After 20 seasons, Keeping Up with the Kardashians has finally come to a bittersweet end. The reality television series created by Ryan Seacrest centered around the glamourous lives of the Kardashian-Jenner family, predominantly Kim, Kourtney, Khloé, Kylie, Kendal, and their mother/manager, Kris. The show dove deep into their personal lives featuring all of their day-to-day activities, lovers, career opportunities, plenty of gossip, and everything in between. Keeping Up with the Kardashians was a groundbreaking show for pop culture as it caused reality television to grow in popularity and created a whole new world for social media influencers.
Photograph found on the official @kuwtk Instagram page of sisters having fun.
Since the show began in 2007, the show created a ginormous fan base and the Kardashian and Jenner girls gained millions of social media followers. Along with the show, each member of the family accomplished a lot including marriages, children, business launches, modeling gigs, and more. After the season 20 finale, the cast of Keeping Up with the Kardashians sat down for a televised interview with Andy Cohen to look back at everything they have went through and to answer hard hitting questions from fans. Read on for the highlights.
Karadashian-Jenner girls with Andy Cohen on the day of the interview. Photograph posted on @kuwtk Instagram page.
To start off the interview, Andy Cohen reminded us that there have nine spin offs of the show, Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner are billionaires, the sisters have had headline relationships, three marriages, and over 800 million google search results. Clearly, Keeping Up the Kardashians put this family on the map. Following the introduction, Cohen began asking the most pressing questions. In 2007 a sex tape of Kim Kardashian was released and addressed in the first episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. This tape was a large scandal and Kim did receive a lot of attention for it. One of Cohen’s first questions was directed to Kim asking her if the show would have been successful without the sex tape. Kim responded by saying that the tape did help the initial success of the show, but it is a mistake that she will have to live with for the rest of her life and a tough conversation that she will have to have with her children someday.
Cohen then went on to ask Kylie Jenner questions about her life. Kylie is a billionaire who created an incredibly successful beauty line, Kylie Cosmetics. Kylie shared in the interview that she grew up being very insecure about her small lips and would outline them with lip liner. This sparked her love for makeup and led her to Kylie Cosmetics. It is a well-known fact that Kendall Jenner has always kept her love life private and refused to include her relationships in Keeping up with the Kardashians. During the interview Kendall Jenner admitted that she is in a relationship with professional basketball player, Devin Booker.
One of the most iconic Kardashian-Jenner relationships would have to be Kourtney Kardashians relationship with Scott Disick. The couple had three children together and dated on and off for nine years. The two split up in 2015, however Scott and Kourtney have remained friends. Scott was a major character on the show and appeared on every season. In the interview, Cohen asked Kourtney why she broke up with Scott and she said the deal breaker was his substance abuse. Kourtney is now dating Travis Barker and Scott gave his blessing and said he wants her to be happy.
Post from @kuwtk Instagram post from interview day.
Another highlight from the interview is when Cohen asked Khloé Kardashian about her relationship with Tristan Thompson. Thompson cheated on Kardashian with Kylie’s best friend at the time, Jordan Woods, when she was pregnant with their child. Thompson and Kardashian broke up because of this and the Kardashian family cut Jordan out of their lives. Khloé and Tristan, however, did get back together and Cohen asked Khloé why she didn’t give Jordan the same pass she gave Tristan. Khloé went on to say that she doesn’t hold any grudge against Jordan and that she forgives her.
This spicy interview was a perfect wrap up for Keeping Up with the Kardashians. To watch for yourself visit Keeping Up with the Kardashians Season 20 Episodes 13 and 14 on Hulu.
Many of us dream of becoming an influencer. But how far would we go to achieve fame? What happens when we lose control of our manicured Instagram persona? Creator Mike Heslin affectionately parodies this scramble to the top in his new series, The Influencers, which follows a group of thirsty social media starlets as they battle it out for a brand deal. The Influencers is now available to stream internationally on Revry, the first LGBTQ+ virtual cable network.
Cliché: How excited are you to be able to have the opportunity to work with Revry?
Mike Heslin: Super excited! As a queer filmmaker, it feels like a great fit since Revry is a LGBTQ network. One of my production company’s missions is to elevate LGBTQ+ stories, characters, and artists – so we are thrilled to find a new home and partner in Revry.
Tell us about your new show, The Influencers.
The Influencers is a new satirical comedy series that follows six social media “stars” as they compete in a series of creative challenges under one roof for an exclusive brand deal with the latest millennial juice craze: Jücytox. As cameras capture each influencer in real life, the manicured versions they present to the world online implode before our eyes. Witty and fun with a dash of heartbreak, The Influencers combines the best of mockumentaries such as The Comeback and Best in Show with the latest obsession-worthy reality TV formats to provide a satirical behind-the-scenes look at the lengths people will go to in their quest for (insta)fame.
What about the influencer world lends itself to the mockumentary format?
Everything! Influencer culture is all about a perceived, curated “reality”, so the idea of a show within a show where we get to see both the filtered versions they present online as well as what they are like in reality when they can’t perfectly edit and manicure everything really tickled me. For people who so carefully curate their image, I thought it was a compelling and interesting idea to see what these people would actually be like if you put them in a big-brother style house where they no longer have control of the edit.
Influencers are often stereotyped as vain and superficial, which is perfect for parody. Are any of the characters inspired by your own experiences or interactions with influencers?
Some of them but I can’t reveal which characters! I was between acting gigs and was freelancing for a social media agency working as a social media director and creative director. Casting and contracting influencers was part of my day to day and while there are tons of influencers out there who are super intelligent and incredibly business savvy, I happened to work with a few that were gorgeous, sweet, but who were lacking any real skillset. I started to wonder what would happen if these individuals had to prove themselves in a real public forum and how they would fare on an unfiltered platform where you couldn’t perfectly curate your persona. Thus the inception for The Influencers was born!
Would you say you’re attempting to poke fun at the influencers or humanize them? Or a bit of both?
It’s satire, so a bit of both. Most of us are active participants in today’s social media culture in some shape or form, so I think it’s important to be self-aware, to laugh at ourselves and to not take everything so seriously.
What do you think it says about the current state of our society that everyone is so obsessed with follower counts?
I don’t think it’s a new phenomenon. I think with or without social media, everyone just ultimately wants to be liked and respected. That being said, social media certainly can exacerbate the need to be liked and can be very polarizing (especially in times of political turmoil and a pandemic). I worry about the effect it has on our youth who are being raised in an era of unrealistic standards, but ultimately would argue that social media connects us and brings us together despite all of the negative attributes that can come with it, and connection is always a good thing. I feel connected to more people and like checking in with and keeping tabs on distant relatives or old friends from back home that I probably would have lost touch with had I not had social media. I also think it can be a great tool to market and educate but again, it definitely is a double edged sword.
Does the show examine what drives people to want to become social media influencers?
It more so examines what comes with online fame and the lengths people will go to to achieve it. It also examines what happens when you put someone who essentially doesn’t have a real skill set in coveted positions of power and/or responsibility.
If you were an influencer, what kind of content would you make?
I try to do my part to help advocate and educate for my LGBTQ+ community online already, but if I could be any kind of influencer I’d want to be a travel influencer. Getting paid to jet set around the globe and stay in five-star hotels in different countries doesn’t sound like the worst job in the world.
Read more Celebrity Interviews on ClicheMag.com Mike Heslin Satirizes Pursuit of Social Media Stardom in New Mockumentary, “The Influencers.” Photo Credit: Courtesy of Mike Heslin.
How well do you know your family? It’s a complicated question for many – and we might not always what we uncover. In CBC Gem’s new mystery thriller, Something Undone, foley artist Jo (played by Madison) becomes consumed with her quest to find her own answers, even as it jeopardizes her relationship with her partner Farid (played by Michael). We spoke to the actors about the show and the power of familial love.
Cliché: Are you passionate about true crime in real life?
MM: I don’t know that I would call it passion but it really fascinates me. I go through waves. Sometimes it’s all I listen to and sometimes it’s Drake and Justin Bieber. All about balance.
MW: Yes. But I get bored with the over-extended TV docs. The Jinx is an exception. I prefer dramatized versions of true events like the recent The Investigation from Denmark.
Tell us about your new show, Something Undone, and your characters, Jo and Farid.
