Thursday, September 18, 2014

Q and A: Week of Sept. 18

CCH Pounder (photo by Geneva Morgan)
Q: Last season’s “NCIS” finale was a two-parter that featured Scott Bakula and CCH Pounder, which seemed like it was a setup for an “NCIS” spinoff. Is that going to happen? — Brenda S., Joppa, Md.

A: “NCIS: New Orleans” is definitely happening. In fact, it premieres on CBS Sept. 23 at 9/8c, right after the season 12 premiere of “NCIS.” The crime-procedural drama stars Scott Bakula, CCH Pounder, Lucas Black, Zoe McLellan, Rob Kerkovich and Paige Turco.

As the title would suggest, the series is set and filmed in the Big Easy, and while it follows the “NCIS” formula, the show definitely has a feel all its own. Series star CCH Pounder told me recently: “The pacing is definitely different. It’s a different kind of temperature and atmosphere, certainly, but also, the pace of it is not as uptight as it would be in, say, Washington. It covers a wide swath of the Southern belt from New Orleans up through Alabama. The framework is the same, but the people and the content will be quite different.”

But just because the people are different, it doesn’t mean that familiar faces won’t be showing up now and again. CCH explained: “Everyone wants to come to New Orleans. Joe Spano was here last week; Meredith Eaton was here; Michael Weatherly is here now. So the food and the ’laissez les bons temps rouler’ (’let the good times roll’) attitude have enticed a lot of them to come on down.”

Q: Now that Jennifer Esposito has reappeared on “Taxi Brooklyn,” why did she ever leave “Blue Bloods”? I thought that it was reported she was ill? — Tony via email

A: Back in 2012, Jennifer collapsed on the “Blue Bloods” set due to complications from celiac disease and missed a week of work. Her doctor advised her that she needed to cut back her work schedule. Rather than work around her schedule, CBS put her on an unpaid leave of absence (and even implied that her collapse was a stunt to get a raise), and refused to let her obtain limited work in the meantime. When her contract with the show expired, she was able to look for work elsewhere.

Jennifer currently is co-starring in the action-drama “Taxi Brooklyn,” which is based on Luc Besson’s feature film called “Taxi.” Luc is best known for “Leon: The Professional,” the “Taken” films, the “Transporter” series, “The Fifth Element” and much, much more. “Taxi Brooklyn” wrapped its first season on NBC Sept. 10; there is no word as of this writing of a second season.

Q: I love Bill Cosby’s comedy. Does he have plans to return to TV? — Robert M., via email

A: NBC announced at the Television Critics Association tour this summer that it was developing a comedy for Bill Cosby, which could premiere as early as summer 2015. The series is described as a “multi-camera, classic extended-family sitcom,” with Bill as the patriarch.

Q: On your suggestion, I started reading Breeana Puttroff’s “Dusk Gate Chronicles” series, and I couldn’t put them down. I tore through the entire series in two weeks. Will she be releasing any new books soon? — Mary Anne K., Allentown, Pa.

A: Breeana’s new book, which is slated to be released in late September or early October, is called “Rumplestiltskin’s Daughter.” As of now, it is planned to be a stand-alone book, not a series, but as Breeana told me, you never know.

“So far as I know it’s a single story. You know, my brain does strange things. I thought ‘Dusk Gate’ was done after ‘Blooms of Consequence,’ so I don’t know for sure. But probably if it did turn into a series, it would branch off from a few different characters. Like maybe a same world and same storyline, but focus on different people.”

So, what is her new book about? Breeana summed it up for me: “The story is basically a what-if retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin tale. The idea behind it is that tales are told by the most powerful, so the stories that get passed down are from one point of view. And so ‘Rumpelstiltskin’s Daughter’ is, what if Rumpelstiltskin isn’t a bad guy after all? In the real story, the heroes are not nice people. A king and queen get married because he forces her to spin gold for him, and yet Rumpelstiltskin is portrayed as the bad guy. So, my story is more an examination of that.”

Q: When will “Gone Girl” be released at the theater? Seems like I’ve been waiting forever! — Deanna R., via email

A: The long-awaited Ben Affleck-starring thriller — which is based on the best-selling novel by Gillian Flynn, who also wrote the movie’s screenplay — will be in theaters on Oct. 3. Save me a seat and some popcorn, because you can bet I’ll be there!

