Interview: Gavin DeGraw Talks Sweeter Album And Jokes About His Pre-Show Rituals

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Gavin DeGraw’s new album Sweeter came out in September and it has been on constant repeat ever since. The musician who many were introduced to with “I Don’t Want To Be” showcases memorable hits on this new album and I recently got the chance to talk with him about it. For those who loved “We Belong Together” and “Follow Through,” you will without a doubt love Sweeter. The beginning of “Radiation,” “Candy” and overall sound of “Sweeter” and “Soldier” are just a few of the songs that you won’t be able to stop listening to.

During our talk Gavin detailed on his collaboration with OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, his favorite songs, his writing process and Gavin also poked fun at himself for his pre-ritual shows. Or maybe I did, but either way it just makes you love the guy even more. So check out the scoop here. He caught me off guard at first asking what songs of his I was listening to at the time (failed to mention I also love his cover of “Jealous Guy”) but diehard fans out there are sure to enjoy what else he had to say. After all, he’s “Ready for round two!”

Your new album Sweeter came out in September. How’s the tour been going?

GAVIN DEGRAW: Touring has been great. We’ve done quite a bunch of shows since about July. Now since of course it’s November there’s a lot of holiday type shows and Christmas shows. And a lot of cool type celebrity show events that Ryan Tedder did and Mary J. Blige.

That’s awesome. You’re going overseas in February right?

Yeah. We’re actually going to go overseas in January to do some promo. And then February after we get started will be the tour.

How is it touring overseas compared to the states?

Well, I love to travel. [Laughs] I’m at the point where I think I’m going to have to develop my own thing where I can just live on the road verse just going on vacation. We’re going to need more drawers and compartments. I spend a lot of time finding clothes that look good but having the underwear at the bottom of the bag. [Laughs] I’m like, “Oh, I’m going to wear a shirt but it’s pretty well wrinkled now.”

[Laughs] Do you have any rituals before you head on to stage?

No, we haven’t done any of those in awhile…But in all honesty there really isn’t a pre-show thing. I’m not much of a pre-show ritual guy. I like to do two things. I’ll have a cough drop before I go onto stage. [Laughs] It’s very Rock and Roll.

Sounds it. [Laughs]

Yeah! I drink tea, a cough drop, a couple of dirty jokes. [Laughs] And then I yodel for about a minute and a half.

Oh, stop. Do you really?

Yeah! These are my rituals. And then I don’t really like to do much of a set up before because I look at a pre-show–if I’m backstage before I go on stage–it makes me nervous. And I don’t want to take the enjoyment out of anything. So it’s almost like shooting a foul shot. You know you have to shoot a foul shot, you get up there on the line and you dribble a few times, then you skim the rim, and you think, “You have to make this, because everyone’s watching me, right?” And then you dribble a couple more times and then you throw up a brick, you know? So I don’t like to do too much of that setup before a show. We discuss what the shows going to be and I go backstage literally a just few minutes before I head to stage. I don’t like that anxiety.

I think that’s what’s so nerve-racking about doing television performances is that TV is so well-organized and there’s so much money on the line that every minute on TV is so valuable. And you always have to get there much earlier than you actually are needed. Sometimes you’re there two hours, four hours, five hours before you actually have to go on stage. And the whole time all that’s happening is that you’re getting more nervous about performing.

Definitely. I can see why you’d just want to head straight to the stage. Now your new album is amazing. What’s your process like when it comes to writing a song? Is it the lyrics first? The melody?

I think it definitely goes both ways. As far as the approach to figuring out which one you are, are you a verses first? Or are you a composing music note first? Never sure which is first, which is which. It’s very transgendered. So it’s hard to figure out what’s what. You know what I mean? You just kind of go at it the way however you’re being inspired to go about it.

