close

Supernatural

Wingman Wednesday

Alicia Witt

aliciaWitt_Wingwoman_wednesday
Photo: Alicia Witt Credit: Copyright 2017 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Kailey Schwerman

Once you’ve trimmed the turkey, got stuffed on stuffing, and crammed yourself with cranberry, take some time to relax with “The Mistletoe Inn,” the latest offering from Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas programming event. Starring one of our favorite multi-hyphenates, Alicia Witt, the movie debuts Thanksgiving night, making it the perfect final course for those looking to kick off the holiday season with a full heart… and stomach.

We recently sat down with Witt to discuss the strength of the Hallmark fandom, why she could relate to her character’s quest for creative confidence, and how she makes her music accessible for all listeners.

TrunkSpace: You’ve had a really diverse year, from “The Mistletoe Inn,” to “The Exorcist,” to “Twin Peaks,” and “Supernatural.” Has that always been the dream, to be able to do as many different types of roles and genres as possible?
Witt: Yes, that was always my reason for wanting to be an actor, is to play characters that are different from me, and play as many different kinds of roles as possible. I feel like I really get to do that at this point. I think it keeps me busy, and it keeps me on my toes. I get bored if I play the same role over and over again. I think about the last couple of years in particular, but really the entire time I’ve been doing this, there have been so many different kinds of roles that I think I’ve kept it challenging for myself.

TrunkSpace: Many of those television shows mentioned have massive fandoms, but truth be told, Hallmark’s fandom easily rivals them.
Witt: Most definitely. The interesting thing is that, for example, when I was on “The Walking Dead,” I did a lot of the conventions around that show, and I was so pleasantly surprised and thrilled to find that almost every other person that would come up to me, they were happy to have seen me on “The Walking Dead,” but they were most excited to talk to me because of the Hallmark movies. So, there’s actually a really big crossover audience as well, particularly for the Christmas films, because people who might watch something different during the rest of the year, pretty much everyone tunes in to Hallmark at Christmas because it’s such great family programming, and such great holiday programming.

TrunkSpace: You can’t have darkness without light, so for fans of “The Walking Dead,” tuning in to Hallmark Channel is a nice balance.
Witt: That’s exactly the thing. They’re both equally valid sides, and I try to live my day-to-day life more like the characters that I play in the Hallmark movies – more positive and more light. But I love exploring the darker side of things, too, because that is a very real element of the world in which we’re living. Yeah, you can’t have the darkness without the light, that’s so true. The job I’m working on right now, “The Exorcist,” which I actually just wrapped, is also a great example of that. It explores that side of us that we don’t talk about all that often, but it’s in there. I feel like these Hallmark Christmas movies celebrate all that’s special about the holiday season, and the coming together of families, and sometimes what’s challenging about that, but also what’s so important, and why it is the warmest time of the year.

TrunkSpace: It must feel extra special to have “The Mistletoe Inn” premiering on Thanksgiving, a night when so many families are already together?
Witt: I was so excited when I found out that was the night we’d be premiering. My movie last year, “The Christmas List,” also premiered on Thanksgiving and this makes me very happy and proud, and I know families are already together on that night. My family and friends in Nashville will all be together. We’re having a big joint dinner that we’re making together, and we’ll all be watching the movie for the first time together when it airs, and then I’ll be live tweeting and sharing that with the viewers for the very first time. I’m seriously so excited to see it. I’m not very big on watching my own work for the sake of watching my own work, but I love sharing these movies with people because they are so much fun, and I’m gonna be laughing as hard as anyone when we watch it.

TrunkSpace: Television moves at a breakneck pace as far as production is concerned. Because things happen so quickly on a movie like this, does that force you to come to set even more prepared in terms of knowing and connecting with your character, in this case, aspiring romance writer Kim?
Witt: This applies to everything that I do, but I tend to just absorb the script and think about the character while I’m working out or listening to music. The character just starts to find me and I figure out who she is and how she’d react to things. But it’s not so much a logical process as more of an intuitive one. When it comes to the lines, I actually learn those on the day. I happen to be really fast at learning lines, and I find that they’re a lot fresher if I don’t think about them too much. So, I let the character sink in for a few weeks beforehand, and then the lines themselves I don’t think too much about.

TrunkSpace: Was there something about Kim from a performance standpoint that you have yet to do with a character in the past? What was it that drew you to her?
Witt: She reminded me a lot of myself when I was starting out as a singer/songwriter. Because I could relate to her sense that she had this talent that, on one level she knows that she’s good at writing, and she knows that she could do it seriously and have a book deal and all of that, but because she’s a grown up living in the real world, with a real job and all of that, she needs that extra boost to get the confidence to start doing it in earnest. And at the beginning of the movie she doesn’t quite have that yet, and it’s not being helped at all by the fact that she’s been dating this real piece of work, known as Garth, who I just love that character so much in the movie. He takes himself way too seriously and believes that his work is more important than Kim’s and actually dumps her within the first five minutes because he’s decided he needs to date a more serious writer, and his career’s moving up and hers isn’t. I actually dated a singer/songwriter very similar to Garth when I was just starting out as a singer/songwriter. I had wrote a song called “About Me,” that I’ve released, that I actually wrote after that guy broke up with me.

TrunkSpace: So there was a real connection to the character as far as her journey was concerned.
Witt: Oh, I totally related. For me, it was quite a few years ago, but it kept bringing me back. I kept having flashbacks of this guy that I had dated. There was a lot that… like when Zeke (played by David Alpay) is giving Kim feedback on her writing, I could relate to that vulnerability of receiving feedback for the first time on my songwriting, or my performances. When you’re first starting out it feels like such a rejection that, if every song you write isn’t a potential hit, then you should just quit and not write songs anymore. And that’s not the way it works, you have to write hundreds of songs before you start becoming a good songwriter. Many of those songs nobody will ever hear, and it’s the same way with writing. You have to be willing to make mistakes, and write something that isn’t perfect to get to the point where you are good. So I felt like that was a real parallel and something that I could relate to in Kim.

TrunkSpace: You mentioned having a similar experience hearing feedback on your songwriting for the first time. Do you write primarily from a personal space, or do you take a more storyteller’s approach?
Witt: I have done that, the latter, but most of the time it is personal experiences and things that I am feeling. And it can be just a moment, it could be a passing feeling that I have for someone or for a situation, and you turn it into a song. If you were to tell that person, “This song’s about you,” they might be confused, and they might not get it. But, people can inspire a song without the entire story of the song being 100 percent accurate to what the real scenario is. It’s all over the place, and some of the songs I’ve written are about some of the things that have happened to people I know, and sometimes just things that I’m imagining.

TrunkSpace: So can criticism and feedback be more difficult to hear because you tend to write from such a personal space?
Witt: I think it was in the beginning. Now, I don’t take it personally because it really isn’t. I mean, to make a song something that other people, who haven’t had your specific experience, can relate to and apply to their own lives, you do need to adjust them sometimes. Sometimes it’s not good to have them be too specific. Other times you need the opposite – you need to make it more specific. 
There are moments when you put something into a song that didn’t happen at all, that’s got nothing to do with what your true experience was with it, but sometimes that’s gonna make for a better song that more people can access.

TrunkSpace: And that’s the beauty of music, an entire group of people can each find something different in a single song and relate to it in a different way.
Witt: Yes, completely. That’s what I love most about music.

TrunkSpace: And you have a new EP in the works, correct?
Witt: It’s due out soon. I did this Kickstarter campaign, which just was such an honor, and the album is done and it’s ready, and I’m just trying to figure out how best to release it because it’s produced by Jacquire King, who has an extraordinary track record. And it’s safe to say they’re the best recordings I’ve ever been part of, and I just want to do the best that I can by them and figure out if they’re going to be distributed by a label, or if I self-release again, or what. So far, my music career has pretty much been self-generated, though I’m trying to explore the possibility of finding the right person to help me with it, but if that doesn’t happen I will just self-release it again, and book a tour, and get going with it. I can’t wait to share it with everyone, though.

TrunkSpace: Finally, Alicia, as people plan to gather around with family and watch the premiere of “The Mistletoe Inn” tomorrow night, what do you believe it is that continues to draw people to Christmas movies like this one?
Witt: I think that at this point, when you tune into Hallmark Channel, especially at Christmas time, you know that you’re going to see programming that will make you smile, make you feel good no matter what’s going on in the wold, or in the news, or in your own family. And at this time of year, even though it is the time for families to get together, and in theory it’s all warm and fuzzy, there’s sometimes a lot of tension. You have family members who don’t see each other all year long and then they get together and they may not get along the way that we would like, but Hallmark can actually help make that better. I hear this a lot from people who come up to me all year long and tell me that my movies have helped their families to grow closer at the holidays. And it’s just a great channel to leave on and help you get in the mood. At least the ones that I’m a part of, I try to find some kind of offbeat humor in every one of them. And there’s a few moments that I’ve seen in this one that especially make me smile. They let me be a little bit goofy and silly, and I have as much fun making them as I do watching them. I’m really proud to be on yet another one this year.

