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Thursday, April 27, 2006

My day as an extra on the set of "We Are Marshall" (part two)

by Jennifer Squires Biller

The big news from my day as an extra on We Are Marshall is that I actually got a line that may or may not be heard in the final version of the film. (Don’t worry. My bribe is en route to Warner Bros.) My line is delivered to Matthew McConaughey during the press-conference scene and goes a little like this, “Coach, Coach, over here, Coach...” I had about 60 takes to perfect it, so I’m pretty sure I nailed it at least once. How did I get such a delicious piece of dialogue you ask? Well, let me start from the beginning.

(Above photo: Spectators line up against the yellow tape on Fourth Avenue in Huntington, W.Va., to watch filming on April 19, 2006. The Keith-Albee Theater marquee helped transform the downtown area into 1970, by advertising the Clint Eastwood movie "Kelly's Heroes."

Thank you, Mr. P!
After finishing the morning scene and returning to the extras holding area, I was ready to turn in the now-famous gold jacket, call my day as an extra a slamming success, and head to the hotel for a nap. (I hadn’t been to bed the night before. The sponge-roller ordeal and the thought of being an extra had me too wired to sleep.) But when we got back to the holding area, the people in charge divided the 300 extras into two groups. On the right side of the room, they lined up the extras that were supposed to be in the afternoon press-conference scene. On the left side, was everyone else. (Also known as me, and the other envious extras that really wanted to be on the right side of the room.) They called roll for the extras that were supposed to be in the afternoon scene, and unbeknownst to Scarlett, Trina and Gina, they were on the list to be “towns people.” I, however, was not.

At that point, fate intervened. (Well, actually Mr. P, but it could have been fate.) The hair/makeup team was asked to look through the hundreds of extras and choose four people to join the press conference scene for the afternoon. Mr. P walked through the group and pointed in my direction. I assumed he was pointing to the tall, gorgeous gal next to me, but apparently, my pageboy fluff had a special place in his heart. So, I joined my pals on the other side of the room. I was told I would be a professor. (OK, not a stretch. I did teach one semester of English composition at Marshall University as a teaching assistant. Method acting, Mr. DeNiro. Check.)

I was told to go back to wardrobe and get a different outfit. It was here I had my only unpleasant experience of the day. When I told “wardrobe lady,” – and I use that term loosely – that I was there for an outfit for the press conference scene, she didn’t take the news well. She asked why I hadn’t been fitted already. I told her I had just been chosen for the scene, which sent her flying out of the wardrobe trailer barking that “Now they’re sending people over here that they’re just picking out of the crowd!” She returned a little calmer, but still not offering me an outfit. So, I stood waiting, and waiting, and waiting, as she gave clothes to everyone else around me. I finally stopped a guy who was also working in the trailer and asked him for an outfit. I was trying to hurry and change, as everyone else seemed to be boarding the bus to head downtown. In my haste to get ready, I put a run in my stockings and didn’t have time to get a decent look at the dress I was given. Big mistake. It was long-sleeved, blue wool, with a brown belt, and it showed every curve, and not in a good way. The dress can only be described as the most unflattering frock to ever be manufactured. But off I went for my close-up anyway, in a dress no woman should ever be caught dead in, let alone immortalized in, with ruined stockings, no makeup and pink shoes. Yes, I said pink. Yeah, I’m gonna be pretty. Feel free to laugh hysterically at my misfortune and the wardrobe guy’s obvious lack of style. Maybe I should bribe Warner Bros. to keep me and that blue dress out of the movie.

Scarlett, Tube Talk Girl, Trina and Gina (l-r) strike a pose between takes. Jennifer is sporting the infamous blue dress and pink shoes.

We were taken to Fourth Avenue to our new holding area, also known as the C.R. Thomas building. The press conference scene was being shot at the old Frederick Hotel, directly across the street. People had lined up along the street, with cameras, and stood the entire day watching us go back and forth from holding to The Frederick, hoping to catch a glimpse of the stars. They shot pictures of me, too, throughout the day. I’m not sure if the “fans” thought I was someone famous (apparently I look like Judie Aronson from Weird Science, according to one of my readers) or if they were so mesmerized by the blue dress that they wanted a photo to take to their seamstresses to have it recreated. (You know I’m kidding, right?) The “fans” were kept at bay by a huge amount of yellow tape, roping off the area, which made the set look like a crime scene and made me chuckle at the absurdity.

As we all gathered inside The Frederick, an architecturally gorgeous building with elaborate staircases, a stained glass dome in the rotunda and a rounded balcony, the extras playing the press were seated in the front of the room. The rest of us were positioned to stand behind them all throughout the room and up the stairs. I ended up in the very back of the room, near Gina and Scarlett. But, at 5’4", I couldn’t see anything in front of me, except the other really tall extras. I was standing on my tippy toes, trying to hear the director, when Mr. P grabbed me and said, “Come with me.” He took me to the front of the room and put me in the press section. I was now a member of the press. (OK, not a stretch, having worked as a news reporter for the past five years. Method, baby!)

Lights, camera, action!
The director, McG – perhaps the coolest guy on the set – gave us instructions for the scene. It was called “press conference one,” and it introduced the new coach, Jack Lengyel (Matthew McConaughey) to the public, the staff and the press. The first coach the school had hired didn’t last long, and Lengyel was the new replacement. We were supposed to be wary of the guy, but welcoming, McG said. We were supposed to look the new guy over, head-to-toe, and take in his long hair, sideburns and wacky fashion sense (neon green socks,) while applauding his entrance. Then, we were supposed to unleash our questions, aggressively, on the poor guy. McConaughey was to look around the room at the shouting reporters and finally take a question from the reporter seated to the left of me, Ernie Salvatore (portrayed by actor Mark Oliver). Then, Lengyel would field questions from Salvatore, as he also would get the follow up, too. The rest of us were directed to react to his answers.

Extras film a press conference scene for "We Are Marshall." Photo credit: Cindy Cannon

I was only one of four women in the press corps. The group of mostly men included the real mayor of Huntington and a couple other reporters from local news affiliates. Some of us were given notepads, others cameras. McG directed us to “be reporters” and that “everyone should have a question for this guy.” I was about 15 feet from where the “coach” would be, to his left. We rehearsed our actions for almost an hour and finally we were ready to roll. I channeled my inner aggressive-reporter-girl persona and was ready to go.

McConaughey’s scene and my big moment
McConaughey entered on my right to thunderous applause. He was no longer “Matthew McConaughey, sexiest man alive.” This guy walked with a hunched back and had a strange gait – mannerisms McConaughey maintained for the entire day, as he seldom broke character. He looked in awe at the press corps, and we looked him over, too. Per our instructions, I ad-libbed some comments about his fashion sense to the female reporter to my right: “Look at those neon green socks” and “Interesting wardrobe choice” were my signature lines for the day. (Yes, this coming from the chick in the revolting blue frock.)

Matthew McConaughey, as coach Jack Lengyel, greets the press while filming a scene in "We Are Marshall." He is wearing neon green socks as smoke fills the room for "atmosphere." Photo credit: a fellow extra who shall remain nameless

McConaughey took a seat, but he never really got comfortable or scooted all the way back in the chair, which I think was a brilliant acting choice to depict Lengyel’s reaction to an uncomfortable press conference. He greeted the press and the town’s people, thanking us for our hospitality. He told us he and his wife had driven in from Wooster the previous night to their new house in Huntington. He made a joke about having electricity and good water pressure, and we laughed in response. Then, he asked for questions.

Like a pack of wolves, the press corps started in. Here was my big line to McConaughey, “Coach, Coach, over here, Coach,” I yelled, waving my arm wildly trying to get his attention, along with the 20-plus other members of the press. He scanned the room a little in shock at such a reaction, and finally leveled a look in my direction, but pointed at Salvatore. His question was about what the coach expected from the team. McConaughey responded that he expected to put a team on the field that “plays hard, plays smart and plays until the whistle blows.” Salvatore followed up that question by pressing him for details/predictions on wins and losses. We responded with our ad-libs of “Good question, Ernie” and “Yes, that’s what everyone wants to know.”

It was at this point that Lengyel gave an answer that began to unsettle the press. It went something like this. “Well if it’s a miracle you’re wanting, then I’m afraid you’re going to be disappointed, and I’m going to be out a job.” We were then instructed to immediately jump back in with follow up questions, so again, I yell, “Coach, Coach, question over here, Coach,” waving my arm wildly. But, once again, he called on Salvatore, as scripted. I decided to do my own little bit of ad-libbing here and angrily put down my hand in disgust as if to say, “Geesh, this guy again?” Yeah, I’m a drama queen.

This time, Salvatore asked an even tougher question about what Lengyel wanted to say to the families and critics who thought that putting a team back on the field so soon after the crash was disrespectful. I won’t spoil the great dialogue here, but I will tell you that the press did not respond well to his answer and began to turn on the coach. In fact, McG instructed us that at that point, the air should be sucked out of the room into an awkward silence. The coach then told us he had a lot of work to do and that he would see us on the field. He thanked us and left, while doing a strange finger-hand-snap gesture into his palm.

The press was left shaking our heads and ad-libbing lines like “I give him two weeks,” “No inspirational words for the community?” “What’s with this guy?” and “He’s not going to make it as long as the last coach did.” Then, the director yelled “cut.”

We did this scene more than 50 times, I’m guessing. In between takes, McConaughey went off to the side, but seemed to stay in character for most the part. We were not allowed to speak to any of the actors. (A rule I broke on the last take when I commended Mark Oliver, who had sat next to me, on a job well done. Seriously, he said the same lines over and over, as Salvatore, and didn’t mess up once. Impressive. He sincerely thanked me and told me how much he appreciated the comment, and we chatted for a little bit. He seemed like a really nice guy. I found out later, after a quick IMDB search, that he was also in Sweet Home Alabama with my Dr. McDreamy (Patrick Dempsey.) Gulp.

(Above:) Ian McShane chats outside The Frederick Hotel during a break in filming. Photo credit: Valeri J. O'Field

Ian McShane joins the scene
In several takes, Ian McShane, the British actor from Deadwood, was positioned in the crowd. (He plays the father of one of the football players who was killed.) He stood behind me and seemed to have a great sense of humor. It was extremely hot under the lights, and the hair and makeup team had given McShane a battery operated hand-held fan. Between one take he was generous enough to share the fan with the young lady next to him, “Let me fan you darling," he said with that fantastic accent. We all giggled like schoolgirls. He seemed like a lot of fun and was very respectful to all of us.

The next scene filmed was “press conference two.” Throughout the day, McG would interchange the press conference scenes. So, for several takes we would film press conference one, then we would switch positions to press conference two. For two, I was seated in the second row of chairs, instead of standing. In this scene, we were to meet the very first coach, not Lengyel, who took the job after the plane crash. I don’t know the actor’s name, but he was also very nice to the extras. We basically did the same thing as in press conference one, but McG instructed this coach to be completely unnerved at our thunderous applause and aggressive quest for answers.

Between takes, the extras were sometimes dismissed to go across the street to drink water to stay hydrated. The lights made the room smoldering, and the directors had turned off the air conditioning, so they could use a smoke machine. So, obviously, we were a little steamy. I’m not sure what the smoke was supposed to depict. Perhaps it was to make the scene look grainy, or perhaps everyone smoked back then, I’m still not sure. All I know was that the air conditioning kept sucking up the smoke, so they turned off the AC.

The rest of the extras, except the press, were sent back to holding in the early evening. So, my pals waited for hours there, munching on cheesy puffs, nuts and fruit, while I and the rest of the press kept doing the scene with McConaughey over and over, sans snacks. The director was shooting close-ups and different camera angles of McConaughey, and it took a while. From time to time, McConaughey would look directly at me in the scene. I sometimes nodded my head at his response and other times listened intently, as all good reporters do. In between takes, he would head out to the hallway, sometimes pacing back and forth, other times sitting and mentally concentrating on his dialogue. As I said, I rarely saw him break character, unless it was to look at the scene on camera with McG or to discuss a certain acting choice.

Director McG at the kickoff press conference.

McG, the best director ever?
never lost his energy, which in turn invigorated us for every take. McG, the other assistant directors and other set folks were so gracious. They constantly thanked us. Between takes it was “thanks guys, that was great” over and over again. At one point, McG made an impromptu speech about how pleased he was to use local folks as extras and how much it meant to the production. Then, he brought in the real Ernie Salvatore, who had been a reporter during the crash for the Herald-Dispatch newspaper. We all gave Ernie a standing ovation. I truly believe that McG is one of the nicest guys in Hollywood and best directors. No, I don’t have anyone else to compare him to, but if greatness is measured by his attitude on the set and his ability to get the job done well and efficiently, then he wins. He was so respectful to all of us and paid close attention to detail. Throughout the day, he would so easily communicate through words what he wanted from the actors and the extras that it was easy to give it to him. I never once heard him speak harshly to anyone, despite the organized chaos that went on around him. Besides, he’s also the executive producer for The O.C. so I have to like him by default. (You know I have great love for Seth Cohen, Ryan Atwood and Julie Cooper Nichol.)

