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Monday, November 29, 2010

Fans to raise funds for awards campaign for "Welcome to the Rileys"
Poster by graphic and video game designer Kol Crosbie.

Guest Blog by Heather Willis
Twitter: @twidictedteach

“And the nominees are….” Movie studios spend millions of dollars to hear their films, actors and directors announced as nominees for Golden Globes and Academy Awards. For one movie, it is the fans who are planning a campaign for award consideration.

The independent film Welcome to the Rileys, starring James Gandolfini (The Sopranos), Melissa Leo (The Fighter) and Kristen Stewart (The Twilight Saga), has had limited distribution throughout the U.S. to date, but has found a following that believes the film and its actors deserve to be recognized with nominations. 

WTTR shows the journey to New Orleans for businessman Doug (Gandolfini) that leads him to Mallory (Stewart), an underage stripper, who reminds him of his daughter who died in a car accident. Doug decides to stay and help Mallory attempt to change her situation. After calling and telling his wife Lois (Leo) he isn’t coming home, Lois confronts her agoraphobia and travels to Louisiana to be reunited with her husband.

WTTRS ( site owners and operators, Stephanie Rodriguez, Dayna P. and Tammi T. have begun using their site and social media sites Twitter and Facebook to raise $50,000 to fund an awards campaign for WTTR.

“We believe that Kristen, James and Melissa delivered some of the year’s best performances," WTTRS team said.

After viewing the film at the Sundance Film Festival, WTTR made an immediate impact on Dayna.

"When I came back from Sundance, the first thing I said was that if this movie and its stars weren’t nominated, it would be a travesty,” Dayna said.

WTTR has touched many of those who have seen it with its story of loss and hope and how the actors brought out the emotional connection with their characters through their performances.

Welcome to the Rileys is a raw, emotional movie. As may of said, it’s a movie that stays with you, a movie that you think about when you leave the theatre, and drive home, and enter your house and then days later. The critic reviews for the movie may be mixed, but reviews for the cast are stellar. These are the types of performances that should be rewarded or at the very least recognized,” WTTRS team said.

To those who may think it is Stewart’s Twilight following that is promoting this campaign, WTTRS believes that if people see her performance in WTTR they will see an incredibly brilliant performance by Stewart.

“It has nothing to do with Twilight or Kristen’s role in Twilight. We aren’t trying to get her anything for Twilight or any other movie. This campaign is based solely on the merits of her work on Welcome to the Rileys. Her portrayal of an underage stripper was as real as it gets. She spent a lot of time and hard work to become what thousands of girls become every year. To those people that believe that it’s ‘all about Twilight’ I say, to and see the movie, watch her. Then I say, go to the little club down the street. You’ll see parts of Mallory are there in each and every one of those girls,” WTTRS team said.

All of the money being raised at will be used to promote the film in trade magazines and online.

“This is how the nomination process begins. Ads are placed in the magazines and then the magazines go to the voters. The more people who see these ads, the more voters are to going to be inclined to check out screens or go and see the movies,” Rodriguez said.

Because of the amount of money spent by some studios to campaign for their movies, sometimes smaller movies can’t compete and that was a major factor in WTTRS’s decision to raise money for WTTR.

“What many people don’t realize is what it takes to get people nominated in these categories. It’s not like it’s a bunch of people that sit around a table and say, ‘You know, I saw this really great performance.’ The movies that usually get nominated are the bigger movies, the ones with the most press, the ones that have the most ads in the trade magazines. Welcome to the Rileys is such a small movie that there just isn’t going to be the same ability to throw money into these ads and promotions. That’s where we come in. If we can raise enough money, we can get enough ads in the magazine that might make the voters take a second look,” WTTRS team said.

For those who support the film but can’t afford to donate, there are other ways that they can help WTTR.

“Spread the word about the campaign. Share the link on your Twitter or your Facebook or your Tumbler or whatever other social media site you are a part of. Also review (WTTR) on every site you can find; Rotten Tomatoes, Flickster, Meta Critic And, of course, go and see the movie,” WTTRS team said.
For information on the Oscar and Golden Globe campaign, visit  Or check out WTTRS blog  Or contact any one of WTTRS on Twitter Dayna: @bellasguardian Stephanie: @byrd009 or Tammi: @TeamPattzStew or blog Twitter @wttrsaturday

Friday, October 29, 2010

Best. Cover. Ever. 

The proposed cover of Carrie Fisher's next book, out in June 2011.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Exclusive Q&A: TV and movie memorabilia go-to guy Joe Maddalena on hunting and finding studio-dispersed "Hollywood Treasure"

In this exclusive chat with Retroality.TV, Profiles in History owner Joe Maddalena gives us the studio backlot back story behind his work as the entertainment industry's foremost TV and movie memorabilia auctioneer--all of which led to his starring role in the reality series Hollywood Treasure, premiering tonight on the SyFy network.

In your estimation as the go-to guy for Hollywood memorabilia, when did studios and networks begin to get savvy about preserving props—for auctions, for the collectibles market, for posterity.
I want to give you that answer, but you have to understand what happened first to understand the answer. In the 60s and early 70s they broke up the studios. All of the big studios were busted apart. FOX—they built Century City (in its place). MGM—they liquidated the lot. They broke up the studio system. The contract players, everything changed. So all of the studios liquidated all of their assets. So the stuff was scattered to the wind.

So you start with that aspect that very little of the old stuff was saved to begin with. This (set, prop and costume) stuff is a byproduct of the finished product. It’s really so ancillary to what they’re making with a TV show or motion picture. This stuff takes up tremendous amounts of room. And in Los Angeles this room is precious. So I think what happened was, after Planet Hollywood and Hard Rock Café kind of popularlized the idea of memorabilia—because they really were the pioneers of the field and brought a lot of awarness to the field—after that, more in like 2000, there was a systematic effort. There was Disney online, New Line online—a lot of the studios were able to start selling stuff online because ebay was a new venue and they thought it was a cool thing to sell things online.

They did that for a while and I think realized how much work it was and kind of stopped doing that. And I think now they outsource what they want to outsource and archive a tremendous amount of stuff. I think now most studios want to maintain archives and keep a few pieces. But I think they’re also learning that it’s probably a smart marketing idea to start selling stuff.

Last year, Michael Bay called me in the heat of Transformers 2 and said, “I want to sell a bunch of stuff. I want the fans to have it.” I went to the archives, I pulled out a ton of stuff and sold it. People were happy about it. There was so much that his attitude was, “Of course the fans can have it.”

