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Wingman Wednesday

Matty Cardarople

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Photo By: Birdie Thompson

A certified scene stealer, Matty Cardarople’s star continues to rise after memorable roles in Netflix shows “A Series of Unfortunate Events” and a little something called “Stranger Things.” And while he’s enjoying his Hollywood run, more than anything, the New Hampshire-born entertainer is just happy to be here entertaining.

I had a close call with death back in 2010 when I had to have emergency heart surgery,” he said in an exclusive interview with TrunkSpace. “It’s all fixed now and I’m super healthy. It just makes me feel even more grateful that I’m here doing what I love.”

His latest film, “Itsy Bitsy,” crawls onto VOD this Friday.

 

We recently sat down with Cardarople to discuss adopting pizza mottoes, spider scares, and why he enjoys living his life in the moment.

TrunkSpace: We’re New Englanders. We know that you’re a New Hampshire guy. What is something about you that is so utterly Granite State that you can’t shake it no matter how long you’re away from the Old Man of the Mountain?
Cardarople: Our state motto is “Live Free or Die.” That’s a lot of pressure to put on people, so maybe it should be “Live Free and Don’t Die” or “Live Free and Eat Pizza Every Chance You Get.” Also, I can’t shake saying, “wicked cool,” a common catchphrase of us NH folk.

TrunkSpace: Your new film “Itsy Bitsy” highlights a common fear people have, and that is, spiders. Break it down for us reality-wise. You’re in your house, you spot a spider, how do YOU deal with that 8-legged intruder?
Cardarople: Spiders? I’m not scared. I swear. It’s the truth. (Nervous laughter)

Not really. I’m terrified of spiders. I run from them.

TrunkSpace: When you’re starring in a film about killer spiders, there must be some odd moments on set where you have to pinch yourself and say, “Is this really my life?” What was the most surreal moment for you in bringing “Itsy Bitsy” to life?
Cardarople: Working with Denise Crosby was really surreal for me. She has such an amazing body of work and I’m a big fan. It was a dream come true to work alongside her.

TrunkSpace: As a performer, is there a bit of a leap of faith involved in taking on a project like “Itsy Bitsy” when you don’t necessarily know what the future will look like for it in terms of distribution? How do you navigate that aspect of your career – not only picking quality projects, but finding those that will break through all of the noise when there is so much content now at our disposal?
Cardarople: You got to put your trust in the director. I could tell Micah (Gallo) had a clear vision of what he wanted and that’s really important in selling a film. It can make or break you. In this case, Micah and his team hit a home run. So, the rest come easy.

TrunkSpace: For the audience, the end result of a film or television series is always the most memorable, but for those working on the project it must go must deeper than that. What is something from your time on “Itsy Bitsy” that you’ll carry with you?
Cardarople: The people and the laughs that you share.

TrunkSpace: You’ve had a big year. The third season of “Stranger Things” was released to rave reviews and some much deserved fanfare. Have you had a chance to digest just how much of an impact that series has had on pop culture, and in turn, how it has impacted your own life and career?
Cardarople: It’s had a huge impact on me. I had a close call with death back in 2010 when I had to have emergency heart surgery. It’s all fixed now and I’m super healthy. It just makes me feel even more grateful that I’m here doing what I love – uplifting people and bringing them joy. It’s the best gift you can give to people.

TrunkSpace: Prior to your on-camera career taking off, you were Luke Wilson’s personal assistant. How invaluable was that job for you in terms of understanding how the industry works and then being able to apply those lessons to your own career?
Cardarople: (Laughter) Yes, I was. It was very helpful with my journey to becoming an actor. I learned a lot from him. Learning his day-to-day, and seeing all the work he put into his craft. Luke actually got me my very first speaking role in a film, “Blonde Ambition.” I played a mailroom clerk.

I have definitely used the skills I learned from working for him – staying on task, achieving goals, and communication. It was a really rewarding experience.

TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
Cardarople: Not to sound cheesy – but I can because I’m the king of pizza – honestly, it’s being here and being able to give people the gift of laughter every day.

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
Cardarople: No, I wouldn’t because that’s too much pressure to put on myself. I want to live my life more in the moment. Take it day by day. Enjoy the ride….

Itsy Bitsy” is available August 30 on VOD.

Featured image by: Birdie Thompson

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Wingman Wednesday

Anthony Alabi

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Photo By: DIANA RAGLAND

As a former professional football player who spent years inside the NFL, “Family Reunion” star Anthony Alabi embraces the parallels between his old career as an athlete and his new career as an actor. Like a well-managed locker room, a set can take on a family-driven atmosphere where impenetrable bonds lead to memorable results on the field, or in this case, the screen.

It’s beyond the words on the page,” he said in an exclusive interview with TrunkSpace. “There’s got to be that stuff in between that can really show the audience, ‘Oh, there’s a real relationship here.’”

We recently sat down with Alabi to discuss tackling impossible careers, going against type, and why, like football, acting goes beyond the Xs and Os.

TrunkSpace: Professional actor. Professional football player. Both are careers that very few people ever get to enjoy. Do you feel like you’ve captured lightning in a bottle twice in terms of the opportunities that you’ve had in your career?
Alabi: That’s so funny you say that, because that’s always the kind of thing that I say. I tell people, “Don’t ask me to do it twice because I don’t think it’ll happen.” I feel very fortunate to have done what I did with football – to reach that level and to be able to play there and to leave under my own choice – and then be able to come and do this. And once again, it sounds good. It sounds like, “Oh you just went and did it,” but there was a lot of pain and suffering and tears. A lot of psychological heartache in between that. But in the end it all seemed to pay off.

My dad… I remember when I told him when I was leaving the NFL to retire and that I wanted to be an actor, and he was like, “What is it with you and impossible careers?” (Laughter)

My best friend kind of put it the best. I’m just kind of annoyingly ambitious. I have this thing, and I think it should be with anybody, if you feel that you can do something and you feel that you have the ability to do it, then I don’t see why you wouldn’t go do it.

TrunkSpace: There are 32 professional football teams, which means there aren’t a lot of spots available for people inside the NFL. With so much content being produced these days due to all of the various streaming platforms and cable networks, do you think it is easier to break into acting than it is football?
Alabi: You would think that, but once again… there’s more volume of shows – more stuff – but there’s more actors. There’s more people to compete against.

I really wanted to set a couple of things in my head when I first started. The biggest thing was, 1.), don’t tell anybody you played football. And I think the big thing about that for me was making sure that people didn’t just immediately assume that, just because you were a professional athlete, that now you want to be an actor because you just miss the attention and you’re in it for the wrong reasons.

The second thing is I wanted to go against type. I knew that immediately when they saw me walk through the door, they were like, “Oh cool, you’re going to be the bouncer or the thug or the cop or the detective or just the big guy that doesn’t really say anything. You’ll kind of just always be intimidating and always just have a scowl on your face.” And that‘s not what I wanted to do.

