Archive for January, 2010

Michael Trucco, Kari Matchett and Eric Johnson In Syfy’s Meteor Storm

January 30, 2010

A passing meteor shower turns into a deadly storm from space that threatens to destroy San Francisco. As the city’s disaster official (Michael Trucco) tries to evacuate the population, a scientist (Kari Matchett) races to unravel the mystery of the repeated strikes. She discovers that remnants of an ancient meteor strike, found under San Francisco, contain a new element that exerts a magnetic pull on the meteorites. While the city is devastated around her, she has a bigger problem to solve – how to stop a huge meteor from being pulled in and creating an extinction event.

Meteor stars Michael Trucco (Battlestar Galactica), Kari Matchett (Invasion, 24) and Eric Johnson (Flash Gordon, Smallville) and airs Saturday, January 30th @ 9:oo p.m. EST on The Syfy Channel.

This Week On Demons – 01 – 30 – 10

January 30, 2010

Luke's (Christian Cooke) life is on the line yet again in this week's Demons. Photo copyright of Sony

SPOILER ALERT!! – With news of a strange murder in the capital, Mina (Zoe Tapper) and Galvin (Philip Glenister) investigate. Mina’s abilities give her terrifying visions and she begins to fear for Luke’s (Christian Cooke) safety. Then Ruby (Holiday Grainger) discovers that the entity chasing Luke can take the form of a woman in order to stalk her prey and alarm bells start to ring. Could Luke’s new girlfriend Alice be more half-life than human? Smitten airs Saturday, January 30th @ 9:oo p.m. EST/PST on BBC America

As noted above, photo copyright of Sony, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any kind. Thanks!

This Week On Caprica – 01 – 29 – 10

January 29, 2010

Daniel Graystone (Eric Stoltz) and Amanda Graystone (Paula Malcomson) in Caprica. Photo by Joe Pugliese and copyright of the Syfy Channel

SPOILER ALERT!! – In the wake of the MagLev bombing that killed his daughter Zoe (Alessandra Torresani), Daniel Graystone (Eric Stoltz) plunges himself into his work not realizing that a part of her survived the explosion and is closer to him than he could imagine. Consumed with grief, Amanda Graystone (Paula Malcomson) is obsessed with discovering who her daughter really was, and slowly begins piecing together the details of Zoe’s life. 

Zoe, now trapped in the robotic Cylon body, turns to her friend Lacy (Magda Apanowicz) for help. At the same time, Headmistress Clarice Willow (Polly Walker) – a secret ring leader of the shadowy “Soldiers of the One terrorist group on Caprica – is also focused on Lacy, putting the girl under pressure from all sides. 

At a memorial service for the victims of the trains disaster, Joseph Adama (Esai Morales) confronts Daniel about the loss of his own daughter. Before they can come to an understanding, they are interrupted by a stunning public announcement from Amanda, who is now convinced that Zoe played a part in the terrorist act. Rebirth airs Friday, January 29th @ 9:00 p.m. EST on The Syfy Channel. 

Click on the following link for a sneak peek at this episode – 

As noted above, photo by Joe Pugliese and copyright of The Syfy Channel, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any kind. Thanks!

Billie Piper Talks With Jonathan Ross on BBC America

January 28, 2010

Billie Piper stops by for a chat with Jonathan Ross. Photo copyright of the BBC

THIS week on Friday Night With Jonathan Ross, former Doctor Who companion and Secret Diary of a Call Girl star Billie Piper talks candidly about filming the final Doctor Who specials starring David Tennant. She says she’s finally said goodbye to Doctor Who, “I think enough is enough now.” And when asked who is a better kisser, David Tennant or the new Doctor, Matt Smith, she admits Tennant wins. Billie also admits that she won’t discuss her sex scenes from Secret Diary of a Call Girl with her husband, actor Laurence Fox (Lewis). “We don’t talk about it, we don’t watch the show together; he seems very relaxed about it, which is slightly alarming sometimes.” Friday Night With Jonathan Ross airs @ 10:00 p.m. EST/PST on BBC America. 

As noted above, photo copyright of the BBC, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any kind. Thanks!

Heroes’ Greg Grunberg – Man On A Trapeze

January 27, 2010

Greg Grunberg as Matt Parkman in Heroes. Photo copyright of NBC

Do you know the old saying, “No good deed goes unpunished?” It is one that Matt Parkman perhaps should have heeded at the end of Heroes‘ third year. The good-natured and often put-upon law enforcement officer, who also happens to possess telepathic powers, thought he finally had the chance to start a normal life with his wife Janice and baby son, Matt Jr. Then, however, Noah Bennet and Angela Petrelli talked Matt into using his ability to help them get rid of Sylar. As a result, Matt not only wound up with a guilty conscience, but, at the start of season four, Sylar’s psychotic consciousness stuck inside his head as well. Yes, it was yet more angst for our reluctant hero to contend with, but Greg Grunberg, who plays Matt, readily embraced the new acting challenge. 

“Well, first of all, the end of season three was exciting for me because suddenly Matt was the one who they turned to in order to level Sylar, which was awesome,” enthuses Grunberg. “I love how we play things on this show, in that most of the time they’re character-driven and we try to keep it that way. So going into this particular story arc, I knew it would be good. However, Matt wasn’t happy about doing this. It was something he had never done before and he knew there would be repercussions. Although he was thrown into this, it was also something he chose to do. And, of course, when we’re burning the body [in the third season finale An Invisible Thread], Matt knows it’s not really Sylar, and he’s carrying that secret with him. 