As far as the creative process is concerned. Sometimes I’ll start it with just a voice note and just a couple of lines. Like I’m writing a poem, but I wouldn’t call it writing a poem. I write lyrics not poems mostly. I’d be afraid to proclaim that I’m a poet. [Laughs] The critics would like that very much. Yeah, but sometimes you just leave yourself a note with the melodies or something. Sometimes I’ll just write myself a note with a couple of catchphrases or a line. Or even just one word. Anything that’s going to help you inspire this creative idea. And sometimes a song happens in 15 minutes. That’s happened a couple of times in my life. Or sometimes I’m still writing songs that I created as a teenager. I write that right away or some of them take longer to finish.

But this particular album creatively processed was a bit different in that I had a co-writer on the songs of this album. So I wrote a couple of songs with Andrew Frampton who’s worked with The Script, Natasha Bedingfield and I wrote a couple of songs with Ryan Tedder, who’s the lead singer of OneRepublic. He’s worked on a lot of other really huge, huge hit records…There’s a lot of ways that people would have heard of him. [Laughs] Writing with somebody else was really a very, very sort of foreign type experience for me. I hardly ever permit myself to be in a room at any point with anyone else creatively. It got me really gun-shy being in front of everyone.

Well now that you have, is there anyone else you would want to collaborate with?

Oh, yeah of course. I mean the music industry…there’s a lot of people who are there that aren’t necessarily the artist. There’s some really great, great writers walking about. In places like New York City–chill, Nashville, Los Angeles.

What are some of your favorite songs you’ve done? Whether it be from Sweeter or your past albums.

Well, it’s hard to say. I go through moments where I’m most proud of as a writer. For me some songs are–it’s hard to pick favorites–I’ve got some moments I’m proud of as a writer. On the self titled record there’s a song called “Young Love.” I’m really proud of as a writer. There’s that. “We Belong Together.”

Absolutely love! One of my favorites.

Thank you so much. And this album I’m really stoked about songs like “Radiation,” “Soldier,” “Sweeter.” I mean it’s hard for me. They’re my babies.” [Laughs]

And what would you say are your three passions besides music?

My three passions–I love history. Like history of the world and developing cultures. I love night life and martial arts.

Awesome. And just wanted to say I hope you’re feeling better. It was scary to hear about the attack that happened back in August. Hope you’re doing well. 

So good. Thank you. I appreciate it. Ready for round two!

So great to hear! Thanks so much for talking with me. 

No problem. I appreciate it! Thank you, Stephanie.

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‘Breaking Dawn’ Exclusive: Actor Daniel Cudmore On His Family Christmas Traditions

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Breaking Dawn’s Daniel Cudmore has been busy promoting the fourth film of the Twilight Saga and is now ready to take in the holiday season. The actor, who’s also starred in X-Men as Colossus, told me about some of his favorite family traditions when he was younger. He also laughs about the little gifts he’d gladly receive this Christmas.

“We used to–what our thing was when we were all younger– we used to all three of, my three brothers and my dad, the four of us would go up to this spot by our house,” he said. “We’d hike up in the woods and get a tree and cut it down. It was great because my old house used to have 20 foot ceiling in the living room. So we would find like 18 foot Christmas trees and cut it down and all four of us would carry it out of the woods and throw it on top of the truck and then decorate it and stuff like that. That’s sort of since past since one brothers off in France. Some other brothers are on the other side of the world sometimes. That’s kind of died out but that was always a fun tradition growing up.”

He also revealed some of his favorite gifts growing up. “For a best gift–I’m trying to think. It’s funny because you start getting at the age where if you want something you can buy it yourself. So its kind of weird when people are like, ‘Well what do you want for Christmas?’ It’s like, I don’t know. Some socks and underwear? So I think when I was a kid I definitely really liked really cool toys or a new snowboard or whatever it may have been. Those were the gifts that I think you just got crazy about. Now a days you get excited for like a pair of black socks, which is really kind of strange.”

Daniel joked that it’s sad getting excited for a pair of socks, but it wouldn’t be hard to agree. It’s the little things that can make someone happy, after all.


