December Spotlight: Melvin Jackson Jr.

Posted on December 2, 2020 in Spotlight

Melvin Jackson Jr, is an Emmy nominated Actor, as well as a Comedian, Writer, Producer, Director and CEO of Urban Vision Entertainment. He started out in the entertainment business when he was 18 years old managing music Artist. He will soon direct his first feature film Sex, Lies and The Things Women Go Thru. Melvin is best known for his roles on the hit HBO Series 3rd season of The Wire as Bernard the cell phone guy and as the Bully on Award winning CW’s Everybody Hates Chris”.

1. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood growing up in Washington D.C. area?
I was born in DC lived there for a few years as a toddler then moved to Maryland and growing up there was great.  I left when I was 7 and moved overseas and then came back when I was about 15.

Melvin with LL Cool J

2. You started out in the entertainment business at the age of 18 as an entertainment manager, guiding the careers of local artists around D.C. How did you get started doing that?
I got started while I was in my first year of college and became a music manager.  I started going to talent shows to recruit talent and my first artist was a R&B singer, songwriter & producer.

3. What were some of the highlights from that experience?
Being able to meet with record executives and sending my artist music to major records labels.  As well as booking performances for my artists.  It was a fun, eye opening and at time frustrating experience.  It was a lot of hard work and late nights in the studio.   

4. You’ve lived in Pakistan for 4 years and Turkey for four years. How did you end up over there?
We moved overseas due to my mother’s job.  My time living overseas was amazing, it was the best experience I could have ever had as a kid.  To live in a different country was a humbling experience.  It made me well versed and a multi-dimensional person.  I still keep in touch with my friends that I met overseas.  

Melvin with Mom and Dad

5. You’ve won medals for Track n Field and Wrestling. How has the dedication and work ethic you’ve applied to sports impacted your acting career?
I was in Turkey when I won 2 gold medals in Track N Field in the 1500m & 3000M as well as a Bronze medal in wrestling.   In regards to my acting career I was dedicated to my goal and what I wanted.  I just always worked hard and put in the work to perfect my craft.  The simple fact that I started out acting without having any formal training or taking acting classes.  I began watching movies and learning from the actors to learn acting techniques.

6. In 2003 you broke out as an actor on an episode of America’s Most Wanted: America Fights Back. What was it like getting your first big role?
It was amazing because I grew up watching the show, I’m just glad I didn’t play a criminal because people were actually calling the cops on the actors who played the criminal on the show. It was fun shooting up until the other actor had to bite me on my face lol. They put prosthetics on around my jaw where he had to bite me.

7. Next you landed a role on The Wire. How does it feel to have been a part of what many people consider the greatest television show of all time? 
It’s a great feeling to be a part of such a great show because one it was my favorite show and I started on the show as extra, as well as auditioning 15 times.  The cast members and I became a family forever.  This show started my career and without the show my career would be so different. I’m a truly honor to be apart of this iconic show.

Melvin on HBO’s The Wire

8. You played The Bully on Everybody Hates Chris. How did you enjoy being a part of such a successful and funny show? What did you learn being on that show?
It was a great opportunity to be a part of Chris Rock’s show loosely based on his life. He was always on set and he directed me in one episode. In the scene he comes over and say when you take the kids lunch eat his sandwich. The interesting thing was this was the first thing I booked after being in LA for 3 weeks. I gave myself a month to book something or get agent or I was going back home. I got a agent my 3rd week and the day I was going to sign my contract see told me I had an audition for this show.  I originally didn’t get the role of the main bully who was recurring but they considered me for another role and keep bringing me back.

9. When did you start getting into standup comedy? How has that experience transformed your career?
I got into standup in 2012.  I had been wanting to do it for a long time but was too scared to. When I finally got on stage, I did about 10 mins my first time which is an eternity. It was just like acting on a stage, I felt at home and feel in love.

Melvin with Tracy Morgan for The Last OG Premiere

10. Tell us about This Is My Life So Why Are You Laughing and Internal Affairs. What encouraged you to venture into writing, producing, and directing your own content?
This is My Life, So Why Are You Laughing? Came from my stand up and writing about stuff that happened to me on dates and in my career as an actor. I felt it was time take my career into my own hands and not wait.  Before this series I didn’t go out that much for comedic role I would mostly get auditions for dramatic roles.  It began opening up more doors for me as an actor.  I had the idea to shoot a concept video for my Cop Drama Pilot “Internal Affairs” to use so that I could start pitching my series.

Me wanting to be an owner and not just a player aka actor in the game is what lead me to want to write, produce and direct my own content.  When you don’t own anything you simply remain a work for hire employee.  

Melvin on set of This Is My Life So Why Are You Laughing

11. In 2017 you portrayed pioneering rapper Kurtis Blow in the BET mini-series, The New Edition Story. You’ve also portrayed Eddie Murphy and will be portraying Puff Daddy in a new show. What attracts you to these portrayals?
What attracts me to these portrayals of iconic people are who they are and what they have contributed to the culture.  Their journey and how hard they work get become the people that they are.

12. You recently was nominated an Emmy for This Eddie Murphy Role is Mine, Not Yours. What’s it like to be nominated for an Emmy? How has this changed your career?
Being nominated for an Emmy is great but to almost be nominated for an Emmy for my work in a web series that I wrote, produced and starred in with my friends was AMAZING!!!  I am still in awe, because the experience was truly an adventurous ride. What made it even better was my wife was also nominated for an Emmy as well and see told me I was nominated, and I was calling her to tell her she was nominated.  We became the first African American married couple to be nominated for an Emmy in the same year.

Melvin with wife, Kelly Jenrette, both receiving Emmy’s

13: You’ve been in films like Five K One with Clifton Powell and Step Up with Channing Tatum. What have you picked up from those experiences that help you when you’re creating your own projects?
I picked up how to have fun while also being a professional on set, and getting the job done.  As well as all the moving parts to shooting a project.  Everyone’s job on set is important. 

Melvin at PanAfrican Film Festival in 2013

14. What’s up next for you?
I am currently in post production on a domestic violence documentary that I wrote, directed and produced entitled “I’m A Survivor, No Longer A Victim”  the promo trailer is currently on my YouTube page Melvin Jackson Jr TV.

I also have a few projects that I am currently pitching that I am producing as well as developing a few other projects that I wrote or co-wrote.

Melvin with his three sons

November Spotlight: Ros Gentle

Posted on November 12, 2020 in Spotlight

Roslyn studied music during her childhood but started her professional life working as a primary school teacher in Sydney. Deciding to become an actress, Roslyn trained at the National Institute for Dramatic Art. She is probably best remembered as one of the most outrageous characters ever to appear in the cult TV drama “Prisoner”, playing Laura Gardiner, a shy librarian by day but a tough-talking prostitute, working under the name Brandy Carter, by night. Here she talks about her decade spanning career and what is up next.

My parents are the two on the left.

1. Where in Australia did you grow up? Can you tell us a bit about your childhood?
I was born in a tiny country town called Gulgong, about 150 miles straight west of Sydney. We soon moved to the slightly larger town of  Mudgee, (home of Craigmore Winery), where my dad and mom ran a grocery store for the first 4-5 years of my life. I have very few memories from this time: A big black dog and a pet cockatoo in my backyard,  being given a plaster cast of a Santa statue by Santa at what must have been preschool and swinging on the roosting swings in the chicken coop with my older sister.

Me, my two sisters and Santa Claus!

It was my Mom’s dream to come to Sydney which we did  when I was 5. Sadly she passed away very unexpectedly not long after we arrived leaving our grieving dad with a newborn. He then opened a small accommodation lodge on Bondi Beach with his dad, whose wife had also passed. They call it Thelellen (both their wives names – Thelma and Ellen). With 3 little girls under 8 (one only a few months old) plus a new business Dad sent us two older girls  to boarding school. So my first 7 years of school were spent with the nuns.  I saw my first movie at boarding school (the Song of Bernadette and wanted to become a nun!!!) Lol! Then I went to the tivoli to see Peter Pan and I wanted to be that girl flying across the stage dressed as a boy! It took awhile for me to get there though! We would go home on weekends and holidays when we would be put to work serving the breakfasts or cleaning the rooms before we could hit the beach – an easy walk and a place I loved!. Dad bought a projector so we could watch old cartoons. I remember we had one of the first versions of Mickey Mouse (unrecognizable today!) My sister and I would create movie events for all the kids in the street. I think we even charged!! Lol! We were also the first people on the street with television, when I was around 5-6. Because Mom was a jazz pianist, dad wanted us all to learn piano which I started at 5 also. Later I taught myself guitar. And learned to play cello for the school orchestra.  So I was always surrounded  by people…at school (60 in a dorm) or home, always a bedroom share with 1 or 2 others and lots of guests!!!. When I was 12 my father remarried so we came home and went to school nearby. My stepmother went on to have 7 children and that made ten of us! In high school I started singing in an all girl folk group. We did weddings and folks clubs, pubs and wine bars and backup vocal for some celebs here and there. Dad was a larger than life gregarious man but very strict with his kids. So childhood was a mixed bag of hard work, tolerance, lots of sharing stuff, peeling off sunburn, monthly birthday parties, babysitting and vying for attention in the rabble of it all!

Rehearsing before the audience enters for taping variety show for ABC Sit Yourself Down Take a Look ‘Round.

