AMAZON PRIME VIDEO SURPRISE DROPS THE SECOND SEASON OF ACTION-THRILLER TOM CLANCY’S JACK RYAN

The Second Season Of The Amazon Original Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan Is Now Available Globally

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON TOM CLANCY’S JACK RYAN 

Today Amazon Prime Video surprised fans by globally releasing the second season of action-thriller Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, starring John Krasinski (A Quiet Place), one day early.   The announcement was made via Krasinski’s social channels in which immediately following his posting the series went live on Prime Video.  

In the second season of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, after tracking a potentially suspicious shipment of illegal arms in the Venezuelan jungle, CIA Officer Jack Ryan, portrayed by Krasinski, heads down to South America to investigate. As Jack’s investigation threatens to uncover a far-reaching conspiracy, the President of Venezuela launches a counter-attack that hits home for Jack, leading him and his fellow operatives on a global mission spanning the United States, UK, Russia, and Venezuela to unravel the President’s nefarious plot and bring stability to a country on the brink of chaos. 

Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan Season Two, is a co-production of Amazon Studios and Paramount Television and produced by Skydance Television, will premiere exclusively on Prime Video. 

In addition to Krasinski, the second season of the dramatic series also stars  Wendell Pierce (The Wire) as James Greer, Noomi Rapace (Prometheus) as Harriet ‘Harry’ Baumann and Michael Kelly (House of Cards) as Mike November. 

The series is executive produced by Andrew FormBrad FullerMichael Bay, Krasinski and Allyson Seeger, along with Carlton Cuse and Graham Roland, who created the series for television. Additionally, Andrew BernsteinVince CalandraDavid GrazianoTom ClancyDavid EllisonDana GoldbergMarcy RossMace NeufeldLindsey SpringerDennie Gordon and Phil Abraham also executive produce the second season of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan.

NYCC 2019: Hulu’s Castle Rock

The cast of Hulu’s Castle Rock at MSG during New York Comic Con

Just in time for Halloween, Hulu is ready to invite viewers back to the not-so-sleepy town of Castle Rock. The fictional Maine location may sound familiar to even casual horror fans, as it features across the many works of Stephen King. To celebrate the launch of season 2, the cast of the anthology series joined fans at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden for a screening of the premiere episode at this year’s New York Comic Con.

The highlight of the premiere was the debut of Lizzy Caplan as “Stephen King’s nurse from hell” Annie Wilkes. Wilkes was the star of King’s Misery where she was willing to go to lethal lengths to get her way from James Caan’s stranded author character. Bates famously won an Academy Award for her performance and if you had asked me if I needed to see more background on her character I may have doubted you until this episode. Caplan channels her own unblinking manic energy and manages to make Wilkes’s “cockadoody” vernacular her very own. As a bonus, she has the wonderful Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade) as a daughter to play off of in this series.

Lizzy Caplan (“Annie Wilkes”) and Elsie Fisher (“Joy Wilkes”

While I won’t go into spoilers for the show, suffice to say there was at least one jaw dropping scene that made checking the show out in the massive NYCC audience incredibly satisfying.

Head over to our NYCC Facebook album to see even more photos from the panel which also featured Shawshank Redemption alum Tim Robbins

Tim Robbins (“Pop Merrill”)

Castle Rock season 2 is available on Hulu starting October 23rd.

Christian Jacobs of “The Aquabats! Super Show” Discusses The Show’s New Episodes and The Bands New Album

Christian Jacobs is a former child actor and the co-creator of the award winning kid’s television series “Yo Gabba Gabba!”. He also fronts the popular ska-punk band The Aquabats! under the pseudonym of The MC Bat Commander. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Christian recently about the group’s current tour, the bands successful kickstarter campaign and when fans can expect new episodes of “The Aquabats! Super Show”.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about the bands current “Holy Guacamole Tour”?

Christian Jacobs: We did a previous tour in July however this tour sort of marks the first headlining tour we have done in some time that has gone east of the Mississippi. These shows are reuniting us with the “Legion of Righteous Comrades” who this last year helped us raise money to film new episodes of “The Aquabats! Super Show”. We have ten episodes shot and we are going to be shooting one more once we have the guest star lined up. These are fun sized episodes meaning they aren’t as long as the previous episodes from season one and two but, they are still a lot of fun. This tour is kind of recognizing the completion of those episodes and all the merchandise that we designed for that campaign. Getting out and playing is a way for us to meet up with the fans that helped keep the Aquabats! alive and a chance for us to say  thank you for the support. From that Kickstarter campaign we have been able to film the new episodes, record an album, prepare to start another album in December and to do this tour. This band has been around the block a few times and the fact that there is a new generation of fans coming out to the shows and helping us put out new content has been just great.

AL: What was it that appealed to the band about using Kickstarter?

CJ: Us doing a Kickstarter has been talked about for a long time. We hesitated a bit as we are old-school. I was worried that we might look bad asking for money in this type of way and we were very nervous. I think a lot of people have the perception that with our previous things being successful there should be no reason why we can’t put new stuff out on our own. Sadly that’s not always the reality and that’s what happened for the Aquabats! We did try other networks when The Hub folded however, sometimes when things fail a stigma can often get attached to those associated making it difficult to keep going. We knew that people liked the show and wanted to keep it going so after meeting up with a couple guys  who had experience with fan funding they gave us some great  insight that helped us change our minds and see fan funding in a different light. Everyone who donated is a big part of what we accomplished. It’s like they are all producers which I think is very cool.

Ian Lawton: How do you come up with the characters for the show?

CJ: A lot of the things you see on “The Super Show” I think are influenced by stuff we watched as kids growing up. Everything from “Godzilla” movies to really weird Japanese kids shows and some of the shows from Sid and Marty Krofft who put out “Land of the Lost” and “ H R Puff N Stuff”. A lot of the characters we write and come up with are in a way homage’s to those things. Characters like Cobraman! came from Japanese common writer shows, Space Monster M was this weird Gung Ham hybrid robot that we loved. We wanted to create characters that our kids could be introduced to in a fun way while at the same times we as parents could watch and reminisce about the shows we used to watch. We had the same idea when we were putting together episodes for “Yo Gabba Gabba”.

IL: Can you tell us about the cat that shows up throughout the Aquabats! series?

CJ: That is actually a fox and he is hidden in every episode that we have done. Our special effects guys name on the show is Joel Fox. He does all of the weird lead in screen effects like floating pizzas and fingers turning into bananas. That stuff never ends up in the actual episode but it’s there and the beginning of each segment. Joel is sort of an enigma as he never tells us what he is going to do. Being he is our good friend we got him this fox costume and hid him in all the shows. He is somewhere in all the new upcoming episodes as well. It’s going to be harder to find him but he is there.

IL: Do you have a favorite character that you have come up with?

