Tag Archives: David Henrie

‘Bittersweet’ Times for ‘Wizards of Waverly Place’ Creator as Final Season Progresses

David Henrie, Jake T. Austin, Jennifer Stone, Selena Gomez, David DeLuise, Maria Canals Barerra

Selena Gomez just got her driver’s license last week, joining “Wizards of Waverly Place” cast mates David Henrie and Jennifer Stone as legal behind the wheel of a car.  Her TV younger brother Jake T. Austin, meanwhile, has applied for his learner’s permit – and has undergone a dramatic growth spurt since last season.

That’s the word from “Wizards” creator-producer Todd J. Greenwald, who is back into production of the popular Disney Channel series — for what will be its fourth and final season.  “It’s definitely bittersweet,” admits Greenwald.  He says he’s set up the number-being-served sign on the show’s deli set so that “it’s counting down the episodes we have left to shoot.  When we get down to zero, it’s going to be pretty emotional.”

On the sweet side, both the series and its 2009 telepic spinoff are up for Emmy honors.  Last year, “Wizards of Waverly Place” was named Outstanding Children’s Program.  The awards will be a family affair for Greenwald, whose mom is coming from New York to be on hand – and whose real-life son and daughter, Jordan and Julia, served as the models for Henrie’s and Gomez’ characters on the show.

As “Wizards” fans are well aware, the series is moving toward a day of reckoning when one of the three siblings will become a full-fledged wizard and the other two will go on to lives as mere mortals.

“Alex is going to have a wave of not wanting to be a wizard and then really wanting to be a wizard.  Max is definitely getting a little wiser, beginning to look like someone who could win.  And Justin, who has graduated from high school, is becoming more prominent in the wizarding world,” he notes of Gomez’, Austin’s and Henrie’s characters, respectively.  “With their maturity, anyone could win competition.  What I’m really looking forward is doing that episode.  It’s where we’ll go for broke.  We’re getting so many ideas, from classic games shows to shows like ‘Survivor,’ to high tech productions like ‘Avatar.’”

As for the already-greenlit next “Wizards” TV movie, he says, “I think it’s a great idea to explore what the family is like after one of the kids becomes a wizard – what happens after the big event.”

David Henrie Has Moved on From Theme Park Dustup

Selena Gomez, David Henrie "Wizards of Waverly Place" Disney Channel Photo

Disney Channel star David Henrie tells us he’s moved on from the Universal CityWalk altercation involving himself, his brother and some strangers that saw him wind up in post-midnight custody at a police station last month. ‘That’s all done with. There are no ramifications. It was an intense night. I’m not going to go into detail, but I’m good, I’m good,’ says the 20-year-old ‘Wizards of Waverly Place’ hottie.

Indeed, David is back to focusing on his burgeoning career, especially the May 21 episode of his show, which he wrote. ‘I’m so excited to finally get something done,’ says the actor. Early on in ‘Wizards,’ he asked the series’ writers if he could ‘just come in the room and see how they work.’ He also wrote a ‘Two and a Half Men’ script on spec, and from that, the ‘Wizards’ team ‘could see that I could capture character voices, create a story structure, tell a joke.

‘Once they thought I was on my own two feet, I got to do this storyline. It was a dream come true for me,’ adds Henrie, who has designs on directing as well. His series father, David DeLuise, helmed the episode that has Henrie and series sister Selena Gomez squabbling over her getting a citizenship award on dubious grounds.

He says that he and DeLuise got into joking arguments over who was at fault if a piece of business didn’t fly right. ‘I’d say it was bad blocking by the director, he’d say it was bad writing. It was a lot of fun.’

While the series is on hiatus, ‘I’m trying to close in on a movie here, have a couple of other things working on the side there. When the show starts back up, hopefully I’ll get to direct. I really love being a part of the show creatively and learning as much as I can.’

CASTING CORNER: They’re picking up the pieces on ‘A Detour in Life,’ the indie feature that was to have been the late Corey Haim’s directorial debut. A casting notice has gone out for ‘a very recognizable actor to, sadly, replace Corey Haim.’ The story has to do with a man who goes off on an alcoholic bender after his wife is killed in a horse accident — though his young teenage daughter needs his help.