The Mistletoe Inn” premieres Thanksgiving night on Hallmark Channel.

read more
Wingman Wednesday

Billy Wickman

BillyWickman_Wingman_wednesday
Photo By: David Naman (www.hypnoticphotos.ca)

For many diehard “Supernatural” fans who have been watching throughout the course of these 13 seasons (and counting!), identifying actors who have appeared in multiple roles has become a bit of a side game. With such a vast universe to inhabit and more than 260 episodes already under their demon-hunting belts, it’s virtually impossible to have so many guest stars written into the series and not have them reappear a few years later. And when their as talented as Canadian-born Billy Wickman, it makes just as much creative sense as it does the logical variety.

We recently sat down with Wickman to discuss how he put physical separation between his two SPN characters, the handsomeness of the Winchester boys, and getting to play a Hallmark Channel villain.

TrunkSpace: You’ve played two characters within the “Supernatural” universe, which as we understand it, is not uncommon with that particular show. That being said, is that a common occurrence with other shows or does the tenure of “Supernatural” just make it impossible not to have that option available to the casting directors?
Wickman: That’s exactly right, when a show has been around as long as “Supernatural,” they have to start dipping back into the same talent pool. Most shows won’t see you twice, or even once, if you’ve appeared in the same “universe” on another show.

TrunkSpace: What is that experience like? When you’re playing two characters within the same universe, and knowing how passionate that fandom is, do you purposely try to separate yourself from what you’ve done previously, both physically and through performance?
Wickman: Absolutely. For my second time around we darkened my hair and beard and I played Elvis as an experienced extrovert, as opposed to “Brian”, the fresh-faced fearful youngster.

TrunkSpace: For us, your more memorable turn was as Elvis Katz in the season 12 episode, “Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox.” The episode itself had a classic horror vibe, but more importantly, the character was very memorable. What did you look to bring to the role when you first read the sides?
Wickman: I wanted him to be warm and human, even during his friend’s memorial, to remind us why Hunters fight for our side. Demon hunting is serious, but you have to live to be human.

TrunkSpace: In that episode you played a Hunter, which in our book, really puts you in the meat of the lore because there’s so few Hunter’s within the universe. Do you feel like that by playing Elvis you have left your fingerprint on the franchise in a way?
Wickman: Hunters are a pretty elite group and I am very proud to be in the company of such great characters and the amazing actors portraying them.

TrunkSpace: The “Supernatural” fandom, or the SPN Family as they have come to be called, is extremely passionate and fully invested in the world and characters who inhabit it. Over the course of 13 seasons, there’s a lot for them to love, but have you felt that fandom’s reach directly following your performances within the series? Is that fandom as welcoming to guest stars as it is their favorite series regulars and reoccurring characters?
Wickman: The SPN Family is incredible, and your reach is huge! I have received my largest Twitter bump yet from you all. The Fam loves Jared & Jensen so much that it’s probably easy to miss a guest, but I still feel a lot of appreciation for our work and I appreciate it right back!

TrunkSpace: As we previously touched on, the series is currently in its 13th season. In your opinion, what is it about the show that has driven so many people towards it for such a long period of time? Why has it been successful for so long while other shows can’t maintain that kind of longevity?
Wickman: It doesn’t hurt that these are two of the most handsome dudes I’ve ever met, but they’re also super friendly and hard working. I’ve known them each for a long time now, and they’ve always been fun, open to ideas, and constantly improving. Also, the show has such credibility that we can get a legendary director like John Badham to come in and lead us.

TrunkSpace: You have also guested or reoccurred on some other great shows with passionate fandoms, including “The X Files,” “Arrow, “Falling Skies,” and “Hell on Wheels.” When you’re joining a show that has been filming for such a long period of time, even as a guest star, is there a level of anxiousness coming into something that already has a particular tone and way of doing things on set? Does it feel a bit like you’re the new kid in a school where everyone already knows each other?
Wickman: (Laughter) That’s exactly what it feels like! It takes a minute to get that out of your head, but you have to remember that everyone there is on your side and wants you to succeed. It can really help if the director and lead actors express their trust in you early, but usually they’re busy doing their jobs too. The best you can do is stay confident in the talent that got you there, and you’ll be welcomed into the family quicker than you think.

TrunkSpace: You come from a big family with lots of siblings. Did that upbringing shape you into the actor that you’ve become? Did having a lot of siblings put you in a position to entertain and have an audience from a young age?
Wickman: Being the sixth of seven kids taught me to fight for, and earn an audience. You don’t get much stage time at a busy dinner table, so you need to be quick and interesting!

Photo By: David Naman (www.hypnoticphotos.ca)

TrunkSpace: You were born and raised in Canada and work there extensively. From what you’ve seen, has the Canadian production industry continued to grow and expand since you started your career and has it presented more opportunities for actors to stay in Canada without having to consider moves to Los Angeles or New York?
Wickman: I have seen our industry fluctuate, but it is definitely on the incline now. Vancouver used to be a training ground for LA, but with the quantity and quality of productions here now, and the stunning natural beauty, many successful actors are choosing to stay here.

TrunkSpace: You’ll be appearing in the upcoming Hallmark Channel holiday movie “Finding Santa” premiering November 24. Can you tell us about your character and where he falls into things?
Wickman: I play Clint, he’s the closest thing to a villain you’ll find in a Hallmark Christmas movie. He is the epitome of entitlement, the mayor’s son, who still lives in her basement. Clint is given the part of Santa in the annual parade, much to the disappointment of the entire town. I had a great time on that set, with a lot of hilariously talented people. It was my second time working with director David Winning (first was “Van Helsing” episode “Big Mama” airing November 23). He is one of my all-time favorite people.

TrunkSpace: The Hallmark Channel holiday offerings are always extremely popular and come with a built-in audience. Why do you think they consistently do so well year in and year out?
Wickman: Hallmark fans know what to expect with those films. As in life; family, community, hope, and happiness are major themes visited in every project. Hallmark has a direct line to America’s heartstrings. (Ooh, that sounds good!)

Thanks for inviting me to chat, it was my pleasure, much love to the SPN Family!

Feature image by: Bryce Bladon Photography

read more
Wingman Wednesday

Taylor Cole

TaylorCole_Wingwoman_wednesday

Even though our slowly-shrinking jack-o’-lanterns are still sitting on our stoops and our various Halloween costumes are slung over the backs of chairs, the changing of the calendar from October to November means only one thing for those particularly festive people like us… it’s the unofficial start of the holiday season!

Thanks to Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, our inner inflatable, oversized, holiday-themed lawn decoration is being filled with seasonal wonder from now through December as a magical series of Christmas movies pump our holiday spirit to maximum capacity. Premiering this Saturday on Hallmark Channel is “Christmas Festival of Ice” starring Taylor Cole and Damon Runyan.

 


We recently sat down with Cole to discuss the draw of Christmas content, why she so easily connected with her character Emma, and her own favorite holiday memory.

TrunkSpace: Your new holiday Hallmark Channel film “Christmas Festival of Ice” premieres just a few days after Halloween. For all of us who are still nursing candy corn hangovers, how do we jump start our brains to transition from spooky spirits to finding our holiday spirit?
Cole: The crisp air and new latte flavors, of course. Also, I’ve already started planning my family get-together and there’s nothing like family to bring in the holiday spirit.

TrunkSpace: The film is a part of the network’s “Countdown to Christmas” programming event. People love the holidays and they love Hallmark Channel original programming. The marriage of the two seems like a no-brainer. In your opinion, why does this particular type of seasonal content resonate with so many viewers?
Cole: I think Hallmark Christmas movies evoke a sense of nostalgia that people are yearning for during the holidays.

TrunkSpace: In the film you’re playing fresh-out-of-law-school Emma Parkers who returns to her small town only to discover that an ice sculpting competition that means a lot to her has been cancelled. The two elements that are most often discussed as relating to holiday Hallmark Channel movies are relationships and the holidays themselves, but a big part of their allure is the environment of a community that they establish. In terms of “Christmas Festival of Ice,” how important is that element of community and the town itself to the overall story and to who Emma is?
Cole: Emma really discovers herself through fundraising for her favorite childhood pastime with the help of her community. Giving back and creating memories for the town again makes her realize her passion in life might be different from what others expect her to be.