“Then at the beginning of season four, when Angela [Christine Rose] calls Matt and says, ‘Things didn’t go as planned; we need your help again,’ it’s like, crap! He’s not happy about it and doesn’t want to go back. Once again, all Matt wants to do is try to lead a normal life, which is exactly what inspired Tim Kring [Heroes executive producer] to create this show after he saw [the feature film] The Incredibles. The thing is, no matter what you try to do, when you’re ‘special’ and have these powers, you’re going to get called upon, and when push comes to shove, you’re going to have to step up to the plate. As much as Matt tries to go back to that normal life, he can’t. He always gets pulled back into this one. 

“There are themes in Heroes that are very consistent and, as this season has gone on, the focus for my character is that he will do whatever necessary to protect his family. This goes back to season two and what happened with Matt’s father [Maury Parkman, played by Alan Blumfeld], which was a powerful moment for my character. Matt realized that his father had all this power and did whatever it took in order to save their family. But then Matt had to take him down. This year, it’s another powerful moment for Matt when he realizes, ‘By killing myself, I’ll kill Sylar [Zachary Quinto], because if I don’t, he’s going to go on killing people, maybe even my own family.’ So towards the end of this season you’re going to see Matt do some really dark things that you wouldn’t expect from him.” 

With Matt's (Greg Grunberg) help, Noah (Jack Coleman) and Angela (Christine Rose) prepare to carry out their plan to deal with Sylar in "An Invisible Thread." Photo by Trae Patton and copyright of NBC

Turning down Angela Petrelli’s request for additional help in the season four Heroes opener Orientation, Matt is shocked when Sylar appears, but only he can see him. In the following episode, Jump, Push, Fall, Sylar tells Matt that he is part of his mind and has no intentions of leaving until he is reunited with his body. Matt tries to ignore Sylar, but the psychopath’s relentless taunting starts to adversely affect him. Sylar’s hold on Matt strengthens when, in Ink, he uses Matt’s powers against him, causing the detective to almost beat a suspected drug dealer to death. 

“What I love about this story is that Sylar consciously or subconsciously tapped into Matt’s darkest and biggest fear, which goes back to my character discovering Molly,” explains Grunberg. “It really mirrored what happened back in season one when he found the little girl under the stairs, but this time when Matt found her, she was dead. That was something Sylar tricked him into seeing. For a second, Matt let his guard down when he and Sylar are in the bathroom and Sylar says to him, ‘Look at this house. I mean, you’re a cop. I don’t know any kid who you would raise in a house like this.’ Then he shows Matt the doll and he’s like, ‘Put it all together.’ 

“There are so many moments of huge suspension of disbelief in our show, but this is not one of them. Here’s a cop trying to do his job and being nagged by an image and a person only he can see and hear and who’s giving him clues he can’t ignore. Matt has to deal with this, which was really great for me acting-wise, and it was hard, too. The stuff I do on the show is difficult because I always try to play it as real as possible. However, if you were talking to someone and suddenly they tilted their head and looked at you funny, you couldn’t help but comment on it and ask, ‘What’s the matter?’ So there’s that fine line of Matt talking to Sylar and at the same time trying to keep other people from noticing he’s doing so. Those sorts of complex scenes are always so interesting as well as fun to do.” 

Matt contemplates his next move in "Ink." Photo by Chris Haston and copyright of NBC

Matt is about to lose his cool with Jimmy Keppler (Daniel Newman) as Sylar (Zachary Quinto) looks on in "Ink." Photo by Chris Haston and copyright of NBC

Was it hard for the actor to shoot the scenes in which Matt physically abuses his suspect, Jimmy Keppler (Daniel Newman)? “Yes and no,” says the actor. “I mean, we all have our rage, and if I want I can get to a dark place pretty quickly. Years ago I did an episode of NYPD Blue and I learned something from Dennis Franz [Detective Andy Sipowicz]. He drowned my character in a bar sink, and when we did the scene, he was getting super-physical with it. I remember saying, ‘Dennis, I’ve got it. I’ll go down and you can just put your hand on my head.’ He said to me, ‘Look, man, when they roll the cameras, I bring the evil.’ I thought, ‘Wow, what a great line.’ Obviously, Dennis did it in a way that he wasn’t hurting me, but he was just saying that he really embodied his character. 

“So in Heroes it ended up not being too tough for me to take everything I had out on this guy. For Matt to come in, realize, oh, my God, she’s dead, and then just ramp it up as he’s walking towards this guy and yelling, ‘What did you do to her!’ was terrific to play. From the camera angles, what’s interesting is that the slaps and punches were a foot-and-a-half away from the other actor’s [Daniel Newman] head, but it still really looked violent. In-between scenes, they [the make-up artists] came in, added [fake] blood and then we carried on, so it turned out great.” 

Along with Ink, another favorite episode for the actor to have worked on this season is Strange Attractors in which Matt thinks he has found a way to suppress Sylar’s influence on him. “There’s one scene, in particular, where Matt is packing to leave and Sylar is in the room with him, but Matt’s wife Janice [Lisa Lackey] doesn’t know Sylar is there,” says Grunberg. “She asks Matt, ‘Where are you going?’ He tells her, ‘I’ve got to get out of here.’ Matt then explains to Janice what he did [with regard to Sylar]. Janice offers, instead, to leave and take the baby somewhere safe, and Matt says, ‘Sssh, he’ll hear you. Don’t tell me where you’re going so he [Sylar] won’t know.’ Here’s a guy who is about to go crazy and his wife who loves him seeing that craziness building inside him. I love that scene. 

Fighting to be your typical, average family - Matt, Matt Jr. and Janice (Lisa Lackey). Photo by Chris Haston and copyright of NBC

“Also in this episode is Matt out-drinking Sylar, which is kind of cool. Some people made the comment, ‘It’s that easy. You just go and get drunk,’ but if you stop and think about it, no, it wasn’t that easy. Matt got inside Sylar’s head and found a weakness. He discovered what really meant something to him and took advantage of it. So it had layers to it, but on the surface it was like, oh, that’s all it takes to get Sylar to disappear from your head. Just drink until you pass out. 