2. You started your professional life as a primary school teacher in Sydney. What led you to the decision to pursue education?
I enjoyed acting in high school but could not seriously consider it as a career option as I believed (to my absolute horror today!) that it was only for people who weren’t smart enough to do anything else!!!! YIKES!!! And I was smart so I should become a teacher. Which I did! I taught 6-7 year olds (I thought that would allow my gifts in the arts to be put to good use.) Then I moved to ESL teaching (fewer students in the class!!) Teaching has been a great tool to have along the way and continues to this day. I think I always knew I would be a teacher… it’s kinda in my DNA …like acting!

My first professional job before NIDA.. Touring Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs

3. In what ways did that experience prepare you to enter the world of acting?
 When you’re teaching 6-7 year olds you’re acting much of the time.. like pretending to be cross when all you really want to do is burst out laughing at what they have done or said… but you know if you do that you will lose them completely (I know this from experience ;-). Teaching is harder.. You  have an audience in both but one usually hopefully wants to be there , the other usually …not so much!!! So discipline becomes an art. I guess it made me very aware of where the audience is at though. You have to read them at all times.. Are they engaged, are they listening, are they bored..? So I think in that way it prepared me for theater work!

Final performance at NIDA playing Sari in Noel Coward’s Bitter Sweet

4. Was there a moment you recall that led you to train at the National Institute for Dramatic Arts?
Well I had left full time teaching at 25 to try and make a career of singing and started my first acting class to help with the singing. I took weekly evening classes with a woman named Betty Williams who also taught at NIDA. From day one I knew I was home. She asked questions constantly about the psychology of the characters and that’s what drew me in. I knew I was a natural performer but I had no idea acting was delving into the psychology of human behaviour which had always fascinated me. From that moment I knew what my career was going to be! Not, as I said, that teaching ever went away.  It has been my saviour through the tough times. I started teaching acting in the 80’s at the Actors Center plus having my own classes at home. Courses ran consistently in Australia through word of mouth, no advertising ever. It’s the regular money when the acting is not there and I am still currently teaching…you guessed it …the Psychology of Performance (a course I introduced to the school 10 years ago) at NYFA here in LA.

But back to your question… that specific moment….I had been with an agent for a year and had done a lot of commercials… I was the commercial queen! But only getting background work or one liners in series and films. And a good friend who had also been studying with Betty Willams at the beginning had gone to NIDA and was now getting offered really good roles. So I could see what I had to do. At 29 after 4 years of acting classes once a week. I decided to bite the bullet and head back to school again for another three years. NIDA auditions 2000+ actors around the country and takes only 25 a year. I was one of the lucky ones that year!

Performing Still Life in the Roslin Chapel outside of Edinburgh.
Performing Still Life in the Roslin Chapel outside of Edinburgh.

5. What was one of the most memorable experiences training at that school?
Oh,  so many but I think one of the best experiences that continued to influence me well into my career was the time we were given 6 weeks to do whatever we wanted to do…some chose to create something of their own, others chose to do a play they particularly loved etc. I said to myself “what scares me most, so I can get past it?”….and the answer came… learning big chunks of dialogue! So I chose to do a one woman show. I found a wonderful playwright called Barry Dickens had written one, called Bridle Suit, about an Australian country woman who had been jilted on her wedding night and had gone  a little crazy and still had the rat eaten wedding cake under the bed. It was a most exhilarating experience and gave me the confidence to attempt that out in the real world not once but twice with two different solo performances that have been performed all over the world. One I toured throughout Scotland back in 1997 after the Edinburgh festival.

6. In 1983 you got the role of Brandy Carter in the very successful Australian TV show, Prisoner. Can you tell us about how you landed the part?
Yes this was my first major job out of NIDA. Prisoner at that time was very successful. It was an all female prison – the early Orange is the New Black – and like here in the US there weren’t as many good roles for women as there were for men generally so all actresses in town wanted to get on the show. So I was thrilled when my agent called with the audition. The role was a woman with multiple personality syndrome so the audition was quite gruelling but fairly fresh out of NIDA and full of the confidence of a new fledgling, I dove straight into the craziness of it and won the role.

The infamous Brandy Carter in Prisoner arriving at Wentworth and ‘in uniform’
The infamous Brandy Carter in Prisoner arriving at Wentworth and ‘in uniform’

7. What was the experience like of becoming an iconic character for a hit TV show almost overnight?
It was fun doing my first interviews for TV Magazines and newspapers. But the culture of celebrity didn’t exist at that time in Australia (nothing like here) so it was just nice to share it with friends and family. It did afford me some good subsequent auditions though! Prisoner still has a wonderful cult following particularly in the gay community and I still have many fans on FB especially from the UK but from all over the world really. I think they were one of the first to have celebrity events where they invited as many of the cast as they could along with fans for a chatfest or a dinner. They are still happening to this day and many of the fans who write to me on FB are as young as 16-17 and can tell me all the characters on the show! They know more about my character(s) than I do!! So it has a whole new generation of followers!

8. You were in a number of Australian TV shows throughout the 80’s and 90’s like Home and Away, Mother and Son, A Country Practice and Neighbours.  What was the entertainment scene like in Australia during this time period?
It was very active. The rules of how much TV had to be produced in Australia had changed (after years of a lot of US television) so there was a lot of production. And I was lucky enough to have quite a few good roles, some recurring, some leads in mini series and some great guest roles. And of course commercials were always there for me!

With Alan Dale in the first couple of months of Neighbours 1984. The show has continued to this day!
With Alan Dale in the first couple of months of Neighbours 1984. The show has continued to this day!

9. When did you decide to come to America? What led to that decision?
Well this is a big question. I had always been attracted to America as a child.. mainly because of TV and wanting to see all those beautiful landscapes we would see in the westerns and of course Hollywood etc. It was very attractive to us. But as I grew older reality set in. In my 30’s I actually started a very deep and disciplined spiritual path and really wanted to change the world. Acting became simply my way of earning  a living, that I was lucky to have, as it was what I loved to do. I Had always felt also that I was a global citizen rather than from any particular country. The pull to get off ‘the island’ had been strong for  a while. But the catalyst really was when I did a leadership course which helped you identify your life’s purpose. I wanted to change the world through this business I was in and loved and in order to do that I should be at the heart of this business – Hollywood! I had lived in LA back in the 80’s for 6 months and travelled through a few times in the early 90’s. So with big dreams of running seminars on leadership for Hollywood I left ‘the island’.

I knew it wasn’t going to be easy and that I would need to have acting as my backup so I did a soft landing in Vancouver, Canada where I knew folks. I thought I would get some work under my belt in the American accent then head south. But I quickly realized the only roles in Canada were small co-stars as most of the talent came up from LA. This was the place I did finally get my first one women show up though!

My first few years in LA were not fun at all. Couldn’t get an agent for acting and quickly realized if there is anything close to being an actor in Hollywood in terms of difficulty getting work because there are so many doing the same thing…. It’s running seminars!!! So I ended up doing lots of different random jobs (including selling Chinese advertising to Chinese TV stations!!!!) In 2000 I was invited back to Australia to do an acting gig and that was it: I realized my strength and joy was in acting and I must put everything into pursuing that area on my return. My first big job was a spokesperson for a precious metals company that helped support me for the next 13 years!

It’s been a bumpy ride.. But happy where I’ve landed. And while my big dream of changing the world through Hollywood may not have come to fruition the way I thought it would I am still pursuing it in my own small way.

Spokesperson for Monex precious metals for 13 years.
Spokesperson for Monex precious metals for 13 years.

10.  How did you come to meet Chris and join CRM?
This story has been told many times but here it is in writing now…. In 2009 I had flown back to Australia to work on a film called Suing the Devil. It was a faith film about a man who decided to sue Satan in court… a courtroom drama! I played the Judge and Malcom McDowell (also a client of Chris’) played Satan. Coming into the green room from set one day I noticed, as I sat, this very good looking dynamic guy talking to a few of the folks. He had an American accent that I hadn’t heard for  a while so I was interested to know who he was. When I found out I was even more interested … Wow! A manager who actually cares enough to fly to another country to make sure everything is OK on set… nice…. I want this man to manage me!! He came to set several times so we got to chat a little but not a lot. But the seed was planted… could this be my next manager? I didn’t think it was the time or the place to ask that question so thought I’d leave it till we returned to LA.

With Manager Chris Roe at one of his fabulous Christmas parties he throws for his clients every year.
With Manager Chris Roe at one of his fabulous Christmas parties he throws for his clients every year.

It took a few months for me to pluck up the courage to even make a call. And when I finally did he actually answered his phone…another tick! So hard to get straight through to agents and managers in this town! He suggested we meet as Priscillas for coffee. We sat and chatted for, I think, more than 3 hours,  laughing over some of the hilarious things that had happened on the film Malcolm and I had just done. It was such a warm friendship that I didn’t want to spoil it by asking for representation. I thought maybe I’d follow up with that in another time maybe by email. But as we were leaving he turned and said to me “ You know I’m working on a film that I think you would be perfect for”. To which I responded, “well if you’re working on a film I am perfect for then you really should be managing me!!” His retort, “And that is our next coffee”. The rest is history. He changed the trajectory of my career!