TrunkSpace: Which is great because now you’re on a show with Richard Roundtree who has had to deal with that himself.
Alabi: Right, and we talked about that. It’s a big thing. They’re going to see how they see you until you change the perception, because we all know in this town it’s “perception is reality.”

I was fortunate enough to get with reps that really believed that and we were kind of parallel in the thought that we needed to go against type. We needed to put me somewhere different. And I think that did a lot.

TrunkSpace: As the performer, you also have to be willing to go that route and not just work to work, which is a difficult thing to maintain when you’re already pursuing a career where so much is out of your control.
Alabi: Right. And I think it’s a process. I think patience is something that’s underrated and I’m still learning. Immediately you want to come in and be like, “No, I just want to work. I want to get the work done.” That’s great, and you may start working a ton, and you’re a bouncer and your this and that, but then all of a sudden you’re capped as a costar or all you do are these small parts constantly where you’re always a mean guy in the prison. Or you’re the mean guy security guard or the mean guy corrections officer. You never kind of break out of that, that’s how they see you. It’s why I never shied away from the parts I get in like “Pee-wee’s Big Holiday” where I was a transgender hairstylist. I’m like, “I don’t care, I’ll play any of it,” because once they can see that, “Oh, he doesn’t care, he’s willing to kind of go there and do anything,” that’s when it frees you up to kind of be anything you want.

TrunkSpace: You’re playing against type in “Family Reunion” as well. Has the role of Moz helped to change perception?
Alabi: Yeah, it has, and I think more so than them seeing it, it was more of just having more screen time for them to see it. With a guest star, you don’t really get a chance to show all of it. It’s just kind of a snippet here or a snippet there. At most, if you get a top show, you may get a little more in the episode, but I think being able to have an entire series in a body of work with episode in and episode out, they can see it. “Oh wait, he can pull that off, or, “He is different.” And that’s what I loved about the show. It’s one of the things that I really, really hold onto with “Family Reunion,” is that Moz is not a traditional football player type.

When you look at Moz, and when you look at the way he interacts with his family – the way he interacts with his parents and in his relationship with Cocoa – it’s different. It’s different than the stereotype that we’ve all had where it’s like this big, black football player, kind of silent type, who doesn’t really interact much and where the kids are more of my wife’s problem and not mine. That’s just the stereotype, and like I said, perception is reality. But with all that being said, Moz is different. He’s funny and he’s strict when he has to be. He’s loyal and loving and caring about his parents and his wife and his family, and I think he’s whatever he needs to be in the moment. That’s what producers and casting can see is that there’s a dynamic there where it’s not just a single line throughout the series where Anthony/Moz is just funny. It’s not that. There’s dramatic moments. There are moments of anger, there are moments of comedy, there are moments of vulnerability. And I think all of those things, when they see that and they see that body of work, it suddenly now changes the perception and opens me up to do other things, which has happened.

Photo By: DIANA RAGLAND

TrunkSpace: So as a performer, when you’re spending a prolonged period of time with a character like you have with Moz, does it enhance your performance because you’re seeing so many sides to this person?
Alabi: It does. And I think, you have to understand too, day one, I can do all the research that I want… I can sit there and think of moments and background and really dive into the character of Moz, but I’m not going to know anything until the interactions really start. That’s the biggest thing. Once we started kind of getting into it… and then we got the 20 episode order, which is beautiful… but once that started happening, around Episode 5 or Episode 6 of filming, I started to realize, “Oh, I can speak this and I can speak that and this is my point of view of that and point of view of this.” When you start really getting to flesh out the corners, the deep corners of that character, things change. They’re characters, but in that world of “Family Reunion,” it’s a human being and just like any other human being, they have to evolve. And I think that’s the biggest thing. I think that over time, no matter what, you’ll see Moz evolve. Where it goes, I don’t know, because a lot of that has to do with writing, but a lot of it has to do with the interactions with the other characters on the show.

TrunkSpace: So then are there parallels to football in that regard where, say, your first day in a game you may have some nerves – same as being on set – but once you get beyond that and get more comfortable on the field, it becomes less about the experience and more about focusing on your job and what you’re there to do?
Alabi: There are a ton of parallels between football and acting and I would say one of them is that. I always learned, in football, when you’re prepared you move and when you move fast, you move competent. And with competence comes an ease. I think that’s the same thing in acting. I think if you show up on set, you’ve done the work, you broke down the episode or the scene and the moments that are in it – you’ve broken down what you’re going to do and you’ve made choices – I think when you prepare then you’re kind of quick on your feet. So if something happens in a scene, you don’t lose that moment because you weren’t prepared… you play off of it. And I think that’s where all the juicy bits and all the best stuff comes from, the stuff that just comes off of an interaction where you’re like, “I just think this is appropriate right here.” And for me, acting and football are very similar in that way, where there is an ease. I think once you’ve gotten that first line out, once you’ve gotten that first scene out, suddenly you’re comfortable and you get into a rhythm and you start to feel the music of it and you can just buy it. When you go on set you feel it and you know exactly how Moz would respond. You know how he would feel. You get the interaction. I think that is what helps as time goes on.

TrunkSpace: We’ve been in locker rooms. We’ve been on sets. When either is firing on all cylinders, there really is a family atmosphere present. That must be another welcome parallel between your two careers?
Alabi: Absolutely. I was telling my wife the other day because we were talking about it… it’s like I’m never not around family. And it’s great because I look at somebody like Loretta (Devine), and I feel like have a special relationship because she plays my mom on the show, but since day one, it’s always been this kind of loving, caring kind of relationship where I tease her and look after her and she is always there to give me some advice and always there to make sure that I’m okay. And she’s constantly just around and loving. If you look on set where Tia (Mowry-Hardrict) is, that’s where I am, and where I am, that’s where she is. We’re always together. I think those are the things that really build that relationship. That’s the stuff that people will see on screen where it’s like, “Oh, that’s not scripted. They just have that chemistry. They’re just close.”

And you’re right, it’s the same thing in football. There’s a reason why Peyton Manning and any good receiver he’s ever had were in sync. It’s because it’s beyond the Xs and Os. It’s beyond the words on the page. There’s got to be that stuff in between that can really show the audience, “Oh, there’s a real relationship here.” And that could be small things like a touch here on the shoulder or it could be a look when the camera’s not focused on you. It could be a little thing that you say under your breath that doesn’t have anything to do with the scene, but you say to each other. Those little interactions are what make people go, “Oh my God, I love them. They’re great.”

Family Reunion” is available now on Netflix.

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Wingman Wednesday

Christine Lee

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Photo By: Laura Baldwinson

When Stephen King tweeted out props for the new zombie apocalypse series “Black Summer,” it didn’t only pique the interest of horror fans, it also sent a jolt of excitement throughout the cast. Series star Christine Lee, who plays Korean-speaking survivor Sun, reveled in the shout-out from the King of Horror, but more than anything, she enjoyed bringing a hero to the small screen that audiences are not used to seeing.

There was so much satisfaction in playing an immigrant woman who turned everyone’s expectation upside down,” she said in an exclusive interview with TrunkSpace.