CJ: I really like all the Aquabats! character because they are just really funny. Each character is sort of an extension of the guy who plays it. The Bat Commander and I our definitely not the same guy but maybe some of our personality traits cross over. I can be a little like the commander but not totally as he is kind of a jerk sometimes. It’s all satire for each of us. I do like how we have evolved over time and how we can poke fun at each other through the production. Pilgrim Boy is a favorite as he is one of the original characters we came up with back in 1996. We had written out a bunch of the episodes at that time and the shape shifting pilgrim boy was a part of that. Cobraman! is another great one both on stage and on the show. The guy has snakes for hands which he shoots live snakes out of. (Laughs) Plus he has a very funny voice. Silver Skull is a good character as well. We sort of gave him this Bane type voice as that was a big joke at the time.

AL: Is there a time table for when we will see the new episodes and album?

CJ: We finished recording the album in July however due to everyone having family stuff going on and our producer being away it took awhile to get all the mixing done. We have it all completed know and would like to have it out around Halloween given a lot of the songs have a spooky vibe to them. We aren’t sure if that will give us enough time to promote it so aside from as soon as possible there is not a solid time table for that. We want to make sure we have good promotion in place and a couple videos as well. The new episodes of the show will start airing around September 20th on our YouTube channel.

AL: One of the things you do outside of the band is summer drawing classes for kids. Can you tell us about that program?

CJ: My brother Parker does these drawing classes and he always recruits me to come and help. It’s always a lot of fun. When we were kids we didn’t have distracters like phones and tablets so we had to find ways to entertain ourselves. Technology is wonderful but I think when you have a lack of resources you have more of an opportunity to use your brain and be creative. By having these classes my brother is able to teach kids how to doodle and how to use their imaginations. The classes are designed to be free flowing and not necessarily about how to draw something right but more to challenge your creativity. You won’t be drawing a bowl of fruit to look like a bowl of fruit. Instead you might draw whatever you want and have it fighting something inside comic panels or creating new characters no one has ever seen before. It’s a way for kids to bring their imagination from their heads directly to their hands. In this day and age it’s great to encourage kids that they too can create things “Fortnite” or “The Aquabats!”. Growing up we had punk rock to inspire us but we want to get kids going even younger and that’s a lot of what “Yo Gabba Gabba” was about. It’s extension of doing things yourself with the ideas being geared or aimed at young people. You don’t have to sit and wait for the next thing. You can be the next thing. With YouTube and all these things there is no reason anyone can’t if they really want to.

AL: Are there other projects outside of what you have already mentioned that we can be watching for?

CJ: We have been talking about and pitching new shows ever since the network we were on went out of business. There are just so many places to pitch new ideas that we have been going practically non-stop. We haven’t quite struck gold yet but given our track record with “Yo Gabba Gabba” and “The Aquabats! Super Show” we have a solid formula. The ideas are there we just have to get them out there while juggling families and all that. We do plan to tour again once the new record is out and we are on the hook for one more record after that as well so we have a lot that will be going on. If you had told me twenty five years ago that we would still be doing this in 2019 I would have laughed at you but it’s really great that we still are able to do this and we really enjoy it.

 

 

 

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SopranosCon Announced; First-Ever ‘Sopranos’ Themed Convention ‘For The Fans, By The Fans’

Time Immemorial, Famous Signs and Michael Mota present SopranosCon, the first-ever “Sopranos” themed convention, to be held at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in New Jersey on November 23rd and 24th, 2019. 

Visually inspired by the Feast of St. Elezar, SopranosCon presented by East Commerce Solutions, is a fan convention unlike any other. Billing itself as “for the fans, by the fans,” SopranosCon will feature a once-in-a-lifetime reunion of key cast members, including Tony Sirico, Federico Castelluccio, Vincent Pastore, Vincent Curatola, David Proval, and over 30 supporting cast members, with many more special guests to be announced in the coming days.  

“In a nutshell, this is The Sopranos meets New York Comic Con. However, our event is going to be much more than pictures, autographs, and vendors,” said Daniel Trader who runs @TimeImmemorial_, a creative Instagram page that boasts the largest Sopranos fan network on social media with over 225,000 combined dedicated followers.  

Guests of the two-day convention will be able to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the series by showcasing Italian culture in New Jersey with food, drink, music, comedy, and show-related businesses (such as Holsten’s Ice Cream, a sponsor of the event). There will be fan art galleries, exhibits, Q&A’s, trivia, contests, games, and more.   

“This event will be an experience no true fan will want to miss,” said Joe Fama, owner of Famous Signs and a co-presenter of the event. “We have spent years designing sets, exhibits, and more for this event.  There will certainly be something for everyone.”   

In addition, an accompanying documentary commemorating the 20th anniversary of the hit HBO show will be released after the event.  The as-yet-untitled documentary will focus on three superfans — Michael Mota from Lincoln Rhode Island, Daniel Trader from Baltimore, Maryland and Joe Fama from Long Island, New York — who came together to give every Sopranos fan the opportunity to celebrate history. The documentary will also feature many key cast members telling “their story” and other exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of the Con.   

Federico Castelluccio, better known as Furio Guinta on The Sopranos, has been chosen to narrate the documentary.   

“When the first season came out, I was a huge fan myself.  I told my agent that I had to be on the show.  Having the opportunity to be a part of SopranosCon and celebrate with the fans is an amazing opportunity.  I am honored to be a part of this documentary, and I am excited to showcase what a few fans can do when they have a passion for something,” he said, exclusively.   

“I can’t put into words the amount of support we have received for SopranosCon.  People all over the world have reached out to us and are coming to the United States for the first time for our event.  This show touched so many people and has left a mark on their lives forever,” said Michael Mota, founder and CEO of Skyline at Waterplace, and one of the key organizers of the event.  “I have thrown several Soprano themed events but this is something much larger. This is truly for the fans, by the fans.”  

Tickets are on sale now at www.sopranoscon.com. For a limited time, fans can enter the promotional code HipHopGamer to receive 10% off all ticket packages.

BookCon: The Handmaid’s Tale Season 3

The second season of Hulu’s hit series The Handmaid’s Tale left more than a few fans stunned when June (Elisabeth Moss) bucked her chance to escape to freedom in Canada with her baby and instead handed the infant off to Emily (Alexis Bleidel) while turning back into the world that still holds her other child hostage.

This weekend eager Handmaid’s fans finally got to see where June’s unexpected decision has lead the inhabitants of Gilead when showrunner Bruce Miller and actress Ann Dowd (“Aunt Lydia”) brought the premiere episode of the third season to New York’s BookCon.

Ann Dowd (“Aunt Lydia”) and Handmaid’s Tale showrunner, Bruce Miller

Without going into episode spoilers, I will say what I saw went a long way in explaining why June would make such a tremendous sacrifice in that finale and the acting across the board continues to be top notch. Alexis Bleidel’s Emily in particular had me moved to tears more than once. And the BookCon crowd broke out into applause at least twice.

While the terrifying Aunt Lydia did not appear in the premiere ep, the trailers showed that she will return after Emily very literally stabbed her in back last year. Dowd, who was also nefarious in last year’s horror hit Hereditary, is delightful and warm in person and said of Lydia, “she is doing quite well…she’s very concerned” She also offered some exciting tidbits into where season three might take Aunt Lydia.