11. You’ve had a very successful go of it this past decade with appearances on shows like Lucifer, American Crime Story, Agent X, and Hello Ladies. Is it rewarding to have your career continue to grow?
Well such a silly question really. Who wouldn’t be happy that their career is going well!!! Lol!! In fact in my 60’s I’ve had more  success than the entire time I’ve been in the country. (26 years) Which is amazing given Hollywood is not really friendly to over 40’s women and usually one’s career starts to peter out as you get older,  but mine, touch wood, is heading in the right direction. YAY!!

Remember When, film about Alzheimer's 2014
Remember When, film about Alzheimer’s 2014
Mrs Fitzhubert in Picnic at Hanging Rock 2017
Mrs Fitzhubert in Picnic at Hanging Rock 2017

12. What has been some of the best experiences working with such top talent in these shows?
In American Crime Story: The People Vs OJ Simpson I was lucky enough to be in that courtroom every time they had a court scene, so got to see how the A listers worked up close and personal and one of the things that I really noticed: I can’t remember one scene where they had to stop or retake a scene because someone fluffed their lines or couldn’t remember them. And some of those lawyer courtroom monologues were tough and they had them EVERY DAY! That blew me away. A testament to the dedication and work they put in behind the scenes. But I think my loveliest and most affirming experience was actually working with Charlize Theron and director Jay Roach on Bombshell. It was probably the most high profile feature I’d worked on since coming here and I had two small but really nice little scenes with Charlize… but the whole experience was as I remembered being treated back home in Australia when I was playing leads. I had a very small part but was treated with such respect and care by everyone from wardrobe to makeup to food (so good!)etc. but especially by Charlize (who was also producing) and lovely Jay (so humble, kind, simply delightful man) I remember after finishing the scenes both of them individually came up and thanked me for giving them so much in such a small scene (what a reaffirming experience). Of course as happens when they need to cut a film it’s usually the smaller linking scenes that go. So while I have no remembrance of this beautiful experience on film….it is etched in my heart.

Courtney Vance and Sarah Paulson The People Vs OJ
Courtney Vance and Sarah Paulson The People Vs OJ Simpson
The final Jurors!
The final Jurors!
Rupert Murdoch’s Secretary in Bombshell
Rupert Murdoch’s Secretary in Bombshell

13. In 2011 you were in a film with Malcolm McDowell called Suing the Devil. In 2019 you were with Malcolm in the 2019 Film Bombshell. Are you friends?
We worked together in almost all of the scenes in Suing the Devil but I didn’t actually get to work with him in Bombshell as my two scenes were with Charlize Theron and he was not in on that day. But in terms of friendship…we are not friends as in, we get together for coffee or a drink often, but when we do meet around the traps we pick up just where we left off. There is an unspoken connection there. He’s one of those people I feel like I have known in other lifetimes…. in a good way. 😉

With Malcolm McDowell
Screening of Suing The Devil in Australia
Screening of Suing The Devil in Australia

14. What’s up next for you? Any projects coming up?
There was a beautiful feature I was due to start filming literally the day LA went into lockdown and all filming permits were withdrawn. 🙁 So hopefully that will be back soon. For the past year on and off  I’ve also been working on a four part docu drama about the terrible murder of publicist Ronni Chasen in 2010 and that still has a few days of shooting to go. I play Ronni.

Medics attend Ronni after the shooting. 6:38 The Death of Ronni Chasen
Medics attend Ronni after the shooting. 6:38 The Death of Ronni Chasen
Cemetery Tales: A Tale Of Two Sisters Written and directed by Manager Chris Roe

And a wonderful female Indian director I did a very moving short with years ago on Alzhiemers has written a fabulous comedy (a feature) and actually wrote a part specifically for me as an Australian woman who has been to India many times (I’ve been there 25 times!). They had the money just before covid…but we’ll have to wait and see when it comes back! So a  few things in the pipeline when production can really get going again!

15. Your career has spanned many decades of steady work and great roles. What advice would you give to a younger actress that wants to have an acting career that spans many decades.
Never give up…it could come later in life for you! Always see auditions as your chance to play one more time so you don’t get frustrated and bitter at the constant rejection!!! lol!. Have a complimentary job that allows you the flexibility needed but that you also love so you don’t become desperate. They can feel it when you walk into the room. Do comedy classes if it is not your forte. There are more roles for older actors if they are good at comedy. Always keep up with technology and Social Media. It’s not going away!

Veteran’s Day Spotlight

Posted on November 10, 2020 in Spotlight

As CRM observes Veteran’s Day we would like to pay a special tribute to our clients who have served in the armed forces. We thank them for their service and wish them well in their ongoing journey.

Tara Batesole – Air Force

1. What motivated you to join the military?
I’m a Navy brat, when I decided I wanted to join my dad recommended jumping ship and joining the Air Force. It was something I’d wanted to do, and the fact most people didn’t think I’d make it made me want to join even more.

2. What was (is) your primary job after training (MOS)?
I worked in communication.

3. Where did you serve the majority of time in service?
Stationed at Andrews Air Force Base, just outside DC.

4. Tell me about some of the special people you met.
One of the great things about the military is you meet people from all walks of life. And as different as our backgrounds could be, we had this one thing in common.

5. What was the best and worst ‘military’ food you were served, and why?
Was any of it good??? But really, MREs were the worst…had a hard time getting those down.

6. Tell me a funny story you experienced that could only happen in the military.
Day one in Basic Training I thought it’d be a good idea during chow to go back up for dessert…huge no no. The TI called me out to make an example and I couldn’t stop laughing.

7. How did (does) your military experience affect your life today? What is it like being a Veteran in Hollywood?
I love having the support of other veterans in this industry, its not easy. Having that commonality and camaraderie again is awesome. And of course making fun of the other branches…especially the Navy!

Michael Broderick – Marines

1. What motivated you to join the military?
I decided to enlist because I felt (and continue to feel) gratitude for having been lucky enough to be born in this country. So many people from around the world, including my great grandparents courageously left everything they knew behind to seek a better life here in America. To this day, people dreaming of a better life have their sights set on the United States. I understood early on that the values that make our country so free and so great need to continually be protected by everyday citizens. It’s a hands-on job that not everyone is willing or able to do. I was willing. I was able. So, I did.

2. What was (is) your primary job after training (MOS)?
While I had hoped to work as either a broadcast or photo journalist, the needs of the Marine Corps dictated that I serve as a Logistics and Embarkation Specialist. The beauty of many of the support roles is that you can be attached to any unit. I landed with Marine Light/Attack Helicopter Squadron 167 (HML/A-167) in the 2nd Marine Air Wing, stationed at Marine Corps Air Station New River in Jacksonville, NC.

3. What rank are you most proud to have earned, and why?
When I attained the rank of Corporal (E-4), that really meant something to me. It is the first rank that doesn’t come automatically based on time in grade/time in service. You truly have to earn it. As a corporal, you are a Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) and while, for many, it’s just the first in a long line of promotions and ranks to earn, for me, it was a special one.

4. Tell me about some of the special people you met.
The thing I loved and appreciated most about my time in service was working alongside people from all over the country. Coming from the Jersey Shore and being the product of a middle-class family, it was strange to meet Marines who had never before seen the ocean. I really came to respect the work ethic of those whose life before the Corps entailed waking up before dawn, doing all their chores on the farm, then going to school, then more chores, only to do it all again the next day. It also opened my eyes to the experiences of my fellow Marines who struggled while coming up in inner cities, now determined to make a better life for themselves. I served with the sons and daughters of famous lawyers, titans of industry, dirt farmers, single parents, plumbers (like my dad) … Marines that came from every kind of background you could think of. I learned a lot about real diversity.

5. What is it like being a Veteran in Hollywood?
The experience of being a veteran in Hollywood has been changing over these past several years and for the better. Thanks to groups like Veterans in Media & Entertainment (VME), industry leaders are getting to know more about the talented veteran community. Productions are learning first-hand about the outstanding work ethic and unique skills a military veteran brings to set when he or she is hired. For a while, I think some productions reached out to veterans driven by a sense of duty or even pity. These days, more and more producers and directors are realizing how much value someone with military experience can bring to a production and that makes me happy. I continue to be amazed at the success of my veteran brothers and sisters and am grateful to be in the Hollywood trenches alongside them.

Semper fidelis,
Michael Broderick

Scott C. Roe – Navy Seals

I always wanted to serve my country. My father was an intelligence officer during Vietnam. I knew I would follow in his footsteps and serve. I became a Navy SEAL and worked primarily in Central and South America. Being a SEAL, I was blessed to serve with some of the most dedicated and tough-minded individuals in the world. This military service taught me things that I will use for the rest of my life. The mental toughness to attack and overcome any obstacle. And now being a Veteran in Hollywood I’ll put those skills to use!

November Spotlight: Steve Humphreys

Posted on November 6, 2020 in Spotlight

Steve Humphreys is a South African actor best known for his roles playing tough-guys on New Girl, American Crime Story, Justified, and Ray Donovan; as well as his many roles on the stage, in independent film, and in video games. 

1. Tell us a bit about your childhood and where you grew up?
I was born in London and grew up in South Africa. Moved to the US at 11.

2. How did you get interested in acting?
My first play was Cinderella at 6 years old and I’ve been hooked ever since. Acting still brings me the same joy all these years later.