We recently sat down with Lee to discuss taking stylistic risks, her real-world zombie survival plan, and why she always ends up doing what her heart tells her to.

TrunkSpace: Starring in a Netflix series is an exciting journey in and of itself, but then Stephen King went ahead and gave it a thumbs up. What would 12-year-old you think about this chapter in your life if she had a glimpse of what was to come?
Lee: My 12-year-old self would have freaked out but told no one about it? I always wanted to be an actor but to imagine that I’d be in a show that Stephen King gave a shout out for, would have felt like a far-fetched dream to me.

TrunkSpace: “Black Summeris a prequel to the hit Syfy series “Z Nation.” Is there a change in the on-set energy going into a job knowing that there will already be an audience waiting for you on the other side?
Lee: I think the creative team had a lot of confidence going into “Black Summer.” They’ve already made a show that ran for five seasons. They knew how to work together. Of course, we were taking a risk in stylistic choice. But John Hyams really trusted his team to bring their A game. And we did.

TrunkSpace: What were you most excited about exploring with your character Sun when you first read for her and what did you grow to love about her as time went on and more of her personality and journey were revealed to you?
Lee: All I knew about my character for certain was that she was only going to speak Korean – I was very excited for that. But what was even better was that Sun turned out to be a total badass. There was so much satisfaction in playing an immigrant woman who turned everyone’s expectation upside down.

TrunkSpace: We touched on it earlier in our conversation, but Stephen King the KING of horror gave Black Summersome serious love on social media. Do you think that opened up the series to horror fans even more so than it already was, and from your interactions thus far, how are lovers of the genre embracing what youre bringing to the small screen?
Lee: Oh yeah, his tweet was totally unexpected and it attracted more attention from the audience. I think the viewers find our show refreshing. Some of them are shocked by the fact there’s no build up and we just push them into this crazy experience. But honestly, that’s the best way to keep people on the edge of their seat.

TrunkSpace: When youre working on a show that involves zombies, there must be some surreal moments on set from time to time. Did you have any pinch memoments where you looked around zombies at the crafty table and said, WhoaI did not see this coming in my career?
Lee: My favorite moments on set are the times when I hang out with actors in zombie make up, just sipping coffee and talking about random things in life – like paying bills, or finding a babysitter. We could have the most intense moment on camera and then just ask, “When’s lunch?” It’s honestly the best. We all gel together because we love creating that fantasy and illusion for the audience. And to see what goes on behind the scenes is just a cherry on top.

TrunkSpace: For the viewer, the end result of a film or series is always the most memorable, but for those involved in a project wed imagine it is the experience. What will you take from your time on Season 1 of Black Summerthat youll carry with you for the rest of your life and career?
Lee: I came out as a different actor after “Black Summer.” I’m so lucky to have worked with so many creative and talented artists from that show. Thanks to “Black Summer,” I’ll always be hungry to create an innovative show for the audience.

Lee in “Black Summer.”

TrunkSpace: Weve all been there. Its late at night, were tossing and turning because were unable to sleep, and we start thinking, How would I do in a world where a real zombie outbreak occurred?Now that you have some hands-on zombie survival experience, how would you fare if the world went the way of the undead? What would be your approach to seeing tomorrow’s sunrise?
Lee: I’ve thought about this a lot – and I’ve decided that I’ll put my cat as a priority. I don’t care if that will get me killed. So I’ll pack water, knives, cat food, and my cat. And run to an isolated place. Maybe I’ll use my old boss as a bait for zombies to buy some time. Just kidding (..or am I?)

TrunkSpace: Outside of acting, you also sing in a cover band. What is your absolute, hands down favorite song to cover and why?
Lee: “Kiss” by Prince. I love the quiet sexual confidence in his delivery until things blow up in his guitar solo. It always gives me so much joy to belt out that last verse, too.

TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
Lee:Black Summer.”

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
Lee: Hmmm… I definitely know I want to direct and produce. If the glimpse of the future says I’ll be successful, awesome. If it shows me that I’ll fail, I’ll still go all out. I’m an all-or-nothing kind of person. And I end up doing what my heart tells me to do even when people say it’s a stupid decision.

Season 1 of “Black Summer” is available now on Netflix.

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Wingman Wednesday

Celia Au

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PHOTOGRAPHY: Nick Onken/HAIR: Corey Tuttle/MAKE-UP: Romana Makeup New York/STYLING: Carolyn Son

With “Wu Assassins” set to premiere August 8 on Netflix, series star Celia Au is prepared for the world to see her in a completely different light, though what the show’s possible success would mean for the future is not something any performer can ever truly prepare for.

“I mean beyond the work itself, I have no idea,” she says when asked about the impact of “Wu Assassins” in an exclusive interview with TrunkSpace. “I know that I’ll always be Celia Au and maybe I can pay off my mortgage earlier than expected. (Laughter)”

We recently sat down with Au to discuss unwrapping the excitement surrounding the series, having two shows on the air at the same time, and why she has Photoshopped herself into some of her favorite films.

TrunkSpace: From an outside perspective, “Wu Assassins” doesn’t only look like a ride as a viewer, but to be involved in a series like this – with such big set pieces and complicated choreography – it must have been a ride to be a part of as well. As you gear up to its premiere and the idea of people sinking their teeth into the first season as a whole, what kind of emotions are you juggling with?
Au: Wow! That’s a good question! I am still trying to figure out what my emotions are right now. I am definitely excited! Every time when I receive an email notification about the show, I am like a kid on Christmas morning. I am so proud of what we accomplished together as the Wu fam and I just can’t wait for you guys to check it out.

TrunkSpace: From what we’ve seen, this feels like the kind of show that could become a big hit for a platform like Netflix. That being said, is it important for you to try and not assign expectations to projects that you work on knowing that so much is out of your control? Does that help to not be let down when a project doesn’t find an audience?
Au: I definitely hope that people are going to enjoy and have fun watching it. I know for sure we had a lot of fun shooting the show. I do believe in sending good positive energy into the universe and not worry too much about things that are out of my control.

TrunkSpace: With Netflix rolling out all of the episodes at once on August 8, do you feel like you’ll have a pretty good idea right away if “Wu Assassins” will have an impact on your life beyond the work itself? If it’s a smash hit like “Stranger Things,” it could literally change things overnight.
Au: Oh my! It would be amazing if our show is a smash hit like “Stranger Things!” I mean beyond the work itself, I have no idea. I know that I’ll always be Celia Au and maybe I can pay off my mortgage earlier than expected. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: Huge show. Huge platform in Netflix. Does it feel like, regardless of it becomes a smash hit with audiences, that “Wu Assassins” will be a career game changer for you that could open up other doors within the industry?
Au: Being on “Wu Assassins” has already been a game changer for me because I’ve met some awesome people just working on this show. I definitely hope that the show will open doors not just for me and our cast but for Asian Americans in the industry.

