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Wingman Wednesday

Josh Blacker

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Photographer: Noah Asanias/Stylist: Joanna Kulpa

For those of us who grew up in the 1980s watching “high concept” television like “ALF,” the idea of a series as big in scope and as deep in character as “See” would have been inconceivable at the time. Television has come so far in the years since the dials were controlled by only three networks that nowadays every night can be spent watching a summer blockbuster in the comfort of your own home. And for the actors who bring amazing projects like “See” to life, it’s no different behind the scenes.

It felt more like being on the set of a big budget blockbuster than traditional episodic television,” said series star Josh Blacker in an exclusive interview with TrunkSpace.

We recently sat down with Blacker to discuss embracing the fantastical wardrobe, bringing the sightless experience to his performance, and the role that was a dream come true.

TrunkSpace: A new series. A new streaming service. High-stakes storytelling. How excited are you to finally have “See” going out wide into the world and, we would imagine, finally having the freedom to share that excitement with people once you don’t have to worry about sharing any spoilers.
Blacker: I’m thrilled that people will finally be able to enter into the epic world of “See” that Apple has brought to life. It’s beyond anything I’ve ever been involved in and I think people are going to be blown away by the scope of this series. I can’t wait to hear people’s thoughts about the show and share some of my experiences making it.

TrunkSpace: Not a lot has been revealed about the series yet as much of it be being kept under wraps, but knowing what you know about “See,” what are going to be those must-see elements that you feel will not only pull audiences in, but keep them enthralled for the duration of the season?
Blacker: Oh, man, there are so many elements to “See” that will have people engrossed from the beginning. The talent involved at every stage and in every department is truly remarkable. The scope of the world building is truly epic. The sets built into the middle of nowhere in the wilds of British Columbia are a majestic backdrop to a truly unique story that has all the things people love in a good show. Love, death, secrecy, betrayal, action, and so much more. Our writer, Stephen Knight, is remarkable.

TrunkSpace: Upon last check, the trailer for the series has nearly 28 million views. Does this feel like the kind of project that could be a game changer for you in terms of your career moving forward?
Blacker: I certainly hope so!

TrunkSpace: From what we’ve seen so far of “See,” it looks less like a television series and more like a big budget tentpole film. As an audience, it’s amazing to see how far television has come since our days of watching ONLY the three major networks, but from someone who works inside the industry – and specifically this project – do episodics have that “movie” feel behind the scenes as well?
Blacker: Oh absolutely! From my very first wardrobe fitting to the moment I walked onto set for the first time you could just tell that Apple had spared no expense in creating the world of “See.” It felt more like being on the set of a big budget blockbuster than traditional episodic television.

TrunkSpace: Let’s talk wardrobe for a minute. We hear “dystopian future” and we think, “YES, 10-year-old us would be so excited to be dressing up like Conan.” When you’re working on a project that exists in a heightened, fictional reality, is there a bit of wish fulfillment for you and your inner 10-year-old? Having grown up watching this kind of action, is it surreal to now be performing it on-camera?
Blacker: That’s so funny because it’s exactly what I thought when I first saw the wardrobe and visuals for my character, the Witchfinder Warrior. It was a little overwhelming at first, but as soon as I finished getting into wardrobe and makeup, I looked in the mirror and the 10 year old in me was over the moon. This is the type of project I was transfixed by as a kid and to be able to be a part of it has been a dream come true.

TrunkSpace: For fans, the final product of a film or series is always the most memorable part, but for those involved in a project, we’d imagine it goes much deeper than that. For you, what is something about your time working on “See” thus far that you’ll carry with you through the course of your life/career?
Blacker: There are SO many amazing memories from the eight months of shooting. But, I think the one that stands out the most is the two-month boot camp we went through at the very beginning and working with our amazing blindness consultant Joe Strechay. He is such an incredibly warm and kind man and his guidance and mentorship in helping me bring the sightless experience to screen authentically was something I’ll always remember.

Photographer: Noah Asanias/Stylist: Joanna Kulpa

TrunkSpace: What are your views on fame as it relates to your acting career? Is it part of the package that you have come to terms with it, or, would you be comfortable focusing on your craft and never having to be recognized outside of the work itself?
Blacker: I think ideally it’d be nice to have a balance between the two. It’s a bit of a catch 22, in that having a degree of ‘fame’ allows you to work on bigger and more exciting projects but it can come at a cost – the loss of anonymity. However, the longer I work the more I enjoy hearing from fans and engaging with them online. Most of them are so sweet and kind and it really does fill me with joy to hear how something I’ve been in has affected them in some way. So if fame means working a lot on really good projects and being recognized by more and more people for that work, I’ll gladly take it.

TrunkSpace: You’ve appeared in a lot of fan-favorite shows over the years, including “Arrow,” “The 100” and “Travelers.” Are there any characters that you wished you had more time to explore given how interesting they were to you personally?
Blacker: I love working on the fan-favorite shows. The fans of those shows are so educated and so supportive it really makes me wish I could explore all of those characters for much longer. I’d love to have had more time with all of those characters, but if I had to choose one, it’d be Magee on “Arrow.” He was supposed to appear in more than one episode, but we had a conflict with the schedule so unfortunately that didn’t happen. He was such a dark, conflicted person and I’d love to have been able to explore his world a lot more.

TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
Blacker: There are so many! Although, working with Jodie Foster on “Elysium” was a dream come true. I’ve admired her work for so long and to finally share the screen with her was an honor.

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?
Blacker: I love the idea of time travel! Someone, please put me in your time travel film or show. But, in real life, I try not to look ahead or back too much. I love the surprises that life and particularly life in this business brings, so I think I’d pass on the journey to my future. The joy I get every time I walk on set for the first time is something I want to experience as it happens.

See” is available now on Apple TV+.

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Wingman Wednesday

Kim Shaw

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If you’re like us, you swap out your pumpkin-flavored everythings for peppermint the day after Halloween and begin your slow holiday burn. Thanks to Hallmark Channel, those festive vibes are gifted to us in regular rotation as part of the annual Countdown to Christmas event. Tonight we’re unwrapping “Christmas Scavenger Hunt” starring Kim Shaw and Kevin McGarry, and we’re not the only ones sprinting into the season.

I’m happy to take the holiday charge, I think about Christmas year-round so it feels like the rest of society is just catching up,” said Shaw in an exclusive interview with TrunkSpace.

We recently sat down with Shaw to discuss on-screen chemistry, shooting in her home country, and why she has comedy in her sights.

TrunkSpace: Your new movie “Christmas Scavenger Hunt” premiers only a few days after Halloween. With our slightly-sunken Jack-O-Lanterns still out on the stoop, do you feel like you’re leading the holiday charge because, quite honestly, the festive vibes have already taken hold of all of us here?
Shaw: I know, right! My Stories on Instagram today went from dancing in my Halloween costume straight to Kevin and I with Christmas lights above our heads! I’m happy to take the holiday charge, I think about Christmas year-round so it feels like the rest of society is just catching up!