Interview: Walter From ‘The Muppets’ On His Sequel Idea And Why Amy Adams Will Be Cooking A Turkey

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Walter sure was at the right place at the right time! The lovable and very talented muppet that recently shared the screen with Jason Segel, Amy Adams and his fellow muppets spoke to me about his big breakout role. From getting noticed at the Beverly Hills Hilton to landing on set with Kermit, Walter really has kept busy. He’s been promoting The Muppets with his new friends and is without a doubt their biggest fan.

Walter kept us laughing with his unforgettable humor and creative wit. Enjoying a nice turkey with Amy Adams over the holidays and Kermit giving him advice is one small detail. Walter even touches on his adventure sequel idea and how he had to stand on a box during scenes so that he can act alongside Jason. Even though he sometimes had to excuse himself to go order a coffee for Miss Piggy.

So here is everything that Walter and I spoke about on that very memorable day. Not sure about you, but it’s pretty obvious that he’s going to be working alongside the muppets for years to come!

Hi, Walter. How are you?

WALTER: Hi, Stephanie. I’m great how are you? [Laughs]

Good, good. I’m so excited to talk to you. I know you’re busy so I’ll get right to it.

Awesome.

Now this is your very first feature film! How did you get involved? Were you excited about it? Nervous?

Yeah! [Laughs] All of the above. The story goes, I was actually swimming laps at the Beverly Hills Hilton, and this guy comes up to me [and says], “Hey kid, you ever thought of acting? You ever thought of being in movies?”

[Laughs]

It was a real, like you know, 1930s, yeah, 1940s Hollywood story. And I met Jason. And at first, I read the script and I actually was a little paranoid cause I thought the guy had cameras in my house, like my whole life. Cause he basically wrote my life story.  I mean I know in the movie I play this guy named Walter who’s a huge muppet fan, but in real life my name is Walter, and I’m a huge muppet fan!

[Laughs] How was the first day on set like? Did anyone help you get comfortable?

Oh, yeah! Well, Jason was great of course. And Kermit was there. After I got over my nerves about meeting him, he was great. He gave me the best advice I think any one gave me that entire movie. He said “Walter, if you’re hungry and you need to get a brownie from the craft table, get a box because they put them a little high up.” That advice served me for the entire run of the film.

Too funny, but such great advice! How did you feel about the film being made in general?

I was thrilled! Are you kidding? I mean you’re getting the muppets back out there. Back in the spotlight where they belong, you know? It was an ambition and a childhood dream come true!

How was it working with Jason Segel? What was one of your favorite moments on set with him?

Hmm. Gosh. There were so many. Umm, I loved doing the dramatic acting with Jason. We had to… we had this dramatic scene in the dressing room, where I’m trying to figure out my talent, and he’s trying to figure out what’s going on with his character’s relationship with Mary, played by Amy Adams. It was really wild doing something dramatic with a guy who’s sooo funny.

Cool!

The other cool thing is that I got to stand on a lot of boxes. Yeah, I talked about the craft table, but a lot of the scenes–you might’ve noticed I’m only about 1’6” and Jason is 6’4”–so for a lot of scenes, he was sitting down and I was standing on a box.

What about Amy Adams? Have you ever seen Enchanted?

Oh yeah. She’s sooo talented, and so versatile. I mean, she’s great at playing these kind of you know, wide-eyed, innocent characters that are just so funny, and she’s just an amazing singer and dancer – totally like musical theater background. But then she can turn around and do something dramatic! Like the scene in The Muppets where she’s using the thesaurus to find all the different words that mean ‘alone’. Ah! That was so moving.

Were there any inside jokes on set?

Oh, you mean like practical jokes?

Yeah.

Hmmmm. Well, I don’t know if it was a joke – I thought it was. But every time Miss Piggy saw me–and actually it’s still true to this day–she’s like: “Who are you again?” She kept thinking I was her coffee boy.

Oh, no!

