Ashleeeybash: Fall TV 2015 ‘Report Card’

So excited to do this video yet… So not prepared on how long it would be. Should have figured. There are SO many new Fall TV shows so I give my opinion on which one is”YAS you should watch” or “NAW ditch this show ASAP.” Are there any shows I SHOULD be watching that I haven’t mentioned? Let me know down below!

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Grace Gealey shares the inside scoop on ‘Empire’!

Terrence Howard and Grace Gealey in EMPIRE (Image Credit: Chuck Hodes/FOX)

Terrence Howard and Grace Gealey in EMPIRE (Image Credit: Chuck Hodes/FOX)

Grace Gealey plays Annika Gibbons in the hit series Empire on Fox. We caught up with Gealey to talk about her role in Empire, what it’s like working on the show and we also get a little personal with this Caymanian actress. Continue reading

An Exclusive Interview with ‘Gracepoint’ Star Alisen Down!

Alisen Down (Image Courtesy of Alisen Down)

Alisen Down (Image Courtesy of Alisen Down)

When a small town gets hit with a huge, unexpected tragedy, it really makes you second guess everyone and everything. At least, that’s what happens in FOX’s new show Gracepoint. The mini-series, adapted from the British version Broadchurch, attempts to give it the American twist.

In the midst of all the chaos happening within the city, it’s Alisen Down’s character Kathy Eaton who is in the center of all the heat as the newspaper editor for the city of Gracepoint.

The Daily Quirk had the opportunity to talk to Down about her character on Gracepoint, the amazing project she has lined up and her not-so-secret fascination with doilies!

The Daily Quirk: Can you tell me a bit about how your role as Kathy Eaton on Gracepoint came about?

Alisen Down: I got an audition for Kathy. I did the audition in my dining room in-between my son’s sleeping schedule and my husband recorded me. The producers came back and they said, ‘We loved your audition but you’re too young and too pretty’ which is never a bad thing. They said, ‘We need to age you up for it. Will you cut your hair and put gray in it?’ Originally we were trying to get me to look much older but they put me squarely into my older 40s. Obviously, I said yes. Then I think a day or two later I was on a plane.

TDQ: That was really fast!

AD: [laughs] Yeah, it all came about very, very quickly.

TDQ: What attracted you to the role?

AD: I felt like I understood her. Sometimes it takes a little longer to get to the mind and the heart of a character and sometimes it happens right away. I felt like I understood Kathy. I understood sort of where she was coming from. Once I got the role and got more scripts, I just grew to love her. She’s a very intelligent, kind woman. She’s a very, very good reporter. She’s kind of the voice of Gracepoint in a way because she is the editor of the local newspaper and she takes it very, very seriously.

TDQ: For our readers who don’t know about Gracepoint. Can you tell us a little bit about the show in general?

AD: Gracepoint is the American adaption of Broadchurch, which is a show out of England that did extraordinarily well. It was a massive hit; a really well done show. If you haven’t seen it, definitely give it a watch. It’s about a small, idyllic town that is shattered when a young boy is discovered dead and it’s who the boy is that it becomes a homicide investigation that really rips the town apart. It makes everybody question everybody else. Essentially, everybody becomes a suspect.

TDQ: Are there any distinct differences between Gracepoint and Broadchurch?

AD: Yes. Broadchurch did eight episodes and we did 10. It will diverge and the ending will be different as well. Obviously, David Tennant is the same but all the other characters are played by different people. The wonderfully talented Anna Gunn, Jacki Weaver, Nick Nolte, Kevin Zegers and Jessica Lucas and everybody else. I’m younger despite sort of an aging thing. I’m a bit younger than my character was in Broadchurch. It’s inspired by Broadchurch but there will be differences for sure.

TDQ: What do you think will surprise fans of Broadchurch most about Gracepoint?

AD: I think they’re going to be surprised about how good it is. When you really, really love something and then somebody comes along and remakes it, it’s a little nerve-racking because you’re like, ‘Well, why? Why would you remake it?’ But, I think fans of Broadchurch will be pleasantly surprised by how good Gracepoint is and how well the producers, creators, writers and actors dealt with the subject matter.

TDQ: I saw the trailer for Gracepoint and it got me right away!

AD: [laughs] Well, good! It’s a good show. I’m very proud of it. Everybody knew while we were shooting and everybody was aware that we were a part of something really special. I think it’s going to be a really wonderful piece of television.

TDQ: It sounds like Kathy will be right in the middle of the action. Can you tell us how it was working in the middle of everything?

AD: I got to work with some pretty talented actors. That was really fantastic. Working with David [Tennant] and Anna [Gunn], it was sort of like taking free acting lessons. A lot of people come in and out of the Journal so it was great. I was so privileged to be part of something, in my opinion, as really quite brilliant as Gracepoint.

TDQ: Is working on a mini-series event like Gracepoint different than working on a traditional serialized show?

AD: No, it all kind of works the same. I think there’s just more of a question whether or not it would go into a Season 2 or not. Broadchurch is currently filming a Season 2.

TDQ: Hopefully that works for Gracepoint as well!

AD: That’s the hope. It’s being advertised as an event but I think there is hope that, like Broadchurch, it would do well enough that it can turn into a series.

TDQ: I’m hoping for that.

AD: Yeah, I think we all are. [laughs]

TDQ: Do you have any other upcoming projects you can tell our readers about?

AD: I just shot an episode of 12 Monkeys which is very cool. That show has got a lot of excitement surrounding it so that was quite exciting. I’m just starting to research and work on a documentary actually with a producer. I’m just going to sort of assist him. It’s called Save Lucy about the elephant in Edmonton Zoo. The lone elephant there that many think should go to a sanctuary instead of being by herself in a zoo. It’s his project as producer. I got really excited about it and said, ‘Can I offer some assistance?’ He said sure. I’m starting to do some research and see how we kind of move forward with it.