TrunkSpace: For the viewer, the end product is always the most memorable because that is what we see, but for those involved in the project we imagine it goes much deeper than that. What is something about your work on Season 1 of “Wu Assassins” that you’ll carry with you through the rest of your life and career?
Au: For sure the friends I’ve made on the show. I know that we are going to be friends for life. Career wise, my character Ying Ying is something completely different than any characters I’ve played before so the world can see a new side of Celia and what I can do.

TrunkSpace: Not only do you have “Wu Assassins” premiering on August 8, but you also have Season 2 of “Lodge 49” debuting on August 12. In this industry, does it feel like “when it rains it pours” in terms of the work not only coming in, but also with it finding its way into the world at the same time?
Au: Yes! I totally agree with that. It’s funny because I shot Season 2 of “Lodge 49” months after we wrapped “Wu Assassins” and now they are coming out four days apart. I feel like this happens a lot to people in our industry. We can be unemployed for a long time and suddenly when you book one job, there will be another job that wants you and they almost always have an overlapping schedule.

TrunkSpace: You grew up hanging out in your parent’s video store. As you look back at where you’ve come from to where you are now, would that little girl be surprised by the path you’re on or was this always in the back of her mind? What would excite young Celia most about where you are now?
Au: This was most definitely not on young Celia’s mind. I remember watching movies and being like, “Oh! That’s cool but how do these people make a living by playing pretend?” I think what will excite young Celia the most about present-day Celia is that she gets to see Asians on screen as heroes and kicking butt! When I was a kid, we used to be obsessed with the Power Rangers because that’s the only show where we could see Asian American superheroes.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Nick Onken/HAIR: Corey Tuttle/MAKE-UP: Romana Makeup New York/STYLING: Carolyn Son

TrunkSpace: You have a background in graphic design. If you could Photoshop yourself into any movie poster past or present – and in doing so be magically a part of that film as a performer – what would you choose and why?
Au: Of course, I did! I mean it is so much fun and I do the same to my friends’ faces as well. I’ve Photoshopped my face onto Hiro from “Big Hero 6,” Satsuki from “My Neighbor Totoro” and most recently, Peni Parker from “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse!” I’ve turned them all into either birthday invites or holiday cards.

TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
Au: I think the highlight of my career thus far has been the opportunity to meet/work with all the creative minds in the industry and getting to be on a show playing a character that young Celia would pretend to be.

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
Au: Yes, I would 100 percent take that journey. YOLO!

Wu Assassins” premieres August 8 on Netflix.

Season 2 of “Lodge 49” debuts August 12 on AMC.

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Wingman Wednesday

Kelsey Flower

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Feeling as if he had been transported into a post-apocalyptic video game, Kelsey Flower relished in getting to step onto the “Black Summer” set after the designers had their way with it. Between the abandoned cars, shattered windows and gory blood smears, he was sent packing mentally into another world, making it easy for him to tap into his character Lance. Constantly on the move, Lance has an uncanny ability to land on his feet through the course of Season 1 (now available on Netflix), even in the worst of circumstances, leaving his real-world alter ego to deliver more emotion – fear, sadness, despair, etc. – than dialogue.

We recently sat down with Flower to discuss Stephen King’s stamp of approval, shooting in his hometown, and why being cast in “Black Summer” is a reminder to add more cardio to his daily routine.

TrunkSpace: Having a show on Netflix is exciting enough, but what was it like getting a plug from Stephen King – an icon in the world of horror?
Flower: It was definitely surreal. It was crazy. I had to double check and make sure it was actually him. (Laughter) It was just such a nice vote of confidence, particularly in a genre that’s been very saturated. There’s tons of zombie things, so it was very nice to have one of the masters of horror say that it stood out for him as something new and great.

TrunkSpace: It no doubt opened the door for some people who may not have thought to check out “Black Summer” to then sit back and give it a stream.
Flower: Exactly. I saw so many comments under that Tweet that were like, “Oh, I wasn’t really going to watch it, but maybe I’ll give it a shot.” That kind of thing. So yeah, for sure. It was great.

TrunkSpace: What we thought that was great about “Black Summer” was its nonlinear storytelling approach, especially with that first episode. It really hooks you.
Flower: Yeah, I think the creators did a really good job of making sure that we knew that this was something different right away. You’re like, “Oh wait, that just happened…” and so you’re kind of invested right off the bat.

TrunkSpace: You shot a portion of the series not far from where your parents live. Do you feel a sort of special connection to the series, not only because of the work, but because of how it ties into your own hometown?
Flower: Absolutely. It was such a special, special project, not only because it was the biggest project I’ve done thus far, but because I got to shoot it in my hometown in a bunch of locations that I’ve had memories from growing up. I shot at a school where I had one of my first dances. And just the fact that I got to bring my parents to set – and my brothers to set – and show them what I do and what I’m pursuing, it was very special and it was nice to share that with family, for sure.

TrunkSpace: Is it a little weird that actors spend so much time telling themselves that they have to go to other places – Los Angeles, New York, Vancouver, etc. – and then here you are filming this big show in your hometown?
Flower: (Laughter) Yeah. It always seems like that’s the way. They say if you want to work in Calgary, you’ve got to move to Toronto. If you want to work in Toronto, you’ve got to move to LA. That kind of thing. It was very funny, but it made it all the more special, and I’ll do it anytime. It’s a good excuse to see family.

TrunkSpace: You mentioned that this is the biggest show you’ve ever done. Do you view “Black Summer” as a game changer for your career, and if so, have you felt its impact already?
Flower: Yeah, absolutely. I found myself kind of graduate, like get a promotion, in this industry. I was able to get better representation here in Toronto because of it with one of the top agencies. I’ve been able to put myself on tape for LA projects, and just bigger projects and bigger roles, too. Usually I just go out for a small principal, or like a one-liner with 30 people auditioning to say, “Hey, he went that way.” Now I’m getting the chance to audition for meatier, larger roles, which is amazing.

TrunkSpace: Your character, Lance, doesn’t exactly have an easy apocalypse, which from an outside perspective, made it look like a very physical shoot. Was there ever a point where you were running, fleeing or leaping off the top of a bus where you felt like, maybe, you bit off a bit more than you could chew given the physicality of it?
Flower: I definitely remember thinking, “Ooh, I should have done some more cardio for this.” (Laughter)

It was very physical, obviously. I spent more time running than speaking, for sure. And as it is with film, every scene you see me running, I probably had to do that five to 10 times just for continuity and getting it all right. And because they wanted that look of the jean jacket and the hoodie, I had to have that in the middle of the summer. There was definitely not a lot of prop sweat on that shoot. (Laughter)

But I was a kid a candy store and I was having the greatest time, for sure. It was a positive experience the whole time, and just a good reminder to me to do some more jogging. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: Yes, you did more running than speaking on the show, but you also had some very dramatic, moving moments, particularly in the bunker where you spoke up for Jaime King’s character. That was a scene where, less (dialogue) was absolutely more.
Flower: Yeah, that was actually a really, really great challenge, and it was very validating because up until this point, I had been cast as like the funny stoner – the Seth Rogan kind of character. The guy who’s the awkward best friend. So it was definitely great to have the directors come in like, “No, we cast you because we think you’re a great actor and we think you can tell things, because we know that we’ve written a script that has minimal dialogue, and we cast you because we think you can tell the story without words.” So, that was very validating… and very, very nerve wracking. But also, I was incredibly grateful to have directors that trusted me with what I could do and what I could bring to it. It was incredibly rewarding.