MM: Something Undone is a thriller-mystery about a foley artist, Jo (played by Madison), who goes home to settle her late mother’s estate while also recording the required sounds for her true-crime podcast she runs with her partner Farid (me!). While in the house, a haunting sound leads her to a dark family secret and she becomes obsessed with uncovering the truth.
MW: I play Jo! Our story is all about sound – so pop in your headphones when you watch!
How did you adapt to filming the project under COVID restrictions?
MM: It was tough. But we designed the show to be shot during COVID; one character, one house. Sound is a MASSIVE part of our show and it allowed us to create a very full story without breaking any pandemic rules.
MW: We actually thrived with the creative parameters! I think the idea of an artist’s “blank page” is hell.
Madison, you play a foley artist! Did you gain a new appreciation for the craft in prepping for the role?
MW: I am such a nerd for foley. We were lucky enough to get a Zoom chat with Andy Malcolm – THE Canadian foley artist – and he showed us all around his amazing farm/foley studio.
Your characters run a true crime podcast. Would you say that the pressure to always investigate the next story has created some distance between them?
MM: I think they had a pretty good balance up until this point. They’re both so passionate about what they do and are lucky to be able to do it together. But they both have obsessive natures to them that make it hard for them to peel themselves away from the job. Speaking of the drive to investigate, Jo finds herself consumed by the need to know what really happened with her mother’s death, which could be suspicious.
How would you describe Jo’s bond with her mom?
MW: Tenuous. Complicated like most women’s relationships with their mothers. That specific connection and the patterns of theirs we repeat is something I wanted to write about.
Michael, can you give us some insight into Farid’s perspective on Jo’s journey?
MM: Farid is a really supportive partner so being away from her during this time is really difficult for him. Jo has struggled with her mental health and Farid’s constantly worried about her. When he begins to notice her destructive behaviour, he’s terrified for her well being.
Without giving away any spoilers, how would you say Jo and Farid’s relationship changes throughout the season?
MM: They definitely drift apart. As Jo gets consumed by the family secret, she pushes Farid further and further away.
What messages do you think the show has to offer on the strength of love and family, even beyond the grave?
MW: You only get one family. So don’t give it up.
MM: Losing a parent is horrible. I lost my mom when I was 24 years old and there are things I wish I had done/said when she was alive. Honestly, I would be really happy if this show made our audience pick up the phone and call their parents.
Read more Celebrity Interviews on ClicheMag.com Madison Walsh and Michael Musi are Engulfed by Family Secrets in New Mystery Thriller, “Something Undone.” Photo Credit: Courtesy of Madison Walsh and Michael Musi.
Like many actors over the past year, Alondra Delgado found her career momentarily suspended by COVID-19. After many months, her perseverance paid off and she was cast as newcomer Vanessa Montes on the hit teen football drama, All American. While Alondra didn’t know much about football at the start, already being an avid fan of the show certainly helped! If her secret past with Asher is any indication, Vanessa is definitely shaking things up on season 3, currently airing on Mondays at 8pm on The CW.
Cliché: You’re an actress, writer, and producer. Has wearing so many hats enhanced your understanding of the industry at large?
Alondra Delgado: Definitely! An actor, writer, and producer have many different responsibilities and each of them are essential. There is a unique feeling when writing something that truly means something to you and then watching it being brought to life. It is amazing to see how people create their own take on your words, and this creates more depth and meaning to the stories. Being a producer for the first time made me admire a lot more everything that happens behind the camera. The whole process of putting a film together, the before and after takes so much time and it’s what really permits the film to be accessible to the world. Being an actor brings everything to life and it is what makes the public connect with the film and have meaning. Having the opportunity to do all three has helped me learn a lot and appreciate the art of filmmaking a lot more.
How has the pandemic impacted your acting career?
COVID-19 has changed everything and definitely the filmmaking industry. When it all started a year ago, I was not able to film or book anything for eight months. During the whole first quarantine I only sent two self-tape auditions and continued my training by taking online Zoom acting classes. It was hard. You feel so much time is passing by and your dreams are farther and farther away. Once productions started back up, I started to audition via self-tapes a bit more often and that’s when I landed my All American recurring role back in October.
Tell us about your latest role, Vanessa Montes, on All American.
Vanessa Montes is my second recurring role. I was very excited to get cast for this, given the fact that All American is one of my favorite shows and I’ve been watching it since season 1. When I got cast I couldn’t believe it, and still to this day I am overly excited every time I get to be on set. It has been a great experience, everyone in the cast and crew is amazing and have made me feel welcome.
How much did you know about football prior to being cast?
If I am being honest, the only football I knew was thanks to the show. When I started watching All American a couple of years ago I started to learn a couple of things, and when I booked the show I was like “okay, maybe I should ask my friends to explain the rules to me.” I know the basics now and definitely admire the sport because it looks tough for sure!
What can we expect from Vanessa in season three?
Vanessa will bring a new energy to the squad. She has some secrets that might create a bit of drama. She wants to enjoy high school and make friends, but we’ll see how that goes being the new kid and the new head coach’s daughter. It’s a lot of pressure for sure.
Vanessa is very confident. Would you describe yourself as a confident person?
Vanessa indeed is a very confident young girl who carries herself well and knows what she wants. I do identify with her right now. It has been something that I’ve worked on but I describe myself as a confident person. I believe in my talent and know that if I work hard enough I can achieve the goals I have set for me. But it is definitely something I still work on every day and grow and learn.
She also has a history with one of her classmates. Without giving too much away, tell us more!
It is definitely a very interesting situation that I know will have everyone at the edge of their seats with intrigue. I can’t spoil any details, but I can say that Vanessa knows Asher from before.
What do you hope 2021 has in store for you, both professionally and personally?
Personally, I hope everything that is going around in the world gets better and people stay safe and this nightmare goes away. I am grateful for the blessings 2020 did give me and I hope these new opportunities open more doors for me. I want to land my first series regular role soon and another lead role in a feature film. Fingers crossed for 2021!
13-year-old Aria Brooks has already made quite a name for herself. With the help of her mother’s coaching, the actress has some impressive credits, including starring alongside Cynthia Erivo in Harriet and scoring a spot on All That. Aria also has a passion for songwriting – something that she unexpectedly has a lot of free time for in quarantine! She plans to release more music in the near future as well as a few possible short films.
Cliché: Who has given you the best advice about acting so far?
Aria Brooks: My mom has given me some of my best advice. She is normally the one who coaches my auditions, so she has helped me to make better choices in my auditions. Also, a lot of her advice relates to real life as well.
How did you hear about All That?
One of my agents sent me the audition for All That, along with instructions and a breakdown of what I had to do.
What do you enjoy most about performing in sketch comedy?
I love the variety of characters that I get to play. It’s also really high energy and very funny. Plus, I think it is more fun to make choices in sketch comedy because none of the sketches are consistently the same characters.
Tell us about your other show, Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings, and your character, Nola.
Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings is an anthology series based on the story behind Dolly Parton’s songs. I was in the Cracker Jack episode, which was about a group of friends hanging out for a weekend and it brings up past memories. My character, Nola, ran away from home with her dog. Nola brings back the memory of the main character’s dog, Cracker Jack.
What was it like having the opportunity to work with Cynthia Erivo on Harriet?
It was amazing! She was so nice and working with her was inspirational. She had an amazing work ethic and she was always so in the moment.
You’re also a songwriter! Where do you find inspiration for your songs?
Normally, my songs come from things that happen in my life. I pour out my heart on paper because it is therapeutic for me.
What are you doing to keep yourself busy during quarantine?
During the quarantine, I’ve been embracing my creative side. I’ve been writing scripts and songs a lot more. I’ve also been creating song parodies and putting them on my social media. I have a lot more time on my hands, so I’ve been able to do things I wasn’t able to do before. And, of course, I have been spending a lot more time with my family.
Are you working on anything right now?
I am planning on releasing more music this year. I am also still writing short films to potentially release and get better at filmmaking.
Read more Celebrity Interviews on ClicheMag.com “All That” Star Aria Brooks Talks Sketch Comedy, Songwriting, and More. Photo Credit: Byron Brown Photography.
