Tiya Sircar Talks ‘Miss India America’ (Interview)

Miss India America ran through the festival circuit last year and garnered three awards and one nomination. The film has now become available to the public in a limited theatrical release beginning on 24 March 2016 and then will be on VoD from 5 April this year. In anticipation of the film’s open at Santa Monica tonight the star of Miss India America, Tiya Sircar took a few moments to speak with Mike’s Film Talk (MFT).

Miss India America (from left to right): Hannah Simone, Tiya Sircar and Contestant #5 - SAG Actor: Rima RajanMiss India America ran through the festival circuit last year and garnered three awards and one nomination. The film has now become available to the public in a limited theatrical release beginning on  24 March 2016 and then will be on VoD from 5 April this year. In anticipation of the film’s open at Santa Monica tonight the star of Miss India America, Tiya Sircar took a few moments to speak with Mike’s Film Talk (MFT).

Tiya is currently working on the Disney/ABC animated televisions series Star Wars Rebels where she voices the character of Sabine Wren. Sircar is also in  pre-production for Dumb Prince a TV movie for NBC. The busy actress has been working since 2005 and has over 39 credits for her accomplishments that are split between film,  television and the video games industry.

MFT: First off, thank you for talking to Mike’s Film Talk and congratulations on winning the VC FilmFest best actress in a narrative feature award for your portrayal of Lily Prasad in Miss India America.

Tiya: Thank you!

MFT: I have to tell you, I watched the film last night and really enjoyed it. Very entertaining and it made me laugh quite a lot.

Tiya: I’m glad you liked it!

MFT: So the film is opening tonight in Santa Monica, outside the festival circuit for the first time. How excited are you about that?

Tiya: I’m very excited. For the last year we’ve been taking it around to the various film festivals which has been thrilling and  being able to share it with film fest audiences was great. But to finally have it open in theatres and be able to reach an even wider audience via VoD and streaming on Hulu and iTunes is even more exciting. You know people who don’t do festivals have been asking “when can we see the movie” and I didn’t have a good answer. Now, finally I do and I’m really grateful and happy that I’ll be able to share the film with folks all over the place.

MFT: Is the premiere tonight be a red carpet affair and if so what, or more accurately who, will you be wearing?

Tiya: I believe it will be the whole thing.  We’ll have some press and the red carpet, so yeah.  Regarding what I’ll be wearing…Good question. I haven’t had time to think too much about it as we wrapped on the show I’ve been working on (Star Wars Rebels) very late last night. But, I will probably be wearing a designer that I love, Anna Sui .

MFT: That’s brilliant. I wanted to congratulate you also on pulling off the teen look so effortlessly. I was shocked find you were not the same age as Lili!

Tiya: Thanks! I guess I should thank my parents for that. 

MFT: So what drew you to the project?

Tiya: I read the script early on and Ravi and Meera (the writers and director of the film) worked with me on another show and they played my parents. That was in the nascent stages of the script and they had a “table read” and I read the part of Lily and immediately felt a connection to the character and I just knew that if the film ever got made that I had to play this role. 

There was something about Lily that I felt drawn to and familiar with and I felt such an intimacy with her that I knew if the film ever got made I was going to fight tooth and nail to get that part. Luckily I didn’t have to do that. But I was ready!

MFT: I now have to ask if you really identified with this young lady who was completely addicted to winning.

Tiya: Yeah, you know I wasn’t Lily growing up, but there are aspects of Lily that I can definitely relate to. I mean I do sort of have a “type A” personality and I like to win. I like to be good at things I try my hand at and when I’m not, I find it very frustrating. But unlike Lily I’d like to think I’m a little more “well rounded”and hopefully my interpersonal skills are a little better than Lily’s.

And I’m sure my parents would have liked me to be a little more like her; studios and going on to be a brain surgeon.  But there were definitely parts of me that I could see in Lily. I could see parts of me but I could also see parts of my older sister, you know that “first child, model child” growing up thing. So I really felt familiar with her even though I was not her. 