“So I thought that was interesting, but the scene with Matt and Janice, going into it, I didn’t see it being as deep as it turned out to be. When, however, she looked at me, and it was her looking into her husband’s eyes and [reassuringly] going, ‘Ok, ok,’ but meanwhile thinking, ‘Dear God, I’m losing him,’ that was wonderful to play. 

“With this show I feel like I’m working on a trapeze with the strongest, safest, softest and most comfortable net below me because Tim Kring, Dennis Hammer [executive producer] and all the writers and editors are just so good. I can do something and know, OK, it’s on film and, yes, perhaps the network will see a take that I’m not thrilled about, but you’ve got to be willing to take chances to come up with some great stuff. You can’t second-guess yourself and think, ‘Maybe I should try this, but if I do it might not work.’ Who cares? Just do it. It’s only film, and with film they’re only going to use what works. But you’ve got to trust the people making those decisions, and I do.” 

Matt and Sylar are confronted by the police outside the Burnt Toast Diner in "Shadowboxing." Photo by Trae Patton and copyright of NBC

Unfortunately, Matt’s drinking is only a temporary solution to his problem. At the end of Strange Attractors, Sylar retaliates by taking over Matt’s body, and in the following episode, Shadowboxing, Sylar goes off in search of his own body. He ends up at the Burnt Toast Diner, where Matt reveals to Sylar that he, Noah (Jack Coleman) and Angela “transformed” him into Nathan Petrelli (Adrian Pasdar). While at the diner, Matt uses his power to make Sylar unwittingly write down on a napkin that he has a gun and he’s going to use it to kill everyone. Sylar then hands the napkin to a waitress, and when he eventually walks outside, the police are waiting. Matt tricks Sylar into pretending that he is taking a gun out of his jacket, forcing the police to shoot him. 

Matt uses his powers to "persuade" Sylar to act in a threatening manner towards the police in "Shadowboxing." Photo by Trae Patton and copyright of NBC

“For that scene, Zach and I each had 12 squibs on us,” recalls Grunberg. “I’d never had that many squibs on me before. I’ve been shot on Alias as well as in movies and the most I’ve ever had is four squibs, which is a lot of explosive charges to have on your chest. So we did the scene and Zach gets shot, then I step in and get shot, but they never showed Matt getting hit. They only showed my character lying on the ground with blood around him. Sylar was the only one who you actually see taking the bullets. In my mind I thought they were going to do a fade-across dissolve [shot] where it would show Sylar getting shot and then, as it fades, it’s Matt being shot, but they didn’t do that. 

Matt intends to sacrifice his own life by goading the police into shooting Sylar in "Shadowboxing." Photo by Trae Patton and copyright of NBC

“I remember watching the scene when I was doing looping for the episode, and I called Tim and asked him, ‘What happened? I’m not getting shot.’ And he said, ‘What are you talking about? Sure you are.’ In fact, they had made a decision in the editing room, which Tim had forgotten about, and that was they wanted to make it seem like Sylar was really gone. Had they shown me being shot, there might have been a question in some peoples’ minds that, oh, maybe it was just Matt who got shot and Sylar didn’t die. I thought, ‘I went through all those squibs and they didn’t even show it,'” chuckles the actor. “Stuff like that, though, is like playing cowboys and Indians. It’s a dream for anybody, let alone an actor, to do something like that, and I had a ball.” 

Poor Matt is down for the count in "Shadowboxing," but only temporarily. Photo by Trae Patton and copyright of NBC

Peter (Milo Ventimiglia), Matt, Nathan (Adrian Pasdar) and Sylar have an unexpected reunion in "Brother's Keeper." Photo by Chris Haston and copyright of NBC

Lucky for Matt, Peter Petrelli (Milo Ventimiglia) comes to the hospital in Brother’s Keeper and uses his replicated power to heal Matt. However, his “brother” Nathan (a.k.a. the transformed Sylar) is with him and, during a fight between him and Peter, Nathan brushes Matt’s hand. Matt suddenly finds himself back in his body and, apparently, Sylar has returned to his own body as well. Despite his character’s life and death struggle, Grunberg did not mind having Matt share his mind with Sylar. 

“Knowing I was going to be working with Zach as much as I did was a treat,” he says. “He’s the greatest. Zach and I have known each other for a long time and we’re very close, so right away I knew that this was going to be fantastic. And we have a shorthand with each other where we step on each other’s lines. I do the same thing with Adrian and a bunch of other actors on the show because we’re so familiar with one another. 

“At the same time, Zach has a really specific quality to his character and I wanted to try to embody that in certain things I did. In the airport scene [in Shadowboxing] where Sylar takes over Matt’s body, I suddenly kind of bring my brow down. There’s this look that Zach has about him and a very intense quality that he brings to his character that I wanted to try to copy, even in little moments like that, but in doing so I didn’t want to go over the top.” 

Matt's journey could have ended in "Shadowboxing," but he lives to fight another day, beginning in "Close to You." Photo by Trae Patton and copyright of NBC

With Sylar finally out of his mind, Matt is reunited with his wife and son, but in Close to You, Noah comes to Matt’s house and asks him for help to find Samuel (Robert Knepper), who is bringing together heroes for his own private agenda. At first, Matt refuses, but when Noah plants the seed that Samuel could one day come for Parkman’s son, Matt realizes that, once again, he has no choice but to lend a hand. Having worked with Zachary Quinto for much of the season, Grunberg looked forward to sharing some screen time now with Jack Coleman. 