By about 8 p.m., we were all dragging. Having been limited the entire day to tepid bottled water, I was ready to sell my soul for a Diet Pepsi or any other caffeinated beverage. It was then that “press conference one” took a dramatic turn, thus temporarily eliminating my need for caffeine. McConaughey had just answered Salvatore’s question for the 50th time, when McG, apparently acting as a member of the public, shouted out in a quiet moment, “What the Hell kind of answer was that?” Then, he went on to heckle the coach about his comments and antagonized the coach further, requesting the coach give the community some answers. We were all shocked, as this wasn’t how we had rehearsed the scene. I’m not sure if McG’s voice will make it into the movie, or if he simply staged that scene to elicit an incredible response from McConaughey. And I don’t know for sure if this was ad-libbed or if McG and McConaughey had worked it out beforehand, but it felt ad-libbed. I won’t spoil the fantastic dialogue that McConaughey delivered as his retort, but when McG threw down the gauntlet, something sparked in McConaughey. He gave what seemed like a five-minute speech in response to the question/criticism, and it gave me chills. It was a beautiful moment, and I whispered to my reporter pal that we’d just witnessed Hollywood magic. Yeah. It was that cool and perked us up better than a shot of Red Bull.

For the final scene, the town’s people and MU staff were brought back to The Frederick. We filmed “press conference one” a couple more times. Then, someone yelled, “Check the gate!” I had no idea what it meant, but I knew the day was about to be over, as this was the first time in 60-some takes I’d ever heard that phrase. And finally, at about 9:15 p.m., the director said, “That’s a wrap.” We all made a mad rush to the holding area across the street to turn in our wardrobe and our vouchers so we could get paid. On the way across the street this time, I noticed that the crowd outside with cameras had grown considerably. I resisted the urge to strike a Paris Hilton pose, as I remembered my attire.

A chance meeting with the "Sexiest Man Alive"

My fellow extra Scarlett got a photo with McConaughey on the MU campus the day after we filmed our scenes.

So, what was my reward for a long day of filming, with no caffeine? A chance run-in with the sexiest man alive and his puppy at the hotel. When I got back to my room, I was in desperate need of caffeine. My head was throbbing, and I’d been up for more than 50 hours with no sleep. I needed change for the soda machine, so I went to the front desk. McConaughey was standing at the desk talking to another man and the lady on duty. He looked as tired as I felt. His dog immediately jumped up on me, wagging her tail energetically and giving me those adorable eyes. I was smitten. (With the puppy, you pervs, not the owner.)

McConaughey seemed a little uncomfortable that the dog was jumping on me. I wasn’t sure if I was breaking some kind of canine-training rule or not by playing with the pooch, so I asked him, “Am I not supposed to pet her?” He said that it was fine, but glanced around at the front desk lady and said, “I’m supposed to keep her down.” I received my change and headed toward the elevator. McConaughey said goodnight to the front desk lady, calling her by name, which I thought was very cool. On the elevator ride upstairs, the puppy was still playful. I asked him what breed she was, and he told me she was a dingo and that her name was “Moxy.” (I resisted my urge to chuckle, as this was the nickname I had tagged McConaughey and Matthew Fox with in a recent Tube Talk story.) McConaughey joked that Moxy was “fierce,” as I continued to pet her. I said goodnight and got off the elevator. The next morning, I ran into him in the lobby, sans Moxy. He was dressed in his gym clothes and was obviously heading for a work out. I didn’t bother him for an autograph or a picture.

So, how do I sum up my time in “Hollywood?” Well, someone call VH1 because it was was without a doubt the “best week ever.” Thank you to the production company and actors for such a fabulous experience. I hope to get to do it again sometime. As for the movie, it’s supposed to be released this winter, and I hope you’ll buy a ticket and go see it. It truly is an inspirational story about rebuilding a community’s spirit in the face of tragedy. Oh, and did I mention I might be in it?

Thanks to everyone who contributed photos! Tube Talk Girl can be reached by e-mail at jennifer@tube-talk.com. Have a comment about this story? Then, drop me a note here in the comments section or send an e-mail.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

My day on the set of "We Are Marshall" – (part one)

by Jennifer Squires Biller

I’m back from my day as an extra on the set of We Are Marshall and had a blast kicking it 1970s style! Don’t worry, I haven’t let stardom go to my head. Yet. (I’ll be signing autographs later.) My experience as an extra was — in a word — spectacular. Now, on to your burning questions:

Did I get to meet Matthew McConaughey? Yes. (Don’t hate me.) Not only did I get to work with him in several scenes for more than 12 hours, I later ran into him at the hotel where I was staying and played with his adorable dog for a couple minutes. (No, Mary Kay, I didn’t soak my hands in raw hamburger just to attract the little pooch and subsequently his owner. I’m not that devious or desperate. Well, not on most days, anyway.)

Did I meet Matthew Fox or Ian McShane? No and yes. Sadly, “Foxy” was filming Lost and wasn’t in town the day I was working. (He must not have gotten the memo that I would be on set or clearly he would have changed his plans and brought “Sawyer” along. he he he.) I did get to work with McShane in several takes. He stood directly behind me in one of the press conference scenes. He has a cool accent and was nice enough to share his hand-held fan with a few of us extras who were slow-roasting under the lights in our turtlenecks and wool garments.

Will I be in the movie? I have no idea. If they get my bribes, perhaps. (Kidding.) I can tell you that I filmed three separate scenes and worked almost 17 hours (4:30 a.m. until 9:30 p.m.) I played a member of the press in several scenes. (I know, typecast again!) Then, in another scene, I was a fan walking by the coach’s house on the way to a game. Still, there is no guarantee I’ll make it into the final version. So, send those bribes to Warner Bros. Pictures, in care of….um, sorry, where was I?

Oh, the recap of my day as an actor in my first major motion picture. Yes, I said first. A girl can dream, right? I told you Reese Witherspoon, I’m coming for that Oscar!

Getting ready for my closeup
My call time was 4:30 a.m. Despite a horrible experience starting at 2 a.m. with setting my hair on sponge rollers for the first time ever using directions I gleaned from Google, I made it on time, rollers semi-intact. Extras were to meet at ACF Industries parking lot, near the intersection of 3rd Avenue and 23rd Street and board the bus. A lovely gal named Gina was my seat mate, and we quickly bonded over our difficulties of using hair rollers and offered a quick prayer of thanks to the genius who invented the modern-day curling iron.

Upon arrival at our “holding area,” otherwise known as a church recreational facility a few blocks from Merrill Avenue, we were herded into a long line to fill out paperwork. Gina and I left a trail of sponge rollers in our path, as they refused to stay in our hair. Then, we were shown to another long line outside, where we waited in the dark and cold, to be fitted for wardrobe. It was here I met Trina, a fellow extra who would be my cohort for the day. I was told I would be one of the Marshall fans walking by Coach Lengyel’s house (McConaughey’s pretend house) on the way to a game.

I finally made my way to the wardrobe trailer. It literally is a tractor-trailer full of clothing. The wardrobe lady seemed frazzled by the time I got there. (I was one of the last people to come through, I think.) She gave me a brown, plaid wool coat, approved my jeans and shoes and sent me to the line for hair and makeup. Trina was given polyester pants and a heavy plaid winter coat. She looked cute. By contrast, my coat was hideous, and as it turned out, lethal. While waiting in line, I began to feel itchy and hot on my chest and shoulders. I started scratching and asked Trina if my neck and throat looked OK. The look of panic on her face told me otherwise. I apparently was having an allergic reaction. (As far as I know, I’m only allergic to cats, so I’m not sure if the coat had cat hair on it, or if I’m just allergic to bad fashion.) I flagged down a wardrobe person and showed her my dilemma. She barely had a glimpse of my beat-red neck, shoulders and chest, before calling for the medic. A dose of cortisone later, all was well, and I had exchanged that ugly shapeless brown wool coat for a long gold jacket over my blue jeans.

So, in what I’m sure is an oversight, it turned out that I’m the only extra going to the game dressed in gold and blue (the colors of Marshall University’s in-state rival, West Virginia University.) Trust me, it’s funny.

While in line for the wardrobe trailer, the sun finally came up. Crowds of people had gathered along the street with cameras. They started snapping photos of me. I smiled and waved and tried to explain, “I’m nobody. Don’t waste your film!” But they weren’t having it. The click, click, click continued. Hmmm…. I wonder if this is what it feels like to be a celebrity?

Tube Talk Girl outside the hair trailer, in the infamous gold coat. Hair stylist, Mr. P, strikes a pose in the background.

After the wardrobe fitting, a lady gathered several of us and put us in a van to get our hair and makeup done at a different location. We waited in line again at the hair trailer for what seemed like hours. The little boy playing McConaughey’s son in the movie was there with his parents. He was sweet and had a head full of curls. We enjoyed chatting with him and his parents. I also met Scarlett in line, who I worked with for most of the day. As we continued to “hurry up and wait” someone decided that we were running out of time and weren’t going to make it to set on time, so they sent a van to pick us up and take us back to the other hair/makeup place. But just as we got inside, another lady told us to stay there and they’d get to us shortly. So, we exited the van and waited in line again. I finally made it to the makeup side.

The casting lady who had called me a week earlier had instructed me not to wear any makeup to the set, so I had complied. Big mistake. The makeup lady told me I looked great “natural” and decided I only needed some eyeliner and lip-gloss. Now, for a woman in her early ‘30s, the thought of appearing on screen with a “natural” face is pretty much my version of Hell. I practically begged for a little foundation, but she said my skin was gorgeous. (Frankly, I’m still baffled at this. Was she too tired at this point to do me?) So, I was ejected from the makeup trailer to wait in the hair line, hopeful I’d fare better. Boy, did I.

My hair stylist was named Mr. P. He was a big, burly guy who I immediately took a liking to. Seeing what he’d done for the ladies in front of me convinced me the guy was some kind of a hair God. I apologized for the state of my “rolled” hair, explaining that I’d never set my hair in my life and had to Google instructions on how to do so. He seemed to get a kick out of that and empathized with my situation. He immediately set my hair in hot rollers and assured me my ‘do would be gorgeous. We chatted about his work as a hair artist. (He had a photo on the wall with Justin Timberlake.) I asked if he’d ever had to do hair on this many people so quickly, and he said yes. The most he’d ever done in a short amount of time was for the film Mississippi Burning, he said. Mr. P let me steam on the rollers and explained he was giving me a pageboy fluff ‘do. When he finished, he sprayed me down with enough hairspray to damage the ozone. I felt like he’d transported me to another decade, just with a hairstyle. The back of it was gorgeous. Sadly, I didn’t get a good photo of the back, only the front. Mr. P was kind enough to take some photos with us while we were waiting for the van to pick us up.

Trina (left) and Tube Talk Girl (right) show off their 1970s hairdos with the man responsible for the barrel curls and the pageboy fluff, the one and only Mr. P.

When we eventually made it back to holding, all the other extras were gone. We all started to panic a little. The wardrobe lady told us everyone was already over on Merrill Ave. so to get going. We took off in a rapid walk.

Scene 1: The “walk to the stadium” and Matthew McConaughey
When we rounded the corner to Merrill Avenue, it felt like we’d stumbled into a 1970s all-American neighborhood. Cool vintage cards in every color imaginable lined the brick-paved street. Two-story houses with big front porches completed the picture. Hundreds of extras dressed in vintage clothes carried green-and-white pom-poms. Some had MU cushions. We weren’t sure where to go because we got there late and missed the instructions, so we positioned ourselves near a blooming dogwood tree, across from a two-story house and waited for instructions. We were to be a part of the crowd walking to the football stadium past Coach Lengyel’s house.

As we chitchatted, McConaughey walked out of the house wearing a tight white t-shirt and even tighter plaid polyester pants. We were all a little shocked. We didn’t actually think we’d be filming with him.

The director, McG, gave us directions for the scene. He told us to start walking to the game, but not to be too celebratory. (Another extra told us that the game we were supposed to be going to was the second game of the season and that the team had lost the first game.) Lengyel (McConaughey) was supposed to emerge from his house, playfully chasing his son, to get the newspaper. He was supposed to see the fans on the way to the stadium and was supposed to be amazed at the overwhelming support he was witnessing.

I arranged Scarlett, Trina and myself like Charlie’s Angels with the tallest, Trina, in the center. We were positioned right in front of the coach’s house, close to where the street split. The director told us to ad-lib dialogue, as if we were really going to the game. With the set-up in place, finally, the director yelled, “rolling.” “Don’t look at the camera,” he said. No problem. We didn’t even see the camera. A better instruction would have been, “Don’t look at McConaughey,” as everyone kept turning around and watching him between takes.

The house on Merrill Ave. used for filming

Each time the director yelled "rolling," we would take off on our stroll down the street. We ad-libbed lines such as “Go, Herd!” and “Let’s go Marshall!” We talked among ourselves, as if we really were going to a game, adding comments such as “How do you think they’ll play today?” and “The community really needs a win.” Where the street split, we went to the left, as a truck carrying several guys sitting on the tailgate and holding a Herd banner went to the right. I high-fived one of the guys during several takes.

The best part of the scene was walking by the coach’s house. Somehow, the three of us timed our “stroll” just right and actually got to speak to the “coach” while passing by. By the time we got up to the house, McConaughey had crossed the sidewalk and was holding the newspaper, just gazing at the crowd with awe. Trina, Scarlett and I took turns saying, “Good luck today, coach” and “Good morning, coach” in take after take. During several takes, McConaughey said “Good morning” back to me and my pals. Several times he looked us intensely in the eye, depicting his amazement of the crowd support. It was cool to watch him acting in this scene. His intensity was a beautiful thing. We did the scene over and over, at least 20 times until we heard “Cut!” Each time, the cars would have to back up and start over at the same point for continuity, just as we started walking from the same place in each take.