TrunkSpace: Was it an easy journey for you to discover just who Emma was? It is our understanding that things move pretty quickly from the moment you land the part to the first day of photography. Did you have time to absorb the material and connect with the character?
Cole: I connected with Emma immediately because of her connection with her father and the activities they bonded over. My favorite memories as a child were camping with my father and road tripping to volleyball games. I recently bought a trailer and spent the last year and a half traveling the US driving from job to job for that very reason.

TrunkSpace: From a performance standpoint, what was your favorite moment in your journey as Emma? Is there a particular scene or aspect of the story that you’re most excited for viewers to see?
Cole: The last scene with my father was hands-down my favorite scene. I’m a daddy’s girl and that bond is beautiful and unbreakable.

TrunkSpace: Speaking of viewers, Hallmark Channel has a very passionate fandom. Coined Hallmarkies online, they love all things Hallmark Channel, especially seasonal content. As an actress, is it rewarding to be working on a project that not only has a built-in fan base where you know people will show up for the premiere, but is also something that the entire family can share in?
Cole: The fans are so great because they are so genuine and loyal. What more can you ask for? My favorite part of Hallmark is the family bond it has created for so many families, including mine.

Photo: Taylor Cole, Damon Runyan Credit: Copyright 2017 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Petr Maur

TrunkSpace: We here at TrunkSpace are admittedly a bit obsessed with all things “Supernatural.” We know that you appeared in two episodes with a large gap in between, so we’re curious, how much of a surprise was it when you received the call to reprise the role of Sarah Blake in season 8?
Cole: I always thought it would be an interesting storyline to continue considering she was Sam’s first love interest after his great loss, but it was so early in the show I wasn’t sure there’d be room for a love interest. So getting a call seven seasons later was definitely a surprise.

TrunkSpace: As someone who was on set in the inaugural first season and then again in season 8, does it come as a surprise that the show is currently still going strong in its 13th season?
Cole: The blend of the boys charm and the humor and adventure in the writing are a winning combination. And you can’t beat their fans. Their passion reminds me of Hallmark fans. They are the reason Sarah Blake returned to the show. That episode was used to kill off everyone that the fans begged to have back, which I think is kind of genius. They’ve done it all and the fans can’t get enough.

TrunkSpace: You’ve starred and guested in a lot of great, memorable shows over the years. Is there a particular character that you wished you got more time with to explore further and why?
Cole: I really enjoyed playing Sofya Voronova on “The Originals.” It was fun to have the challenge of playing two characters in season 4. Working and growing with such gifted talent inspired me everyday.

TrunkSpace: Again, “Christmas Festival of Ice” is part of the Countdown to Christmas programming event. What is one of your favorite holiday memories and what do you most look forward to each year as the season kicks off?
Cole: My arts and craft skills are not up to par so my favorite thing to do is attempt any cute holiday idea and see how poorly I can execute it. My favorite holiday memory was asking my dad to dress up as Santa so I could catch him leaving gifts under the tree.

“Christmas Festival of Ice” premieres Saturday on Hallmark Channel.

read more
Wingman Wednesday

Amitai Marmorstein

ArmitaiMormerstein_Halloween_Wingman_wednesday
Photo By: Kristine Cofsky

When not being forced to compare dad apples to Schwarzenegger oranges, Amitai Marmorstein is slipping into the beautifully unusual world of “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” as Lieutenant Assistent, right-hand man to Hugo Friedkin at Project Blackwing. The Jerusalem-born actor is relishing in the opportunity of playing the straight man surrounded by so many zany, imaginative characters and thinks the show’s unique flavor is part of the reason it has resonated with so many viewers.

We recently sat down with Marmorstein to discuss his early performance choices for Lieutenant Assistent, how he doubled down on going meta in the “Supernatural” universe, and why his dad is often mistaken for the Terminator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

TrunkSpace: “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” is such a unique show both in premise and tone. What does that uniqueness offer an actor from a performance standpoint?
Marmorstein: That’s a great question actually. I remember talking to someone about getting a part on the show, and she was like, “Congrats, man. That’s great! It’s a tough show to get on because it’s such a unique…” exactly that word, “unique sensibility.”

It’s hard to know what they want. It’s hard to know what the casting director wants. I think the thing that I, when I read it anyways, latched onto was that I thought it was funny. There were a few different choices I remember I could make in the audition, and I was like, “I’m gonna pick the one that I find funniest just because I don’t really understand what they are going to want.” It is just so weird, that it could go a million different ways. So, I was like, I’m gonna just go with what I would love to see if I were watching the show, and luckily it turned out to be the same thing that Max (Landis) and the rest of the gang wanted.

TrunkSpace: And were those early choices that you made in the audition maintained in the final product we see in the series?
Marmorstein: Yeah, totally. It was funny, too, because I got cast off tape. And I did three different versions in the audition as well. So, when I showed up on my first day, I even had to talk to Arvind (Ethan David), one of the producers, and I was like, “Hey, which one did you guys see?” I had a feeling Tiffany Mak, the casting director, sent in only one of the choices, and I was like, “I have no idea which one they saw, and which one they’re expecting me to do today on set.” (Laughter)

So, yeah it all worked out. It was the same one. It was funny too, because the choice kind of came from a place of… the dynamic between the two characters. I couldn’t get this idea out of my head of what it might be like to be, say, an aide or an assistant to some prominent political figure that is in the zeitgeist today, and dealing with the gross incompetence, to put it as delicately as I can, without being able to really put him in his place or anything like that. So, that’s where the tension of the character always seems to fall for me.

TrunkSpace: You mentioned auditioning via tape. Is that kind of a daunting prospect knowing that you can’t really adjust on the fly if they want to see something different?
Marmorstein: It’s funny, if I do my first audition well, if I’m happy with what I do, then I’m just like, “Oh please God, be off tape. Please, I don’t wanna go back and screw up my callback. Just take that take that was a good one. Please let them see that one and let them make their decision off of that.” So, I think there’s ups and downs to it, because sometimes you can get thrown by redirects in the room. I’d say it’s kind of a mixed bag.

TrunkSpace: It must be easy to get thrown off by somebody’s energy in a room too, if they’re sort of checked out or just not giving anything back?
Marmorstein: Oh, totally. Some auditions, I swear I’ve gotten booked and not booked based on the way that the director or producer just said “Hello” when I walked in. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: For those who haven’t caught up on season 2 of Dirk Gently yet, can you give us an overview of your character and what drew you to him from the page?
Marmorstein: Sure. To give you a little idea of the character, the character’s name is Lieutenant Assistent.

TrunkSpace: Which is a great name. (Laughter)
Marmorstein: (Laughter) I don’t think I’m allowed to spoil the joke with the name right now, but keep your eyes peeled.

So, he works at Blackwing, which is of course is the nefarious government agency that seems to be working in the shadows trying to hunt Dirk Gently and Bart and the rest of the holistic super people. One of the things that I love about the character is that, of course, there’s an incredible dynamic with Friedkin. And Dustin Milligan is one of the best actors I’ve worked with – it’s my second time working with him. I love him to death. He’s super great and so funny.

But, then I think the other side of it that I love is that it’s this crazy world where you’ve got Friedkin chasing after something that he doesn’t even really know what it is, and you’ve got all these wild characters. Dirk is such a creative, imaginative character and I feel like I get to be, in a way, the straight man where I get to walk around like, “Is everybody seeing how crazy this is?” I don’t have a huge role in this season or anything, so it’s hard to compare it to Todd in the first season, where he was very much the wide-eyed “what is going on?” guy, but it feels sort of in that same realm, and that’s a lot of fun.

TrunkSpace: There’s such a crazy buzz surrounding the show. You mention it to somebody, and if they watch it, you’re kind of accepted into this secret club. When you’re working on a show that has that kind of fanboy pedigree, does it expose you to a more passionate fan base or more passionate viewers than it would if you were doing a network procedural?
Marmorstein: That’s a good question. Last year I worked on “Wayward Pines” and that was great too. That has a really passionate fan base as well. That one was a cool show that a lot of people, sci-fi nerds, really liked, but this one does feel like this little cult thing. You go on Twitter and you see some of these fan accounts and you see all the cosplayers and stuff – it feels like it really touched a group of people that might not have otherwise responded. I don’t know, it feels like some people really got swept up in the imagination of it and that’s great. It’s really cool when you can find a really cool niche thing like that.

