Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Michael Ealy - TV/Movie

Michael Ealy
Burning Up The Big And Little Screens!

By Rych McCain, International/Nationally Syndicated Entertainment Columnist

Michael Ealy (Photo Courtesy of Sony Pictures)

         Being a steady working actor in Hollywood is a feat in itself and trying to light a flame in one area be it television or film to establish oneself can also be a monumental task. When an actor can manage to set a brightly burning flame in both mediums i.e., TV & movie simultaneously; that is a delicious situation indeed. Michael Ealy has firmly managed to glide between the big and small screens in a fashion that keeps him on top of the game. He is currently starring in the run away, smash hit movie “Think Like A Man” as the aspiring chief Dominic who just can’t seem to get it all together and has a co-lead role as police officer Travis Marks on the USA Network cop drama “Common Law.” Ealy has several television series as a cast regular under his belt including “The Good wife,” “Sleeper Cell” and others. His big screen credits include “Barber Shop,” “Takers,” “For Colored Girls,” “Miracle At St. Anna” to name some.

     In his “Common Law” role as police officer Travis Marks who can’t stand his partner Wes Mitchell played by Warren Kole, Ealy explains, “It’s going to air over the summer on USA. Basically it is an action comedy about these two detectives who; while they do really well to solve crimes; they bicker and fight about a lot of little things at seven years into their relationship so their Captain forces them to go into to couples therapy which instantly creates a whole different layer to the cop show genre. All of a sudden the relationship is somewhat exposed and issues and demons come out and those themes run out like a chorus throughout every episode.”

     Of course, Ealy always puts the “Ealy” spin on everything he does. What was his impression when he first read the script? He laughs, “For me, my character Travis, I thought, was a nice blend of Axel Foley and John McClainYou know what I mean? Like he’s brave but reckless, a little bit of a con man, borderline criminal but so much fun to play. I was looking for a television show. I was looking to have some fun and not do something so heavy because it’s hard times and you just don’t want to go to work everyday and have the weight of the world on your shoulders. So this was a perfect opportunity for me to do that.”

     Ealy has compiled an impressive body of work with various themes so does this dictate a particular direction for his career to go? He ponders, “Yes and no. What has happened is that I’ve been pretty consistent with the drama. I’ve done a lot of drama. “Miracle” (reference to “Miracle At St. Anna”), started to break me out of that a little bit. Then I did a bunch of action in “Takers.” I just started wanting to get into comedy with this show. When I read this script I thought this would be good for me to start jumping into the comedy part of my career. Because I’ve never really been asked to do any comedy, people don’t think I’m funny. I had to audition three times to show people that I can make them laugh so it was just a next kind of logical step. At the end of the day I want to have a very diverse body of work. I really do and to me action, comedy, drama, I’m doing them all!”

Mike Ealy & Taraji P. Henson heat it up (Sony Pictures Photo)
     Of course Ealy has long been the object of the ladies admiration and affection. Is the sex symbol thing sill rearing its head every now and then? Ealy blushes a bit and says, “I’m sure it is but you know what, if I can keep working with it, then I will. Listen, I know who I am, I know where I’m from. If that’s what other people want to put on me, that’s a good title to have if you ask me.”

Rych McCain Media/Syndication tm 
(You DID Hear It From Me!) 
E-Mail: feedbackrych@sbcglobal.net

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Jennifer Lopez - Film

Jennifer Lopez
Explores Adoptive Motherhood In Latest Role!

By Rych McCain, International/Nationally Syndicated Entertainment Columnist

     In 1985, Heidi Murkoff wrote a book titled “What To Expect When You’re Expecting” that became a New York Times bestseller. It was named one of the USA Today’s most influential books of the past 25 years and is now the first book in a series that has sold 35 million copies Worldwide. It’s no small wonder that a book of that magnitude would end up on the big silver screen as a major feature film. The movie focuses on five couples who are experiencing the roller-coaster nuances of being expected parents in situations that are common in general.   It also begs the question that the cast would have to be young, sexy, interesting and exciting. The producers and casting personnel on this project hit the nail on the head by selecting a stellar cast. Amongst those actors leading the film to glory is showbiz vet Jennifer Lopez or “JLo” as her music fans like to refer to her.