Although in the last two seasons we’ve seen almost every protagonist’s backstory, Aunt Lydia has remained a mystery. Apparently that will change in season three. Of this insight, Dowd commented that while it wasn’t exactly what she thought it would be “it’s so true to what might have went wrong.” On that change she added that whatever happened, “her life leaned toward Gilead and [to being] one of the most staunch believers of that group.” And while Dowd clearly loves playing Lydia, she joked about her inner dialogue with the character: “I say I’m disappointed with her and she says to mind my business!”

Dowd complimenting a Handmaid cosplayer in attendance

The Handmaid’s Tale returns weekly to Hulu starting Wednesday June 5th.

GROUNDBREAKING COMEDIAN TOM GREEN SHARES VIDEO FOR ‘I WANNA BE FRIENDS WITH DRAKE’

TAKEN FROM ‘THE TOM GREEN SHOW’ ALBUM 
OUT MAY 17TH ON VINYL ONLY VIA SHIP TO SHORE PHONOCO(DIGITAL VERSION TO BE RELEASED AT A LATER DATE) WATCH ‘I WANNA BE FRIENDS WITH DRAKE’ VIDEO DIRECTED BY TONY CORELLA 

PRE-ORDER ALBUM

ON TOUR NOW!

Photo: Tony Conrad

Tom Green – prankster, provocateur, pundit – has a lot on his mind, and this bracing, inventive album lays it all out. A dazzling pastiche of social and political commentary, autobiography, and general Tom-foolery, it mixes hip-hop, punk-rock, goth-rock, confessional folk, electronica, and signature novelty tunes into a heady stew, spiced with samples from the Green’s TV shows, movies, and stand-up comedy routines.

“Thank you for listening to my album. I made this record myself. And I had fun doing it. As a teenager, I became fascinated by rap and electronic music. I spent my summers mowing lawns and working shitty jobs just to scrape up enough money to buy a used drum machine and, eventually, an Akai s-950 sampler and an Atari 520st computer to sequence my beats. I began “digging in the crates” through the vast collection of vinyl at the community radio station where I volunteered. And I started sampling and looping old funk and R&B and jazz breaks from musical legends of the 1970s. I would take the looped beats and bass-lines and drop raps over them in my home studio. Most of my friends would come to my house and have no idea what the hell I was doing. 

Flash forward three decades. I never stopped making music, but a few years ago, I decided to start recording again on a more regular basis. This is my first release on vinyl since 1992. I would like you to know that every sound was carefully considered by me. I funneled the drums or bass or guitar noise through a mess of cables and compressors in my own recording studio that I built in Los Angeles. The album includes some audio clips from my recent stand-up comedy, some from the original “Tom Green Show,” and, of course, some funny songs and some sincere ones. I hope you enjoy it.

Please follow me on social media and at tomgreen.com, and we can discuss this recording together. Your support over the years means everything to me. I am always touring all over the world and will probably be performing in a city near you, so please come see me and say hello! And if you are reading this, YOU ROCK!” – Tom

TRACK LISTING:

SIDE A:

1. The Tom Green Show – Theme Song
2. Acoustic Intro
3. Philly Stand Up
4. Purple Whiskey Bag
5. Live With Dignity
6. You Painted The Car?
7. None Of Your Business
8. Hip Hop Woman
9. Crack Baby Don’t Come Back
10. Daddy Would You Like Some Sausage?
11. Far 2 Young 2 Die
12. Hot Rhymes
13. Cell Phone Addict
14. Away We Go
15. The Salmon Song

SIDE B:

1. Park Bench Old Lady
2. I Wanna Be Friends With Drake
3. The Mustard Inspector
4. It Takes Balls (to rule the world)
5. Testicular Cancer Speech
6. Hey Kids, Feel Your Balls
7. Another Lie
8. Plastic Bag
9. The Bum Bum Song (lonely Swedish) 


Tom Green exploded on MTV with the groundbreaking comedy show “The Tom Green Show.” Before reality TV, YouTube and social media existed, Tom Green’s man-on-the-street pranks changed television forever. He’s graced the cover of Rolling Stone, hosted Saturday Night Live, guest hosted Letterman, and appeared on Oprah, Jay Leno, Kimmel, Fallon, Conan, The Daily Show and more! The success of the Tom Green Show has landed him roles in mainstream Hollywood movies like Road Trip, Freddy Got Fingered, Stealing Harvard, Charlies Angels and more! Now Tom Green’s sold out Stand Up Comedy Tour is getting 5 star reviews worldwide. Don’t miss the insanely hilarious stand up comedy of Tom Green when he comes to your city. His brilliantly cracked view of the world around him makes for non-stop laughter every time.Ship to Shore PhonoCo are a Brooklyn-based boutique record company shining a light on new-to-the-format music, underappreciated classics and undiscovered gems. 

GAME OF THRONES® LIVE CONCERT EXPERIENCE TO RETURN FOR FALL 2019 NORTH AMERICAN AMPHITHEATER TOUR

Experience the Excitement, Terror, Heartbreak, and History of Emmy® Award-Winning Game of Thrones Composer Ramin Djawadi’s Music In A Stunning Outdoor Concert Experience

The 20-City Tour Will Travel Throughout North America, Including Dates In Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, New York City, Los Angeles and many more

Tickets On Sale Monday, May 13, 2019 At 10AM Local Time

The critically acclaimed Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience will return this fall for a 20-city amphitheater tour, bringing the music of Emmy® Award-winning Game of Thrones composer Ramin Djawadi to stunning new life at outdoor theatres across North America. As we say goodbye to one of the biggest shows and scores in television history, relive the greatest musical pieces and footage from all eight seasons in an immersive outdoor concert experience. Tickets for the tour will be available HERE starting Monday, May 13, 2019, at 10:00am local time and a full list of dates can be found below.

Featuring special appearances by Ramin himself at Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater in New York City, FivePoint Amphitheatre in Irvine, CA and Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, CA, the tour will stop at notable outdoor venues across North America. Having first conceptualized the tour several years ago, Ramin will be reworking and redeveloping the musical and visual elements of the concert to create a brand new live experience that encompasses fan-favorite pieces from the entirety of Game of Thrones. The tour will include new musical arrangements from the series’ 8th and final season such as the “The Night King” theme, Ramin’s epic 9-minute composition that went viral immediately after debuting on the show. Within days, the track garnered millions of streams across the internet, reached the top 4 most downloaded songs on iTunes and the top 18 most watched videos on YouTube, and dropped the jaws of audiences and critics alike:

“When Game of Thrones Plays Sad Piano Music, It’s Time to Freak Out.” – Vulture

“In a series known for truly cinematic music, this was still a series highlight…Djawadi’s finest on the show.” – Nerdist

“[Ramin] really outdid himself here with the soaring, searching score that gave the episode its own unique flavor while also selling its most emotional beats. It’s a true symphony at times.” – Indiewire

The inaugural run of the Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience Featuring Ramin Djawadi kicked off in North America in February of 2017 and was praised by audiences and critics alike as a must-see spectacle for fans of the television series. Following the success of the tour, Ramin embarked on a European run during the spring of 2018 before returning back for a second North American tour in the fall of 2018. To date, the show has amassed a total of 75 arena concerts across the globe. The Guardian described the show as “Westeros brought to dazzling life.” Mashable called it “an epic musical journey,” while the New York Times praised it as “a symphonic spectacular.”