TrunkSpace: Sticking with the idea of fandoms, you actually appeared in one of our favorite hours of television of all time, the “Supernatural” episode, “The French Mistake.”
Marmorstein: Oh my god, that’s so funny! I’ve done two episodes of “Supernatural.” I hate to mess up the continuity of it, but I guess with “The French Mistake” it can kind of evens it out. (Laughter)

The first one I did was at a Sam and Dean comic book convention. Somehow the only two episodes of “Supernatural” I’ve been in have been the ones where it’s so meta on so many levels. The first one I did I was like “Wow, this is hilariously meta. I’m cosplaying Sam and he’s cospsaying Dean.” Then of course the next time I got on I was like, “Oh my god, how is this… what are they gonna do next season?” (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: Jumping back to the present, you’re also set to appear alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in the upcoming film “Killing Gunther.” What is the experience like, calling home and getting to share the news that you’re in an Arnold movie?
Marmorstein: (Laughter) That’s a great way to phrase it too because I grew up on Arnold. My dad is a huge Arnold fan, took us to all of his movies, even when we were probably too young that they might have been slightly traumatizing. (Laughter) He loved him so much. His favorite dad joke is this running thing that he would always do whenever “Arnie” would come up in conversation. He would stop the conversation and say, “You know, people mistake me for him all the time.” Which is a joke because he is a 5 foot 5, bearded, pot-bellied Rabbi. So yeah, it’s a sight gag. (Laughter)

I was so excited to tell him that I got the part and he was really psyched about it. And I even got to tell Arnie that my dad had that joke with him, which was pretty cool.

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” airs Saturdays on BBC America.

Killing Gunther” is available on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital HD December 26.

Featured image by: Kristine Cofsky

read more
Wingman Wednesday

Alex Barima

AlexBarima_Halloween_Wingman_wednesday
Photo By: Malcom Tweedy

As the demon Drexel, Alex Barima has brought a uniquely expressive comedic delivery to Hell in the long-running series “Supernatural.” When not serving as the lapdog to Lucifer (Mark Pellegrino), the Montreal native is facing off with a different kind of demonic evil in FOX’s “The Exorcist,” playing the in-story role of the canary in a coal mine who senses that something very wrong is happening beneath the surface.

We recently sat down with Barima to discuss how “The Exorcist” has already become a game changer for his career, why he had a hard time sleeping for a week, and where he’s most comfortable when it comes to performance.

TrunkSpace: There was such great buzz and word-of-mouth surrounding season 1 of “The Exorcist.” Was it exciting coming into a series that had that energy already swirling around it?
Barima: 100 percent. When I got the part, I then went and watched the whole first season, and that really solidified my excitement for the show. I was like, “I get to be a part of something pretty cool.” We’re definitely really happy with the way everything’s gone so far, and we’re excited to show everybody.

TrunkSpace: For a long time, horror never really seemed to work in television. It was always better suited for film, but tonally, “The Exorcist” is bringing that cinematic feel to the TV side of genre with its telling of the story.
Barima: Yeah. The stories really unfold kind of like a film in a way where off the top, there’s not so much action going on. It’s more of a lot of leading up, a lot of introducing characters, and then slowly but surely things go south. By the end, when you’re in the heart of the plot, stuff hits the fan pretty hard.

TrunkSpace: As they should always do in horror!
Barima: (Laughter) Exactly.

TrunkSpace: Can you set the stage in terms of where your character Shelby falls into things?
Barima: So the leads from the first season had to leave Chicago, which was the setting of the first season. Now they join us, and we’re in Seattle. My character Shelby, he lives with his foster family on this island that’s just off the coast. There’s just a few kids in the house, and we’re all from these pretty rough backgrounds. Shelby himself, he’s from a broken family – a family broken up by drugs and crime and things like that. Growing up he had a very hard time, so he found religion. That’s what saved his life. Getting into the foster system is probably the best thing that ever happened. He found a family; he found a purpose. Now with all this stuff going on, he has very good perception. He’s a pretty smart kid, so he sees a lot of stuff. When something’s out of place, he notices almost immediately. He starts to kind of freak out before anyone else in the show.

I kind of like that. It’s always the character that I look to when I’m watching horror and stuff like that – the first character to really feel that something’s not right. I’m like, “Listen to that guy! Listen to him!”

TrunkSpace: It’s a rough turn for your character. Here he is, finding this silver lining, and then it all gets taken away.
Barima: Absolutely. It’s a living hell.

TrunkSpace: Does the creepy factor of the show ever spill out of the work? Do you have to remind yourself that none of it is real every now and then?
Barima: I definitely have had to shoot a few things where I’m freaking out. Shelby, he takes a few risks during the show because obviously he’s the red herring and trying to let everybody know that something’s not right. But of course, it’s hard to believe. He’ll take a few chances himself. I haven’t been too frightened shooting the actual show, but sometimes when we’re on location, and you’ve got a moment to yourself and you’re upstairs in the greenroom by yourself or anything like that, things kind of quiet down a little bit and then you maybe have a little too much time to think about things.

TrunkSpace: The imagination is a powerful force. It’s like when you’re driving at night and you know there is nobody in your backseat, but you convince yourself that if you look in the rear-view mirror you’ll see somebody there.
Barima: Yeah, exactly. After watching the first season, I had a very hard time sleeping for at least a week. This time around, I think watching it will be a bit easier because I was a part of it.

TrunkSpace: As an actor, how do you tap into fear within a scene?
Barima: It’s not easy because I’m quite technical when it comes to performance. I can’t count on my emotions because they’re not reliable. Typically, I’ll just try to understand what’s written on the page and then do my best to emulate that.

With this type of stuff, with fear, you need to realize that when you’re afraid, you don’t care about how you look. You’re just scared. Whatever happens to your body and your face and all that, it all comes immediately and you don’t have much control. I think a lot of it is about letting go. It’s not worrying about how you’re gonna look and just really, really, trying to convince yourself that you’re scared – channel that energy into your body and then your body will kind of drive itself. Hopefully people will believe that you’re terrified.

The music and the lighting helps, as well. I think in the end, it’s a little tricky, but it’s fun. I’ve never gotten to play scared before, like truly scared for my life. I’m excited to see how that turns out.

THE EXORCIST: L-R: Brianna Hildebrand, guest star Hunter Dillon, guest star Cyrus Arnold and guest star Alex Barima in the “Janus” season premiere episode of THE EXORCIST. ©Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Sergei Bachlakov/FOX

TrunkSpace: Was there a particular moment where you felt you got to really stretch yourself as an actor?
Barima: We’re only halfway through shooting the season, so I’m sure all of the toughest stuff is yet to come. But so far, I think the fear stuff has been very new for me. It’s been very new for me to be out there and act like my life is in danger and stuff like that.

In Vancouver, we do a lot of science fiction, so it’s usually either very action-oriented or very light. But with this stuff it’s like, “Okay, damn, you gotta dig deep, and really gotta be on point!” I think that’s been the newest thing for me. It’s the constant tension that’s in almost every moment.

TrunkSpace: Do you feel like your role in “The Exorcist” has the potential to be a game changer in your career?
Barima: It already has been a game changer, to be honest. Yeah, I think that me and my team, we kind of knew that once we got this, we were like, “Okay, this is a big deal.”

It’s been a pretty good year so far, but I’ve never really worked on anything of this scale. I’ve never had so many days on a project. We definitely know that this is gonna be something pretty big for me. I’m from a comedy background myself. That’s more my focus, but in this town we don’t have a lot of comedy. So, I haven’t gotten to do very much until, actually, this year. I did one film last December that just premiered in Toronto at the International Film Fest called “Public School” with Judy Greer.

After that I got on “Supernatural” where I got to do a little comedy, as well. So I was like, “Okay, I’m finally falling into my element here.” And then with “The Exorcist” it was like this super dramatic audition. I was like, “Okay, well I don’t know how this is gonna go” and they were like, “Oh, you got it. You’re in.” I was like, “Really?” (Laughter)

So this is amazing because I get to do this super heavy stuff on Fox with this project, and then I’ve got these other comedy things going at the same time. Whichever picks up is fine with me, but ultimately, I always feel more comfortable doing comedy.

TrunkSpace: You mentioned a magic word around here, “Supernatural.” We’re big fans of the show. You have had some great scenes opposite Mark Pellegrino, who has some amazingly unique delivery in everything that he does with the character of Lucifer. What has that experience been like?
Barima: Mark has been my favorite person to work with in a long time. I obviously joined the show very late, season 12. Mark is just so fun. We talked a lot between scenes, and we get along quite well. And then whenever it came to shooting, it was just so fun. It was just so fun to see him drop into this character so quickly – this character he knows so well, and he’s just doing this dialogue, and I’m trying to keep a straight face. It was quite hilarious.

