A Chat with Diedrich Bader and Parvesh Cheena (“Outsourced”)

The publicity train for “Outsourced” keeps rolling on, and I have no problem catching it whenever I have the option to do so. Even though I’d already talked to Diedrich Bader and Parvesh Cheena during the Winter 2011 TCA Press Tour, I hadn’t talked to them together, so when NBC offered them up as part of the satellite tour for the show, I said, “Sign me up.” Now, granted, I thought I was going to be getting a video clip of their side of the conversation, and I didn’t, which is kind of a bummer, but the guys’ ability to ad-lib and bounce off each other is in great evidence here, so I’m still glad I took the time to chat with them again.

Diedrich Bader and Parvesh Cheena: Hi, Will!

Bullz-Eye: Hey, guys , how’s it going?

DB: (Suspiciously) Say, didn’t I just talk to you the other night?

PC: (Laughs) Good to talk to you again!

BE: Well, you guys are making your 10:30 PM debut with an episode filled with Bollywood dance numbers, singing, guitar playing…the perfect opening salvo for the new timeslot.

DB: Absolutely. We’re entering with a bang. And a sitar.

PC: And a tabla, too!

BE: So, now, was this huge episode by design, or was it already in the works before you got word of the move?

PC: Well, I had a little bit of creative input, and it was very nice, because I said, “Anisha can kind of sing, and her character’s so quiet, anyway, so we might as well give her a little bit of something to do.” But primarily it was more for me to showcase my t-shirt making ability for my fans. The Guptees. Our album will be dropping later this spring, by the way. It’s called Hey, Hey, We’re the Guptees.

DB: By the way, none of this is true. He just made up all of that.

PC: No, no, no.

DB: Uh, yeah. (Laughs) We were going to do a big musical episode, and we kind of wanted to start off the new timeslot with a splash, and…you’ll see what a deep bench we have, talent-wise, because Anisha can really sing, and Parv…does what he does.

PC: He’s just a little sore because I did not use any of his original choreography.

DB: (Growling) Yeah.

PC: I decided to go with Fred Tallaksen, who is a big choreographer here in LA. He choreographed two of Madonna’s tours.

DB: (Sarcastically) Oooooooh, Madonna! Who’s Madonna?

PC: (Dismissively) All right, Diedrich, sorry she’s not Lady Gaga…

BE: So there are worse places to be than following “30 Rock.” Are you guys pleased to be part of NBC’s great 3-hour comedy experiment?

PC: Yeah, it’s going to be awesome: comedy night done right all night.

DB: (In awe) That’s so good!

PC: Thank you. I came up with that, too, so it’s nice to know that I’m gaining a little bit more traction in marketing and branding.

DB: Oh, yeah, he’s very good at that. He’s like Madonna.

PC: Lady Gaga, I thought, was your favorite. You can’t have both.

DB: No, that’s true. But they’re basically the same person.

PC: No, Diedrich. No, they are not.

BE: Diedrich, your fellow cast members seem to have been mildly surprised to discover what a consummate professional you are. Have you always taken your comedy seriously?

DB: No. I don’t take it seriously at all, and I think that’s very helpful. I don’t learn my lines or know any of the cast members’ names. Or anyone, really. I just come in and I do what I do, which is offend everyone as much as I possibly can. And then I leave after I’ve slapped most of the cast.

PC: He’s called me many different names.

DB: Who are you, anyway?

PC: On set, he’s called me Parvaish, Gupta, Bara, Rajel, and a bunch of others.

DB: And sometimes I just say, “Hey, you, get me a cup of coffee.”

PC: And I do.

DB: Yeah. He does.

PC: Because I was taught to respect my elders.

DB: (Bursts out laughing)

BE: Parvesh, Rizwan Manji said that you once took a video of the inside of his nose. Do you have directorial aspirations or just an odd nasal fetish?

PC: No, actually, I do have… (Takes a deep breath) Being a director is one aspect that I’m very good at. I do also do, like, the crevices of the human body. In between the toes is going to be my next visual. For all of those who like feet, I’ll be video-taping Rebecca (Hazlewood’s) and Anisha (Nagarajan’s) toes. So that is a definite niche market.

DB: Oh, yeah. ‘Cause it’s Anisha.

PC: (Bursts out laughing) It’s the niche of Anisha!

BE: Speaking of Anisha, she’s of the belief that Gupta has been slapped by just about every character on the show. What do you think it is about him that brings out physical violence in others?

PC: You know, I like to think of it as a mirror that’s held up to everybody. Gupta really just wants you to be the best, and sometimes people aren’t ready for it.

DB: This is something that the writers took from real life. We like to beat up Parv as much as we possibly can. I was just chasing him around a little earlier, before the interview started. I didn’t catch him, so I’m hoping that when we cut I can catch him and just slap him around. It’s kind of a thing: the writers pay attention to our real lives. That’s what’s exciting about the show.

PC: Apparently, it’s something like, “If you catch him, you get to slap him around a couple of times.”

DB: That’s right. It’s kind of a game. Now, the crew’s taken it on, because, you know, we love our crew, so they’ve started to beat up Parv, too.

PC: But it’s also helping me, because I was 225 pounds before.

DB: He’s lost a lot of weight. A whole other Parv, basically.

PC: It’s true. I’m down to 210. So something’s working.

DB: It’s really exciting. For all of us. Although he is faster now. But, you know, we’ve all lost weight. We’re all coming down together.

PC: I’d like to think that the fat has converted to muscle. It’s all right here in my thighs.

DB: Right. (A beat) You can think that.

BE: Lastly, what can we expect from the rest of the season? Or at least for the next couple of episodes, anyway?

