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Chesapeake Shores

Wingman Wednesday

Meghan Ory

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Photo: Meghan Ory Credit: Copyright 2017 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ricardo Hubbs

Before the summer draws to a close, we’re going to be taking some time to visit the shores… “Chesapeake Shores.” The Hallmark Channel original series recently returned for season 2 and with it, even more critical acclaim.

We sat down with O’Brien family member Meghan Ory to discuss what drew her to the series, the post-hiatus rowdiness on set, and why Jensen Ackles hit her in the head with a two-by-four.

TrunkSpace: As far as your character Abby is concerned, did you spend time with Sherryl Woods’ books or did you want there to be separation between the television world and the literary world that already existed?
Ory: Yes, unfortunately I chose not to read the books, although I can’t wait to do so at some point. I was told when we started filming that the series wouldn’t follow the books exactly and I wanted to be able to look at the series scripts with fresh eyes. Sherryl is lovely though and has been very encouraging and supportive; which is so important as I want to do this world and character she created justice.

TrunkSpace: Usually it is the genre shows that attract the rabid, die hard fans, but from what we have seen, “Chesapeake Shores” has that as well. What is it about the series that has turned people into diehards as opposed to casual viewers?
Ory: Well, that is a million dollar question! I wish I knew. We spend our time filming in this little bubble and have no idea how what we are doing will be received. It is very exciting that people are enjoying the stories we are telling and the O’Brien family as much as we enjoy making it.

TrunkSpace: Most television is high concept these days. Everything has a spin to it. What’s nice about “Chesapeake Shores” is that it feels like a bit of a throwback… a family drama ABOUT the family. From an acting standpoint, does that allow you to focus more on character and performance than something that is steeped in a high concept world?
Ory: Yes, that is something that drew me to “Chesapeake Shores” in the beginning. In the same vein as shows like “Parenthood” and “This Is Us,” it is really nice to be able to delve into the details of these characters. I think it allows us as the actors and the audience to become intimate with these characters and spend time with people you enjoy.

TrunkSpace: In a series about family, what was it like returning to your on-set family after the hiatus between season 1 and season 2? Is it a bit like going back to school after a summer vacation?
Ory: (Laughter) Yes, it definitely is. It is certainly quite loud and rowdy on set for the first few weeks back. It’s hard to get our work done!

TrunkSpace: There’s something else that connects a lot of your castmates other than being on-screen O’Briens. Many of you have also guested on “Supernatural.” You grew up in Canada and started your career there. Is it a bit of a rite of passage to appear on that series with it having been on the air so long now?
Ory: “Supernatural” has definitely made its way through the Canadian actor pool. My episode of “Supernatural” was quite funny actually. I worked with Jensen years before on “Dark Angel” and our characters were in love, then when I appeared on “Supernatural,” I was evil and he had to hit me in the head with a two-by-four. It was quite the reunion. I think the fans got a kick out of that one.

Photo: Treat Williams, Meghan Ory Credit: Copyright 2017 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ricardo Hubbs

TrunkSpace: In the episode you appeared, “Adventures in Babysitting,” you played a vetala. In a world where everything has been done and done again in film and television, it has to be pretty cool to have played one of the only vetalas to ever appear on screen… and quite possibly… that ever will appear? That’s Trivial Pursuit question territory!
Ory: I’ve never thought about that, very true though! It was definitely a fun character to play. I always enjoy playing a good villain!

TrunkSpace: We talked previously about passionate fanbases. You spent multiple seasons on the series “Once Upon a Time.” Do you think that series/character will stay with you forever? Will people always remember you as Ruby?
Ory: I loved that show from the first time I read a script for it. You could just tell it was a very unique and special world. It was a great opportunity to get to play the same character in different scenarios of life, so it was always interesting and exciting. Once will always have a special place in my heart and as I have said, you never know when Red might pop up again!