But I’ve gotta say that “Supernatural,” that crew, it’s probably one of the best sets in the whole city. The way they run the show, the way everyone is so comfortable at work, you can really tell that they’ve been doing it for a long time, and you can tell why they’ve been so successful. It’s such a well-oiled machine, that show. Really fun to work on.

“Supernatural” airs Thursdays on The CW.

“The Exorcist” airs Fridays on FOX.

read more
Wingman Wednesday

Mark Pellegrino

MarkPellegrino_02_Halloween_Wingman_wednesday
Supernatural — “The Rising Son” — Image Number: SN1302a_0086.jpg — Pictured: Mark Pellegrino as Lucifer — Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW — © 2017 The CW Network, LLC All Rights Reserved.

The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”

According to the current “Supernatural” universe, that’s technically true, at least as it concerns this particular plane of fictional reality. And although it wasn’t a trick that he himself pulled, trickery was involved.

Playing out in the finale of season 12, Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles), along with the help of angel Castiel (Misha Collins), demon-turned-devil Crowley (Mark Sheppard), and their mother Mary (Samantha Smith), trapped Lucifer, played brilliantly by Mark Pellegrino, in an alternative universe where Hell on earth is an actual thing. Never one to go down without a fight, the fallen archangel did some serious damage to the Winchester crew before popping out of existence, serving as the catalyst for Crowley’s sacrifice (permanent), murdering Castiel (semi-permanent), and pulling Mary into the alt-dimension with him.

Lucifer is the bastard of big bads, that much has been made clear since he first appeared on the series back in season 5, but we just may be seeing a different side of him moving forward, one that replaces his devil may care attitude with an all new Prince of Not-So-Darkness. Stuck in the alternative universe with Mary and no longer the most powerful being within finger snapping distance, a vulnerable and reliant Lucifer is emerging and it’s a character journey that Pellegrino is excited to see play out.

We recently sat down with the Los Angeles native to discuss how his relationship with Mary will be forced to change in the alternative universe, why he feels fans may start rooting for Lucifer to do the right thing each week, and what makes the SPN Family the best fandom in the business.

TrunkSpace: Heading into season 13, Lucifer is stuck in a strange land with a sworn enemy, but from what we’ve seen teased out, it looks like you may have to rely a bit on each other. Is that accurate?
Pellegrino: Yeah. And I think that makes for good drama and good comedy, because we are the odd couple, for sure, and sort of chained together at the hip, and definitely need each other to either escape this place called the “alternate universe,” or get out of it.

Yeah, and I feel like in doing the scenes, we were sort of like an old married couple, to be honest with you.

TrunkSpace: Because of that, are viewers going to see a side of Lucifer that they haven’t seen before?
Pellegrino: I think so. I think we haven’t seen Lucifer really vulnerable. And I think in this new universe, even though he tries not to show it, there’s quite a bit of vulnerability revealed because he, as powerful as he is, and he proves it while he’s there a couple of times, he’s also out of his depths in a lot of ways. And so I think it’s going to be kind of a cool thing for the fans to see someone so powerful struggling with realities.

TrunkSpace: With the death of Crowley last season, fans are without a lovable bad guy to root for. Is Lucifer going to step up and be that guy that fans hope will do the right thing week to week?
Pellegrino: I hope so. I mean, that’s what I like to think. I like to think Lucifer has some redeeming qualities to him, and they’ve so far written a Lucifer that really goes against the archetype that we’re used to. And I like that. I like that a lot.

You know, they say parenthood changes you. And I’m hoping that there’s something to that with Lucifer. He seems to be yearning to have a connection, and I think that is sort of the opening, the door opening, to spaces that he’s had to keep closed since being alienated from the universe. So yeah, I’d like to think there’s doors opening in Lucifer’s character, and that it’s going to bring out that latent good thing that I sort of hope everyone has.

TrunkSpace: Lucifer is yearning for a connection, but at the same time, the writers did such a great job setting up that same yearning in Samantha Smith’s character Mary last season. Are the two characters, stuck as they are, going to find a kinship in each other?
Pellegrino: I hope so. I mean, I really see… it’s just good writing. I see those dynamics playing all the way through with all of the characters. They’ve got very similar issues to resolve, just on sort of different levels. And I think that’s great. I think that’s what makes them, even as enemies, familiar.

TrunkSpace: Lucifer wants out of the “alternative universe,” but at the same time, isn’t this exactly what he wanted? Wasn’t he looking for a world with this kind of end result, especially one that is free of Winchester brothers? What’s keeping him from wanting to stay there?
Pellegrino: I think I sort of played that when he originally came into the world. He was like, “Whoa. Cool. This is interesting…” But I think Lucifer reveals a respect for creation. I think he reveals a sense that, “Hey, we could do this better than has been done.” He actually has an ideal that isn’t about destruction, and pain, and death, but something else, something noble, believe it or not. And so at first, he might have enjoyed the chaos, but I think he has something that stretches further than just that. I think that’s sort of superficial.

Supernatural — “The Rising Son” — Image Number: SN1302a_0507.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Samantha Smith as Mary Winchester and Mark Pellegrino as Lucifer — Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW — © 2017 The CW Network, LLC All Rights Reserved.

TrunkSpace: It also kind of feels a bit like Lucifer, as powerful as he is, needs the Winchesters in his life because, if for no other reason, they’re the only ones who aren’t afraid to stand up to him and that seems to excite him a little.
Pellegrino: Oh, I think Lucifer loves people who are smart, loves people who are courageous, who have the chutzpah to go against, I mean, even God. The Winchesters are ballsy, and he can respect that. If you remember when Crowley shows up in the alternate universe, Lucifer sort of hops around on the ground like he loves that Crowley had the chutzpah and the intelligence to beat the odds.

And there is that element to Lucifer’s character, that respect for defiance, and that respect for courage, that he has in spades. He’s always sort of pushing the limit as far as he can go. And he’s that guy that likes no-limit men and no-limit women. And when he sees it in them, he can’t help but smile at that quality. So I think there’s a lot of layers that are going to come out with Lucifer, and you’ll see that perhaps he’s not as desirous of chaos and destruction as one would think. He just has a better idea.

And the revolutionary is one that thinks that it has to be burned down before you rebuild it again. I want to rebuild it, and make it better than it was before. That’s kind of noble.

TrunkSpace: You mentioned that Lucifer respects ballsy people. How would Lucifer get along with himself if he came across a version in an alternative world like the one he’s stuck in now?
Pellegrino: (Laughter) Well, in this world, luckily or unluckily for him, Lucifer doesn’t exist. Lucifer lost the battle in a big way. So he’s going to be that guy in that world. And the question is, will he measure up to the alternative universe Michael, who’s a very, very different cat than the one in the world that we knew?

TrunkSpace: Who we’re actually going to meet in tonight’s episode, correct?
Pellegrino: Yes.

TrunkSpace: Sounds like complicated roads are ahead! Finally, Mark, in terms of your ride on this journey so far… in your experience, is there anything that compares, fandom-wise, to the SPN Family and their commitment and loyalty they have to the show?
Pellegrino: Oh, no. Not at all. And I think that’s in part due to the unique relationship we have with them. It’s reciprocal. We help each other out. And unlike most fandoms, they don’t see that barrier between us and them. And it’s kind of cool, you know? And it’s great being part of that sort of passionate group of people.

Watch Lucifer come face-to-face with alt-Michael tonight when “Supernatural” airs on the CW.

Featured Image By: Manfred Baumann

read more
Wingman Wednesday

Natalie Sharp

NatalieSharp_Halloween_Wingwoman_wednesday
Photo by: Ryan West

If the Bluths of “Arrested Development” fame made being despicable an art form, the Swallow family from the Audience Network’s “Hit the Road” is turning it into a catchy song that you just can’t shake. The new  series from “Seinfeld” alum Jason Alexander, which premieres on October 17, follows the band-on-the-run exploits of the dysfunctional songwriting clan as they traverse the country in search of fortune and fame.

Series star Natalie Sharp plays lead singer and diva-in-training Ria Swallow, and from what we have seen thus far, it’s a star-making role for the Canadian-born actress and songwriter.

We recently sat down with Sharp to discuss getting to play the daughter of a TV legend, why her character is a total badass on stage, and how she got to see “Supernatural” star Jensen Ackles riding around on a tiny, yellow motorbike.