“Jack is an amazing actor and it’s always great working with him. On the flip side, though, his character is someone who I strapped to a chair in a motel room, and now Matt is trusting him again, just like he trusted Peter, just like he trusted whoever,” says the actor. “These alliances keep getting to toxic levels and then suddenly we’re like, well, OK, it’s all fine with these guys. So it’s been a little crazy, but at the same time we’re all fighting for ourselves. It’s dog-eat-dog, and after a while a pack of dogs is more powerful than any single dog, so you’ve kind of got to go with it. 

“So at the beginning of the episode, Noah is pulling Matt out of his house, and then at the end, my character tells him, ‘Look, that’s it. Go home. I’m done with this.’ But like I said before, it gets very dark from here on in, not only with Matt, and I think people are going to like what’s coming up.” 

Having been a series regular before on Alias and Felicity, the actor has once again enjoyed the opportunity to walk for an extended period of time in Matt Parkman’s shoes and seeing his character grow and develop on Heroes. “When we first met Matt, he was quite lonely,” notes Grunberg. “His relationship at home was falling apart; he sort of had a clue as to why, but not really. Then, however,  he found out that his wife was cheating on him, so he couldn’t have been more alone at that moment. 

Father and son - Matt and Matt Jr. Photo by Chris Haston and copyright of NBC

“From there, Matt just wanted to figure out who did this to him [gave him his telepathic abilities], and in doing so, he discovered these other people who are very much like him. All of a sudden my character realized what it was he truly wanted, but then it was a case of be careful what you wish for. Matt became a John McClane [referring to Bruce Wills’ Die Hard character] and has been thrust into something he’s really not prepared for. He’s learning how to control his abilities, while at the same time discovering just how huge a deal this superhero stuff is. 

“So my character has basically gone from being alone, to going on this journey of discovery, and then finding his dad and realizing that all this is part of his destiny and there’s no turning back. Matt is now at the point where he can’t trust anyone, and the way I’ve tended to play it – and the writers haven’t really written to it in a while – is that this is a vicious cycle and he sees it happening all over again. Matt has powers and look what’s happened to his life, and now his son has powers, so what’s going to happen to him? Matt just wants to break this cycle and live that normal life, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.” 

Besides his heroic endeavors as Matt Parkman in Heroes, Grunberg has also been busy with various other projects, including two films, one of which is called Group Sex

Group Sex is something I co-wrote and co-produced with Laurence Trilling, who is working on [the TV series] Parenthood at the moment and who I worked with on Alias as well as Felicity,” says the actor. “He’s a good friend of mine and a really talented guy and we made this movie independently. I’m starring in it along with Henry Winkler, Tom Arnold, Josh Cooke, Odette Yustman, Kym Whitley, Robbie Benedict and James Denton. Hayden Panettiere [Clare Bennet in Heroes] has a part in it, too, and so does Dania Ramirez [Maya Herrera in Heroes]. 

A rockin' Greg Grunberg! Photo courtesy of and copyright of The Lippin Group

“It’s a romantic comedy that takes place in a sexaholic recovery group, and I play this guy who belongs in this group, but is the best friend of a guy who wanders into the group. My character’s friend follows a girl who he finds attractive into the back room of a church and, all of a sudden, he’s in the middle of this group being led by Henry Winkler, who’s standing there saying, ‘I’m addicted to sex.’ The film really turned out well and we’re currently working out a distribution deal. I cannot wait for it to get out there because the title alone should intrigue people enough to want to see it, but the movie really does deliver. 

“I also did Kill Speed, which is another independent movie but it was financed by a group of fighter pilots, so we got to use all their jets as well as received cooperation from the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] and airports. We also got military cooperation, which you normally can’t get. It’s the first film since Top Gun that actually has practical filming of air-to-air combat. The shots in the movie are unbelievable and they’re all real, like planes screaming between buildings in downtown Los Angeles, and a jet fighter following one of the these fiberglass planes that are used to transport drugs. 

“I play a government agent who’s calling the shots from underground and trying to get these drug runners. So for me it was coming in for two or three intense days of shooting where I was looking at monitors and yelling, ‘Come on, get ’em! Get ’em!’ It was more like a callback to my Alias days than anything else, but I had a really fun time doing the movie and I think people are going to enjoy it. 

“I’ve also got this iPhone application out there that’s been exploding and doing really well. It’s called Yowza!! and the website for it is It’s a free application, and you just press Yowza!! on your iPhone, iPod Touch, Palm Pre, Android, Blackberry, etc., and it knows your location and brings up all the stores, restaurants and businesses around you along with all their coupons and deals. So you never have to clip coupons again or look for the best deal by walking the mall. When you’re in a mall, press Yowza!! and it’ll show you, closest to farthest away, where the best deals are.” 

Husband, dad, talented actor and all-around nice guy, Greg Grunberg. Photo courtesy of and copyright of The Lippin Group

While there has been no official announcement yet whether or not Heroes will return for a fifth year, Grunberg remains optimistic. “I definitely think we’re going to get the opportunity to properly end the series in one year, two years, whatever it may be,” he says. “A show like this is successful all over the world and on DVD, and in today’s TV business you’ve got to have that. If a program isn’t a hit around the world or if it doesn’t take advantage of ancillary markets out there, then it’s not going to survive. 

“When the time does come, I hope the characters can all band together – those who are still standing – and have some satisfaction that they’re doing the right thing. Ultimately, that’s what everyone wants to do, even the characters who do something bad. I mean, Ali Larter’s character [Niki/Jessica Sanders/Tracy Strauss] feels terrible when she does something bad, but she can’t help herself. So I hope we can all see that ultimate redemption – no pun intended. It’s a tall order to wrap it all up, but we’ll see how they [the producers/writers] do it. Like I said, though, hopefully it’ll be a couple of seasons from now.” 

Steve Eramo 

As noted above, photos by Chris Haston or Trae Patton and copyright of NBC or The Lippin Group, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any kind. Thanks!