Jennifer Lopez (Photo by Melissa Moseley for Liongate)
      In reference to the book, Lopez says, “The book is amazing, which is why it’s so popular. It tells you exactly, week to week, what’s happening to you in the moment. I think women, by nature, when we’re pregnant, are so worried that everything’s going to go okay. And here you have this book saying, ‘this is supposed to be happening, don’t worry, you’re supposed to feel like this.’ I think the movie does the exact same thing. It reassures you by telling five totally different stories about being pregnant and making you laugh.”  Lopez plays Holly who is married to Alex (played by Rodrigo Santoro. Having no children allows them the freedom to romp as they please. Lopez notes, “Holly and Alex have a lot of fun together. He’s into music and she’s into her professional photography. They’ve been married for a while but their relationship has been mostly based on having a good time. There needs to be a transition into growing up, becoming a family and really getting serious about their lives.” The only problem is that Holly can’t have children.

      Lopez enjoyed the role because she said, “As Holly, I was able to explore the intense pressure that many modern women, who have their own careers and tend to have children later in life, experience with regard to having a family. Holly lives with a tremendous guilt for not being able to do certain things and one of them is the fact that she can’t have a baby.” In the movie the couple ends up going to Ethiopia to adopt an orphan infant son. Did Lopez arrive at a different view of adoption as a result of her role? She smiles, “It’s funny, before the movie, I never really thought about adoption at all. Once I had my own baby, I was just so focused on that. It took me a while to have my own. But during the making of the film when I held those two little Ethiopian twins, you fall in love instantly and it really occurred to me. I can see how somebody can do this. How it is so easy to embrace a child who has nothing. It’s really a beautiful, selfless act of love. You go OK, I understand these feelings, I get this, I know how this happens.” 

     Did the movie mirror any aspects of Lopez’s life as a real mother? She laughs, “Fist, all you really do care about is not messing up the baby part. I just want them to be OK so that comes first for me and everything else just kind of falls in line after that..That’s kind of my philosophy. So long as that’s kind of working in the right way, then I can dedicate whatever time I need to dedicate to my career. I just take it one day at a time. I have a lot of help. I have a lot of great people in my life who help in all those areas at work and at home. I have a great family and all together we do it. It takes a village.”

Rych McCain Media/Syndication tm
 (You DID Hear It From Me!) 
E-Mail: feedbackrych@sbcglobal.net 

John Cusack - Film

John Cusack
Delivers An Oscar Worthy Portrait Of Poe!

By Rych McCain, International/Nationally Syndicated Entertainment Columnist

     Any middle or high school student who has taken American literature has at one time or another been made to read and decipher the short stories and poems of the early 19th century poet/author Edgar Allan Poe. The new Relativity Media Films movie “The Raven” is titled after Poe’s most famous poem of the same title. Poe was born in Boston in 1809. After getting himself kicked out of West Point via court-martialed because he couldn’t relate to it, he spent most of his life barely making ends meet while drifting through a string of editorial jobs at various periodicals where he began to write poetry, articles, short stories and one novel. Except for the 1845 publishing of “The Raven,” which met with great success via The Evening Mirror for which Poe was paid a whopping $9 dollars; fame as a writer eluded him for most of his life and didn’t actually come until years after his death.
John Cusack  (Photo Courtesy of Relativity Media Films)

     The story of Poe and his most noted writings have been the subject of many books, articles, Films and TV shows. In this latest film version, actor extraordinaire, John Cusack brings Poe to life via a very convening portrayal. Cusack’s brilliant but haunting delivery of Poe’s personal conflicts coupled with his career and survival struggles that he dealt with all the way to the grave is without question one of the first film performances of this year truly worthy of an Oscar® nomination for “Best Actor” when the awards season returns for 2013! Even though Cusack is one of the few actors who totally shuns the Hollywood notoriety, he may be forced to duck and dodge the rays of its spotlight should the Oscar® talk whip up to frenzy level at year’s end.