Flower in “Black Summer”

TrunkSpace: There wasn’t a lot of Lance’s backstory presented to the audience. Was that backstory presented to you, or did you have to kind of figure out who he was pre-apocalypse on your own?
Flower: We had a little bit of backstory. There’s a monologue that I auditioned with for the initial audition that gave me a little insight into who Lance was. But for the most part, they really let me leave it up to my imagination, and bring certain things and backstory that I had come up with. So, talking to John (Hyams) and Abram (Cox), we were able to collaborate a little bit on who Lance was, and he’s surprisingly close to me.

TrunkSpace: And that’s interesting because, here he is, a guy who can’t necessarily get out of his own way, and yet he’s one of the last few survivors of the apocalypse.
Flower: Yeah. The whole thing with Lance that was described to me was that he is the guy that should have died first, and for whatever reason, he didn’t. We all have that friend that for some reason, they just keep getting lucky and they just keep going, and they don’t even know why or how. They’re not even aware of it, but things just work out somehow. He (Lance) just has this crazy will to survive. And it’s kind of this idea of in this world, the heroes die quicker and the good people who stick their necks out, they die faster.

TrunkSpace: A series like this – where you’re surrounded by zombies and the apocalypse – it must present some pretty surreal moments on set, like standing at the crafty table with a member of the undead. What was the most surreal moment for you that you’ll carry with you through the rest of your life?
Flower: Oh, man. There was this awesome scene I got to do where it was just me. I get to walk out into the street where the great set decorators have made it this… there’s abandoned cars, and a car on fire, and windows smashed in, and all this stuff, and I just got to walk into this world. It was like I stepped out of the alley and there’s just this world of apocalyptic chaos. It was just this crazy moment that was so wild, and I get to play pretend like this. It was so much fun because they did such a good job in this tiny Alberta town. It’s quiet, and there’s chaos and bloodstains. It was just this crazy, surreal moment of like, “Oh, I just stepped into a video game and now I get to explore this new world.”

Season 1 of “Black Summer” is available now on Netflix.

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Wingman Wednesday

Parveen Dosanjh

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Photo By: Mandisa Photo

Actress Parveen Dosanjh is thrilled to be working at a time when television storytelling has become so sophisticated and character-driven, but a career in front of the camera was not always in focus. While being drawn to performance and storytelling from an early age, it wasn’t until she attended a motivational seminar that she chose to step away from her career and pursue acting full time. The gamble paid off, and after landing guest spots on series like “Supergirl” and “Arrow,” she was cast as Dr. Nani Singh in Season 1 of the science fiction series “Another Life,” currently streaming now on Netflix.

We recently sat down with Dosanjh to discuss feeling an instant connection to her “Another Life” character, working on a platform like Netflix, and what helps her feel stable in a career known for its instability.

TrunkSpace: Your new project “Another Life” is the kind of series that would not have been considered 20 years ago, but because of how sophisticated television has gotten, these types of science fiction epics are now possible on the small screen. Do you feel like you’re working at a particularly rich time, not only due to the quality of the content being produced, but also due to how much focus is given to character development these days?
Dosanjh: Absolutely. Having this quality of content makes it more enjoyable for the viewers. There is much more creativity involved as sci-fi is evolving and it will only continue to grow, as the possibilities with the genre are endless. The focus given to character development is a blessing to all actors and viewers, because of the connections and relatability that can be formed.

TrunkSpace: Looking at your particular character – Nani – what was is about her that jumped off of the page at the outset and made you say, “Yes, this is the kind of part I can really sink my teeth into?”
Dosanjh: That is actually how I felt! I loved that she was extremely intelligent, and also strong. She can really hold her own and knows the value she brings to the research. Her relationship with Eric (Justin Chatwin) also interested me, as they tend to banter and compete but also have each other’s best interest at heart. Very relatable to many work partners in real life.

TrunkSpace: This is your longest time – seven episodes – spent with one character. What was that prolonged journey like with a character and did you know going in what her journey would look like throughout that first season or were you still discovering as you went along?
Dosanjh: Good question. I definitely had an idea about this character, but I discovered so much more as I went along through the season. Because it was Season 1, everyone discovers more as they go because there isn’t a set expectation of what the show should look like. It made it quite interesting and definitely more fun to add some more layers as the episodes progressed.

TrunkSpace: Because this is such a big project that has a home on a platform like Netflix, does it feel like it could be a career game changer for you in terms of opening up more doors in the industry?
Dosanjh: Yes, and I’m very grateful for that. Netflix is obviously one of the biggest platforms in the world right now, and I feel very blessed to be able to work for them. I’ve always been a huge fan of their original content and love the quality of it. Being part of this great quality show with the exposure and accessibility for viewers that Netflix provides will definitely open up more doors for me.

TrunkSpace: Science fiction, like horror, seems to have a bit of a built-in audience. Fans of the genre seem more willing to try out something new because they’re interested in the worlds that these types of projects play in. With that said, is it nice to know that a project you’ve worked on will have eyeballs on it when it eventually airs, because it seems like in this industry more than any other, so much of it is out of your control once your contribution is over?
Dosanjh: Yes, it’s great to know that people are drawn to this particular genre and there is a great fan base. So much is out of our control, and all we can contribute is solid work, but yes I think having the certainty that it will be viewed by this ‘built in audience’ really helps, and inspires me to work even harder and be more creative with my choices.

TrunkSpace: For the viewer, the end product is always the most memorable because that is what we see, but for those involved in the project we imagine it goes much deeper than that. What is something about your work on Season 1 of “Another Life” that you’ll carry with you through the rest of your life and career?
Dosanjh: Wow, there is so much that I learned and will carry forward, but I’ll touch on a bit. I think not being afraid to make bold choices is one of them. I learned that from Justin Chatwin, as he makes such interesting choices that add so much depth to his character. He was really not afraid to do that, and that inspired me and pushed me to think even more outside the box, as all of my scenes were with him. I also learned a lot from working with such experienced and present actors (Justin Chatwin, Selma Blair and Barbara Williams). I was soaking in so much throughout the season and learned more on that show than any other definitely.

TrunkSpace: From what we understand, acting wasn’t always part of your long-term plan. What drew you to this industry as a career, and at what point did you decide to take the leap and put 100 percent of yourself into it?
Dosanjh: Yes, it wasn’t a part of my long-term plan, but there was always something that drew me to it. I was an athlete through University, and I loved the performance aspect of it. I also loved storytelling and the study of human behavior (physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually). I eventually discovered that my passion was acting and performance, and I knew that it wasn’t going to be an easy road, but I believe that our instincts are always right, and we should follow them. I attended a motivational seminar, and within that four days, I decided I would give up my business, and focus on acting full time – and of course put all of my effort into it. We are truly born with a parachute on our backs, and we should always take the leap. Life is too short not to do what we love!