TrunkSpace: We’re suckers for Hallmark holiday movies here, and the popularity around the Countdown to Christmas event continues to grow. In your opinion, what is it about movies like “Christmas Scavenger Hunt” that continues to draw such big audiences for the network?
Shaw: Hallmark is at the top of the game for making feel good romantic movies. I think the Countdown represents the countdown to spending quality time with family, eating rich foods and being cozy on the couch, so who wouldn’t want to start that in November?

TrunkSpace: So much of what makes a movie like “Christmas Scavenger Hunt” work is the chemistry between its leads. In your case, that was Kevin McGarry. How much time did you two have together prior to arriving on set to play with that chemistry and see what worked/what didn’t?
Shaw: Mr. McGarry and I worked together on an episode of “Saving Hope” a few years ago and had an instant rapport. It worked perfectly for our characters in “Christmas Scavenger Hunt” to have a smitten history. Kevin is a really funny, witty guy, so I was very happy to get to work with him again.

TrunkSpace: From what we understand, Hallmark movies shoot at an incredible pace. When you’re shooting so many pages in a single day, does it require a different preparation for the material than you would normally take?
Shaw: I try to start memorizing the material as soon as we have a locked script. Sometimes we shoot 10 to 12 pages a day and when it’s only two of you in most of the scenes it’s an inordinate amount of lines.

TrunkSpace: For fans, the final product of a film or series is always the most memorable part, but for those involved in a project, we’d imagine it goes much deeper than that. For you, what is something about your time working on “Christmas Scavenger Hunt” that you’ll carry with you through the course of your life/career?
Shaw: I love shooting in Canada. I was born there but grew up in the States so it’s always a treat for me to get to go back to the motherland. And of course Kevin. We laughed so much shooting this, it’s not often a costar is so silly.

TrunkSpace: Is it difficult to find a connection with a character when you’re inhabiting them for only a short period of time? Is the experience different for you than, say, something like “Saving Hope,” where you spent 31 episodes with Dr. Cassie Williams?
Shaw: That’s a great question! You have to make bigger initial choices when you only get to play someone for a short period of time. You have to create the layers yourself without dozens of storylines. I learned something new about Cassie every episode of “Saving Hope,” which helped create a deep, well-rounded personality for her. Playing Belinda in “Christmas Scavenger Hunt,” I had to make strong choices for her from one script.

Shaw and McGarry in Christmas Scavenger Hunt

TrunkSpace: Is there a character that you have portrayed over the course of your career that you wished you had more time to spend with, and of so, why?
Shaw: I had a lot of fun playing Tina in “I Just Want My Pants Back” on MTV. She was quick on her feet and always got into trouble. It was extremely fun to mess around inside her head. And why not Belinda from “Christmas Scavenger Hunt!” It would be fun to see what happens with her and Dustin after they find their happy ending!

TrunkSpace: If someone came to you tomorrow and said, “Kim, here is a blank check, go and develop any kind of project that you want for yourself,” what type would you greenlight?
Shaw: Comedy! I want to do more comedy. Something that I could cast my friends in and other people I admire. Film and TV is such a community and I would love to highlight and support the people I’ve met along the way.

TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
Shaw: Honestly, I am happy to have worked on everything I’ve been a part of. This business is a hustle and I’ve been lucky to play some really interesting people.

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?
Shaw: (Laughter) That’s a funny idea. Hm. I think I’d rather wait and see what happens! Hopefully it will be a career I can be proud of. Filled with more successes than setbacks and more laugh lines than tears.

Christmas Scavenger Hunter” premieres Sunday November 3 on Hallmark Channel.

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Wingman Wednesday

Ashley Newbrough

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While Ashley Newbrough’s holiday movie “A Merry Christmas Match” premiered BEFORE Halloween, the Rhode Island native starts her own festive celebrating after the trick-or-treaters have all removed their masks and collected their candy.

I don’t start putting up Christmas decorations until November – I like to give each holiday their moment, Christmas being the grand finale,” she said in an exclusive interview with TrunkSpace.

We recently sat down with Newbrough to discuss Hallmark’s seasonal success, peanut butter cup cravings, and seaside stress relief.

TrunkSpace: Your most recent project, “A Merry Christmas Match,” kicked off Hallmark’s Miracles of Christmas event. What is it like being the unofficial ambassador of the holidays season!?
Newbrough: I’m a huge Christmas fan, I was happy to kick off the season.

TrunkSpace: What’s amazing about the premiere is that it actually took place BEFORE Halloween. What are your thoughts on getting our Christmas on before our pumpkin-shaped peanut butter cups have even been fully devoured?
Newbrough: Now I’m craving peanut butter cups! While Christmas is my favorite holiday, autumn is my favorite season. I don’t start putting up Christmas decorations until November – I like to give each holiday their moment, Christmas being the grand finale.

TrunkSpace: We’re suckers for Hallmark holiday movies here, and the popularity around the Miracles of Christmas event continues to grow. In your opinion, what is it about movies like “A Merry Christmas Match” that continues to draw such big audiences for the network?
Newbrough: Hallmark knows how to create the ultimate Christmas and they deliver it right into your living room wrapped in a red bow. Their films set the tone for the holidays and the heart they put into every story serves as a reminder of what the true meaning of the season is all about. It’s a safe place for people to relax and enjoy. It’s like an escape into a snow globe from the stresses of every day life.

TrunkSpace: So much of what makes a movie like “A Merry Christmas Match” work is the chemistry between its leads. In your case, that was Kyle Dean Massey. How much time did you two have together prior to arriving on set to play with that chemistry and see what worked/what didn’t?
Newbrough: We didn’t get any time to do anything prior to be being on set. The first time I met him was right before we shot the last scene of the movie. I got so lucky with Kyle Dean – he’s an absolute dream to work with. During the first week we both ended up at one of the diners in Idyllwild so we had breakfast together with my mom, who was in town visiting. My mom loved him instantly. I was won over after he filled me in on the fact that he was a part of “The Book of Moron” workshops! He’s very humble, so I thought I’d throw that one out there… needless to say, I adore him and we became friends immediately.

TrunkSpace: From what we understand, Hallmark movies shoot at an incredible pace. When you’re shooting so many pages in a single day, does it require a different preparation for the material than you would normally take?
Newbrough: You really have no choice but to dive in and hope they like what you’re doing. Thankfully I work well under pressure. It’s very much a team effort.

TrunkSpace: For fans, the final product of a film or series is always the most memorable part, but for those involved in a project, we’d imagine it goes much deeper than that. For you, what is something about your time working on “A Merry Christmas Match” that you’ll carry with you through the course of your life/career?
Newbrough: I will take the cast with me. After getting to know them I made the mental note of keeping them in my life long after we wrapped, whether they liked it or not. I love Idyllwild too – it’s beautiful and the town mayor is a golden retriever named Max!