3. What made you decide to come to the United States?
Like most immigrants, my parents wanted a better life for their children. Living in apartheid era South Africa was dangerous and my father had the opportunity to transfer to Los Angeles with his company.

Playing Cymbeline in Shakespeare By The Sea’s production of Cymbeline.

4. You’ve received training form Beverly Hills Playhouse, and Shakespeare at Antaeus, have a B.A. in Theatre from CSU Long Beach, why was it important for you to be classically trained?
Theatre has always been my first love and performing live is the closest you will ever get to an audience as an actor. You know instantly whether they are with you or not. I’ll never forget playing the villain in a play for Danny Glover’s Robey Theatre Co about the Haitian revolution and having the audience yell out during my performance because I was tricking the main character into surrendering. I feel like my vast classical training has given me the tools to handle anything that is thrown at me as an actor.

5. In 2011 you landed a co-star role in the hit FX show Justified, do you feel as though this was a big jumping off moment for you?
Honestly, booking Justified was one of the most pivotal moments in my career. I had a day job at the time and it was becoming increasingly difficult to get away for auditions during the day. I had previously auditioned for Justified something like 9 times and to be honest was over it. Feeling like it was a waste of time, I barely looked at the lines and booked the job. It was a glorious experience working with Emmy Winner Jeremy Davies and Walton Goggins. They reminded me why I love acting so much and since at the time Justified was one of the hottest shows on TV, it opened a lot of doors for me.

Behind the scenes on New Girl

6. You often play characters that are very tough, angry and rough around the edges like the Aryan skinhead “Erik” in S.W.A.T., Paul in Franklin and Bash, or the Road Rage Guy in New Girl, what about you as an actor lands you these roles?
I love playing villains. I think the key is understanding what makes them tick and being willing to expose their ugly side is the key to tapping into these kind of characters. Nobody thinks they are a villain, they always have justifications for the way they act.

“Erik” in SWAT on CBS

7. Especially as someone who moved to this country, is it fun to get to play the American redneck, Aryan Gang member, Hard-Ass type?
It’s always pretty funny to me that I get cast that way since people that know me always tell me that these characters are the complete opposite of me but playing the villain is always the juiciest role.

“Mark Morgan” in Prime Suspect on NBC

8. How do you get yourself amped up for these roles, such as on S.W.A.T. and Etheria?
Music always helps, I often make character specific playlists to get me into the scene prior to shooting. I played an SS officer in the feature film Miriam a few years ago and found listening to Rammstein got me ready for my scenes, especially since all of my dialogue was in German.

9. You’ve done some great voice work for Warner Bros. ADR on films like Invictus, 300: Rise of Empire, and Hereafter. How did you get involved with this?
Since I’ve lived all over the world, I can do the accents from every place I’ve lived and have a good ear for other accents. Most of these projects for Warner Brothers wanted authentic accents so I’ve been lucky to work for them repeatedly.

On set of Ray Donovan

10. You’ve also worked on Red Dead Redemption. What is it like being involved with a video game?
This was such a fun experience, I had plans to go out of town so of course got the booking last minute and had to cancel my plans. It was also motion capture so I had to wear a headpiece with cameras mounted to it so they could capture my face for the game. I definitely feel that having a background in theatre is very helpful for acting in video games.

11. When did you move to New York City? What was the reason for the change?
I moved to NYC 3 years ago to continue pursuing theatre. Thankfully there is a vibrant film and television scene here and for the most part I’m still able to self tape my auditions that I get from LA so it feels like a win/win.

Opposite Martin Short in his live show.

12. You’ve had a long history of acting in theater productions, why is it important to you to continue acting on the stage?
It’s said that theatre is an actor’s medium, I find you have the most control over the finished product. I enjoy the interaction with the audience and the fact that every performance is unique.

13. Most recently you were in a new play called Shadow of Heroes in New York, can you tell us about that experience?
This was fantastic experience of a rarely revived play about the Hungarian revolution for the Obie award winning Metropolitan Playhouse in the East Village.

14. What’s up next for you?
I shot a feature film in Buffalo with Patrick Flanery & Weston Coppola called Assault on VA 33 and have a show called Murderville premiering on  InstaMiniSeries on Instagram.

Shadow of Heroes at the Obie Winning Metropolitan Playhouse in NYC

October Spotlight: Eileen Dietz

Posted on October 9, 2020 in Spotlight

Our October spotlight features a true Horror Movie Guru, Eileen Dietz, best known for her appearances in many horror films such as the face of the demon in The Exorcist and for her portrayal of characters on the soap operas Guiding Light and General Hospital. Here she reflects back on a career that has spanned decades and looks ahead to some upcoming projects.

1. Growing up in New York City, you were first introduced to acting alongside your twin sister Marianne DeFossey, acting in various commercials. What was this type of childhood like? Did your parents push you to pursue this career?
My Dad worked in advertising. A print job came up and they needed babies for a detergent ad. He used my me, my Mom and my twin sister Marianne for the ad. And that was it for Marianne and my Mom.  My first memory of wanting to be an actress was when I was 7 years old. Marianne never was interested in the performing arts. My Mom took us to see a Broadway presentation of PETER PAN and we were seated in the first row of the balcony in the theatre.  I thought that if I jumped onto the stage, I could be one of the lost boys in the show. But then I thought if I missed the stage I could fall into the audience so I nixed that idea and fell asleep. 

2. Your TV debut came at the young age of nineteen in a small guest-role in The Doctors. What was this first experience like? 
My first TV role, The Doctors was really scary. I had only one line and I kept repeating it to myself over and over until it was time to shoot. I thought I would forget the one line but it was fine and led to me working on other soap operas with loads and loads of dialogue. A study in contrasts. 

Headshot from Steambath

3. In the late ’60s to early ’70s you acted in many theatre productions – Steambath and Ontological Proof of My Existence – to name a few. With a background in theatre, what was it like being able to flex these skills on stage? 
I loved doing theatre in NYC. I acted in Steambath with Tony Perkins and Hector Elizondo and it was a hoot. We changed the lead three times and Tony ended up playing the lead himself. The only reason I got cast was because they had fired the other girl and needed someone right away and I was available on a Sunday afternoon. Taught me to this day about always being available by phone and in person. Acting in Ontological Proof of My Existence led to me being cast in The Exorcist  Agents saw me in the show and called me the next day and asked if I would like to audition for a film called The Exorcist and the rest as they say was history.  

The Exorcist

4. In 1973, you were cast in The Exorcist. What was this casting process like? 
The casting sessions for The Exorcist were intense but lots of fun. I met with the casting director, Juliet Taylor, and she handed me the Exorcist novel to read and asked me to come back and do an improvisation for her. I read it feverishly and of course it knocked my socks off. But how was I to play a demon?  I ran to the library and got pictures of wild animals, went home and turned off the lights and lit candles and proceeded to roar and growl. Went back to casting and did an improvisation of both Pazuzu and the little girl in a possession scene. Casting loved it but wanted me to lose a few pounds (I was very thin and androgenous but the little girl I was to possess was even smaller) . I wrapped myself in saran wrap and peddled my bike around Central Park for days to lose the weight.  After the next casting session, I was asked to meet Billy Freidkan the director, Dick Smith, the Godfather of makeup and Linda Blair who was to play Regan. Shortly after that I went to Dick’s studio, an adventure in itself, and he made a cast of my face to see if I could look like the demon possessed Regan. I then did a screen test and again played Pazuzu and the little girl on the bed and the crew brought out a foot long paper mache crucifix to act with, haha.  I got the part. 

Legendary Makeup Artist Dick Smith applying makeup and hose for infamous vomit scene.
Eileen in the Exorcist

5. At the time, did you know how influential the film would be? What do you most enjoy about being a part of such a legendary film?
We had no idea that THE EXORCIST would be such a big hit, the scariest movie of all time. We thought we were just making a horror film. They closed the set and swore everyone to secrecy.  Even Dick Smith was not allowed to take photographs.  They would not let anyone in the theatre once the film began.  Long lines ensued which the press picked up and printed photos of people waiting to get in. The press also reported people vomited and fainted in the aisles. The reviews were fantastic, The Exorcist became a bona fide hit. I am proud to say my portrayal of the demon Pazuzu became the scariest part of the film. One of the best things about acting in projects is to make people feel something and for audiences to be able to relate to the characters you are playing even if you scare them to death.  And how wonderful that The Exorcist is still the scariest movie of all time decades later. 

Eileen and Chris

6. After almost 50 years and so many credits, your role as Pazuzu is still one of your most well-known parts. How has The Exorcist shaped your life and career?
First and foremost, shooting The Exorcist, many, many years later, led me to Chris Roe, my manger. He totally reshaped my career.  He also introduced me to horror conventions and I have guested in shows in throughout the United States and in the UK, Germany and Spain. None of this would have happened without The Exorcist and Chris despite my early acting credits.  