TrunkSpace: When you tap into a passionate fanbase, those fans then want to know everything they can about you. Is it getting increasingly more difficult to maintain a private life as a public figure due to the social media/instant gratification age? How do you strike a balance between the two worlds?
Ory: There are pros and cons to everything. It is so nice to be able to connect and communicate with fans and hear how they are liking what we are creating. For me, I feel like limiting the amount of social media I have makes a difference. I had to get off Twitter years ago, but really enjoy Instagram. I think it’s good to maintain a bit of mystery!

TrunkSpace: You have been acting professionally for some time now, but what aspect of the process still excites you the most and feels as fresh as it did on your very first acting gig?
Ory: It may sound cheesy, but anytime I am on set and the director says, “Action,” I am as excited as the first time I heard it. I feel very fortunate to have a job that I enjoy going to every day.

Photo: Jesse Metcalfe, Meghan Ory Credit: Copyright 2017 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ricardo Hubbs

TrunkSpace: You have played so many interesting characters over the years. Are there any that you wish you could have spent more time with and could have seen developed out further, and if so, why?
Ory: That’s a great question. I always feel a little sad every time I finish a show and have to say goodbye to that character. They become a part of your life. I would have enjoyed seeing what a second season of “Intelligence” would have looked like. I loved playing that character.

And I will always be interested to see where else Adam (Horowitz) and Eddie (Kitsis) take Ruby on Once, if they chose to. Lana (Parrilla) and I used to joke that the evil queen needed a pet wolf!

TrunkSpace: With the new season of “Chesapeake Shores” now reaching viewers, what do you hope fans will walk away with when the season finishes up?
Ory: I don’t want to give anything away but the finale of season 2 is going to shock a lot of people, I think. I hope viewers finish the season feeling satisfied and hungry for a season 3!

“Chesapeake Shores” airs Sundays on Hallmark Channel.

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Wingman Wednesday

Laci J Mailey

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Photo By: Paul Smith Photography

Before the summer draws to a close, we’re going to be taking some time to visit the shores… “Chesapeake Shores.” The Hallmark Channel original series recently returned for season 2 and with it, even more critical acclaim.

We sat down with O’Brien family member Laci J Mailey to discuss how she tapped into the “Chesapeake Shores” source material, the impending Jess mess, and why “Supernatural” is the right kind of rite of passage.

TrunkSpace: “Chesapeake Shores” is based on Sherryl Woods’ book series. In your interaction with viewers, has the show been attracting fans of both the source material and those who knew nothing about the novels beforehand?
Mailey: YES! Sherryl Woods’ books are New York Times Bestsellers – so yes. Absolutely her fans have followed her work into the TV series. Sometimes the fans of the books get a little upset that we haven’t exactly followed the original storylines, but Sherryl allowed us a beautiful framework to play with these characters and I think at the end of the day, everyone is okay with that. I believe we are honoring the characters she has created.

TrunkSpace: As far as your character Jess is concerned, did you spend time with Sherryl’s books or did you want there to be separation between the television world and the literary world that already existed?
Mailey: Well, let me be honest. I had to be careful with this in order to keep my ego in check and to make sure I was doing my job at telling the most truthful version of Jess I could. From my original research before reading the books, I quickly understood that NO ONE liked Jess! She was full of drama and a lot of the reader reviews found her quite annoying. At first this scared me. But then I really sat with it and thought, well, everyone is flawed. How can I bring this girl to life while staying true to her character and still allow the audience to understand and connect with her, despite her flighty behavior? So to answer your question: yes I sat with the books… but I sat carefully. I didn’t want to judge her. That being said, when I am reading her in the books, she is a separate entity. When I am reading her in the scripts, she’s mine.

TrunkSpace: Where is Jess’ personal journey taking her in season 2 and what part will she play in the overall storyline?
Mailey: I’m so happy for Jess in season 2! She finally gets to grow up a little. Things are really shifting and changing for her. She is dealing with old wounds and opening her heart to new possibilities. As for the overall storyline, she’s still making Jess messes but she’s finally learning to let more of her family help her and support her in the clean up.