After meeting in a small town and deciding to become roommates, Perrie Voss and Heidi Lynch sparked a friendship that quickly became a robust creative partnership. Inspired by their respective personal challenges and what they saw as the simmering ideological tension between baby boomers and millennials (symbolized, oddly or fittingly enough, by avocado toast), the idea for Avocado Toast the series was born. Perrie and Heidi play Molly and Elle, two friends each struggling to adjust to huge revelations – both in their own lives and the lives of their parents. We spoke to Perrie and Heidi about the origins of their friendship, exploring sexuality, and trying to understand (and break down) our cultural hang ups around acknowledging our parents’ sex lives. Avocado Toast the series premieres on Amazon Prime May 18th.
Cliché: How did the two of you meet?
Heidi Lynch: We met on a theatre contract. It just happened that right after meeting our personal lives simultaneously exploded. We needed a friend, and we had both just relocated to a small town to do a play and only knew each other. We became each other’s source of support and laughter through hard times. The show is inspired by our real life events.
Perrie Voss: We met over a summer doing a brand new play together in southern Ontario! We decided to be roommates while we rehearsed the play and little did we know our lives were about to change forever! Ominous I know…
When did you realize you wanted to do a comedy together?
HL: In that dark time. Well specifically after it. We had gotten so used to making each other laugh and adding lightness to each other’s dark time that we wanted it to continue. Our contract ended so it felt natural to work on something together. We realized that we had never (especially at that time) seen bisexual coming out stories, or stories about how hard it is when you’re parents divorce, even when you’re an adult. We felt like other people needed the ability to watch something humorous that addressed those issues, if they were in the same position.
PV: This question somewhat needs to be informed by the ominous cliffhanger I just left you with. AvocadoToast the series is based on our real life events and us meeting at a very serendipitous time. We bonded immediately and decided to be roommates while we rehearsed the show – which in itself could have been a comical disaster. But it was amazing and we discovered we had a really similar sense of humour. During this time Heidi had been going through a really huge revelation about her sexuality and then extremely suddenly, two weeks into rehearsal, my parents told me they decided to get divorced after 38 years of marriage. We were both going through it and what we realized is that we had this incredible strength to draw on with one another. We realized that we were able to be there for each other but we made each other laugh a lot but there was a trust and a bond that I had never experienced before with a friend – especially that quickly. We just knew we had to write it – and it’s become this story!
Talk about your new show, AvocadoToast the series and your characters, Molly and Elle.
HL: This is a show about female relationships. Relationships between best friends and between mothers and daughters. It’s an example of how not to treat each other but how we so often do. We put unreal expectations on our best friends, our mothers, our daughters and AvocadoToast the series explores that, with a comedic lens, through Molly and Elle. Molly is coming out as bisexual when her mother tells her that she and Molly’s dad are totally fine with it because they are very sexually adventurous and have an open marriage. Elle is adjusting to her parents’ divorce while watching her mother date a much younger man. Molly and Elle lean on each other as they judge their mothers more harshly than they would any other woman until the crutch that is their friendship breaks.
PV: Molly and Elle are best friends and roommates – they’ve been friends since they were little but Molly had recently moved to England for two years to pursue a teaching career. Elle is an art director at her mom’s agency and focused on work and playing the field. She takes what she wants when she wants it. When Molly comes back, and moves back in with Elle they discover each is about to go through their biggest life-changes to date. Molly had fallen in love with a woman for the first time in England and Elle discovers her parents are getting divorced. While they try and re-establish their friendship, they’re also trying to sort through their new sense of reality. Elle is a hard-working party-girl and she comes across as a brash, tough cookie, but she has a very soft centre. Which is what she has to unexpectedly deal with throughout the season. What she discovers is that she doesn’t have to filter everything through aggression and anger.
Where did the name for the show come from? It’s peak millennial!
HL: Exactly! We started with some other names but after avocadotoast was blamed for millennial mortgage woes, we felt like it was the perfect symbol for millennials and baby boomers not understanding each other.
PV: It is! Avocadotoast (the food) has become the proverbial symbol of millennials! There was this article that came out some years ago – right when the avocadotoast craze really took off written by a baby boomer for The Globe and Mail in Toronto (google it!) which talked about millennials not being able to afford to buy a house because they’re spending all their money on avocadotoast, and if they saved their money they’d be able to buy a house. Which we found infuriating, and darkly hilarious but we also saw that as a thematic difference between millennials and baby-boomers – that if we just ‘saved up’ that would somehow make up for the housing market flux. But what we wanted to do was show that although these two generations are vastly different, we’re also not as different as we thought. It was like a symbolic clue: AvocadoToast! The intergenerational glue!
Had you ever worked together before this? How would you describe your dynamic as actors, and does it have any impact on your personal friendship or your creative collaboration?
HL: I think as actors we work together incredibly well! We have gone on a long journey together in the creative process. We have both learned more than we ever even knew we wanted to about every aspect of film making and we are still standing and have something incredible to show for it. We have watched each other learn and grow and struggle and achieve so much. I am beyond excited to share what we have made with the world on May 18th and I think that will be when we can really take stock of all that’s happened together.
PV: Back when we did that play was the first time we had worked together, and that was almost five years ago. We have a really fun natural chemistry which was a huge impetus for us wanting to make something together, and we’re also both really game to play in the moment as actors. And because of our history and understanding it allows us to be really available to each other as actors and make each other laugh. We know the joke we’re going after in the scene, and what the truth of the moment is. Within our relationship, I think the biggest thing was to learn how to communicate on multiple levels. Being able to combine our creative communication within our friendship communication was a learning curve for sure. But we knew that we were good at both separately so finding where that balance exists was key for us.
Heidi, your character Molly is coming to terms with being bisexual and dating a woman. She (and the audience) might think that her main focus would be coming out – until she realizes her parents are swingers. How does Molly wind up having to confront her own preconceived ideas about sexuality with respect to her parents, in addition to accepting her own?
HL: I think you’ve just hit on season two. In season one, Molly doesn’t really get to the stage of confronting her own preconceived ideas about sexuality with respect to her parents. She just freaks out, judges them and doesn’t turn back. I feel it’s crucially important to explore how characters are hypocritical. This also plays into the expectations that are put on mothers and older women in general and the things they CAN and CAN’T do. There is prejudice even within the LGBTQ+ community and I think that is also important to explore. We all need to continue learning acceptance with one another. I hope that season 2 leads Molly to a place of acceptance and learning about her mother.
Perrie, Elle has to deal with her own parental conflicts when she finds out that her mom is dating a much younger man in the wake of her parents’ new divorce. How does she react to that? It also brings up an interesting point – age gaps in a theoretical context are one thing, but it’s another thing when it involves your parents!
PV: Elle feels like she has a lot of her life together. She has a great job, home, she dates who she wants. She feels really free, like there isn’t anything holding her back. When she discovers that her mom has had an affair with a younger man, it does a few different things to her understanding of her own sense of reality. The sense of betrayal goes beyond her parent’s relationship and Elle also feels betrayed by her mom. There is a breach of trust and respect. Elle’s mom, Patricia, is doing what feels right for her but it’s ultimately extremely selfish. I think regardless of age, we have a difficult time seeing our parents as sexual beings, especially when we have to witness them in the new stages dating or the throes of passion. But what we also wanted to look at the double standard between older men dating younger women – which is quite a cliche in our society. But when older women date younger men there is a complete societal incomprehension. Elle is having to deal with betrayal of her mom’s affair and the safety of her family unit exploding, which is a huge personal unravelling, but also having to see her mom unabashedly and brazenly embracing her sexuality. Being around new cuddly couples is tough – when it’s one of your parents? It’s another level.
Did you draw inspiration from your own life experiences to make the show?
HL: 100% and we’ve been very vocal about that because we think it is important. As we came through our life experiences and were on the other side of them then the process of research and connecting with others online who went through similar experiences started. Molly and Elle have become amalgamations of lots of stories.
PV: Yes. Everything is based on real-life experiences and re-configured, re-imagined and re-packaged!
Would you say that there’s some similarities between AvocadoToast the series and other female driven comedies like Broad City?
HL: I honestly am the worst person to answer that. I have avoided Broad City as much as I can because we were writing. But I’m sure there are. The most I can say is that I think AvocadoToast the series leans to the serious more than Broad City. We aren’t even writing anymore and I can’t bring myself to watch Feel Good yet because there is a Canadian/Brit queer female love story. I am so happy queer female representation is becoming more mainstream and I can’t wait to binge so many things once we have launch on May 18th.
