Tag Archives: Hallmark Movie Channel

James Brolin ‘Fretting’ Over Last-Minute ‘Castle’ Doings

brolin with puppyJames Brolin returns to the “Castle” cameras this week in his role as the long-lost papa of sleuthing novelist Rick Castle (Nathan Fillion). At least, that’s what he was expecting to do when we spoke to him late last week. “I’m a little fretting today because we started discussing it and the parameters of it a month ago, and I start shooting heavily — I’ve got a lot of work on Monday and Tuesday and I still don’t have a script,” he told us. “I mean, I’m not going to walk, but I feel like it. This is how you show up on film and look bad and begin to end your career.”

Brolin doesn’t like the last-minute rush of much of TV these days. As he recalls it, back when he rose to fame on the 1969-76 series “Marcus Welby, M.D.,” “We would have five scripts all finished and ready, so if there was a snag, we just jumped to another script. Nowadays, they write up to the last minute, cast up to the last minute. I don’t want to work that way. I’d rather hang in Malibu at the beach,” adds the 6’4″ star, who still looks mighty handsome at 73, referring to his seaside digs with wife Barbra Streisand.

Brolin has the Hallmark Movie Channel’s “Christmas With Tucker” (above) debuting this week — and makes it clear he found his work experience there a happy one, and “first class all the way.” He plays the stern but loving grandfather in the adaptation of the popular Greg Kincaid book centered on a young teenaged boy (Gage Munroe) and a Golden Retreiver. Having grown up on “Lassie,” Brolin says he knows a good dog story when he sees one.

He also has a passel of projects of his own in various stages of development, including a series he would produce about a mother who moves her family from New York City to the wilds of Montana. “That’s called ‘New York City Cowboys,’ and I would play the cowboy who is taking care of the ranch, who’s a drinker — if it goes into series. And I’m hoping to direct a movie in the spring about a woman called Ruby McCollum,” he says, referring to the notorious case of an African-American woman at the center of a notorious murder trial in the 1950s. Forced to submit to sex with her white, politically-powerful doctor over a period of years, she finally shot him, “then wound up sentenced to an insane asylum for 20 years.”

Brolin and his producing partner also have a musical for kids, “Standing Ovation,” on Netflix, and he happily reports he has heard of six-year-olds who will watch it four times in a single day.

“I do love this business, and most of the people in it,” he assures. Especially when they’re on time.

Gail O’Grady Living Her Own American Dream with ‘Mystery Cruise’ Possible Series


One-time “American Dreams” actress Gail O’Grady might return to the series game if her Saturday(10-5)-debuting “Mystery Cruise” movie proves successful.  There’s also a chance that the made for television Mary Higgins Clark mystery could launch a series of TV films with O’Grady’s and Michelle Harrison’s characters.

Certainly, Gail is game.  “This was one of the most fun projects I’ve ever worked on.  When I read the script I loved it.  It reminded me of a French farcical kind of madcap movie-within-a-movie that takes place on a cruise ship.  I’ve been a fan of the Higgins Clark books for a long time.  And I’ve loved working for Hallmark for a long time,” notes the actress, speaking of the Hallmark Movie Channel offering.

“I have a great character in Alvirah Meehan, who fancies herself a detective even though what she really is, is a cleaning woman who wins the lottery.  She’s such a character.   She has a wonderful heart, but she kind of has a thing where she leaps before she looks.”  The story involves Alvirah and real private eye Regan Reilly (Harrison) setting sail on a mystery cruise for fun, but of course things take an unexpected turn.  “We got to dress up in costumes and play pretend characters, and then something actually takes place and we have to figure out the who that did what to whomever.”

O’Grady tells us the team shot on a 120-year-old luxury yacht that was once owned by the Boeing family.  “It was called Taconite; the family fortune apparently originally came from mining taconite,” she says.  “We were in Vancouver, though the setting is off the coast of Washington, and it was beautiful.  I’m always grateful when I go to work, but this one was extra special.”

The Detroit-born divorcee, whose long list of credits spans from her years on the classic “NYPD Blue” (as Donna Abandando) through the CW’s “Hellcats” and beyond, is also happy that “Mystery Cruise” is suitable for her eight-year-old son to watch with her.  In fact, many of Gail’s decisions center on her son.  Speaking of combining career and motherhood, she says, “I don’t think it gets easier as kids get older.  It’s more difficult.  When Michael was a baby I was doing ‘American Dreams and I had a nursery and people in support with me.  And then when I was doing ‘Hot Properties,’ I had a nursery and he came to work.”

