interview

“THE APPROVAL MATRIX”: 5 Questions with Comedian Julie Klausner

“THE APPROVAL MATRIX”: 5 Questions with Comedian Julie Klausner

New York City-based author, podcaster, and comedy writer-performer Julie Klausner gives her advice to Millennials, admits her fear of James Franco’s genius, and knows exactly who she’d like to see uncensored.

Q: What social media platform encourages the most despicable lowbrow behavior and why?
 
A: Snapchat. Unless the kids have a new way of showing each other their private parts and I have yet to know about it. Put it away, Millennials!

Q: Which highbrow TV show had the most despicable jump-the-shark moment? What was it?
 
A: Oh, when Freddy, the “magical black man” character on House of Cards, got an offer for his rib shack to become a chain restaurant. That was the minute I gave up on House of Cards season two. Soon, they abandoned the Zoe death storyline, the deep web was forgotten except for that one guy’s guinea pig, and all that talk about a threeway was really just good old-fashioned gay sex that was commenced once Robin Wright gave her blessing. 
 
This is a tie with Homeland’s entire third season, with all the Brody torture and that time Carrie dipped out of a yoga class as a cover to act on behalf of Brody’s awful daughter. And then she gets caught at the end, and Javadi is like “You’re in good shape. Must be all that yoga.” MUST BE ALL THAT YOGA is not a thing a terrorist says!!!!! 
 
Q: Who is the most brilliant at reframing lowbrow behavior so it seems acceptable?

6 Questions with “THE APPROVAL MATRIX” Showrunner Rory Albanese

6 Questions with “THE APPROVAL MATRIX” Showrunner Rory Albanese

SundanceTV’s new series, inspired by New York magazine’s pop culture roundup, is premiering Mon., Aug. 11 at 11/10c. To prep, we spoke to showrunner Rory Albanese (The Daily Show) about “showbiz,” working with host Neal Brennan and how it feels to win an Emmy.

Q: How does THE APPROVAL MATRIX show expand on the original New York magazine back-page grid?

A: Mainly because the original version is in a magazine and this one is on the TV. Also, this version is hosted by the hysterically funny and super duper brilliant Neal Brennan, and I don’t use the term “super duper” lightly.

Q: What are you most excited about on the show?

A: I’m most excited about the field pieces that I was a correspondent in. Because this will without a doubt be my one-way ticket to super duper fame and a lifestyle equivalent to that of Leonardo DiCaprio. In fact after these shows air, I’m guessing Leo and I will become best friends and spend all of our free time on yachts covered in models. Thank you, SundanceTV, for turning my life into one of riches and b*tches. (Apparently I use the term “super duper” more than I realized).

Q: How did you meet host Neal Brennan? What makes you a good team?

6 Questions With “RECTIFY” Star Bruce McKinnon (Ted Talbot Sr.)

6 Questions With “RECTIFY” Star Bruce McKinnon (Ted Talbot Sr.)

Bruce McKinnon, who plays Ted Talbot Sr. on RECTIFY, discusses Southern culture and his life before acting.

Q: To what degree is southern culture a character in the show?

A: I think it needs top billing. [Laughs] that’s one thing that’s wonderful about doing shows on location. To try and replicate that in some artificial way or film it somewhere else, I think to a certain extent can take away from the depth of the show… Even our background actors who are local add such a depth to it and they have a sense of the movement of the South… But, yes, it’s high priority for our show. It’s just the pacing and the To Kill a Mockingbird flavor.

Q: Ted Sr. is something of a strong, silent type, a caretaker. How do you view your character? Do you relate to him at all?

6 Questions with “THE APPROVAL MATRIX” Host Neal Brennan

6 Questions with “THE APPROVAL MATRIX” Host Neal Brennan

The host of SundanceTV’s new series — inspired by New York magazine’s back page pop culture roundup — talks about some of the most surprising moments that happened during the shoot and his predilection for lowbrow brilliant news.

Q: What are you most excited about on the show?
A: I like all six episodes, but I’d say my little disagreement with Jon Stewart is interesting. Also, I told Willie Geist that he looks like a stock photo of a white person. So that was nice.