I think it’s great that the studios do this, because I think it’s a worldwide currency. You go anywhere in the world and they know who the Terminator is. They know who Alias is, they know who Bladerunner is, (and) Edward Scissorhands. You tell a guy in China that you have the 1952 Mickey Mantle baseball card and he goes, “What?” And you go, here’s Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Terminator. And he goes, “Oh, yeah!” It’s a different experience.

It’s exciting to see this culture of pop culture preservation evolve in the last decade or two. When I wrote my Three’s Company book, I asked the show’s producers what happened to the trio’s couch; their response was, basically, “That’s a really good question.” If someone like me came up to you and said, “Can you help me find Jack Tripper's couch,” what might be the process you’d undergo to find such a treasure that hasn’t been seen in 25-plus years?
Something like that would be very hard to find. I would tell people who asked me, other than what you did when you wrote your book, it’s probably going to be a dead end. Because it’s a couch and it’s not unique (as a set piece) … My guess is it’s either sitting in someone’s living room or it doesn’t exist anymore. Those pieces are really hard to track down.

It’s more things that you’ve heard of that could still be in existence—and then it’s literally detective work. The good thing about my business is that I’m coming into contact with so many people all over the world—the public. People will call in and say, “My uncle was a set decorator. We have this …” We just got a fantastic thing in for our December auction. This lady worked at Warner Bros. and they had a lot sale one day. Her husband was a pilot and she went up and bought this cool, leather aviator cap. They came in to me and said, “We always wondered…” Inside was a Warner Bros. label that said, “Jimmy Stewart, Lindberg.” It’s the actual flight cap that Jimmy Stewart wore in the Lindbergh story (1957's The Spirit of St. Louis). It’s probably worth $10,000. That cap was not known to exist. If you’d asked me to find it I wouldn’t know where to (begin). But the fact is people did save this stuff.

I think what’s happening is because of what we’re doing and now because of this show, I think more things are going to surface. I think more of this stuff is out there than people ever imagined. I think with public awareness we’re going to find more and more and more of it—which is why I wake up in the morning.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sad Days: Tom Bosley doesn't live here anymore : (
Tom Bosley with Linda Lavin and Jennifer Lopez in 2010's The Back-up Plan.
Another day when Facebook welcomes you to the world with a big fat (though well-intentioned) beeyotchslap. Mr. Cunningham, I just the other night watched you offer counsel to Richie and Potsie after they dressed in drag. Now who will they turn to? RIP, Tom Bosley ... 

And if you see TV's other Bosley, David Doyle, on the other side, I hope the angels (you know, other than Farrah) don't get you two mixed up. And God, if you're on Facebook right now, please leave Mrs. C and Laverne and Shirley and company with us, okay? We need our '50s- (and '60s-, '70s- and '80s-)centric sitcom stars, too.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Suzanne Somers turns free "Sex and the City 2" publicity into a "Breakthrough" cinematic event ... here's hoping she pays tribute to her "Three's Company" cast and crew mates felled by cancer
UPI story link

Happy birthday to Suzanne Somers, who celebrates her premiere on planet earth today by announcing a "cinema event" on Nov. 4 and 9 called The Suzanne Somers Breakthrough Tour. This after receiving free and invaluable publicity a few months ago for her 2008 book Breakthrough in the Sex and the City 2 film. Whatever you think of Suzanne's controversial views on cancer treatment and other health matters, you've got to hand it to her: She still knows how to work it.

Ironically, and sadly, her Three's Company co-star Audra Lindley died 13 years ago today (on Suzanne's birthday) of leukemia at 79. Norman Fell and Don Knotts also died of cancer in 1998 and 2006, respectively. Three's Company's fantastic, Emmy-winning director, Dave Powers--who taught Suzanne how to work it as Chrissy Snow--sadly also succumbed to cancer in July 2008. And associate producer Wendy Blair, who also worked with Suzanne, passed from cancer in April 2009. Last but not least, the wonderful, talented Kim Weiskopf, a gentleman who co-wrote some of Suzanne's best lines during season 4 of Three's Company, tragically lost his 18-month battle with pancreatic cancer in April 2009. He was a young, hip 62--not too much younger than Suzanne is now (For more info about Kim's amazing life, see

Here's hoping Suzanne thinks of them, the inspiring lives they led and the courageous battles they waged during her tour. Perhaps she will donate proceeds from her tour to cancer charities in their names ... would be nice to see them get some free publicity, too, even if posthumously.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I'm now writing for the same type of women's magazine that as a kid I hid under dog food at the grocery store (damn you, Connie Selleca!)
My new Wellbella cover-story interview with Khloe Kardashian and Kris Jenner.
I know what you're thinking: I've seen enough of the Kardashians at the grocery store. I'd hide their magazines under dog food, too.

If only my preteen dilemma were that simple.
As I look at Khloe Kardashian's sexy cover image (on the October issue of Wellbella, available at GNC stores nationwide, in case your wonderin'), I'm reminded of the first time I ever noticed Good Housekeeping magazine. Picture it: Tulsa, August 1982. My ten-year-old self is tooting along with a soon-to-be-ripped-from-its-package Star Wars action figure and an already-ripped-from-its-package Whatchamacallit in Skaggs Alpa Beta when I see the Most Beautiful Woman Ever in the History of the Whole World, At Least According to My Limited Knowledge of History, Geography and Beauty.

Priscilla Barnes, that luscious new blonde on the TV show that ruled every moment of my waking life, Three's Company, was lookin' all vixen-like on the cover of a magazine that I'd theretofore viewed as a guide to cookin', cleanin' and knittin'. Suddenly, "good housekeeping" now meant "come-hither nurse lady calling out all-siren-like so that you force your mother to buy you a magazine whose mere coffee-table presence will make your house look totally kept."

My mom wasn't having it. And since I didn't have enough money for my Han Solo in Hoth Outfit action figure, my half-eaten candy bar and this gorgeous women's magazine, Miss Barnes would have to wait at the supermarket checkout till next week.

Which was all good and fine till we returned to the store a week later to find that Connie friekin' Selleca had hijacked nurse Terri Alden's well-earned cover. September 1982 had not yet arrived, but that month's Good Housekeeping had. (Connie friekin' Selleca was so not getting my Good Housekeeping seal of approval.)

Anywho, I was devastated. Ebay was a good 15 years in the future, and back in the day if you missed a periodical, you had little choice than to suck it up and embrace the future Mrs. John Tesh.