     When asked about the dynamics of his getting a 19th century figure down who was shrouded in so much mystery with many questions unanswered, Cusack responds, “I think the script was terrific. James (the director) and I went through it with the writers and some people and tried to pull as much of Poe’s own dialogue as we could from his letters and his novels. So that we put that cadence and idiom into the structure of this genre story which is basically kind of a Poe story where Poe becomes a character in one of his own story’s. So you have Poe deconstructing Poe. Even though it is fantasy, I was probably a little bit obsessed and drove James crazy saying yeah, Poe said this and Poe said that. I was always trying to use his own vernacular and his own words as much as I could in a fictional setting. We were trying to square that circle in a way. There are volumes and volumes of his thoughts on his writings. He wasn’t shy about his personal memoirs.

     What were the elements of this project that made it appealing other than the obvious things? Cusack lights up, “Working with James is a big deal for me because I think he is a talented film maker and he’s got a big mind with a great capacity and I really wanted to work with him. I thought as an actor playing Poe and trying to get under the skin of this very, very complex genius would be great challenge and opportunity. I think any actor would want to play him so I was just up for it 100 percent.” After the study, preparation and finally portrayal of the man, what was Cusack’s opinion of Poe? He reflects, “I think he was a perpetual orphan of the world. His feelings of abandonment and loneliness from losing his mother, step mother and wife I think made him feel like the orphan of the world. He was a genius, kind of a bastard, he was a rogue; he was all of the things that you think of him naturally like inward looking and melancholy. He was a wonderer and a blasted soul and I think everybody can relate to that.” 

Rych McCain Media/Syndication tm
 (You DID Hear It From Me!)
 E-Mail: feedbackrych@sbcglobal.net

Kerry Washington - TV

Kerry Washington
Cracking The Clean Up Whip With Sass And Class!

By Rych McCain, International/Nationally Entertainment Columnist

Kerry Washington (Photo by Richard Cartwright for ABC-TV)

     The new ABC-TV Network Drama Series “Scandal” is based off of the real life exploits of Judy Smith, an African American attorney with a legal and public relations background. Smith has served as an Assistant United States Attorney and Special Counsel to the US Attorney of The District of Columbia as well as being appointed as Special Assistant and Deputy Press Secretary to President George H.W. Bush. Her distinguished professional track record and experience in both the legal and PR field equipped her to hone her God given talent to “fix” sticky political situations. She started Smith & Company, a Strategic and Crisis Communications Firm and has handled major clients, corporations and foreign governments who had messy situations that needed cleaning up. In “Scandal,” Smith is portrayed as Olivia Pope played by sexy, sassy and classy Kerry Washington.

     The show was created by another African American sistah, super writer/producer Shonda Rhimes who also wrote and created “Gray’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice.” The real life Judy Smith is an attractive, no-nonsense, sexy lady with brains, wit, class and style so it was a natural that Washington got the part because she personifies all of those same qualities. Washington is a native New Yorker from The Bronx and received her BA degree in Theater from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She has an impressive array of TV, Film and Broadway credits under her belt and is considered to be one of the sexiest, in-demand actresses in tinsel town. “Scandal” airs on ABC, Thursdays 10/9 C and is destine to be a major hit!

     How did Washington land the lead role of such an unusual show? She explains, “The script was sent to me by my agent but I really wasn’t looking to do a television show at the time but I fell in love with the writing and with the world of the show and with the complexity of the character.” How much has Washington conferred with the real Judy smith? She lights up, “I’ve actually spent quite of bit of time with her. She’s a producer on the show and she’s very hands-on. My research is really important to me when I’m developing a character and working on material. So I’ve spent a lot of time with Judy and talked with her about the brain of a crisis manager, how to think strategically and her perspective, her own ethical line and how she draws them. You know, all of that kind of stuff.”

     The on screen Olivia Pope is tough as nails. Is the real Judy as mean in real life? Washington laughs, “Judy is not but it’s debatable whether Olivia is. If you really look at every moment that she’s been very firm with somebody, it’s been for their own best interest. She hasn’t been cool. She’s been honest with people about the consequences that are possible if they don’t approach a situation in a way that she thinks is best and smartest. She’s not a cool person.” It is indeed a rare occasion when an African American stars in their own major network show and it is NOT a comedy! Does Washington feel like a TV historical pioneer or trailblazer breaking this kind of ground? She is very modest and replies, “You know me. I just really just try to stay focused on the work of it and not think too much of that kind of stuff. I really don’t have control over any of those kinds of details. I just try to stay focus on what I can have an impact on which is the work itself.”