Q: How did you choose the topics that are featured on the episodes? Do you have a favorite?
A: Rory Albanese, Michael Hirschorn and I batted around a bunch. Ultimately, it’s what subjects could sustain a 45 minute discussion. My favorite [episode] is probably “America’s Hall Monitors” about the snitch culture pervading our glorious nation.

Q: How did you meet showrunner Rory Albanese? What makes you a good team?

6 Questions with “Rectify” Star Luke Kirby (Jon Stern)

6 Questions with “Rectify” Star Luke Kirby (Jon Stern)

Luke Kirby, who plays Jon Stern on RECTIFY, talks about the lawyer quote that helps him get into character and his foraging hobby.

Q: Jon’s job seems to be about managing personalities and playing politics as much as it is about knowing the law. Does that make the gig more fun for you?

A: Yeah, I have a kin for that kind of thing. I’m drawn to or intrigued by politics. I’m not the most litigious person, I didn’t study in law, but it’s very revealing and there’s a ton of stuff out there on this. It’s an ongoing education for me. I guess the things that stuck out immediately for me is the time and money that’s required to get anything done in the wheels of justice. There’s a lot of grease necessary to keep it in motion.

Q: Do you think you’d have to same resolve to see a case like Daniel’s through if you were in Jon Stern’s place?

6 Questions with “The Red Road” Star Tamara Tunie

6 Questions with “The Red Road” Star Tamara Tunie

Actress Tamara Tunie (THE RED ROAD’s Marie Van Der Veen) discusses her diverse heritage, nurturing the Lenape community and winning a Tony Award.

6 Questions with “RECTIFY” Star Jake Austin Walker (Jared Talbot)

6 Questions with “RECTIFY” Star Jake Austin Walker (Jared Talbot)

Jake Austin Walker, who plays Daniel’s spunky, sympathetic younger half-brother Jared Talbot, talks about the family dynamics on the show (and behind the scenes), his own experience with bullying and when we can hear his next single (he’s really good!).

Q: Jared’s fascination with his half-brother’s case is touching, but it also freaks out Daniel (Aden Young). Did you really have a file of information about the case that you studied?

A: Oh, yeah–on the day that Aden shot that scene, they asked me about the folder and what I wanted in it; it’s real. Jared researched it, like a comic book or a movie he just can’t get enough of. Personally I think he raided the basement of their house and got all the old newspaper clippings from the case that his mother had hidden to try to put the bad memories away.

Q: Does having siblings in real life help you tap into the dynamics with your half-siblings on Rectify?

6 questions with “RECTIFY” star Jayson Warner Smith (Wendall Jelks)

6 questions with “RECTIFY” star Jayson Warner Smith (Wendall Jelks)

Jayson Warner Smith, who plays Wendall Jelks on RECTIFY, talks about playing the bad guy and how he gets inside the mind of a sociopath.

6 Questions With “RECTIFY” Star Clayne Crawford (Ted Talbot Jr.)

6 Questions With “RECTIFY” Star Clayne Crawford (Ted Talbot Jr.)

Clayne Crawford, who plays Ted Talbot Jr. on RECTIFY, discusses his theory about how Ted and Tawney met, his directorial aspirations and life on his 50-acre farm.

Q: Some fans see Teddy as the bad guy on RECTIFY. How do you seem him?

A: I see Teddy as a guy who never really had a true family unit… knowing that he came into the Talbot family around 10 or 11 and was never truly accepted by his sister and had that looming cloud hanging over the family’s head with Daniel being incarcerated. And then my little brother Jared was born not too far after, so I think Teddy is a guy craving attention and love as a result of that experience.

Q: Teddy is very devoted to Tawney. What has the writer told you about their back story and how they met?

6 Questions with “THE RED ROAD” Star Zahn McClarnon

6 Questions with “THE RED ROAD” Star Zahn McClarnon

THE RED ROAD star Zahn McClarnon, who plays Phillip Kopus’ partner-in-crime Mike Parker, discusses his Native American heritage, racism and coming to terms with his own death (at the hands of Jason Momoa).