MFT: I read in an interview from last year, while the film was in the festival circuit, that you’d never actually heard of the Miss India America pageant.  So how did you research for the role?

Tiya: Yes that’s right, it was news to me.  I guess because while growing up I had no interest in beauty pageants. But even if I had been, I’m sure my mother would not have allowed me to be in one…thankfully. It is funny though, I didn’t have to research the role because as foreign as the concept of Miss India America was to me, it was even more so to Lily. (Laughing) It made my job a little easier.

Stitchers Season Two Interview: Jeff Schechter

Last, but definitely not least, the last of the Stitchers season two interviews is here. Jeff Schechter executive producer and creator of the series was able to take time to speak about the next season. Jeff and Mike’s Film Talk have been talking for some time, there was an interview last year and further, very short, conversations via DM.

JEFF SCHECHTER

Last, but definitely not least, the last of the Stitchers season two interviews is here. Jeff Schechter executive producer and creator of the series was able to take time to speak about the next season. Jeff and Mike’s Film Talk have  been talking for some time, there was an interview last year and further, very short,  conversations via DM.

It is fitting that Jeff was the last person interviewed on “the day” as he is the chap who drives the vehicle that is Stitchers and able to talk about, and confirm, what the cast were saying. One thing he agreed with was the phrase that the series this year was Stitchers 2.0. He also revealed a few things that we cannot talk about too much, to keep from heading into Spoiler City, and a few others that can be.

(sidenote) The first episode of Stitchers season two is called…drum roll please…2.0.

We also talked a little about the Halloween special,  candy corn and Cameron and Kirsten’s “relationship.”

MFT: After talking to everyone on the set, they have all declared that this is an amped up version of the show and that thinks were darker. More intense. Was this an arc you planned all along?

Jeff:  Yes. The whole idea all along was to sort of ease ourselves into the lives of these characters and as we move forward kind of progress them emotionally.  You talk a lot about season one being the creation of family? If you look at all the characters…

MFT: Yes…

Jeff: You know Cameron, we don’t know anything about his dad, although we do learn a huge thing about his dad this season, but last season we’ve got his mom who doesn’t even recognize his voice over the phone. So you know there’s a story there.

MFT: Yes.

Jeff: Then obviously Kirsten has her issues, Camille left the trailer park around the age of 16 and raised herself. We have Maggie who, we learn in episode eight, has an estranged son who may or may not even want to talk to her over the phone. She’s not even sure if he’s listening to the message on the phone. Fisher is  divorced…

MFT: Right.

Jeff: And you have Linus who, even though he has the most stable family, has a little tension with his parents between their kind of life an his wanting to branch out on his own. So season one took all the orphans, basically, and forced them to become a family. 

Now  we have season two and it’s “Okay, now that we have a family how do we deal with each other.”  Like family is messy so there’s a lot of coming together and drifting apart and learning other people’s feelings and learning how to be supportive even though it may not be what you want. But it’s something that is good for a family member.

So there is a lot of that and it is that understanding that sort of forces the stories forward. But it’s not a overly mature turn as the stories are still fun.Everything we liked about “Stitchers” season one is all still there; all the interplay, the banter, it’s the relationship stuff but all taken to the next  level. It really is like Stitchers 2.0.

MFT: Right.

Jeff: The cases are bigger, the stakes are…stake-ier (laughs) beefier (laughs again). Everything is an amped up version of the stuff we liked and hopefully whatever was not working as well as we’d liked in season one is fixed up.  

MFT: We’re not going to lose the pop culture references are we?

Jeff: No, no there will still be  a bunch of them in there. We actually start getting self-referential this season. There is a scene where they are talking to the bad guy and he makes a pop culture  reference to Kirsten who has the person on the speaker phone. The reference is about Star Trek Voyager series and Kirsten goes “I have no idea what you’re talking about and Cameron, who is on the couch nearby goes, (whispering) “I do.”

MFT: (Laughs)

Jeff: So we’re having fun with all that.