Manson Gang from Helter Skelter
Manson Gang from Helter Skelter

7. After the success of The Exorcist, you landed many guest-star roles during the late ’70s. Including, but not limited to, Planet of the ApesKorg: 70,000 B.C.Barnaby Jones, and Happy Days. What do you remember most about this string of your career? 
I had so much fun acting in the 70s and the 80s.  Planet of the Apes was the first film I shot in LA after I left NY and I fell in love with Roddy McDowell who played an Ape. HAPPY DAYS was just well, happy, and our show turned out to be one of the most popular shows ever shot. Helter Skelter was a dream come true as I played one of the murderous members of the Mason gang. In BARNABY JONES I performed a swan dive off a high board, (yeah right, they doubled me) Being an actress has also given me many perks and adventures. I especially enjoy going on location. I shot in the Bahamas for a Soap Opera, where I learned to scuba dive and then my character drowned. And I was off the show, oh well.  I also shot in Turks and Caicos where I wasn’t allowed to scuba dive because of insurance prohibitions. But my husband was invited down for a week and he swam with sand sharks and sting rays. No insurance prohibitions for him. But I got to play an apparition from the 1860’s with only one eye and a huge antebellum dress.  

Role of Sarah on General Hospital

8. In 1980, you landed the recurring role of Sarah Abbott on General Hospital. What was this experience like? What was your favorite thing about the role? 
Sarah Abbott on General Hospital was one of my favorite roles. I played a girl in a mental institution who carried a doll because she decided not to grow up.  Sarah was sweet, vulnerable and messed up and Heather, my roommate was a mean and conniving psychotic. We became the 2nd most popular duo on the show, next only to Luke and Laura. General Hospital became the most popular Afternoon Drama ever and often had up to 14 million viewers. VHS hadn’t taken hold yet so business people and housewives would arrange their schedules around General Hospital. Colleges around the country were holding viewing parties from 2-3 PM.  I requested not to wear “soap opera makeup” because Sarah was in the mental hospital and I  because of that viewers could relate to me unlike other actresses who wore full makeup even to go to the store. I was often asked if I was ever in a mental hospital.(ha, ha, insert your own joke here)  But most of all it was the work. Sarah expressed every emotion on the spectrum and often went from sweet and loving to paranoid and homicidal in a matter of seconds. 


9. Over the course of your career, you’ve amassed dozens of credits in indie horror films. What draws you to these projects? 
Because of The Exorcist I have been asked to be in a multitude of horror films.  I love shooting horror and thrillers and am quite happy acting in this genre. Whether the roles are demons or witches or zombies or vampires or psycho clowns I love scaring people. I am also often cast as victims and love making audiences feel sad and cry. I also love finding places where victims can feel hopeful. 

10. Most recently, you just finished filming a project Clown Motel 2. What was this experience like? 
I just wrapped Clown Motel 2, I played The Queen of Clowns. Playing her was challenging and unlike anything I had ever shot before. She was royal, regal, bitchy and vulnerable, tears running down my face. We were in the desert and in desert caves and it was often 112 degrees but we did not care. One of the wonderful things about filming Clown Motel 2 was that the cast and crew and director were totally committed to shooting the project in the middle of nowhere, without a lot of money or accoutrements. A shout out to our Cinematographer Gary Ott and to Joseph Kelly the director and writer and Angie Joseph, Executive Producer and Summer Twins Productions, for asking me to be in this project. 

11. What does the future look like for Eileen Dietz? 
Unicorns and rainbows. 😊 Live, love, laugh and be happy. 

Next up is The Bleeding Dark, a project that is very close to my heart. It is a thriller shooting in Portland. I have a fabulous part. It tells the story of what happens after a home invasion where a killing ensues, the despair, the guilt, and the grief. I sat in shock for 15 minutes after I read it. Then I am shooting a Sci Fi film, Obscura and a Vampire film Appetite for Sin both in the fall. After the New Year, I go to England to shoot The Callback. I have several films about to be released before Halloween:  The Amityville Harvest, Rot, and The Dark Offerings.

October Spotlight: Monte Markham

Posted on October 8, 2020 in Spotlight

While enjoying a substantial career as a versatile, award winning actor/director/writer in feature motion pictures, television, and on Broadway, in 1992, Monte, with his son Jason Markham and wife Klaire Markham, founded their independent production company, “Perpetual Motion Films”. The rest is history. Throughout his years of non-stop world-wide production, Monte found little opportunity to accept acting offers. In 2009, deciding it was time to wind down a full time, aggressive production schedule, he resumed his acting career – and has found a whole new world of opportunity.

Monte in 2015 Horror Flick We Are Still Here
Monte in 2015 Horror Flick We Are Still Here

1A. Growing up in the South, you pursued an undergraduate degree at Palm Beach State College and later went on to receive an MFA from the University of Georgia. What was your childhood like?
I was born in my Mother’s family home in Manatee, a small town on the west coast of Florida, and raised in West Palm Beach. We were 4 brothers and a sister, and growing up in West Palm has always been described as living the life of “American Grafitti”. My mother played piano and we boys often sang harmony together. Mom insisted we take piano and tap dancing class… until we kind of grew out of it. At 9, I was up at 2am to run a milk route with my uncle Ben, just home from the war. It was a good life. Lotta love, lotta family ….. lotta adventure growing up with the Everglades 2 mles West…and the Kennedy estate 2 miles to
the East.

1B. Did you always want to pursue a career in entertainment?
When I graduated Palm Beach High, I enrolled at Palm Beach Junior College (now Palm Beach State), intending to start working toward a law degree. The first day, as I signed up for classes, a Professor, Watson B. Duncan, asked me to try out for a play he was directing for the fall semester. It was a psychological thriller called “The Man”. I played the Man. A life changing experience. Duncan became my great friend and mentor and guided the beginnings of my career. With Duncan’s recommendations, I was hired for professional summer theatre companies in Massachusetts and Vermont….Doing 10 plays in 10 weeks for Pro Stock was a great education in “just getting on with it”. Great experiences.

Monte  in The Second Hundred Years.
Monte in The Second Hundred Years.

1C. In 1967, you began portraying the dual role of both Luke and Ken Carpenter in the ABC sitcom The Second Hundred Years. What do you most fondly remember about this experience?
I was filming my first feature, John Sturgess’ “Hour Of The Gun, in Mexico, when Columbia flew me up to test. I was cast, flew back to Mexico, finished the film, then back to LA to shoot the Pilot. All over Christmas. We were sold for a 26 show guarantee. First feature, first Series…Great Christmas!

Monte on Today Show for Mr. Deeds
Monte on Today Show for Mr. Deeds

2. In 1969, you landed the titular role in the ABC sitcom Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. How was it playing this well-known character?
“Deeds” was a wonderful script by Bernie Slade with a strong feel for the original. Working every day with Pat Harrington, Jr. was a rare pleasure. Bernie wrote his Broadway play, ‘Same Time Next Year’ and wanted me for the role. I had a great run with Betsy Palmer.

3. From the late 60s to 70s you starred in a handful of Western films – Hour of the Gun, Guns of the Magnificent Seven, and Shame, Shame on the Bixby Boys. What drew you to these projects?
Fortunately, they found me, My first feature, Hour of The Gun starred James Garner, Jason Robards, Robert Ryan with many excellent character actors – directed by John Sturgess. The producers had optioned me for another feature and I went right in to “Guns Of The Mag 7”. I’m very proud to have been part of these classic Westerns.

Monte in Hour of the Gun
Monte in Hour of the Gun

4. What do you enjoy about the Western genre?
Bottom line? Who wouldn’t love it? I grew up with the great John Ford films and always felt I was part of a rich cinema tradition. “Bixby Boys” was written by Bill Bowers. He’d received Oscar Nominations for “The Gunfighter” and “Sheepman” and many awards for “Support Your Local Sheriff”. “Bixby Boys” was pure pleasure, with Bill always on set.

5. Throughout the 70s & 80’s your acting career flourished as you guest-starred on a variety of network television shows. The High Chaparral, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Barnaby Jones, The Six Million Dollar Man, and countless TV Features. What was it like jumping into guest-star on shows with established casts? How do you approach this?
After working 2 comedy series, I knew that I didn’t want to be confined to a single role, no matter how good. Searching out well written characters in series and tv features offered possibilities to explore a great variety of lives. The down side? Too often, some series leads were bored, just going through the motions. Made my work less satisfying and far more difficult, but still worth the challenge.

6. In the 80s you were Series Regular, Don Thorpe, for the first two seasons of Baywatch. What did you most enjoy about the show?
In a word…painless. Good people, good shows, great locations. It was lightweight fun…every day’s the 4th of July in Malibu. Thorpe was a delight… great cast and crew…beautifully produced. Even more beautiful now with the new Re-Mastering in 4K!

7. While on Baywatch, you were also able to direct a handful of episodes. What was this like?
I’d directed my first feature, “Defense Play” just before joining Baywatch. There was quite a change in feeling after the first season on NBC. The second season we were on our own…no network. A great feeling of freedom. Directing was a hoot! Great producers, scripts and casts…first class crews.

8. In 1992, you formed the independent production company, Perpetual Motion Films, with your wife, Klaire, and your son, Jason. What inspired you to pursue more producing and directing jobs at this time?
I’d just finished directing my second feature, Neon City, and we were planning the 3rd season of Baywatch. The offer came up to produce and direct Air Combat, 13 1-hour documentaries for US News and A&E. Though this meant I could no longer stay with Baywatch, it was an
irresistible opportunity to take on a new and very different challenge. I never anticipated 20 years of incredible life adventures.