PV: I think artists and creators are constantly responding to their surroundings, so I guess on a sociological level being a woman creates a similar lens to look through, which can create a point of unity throughout female driven projects. Our project is written from our truth, and there are a lot of funny moments too, because often truth leans into humour. I love comedy and definitely want to make people laugh. But all we can do as human beings is speak from our individual perspectives and life-stories so it’s hard to say that it’s like anything that currently exists and I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s similar to other female-lead projects aside from the fact that it’s also proudly female-lead.
Why was it so important for you to center narratives about sexuality and acceptance?
HL: For me, I enjoy watching content that makes me laugh, makes me cry and makes me feel like I’ve seen a story I haven’t seen before. That’s what I set out to create. We need these stories to affect larger societal changes. It would have helped me to have more bisexual characters to point to when I was navigating what to call myself and how I felt. As a general rule, we don’t like to think about or acknowledge our parents’ sex lives.
PV: I think anyone who goes through something new that often isn’t reflected back to them in standard media needs support shown to them so they can feel less alone. I think we need a community when we’re going through something new and scary. When you realize you have a different sexual orientation than what has commonly been reflected back to you on TV, you need something to hold onto, a narrative of people who have gone before you to know you’re not wrong or weird and you’re still loved. When your family falls apart and everything you knew crumbles away you need to know that other people have felt that way too, and you’re still able to carry on. We need community and that’s what we’re trying to create through stories like these.
Why did you decide to focus on the sexcapades of both Molly and Elle’s parents?
HL: That is totally a general rule that I definitely follow but on a larger stage(society), we desexualize women over the age of 40 and that is something we want to help change. How do we change that? Representation. We want to create female characters who are still discovering things about themselves and having awakenings as they age into incredible older women.
PV: Ithink it’s because we have a hard time imagining our parents as real people. They’re sort of make-believe characters and we create a fantasy-non-human world around them and who they are. It’s like when you would run into a teacher at the mall or something. It was hard to believe they existed outside of school. It also feels extremely taboo to integrate sex with parent-talk. But we also wanted to look at that head on and talk about the fact that we are weirded out by it. It was our way of drawing a line of connection between the two generations. Younger generations often feel like they’re the first person to ever do something kinky… and I can almost guarantee that your grandparents were freakier than you are. So let’s make it less taboo! We had some interesting talks with our multi-generational cast and crew in our additional content videos about sex and talking about it with our parents. Look out for those on our website and YouTube!
How do each of your characters progress throughout the season?
HL: Molly starts the season returning to Canada for a teaching job after having to live/work in the U.K. to get teaching experience. When she returns to her old Canadian life she is forced to come to terms with everything that has changed since she left, mainly the fact that she’s been dating a woman the entire time she was gone and none of her friends, family, or co-workers know. She falls prey to internalized homophobia as she gets outed through social media at school, and has a meltdown while teaching a conservative government restricted sex education class. She wants to lean on her best friend Elle but Elle is wrapped up in her own dilemma. She decides to end the relationship and repress her bisexuality to get back to her old Canadian life but the heartbreak from denying what she wants and who she loves starts to bleed into every aspect of her life. Finally Molly is forced to stop waiting in the wings and to act on her impulses.
PV: Elle goes through a personal softening in many ways. She’s quite brash and ‘take-no-prisoners’ off the top. She takes what she wants. But I think by the end she realizes how much she needs her friends and ultimately is forced into a place of vulnerability.
Read more Celebrity Interviews on ClicheMag.com “Avocado Toast the series” Spotlights Bisexuality, Parental Divorce, and the Generational Stigmas of Sex. Photo Credit (headshots): David Leyes Photography.
Following an unexpected win in a contest for McDonald’s employees to star in a commercial, Gabriel Darku’s love of performance was permanently awakened. In his new show, October Faction, Gabriel plays Geoff Allen, who along with his sister Viv begins to unravel his parents’ monster hunting past – and the fact that they’ve been leading a secret organization. You can also catch Gabriel in the horror sensation Slasher. For the moment, he’s binge watching everything in sight during quarantine.
Cliché: Your interest in acting first started when you were cast in a McDonald’s commercial after they held an employee contest. In that moment, could you ever envision yourself being where you are now? What ignited the fire in you?
Gabriel Darku: When I won a spot in that commercial, I simply thought it would be a great experience, something definitely worth soaking up but in now way did I expect it to change my life the way it has. It’s a question I ask myself all the time. Where would I be and what would I be doing with my life right now, if that commercial never happened? Up until that moment, I never once saw myself as an actor, yet the idea of being involved in entertainment in some way seemed to fit so well with who I was, always wanting to showcase what I can do. After that commercial, something finally clicked and I just sort of gave into it.
If you hadn’t become an actor, what do you think you would be doing right now?
I’ve always had a deep love and passion for sports and music, and I was considerably talented in both areas during my youth. I know that I could have followed a path of a professional athlete, but something that I still find myself interested in exploring is making music. Something tells me that if I hadn’t thrown myself into acting the way I did, I would be diving deeper into my love of music.
Talk about your new show, October Faction, and your character, Geoff Allen.
October Faction follows the lives of two monster hunters, Fred and Deloris Allen, and their twin siblings Geoff and Viv. Unbeknownst to the kids, mom and dad are career monster hunters who have been members of a secret organization for decades, and it turns out that the Allen family has long been at the helm of said organization. As the story unfolds we get to learn more about the Allen family and it’s legacy, and about the supernatural lore of their world, but the best part for me is simply watching how the characters deal with the struggles in their relationships with each other. The show remains surprisingly grounded and relatable, despite it being a sci-fi story about monster hunting, which is what I love most about it.
Why is it so important for Geoff and his family to conceal their identities from their hometown?
It’s not just in their hometown that they have to conceal their identity, it’s anywhere. I feel like if the general public knew just how real supernatural threats are, and that there’s actually a militant organization operating outside of government and therefore outside of the law, chaos would ensue. It’s all politics.
Tell us about your other show, Slasher!
Well, if you’re a fan of horror then you’ll love this show. I’ve always loved scary movies, and being in a horror project was definitely a check off my bucket list. I was in the 3rd season playing Connor Rijkers, a very troubled young man dealing with the recent suicide of his birth mother and is now left with the burden of caring for his other mom, and burden he shares with his sister Jen. One of the things I love most about this show is it’s inclusivity and representation. We have characters of all walks of life grace the screen, all of who are important to the story. It really is incredible to watch.
You seem to have built your career in fantasy and the supernatural! What do you enjoy most about those types of roles?
I love escapism. I think that’s always been the most attractive thing about fantasy and sci-fi genres, whether you’re in the audience or a part of the creation process, you get to let your imagination run wild. And as an actor, you’re much more likely to have the chance to play characters you’d never think of for yourself. It’s just a lot of fun to play in a fantasy world. But that said, I also take pride in wanting to tell meaningful, impactful and relatable stories. I believe that’s what’s attracted me to most of the roles I’ve been seen in as of late, the idea that just because the story is being told in a fantasy world doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be able to see our stories be told there as well.
How are you entertaining yourself during quarantine?
Lots of media! Now’s the perfect time to be diving into shows and movies I’ve yet to watch. My partner and I were binging an anime before the quarantine happened, and now that we’ve had the time to finish it we can get started on new stuff! We already binged Netflix’s Dracula, and right now we’re watching Bodyguard. We’ve also been going out rollerblading for exercise and fresh air, playing lots of games with our roomies, anything to keep our minds stimulated!
Read more Celebrity Interviews on ClicheMag.com Gabriel Darku Confronts a Complicated Supernatural Legacy in Netflix Sci-Fi Drama “October Faction.” Photo Credit: Megan Vincent.
Hallea Jones grew up with music in her veins – but it was acting that stole her heart. After a chance casting call with iconic teen drama Degrassi resulted in a call back, she began to consider acting as a serious career. Now, she stars as mean girl Eden Hawkins in Netflix’s Locke & Key, based on a popular comic book series. Hallea also eventually found her way back to music and currently has an album in the works. Spend your time in quarantine streaming Locke & Key today!
Cliché: Performance is in your blood! What was it like growing up in a family of musicians and performers?