About 300 extras were used in the street scene. People were positioned on porches, the grass, the sidewalk, at picnic tables and of course, driving the vintage cars. It truly felt like small-town USA. A crane was used to shoot aerial shots of the scene, so I’m sure it will look really cool on the big screen. I’m still not sure how they’ll get the blooming dogwood and cherry trees out of the shot, but I guess that is Hollywood magic.

Here are a few more interesting tidbits from the morning shoot. At one point, the little boy playing McConaughey’s son fell while running out of the house down to the sidewalk. He wasn’t hurt, but we all had an “awwww” moment for him anyway. Then, a white vintage car, that was in the parade of cars, started smoking and wouldn’t run. The driver added water, but more steam came out. The driver eventually had to pull the car out of the lineup and park it along the street. We all felt really bad for the couple in the car. Next, a photographer with a lens longer than my arm was booted from the set. One of the assistant directors told him he couldn’t be there and he had to go. The director asked who he was with, but I couldn’t hear his answer. I’m not sure if he was paparazzi or from a news publication. And he wasn’t the only person trying to get photos. The people who actually live along Merrill Avenue were sitting on their porches and looking out their windows trying to take pictures of it all, but they were being seen on camera, so the assistant director asked them to go back inside because they were in the shot. (I’m sure they fired off a few pictures before having to go back inside, though.)

We finished the scene by noon and were told to go back to holding, return our wardrobe and head home. Despite being told that I would probably be working 12 hours, it seemed as if my day was over. Not quite!

Coming up - Part Two: My big line to Matthew McConaughey and working with Ian McShane

(Thanks to my fellow extras who contributed photos for this post. Don't worry. I won't tell anyone you took cameras to the set!)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I’m going to Hollywood, baby!…(well, sort of)

by Jennifer Squires Biller

So it’s not really Hollywood, but it’s close. As I reported earlier, the movie We Are Marshall, starring Matthew McConaughey, Matthew Fox, David Strathairn and Ian McShane is filming here. The film is about the Marshall University football program and the effort to rebuild it and the community, when a plane carrying the team, coaches and supporters crashed, killing all 75 aboard in 1970.

Back in March, I auditioned, with more than 1,300 other hopeful wannabes, to work as an extra on the film. I received a call last week from casting that they want me on set Wednesday. Woo HOO! I’m not sure if this is some kind of fluke or if Warner Bros. has run out of talent. Nevertheless, I’m game.

I’m supposed to show up on set with my hair in rollers at 4:30 a.m. Yikes! There are only a few things in this world I’d get up at 3 a.m. to do and this is one of them. I’m to report to hair, makeup and wardrobe when I get there. The nice casting lady told me to be prepared to work 12-14 hours, to wear nude-colored undergarments and to bring any vintage 1970s clothing I had. Done, done and done. I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.

I’ve always wanted to be an extra, just to see how a motion picture is made. Apparently, the scenes being filmed on Wednesday are of folks going into the stadium and people at a press conference. Maybe I’ll get to put my five years of experience as a newspaper reporter to good use and be cast as a member of the press, or maybe I’ll just be a fan in the stands. It doesn’t matter. It’s a paycheck, and it’s a major motion picture. (Don’t tell Warner Bros. Pictures, but I’d do it for free, just to get the chance to be a part of this inspirational story.)

Wish me luck. I’m off to Hollywood, er Huntington. Move over Reese Witherspoon. That Oscar is so mine next year!

Tube Talk Girl can be reached by e-mail at jennifer@tube-talk.com, if she’s not too busy signing autographs or claiming her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Welcome back, Invasion

by Jennifer Squires Biller

It seems like every few weeks I write the blog entry Invasion is returning. But, as long as my new favorite drama maintains this crazy stop-and-start schedule, I’ll keep on informing you when it goes on hiatus and when it returns to the small screen (Wednesday at 10 p.m. on ABC.) Yes, I love the show that much and want you to watch it and love it, too. Besides, writing about Invasion gives me a good excuse to run a photo of that lovely looker Eddie Cibrian, who plays Russell. That’s never a waste.

I hope those of you who missed Invasion from the beginning caught the April 15 marathon on ABC Family. Good stuff. I know you checked it out, after my pathetic begging, right? Don’t make me give you a quiz, Tubers. You know I will.

Even if you haven’t watched before, it’s not too late. The show needs your eyeballs and your Nielsen boxes, so give it a try, won’t you?

The official description from ABC for this week’s episode tells us that “another storm is headed toward Homestead and Russell's investigation of the hybrids may cost him.”

I don’t think I’m alone here when saying, “Russell, take cover! (And protect those dimples at all costs.”

Tube Talk Girl can be reached by e-mail at jennifer@tube-talk.com.

The West Wing: Goodbye Leo and Mrs. Landingham’s other gigs

by Jennifer Squires Biller

I’d been dreading this episode of The West Wing. I knew saying goodbye to Leo, and by extension John Spencer, would be difficult. But, Leo’s funeral wasn’t as gut-wrenching as I expected. I thought there would be flashbacks or even a montage, as a tribute to Spencer. There wasn’t. Instead, the show offered a respectful funeral for one of its main characters and treated it as if the character died, not the actor.

I actually liked their version better than what I had envisioned (hysterical sobbing and music-filled montages.) The funeral wasn’t maudlin. It was simple and effective, much life Leo. And juxtaposing the staff moving on with business, seemed to fit the show’s spirit and the Bartlet administration’s trademark phrase of “What’s next?”

That said, the episode seemed to lack the emotional depth that marked Mrs. Landingham’s incredible service years ago, when President Bartlet railed against God in Latin. (One of my favorite episodes of television of all time.) I can only guess that the difference here was that writing a funeral for someone who had really died, a friend and co-worker, was a difficult task that the show runners didn’t want to play as disingenuous. So, they kept it simple. And that was sad enough. I’m sure the cast was shedding real tears for Spencer, as the camera panned their faces raw with pain. No acting was necessary. The shot of President Bartlet, President-Elect Santos, Charlie and Josh carrying the flag-draped casket was a powerful moment. Well done.

It was great to see some old faces again at the service. (Hello, Ainsley!) But where was Sam, Leo’s friend and former co-worker? Since Rob Lowe is returning anyway, I couldn’t believe that “Sam” wouldn’t have flown in from sunny California to pay his respects. And I was hoping to hear the president say a few words at the service about his dearest friend.

The other plot lines in this episode helped to lighten the mood. Watching Danny and C.J. fret about a booty call and Josh and Donna’s continued flirtation gave us some humor. And I couldn’t help but chuckle when Charlie threatened to slap Josh around a little for Donna. (I’ve threatened to do that myself a few times.) Go Charlie!

Next week’s episode looks even better. Sam, Josh and the whole gang are back together again. Well, most of them anyway. Rest in peace Leo McGarry.

Mrs. Landingham’s other gigs
I admit I’ve never quite recovered from Mrs. Landingham’s death on The West Wing. It was shocking and tragic. Lesson: Don’t buy a new car, ever! I never understood why the talented Kathryn Joosten left the White House. (She and Martin Sheen had wonderful chemistry, and I loved their playful banter.)

While Mrs. Landingham is now just a fond memory, Joosten continues to grace our screen in some unforgettable roles. Did you catch her on My Name is Earl and Grey’s Anatomy? She’s currently starring as Mrs. McClusky, the meddling neighbor/babysitter on Desperate Housewives. This weeek, she had one of the funniest lines of the show, when she explained to neighbor Lynette that her son Parker was bartering food for a glimpse of the female anatomy. Watching Joosten throw out the line that she’d spent the day “talking about my woo-woo” was priceless.

Tube Talk Girl can be reached by e-mail at jennifer@tube-talk.com.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Smallville: Lex and Chloe?

Forget Lex and Lana. After this week’s episode of Smallville, I’m convinced that a Lex and Chloe pairing is so explosive it could spark its own meteor shower.

Their few minutes of bickering proved that Michael Rosenbaum and Allison Mack have chemistry with just about everyone, and especially each other. I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy the Lex/Lana scenes, too. I did. But, Chloe and Lex sparring was spectacular. Cigarette, anyone? (And I don’t even smoke.)

I couldn’t help but chuckle when Lex voiced what Internet fans have been saying for years: why doesn’t Chloe have a boyfriend? We all assumed it's because she’s been pining for Clark. But, since that clearly is going nowhere, I’m with Lex. Chloe needs a man. And who better than our favorite follicly challenged billionaire? Their verbal badminton in this episode was one of the highlights of the season. Lex’s smug, arrogant grin after Chloe stormed out was a self-congratulatory nod that he one-upped her in this match. Brilliant. I can’t wait for the round two.

This episode was Tom Welling’s directorial debut. Congrats, Tom! Nicely done. Although I’m not a fan of the freak-of-the-week stories, (I much prefer episodes that focus on the main characters,) the special effects with the glass were incredible. But not as incredible as the Lex/Chloe standoff. Give us more, please!

Tube Talk Girl can be reached by e-mail at jennifer@tube-talk.com.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Rescue Me: Chat with Denis Leary

by Jennifer Squires Biller

Rescue Me fans, do I have a treat for you. I was invited to chat with Denis Leary on Wednesday about the upcoming new season of Rescue Me, the Season 2 DVD release, and all things Leary.

LA Times reporter Tom O’Neil, who you’ll recognize from E! as the Emmy expert, hosted the chat. Thanks Tom!

The new season starts May 30. Set your TiVos and VCRs, Tubers! Those of you wanting to get caught up, the Season 2 DVDs drop on May 9, and the soundtrack is debuting the third week of May. Enjoy!

As for what’s coming up this season for our troubled firefighters, Leary gave us some juicy details. Read on, to find out who he’ll be romancing, if “Jesus” will be making any appearances this season, which Oscar-winning actresses are joining the cast, and Leary’s thoughts on his role as Diego in Ice Age 2.

Chat Transcript - Part 1
Rescue Me
Discussion- (includes some spoilers)