So a year later, in fall 1983, I would be damned if I let another Priscilla Barnes cover slip through my Whatchamacallit-covered fingers. I'm hanging out at the magazine stand in Tulsa's finest Skaggs, when I come across what would become the holy grail of magazines: TV's most aesthetically-pleasing, slapstick-worthy blonde on the cover of Weight Watchers magazine. (What, was she two pounds overweight? I didn't give a crap why she was on the cover. All I knew is my life would not be complete without this piece of television history.)

Problem was, I was 11 and broke. So I begged my dad and my sister to buy the magazine for me. But they wouldn't have it. "Shouldn't have spent all of your allowance on your Return of the Jedi Jabba the Hut playset," they taunted me. "Maybe Jabba will be on the next cover of Weight Watchers."


I had no choice but to hide this golden piece of pop culture iconography somewhere in Skaggs where nobody would screw with it until I returned as soon as I could get my grubby mitts on $1.50. This Weight Watchers magazine not only stood on its own as high art, it would be a symbol of my redemption. I could not suffer another Good Housekeeping loss.

Where could I hide it? Not behind other magazines--I was certain the new Connie Selleca issues of Creem and Field and Stream would soon hit the stands and expose that hiding place. Few other products were big enough to conceal a magazine. Except ... for dog food. Giant, hulk-size bags of dog food--the mammoth ones that require Dolph Lundgen, some guy named Bubba Joe or other Masters of the Universe to hoist said bags over his shoulders while we all wait to hear his hernia tear like the sad, weak limbs of a paper doll.

So with the Power of Greyskull and a soothsaying hologram of Obi-Wan Kenobi I summoned the force to lift three giant bags of this Purina Dog Chow just enough to slip the Weight Watchers magazine underneath them. No edges or corners were sticking out, so I was sure I had this one, um, in the bag. I was certain there weren't three people strong enough in Eastern Oklahoma to lift these gargantuan sacks of crap.

Four days later I returned with my hard-earned booty only to discover that the cast of Conan the Barbarian apparently had a dog-food shopping spree at my Tulsa-area Skaggs. The magazine was GONE! WTF?! Apparently, the last giant person who bought the last giant bag of Dog Chow did not appreciate the irony of seeing a Weight Watchers magazine stare back at him (her?). Go figure.

Needless to say, I was heartbroken. Again. Miss Barnes' send-your-heart-aflutterin' visage had eluded me once more.

The moral of this story: If your kid goes ape over some Kardashian chick at the grocery store, buy the damn magazine. Or Connie Selleca's ass is gonna resurface and somebody's gonna get hurt. And unlike Priscilla Barnes on the cover of the August 1982 Good Housekeeping, it ain't gonna be pretty.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"TJ Hooker" back on cable TV! Finally, we get to see in Universal High Definition all of the Shat's hazardous exploits in L.A. law enforcement!

Did somebody say "hooker"?

Somebody's packing heat.

From the episode (I'm not kidding) "Exercise in Murder."

Time for a pat-down!

Reimagined "Hooker" with sweaty aerobics and Sarah Palin!

Yo, Adrian!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Exclusive preview! Goldberg at WrestleMania 27? "I'll wrestle anybody if they give me a six-month period of time to get ready," he tells Muscle & Body magazine's October issue

Vince McMahon, listen up: Now's the time to nab Bill Goldberg for April's Wrestlemania 27.

In my exclusive interview with the WWE icon-turned-reality TV staple (see NBC's Celebrity Apprentice, the Speed channel's Bullrun and DIY's Garage Mahal), Goldberg tells Muscle & Body magazine why he'd entertain a final encore in a business he left years ago--and what he'd need to do in the next six months to prepare to uphold his alter ego's awesome wrestling legacy.

On a personal note, I have to say WWE execs would be nuts not to roll out the red carpet for this guy. He knows how to work a crowd, he can get his fortysomething killer traps and delts camera-ready and, most importantly, he understands and respects pro wrestling's impact on kids. And I know my fellow Tulsa peeps would love to see one of our own kick ass and take names in the wrestling ring one last time.

Here are excerpts from Goldberg's Q&A in the magazine's October issue, on sale now at GNC stores nationwide:

Muscle & Body: There's been a lot of online buzz about you returning to the ring. What are the chances we'll see you at Wrestlemania 27 in April?
Bill Goldberg: Oh, man. It's funny how social media has exploded. Anything you say can and will be used against you there. What are the chances? Not really good. The last thing I'm thinking about is putting on my Speedos again and running around in front of millions of people. Is it something I'm looking to do? Not at all. If the perfect situation was to arise and financially and careerwise it was the right thing to do without tarnishing the legacy.... You never say never.

M&B: You know what it takes for you to be a camera-ready tough-man.
BG: As a psychology major, I know what it is that makes me tick, and I know what it's going to take to succeed in each endeavor. If I got it, I'm a realist about it; if I don't got it, then I'm not gonna try it. I'll wrestle anybody if they give me a six-month period of time to get ready. I'm not going to be Mr. Universe by any stretch of the imagination. But for 43 years old, I'd put myself up against anybody my age - I don't care who you are - in any endeavor. I've still got it mentally; I still have it physically. It just takes a lot more to get to that point.

M&B: How would a new Goldberg action figure be different to reflect who you are at 43? Would he be wearing a three-piece suit with boardroom superpowers?
BG: [Laughs] I just hope that they still have my body mold from back in the day, because I sure as hell won't let them use one of me today. I'm in a different time and different place now. I'd be wearing three different outfits at once - that'd be the character.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Audra Lindley would so be giving Betty White a run for her money at age 92!

Born 92 years ago today: the beautiful Audra Lindley. Decades before she rocked a red wig and a muu-muu as Three's Company's sex-starved landlady Helen Roper, she turned heads as a stand-in and a stuntwoman. And as an actress, this marvelous woman was a chameleon. Her body of work on stage, film and TV is as stunning as she was laugh-out-loud funny as Mrs. Roper. I'll never forget the time I got to spend with her--especially the screening we attended of Dangerous Minds (eat your heart out, Norman Fell)--and how deeply sad I was to hear we'd lost her. She was the bomb.

Some of the many faces of Audra Lindley:
As Liz Matthews in Another World

As Cybill Shepherd's mom in The Heartbreak Kid
As Meredith Baxter's mom in Bridget Loves Bernie.
With then-husband James Whitmore in the play The Magnificent Yankee.

With Deborah Winger in Cannery Row.

As Goldie Hawn's mother-in-law in Best Friends

In the lesbian-themed film Desert Hearts
As Lisa Kudrow's grandmother in Friends
In her final role, as Cybill Shepherd's mom (again) in Cybill
As America's sexiest landlady, once and forever.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Here's "The Situation" from a reality TV survivor: Give me a non-beetle-butt-munching Fonzie over a foul-mouthed, civilization-downfall-causing Snooki any day, says guest blogger

 Snooki and The Situation: I'd tell them to "Sit on it!" but they probably already have.