TrunkSpace: You’re starring in the new series “Hit the Road” from co-creator Jason Alexander. When you’re cast in a series developed by one of the great icons of television, what goes through your mind? How did you celebrate?
Sharp: Confusion, and OMG! My friends have been spotting us on billboards together, and none of it feels real! I feel incredibly lucky to be acting with Jason. He has taught me so much and is so warm and welcoming, and HILARIOUS (obviously). I love being his troublesome teenage daughter!

I was actually with my friend in Mexico when I got the call. After all the screaming, we celebrated with some margaritas!

TrunkSpace: The series follows a family band as they tour the country. Are we talking a dysfunctional version of the Partridge Family… a sort of siblings Guns N’ Roses? And on top of that, what type of music does the family focus on?
Sharp: A VERY dysfunctional version of the Partridge family. Our family is ridiculously chaotic. We lie, cheat, steal… you name it! Our music is cheesy and lame, which adds to the contrast between our onstage persona and offstage persona. You’ll see. We are despicable people. It’s amazing.

TrunkSpace: In the show you play the lead singer and eldest daughter of Jason, Ria. Looking over the history of music, who would you best compare Ria to as far as lead singers of the past or present? Who does she embody?
Sharp: Definitely Avril Lavigne and Christina Aguilera.

TrunkSpace: Playing a character like Ria seems like it would be a lot of fun to inhabit, not only because of the music angle, but also just because of the attitude you get to exude. Now that you’ve had some time to spend with Ria and discover who she is at her core, what has been the best part of the performance journey for you?
Sharp: I am constantly discovering new things about Ria, which has made this whole process so exciting. Even in a comedy, I was able to go very deep emotionally and, as you said, figure out who she really is at her ‘core.’ I am very protective of my character because I love playing her. She has definitely become a part of me and I would stand up for her any day.

My favorite part of the process has been discovering the relationships between each of her siblings and parents. I love the family dynamic we have created and being able to work with such an amazing cast is half the battle.

TrunkSpace: You’re actually a singer/songwriter in real life as well. How much of your knowledge of music and performance were you able to inject into your role?
Sharp: A lot. I was given so much freedom when it came to my performance, and my style of singing. We all created harmonies together, and would have jam sessions almost between every take! The music is what really bonded us as a family. Personally, I have been singing and performing on stage since I was five years old. It comes much more naturally to me and so I am very comfortable with it. Singing helped me understand Ria because it is something we have in common. I know how it feels to walk on stage and feel like you’re on cloud nine. I know why she loves it, and I know how much it means to her. If I weren’t confident in my singing and stage presence then this role would have been incredibly tough!

TrunkSpace: Double-edged question. What is your favorite fake lyric that Ria got to sing and what is your favorite real-life lyric that you’ve written?
Sharp: “I’m an outlaw, I’m a champion, turn up my amp now, and I’ll teach you a lesson.” Ria is so confident when she is up onstage singing. She knows she is great! Total badass!

My lyric would probably be from the first song I ever wrote: “If you’re going to judge me on what I did, you can’t say you know me.” Which is, now that I think of it, also at the heart of Ria.

Sharp with the cast of Hit the Road

TrunkSpace: We mentioned getting to work with an icon like Jason already, but that’s not where the icons stop as far as “Hit the Road” is concerned. Richard Dreyfus is also guest-starring in the series. With all of the incredible people surrounding the project, what is the biggest lesson you took away from your work in season 1 that you will apply to your career moving forward?
Sharp: To never stop wanting to learn! To not put so much pressure on myself to be ‘perfect,’ but to enjoy the moments and ultimately have fun!

TrunkSpace: The concept is great, the cast is incredible, and the buzz is building around the show. It seems that the biggest hurdle now is just informing people about where the show will live. With so many networks and streaming platforms these days, what is the key to getting people on board with the AT&T Audience Network so that they can watch the show?
Sharp: Because I come from Canada, Audience and AT&T network don’t exist. So this is all very new to me too! Marketing and publicity for both the show and network are very important. If people are interested in watching our show, they need to know how. They have done an amazing job with spreading the word on social media for “Hit the Road,” AND other new, hot shows on the same network, so it is only a matter of time that Audience starts buzzing as well!

TrunkSpace: We are suckers for the series “Supernatural” here. As it turns out, you guested in one of the most memorable episodes of all time, “Fan Fiction.” For fans of the series, what was that experience like, especially with the concept of the episode involving so much of the show’s past?
Sharp: It was incredible! It was my first big acting gig and I really had to do my research because I had never watched the show (I know, I know… sorry guys)! It was also a musical episode, which made me feel right at home. The boys were obviously amazing to work with, and it was hilarious watching them improvise! I didn’t know they were so funny! I thought it was the coolest thing when I saw Jensen Ackles riding around a miniature, bright yellow motorbike on set.

And I also loved the fact my character got kidnapped by a scarecrow and then I get to fight a demon witch? I’m very much into the action adventure.

TrunkSpace: As that particular episode touched on, the series has a very loyal fandom. Having now been a part of the series, have you felt the reach of the fandom in real life, either through social media or via day-to-day interaction?
Sharp: I have surprisingly been approached a couple times! And fans message me through my artist Facebook page, and Instagram. I can always tell when my episode re-airs!

Sharp on the set of Supernatural with Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles

TrunkSpace: You are currently in school and working as a professional actress at the same time. How do you strike a balance between studies and work?
Sharp: I have been doing this for four years now and I have learned to go with the flow! Even though I have a crazy schedule and homework, and exams, and a social life… I know what my priorities are, so it hasn’t been too hard (even though it can be a little stressful). I just feel so lucky that I am able to do both!

TrunkSpace: You’re still very early in your career. With so much future ahead of you, what do you hope to accomplish? What are some of your bucket list items that you’d like to check off?
Sharp: Well… I have already filmed a volleyball movie, which is another huge passion of mine, now I am doing singing… I definitely want to be a superhero and work on a post-apocalyptic type show! Action/Adventure is one of my favorite genres along with sci-fi. Working with Christopher Nolan would be a dream! He is such a smart director and I love how he stretches and twists people’s minds! Other than that, I don’t want to look too far into the future. Whatever happens, I believe is meant to happen. Of course, it would be amazing to win an Oscar…

“Hit the Road”pulls into town October 17 on the AT&T Audience Network.

Featured image by: Ryan West

read more
Wingman Wednesday

Jesse Moss

JesseMoss_Halloween_Wingman_wednesday
Photo by: Kristine Cofsky

Haley Joel Osment isn’t the only person seeing dead people these days. With the new Syfy series “Ghost Wars” set to kick off tomorrow, the entire population of a remote Alaskan town is about to be spooked on a massive scale. With a cast that includes Vincent D’Onofrio and Meat Loaf, as well as a trailer that would make Vincent Price’s iconic voice crack, Major League Baseball isn’t the only fall classic set to wow people this week.

We recently sat down with series star Jesse Moss to discuss the impressive “Ghost Wars” creative team, where the real horror lies, and why people are continuously drawn to the idea of being scared.

TrunkSpace: The “Ghost Wars” concept is great. The producers are powerhouses. The cast is stacked. And there’s a side of Meat Loaf! From a project perspective, this is a dream gig. What were your initial thoughts when you booked the job and what are your expectations going into the upcoming premiere?
Moss: This was one of those times when it took awhile from the initial audition to actually book it. To be honest, I had just assumed they had gone another way, so when my agent told me I had the job I was quite surprised. I was really excited to work with Simon Barry and Dennis Heaton again. Like you said, they are creative powerhouses and the shows they make are always amazing. Then I heard who else was cast in the show and my head exploded. Between the writing, the cast, and the people putting it all together, I think this show is really going to excite a lot of people.

TrunkSpace: A lot of ghost-related series take a more comedic approach tonally, but this looks pretty damn frightening. Would you say the series as a whole is strictly horror, or does it have other genre elements blended in?
Moss: This show will definitely scare you, but it’s more than just a horror. It’s really about the relationships of the people in the town and how they deal with the events that are happening. Some believe that these ghosts are punishment for past sins, so there is a religious point of view, but there is also a science fiction aspect where some believe science can explain the afterlife. There are actually a lot of funny moments in the show as well. With all the darkness it’s important to have those moments of light.

TrunkSpace: In watching the trailer, the show gives off an us (the living) versus them (the dead) type of vibe, but is it more complicated than that? Do the people eventually turn on each other?
Moss: There is definitely an us versus them theme in the show, but the politics in the town were already divisive before the dead show up. As things become more intense, that divide only grows.