Tom O'Neil: What surprises do you have ahead for the new season of Rescue?
Denis Leary: There is a shocker at the end of the first episode
Tom O'Neil: Anybody get offed?
Denis Leary:There's also a shocker at the end of the third and fourth episodes but I am not at liberty to spill the beans No one gets offed, but a few characters may wish that they were getting offed
tubetalkgirl: Denis, can we expect to see a softer side of Tommy this season?
Denis Leary: Yes there will be some softer sides of Tommy revealed this season
Tom O'Neil: Tell us how you juggle the two roles of writer and actor.
Denis Leary: I spend most of my free time writing/discussing ideas and scenes with Peter Tolan and then frantically memorize my lines for the next day's scenes and then go to bed
Tom O'Neil: You write that close to deadline? Yikes
Denis Leary: Yeah, we write and rewrite even the morning of shooting scenes
Tom O'Neil: How would you say Tommy is different now from where he was in the first episode? Or is he really the same?
Denis Leary: He's not drinking, he's about to learn how to handle his kids in an unselfish way for the first time. Susan Sarandon's character teaches Tommy and Franco a life lesson that they had never thought of before and that helps them to approach their kids with fresh angles.
Give Me My Remote: When is Rescue Me coming back? I've heard May 30th?
Denis Leary: May 30th and the second season DVD comes out May 9th. The soundtrack comes out the third week in May.
SweetP: Denis my father is a Fire Chief and we watch the show together. I just wanted to say that you've captured the spirit and camaraderie of the department wonderfully. I wish you and the show all the best at the Emmys.
Denis Leary: I would love to see other members of the cast get nominated as well.
KathyP: tell me how honey and I'll stuff the ballot box!
tubetalkgirl: Will Susan be a romantic interest for Tommy?
Denis Leary: No, Susan will be a romantic interest for Franco. She plays a very sexy, wealthy older woman who really turns Franco's head.
tubetalkgirl: It doesn't take much to turn Franco's head, if I recall.
Denis Leary: No, but this is the first time that an older woman, as opposed to a young model, has done that. I should probably also mention that Marisa Tomei is on the show this year playing my brother Johnny's ex-wife.
bookie: who is Tommy's romantic interest then?
Denis Leary: Tommy's romantic interests this year include Marisa.
tubetalkgirl: What is it with Tommy and his relatives' wives? Hmm...
tubetalkgirl: Yay! Marissa and Susan. Sounds great. Is it May 30 yet?
Tom O'Neil: You've channeled a lot of Denis into Tommy. How much are you guys really the same guy?
Denis Leary: Very, very little actually. Tommy is a combination of two of my best friends who are firefighters here in New York. One knows that I am playing part of him and the other guy loves the show but has absolutely no idea.
Tom O'Neil: If you get Emmy nominated again for writing, what episode would you like that to be for?
Denis Leary: Peter and I submitted the last two episodes from last year.
KathyP: You REALLY deserve the Emmy
tmaya56: keeping my fingers crossed for you at the Emmys, Denis!
Denis Leary: KathyP, I hope you're a voter.
Denis Leary: I would love to see other members of the cast get nominated as well.
Tom O'Neil: If you get nominated for acting, what episode would you submit to judges? Episode 12? Episode 13?
Denis Leary: We did submit both of those episodes for writing and acting as well
Tom O'Neil: You'll only get ONE episode if you make the cut for acting, though. You'll have to choose between them. Do you think one is a stronger acting showcase than the other?
Denis Leary: That's very hard to say. I really think that's up to Peter and my producing partner Jim Serpico
SweetP: Denis - what reaction do you get from firemen/woman regarding the show? Has anyone expressed negative views on your portrayal of the department?
Leary: Some of the older members of the FDNY found it difficult to watch during the first season but a good friend of mine, Timmy Higgins, who was a member of the FDNY and died on 9/11, his brother Bobby and his brother Joey and his father are all firefighters. His father has put in 40 some odd years fighting fires in New York City and he loves the show. So, he's my touchstone.
Tom O'Neil: "Rescue Me" has a kind of cult hit status. Some of its fans are MOONIES. Do you think that's cool -- or creepy?
Denis Leary: Moonies--define Moonies. As in the religion?
Tom O'Neil: They're extreme fans. FANatic fans
Denis Leary: Oh, no, no, no, I am all for fanatic fans. We love doing the show, we love telling the stories, and if people are fanatic about it, that's a plus.
Q: what about other women joining the firehouse?
Denis Leary: We don't know yet. The probie becomes a full-time firefighter this year, and part of this season's story arc is whether or not he decides to stay with the crew or transfer to another house. If he transfers, there is always the possibility that he will be replaced by a female firefighter.
tubetalkgirl: What has been your favorite character to play so far in your career?
Denis Leary: Tommy Gavin, no doubt. Although Diego (from Ice Age 2) has been very, very good to me.
tubetalkgirl: I enjoyed Diego, too, but Tommy rules.
Q: What's in store for Lou, Sean and the chief this season?
Leary: Lou is contemplating his retirement. The chief has a financial burden because they've raised the charges at the home where his wife is being taken care of. Sean falls in love with the wrong woman
tmaya56: do you run up against a lot of censorship? Particularly in this politcal climate?
Denis Leary: No, FX is absolutely the best group of people I have ever worked with. All they do is ask us to push the envelope even further.
tubetalkgirl: Has Franco kicked the pill habit?
Denis Leary: Yes, Franco has kicked the pill habit and all the guys quit smoking in the first episode of the show.
tubetalkgirl: They all quit smoking at the same time? Wow, tempers will be flaring. Can't wait.
CwrdlyLyn: How does the experience with F/X compare to when you worked for ABC with THE JOB?
Leary: FX is so far and beyond ABC not just in terms of ideas but in terms of marketing that there is no comparison.
tubetalkgirl: Denis, will "Jesus" be making any appearances this season on Rescue Me?
Leary: It's possible that Jesus may make an appearance before the season is over. He represents Tommy's doubts about his own faith and belief in God which will be sorely tested before the season is over.
Q: is sheela still a lesbian?
DenisLeary: No, sheela is not a lesbian, but down deep she still could be, but right now she's not.
Give Me My Remote: You and Lenny C have any upcoming projects? I saw him at the Celts game a few weeks back...he's a skinny bastard again!
Denis Leary: Lenny's character is prison this year and I told him nobody gets fat in prison. So he lost 110 lbs before we started shooting the third season and I have a project that I am developing for him that is very secret and under wraps.
GMMR: nice...love you guys together. You are hysterical...esp in the booth with Jerry and Don during the games
Tom O'Neil: Why does "Rescue’s" new season start when it does? May is not the traditional roll-out time
Denis Leary: We like playing our stories out over the course of the summer. There is less competition and it allows us to shoot the show from February into August, which gives us three seasons of weather.
GMMR: Are you going to be doing any press in Boston for the new season?
Denis Leary: I am sure I will at some point.
tubetalkgirl: Are there any fun extras on the upcoming DVD i.e. bloopers, cast commentaries?
Denis Leary: Yes, there are all kinds of deleted scenes and behind the scenes extras.
Q: what's coming up for the ladies on the show?
Leary: Lots and lots of comic and dramatic activity. I think people forget that even though the show is about big, tough guys it's really about the women who run their lives.
Tom O'Neil: ah, well said
CwrdlyLyn: was there ever another station you were approaching w. RESCUE ME or was F/X always the ideal?
Denis Leary: we had offers from several different networks but FX made the best presentation.
Tom O'Neil: Do you feel like you're censored creatively being on FX? HBO shows can get away with so much more. Does that matter to you?
Denis Leary: No, the only thing I feel we can't do or say is the word "F---" and full frontal nudity, neither one of which feels like it would add anything to the show.
Tom O'Neil: I fear the day James Gandolfini does a nude scene on Sopranos. I'll cancel my HBO subscription
tubetalkgirl: Tom, it can't be worse than Terry Bradshaw in "Failure to Launch."
Tom O'Neil: So ... yeah, ask Denis: would you ever do a full nude scene if you felt it was important to telling the story?
Denis Leary: I've always avoided full nudity only because I have two teenagers. Maybe when they're a little older, but at that point no one is going to want to see my sorry ass on the big screen or the small screen.
Denis Leary: I think the Sopranos is hands down the greatest television show on TV and after the first two episodes of this season, I think Gandolfini, Edie Falco, David Chase and the show itself will capture each and every available award.
tmaya56: agreed!
SweetP: Denis - do you find that Rescue Me has brought you "sex symbol" status?
Denis Leary: I think when People reach the point when they have to have me in their sexiest man episode we are almost in the bottom of the barrel. Could be a sign of Armageddon
Q: Will we ever hear Steven Pasquale sing on the show?
Leary: Steve Pasquale, I would love to find a way to get him to sing on the show. He sang last year during the birthday party for Jerry's gay son

Chat Transcript Part 2

Leary's TV picks and other scoop

Scooter McGavin: Anything else on TV you like?
Denis Leary: Family Guy, 24, Deadwood, Huff, and I think it is a crime that Homer Simpson has never been nominated for best actor.
Tom O'Neil: Happily, Homer's too drunk and stupid to realize the insult from the Emmys.
GMMR: i'd like to hear homer's acceptance speech
KathyP: Gonna see "The Simpson's " Movie, Denis?
Denis Leary: Seeing The Simpsons movie 15 times.
Boomer: What do you think about the current trend of full-season DVDs? You've had "The Job" and "Rescue Me" in that format. Which TV shows on DVD do you own?
Denis Leary: Colombo, 24, Lost, Dick Van Dyke show, Black Adder, the British Office, Fawlty Towers, The Simpsons, The Family Guy, too many to name.

Leary's Music
SweetP: I love you forever for "I'm an A--hole"
Denis Leary: I have a new song coming out in the fall called "F--- You"
KathyP: By the way I love "Traditional Irish Folk Song" I'm Irish too
Leary: "Traditional Irish Folk Song" is one of my favorites. We played it in front of 10,000 people at a gig I did in Dublin last fall.
Scooter McGavin: Denis is "F--- You" going to be part of a new comedy album?
Denis Leary: "F--- You" will be part of a new comedy album.
SweetP: Excellent!!
Q: do you find the humor translates when you go to other countries?
Denis Leary: Absolutely.
tmaya56: I’m looking forward to asking for "F--- You" at the stores
Denis Leary: Me too.
Scooter McGavin: I remember last year you were hocking Ryan Adams latest album at the time (which was great at the time, he may have released five more since then), what are you currently listening to?
Denis Leary: I am currently listening to Arctic Monkeys and Greg Dulli's brilliant new album called Powderburns. Best rock and roll album that I have heard in the last ten years.
Scooter McGavin: Arctic monkeys are great

Other Tidbits
Tom O'Neil: What do you think of people criticizing the upcoming release of "United 93" -- that flick about 9/11?
Denis Leary: I think it's a knee-jerk reaction. You can't judge the book by its cover. Bruce Springsteen released a fantastic song called "The Rising" shortly after 9/11 and that song had a healing effect so it's like "Rescue Me". It depends on what the piece has to say.
Q: will you see the film?
Denis Leary: Yes, I will see the film. I am looking forward to it. It's a story about bravery and since I didn't know anyone on that particular flight, it won't have a personal tragic effect for me. Oliver Stone's film contains shots of the planes ramming into the towers, and I had a friend on the second plane, so it's always difficult to watch that footage.
McGavin: Denis, are we ever going to see a second season of the funniest two hours ever on TV - Contest Searchlight?
Denis Leary: No, Contest Searchlight was a one off.
Q: Can I interrupt and tell Denis we really like The Ref.
Denis Leary: Thank you, I love The Ref too.
SweetP: Denis - what are your current plans with your firefighter charity?
Tom O'Neil: He wants YOUR donation!
Denis Leary: We are building a high-rise simulator here in New York City for the FDNY. This will enable firefighters to work in conditions that simulate fires and terrorist attacks in skyscrapers. We break ground next month.
tubetalkgirl: Where can my readers send their donations for the simulator?
Tom O'Neil: Do you have a URL address to give us for more info on the foundation?
Denis Leary: www.learyfirefighters.org
Denis Leary: we are also trying to help the New Orleans fire department, which was devastated by Katrina, and you can make donations to help them through my foundation and the branch named the Jeremiah Lucey fund.
CwrdlyLyn: Aside from writing for RESCUE ME, do you have any additional projects you are working on in terms of writing?
Denis Leary: Yes, a couple of television pilots and a couple of film scripts.
Denis Leary: Plus my book, Kiss my Irish Ass, which is due out in 2007.
KathyP: comedy or drama?
Denis Leary: Both.
KathyP: I'll get the book
Denis Leary: You better
SweetP: It's amazing you have time for us!
Denis Leary: Anything for Tom.
MicheBel: Tom rules.
Tom O'Neil: Are you still smoking cigarettes? I can't remember if you finally quit
Denis Leary: I go back and forth.
KathyP: I hope you quit, I want you around for a LONG time!
Tom O'Neil: Me, too.
Denis Leary: Me too.
Tom O'Neil: Those damn cigs. I'm off now. Hurrah
SweetP: You know that when there's smoke, there's fire. Why is that all firefighters smoke too?
Denis Leary: Are you going to tell firefighters, guys who run into burning building when you are running out, not to smoke?
CwrdlyLyn: Do you have any projects from the past that you really wish had been given the chance to go further... for example, SHORTIES WATCHIN' SHORTIES was hysterical... what was Comedy Central's issue with that one?
Denis Leary: Comedy Central dropped the ball on that one. I thought it was extremely funny, obviously.
CwrdlyLyn: Are there any roles you turned down in the past that you really regret?
Denis Leary: I never regret roles that I turn down because number one, life is too short, and I usually turn them down because the script sucks or I don't like the director or I don't feel I am correct for the role and then when I see the finished product, I am almost right. The movie either sucks or the guy playing my role is better than I would have been.
Boomer: I've heard you are in the Motion Picture Academy. What were some of your voting choices for this past Oscar ceremony?
Denis Leary: Capote, Matt Dillon, Katherine Keener, King Kong.
Tom O'Neil: King Kong waz robbed
CwrdlyLyn: thank God... someone realized KING KONG was among the best
Tom O'Neil: Kong shoulda been up for best pic
CwrdlyLyn: i agree completely Tom
BC: along with Walk the Line
tubetalkgirl: LOVED Walk the Line
tmaya56: hubris of man, such a great film, king kong..it's hard out there for a chimp...
tubetalkgirl: tmaya56, LOL at "It's hard out there for a chimp!"
CwrdlyLyn: was acting always a main aspiration Denis... or did it just grow on you as a result of your success in stand-up?
Denis Leary: I started out as an actor. I studied acting and I got into comedy just to get some stage time and to meet girls.
Tom O'Neil: Are you doing your own typing right now? If so, you’re a helluva typist! But maybe that's not surprising since you're a writer, eh?
Denis Leary: No, I am not doing my own typing. If I was doing my own typing, we'd still be on the first question.
Denis Leary: Thanks for your time too guys. Remember May 30th, FX, 10:00 pm and don't forget to drag your kids out to see Ice Age 2. See ya

For Tube Talk Girl’s other thoughts on Rescue Me and Leary, check out these previous columns.


Tube Talk Girl can be reached by e-mail at jennifer@tube-talk.com.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Veronica Mars schedule change

by Jennifer Squires Biller

Don’t forget that Veronica Mars moves to Tuesday at 9 p.m. this week. So, now you can stop stressing about juggling Lost and our favorite detective. Veronica and her pals claim their old Tuesday timeslot starting April 11.

Veronica Mars is apparently going to see dead people in Tuesday’s episode. From the promos and the official description sent by UPN, it looks like this it may be one of my favorites.

Here’s the scoop from UPN:

"I Am God" -- A restless Veronica is plagued by dreams in which the students killed in the bus crash confront her. Meanwhile, Logan and Wallace are paired together for a physics project that neither is enthusiastic about, until they discover that their success might help Veronica receive a scholarship. Later, when a large number of students are diagnosed with a medical ailment that gives them the right to postpone school tests and projects, a concerned principal Clemmons hires Keith to investigate the validity of the disorder.
Wallace and Logan scenes, woo hoo! Always a good time. Show creator Rob Thomas mentioned it in the online press conference I attended. Those of you who missed it, can catch the transcript here: http://tubetalk.blogspot.com/2006/04/veronica-mars-online-press-conference.html

Tube Talk Girl can be reached by e-mail at jennifer@tube-talk.com.