Guest Shot blog by James DuBuc

I want to meet the individual who created the modern-day boob-tube genre we call "reality television." I would love to sit with this person and hear the tale of how he or she came up with the idea of a show with no script, no paid actors, just cameras and regular folk like me. I want to know how they got past the whole “tell a tale, teach a lesson, solve a problem and leave the audience with something to think about” thing that comes to mind whenever I think of television when I was growing up. Yes, I want to meet this person … and punch them right in the mouth.

Aren’t these newer, slice-of-life "reality" shows such as Jersey Shore and Real Housewives of (Insert Metropolitan Area Here) supposed to have a point? We’re supposed to be cheering for someone, right? Isn’t there some sort of “voting” that’s supposed to take place? I could tolerate these shows if they had some sort of “thing” that I wish I could win.

At least the "classic" reality shows (I can't believe I just used that phrase) were--and in same cases still are--somewhat entertaining. I wouldn’t want to work for Donald Trump, but I’d be willing to go on The Apprentice just so he could fire me and I could whip it out and pee on his desk before walking out the door.  Of course, this season he's pitting down-on-their-luck, once-employed entrepreneurs against each other, so in essence Trump is already raining on his own "ha-ha-you're-fired" parade.

I could see myself signing up for Survivor, except it reminds me of going camping with a bunch of really creepy people who probably badmouth me behind my back. I'm okay with the “strength” challenges or the “swimming” challenges, but I always flip the channel when it came to the “food” challenges. That was usually when the one person out of the group, the good looking attractive buff & built guy with the nice smile, would be chowing down on something like sautéed beetle rectum … ugh. Now THERE’S a mouth I want to kiss! Tic Tac, anyone? I'd rather go see what ole’ Fonzie’s up to, even on murky Happy Days YouTube clips. He’s also cute, and probably not munching on beetle butt.

But back to my point: What’s the goal of the new crop of reality shows? What gives? It seems like we’re just watching a bunch of really crappy home movies. But instead of it being some cute little kids playing in the park or celebrating a birthday, we’re watching “Snooki” and “The Situation” in a foul-mouthed drunken stupor in the hot tub. I don’t think “cute.” I think “douche,” as in she probably needs one, and he just IS one. These aren’t people I’d hang with, so why would I want to watch them on TV?

These new reality shows can’t be good for our kids. Think about it. You have an impressionable fourteen year old daughter. You want her to grow up to be a mature, responsible young woman, right? You want her to be polite, respectable and have manners so that eventually she’ll meet her Prince Charming and get married, right?

Now let’s say you have a choice of evening entertainment for your little Princess to watch. Channel one is an old episode of Designing Women. Channel two is The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Now let me remind you that your daughter will be watching women who will set the tone for how she interacts with others and is therefore an expression of you as a parent. Make your choice now … I’ll wait. (Insert Jeopardy! theme music.) I can’t tell you WHICH show to choose, but in a few years everyone you know will describe your daughter as either “Classy” with a capital “C” or as a sniveling little “Runt” … with a capital “C”.

I say we put it to the test. I have a concept for a show that would not only be entertaining but educational as well. It might take some schmoozing with TV execs, since it’s a long-term show, but I think the ratings will be through the roof. Think of it as The Truman Show only with identical twins, each being raised in a carefully planned and scripted life. So let’s say we have little Johnny and little Jack. We’d snatch them from their mother’s arms immediately after being born (oh, the drama!) and separate them into two new families. Johnny lives with “Family A” and his life is molded around old family television shows. Jack, on the other hand, lives with “Family B” and his life is shaped by reality shows.

Johnny’s early years are pleasant enough. Picture him growing up in a household that is a healthy mixture of Happy Days, Eight is Enough, The Brady Bunch, Growing Pains and The Partridge Family.

Now without even watching a single episode, you already know how little Johnny’s going to turn out. He’s polite. He respects his elders. He studies hard in school. He gets his first girlfriend and she’s that sweet girl in his Algebra class that his parents often invite over for dinner.

Sure he gets into trouble sometimes--what adolescent boy doesn’t? But even when his mom and dad catch him ditching school or sneaking a sip of beer from the fridge, gosh darnit, we still love him. His parents have that “family meeting” and they tell him how disappointed they are in him, and he feels terrible about what he’s done. He swears he’ll never do it again, and we believe him. And when that day comes when Johnny drops to one knee and proposes to his girl, (after getting her father’s blessing, of course) we’ll be on the edge of our sofa chairs as she accepts, and we’ll wipe away a tear when he breaks the news to mom and dad. We want Mr. & Mrs. Johnny to have beautiful children that mom and dad dote over. Yes, we watch Johnny over the years and quietly say to ourselves, “I want my kid to be like Johnny.”

And then there’s Jack. His world is a healthy mixture of COPS, The Bachelor, The Anna Nicole Show, Jersey Shore and Real Housewives of New Jersey.

 Dixie Carter's "This is not a whorehouse" rant seems so appropriate here.

So let’s talk about Jack. I’m guessing he doesn’t like authority, dabbles in drugs, has a mouth that would make a sailor blush and respect for elders and for women? Umm, sure. He’ll probably have a girlfriend or two or three, but if his parents know about them, they won’t want them sitting at the dinner table and if they do show up, they’ll probably want to wash the chair cushions when they leave.

If Jack does manage to get married, (oh let’s not kid ourselves--he’ll change wives like he changes his underwear, assuming he does the latter) she’ll look pretty but will be the foul mouthed gold digger who secretly wants Jack’s mom and dad to kick the bucket so she can get her hands on their money. Not that they HAVE any, but Jack has her convinced he’s the cock of the walk with his cool rocking Camaro and his gallons of cologne. Mr. & Mrs. Jack won’t just have children; they’ll breed like roaches. Oh joy. We watch Jack over the years and quietly say to ourselves, “If my kid turns out like Jack, I’ll push him down a flight of stairs myself!”

Now that Johnny and Jack are adults, (Johnny just started college. Jack just made bail … again), which one would you want to marry your daughter? Well, I guess that would depend on what you chose to let your daughter watch on TV as well. I’m guessing Johnny has a grand church wedding with “Class” and Jack enjoys a quickie Vegas wedding with his little “Runt.” Let me know soon because I’ve already purchased their gifts. I’ll be sending either a nice set of monogrammed bath towels or a chainsaw enema.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

More kick-ass TV women: Olympic gold medalist (and "Law & Order" lover) Lindsey Vonn and "Unmatched" tennis icon Chris Evert in Get Active!