And I gotta tell you, it’s really tough to find a double latte with no milk.

[Laughs]

That was her order.

Who did you hang out most with on set? I bet it was really, really cool to meet Kermit.

Oh yeah! It was sooo cool to meet Kermit. Actually, I met him at my audition. And what happened in real life is exactly what happened in the film. I totally fainted.

No you didn’t! You seriously fainted when you met him?

I seriously fainted! I hit my head sooo hard on the table as I went down. Gonzo thought it was great, the way I did it. Really professional. Actually I was a little embarrassed about it until I came to and saw that Jason was sobbing. So that made me feel a little bit better. He was sobbing cause that was his first time meeting Kermit too.

So that was your first interaction?

…It was painful, embarrassing and uh, the greatest moment of my life.

Very memorable! And there was a ton of actors on the set besides Jason and Amy too.

Oh yeah, there were.

Do you have a favorite that you worked with?

Oh yeah, there were. I mean, Fozzie, Miss Piggy, Animal and Dr.Teeth. A lot of famous actors!

Do you hope that there’s gonna be more Muppet films in the future?

Oh yes, definitely. Boy, I sure hope so. I mean right now I’m really busy being just a cheerleader for this one. Boy, I would love for there to be more Muppet movies. Maybe TV shows, anything. Anything with the muppets.

I hope so.

Actually, I do have an idea. Can I share it with you?

Oh, absolutely!

I mean, no one at Disney’s talked to me or anything. I’ve just been working on my own. But I thought it would be really cool to have like, aMuppets action adventure sequel to go along with the Bourne franchise. You know, like Bourne Identity?

Oh, yeah yeah yeah!

And I would call it: Bourne Yesterday.

That would actually be so funny. And you would want everyone from this Muppets to kind of come with you to do it right?

Oh, absolutely! Yeah! Listen, I couldn’t imagine doing anything without them!

And I know you’ve been promoting a lot for the movie. Is there any celebrities that you were kind of star struck meeting throughout the whole process?

Oh yeah, for sure. The first time I met Gonzo, I, it, I got fully tongue tied. Twisted. Like I am with you right now! Tongue tied! Gonzo gave me that. I mean, the guy is such an artist, you know? It’s like, some of this stuff I’m not–I don’t think I’m quite intelligent enough to grasp how great some of his art is. But some art is like that, you know? People appreciate it on different levels. But are you talking, like… oh, you mean like ‘people’ celebrities?

Yeah, them too!

Right. Oh I got one: Alan Arkin. How great is Alan Arkin? You know, the cool thing is that, Alan was actually a guest star on The Muppet Show back in the day.

Oh, wow.

And so, I talked to him a little bit about his experience on that. And it was just incredible. He’s such as great guy.

What did he talk about it? 

Well, his experience was that, he felt like he developed some really great friendships with Kermit and Fozzie Bear and in particular Animal. He really, he really felt a connection to Animal. They just had the best time together.

That’s great. With the movie, you had mentioned a little bit of your favorite moments. Was there a certain dance number or song you liked best?

Oh gosh, you know, it’s like, it’s like choosing a favorite child. They were all great for different reasons. I mean the opening song, you know everything was great. It’s so catchy and the dancers were amazing in that. Jason and I got to sing and dance together. I got a cake dropped on my head! I got kicked across the town square! Umm, a lot of good stuff. And then of course “Man or Muppet.” I mean, how can you not like that song?

[Laughs] Jason Segel, he obviously has been a huge, huge fan. Did he ever talk to you about that? Did he give you any advice as an actor too?

Well, he did ask me to act taller, if at all possible. I’m not, never really quite sure what he meant about that. But, umm you know what, Jason actually–his advice was similar to Kermit’s in that, you know, he said ‘don’t believe your own press.’ You know, look at Kermit the Frog. He’s, Kermit’s been doing this for over 50 years. He’s still the same great guy that he’s always been. I mean he could be a total a jerk, but he’s not. He’s just, I think it’s actually true with all the muppets–what you see is what you get. They are who they are. And they’re true to themselves. And, uh, I think that’s brilliant.