Monte directing for Perpetual Motion Films
Monte directing for Perpetual Motion Films

9. Perpetual Motion Films quickly expanded – you were soon filming multi-hour documentaries and series all the way from the Amazon to the Arctic. What was your favorite thing about this part of your career?
Everything about it was unimaginable. From leading the Sail 2000 Tall Ships into NY Harbor, to 130 below on the Greenland Icepack; from a thousand miles up the Yangtze, to filming virtually every US military aircraft and ship; from The Royal Navy with Prince Andrew, to Ground Zero and our first responders; Months on the road, working side by side with Klaire, producing and living great adventures with wonderful people all over the globe.

10. While you stepped away from acting during this stretch of your career, in 2009 you decided to wind down on the busy production schedule and return to acting. What inspired this decision?
It’s quite amazing, now, to consider the rich variety and quality of work we were able to achieve. The joy was in the constant feeling of discovery and how to capture those moments and those people. And then, finally, after averaging over 200 days a year on the road, we felt we’d done enough. I am, in heart and soul, an actor. I needed to get back to work.

Monte in Beach Bar
Monte in Beach Bar

11. What are the biggest differences you see in the industry now as opposed to when you first started?
The great change is in the ability to create films and television, and to distribute, almost instantly, to a global audience. Whether good or bad – and there’s plenty of bad – anyone, anywhere in the world can make a film and get it seen. Since 2010, Chris Roe has navigated me through – and to – over 20 feature films. And until Covid 19 hit the fan, it’s a been a wonderful time to be an Actor.

12. What does the future look like for Monte Markham?
I know I’m a most fortunate man. I have absolutely no complaints. Onward!

Monte in 2018 Horror Flick Reborn
Monte in 2018 Horror Flick Reborn

September Spotlight: Laurine Price

Posted on September 8, 2020 in Spotlight

An artist from a young age, our September Spotlight client Laurine Price started acting as a hobby… until it became her entire life. Over the past year alone, she’s booked guest roles on ABC’s Schooled and a lead in horror/thriller Blood Born, just to name a few. We’re thrilled to chat with Laurine about her career. 

1.  Growing up in the D.C. area, you were playing the piano and singing from a very young age. This childhood led you into musical theatre and the world of acting. How do you think this background influenced you?
My grandmother pointed out that I was an artist from a very young age.  She asked my parents to put me in piano, voice lessons, and dance (well, the dance part didn’t happen.  Whoops!).  This has absolutely shaped almost everything I’ve done in my life.  Even having a great job right out of college in an I/T department, I immediately auditioned for community theater and my acting career was built almost entirely as a hobby… until I could commit full-time to my life-long dream of being a creative artist.

2. While you’ve been in many theatre productions, over the past few years you have begun to land bigger roles in TV/film as well. Was this the path you always wanted to take?
I didn’t really plan the path, it evolved pretty naturally.  I was drawn to musicals and classical theater because my parents watched all of the Rodgers and Hammerstein films and my grandmother and I read classical literature.  So it felt natural to do musicals in my spare time.  Early on, an audience member suggested that I sign with their agent (I had nothing to lose, right?), who sent me out for commercials, industrials, and print.  I was blessed to book a lot and joined SAG-AFTRA.  Eventually, I ended up auditioning for the highly regarded London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art (LAMDA), and was accepted into a 13-person class!  With achieving my post-grad degree from LAMDA, the next step was to move to Los Angeles and jump into the film industry.

3. What are the biggest differences for you acting on stage versus on screen? Which do you prefer?
The biggest difference, for me, is delivery.  You always have to be honest playing whatever character you enbody, but on stage I have to project much more.  I was relieved working in stage productions with mics, because then I could sing how I wanted… I could play tender moments naturalistically and softly because the mics could pick up my voice.  And while it’s really fun to throw grand Shakespearean speeches to the back wall (and I will never say no to those opportunities!), I do trust and love the intimacy of film (even if it’s broad comedy, it can still be so intimate).  I really do love both stage and screen for the imaginative worlds we get to create, but having done so much theater – I am now really enjoying the process and extraordinary teamwork of filmmaking.

Price in American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace.

4. In 2018, you guest-starred in the second season of Ryan Murphy’s American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace. What was this experience like? How was it working with Ryan Murphy?
Talk about a perfect marriage of my theater and film experience!  I got to play Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, who Gianni Versace costumed in her role as “The Countess” in a 1993 opera.   Bright/Daniels Casting was looking for an opera singer for the part, and I got the call asking, “Do you sing opera, please say yes?!!”  Thinking that I was going to be sent in to the LA Opera, I honestly responded, “No… musical theater, pop, sometimes can get away with classical…”  They told me that was too bad and they were looking for an opera singer for a role on the pilot of a new series… to which I replied, “Oh… TV-opera????  Let me try it!!”  (Knowing that with effects and editing, it might be a little more enhancing.  LOL!)  Singing my one aria for the audition, I booked the role and was over the moon!

The experience was extraordinary.  The scenes are about Versace and the masterpiece of a dress he made for my character.  I think I had three fittings for the dress (of which wardrobe had to hand-sew all of the intricate designs and patterns to replicate the original Versace gown).  On the day, that specific dress came with two people, as it wasn’t practical to walk in.  The two dressers carried the train and a PA helped me walk sideways to the soundstage for the opera scene. I was set in place, and when I had to move backwards or forwards, three people came to assist!  Standing on the stage of the Orpheum in L.A., in a theater full of audience-extras and the Long Beach orchestra in the pit, was mind-blowing.  However, it was not a new experience as I had performed for two-balcony theaters (1400+ audience) many times in my theater past.

This was Day 1 for “Versace: American Crime Story”, so Ryan Murphy was racing the clock.  However, he is a genius.  He created these scenes that were so easy to get swept up in.  It felt like magic.  He stopped to tell me I was doing great, which I appreciated – as he was literally running around.  The whole experience was transcendent, and remember thinking to myself between takes – “Yes.  This feels perfectly right.”

(And btw – I ended up lip syncing to Dame Kiri Te Kanawa’s track, which was the plan all along! They just needed to hire a legit singer who could fake German and stand convincingly on an opera set.  Most of the audience thought I was actually singing!  Darren Criss came up to me, and whispered, “I may or may not know that you’re really singing,”… and then winked.  Too much fun.)

Price as Jane Doe in Phoenix

5. In 2019, you landed a Series Regular role in the series Phoenix for streaming. What has it been like playing Jane Doe?
This series is *awesome*.  It’s high stakes, high suspense, high drama.  We are dropped in the middle of her limping away from a plane crash – so it runs the whole gamut of emotions.  But I am HERE for it!  Every new script I get, I am continually in awe of the turns it takes and am blessed and thrilled that I get to do this.

6. What is your favorite thing about the role? What do you find the most challenging?
My favorite thing about this role is discovering who my character is.  Having lost my memory, my character “Jane” doesn’t know who she is, where she came from, or how any of this has happened.  Discovering and piecing together clues is as exciting on-camera as it is reading the script for the first time and thinking, “Ohhhhh!  Wow!  Didn’t see that coming!” This part is a challenge on the body, as it doesn’t know to separate trauma for the cameras versus real life.  So when I cry, my body thinks it’s actually grieving.  When I’m scared, my body kicks into fight or flight mode with adrenaline and cortisol.  I appreciate the feedback that it’s coming across as honest, but I have to make it a point to enjoy a lot of self-care during days off! 

Price in Schooled on ABC.

7. Later in 2019, you had a co-star role in an episode of ABC’s Schooled. What was the energy like on set?
Working on “Schooled” was as joyful as the show comes across on TV.  I laughed so hard at the main actors’ deliveries of their lines, their improvisations, as well as their banter.  These are some ridiculously funny people.  Also, the episode I was in was directed by David Katzenberg – who was also way cool.  It was just a great experience, one where at the end of the day you’re sitting on the Sony lot and thinking to yourself, “Huh, that was amazing AND I got paid for it!”  🙂 

9. A few features you filmed last year are scheduled to be released soon as well. In Switched (which released September 4th), you play the Mom to the lead role of Cassandra Evans. What was your favorite thing about playing Sarah Evans? What are you most excited for people to take away from the film?
My favorite thing about playing “Sarah Evans”, the mom of the lead “Cassandra” (brilliantly played by Miya Horcher), was that I got to be loving, supportive, understanding, and quirky.  (I mean, C’MON!  lol) She’s also the quintessential Disney/Nickelodeon mom on some levels, but is all heart. I loved it.

The film’s mantra is “Lead With Love”.  I’m excited for this message of loving one another, as it’s a nice reminder in today’s generally disheartening media climate.  It’s light hearted, family oriented, and will make you laugh under the umbrella of its wonderful theme.  I think it gives us a moment to exhale in a difficult year so far.  Another key point is the colorblind casting of Asian American actress Miya Horcher as the lead girl, with myself as her mother and Daniel Chioco as her brother.  Kudos to Lisa London Casting and Mustard Seed Entertainment for probably not even thinking about it, and just doing it.  I have had so many Asian American friends and family say that it’s so nice to see characters that reflective themselves up on the screen.  This is no small thing, and it is so much appreciated. 

Price in Blood Born

10. You also had a lead role in the horror film Blood Born which is set to be released late 2020. What was this experience like? 
“Blood Born” is a horror film that was an absolute blast to shoot.  The cast and Epic Level Entertainment’s crew became like a family, as we sat in this smoke-filled house for three weeks with all sorts of cool make-up and prop gags.  It’s funny because I don’t enjoy watching horror films (I scare easily!), but I really love making them because the production process is incredible.  Props, effects, stunts, make-up, wardrobe, and a production crew that comes together to pull off the supernatural is astounding to watch and really thrilling to be a part of.