Q: We watched “Lone Survivor” last night on DVD, and the actor who played the new guy that they were giving a hard time looked familiar to me. What else has he been in? — Amelia D., via email

A: Alexander Ludwig, who played newbie Navy SEAL Shane Patton, is perhaps best known for playing Cato, the career tribute from District 2 in “The Hunger Games.” He’ll also play Bjorn (Ironside) Lothbrok — Ragnar and Lagertha’s now-grown son — in the upcoming season of the History channel’s “Vikings,” which likely will air in spring 2015.

Q: I can’t get enough “Outlander”! Please tell me it will be back for another season. — Eleanor W., The Villages, Fla.

A: I am thrilled to tell you that after its record-shattering opening weekend, Starz did indeed renew the time-traveling/fantasy/historical-drama/romance series for a second season. Early reports say that the second season will be at least 13 episodes (but I'm thinking it'll end up being at least 16, like this season), and it will be based on Diana Gabaldon’s second book in the “Outlander” series, “Dragonfly in Amber.”

Q: Like the rest of the world, I was shocked and heartbroken to hear about Robin Williams’ suicide. I know he was working on some movies before his death. Will any be released posthumously? — Kelli F., via email

A: The consummate funnyman with a heart as big as his funny bone left this world way too soon, as I’m sure we all can agree. He did leave behind four movies that have yet to be released: “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb,” “Merry Friggin’ Christmas,” “Boulevard” and “Absolutely Anything.”

Interview: Everything's Zen with Satisfaction's Tzi Ma

Tzi Ma as Satisfaction's Zen Master
The USA network’s nighttime drama “Satisfaction” has its first season finale tonight at 10/9c, and I had the chance to talk to series co-star Tzi Ma (“24,” “Rush Hour”) about the groundbreaking show. The series, which centers on Neil Truman, a 40-something family man who discovers he and his wife, Grace, aren’t as satisfied in their marriage as they thought they were. When Grace seeks her satisfaction in the arms of another man, Neil gets his own help by becoming a male escort (it’s a long story). He also seeks the advice of a wise and tell-it-like-it-is Zen master, played by Tzi (pronounced “tie”) Ma.

Celebrity Extra: You were working on “24: Live Another Day” when you got the call to come in to work for “Satisfaction.” How did you work that out?

Tzi Ma: It truly was a logistical nightmare. But thank goodness it all worked out, because I tell you, “Satisfaction” was on the brink of replacing me. I was supposed to be in Atlanta by the middle of May, and I was still in England (for “24”). I flew straight from London to Atlanta, and I was still on hold for “24,” just in case we needed to reshoot anything.

I had shot the first episode of “Satisfaction,” but by the time I was done with “24,” they were on the fifth episode. I went and did four episodes in a row. They waited for me. Sean Jablonski, the creator of the show, is so nice. He’s just so generous and so supportive and trusting. It worked out good. I’m so thankful that they waited.

CE: Tell me about the Zen Master.

TM: The one thing I liked about what Sean was, when we talked about the character, we didn’t want this guy to be your stereotypical Zen master who just sits quietly. We’re playing him as a pretty normal guy. And that’s what I appreciate. It’s hard to do these things. Once they say you are the Zen master, you can get stuck. It’s hard to break out of that controlled, stately idea of the character.

You’re supposed to be wise, and you’re supposed to be able to talk in metaphors, and everybody will just say, “Oh my God, this is so crazy and so wonderful.” That’s not how we approached this guy. We approached him as a true practitioner of Zen in that everything’s in the moment. He has no premeditated thoughts about why this guy is coming to him. That’s how we approached the relationship between Neil and the Zen Master. If it were just a regular Zen master, I may not have wanted to play the role.

CE: When you prepared for the role, how did you approach it?

TM: The one thing I asked from our directors was, “If there’s any time that you feel that I’m just reading a line, please let me know, because that’s what I don’t want.” We have wonderful writers on the show, so you don’t want to mess that up. They get paid the big bucks for a reason.

CE: We don’t get to see a lot of the Zen Master, but when we do, his scenes are always important. Will we get to see more of him?

TM: No, I’m never featured heavily. It wouldn’t work that way. It has to be that he’s the guy who comes in and transitions himself out. But there are some little twists in an upcoming episode where it comes out that he is not really using the “Zen” philosophy to talk to Neil about certain things.

CE: When the folks at “24” contacted you about returning to the series in the role of Cheng, what was your reaction?