We've brought you exclusive Q&As with TV's new butt-whoopin', retro-influenced tough chicks, The CW's reimagined Nikita star Maggie Q and Chase star Kelli Giddish (and Chase creator Jennifer Johnson, who credits Charlie's Angels and Kate Jackson for inspiring her as a young girl). Now here's a sneak peak at the kick-ass fall cover of Get Active! magazine featuring my cover-story interview with Winter Olympics gold medalist Lindsey Vonn and In the Gym interview with tennis legend Chris Evert. The issue will be available at health clubs nationwide early next month.

Chris and her longtime rival (and friend) Martina Navratilova are the subject of the fascinating 30 for 30 documentary Unmatched, which premiered last week on ESPN. An encore performance airs on ESPN Classic on Oct. 25. Check out this trailer:

Lindsey and her ski racing rival (and once-close friend), Julia Mancuso, will likewise likely be linked for life. In her Get Active cover story, she discusses her rivalry as well as her love for the late, great Law & Order. Below is a clip of her appearance in the series finale that aired in May.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Exclusive! Extras from my LA Times interview with ass-whoopin' "Chase" star Kelli Giddish

If Angelina Jolie gives a new kick-ass name to Salt, then Chase star Kelli Giddish adds a sexy roundhouse kick to the phrase "salt of the earth." As U.S. Marshal Annie Frost, Giddish tackles the big, bad guys and the big, bad reality that her father--a long-on-the-run fugitive--is one of them. Here are outtakes from my interview with Kelli for my recent story about TV's Tough Chicks in the the Los Angeles Times' fall preview section.

You kick some serious butt in the Chase premiere. Are you exhausted?
Am I exhausted? Lord, no! You have to have a lot of energy to do this role. Tomorrow we do a huge shootout. I don’t know how we make these mini-movies every week. Last week I was running through a field and jumping on a biplane. I did that about twelve times.

It’s great, man. The stuntwoman’s there. She kind of perfects the stunt. I show up and get to do it. I get to do it every time. Eric Norris, Chuck Norris’ son, is the stunt coordinator. I could not be in better hands. We got out and have a helluva time doing all these stunts. It’s what I love about this show. It’s not like other action shows that put the CGI and special effects in later. We’re actually doing it.

What fuels Annie’s aggression and her bloodhound tenacity?
It’s wonderful to play a character, a woman, so committed to her job. As the season unfolds we’re gonna see where she gets that fire and that ability to focus so intensely on getting the bad guy. She comes from the same criminal mindset that she chases after every day.

Her father is a criminal who’s still at large. The audience is going to glean more information as the season goes along about what exactly he did. It’s so interesting the way Jennifer Johnson created it. With Annie, it’s either one side of the law or the other. And Annie Frost ended up on the right side of the law. And she’s damn good at it.  

She’s serious about what crime does to a family, what it does to being a daughter, a wife. She went through all of that growing up. Once you see that first hand, it’s impossible not to follow through and be committed to getting the bad guy.

And you’re playing a Texas girl. And everyone knows you don’t mess with Texas.
That’s right. (Laughs.) And you don’t mess with Annie Frost either.

Yes. I was training down in Houston. When you see it with your own eyes, it’s intense what these guys (U.S. marshals) do, man. They don’t even raise an eyebrow.

Annie Frost has got the Texas in her. It’s a rich place to draw from. Filming here is so saturated—the culture and the colors and the patriotism. What a better place than Texas? So often things are black and white here. It’s right or wrong.

(The Texas female marshal) came up through the ranks, just like any other police officer. I call her the Queen Bee. I got to see what kind of road she took to get where she is. It’s an interesting road, being female and in charge of something you’d see as male-dominated.

(Executive producer) Jennifer Johnson, the cast and I did a lot of ride-alongs with them, too. You serve the warrants with them, too. I was in a car with this guy for 15 hours, for five days. You hear all these war stories, and you see them with your own eyes.

This show has a HUGE production value—it’s a Bruckheimer show—at our fingertips. To show these little snippets that Jennifer Johnson and I heard on these ride-alongs and throw them up on the TV screen with these great production values and a seasoned, interesting cast … We have great directors coming through and the writing has been phenomenal.

It’s a different show. It’s not trying to find out whodunit. We know who did it.

Why will a kick-ass woman who can kick ass resonate with audiences in 2010?
When was the last time you got to see a woman go to work with cowboy boots and jeans and actually get the work done? Ya know? We haven’t seen that. I read the script and said, “Yeah. This is my kind of lady.”

It’s sexy to see a woman instinctually know how to get the job done. That’s the kind of woman I’ve always been friends with. To see a strong woman and see how her mind works—not only the physical stuff—but how she filters out the bullshit noise so she can focus on what’s important.. To see a girl take down a 180-lb. man, that’s always gonna be fun, man.

I’m from Georgia, baby, and I grew up around some real strong women. My co-star Rose Rollins can take on anybody, man. You’ve got two kick-ass women on that show. If I go out with Rose, I know I’m cool. Nobody’s messin’ with us.

The underlying thing with Annie Frost—and why I love her—is she has a huge heart. She can connect with people. And at the end of the day she’s protecting people like me and you. (I want) to show what an honorable job that is, that you come from a place of truly wanting to help other people.

How important is it to you to show Annie’s vulnerabilities—namely, her daddy issues.
I think a lot of time it’s interesting to see people holding that (vulnerability) back and fighting through it. I did a scene with an older gentleman who reminds Annie of her dad. When I was done with the scene, I swear to God I went to the bathroom and bawled my eyes out for ten seconds.

It doesn’t always come out. And I don’t think it always should. That’s a trait of Annie’s and why people are gonna root for her. As we get to know her more and more we’re gonna get to see a little bit more of the vulnerability.

You’ve definitely done your share of close-up emoting, especially on All My Children. How cool is it to get to run, jump and kick butt as an actress?
I get up in the morning and I’m like, “What am I gonna do today? You’re sprinting 50 yards and then jumping on the wing of a biplane as it’s moving, and then shooting out its propeller. Or I get to crash a car or two with my buddy Cole Hauser. Okay! It’s gonna be a great damn day.”

It’s exhilarating to be able to use your body. So often we’re talking heads on TV. I get to run in fields and jump in rivers and hang off the sides of cliffs and do shootouts and kick doors down! It’s a mental and physical chase. It’s full throttle.