PC: Oh, you have a big episode.

DB: I have a big episode coming up where Charlie finds out that Tanya and Todd are dating, and it breaks his heart. And he kills somebody.

PC: So I’d like to start saying my goodbyes to everyone. It’s been really fun being on national television.

DB: Oh, way to let it out of the bag. I guess you’ve got the scoop, Will: we kill Gupta.

PC: Yes, but since this is India, I am reincarnated the next episode. And, you know, we don’t lose a beat.

DB: He’s like a phoenix. He rises from the ashes again and again and again.

PC: Yes. (A beat) Actually, I like to think of myself as a cat.

DB: Of course you do.

  

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30 Rock’s Katrina Bowden talks Season Five

You’d be hard pressed to find a hotter woman on TV than Katrina Bowden. As 30 Rock‘s gorgeous Cerie, she’s constantly juxtaposed against the sloppy, food-crazed Liz Lemon as the epitome of young, New York beauty.

Katrina stopped by the AXE Lounge this past weekend to talk about Season Five and give a little bit of dating advice. Check out the video below.

  

A Chat with Isabella Rossellini

Let us not mince words: Isabella Rossellini is one of the most beautiful actresses in the business. This should come as no surprise to anyone who knows of her gene pool (she’s Ingrid Bergman’s daughter), but given that she seems to pop up all too infrequently in films and on television, perhaps a few more directors and directors need to be reminded. Fortunately for you and I, Rossellini can be found amongst the cast of the “The Phantom,” SyFy’s attempt to reinvigorate the franchise of the character often referred to as “The Ghost Who Walks,” which premieres on June 20th. This appearance was particularly fortunate for me, as it presented me with the opportunity to chat with Rossellini about her work not only in this production but also in “Blue Velvet,” “Friends,” “Alias,” “30 Rock,” and her infamous Sundance Channel short-film series, “Green Porno.”

Prepare for your heart to go pitter-pat as you read…

Isabella Rossellini: Hi!

Bullz-Eye: Hello! How are you?

IR: I’m fine, thanks. And you?

BE: I’m wonderful. It’s a pleasure to speak with you.

IR: It’s nice to talk to you. Thank you for interviewing me!

BE: (Laughs) Not a problem! Well, “The Phantom” is certainly not your first foray into the world of science fiction, but are you actually a fan of the genre?

IR: I’m not really a fan of the genre. You know, I do see some films, but I must say I don’t go see them religiously. I love working with the producer, Robert Halmi, with whom I’ve done several films, so when Halmi called me to play this small role in “The Phantom,” I had no hesitation. I’ve been with him for five or six productions in the last 25 years, among which are “Merlin,” “The Odyssey,” and “Don Quixote,” and they’ve always been wonderful. They’ve always been… (Hesitates) It’s been great to work with the group, he has a fantastic eye, and every time he hires a director, it’s always somebody young who…well, he just has an eye. He hires them, and they turn out to be fantastic and, a few years later, they’re top directors. That’s how it has been with Paulo (Barzman), the director of “The Phantom.” So the reason why I said “yes” to this small part was because of this history that I had with Bob Halmi, and…I was surprised, actually. I had a doubt. For me, the Phantom was so much that image that I had from the 1930s, and he kept on saying, “No, no, it has nothing to do with that. It’s not trying to be retro.” And that image of the original comic strip was so strong that I was amazed, actually, when I arrived and had seen how they had transformed it to be a contemporary, modern film.

BE: So what are the challenges of playing a part like this? Because I’d think it would be a challenge to play a live-action comic book character without taking it over the top.

IR: Well, actually, you know, to tell you the truth, there were no challenges. At the beginning, you search a little bit for the look, especially when you play a small part. Every beat counts, you know. Sometimes when you have the lead, if you think it, you maybe play a part too seriously. You think, “Maybe I should smile,” and you have other possibilities later in the film to add a smile or to add some softness to your character, for shading. But when you play a small role, in a way, you have to hit every note correctly, so I think that the way she looked also was very important. When I was told that they wanted me to be a blonde…because they told me on the phone: I live in New York, but the film was shot in Montreal…I said, “Oh, blonde, it wouldn’t work with me. I’ve tried it several times, but I can’t go with it. My hair is brown. I can become easily black-haired. I can even become red-haired. But blonde has never worked with me.” But when I arrived, inevitably, there were all these blonde wigs, so I said, “Okay, I’ll show you what I mean.” And, instead, it worked perfectly, because the character should be totally artificial. I had these metallic clothes that always tended to be on the silver side, so, actually, the look of this evil person was helped a lot…it helped me to imagine the character. But the challenge is not the words. It’s so much fun that I’m always amazed that I even get paid for it. (Laughs)

Read the rest of this entry »

  

Okay, “30 Rock” fans, get ready for Cerie to speak her mind…

If you’re a “30 Rock” fan, then you’re probably familiar with Liz Lemon’s gorgeous assistant, Cerie, played by the equally gorgeous Katrina Bowden. No one would ever claim that Cerie has a brilliant mind, but she’s a shining example of the female form, and the way that form fits into her tight, skimpy wardrobe is…it’s, uh…

Wait, where was I?

Sorry, I started thinking about Cerie’s wardrobe, and my train of thought kind of jumped the track for a minute there. But as you can see from Cherie’s first video blog (or “vlog,” if you will), which we’re proud to offer you exclusively here at Bullz-Eye, it’s clear that she has that kind of effect on pretty much everybody.

Oh, what the heck: let’s offer up another one, shall we? This time, Cerie tackles a bit of viewer mail. My God, this woman is a national treasure…

  

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