With the Brad Pitt baseball flick ‘Moneyball’ due to start shooting in July, casting forces have been on the lookout for a young teen who can match Pitt to play his character in early days. Yes and we already know of some girls who want to meet this guy as soon as he is found.

Corbin Bleu: More Biracial Families Should Be On Screen

Corbin Bleu Samuel Goldwyn photo

Corbin Bleu Samuel Goldwyn photo

Twenty-year-old “High School Musical” cutie Corbin Bleu is more than glad that his character’s family in his new “Free Style” movie is biracial, just like his own family.  He made a point of seeing to it that casting was done that way.  

He tells us that, with himself and his father two of the producers on the feature, opening tomorrow (10/9), “It was one thing we definitely wanted to play to.  So many times in films, you’ll have interracial kids, but they’ll still have two black parents.  At this time, right now, where we are now, you’re seeing many more interracial families.  So many people are mixing and it’s wonderful and that needs to be portrayed more in our films.”

Corbin notes that, being a producer, “This is the first time I got to take hold of some of the reins and I’d like to do more.  I was involved in locations and casting and wardrobe and all that.” 

He has other projects in development, including “a cool horror flick we’re working on.  It’s going to be fun.  You have to expand yourself out as much as you can. You can’t be stifled in any genre, any one thing.”

Hence, “Free Style,” in which he plays a gung-ho motocross racer.  For Corbin, it meant lots of training in motorcycle riding, which he’s come to love.  “Luckily, it was my dad who came out with me the first day on the course and not my mom, ‘cause if it was my mom, the first fall it would have been, ‘This movie’s not happening,’” he says with a laugh.

He also gets a romance with the “stunning” (his word) Sandra Echeverria.  He got to “have the chance to cast my leading lady and it was great,” he says, beaming.  And the presence of the Latina actress, “ended up bringing in another whole thing culturally.” 

SIBLING REVELRY:  Laura Silverman, the real life sister of comedienne Sarah Silverman, also plays her sister on the Comedy Central series “The Sarah Silverman Program.”  While Sarah is certainly the more known of the two, Laura tells us they couldn’t be more encouraging of each other in life and on the show.  “At first I was very hesitant during the first season.  I was very conscious of not trying to upstage Sarah in any way – to try to be completely supportive of her being the funny one.  It turns out we are equally supportive and we both have our moments to be funny on the show.  We are always in such awe of each other.  We watch each other at work with big smiles on our faces.  Unless she’s faking it, she seems to like what I do,” adds Laura with a smile. 

Laura Silverman

Laura Silverman

 While Sarah plays a chaotic, out there, fictionalized version of herself, Laura plays the responsible younger sister, which lends itself to a different kind of humor.  “I studied at first how to be the ‘straight’ person.  It’s something that has actually always interested me,” she tells us.  “There’s a little bit of theory behind it. You are responsible for setting the baseline of what’s normal in that world so that the main character can exist being the way she is instead of looking like she’s crazy or just a total a-hole.  The way I react to her allows her to exist in that way.  It’s been really fun exploring that world with Sarah and the rest of the cast.”  

MAGICALLY SPEAKING : When it comes to adolescent stars, “Wizards of Waverly Place” creator Todd J. Greenwald is an expert – having such shows as “Saved by the Bell” and “Hannah Montana” on his credit sheet.  So when he says he’s confident the “Wizards” teen trio won’t be ruined by the perils of fame, it’s worth asking why.  “It all starts with family, and everyone’s family from our cast is solid,” he says. “I love what I’m seeing with them.”  For instance, of Selena Gomez, he says, “She went to Africa as a speaker for UNICEF this past summer.  She’s really taking responsibility and trying to give a good example and I’m so proud of her for that.”

All this month – “Wiztober” – the Disney Channel series is featuring episodes that tie into Halloween themes.  The Oct. 16 show has family eldest brother Justin (David Henrie) bringing a real ghost into a neighborhood spooky house.  Now, there’s a prank. 