TM: I was excited. (Writers) Evan (Katz) and Manny (Coto) called, and they talked to me about it. They said, “We’re thinking about doing this, but it’s going to be really intense. And we don’t want to tell you too much. We really want everyone to be surprised.” We didn’t know what the ending was going to be. But given what they told me, I really felt that this character was almost like a new character. The stakes were much higher because he had nobody to answer to, just like Jack Bauer. That parallel is very exciting.

CE: What was the reaction from “24” viewers concerning your return?

TM: The reaction has been great. The one thing about the fans that’s so cool is that they don’t come up to me and spit in my face, like: “Oh, I hate you! You’re against Jack Bauer!” It’s a love/hate relationship. It’s like: “I hate you. Can I take a picture?” I’m a character actor. I try not to be so visible out in public. To be recognized that way in such a consistent manner because of this show, it’s scary for a character actor. But the fans have been great. They’re writing stuff online like: “Oh my God, I can’t believe it! He’s back! Cheng is back!” I’m really enjoying it.

CE: What are your thoughts on Freddie Prinze Jr.’s statement that during his time on “24,” Kiefer Sutherland was unprofessional and difficult to work with?

TM: Look at what Kiefer’s done for “24.” He’s been in practically every scene, from beginning to end, for nine seasons. That should tell you something about this guy’s work ethic. I don’t know any actor who comes to the set more prepared than him. You can’t carry a show like this being an asshole. Everyone has his moments, even me. The fact is, he doesn’t compromise because he is trying to achieve excellence.

CE: Tell me about your new movie, “Million Dollar Arm.”

TM: It’s a simple movie about an American sports agent (played by Jon Hamm) who’s trying to revive his career because it’s going down the toilet. He wants to create a game show; it’s like “American Idol” but with baseball. He travels to India to find his athletes.

CE: You did a few episodes of “Nash Bridges” back in the day, with one of my favorite actors, Don Johnson. What was that experience like?

TM: I shot the 99th and 100th episodes of the show, so it was a big deal. Don is so generous. He took the entire cast and crew to Vegas for the shoot. We shot at the Mirage, the Bellagio — it was a ball. Don came straight up and said, “Brother, I’m so glad you’re on the show.” He’s another guy who’s really intense. Some people think he’s a diva, but he’s not. The guy is serious about what he’s doing. It’s a bum rap that guys like Don and Kiefer get in terms of being divas or being difficult. They’re not; they’re passionate and professional.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Q and A: Week of Aug. 21

Jamie Gray Hyder
Q: Can you tell me about the actress who plays Lucia on “Graceland”? She looks familiar to me. What else has she been on? — Patrick J., via email

A: Jamie Gray Hyder is perhaps best known for playing Danielle, a werewolf in Alcide’s pack, last season on “True Blood.” After her “TB” stint ended, she went on to co-star on “Graceland” as Lucia Solano, who is just trying to live life on the straight and narrow — unlike her brother, Carlito, and the rest of her family. I spoke with Jamie recently about her new role, as well as what we can expect as “Graceland” wraps up its second season on the USA network.

“Lucia wants to get a real job and be independent and prosperous, in a legal way. She wants to be able to live a normal life and have normal relationships. She doesn’t get to have friends or lovers, because those relationships are constantly ruined by the antics of her brother and the rest of her family. She’s just striving for normalcy and is constantly being dragged through the mud.”

She did give me a little tease as to what to expect in the finale: “It’s a two-part finale, and it’s definitely designed to leave everyone wanting more. I just got done shooting it, and it’s all very fresh in my mind. I’ll tell you this, when I read the finale, I was shocked.”

Q: Is it true that there is going to be another “Terminator” movie? — Kalli R., Modesto, Calif.

A: Arnold Schwarzenegger will be back on July 1, 2015 as the aforementioned Terminator in “Terminator: Genisys.” The fifth installment of the futuristic action series also stars Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen of “Game of Thrones”) as Sarah Connor, Jason Clarke (no relation to Emilia) as John Connor, and Jai Courtney (Eric in the “Divergent” trilogy) as Kyle Reese. I am curious as to the timeline of this film, because Emilia and Jai are in their 20s, and Jason, who plays their son, John, is in his 40s. So, I’ll guess that some crisscrossing time-travel component definitely will play a part in this movie (as in all the “Terminator” films).