MFT: I know I’ve mentioned this several times and to members of the cast, but my favorite was the Buckeroo Banzai line. Although I had to look it up! After finding it  I was like, this is now my favorite program.

Jeff: Okay, I have a “Mike’s Film Talk challenge.” Episode six, before the first stitch Cameron does this huge pop culture reference so you have to figure it out…

MFT: Okay,  I’ll figure it out! Now I have to ask you. No one else may know but you will.  I mentioned it in my review but no-one came back to say yay or nay. So I have to ask. When Cameron goes off on that candy corn rant was that a reference to the Amanda Stenberg rant on corn rows?

Jeff: It was not.

MFT: NO? I just knew that’s what it was.

Jeff: Nope. That episode was written by Lynne Litt and Eric Tuchman and I think it’s Lynne who just cannot stand candy corn. I remember when I read it I was like, “Ooh, somebody doesn’t like candy corn!”  (aside) “Lynne if you ever read this, I apologize if I got this wrong.” 

MFT: Okay I was reaching too far on that one. I saw John Billingsley (Star Trek: Enterprise, True Blood) today and got really excited. Is he going to be a recurring character this season.

Jeff: Yes he  pops comes in around episode two or three and he’s in the hierarchy  in the NSA, he’s above  Leslie Turner.

MFT: What is his role going to be?

Jeff: Well now our are older and more mature they need a firmer hand than Turner.

MFT: I had decided that Turner was a baddy from day one. As the show went on I kind of wavered on that. I remember that Damon said the character answered  everything so ambiguously that it was difficult to know where he stood.

Jeff: I think initially we were going to have Turner always tell the truth, or at least not lie, about things he was asked. That was the intent but, I think, we had a hard time sustaining that trait.  It did work for quite some time, in episode five (in season one) he does answer every question put to him about Marta.

Stitchers Season 2 Interviews Part 2: Kyle Harris, Ritesh Rajan & Damon Dayoub

The second of the Stitchers interview articles is all about the fellas. The season two conversation with Kyle Harris, who came in first to “tell all” and then Ritesh Rajan.

KYLE HARRIS

The second of the Stitchers interview articles is all about the fellas.  The season two conversation with Kyle Harris, who came in first to “tell all” and then Ritesh Rajan. Ritesh actually segued in-between Salli Richardson-Whitfield and finally  Damon Dayoub; who was right before Allison Scagliotti.  All three chaps were friendly, accommodating, and forthcoming with a lot of information.

All of the men in the show are attractive as well as charming.  It is easy to see why they have a legion of fans, both female and, I dare say, male.  As with the ladies, these performers dropped by between takes and rehearsals and, as mentioned in the first interview, even though this was the season finale being filmed; all were happy to have a chat.

It is rather interesting to note that many of the cast mentioned that the second season was going to be an “amped up” version of season one, and  creator/executive producerJeff Schechter mentioned it, all referred to this new season as the “2.0” of Stitchers. This was more than idle talk here, because  if one heads over to IMDb, the title of the first episode of season two is…drumroll please…2.0.

First up was Kyle Harris, aka Cameron Goodkin, whom we last saw motionless, presumed dead, in the season one finale. There very fact that Kyle was there filming and talking to me made it seem a certainty that Cameron has not shuffled off his mortal coil.

(It should be mentioned that since the January interview Freeform has aired a  sneak peek of the season two premiere and Cameron is not dead after all. Whew.)

MFT: Well, you obviously didn’t die in the season one finale.

Kyle: (Laughs)

MFT: So here you are…At the finale already.

Kyle: Yeah, feels super fast…

MFT: So what has this season been like for you?

Kyle: The season has been, and the overall tone; following the pre-season brief was that we wanted to mature the character along with the show. I think that has been underlined throughout. I think the production value, the quality of the characters, the cases are even more mature and the relationships are more mature as well.

Everyone’s going to find out who they are this season, whether it be in the lab or outside of the lab and I think that’s what you can expect for season two, that all the characters you fell in love with in season one are now growing up a little bit. They are also growing up outside of the lab and taking that a little more seriously.

