s just kind of one movie. So going back to what you said, it’s very exciting to be able to explore so many different sides of the character.

TrunkSpace: When you look beyond the series itself and at the current TV landscape as a whole, what’s the most exciting part for you as an actress in what a lot of people are calling “The Golden Age of Television” and what that means in terms of roles and characters available?
Jae Suh Park: I get to play a weirdo, which I don’t know if I would have been able to five years ago. (Laughter)

There’s definitely a lot more opportunities for everyone involved in the business. So that’s exciting, but as a viewer, I don’t get to watch as much as I want to just because it’s so much… and I think also the good thing and the bad thing is that you can kind of watch what you want and not at all know anything about anything else. If you’re a very huge fan of “Westworld” you may know all of the actors on the show, but if you’ve never seen the show, you would be like, “I have no idea who that person is.” It’s good and bad because you can definitely have anonymity that stars in the past didn’t have as much.

TrunkSpace: You actually worked with your “Friends From College” costar Cobie Smulders on an episode of “How I Met Your Mother” a few years back, correct?
Jae Suh Park: Yeah, it’s so funny because that’s how I met Cobie for the very first time and my husband is actually really good friends with her husband and they had worked together. I had met him just briefly and when I got the part I went up to her and I said, “My boyfriend knows your boyfriend!” And this is before we were even married or had kids, and now we’re both married and we both have kids. But that was the first time that I met her and worked with her, and that was forever ago.

TrunkSpace: And that was a very memorable episode of “How I Met Your Mother” because it introduced the woo girls… and a quotable “woo” has been echoed ever since.
Jae Suh Park: Yeah, I think I said, “woo” maybe… I don’t know how many times. Let’s just say the script was very easy to memorize. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: What’s great about “Friends From College” is that you guys really have this amazing on-screen chemistry together, as if you actually are a group of old friends.
Jae Suh Park: Yeah, that was one of the very first things that a lot of people noticed because I had only worked with Cobie that one time eons ago and I knew Keegan just socially. And then I’d never worked with the others or any of the guest stars and it was just immediate. We all had so much fun off-screen and on-screen. Even at our very first wardrobe call everybody was like, “Do you guys know each other or have you guys worked together?” All of us except for Keegan have kids and we’re married, so I think that definitely bonds us with Nick. I’m grateful for it because that doesn’t always happen.

TrunkSpace: We know that your husband (Randall Park) was just cast in “Ant-Man and the Wasp” and we’re curious, has he been introducing himself as your “superhero husband” now because that’s totally what we would do with our wives?
Jae Suh Park: (Laughter) No, he’s not. He’s not introducing himself as my superhero husband, but he’s been working out quite a bit because he says he’s gotta look good. I think he’s just in suits. But I will note, I’m not that familiar with the comic, but he did show me some art… some old issues, and the character is buff. I’m not complaining at all. I feel like that’s a perk of being married to a superhero.

Friends From College” premieres tomorrow on Netflix.

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