I’m looking at my fingernails now. There’s brown stuff in them and they’re all jagged. I’ve got two huge bruises on my shin. My elbow is scraped up all to hell. Thank God my daddy’s not around me. He’d think someone was beating up on me.

I grew up playing sports. I was a catcher in softball. I remember throwin’ girls over my shoulder if they’d try to steal home. I’ve always loved being outside. And thank God, because it’s 105 degrees here. This role is so up my alley.

So your job is really the ultimate workout.
The female marshal I trained with was 41. Not a wrinkle on her face. I said, “You don’t look a day over 32.” She said, “Kelli, I have no stress. Look at what I get to do every day. I’m out running every day and getting the bad guy into custody. I have no stress. It’s all good, babe.”

"Chase" executive producer Jennifer Johnson: How Kate Jackson inspired me as a girl, and how I hope Kelli Giddish inspires my young daughter

In these outtakes from her interview for my Los Angeles Times fall preview story on TV's Tough Chicks, Chase creator and executive producer Jennifer Johnson tells how Charlie's Angels' Kate Jackson inspired her as a girl who loved to climb trees and chase--and be chased by--her brother. "I grew up watching Charlie's Angels and always wanted to be Kate Jackson because she was the smart one," Johnson says in the LA Times story. "She could do it all. That's what I gravitate to. [Annie's] gonna have to beat these guys with physical prowess combined with a smart plan of attack."

The former Cold Case producer and Lost scribe also reveals how she hopes Chase star Kelli Giddish (All My Children) will be a new empowered female role model for Johnson's four-and-a-half-year-old daughter. The Jerry Bruckheimer action-adventure drama premieres tonight on NBC.

Kelli’s moves are even more impressive considering you’re filming in 100-degree-plus heat in Texas. I’m from Oklahoma, so I totally appreciate that.
Oh, are you? So you understand completely. We’re going to Oklahoma soon for some of our U.S. marshal exploits. It’s 105 degrees and Kelli does her own stunts—as well as the stuntwoman. We have to roll cameras before everyone starts sweating. They get powdered up and then we say “Action” before they start sweating again.

I got lighter in the moment that I met Kelli because I’d found the perfect person to do this. She came in for the screen test and had learned Waylon Jenning’s “Armed and Dangerous” on her guitar. And she had it. I had a pretty good feeling at that moment!

And of course there’s her voice. How gorgeous is her voice? It’s confident and it has gravel in it, and you feel taken care of by her. So she’s earned the song.

I’d started considering changing to (pilot) scene to not saying “I am Mason Boyle,” because it’s such a hard theme to pull off. And here comes Kelli Giddish. She put down her guitar and said, “I learned ‘Armed and Dangerous’ over the weekend.” She walked onto the set and said, “I’m Mason Boyle.” It felt like my whole soul raised to the 40-foot sound stage. And I said, “There’s our girl.” She has all the characteristics that Annie does.

Kelli definitely has grit in her voice and her performance.
One of the first times in Dallas we went out to dinner and were walking back to the hotel. There were all these trees around us and she said, “Do you like to climb trees?” I said, “I love to climb trees.” We just kind of looked at each other and that’s all we had to say.

I grew up with a brother who’s 18 months younger than I am. And I grew up in upstate New York. My brother and I chased each other through the house, played gags on each other, beat each other up.

I know a lot of men who are in basketball leagues or play pick-up games. But I hadn’t found that outlet. So this show is that outlet for me. To be 11 again and chasing my brother through the house. (Laughs.) To be running from him and being genuinely scared—that adrenaline and rush that you get. My experience with women—I don’t have that outlet.

I love the concept of a female U.S. marshal leading the team in a role traditionally seen as male. You’ve said Chase sort of reintroduces the American hero. In which ways does it redefine the American heroine?
My proudest moment in the development of this show was when my attorney, Matt Johnson, called me and said, “Jennifer, I love the pilot. But my daughter really loved the pilot.” I was thrilled because his daughter just started high school. He said, “Especially when Annie jumped off the bridge. I think she felt Annie was a role model and she wanted to watch the show.” It was my proudest moment because I have a four-and-a-half year-old daughter. So these are issues I think about constantly.

We had a placemat of the presidents of the United States. The other day I said to her, “Ingrid, you could be president of the United States.” And she said, “No, I can’t, Mommy. They’re all men.” So these are the subliminal messages that our kids get every day, that young girls get every day. So I promptly threw out the placemat. It’s coded in our language. If you see a dog or a cat go down the street it’s “He, he, he, he, he.” So in our house we say “she” a lot just to reposition her perspective.

We see women who can kick ass. But with Annie I’m trying to combine that with commitment to her job, intelligence and compassion. It’s that full package I think that could potentially translate to role model.

There are so many movies where rights of passage are looked at as kind of cool for guys. But rights of passage for a woman, it’s like, “That’s a chick flick.” That’s a demeaning, condescending remark. I would love to sneak it in, to not have people say, “It’s a chick flick” and have it be a smart, empowered, kick-ass woman.

How far TV has come since the mid-’70s empowered woman—particularly the beautiful women who never broke a nail, ever got dirty. Annie gets down in the dirt and jumps into the river. Why is important to you to show that earthy, gritty element of today’s empowered female?
Because it’s real and it expresses confidence in the character. She’s more concerned about catching the bad guy than she is about how she looks. She’s not a woman who cares about whether she’s having a good hair day or a bad hair day. So I hope she’s a role model, because even empowered women are expected to look beautiful. Kelli Giddish on Chase doesn’t have to work at that. It’s a character’s priorities that tell you who they are. Hers are her commitment to her job and finding the bad guy. She’s about justice.

Kelli’s spent a lot of time with the U.S. marshals. When she talks about them she gets a little teary-eyed. She gets very emotional. Because what they do is so admirable.

I think it’s a realness, a daringness, a complete focus on what she’s doing and a refusal to be distracted by anything less important. (To focus on her appearance) is not part of her DNA—but her commitment to her job is.

Annie’s dad is a fugitive, so her commitment seems to come naturally.
Her family experiences and family roots simply inform who she is. There’s a part of her who’s let go of her past. It just is who she is.

Another thing that I’m going to explore in the earlyish episodes of the first thirteen is what kind of makes her jump. In conclusion after being in conflict with Jimmy (Cole Hauser) over it—because he perceives it as sometimes being a little reckless—is that it is who she is.

We do see Annie kick a lot of male butt in the pilot. Given her issues with her father, does the character get satisfaction in taking down the bad guy?
Absolutely. Every time she captures a male fugitive, she feels a step closer to finding her father. And at the same time, ironically, she proves that she’s not a bad guy. She proves that she’s not like her father.