So very true. They are so great. Do you have any holiday plans with them coming up?

Oh right, well I think we’re all invited over to Amy Adams’ house. Cause she cooks a mean turkey. I mean the Swedish Chef, you know he tries, but uh, I think I’d be better off with Amy’s turkey.

Sounds fun! And lastly, Ology is all about passions. What would yours be?

Well okay, a really broad one is–I’m really passionate about The Muppets. This film and The Muppets’ entire body of work. That is a huge passion of mine. Umm, a second passion that I have, I love singing and dancing and making people happy. That’s a really big passion. I know that’s kind of general. And my third passion is trying not to get killed when I do my own stunts.

That must have been tough.

I was a little nervous about my own stunts, but Gonzo made it look like fun! But it was odd, because the more advice he gave me, the more injured I seemed to get. But he said I was doing great! He had to try out the electric sets a few times before me just to make sure the voltage was high enough. It looks more realistic that way.

That was nice of him! Now, do you have any upcoming projects?

No, not yet. You know, right now I’m just busy being a cheerleader for The Muppets. There really hasn’t been time for anything else just yet. I just try to encourage folks to go out and to do themselves a favor and go see this movie. It’s going to make their life so much better. I think Jason told me, and I think that you can believe him–I think International Film Magazine voted The Muppets the best film ever. Like in history.

Wow! That’s huge!

I know, right? [Laughs]

So deserving of it too. Well, thank you so much Walter for talking with me. The movie was amazing. And good luck with everything!

Aww, Stephanie. Thank you so much.

Thank you. Have a good one.

 

You too! Bye, bye.

 


Interview: ‘Breaking Dawn’s’ Daniel Cudmore Details On His Character Felix And The End Of Filming

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The fourth installment of the Twilight saga, Breaking Dawn: Part 1, hit theaters on Nov. 16 and the money its grossing doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. The franchise is doing better than ever and its not even the end yet. So don’t you worry trihards. Bella Thorne has turned into a vampire and there’s so much more action to look forward to. Especially when it comes to the Volturi. I got the chance to chat with actor Daniel Cudmore recently, who plays Felix in the films. He began working on New Moon and will be featured a lot more in Part II when it comes out in 2012. Some of his other credits include playing Colossus in X-Menand acting in the highly anticipated The Baytown Disco. 

Daniel was great to talk to because he seemed very appreciative of the opportunity he was given with these films. He detailed on everything from his audition process, how the cast celebrated Rob Pattinson’s birthday in Vancouver, what his favorite moments on the film were and what the last day on set was like. I mean really, he was the complete opposite of his character on screen. But that was to be expected.

You grew up in Vancouver. How was it filming the Twilight series in your own area?

DANIEL CUDMORE: It was really cool. Everyone’s going back to their hotel and I’m going back to my apartment, and everything’s comfortable and my friends and family are here. A lot of the cast would be like, “Where’s a good place to go here and where’s a good place to go there?” So I felt like a tour guide at the same time. Super comfortable. It’s a great atmosphere to be able to go home and be in your own bed. Until I started filming out of country I didn’t realize how good I had it to film in my own town.

It definitely must be nice to be away from the L.A. scene on a film. As an actor it must help to concentrate on the material.

Yeah! It was a lot of fun. Spending time outside of work is always kind of cool.

That must have been so nice. What was the audition process like? How did you land the role of Felix?