Las Vegas: Dean Cain is back

by Jennifer Squires Biller

Who knew that a fierce game of paintball is all it takes to get your employees to work together? Well, the game didn’t exactly work out the way Montecito-owner Casey Manning envisioned, but no matter. We, the viewers, were treated to one of the funniest episodes of Las Vegas in the series’ history. Admit it, we've all wanted to fire a paintball at a co-worker from time to time.

Las Vegas, my self-confessed guilty pleasure, has been hit and miss this season. It’s no shock that the episodes starring super-hottie Dean Cain have been my favorites. He brings a whole new energy to the show, so let’s hope he doesn’t blow off the roof anytime soon like the last owner. (R.I.P. Monica.)

That said, could someone explain to me why Sam is so angry with her ex? The guy’s only sin was to love her, as far as I can tell. The show honchos haven’t explained what really went down between those two, except that neither of them wanted to file for divorce. So, they remained married for seven years, despite living apart. I guess I shouldn’t be too shocked that we don’t know the full back-story here. Las Vegas is notorious for introducing a story detail, only never to discuss it again. (Hello, Sam and the silver?) Vanessa Marcil and Dean Cain are electric together, so maybe this storyline won’t go the way of Nessa and her father.

I’m enjoying the Danny/Delinda scenes, too. (Sorry, Mary fans.) The addition of Shawn Christian as Delinda’s college sweetheart was great casting. (You’ll recognize Christian from Summerland and As The World Turns.) Will Delinda keep Danny as her joy toy or will she gamble on love with her ex? My money is on Danny winning that hand.

Tube Talk Girl can be reached by e-mail at jennifer@tube-talk.com.

Smallville: Clark Kent’s mapquest and Pa Kent’s ghost

by Jennifer Squires Biller

Does Clark Kent have a built-in OnStar? The dude zipped from Kansas to Honduras in the latest episode, without even so much as a roadmap. Impressive. I’ll bet he didn’t have to stop for directions either. But good luck to him if he did, considering he was wondering around the jungles of Central America, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t speak Spanish. Beware, Milton Fine; Clark is coming for you and all your other body-mutating pieces.

The best part of the show was Pa Kent’s surprise appearance as a Heavenly ghost. I’m happily spoiler free and didn’t see that coming. When he launched into his trademark “Hello, son,” I realized how much I’ve missed Jonathan Kent. I loved his wardrobe choice, too. It was classic Jonathan. No billowy white tunic or white pants for this spirit. I guess they have flannel in Heaven. Good to know. Kudos to the writers for having Pa Kent tell Clark that Lionel knows his secret. I would have been screaming at the TV, if he hadn’t imparted that juicy piece of news to Clark.

As much as I miss Jonathan, I’m strangely fascinated with Lionel and Martha’s relationship. Give us more!

Then, my girl Chloe saved the day again, not to mention Lex’s life. I know the Smallville creators have said she isn’t really Lois Lane, but she sure fits the part, doesn’t she? Brilliant reporter – check. Chemistry with Clark and Lex – check. Sarcastic and tough, yet likeable – check. Smallville might be the story of young Superman, but CK wouldn’t be half as entertaining without his trusty sidekick.

Tube Talk Girl can be reached by e-mail at jennifer@tube-talk.com.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Actor Matthew Fox in WV for “We Are Marshall”

by Jennifer Squires Biller

Somebody pinch me. It’s like Christmas in April here. Actor Matthew Fox hit Huntington, W.Va., this week to film his role in the upcoming Warner Bros. movie We Are Marshall.

Yes, I’m a little giddy, despite being a “serious” professional reporter with years of experience. Cut me some slack; it’s Jack from Lost and Charlie Salinger from Party of Five, one of my favorite former shows. So, sue me if I’m a little smitten. I’m not made of steel you know.

Matthew McConaughey and Matthew Fox — or “Moxy” as I like to call them — have the town aflutter. People are lining the streets to watch filming, and I’ve never seen so many locals who just happen to be hauling around cameras and Sharpies on their way to Starbucks or the library. Hey, I’m not mocking, folks. I’m right there with ya.

Locals are eager to share their “sighting” stories, too: McConaughey was spotted at Subway earlier this week. (He ordered tuna on wheat, supposedly.) Actor David Strathairn attended a Marshall University student play production. And Fox said at Friday’s press conference that he was eager to take in the sights of Huntington and take some pictures of his own, before departing on Sunday.

The celebrities have been friendly and willing to take photos and give autographs, some locals say. I’m not sure if the actors are used to this kind of hysteria, but in a town of 50,000 where star sightings are rare, it’s inevitable. On behalf of all the star-struck fans, I’d like to thank the celebrities for taking time to be kind. There is nothing worse than meeting one of your favorite actors and then he or she turns out to be a Nellie Oleson.

As for Fox, well, I couldn’t be happier he snagged a role in the film. He’s been an underrated actor for years, in my opinion, and I think this part will finally give him his due. Fox stars as Red Dawson, a Marshall University assistant football coach, who was not on the plane that crashed on Nov. 14, 1970, killing all 75 football team members, supporters and coaches on board. Dawson had been recruiting players and had driven home from the game in North Carolina, rather than catching the flight with his team.

Fox dyed his hair red for the role and was still sporting the ‘do at Friday’s press conference. The real-life Dawson recently flew to Hawaii, where Fox is shooting Lost, to spend time with the actor. The two have formed a close bond, Fox said.

Fox is scheduled to leave town on Sunday. If you don’t hear from me, I may have stowed away in his plane, so I can make my way onto that Lost island to do some covert recon. Kidding, people.

Stay tuned for more fun stories from the filming of We Are Marshall.

Tube Talk Girl can be reached by e-mail at jennifer@tube-talk.com.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

“We Are Marshall” Press Conference

by Jennifer Squires Biller

Not often in West Virginia do Hollywood actors make an appearance. That all changed on April 1, 2006, when Warner Bros. Pictures rolled into Huntington to kick off production of its new movie We Are Marshall.

The film stars Matthew McConaughey, aka The Sexiest Man Alive of 2005, Matthew Fox (Lost), and David Strathairn (Good Night, and Good Luck) to name a few.

The film is based on the true and tragic story of the Marshall University football team of 1970. Returning from a game in North Carolina on a foggy night, 75 members of the team, its supporters and the coaching staff were killed when their plane crashed, not far from Huntington. Instead of canceling the football program at the university, as many argued should be done, the school rebuilt under coach Jack Lengyel. The effort helped restore the spirit of a broken community and campus. The Marshall University football team went on to hold the highest winning percentage of any major college football program in the 1990s, winning the NCAA Division I-AA Southern Conference championships in 1992 and 1996.

“Very seldom do you read stories like this that are based on truth," McConaughey said. "I read this one. I got to the end of the story. I shut it, and I walked around and thought about it. I was inspired by the story. It stayed on my mind. I knew I wanted to be a part of it. Something that has helped me a lot is the credence, 'Just keep living.' For me, that’s what happens in this story. Through the game of football —people, a team, a community— comes together and gets back on the field — the proverbial field — and moves on with memory and hope."

What does this have to do with Tube Talk you ask? Well, your very own Tube Talk Girl is a native West Virginian and attended the press conference with McConaughey, Strathairn, director McG (Charlies’s Angels and The O.C.) and producer Basil Iwanyk. And one of my all-time favorite TV stars is in town, yes, Matthew Fox or “Foxy,” as he’s known in the cyber world, is involved with this project. So, I’ll be giving you plenty of updates. The movie is filming here during the month of April, before heading to Atlanta.

During the next few weeks, I’ll be posting stories from the press conference interviews and local encounters with the celebrities, all to shamelessly promote this film. Yes, I said shamelessly promote. I want you see the movie, not because it’s about a college in West Virginia, but because it’s one of the greatest stories of tragedy and triumph in human history.

It’s a story that deserves to be known outside of our borders.

So, stay tuned to Tube Talk for all the buzz on We Are Marshall. Then, when the film hits theaters, you’ll be ready to see it for yourself.

Tube talk girl can be reached by e-mail at jennifer@tube-talk.com.

Save Our Shows!

Imagine a world without Veronica Mars. Or – gasp – Scrubs. I know, it’s too cruel to even contemplate. This is the time of year when networks decide which shows will return and which will be buried in the television pop-culture graveyard. USA Today is running a poll for you to vote to keep your favorite shows. Hint, hint: Veronica Mars, Invasion, Scrubs. Despite that these shows have Tube Talk Girl’s glowing endorsement, USA Today carries a little more weight with the networks. (Yes, you should be laughing out loud at that last line.)

Vote here http://usatoday.com/life/television/2006-04-03-save-our-shows-vote_x.htm.

Thanks to http://www.thetvaddict.com/ for alerting me to the poll.

Tube talk girl can be reached by e-mail at jennifer@tube-talk.com.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Veronica Mars Online Press Conference Transcript

by Jennifer Squires Biller

It’s here! As promised, I finally finished transcribing the recent Veronica Mars online press conference interviews with creator Rob Thomas and actor Jason Dohring (Logan Echolls.) I know, they built Rome in a shorter time than it took me to get this done. But it’s good stuff, people, well worth the wait.

For those of you too lazy to read all the way through the transcript, here are some highlights: Rob’s favorite episode from season one is “A Trip to the Dentist.” He hopes to put bloopers from season one and season two on the season two DVD set. Duncan did find out that Logan had drugged him at Shelly’s party, but it just didn’t air on screen. And next season - praying that we get one - may have several mysteries, instead of one long story arc.

(A special thanks to siklilgrl at http://siklilgrl.livejournal.com/ for the screen caps and pieces of the transcript that I didn’t get, due to having to turn down my computer’s volume, when I was asking questions to Rob and Jason. I apologize to any bloggers out there whose names are not spelled correctly. I don’t have close captioning. So, if you find a mistake, please e-mail me.)

Veronica Mars Online Press Conference Transcript - March 28, 2006

As luck would have it, I was the first caller. When I heard the male voice on the end of the phone, I was shocked to find out I was talking to that genius Rob Thomas, instead of the male operator I had been chatting with while waiting to be put in the queue to the press conference. After regaining my composure, I quickly switched into reporter mode and pulled out my question, inspired by my love of Vinnie VanLowe, Sheriff Lamb and Dick. Enjoy!

JENNIFER (from Tube Talk): My readers love the minor characters.(So do I.) They seem to have taken on a popularity all of their own. We love Vinnie, Dick, Beaver, Sheriff Lamb and even Kendall, who we’re supposed to hate. When you introduce minor characters, Rob, do you have long-term scenes and storylines in mind, or do you add scenes for those characters based on how well they mesh with other characters and the fans?

ROB: Excellent question. Occasionally there are characters who we’ve plotted out that are going to come on and have a four-episode storyline. Certainly, Troy Vandegraff in year one. We knew that he was going to be on for four episodes and his story ran its course, and then he was gone. But there are characters who pop. There are characters who come on who we think are a one-episode booking, who we just so love when we see them on the show that they just keep coming back time and time again. Certainly, last year we fell in love with Vinnie VanLowe who continues to come back and will appear several times this year. Mac, Tina Majorino, is a character who we fell in love with after she did the show. Even the tiny characters, you know Corny was supposed to have a three line role in the pilot that has grown into five or six times a year. Dick Casablancas, originally he was an actor that we cast out of San Diego and he had one word. In the first episode after the pilot this was his line, [Rob acts it out for us], “LOGAN!” And, [Rob smiles and shrugs] we thought, he just had such a great surfer-boy look that we had a punch line a few episodes later in which Mrs. Murphy said, “Veronica, what’s your position on this?” and, Dick kind of grins and shouts out, “ALL FOURS!” And, from that time on, we knew we needed to have him back. So, sometimes the intention is to have them in for a few episodes but, more often than not, they are just people who we fall in love with over the course of the show and decide we see more of. Thanks for your question.

ANNIE (from Random Acts of Television): Last episode we heard rumblings of Neptune being incorporated, does that mean we could possibly be saying goodbye to Sheriff Lamb?

ROB: Well, even if Neptune incorporated, the county would still have both a Sheriff’s department and a police department. So, if it incorporates, they will gain a mayor. They will gain a police department, but the county will still have a sheriff’s department so that would still exist. And you’re going to get the answer to that question about incorporation: it’s success or failure very shortly. The episodes—I have to admit — it all becomes one big storyline for me. So where one ends and one begins and where exactly— you know, we’re in the writers’ room— actually right now we’re talking season three in the writers’ room because we’ve written all the episodes, but it becomes a big jumble for me. You know we’ve got one episode we’re shooting, one episode we’re editing, one episode that we’re writing, one episode that we’re breaking, so I get a little fuzzy about what has actually aired. But I think you’re going to get the answer to the incorporation question very soon. Thank you.

SUNIL: Did you hear the sad news about Arrested Development?

ROB: Yeah, that is a complete drag about Arrested Development. That article though it actually bummed me out this morning.

SUNIL: But regarding Arrested Development, both shows take place in Balboa County so what would be your dream crossover?

ROB: Are you talking about bringing in members of that cast?

SUNIL: Right.