TrunkSpace: The show focuses on the classic theme of family dynamics and the idea that you can always go home again. What is it that viewers relate to when watching the O’Brien family and at the same time, what does the series do differently with that dynamic that we haven’t seen before?
Mailey: Well, hopefully the audience can find something in one or all of our characters that they can say, “That’s so me!” or “That’s so Dad!” That’s really all we can hope for, that type of connection. For the viewers to watch and feel supported in their own life or their own family.

Photo: Laci Mailey Credit: Copyright 2017 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ricardo Hubbs

TrunkSpace: In the series you play the youngest sister. As far as her place in the family itself, does Jess feel like she has something to prove?
Mailey: Always! She is dealing with some pretty deep rooted abandonment issues, so I think she has lived her whole life wondering why she was left behind. What a great question. I think that might be Jess’s ultimate flaw – she is always trying to prove that she is worth loving and worth being heard. This is why she works so hard to make the BnB a success and is always making so many mistakes… maybe she’s testing to see if her family will stick with her.

TrunkSpace: What was it about Jess that you could relate to, and on the opposite side of that coin, what was it about her that is so far removed from who you are that it took some searching to find?
Mailey: Well, I like to think in my own life that I’m “the cool aunt!” I love her creativity and impulsiveness. I’m similar in those traits, so that is always pure fun for me to play. One of the harder things to find was understanding the six year old girl inside Jess who’s mom didn’t come home one day. Ouch. That was hard to imagine, but of course very real.

TrunkSpace: As you look over the first two seasons of “Chesapeake Shores,” what is the one scene or episode where you felt you really got to stretch as an actor and why?
Mailey: Season 2, episodes 7 and 8 were the most fun I have had yet. Jess gets to go through a whole whirlwind of emotions. It’s funny. It’s romantic. It’s heartbreaking. It’s a Jess mess. I loved it.

TrunkSpace: Something that you and many of your other costars have in common is that you have all also appeared on “Supernatural.” For actors based in Canada, is it a bit of a rite of passage to appear on that series?
Mailey: (Laughter)Very true. “Supernatural” is a staple of Vancouver actors. It also happens to be one of the best, kindest, easiest, warmest sets I’ve ever worked on. Those two boys (Jensen and Jared) are truly great people.

Photo: Laci Mailey Credit: Copyright 2017 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ricardo Hubbs

TrunkSpace: We’re admittedly big fans of “Supernatural” here, so not only do we know that you appeared for a three-episode run in season 11, but we know that you had previously appeared as a different character years before that. Is it unusual for an actor or actress to appear as multiple characters on the same series? What was it like returning to set with a different character to inhabit?
Mailey: No! Especially in Vancouver as they like to hire local actors. I think it’s awesome. I think the “Supernatural” fans love it too! Connecting the actors with characters from seasons before… how cool! I loved going back to play Jenna Nickerson. I had a bit more of an arc with her than I did with Emily in season 7, so I had a bit more fun on my second time around.

TrunkSpace: Your character Deputy Jenna played a big role in the overall storyline of season 11. Having helped set the car on its course, so to speak, has that very supportive and rabid fanbase accepted you into the SPN Family fold?
Mailey: I think so! I hope so. I am honored if they did. What an amazing fanbase that show has created.

TrunkSpace: As we look over your career, it seems like you haven’t really taken any time off since you started your career in 2011. Has the last few years felt like a whirlwind and is that a tempo you want to continue to work in as you look forward in your career?
Mailey: I love the whirlwind and I love not knowing what type of role I’m going to get to play next. I’m always looking for the next project. I did take some time off in 2014. I moved to New York and did the struggling artist/actor thing and LOVED it … until I hated it. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: With the new season of “Chesapeake Shores” now airing, what do you hope fans will walk away with when the season finishes up?
Mailey: I hope they feel even more connected to our family than ever before.