6 Questions With “RECTIFY” Star Adelaide Clemens (Tawney Talbot)

6 Questions With “RECTIFY” Star Adelaide Clemens (Tawney Talbot)

RECTIFY’s Adelaide Clemens (Tawney Talbot) talks about how she relates to Tawney and trusting people before judging them.

Q: Are there aspects of Tawney that personally you relate to?

A: There are so many traits of Tawney that are very similar [to me]. I think she had to think for herself a lot in her childhood and also find community. She grew up as a foster child, so the church is literally a source of stability and a community and something to latch onto. Just personally, from moving around a lot, wherever community is offered, I’ll take it.

Q: You’ve played characters with a darker side in movies like Generation Um… and The Great Gatsby. Has it been fun to play a less jaded character?

6 Questions with “RECTIFY” Star J.D. Evermore (Sheriff Carl Daggett)

6 Questions with “RECTIFY” Star J.D. Evermore (Sheriff Carl Daggett)

Charming and forthright, J.D. Evermore is not much like his reticent RECTIFY character, Sheriff Carl Daggett. But he does have a lot of interesting things to say about family, whether or not he thinks Daniel’s guilty (and of what) and a scene with Arnold Schwarzenegger he’ll never forget.

Q: Between takes, does the cast ever discuss whether they think Daniel (Aden Young) is actually guilty or not and if so, of what exactly?

A: I can’t speak for all the cast, but yes, it’s been brought up a couple of times. Most of us think that he’s probably guilty of something, we just don’t know what. I keep going back and forth. With one script, I think my character thinks he’s guilty and the next I think he thinks he’s not.

Q: You’ve played lawmen on shows ranging from Treme to True Detective–and of course on RECTIFY. If you weren’t an actor, any chance you’d be a cop?

6 Questions With “Rectify” Star Johnny Ray Gill (Kerwin)

6 Questions With “Rectify” Star Johnny Ray Gill (Kerwin)

Johnny Ray Gill, who plays Kerwin Whitman on RECTIFY, talks about his emotional scene with Aden Young, the challenges of shooting in a jail cell and tapping into your nerdy side.

Q: Kerwin and Daniel become close friends in prison. Is it weird when your costar is on the other side of a wall?

A: Yeah, it can be. You have a camera right up against your face and then you have a wall that’s right up next to you, so you really get an idea of how restrictive it is to live in one of these rooms and how few places there are to go. I almost found myself sectioning off the room, saying okay this is the living room, this is the dining room, this is where he reads his books, this is where he goes to recess and all these other things. But it can be claustrophobic until they move the walls and say “take five.” [Laughs]

Q: You were actually a very studious kid who grew up in Portland, Oregon. What did you do to tap into the mindset of a convict? What kind of research did you do to prepare for the role?

6 Questions With “Rectify” Star Abigail Spencer (Amantha Holden)

6 Questions With “Rectify” Star Abigail Spencer (Amantha Holden)

Abigail Spencer, who plays Amantha Holden on RECTIFY, talks about the key to her character’s style and working alongside co-star Aden Young (Daniel Holden).

Q: Amantha is a very unusual name. Do you know how Ray came up with it?

A: Ray and I have never spoken about this, which is so funny. But I heard through someone who heard that Ray has a friend who has a daughter named Amantha and the character is named after the daughter… And I was surprised, I was like Oh, a human is actually named this? Actually there was a version of the script in Season 2 that explains the name, but the scene got cut, so we will continue to ponder the origins.

Q: Amantha’s style on RECTIFY is adorable. Does Amantha’s style match your personal style at all? Is there anything from her wardrobe that you’d like to steal?

6 Questions with “Rectify” star Aden Young (Daniel Holden)

6 Questions with “Rectify” star Aden Young (Daniel Holden)

Aden Young, who plays Daniel Holden on RECTIFY, talks about the complexities of his character, the most unusual scene he shot in Season 1, his own teenage hobbies (hint: it’s not BMX riding), and working opposite Clayne Crawford (Ted Jr.).