TrunkSpace: You were extremely interactive with fans on Twitter while “A Merry Christmas Match” was airing for the first time. How does that real time interaction with viewers change the acting experience for you when it comes to television? Does social media allow for a more – almost theater-like experience given the ability to hear from people as the performance/piece is being seen?
Newbrough: Live tweeting is an exceptional experience. It can be overwhelming but it feels like you’re in it together with the viewers. Hearing their thoughts scene by scene offers a fresh perspective and makes it more fun to watch. Their support is always appreciated too.

TrunkSpace: You’re originally from Rhode Island. What is something that is undeniably New England about you that you can’t shake no matter how long you’re away from the Ocean State? (And as a bonus question… can you tell those who aren’t from Rhode Island what coffee milk is?!?)
Newbrough: I moved from Rhode Island when I was three so I didn’t get a chance to develop any New England tendencies or learn what coffee milk is! Now I have to look that up. I find walking along the beach – being close to the ocean – is one of the best stress relievers. It can work some serious magic… I like to think being born of the Ocean State has something to do with that. Plus, New England is famous for their vibrant falls (which is my favorite season). LA doesn’t get fall and it breaks my heart to miss it.

TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
Newbrough: All of the opportunities I’ve been grateful to experience have added up to a many highlights. One that stands out would be when I was cast in ‘Privileged’ alongside Lucy Hale and JoAnna Garcia Swisher. It was the role that got me to move to Los Angeles – it changed my life. Getting to work with legends like Rod Taylor and Barry Bostwick are also big stand out moments for me.

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?
Newbrough: And ruin all the surprises??? I wouldn’t dare.

A Merry Christmas Match” will air throughout the holiday season on Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies and Mysteries.

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Wingman Wednesday

Nick Hounslow

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Model and fitness trainer-turned actor Nick Hounslow never imagined a day when his face would be featured on a movie poster, but as the star of the “Christmas With A Prince” franchise, that unforeseen dream has become a reality, now twofold thanks to the sequel, “Christmas With A Prince: Becoming Royal,” premiering November 3 on UPtv.

I never thought I would be on the cover of a movie poster and DVD box,” he said in an exclusive interview with TrunkSpace. “That’s just mind-blowing to me!”

We recently sat down with Hounslow to discuss seasonal entertainment, accepting his fictional lineage, and working on the mental as well as the physical.

TrunkSpace: First off, we’re suckers for a good Christmas movie here at TrunkSpace. In your opinion, what is it about seasonal selections like your upcoming film “Christmas With A Prince: Becoming Royal” that continues to draw audiences in year after year?
Hounslow: I think people love a feel good movie, one where they can sit with the whole family and enter this wonderful world of Christmas. Who doesn’t want that? As busy as we all are and as diverse as all our jobs and interests, this genre of movie provides a common ground everyone can get on board with and enjoy.

TrunkSpace: “Christmas With a Prince: Becoming Royal” is a sequel that comes directly on the heels of the first film, which was released in time for last year’s holiday season. When you first signed on to play Prince Alexander, did you know this would be a multi-installment commitment to the character or was it a pleasant surprise to find out you’d be returning to the part?
Hounslow: It was a total surprise. A great surprise! The first movie did so well that the network really wanted to get a jump on a sequel.

TrunkSpace: The tag line to the sequel is “The Fairytale Continues.” When you look at your career, do you feel like you’re living out a bit of your own fairytale in terms of how everything is progressing professionally?
Hounslow: (Laughter) Well, I wouldn’t say the entire journey has been a fairytale but for sure the last couple of years I am finally seeing the hard, tireless work pay off! I was once told it is a marathon not a sprint… and ain’t that the truth! I am so excited for what’s to come. There are already some amazing things in the pipeline.

TrunkSpace: When it comes to Prince Alexander, is he someone who you could see yourself hanging out with in the real world? Was it easy for you to find a connection with him in order to give life to the character on screen?
Hounslow: For sure! He likes to have a laugh and doesn’t take life too seriously (most the time). I can relate to that. You can’t take it all too seriously otherwise what would be the point?! However, when it really matters, Prince Alexander can stand up to the plate and is learning to balance both sides of his life/career. Again, I can relate to that. I do think he’d be an easy guy to chill and have a beer with!

TrunkSpace: Speaking of people you hang out with… what do your long-time friends think about you playing a prince? Do they like to poke fun at you for taking on royalty?
Hounslow: Oh yes, I hear NO end of jokes and fun poked at me. They threw me a huge party when the first movie premiered and had everyone attending stand in and recreate the movie poster cover (the role of Dr. Tasha) so by the end of the evening I had a collection of alternative Princess brides in tiaras and a fur shawl. It was hilarious. On the other hand, they mostly believe that, as I am British, I must be at least 176th inline to the throne anyways!

TrunkSpace: You started your career as a model. When you decided to transition into acting, did it take some convincing of people within the industry that you weren’t a model who wanted to act, but instead, an actor who happened to model? Did you have to reinvent yourself?
Hounslow: In the beginning, yes, I was worried it would be hard to convince people of this. However, I quickly learned that you just have to do your thing, believe in your abilities and what you bring to the table, and if people don’t realize it then that is their loss. I remember everyone saying as an actor you have to do this and this and cut your hair more like this and act less ‘modely’. I got so lost in trying to be something different that I became inauthentic and that reads in a casting room. So I just came back to myself and said this is me, yes I modeled and I still do (I just shot a hair campaign for American Crew products) and you either get me or you don’t. It was very freeing and I started booking more roles.

TrunkSpace: Beyond your time spent on-camera, you also work behind the scenes as a physical trainer, working with other actors like Gal Gadot and Julie Benz. With all of the various types of projects you take on, do you view them as part of the same career and all leading to the same finish line, or are they separate in terms of how you manage them?
Hounslow: I love all aspects of my careers. Fitness has been a lifestyle choice since a very early age. I actually found fitness as I was an overweight teen who wanted to change. I taught myself everything I know. I don’t think you need to define yourself by one label or box. Julie and Gal are such wonderfully strong, kind, women who definitely embody having strong careers and a commitment to fitness and health. I love that! I really admire The Rock. He pursues both versions of himself. From fitness game shows to major blockbuster movies. The trick is managing them together. It is a major juggling session week after week but somehow it always works out!

TrunkSpace: We all have our own personal hang ups when it comes to our bodies. As a physical trainer, what advice do you give those clients who have a hard time seeing past what they feel are their faults, and instead, focus on their strengths?
Hounslow: Training is so much more than just the physical gains/losses or what your exterior looks like. I always try to work on the mental aspects of training. I still don’t always see a true reflection today. It has taken a lot of work and acceptance to get past the heavy kid that was bullied when I look in the mirror. Fitness comes in many shapes and forms. I tell clients to focus and find something that you enjoy and that makes you feel good. Whether that is running, spinning, swimming, weight training, yoga, Pilates…. because once you find the activity you love, it doesn’t become a chore it becomes part of you daily life. Then, and only then, will you start to see true results and love what you see. It might not be what you perceived to be perfect based on unrealistic social media images but it will be your perfect and unique to you and I promise you will be happier in the long term.

TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
Hounslow: The Prince movies have been such a dream! I never thought I would be on the cover of a movie poster and DVD box! That’s just mind-blowing to me! There are so many highlights I’ve loved! Working on the Shonda Ryhmes/Shondland show “The Catch” was incredible. The showrunner Allan Heinberg was amazing and so great to work for, coincidentally he wrote the first “Wonder Woman” movie starring Gal Gadot. I trained Gal earlier this year and my sister was personal makeup artist to Chris Pine. I love how small this world is – it is all intertwined. In high school art class we had to pick a female celebrity to paint. I chose supermodel Claudia Schiffer. Cut to 11 years later. I book a L’Oreal commercial with Claudia. She was amazing and so nice! The day we were shooting in LA my sister was on a night shoot in London for one of the X-Men movies being directed by Claudia’s husband Matthew Vaughn! What are the chances! I love these kind of moments.

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?
Hounslow: I would not. I like to live in the present. You cannot look back as that time is done. I don’t want to ruin the surprises for the future. Right here right now I am sitting in my house in Los Angeles typing about a career I couldn’t have dreamt possible when I was younger. I still have moments where I’m like, “How did this happen?!? This is WILD.” So for now, I shall not use a time machine and stay here very content.

Christmas With A Prince: Becoming Royal” premieres November 3 on UPtv and is available for preorder here.

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Wingman Wednesday

Chris Agos

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Photo By: The Riker Brothers

Growing up in the midst of the Space Shuttle era, Chris Agos studied the stars as part of his curriculum in school, and although he admired the astronauts who traveled beyond the reach of most humans, he eventually decided that it wasn’t for him.

I think I gave up completely when I learned you had to ride in one of those crazy gyroscope things until you blacked out,” he said in an exclusive interview with TrunkSpace. “As someone who gets motion sickness just by standing next to a swimming pool, I was like, ‘Nope!’”

Gyroscopes aside, Agos is now stepping into the moon boots of one of the most famous astronauts of all time, playing Buzz Aldrin in the new series “For All Mankind,” which premieres November 1 on Apple TV+.

We recently sat down with Agos to discuss the pressures of playing an icon, getting lost in Mission Control, and why he chose to write a series of books about breaking into the voice over industry.

TrunkSpace: Taking on Buzz Aldrin seems like it could be an intimidating ask of someone. Did you feel pressure going into this project knowing that you’re not only tackling someone who is an actual person, but even more so, such a WELL KNOWN person?
Agos: There was definitely some added excitement when I realized that not only would I be playing a legendary historical figure, but one that could very possibly see the performance. The way I saw it, the challenge was to do justice to the story being told in the script, while also being as accurate as possible in terms of how Buzz carried himself publicly and privately during the Apollo era. I doubled down on my research and read every book Buzz wrote, watched as many of his public appearances as I could find, and spoke at length with Mike and Denise Okuda, the show’s technical advisors, about what Buzz was like to work with in those days. Honestly, I just hope he doesn’t wrinkle his nose if and when he catches the show. And I really hope he does see it because I think he’d find it fascinating.

TrunkSpace: What type of access to Buzz did you have in order to get an understanding of the man you were going to be portraying on camera?
Agos: Buzz wasn’t involved in the show’s development, so unfortunately, I didn’t have much contact with him. We did exchange a message or two, but not until after the show wrapped production. I hope one day I can shake his hand and thank him for his endless contributions to the nation’s space program.

TrunkSpace: What would 10-year-old Chris think about his future self playing Buzz Aldrin?
Agos: 10-year-old me thought adult me was going to be a doctor, so I’d imagine my younger self would be a little confused (they have doctors in space?) but he’d also be super excited at the prospect of strapping on a real space suit and playing inside an exact replica of Columbia and Eagle, the two spacecraft that made up the Apollo 11 mission. I mean, what kid wouldn’t want to do that?

TrunkSpace: A lot of kids dream about the stars and getting to explore space. Is there a bit of a wish fulfillment aspect for you in getting to be a part of a story like this?
Agos: Absolutely. I grew up during the Space Shuttle era and the program was a big part of our science curriculum at school. It all seemed so exciting and interesting, but also pretty far out of my reach. The more I found out about how much you had to go through to become a real astronaut, the more it seemed like it wasn’t something I could ever actually do. I think I gave up completely when I learned you had to ride in one of those crazy gyroscope things until you blacked out. As someone who gets motion sickness just by standing next to a swimming pool, I was like, “Nope!” So, joining the cast of “For All Mankind” allowed me to pretend that I actually did get to go into space, no gyro required!

TrunkSpace: For fans, the final product of a film or series is always the most memorable part, but for those involved in a project, we’d imagine it goes much deeper than that. For you, what is something about your time working on “For All Mankind” that you’ll carry with you through the course of your life/career?
Agos: By far my most memorable moment was the first time I walked into our Mission Control set. I had seen pictures of that room in history books throughout my life, so it seemed like a familiar place before I even set foot inside of it. But I can honestly say that I have never been so awestruck by a space, ever. I’m not sure I have the words for it, other than it was surreal. It literally felt like walking through every photo I’ve ever seen of Mission Control. The set was built accurately down to the inch, and the level of detail that went into every aspect of it was over the top. It went way past the consoles and screens, which of course were perfectly recreated. But the little stuff, like the ash trays and period-correct candy wrappers really completed the look. It was like stepping into a time capsule, or a very, very accurate museum where they allow you to touch everything. I spent every bit of time I could in that room looking around because there was always some new detail to see.

TrunkSpace: “For All Mankind” will appear on Apple TV+. As an actor, has it been exciting to watch the various distribution platforms take on original scripted content, because it seems like the race between them continues to elevate the storytelling to the point where it’s almost overwhelming with how much quality television is now available to viewers.
Agos: Yeah, I don’t know how anyone keeps up with it all. What’s great about the state of TV today is all the experimentation going on. When there were fewer avenues to distribute shows, I think people were less willing to take a chance on a new concept or a new talent. Sometimes those risks really pay off, and because of that people are calling this the new Golden Age of TV. I’m not sure I agree with that label 100 percent, but I do think we’re in a time of transition. We’re starting to see new ways of telling stories along with new tech that will allow for experiences that otherwise wouldn’t be possible, and that’s what’s exciting to me. I can’t wait to see what the marriage of a tech company like Apple and great storytellers like Ron Moore will produce, now and into the future.

Photo By: The Riker Brothers

TrunkSpace: Is there a character you had previously spent time with – even in a guest role capacity – that you wished you had more time to explore, and if so, why that person?
Agos: Well, as a serial guest star, I’m always eager to spend more time with just about every guy I play. Writers will often give us just enough of a glimpse into their circumstances to serve the story, but no more than that. I would have liked to spend more time as the head of the President’s secret service detail on “House of Cards,” which was a bucket list show for me. It was quite an honor to not only do that show, but to play in the first scene of the first episode of its final season. I’m a huge fan of HOC and working there was truly a gift. I had hoped to see more of Agent Bowman, but there was plenty for the show to unpack that season, so I completely get why he was not a priority.