Hallea Jones: Intimidating but incredibly inspiring. The Jones bloodline is definitely made up of 90% music. For a while in my teenage years I kind of rebelled against it because I really didn’t like playing classical music. I just wanted to play Taylor Swift songs and write my own! There was never a dull moment in my family. Every Christmas or family event would be filled with everyone picking up an instrument and singing along which was intimidating for me because I wasn’t pursuing it seriously until about a year and a half ago, but that never stopped me from singing at the top of my lungs and getting right in with the entertainment from an early age!
Acting and music are your two great loves. Do you prefer one over the other? Have you had experiences with music that influence your decisions with acting or vice versa?
I really can’t say I love one more than another. Music has its perks because I can do it whenever I want to, wherever I want to.. but acting has my heart for a whole range of different reasons. I have found that finding music again has opened me up to my vulnerability more, which has influenced my acting drastically, in more ways than I’m probably aware of.
When was the moment when you knew you wanted to pursue acting professionally?
Degrassi came to my school when I was in grade 11 for an open call and I got a call back! I obviously didn’t get the role, but that was the moment I started to seriously consider it as something I could pursue.
Talk about your new show, Locke & Key and your character, Eden Hawkins.
Ah yes, that show! haha! Locke & Key is a show about a family who moves to their fathers ancestral home after he is mysteriously murdered. The kids start finding these keys that can do crazy things (take you anywhere in the world, make you a ghost, opens a passageway into your head, can control people), and as they’re discovering these keys, a demon is released who also wants the keys. They deal with this demon at home, and then go to a new school called Matheson Academy, where they get to deal with Eden Hawkins – Matheson’s finest queen bee! She’s not the nicest chicka on the block – I’ll just say that much!
Were you familiar with the comic book series on which the show is based?
Not until I booked the project, but I went through them so quickly! They’re so good!!
Have you worked in the horror genre before?
No I haven’t! I’m not into horror at all and while being on set for a horror film could help with my irrational fears, I have yet to do one!
Were you excited to be playing a character who has access to different superpowers?
Yes! I’m super excited to see what happens with Eden next season (fingers crossed we get one!) I’m very curious how Eden’s storyline will pan out!
You’re also currently working on an album! Tell us about that.
Yes I am, but it’s at the very early stages because I’ve only been getting back into music for a year and a bit. I’m definitely wanting to take my time and develop more of an understanding of myself in music before I put anything out – but it will happen!
Do you enjoy having the opportunity to work with so many great Toronto artists?
I absolutely love it. It’s an honour to be surrounded by so many incredibly talented artists – in so many different mediums. It feels like I have to pinch myself on the constant to confirm I’m not dreaming up this wondrous life I’ve been living. Toronto is bursting with such incredible talent, it’s euphoric to be a part of it and I can’t wait for the world to see what we’re cooking up.
Read more Celebrity Interviews on ClicheMag.com Hallea Jones is Queen Bee in Netflix Drama “Locke & Key.” Photo Credit (in order): Rupert Aquino, Tiffany Tremaine, and Megan Moore.
With the enthusiastic support of her parents, Emily Swallow pursued her love of the arts from a young age. After spending most of her free time during her undergraduate degree in the drama department, she finally convinced herself to give acting a real shot professionally. It’s been a whirlwind ever since. ever since. You can currently find her returning to the final season of Supernatural as Amara and on The Mandalorian as The Armorer. But those impressive credits pale in comparison to her most enviable role – full-time Instagram dog mom! Be sure to follow Emily on Instagram, twitter, and Facebook!
Cliché: Who were your biggest inspirations growing up?
Emily Swallow: My parents have always inspired me and continue to do so. I got my love of music from them, and music was my way into performing. They always encouraged my singing and acting (and piano playing, and soccer and whatever else I wanted to dabble in when I was growing up). I was pretty hooked on Star Search, The Mickey Mouse Club and Kids, Incorporated…I even sent an audition in to Star Search when I was in 5th or 6th grade…but this was no polished studio tape…I used the family rec room as my stage, sang along to “Electric Youth” on my Debbie Gibson cassette tape (WITH Debbie, mind you–it wasn’t even a karaoke track!) and tried to ignore my dog barking from the hallway. So…I guess it’s not super shocking that I never got a call from Ed McMahon…
What inspired you to become an actor?
So many things. I started performing in the kids’ choir at church and did plays in elementary school (my mom made me some pretty dope costumes, including a caterpillar that turned into a butterfly!), but I had a lot of stage fright, so it was a combination of loving it and being SOOOO nervous. But I loved it more than I feared it, so I kept at it. I continued to do plays and musicals in middle school and high school, but I was interested in a lot of other things as well, so I didn’t think of it as THE thing that I might do for a living. I also didn’t have a frame of reference for a career as an actor; I didn’t know anyone personally who had done it. In college, I majored in Middle Eastern Studies and was headed for the Foreign Service, but I wound up spending at least half my time in the drama department doing plays. I feel incredibly grateful that the UVA Drama Department was so welcoming to non-majors. Bob Chapel and Richard Warner, two of my teachers there, continued to encourage my love of acting, and Richard posed the question to my last year: “Is this something you want to do for a living?” I FINALLY said “YES!!!” and worked up about a dozen monologues for grad school auditions (seriously, I could do any one of twelve monologues at the drop of a hat). I got into NYU’s MFA program and walked through that incredible door. I haven’t looked back since, even though it has been far from easy. I feel extraordinarily blessed to do what I do.
How does it feel to be reprising your role as Amara on Supernatural?
I was thrilled when they asked me to come back for the last season. When we finished Season 11, it felt like there was more to explore in Chuck and Amara’s relationship, so I’m glad we’re getting to see the other side of their reconciliation. It’s also nice not to be smiting people left and right! Hopefully she’ll help out with this big ol’ mess…
Is it bittersweet to be working on the show’s final season?
It is! I’m glad that they decided to end the show on a high; I’m sure it could have continued another few seasons, but this way everyone can go into creating the ending with focus and intention. Of course, there is no way to craft an ending that will please everyone, but I love that we’re revisiting old characters and seeing them in a new light. It was all well and good that we got a happy ending for Chuck and Amara at the end of season 11, but could we really expect them to resolve millennia of fighting that easily? And look at Amara’s “gift” to Dean–she gave him his wish of getting his mother back, but we saw that that was not the picturesque reunion he wanted. In this season, I’m glad we’re getting to see that Chuck and Amara’s reconciliation was complicated, and that they still have a lot more room to work out.
You also in the cast of The Mandalorian! Tell us about your character, The Armorer.
The Armorer is the leader of a clan of Mandalorians who have had to go into hiding on a planet called Nevarro. The Mandalorians are warriors first and foremost, so their armor and weaponry are sacred to them. The Armorer helps Din Djarin (our main Mando) repair his armor as he brings her beskar won from his bounty hunter missions. She also acts as a spiritual leader to the Mandalorians, reminding them of their sacred creed “This is the way,” protecting the foundlings, and keeping peace within their clan so that they can present a united front when challenged by the outside world. She knows from the start that Din Djarin was a foundling, and she sees that he is capable of more than just pursuing the latest bounty. She encourages him as he works to protect The Child and, just as a formidable pack of Storm Troopers are closing in on Mando, Cara Dune, The Child and Grif Cargo, she offers herself as bait for the Empire’s henchmen and squarely defeats five Stormtroopers armed only with her hammer and tongs.
What are your thoughts about Baby Yoda?
Words cannot possibly express my feelings about the cuteness overload. I knew he was ridiculously adorable when I first saw him on set, but I don’t think anyone was prepared for the insane fervor he has created. It was a genius creation on Jon Favreau’s part, because we get to see the humanity of our masked Mando in the way he cares for The Child.
Most importantly, you run an adorable Instagram account for your adorable French bulldog, Norma Jean Meatballs. Do you have any tips for pet parents out there looking to launch an Instagram for their fur babies?
Norma Jean Meatballs IS adorable, isn’t she? She’s half French Bulldog and half Boston Terrier (a Frenchton), so she’s like a Frenchie with supermodel legs. My only advice is to have fun with what you post! My husband and I are pretty low-key about it compared to some of the accounts we follow (have you SEEN @waltergeoffreythefrenchie or @griffinfrenchie???) We just like to share the joy and laughter she brings to us with other people, and we love seeing what people share with us in return.
Are there any other projects that you’re working on that you’re excited about?