This Week On Ghost Hunters International – 01 – 27 – 10

January 26, 2010

FROM 1830-1870, Port Arthur was the place the called “hell on Earth,” where the convicts of a past era lived and died. With its history of hardship and death, it is no wonder that the grounds and ruins of the Port Arthur convict penitentiary are haunted by multiple apparitions and strange occurences. Strangers from around the world report shockingly similar claims of seeing the same apparitions. Common claims include jail cells with disembodied screams, empty chairs that move, strange footprints and glowing mists. Ghost Hunters International investigate all this. Port Arthur airs Wednesday, January 27th @ 9:00 p.m. EST on The Syfy Channel.

24’s Anil Kapoor – Bollywood’s Finest

January 25, 2010

Anil Kapoor as Omar Hassan on 24. Photo by Kelsey McNeal and copyright of Fox

This season of 24 is set in New York, where Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) is unwillingly drawn back into action just as President Allison Taylor (Cherry Jones) negotiates international security with Omar Hassan (Anil Kapoor), a determined Middle Eastern leader visiting the U.S. on a peace-keeping mission. As the new day unfolds, an upgraded CTU operates under the command of M.B.A.-schooled, razor-sharp head-honcho Brian Hastings (Mykelti Williamson), who supervises quirky Chloe O’Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub), expert data analyst Dana Walsh (Katee Sackhoff) and systems analyst Arlo Glass (John Boyd). 

One of the most versatile and successful actors in India, Anil Kapoor has been entertaining audiences for more than 25 years. His talent, charm and professionalism have set the benchmark for a new generation of Indian actors. He has appeared in close to 100 Hindi movies and won numerous awards over the years, including four Filmfare Awards (the Indian equivalent of the Oscars) and much coveted National Award. 

A native of Mumbai, Kapoor recently starred in the Academy Award-winning hit Slumdog Millionaire. The film was the actor’s first feature released outside of India and a favorite of both critics and audiences. It was awarded a multitude of prizes, including the Academy Award for Best Picture, as well as BAFTAs, National Board of Review and Golden Globes. His additional credits include Race, Black and White, Welcome, Naksha, Chocolate, My Wife’s Murder, Bewafaa, Arman, Rishtey, Lajia, Taal, Yuvvraaj and Salaam-E-Ishq

Kapoor is married with three children. He has two daughters, one is a successful model and the other is a film student in New York, as well as a son who is a film student in Los Angeles. The actor divides his time between India and Los Angeles. 

On January 14th, Mr. Kapoor graciously spoke with journalists, including myself, about his work as Omar Hassan on 24 and career in general. The following is an edited version of our conversation! Enjoy! 

In the early episodes of 24,  Hassan is a very standup guy. Over the course of the storyline will we get to see what the problem is with his marriage and why he’s having an affair? 

Anil Kapoor – Actually it is not an affair, but kind of a relationship, which he feels is more like a minor relationship and, intellectually, he believes it’s more of a friendship. While there is a possibility that it might develop later on into a relationship, it doesn’t.  And, yes, you will see the details of his marriage when the other episodes progress and develop after the fourth episode. 

So you think that his relationships with these women is a big part of the character? 

AK – Absolutely, because he is a normal person who has his gray areas, which makes him very human and very real. So yes, of course, he has these relationships and he has his problems with the relationship with his wife and he has a relationship with this journalist. 

Can you talk a bit about what it’s like to work with Kiefer Sutherland and Freddie Prinze, Jr (Cole Ortiz)? 

AK – I’d heard so much about 24 and Keifer, and it never felt to me as if he had done eight seasons of this show. It felt like he was working as if it was his first year, and his commitment and excitement was as if he had just started shooting 24. I was really impressed by his commitment and professionalism. It was wonderful to work with him and every line he speaks, every performance he gives, it looks as if he’s Jack Bauer and not Kiefer Sutherland. He’s completely into the skin of Jack Bauer; he’s become more Jack Bauer than Kiefer Sutherland now when he’s on-set. And working with Freddie Prinze, I could see that he was very eager and curious, as well as extremely hardworking, very sincere and a very good-looking guy. He fits the role and I think  24 is going to gain a great deal from his addition to and participation in the show. 

How was Kiefer welcoming to you, and did he offer any advice? 

AK – The first time we met he said he had seen Slumdog Millionaire and loved my work in the film, so those words of encouragement from Kiefer eased my mind and gave me a lot of confidence. When two actors meet and there is a mutual respect for each other’s work, it makes the job much, much easier. This is only my second stint as a performer in the United States of America, but Kiefer never made me feel like an outsider, and that was really great. 

Did you have any concerns about going on 24? To be honest, most Indian or minority actors on the show play terrorists, whereas your character is a much more positive and very standup guy. What did you think of all that when taking on the part? 

AK – When I first heard about the role I became really inspired because it was not just your [typical] bad man, and I felt that here was someone who stands up for his own convictions and what he believes in. It’s a very strong character and there all these layers and this complexity involved. Being from India, I was very fortunate to be given the opportunity to play this role of Omar Hassan and that it was on 24. I’ve read a lot of scripts in India as well as internationally, but the writing on 24 is very special. 

After 24 do you have any plans to keep trying to get work in the U.S. whether in TV or movies or would you be interested in spending more time focusing on your film career in India? 

AK – As an actor, especially the way the world is today where the communication is so easy, I don’t think it’s very difficult to juggle both worlds. And I think wherever it is in the world, I’m going to go where the material is exciting, especially if it’s from the West because for me, it’s much more challenging. I’m performing in a different language, and mostly I’ve been doing films in my local language, which is Hindi, and now here I get an opportunity to speak in English, which is my first language in India. Sometimes I would have difficulty working in films over there because I would think in English, but now I’m finding it much more exciting and easier  to work in films made in the West. So this is an exciting phase in my career, and this second TV experience [on 24] has been wonderful and absolutely terrific. 