11. What did you enjoy most about playing Cherise?
My character on “Blood Born” was the best friend of the lead, and I was very clear on my motivation – get my friends the EFF OUT of this cray cray.  I loved playing “Cherise” because I was determined, strong, funny, sarcastic, yet clear-minded.  Sometimes it’s really fun to play that gal that shouts, “Can you not SEE what’s in front of you?  Yeah… NAW, we leavin’!!”

12. What does the future look like for Laurine Price?
I am an actress, producer, and super fun creative.  I have a whole white board overflowing with notes for original stories.  I’ve optioned some amazing work and am currently pitching a project that you will absolutely know about a year from now.  And it’s just the beginning of an avalanche of films, limited series, and shorts to come from the mind of me… the little girl that played piano and read Alfred Lord Tennyson with my grandmother.   🙂  Stay tuned!

September Spotlight: Courtney Gains

Posted on September 4, 2020 in Spotlight

Growing up in Los Angeles, our September Spotlight Client Courtney Gains has been surrounded by the entertainment industry his entire life. While his most well-known role came at the young age of 19 in Children of the Corn, Gains has gone on to amass over 100 credits in both Television and Film – releasing his own music as well. We’re thrilled to speak to Courtney about his long and illustrious career. 

An old B&W headshot. 

1. Born in Los Angeles, you had your film debut at the age of 19. Growing up in a city entrenched in entertainment, was acting something you were always pursuing? What inspired you to take this career path?
I sometimes wonder had I not been born in LA would I have had the guts to come to Hollywood? My father was a laborer at Warner Bros. Studios, on weekends I would go with him to work and see sets from Fantasy Island and run around the backlot. My mother went to a Fame school in LA and entertained the troops in WWII when she was only 13, so I guess it was in my blood. First time I did a play I was 10 years old. Played the prince in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and I was hooked.

2. As previously stated, you were 19 years old at the time of your film debut in 1984. What we didn’t mention, was that this was for Children of the Corn. What was this experience like?
Well for me it was about proving I belonged. I had been studying acting in a professional workshop from the time I was 13 and felt I was ready to do good work but still had to prove it to myself and everybody else. When I was done shooting I knew I WAS an actor.

Gains in Children of the Corn

3. At the time, this was one of the earlier Stephen King adaptations. Now, his works have been adapted into dozens of films and TV shows; Children of the Corn itself being its own film franchise with a cult following. What is it like being part of such a film?
We had no idea COTC would go on to be a cult classic. I think it has been a blessing and a curse. 100+ gigs and 35 years later, it is still the most well-known role I have done.

4. After this debut, you had a lot of film success in the 1980’s with roles in HardbodiesLust in the DustCan’t Buy Me Love, and The ‘Burbs, among others. What was this stretch of your career like?
Back in the 80’s child emancipation laws were very strict. You had to be 18 to do a full day’s work, so if you looked younger that was an advantage. 80’s teen cinema was just blowing up and I was well trained for my age and looked 15, so right place right time.

Gains in The ‘Burbs

5. What were some of your favorite memories from these films? 
In that run my main thing was to not play the same role twice, I ended up doing many different genres of film and got to work with some great old pros and learn from them.

6. During this time, you also had a role in Back to the Future. What was it like being on set? Did you know the impact the film would have while filming?
Had no idea BTTF would go one to be one of the biggest trilogies of all time. Did know Speilberg was involved, so had high hopes for it. I was on the film before Eric Stolz got let go and ended getting paid for many weeks while they did the reshoots, so ended up being a financial blessing in my career.

 Gains playing guitar. 

7. You continued to act throughout the ’90s and began to branch into the music industry. You’d always been a talented musician and released a solo album during this time. What was this like? Had you always wanted to do this?
I started taking guitar lesson at 13 as well. I really enjoy writing music. I had done some recording with my first band The Gathering and then some solo recordings over the years. I realized I had enough material to put out a record, so I did. 

8. In 2013, your band Ripple Street released an EP and plans to make more music as well. What is the future of your music career?
Ripple Street EP came out in 2013 and a full album in 2017. Just put a video up on YouTube for our single Going Places. We are working on some new material now.

9. We’ve spoken about many of your film roles and your music career, but we have yet to touch on your TV work. You’ve guest-starred on many notable shows including SeinfeldMonkERCharmed, and Alias, among others. What is it like jumping into a guest role on a show with an established cast? How do you approach it?
Television moves very fast, so you have to be ready to get it right the first time. Every show is different, some are very welcoming and others are like you won’t be here next week so why bother to get to know you. Either way, you gotta be prepared to do the job when they say action.

Gains with Reese Witherspoon in Sweet Home Alabama

10. With tons of experience in both TV and film, is there a medium you prefer? What do you like/dislike about both?
I prefer film, it’s exciting to go on location somewhere with no distractions from home and create something. Though I must say TV has given me some very rich roles to play. The roles in Diagnosis MurderMy Name is Earl and most recently Criminal Minds to name a few.

Gains in Field of Lost Shoes

11. More recently, you have starred in films like Camp Cold BrookHell’s Kitty, and Candy Corn. What were these experiences like?All three of these films were in the horror genre. In CCB I played a TV producer so that was a different role for me. Hell’s Kitty was a comedy spoof on COTC character, so had fun with that, even wrote a little song for it called I Hate Cats. CC I also helped produce so that was a lot of work. I played a small-town Sheriff trying to figure out what the hell was going on in his little town.

12. Over the course of your career, you have been widely recognized for your work in horror films. What do you think of this notion? What do you like about the horror genre?
With the success of Corn I will always be linked to the horror genre and recently once again offers for horror films have come my way. Now instead of the kid, I am playing the older characters, full circle I guess. I am not a huge horror fan, I don’t like violence. For me like in any movie I am looking for a good story I can believe in.

13. What does the future look like for Courtney Gains?
So I have a comedy short film I directed called Symptoms playing the festivals right now. On August 25th a film I’m in called The Silent Natural was released on VOD, it’s about the first deaf baseball player to play in the big leagues. Just finished shooting an indie film called My Redneck Neighbor and will be recording some new tracks for Ripple Street very soon. 

Gains in Memphis Belle

Emmy Spotlight

Posted on August 31, 2020 in Spotlight

In anticipation of this year’s Emmy Awards taking place on September 20th, we thought we’d take a look back at all CRM clients who have been nominated for and/or won any of the various Emmy Award platforms. We had the pleasure of chatting with Melvin Jackson Jr., Michael Bruining, Mariette Hartley, and Bruce Davison about their Emmy experience.

Melvin Jackson Jr.

Jackson Jr. at the 2018 Emmy Awards.

1. In 2018 you wrote, produced, and starred in comedy web series This Eddie Murphy Role is Mine, Not Yours. In the early stages of development for this project, did you ever think it would have this type of success?
I knew it would be successful but just didn’t know how. But I had a vision for it and my goal was to submit the series and myself for Emmy consideration.

2. Later that year, your portrayal of Eddie Murphy in this web series was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award. What was this experience like – the nomination, the FYC events, the awards show itself?

Jackson Jr. and his wife, Kelly Jenrette.
Jackson Jr. and his wife, Kelly Jenrette.

It was a great experience, I was rewarded for my hard work and something that I created. It was truly a passion project that took me on an amazing ride that I didn’t expect. Not only was I was Nominated but so was my wife and we made history by being the first-ever African American married couple to be Nominated for an Emmy in the same year. The FYC events were great we went to almost 80 events that year campaigning and meeting people. The awards show was fun and full of a lot of interviews. It was truly an honor and experience that I will cherish forever.

3. A relatively new category, you were nominated in the Outstanding Actor in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series category. How do you think this newer type of content is transforming the industry? 
In the past 3-5 years, there were a lot of web series being done and they changed the way of watching content. You can watch them on your phone and now short content platforms are being created such as Quibi. So people like content that is 5-10 mins an episode. It’s the new wave. 

Michael Bruining

Bruining with his Emmy for Every 15 Minutes. 

1. In 2004, you were working at KTLN-TV in Corte Madera as a Producer/Editor/Director. The Every 15 Minutes Youth/Children’s Segment you produced that year was nominated for a Regional Emmy. What was it like getting this type of recognition for your work?
I knew we had something special and I wanted to create the same sense of shock that the live event captured. I also wanted to create a cinematic piece that would leave a lasting impression. When we submitted the piece for an Emmy we were all extremely excited when we got the nomination. 

2. Every Fifteen Minutes is a nationwide program that recreates car accidents due to drunk driving. What was it like creating this type of project? How long did the process take?
When I first heard about the “Every 15 Minutes” program I was very intrigued because I liked the idea of showing high school students just how dangerous drinking and driving is. I wanted to be part of that message. The event itself is beyond impressive. It’s held at a high school where the students are led out to a parking lot and then seated in bleachers. They don’t know what’s going to happen until it’s revealed they are witnesses to a car accident. Two cars are smashed up, fire trucks fly up the road sirens blaring, a helicopter circles overhead. The students watching are shocked into silence as the bodies of their friends are removed from the scene of the accident, loaded into the helicopter to be airlifted to a hospital, and in one case a “dead student” (it’s all a recreation) is put in a body bag by the coroner and taken away. This is an event that takes weeks of planning and coordination. But the belief is that if they can save one life showing the students how dangerous it is to drink and drive, they’ve done their job. I spent a day filming the event and then several days editing.  