You’ve also said that once psychologically you get into a fugitive’s head you can pursue them physically. Coming off of producing Cold Case for four years, why is it important to you to show a woman who can handle this on both levels?
I think when you talk about redefining the heroine, for me that’s the modern-day version of the heroine who is smart but can also use her physical power to capture them.

In my experience women don’t have as much participation in team sports. In my experience in TV-making Hollywood, there are a lot of men’s basketball pickup games … I didn’t want to limit her (Annie.) Working on Cold Case for four years was so satisfying, and Lilly was really was a rich character. So dimensionalized. Kathryn Morris, I love her and consider her a friend. So for me this was a progression. And I really didn’t think about it. And I really didn’t think about it. When I created my show … it’s a little bit my own personality. That’s the character I wanted to write, to see.

I knew it would be a show about fugitive hunters, but that’s all I knew. I wanted to create a female lead who could run and jump and make physical contact with even the toughest fugitive because she has some great moves. She can do a roundhouse kick. And she combines it with smarts. When a guy has a choke-hold on her, she has the idea to yank off his belt and use it to throw him over her shoulder. Because she’s a woman she maybe has to use her head a little bit more.

She knows that even if she takes a few punches it will be worth it. And hopefully what we’ll intuit from that is, that’s how committed she is. Every time she runs after that guy … we will hopefully intuit: no. 1, she doesn’t consider herself inferior to men so there’s nothing to ever stop her. And no. 2 there’s such a purity of purpose that she’d never consider not pursuing the fugitive.

Sounds like a winning recipe for today’s young heroine.
Hopefully the 13-year-old girls will feel empowered by that. And also it’s okay for women to care deeply about what they do. That’s not new but I think it may be the physical side of that in combination that makes her not only kick ass and (but?) intelligent and compassionate.

It’s that whole package that to me equals role model. And that’s what I saw in Kate Jackson and Sabrina on Charlie’s Angels: a willingness to engage, intelligence and I think she cared less about her appearance … I don’t know. I haven’t watched it in a really long time. (Laughs.) But I do remember her wearing a little less make-up than the others did.

Potentially and hopefully this is a new thing that young girls will watch.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

More Angelina Jolie's Salt and less Angie Dickinson's Pepper: "These Women Like to Kick Some Tail"

I'm excited to share my story in today's Los Angeles Times' Fall TV Preview section about TV's new ass-kicking chicks--namely Chase star Kelli Giddish and TV's reimagined Nikita, Maggie Q. 


Almost as exciting: that they left in my references to Police Woman and Charlie's Angels:

And the 1976-81 series "Charlie's Angels" may return to ABC next spring, reimagined by "Smallville" creators Miles Millar and Alfred Gough.

But don't expect your mother's "Police Woman" — pound for pounding, 2010's action grrrls are more Angelina Jolie's lioness Salt than Angie Dickinson's sex kittenish Pepper.

 Angie, babie, it's all about you!

 My, how things have changed for women and law enforcement on the boob tube.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Jason Ritter: Like father, like son

The late, great John Ritter and his son Jason have more than talent, good humor and all-American appeal in common. In these clips, almost exactly 25 years apart, they both talk about Jason's appearance in Three's Company's opening credits! John (seen here in 1985 with Johnny Carson) is no doubt looking down and smiling big today--on (what would've been) his 62nd birthday. Jason's new series, The Event, premieres Monday on NBC.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"I didn’t pop out of my mom’s womb and land in a karate school": Maggie Q, TV's reimagined "Nikita," talks "Asianness," ass-kicking and exhaustion in these Los Angeles Times interview outtakes

 Ben Mark Holzberg/The CW

CW's re-imagined Nikita just kicked some serious ass--in the Nielsen ratings. The premiere last Thursday drew about 3.6 million viewers--around 200,000 more lookie-loos than caught its hit lead-in, The Vampire Diaries. Nikita also attracted enough 18-34-year-old women to rival the young network's all-time record in that demo for original programming in its primetime Thursday slot.

Maggie Q is also drawing raves for her take-no-prisoners portrayal of the sexy assassin first seen in the 1990 French film La Femme Nikita and, most recently, the 1997-2001 USA Network series of the same name. In this Craig Silverstein reimagining, Q's killer spy goes rogue to seek revenge against the covert government agency that trained her to murder.

I recently interviewed the funny and engaging Q for a "Tough Chicks" story appearing in the Sept. 19 Fall Preview Calendar section of the Los Angeles Times. In these outtakes from that Q&A, Q talks again kicking A, tackling Nikita's emotional issues and verbally decimating "silly" Asian stereotypes with her quick-witted humor.

So, is all of Nikita's ass kicking more invigorating or exhausting?
Absolutely exhausting. There’s really no other way to say it. It’s kind of like a nice fatigue. I sort of feel like I’ve been doing this for years—not in this capacity. And now that the workload is such I feel ready. But at the same time I’ve been learning very slowly—we’re about to start episode five on Friday—how to pace myself. I’m a person who if I’m going to do something I’m going to give everything.

Aside from the thrill of watching a woman kick male butt, how else do you think this show will resonate with viewers?
As much as it is a physical series, it’s also incredibly dramatic and emotional. There are so many relationships and stories intertwined in this. We tell a lot of the story in flashback. You’re gonna see where she’s coming from, why she’s there and why this revenge means so much to her.

We learn a lot of her back story in the terrific pilot scene where she beats up her abusive foster father then lets him have it verbally.
I’m only telling him all of this because I want to make sure he’s dead. Because the more he knows, the more they’re gonna shoot him in the head. You will never find out later that Nikita has done something gratuitously. There’s always a reason she has a conversation, a fight—whatever it is. There’s always a reason. And it’s very well-thought out. 

She's on her game.
Oh, she's on it. She's been ready for this. She's like, "Listen, you taught me everything I know, and now with this freedom you're really gonna see what I'm gonna do with it." And that becomes very scary for them.

What will we learn about her back story? Will her "daddy issues" be explored in this reboot?
Definitely. In terms of her past there is an homage to the original film (Luc Besson's La Femme Nikita). She did not come from a good family. She was adopted. She was in a relationship that was very abusive at the time. Which drives her to the streets and kinds of different addictions. Because of that she gets in a lot of trouble. And when she does that’s when the Division finds her. Then they scoop her up and whip her into this world she did not ask for and didn’t want. She's a product of her circumstances in the sense that it’s all against her will. The reason this incarnation or reimagining is different is that this is the future of Nikita. This is about, what are the secrets? What bound her to them? What binds them to her?

