The Light from the TV Shows: A Chat with Leah Gibson (“Rogue”)

Leah Gibson may not have a deep background in American television, but she’s breaking into the field in a big way as one of the stars of DirecTV’s first original series, “Rogue.” Bullz-Eye chatted with Gibson during the January 2013 Television Critics Association press tour, where we got some details about the show, including how she found her way into her character, as well as her reflection on being a part, albeit a small one, of the “Twilight” franchise.

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Bullz-Eye: So how are you enjoying “Rogue”?

Leah Gibson: It’s great! I’ve never done anything on this scale before. I’m from the west coast of Canada, so I’ve lived in Vancouver for the last five or six years and worked on different TV shows…guest stars, recurrings, whatever…and had some small roles in some big features, like “Twilight” and “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” But being a part of this show feels very different. It’s a very wonderfully written series that’s been an absolute joy to be a part of. The characters are very in-depth, and the intricacies between their relationships are just a joy to explore from script to script. Being a part of it has felt very much like being part of a 10-hour film, in a way, and I certainly have never seen anything of the like in Vancouver while I’ve been there. So being the token “foreigner” with all these Brits… [Laughs.] It’s been a whole different vibe on set and everything than I’ve been used to!

BE: Can you talk a bit about your character, Cathy Laszlo?

LG: Yes! Cathy Laszlo is…I’m the devoted wife to a hot-headed gangster, Alec Laszlo (Joshua Sasse), who’s the eldest son of Jimmy (Marton Csokas), who’s basically a crimelord. The Laszlos in general are a very infamous crime family, and my husband is very sort of… [Hesitates.] A lot of muscle, not so much brain. He often creates a mess for others to clean up, and my character sort of represents his foundation, his support network, the thought behind his action. I come to influence him in taking advantage of certain opportunities and claiming the status that goes along with those things at what turns out to be at a very high cost to our family.

BE: How much of the character was already on the page when you came to the role, and how much were you able to bring to her? Were there any aspects that were added?

LG: That’s an interesting question. You know, I went through a handful of auditions before I was booked on this job, and initially the sides for my character were sort of…I could tell that there was more being alluded to than was on the page, and as an actor with limited knowledge of where the show is going to go, you don’t want to make any really solid choices and, y’know, sort of make the wrong decision. I heard at some point that I was no longer being considered for the role, but then I got a phone call saying they’d like me for a chemistry reading with Joshua. So I went in and met Josh, and we did our thing, and we workshopped a couple of scenes with Nick Hamm, the executive producer, and…it was only then that I started to realize where they were really going with Cathy.

And then I showed up on set and, really, to be honest, I was very much informed by the wardrobe, the hair, and the makeup. It was a total transformation for this character. I’d never physically played a role like this before, so it was kind of a joy to embrace the character in a physical sense and be informed by the wardrobe, and the specific choices about the hair and makeup. She’s decked out to the nines, long nails, long, big hair, heavy makeup. I’m, like, “Okay, I get it.” So I would step onto set and just feel a different energy. And I had a few comments from…y’know, I’d worked with some of the crew members before on various different productions in Vancouver, and they’re, like, “Oh, my God, I didn’t even recognize you!” So it’s such a joy to play something like that, and to really physically feel it that way.

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5 Questions with Anna Kendrick of “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”

It’s likely you were first captivated by her Oscar-nominated performance in 2009′s “Up in the Air,” but that doesn’t mean the widely acclaimed comedy was Anna Kendrick’s first go-round in the world of big time performance. Ms. Kendrick, who is also a very fine singer, had been one of the youngest Tony nominees of all time when she was recognized for her work in a Broadway revival of “High Society” at age 12. Her first major film role was nevertheless four years away with another award-nominated musical appearance in the indie fave, “Camp.”