The tour, produced and promoted exclusively by Live Nation in partnership with HBO Licensing & Retail, will continue to use innovative music tour production and video technology that will recreate the various realms found throughout Westeros and Essos as well as showcase footage from the series in addition to new imagery created exclusively for the concert.

Ramin has won one Emmy Award® and been nominated for six Emmy® Awards and two GRAMMY® Awards. Versatility has defined his career, from celebrated television scores for Game of ThronesWestworldJack Ryan, and Prison Break to feature films such as A Wrinkle in TimeMountain Between UsSlender ManThe Great WallPacific RimIron Man and Clash of the Titans. Ramin has even composed scores for blockbuster video games including Medal of HonorGears of War 4 and the upcoming Gears of War 5.

GAME OF THRONES® LIVE CONCERT EXPERIENCE 2019 NORTH AMERICAN DATES

9/5 – Syracuse, NY – St. Joseph’s Health Amphitheater at Lakeview

9/6 – Toronto, ON – Budweiser Stage

9/8 – Chicago, IL – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre

9/10 – Boston, MA – Xfinity Center

9/11 – Hartford, CT – XFINITY Theatre

9/12 – Philadelphia, PA – The Mann

9/14 – New York, NY – Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater

9/15 – Washington, DC – Jiffy Lube Live

9/17 – Virginia Beach, VA – Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater

9/18 – Raleigh, NC – Coastal Credit Union Music Park

9/20 – Jacksonville, FL – Daily’s Place

9/21 – West Palm Beach, FL – Coral Sky Amphitheatre

9/22 – Tampa, FL – MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre

9/25 – Rogers, AR – Walmart AMP

9/26 – Dallas, TX – The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory

9/27 – Houston, TX – Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

10/1 – Phoenix, AZ – Comerica Theatre

10/3 – San Francisco, CA – Shoreline Amphitheatre

10/4 – Irvine, CA – FivePoint Amphitheatre

10/5 – Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood Bowl

 

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Stellan Skarsgard and Emily Watson on HBO’s “CHERNOBYL”

Chernobyl filmmakers on the red carpet

In April 1986 the most catastrophic man-made incident the planet had ever seen occurred when reactor 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear plant exploded during what should have been a safety test. The effects of the accident still wreak havoc over the landscape and containing the fallout has become an industry unto itself. It’s a job which will require centuries of human support. Tonight on HBO, Craig Mazin’s five-part miniseries, CHERNOBYL, dives deep into the the accident as it happened and the human cost and bravery it required to ensure that this tragedy did not engulf still millions more.

This past week at the Tribeca Film Festival, Mazin and his talented cast debuted the first two episodes of the series on the accident’s 33rd anniversary. The premiere episode was nothing short of a nightmare as the series delves into, in brutal detail, the accident and the shocking mishandling of both the initial fire and the surrounding population in those crucial first hours and days of fallout. It was a tense first hour and a brilliant setup into the second which saw the introduction of the scientists and politicians who then had to set about handling what was to come. The second episode in particular sees a stellar performance from Stellan Skarsgard as he plays a man coming to grips with his own mortality and entreating fellow countrymen to show selflessness so that millions can be saved. I spoke with Skarsgard, who also offered brief comments on his upcoming work in DUNE, as well as co-star Emily Watson on the red carpet about their own knowledge of the accident as it happened and the timely message this series has to offer in regards to listening to scientists.

“I think it’s a parable for our times. I think you ignore the truth and scientists at your peril. ” – Emily Watson

Emily Watson plays Ulana Khomyuk, a character created for the show as an entry-point into the role of a collection of European scientists in the fallout of Chernobyl.

Lauren Damon: Your character isn’t one specific person, but represents a collection of people involved with the accident, did you speak to people who experienced this?

Emily Watson: No. It’s sort of in tribute to many of the scientists who worked on the discovery of what happened. So I kind of had a bit of a blank sheet really to make up what I wanted to do. But Craig had written the character as coming from Belarus, which is a place that suffered terribly in the second world war. And she would have been a young child at that time, so that gave me a sense of just finding someone who was very very tough. It made her the perfect person really to go after the truth and find out what happened.

Do you remember when you were first aware of the Chernobyl accident in your life?

Watson: Yeah, I was a student at university and I remember there were students at my college who were on a year out, away in Kiev, and they all had to come home pretty quickly, it was very scary.

Did you have any misconceptions about the event going into this project that the script changed for you?

Watson: Oh my god, when I started reading the script, I had no idea that sort of within a few days–sort of 48 hours after the first explosion–there could have been one that was ten times worse. That would have taken out half of Europe.

In theory you could have been in range of those effects?

Watson: Definitely in range of radiation fallout…But yeah, it could have been much much worse. It was due to the heroism of the people on the ground who contained it and prevented it from being much worse.

What’s the biggest take away you’d like viewers to get from this series?

Watson: I think it’s a parable for our times. I think you ignore the truth and scientists at your peril.

Stellan Skarsgard plays Boris Shcherbina, the Deputy Head of the Soviet Government at the time.

What did you find surprising from hearing about Chernobyl originally in 1986 and then from working on this project?

Stellan Skarsgard: What I knew from ’86 was what you got from news media, which gave you a sort of superficial idea of what actually happened. What we learned through working with this material is I know now what technically went wrong, how the reactor works and what the mistakes they made were.

You also learn about it [was] more grave, the sort of the political system–the impact that had on the accident. When you have a system that is supposed to be perfect, you cannot allow any dissent in terms of somebody criticizing anything you do or any flaws cannot be accepted. And that then means that the truth was suppressed. It was all over the Soviet Union at the time. I mean truth is suppressed also for other reasons in the west now. I mean when you talk about Fukushima that was money that suppressed truth and created disaster there. In Boeing, you sent planes that are not fit for flying because you want to make money. So another way of suppressing truth and science. I think it’s important, an important film because it–not only because it talks about what we’re doing to this planet, the environment, which is really scary, but it also talks about how important it is that we listen to people who know what they’re talking about.

Facts are facts. They are not just individual ideas. Some facts you have to deal with and you have to accept and we have to listen to scientists. I mean 98% of the scientists in the world say that we are heading for a catastrophe in terms of global warming. We cannot ignore that. Do not ignore that.

Tell us about your character

Skarsgard: My character I’m playing Boris Shcherbina who was a minister in the government and who got the responsibility for cleaning up the mess. And he’s a man who spent his entire life working within the system and defending the system and he ends up realizing that this accident is a result of the system. And he has to question the system and he also has to decide whether he should keep on defending the system that is flawed. Or if he should start defending the truth.