TrunkSpace: You wrote a book about breaking into voice over work that was released earlier this year. What was it that prompted you to go down that path as an author and have you heard first-hand how it has helped those looking to explore the field?
Agos: Thanks for asking. Whatever professional milestones I’ve reached thus far have only happened because of my involvement in voice over. It’s where I got started, and it led to my on-camera career. But because it’s a relatively anonymous business, it’s sort of shrouded in mystery for a lot of people. I get asked about it a lot. So, The Voice Over Startup Guide came about in response to that. It’s actually the first in a series of books on the voice over industry written by me and a bunch of my VO friends. It’s only been available for about a month, and we’ve gotten a nice response. I’ve been teaching for years, so what’s presented in the book is very similar to what I would teach in person. Between that and the audio files that come with the book, I think it’s an effective tool for learning about the industry.

TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
Agos: Every time the phone rings with a new opportunity, it’s a highlight. I’m really grateful that I get to do this for a living.

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?
Agos: Sign me up, yeah. I’m all about making decisions using the best information possible, so I’d love to see what I’d be up to in a decade. Maybe there would be steps I could take now that might hasten any success or avoid any horrible pitfalls. Plus, I’d like to see how much hair I’m going to lose between now and then, just so I know.

For All Mankind” premieres November 1 on Apple TV+.

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Wingman Wednesday

Brendon Zub

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Photo By: Noah Asanias

Growing up with a passion for baseball, aspiring Major Leaguer-turned-actor Brendon Zub envisioned a day where he’d be running base paths professionally. But like life tends to do, it zigs when you anticipate the zag, and now the Vancouver native is sharing screen time with caped crusaders in The CW’s “Batwoman.”

I remember getting chills the first time I came to set and saw the Batcave rebuilt with Easter eggs to all previous Batman shows hidden about,” Zub said in an exclusive interview with TrunkSpace. “It was jaw dropping.”

We recently sat down with Zub to discuss script reveals, cast whale watches, and why streaming platforms help to keep his family informed on his career.

TrunkSpace: With the premiere of “Batwoman” behind you, does it feel like you’re now able to share your experience on the series with the world? Does it feel more real when it is out there and is being enjoyed?
Zub: Definitely! We shot the pilot back in March, so it was a challenge to stay quiet about it with all the excitement surrounding it until the show got picked up. Now that it’s aired, it definitely feels more real since we can talk more about the show, engage with fans, and share some of our behind the scenes pics and experiences from set.

TrunkSpace: Did you find yourself scouring the socials to see what the first impressions of the series were to long-time fans of the characters and how those characters were handled in a cinematic sense?
Zub: I see what comes my way, but honestly I didn’t go out and search social media myself. I still consider myself a newbie in the social media world. I’m not on Twitter and find managing my Instagram account challenging enough. (Laughter) I get tips and advice from my castmates on “Batwoman.” Camrus (Johnson), who plays Luke Fox on the show, is a good friend and tends to send me articles and help me when I have questions. That guy is a wizard on Insta and Twitter.

TrunkSpace: What would 10-year-old Brendon think about his future self getting to play in the DC Universe? Would it seem unfathomable to him at the time?
Zub: Yes, 10-year-old Brendon would have been completely shocked and probably even more confused. You see at that age, despite being a bit of a class clown in school, I was crazy into baseball. I lived and breathed that sport and all I could dream of at the time was growing up and playing in the Major Leagues one day.

TrunkSpace: When you’re working on a project like “Batwoman” where, although grounded in reality, anything is possible… do you have those pinch me moments on set where you look around at the costumes and set pieces and go, “How is this my life?”
Zub: For sure, you can’t help but have those moments when you get to work with such a stellar cast and play around in such a legendary location as Gotham. I remember getting chills the first time I came to set and saw the Batcave rebuilt with Easter eggs to all previous Batman shows hidden about. It was jaw dropping. It wasn’t till Ruby Rose donned the Batsuit and we got to do our first scene together that the reality of it all truly sunk in… I was now apart of the DC Universe.

TrunkSpace: Your character Chuck seems to be carrying a few secrets with him. How much of his journey did you know going into your first day of shooting, and has that journey surprised even you in places as you have gotten further into production on Season 1?
Zub: I knew nothing day 1 except that Chuck Dodgson betrayed the Crows and was Alice’s lover. How that all played out, and his and Alice’s backstory, was a complete mystery to me. I had my theories but the writers kept their cards close and didn’t reveal much of anything early on. Over the course of the season, however, more of Alice’s and Dodgson’s relationship and backstory is revealed and fans will learn more behind their motivations.

TrunkSpace: We would imagine it’s fun to play a character where “not all is what it seems” because you’re getting to peel back those layers for the audience week after week. As a performer, does that episodic reveal make it just as interesting for you to shoot a project as it is for the viewers to watch it all unfold?
Zub: Yes, in fact, we feel much like the viewers ourselves week to week. Only difference is that we’ve just experienced things a few months earlier. Every time we got a new episode sent to us we’d all talk about it and share the same shocked reactions and theories that fans do now.

TrunkSpace: For fans, the final product of a film or series is always the most memorable part, but for those involved in a project, we’d imagine it goes much deeper than that. For you, what is something about your time working on “Batwoman” thus far that you’ll carry with you through the course of your life/career?
Zub: For me, it’s the friendships I’ve made on this show. Since most of the cast were new to Vancouver, I had the unique opportunity to show them around town and introduce them to all the fun and unique activities that Vancouver, BC has to offer. As a result, I grew pretty close to many of them on and off set. There’s been cast BBQs, and even a whale watching tour we all did together… memories I won’t soon forget. I will cherish the friendships made on “Batwoman” for a lifetime.

TrunkSpace: Beyond the weekly premieres, “Batwoman” will live on in streaming platforms where people can catch up or watch again as many times as they’d like. As an actor, do platforms like Netflix enhance the experience for you in bringing a character to life, knowing that they’ll live on for people in however they wish to consume the content down the line?
Zub: Yes. It’s especially important to me since many of my family and friends are scattered around the world in different countries and can’t watch it on TV. It’s been nice to just tell my brother, who’s halfway around the world and my biggest supporter, to just turn on Netflix and watch my show. Makes things easier.


TrunkSpace
: What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
Zub: Well… a few months ago I’d probably say my Hallmark/Lifetime Christmas lead romance roles but now I’d have to say “Batwoman.” It’s quickly overshadowing my previous roles now… especially as the season progresses.

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?
Zub: Oh, that would be hard to turn down… but I kind of like not knowing what is around the corner for me though. It keeps me motivated to work hard for each and every thing in life and to seize every opportunity. It’s been an exciting roller coaster ride so far and not knowing what tomorrow brings is the fun part. Having said that… I may just take a quick peek.

Batwoman” airs Sundays on The CW.