Could you tell us how you first became involved in 24 and getting this particular role? 

AK I feel it’s thanks to Slumdog Millionaire, because they [the 24 producers] saw that the movie was such a huge success, critically as well as commercially. It swept all the awards and everyone was talking about it. I got rave reviews and I never really expected this kind of appreciation for my role. I’m sure people on 24 had seen and liked my work and that’s the reason I was given this offer and I grabbed it. 

If Slumdog Millionaire didn’t happen, would you have tried out for a part like this? 

AK – I don’t think this would have really happened if Slumdog Millionaire never happened. Again, I think it’s thanks to Slumdog Millionaire that I’m in 24 and it couldn’t have been a better follow-up. On 24 I play something which is completely opposite to what I did in Slumdog Millionaire, and that’s always exciting for an actor when you do something completely different and opposite in terms of a role. I’ve done over 100 feature films in India but I’ve never done TV there, so for me, this second time doing U.S. TV was something new, fresh, exciting, educational and I really loved every moment of it. 

Was there anything in particular that you did to prepare for this role? 

AK – Yes, I did. As a matter of fact, the most exciting part of all this was the preparation for the role, which I really loved. I play the leader or president of a fictitious country, which is supposed to be a Middle Eastern country, so I looked at a lot of world leaders, past and present, and researched their speeches, their body language and how to speak. I read a number of books as well on the United Nations as well as peace treaties, nuclear disarmament, etc. So all that really helped me. Also, even though I speak English, I had a dialogue coach. I had long sessions with him during the entire filming of 24, and he was of great help to me as far as figuring out how my character would speak. Because Hassan is British, or was educated in Britain, we gave him a bit of a British accent. So in 24 you’ll find a complete change in the way I look, the way I walk, the way I talk and in my voice quality as compared to what I’ve done before. 

Can you tell us a little bit about any other projects that you may have in the works? 

AK – At the moment I am working on two movies in India, one is a comedy called No Problem, which is a mainstream Indian film and I play a cop, and then there’s I Shall, which is based on Jane Austen’s Emma. Both these films are almost in post-production and they’ll be released this year. As soon as I return to India I’ll be doing a play, which is going to tour all over the world.  

What has made a career in this industry rewarding for you so far? 

AK – I’ve been very fortunate from the first time I faced the camera, and it’s always been in terms of satisfaction as well as financial stability, education and meeting people all over the world. I’m not a very academically educated person, but I think being educated is through people and people I work with and the work I’ve done in films, etc. So it’s been very, very rewarding for me. 

As noted above, photo by Kelsey McNeal and copyright of Fox, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any kind. Thanks!

Sanctuary’s Alan McCullough – The Write Touch

January 24, 2010

Writer/co-executive producer Alan McCullough in his Sanctuary digs. Photo by Jeff Weddell and copyright of Sanctuary 2 Productions

When Stargate Atlantis‘ TV run was brought to an end after five years, series writer/producer Alan McCullough, who had previously served as a writer/story editor on Stargate SG-1, relocated from the Pegasus Galaxy to take on a new creative challenge. He joined Sanctuary as a writer as well as co-executive producer and penned four scripts for the show’s second season. In his first one, Hero, Chris Gauthier, best known as Walter in Eureka, plays an ordinary man who is transformed into an unlikely costumed crusader against crime in the show’s fictional New City.

Hero was a really fun script to write,” says McCullough. “It’s a fast-paced and humorous episode, which I never really had the opportunity to do on Stargate. There was always humor embedded in the dialogue in Stargate, but it was rare that I got to write a comedic script. There were people who were sort of the go-to guys for that; Martin Gero and Brad Wright, in particular, and Rob Cooper also wrote a couple of great comedy scripts and Carl Binder wrote one, too. So when I came on Sanctuary there was a chance for me to do the same.

“In Hero, our people are on a mission to track down an Abnormal when all of a sudden they’re thwarted by a guy in a neoprene suit. He drops out of the sky, grabs the person we’re chasing and flies off, so we’re left wondering where the hell this guy came from and how he can fly. He’s apparently human and appears to be wearing a homemade outfit, but nevertheless seems to possess miraculous powers. Chris Gauthier played the part to a tee. He was hilarious in it and brought so much to the role.

“The actual shooting of this episode was difficult because there were a lot of stunts. We actually brought in a flying rig which, I believe, is one of the most advanced ones you can get. I’m not well-versed in the technology of it, but you sit in front of a giant computer screen and program in all the moves you want to do and draw all the vectors on the screen. The operator then turns the rig on and it flies you around in the exact way that it was programmed to. So they did a full day of shooting just with that rig and came away with some fantastic stuff, including a scene where, at one point, our superhero has to fight a monster.

“Again, it was a fun episode and Chris has a blast and we had a blast working with him. It was a nice break, too, in the season. We had just come off shooting the two-part End of Nights, which is an energetic and tension-filled story where we’re fighting for the survival of the Sanctuary, and if you saw the episodes you know that something big happens to one of our characters at the end of part two. Then in the following story, Eulogy, we’re dealing with the death of a character. It’s a very poignant episode, so it was good to then come in with episode four, which was lighter in tone and a total breath of fresh air. Personally, I think Hero is one of the best scripts I’ve ever written and one that I’m really proud of.”

There was a very specific idea in mind for McCullough’s next Sanctuary script, Veritas, but, as is often the case in the world of TV, it eventually evolved into something quite different. “We started out with marching orders to come up with a background story for Bigfoot [Christopher Heyerdahl],” explains the writer. “We pitched story after story to the Syfy Channel but there was always one thing they didn’t like, so we would go back and try to retool the script. However, by pulling out that one thing, the whole story collapsed.