Q: What has Adrien Brody been doing lately? — Gina T., via email

A: Next up for Adrien is starring as the great magician-showman Henry Houdini in “Houdini,” the History Channel original miniseries, which airs Sept. 1 and 2 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The miniseries follows the epic tales of Harry Houdini as he emerges as America’s first bona-fide world-renowned superstar. “Houdini” delves deep behind the curtain into his life through his stunts, visions and mastery of illusion.

Q: Will my favorite summer series, “Suits,” be back for another season? — Fallon F., via email

A: USA’s hit legal dramedy, which had its midseason finale Aug. 20, has indeed been renewed for a 16-episode fifth season. Also, look for the second half of season four in spring 2015.

Q: Will my favorite show, “Fargo,” be back for another season? — Paul R., via email

A: You betcha! FX has renewed the critically acclaimed drama — which is based on the Coen brothers’ hit movie of the same name — for a second season, especially after it racked up 18 Emmy nominations! Season two, which will consist of 10 episodes, most likely will air in fall 2015, although no specific date has been set.

Adam Korson, photo by Diana Ragland
Q: I had been watching this new show on the CW network called “Seed,” and I really liked it. Now I can’t find it anywhere. Can you tell me what happened to it? — George S., via email

A: The Canadian comedy (to which the CW bought the rights) is about a 30-something ne’er-do-well — and previous sperm donor — who becomes acquainted with the offspring he never knew he had. It didn’t do so well in the ratings and was canceled after two shows. The CW has said it plans to air the remaining episodes online.

This truly is a shame for American audiences because I had the pleasure of interviewing series star Adam Korson about the show, and he’s truly one of the nicest people you could ever meet. In Adam’s words about the show: “This is a show for those who want a half-hour to laugh and escape from your everyday life. You’re going to watch it, and you’re going to relate to it. I remember as a kid I would tune into ‘Seinfeld’ because I knew for that half-hour, I was going to be laughing and be taken on a crazy journey. I think that’s good television, and that’s what our show is.”


Q: I’ve loved Portia de Rossi ever since “Ally McBeal,” and especially in “Arrested Development,” but I haven’t seen her in anything lately. What can I see her in next? — Kellie Y., Bowling Green, Ohio

Interview: Katherine LaNasa, a Woman in Charge

Fans know and love Katherine LaNasa from her role of Sophia on “Deception”; from when she played (and stole every scene as) Will Ferrell’s wife, Rose, in “The Campaign”; and from her various featured roles in shows like “Two and a Half Men,” “Big Love,” “Lie to Me,” “Longmire” and “Judging Amy.” Now we can see the lovely actress weekly in the new USA network drama series “Satisfaction,” which airs Thursdays at 10/9c. Katherine plays Adriana, the hard-edged, high-end madam who lures unhappy husband and father Neil Truman (Matt Passmore) into becoming one of her male escorts. I spoke with Katherine recently about her new role, and she’s thrilled to get to play this interesting and multifaceted character.

Celebrity Extra: Tell me about the character of Adriana, whom I love, and what drew you to her and to “Satisfaction.”

Katherine LaNasa: A lot of my fans from “Deception” will really like Adriana. I think a lot of women really like those types of characters that I play. It was definitely really outside the box, so I liked that about it. I knew how the part read, but I had this feeling that I could really do something different with it. It’s always nice when you take it in a different direction, and they say, “Yes!” When (writer/executive producer) Sean (Jablonski) saw my take, he told me he just knew that I was the person.

CE: Did something similar happen for you with playing Sophia on “Deception”? These types of characters seem like so much fun to play.

KL: Yes, the same thing happened with Sophia. It’s fun in these serial soaps to have a character like Adriana or Sophia, but I think that the writers want there to be something not pushy about them. I seem to be able to manipulate most of these characters in that way. I always feel like I take a nod from the Barbara Stanwycks of the world. I felt like those ladies really knew how to do it. They were complicated, strong and dark characters in the forefront, and it was a lot of fun. I’ve been lucky to get to play those types of characters in these past few series.

CE: Tell me about the differences between Adriana and Sophia. How do you make each of these characters different and your own?

KL: It’s been an interesting balance to play Adriana versus Sophia. For Sophia I came up with that weird accent that she had — it just felt really right to have this fake sort of British accent. Everyone I’ve known who has that accent is from the Midwest. I’ve known three people from Kansas with that accent. I’m like, “That’s what I’m doing, dude.” Like I’m doing it on purpose.

