Tag Archives: Nickelodeon

KeKe Palmer Pushing Hard From ‘Rags’ to Peaches and Beyond

It’s hectic time for Keke Palmer, with the launch of her “Rags” movie that debuts tonight (5/28) on Nickelodeon. Plus the July 13 premiere of “Ice Age 4: Continental Drift,” in which she voices mammoth Peaches, coming up fast with all its own attendant publicity. Plus filming of two music videos, the first one June 9. Plus more recording.

“I’m just moving with it and thinking, ‘This is what I have to do to make my dreams come true.’ I have to work hard, I have to really work hard,” she insists. “If I’m not going to work hard, then I’m not going to get the results that I want. So I can look past the stress and the tiredness and keep pushing.”

Having already proven herself a truly gifted actress (“Akeelah and the Bee,” etc.) and had a hit series (“True Jackson, VP”), the beautiful 18-year-old has already made a lot of dreams come true. But she tells us she has much more she wants to do.

Indeed, a chief attraction for jumping into “Rags” was the fact it afforded her the opportunity to get her feet wet as a producer. “The first thing that happened was, I had a little lunch meeting with Nick Cannon. He told me about this movie that he had for awhile, that he thought it would be great if I could come on board as a producer as well, and be in on the development of it, really help bring some authenticity to the script — the dialogue of young kids, and just the flavor of it. I was immediately like, ‘Yes, I want to be part of it.'”

The result is a fun, high energy flip on the Cinderella story — with Keke as a pop princess named Kadee, whose dad just happens to be a record label owner as well as her manager. Cutie pie Max Schneider (“How to Rock”) plays the musically-talented orphan who has to contend with a dreadful, demanding step-father and two crummy step-brothers. Being in on behind-the-scenes work, from plotting scenes to casting, Keke found, “It was weird to have so much power because I’m not used to it.”

She was especially interested in getting across the fact that “even though my character seems to have it all, she has her own issues” — issues Keke herself understands all too well. That Kadee is unhappily thrust into an image that’s not right for her is
something with which her alter-ego can relate. “In this industry, everyone comes across the situation where someone is trying to change them or put something on them that really isn’t them. I definitely have been there before,” she says.

She’d love to produce another project with Cannon. “We’re best friends,” she tells us. But at the top of her list of ambitions right now is getting her own music across, especially in the wake of some delays and “a lot of confusion.” She loved working with “Rags” soundtrack producer Rodney Jerkins, and says, “I’m really, really looking forward to working with him on my music. He really gets who I am as an artist.”

Cymphonique Determined Not to Ride Family Coattails to Success

Cymphonique

Adorable teen star on the rise Cymphonique Miller is all too aware of the extra scrutiny often awaiting offspring of the famed when they try to launch their own careers.  (Case in point: the flap over Jim Carrey’s daughter’s progress on “American Idol.”)  So Miller, who is a mere 15 years old, says that when she heard about a general audition for Nickelodeon’s forthcoming “How to Rock” comedy, “I didn’t want my brother or my dad to be any part of it.  I wanted to do it on my own.”  She flew to New York leaving behind her famous family members — father Master P, and brother Romeo.  And when she went in to the audition, she insists, “They didn’t know my affiliation at all.”

 She did a scene in which “I had to sing, dance and act all these different emotions,” she says, and when it was done, she flew back to Los Angeles.  According to her, it was only after the audition that the “How to Rock” forces realized she was the daughter/sister of two of Nickelodeon’s former stars. 

 “That’s why I feel like my accomplishment came from my hard work rather than just from being related to someone.  If you are a kid of a celebrity, or related to a celebrity. sometimes I think it’s a great motivator,” she adds.  There’s no doubt of her drive.  She’s already released a studio album and guest starred on several other shows.

 Cymphonique says she received a call about a month after her audition, and was told her video had been circulating around the network, “and we want to do something with you.”  Now, she’s shot 15 episodes of the Feb. 4-debuting show — and her brother is about to make a guest appearance. 

 “My dad has never been one to push me into the entertainment business at all.  He’s always saying, ‘Education is Number 1.’  That’s another reason I wanted to do it on my own,” she says.  “My family — they were definitely supporting me, but always telling me no matter what happens, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons.  Never do it for the fame or the money, or you will not be happy.  When I said this is what love to do, what I want to do for the rest of my life, and this is my dream job, they were for it.”

Lucy Liu Finds ‘Southland’ Tough Duty, ‘Kung Fu Panda’ a Treat

Lucy Liu TNT photo

Lucy Liu has just finished shooting her first episode of TNT’s “Southland” — and has found the show testing her mettle.  “You definitely get the grittiness, the reality of it,” she says of playing a cop in the January-debuting fourth season of the police drama. 

“You just jump in headfirst.  I’ve done a couple of stunts, and, you know, it’ s not about padding you up.  It’s about throwing you around. 

“I don’t think my martial arts training is going to save me in this environment,” she adds with a laugh.  “They can be running around using their guns.”

The “Charlie’s Angels” star went on a police ride-along with fellow “Southland” actor Michael Cudlitz to get to know her character’s territory recently — cruising through some of the most crime-infested South Central Los Angeles neighborhoods.  She found the experience heart-rending. 