Skarsgard’s next film role is in the highly anticipated adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi classic, DUNE, where he’ll play the villainous Baron Harkonnen

Lauren Damon: Have you begun work on DUNE as Baron Harkonnen?

Skarsgard:I haven’t started shooting yet, we’re still doing prosthetics work

That’s what I was wondering! Because the Baron is such a grotesque character but when you were cast I remember looking at a shot of you as Bootstrap Bill [Skarsgard’s heavily barnacled Pirates of the Caribbean role] and thinking ‘This man can handle anything they put on him!’

Skarsgard: [Laughs] That’s very nice of you! Thank you. I will probably spend probably six to eight hours a day in makeup and it will look fantastic.

“I will probably spend probably six to eight hours a day in makeup and it will look fantastic.” -Stellan Skarsgard on his upcoming DUNE role

What are you most excited about in doing that project?

Skarsgard: It’s a great story. It’s a fantastic world and Denis Villeneuve is a director that I’ve always wanted to work with. So I’m really happy, he’s a wonderful man and a great director. So I think–except for the eight hours in makeup–I think I’ll have a fun time.

Chernobyl airs tonight at 9pm on HBO

“CGI just doesn’t cut it for me, man!” Blindspot’s Heidi Schnappauf Speaks About Stunt Work

Heidi Schnappauf at Sword Class NYC

When Blindspot enters its fourth season this Friday on NBC, it will of course be bringing the action that has garnered the series multiple Emmy nominations for Outstanding Stunt Coordination. While last year burst onto the scene with, amongst other things, Jane Doe and Co in a tank, this year’s premiere has taken Jane (Jaimie Alexander) to Tokyo where she engages in some impressive swordplay with a new adversary. Behind Jane’s hardest hits is Alexander’s stunt double, Heidi Schnappauf, who has been with the show from the first season. Speaking with me at New York Comic Con*, Jaimie Alexander said of Heidi: “Just the hits she takes, the body slams…I don’t know how she’s OK. Half the time I’m terrified for her because she does a lot of the heavy lifting in the fights…And she’s just incredible, she’s an incredible lady.”

Besides Blindspot Schnappauf has an impressive credits list that includes Marvel’s Jessica Jones, Broad City and Orange is the New Black. I was lucky enough to speak with Heidi about her action-packed job this past weekend when Warner Brothers sent us along with her and Jaimie to, fittingly, a beginner Kendo sword lesson!

Lauren Damon: How long have you been with the show?

Heidi Schnappauf: I’ve been with the show all the four seasons, however, I came in toward the end of the first season. I think episode twenty. So right at the end kind of filling in for her old double [Ky Furneaux].

LD: What are your favorite types of stunts?

HS: I love to fight. My main background was fighting. This, sword fighting, was not something I grew up with, but definitely something I picked up on the way and trained a little bit. But fighting, which includes all the falling that we do—getting thrown around—I started at such a young age that I got thrown around a lot when I was in karate as a kid, moving into college years. But I really do love all the hard hits and driving. I’ve been doing stunts driving now for about eight years. So yeah, anything where I’m maybe flying through some glass or getting thrown out of a car, I totally dig it! Any of that.

LD: Have you ever had any major injuries?

HS: I’ve had a few. Biggest injury was not on Blindspot, actually it was right before I got on Blindspot. I was recovering from my biggest injury which was I was doing a high fall and there was faulty landing equipment, it was nobody’s fault, just a one in a billion chance I ended up injuring my neck pretty badly. I was out for about ten months from work, which was a really big bummer actually. And the doctor—I was in the ER from that injury and with you know, on morphine and valium and a neck brace and tears coming out of my eyes—the doctor’s like ‘Oh I guess this is gonna put a damper on your career’ and I’m like ‘Yeah, I really know what I’m going to do next time so I don’t hurt myself’ and he’s like ‘Next time?! Are you nuts?!’…I’m like ‘Well, yeah, I’m just bummed that it’s gonna be a while!’ So that was my most devastating injury. Everyone wanted to cut me open, everyone wanted to do surgery, they wanted to replace my disc, or fuse my spine and all this stuff…I kind of basically talked to doctors until I got the answer I wanted and then I found more doctors to support that.

LD: As a viewer, what are some of your favorite films or tv shows for stunts?

HS: Um…Blindspot? [laughs]…Oh, I really like Supergirl, is that WB? I do like Supergirl. I’m not gonna lie, I don’t watch a lot of TV because I work and I sleep and I try to watch Blindspot. But I do, actually, this new season of Iron Fist is probably my favorite bit of action on tv or Netflix…Blacklist, I love Blacklist. They just have such a variety of stunts on that show. And Game of Thrones. Come on, man, you can’t deny that setting like seventy five stunt people on fire is NOT cool. From a DRAGON. It’s insane.

LD: There’s a faction out there that is pushing for a Best Stunts category at the Academy Awards, how do you feel about that?

HS: I think that’s a good idea since like every other category is out there. I mean, I don’t know how you’d delegate that but I think that’s a good start to just recognizing it. I don’t do stunts, obviously, to be recognized. I love it because I get to kind of be the magician of the action world of film and tv. You don’t really want to give your tricks away, you want to make it an illusion…most, some people I know anyway, don’t do it for the glory. It’s not really about that. It’s about making good work. I would love to see it so it’s recognized as an art and as you know, that magical things that happens isn’t actually magic. It’s people that are putting their bodies and their lives on the line to bring everyone a cool product. CGI just doesn’t cut it for me, man!

Blindspot season 4 premieres Friday October 12th at 8pm on NBC.

*Check out our full chats with Blindspot stars Jaimie Alexander and Sullivan Stapleton!

Film Review: “Jane Fonda in Five Acts”

 

 

JANE FONDA IN FIVE ACTS

Starring:  Jane Fonda, Robert Redford and DickCavet

Directed by:  Susan Lacy

Rated:  Not rated

Running time:  2 hrs 13 mins

HBO Films

 

Here is my Jane Fonda story.  In 2005, Ms. Fonda was in Kansas City to promote a book she had written.  I had been able to get my name on the press list in the off chance of getting a few minutes with the Oscar winning actress for a quick interview.  I can’t remember what, but something came up last minute and I was unable to attend.  Imagine my surprise the next morning when my phone began wringing.  It seems that while she was greeting people in line, a former Vietnam War veteran named MICHAEL SMITH spit tobacco juice on her.  Somehow, my name and contact info was discovered on the press list and people assumed it was me.  I received over 1,000 emails, some thanking “me” and others condemning “me.”  I even was invited to address an upcoming Marine Corps reunion in California.  After about two weeks the furor died down, but it was pretty exciting there for a while.

 

It was almost exactly 47 years ago (September 19, 1971) that President Richard Nixon, on one of his many tape recordings, asked an aide, “What in the world is wrong with Jane Fonda?”