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Wingman Wednesday

Anand Desai-Barochia

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For Anand Desai-Barochia, the journey to landing a role of substance – in this case, Janzo in “The Outpost” – was a long and winding road, but like so many things in life, the good always comes to those who wait.

Being an impatient creative, you always hope it happened faster – quicker,” he said in an exclusive interview with TrunkSpace. “I wont lie, I’m glad it didn’t happen straight away. Now I genuinely appreciate the work I have because it wasn’t handed on a silver plate.”

We recently sat down with Desai-Barochia to discuss post-production llamas, growing with a character, and the joy of eating affordable truffle gnocchi.

TrunkSpace: We previously spoke with your “The Outpost” costars Jessica Green and Jake Stormeon during the series’ Season 1 run. Now that you’ve wrapped up Season 2, what can you tell us about how this show has impacted your life and career the most? Has it brought substantial change to your door?
Desai-Barochia: Firstly (is firstly a word?) I’d like to apologize for your interaction with my cast mates. I know how tedious they can be. Now to the question at hand. “The Outpost” has allowed me the fortunate privilege to now only spend my time on material and projects that truly interest me. Like most actors, before landing something of substance, I had to audition for anything and everything, even if the casting breakdown said “60-year-old Chinese man with a pet llama.” Because, you never know. I’m brown – they could always FX in a llama.

TrunkSpace: Playing Janzo is the longest time you have ever spent with one character on screen. What is that extended journey inhabiting one character like? Has who you understood Janzo to be changed from that moment you first signed on to play him to where he is today throughout the course of Season 2?
Desai-Barochia: Before “The Outpost,” I always thought that I preferred film over TV – purely for the fact I could see a character through from beginning to end. Now in our second season, my thoughts on this are definitely changing. I’m incredibly protective of Janzo – he is a character that has grown as I have. He started off as a shy, intimidating wee soul… just like me.

I could be wrong, but I do believe our shows’ creators have adapted our roles to the actors that play them. That being said, the more you know your character, the bolder you can be in your choices. The beauty we have as a show is that it is completely original material. The show isn’t based on any film or book series. All of the characters have changed and grown since Season 1.

TrunkSpace: You have said that the writers of “The Outpost” have given you the freedom to help sculpt Janzo and make him your own. What is an element of him that you knew you wanted to bring to life, and that perhaps was not initially intended for the character?
Desai-Barochia: It might have to do with having a British sense of humor – and maybe something our writers at first didn’t intend on, however, the second I read Janzo’s lines in the pilot, I immediately read them as him being extremely dry and blunt. I’ve always seen him like that – now it might not have been how the writers initially saw him but I’m glad they’ve allowed me to run with it.

TrunkSpace: We would imagine it can be both exciting and (possibly) nerve-racking to receive new scripts, not knowing ultimately where your character will go on both his personal journey and the narrative journey within the series. Does a moment come to mind where you were reading a new script and got so excited by what you read that you couldn’t wait to get to set and shoot it?
Desai-Barochia: The scene where I killed Garrett was particularly exciting to shoot.

TrunkSpace: For fans, the final product of a film or series is always the most memorable part, but for those involved in a project, we’d imagine it goes much deeper than that. For you, what is something about your time working on “The Outpost” that you’ll carry with you through the course of your life/career?
Desai-Barochia: It sounds corny but its true; my relationships I’ve built with cast and crew. It happens with every job I’m on – whether it’s being a receptionist behind a desk, or having a show shooting in Serbia, the people are what I value the most. To this date, some of my closest friends are from work.

TrunkSpace: You had previously worked on “Day of our Lives” for a few episodes. Soap operas are known for their breakneck shooting schedules, so we’re curious if getting to spend some time on an established one like Days served as a bit of a boot camp of what was to come for you later in your career?
Desai-Barochia: Days is a beast I’ve never been part of before. Marnie Saitta watched/read an interview of mine that I tagged her friend in on social media so more eyes would see the piece. She requested I come in to meet her, so I guess it kinda worked. I wouldn’t have the balls to do such a thing now. I guess when you’re eager for work, unemployed, you’ll try anything. I ended up playing a one liner for a few episodes after.

I remember walking onto the NBC lot just grinning from ear to ear. My first gig in the States. Walked onto set – director showed me my movements, rehearsed it. “OK! Thanks for your work today!” That’s how quick it was. I thought the take was the rehearsal. After pumping myself up for the last two days for this “big break” it was over in five seconds. I didn’t even have a TV at the time it aired. I went to the gym and watched my one line on the treadmill, grinning like an old lady with no teeth.

TrunkSpace: You fell in love with acting when you were 10 years old. What would 10-year-old Anand think of his journey as a professional actor thus far?
Desai-Barochia: He’d be pretty chuffed. However, it’s actually the opposite for me – I look back on some of the things I did before getting steady work and wish I was more like that guy. He was fearless. I’m still pretty spontaneous in life; I’ll always have my passport in my back pocket just in case an adventure pops up.

Professionally, it took a lot longer than I thought/hoped it would. Folks always say it takes 10 years after you have graduated theater school to start getting the real work. I graduated in ‘07. I booked my first series regular in ‘17… so they weren’t wrong. Being an impatient creative, you always hope it happened faster – quicker. I wont lie, I’m glad it didn’t happen straight away. Now I genuinely appreciate the work I have because it wasn’t handed on a silver plate.

TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
Desai-Barochia: Eating truffle gnocchi twice a week for $7.00 in Serbia.

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?
Desai-Barochia: I wouldn’t. Nerves/apprehension/flutter in your stomach/not knowing if it’s going to work out. That’s what keeps me on my toes. I think it’s always good to not be so sure of yourself.

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Wingman Wednesday

Natalie Malaika

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Photo By: Rashelle Campbell

In an industry where so much is out of your control, you can easily be let down when things don’t go according to plan. Thankfully for actress Natalie Malaika, who can be seen appearing in the new Netflix thriller “Fractured,” planning has never been a part of her plan, which keeps her future flexible.

I find extreme bliss in doing what I love as a career because it doesn’t feel like work,” she said in an exclusive interview with TrunkSpace. “And as time goes by, if that continues to be true, I would absolutely continue on this journey.”

We recently sat down with Malaika to discuss working on a Netflix project, learning on set, and what kind of on-screen badass she wants to play.

TrunkSpace: Your journey in the arts began as a dancer and musician. What made you transition from those first loves into acting, and ultimately, was it a leap that you were hesitant to make because of how difficult it can be to break in?
Malaika: When my interest in the performing arts as a whole first began, my mom enrolled me in all sorts of classes, including acting. She wanted me to find what I loved most, and somewhere along the way dance and music became the forefront of my focus and acting got placed on the back burner. I think that happened for a few different reasons. The precarity of the industry definitely created some hesitation, but more than that, my lack of knowledge on what to look for when navigating through the sea of contacts and representatives. It wasn’t until I attended an arts high school, as a dance major, that I started to dabble in acting again — we were encouraged to explore art forms outside of our major. I now had access to the guidance I needed earlier on to navigate the acting industry. So with that, I found an amazing talent agent by my senior year and began to take acting seriously.