3. This nomination was the first Emmy nomination for KTLN-TV. What was this experience like?
The night of the Emmy Awards was pretty incredible but also nerve-wracking. It was absolutely amazing when my name was called, definitely an experience I’ll never forget. It was also the first Emmy that KTLN ever won so it was very exciting. I’ve always been proud to not only win an Emmy but to be part of something that has had a positive impact on many lives. 

Mariette Hartley

Hartley at the 31st Emmy Awards.
Hartley at the 31st Emmy Awards.

1. Your first Emmy nomination came in 1977 for portraying Clare Gardiner in The Last Hurrah. What was this first nomination like?
THE LAST HURRAH: 1977? Good God. I remember my hair was redder, I was taller and I loved doing that movie. One of the last movies of the week. I do remember that Carroll (O’Conner) was a bit hesitant about hiring me. Maybe I was too tall or too young, but I did love doing it. I had never been to the Emmy show and I found it very scary and intimidating and of course I always felt underdressed and had no idea that the women often paid to have their hair and makeup done. Oh well, other than that it was exciting and gratifying because I loved the part. Carroll underscored how important it was to make deep eye contact with the actor. Footnote: I have no idea what I was doing, or where I was when I found out.

2. Your second nomination and first Emmy win came just a year later when you portrayed Dr. Carolyn Fields in The Incredible Hulk. What emotions ran through you when your name was called? What is it like to be awarded for your work?
What emotions did I go through when my name was called? Panic! Disbelief! I mean who wins an Emmy for the Incredible Hulk? I went to bed with Bill Bixby and woke up with Lou Ferrigno and… c’mon. Plus, my infant daughter was in a hotel room next door with a sitter and it was time for me to nurse her. Decisions, decisions. I knew enough to stand up, smile, not trip on my dress, walk forward go up the stairs, behind the podium, saw the enormous audience and this came out of my mouth. “Holy cow!” Lincoln, I’m not. I did manage to thank one of my dearest friends, Bill Bixby who was divine in our time together. And Lou and Kenny Johnson who’s show it was. It was an unforgettable night and even more unforgettable because my mother was there.

Hartley won for the role in The Incredible Hulk.
Hartley won for the role in The Incredible Hulk.

3. Since then, you have been nominated four more times – for a total of six Emmy nominations. How has each experience differed?
I was nominated four more times? The worst of those nights was when I was nominated twice, hot stuff, huh? One for comedy and one for drama. The first was comedy. As the four names are announced you sit forward in your chair, trying to look gorgeous and relaxed. Ha. The cameras race toward each of us stopping just in time as everyone waits breathlessly and your name… isn’t called. Then comes the acting part. You try to maintain grace and nonchalance, looking at everyone saying… it’s fine. Really, it’s fine. Except, I’m up for another award! This one for drama and this one I really cared about. Which I didn’t get either. Who’s Barbara Stanwyck? Standing on the sidewalk in a line waiting for my car, a dear friend, Joan Rivers who was the host that night sidled up to me and whispered, ”you had my vote kiddo, you should have won.” That’s what I really remember.

Bruce Davison

Bruce Davison
Bruce Davison

1. In 1998, you were nominated for a Primetime Emmy for your portrayal of Jake Weiss in Touched by an Angel. What was it like guest-starring on the show?
I was in the middle of doing a lot of guest-stars at that time. I was playing a Jewish landlord who’s a slum lord and I said to the guy, “if there’s any way you can give me some red hair,” or something to tilt away from my WASP-look. It was a great part. It was sort of timely – a whole lot of slum lord stuff going on. A judge sentenced a slum lord to live in the apartments that he had neglected for years – and I was playing that part. So it was a good message. I think John Laroquette won that year. He’s a friend and a poker buddy. You throw your name into the hat so many times and hope you come up with a brass ring… and sometimes you don’t. There are 10,000 great performances and they pick a handful, flip a coin, and somebody wins.

2. What was your reaction when you saw the Emmy nominations? How did it feel to be recognized for your work?
Well, you’re always thrilled to be nominated for something because somebody’s put you up for the brass ring. That’s always nice. 

3. Three years later, in 2001, you were nominated for a Daytime Emmy for Directing the Children’s Special Off Season. How did this experience differ?
That one meant a lot to me because it was my opportunity to direct something. I hadn’t had that opportunity much before. It was wonderful because I got to work with Hume Cronyn who was sort of a mentor of mine. I had known him from theatre – we had done The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial together – and then I worked with his wife, Jessica Tandy in Glass Menagerie on Broadway. So it was an opportunity to work with Hume, who is a great hero of mine, a man who was 94 at the time we did it. It was wonderful for me to see Hume get nominated, and the film had 5 nominations in total. It was quite rewarding. It was an opportunity for me to present something I was a novice in, and realize it was something I could do and get credit for. That was one I was quite honored to be nominated for. 

August Spotlight: Faysal Ahmed

Posted on August 6, 2020 in Spotlight

Our August Spotlight client Faysal Ahmed started in Hollywood when he landed a role from an over 700-person casting call for Academy Award-nominated Captain Phillips in 2013. Since then, his credits include Watu Wote: All of UsSicario: Day of the Soldado, and a recurring role on Hulu’s Castle Rock. We’re so happy to chat with Faysal.

1. One of nine children, you moved with your mother to the United States from Yemen when you were fourteen years old. What was this transition like?
The transition wasn’t hard. I was with my family and a lot of other Somali families who were new to the country. During this time, there were many families that had just come to America as well. We navigated our new lives in our new home as a group. That made things a lot more fun for me. 

Ahmed in a theatre production at The Miracle Theater.
Ahmed in a theatre production at The Miracle Theater.

2. Growing up in Minnesota, you were involved in the local theater scene as a Youth Program Coordinator at the Bedlam Theater. How did you get involved with this? 
My mentor at the time introduced me to Bedlam Theater. Our relationship started from there and they offered me a job as youth program coordinator. That’s where I learned how to truly express myself in different characters and stories, and that’s how I fell in love with acting. 

3. Was acting something you have always wanted to pursue? 
I always watched movies as a kid, and I wanted to become many things like a teacher, fire fighter, doctor and a farmer. In the movies I watched, the actors did just that. They transformed themselves into different characters, as people learn and grow in real life. I didn’t know how to pursue acting until Captain Phillips casting came to Minneapolis. 

Ahmed with Captain Phillips co-stars Tom Hanks and Mahat M. Ali.
Ahmed with Captain Phillips co-stars Tom Hanks and Mahat M. Ali.

4. In 2011 you went to a casting call for Captain Phillips with over 700 other participants. You were ultimately one of four participants cast in the 2013 Academy Award-nominated film. What was this casting experience like? 
The first thing that comes to my mind is walking in extremely excited, so excited that I couldn’t sleep! I had to be there at 7am and the location was across the street from my building. I saw many of my friends, and we worked together and coached each other. That made my experience very fruitful, and a lot of fun. 

Ahmed in Captain Phillips.
Ahmed in Captain Phillips.

5. Filming for Captain Phillips took place in 2012 for 9 weeks off the coast of Malta aboard a container ship. What was your experience like on set?
The set was the Ocean and huge ships. It was like dreaming each day. Paul Greengrass the director understood we were new to everything and helped us every step of the way. 

6. What did you most enjoy about playing Najee? 
I liked being the wild one of the pirates!

Ahmed in Watu Wote: All of Us.

7. In 2017, you starred in the Oscar-nominated short film Watu Wote: All of Us. How did you get involved and what was the experience like? 
I was contacted by the Producer and after reading the script, I fell in love with the story. The best way to describe it is that during the shoot, we were living in the jungle, camping there, and every day you might run into giraffes or zebras. 

Sicario: Day of the Soldado.
Sicario: Day of the Soldado.

8. In 2018 you were in Sicario: Day of the Soldado. What was your favorite thing about playing Bashiir?
I’m a huge fan of Sicario, including Bashiir.  That great story was a blessing for me because Bashiir gave me complex emotions to play with. Bashiir is a pirate leader who gets captured and sees his brothers killed by drones. His reaction reveals his humanity as he breaks down and confesses to everything. 

9. How was it transitioning from a short film like Watu Wote, to a bigger production like Day of the Soldado? What filming experience do you prefer? 
I love to be creative. Whether it’s for a short film or bigger production, I’m just happy to be part of the project, part of the team.

Castle Rock.

10. Most recently, you had a 6-episode guest star role on Hulu’s second season of Castle Rock. What was it like playing Hassan? 
Playing Hassan was fun—he’s the protector and the muscleman. 

Ahmed and Barkhad Abdi.
Ahmed and Barkhad Abdi.

11. Castle Rock also gave you the opportunity to reunite with your Captain Phillips co-star Barkhad Abdi. What is your relationship like?
It’s always good to reunite with him. We’re good friends.

12. What does the future look like for you? 
I don’t know exactly what the future holds, but I’m ready to start, like a racehorse waiting for the bell.