With Adriana, I kind of modeled her after women I met in the art scene, the fancy art and music scene that I was in with (first husband) Dennis Hopper when I was in my 20s back in the late ’80s in New York. Before and after that, I was a professional ballet dancer, and I was traveling the world when I met him. The life I had with him — I give him credit for that — there are things you know because you get to go to those places, which you wouldn’t have known know if you hadn’t gone, if you haven’t been in those social circles. I think I was able to bring that to this character and feel like there’s something about a lot of those ex models. There’s simplicity with their style. Adriana’s a woman who doesn’t try too hard.

CE: How difficult has it been shooting “Satisfaction,” with Grant being busy with “Devious Maids”?

KL: Well, it’s always fun to be in New York and to shoot in New York, but I have had a surprisingly enjoyable and pleasant time here in Atlanta. It’s really nice that Grant’s show, “Devious Maids,” shoots here as well. I have this funny feeling that if our show gets picked up, it might even just shoot at the same time next year, which will be amazing. This year we overlapped [our shooting schedules]; it’s better if they are overlapping — if we’re both out of town together — so we just both work in Atlanta, and then we both go home.

CE: You were about five months pregnant when you shot that love scene in the pilot episode, and, by God, you looked fabulous!

KL: Thank you! I was about four-and-a-half or five months pregnant when I did that love scene. By the time we got to the art-gallery scene, I was about five-and-a-half months pregnant.

CE: I did notice judicious placement of large handbags during the gallery scene.

KL: Those bags are by Hayward Luxury, designed by Dennis Hopper’s daughter, Marin. She’s been working on them for years, but they’re now at this level where they are going to have their own store and everything.

CE: How is it working on the set of “Satisfaction,” and how are the cast and crew?

KL: It’s one of the best sets I’ve been on. It’s really happy, and the people are really nice. Everybody is just really nice and down-to-earth. I’m probably the most “Hollywood” of them all — and half the time I’m either pumping or nursing my baby on the set. It’s a really family-oriented environment. Matt (Passmore, Neil Truman) and I are usually joking around, laughing or talking. He’s a really terrific actor. He’s one of those people where you don’t necessarily see all of what he’s doing when you’re working with him, but when I saw the pilot, I was like: “Wow. This guy’s a really complicated actor.” He has an incredibly rich inner life.

CE: And that’s what made him a fan favorite when he starred in “The Glades” as well.

KL: Exactly. He just plays those characters so well. It’s funny, because Neil Truman is such an everyman, and Adriana’s such a worldly, complicated person. It’s not that he’s stupid, but I don’t think he’s come across a person like Adriana before, and he just really plays it so well. I was watching one of our scenes the other day, and I just thought: “Oh my God. This poor guy.” He does not know what he has gotten himself into. It’s like “Alice in Wonderland” — and I am the Mad Hatter, and he is Alice.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Renewed or Canceled — Fall 2014/15



Renewed shows for the 2014-2015 television season:

ABC — “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” “The Bachelor,” “Castle,” “Dancing With the Stars,” “The Goldbergs,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “The Middle,” “Modern Family,” “Nashville,” “Once Upon a Time,” “Resurrection,” “Revenge,” “Scandal” and “Shark Tank”

CBS — “2 Broke Girls,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “Blue Bloods,” “Criminal Minds,” “CSI,” “Elementary,” “The Good Wife,” “Hawaii Five-0,” “The Mentalist,” “Mike and Molly,” “The Millers,” “Mom,” “NCIS,” “NCIS: LA,” “Person of Interest” and “Two and a Half Men”

CW — “Arrow,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Hart of Dixie,” “The 100,” “The Originals,” “Reign,” “Supernatural” and “Vampire Diaries”

Fox — “American Idol,” “Bob’s Burgers,” “Bones,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Family Guy,” “The Following,” “Glee,” “Hell’s Kitchen,” “Masterchef Junior,” “The Mindy Project,” “New Girl,” “The Simpsons” and “Sleepy Hollow”

NBC — “Hannibal,” “Parks and Rec,” “Parenthood,” “Grimm,” Chicago PD,” “Law and Order: SVU,” “Chicago Fire,” “About a Boy” and “The Blacklist”

Canceled (or ending) shows:

ABC — “The Assets,” “Back in the Game,” “Betrayal,” “Killer Women,” “Lucky 7,” “Mind Games,” “Mixology,” “The Neighbors,” “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland,” “Suburgatory,” “Super Fun Night” and “Trophy Wife”

CBS — “Bad Teacher,” “The Crazy Ones,” “Friends with Better Lives,” “Hostages,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Intelligence” and “We Are Men”

CW — “The Carrie Diaries,” “Nikita,” “Star-Crossed” and “The Tomorrow People”

Fox — “Almost Human,” “American Dad” (which is moving to TBS), “Dads,” “Enlisted,” “Raising Hope,” “Rake,” “Surviving Jack” and “The X Factor”

NBC — “Welcome to the Family,” “The Michael J. Fox Show,” “Ironside,” “Sean Saves the World,” “Dracula,” “Community,” “Believe,” “Crisis,” “Revolution” and “Growing Up Fisher”

Q and A: Week of July 21

Q: I am in love with the “Outlander” book series. Is it true that it’s going to be a series on TV? — Nina H., via email

A: It is indeed, Nina. In fact, the sweeping historical drama premieres on Starz beginning Saturday, Aug. 9, at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The first eight episodes will air through Sept. 27, with the second half of the season returning in early 2015. However, if you’re like me and can’t wait to see the first episode, starting Aug. 2, you can watch it online at starz.com, on Starz’s Twitter, YouTube and Facebook pages, as well as select cable/satellite outlets.

For those unfamiliar with the books, the “Outlander” series spans the genres of romance, science fiction, history and adventure in one epic tale. The series — adapted from Diana Gabaldon’s international best-selling books — follows the story of Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe), a married combat nurse from 1945, who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743’s Scottish Highlands. Upon her arrival, she is immediately thrown into an unknown world where her life is threatened. But when she is forced to marry Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) — a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior — for her own protection, a passionate relationship is ignited.

Q: I never knew until recently that actor Christopher Walken also is a song-and-dance man. Will he be showing off his skills in anything soon? I’d love to see that! — Priscilla J., via email

A: NBC recently announced that the award-winning actor and talented hoofer will portray the iconic character of Captain Hook in the network’s live musical adaptation of “Peter Pan,” which is set to premiere in December. The success of last Thanksgiving’s “The Sound of Music Live” has proved that America loves a good, live musical, and I have a feeling that Christopher and the rest of the as-yet-uncast cast will deliver.

Q: Will “The Unexplained Files” be back? I love that show. — Peter H., Wooster, Ohio

A: The Science Channel’s most watched series of 2013 is returning for its second season on Tuesday, July 29, at 10 p.m. ET/PT. Season two’s 12 all-new episodes will launch viewers into another gripping exploration of the unknown by investigating more of the most puzzling, global incidents from the United States to Russia to Bosnia-Herzegovina to Mexico and more.

Q: I know how busy Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are, but please tell me that there will be another season of “Sherlock.” — Jenny T., via email

A: I am happy to report that there shall indeed be another season of the BBC/PBS hit mystery series based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective book series. The show will return with a three-episode fourth season, which will start with a one-off Christmas special (most likely) in December 2015. You heard me right: That’s a Christmas special PLUS a regular three-episode season.

According to “Sherlock” co-creator and actor Mark Gatiss: “At last! It’s always special to return to ‘Sherlock,’ but this time it’s even more special as we’re doing … a special! Not only THAT, we’ll then be shooting three more episodes, which will take Sherlock and John Watson into deeper and darker water than ever before. The whole ‘Sherlock’ team are terrifically excited to return for four new adventures. The game is on — again!”

Q: Is it true that characters from the hit Disney film “Frozen” are coming to “Once Upon a Time”? Judging by the tease from this season’s finale, I’d say yes. — Steff S. in Florida

A: That is indeed true, Steff. Characters loosely based on Kristoff, Anna and Queen Elsa — who will be played by Scott Michael Foster (“Greek”), newcomer Elizabeth Lail and Georgina Haig (“Fringe,” “Reckless”), respectively — will cool their heels in Storybrooke, Maine, in season four of ABC’s red-hot fantasy/drama series. The “Frozen” story arc on “Once Upon a Time” is expected to pick up after the events of the film.