A few more years of hard work would land the young actress a leading role in the mostly well-regarded coming of age comedy “Rocket Science” and a recurring part in the pop culture behemoth we call “The Twilight Saga.” Still, it was only when Anna Kendrick wound up stealing scenes from George Clooney and Vera Farmiga that she became one of Hollywood’s hotter faces to look out for. She also earned the attention of geeks around the world with her role as Michael Cera‘s acerbic yet gorgeous younger sister in “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”; her reported romance with director and uber-film nerd Edgar Wright (“Shaun of the Dead“) probably did no harm to her already impressive and growing dweeb appeal. The 20-something actress’s most recent non-”Twilight” major film appearance was as a romantically conflicted therapist in the cancer comedy, “50/50.”

Purportedly inspired by the self-help bestseller of the same name, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” features Kendrick as a food truck proprietor whose fling with a high school flame (Chace Crawford) results in a surprise pregnancy. She was busily promoting the film when we caught up with Ms. Kendrick at the Los Angeles Four Seasons one Cinco de Mayo afternoon. There, she proved herself to be up to the 5 questions challenge, giving succinct answers to our slightly longish questions.

1. You play a professional chef in the movie. Do you cook in real life, and what was the most important thing you learned about food preparation while making the film?

I cannot cook. I bake a bit, but I cannot cook to save my life. We had to take lessons for this. [The most crucial thing I learned in them was] that you have to hold your hand like a claw and not lay it flat, so you don’t cut off your fingernails — like I did.

2. “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” is part of the ever-growing subgenre of interlocking story movies that includes everything from Robert Altman’s “Nashville” to Garry Marshall’s “Valentine’s Day.” What’s your favorite multi-story movie?

Now that you mention “Nashville,” I actually do love that movie. But as far as the modern version of that genre, I actually really love “Love Actually” — but “Nashville” is really great and I loved [Paul Thomas Anderson's] “Magnolia.” That was one of those movies that, when I was a teenager, [I thought to myself], “Movies can be like this? This is great!”

3. You’re probably best known to the public for your really outstanding performance in “Up in the Air.” I was just watching the scene where you kind of break down, and you’re very funny. I was wondering what you think is the secret to comic crying, as opposed to sad crying? I’ll dedicate this question to Mary Tyler Moore.

I like to talk through the funny cry. That makes it sort of easier, but I’m a pretty ugly crier, so that makes it kind of easy also.

4. Let’s talk about your singing roles. What was it like being a 12-year-old Tony nominee? And what about being 16-years-old and making your first movie, “Camp” and blowing everyone away with your version of Stephen Sondheim’s “The Ladies Who Lunch”?

It was obviously incredibly exciting, but I think it’s probably good I didn’t fully understand what a big deal the Tonys were at that age. I think my little 12-year-old brain would have exploded. It was just exciting. I was just happy to be invited to a party really.

["Camp"] was such a magical thing to make. It was everyone’s first film. Now, everyone says, “Making a film feels like summer camp,” but [during] that film we were living at that summer camp. We had no contact with the outside world. There were no cell phones, no computers, no TVs. So, it was just us and the film crew living in this place. It was a very intense and fun [thing] to do with a bunch of teenage non-actors.

5. There’s a clip online of you promoting “50/50″ with your co-stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen and discussing how women tend get asked different questions from the press than men do. You get asked about health and beauty stuff, your workouts, etc. What is the most embarrassing or just plain stupid question you’ve gotten and how did you answer it?

In relation to ["What to Expect When You're Expecting"], somebody asked me if I would be prepared for a one-night stand. I was like, “I don’t even know how to get out of this question in a joking way. That is so wrong and weird.”

  

A Chat with Stuart Paul, creator of DC / WildStorm’s “Ides of Blood”

Fact: real men read comics.

I’m sure some would still try to argue this point, but in a world where it seems like just about every comic-inspired movie finds itself atop the box office on its week of release, it’s hard to pretend that comics are strictly the domain of the geeks and the nerds. (Would that this transition could’ve occurred when I was still in high school.)

As such, Bullz-Eye is going to try to tackle more stories from the medium…and when I was sent a copy of “Ides of Blood,” a new series from DC / WildStorm which is – at least according to the press release – not entirely unlike a blend of “True Blood” and “Rome,” it certainly seemed like something that our readership might be interested in learning more about.