I’ve been recurring on this season of SEAL Team on CBS, and I’ve really fallen in love with that character. I play Natalie Pierce, a physiologist brought in by the NHRC to work with Team Bravo to identify how the stress of their years of combat has impacted them and how they can increase their career longevity. She grows particularly close to Jason (David Boreanaz) and, through helping him recover from hip surgery, falls for him. The show is unflinching in its exploration of how challenging it can be for SEALs to find any sort of balance in the outside world when they are repeatedly faced with the most stressful combat situations imaginable, the loss of their fellow fighters and then, when they return to their families, being forced to keep secrets about where they’ve been and what they’ve done. It hasn’t been all hearts and flowers for Natalie and Jason, and I’ve loved exploring the challenges of the relationship with David, who is a generous, passionate, curious scene partner. He cares deeply about the work and the characters. The whole cast and crew are aces!
Read moreCelebrity Interviews on ClicheMag.com Emily Swallow Talks “Supernatural,” “The Mandalorian,” and Baby Yoda. Photo Credit: Diana Ragland.
It only took watching a single performance of Les Miserables as a child for SiobhanMurphy to fall in love with acting forever. In spite of being warned of the probable rough road ahead by her professors, she knew no other profession would bring her the same joy. Little did she know that she would one day be starring opposite Dennis Quaid in the new Netflix holiday-themed comedy Merry Happy Whatever, in which she plays neurotic but kind-hearted Patsy Quinn. The tension is palpable at times, but in the end, the family always comes back to each other. You can catch Merry Happy Whatever on Netflix starting November 28 (Thanksgiving)!
Cliché: When did you first know you wanted to be an actress?
Siobhan Murphy: I started acting when I was around 6, doing theatre camp on the weekends and in the summer. But when I was that little, it was just another after school activity, I’m not sure I understood something that brought me so much joy could also be what you do for a living. I do remember seeing Les Miz when I was around 10 or so and realizing the actress who played Young Cosette was my age and being instantly filled with this wash of jealousy that kids were able to do something like this, for all these people. That’s when the penny dropped and I started to beg my parents to get me an agent and headshots and all of the trappings needed to make it in the business. They waited till I was in high school to really let me go for it, but I certainly fell in love with acting when I was young.
Do you remember your first audition? How did it go?
I don’t remember what my first audition was for, probably a commercial or a music video. My first agency was also a modelling agency so I would often find myself surrounded by these stunning gazelle like women holding comp cards in the waiting room and think, “ Huh…..I don’t think I belong here.”
Probably one of the funnier commercial auditions I suffered through when I was 17 or 18 was for an insurance company and required my role to be doing yoga (which I obviously lied and said I was adept at) When I went in to audition they asked me to go through some poses, which I absolutely made up on the spot, completely incorrectly and was so out of shape my hip made this very disturbing popping sound. The casting director asked “Was…..sorry….was that your hip that just made that sound?” and I sheepishly nodded and he was like, “Oh great, that’s enough, we’ve seen enough.” Lesson there is, don’t lie in your special skills, it WILL come back to haunt you!! Or humiliate you.
What has been the best advice anyone has ever given you about acting?
I remember the head of the Theatre department at York University where I got my degree gave this big speech to the freshman class on the first or second day. He told us, “If there is something, anything at all, you like doing more than theatre, you need to go do that. This is an incredibly thankless tough business. So if you have other things in your life you love, please get up, and pursue those.” Pessimistic, right? Except, I get it. The only way one can weather the ups and downs of being an actor is knowing there is nothing else they would feel happy doing. It’s tough out there, you have to find a way to be just as tough to make it work!
Talk about your new series, Merry Happy Whatever, and your character, Patsy.
Merry Happy Whatever surrounds the Quinns, a boisterous tight knit family of 4 siblings, their respective spouses and patriarch, Don Quinn (played by the amazing Dennis Quaid). The first season follows the family over the Christmas holidays while everyone is back together at the family house and the youngest daughter has brought her new boyfriend home from L.A to meet everyone. Obviously because it’s Christmas AND it’s about family, things get….tense, but also really heartfelt. I play Patsy Quinn, the eldest daughter who’s desperate to fill their mother’s shoes since her passing a few years back. She’s a perfectionist who feels allllll the feelings a little too much, all the time. But she has a huge heart and adores her family.
What was it like having the opportunity to act with Dennis Quaid?
Intimidating at first! But he is such a charming presence and so warm, any nerves went away pretty quickly. He’s an incredible actor, so getting to watch him work up close, especially in the more dramatic scenes was truly a highlight of my career. He draws you right in and has a magical ability to make anyone well up a little when he’s getting emotional opposite you. I’m embarrassed the amount of times I got weepy doing a scene with him, he’s that good!
It’s always a little scary to meet people in your field who you’ve watched for so many years in so many amazing roles, but Dennis is truly the kindest, sweetest man and playing a family as close as the Quinns definitely brought the cast together in a way that I hope translates to everyone watching.
Why do you think dark comedy fits so well with the holiday genre?
I think the holidays make a perfect backdrop for a dark comedy! There’s this gorgeous, twinkling world of fresh snow, Christmas trees and fireplaces roaring. But the reality behind those scenes is the pressure of perfection and throwing together family members who often haven’t seen each other all year! Tensions run high, even as things look picturesque from the outside. Anytime you bring family together, things are going to get brought up, secrets revealed and people are gonna lash out. At some point, someone in a Santa hat is gonna be screaming at someone in a Christmas sweater, and if that’s not comedy, I don’t know what is.
What makes Merry Happy Whatever different from other holiday series?
I think the thing about our show that is really going to surprise people are the issues the family is dealing with. When you first start watching, it seems like a pretty traditional sitcom. But as you get closer to the family, you learn that each member is dealing with some pretty profound stuff they either can’t talk about or don’t know to fix.
I think that’s what’s really special about Merry Happy Whatever; the Quinns make each other laugh even when things are tough. I’m really proud of the stories we’re telling and the way they’re handled. I hope everyone finds an aspect over the 8 episodes they connect with. I think they will!
Do you have any favorite or funny holiday memories with your own family?
Living in Los Angeles, I now get so excited to go home for the holidays, to see all my friends and get a little blast of East Coast snow and coziness. When I was younger, it was all about the gifts (because yes, I was an absolute monster as a child), but now my favourite things are sitting in front of my parents fireplace and planning out all the meals we’re going to cook, having my friends over, sitting in out sweatpants while we make fun of each other and drink wine. Honestly, I don’t mean to sound corny, but really just being home and seeing everyone. It’s the absolute best!
Read moreCelebrity Interviews on ClicheMag.com Siobhan Murphy Brings The Heart to Holiday Dark Comedy, “Merry Happy Whatever.” Photo Credit: Vanessa Heins.
GwenHollander probably never envisioned a role that would have her in a giant astronaut otter fursuit (much less acting opposite Jim Carrey in said fursuit), but…here we are! Gwen plays Sheryl aka Astron-Otter in Kidding, about a children’s puppet show host desperately trying to keep it together after the death of his son. The show masterfully blends dark themes into its peppy premise as Carrey’s character Jeff aka Mr. Pickles tries unsuccessfully to pitch an episode that would help children understand grief and sadness. The upcoming Season 2 follows Sheryl, Jeff, and the other characters – including the puppets – as they attempt to navigate a world without Mr. Pickles on air. Season 2 of Kidding premieres February 9th. You can also catch Gwen as Beverly Marsh in a musical parody of It at Rockwell Table and Stage.
Cliché: Tell us about the premise of your show, Kidding.
Gwen Hollander: The show follows Jeff Piccirillo (played by Jim Carrey), the star of a beloved children’s television show called Mr. Pickles’ Puppet Time, as he struggles to pick up the pieces of his personal life after the tragic loss of his son. The show kind of splits its focus between the real-life Jeff who’s grieving and trying desperately to maintain his sanity, and his public persona of “Mr. Pickles” who is forced to wear a happy face for his young viewers. Dave Holstein, the creator/showrunner of Kidding, said this in an interview, which I think really sums it up nicely: “I wanted to write a show about a kind man in a cruel world. I wanted to take a character with the depth of kindness and real genuine honesty of a Mr. Rogers type and then just see what it would take to just destroy them. In doing so, we try to find this universal theme of, ‘Can we be good, ourselves, in a world that is so increasingly dark?'”