And here she is now free and seeking revenge.
Right. Which is not free. She’s really put herself back into her own little prison. Whether she knows better or not, we don’t know yet. It’s gonna take years for Nikita … Whatever we run away from we run into. And that’s why she’s actually not free from them. Because she feels she needs forgiveness, she needs redemption. She needs forgiveness in her own life. She needs to make things right. She needs to bring down the people that she feels are hurting not only her but their country, really.

Nikita’s now a woman who can kick ass and take names—even those of the baddest of the Division bad guys.
I think there’s a parallel in spirit that I think women like and relate to. I think there’s a group of men that really like that as well. It’s fun to see a woman not have a problem with any of that. (But) a lot of the problems that Nikita’s gonna run into in the series are (issues of) conscience, forgiveness—all those things that are internal problems for her.

One of my favorite lines in the pilot is when Division “mother” Amanda tells Alex, “Sometimes vulnerability can be our greatest weapon.” How is vulnerability important in Nikita getting what she wants? She not only has physical strength but can also manipulate and be vulnerable when she needs to be.
It’s really smart that you say that. I think it’s the reason why women make great spies and women make great assets in this field. There are so many levels that women can perform on that men can’t do. You’re going to see Nikita get into situations and go undercover and play roles that would never be believable for men. I don’t really know why we haven’t (thoroughly) done it till now—they did it in Alias and did it in Salt just recently—where women can sort of get closer to men. Because there’s so many more roles to play.

Nikita will be able to extract what it is she really needs by using what it is that women have—which is the power of vulnerability. It’s what makes women great actresses. It’s what makes women very lovable. It’s something that men don’t have, or it’s not okay for them to express—even though I think it is. But in general in society it isn’t. And with women it’s accepted.

On top of mastering all of Nikita’s emotional stuff, do you do all of your own stunts?
I do it all. The producers and creators sort of worry—like, “Maggie, don’t kill yourself, please.” … It’s like doing one really, really long action film. And that’s so tough. There’s not an ounce of physical, mental or emotional energy that we could possibly give to the show. If it doesn’t do well, then we really suck. (Laughs.)

We are giving everything to this show. So that’s sort of my learning curve right now. (Each week) I say, “Okay, Maggie, you’ve got to do what you normally do (and) give everything. But you’ve also really got to understand how long this is going to be happening and how much preseveration you need to think about.”

Can you give us a little preview of what’s coming up ass-kicking-wise?
(See my Los Angeles Times Fall Preview story on Sept. 19 for specifics!)
We’ve been so smart in designing things that are very different and exciting for the audience. …. A lot of times Nikita has the upper hand and a lot of times she doesn’t. We’ve got so much great stuff coming up. If you liked the pilot, you’re gonna love it! You’re going, “Oh, my God” before you even know what’s happening.

The reason why I like the action on this show is Nikita is a trained operative. She’s not a martial artist. It’s never something where we have action just to have action. It has to make sense for the story. Because these writers are really on top of that … I couldn’t be more pleased with what they’re writing.

If only TV journalists were more tuned in to the whole “she’s not a martial artist” thing. You had a great comeback at the Television Critics Association this summer when a critic asked you a question that assumed as a half-Asian gal you must've been doing martial arts since infancy.
(Laughs.) What’s funny is … I’m mixed. My mother’s Vietnamese from Saigon and my father’s from New York. So I’m Irish-Polish Vietnamese. Because I started my career in Asia and that’s where I was known first and I got brought over to the states by JJ Abrams to do Mission Impossible III … I’ve been here five-six years. I’m not even full Asian, so I can’t even imagine what people who are full Asian go through. With me being only half Asian there’s this whole sort of weird stereotype of, “Well, you’re Asian, so you fight.”

I remember somebody at TCA saying something like, “Well, this is what you do.” And I’m like, “What do you mean?” He’s like, “Because you’re Asian, right?” I’m like, “Great. That means we brush our teeth, do kung fu, then have our eggs.” That is absolutely not at all what I do. I have never been a martial artist. I didn’t pop out of my mom’s womb and land in a karate school.

Some people think that’s what all Asians go through. I love the stereotype and I love the questions because I love to be able to answer them in a way where people can finally go, “Oh, well, that was stupid that I said that.”

It’s a silly stereotype. I’ve worked with Jackie (Chan)’s people … I’ve worked with so many other people in Asia. And when I got to America, a lot of people who gave me my best skills in this genre were not Asian. They were westerners who’d studied martial arts … They were the ones who really brought me to the next level. So it’s ironic that they think I’m Asian and I’ve learned all of my Asianness from being Asian. The reality is I’ve learned a lot of my fighting skills from white people. 

It’s really funny and really ironic. “It’s what you guys do.” “Us guys? You mean us Irish-Vietnamese people?” I genuinely think it’s funny.

How would you describe Nikita’s physical arsenal? She does just about everything, doesn’t she?
Yes, she really does. With TV there’s not a lot of time for prep. I trained for three weeks before I got here for the second episode just to get up to a level where I was with my reflexes.

Ben Mark Holzberg/The CW

We get eight days an episode and I work seven out of eight days. I have a huge, massive fight in episode five with a new character they’re introducing. But I have not had one day to learn it. So I’ll go in after work sort of exhausted from the whole day and try to learn a fight for the next morning. … Sometimes I learn it 15 minutes before I jump in. That’s why I’m so adamant about doing everything myself—I feel like I owe my audience that. Everybody has bated breath to see if I’ll get it in time. And we’re always pulling it off every episode. Hopefully we can maintain that.

The other day, like I said, we had a fight that you’re going to flip out over. Nikita speaks many different languages. The same day I had to come in—I’ve got a guy around the neck with a gun to his head, or whatever—and I’ve got a monologue in a different language. Then I push the guy down, I kick him in the head, I tell everyone to run out, then I run out into the crowd and I’m attacked by five guys.

I’m so stressed out. And when I get stressed out I just get quiet. People are like, “Are you okay?” And I’m like (in rapid-fire nervousness), “It’s fine. Tomorrow I get to do a monologue in a different language and then fight five guys and remember every move. It’s fine. Hahaha.”

There are days like that when I’m like, “Wow.” People freak out over the physical aspect of the show—and so do I—but at the same time they forget that we also have lines to learn, and different languages, and there’s a lot of emotion and drama in this series. It’s a lot.

Thank goodness you’re half Asian and can therefore handle all of this.
Thank God. (Laughs.) Part of me I’ll shut off and it’ll just happen, you know?