TrunkSpace: When you decided to pursue acting professionally, did you put a plan in place – short or long term? What kind of path were you hoping to pave for yourself and do you feel like you’re on it now?
Malaika: Not right at the onset. I more so started to plan while I was in my final year of university. To be honest, I’m not much of a planner, though I do understand the importance of setting some semblance of a layout in order to establish direction. My path is still a work in progress – I’m still a work in progress – but when I took a leap of faith and moved to Vancouver from Toronto that was the first part of the plan. Now I’m slowly seeing the pieces fall into place.

TrunkSpace: Netflix is the pinnacle of original programming these days. What is it like being a part of a project for a platform that seems to literally be in every home and on every device? Is it exciting beyond the work itself given the size and scope of where “Fractured” will live?
Malaika: It’s so crazy. There are other productions I’ve been in that are also on Netflix and I’ll randomly have people who I haven’t spoken to in years messaging me on Instagram with a screenshot of me! It’s so weird but awesome all at once. I can’t tell you one person I know who doesn’t have Netflix, so the exposure is great for sure.

TrunkSpace: Did you view your time on “Fractured” as just as much of an education as you did a job, because there are some heavy hitters involved in the project both on screen and behind the camera that we would imagine you could absorb a great amount of knowledge from?
Malaika: Totally! Any set that I step on I consider it an educational experience. I’m always striving to be better at my craft everyday; whether I’m reading scripts, attending classes, watching films and television shows with a critical eye, it’s important to me. I learned so much from observing Sam Worthington and his work ethic and his engagement on set. Brad Anderson, the director, was also such a joy to work with, and was a great source of knowledge. His vision and the way he invites you into his vision is wonderful.

TrunkSpace: For fans, the final product of a film or series is always the most memorable part, but for those involved in a project, we’d imagine it goes much deeper than that. For you, what is something about your time working on “Fractured” that you’ll carry with you through the course of your life/career?
Malaika: How important it is that everyone has the same vision in order to successfully execute the mission, which is to create great content. Brad and the producers did exactly that.

TrunkSpace: We started our chat talking about your earliest entertainment industry roots. Is dance and music still a part of your life, and if so, how much creative energy do you put into them these days?
Malaika: I consider myself an actor who also dances and plays piano. A few years ago I would’ve said the opposite. Although dance and music are still very big passions of mine, my focus is primarily on acting right now and working on that craft. So, for now, I’ve placed dance and music on the back burner this time.

TrunkSpace: If someone came to you tomorrow and said, “Natalie, here is a blank check, go greenlight whatever you want for yourself to star in.” What kind of project would you put into development?
Malaika: If you know the movie “Colombiana” with Zoe Saldana, it would be that! That was a great movie! I want to play a badass assassin role. Use my dance background and perform my own stunts.

TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
Malaika: That feeling of being a working actor. Does that count? I think every actor can relate to going through a lull in their career, especially in the beginning stages. Since graduating from university, I’ve been able to zero my focus in on acting and developing my craft. As a result I notice a positive response to that. You really do get out what you put in.

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?
Malaika: That’s a tough question! As I mentioned before I’m not really much of a long term planner. What I know right now is that I love acting and the performing arts. I find extreme bliss in doing what I love as a career because it doesn’t feel like work. And as time goes by, if that continues to be true, I would absolutely continue on this journey.

Fractured” is available now on Netflix.

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Wingman Wednesday

Geno Segers

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Photo By: The Riker Brothers

Geno Segers is the kind of actor who, when faced with an opportunity, realizes he has a choice to make.

There are three things you can do with it,” he says in an exclusive interview with TrunkSpace. “Walk past, pick it up and drop it, or pick it up and run with it.”

With his new series “Perfect Harmony,” airing Thursdays on NBC, Segers is heeding his own advice and embracing his latest career achievement while learning from talented castmates like Bradley Whitford and Anna Camp.

We recently sat down with Segers to discuss “finding zero,” on-set chemistry, and why training as an actor is different than training as an athlete.

TrunkSpace: We’re just a few weeks removed from the premiere of your new series “Perfect Harmony” on NBC. In an industry where so much is out of your control once you’re away from set, how do you emotionally handle premieres, because if a series hits, it could change everything over night, correct?
Segers: Absolutely, but that being said, change can be good. As long as it’s taken with a grain of salt. I have a southern mother who wouldn’t have a problem walking to LA and putting her sour feet up my backside if she heard my head had gotten too big for my shoulders. As for handling the emotional ups and downs, it’s just part of being in an industry that is ever changing. I call it, “finding zero” – when good things happen, and you’re on a high, find zero. When bad things happen that bring you down, find zero. For me it’s all about balance.

TrunkSpace: With that in mind, what is it about “Perfect Harmony” that you think gives it a chance to not only find an audience, but to retain it week-after-week in a world now dominated by streaming? What is the secret sauce that the show has?
Segers: I feel like “Perfect Harmony” is all about the characters and the fact that you wouldn’t see this group of people together outside of a Church choir. The show is a comedy with a lot of heart. You will laugh really hard, but you will be challenged at times to hold back your tears.

TrunkSpace: Comedy is sometimes difficult to pull off because setting a tone and feel for the series is everything. How soon into the process of shooting “Perfect Harmony” did it feel like that tone came into focus for you so that you fully understood what kind of show it was going to be?
Segers: I agree. But as soon as I saw the chemistry between all the cast members on day one, I felt like the tone would jump off the screen. The fact that these characters really do care for each other will be evident to viewers after the first episode.

TrunkSpace: In the series you play Dwayne. What was it about Dwayne that you first latched onto when you read for him, and as time went on, did you come to love different things about him that perhaps weren’t present in the early days of development?
Segers: I loved the idea of playing a role that doesn’t have to die a brutal death. (Laughter) But really, Dwayne and I have a lot in common and I do enjoy that aspect. What’s more fun is playing against my natural self. He’s a really shy and unsure big guy that has no idea how powerful he really is.

TrunkSpace: For fans, the final product of a film or series is always the most memorable part, but for those involved in a project, we’d imagine it goes much deeper than that. For you, what is something about your time working on “Perfect Harmony” thus far that you’ll carry with you through the course of your life/career?
Segers: I’ve learned so much about comedy from all the other cast members and I’ll take that with me for sure.

TrunkSpace: You have rich history in sports, including wrestling, football and rugby. Are there correlations between pursuing sports and pursuing acting, particularly when it comes to training and improving your skill sets?
Segers: No. Not even close. Sports is more about the more effort, the better the results. Acting is about working hard to be natural. It means doing less to achieve the best result.

© 2019 NBCUniversal Media, LLC

TrunkSpace: You decided to pursue the entertainment industry after a friend suggested you audition for some voice over work. Do you think you would be in a much different place in your life today had you not taken your friend’s advice and walked into that audition all those years ago?
Segers: Indeed I do. Life would be very different for me. I’d very likely still be living in New Zealand.