“So we’d start fresh, and ultimately we came up with a story that the network loved but that had nothing to do with Bigfoot’s back story whatsoever,” chuckles McCullough. “It does, however, involve Bigfoot in a very major and pivotal way. At the very beginning of the episode, Will [Robin Dunne] arrives back from a trip and he’s frantic; he’s been told that Bigfoot has been killed. Will goes to the morgue where he finds Bigfoot lying there with two bullet holes in his chest, and we further learn that Magnus [Amanda Tapping] is the prime suspect.

“From there, it becomes a bit of a murder mystery that takes place within the context of the Sanctuary. They have specific charter rules for how they deal with situations such as this, including summoning what’s called The Triad, which is a group of telepaths that arrive on the scene and start questioning people. Within the Sanctuary network we have individuals with these incredible abilities, so why not use them to solve crimes. Will, of course, sets out to prove that Magnus had nothing to do with this, but the deeper he digs, the more evidence seems to mount that she actually did shoot Bigfoot.

“It’s a real mindbender of an episode where, quite honestly, all is not revealed until the very end. We designed it so that at every single turn you think, ‘Oh, they’re going to tell us who really did it,’ but you get no satisfaction until the story is nearly over. This was another fun episode for me to write and, coming off Hero, much more of a subdued, emotional type of potboiler. We had a great guest-cast, too, including Erica Cerra [Deputy Jo Lupo in Eureka], who did a fantastic job playing one of the telepaths. And Amanda Tapping did an incredible job directing the episode.”

The writer’s third Sanctuary script, Penance, reunites Helen Magnus with an old friend, Jimmy, played by Tapping’s former SG-1 costar Michael Shanks (Dr. Daniel Jackson). Although it would have been tempting to pair them up on the screen, Shanks actually shared the majority of his scenes with the show’s newest castmember, Agam Darshi, who plays Kate Freelander. Writing-wise, this one was a bit of a whirlwind for McCullough.

“We received notes on the outline last Friday night from Syfy,” he recalls, “so I started writing the script on Saturday and Sunday and, hopefully, I’ll finish it up today [Monday, June 1st, 2009]. It’s certainly the fastest that I’ve ever had to turn around a script. This one starts out with a really action-packed teaser where our characters are in Old City to meet an Abnormal who’s a ‘mule.’ By that I mean he has a pocket in his body that can transport hazardous or very sensitive material, and in this case he’s carrying a container for us in his belly.

“So we get there, but, of course, the bad guys are on our tail and all hell breaks loose. Our people get separated and Kate and Jimmy end up trapped in a derelict hotel room. Kate has been shot and the two of them spend a considerable amount of time together getting to know one another. In the process, Kate opens up to Jimmy and we discover a great deal about her past, including how her father was killed. With Kate being a new character this season, we felt this was a good opportunity for audiences to learn more about her. Meanwhile, Magnus and everyone else are out there looking for Kate and Jimmy, and it’s a bit of a chess match to see who’s going to arrive first and save the day.

“The neat thing about this episode is that we’re going to be doing some location shooting. We do almost all our filming downstairs in the studio, much of which is using a green screen, and we also shoot outside on the studio lot or in the nearby streets. We usually don’t have trucks to go out on-location with, but for episode eight [Next Tuesday], we’re packing up all our equipment to go film at a pool. Thanks to some scheduling magic, we have the truck for the rest of the week, so we’re taking advantage of that and going to shoot for two, possibly three days on the old Watchmen set. At least that’s the plan. We went out to look at the set, which is on Marine Way, and we’re going to use that as Old City. It’s perfect because the story has a lot of skulking around as well as gunplay and a bit of a car chase, so I’m really excited about that.”

Despite being a freshman with Sanctuary, it has not taken McCullough long to find the voices of the new characters he is writing for. “Obviously I’d worked with Amanda before, and although this is Helen Magnus and not Sam Carter, I still hear Amanda’s voice in my head, so it’s just a matter of finding the right words,” says the writer. “Ryan Robbins, who plays Henry, has a very distinctive voice, so I seem to be able to hear his voice quite easily, too.

“The character I struggled with the most was Will. I’ve since found his voice a lot more, but with my first script, Hero, I really struggled. Ultimately, I don’t think anyone picked up on that. The episode moves so quickly and there’s so much going on that I don’t think you would have the time to sit there and think, ‘Hmm, that didn’t quite sound like something Will would say.’ I noticed it, though, and when I’d write a line I’d think, ‘That doesn’t sound right,’ so I’d delete it and write another one. So it took me a while to get Will’s dialogue to sound right, but episode seven is wall-to-wall Will and I think I found his voice a little better for that one.

“It helps, too, that Damian Kindler [series creator/executive producer] is always around, and we go through the scripts with a fine-tooth comb. We’ll look at each line and if there’s one that bothers any of us, we’ll find another way to say what it is we’re trying to say.”

The writer’s fourth and final contribution to Sanctuary‘s second season is part one of the show’s two-part season ender, Kali. The germ of the idea for this episode came from a prior one, while the setting was the result of a previously discussed story that never came to be. Catching up again recently with McCullough, he was happy to talk about Kali‘s development.

“Earlier in the season we were breaking a story called Justice,” recalls the writer. “It was set in a small town, which is tough to do on our show as we don’t have suitable sets and didn’t want to go out on-location. So Martin Wood [executive producer/director] proposed setting Justice in a Mumbai slum, as that would be relatively easy to re-create. We loved that idea so much that we decided to save it for the [season] finale. Unfortunately, Justice never got produced, which is too bad because it was a great story.