Peter Murietta, David Henrie, Maria Canals Barrera, Selena Gomez, Jennifer Stone, Jake T. Austin, Todd J. Greenwald

Peter Murietta, David Henrie, Maria Canals Barrera, Selena Gomez, Jennifer Stone, Jake T. Austin, Todd J. Greenwald

Greenwald tells us he’s savoring the moments with “Wizards,” which garnered Emmy honors last month.  They’re in production on their 35-episode third season, and, given that the cast is growing up fast, ‘Season 4 could be the last season.  It goes so quickly,” he notes.  “You’re doing a show and then suddenly it’s a memory.” 

Like “Saved By the Bell.”  Greenwald is still friendly with “Saved” cast members.  “I just saw Mario Lopez and Elizabeth Berkley a couple of months ago,” he notes.  “That show was like a sitcom camp, and a bunch of them have gone on to do great things, like Mark Paul” – Gosselaar, that is.

WHO SAYS TV IS OUT OF IDEAS?:  Casting forces have been interviewing actors to reenact real-life drama for a forthcoming show called “Injured and Pregnant” – from the makers of “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant.”  Honestly!  It’s for Discovery Health. 

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster

Sabato Shocked: Ex-Wife Vying for His Love on Reality Show

Antonio Sabàto, Jr. tells us he knew it’d be hard finding love on television with his VH1 reality show “My Antonio” — but he never expected his ex-wife to be in the running.

Antonio in his new reality show "My Antonio"  (from The Oxygen Channel)

Antonio in a reality show "My Antonio" (from The Oxygen Channel)

“I was shocked because I didn’t know she was going to be a part of the show,” says Sabàto of Alicia Tully Jensen, whom he divorced in 1993.  “I hadn’t seen this person in a very long time.  I’m a whole different person since we were together.  It put me on the edge for a little bit because I wasn’t ready to see this person,” he tells us.  “I was very much in love with this girl for a long time.  She was the only person I was married to.  I was speechless.  All the girls were blown away too. I think the viewers are going to be just as shocked.”

The hunky actor of “General Hospital,” “Melrose Place” and Calvin Klein underwear ad fame asked for it, though!  “I told them they could bring surprises – that I’d be ready for anything so every show there’s something different.”  Even his mother Yvonne is in on the action.  “She’s not the usual Italian mom that’s in the kitchen all the time.  She’s a very sophisticated, smart woman that I’m close to.  It’s interesting to see people in the show have conversations with her to see if they can keep up.”  In fact, she ends up stealing a few scenes or two.  “I think my mom could definitely have a turning point in her life from a mother to an entertainer.  We have stuff in the works that could possibly involve things coming her way.”

“My Antonio” premieres Aug. 16 and Sabàto says he just hopes people enjoy his journey of finding love.  “This is going to be a very fun show to watch – very compelling.  It’s a lot different from any other reality TV.  I hope I can be a role model for other people who want to have relationships, especially at 37 years old.”

David Henrie in Wizards of Waverly Place (from Disney Channel)

David Henrie in Wizards of Waverly Place (from Disney Channel)

LOVE BITES:  Disney Channel hottie David Henrie is taking his current “Wizards of Waverly Place” romance in stride – although the series girlfriend that’s been bestowed upon him happens to be a vampire.  “Justin’s had some pretty crazy girlfriends in the past,” notes the affable 20-year-old, speaking of his character.  “This is actually more of a normal storyline.  It’s a fun arc that goes on for awhile.  It shows a different side of my character, Justin, and how he handles love.  He’s growing up.  I’m playing him more mature than in the first season.”

And while he wasn’t in on the selection of his young leading lady, he’s happy with Bridgit Mendler.  “She’s a great actress and we have good chemistry,” he notes.

MEANWHILE:  The wizards vs. vampires storyline will climax Aug. 14 with a zombie prom that sounds a lot like it was inspired by Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”  But “Wizards of Waverly Place” Executive Producer Peter Murrieta lets us know there wasn’t – couldn’t have been – any intention of capitalizing on the surge of interest in all things King of Pop.  “We shot that in January or February.  It was definitely inspired by the same things that inspired ‘Thriller’ – the great old Universal zombie horror movies,” he says.  “It was definitely fun.  We had the choreographer working with [the cast] for two weeks prior to the shoot.”