TrunkSpace: There’s a lot of uncertainty that comes along with a career in the arts. What have you found to be your rock in terms of staying focused and on your path throughout the course of your career?
Dosanjh: Yes, it is not a ‘normal’ life. Meditation, physical activity and surrendering are what help keep me balanced. Of course, we must train efficiently and stay prepared as actors as well, but the toughest moments mentally are when you’re auditioning and putting effective effort in and not booking. I think those are the moments that matter in our development and focusing on doing things that you love will really get you through. Daily meditation has helped me with focusing on my highest self. Working out (MMA especially) helps release/venting for me and helps me connect to myself physically. Having a great support group or friends that understand you and your life really helps as well.

TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
Dosanjh: “Another Life” is the highlight thus far! I also just shot a passion project that has been in the works for the past eight months, and is currently in editing, I am super excited about that one. It’s a short film that will display the power of the female and connecting to our inner warrior. I think it will be very impactful.

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
Dosanjh: Ahh, what an interesting question! And a tough one. No, I don’t think I would jump ahead to see what it looks like. I think that would create feelings/expectations that are unnecessary at this time in my life and would cause me to not stay present. Staying curious, open and trusting that everything will work out how it is meant to be, and is what would serve me best!

Season 1 of “Another Life” is available now on Netflix.

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Wingman Wednesday

Benjamin Charles Watson

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PHOTOGRAPHY: Noah Asanias/GROOMING: Frida Norrman/STYLING: Derek Perret

For an actor, joining an existing series can be a daunting task, but any nerves Benjamin Charles Watson had upon signing up for Season 3 of “Designated Survivor” quickly vanished after the first day of filming. As confident digital officer Dontae Evans, the Jamaican-born actor’s emergence into the political thriller came at a time when the series was transitioning from ABC to its new home, Netflix. While many of the original cast members remain (Kiefer Sutherland, for example, still plays President Thomas Kirkman), many new faces have been hired on at the fictional White House, making Watson’s arrival a welcome addition to the ever-growing on-set family.

I was basically joining a family that had already established its relationship for two years,” he said in an exclusive interview with TrunkSpace. “But I was accepted with open arms and quickly became one of the team.”

We recently sat down with Watson to discuss how the current political climate impacts the show, its newfound realism, and his “Snowpiercer” future.

TrunkSpace: You joined the latest season of “Designated Survivor” as digital officer Dontae Evans. Were there nerves joining the cast of an established series with the on-set tone already in place, even with the show making the leap to its new home Netflix?
Watson: I was absolutely scared to join a team that had already established itself with its audience. Being the new guy, I had to carefully study the first two seasons in order to match the tone. After the first day of filming, my nerves disappeared because I had the opportunity to work with actors I’ve always wanted to work with. I was basically joining a family that had already established its relationship for two years. But I was accepted with open arms and quickly became one of the team.

TrunkSpace: On the opposite side of that, is there also something exciting about joining a series that already has an established audience, knowing that there will be eyeballs waiting for it when the episodes eventually air?
Watson: It was very exciting joining a show that has such a fan base, but at the same time it made me nervous. This show is filled with characters that are dearly loved by its audiences and some characters didn’t return for Season 3. As a new member of the team, I had to make sure my character would be loved and accepted as a new member of the West Wing. And I think it was accomplished. Also, Dontae on the team will bring a fresh audience that has never experienced the show.

TrunkSpace: While you’re new to the series, tonally, has anything changed given that there are no longer the same restrictions with the content given its new home? Is it grittier than what people will recall from its time on ABC?
Watson: I think after leaving ABC and finding its new home on Netflix, the show has gotten better. We’re able to push boundaries a bit further and also explore real topics that affect the American people. I find that the show is a lot more realistic and engaging. We parallel some real-world events and it keeps you on the edge of your seat.

TrunkSpace: There are some heavy hitters in the cast. As an actor, do you view an experience like this – and any experience really – just as much of a learning experience as you do a job? Can you take a role like Dontae Evans and apply the time on set to future roles/jobs?
Watson: This show was a huge learning experience as an actor. Getting the opportunity to watch Kiefer Sutherland work, was absolutely phenomenal. He’s such a master craftsman and sharing screen time with him on a one-on-one basis was exhilarating. I understand what it takes to be an actor at his caliber, and it was fascinating to watch him work. He was an incredible scene partner and absolutely a dream to work opposite.

Dontae is a lot stronger than I am in real life. He fully knows who he is as a person and is unapologetic about it. I’ve taken Dontae and applied him to my real-life, including auditions. He is strong, confident, fearless and wears his heart on his sleeve. He taught me a lot about life and how to become the person I truly desire to become.

TrunkSpace: We’re living in a very politically-focused time right now, particularly here in the United States. Does a show like “Designated Survivor” benefit creatively during a period of such uncertainty and unrest because so many people are attuned to what is going on around them? Does the attention on real-life politics spill over into the fictional world?
Watson: With the political uncertainty happening in the USA right now, I think it works amazingly for the show. This show gets the audience to look at the inside of The White House from a point of view they’ve never seen. This season, we’ve touched on so many real-world events that many individuals don’t necessarily know about stateside and abroad.

TrunkSpace: For the audience the final product is always the most memorable, but for those involved in a project we’d imagine that it goes much further than that. What is something from your time working on “Designated Survivor” that you’ll take with you through the rest of your life and career?
Watson: The thing I will take away from working on “Designated Survivor” is knowing that I’ve done the work and trusting that life I’ve prepared for my character will show up once the director calls “Action!” Also, just knowing and trusting myself and being confident in my abilities. I remember having a rough time on a scene and Julie White, who plays Lorraine Zimmer, saw how badly I was beating myself up and she told me that it’s okay and I know what I’m doing so just be easy on myself. After this pep talk, I attacked this scene in a completely different way and I’m happy I had her to calm me down.

TrunkSpace: When you receive a new script on a project that you’re working on – in this case “Designated Survivor” – what are you most excited to discover when reading about your character’s latest narrative progression? Is it his overall arc? Is it a great piece of dialogue? What are the most intriguing aspects for you personally about reading a new script for the first time?
Watson: Whenever we got a new script I’m so intrigued to discover more about Dontae’s arc throughout the episode and how it affects his overall objective goal. Dontae’s biggest reveal is that he’s HIV positive and I had no idea until I received and read the script! It blew my mind because I was so excited to research and explore the aspects of living with a disease that affect a lot of individuals, including African American men, and has been stigmatized for a long time. As an actor, I love researching every aspect of my character and knowing him fully from early childhood to his current life.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Noah Asanias/GROOMING: Frida Norrman/STYLING: Derek Perret

TrunkSpace: You’re also set to star in the small screen adaptation of “Snowpiercer” for TNT. This is a show that people are very excited about. For those fans of the film, what can they expect when they see the series air later this year, and how your character Brakeman Fuller falls into things?
Watson: I’ve been a huge fan of “Snowpiercer” for such a long time! The fans can expect something out of this world. You’re going to be drawn into a world that is chaotic and extreme, but full of heart and hope.