     “Scandal” is on course to make Olivia Pope very popular. Is Washington prepared to be known as Olivia for life? She laughs again, “I’ve really been blessed. I’ve had a great career. I just want to be able to play lots of different roles and lots of different people. I’m happy to play Olivia Pope for as long as the public will let me, for as long as the people support the show. But I’m also thrilled that this opportunity to play her comes after a career where I’ve already had the honor and privilege to establish myself in a range of roles already. So I’m really thrilled to add this character to my resume and to my life experience.”

Rych McCain Media/Syndication tm 
(You DID Hear It From Me!)
 E-Mail: feedbackrych@sbcglobal.net 

Cierra Ramirez - Film

Cierra Ramirez
Hollywood Teen In Progress To Succeed!

By Rych McCain, International/Nationally Syndicated Entertainment Columnist

Cierra Ramirez (Photo Courtesy of Lionsgate Films)
      Starting young in show business is a daunting task. The chase for success is formidable enough for an adult, let alone a child. But there are those exceptions that have the metal it takes to weather the game’s challenges. Seventeen year-old, Houston native Cierra Ramirez has been at it since she was seven. Ramirez wowed the crowd as a ten year-old on “Live At The Apollo” belting the Jennifer Holiday tune “I Am Changing.” And as expected, Ramirez made her way to Hollywood landing appearances on TV in “Desperate Housewives,” “Zoey 101” and “CSI: Miami.” She played the lead role as Stella in the Nickelodeon TV movie “Star and Stella Save The World” and made her feature film debut in “All In” opposite Dominique Swain and Michael Madsen. Remirez may best be known as Jasmine on the Disney Channel’s “The Sweet Life of Zack and Cody.” As a singer, she has opened for “Earth, Wind and Fire,” “Chicago,” “ American Idol” alums Ruben Studdard, Kimberly Coldwell and Ace Young. 

(L) Eva Mendez (R) Cierra Ramirez (Lionsgate Films Photo)

     With her latest role in the new movie “Girl In Progress,” Ramirez stars as Ansiedad, the disgruntled only child of Grace played by Eva Mendes. This role not only allows Remirez to showcase her wide acting range but will also establish her as a legit lead actress contender. Her cutie-pie looks also place her in the teen superstar class with her peers Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift and others. What were the drawing points of the Ansiedad character for Ramirez? She smiles, “What drew me into this character was definitely the transition that she goes through all the way from good girl to bad girl. She goes through everything in between. I thought that was a lot of fun because you don’t come across many roles like that. And the fact that through all of it over everything, it was all just for the love of her mother. I think that was very important.”

     In the movie Ansiedad maps out an entire, organized life experience gameplan on a wall stick-up board in her bedroom. Would Ramirez do something like that in real life? She giggles at the prospect saying, “I’m not as intelligent as her like in that sense. I would never think about mapping out a whole coming of age story I couldn’t just bring it down to a couple of oh I need to change this, oh I need to change that, I just kind of ride the wave of growing up. I’m not in a rush to grow up.” Being a co-lead in a major movie will definitely catch the attention of girls her age and younger which may draw the attention of the role model spotlight being pointed her way. How does Ramirez react to the prospect of being placed in that position? She reflects seriously on this one; “I’ve never been looked to I think as a role model or at least this far into my career. But I don’t know how I feel about that because I don’t think I’m in any position to guide someone on how to grow up because I’m still learning myself.”

     Does her philosophical views even at such a young age influence the type of roles that she favors? Ramirez lights up, “I really like stories with messages and making people aware of certain things no matter what. I booked a series “The Secret Life Of The American Teenager” and the character is 15 and pregnant. It’s something that not many people would approve of but it’s something that is a big problem here and it’s common. So I think it’s great to spread awareness.” 