Murrieta also notes, “I think that there’s no secret that vampires are front and center in the pop culture right now – with ‘True Blood,’ ‘Twilight,’ ‘The Vampire Diaries.’  We’re a comedy, so we look for our comedic take.  What’s the most interesting thing?  A boy-girl vampire relationship.  A cool girl who has all these powers.  It’s a little bit ‘West Side Story,’ ‘Romeo & Juliet.’

Of course, the dangerous parts of vampires could be a tad too chilling for the Disney Channel audience.  “There are parts of the lore we have to deal with in a very gentle way,” Murrieta allows.  “Some we can go straight ahead with: They’re able to stay up all night.  They can only go out in the world if it’s overcast.  But we would never, on the Disney Channel, have someone bitten and drained of their life.”

Whew!

REJUVENATION STATION:  Move over “Dr. 90210”!  There’s a new plastic surgery show in town and the show’s star Dianne York-Goldman, who combined her spa with a plastic surgery practice, tells us people are going to see what it’s really like to be in the business of beauty.

“People will definitely learn something on each episode about plastic surgery and cosmetic fillers.  They will see how it changes people’s lives,” says York-Goldman of the upcoming Oxygen series “Addicted to Beauty,” premiering Aug. 4.  “They will witness patients before and after, and then they will see behind the scenes of what it really takes to run a medical spa.  It’s not as tranquil as it appears on the outside.  There’s a lot of chaos.”

It certainly doesn’t make it any easier when you’re combining two different businesses into one.  “It was definitely very challenging because we’re all set in our own ways and think we’re all right.  In the end, though, they all have a common goal to make the client look and feel better about themselves,” she says – and that means both inside and out.

With reports by Emilly-Fortune Feimster

‘Wizards of Waverly Place’ Actors Find Magic in Emmy Nod

Canals Barrera, DeLuise
Canals Barrera, DeLuise

David DeLuise and Maria Canals Barrera – a.k.a. Dad and Mom on the Disney Channel’s “The Wizards of Waverly Place” – were both taken by surprise by last week’s Emmy nominations announcements, in which their series received a Best Children’s Show nod. 

“I didn’t even know they were doing the announcements – or that we were in contention,” David says.  And Maria notes, “I have two little kids, so your mind is in a lot of places early in the morning.  It was a complete, wonderful surprise.  Everybody is really excited.  We all want to go together,” she adds, referring to their series children, Selena Gomez, David Henrie and Jake T. Austin as well as cast mate Jennifer Stone.

The duo are busy working on the third season of their series, and they have the Aug. 28 “Wizards of Waverly Place The Movie” Disney Channel Original in the can.  Come September, Maria will be doing double duty, simultaneously shooting “Wizards” and “Camp Rock 2: The Final Showdown” – in which she reprises her role as the mother of Demi Lovato’s aspiring performer character.  The first “Camp Rock,” with Demi and the Jonas Bros., scored a megahit for the network, with ratings second only to “High School Musical 2.”

“The script is fantastic,” she says of “Camp Rock 2,” which has all the young stars back, and now pitted against each other in rival camps.  Of traveling back and forth between the series set and movie location, she says, “I’m thrilled to be doing it.”  And of her five and three-year-olds, “I’m bringing them with me!  They’re too little to be without mama and dada.  My husband is going to be coming with us.”

 AND:  DeLuise also is doubling up his jobs, but in his case, it’s all on “Wizards” as he is set to direct two episodes of the show this season.  “You have to be on your toes and be on top of everything that’s going on,” notes the youngest son of the late Dom DeLuise.  “I’ve done several episodes now, and I definitely enjoy behind the cameras.  As far as the future, what the world gives me, I go with.  If the directing continues, great.  I hope it does.  It’s very satisfying.”

 HIGH STEPPING:  Nigel Lythgoe, who created “So You Think You Can Dance” and serves as one of the show’s judges, tells us he couldn’t be happier with how much the world and, in particular, the dance community has begun to respect the level of talent coming from their show.  “There’s an integrity now in it and the dancers are being recognized by their names and so are the choreographers,” notes the British TV mogul.  “Before we started, choreographers were just choreographers and a lot of people didn’t even know what they did.  Now people are like, ‘I love Mia Michaels!‘”