MFT: In terms of characters it was a bit of a mishmash at the end of the first season. Linus was upset because he felt he’d been overlooked by his BFF…

Kyle: Right…Exactly.

MFT: So the “bromance” between you guys was a bit rocky.

Kyle: We do mend things though. I think that what happened in the season one finale kind of makes us all realize that we’re nothing without each other. So we take that into consideration and the upset in stride and move forward. That whole thing gives Cameron a whole new lease on life and he is now, kind of, the official leader of the Stitchers program in the eyes of his peers as he put his life on the line for this.

That maturity reveals more layers of Cameron and he takes his relationship with Kirsten more seriously, whether with or without her, making  decisions on that front,  and in regards to his stance on the program taking more leadership and just stepping up to the plate a little more. As opposed to taking a back seat to Kirsten which he did in the first season. 

MFT:One of the really good things to come out of the season one finale, when Kirsten was in your “freshly dead” brain, was the connection between you two that started when you were both children. Is that going to be expanded on this season?

Kyle: Yes that will definitely play out as a touch and go kind of secret between me and Kirsten as to whether or not she wants to let me know what she saw. And it does get to a point where Cameron kind of knows that this might be what she saw and whether or not she wants to admit it. He does kind of bring it to the forecourt and places the ball in her court like, “Now that you know, what do you want to do about it.”

MFT: In terms of finding your character, how hard was it to find that place. I love your character, although I adore Camille, Allison’s character, as she seems to predict what is going to happen in the episode, but your character does these really fantastic references to films and so on just before going into the stitch. How hard is that for you to remember?

Kyle: I mean for me it’s funny. Jeff [Schechter] and I have this joke because growing up, I spent a lot of my time outside and not too much time inside watching all these things so I don’t know a lot of these references and have them shown to me on YouTube. So I know what I’ve been saying, I’ve done my homework, but I’ve not seen the movie; only the clip.  So I think the main focus, for us, is to make these character ‘s relatable in this completely un-relatable world. 

MFT: Yes:

Kyle: I mean whether  or not the people are invested in the case or the characters, we have to make sure they can believe in both sides of the story. 

Ken Jeong Exclusive Interview: Dr. Ken, Dicky Wexler and a Career High

KEN JEONG (WRITER/EXECUTIVE PRODUCER)

Ken Jeong took time out of his extremely busy day, Ken actually called me from the editing bay of Dr. Ken, and spoke with Mike’s Film Talk about his start in the entertainment business, Dr. Ken, and why Dicky Wexler’s Last Show is an episode he counts as a career high. We also spoke about his stint as stand-up comedian, his fellow cast members,  the show finale, Randall Park and Jamie Foxx.

Ken Jeong has amassed a gross of screen credits on both the small screen and the larger cinema screen. He got his start in 1997 on television but the real beginning was while attending pre-med courses at Duke University. He took an acting class where he caught the bug instantly. Ken realized that he loved acting.

So much so, in fact, that he auditioned for the acting school at Duke. He was accepted and then had to contemplate switching majors.

Ken: “So in reality my love for acting began over 25 years ago way before my career in medicine ever got started. I did continue with medicine and developed a passion for it. My wife is a doctor; she still practices, and it is a big part of my life. In a way, Dr. Ken is a culmination of areas of my life.”

After making the hard decision to keep studying medicine, Ken never got over the lure of performing and started doing stand-up comedy throughout his remaining educational time and while doing his medical residency.

It was, Ken says, a logical choice.

Ken found that his natural gift for comedic acting transferred well to the arena of stand-up and he won a contest where the prize was a “golden ticket” to perform at the world famous Improve Club in Los Angeles. The rest, as the saying goes, is history.

Before talking about Dr. Ken, and Ken’s favorite episode Dicky Wexler’s Last Show, we talked about his passion for performing.

Mike’s Film Talk (MFT): Looking at your bio and the various interviews you’ve done in the past, it looks like stand-up comedy is your first love.