God bless DC’s publicity department: they quickly put me in touch with series creator Stuart Paul, who gladly answered a few questions for us about his own introduction to comic books, the origins of “Ides of Blood,” his semi-controversial decision to have characters in ancient Rome use modern colloquialisms, which of DC’s stable of superheroes he’d like to take a shot at writing, and much much more.

Since I’ve seen the phrase “new to comic books” used in conjunction with your history of writing for the medium, what’s your personal background with comics? And don’t be shy: if your memory stretches back that far, feel free to offer up the very first comic you remember buying.

My childhood experience with comics was pretty limited. Other than reading the occasional issue of Moon Knight or X-Men at my friend’s house, the only comics I personally bought were “Star Trek” comics—mostly “Next Generation” and some of the original crew that took place in the post-”Wrath of Khan” time period. It wasn’t until college that my girlfriend reintroduced me to comics through Sandman. Once I realized there were comics for adults out there, I started reading them more and more. Initially, I stuck with the superstars—Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, Brian K. Vaughan, Garth Ennis. I was kind of a Vertigo whore at first. I guess I still kind of am, but not as much. I have to hear a lot of good buzz about something before I’ll invest in a whole series like Walking Dead, but I’ve definitely branched out. Once I discovered Urasawa’s Pluto, I started getting into manga more. Right now, I’ve got 20th Century Boys, Basilisk and Lone Wolf and Cub to read. I also went through a period of reading a lot of DC superheroes. Jeph Loeb’s Batman stuff is my favorite. Sometimes I’ll still read X-Men, but it’s pretty rare for me to read superheroes these days. My favorite series right now is probably Okko. I think Archaia is doing some of the most creative and well-made comics today. Also, Chew is the only series I read on a monthly basis. Everything else is TPB’s, although the iPad is kind of changing that.

There’s been much talk about how fans of both “True Blood” and “Rome” will find much to enjoy in Ides of Blood. Is that combination what led to the concept for this series? If not, what were its origins, and how do you feel about those points of comparison?

No, neither show existed when I originally came up with the idea and wrote the first draft. I mean, I don’t have a problem with people using those as points of reference. It’s an effective shorthand, but it’s the type of thing you’d bring up in a Hollywood pitch meeting. The problem is that you don’t necessarily know what connotations those shows have for the reader and also, they’re such current references that it makes the comic sound like it’s just trying to exploit the zeitgeist. I mean, if you said it’s “Gladiator” meets… well, actually, “Dracula” might have too much baggage attached to the name, so I guess “True Blood” probably is a good descriptor. The point is, I don’t mind the comparison, but I do think it has as much potential to put-off readers as it does to draw them in. Anyway, the concept for the series came out of boredom. I don’t really like vampires, so it started as a challenge to myself to figure out what I’d have to do to make vampires interesting to me. Julius Caesar just popped into my head.

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Five minutes with Ashley Greene

Someone asked us if we’d like to talk with “Twlight” clairvoyant bloodsucker Ashley Greene about the lucky person (who, as it turned out, was a woman) who was granted permission to take two 12-hour days painting skinsuits on her naked body. First, we took a look at the pictures.

Then we said, “Okay.” Or maybe we said “Okay” first, we’re not exactly sure, since both happened within nanoseconds of each other. It’s hard to get too in-depth with someone in five minutes, especially given the structure of the call, but hey: five minutes with Ashley Greene is five minutes with Ashley Greene. Most red-blooded men would hand over their mortal souls for such an honor.

To see Bullz-Eye’s video chat with Ashley Greene, along with some more lovely photos, click here.

  

Even sexy vampires need a little sun

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Nothing comes between Ashley Greene and her SoBe. Nothing….zero! And to prove it, “The Twilight Saga” actress is celebrating the launch of SoBe Lifewater’s newest zero calorie flavors – Cherimoya Punch and Strawberry Dragonfruit – by posing in SoBe skinsuits for Sports Illustrated’s iconic swimsuit issue. The new spread appears exclusively in the eagerly-anticipated 2010 edition that hits newsstands Wednesday, February 10th, but we have your official first look at the actress’ sexy photo shoot.

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