“Chesapeake Shores” airs Sundays on Hallmark Channel.

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Wingman Wednesday

Brendan Penny

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Photo: Brendan Penny Credit: Copyright 2017 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ricardo Hubbs

Before the summer draws to a close, we’re going to be taking some time to visit the shores… “Chesapeake Shores.” The Hallmark Channel original series recently returned for season 2 and with it, even more critical acclaim.

We sat down with O’Brien family member Brendan Penny to discuss the pressures of creative praise, the scene that stretched him the most as an actor, and how he knew “Supernatural” was destined for greatness when he guested on it in season 1.

TrunkSpace: As far as your character Kevin is concerned, did you spend time with Sherryl Woods’ books or did you want there to be separation between the television world and the literary world that already existed?
Penny: Honestly, I didn’t have much time before accepting the role and shooting to read the books. Also, I knew that the character and the storyline were going to be slightly different, so I thought it best to work with the material that I was being provided for the show.

TrunkSpace: Where is Kevin’s personal journey taking him in season 2 and what part will he play in the overall storyline?
Penny: Kevin’s personal journey takes him to a point of reflection. He really finds out who he is and what he wants to accomplish.

TrunkSpace: You’re working alongside some incredible actors within the series, many of whom have had long, storied careers. What have you taken from them, either from personal advice or through osmosis, that you’ll carry with you throughout your career?
Penny: You know, whether it’s been people with long careers, or not, we all respect each other and trust in each other’s abilities. Everyone on the show has been at it for a good amount of time. I’ve been working for 15 years, and been very fortunate for that.

TrunkSpace: “Chesapeake Shores” was met with both critical acclaim and viewer acclaim upon its premiere in 2016. Does that put pressure on everyone involved to deliver on expectations in season 2?
Penny: I think it puts more pressure on the writers and the producers. (Laughter) As actors, we can only work with the material given, and I believe we have a very talented cast.

TrunkSpace: Does working on a series with such great things said about it make the job itself easier? In that we mean, does the recognition of great content/material make for a happy set?
Penny: When the content is good, it makes everything easier. People are excited to show up and play.

TrunkSpace: As you look over the first two seasons of “Chesapeake Shores,” what is the one scene or episode where you felt you really got to stretch as an actor and why?
Penny: The scene between Mick (Treat Williams) and Kevin in episode 8 of season 2. It’s where Kevin finally lets go and shares what he’s been through and where he is presently.

TrunkSpace: Where are you hardest on yourself as an actor?
Penny: I’m not. There’s enough people out there to be hard on you, so why do it to yourself?

TrunkSpace: As you look over your career, what job did you learn the most from in terms of how the industry works and how to navigate it moving forward?
Penny: A show called “Whistler.” It was my first series regular role, and I had many mentors on the show. It was still the best experience I’ve had, and will most likely remain that way. It was very special.

TrunkSpace: We’re suckers for the series “Supernatural” here. You appeared in the very first season. Having been involved with it at that time, could you have ever imagined that a show where you got stalked by a killer scarecrow would still be going strong in its 13th season?
Penny: I could. Jared and Jensen were so kind and knew they had something special on their hands. They were smart about how to keep it going and turn it into the success it has become.

Photo: Brendan Penny, Emilie Ullerup Credit: Copyright 2017 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ricardo Hubbs

TrunkSpace: That show has one of the most rabid fanbases. Do you still get recognized for playing a small part in that very expansive universe?
Penny: Unfortunately… no. The odd time, but I should get recognized for it. It was such a small part, so long ago.

TrunkSpace: With the new season of “Chesapeake Shores” now reaching viewers, what do you hope fans will walk away with when the season finishes up?
Penny: A closer relationship to the family, and a closer relationship to theirs.

“Chesapeake Shores” airs Sundays on Hallmark Channel.

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