Now, however, “I don’t have a staff.  It’s me.  I make different decisions now.  I don’t take the offer to go to Morocco for six months.  I take ensemble pieces intentionally.  I take big jobs over the summer, when it’s easier to work with my son’s school schedule.  I have somebody else’s life to consider who is more important than I am.  I still want to be an actress,” she emphasizes, “but more than anything, I want to be my son’s mother.”

She says that when she heard that “Mystery Cruise” was being considered as the first in a franchise of TV movies, “I perked up a little there” because it sounded like a potentially ideal situation.

O’Grady says, “I’ve never been one to say, ‘Oh, I hope my child doesn’t follow in my footsteps.  Acting is such a hard world.’  It is, but I have a positive feeling about our industry.  I’ve worked hard and I’ve been acting for 30 years.   I always think the worst job in our business is still the best gig around  — a dream job, something I wanted to do since I was little.”

And even better when she can have both worlds.

(end it)


Luke Perry Talks about Jennie, ‘Justice’ and His Lack of Understanding of Women

Luke Perry laughs at a recent magazine article in which his former “Beverly Hills, 90210” cast mate, Jennie Garth, is quoted saying that they’re working up a project to do together.  “You listen to a thing she says?  I have no idea what she’s talking about!” the actor claims in a jocular tone.

“You know what I love about working with Jennie?” he adds.

What’s that?

“I don’t know.  I was hoping you’d know, ‘cause I don’t.”

But seriously – Perry acknowledges that “Jen’s a very good friend.  It’s hard to schedule anything with her, though, because she has a lot going on.  She’s one of these people conquering every medium.  She’s in a movie right now, and I think when she comes back she has some kind of reality thing going.”

Perry is certainly a man on the move himself – with the third installment of his “Goodnight for Justice” Western movies for television coming up Saturday (1/26) on the Hallmark Movie Channel.  “Goodnight for Justice: Queen of Hearts” pits his rough-hewn circuit judge character, John Goodnight, against a female con artist played by “Endgame’s” Katharine Isabelle.  Ricky Schroder also stars in this, the second follow-up to his original “Goodnight for Justice” – the channel’s highest-rated movie ever.

“In the era of this movie, a lot of times women were exploited for the virtues they had to possess.  To have a woman who took full possession of her own virtues and said, ‘No, I’ll be in charge’ – I thought it would be great to play off a character like that,” says Perry, who has retained his heartthrob looks into his forties.

He created the character and has much to do with the story planning and scripts, in addition to serving as executive producer and, apparently, taking on other responsibilities as needed.  Sometimes, he acknowledges, inspiration comes in the form of what’s available to shoot.

“When you make these movies as quickly and inexpensively as we do, you have to sort of reverse-engineer them,” is how he puts it.  “Queen of Hearts” has sequences of classic Old West riverboat gambling, for example.  Says Perry, “We were scouting another location and we saw the boats.  While scouting the boats, we saw this other piece of geography I thought would work really well, and it did.  You see what’s in the fridge and what you can make out of it.”

What he’s made with “Queen of Hearts” is another solid, enjoyable Western with plenty of moments fans will love.

As for whether there will be more “Goodnight For Justice” movies?

“I don’t know,” he says.  “This was our final one of the ones we did back-to-back.  I’ve got ideas for more of them.  I found some really cool stuff up there [in Canada] that we could use.  I’m feeling a lot of love from the channel, but they’re pretty fiscally conservative over there.  They always want to see how something performs before committing to the next thing.”

It sounds as if Perry himself feels fairly committed, however.  A few minutes later, he acknowledges, “I’ve still got all that wardrobe from all those movies here in a box.  I’ve never done that before – never actually kept all the character wardrobe.  Hallmark wasn’t sure they were going to make more, and I said, ‘Well, I’m sure, so I’m keeping the stuff.’ That way, I’ll figure it out.’”

Perry, divorced since 2003, also has other characters, other scripts he’s nurturing along.  “There are different periods of history I’m interested in,” he says.  But he doesn’t even want to get specific about those times and places.  “Then somebody will read it and get to them first.  I’ve had a couple of not-so-good experiences with that.”

He also wouldn’t mind returning to the series world. “If the character works and it’s a good fit, I love to play a character over the course of years,” he says.  But he has no interest in a reality skein of his own. “A camera crew following me around?  No.”

“Goodnight for Justice: Queen of Hearts,” meanwhile, is “the best one of the three,” he wants to stress.  “I think it’s the one where we really hit our stride and we have a lot of movie in there.”  With John Goodnight confounded by a beautiful schemer?

“Listen, let me tell you one of the great truths of my life – I just don’t understand women,” he insists with his familiar twinkle.  “This is a dynamic in my life I just can’t get away from.  I don’t understand, though I’ve had mother sister daughter, wife — every relationship you can have with a woman and I don’t understand them. They make you do crazy things.”

So far, it’s been working out pretty well for him.