Rych McCain Media/Syndication tm 
(You DID Hear It From Me!)
 E-Mail: feedbackrych@sbcglobal.net 

Chelsea Tavares - TV

Chelsea Tavares
 Young, Sexy, Fast Rising Hollywood Starlet!

By Rych McCain, International/Nationally Syndicated Entertainment Columnist

Chelsea Tavares (Photo Courtesy ABC Family Network)
    “You either have it or you don’t” is an old cliché that has been quoted in show business since the dawn of its beginnings. The general consciences amongst the major studio power brokers as well as the general ticket buying public has long supported the notion that an entertainer, a female in particular, who has the acting, dancing and singing talent on top of charm and sensuousness with fine, sexy looks to mach is a complete dream package in Hollywood! Given the right projects with the proper strategic marketing and promotion, one has the ingredients of a mega-star and the monetary rewards that accompany it. Young acting starlet Chelsea Tavares is such a package described above and is rising fast to the forefront of Hollywood superstardom!

     Her current role as Jordan Randall on the ABC Family network drama series “Make It Or Brake It” has her playing a gymnast who is an outcast and rebel. Tavares gets to showcase many personality sides with this role i.e., sexy vixen, sassy “B”, serious competitor, friend and enemy. Tavares is a veteran actress starting as a child modeling and doing commercials. She starred on stage in “The Lion King” as young Nala and may be best known as Cranberry on the Nickelodeon series “Unfabulous.” She also starred as Autumn on “Just Jordan” another Nickelodeon show and had a recurring role as Andrea on The CW series “Ringer.” Tavares other guest roles include “CSI Miami,” “The District” and the film “Fright Night” to name some. She has been named on yours truly, “Rych McCain’s Annual Top Ten List of Hollywood’s Most Talented Youth and is a permanent member of Rych McCain’s Media Family. 

     Tavares plays the role of a gymnast so convincingly you may assume that she has actually competed in real life. Does she have an athletic background? She lets out a giggle, “No I just danced. I took musical theater in high schooland middle school and I played softball but not in a league. I just danced.” What roll of the dice landed Tavares the part of Jordan especially being Black? She reflects, “You know what. When I first auditioned for it, I didn’t think I was going to get it at all. I just thought ‘I don’t think I booked it.’ I had that feeling and then they called me and I got it. It was only for three episodes but they kept me for the rest of the season. Yeah, it was exciting because I didn’t know that they were going to go Black! And then when I booked it I went oh my God, the coach is Black too. So I said OK, bring color to the TV show. I’m really excited about that. Her character is really dramatic and very beautiful.”

     Tavares was stage trained with a real life gymnastics coach to get the look and feel of a real gymnast. As she put it, “I have to run correctly, land correctly and I have a stunt double who was an Olympian. So how much of the real actor do we see in the routines vs. the stunt double? Tavares laughs, “When ever you see me on the floor and the beam, that’s me because its mostly dance choreography until you see the tumbles and flips in the air, then that’s the stunt double. The bars? You’ll just see me land because I can’t do everything on the bars.” Doing a physical role is way different than one that is straight dramatic. How does Tavares run it down? She becomes animated, “It is difficult. It is difficult because you have to learn your lines. Say I’ll do my choreography right? You have to learn all of that, afterward make sure the moves are right, make sure I’m looking like a gymnast, hold my hands as a gymnast than on top of that, go into my lines and do it at the same time. So you have to mult-task and it is kind of hard but you get used to it when you are training everyday. The girls taught me a lot of stuff to. They were really sweet.” The show airs on Mondays 9/8C on the ABC Family Network.

©2012 Rych McCain Media/Syndication tm  
(You DID Hear It From Me!)
 E-Mail: feedbacrych@sbcglobal.net

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Regina Hall - Movie

Regina Hall
Sensuously Building A Legacy Of Style Her Way!

By Rych McCain, International/Nationally Syndicated Entertainment Columnist

     She may have the sexiest set of eyes in show business that are set in an angelic face that is hard not to sneak a second look at, if not just plain gawk! Actress Regina Hall is the gorgeous girl-next-door type that leaves a memorable impression whether it is in person or on the big or small screens. The Washington, D.C. native plays the role of Candace, a single mom with a son who becomes involved with Momma’s boy Michael (played by Terrence J) in the new Screen Gems movie “Think Like A Man.” The film is based on the New York Times best selling book “Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man,” written by comedian, actor, nationally syndicated radio host Steve Harvey.