Ken: Well…I’ve got to say that acting is my first love. Although going right back childhood, my first love was for academics and then acting, without any inkling of performing either ability, or even ambition.

MFT: Oh.

Ken: What happened was I really wanted to do theatre when I was in college. When I got fortunate enough to be accepted to medical school, I had to stop the acting school and finish what I’d started medically, or pre-medically. Then once I started in medical school I still had this desire to perform, but I had no idea what to do. So I thought, ‘why not give stand-up a try.’ Because I’d always excelled at ‘comedy’ acting and this is kind of a manifestation of that.

MFT: Right.

Ken: And Stand-up became like a great hobby. You could go to an “open mic” event once or twice a month and just let off some steam. I really viewed it as my hobby while in med school and during my residency and it was not anything I was trying to do professionally. But it just so happened I could do it well enough to do it professionally, and one thing led to another. Winning the contest to go to LA and perform at the Improv in Hollywood and that got my foot in the door in LA.

MFT: The move to stand-up makes a certain amount of sense. Once you have experienced the immediacy of feedback from a live theatre audience, nothing else really fulfills that experience, so the switch over to stand-up sounds like a brilliant replacement.

Ken: Oh yes, the immediacy of the audience feedback doing is hard to describe if you’ve never experienced. But, yes there is a high, a performance high, that get out of doing that. It is funny though, while I was doing it, I had opportunities to go on the road and open for high profile comedians but I opted not to.

MFT: Why not?

Ken: Well as much as I love stand-up, and a lot of my friends are in stand-up as well; I really love acting and wanted to do ‘proper’ acting. This is what prompted me to book a part in “Knocked Up” and later Hangover. I truly love acting more than stand-up but I really enjoyed my time while doing stand-up. There is a lot of grey involved there, it’s not black or white situation as in “Oh I like this, I don’t like this.”

MFT: I know looking at the bio it seemed that comedy had been your starting point, like Steve Martin or Robin Williams, and that you’d gravitated over to acting but actually the reverse is true.

Ken: Yeah the reverse is true. It was more like theatre acting, stand-up and then acting. But to your point; like in the Dicky Wexler episode, there is an affinity for stand-up comedy with my character and that will culminate in the season finale where stand-up will be involved.

MFT: Oh brilliant!

Ken: Oh yeah, it goes there. And it will be a point where Ken will try his hand at stand-up comedy. There is a lot of “art imitating life” so I’m glad you feel that way after reading my filmography and credits and also following the show because what you said…although in my “exact” life I had a more nuanced experience than that, but in the universe of the show, Ken’s love for stand-up is real and genuine.

And I don’t think it’s coincidence that in an episode like “Kevin O’Connell” that he was doing stand-up for the HMO banquet…Which is also based on a true story. At the physicians HMO banquet every year I would do stand up comedy and that pertained to that.

MFT: Oh that’s brilliant! I was going to mention that early on in the series, in one of my reviews, I called Dr. Ken “the Woody Woodpecker” of medicine in that he said and did things no one else would dare to and was quite unapologetic about it. He was Ken Park, doctor, and he was going to do things his way.

Ken: Exactly. He doesn’t have  a filter he’s not sensitive or self aware and  I think that’s the big difference in our characters. In the life of Dr. Ken, he overreacts but has no self awareness, but in real life I overreact but I’m painfully self-aware. I’m a very sensitive guy and I really do care what other people think.

MFT: Which is all part of being an actor…

Ken: Yeah, that is part and parcel of being an actor, absolutely.

MFT: I was going to ask, just for a laugh, who you’d rather go to..obviously you wouldn’t want to go to Dr. Park.

Ken: Yeah, that’s because as a physician, in real life as a doctor I tried not to be funny with my patients. I never really liked doing that. It is funny that when people meet me they are very surprised at how low-key I am and how seriously I took medicine. That was what I wanted to do growing up so I  took that seriously. 

MFT: Yes.

Ken: I’ve said in interviews before that I never jerked around patients like Patch Adams. I never went around saying, “Aw you got herpes, but I got your nose! Honk! Honk!” 