Q: I saw an ad for a show called “The Quest,” but I can’t figure out if it’s a competition show, or an actual drama/adventure series. Can you tell me what it’s about? — Paul I., Wooster, Ohio

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Interview: Eric Winter Explores His New Powers

As most of you “Witchees” already know, “The Witches of East End” returns for its second season on Lifetime this Sunday, July 6 at 9/8c. I spoke with series star Eric Winter, who plays Dash Gardiner, about what to expect this season from the show, and his character specifically. At the very end of the first season, Dash’s and his brother Killian’s warlock powers (which they never even knew they had) returned to them in full force when their mother died. The second season should be very interesting as the brothers hone and develop their magical powers.

Celebrity Extra: First off, congratulations to you on your second-season renewal. I can’t wait to see what the show has in store for us.

Eric Winter: Thank you! It’s so rare nowadays, it seems, to get a second season, with all of the other great shows that are out there. Everybody was happy to get back to work. We have a great group of cast and crew, so it was nice to get back and see everybody.

CE: How was the return to work after the hiatus? Did you all just pick back up where you left off?

EW: Yeah, we all just got right back on that bike. We all really like each other, and it’s a pretty smooth ride for the most part. Everybody was just happy to see each other, to reconnect, and it was good to dive into some new material.

CE: Along with the new material, you’ve got some new cast members.

EW: There are a couple of cast additions, which are good changes, but for me in particular, there is a massive change in character for Dash. I thought that my brother and I were very underused last year. And this year we are being used in a way that’s going to expand the cast we have and really propel the story. You’re going to get a nice, well-rounded cast and interaction of story lines now. For me personally, it’s a much more exciting role to play than last year. Dash really does a 180.

CE: Another thing I am excited for this second season is 13 episodes, up from 10 from season one.

EW: That was a nice little bonus. A little something to expand on some stories and dive into more stuff, and they give us a little longer to tell it. So that was actually perfect.

CE: Now that you and Killian are aware of your warlock powers, that should be fun for you guys to play — it’s not just the ladies having all the fun.

EW: That’s a huge bonus for us, that we have a lot more to play with and a lot more to explore. That’s been a major positive, as far as I’m concerned, when it comes to playing this character. I also think it added another level to our involvement, because now we are in the know with everything that is going on. Last year, we were definitely way out of the loop with what was taking place. And now we are in on the secret. It adds to the dynamics.

CE: Last we saw Dash and Killian, Dash had left Killian for dead and set him adrift on his boat. How’s Killian going to feel about that?

EW: That’s one of the things that will have to play out for the audience to see how that unfolds. But, if it were me, I’d be angry.

CE: Dash is definitely not in control of his powers yet. Will we see him practicing and exploring?

EW: His entire life, Dash didn’t know he had these powers, so now he’s in this new stage of exploration and trying to figure out how to harness the power. How do you control it and how do you access it? It’s much like what Freya went through last year.

CE: Tell me about the addition of Ingrid and Freya’s brother, Frederick Beauchamp (played by Christian Cooke).

EW: He definitely brings a nice, strong, edgy, young energy to the show, which is great, especially for the Beauchamp family. There’s a bit of tension between him and Aunt Wendy, and he’s also trying to form a relationship with his sisters. It definitely adds a nice layer to that family dynamic — having that male energy thrown in there out of nowhere, when they didn’t even know it existed.

CE: This season’s tag line is “Darkness Is Rising.” Talk to me about that. Sounds a lot like Dash to me.

EW: A big part of that darkness is, for sure, Dash, and that rise of power and what he’s ultimately trying to go after. It also encompasses his rivalry with his brother and everything else. There are obviously other issues that are going to be problems for the Beauchamp family that will continue to come out, and that has to do with the darkness as well. That tag line in general speaks to a danger that’s going to be within East End, but also within the Beauchamp family.

CE: Can you give me a little teaser about what viewers can expect this season?

EW: You are going to see a much darker and edgier show than last year. It will have a darker tone to it. Even the risks they take are going to be stronger and bolder, which I think the viewers will like. There’s a lot more conflict and danger than last year. Last year it took awhile for a lot of that stuff to play out. This year you’re going to see it happen much more often.

CE: Everything you said about this season makes me very happy.

EW: I’m glad you like it. It’s a fun show. I really think that the true fans of the show are going to enjoy the second season much more. That’s one thing that I can honestly say. Sometimes first seasons can be so good, but then the quality of the show goes down; they run out of ideas. But I think our story has only gotten better. It will please our current fans, and I think it is strong enough to draw in new fans. I think you will be very pleased. We’re back with guns blazing.