ROB: Well, next week’s episode features the two kids from Arrested Development, and they were awesome in their appearance on Veronica Mars. I’ve been talking up these next two episodes that are going to air, episodes 216 and 217, two of my favorites of the year, and I’ve sort of given them so much… [laughing a bit at himself] I’ve pumped them up [illustrates with hand gestures] so much to people that I wanted to make sure that I’m not crazy. My parents were in town this weekend for my daughter’s first birthday, and I showed them the two episodes and they concur. So my parents love them. Anybody from that cast from Arrested Development I would love. Every episode I watch, I pick a new favorite. I tend to always love Lucille. I always love Gob. I love Michael. They’re all great. George Michael. They’re all great. I know you had a question for Jason, so maybe they’ll let you hang out and I’ll go catch some other people and maybe come back to you when Jason gets back.

COMICE (from LiveJournal): I was actually very encouraged to hear you talking about Season 3 because I’d love there to be a season three and I know that—[interrupted by Rob’s chuckling]

ROB: Me too!

COMICE: Good. I know that people have concerns about CW and the combining of the two networks. Are you encouraged by moving to Tuesday and being slotted with Pepper Dennis?

ROB: Yes. Yeah, it’s a tentative yes. We’ll see. You know, I ‘m a bit nervous about all of our fans finding us on the new night but, let’s face it, Lost and Veronica Mars have a very similar fan base. You know, people who are into long-arc mysteries and both fans of our show and fans of Lost can be very fanatic about the show – in a great way. I have a feeling there is a lot of overlap, and I know when Lost has aired repeat episodes, we have done so much better. I mean SO much better when Lost is in repeats. So, hopefully on a Tuesday night, when we’re not competing with them, we’ll show an uptick as well. Our numbers as of late haven’t been stellar, so I’m sorta of the school of “couldn’t hurt” or “shouldn’t hurt.” [laughs] Thanks for the call.

KATHIE (from Give Me My Remote): I actually had a question about your online audience. I know many of us were lucky enough to participate in the bloggers press day out in San Diego, which was fantastic. Thank you so much. And, obviously this online press conference, so I was just kind of wondering if you’d talk a little bit about why you feel so strongly about connecting with bloggers and other web sites that talk about Veronica Mars?

ROB: Sure. You know, I have to be honest, this has been something that’s— [stumbles over what he wants to say for a second] How do I want to put it? It’s more about the audience that’s discovered the show, and we realize who those people are. I wish that I could say that I was so prophetic that I thought, “Oh we’re going to have this great online following and this real web-based fan support.” But I didn’t, it was something sort of over the course of the first season of the show we came to understand that we had, and once we understood it, we wanted to make sure that we played to the people who seemed to be our strongest fan base. Pretty early on in season one – CBS and UPN are sister companies and we were hearing these amazing statistics, for having as low ratings as we sometimes do, our number of Internet hits on the CBS and UPN sites were at the top of the list. So, it’s a weird place that we’re in where our Nielsen ratings aren’t great, but our online stuff – the number of web sites and the number of hits on the UPN website – we do very well in that so, the other thing I need to be honest about, I sort of keep my head down and stay focused on the content of the show. And there are very talented people at both UPN and Warner Brother, the marketing and promotions people, who say, “Rob, you need to be here, then” and I go because I trust them. And, honestly, if I were having to figure out how to advertise the show or market the show I don’t think that I’d be good at it, or that it would be the best use of my time. Thanks, I’m going to go back up to Line 1.

MAGNOLIA (from Talk of Life): The fans really enjoyed the episode commentary you did for the pilot that you had downloadable from your website. Do you have any plans to do anymore of those commentaries for the season one episodes and can we expect some of that for the season two DVD?

ROB: I have no plans for that, and it has nothing to do with a lack of desire to do it. It’s sort of— it’s finding time between doing the show and having a one-year-old at home that makes it a little difficult for me. Again, nothing has really been decided about the season-two DVD, as far as release dates and what we’re going to put on it. I do think we’re going to get more deleted scenes, and I think we’re going to put bloopers from both season one and season two. Whether or not we’re going to have time to do audio commentary – and, if we can do it, I absolutely want to do it and get in there and do it right – if not, I can almost promise that I’ll get at least one episode of commentary that I’ll post on my website. One way or the other, there will be more creator commentary, whether that will be in the official box set of season two or just me posting online I’m not quite sure. I sort of doubt that I’ll get to another season one episode and I’m not sure which one I would do. (Pauses to think.) Maybe have Diane do “A Trip to the Dentist” because it’s probably my favorite episode from season one. Alright, thanks for the call.

SCOTT (from Scooter McGavin’s 9th Green): Hey, Rob. I’m another – I don’t want to be cliché – but I’m another one of the bloggers who was there. I would like to thank you also. My question is I kind of get this sense, maybe, that the overlying major themes of this season – who killed Felix and who caused the bus crash – might be related. Am I totally going off [Rob starts laughing] in the wrong place on that one or…

ROB: Fantastic. You know, I wouldn’t tell you if you were right. That’s information I want to keep close to the vest right now. I mean there are some characters who have some overlap in there. Whether we have the same cause at the end of the day or the same villain at the end of the day, I’ll let you find out. The thing about season one, and I feel really strongly about this in season two, it feels like we spend the first half of the season making the story get bigger, introducing more characters, more plot lines, some of them are red herrings, some of them are very specific, very real, clues. Then, we spend the last half of the season sort of narrowing the focus. And I thought last year our final five or six episodes were really strong because I think our fan base is very much following the year-long mystery, and I feel confident this year, going into our last five or six, that it gets real meaty on both of those storylines. And I will say this, they don’t resolve at the same time; those two storylines don’t resolve at the same time, which is a bit of a clue but not a complete clue. Alright, thanks.

RAE (from Ramblings of a TV Whore): I’m actually glad I followed Scott because it’s a kind of a follow up sort of. Now that we’re going into the home stretch – and I know that you really like some of the episodes that are coming – can you give us an idea of what to expect from the last six episodes and then the finale? Surprises around every corner? [Rob nodding along] Tears, laughter, all of the above?

ROB: Umm, yeah, you know, hopefully. The challenge for us is to not deliver the same thing as the finale for season two as we did for season one, to have a different feel and yet still have some… [trails off] I think in the finale, to have some real action, and action isn’t something that we typically do a lot of on the show, it’s Veronica solves problems sort of using her wit. We’re blowing up the bank on this season finale. I’m so excited about it. It’s in. It’s done. I think the cast is excited about it. We’re excited about it. It’s a big, BIG episode spanning continents and the US. It’s a—there’s a lot of geography to the season finale that I like and everybody has something to do. Some things that I can say that you will see over the next few episodes which I… you know, I always think it’s not spoil—I’m not spoiling anything if it’s something that will be on a previously on or a recap or whatever. In other words, if I don’t mind you knowing it, this is not the huge reveal, but we are going to have some of those iconic end-of-high-school moments. We’re going to have a version of prom. We’re going to have a graduation. We’re actually having a BIG graduation scene that I’m really excited about, and then the mysteries have a real momentum of their own. Really, I’m pretty jazzed about the end of the season. Thanks.

ERICA (from LiveJournal): I didn’t really have a question but my friend wanted me to ask a question. She wanted to know about – at the end of last season did Duncan ever find out that Logan had drugged him the night of Shelly’s party?

ROB: Uh, yes. Yes. [thinking] Actually, as I’m thinking about that question, I guess we never did answer that on the show. I was thinking because Veronica figured it out that Duncan knew as well but I guess we never did answer that. To answer your question, in my mind, that eventually got hammered out. Umm, that scene never played. It’s a good question, and I kind of thought we did play it, but I’m realizing we didn’t. Sort of like Weevil’s pen, something we forgot to get around to. I’m sorry we didn’t actually answer that on the show but now, here, you bloggers have it before anyone else. Eventually, Duncan found out. There were a number of tough days, I think, in the summer between Logan and Duncan so I don’t think they did a lot of chatting. Thanks for the question.

ROB: Before I move on, I want to say that I apologize (a) that I’m unshaven today and (b) that I’m dressed for a typical day in the office. But I will—here’s a little bit of a spoiler. Dick Casablancas will be wearing this t-shirt in an upcoming episode. This is the Neptune Fish House and wardrobe was kind enough to give me this to wear. Not terribly important but it’s behind the scenes stuff.

KRISTIN (from LiveJournal): Ok, next we have Kristin from LiveJournal. Kristin, are you there? Well, there’s a bunch of us that are online all the time discussing and dissecting all your episodes and everything and it’s been observed that the show’s scripts typically use a title that tightens the whole script together with themes and all. I’m wondering is it a huge process involved in picking just the right episode title? [Rob chuckling] What kind of criteria do you use or is it a conscious decision to find an episode title that pulls the whole script together? If you want to use an example of one episode…

ROB: Sure. It’s honestly, generally it is the title that makes us all laugh in the room, and we usually have the title before we start writing. Usually, the title comes to us when we’re breaking an episode. When television writers talk about breaking an episode – we’ll have the big idea for an episode, we’ll know this is our mystery of the week, this is what’s going to happen in our mystery-of-the-week story, and then this will be the plot development that we have on the bus-crash-story and then generally there’s some other, you know, it could be Jackie/Wallace love life or Dick harassing Beaver or some other bit of story that we have. And we have those big ideas. And when we talk about breaking a story, it means taking the big idea for the story and dividing it into scenes and you sort of put up on a board your cold open, your first act, second act, third act, fourth act and you break it down to what scenes happen in which act. It’s like putting together a puzzle. It’s the hardest thing we do I think on Veronica Mars, is break episodes and try to make that mystery work in the way we want it to. This is a very long-winded answer, but I’m trying to get around to your question. The breaking process usually takes us about a week, and that’s with all the writers in the room throwing out ideas. The breaking, for any of us, is the hardest part but some time over the course of that week breaking an episode the title just announces itself to us. Somebody gets an idea, there’s a turn of phrase and it makes us all laugh and that’s what we pick. We actually—it’s an interesting question that you ask this particular week, because I think this week may be my favorite episodic title we’ve ever had. The title for next week’s episode is “The Rapes of Graff” which, if it doesn’t make sense now it’ll make sense when you see the episode.

J-UNIT (from Tvgasm.com): The readers of my blog actually begged me to start writing about it, about Veronica Mars, so I caught on to it second season. I got so excited about it and didn’t actually get to see the first season until a marathon viewing session with the DVDs over Thanksgiving break. Anyway, I want to say that I think you guys do one of the best jobs out there in terms of writing for the young high school type of crowd, whether it be the mix of Hollywood, music, pro athletes, and I think Neptune High is one of the unique sort of scenes in terms of locations out there for television. My question actually is – I know as we’re talking about season three and the new network and everything – I know a lot of the main characters should be graduating [Rob nodding along] and I know that those sort of questions are a long way off but are you starting to think about how you’re going to go from Veronica Mars to quote another bad television show, Veronica Mars: The College Years? If you know what I mean?

ROB: [laughing] It’s a concern, BUT we’re definitely taking Veronica to college next year. That’s going to happen, we’re going to see graduation in the final episode this year, and I think a reason that a lot of teen shows that go to college struggle when they make that move is that they’ve been in high school for four years that the show is actually in its creative decline. There aren’t a lot of shows that stay great for five seasons. Whereas I think, for most shows, season two and season three are its best years. So, I’m really hoping that we’re making that shift to a college environment when we’re still sort of at our creative peak. The other thing about our show moving to college is that I think so many teen shows are coming of age stories that require a high school setting. It’s about the teen years and forming into the human beings that we’re going to become, whereas we have this noir mystery show. We’re not as locked into the personal growth of the high-school years, that’s not our bread and butter on this show. So, I’m hopeful that we can stay creatively fresh. I think college is going to give Veronica a lot more interesting cases. I think there are stories that felt too big for her at high school that I think will feel right in her college years. And another thing… one of the things we really struggle with on a weekly basis, sort of the toughest line we walk is what can Keith know about Veronica’s detectiving – you know, at what point does Keith become a bad father for not taking her out of this lifestyle. So, I think moving her to college, you know, she’s an adult even though I—[he stops himself and explains] Yeah, I almost spoiled some stuff that I didn’t want to spoil. [laughing a bit at himself now] I think that it’ll actually help us. We won’t have to walk quite as fine a line with Veronica in her college years as we have in her high school years. Thanks so much for the question.

MASARATH (from LiveJournal): The blog that I’m apart of is actually a community on LiveJournal. It’s called Veronica Mars Campaigns, and I run it with three other girls. And we just decided to get together one day and try to work our hardest to make sure the show gets a third season. I was wondering what’s your opinion of the whole fervor of the fandom and how it’s affected the show? How much affect it has on the show in the future?

ROB: Well, you know, I don’t think the show would exist without the fervor of our fans. It is what keeps us on the air. Our Neilsen numbers barely justify us coming back. What I think makes the network happy about the show, what makes them proud of us, is the—is how ardent our fans are, how supportive they are. I think they know that if somehow we could get television’s ratings based on passion rather than actual eyeballs on screen, we’d be doing much better. It is the passion of the fans and the very supportive press that has kept us on for these couple years and I’m very optimistic about us having a season three. Honestly, I would be surprised – certainly Dawn Ostroff and Les Moonves have spoken very glowingly about the show and their plans to keep it on next year though nothing is official yet. So, I would be surprised if we didn’t come back. I think they are going to give us a great time slot next year and I think next year we’re going to need to put up numbers or risk not being around for a season four but I’m really optimistic about the possibility of season three. Thanks!