TDQ: That seems really interesting.

AD: I really want to do a documentary about elephants in Africa on the poaching crisis. This producer and I happened to start talking. He said, ‘What are your documentary aspirations?’ and I said, ‘Well, the elephants in Africa.’ He said, ‘You should check out my website.’ What a great way to get involved with the elephants so I offered my assistance. I’m going to be doing a lot of research on that; seeing how we can kind of keep moving forward and try and get Lucy to a sanctuary.

TDQ: I’ve heard of the poaching of elephants and it’s really horrific. It’s really sad to hear.

AD: It is. We always talk about, “Oh, it’s a crisis.” This is an actual crisis for elephants. They’re disappearing at a rate, I think, 96 per day. Often times if they’re shot with a poison arrow, it takes them days and days. Then often times their faces are hacked off before they’re even dead. It is awful. A lot of it is to fuel the ivory trade mostly coming out of China so there are a few celebrities in China that are really trying to campaign this and get the word out because a lot of people don’t understand where their ivory comes from. Ivory carving is such a long-standing tradition there as well. It’s quite a battle. The ivory trade fuels terrorists groups in Africa so it seems to be this sort of war that we can’t really win because there’s so much money involved in ivory. One day I’d like to get over there and give it more attention. But, for now, I’ll concentrate on Lucy.

TDQ: This is a step! I’m really glad you’re taking part in this.

AD: [laughs] Oh, thanks! Me too. I just want to make a difference in the world and I feel like it’s a good way. And any kind of celebrity that I could have or attain, I would love to use it to make a difference. I’m a big fan of Leonardo DiCaprio for that reason. Obviously, I’m no where near his celebrity. [laughs] But, he uses his celebrity to really make a difference. Same with Angelina Jolie and all these people. I think that’s the right way to go. It adds humanity back into the industry.

Alisen Down in GRACEPOINT (Image Credit: FOX)

Alisen Down in GRACEPOINT (Image Credit: FOX)

TDQ: How do you like to spend your time when you’re not busy working?

AD: I mostly spend it with my son. He’s two. He’s actually going to start daycare full-time shortly so I’m not sure what I’m going to do with my time! When I’m not working or anything, I’m taking care of him. I’m so used to having him around. I’ll definitely spend more time being able to do the appropriate research. I also want to – this sounds crazy – but I just want to cook. I want to be able to cook some good meals for everybody. There’s generally not a lot of time to do that but once he’s in daycare full-time, I can start getting meals together again. And any writing and anything I’d like to [do] because I’d like to branch out into all that stuff. So, I’m sure I’ll be extremely productive. I’m just not quite sure with what yet. [laughs]

TDQ: You’ll have time to figure that out soon enough.

AD: [laughs] Yeah, yeah. That’s for sure.

TDQ: What’s one quirky thing about you fans would be surprised to find out?

AD: Well, I was talking with my husband about this. I really like doilies.

TDQ: Really?

AD: Yeah, nobody will let me have them out though because I get made fun of. If I got a vase or something, I’d like to put a doily down! I think it looks very pretty but nobody agrees with me so I’m not allowed to decorate with them.

TDQ: What attracted you to doilies?

AD: Well, I always had them growing up because I guess my grandmother had them or my mom always had them so I just thought that that was normal. But, one of my roommates in my 20s, she was like, ‘Oh, no. This is not normal.’ [laughs] That was the start of my doily decline. I always thought they looked very pretty like the knitted ones that were always at your grandma’s house. I can’t decorate. Maybe when I’m older I can pull them back out. That’s one quirky thing that you wouldn’t really guess.

The Daily Quirk would like to thank Alisen Down for taking the time chat! To find out more about Down, you can follow her on Twitter or ‘Like’ her on Facebook. Don’t forget to watch Down play Kathy Eaton on Gracepoint Thursdays on FOX. I know I’ll be watching!

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THE SOUND OF MUSIC: LIVE (Image Credit: NBC)

Ways to Improve the Live Television Musical

THE SOUND OF MUSIC: LIVE (Image Credit: NBC)

THE SOUND OF MUSIC: LIVE (Image Credit: NBC)

The Tony Awards make it seem that a live broadcast of a musical is doable and that the magic of an on-stage performance can easily translate through to the small screen. However, NBC proved that isn’t quite so. Continue reading

This fall, take a trip to ‘Sleepy Hollow’

Katia Winters, Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie and Orlando Jones in SLEEPY HOLLOW (Image Credit: Michael Lavine/FOX)

Katia Winters, Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie and Orlando Jones in SLEEPY HOLLOW (Image Credit: Michael Lavine/FOX)

FOX has a new show coming this fall and it involves a headless horseman and a man named Ichabod Crane. Yes, you heard correctly. The network has put together a show based on the classic tale by Washington Irvine, Sleepy Hollow, though this time around there’s time travel involved. Continue reading

Will you be following Fox’s new serial killer drama ‘The Following’?

The Follwing (Image Credit: Michael Lavine/FOX)

The Follwing (Image Credit: Michael Lavine/FOX)

For the most part, I like my dramas dark, anxiety inducing, and with a touch of sci-fi/fantasy. It looks like Fox’s new series, The Following, is going to be plenty dark and foreboding, and to that I say two out of three ain’t bad. The show’s creator, Kevin Williamson, is the same mind behind The Vampire Diaries and the Scream franchise (both guilty pleasures of mine that mix moody and scary with a touch of humor in the best way). Kevin Bacon stars as “Ryan Hardy,”  a damaged former FBI agent asked to come back and consult when an infamous serial killer he helped put away, “Joe Carroll” played by James Purefoy, escapes from death row. Continue reading