How did you first get involved with Kidding?
I auditioned! One day last year I got a text from a friend with a breakdown for a different character on the show, saying “Ummm, you have to audition for this. It’s YOU.” Within the hour, I got a voicemail from another friend saying “I’m working on this show and there’s a part I think you’d be right for…” So I thought, “Ok, I guess I should probably try to get in for this show…?” (To clarify, I had done a production of Avenue Q and these friends both knew I had some puppetry experience, which is why I had come to mind). A couple weeks later I auditioned for a different part, then had a callback for Sheryl (AKA Astron-Otter), and then a final audition where I had to pick several different puppet characters to read and sing a song that had been written for the show. About a week later I found out I’d been cast as Sheryl/Astron-Otter!
The cast features heavy hitters like Jim Carrey and Judy Greer! Were you intimidated to be joining such a star-studded cast?
Sure, I guess there’s an intimidation factor in theory…I mean, Jim Carrey was probably the biggest star in the world when I was growing up, so it’s hard to imagine even seeing him in person, much less working with him. And I’ve always loved Judy Greer, Catherine Keener and Frank Langella (this cast is INSANE, across the board!). But it’s funny… once you get to set and you’re actually doing the thing, the intimidation goes away. Yes, it’s completely surreal. But they’re all wonderful, generous people, and suddenly you’re just working together. Watching these actors is like a master class in EVERYTHING. I’d often be in a scene and thinking to myself, “How lucky am I to be watching these actors do this scene from INSIDE the scene?”
Your character Sheryl is one of the puppeteers on the children’s show within the show. Did you know anything about puppeteering prior to taking the role? Did you actually learn how to do it?
So, this is interesting. I do have a little bit of experience with puppetry because, as I said, I had done a production of Avenue Q in New York a while ago. Typically with that show, part of the casting process is something they affectionately refer to as “puppet camp,” which is essentially a crash course in the basics of puppetry. So, I’d had that crash course, and then I learned so much more throughout the run of the show. I did use my own puppet for the Kidding auditions, when I was reading for all the various characters. But then I was cast as Astron-Otter, which isn’t a hand puppet but a full body character, which I had never done before. So there was a learning curve with that! The suit is very big and very heavy, and the head has an astronaut helmet on it which also has a fan built into it (to keep me cool, but also to keep the helmet from fogging up). So not only is the head/helmet very heavy, but we realized that I can’t hear anything at all when I’m wearing it. We discovered that the only way I could really hear someone is if they spoke to me through the back of my neck! So that made for some interesting interactions. It took a while to really figure out how to move easily in the suit (and the huge feet) and how to make thoughts and emotions translate through all that fur. She also doesn’t speak English; she communicates in this crazy beep-boop otter language, so all I had was her physicality. Usually suit performers are gymnasts or stunt people, and I am most definitely neither of those. I did a lot of on the job learning!
For a show about a children’s puppet show, Kidding has a lot of darker and more sobering moments. What’s it like having the opportunity to explore the somber side of what’s perceived to be such a lighthearted industry?
Oh my gosh, I think it’s the most brilliant aspect of the show. I loved the way it was handled in season one, when Jeff wants (needs, really) so desperately to do an episode of the show about death, and the powers that be refuse to air it because they feel it’s not appropriate. Talking to kids about the hard stuff makes them feel less alone, and Jeff knows that. Unfortunately, kids are going to experience death. They’re going to deal with divorce. It’s a really powerful thing, to be able to talk to kids about this scary stuff in a way that’s accessible, honest and really respects the complexities of what they may be going through. This is what Mr. Rogers did so beautifully, and what Sesame Street still does so well. Sesame Street just introduced a character who’s in foster care because her mom is in treatment for an opioid addiction. There’s so much fear around exposing kids to anything sad. Grief is such a profound (and inevitable) human experience, and I love that this show doesn’t shy away from the stark contrast between Jeff’s crippling personal struggle and his happy public persona.
What’s happening in general and with Sheryl in season 2?
Well, I can’t say too much about what’s going on in Season 2 because I don’t want to spoil it…but basically, it picks up right where the first season left off. Mr. Pickles’ Puppet Time is off the air for the first time in 30 years, and Jeff is trying to figure out a way to reach his fans who still need him. The solution he comes up with is very controversial and there’s a lot of fallout from that. Even though the show within the show is off the air during this season, the puppets are still very present, and there’s a lot of music, magic, and wonderful surprises. One thing I can say, because it’s in the trailer and it’s been announced, is that Ariana Grande guest stars in an episode with all the puppets, and that episode is going to be mind-blowing! We had so much fun shooting it, and I can’t wait to see it!
You’re also currently performing in a musical parody of It! How did that opportunity come about?
I had done several other musical parodies at this venue (Rockwell Table and Stage); I actually did their very first one in 2014, which was a musical parody of Scream! So, I knew the team who was creating the show and was part of that world already. But I still went in to audition!
What role are you playing?
I’m playing Beverly Marsh, the role played by Sophia Lillis and Jessica Chastain in the movies. We all play both the kid and adult versions of our characters; Act 1 covers the first movie and Act 2 is the second!
How does acting for the stage differ from acting on screen? Do you prefer one to the other?
Well, at the end of the day acting is acting, but there are some major differences. I would say one of the biggest differences is that live theatre is just that: live. It’s an immediate experience that involves a live audience and it’s going to be different every time, even if the differences are very subtle. The show I’m doing at Rockwell is a perfect example of this because it’s completely immersive; the show takes place on stage but also in the audience and throughout the entire space, so the audience feels like a character in the show. The audience is different each night, so the show is different! It makes this particular kind of theatre feel like an extreme sport; there’s such an adrenaline rush when you know that anything can happen. Another thing that’s different from an acting perspective is that on screen, you’re never really shooting things in sequence. On stage, you’re telling a story from start to finish, so you’re on the journey that your character is on. On screen, you have to do the work of “okay, what just happened? In this scene, where is my character in the arc of the story? What has she been through so far, and what does she know/not know?” And also, rehearsal! In theatre we rehearse as a group for anywhere from one week to two months, and that’s where so many of the discoveries are made. With film and TV, that work is (usually) done largely on your own, before you get to set. I love both, but I’ve been working in theatre since I was 14 and I think it will always have my heart. But I’m loving working on camera, too…it feels like flexing two different muscles.
When you think of It, musical parody isn’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind. How does the musical offer a fresh take on the cult classic?
That’s such a great question, and actually something I’ve thought a lot about because I’ve done several of these musical parodies. With the horror stuff, a lot of the comedy comes from sending up the genre itself. I actually think scary stuff might be the most fun to parody; scary movies rely on tension, and laughter is like the release valve! What takes the power away from something scary like pointing out how silly it is? I’ve read IT and I happen to love the book. I also loved the movies; we’re not really making fun of the source material…although the book does go off in some pretty wild directions and we get into that a little bit. As for how it offers a fresh take: aside from being funny, the music is INCREDIBLE (Act 1 is music from the 80’s and Act 2 has more recent hit songs), and everyone in the cast is a killer singer. There’s also a ton of dancing! A singing and dancing Pennywise is something I never knew that I needed to see!
How would you respond if Pennywise confronted you?
I mean, if I’m being honest? If we’re talking about the Pennywise from the movie? I’d probably have a heart attack on the spot. I do NOT like being scared, and while I don’t necessarily have a fear of clowns, I don’t want to be startled by one in a dark alley or anything!
Read moreCelebrity Interviews on ClicheMag.com Gwen Hollander is Just “Kidding” Around. Photo Credit: Jennifer Dionne, Kismet Photography.
Patricia “Patti” French is a woman of many talents. She started an acting career in the theatre while also working as a voice-over talent. She later attended the National Shakespeare Conservatory in New York and hasn’t stopped acting since. Her TV credits are extensive, with each project being as recognizable as the A-list actors attached to them. This past year she was a part of the highly anticipated Hulu series titled The Act that details the real-life story of a toxic mother and daughter relationship.
She most recently starred in a movie with film icons Diane Keaton and Jackie Weaver, titled Poms that hit theaters this past Mother’s Day. I had a chance to speak to Patti directly after its release in July. Patti is a woman of many talents and wisdom. Check out our conversation below:
Clichè: Your most recent work is in the hilarious film Poms, growing up I read that you had a passion for music and dance. Were you a cheerleader in high school?