The honest answer?  Not a damn thing!

 

“Jane Fonda in Five Acts” takes a look back at the actresses life and career, beginning when she was just known as Henry Fonda’s daughter.  Along with James Stewart, no other actor so embodied the image of the normal American male than Henry Fonda.  He was, according to his daughter, “a national monument.”  But behind that image was a man who could not express emotions unless he was in front of a camera.  Ms. Fonda is shown a photo of the family at a picnic, to which she explains that the image is staged.  The smiles forced and phony.  She can tell by the look in her mother’s face that she is not happy (Ms. Fonda’s mother dealt with many mental issues and would eventually kill herself.  She and her brother, Peter, were told she’d had a heart attack.  It wasn’t until years later, when Ms. Fonda read about it in a movie magazine, did she learn the truth).

 

As a young woman in her early 20s, she makes her way to the home of famed acting teacher Lee Strasberg.  He accepts her into his classes and, after a couple of months, puts her on the stage.  He recognizes her talents and encourages her to pursue them.  She begins to do small parts on television and in film while also modeling.  Tired of always doing the “cheerleader” roles, she heads to France, where she meets director Roger Vadim.  What follows is marriage, a child and a career changing role as the title character in “Barbarella.”

 

Back in America, she accepts a role in what she calls her first “real” movie, Sydney Pollack’s “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?<” earning her first of seven Academy Award nominations. (NOTE:  I didn’t see “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” until the mid 1980s at a tribute to Sydney Pollack.  If you haven’t seen it, I strongly suggest you do).  Just as she is being taken seriously as an actress she does two things:  cuts her hair and visits Vietnam.

Fonda, shown here with Roy Scheider, won her first Academy Award for her role in the film “Klute.”

Depending on the age of the people you speak with, Fonda is either “a great actress” or “Hanoi Jane.”  There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground.  She was one of the first major celebrities to speak out against the United States’ involvement in Vietnam.  If there is any criticism now it is some of the ways she spoke out.   In the late 1980’s she apologized to the veterans and their families if her actions make things tougher for them.  A chance meeting with former vet and anti-Vietnam activist Ron Kovic gives her the idea for the film “Coming Home,” which would win her her second Oscar.

 

Now married to activist Tom Hayden, she puts together films that speak to her beliefs.  Many people scoffed at “The China Syndrome,” a film that dealt with a fictional melt-down at a nuclear power plant.  However, two weeks after the film opened there was a real incident at Three Mile Island.  Nobody was scoffing then.  In one of the most emotional moments of the documentary, Ms. Fonda talks about the only film she did with her father, “On Golden Pond.”  She recalls how, during a scene in the film, she surprised her father with a slight touch of his arm, causing the actor to cover his eyes to hide the tears welling up in them.  This would be Henry Fonda’s last film and it earned him his first Academy Award.

 

As the years progress we learn more about the actress and her life.  Needing to raise money for an organization she and her husband had founded, she produced her own workout video, which today remains the most popular home video ever made.  We follow her through her divorce from Hayden and her marriage to media mogul Ted Turner.  She speaks highly of all three of her ex-husbands.  We also meet some of her children, who explain that growing up was not all limos and mansions.  However, in the end, you end up with an amazing story of an amazing person.  At age 80, Jane Fonda is still going strong.  Here’s to act number six!
 

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Nickelodeon’s Double Dare Kicks Off Multi-city U.S. Tour, Hosted by Original Host Marc Summers and Beloved Sidekick Robin Russo

Double Dare Live, Produced in Partnership with  Red Tail Productions, LLC and CB Entertainment to Visit Cities Across North America Beginning October 30

 Tickets On Sale Friday, Aug. 24, at 10:00 a.m.

NEW YORK-Aug. 20, 2018- Nickelodeon, in partnership with Red Tail Productions, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Red Tail Entertainment, and CB Entertainment, announced today Nickelodeon’s Double Dare Live, the multi-city live stage tour inspired by the iconic TV game show Double Dare.  Featuring original host Marc Summers and his beloved sidekick Robin, the live stage show will debut in Fayetteville, NC, on October 27 and will tour North America through November.  Tickets go on sale to the general public Friday, August 24 at 10:00 a.m. ET.  Fans can visit doubledarelivetour.com for a list of upcoming Double Dare Live tour cities, times and ticket information.

“Hosting the Double Dare Live tour couldn’t be any more exciting, and I look forward to bringing the fun and messiness of Double Dare to audiences across the country,” said Marc Summers.  “Doing the show again with my sidekick Robin will fulfill childhood dreams of the generation that grew up with us and introduce this classic show to the next generation.”

Double Dare Live will feature two teams comprised of selected audience members competing to win prizes by answering brain-bending trivia questions, completing messy physical challenges and ultimately facing the legendary obstacle course.

The brand-new Double Dare series premiered this summer and was ranked as one of the top three shows with K6-11 on all TV. Double Dare is hosted by digital creator and actress Liza Koshy, with original host Marc Summers providing color commentary on the challenges and lending his vast knowledge of the game and expertise to each episode.

Double Dare premiered on Oct. 6, 1986, on Nickelodeon, and ran from 1986-1993, making it the network’s longest running game show. Marc Summers served as the show’s original host from 1986-1993. Shortly after its debut, Double Dare became one of the most popular original daily programs on cable television. The series went into syndication in 1988, and was later revived as Super Sloppy Double Dare in 1989.  The show also ran on broadcast television as Family Double Dare in 1988, followed by new versions on Nick, including Double Dare 2000.

Double Dare, Episode 127 – Pictured: Liza Koshy, Marc Summers and Contestants in DOUBLE DARE on NICKELODEON. Photo: Scott Everett White/Nickelodeon. ©2018 Viacom, International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

NICKELODEON’S DOUBLE DARE LIVE FALL TOUR CITIES AND DATES

Oct. 30                                   Fayetteville, NC                   Crown Complex

Nov. 1                                    Cincinnati, OH                     Taft Theatre

Nov. 2                                    Charlotte, NC                       Ovens Auditorium

Nov. 3                                    Baltimore, MD                     UMBC Events Center

Nov. 4                                    Norfolk, VA                          Constant Convocation Center

Nov. 7                                    Milwaukee, WI                    Miller High Life Theatre

Nov. 8                                    Indianapolis, IN                   Murat Theatre

Nov. 9                                    Nashville, TN                       TPAC

Nov. 10                                 Rosemont, IL                       Rosemont Theatre

Nov. 11                                 Cleveland, OH                     Playhouse Square

Nov. 14                                 Hartford, CT                         The Bushnell

Nov. 15                                 Newark, NJ                           NJPAC

Nov. 16                                 Rochester, NY                      Auditorium Theatre

Nov. 17                                 Schenectady, NY                 Proctors Theatre

Nov. 18                                 Pittsburgh, PA                      Benedum Center

 

Double Dare Live is produced by Red Tail Productions, LLC and CB Entertainment.