I was auditioning for a character that was trying to pick Bella up outside a bar. I looked at the character; he just looked like fun and a pseudo wannabe tough guy and I just went in there and had fun with it. Later I got a call, not thinking anything of it. I didn’t think I was right for the part. So I got a call back still thinking it was for the same character, not knowing it was actually for Felix. When I showed up for this call back they were like, ‘Have you prepped anything for the vampire…for this character?” And I was like, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” [Laughs] So I’m like oh God, and they throw me some lines and I had five minutes to rehearse. The casting director, I know him he’s a great guy, he ran the lines with me for two or three minutes and then we went in there and put it on tape. I felt kind of bad about it because I felt it was so rushed so I did a tape the next day. I filmed it on my own and sent it to my agent and he sent it along to the casting directors. So I don’t know which tape actually went through but out of the two I guess I did something right. [Laughs]

That’s awesome! Meant to be. Now I spoke to Chaske Spencer [Sam] recently about workouts he and the wolf pack had to undergo. Even though you played a vampire, did you take part in any of that?

No, it was great because the past films I’ve worked on I’ve got no shirt on and I’ve been through that whole thing. But luckily our wardrobe was big, beautiful coats and stuff like that, which weren’t the best when it came to hot weather but it was definitely one of those things where I wasn’t those guys complaining about going to the gym and getting their butts kicked so it was nice for me. I mean I worked out on my own, to get a physicality and a feel for character and that sort of aggressive, animal side. So I did work out on my own but I didn’t have to go to the boot camps like those guys.

Was there any friendly wolf vs. vampire rivalries? There are some diehard fans out there that probably have their favorites.

Yeah! There probably would be more of that if we filmed more together. All the personalities colliding would be pretty funny! The way that we filmed was so separate; we never got a big chance to interact with those guys on set especially since our characters don’t really meet up, but I can only imagine what would happen if all those personalities got together.

[Laughs] Well, is there anyone specific that you grew close to on set?

It was tough because the thing with filming is that we were in separate groups so at the beginning I was really close to Charlie Bewley (Demetri). We’d hang out a lot and run ideas off each other. I found later on in filming, especially the stuff more recent when we all got to hang out with each other, the guys from the wolf pack and some of the guys from the new covens that come out in Breaking Dawn II, it was sort of an evolution. But it was weird, because we didn’t know of anyone else until premieres or after parties.

What was it like working with Dakota Fanning?

It’s funny, you look at her resume and it looks like the resume of a 40 year old and then you realize she’s only 17, but you’ve grown up watching her on TV. In my mind I’m still thinking she’s 9 or 10 years old. It was fun just to be on set and chat with her and see how wise beyond her years she is and how down to earth and how really cool her and her family is. It was cool to meet them and chat with them.

What was one of your favorite moments with the cast during your downtime?

In New Moon, going to the restaurants around here. I remember Rob was celebrating his birthday. We went to a restaurant here and during filming I didn’t really get a grand scope of the madness surrounding it–when it came to all the press. So going to a restaurant and having paparazzi standing outside the restaurant was a really strange thing for me to witness. The great thing is no one had any clue who I was, so I could just slide on through. [Laughs]

People can probably spot you out! Well besides Felix, what other character would you have liked to play?

I always thought one of the wolves would be fun. Not so much having to work out everyday or running around with a shirt off and being all painted but I think it would just be fun. The characters just seem like they’re having a blast, running around, ripping their clothes off.

Totally true! Being a part of such a franchise in general must have been exciting. Is there a particular book in the series you enjoyed the most?

I think Eclipse. It was so much darker. I felt it was a darker part of the books. It was cool. It was a firm departure from the first two when it was really about their relationship and the blossoming of their relationship. It was a cool book to read.

What was a favorite scene you acted in?

I would say New Moon is my favorite just because being able to go to Italy and film in Italy. [Laughs] The authenticity of being in these ancient buildings and pseudo castles and walking down these corridors that have been around for hundreds of years. That was a really cool experience for me. Don’t get be wrong, the set designs were beautiful on set but you can’t duplicate the feel.

Absolutely. That must have been amazing! How long were you there for?  