TrunkSpace: What has been the biggest lesson you have learned in your career thus far that you find yourself applying to your day to day now?
Segers: Around every corner is an opportunity. There are three things you can do with it. Walk past, pick it up and drop it, or pick it up and run with it.

TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
Segers: Being in my first network series on NBC.

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?
Segers: No, because I really like surprises.

Perfect Harmony” airs Thursdays on NBC.

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Wingman Wednesday

Dan Payne

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Photo By: Charles Zuckermann

Although he is no stranger to Disney Channel audiences thanks to roles in shows like “Mech-X4,” Dan Payne continues to be in awe of his “Descendants” experience, one he sees as exposing him to an entirely new generation of pop culture fans… even those found closer to home.

I think one of my favorite things, though, is that this movie makes my kids think I’m cool… for now,” he joked in an exclusive interview with TrunkSpace.

We recently sat down with Payne to discuss shaping the Beast, becoming a set dad, and how being a professional volleyball player prepared him for a career as an actor.

TrunkSpace: The “Descendants” franchise has tapped into a younger generation in a way that is difficult for new properties to do in this current day and age. What do you think has enabled the ongoing narrative to hold audiences through three movies to date, especially at a time when so much other content is available?
Payne: I believe the success of the “Descendants” franchise has a great deal to do with the underlying messages and concepts within the movies. The most important idea being, quite simply, love. These movies deal with the idea of love by addressing the concepts of inclusion, standing up for one another, not judging a book by its cover and acceptance, to mention a few. The story is told by an unbelievably talented cast of young artists who can dance, sing, and act brilliantly with Kenny Ortega masterfully at the helm of it all. I just feel like it came together in a way that connected with people of all ages and I am truly grateful to have been part of it.

TrunkSpace: You have returned to the role of Beast in “Descendants 3.” Is there a different vibe – or even a different approach – to reprising a character in a film franchise as opposed to a television series that checks in with audiences more frequently?
Payne: I think each character could ‘grow’ with the story and express how their character had been affected by what happened previously. Each movie afforded a new challenge, which could hopefully inspire more growth. Some characters’ ‘growth’ might seem more drastic than others since the audience does not get to check in as frequently with movies as they do a television series. And, for me, Beast is a father. He has to learn to grow as a father and help his son as he matures in to a fine young king.

TrunkSpace: Obviously the films, though enjoyed by people of all ages, are geared towards a younger demographic. Do you think the “Descendants” franchise has opened you up to an audience that has yet to see your work, and if so, how do you use that in your career as an actor to carry momentum forward?
Payne: “Descendants” has been an amazing opportunity for so many reasons. I think it has opened me up to a new audience. I have been fortunate to be a part of the Disney world prior to “Descendants,” having played Traeger, the main villain on “Mech X-4” for a season as well as Gabby Duran’s father, Bruce on “Gabby Duran and the Unsittables.” I hope the exposure the “Descendants” movies has brought opens up more opportunities and audiences because it would mean more chances to do this job that I absolutely love. I have an amazing team around me, and I think we will work together to make the most of this shift. Disney has been very good to me, and I hope our relationship continues and that audience continues to grow too! I think one of my favorite things, though, is that this movie makes my kids think I’m cool… for now.

TrunkSpace: Your character is based on a very famous fictional beast, who to date, has been enjoyed by various generations over many years. However, this still feels new enough in the narrative and tone that it wouldn’t feel like history has had too much say in how you approached him on-screen. While the past is there, did you feel like you were taking on a character that audiences have never seen before?
Payne: I was very fortune to have Kenny Ortega help me shape our version of the Beast. Kenny let me know that we would collaborate to create a King Beast very specific to our world of “Descendants” while honoring the famous classic character as much as possible. In essence, the most important trait of the Beast I got to play is that of a loving father.

TrunkSpace: For fans, the final product of a film or series is always the most memorable part, but for those involved in a project, we’d imagine it goes much deeper than that. For you, what is something about your time working on the “Descendants” franchise that you’ll carry with you through the course of your life/career?
Payne: I will always cherish the relationships that began with the cast and crew. We came together as strangers on the first film and now continue as friends. It’s not often for me that I get to revisit film relationships for the course of three films and six years. I got to see some of the young actors grow up and got to become, in a way, a set dad to some of them. They are truly brilliant young stars.

TrunkSpace: You have been involved in many facets of artistic exploration, from acting to photography to stand-up comedy. As a person, are you someone who needs a creative outlet to feel your whole self? Is artistic expression a must have for you?
Payne: I think artistic expression and having a creative outlet are an extremely important to part of me. I would almost say essential as if part of my DNA. I don’t believe I need it to feel my whole self because there are other equally, possibly more important parts, like that of being a husband and a father. Those parts give me tremendous joy and fulfillment. I’m very fortunate that I have an amazing support group around me so that I can pursue those creative outlets that fulfill that part of my being and also be a father, husband and the other parts of me that all add up to the whole.

TrunkSpace: Prior to pursuing acting as a career, you were a professional volleyball player. Are there parallels between pursuing sports and pursing acting, particularly when it comes to training?
Payne: I believe that my experience in professional volleyball taught me to bring an excellent work ethic and sense of professionalism to everything I do. I also think it has paid major dividends in the less structured career path of acting. Auditions are like tryouts. Do the homework, put in the work, and give it everything I have to succeed. I learned to work in a team environment. I also learned the life lesson to get up one more time than I get knocked down to find success – big or small, whatever it means to you – on the journey of trying to be the best version of me I can be. I’ve said it before, I think you have to be a warrior for your own cause and battle for the right reasons!

Photo By: Charles Zuckermann

TrunkSpace: We’re suckers for “Supernatural” here, a series that you appeared on back in 2014. It is about to begin its final season, so we’re curious how important that show has been to performers and crew in the Vancouver area and how much of a void it will leave behind?
Payne: Jared and Jensen are ambassadors of awesome! They have relentlessly been a brilliant part of the Vancouver film community. I think it will leave a fairly substantial void. But I have to say, Vancouver is an amazing and resilient community of tremendously talented actors, directors, crew – you name it – and I’m excited to see what fills those big shoes!

TrunkSpace: What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
Payne: That is an extremely tough question to answer. There have been so many milestones along the way that I could say are a highlight. I mean, I have met and worked with people that have inspired me beyond belief, been part of projects that altered the course of my career and traveled to foreign countries to do a job I love! I truly hope the highlights are still coming and THE highlight is yet to come! If you are asking me to pick one as I sit here, filming a movie in Thailand was surreal. It was the first time I left the continent on an acting gig. What a gift!

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?
Payne: No… yes… no.

Okay, admittedly, there was a moment of curiosity that arose as I thought about being able to know. But it faded quickly, and I can now confidently say, “No, I would not take that journey.” I guess the lesson of Faust in a way? I would rather continue this crazy journey as an actor and be excited by what may be just around the corner. I have loved the wild ride it has been so far and look forward to the next adventure… whatever it may be!

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