Brakeman Fuller is obedient, but he’s a bit weak and a follower. He’s primarily seen with John Osweiler (played by Sam Otto). The thing about Brakeman Fuller is that when the going gets tough, he’s not down to fight.

TrunkSpace: What is a character that you portrayed – even as a guest spot – that you wished you had more time to spend with and explore further?
Watson: I had a guest spot on “Travelers” and I wish I had more time to explore my character Lars. The episode was entitled “17 Minutes” and we see my character basically crying because one of his best friends dies. I just wish I had more time to explore the dynamic and greater inner work of Lars, especially his relationship with his best friends.

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
Watson: Time machine! I’m not sure if I’d jump into the future 10 years. I’d be worried that by entering the future, I’d change the trajectory of my path by viewing it. What if by looking into the future, that the specific timeline would be changed? What if I saw myself and then I’d have to explain to myself who I was? Too many possibilities. But if I do go into the future and don’t like what I see, I would probably come back to the past and work diligently to change my future. SOOOOO, MAYBE I WOULD…

Season 3 of “Designated Survivor” is available now on Netflix.

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Wingman Wednesday

Emily Haine

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Photo By: Farrah Aviva

With great writing and a chance to be seen by a loyal and loving fanbase, “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” is the kind of modern day television that actors are clamoring to be involved in. For Emily Haine, who made her debut as Elspeth in Season 2, that excitement began to build very early on in the auditioning process. Still ecstatic to have been cast in the bingeable Netflix behemoth, the Vancouver native says there’s something special not only about the series but the production itself.

Theres something in the air on set,” she shared in an exclusive interview with TrunkSpace. “Sometimes fans stand outside the studio gates to catch a feel for it.”

We recently sat down with Haine to discuss the need for a wild streak, eating pistachios with the shell on, and why she’s advocating for more human honesty in midst of the social media age.

TrunkSpace: Season 1 of Chilling Adventures of Sabrinawas a huge success, both with fans and critics. Is there an extra surge of personal excitement when you are joining a series with so much buzz behind it?
Haine: (Laughter) Yes! The buzz for me started with casting. ‘Brina auditions bring out the best talent. Seeing my friends turn up, knowing theyre out there when I go into the room, electrifies me. At the end of the day we all want to be part of a show like this with great writing and the potential for being seen. You gotta be a little wild to do this job. I can put all I’ve got into auditions and hear nothing back. But the nos only make the yess that much sweeter. By Satans divine intervention this is one of the times they were into it! Im still freaking out!

TrunkSpace: Although still grounded in reality, the series is one where anything is possible. From an acting standpoint, is it fun getting to arrive on a set where you can do the kinds of things on screen that are inconceivable in real life?
Haine: Theres something in the air on set. Sometimes fans stand outside the studio gates to catch a feel for it. Its the palpable tension between exhilaration and working long hours. Somehow the mythical, magical and the mystical come to life when were filming. I really cant explain it.

TrunkSpace: Elspeth is a confident, cool as a cucumber character. In terms of her personality, how has she differed from past roles? What has she allowed you to do on camera that you have yet to be able to tackle?
Haine: I see Elspeths confidence as her shield. High school can be like a poker game. Dont show your hand too soon, especially when the dark arts are afoot. Theres so much of Elspeths inner life to explore. Ive never played a witch before – what up witches! What has she allowed me to do? Maybe reanimation… but Im pretty sure I do that every morning if you know what I mean.

TrunkSpace: Elspeth ages slower than normal people. Is that the kind of power you would ever want to have in real life, because in some ways, it feels like it could eventuallyas others around you become oldfeel more like a curse?
Haine: In the industry, and societally, we put a ton of unhealthy emphasis on looking young – Ive been told by previous agents to lie about my age. There are a lot more roles for younger females. For that reason its tempting… but Ive seen enough movies to know that we shouldnt mess with the natural order of things, so no.

TrunkSpace: For the viewer, the end product is always the most memorable, but for those involved in the project it must go much further than that. Whats the most memorable aspect of getting to work on Chilling Adventures of Sabrinathat youll carry with you through the rest of your life and career?
Haine: My biggest take away is the crystallization of certain beliefs Ive been harboring. That we do create the foundation of our reality with building blocks in our heads. Think it, be it. Be really super clear on what you want and then work hard for it. Take classes, read books, watch Ted talks, do whatever you can to clear the way for your dream to unfold. Believe in yourself more than anything else and you will shine! Fall down, get back up. Keep trying. It wasnt that long ago that I was a kid dreaming about being an actor. Now Im an actor dreaming about acting, playing piano, a claymation horror short I want to make…

TrunkSpace: You used to be in a punk band. Whats the most punk thing about you, now, at this stage in your life?
Haine: Well, as an artist you kind of abandon security and normalcy – this job looks bougie but most of us are living paycheck to paycheck for five minutes of screen time. Is that punk? I eat pistachios with the shell.

Photo By: Farrah Aviva

TrunkSpace: You recently made an announcement on Instagram that you want to be more transparent about your own mental health so as to create a safe sharing space and to help others not feel alone. People are always there to point out the faults of social media, which we totally understand, but its benefits do stretch beyond self-promotion. Could you feel how your declaration helped others, and in return, did their reaching out then help you?
Haine: Thanks for progressing the conversation. I wanted to create a moment that shattered whatever public perception people may have of me and challenge how I see myself. Its easy to post flattering pictures and I am proud to share my accomplishments with friends, but whats beyond that? To pretend that we dont face hard times is delusional. I feen for that type of honesty online, like Jameela Jamil, shes one of my heroes! Sometimes the best way out of a dark hole is a big jump. Im so glad I did it. Your stories, messages, DMs, calls and texts revive me. It turned whatever uncomfortable feelings I had about sharing into easily the best thing Ive done on social. Because of that Im currently penning a presentation on my personal experience with mental health for a volunteer advocacy speakers position with Mood Disorders Association of BC.

TrunkSpace: Were suckers for a good banana bread here, and from what we hear, you have the skills to turn those old bananas into a loaf lovers dream! Just how beyond ripe does the fruit have to be to make the bread the best bread it can be?
Haine: Ripe enough that you wouldnt eat ‘em.

TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
Haine: This moment right now.

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
Haine: What if Im not happy? Can I change the outcome? If yes, then fire it up! If not, then hellll nah. Ill come with you to look at your life though if you want! Ill bring my laser gun. Pew. Pew. Cause its the future.

Season 2 of “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” is available now on Netflix.