DEBRA (from Mars Investigations.net): What I wanted to ask you about is the mysteries. To what extent is what you want to do with the season’s main story, which is going to be a mystery, compromised by the need to dish out the clues and diversions over the course of 22 weeks or 22 episodes?

ROB: Well, it’s…um, well, there are pros and cons to it. The con, and I think you were alluding to it, is that you’ve got this set timeframe, and it’s not always best for story momentum. You know, you’d like the story to be told in exactly how long you want to tell it, whether that’s fourteen episodes or seventeen episodes or nineteen episodes or twenty-two episodes. With twenty-two – knowing that we’re doing twenty-two – it forces a certain pacing that’s not always the best pacing. Certainly I think, in season two, one of the things we could have done better is Veronica’s involvement in the bus crash case sort of lost some steam sort of in the middle of the season/early middle part of the season – although I think we’ve picked up the pace on that. It does hurt us at times but the flip side of that is that I think our audience knows that we’re going somewhere with it. We’re not going to endlessly tease them with this mystery. I’ve said it before, I was a huge fan of Twin Peaks when I was 23/24-years-old, and that was on the air, and I gathered with my buddies to watch it each week, and at a certain point it dawned on us that that show doesn’t know where it’s going. It’s been a fantastic ride, but there’s no great resolution in store for us. They’re just going to get a little more weird and a little more surreal. And, so, one of the goals with Veronica Mars is to say “We are going to complete this mystery. You are going to get an answer,” and we’re going to try to put the clues in the show that allow you to make an educated hypothesis on who you think did it and, hopefully, either you’ll be pleased that you got it right, or pleased that we tricked you in that sort of cool way that mysteries do attempt to trick us that there was the one twist you didn’t expect. So, it does create some pacing issues for us but, at the end of the day, I think it’s a good system. But you bring up something that we’re debating right now in the writers’ room as we talk about season three, and I’ll let all you bloggers in on this and it can be sort of a test balloon. One of the things we’ve talked about internally with our own writing staff, and we’ve had some conversations with our studio and network as well is— Would it be interesting to try a year in which, rather than one big season arcing mystery that we possibly we do three mysteries? You know, seven episodes, seven episodes, and eight episodes – does that equal twenty-two? Yes! – and actually do three big mysteries. That way—I mean one of the things that we feel is happening is that fans who hear the buzz or whose friends are into the show are leery of joining in halfway through the season, because they don’t know the mystery and they feel like they can’t catch up or they won’t understand enough. So, one of the ideas instead of having two concurrent long-arc mysteries, like we do with dead Felix and the bus crash this year or Veronica’s rape and who killed Lilly Kane last year, where we ran two concurrent mysteries over the course of the season, what if we divided it up and went seven, seven, eight. Roughly, I wouldn’t pick a number and hold us to it, but roughly three smaller mysteries. We’re talking about that in the writers’ room. Nothing has been decided but it’s one of those thoughts, one of the things we need to think about to sort of welcome new fans in because we certainly need more fans. Alright, thank you.

DAN (from duckyxdale.com): Hey, Rob. I, too, was at the bloggers press day and just wanted to thank you again for that and also was wondering if you were worried about the CW scrutinizing your content more closely next season because the UPN seems to be a little lenient about what they let past, and it’ll be a real shame to lose things like the “shocker” or lines about tossed salad?

ROB: [laughing] You’ve raised such an interesting point. I actually – CBS/UPN Standards and Practices are easily considered the toughest of the big networks here in Los Angeles. I think they caught a lot of heat over the Janet Jackson thing and then a Cold Case lawsuit. I think they’ve had a tough year and because of that, the things that you all don’t know, is that I do battle every single episode with Standards and Practices. And I say battle as though they are the enemy; they’re not. They’re fine people and they’re doing their job, but we argue over lines in the show every single week. On a typical episode, two or three of my favorite lines get cut by Standards and Practices. I wish we could just do a whole episode full of those. It’s tricky, and yeah, they’ve let some things slide that I’ve been surprised about but they’ve also caught a number of lines that I’m really surprised about, that I didn’t think were as risqué as perhaps they did. I’ve not been told whether we will fall under the heading of CBS Standards and Practices, as we are now, next year or if they will put us under the auspices of an entirely separate, new unit at the CW. But I don’t expect, one of the things I don’t expect is it getting tighter next year. I don’t see a scenario in which that would happen. Thanks.

REED (from The Attractive Nuisance) Hi, Rob, I was another one of the bloggers at the press event. Thank you again, so much, for having me. I have a question that some of my readers and I were discussing re-watching our season one DVDs. In “Leave it to Beaver”, the season finale, Veronica brings up with Duncan the fact that Logan had been abused by his father and Duncan sort of makes a face and we can’t really tell what his expression is and we all wondered if Duncan and Lilly knew that Logan had been abused by his father.

ROB: No, is the answer to that question. Particularly with Lilly. Lilly, who is a character I adore and love in the show, and yes she is a promiscuous teen, and she has questionable decision-making sometimes. And, let’s face it, she got around a little bit. All that said, I have enough faith in Lilly that, if she knew that Aaron Echolls was abusing Logan, there’s no way that relationship would have happened. And I’ll take this – I’ll interrupt just a moment to say that Jason Dohring has arrived, Jason’s in the building, five minutes [pats chair next to him] and he’s in this chair for those of you who are waiting for Jason questions. [goes back to question] And, I think at that moment when Veronica told Duncan about Aaron abusing Logan, I don’t think—I think Duncan was around Logan enough to not be surprised by that answer though I don’t think he had had it spelled out quite as clearly as Veronica did in that moment – I think Duncan had suspicions. Lilly, I don’t think, had any at all. Thanks.

LAURA (from Rack of Lamb at LiveJournal): Yeah, it’s a LiveJournal community devoted to Michael Muhney and Sheriff Lamb. [Rob starts laughing and slaps his knee.]

ROB: (laughing and interrupts) Rack of Lamb. I love that. Excellent.

LAURA (continues): I promise it won’t be a question about seeing Lamb shirtless. [Rob laughs] I know you’ve been bombarded with those. It’s a question about the character actually. I know how you came up with the name for Don Lamb because I heard you talk about that in Austin, but I was wondering how you initially envisioned Lamb’s character, and if the development of his character has progressed as you expected. And if the introduction of his back-story was something you had planned, or was it born out of the quality of Michael’s acting or necessity of storyline or something else entirely?

ROB: Umm, sure. Michael has done just a fantastic job with the role. I think it took him a while to dial it in – I don’t mean that in any negative way. I think last season, especially for the first two-thirds of the year, he was figuring out who the character was and how he wanted him played. You know, it’s finding that—he’s certainly an oily guy without a doubt. He’s an oily, vain, very-proud-of-himself guy, but we didn’t want to see him just as a bully. We wanted to see a little bit of humor there. We wanted him to, even though Veronica tends to get the best of Lamb, we wanted to see him be able to – not be a doofus with her, but have the occasional cutting line – to not always give her the scene. Michael has done a fantastic job this year. When we send out a scene and I know I’m getting dailies back, I just expect it to be good, to be funny. I think he’s gotten funnier and funnier over time. We certainly have had the confidence now to play a lot of comedy between Lamb and Keith, Lamb and Veronica. We’ve got a scene, coming up in this next episode, with Lamb and Keith and Cliff that I think is awfully funny as well. Did I get all those questions, it was sort of a three-part question and I’m not sure I answered all of it?

LAURA: Yeah, pretty much, I just wanted to know if it had gone in the direction you had hoped it would go – his character.ROB: Yeah, yeah. One of the other things and this is an aside, the one issue that I had with Michael, sort of from the beginning, and there’s nothing he could do about it. Actually, I thought Michael was early thirties when I hired him and he’s actually late twenties. A couple of times, he just appeared too young to me. Like too young to be sheriff, and he had a haircut thing at one point. All my issues have been, “Michael please look mid-thirties” and he’s not mid-thirties and that’s tough. Actually, I’ve grown to sort of love that he’s not too-much older than our “teen” characters on the show. [While he’s answering, Jason sits down in the chair next to him.]


ROB: Ah, ladies and gentlemen… [starts to point towards Jason]

JASON: [interrupts] Who’re you talking to, Rob?

ROB: [laughs] I’m talking to the cameras. [points them out] I’m talking to the cameras. Umm, you see the light [pointing] is… we just follow the light.

JASON: Ahh, beautiful.

ROB: See, you’re a big TV star, you probably know these things.

JASON: I don’t do three cameras. (Rob chuckles.)

ROB: Ah, ladies and gentlemen… [starts to point towards Jason]

JASON: [interrupts] Who’re you talking to, Rob?

ROB: [laughs] I’m talking to the cameras. [points them out] I’m talking to the cameras. Umm, you see the light [pointing] is… we just follow the light.

JASON: Ahh, beautiful.

ROB: See, you’re a big TV star, you probably know these things.

JASON: I don’t do three cameras.[Rob chuckles.]

COMICE (from LiveJournal): Hey, Jason, how are you?

JASON: Good, how are you, Comice?

COMICE: Very well, thanks. And, Rob, this is my second question, so I’m going to be brief. I just want to make one comment. You said earlier in the press conference that you didn’t think that you knew how to market the show but I think that’s not exactly true. I think your ideas for season three sound awesome to me as a fan, as a fan who’s trying to get other people to watch, and I think that this press conference proves that you have this virtual army of people [Rob chuckles] that are willing to help you market this program as much as possible. So, you know, we’ll do what we can to help you with this just let us know what you want us to do.

ROB: Sure, well it’s interesting. I’d love to hear feedback. I’d love to have a general impression from what I—and I do see a lot of stuff written in blogs. There’s a clipping service, and I get sent a ton of stuff internally. You all are Veronica Mars bloggers and you think about the show a lot. I’d love to hear what your impressions are, pro and con, about sort of rearranging how we do the mystery in season three and try to bring in more fans that way. This is something Jason hasn’t heard…[To Jason] It’s one of the things I was telling the bloggers, is that next year rather than having a twenty-two episode mystery possibly—and sort of having two mysteries going over twenty-two like we did with dead Felix and the bus crash—have three successive mysteries sort of taking place over seven episodes, seven episodes, eight episodes. As a means of inviting more people to the show so they don’t feel like they’ve missed three or four episodes that they can’t catch up. It’s what we’re talking about in the writers’ room. [hits Jason lightly on the leg] What do you think?

JASON: Well, funny that you ask. No. I was just wondering if it was going to be—are you setting up any of those for the second season? How many of those three or four or whatever

ROB: Oh, you mean for the third season?

JASON: Yeah, sorry, in the second season is what I meant. Because we know that—I just read the final script that you wrote. It’s pretty good.

ROB: Alright.

JASON: Yeah, it’s alright.

ROB: So, you think it’s okay?

JASON: It’s AMAZING, man. [Rob laughs] No, it’s really amazing. So, how many of those—obviously there’s the one at the end, you know what I mean?

ROB: Right, which they haven’t seen yet. They see 17 next week. Yeah, that would be the first mystery of next year.

JASON: Very good.

ROB: Ok, we’re talking around you. I think for most of you, particularly you – our bloggers out there – when you see the next episode, 16, I think you’ll have a good idea of where we’re launching season three. I think you’ll, you’ll be wise enough to see where we’re heading.

SUNIL: Did you like the CD?

JASON: Uh, which—which one? [looks to Rob for help]

ROB: [Sunil started to explain but so did Rob so it’s hard to hear him.] This is from Polter-Cow from Austin.

JASON: [still confused] Which… OH. I’m trying to think exactly which CD… I’ve gotten—

SUNIL: It would be the one with all the profanity in it.

JASON: Oh, yeah, exactly! [looks at Rob] Yeah, that was wonderful. It’s very like me. And, uh, yeah… [Rob’s laughing now so Jason turns to him] It was funny, did you hear about that?

ROB: No.

JASON: Can I say…

ROB: I don’t think you can say the profanity.

JASON: Yeah, ok, good. It was just, you know, the main word over and over in every other song or any song that had it. So, quite a compilation. Yeah, I appreciate it actually.

ROB: And, Sunil, I loved my compilation as well.

SUNIL: Good. Now I have a question. Jason, what’s always fascinated me about your performance is the physicality of your acting. To me it seems like you have complete control over every muscle in your body and you can basically get anything—your finger, your cheek, your toes—to convey whatever emotion that you want. [Rob laughs silently.)

JASON: Oh, thank you.

SUNIL: I was wondering—yeah, you’re welcome—I was wondering whether it was something you learned or whether it was something you picked up on or were just born brilliant and, also, whether it’s something you do for all your roles or very Logan-specific?

JASON: I think it’s pretty much Logan-specific. I mean, there’s other things that I’ve used that in but I think, you know, when we were first doing the pilot when—he’s very loose. I’ve always been told whenever you play kind of harsh emotions to not ridge up because then it’s like… I don’t know, it’s harder for the audience to follow it. So, if you relax with all that stuff it looks a little bit better or looser, and I guess I do that and keep it really loose while still being nasty, and I think it kind of adds a beauty, kind of, to it that is easier, as an audience member, to watch. And I think just the looseness and the way that he uses and the way that he uses his arms and stuff like that just comes from a looseness like those kind of guys that are cool, because he just kind of moves cool—like Kyle Gallner on our show, he’s just got a really loose, floppy quality and I kind of like that or actors that do that.