Patti: I was not! Mostly because I was a navy brat, every two years I was going to a new school. To be a cheerleader and be apart of the clique you have to be somewhere for a long time. When my dad did finally retire it was right before my junior year. I was actually able to go to one high school for at least two years! In fact, I am getting ready to go to my 50th-year high school reunion! It’s the 50th anniversary of all the great things like Woodstock and the walk on the moon and my graduating from high school [laughs]. I was really involved with Glee Club and Drama Club.
Your character in the film Phyllis, is described as pretty feisty, can you talk more about her? How similar is she to you in real life?
I think the things that are similar are she loves to dance, she loves music, she loves to hang out with a group of girls and she’s a team player.
The film’s tagline is “It’s never too late to dream” and the film follows a group of women who revisit a dream of theirs that they never got the chance to fulfill. Did this film remind you or make you want to revisit anything you may have missed out on?
For me, it was always a dream for me to work with Dianne Keaton. She is one of my favorite actresses as well as Jackie Weaver. I’ve been a Dianne Keaton fan as long as I can remember. That was a dream come true! She was everything and more that I thought she would be. She did not disappoint. She greeted all the actresses on the first day of Bootcamp. She saw the film before everyone else and called everyone and was just so supportive. She’s a girl’s girl.
Alisha Boe, Patti French, Charlie Tahan, Jacki Weaver, Director Zara Hayes, Pam Grier, Diane Keaton, Celia Weston, Rhea Perlman, Carol Sutton, Ginny MacColl, and Bruce McGill attend the World Premiere of POMS at Regal LA LIVE on Wednesday, May 1, 2019 in Los Angeles, CA
Photo: Eric Charbonneau
Did you have a chance to tell her how much she inspired you or did you play it cool?
I did play it cool but on the last day before we wrapped everyone was running around and giving each other gifts. I had taken all my gifts to the trailers and I took Diane’s gift but decided I would write it in a fan letter. I told her, “Hey, this is a fan letter and I just want to tell you the different moments in your films and how much they meant to me”, it turned into this four-page crazy letter. About an hour later I got this knock on my trailer door and it was her! She came in and she was like “I can’t believe you wrote all of that!” It was a lovely moment.
The film has a few dance sequences, with your background in dance, did you have to rehearse? Your co-star Diane Keaton said she needed a lot of rehearsal practice. In some interviews, I’ve heard it described as boot camp.
Oh God yes! We all rehearsed the same amount. I was the youngest of the group and we’re 68! Everyone was going home sore with our hips and knees [laughs]. Boot Camp was a week in L.A. and we flew back to Georgia for filming and we had about 2 weeks of rehearsal. I actually wish there have been more dance footage in the film. Maybe it’ll be on the DVD!
The main character in Poms, Martha, views going to a retirement community as “going to die”, it also addresses the idea of loneliness as we all get older, how do you relate to this film and how important do you think it is to have stories like this be told about women of a certain age?
First of all, I think it is important to tell stories about women of any age. If you study history and look back at older civilizations, the older women weren’t shunned, they were looked up to for all their wisdom. There is a lot of us baby boomers and they should be making movies for us because we’re the people that are going to the movies and paying for them. I just think of some of the things I’m watching now, Grace and Frankie, The Kominskty Method, some of the characters in The Marvelous Mrs. Masiol, there’s just so many great female’s out there and they’re dying to act no matter how old they are and I just hope somebody will just keep writing these stories. And apparently, it’ll just have to be the women!
What do you hope audiences take away when they watch the film?
I think the thing I want audiences to take away is that a group of women can be very powerful and they can accomplish things that maybe they could not have done alone. That bond and that friendship and that girl friendship, you never grow out of that. It’s always there until it’s not. It’s not that way sometimes for men. I think we’re lucky that we’re able to vulnerable enough to go “Oh my gosh, I’m really scared. Am I going to be able to do this?” That bond is really important and so it the power of a group. With everything that’s going on now in Georgia and in the South, if us women don’t band together and figure out a way to activate ourselves as a group, it’s going to be really bad and we will be letting down the younger women that we made all these strides for. We need to bond as a group and not let people hold us down!
The film came out during Mother’s Day weekend, do you have a favorite Mother’s Day memory?
I do! It would be this one actually! I wish my mother was still here to see it, but my daughter and granddaughter came up from Florida and we went to see the movie together and we spent Mother’s Day weekend together. My daughter wanted to take a selfie of all three of us together and a woman came up and said “I can take your picture! Oh, are you the woman that was in the movie?” It was nice. I may have had some other [great memories] and I sure as hell wish my mother was still here to see this but this is going to be my new favorite Mother’s Day! Oh, and then my husband cooked for all of us!
Patti French attends the World Premiere of POMS at Regal LA LIVE on Wednesday, May 1, 2019 in Los Angeles, CA
Photo: Eric Charbonneau
You also are apart of another project that everyone is talking about, The Act on Hulu that retells a very true and horrific story. You play Tina, before joining this project did you know the real story?
I knew part of it but then I watched the HBO documentary, which is truly more horrifying than the mini-series. I think they did an amazing job making the mini-series watchable because it was almost impossible to watch the documentary. A pretty different Mother’s Day story.
When you read a script, what pops up to you that makes you say “this role will be great for me!” what catches your eye?
Well, sometimes you don’t always have a chance to read the whole script depending on your role. But, a good story is a good story.
Throughout your career, you’ve worked alongside legendary actors on TV and film sets, what has been your favorite moment on set? What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned from the previous projects you’ve been a part of?
I think the most important lessons are, you have to show up and you have to be brave. You can’t be vulnerable if you are not brave. You can’t worry about how you look and when you are really feeling self-conscious, just throw it away and concentrate on the other person. It leaves you in the moment and you are listening.
Do you have any memorable stories from any set that you’ve worked on?
Some of them are on stage because I’ve done a lot of stage work. I was lucky enough to play Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire and that was an amazing experience. A few years ago I was on a show on Lifetime called Army wives. What I loved about that was it was telling the story of military wives, because I know what my mom went through. There are always movies and stories about men in the military but it’s like a secret life unless you were raised that way, people don’t understand what the families go through. Like I mentioned earlier, changing schools, having to pack up 3-4 kids, spreading the money out, not being able to get a job. I didn’t realize it because it was my childhood, but I didn’t realize that it was a fascinating secret and life that people who weren’t raised that way, found it fascinating. I got to play this woman who owned this bar and she had a lot of things that happened to her. She had a bar that got bombed and she almost died and then she rebuilds the bar and she’s dying of cancer. She ends up leaving for this cancer center in California. There was a PR campaign with Warriors in Pink for Breast Cancer and FORD, so my character got to take off and drive off into the sunset in this amazing black mustang convertible with this pink heart painted on the front. And I got to do this pretty cool death scene which was pretty fun to do. [laughs] Actors might not tell you that, but we love to do death scenes!
You have had such an extension acting career from tv, film, theatre, voice-over acting. Do you remember the moment you decided to be an actress? What was the first tv show or film that made you fall in love with the art of acting?
I sorta can’t remember not wanting to act. I think I was always in my bedroom in front of the mirror pretending. Always. My mom who was from Southern California was a movie freak. She was raised in the ’30-’40s the great Hollywood era and she loved movies and especially because my father was overseas a lot. I went to see a lot of movies with my mom when I was super young. I just loved that feeling of sitting in a movie theater with popcorn and being in the dark. My mom raised me on movies and movie stars. My mom was also a really good singer and dancer. I think she would have loved to be an actress. She didn’t get to see POMS but she saw a lot of the other work I’ve done and kept scrapbooks. I can’t remember not ever wanting to be an actress. I kept coming back to acting because it was the place where I felt the most like myself.
Which has been your favorite character that you have played and why?
Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire. It’s just an epic character for a woman. I just think I understand the kind of person that lives so much in her head and really loves beauty, literature and all of that but she’s is in total denial. She will do anything to survive because she has to, before she faces reality. I think I understand people who have a hard time with reality. [laughs] Maybe it’s me. When you play a really great character, you just want to play more of them!
‘The Act’ is available to stream on Hulu.
Poms is available for purchase now on DVD and Blu-Ray.