TrunkSpace: Where does your character Deputy Norm Waters fall into things, and without giving too much away, is it safe to say he’s in for a couple of rough days on the job?
Moss: He has a couple of rough days on the job to say the least. Particularly because it’s a job he doesn’t even want. At the start of the show, Norm is not especially heroic or courageous. Being a cop is just a job to him, and it being such a small town, a job he thought would be easy. When events force him into a position of responsibility, Norm has to overcome his fears and learn things about himself he never knew.

TrunkSpace: From a performance standpoint, did taking on Deputy Norm allow you to go to places that you have yet to visit on-screen with other characters? What was it about him that drew you to the character?
Moss: Without giving away any spoilers, I definitely go places I’ve never been or ever expected to go. Things get pretty crazy. I think the best part about playing Norm Waters was the arc of who he was to who he becomes. It’s a pretty epic journey with a lot of highs and lows.

TrunkSpace: In recent years you have done a number of Hallmark films, which tonally couldn’t be any further from “Ghost Wars.” As an actor do you purposely set out to create an environment for yourself where genre and character diversity is at the core of what you’re doing and the choices you’re making?
Moss: It’s always nice to have diversity in your career. I think one would get bored playing the same character over and over again. I wouldn’t say, however, that I purposely go after it. I go where the work takes me.

TrunkSpace: “Ghost Wars” has the feeling of a show that could very easily amass an impressive fandom, something that Syfy shows are known to do. From the perspective of someone who knows the project better than most, are the ingredients there to build a fan base that will make it the next, let’s say, “Supernatural,” a series you actually appeared in a few seasons ago?
Moss: I think the show is solid from top to bottom. From the script to the cast to the way it looks, I don’t feel like there’s a weak link. People are gonna love it. One can only hope that the show reaches a “Supernatural” level of fandom, and this show has as good a shot as any.

TrunkSpace: We’re suckers for some “Supernatural” here, a show that is brilliant in the fact that if you know it, you love it, and if you don’t, you’re not even sure if it is still on the air. In a lot of ways, it feels like a secret club. As someone who has appeared on the show, did it give off that vibe to you as well… in that now that you’re a part of the universe, you’re a part of the fandom?
Moss: “Supernatural” fans are some of the best fans in the world. They really love the show and know everything about it. When you are a part of the show, you feel like you’re a part of a family. They really welcome you with open arms.

TrunkSpace: In doing research for this interview, our fingers literally locked up scrolling through your extremely impressive film and television credits. It is packed with projects. As you look back over your career, what roles stand out to you in terms of those that not only meant the most to your career, but at the same time, to you personally?
Moss: The TV series “Whistler” was a big one for me because it was my first real lead on a series. I learned a lot on that show and I think I really grew as an actor. I not only learned what to do, I learned what not to do. “Dear Mr. Gacy” also stands out as a role that really allowed me to stretch as an actor. It challenged me and pushed me to places I didn’t know I could go.

Moss in Tucker and Dale vs Evil

TrunkSpace: We’re about to hit our stride for our month-long Trunktober event, which is basically our celebration of all things horror. Outside of “Ghost Wars,” you have also appeared in a number of memorable genre films, including “Final Destination 3,” and of course, “Tucker and Dale vs Evil.” As “It” has proven, people continue to love horror. In your opinion, what is that keeps people going to the movies looking to be scared?
Moss: I think people are fascinated with death. Watching a horror movie allows you to experience aspects of death from the comfort of your own home. Getting your adrenaline pumping and experiencing that thrill while knowing that you’re safe is very appealing to people. It’s the same reason people ride roller coasters. Although that didn’t work out so well in “Final Destination 3.”

Ghost Wars” premieres Thursday on Syfy.

Featured image by: Kristine Cofsky

read more
Wingman Wednesday

Danay Garcia

DanayGarcia_Halloween_Wingwoman_wednesday
Photo by: Louis Rodiger

Fans of “Fear the Walking Dead” know Danay Garcia as Luciana, one of the few survivors of the zombie apocalypse. Eagle-eyed SPN Family members may also recognize her from season 8 of “Supernatural” where she guested in a memorable episode called “Trial and Error.” Now the Cuban-born actress is adding another fandom notch to her belt as she’s set to star in the latest installment of the Sniper franchise, “Sniper: Ultimate Kill,” available today on digital, Blu-ray, and DVD.

Garcia, who says she grew up surrounded by pink and trained as a ballet dancer throughout her early years, found it both humorous and exhilarating that she was running around in military fatigues with gun in hand, hunting down bad guys. And while the exciting action scenes were one of the elements that initially drew her to the role of Kate Estrada, a DEA agent tasked with bringing down a Columbian drug trafficker, it was the strength she discovered in the character that she bonded to most.

We recently sat down with Garcia to discuss honoring strong women on screen, how she likes to add her slice to the overall performance pie, and why she didn’t have time to consider the enormity of her “Fear the Walking Dead” role when first cast.

TrunkSpace: Outside of the action, what drew you to Kate from a performance standpoint?
Garcia: I really loved working and developing her as a woman that is in charge and in control of herself mentally and physically. She’s a woman who uses her physical strength and her mind strength to survive. She’s very in control of her emotions, but she’s not afraid to let go either. She knows herself – physically and mentally, because she’s a leader and she’s a fighter too. I really had a great time discovering that balance in her. She can grab a gun and shoot, order around the place, and then the next day we can see her crying in an elevator.

I’m very grateful to have one of the best directors that I’ve worked with in Claudio Fäh. He just gave me so much with the role, and not just to perform, but to create ahead of time with him. We would Skype and go down page-by-page, beat-by-beat, and it really helped me so much to have the freedom to let myself go and be confident.

TrunkSpace: And she is a character that could have easily gone in a more predictable direction.
Garcia: It could be this predictable character – a kind of cartoonish character, which we avoided at all times. It could have been like, “Oh this is Wonder Woman and she doesn’t feel anything.” I just think this is a very specific time in history, in life, for women, every time we portray a character, we have to be very honest about it and honor that, because whatever is out there will be out there forever. The flaws. The good and the bad. And the things that are great about a woman in power – a woman in charge.

Garcia with Chad Michael Collins in Sniper: Ultimate Kill

TrunkSpace: Sniper is an established franchise and you came into the universe after many of the actors had already solidified themselves within the world. What were your thoughts about coming into an established film franchise that had already built up a fan base?
Garcia: You know, it came out of surprise. I remembered “Sniper” and when I was little, like a teenager, I remember watching them. We all love action movies. They’re going to live forever. You need them. They’re entertaining. When I auditioned, I just really loved the character. I never focus on the potential of the entire monster because I just feel like we’re a team. I focus on adding a little piece of the pie. This one is my piece and I just want to give you the best piece of the entire pie. If it tastes bad, it will not be my piece. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: You also star in “Fear the Walking Dead,” which is known for its body count. The Sniper films also have their share of on-screen deaths. Does “Sniper: Ultimate Kill” live up to the body count of “Fear the Walking Dead?”
Garcia: I mean, they’re different, but the one thing that they have in common is the action and the surprise and the mystery of it all. You can’t really compare the two, but the ride is a similar ride. It’s like, “Oh my God, what’s gonna happen?” You just feel that inside of you.

TrunkSpace: With “Sniper: Ultimate Kill” you know where your character Kate is going start to finish. In something like “Fear the Walking Dead,” you not only don’t know where her story will end, but you don’t know when it will end either. From a performance standpoint, do you make different choices for a character when you can see their arc laid out in front of you?
Garcia: That’s a good question. When it comes to specifically “Fear the Walking Dead,” I think the only difference between one and the other in terms of the journey is that in Fear, you’re never relaxed. You’re constantly in an apocalypse. You’re constantly in danger. Anybody can kill you at any time. So, I always feel like there’s this speed in the way I talk and the way I walk. I’m always aware of my surroundings. I’m very focused, ready for a fight or ready for anything. You would never see Luciana or any character smelling the roses. It’s impossible. It’s not right.

But in the movie, I feel like there’s a space for the character within the storyline to really have a second to think and then to act. There’s a time to think, readjust, and attack. I feel like that art is more defined in a movie than in a television show. Obviously when it comes to Fear, it’s more in your face because we’re talking about an apocalypse. You can’t afford to relax.

Photo by Richard Foreman, Jr/AMC – © 2017 AMC Film Holdings LLC. All Rights Reserved.