We were there for about a week and it was funny because some of the cast was staying in one spot. It was kind of hidden just to stay away from the paparazzi and stuff like that, and then a couple of us were in another hotel. It was kind of strange [kind of] Miami feeling. It was this hotel in the Italian countryside, a town full of older sleepy folk. So we spent a lot of time on our days off popping in a car and taking off to the other hotel and hanging out and drinking wine and relaxing. It was a great experience. One of those ones where you realize you are extremely spoiled.

And now it’s all over! At least the filming is. What was the last day on set like? Was it weird how it all had come to a close?

Yeah, it was strange. I mean you’re go-go-go for three years. I kind of explain it like being inside a fish bowl and you don’t realize what you’ve been a part of until you step away. So the last day was kind of surreal. You know that it’s over but it wasn’t really kicking in. It was just another day at work, another film. I usually don’t get too caught up in the ending of a film because I’m excited to see what’s next but definitely looking back in retrospect, it was an incredible ride. It was pretty incredible and just a luck opportunity of me to enjoy.

It really is crazy to think that the films and premieres will all be over soon. How did you feel about how they ended Breaking Dawn: Part I with [spoiler alert] her eyes opening?

I kind of liked it. At the end of the day it was very suspenseful, and everyone gets all excited and wants to see what she’s like as a new vampire. Now to get everything wrapped up in part II. I liked it. I thought it was a lot of fun and obviously the little end piece was great. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be in it when I was watching the whole thing and then having that little piece at the end at the credits was cool too. But yeah, I enjoyed it!

What do you think audiences will really like about Part II in 2012?

There’s a lot of build up from part one. You really start to feel what could possibly happen with everything that’s going on and the threat of the Volturi finding out. What are they going to do about it? What’s going on with the wolf pack now that it’s split?  I think it’s all come to a head right at the very end, which is a great place to be. Without giving anything away–a lot of build up and a lot of anger, you see it all come to fruition at the end.

Can’t wait to see it. How would you sum up your overall experience working on the films?

An enjoyable ride that has taken me places that I never thought it would. That has opened up doors I’ve tried to knock down for a while.


Exclusive: Backstreet Boys’ Kevin Richardson Talks About Cousin Brian Littrell, Holiday Traditions

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It can be difficult for anyone during the holidays to travel to see both sides of their family. Kevin Richardson from the Backstreet Boys shared this common trouble recently and even mentioned how the flying from location to location hasn’t really changed since growing up.

“In my family on Christmas Eve, we would go to my grandparents on my mother’s side. And then on Christmas day we would go to my other grandparent’s house. In both of those instances we would have a big dinner and then we would open presents. All my cousins would be there. That’s what we did every year, so since I’ve moved away from home, every year–I think I’ve missed only one year–I’ve flown back or traveled back to Kentucky with my family. We, my wife and I, have a son now. This year we are actually going to spend Christmas–he’s four now–here at our home in California. Then we’re going to go see my family in Kentucky. [Laughs] So we can establish our own little Christmas Eve and Christmas Day tradition as our own little family.”

Kevin may not see cousin Brian Littrell as much anymore during the season because of their growing families, but Kevin is excited to start his own traditions now with his 4 year old son and wife Kristin too.”Basically since I’ve been married since 2000, my wife and I–we would alternate. Now she’s from Kansas City and I’m from Kentucky so we would go to Kansas City, around like the 18th and we would stay until the 25th. Then we would fly to Kentucky right after that and stay from the 26th to New Years. And we would rotate who’s home we would go to first every year. So one year we would be with my family at Christmas and the next year we would be with her family on Christmas and vice versa. So this is the first year that we’re not doing that, but during those times we would see Brian as well. But now he has his own family so they’ve kind of been doing their own tradition on Christmas and then doing the after Christmas, New Years thing with his family. So its challenging. You have those traditions that you establish when you’re young with your parents and then when you get older and start your own family, you have to find a way to incorporate those old traditions and at the same time start your own, new tradition with your own little family.”