ROB: So, there you go, loose, floppy quality.

JASON: That’s not what I said. [Rob laughs.]

WAIYIN (from Mars Investigations.net): Yep. Quick question. Ok, we got Profit and EZ Streets on DVD, any chance of Cupid?

ROB: Interesting question because I actually had a meeting over at Columbia-TriStar yesterday and brought it up and they actually showed very little interest in putting Cupid on DVD. I mean, I harangued them. I said I would give them my next show, if they would just put Cupid on DVD and they seemed unmoved by my impassioned plea. So, I’m sorry to report that it didn’t go well at all, actually, in trying to ratch that up. That said, I was talking to their head of development, who isn’t really their head of DVD sales, but they didn’t seem particularly moved in the room. Although they said very nice things about the show, but it wasn’t like they were scrambling to get their orders in for DVDs. So, that’s the unfortunate news.

SCOTT (from Scooter McGavin’s 9th Green): Yeah, hey I’ve got a question for Jason this time. I’m just wondering, with Veronica Mars taping winding up, do you have any plans for the summer – like movies or anything lined up?

JASON: You know, I don’t know. I mean, there’s a lot of material that I’m kind of spoiled for from reading, I guess, Veronica Mars scripts and stuff. You know, there’s a lot of low-budget horror films and I don’t know that that’s something I want to do. I think I’m just looking for – I guess a more quality project or going to theater or doing something that’s kind of acting-specific, and I’m going to continue looking for something. I’ve only read one thing so far that I’m really kind of down to do and there still kind of pulling together financing for that.

KATHIE (from Give Me My Remote): Well, first of all Jason, I just wanted to say happy early birthday since it’s at the end of the week.

JASON: Ahh, thank you. [He looks at Rob and holds up two fingers.] Two days. 24. Man, that’s pretty old for a high school kid, isn’t it?

KATHIE: Oh, come on, I just turned thirty last week, it’s not that old.

JASON: Oh, ok, ok.

ROB: But you’re graduating. You’re 24 and you’re graduating.

JASON: Yeah, I think that’s so cool that we’re actually gonna go to college. I think that’s a unique drama for teenagers to actually go to college.

KATHIE: [laughing] I actually had a question about the show moving to Tuesday night, I know you talked about it a little before, but one of the things you didn’t mention which is another show that happens to be on at 8 on a different network which is Gilmore Girls. So, essentially, we will have Gilmore Girls on the WB at 8 and Veronica Mars on UPN at 9 which is kind of Heaven for me. I was wondering if that was a strategic decision or if that was something that just happened, you know, maybe a little bit on purpose? Any comment?

ROB: You know it could absolutely be on purpose and all that. This was—moving us to Tuesday night was a network brass decision. No one’s calling me and asking me how I feel about it. They might call Joel Silver and ask him how he feels about it but no one’s calling me. Now, I think it’s great and there’s nothing I’d love more, next year, than a Gilmore Girls, with their 6 million fans, as our lead-in. It seems to make sense and Dawn Ostroff says that’s her dream scheduling night, and so hopefully nothing happens in the next few weeks that changes her mind about that. Yeah, everyone, watch Gilmore Girls, then Veronica Mars on Tuesday nights, and let’s hope that that’s our position for year three.

MAGNOLIA (from Talk of Life): Also, I was one of the people who went to the bloggers event and I wanted to thank you, Jason, for taking time to meet with us.

JASON: [nods at the camera] Not a problem, pleasure.

MAGNOLIA: We appreciated it. [he nods again] Has there ever been anything when you’ve read a script and you’ve seen what Logan is going to be doing or saying where you have second thoughts about it? And you think, wow, Logan really wouldn’t say this or do this. If so, what would that be? And, if not, what’s the most surprising thing that Logan has done.

JASON: Right, no, I understand.

ROB: [interrupts] It’s a funny question to ask in front me, isn’t it? (Laughing)

JASON: No, no, no, it’s actually good. I have a SWELL answer that you’ll really approve of… it goes a little something like this: Yeah, that does happen occasionally but what happens is I find that I need to make it work for me. Know what I mean? It’s always – I don’t think there’s anything that can’t be justified to make it fit in the way that Logan would say it. For instance, if there’s something very sarcastic or very honest and you play it sarcastic or something like that. There’s some way that it works in and there’s never really been a time when I’m like “he wouldn’t say that,” there’s a certain way that something actually has to be said so that it communicates within the character and—[to Rob] Can I ask the follow-up question? I forget what that was?

ROB: Yeah, yes, (to MAGNOLIA) you’re still on the line. What was the follow-up question?

MAGNOLIA: Well, I said if he hadn’t ever gone to you Rob to say I’m having trouble with Logan doing whatever, what’s been – when he gets a script – when he’s been the most surprised because Logan does some pretty bad things. Does he think that sometimes it goes a little far or thinks, gee, people aren’t going to like Logan?

ROB: Yeah…

JASON: I’ve thought that.

ROB: Yeah, and there are times… we met with a potential writer who is interested in staffing on Veronica Mars next year and one of the things that this writer told one of the producers of the show, that I found really interesting, and I don’t—blame her for this or hold this against her—I just found it interesting. She said, ever since Logan organized the bum fights, that she can’t like that character anymore. She never got past that. That was enlightening to me. Certainly I’m interested in keep Logan as a prickly character, as a character that you see a lot of good and occasional bad in him. Logan has had a tough, tough upbringing, and I think we’ve got a neat story that underlines that in the next couple of episodes that you’ll be seeing.

JASON: Yeah, [interrupts Rob going to the next caller], sorry, I was going to add…

ROB: No, go ahead.

JASON: …something to that. Oh. I was gonna add something.

ROB: No, you can, you can.

JASON: No, I forgot what it was… but it was something to the order of—it’s funny that bad stuff always happens to him and he wonders—or he does all this bad stuff and he wonders why bad stuff happens to him but I think he kind of causes that or leaves himself open to receiving the effect to what he’s been causing. It is funny and [he touches Rob lightly] maybe I’ll ask you a question. It has been funny to play the—because the Logan now, I don’t even want to do some of the things that he would have maybe done in the first part of the first season, just because now it’s more in the style of the leading man type of thing. And it’s like sometimes, I’ll get impulses to go up and chase other girls and stuff like that or follow behind them and kind of do something [Rob laughs] and it’s like, yno… Know what I mean? It’s funny; it’s evolved into something different.

ROB: Yeah, and I think that when Logan was organizing bum fights in year one. And that was a moment that we were really proud of, and I mean proud of in the sense that it seemed like the perfect level of bad for a screwed-up southern California boy, who had grown up with wealth and privilege, but in my mind could still be redeemed from it. But it was an unpleasant act by any stretch and yet, in that same episode, you go home and that scene still kills me. That scene of Harry Hamlin, that scene of you picking out the belt and delivering it to him and the door closing, it made it all worth it. It made me understand that character in a certain way but we’ll quit patting ourselves on the back.

JASON: [patting Rob’s leg] Yeah.

JENNIFER (from Tube Talk): Hi Jason. I recently interviewed Percy Daggs and he said he was looking forward to working with you in some upcoming scenes. (Jason says “Ahh.”) Can you tell us anything about that storyline with Wallace and Logan that won’t get you in trouble?

JASON: Hi! Yeah, totally, and [to Rob] jump in here for what I can’t say.

ROB: I don’t think you… I don’t see any trouble.

JASON: Should I tell them about the… the egg thing and all the… [trails off]

ROB: Yeah. Go ahead.

JASON: We have an egg drop competition at school and we get paired up alphabetically and it’s very funny, actually. I just came from a looping session from it and, ah, I don’t know… [is hesitant to tell more] to give it away or whatever. Dick and I have some good stuff, a little Brokeback type stuff. It’s quite funny, I look forward to it.

ROB: And, the teacher—it’s a rambunctious class and Logan is partnered with Dick for the egg-drop project. Once he does it alphabetically, it goes Echolls Fennel and so—an interesting footnote about this is that, when we were at the Austin event, somebody in the crowd said, “Will we ever get to see Logan and Wallace in a scene together?” And I swear, it wasn’t until that moment that I thought “Have they been in a scene together since Logan bashed out the headlights in the pilot?” I think they’ve crossed paths but I don’t know that you’ve ever delivered lines to each other? [looks at Jason on that]

JASON: Never delivered a line, and I don’t even think, really crossed paths except for in the pilot mostly, which was when he goes to sit at my table and I glare him down which I love. I just remember—I remember that. I love the pilot, man.

ROB: And, you know, I was really pleased how the– I always interchange… how the Jason/Percy story went, how the Jason/Logan, how the Jason—you know, the Wallace/Percy. It all runs together for me.

RAE (Ramblings of a TV Whore): This question is for Jason although, of course you’re welcome to answer Rob.

ROB: Thank you.

RAE: This is about Hannah – I guess we want to know how much did you know, personally, going into the story like what Logan’s intentions were? Did you know from the beginning what he intended to do, did you find out after each new episode?

JASON: Yeah. Umm, let’s see. I mean, it’s a good question. It was… I was trying… I wanted to play kind of ambiguous, where you couldn’t quite tell until he shows up at the doctor’s car and smiles or whatever, and I think he figured out somewhere in between those scenes with Hannah at the Carnival what her name was and then kind of got changed, but I played that there was definitely love for [pauses] – you know, a liking for her during those scenes. It wasn’t all covert and that’s where I think it kind of came to it in the middle of one of those scenes.

ROB: And this is a case where I can’t remember how many Hannah episodes we’ve aired now. Have we aired two or three Hannah episodes?

JASON: The one I think we’re airing is gonna be the last one… is that Michael Fields episode that’s airing?

ROB: [shaking a finger at Jason] Yes, but let’s not tell them it’s the last one.

JASON: Right…

ROB: Let’s let them wonder if it’s the last one. [Rob starts laughing.]

JASON: [playing it off] No, I meant the last one that Michael Fields is directing.

ROB: Umm…

JASON: Oh, damn. [They both start laughing now.] I just covered… Next question!

ROB: Ok, well there you go. [Jason smacks himself in the face.]

DEBRA (from Mars Investigations.net): Rob and Jason, after nearly two years, you both know intimately the character of Logan. Are you at the point where you don’t need to sit down and talk about Logan from time to time or is that something that’s still necessary? And, just a quick follow-up, are there occasions where you disagree and, if so, what does it take to persuade Jason that he’s wrong.

JASON: Oh my God.

ROB: Well, you know, let me tell you… Jason knows his character. We honestly don’t have discussions about Logan. I have such supreme faith in his ability to deliver what we want. My conversations with Jason about the show tend to be this: “Uh, Jason, could you speak up a little bit more so we don’t have to loop all your lines?” Those are our conversations. For those of you who don’t know, the writing staff is in Los Angeles, and the show films down in San Diego, so there’s not a lot of face-to-face time. Jason has had some questions that he’s asked on the set when I’ve been there, and we’ve discussed certain scenes, when I’ve been there, but it’s generally not—and I’ve certainly—[to Jason] the other thing I’ve certainly done is told you where the character is going at times, but we haven’t had a moment of ‘how should I play this scene, really.’

JASON: Yeah, not particularly that. Umm… keep talkin’ Rob, while I think of something.

ROB: Oh, you know, the thing about—this show has been incredibly easy to work with, with our actors. My theory on how a character is played is—what I’m hoping is that when an actor has a question about would I do this in a scene or do I have to say this, this way—is, those are things I’m really happy to discuss, particularly with any of our series regulars. I don’t want a guest start to come in and say, ‘That’s not how I’d do it.’ That’s not going to get someone an invitation back but our actors, I have such faith in that certainly I’m amenable to talk about any sort of question or motivation… [to Jason] did you have anything to add?

JASON: Yeah, well, occasionally you’ll give me a note. I remember about that Trina scene where she’d try to bop my nose and I kept hitting it away [showing us what he means]. I think I would agree with you on that now because it definitely adds that’s sister and she kind of had the upper hand and I kept hitting her hand away which was written in the script. Rob made it clear that it was written in the script [Rob laughing]. He said, ‘I don’t know if you’re pretending you’re Logan or…’ I don’t know, it’s so funny – acting – because you have to pretend that everything you do is totally right, and it’s the way it goes and if you’ve ever see any of the best actors, it’s just like that’s the way it is and there’s no other way to play it. I do that sometimes and leave out some of the things that he writes, and usually they are always right.

ROB: Just to add a little footnote about Jason because it’s one of my favorite things about Jason as an actor, particularly—it’s such a good quality for our show in particular. Jason takes—Jason throws away the funny, and I mean that in the best way. Jason never delivers a punch line as though it’s a punch line. He delivers some of the funniest lines in the show with such, sort of uh, disdain or intensity or just throws them away in a way that’s important to us. We want to write funny and quipy but this is a show with death and murder and rape and mass murder – this year – that we want the comedy to feel grounded, and Jason makes it very real and intense.

ROB: And, I believe I’m getting the wrap up sign. Thank you so much. I hope this was entertaining for you and please forgive us our unintentional, couple spoilers that we had in there.

JASON: [quietly and with a look of chagrin] Yeah, sorry.

ROB: And, if you post things, let me know what the Mars community out there thinks of the three-mystery idea. Thank you so much, we had a great time.

JASON: Thank you.

Tube talk girl can be reached by e-mail at jennifer@tube-talk.com.

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