TrunkSpace: We talked about coming into the Sniper franchise after it was already up and running, but what was that experience like when you came into “Fear the Walking Dead,” a franchise that is easily the biggest television has seen in over a decade?
Garcia: When I started there I didn’t think about, “Oh my God, this has a huge following.” First of all, I never had time to think about that. I auditioned on a Wednesday, I knew I got the job on a Friday – meaning I was traveling to Mexico on a Friday – and on Monday I was on set. I couldn’t think of anything. (Laughter)

I was just more focused on this character and this situation and how I could understand her more because I had no information, at all, whatsoever, other than that she knows how to kill zombies and she has this guy. Other than that, I had no idea. And I was pretty focused the entire season to do my absolute best job to create this woman and give her lot of layers of life and to make her real to that specific time in an apocalyptic world.

So that was my goal. I couldn’t think of about it being a franchise or about Comicon or, you know, action figures. I was more like, “How can I get my day done well to the best of my abilities.” (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: Obviously “Fear the Walking Dead” has a huge following. The Sniper franchise continues to build its fan base. And then if we look a little further back in your career we’ll find a show that you guested on that really has a massive fan following in “Supernatural.” It has become a show where so many young actors have gotten their start, and from what we’ve been told by others, it is a set that welcomes newcomers with open arms.
Garcia: Yeah. It’s a show that, the moment you get to set – literally the moment you get to set – the one thing you do is you meet Jensen and Jared. And the moment you meet those two guys together, you understand why the show has been on for so many years, and why the show has been so successful for so many years. You understand it because those two, they are like brothers. They really are. They’re both Texans, they both started together in “Supernatural,” and they both get it. And they’re so humble. It’s this beautiful connection of brotherhood and friendship and, it just makes you want to stay, you know? It’s weird. It makes you want to stay. It makes you support them. It makes you give your best to the show.

Sniper: Ultimate Kill” is available today on digital, Blu-ray, and DVD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

“Fear the Walking Dead” airs Sundays on AMC.

read more
Wingman Wednesday

Geoff Gustafson

GeoffGustafson_Wingman_wednesday (1)

Even though digital correspondence is the preferred method of communication these days, we all still love to open the mailbox and find a handwritten letter waiting for us. There’s something nostalgic about peeling back the seal of a freshly delivered envelope and discovering what is waiting for us inside. That’s why the concept of the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ ongoing franchise, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” is so ingenious, because it strikes a chord before you ever get past the opening credits.

A group of postal detectives work to solve the mysteries behind undeliverable letters and packages from the past, delivering them when they are needed most.”

As far as pitches go, it doesn’t get much better than that, and for the countless fans of the series who have followed along with it since it first began airing in 2014, the individual stories that make up each standalone movie back up the overall premise.

The latest installment, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Home Again,” premieres Sunday, September 24 at 9 pm ET/PT on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. We recently sat down with series star Geoff Gustafson to discuss the passionate fanbase, why the series has continued to find success, and the experience of having a television icon play his grandmother.

TrunkSpace: We were amazed by how passionate the “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” fanbase is. In many ways, it almost seems like the kind of fandom associated with science fiction shows. Have you been surprised by the level of interest and amount of passion coming from the fanbase?
Gustafson: Oh yeah, absolutely. The POstables, as they are called, are rabid. They are really into it and have created a really solid foundation with some core members that promote the show and promote different viewing nights during the course of the year to watch previously aired episodes and the movies.

TrunkSpace: What do you think the key has been to building that audience? What has pulled the POstables in?
Gustafson: Well, I think it starts with Martha Williamson, the show’s creator. She had a memorable stint with “Touched by an Angel,” so she is familiar with that demographic. And I think people are looking for less violent, more family-oriented shows that they don’t have to worry about. They can relax and watch a family show. I think that’s really what they’re attracted to, that no-fear TV feeling.

TrunkSpace: It does feel like perhaps people are looking for a balance. They can have their dark and gritty programming, but at the same time, they still want to feel good sometimes.
Gustafson: Absolutely. And it is… feel-good show sounds a bit cliché, but I think at its core, it is essentially that, it’s a feel-good show. You don’t worry about betrayal amongst the core four, the POstables themselves. You know they’re going to do their best and come from the most positive place that they can muster. There’s no real fear of them traveling down a dark path, it’s just, how are they going to manage the obstacles that they face?

TrunkSpace: What has been the biggest surprise for you in your “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” journey so far?
Gustafson: You know, the show continuing to tell an ongoing story has been a bit of a surprise. I thought it would be easier to do it week to week with an hour-long episode, but the truth is that I think with the new format, the two hour MOW (movie of the week) format, we’re still telling an ongoing story. In fact, I think that the two hour format gives us a bit more time to expand on every letter mystery. We have a bit more time to flesh that out and find it’s relevance to the POstables and their immediate families in some cases, or just their immediate surroundings.

TrunkSpace: And in terms of a personal character journey, is it enjoyable to see Norman’s arc play out in a single movie as opposed to over the course of a handful of episodes?
Gustafson: Yeah, I think so. I think sometimes in the hour-long episodes, there’s the tendency to rush some development. And I think you are able to expand on the same growth over a two hour period and then oftentimes between the MOWs, a significant period of time has passed, so it can be a couple of months or three weeks, or six months even. The growth feels more organic I think, oftentimes in the trials and tribulations of the POstables. It doesn’t feel as rushed.

TrunkSpace: We talked about surprises, but when it comes to joys, we would imagine learning that Carol Burnett would be playing your grandmother in the series was right up there?
Gustafson: Yeah, it honestly doesn’t get better than that. I wouldn’t say it was on my bucket list, because that would never even occur to me that it could happen, but yeah, growing up, my dad was a huge “Carol Burnett Show” fan. I remember sitting and watching it with him and laughing hysterically at her, Harvey Korman, and the guy who plays Dorf. So when they told me that she was going to play my grandmother, I was over the moon. It was awesome. And sure enough, even just working with her was beyond what I could have hoped for. She was hilarious and gracious, and professional, and sharp as a tack, and just so kind and reassuring. If I could choose a grandmother, I would pick Carol Burnett. (Laughter)

Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Home Again Photo: Crystal Lowe, Geoff Gustafson Credit: Copyright 2017 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: David Owen Strongman

TrunkSpace: You’ve been playing Norman now since 2014. Were there any performance choices that you made in the early days of discovering who Norman was that you feel paid off later in ways that you never intended?
Gustafson: Yeah, I think so. The truth is, Martha Williamson is really open to hashing out our ideas with her, and managing to incorporate them into the story. So the idea of Norman being a foster child that gets adopted, and his struggles to feel like a part of a family – that was all set up from the beginning. Probably where it pays off the most is in my relationship with Rita, Crystal Lowe’s character. Crystal and I have known each other for years. We grew up in the same town, we were on another show together, we lived across the street from each other, so we’re pretty close outside of work.

But it’s been fun watching Rita and Norman grow into this really, really innocent partnership. And that probably is the biggest surprise. Not because I don’t get along with Crystal, I get along with her great, but rather, to somehow manage to have maintained this innocence throughout all of these years to a place where now they’re engaged, and they’re gonna get married, and the idea, I imagine, would be that they would continue and have a family, etc.

I think it’s maybe my choice to develop an aspect of Norman where he loves so freely, and sees the value in loving an infinite number of people, and yet really struggles with what there is to love in himself, and then having Rita play what she loves about him so sincerely and directly. I think that would probably be the biggest surprise, and how that’s managed to help formulate their partnership.

TrunkSpace: What do you think the fanbase is going to love most about the latest installment, “Home Again?”
Gustafson: We get to see more of the personal lives of the POstables in this one, particularly on Rita’s side, which I think is really exciting. In a lot of ways, Rita’s character is a bit of a mystery. We don’t really know that much about who she is and where she’s from. We’ve explored Shane, we’ve explored Norman, we’ve explored Oliver, and I think Rita’s character is the character that benefits the most from the exploration in this. I think it’s hilarious, and it’s so lovely, and it makes so much sense as to why Rita is the way she is, so that will be something that the POstables and the other fans will be excited by.

TrunkSpace: We’re all nutty for the show “Supernatural” here, and you actually appeared in an episode during its infancy. When you worked on the show, did it have the feeling of a series that would be around for 13 years?
Gustafson: Holy smokes. Yeah, I was in an episode in the very first season. You know what, thinking back, at the time I was pretty green, and I remember feeling very comfortable on set. The two lead gentlemen, Jensen and Jared, they were both so welcoming and professional. They’d put together a real A Team for “Supernatural,” so I’m not surprised. I just remember at the time being like, “Whoa, this feels like a real TV show,” as opposed to something that was maybe a bit soft and thrown together.

read more