Q: You grew up in Australia. Are there any similarities between Australian culture and Southern culture?

A: I was born in Canada and my father is from Missouri and my mother is from Australia and when I was about 9 we moved out to Australia. But there always was within me this mystery land where my father was from that I wanted to explore, and that was especially true when he passed away… it was perfect for me to come to play a Southerner in his home town, but a Southerner who has of course been locked away from that town for many years. So what was being revealed to me as an Australian was similar in the experience that Daniel might have had in coming out of prison.

Q: It must be a mixed bag getting recognized from the show. Do fans expect you to be as eccentric as Daniel?

6 Questions With RECTIFY Composer Gabriel Mann

6 Questions With RECTIFY Composer Gabriel Mann

RECTIFY composer Gabriel Mann discusses supporting a subtle story and working in different genres through other shows like Modern Family and Arrested Development.

Q: What does RECTIFY‘s score say about the show?

A: I hope that it’s actually not saying a whole lot. The characters in RECTIFY are so carefully drawn that my job really is to support what they’re saying, doing, viewing. I guess you could say that the music in general is about the overall feeling of Daniel’s situation, his emergence from prison and the starkness and the loneliness of that experience. I mean, the music’s not all stark and lonely. There are moments of levity and beauty. I hope the music is not telling us too much, rather than just supporting and reacting to the characters and the town and the family relationships.

Q: Say you’re composing for a specific scene. Do you work from the script, from a rough cut or something else?

6 Questions With Executive Producer Melissa Bernstein (“Rectify,” “Breaking Bad” and “Halt and Catch Fire”)

6 Questions With Executive Producer Melissa Bernstein (“Rectify,” “Breaking Bad” and “Halt and Catch Fire”)

Executive producer Melissa Bernstein discusses unconventional storytelling, connections between RECTIFY and Breaking Bad, and her latest project Halt and Catch Fire.

Q: How did you originally get involved with RECTIFY?

A: Mark Johnson, who I produce with, has known Ray McKinnon for years, and checked in with him periodically and got very lucky on timing. He checked in with Ray very shortly after he’d finished writing the pilot for RECTIFY on spec. And Ray agreed to share said pilot with Mark, who shared it with me that same evening. We read it within 24 hours and immediately fell in love with it. It was just so specific and beautifully written, and it was really in a setting that was so fresh and unique. We asked Ray if we could produce it and developed it for a year or so at AMC. And AMC ultimately had a different mandate at the time, so we just kept pushing and pushing and found a home at Sundance, where it belonged!

Q: Has this ten-episode season been more or less challenging than doing six episodes last year?

“The Writers’ Room” Interview: Greg Nicotero, The Man Behind “The Walking Dead” Webisodes

“The Writers’ Room” Interview: Greg Nicotero, The Man Behind “The Walking Dead” Webisodes

For the last few years, Greg Nicotero — The Walking Dead Executive Producer and Special Effects Make-up Designer — has extended AMC’s hit series online with The Walking Dead webisodes. For this digital spin-off, he’s contributed not only his sizable talents as a director and zombifier but also as a story maker. The latest web series, “The Oath,” was recently named a Webby honoree for Drama: Individual Short or Episode and Best Writing. Since THE WRITERS’ ROOM spoke with Robert Kirkman on-air Fri., Aug. 27, we thought we’d follow up online with Nicotero today.

“The Writers’ Room” Interview: “Smallville” creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar

“The Writers’ Room” Interview: “Smallville” creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar

Smallville creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar discuss their writing approach, the controversial departures they made from the Superman comics and the impact of Christopher Reeve.

Q: You guys have worked together a long time. How did you discover your mutual love for Superman?

AG: We were actually approached by Warner Bros. Television where we had an overall deal. We didn’t approach Smallville as comic book geeks since neither of us had ever read a Superman comic. Rather, we came at it as outsiders who wanted to make a show for the fans and the uninitiated alike.