Regina Hall (Photo Courtesy of Screen Gems Pictures)

     In the movie, Candace has to deal the a serious momma’s boy who she wants a relationship with but his momma dominates and controls his life to the point that things get to the breaking point. How did Hall approach playing this particular role? She explains, “I have a lot of friends who have kids and are single moms so you want to be respectful of that portrayal. Especially since I happen to be a Black woman, I already know what stereotypes exist out there. So I kind of wanted to show her loving side but also the side of her that’s still a woman and entering a relationship and trying to figure out how that works in her life with a man who loves his momma too.”

     Jennifer Lewis plays Loretta the dominating mom from hell. It had to be a gas working with her. Hall lights up saying, “Jennifer is great. I knew her outside of the movie so to work with her is great. She’s a very rich, lively, animated, warm human being. She’s real!” Does Hall think a real life momma’s boy can snap out of it given the right situation or woman? She smiles, “I think he (Michael & mom in the movie), had a real realization and so did his mom that you know what, in order for him to have a successful relationship and ideally there is someone that you meet in life that causes you to re-examine thoughts and behaviors that you had. I’m sure it won’t be easy. He’ll probably slip back into his tendencies but I think people can always evolve.” What was Hall’s reaction to be paired with Terrence J as her love instruct? “She laughs, “He was naturally great from the table read on. I was so pleasantly surprised. There isn’t anybody who I think could have done better because I loved the way he played it. I saw it first at the table read. He was so charming you see why she falls in love with him. Part of probably what made him so great was that he was a momma’s boy. He (Terrence J) was so natural in that character. So when they put the suit on him in the first scene which we shot on the last day I said aw, that’s all me right there.”

     This project is loaded with a lot of Hall’s personal friends in real life. How do they separate the real from the pretend on set? She exclaims, “We’re friends and I think sometimes what’s great about that is when you are friends in real life, that actually translates to a scene or to a character. In this film, Tarji and I were friends but so different. But what was great is that those women thought differently, they were different financially, one had a kid and one didn’t but you could actually believe they were friends in real life. I think part of that synergy was because Taraji and I really do like each other. It helps motivate us to have fun working together and get to look forward to it, make a couple mistakes, you laugh about it. It makes it nice and organic.”

©2012 Rych McCain Media/Syndication tm 
(You DID Here It From Me!) 
E-Mail: feedbackrych@sbcglobal.net

Friday, May 25, 2012

Kiara Muhammad - TV

Kiara Muhammad
Trial Blazing As Disney Junior’s Doc McStuffins

By Rych McCain, International/Nationally Syndicated Entertainment Columnist

     In 2009, the Walt Disney Studio made history with a ground breaking animated film that featured the first mainstream African American Princess. “The Princess And The Frog,” starring gorgeous Anika Noni Rose as the voice of Tiana, became not only a major hit movie but established an image on the big silver screen that was long over due. Especially in light of the “Not-Taught-In-School” historical fact that the Black Africans, who were the original people of the ancient Afrikan Nile Valley AKA Kemet ( whom the invading Greeks later name Egypt) were the earth’s original Kings, Queens, Princes and Princesses. The invading Europeans observed the Black Afrikan Kemetic system of royalty (including the Great Pharaohs), then adopted the concept and took it back to Europe and imitated it by setting up their own system of royalty. 

Kiara Muhammad (Photo Courtesy of Disney Junior)

     After having made history on the big screen, The Walt Disney Studios has made history again, this time on the small screen! The network debuted “Doc McStuffins,” their new animated series airing mornings 10: AM EST/9: AM CDT on the Disney Junior block of the Disney Channel and also airs on the 24hr Disney Channel. Doc McStuffins is a six-year-old girl who has magical powers to talk to stuffed animals and toys. They in turn talk back to her. She heals the toys by patching up their rips and tears and fixing their mechanical breakdowns while teaching them about staying healthy via their diet, getting the proper rest, exercise etc., and eases their fears about child related concerns such as going to the doctor for a check-up. The historical part is that Doc McStuffins is played via voice over by 13yr-old Kiara Muhammad and African American. Muhammad (called FuFu  by family and close friends) is a native of Boston. The family relocated to Brooklyn, NY. where she took an interest in acting. After extensive training and securing an agent Muhammad started to book commercials and print modeling jobs which led to the family relocating again to Los Angeles.