“The idea for Kali came partly from Veritas, where we introduce an Abnormal called Big Bertha, who is capable of creating earthquakes. I’m pretty sure it was me who suggested that we use Big Bertha in the season finale as well. I proposed that Magnus had lied to the heads of the Sanctuary network about destroying the creature and secretly kept her alive in an enclosure at the bottom of the Indian Ocean. And then later on in the writers’ room, we came up with the idea for the Makri, the small spider that telepathically links to Big Bertha.

“We went back and forth for weeks with this story,” continues the writer. “It’s probably the toughest one I’ve ever had to break. We knew we were on to something and felt like it could be big, but we just could not find the story for the life of us. Eventually, and after numerous rewrites, we shaped the story into Kali, parts one and two. Later in the process I was reviewing part two, which Damian wrote, and went to him with a logic problem. Basically, something Will was doing made no sense. And I distinctly remember what followed next; Damian sat back in his chair, thought about it for a long time, and then said, ‘I think I know what to do – Will has to dance a Bollywood number.’

“I nearly fell off my chair. He was exactly right, of course, but I thought we’d be marched right out of the TV business for good if we tried to do a full-scale Bollywood number in a Sci-Fi show. Luckily, Mark Stern [Syfy’s Executive Vice President for Original Content ] bought into the idea and off we went.

“Also late in the game, Damian, Martin, Amanda and Robin were invited to Tokyo by Syfy Asia and decided to take advantage of the exotic locale to shoot a scene for the show. We brainstormed and felt it belonged in my episode, and it turned out to be a great way to start things off. Shooting the Mumbai sequences took place on our [studio] backlot, which is where we built a massive labyrinthine Mumbai slum, and it looked photo real. To top it off, it was over 40 degrees Celsius, or 104 Farenheit, pretty much the whole week we were filming. Everyone was dying from the heat, but it helped with the authenticity. I’m not sure how we’re going to replicate that in part three, which will likely be shot this coming February or March.”

Having thoroughly enjoyed his first year with Sanctuary, McCullough is eagerly awaiting the start of work on season three. “I’m definitely looking forward to the challenge of us doing 20 episodes and really pushing the boundary with our season [story] arcs,” he says. “And also somehow getting ourselves out of the conundrum we created at the end of Kali, Part 2.”

Steve Eramo

As noted above, photo is by Jeff Weddell and copyright of Sanctuary 2 Productions, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any kind. Thanks!

This Week On Demons – 01 – 23 – 10

January 23, 2010

Mina (Zoe Tapper) must deal with the surprise return of an old acquaintance this week on Demons. Photo copyright of Sony

SPOILER ALERT!! – Galvin (Philip Glenister) grows suspicious when the reappearance of Quincey, a bad boy vampire from Mina’s (Zoe Tapper) past, prompts a change in her behavior. Mina confesses that Quincey is back. He has come for her and wants her to give into her half-blood heritage. Galvin reassures her that he, of all people, understands – but they both know that sentiment has no place in the smiting game. One thing’s for sure – a battle of epic proportions is in the offing. Suckers airs Saturday, January 23rd @ 9:00 p.m. EST/PST on BBC America.

As noted above, photo copyright of Sony, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any kind. Thanks!

This Week On Caprica – 01 – 22 – 10

January 21, 2010

Daniel Graystone (Eric Stoltz) decides to go down a path that will lead to disastrous consequences for humankind. Photo by Jeff Weddell and copyright of The Syfy Channel

SPOILER ALERT!! – On the vibrant world of Caprica, in a culture recognizably close to our own, two dynamic families – the Graystones and the Adamas – live separately on opposite ends of society until they are brought together by tragedy.  

A shared tragedy brings together Joseph Adama (Esai Morales) and Daniel Graystone. Photo by Jeff Weddell and copyright of The Syfy Channel

Daniel Graystone (Eric Stoltz), a computer engineering genius, owns a large corporation that is spearheading the development of artificial intelligence. His unwavering professional pursuits are driven to extreme measures when personal tragedy strikes him and his wife Amanda (Paula Malcomson): their strong-willed daughter Zoe (Alessandra Torresani) dies in a terrorist bombing fueled by an underground religious dogma. Unbeknownst to her parents, the teenager had also been dabbling in these radical teachings, which were secretly propagated by her school’s headmistress, Sister Clarice Willow (Polly Walker).  

L-R: Zoe (Alessandra Torresani), Lacy (Magda Apanowicz) and Sister Clarice Willow (Polly Walker). Photo by Joe Pugliese and copyright of The Syfy Channel

Also living on Caprica but deeply entrenched in a cultural heritage that sets them apart from the rest of civilization, is the Adama clan.The family is helmed by Joseph Adama (Esai Morales), a renowned criminal defense attorney – with questionable ties and sometimes-devious methods – and father to William (Sina Najafi) and Tamara (Genevieve Beuchner). When Joseph’s wife and daughter perish in the same attack that befell Zoe Graystone. Joseph’s path soon crosses Daniel’s, and the two become united in their grief.  

Could Zoe have been too smart for her own good? Photo by Jeff Weddell and copyright of The Syfy Channel

Soon after, Daniel lets Joseph in on a sinister secret: he’s discovered that Zoe, a computer genius in her own right, had been experimenting with perilous virtual reality technology along with her friend Lacy (Magda Apanowicz), and managed the impossible: she created a life-life avatar of herself, a perfect digital copy. Obsessed with the possbility of seeing his daughter once again, and preying on Joseph’s shared emotions, Daniel implores his new confidante to help him make Zoe’s vision a complete reality. Appalled by the ethical implications of re-creating a soul, but aching to bring his own daughter back to life. Joseph complies…and the fate of the human race is altered forever. Caprica’s two-hour series premiere airs Friday, January 22nd @ 9:00 p.m. on The Syfy Channel.  

As noted above, photos by Joe Pugliese or Jeff Weddell and copyright of The Syfy Channel, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any kind. Thanks!