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Wingman Wednesday

Adam Tsekhman

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Photo By: Shanna Fisher

Having never expected to spend quite so much time shirtless when he first signed on to play Gary Green of The Time Bureau in “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,”Adam Tsekhman is ecstatic to have been given the opportunity. Originally intended as a three-episode guest star, the Winnipeg native with a love for comedy has reveled in the expanded role, even when things got full on nipple crazy in Season 4. (No nipple spoilers for those who have not yet binged their way through it!)

We recently sat down with Tsekhman to discuss luring unicorns, Biff buzz, and peering into the future of “The Gary Green Chronicles.”

TrunkSpace: What would 10-year-old Adam think about his future self getting to play in the DC universe? Were you a comic fan and has your fanboy self come full circle?
Tsekhman: 10-year-old Adam would LOVE the fact that he gets to play in the DC Universe, however he would probably be a bit sad that he wouldn’t have any superhero powers. But adult Adam loves that he doesn’t have super powers (easier on the knees and hips). I wasn’t really a comic fanboy growing up. I wasn’t into comics growing up, but I was definitely into the comic book movies that sort of started for me with the Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson “Batman.” I loved that movie and I was hooked!

TrunkSpace: As we understand it, your character Gary Green was originally only supposed to appear in a handful of episodes. When did you get a sense that it would become more than that and did that open up the character for you in terms of getting to explore areas of him that you never thought you’d have a chance to when you first signed on?
Tsekhman: I only knew for sure that I would be on the show for three episodes so when they wanted me to be involved in more than that, my excitement levels shot up immeasurably. I was never really certain how often Gary would appear so I was both eager and hopeful to get more chances to play this fabulous character. This season has been particularly fun and challenging in terms of the areas we get to explore. For example, I didn’t expect to be shirtless so often. It’s very freeing! (Laughter) But I do think we will get to see more emotional depth with Gary – while still maintaining his gloriously sunny outlook on life.

TrunkSpace: As far as your own personal journey with the character, what have you enjoyed most about getting to inhabit Gary and see him developed out more and more over time?
Tsekhman: I am naturally drawn to comedy and I get such a joy out of all of the hilarious situations that the writers have created for Gary. The beautiful thing about Legends is that not even the sky is the limit in terms of where this show can go and it’s so much fun getting to read the scripts that our brilliant writers churn out every week. They are the real superheroes of this show!

TrunkSpace: Anything can happen in a world where time travel and super heroes exist. What’s been your biggest “pinch me” moment on set thus far where you had to stop and go, “Wow, this is really my life now”?
Tsekhman: Yeah, I think being topless, holding a pomegranate and luring a unicorn out of the forest would have to be a “pinch me” moment. Also, getting to work this season with Tom Wilson who is immortalized as Biff Tannen has been incredible. He’s a hilarious and amazing guy full of great stories!

TrunkSpace: Do you find that this business subscribes to the old adage of work begets work, and if so, do you see your portrayal of Gary on “Legends of Tomorrow” opening up more doors for you in the future?
Tsekhman: I absolutely agree with that old adage! I certainly hope that Gary does open more doors. Perhaps a spin-off? “The Gary Green Chronicles” or “The Legends of the Time Bureau.” Wouldn’t that be fun? But, seriously, the attention that the show has garnered will hopefully open more doors. I suppose only time will tell.

TrunkSpace: You have a degree in finance from the Wharton School of Business. Was pursuing acting a serious change of gears for you, and if so, did you have to convince yourself that you were making the right choice? How hard was it for you to take the first step on the path you’re currently traveling?
Tsekhman: Yes, I do have a degree in Finance from Wharton and taking that first step was challenging. I had an investment banking job offer from Lehman Brothers that I chose to forgo in order to pursue more creative endeavors. Luckily for me, my parents were very supportive of my decision, which I recognize is very rare and I’m extremely grateful to them. I was so in love with performing at that time that I may have been slightly delusional to think that I could succeed as an actor. Perhaps you have to have these delusions to choose to go into this industry. Who knows? The numbers are certainly scary, many more actors than jobs. You don’t need a finance degree to recognize that.

TrunkSpace: There’s a lot of rejection and self-doubt that comes along with a career in the arts. That said, does the creative space fulfill you personally more than a career in finance could have ever achieved – even if you had reached the pinnacle of success in that industry?
Tsekhman: I certainly think so. That being said, I did enjoy finance, but the fulfillment I get from acting and writing is immense. However, I am sure that reaching the pinnacle of the financial world would be quite fulfilling as well. I am biased because I chose this path and I am ecstatic with my choice. But maybe I would have been happy to stay in finance as well. Perhaps my positive outlook on life would have brought fulfillment regardless of career choice. At least if I stayed in finance, I would have kept my nipple intact! (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
Tsekhman: “LEGENDS OF TOMORROW,” BABY!

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
Tsekhman: No, I wouldn’t take that jump because it’s the 10-year journey that is the fun part. Knowing the destination would make the journey less fun and it would take away the mystery and hope that comes from this business. You never know what opportunities might come your way tomorrow and seeing what things look like in 10 years might negatively influence your decision making today. Although, jumping 10 years into the future and right onto the set of Season 7 of “The Gary Green Chronicles” would be pretty cool!

Season 4 of “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” is available now on Netflix. Season 5 will return to The CW later this year.

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Trunk Stubs

The Dirt

MotleyCrueFeatured

Title: The Dirt

Rated: R

Genre: Biopic/Drama

Release Date: March 22, 2019

Directed By: Jeff Tremaine

Starring: Machine Gun Kelly, Douglas Booth, Daniel Webber, Iwan Rheon, Levan Rambin, Pete Davidson, Tony Cavalero, David Costabile, Rebekah Graf

Reason We’re Watching It: This one’s easy. We grew up in the ‘80s. Mötley Crüe is part of the soundtrack to our impressionable pop culture-inspired lives, so naturally we’d be interested in learning more about how that soundtrack came to fruition.

What It’s All About: From humble (and dysfunctional) beginnings to superstardom, this Netflix biopic is the feature film adaptation of the best-selling Mötley Crüe biography of the same name. While it shows the ups of rock ‘n’ roll fame, mostly it focuses on the downs, which plagued the band member’s personal lives. From addiction to loss, no one inside the band was immune, and while they have since retired from the stage, the four musical misfits found a family among themselves and will forever be a part of the mainstream musical tapestry.

One big area where the filmmakers missed an opportunity was including more of the band’s iconic songs throughout the course of the film. Unlike “Bohemian Rhapsody” which made the tunes a marquee-sharing costar, many of the Crüe’s hits were left on the editing room floor. You can’t get pumped when there’s no track to pump your first to.

Whoah! Rewind That!: The urban legends surrounding Ozzy Osbourne seem limitless, but seeing him onscreen – or at least Tony Cavelero portraying him – sniffing live ants off of concrete is worth a second “Oh no he didn’t” viewing.

Watercooler-Worthy Tidbit: “Game of Thrones” fans will recognize the actor who plays Mick Mars as Iwan Rheon, otherwise known as the most evil onscreen SOB ever to be eaten by a pack of hungry dogs, Ramsay Bolton.

And that’s why we’re giving it…

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