MFT: (Laughing) Which would probably result in a lawsuit these days.

Ken: (laughs)

MFT: I’ve watched “Dicky Wexler’s Last Show” twice now. Now I have to say, my two favorite episodes so far have been “Ken at the Concert” and “Dicky’s Last Show” and both for the same reason. They each made me laugh and cry a little. Now I’m a soppy old git and I’ve cried at Scooby Doo before…

Ken: (laughing)

MFT: And the odd commercial. But these episodes  each contained the perfect blend of comedy and that little touch of pathos, or poignancy. In the concert episode, Ken is trying so hard do connect with his little girl who’s outgrowing his sphere of fatherly influence and at the concert he realizes,  in the parent lounge,  that the other parents have given up and Ken decides he’s going to “rescue” his relationship with Molly.

Stitchers Interviews: Emma Ishta, Allison Scagliotti, Salli Richardson-Whitfield

This is the first of the Stitchers Interviews. As in all things chivalrous it will be ladies first, blame my mother, followed by the fellas and then capped off with the creator/executive producer.

SALLI RICHARDSON-WHITFIELD
This is the first of the Stitchers Interviews. As in all things chivalrous it will be ladies first, blame my mother, followed by the fellas and then capped off with the creator/executive producer.  Certainly the world is, overall, consumed with all things Oscars at the moment. Leonardo finally getting  a little golden guy, Mad Max taking six for the Aussie contingent and Brie Larson winning, quite deservedly, for her film, Room.

Still, Stitchers fans must be curious as to what transpired “on the day” so here is the first of three. These busy people took time from shooting the second season finale (Do not ask;  I saw very little and can only tell you that John Billingsley is awesome in terms of energy, focus and professionalism, as are the rest of the cast.) to speak with Mike’s Film Talk and they were all informative and fun.

The very nature of the beast had the regulars, and Billingsley, shooting the same scene repeatedly, for angle changes, reactions shots, et al. All the while each performer, and the dedicated crew, took breaks from the action and either, like Allison texted someone and watched the set mechanics from the viewing room, or spoke with Mike’s Film Talk, aka, moi, or disappeared to one of the nooks and crannies to either rehearse or shoot the breeze.

In the all purpose conference room, where the interviews took place, the order of actors actually had Kyle Harris as first in the queue.  However, since it is ladies first, Salli Richardson-Whitfield followed on the heels of Harris so she gets to go first.

MFT: “Hello I’m Michael Knox-Smith, nice to meet you.”

Salli: “Hi, nice to meet you!”

MFT: “I’ll start by telling you what I’ve told all the other cast members I’ve met so far, you look exactly the same off screen as on.

Salli: “Why thank you, although a lot of times people are disappointed. Plus you didn’t see what we looked like when we got here, before hair and  makeup!”

MFT:  “Just to let you know, I’ve been a fan since episode two and I have to tell you; I distrusted your character through the entire first season!”

Salli: (laughing) “Good then.  Good.”

MFT: “Before we carry on. Did I see your husband out there?”

Salli: Just now? Oh no, he’s not here now, but…my husband does guest-star this season on one of the episodes. I’m not sure I can say what he does, but he will be on the show. We try to appear on one another’s shows where and when we can. (For the record, Salli’s husband is Dondré Whitfield who will be playing a character called Sam Lewis in season two.)

MFT: Most of the season you could be seen as a bit of a baddy in the group but then, things began to change. Your character has access to a lot of secrets so  I’ll ask pointblank, is Kristen’s mother still alive?

Salli: “We think she may be.” 

MFT: “Okay…Obviously, your character was very  connected  with not only Kirsten’s father,  stepfather and her mother. Rather than being the “bad guy” of the piece your character is  more of a protector. Is that right?

Salli: I think that’s who Maggie is. I think that what you saw in the first, and more in the second season, is that things are never cut and dried, good or bad. Like getting a new president sometimes things are dirty. Sometimes you have to do things that are contrary to what are as a person or how you do your job. So there are times when you mistrust Maggie because of the things that she has to do.  She is an agent, but…Maggie, on the whole has the lab and the kids that she loves and she wants to protect them, while trying to keep her job. 