MM: My first real exposure to Superman was Richard Donner’s movie in 1979. We have since worked with Donner on Lethal Weapon 4, but I remember thinking the movie was kind of boring. However, I really loved Superman II. I had the poster for Superman IV: The Quest For Peace on my bedroom wall when I was a kid — but I’m not sure that is a good thing.

Q: Smallville stirred up a lot of controversy with hardcore comic book fans devoted to the original. How did you guys deal with that?

AG: Like all writers — we tried to avoid it as much as possible! We stopped reading Ain’t it Cool News where we were being burned in effigy everyday, and didn’t go to the San Diego Comic-Con until Season 2.

MM: Listening to fan boys is tiring, frustrating and ultimately futile. Smallville began at the dawn of the fan-forum era — we used to scan the posts to get a sense of the general feeling, but that’s it. If we did course-correct a storyline it would be because the fans’ sentiment mirrored our own. The truth is the so-called “hardcore fans” will find fault with anything and everything. We had no interest in following the established mythology of the D.C. universe or aligning our timeline with theirs.

“The Writers’ Room”: 5 Questions with TV Guide’s Michael Schneider

“The Writers’ Room”: 5 Questions with TV Guide’s Michael Schneider

Los Angeles Bureau Chief of TV Guide Magazine Michael Schneider discusses The Walking Dead‘s success, the legacy of Smallville and the gap between TV and movie comic book adaptations.

Q: What’s the biggest surprise that Robert Kirkman brought to the zombie genre with The Walking Dead?

A: That it could be done as an ongoing TV show. Many have tried, but no one has been able to figure out how to bring such humanity to the genre on television. That’s a credit to Kirkman, as well as Frank Darabont, Glen Mazzara, Scott Gimple, Gale Anne Hurd, Greg Nicotero and everyone else involved.

Q: Do you think the series has pushed the envelope in terms of makeup and F/X on TV?

A: That’s a testament to Greg Nicotero, the special effects master who has created such a distinctive look and world. Greg’s zombies are icky, dripping, messy monsters that are a visual treat to see. And then can’t unsee.

6 Questions with Mark Wilding of “Scandal”

6 Questions with Mark Wilding of “Scandal”

Mark Wilding, executive producer and writer on Scandal, dishes on the hardest scenes to cut, the characters he misses and his all-time favorite Olivia Pope lines.

5 Questions with “The Red Road” Star Tom Sizemore

5 Questions with “The Red Road” Star Tom Sizemore

Actor Tom Sizemore (THE RED ROAD’s Jack Kopus) talks about what makes his character unique as well as some of the actors and directors that he’s worked with over his storied career.

5 Questions with “THE RED ROAD” star Martin Henderson

5 Questions with “THE RED ROAD” star Martin Henderson

Listed as the #1 new show to check out this season (IMDB), THE RED ROAD is ‘riveting’ (Playboy). In anticipation of the premiere, SundanceTV sat down with THE RED ROAD’s all-star cast for deeper look at the actors, the characters, and the tension that drives the series. The SundanceTV original series THE RED ROAD premieres tonight at 9PM

Sundance: Aaron Paul on Why He’ll Never Be the Next Tom Cruise and Resurrecting Jesse Pinkman for AMC

Sundance: Aaron Paul on Why He’ll Never Be the Next Tom Cruise and Resurrecting Jesse Pinkman for AMC

Aaron Paul is not Jesse Pinkman. Thanks to five trailblazing seasons on Breaking Bad, it’s damn near impossible not to think of Paul as anyone else. But as he stressed to Indiewire in Park City, the deeply troubled Pinkman is his “opposite.” The same goes for the alcoholic father he plays in Kat Candler’s scorching directorial debut, HELLION, which premiered in competition here at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival late last week.

Elisabeth Moss on Her First True Sundance Experience and Saying Goodbye to ‘Mad Men’

Elisabeth Moss on Her First True Sundance Experience and Saying Goodbye to ‘Mad Men’

Only three weeks into 2014, Elisabeth Moss has already won a Golden Globe for TOP OF THE LAKE, world premiered two films at the Sundance Film Festival, and shot some scenes for the upcoming final season of Mad Men. Talk about a great way to kick off the new year.