     How did Muhammad secure this coveted historical role? She explains, “I auditioned two times. The first time I just went in because my agent always sends me in to voice auditions and he said good job. That’s what he says all the time. Then my dad called and said you got a call back so I went back. This time there were a lot more people and they gave me way more direction and I sang a song. I sing the theme song for the show. My dad came home from work one day and said hey Doc McStuffins. I said I got it and he said yes! Then I said yes! That’s pretty much what happened.” 

     What was Muhammad’s impression of the character and what did she think she would have to do to portray her? She laughs, “Honestly, I had to heighten my voice to make it really high because she’s six years old. And sometimes there’s these situations she gets into where she has to become the leader. She has to tell them what to do and guide them so I have to do a leader voice. And sometimes she’s just like really silly so I have to do a silly thing to my voice (she breaks out into a silly giggle as a sample). So she’s just a really fun character.” Muhammad really drinks in the accomplishment of securing a lead role on a major project so soon in her career. She exclaims, “This is one of my first voices over jobs. I was really happy when I got it because it is a series lead. So when the show got picked up I said to myself, wow I got a lead role in a series already and it’s only my second voice over job. So I was really happy about that so I can feel proud.”

©2012 Rych McCain Media/Syndication tm
(You Did Hear It From Me!) 
E-Mail: feedbackrych@sbcglobal.net

Mario Van Peebles - Movie

Mario Van Peebles
Makes The Party Message Plain!

By Rych McCain, International/Nationally Syndicated Entertainment columnist

      The subject of today’s teenager and the world they are coming up in is a topic that encompasses a plethora of areas where the pros and cons can get pretty deep. Every generation has their likes and dislikes mainly based on their upbringing and the social atmosphere of the time period that they experienced their coming of age teen years. Every generation of teens reject the music, values, rules and social mores of their parent’s generation yet they expect their children to adhere to what they grew up with, then the new teen rebellion is on! The cycle keeps repeating itself with every new generation. Veteran film maker Mario Van Peebles has just released a new coming of age teen comedy titled “We The Party.” Not only did he conceive the idea for the film’s premise from observing his own teen children, he cast them in the movie as actors.
Mario Van Peebles ( Photo Courtesy of XL Rator Media)

The film centers on five high school friends who deal with situations involving romance, crime, money, prom, college prep, sex, bullies, Facebook, fitting in, standing out and just finding themselves. Everything is realistic according to what is happening in 2012 including the language terms they use to their dress and music. The film was shot in LA and guest stars Snoop Dogg and Tommy “Tiny” Lister as well as featuring other name actors. As with all of Van Peebles’ film projects, they come with a positive message to absorb and take home without being preachy! So what gave Van Peebles the push to make this type of film? He laughs, “It’s called my kids are getting old and leaving the house! And I said now, how can I keep them in my life just a little longer. I never counted on how much I loved being a dad. That was something that tripped me out. So how it goes, I was trying to write a script and my kids were playing music and dancing. They asked me could they go to these all age clubs. I said “club,” back in my day it was parties! I said no but my son “2-slap” as I call him because he likes to negotiate, talked me into letting them go as long as I went along in cog-nee-gro with a hoodie on to look like I’m a bouncer to fit in.”

     Van Peebles than asked, “Have you ever been inside one of these clubs? He than goes on to describe what he saw and exclaims, “It looks like safe sex on the dance floor. It’s not even that safe! You have to have a body condemn to go into these spots. So I told them you guys do you and go as you are. Talk like you really talk. As long as know you’re safe, we’re OK and that was honest.” After observing the crowd in the club and mixing that up with his children’s experience of leaving private school to attend a magnet school in the hood of South Central.LA, Van Peebles was ready to pin his script.