MFT: “That definitely came across towards the end of the first season.  How much has Maggie changed this season? Is she still on the same track?”

Salli: I believe she is. Although Maggie’s been given  more power this season and I’ve given out more power to them so they can do the things they need to do. So  I think we’re all just growing in the roles we fill in the show. 

MFT: So what do we see this season, more of the “big bad?”

Salli: Let me see, it’s all starting to become a blur. Well, we do learn more secrets this season.  For example we see some people who “should” be right, not be right. There are also some definite twists that we have to figure out.  And it looks so much better. The show looks great; darker, edgier and more interesting as well as more “filmy.” 

MFT: “Brilliant! Leaving Maggie and Stitchers aside for the moment, do you guys, as in the cast, get to “schmooze” around much away from the set?”

Salli: “Not a lot because, you know, I have children. I think they hang out a lot more than I’m able to. I have two under 12s but we all had dinner the other day and had a great time getting to hang out. We all like each other which is great. I’m sure you heard, on the set, when we’re stuck in the “stitch” area, it’s a long day. It’s better if we can get along. 

MFT: “I was amazed at how small it actually is compared to what it looks like on television.”

Salli: “It can make for a long day. I know I never seem to have a lot of dialogue in the stitch thing and  suddenly there is like two pages and it’s like ‘what did she say?’ (laughs) So it gets a little silly and you should have fun.” 

MFT: “Everyone was having a laugh as we came in this morning and that’s always a good sign. I’ve been on sets before where no one was laughing.

Salli: “Yes that is generally a sign that something’s wrong, luckily we all get along.”

MFT: How long did it take you to work out where you needed to be as your character? Did it take awhile, or did you step into Maggie’s shoes pretty much knowing where you wanted to go?

Salli: “I’d like to tell you that it took me a really long time to get there but, I do this kind of role a lot.  For instance, my last series was “Eureka” and that was, pretty much, the same kind of role. Although in that show you knew pretty much where I was coming from, I was a good heart. In “Stitchers”  I’m a bit more stern and you don’t necessarily know where I’m coming from.  But it’s still; agent, spy, head of government scientific kind of thing so it’s a role I fall into pretty easily.

MFT: “Do you like playing roles in this type of genre, Sci-fi/fantasy?”

Salli: Well it seems to like me. I enjoy it although I don’t like the dialogue sometimes. It can be very hard for me so I have to work a little harder. But I do like the genre, I am a sci-fi kinda girl and a Marvel girl, I like those kind of shows. So it works well for me. 

MFT: “It’s the season finale you’re all working on today. I guess the big question is whether or not we learn even more about where your character stands in the verse in terms of good or bad?

Salli: “Oh definitely. I believe that by the time this season ends you’ll have a very clear idea of who I’m working with and my intentions with the kids. This is a good one for surprises, like ‘uh-oh sh*t! What’s happening now?’ I’m really happy with it as it is a very well written season finale. 

At the end of the interview, we talked about the pop culture references. I mentioned that I had congratulated Kyle Harris on who well he delivered these.  I was very impressed at the Buckeroo Banzai reference. (Kyle admitted that he had to look up the vast majority of these in his interview.) Salli explained that many of the “kids’ had to do the same.

Salli: For instance, one set of references were from The Archie Digest and I was “wow that was my cartoon book! Most of the kids know a few but Kyle doesn’t know a lot of the most significant ones, (that you should know as an actor) so we’ve made a list of films that he needs to watch!

After remarking about the attractiveness of the cast, which many critics took umbrage to at the start of season one, Salli graciously allowed me to take a “selfie” with her and thus endeth her portion of the interview, but not before assuring her that her character did not look old enough to be playing “mum” to all those youngsters.

IMG_3822 SALLI RICHARDSON-WHITFIELD
Salli Richardson-Whitfield