Red Tail Productions, LLC

CEO Phillip Drayer and President Marc Engel produce and present a wide variety of entertainment throughout North America, including the acclaimed Broadway hit A Night with Janis Joplin (Tony Nomination), the spectacular Do You Hear the People Sing, Cirque Musica, Scooby Doo Live! Musical Mysteries, Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live and Erth’s Prehistoric Aquarium Adventure.  Through its division Red Tail-Live, the company has a tremendous track record of producing and presenting live entertainment in a variety of venues, theatres, performing arts centers and arenas throughout the U.S. and Canada presenting over a hundred events annually, spanning genres from Broadway Musicals to Country and Pop, to Classic Rock, Jazz and Comedy, and featuring heritage artists such as Tony Bennett, Alan Jackson, Norah Jones, Dolly Parton, Harry Connick, Jr., The Beach Boys, Bill Maher, and Martina McBride.

About CB Entertainment

Charlie Blum is a renowned entertainment industry executive with over 40 years’ experience as a major concert promoter, talent buyer, theatre executive, television producer and artist manager. He served for almost three decades as President/CEO for Chicagoland’s premier concert facility, the Star Plaza Theatre, following more than ten years as a Vice President with the Nederlander Concerts.  Charlie has worked with virtually every major artist in show business, presenting thousands of concerts featuring performers like Jerry Seinfeld, Garth Brooks, Frank Sinatra, Madonna, The Jackson Five, Christina Aguilera, The Grateful Dead, Rascal Flatts, Blake Shelton, Rod Stewart and Cher.  He has executive-produced four nationally released PBS television shows, most recently, the groundbreaking “Harmonies 4 Healing” with partner Connecticut Public Broadcasting.  Charlie is also the host of Lakeshore Classic Movies every weekend on PBS in Chicago.

About Nickelodeon

Nickelodeon, now in its 39th year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, digital, recreation, books and feature films. Nickelodeon’s U.S. television network is seen in more than 90 million households and has been the number-one-rated kids’ basic cable network for 22 consecutive years. For more information or artwork, visit http://www.nickpress.com. Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB).

 

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Saying Goodbye to the Middle

 

I don’t watch a lot of television.  Not because I don’t want to.  I just don’t have the time.  I do have some shows that I try to watch each week (thank you DVR), like “Family GuyFamily Guy” and “Brockmire” and “Modern Family,” shows I really enjoy.  Last year my wife and I binge-watched all of “Breaking Bad” over a 6 week period and loved it.  We’ve also gone through three seasons of “Better Call Saul,” which we also binged, and are waiting impatiently for AMC to announce when season four starts.   These last two shows we really enjoyed, but watching them over so short a period you don’t really grow up with them.  This was not true of our relationship with the Heck family, the stars of “the Middle.”

The story of Mike (Neil Flynn) and Frankie Heck (Patricia Heaton) and their three children – Axl, Sue and Brick – “the Middle” was an amazing look into middle class life in middle-America.  Set in Indiana, the show gave an honest look into a family where mom is well intended, dad loves watching his football and each of the kids have their own distinct possibilities.

For nine seasons we watched as Axl (Charlie McDermott) went from cool and confident high school football star to slightly less cool and confident college football player to a young man setting out on his own in the world.  Meanwhile, the always optimistic Sue (Eden Sher) was always cheerful, no matter what life put in front of her.  And then there was Brick (Atticus Shaffer), publicly awkward but an avid reader and someone who never seemed to let the little things life threw at him keep him down, like having to sit in a lawn chair at the dinner table because the dining set only came with four chairs.  As well acted as these roles were, and as well written as the show was, I was shocked to learn that it had only been nominated for ONE EMMY AWARD – for makeup!!!  Hopefully in this last season Emmy voters will realize they’ve lost a classic and honor the show.

(l-f) Heaton, Flynn, McDermott, Sher and Shaffer

We followed the Hecks from highs and lows, through ups and downs, and we felt with them because they underwent pretty much everything every family goes through at one time.  And they usually solved the problem with one word: love.  Despite the unusual reactions to sometimes simple things, each episode would end with an affirmation of the family’s love for each other.  This gave the viewer an emotional bond and I’m not ashamed to say that both my wife and I were crying at the end of the show’s final episode.  We will miss out regular Tuesday night meeting with the Hecks but we won’t forget them.  How can we?  They’re family.

 

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It’s Time to “Answer That Question, or Take the Physical Challenge,” As Nickelodeon Brings Back “Double Dare” in Brand-New Series!

Double Dare Returns This Summer for a New Generation of Trivia, Stunts, Wringers, Hamster Wheels and Nose Picking

BURBANK, Calif.–April 25, 2018–Nickelodeon is bringing back the original kids’ game show Double Dare this summer with 40 brand-new episodes, giving a new generation of fans the chance to compete in the messiest and most physically challenging competition of their lives. With Double Dare remaining an iconic touchstone for its original millennial audiences, the new version will feature the gameplay and challenges they remember, as well as appearances from blasts from the past and stars from today.

Double Dare features two teams competing to win prizes by answering brain-bending trivia questions, completing messy, physical stunts and ultimately facing the infamous obstacle course–the human hamster wheel; the classic gigantic mouth; the wringer; and the iconic Double Dare nose.

Double Dare premiered on Oct. 6, 1986, on Nickelodeon, and ran from 1986-1993, making it the network’s longest running game show. Shortly after its debut, Double Dare became one of the most popular original daily programs on cable television. The series went into syndication in 1988, and was later revamped as Super Sloppy Double Dare in 1989. The show also ran on broadcast television as Family Double Dare in 1988, followed by new versions on Nick, including Double Dare 2000.

About Nickelodeon
Nickelodeon, now in its 39th year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, digital, recreation, books and feature films. Nickelodeon’s U.S. television network is seen in more than 90 million households and has been the number-one-rated kids’ basic cable network for 22 consecutive years.

 

 

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CINCO DE MARIO: The Countdown is on -One Month Until Cinco de Mayo, as MARIO LOPEZ Announces His Newest Endeavor

Mario Lopez expands his brand across the US, one weekend at a time.

LOS ANGELES (April 5, 2018) – As the Cinco de Mayo countdown begins, Entrepreneur, Emmy® Award-winning host of nationally syndicated “Extra” and the nationally syndicated iHeartMedia radio show “On with Mario Lopez”, will bring a new kind of fiesta, “Cinco de Mario” to a city near you.  Cinco de Mario will feature authentic Mexican food and drinks, margaritas, micheladas, craft beers and more.  Lopez is known for his fun-filled, contagious energy and it’s no secret that he loves his Mexican heritage.

Lopez has partnered with Rick Phillips of RND events to launch Cinco de Mario nationwide. “Rick is the best in the business and I know with Rick, these events will be stellar,” says Lopez.

Rick’s Arizona Taco Festival was the first taco festival ever organized. Today, the event has grown into a two-day spectacle with over 40,000 people attending, and over 60 restaurants competing.  It also includes a wildly popular tequila expo that’s viewed by tequila companies as a premier collection of 100 top brands. Out of the gate, this was the most successful inaugural event ever produced in Scottsdale, AZ. “People love a fiesta and Mario knows how to party.”  Said Rick.