     His question to himself was, “Could I make the movie the same way I had to deal with my kids when they went out? Could I make a film that was real, that sounded like them but still had the nutritional value and pull that off and that was the trick. When I went to Hollywood I couldn’t get the funding.” Van Peebles and a friend funded the project themselves. Van Peebles’ son Mandela plays the lead role of Hendrix Sutton and Van Peebles plays his on screen dad and school teacher Mr. Sutton. What was it like working with his dad? Mandela laughs, “It was my first major role. I’ve done some commercials and I’ve been on set with my dad since I was pretty much born. I saw a lot but as far as actually being on the other side of the camera, this was my first role.” “We The Party” is destine to become a teen cult classic.

Rych McCain Media/Syndication tm
(You DID Hear It From Me!)
E-Mail: feedbackrych@sbcglobal.net

Cynthia Addai-Robinson - TV

Cynthia Addai-Robinson
Brings Beauty, Excitement and Daring, To Spartacus!

By Rych McCain, International/Nationally Syndicated Entertainment Columnist

Cynthia Addai-Robinson  (Photo by Keith Munyan)

          This television season has certainly produced an array of talented and beautiful ladies who are not only visually pleasing to the male viewing audience eyes but are delivering the goods in the arena of authentic, dramatic acting and presentation. Cynthia Addai-Robinson definitely ranks at the top of this season’s list as one of the leading ladies who fires up the small screen every week as “Naevia” on the Starz Network ancient war drama “Spartacus.”   

      The London born and Washington, D.C. reared Robinson is a graduate of the Tisch School of Arts, NYU with a BA degree in Theater. Soon afterward she started booking TV roles on “CSI: NY,” “CSI: Miami,” “Numbers,” “Flash Forward” and others. Her last film role was in “Columbiana.” On “Spartacus,” Robinson joined the cast for its second season which premiered in January. She took over the role of Naevia, the Roman slave girl who was captured at the end of last season and was played by another actress. In the beginning of this second season, Naevia escapes and is rescued by a fellow rebel slave named Krixus. They become lovers as well as opponents of the Roman Army.     

     For those who are not familiar with the legend; Spartacus was born in 109 BC. He and his wife were sold into Roman Slavery and soon after he led a slave revolt against the Roman Army. What happened to his wife is unknown but Spartacus was reportedly set up by pirates to be killed. Kirk Douglas and Laurence Oliver starred in the original 1960 movie version. By most historical accounts Spartacus did actually exist. What is Robinson’s rundown on that? She responds, “I’m more focused on the story that we portray on the show as apposed to the actual history of it. We sort of bend the truth a little bit just for the sake of television. But as far as the violence and the fights between gladiators and the slave rebellion; I mean all of that, I think we like to stay true to the actual violent history of it all. So sometimes its gory but that probably what it was back then.”     

      What kind of a demand does a role like Naevia put on Robinson? She reflects, “It’s a pretty intense shoot. I mean we are achieving a real cinematic end result on a television time line and budget.  So we have a shooting schedule that’s pretty demanding. Each episode takes twelve shooting days which is a lot for television and we normally have two crews running at any given time. The days are definitely long and as far as the conditions; we’re dirty, we’re running around covered in stage blood, it’s definitely not for the faint of heart but we are all passionate about being there so that helps get us through the job.”       

      Where is this show shot?  Robinson explains, “We film in Auckland, New Zealand so we are on the other side of the world which also adds to the challenge of being far from home and working. But in a way, while I’m away, I can fully put all of my efforts into filming the show. Sometimes that’s great because you need that focus but other times it’s challenging because you want to be with your friends and family.” In terms of zeroing in on her Naevia character, Robinson stresses, “I’m someone stepping into the role from the second season. So in the first season, the prequel , the role was established by another actress. I had the first season to look at and see where they had the character and where they left her.” Robinson put all of the pieces together from there. On a lighter note, Robinson is fairly new to twitter but advices her fans to follow her @cynthiaaddairob . She will keep you up to date.

©2012 Rych McCain Media/Syndication tm
   (You Did Hear It From Me!)
E-mail: feedbackrych@sbcglobal.net