Interview: Kevin Richardson And Rob Gonzalez Headline Holiday Benefit Concert

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Close friends Kevin Richardson and Rob Gonzalez will be headlining a “Home For The Holidays” concert benefit this December to help raise funds for the Angeles Clinic Foundation. Angeles Clinic, a cancer treatment facility, helps treat cancer patients who are unable to treat for their own care. With a personal connection for the foundation and a love of music, it was a no brainer for these two to give back to their community. After speaking with both Kevin and Rob, it was more than clear that their passion to help was what initially began this collaboration. All it took was one day playing some music together.

“It all came about really because Kevin and I are friends basically through our significant others,” Rob began. “Kevin’s wife and my girlfriend are very close friends and we were just hanging out over at Kevin’s one night. We started playing some music together in a great way and we inspired each other. So Kevin came down to sit in with my band and that was a lot of fun. And I thought, ‘Let’s try to do something a little bigger.’ So I had this idea to sort of do this benefit concert and I booked production and I found our charity that’s involved.” Kevin immediately wanted to work together too and explained that the charity added a personal touch for him. “I said, ‘Sounds great!’ And so about a week or two later [Rob] said, ‘It’s happening!’ [Laughs] So here we are. I’m excited to be involved because everyone I think now–there’s probably no one out there that hasn’t been touched by cancer. I’ve been so extremely close. I lost my father in 1981 to colon cancer.” The two hope to raise a lot of money for the foundation.

The two will perform together, as soloists and will incorporate strings and horns as well. Some of the 22 songs that audiences will get to listen to include holiday classics such as White Christmas, Let It Snow, Chestnuts Roasting On An open Fire and Winter Wonderland. “My father was such a big Dean Martin fan,” Kevin explains. “Another reason I wanted to do this is because the way I was brought up. Around the holidays, as soon as Thanksgiving was over, those Christmas records went on. It was Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Elvis. All those Christmas albums I grew up listening to. And so not only did I lose my father to cancer, but he introduced me to this music. I have such a fondness and it’s such a part of my life. So this show is going to be all about that.”

“I think one of the things Kevin and I want to convey is, we are really doing an acoustic version of these songs. In some cases we literally took the arrangement right off the record. For the most part it’s going to be very nostalgic and fun in that way,” Rob adds. The Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra 1960s music production throwback will also feature film choreographer Tara Nicole Hughes and special performers Gina Gonzalez of “Gary Sinise & the Lt. Dan Band” and Skyler Stonestreet. 

 

 

The night is sure to be memorable. For the two musicians working together for the first time, and for trying to make such a difference for the Angeles Clinic Foundation. As Rob says, “We’re excited and hopefully it goes well and we can make this an annual event. To make it every year hopefully. And every year it gets bigger and bigger and better and better. That’s our goal.”


‘Arrested Development’ Exclusive: Judy Greer Would Love To Reprise Her Kitty Sanchez Role

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Judy Greer plays everyone’s favorite sidekick in films and played the crazy and memorable Kitty Sanchez in Arrested Development. Since the news broke that the cut too short series was coming back as a film and several episodes, viewers were intrigued in knowing what characters would actually be making an appearance. Judy herself let us in on her thoughts about the comeback and if she will return.

“I loved being Kitty Sanchez on Arrested Development because she is totally crazy. Like over the top crazy. So really with that role and that cast, anything goes.” With the announcement still fairly new to diehard fans, Judy is getting more recognition because of her character too. “It changes a lot, but probably right now its Arrested. I feel like they’re giving those DVD’s away and everyone’s watching it. I’ve had such a rush lately!”

Kitty, the once fired and hired again assistant to George and Michael Bluth, really brought the batty to the show. So its a wonder if the “Take a good look, ‘cuz it’s the last time you’re gonna see these” Sanchez will reappear in the new projects. “Its been fun. I haven’t heard anything about it on my end but everyone’s so excited and I’m excited as a fan and as a potential job. It’s exciting.”

Nothing official has been announced, but she would rejoin the cast in a second and hopes to get offered the chance to. “Oh God,” she admits. “I hope so more than anything!”