Lopez loves his heritage and continues to seek out authentic products to bring to the market place.  Most recently he joined forces with Oscar de La Hoya to bring Casa Mexico Tequila to the forefront.  Cinco de Mario represents the best Lopez has to offer.  “I’m all about working hard and playing hard.  If you know me, you know that good food, drinks, music, friends and family are what I have always been about.  I’m just bringing them together in one spectacular traveling event.”

The Cinco de Mario Tour

Starting in Scottsdale, where the Lopez-branded event debuts, Cinco de Mario will take Lopez’s team and his brand nationwide, stopping at select cities along the way.  Lopez adds, “We plan on expanding the brand across the nation, in places from Los Angeles, California to various cities throughout Ohio, Texas, Florida and more to start.  Now is the perfect time to showcase the positivity and glory of Mexican heritage throughout the U.S. and the world.”

Fiesta time!

Come get your feast on!  Cinco De Mario will have culinary offerings that range from food trucks to resort chefs dishing out tacos, tamales, and other gourmet Mexican fare.  Other features include an authentic Mexican Mercado, fabulous Mexican bands, Mariachi, Ceviche Bars and more.

www.cincodemario.com

Mario Lopez

Mario Lopez continues as host of “Extra,” the Emmy® Award-winning entertainment news program, for the show’s 24th season. This will be Lopez’s tenth consecutive season as the show’s host, after co-hosting “Extra’s” weekend edition since January 2007.

A man of many trades, Mario Lopez has the overwhelming desire to always keep active. Mario is the two-time Emmy-winning host of “Extra” a nationally syndicated daily entertainment show. Concurrently, Lopez is the host of the nationwide iHeartMedia radio shows “On with Mario Lopez” and “iHeartRadio Countdown with Mario Lopez.” Lopez has also launched a YouTube channel called “The Lopez Family.” Created alongside Awestruck, the channel features his wife Courtney, their two children, and their two dogs. He can currently be seen as the host of the new CBS live-action game show “Candy Crush,” based on the popular mobile game.

Not only does Lopez have a proclivity for the entertainment industry, he is also an avid sports fan. He has taken his love of sports, specifically boxing, to the next level as a host of the iHeartRadio podcast “The 3 Knockdown Rule,” which is also featured on the FOX Sports Radio website.

In September 2014, Lopez released his first autobiography, “Just Between Us.” In his memoir, Lopez shares his successes and disappointments, never before-told stories and family values. Lopez became a New York Times best-selling author with his healthy eating guide “Extra Lean.” In May 2011, he released the follow-up to “Extra Lean,” entitled “Extra Lean Family.” This new book featured recipes and tips beneficial to the entire family. Additionally, Lopez penned “Mario Lopez’s Knockout Fitness,” a best-selling fitness book that offers readers a look into his impressive workout regime; “Mud Tacos,” a vibrant children’s book he co-authored with his sister Marissa; and “Mario & Baby Gia,” a children’s book he wrote for his daughter Gia. “Mario & Baby Gia” is currently being developed into an animated series.

No stranger to rigorous routines, Lopez danced his way to the finals in the third season of ABC’s hit show “Dancing with the Stars.” Shortly after, in summer 2009, Lopez successfully completed his first run on Broadway, starring in the long-running hit musical “A Chorus Line” as the beloved character Zach.

Mario was named the Alumni Ambassador of Fitness by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA), joining the ranks of some 25 other prominent alumni, including Denzel Washington and former President Bill Clinton in the organization’s BE GREAT campaign. Via the campaign, Mario helps bring to light the major issues affecting today’s young people, including the importance of graduating from high school and maintaining a healthy lifestyle and the key role community-based organizations like BGCA play in the positive development of children.

Even with all his other ventures, Mario is still in love with acting. Lopez appeared as Dr. Mike Hamoui on eight episodes of F/X network’s popular show “Nip/Tuck,” Lopez’s run on the series bringing an instant and well-deserved cult following. He previously starred in the highest-rated program in ABC Family history, “Holiday in Handcuffs.” He also starred opposite Mark Consuelos in the made-for-TV movie “Husband for Hire,” the most-watched program ever on the Oxygen Network.

Mario currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife Courtney, their daughter Gia, and their son Dominic.

 

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NBC’s “Blindspot” Goes Global at NYCC

NBC’s hit show Blindspot returned this week for its third season. The second season finale certainly raised the stakes for this year by launching the story a full two years ahead, scattering the show’s main characters across the globe, and increasing the mysteries of the missing timeline. Not to mention a whole new set of glowing tattoos for main character Jane Doe (Jaimie Alexander) to unlock. In case you missed it, the premiere certainly rose to the challenge set down by that cliffhanger. Friday night’s “Back to the Grind” featured no less than a wedding, a knife fight and a boat chase through Venice while reintroducing Jane’s nemesis brother, Roman (Luke Mitchell).

I spoke to the show’s cast and creator recently at New York Comic Con about what to expect for this new season. If you head on over to the Media Mikes Facebook page you can check out the full video interviews (don’t forget to give us a “Like” while you’re there!)

For Jaimie Alexander, Jane Doe’s new set of tattoos were a complete surprise. “I get to the end of the script,” said Alexander, who hadn’t read ahead, “and I was like ‘What!? More? I have more?!'” As seen on “Back to the Grind” one new tattoo already had Tasha Zapata (Audrey Esparza) on edge, which is right in line with Roman’s schemes. “These tattoos are not only about Roman’s end goal…” said creator and executive producer, Martin Gero “but also exposing truths within the team.” Luke Mitchell was excited to take on the role of The Big Bad saying “it’s nerve-wracking and feels like a lot of responsibility.”

It’s not all about the big bad though, as Gero and crew emphasized the James Bond-like nature this new year is bringing. “The world is kind of a scary place right now and we could all use a little escape,” Gero said, “And the show–the show can be scary and serious at times, but it was really important for us this year to have a lot more fun. To bend towards more of a kind of Bond model. The show is very international this year. We shot a big part of the premiere in Italy and we’re shooting in Australia, in Barcelona, all over Africa. So like the show’s going to have a scope the likes of which you’ve never seen, I think, on a network television show before. But then on top of that it’s also just more fun. the show is a lot of fun this year. And we hope it’ll be kind of addictive and great.”

Adding to the fun is the return of fan favorite character Rich Dotcom (Ennis Esmer), who is now working on the good side, though annoying the team all the while. Esmer, who’d appeared twice last season says his return was “a complete surprise.” He joked “It still feels like someone made a mistake at some point.”

Blindspot airs Friday nights at 8pm on NBC

Full interviews are viewable on our Facebook page:
Jaimie Alexander & Luke Mitchell
Audrey Esparza & Ashley Johnson
Sullivan Stapleton & Rob Brown
Ennis Esmer & Martin Gero

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