“First of all, Michael Cudlitz and I drove together — he was with me and the sergeants, and he let me sit in the front seat.  I was like, ‘Thanks a lot.’  It was scary because you see children running around in these neighborhoods.  There’s an unpredictable atmosphere, where you don’t know if something is going to happen.  They tell you, ‘There was a shooting at that corner last week.  There was a tree right there and it literally got blown away.’  And these kids live there.  It gives you an immediate feeling of wanting to protect all these children and the other people in the neighborhood who aren’t involved in criminal activities, aren’t ivolved in gangs,” says Liu.  “You see all the dogs and cats running around on the streets that are obviously strays, and it’s easy to associate that with what’s going on in the neighborhoods themselves.  And you just sense the fact there’s less opportunity there than in Century City or Beverly Hills, and it’s just such a shame.”

Liu has a definite soft spot for kids.  It’s one of the reasons she’s being heard on Nickelodeon’s new CG animated comedy series, “Kung Fu Panda:  Legends of Awesomeness.”  The afternoon show, being done in partnership with DreamWorks, carries on the big screen “Kung Fu Panda” characters and story, with Liu voicing the character of Viper. 

“I adore working on it, and I think kids can enjoy the little snippets of stories, and not having to wait four or five years for the next movie,” says Liu.  She has friends whose kids have watched “Kung Fu Panda” 50 times.  Fortunately for them, “Kung Fu Panda 2” is coming out on DVD and Blu-Ray Dec. 13.

Liu enjoys her character.  She notes, “Viper’s backstory is that she was born without fangs, and her parents said, ‘Oh my gosh!’  But she made up for it with her kung fu.”  (But not in South Central L.A.)

MEANWHILE:  On an entirely different note, the actress-producer-artist is pleased with response to her Lucy Liu: Seventy Two  art book, showing off her abstract black-and-white illustrations inspired by the 72 names of God in the Kabbalah, the mystcial branch of Judaism. 

“It’s really exciting to be able to do so many different things,” says Liu, who credits a friend of hers for helping her take her art instillation and make a book of it.  “If he hadn’t done that, it probably would still just be sitting on a wall. 
It opened up a new arena for me.  I love to learn about everything, and sometimes I think the best way to learn is to get involved yourself.”

New Nickelodeon Stars Brace Themselves for Fame

Taylor Gray, Dillon Lane Nickelodeon photo

Nickelodeon hasn’t even launched their “Bucket & Skinner’s Epic Adventures” series yet, and already teen stars Taylor Gray and Dillon Lane are getting their first tastes of fame, going out and being recognized by fans.

“We were surprised. They know about our show before it’s even aired,” notes Dillon, who plays the carefree surfer, Skinner, on the July 1-debuting series. “Of course that shows Nickelodeon is doing a good job of advertising it, and we’re also lucky enough to have some friends with successful shows who are giving us some help.” Ashley Argota of “True Jackson, VP” is actually in the cast of “Bucket & Skinner,” he adds, and “She has a very big Twitter following, like, 90,000 followers, and she’s helped us.”

Taylor says the subject of fame has definitely come up around the set. MTV expects good things; the network saw the first few “Bucket & Skinner” episodes and upped its order of the show from 13 to 26.

Has he thought about dealing with fans, press, parties, etc.?

“I should probably put more thought into that,” answers the actor who plays the relatable everyday high schooler, Bucket. “Everyone’s talked to us about it. But no matter what you hear, it’s hard to know what to expect. There’s always that aspect of it — the unknown. It’s pretty crazy to think about, to be honest. As long as I continue to be the person I am, with my same close friends and my family, I think I’ll be okay.”

Says Dillon, “I’ve definitely thought a lot about it. With all the cool opportunities and hopefully, the success I could retain from this series, if I’m lucky enough to gain a voice, I’d like to use it to help people. That’s one of my goals.”

Okay, they’re adorable. Let’s see how they are in five years.

Soleil Moon Frye Gets Blue in a Good Way

Soleil Moon Frye

Soleil Moon Frye gets back into the series game — that is, her voice does — in Nickelodeon’s new “Planet Sheen” cartoon spinoff of “Jimmy Neutron.”  Says the one-time child star of “Punky Brewster” fame, “My kids are so excited, they could not  wait.”

She tells us her two-year-old daughter, Jagger, and five-year-old daughter, Poet, have seen clips of her animated character, and “They say, ‘Mommy, be blue.’  It kind of looks like me, but blue,” observes Soleil.  She adds, “Animation is so much fun.  You get to be completely uninhibited, have total freedom.”  She says her character is “quite the yodeler.”

As for when Soleil will return to acting in a live action kind of way, she tells us finding the time is tough.  First, there’s “being a mom.”  Then there’s the fact, “My life is insanity.”  She has a successful business to run:  L.A.’s The Little Seed environmentally-conscious children’s boutique in which she’s partnered – which now boasts a line on sale in Target stores.  She’s also made a deal with Penguin’s Dutton division to write a book – a combination memoir and handbook for mommies.  She has to complete itby December for Summer 2011 release.

Things are all the more bustling on the home front with the activities of her husband, Jason Goldberg, who is producing partners with Ashton Kutcher (“The Butterfly Effect,” “Punk’d,” etc.)  “They have like so many shows and movies going I can barely keep up with it,” says Soleil.

The former “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” costar has stayed best pals with cast mate Melissa Joan Hart, and fans have asked whether she’ll guest on Hart’s current ABC Family Channel “Melissa & Joey” sitcom.  “We’re both on Twitter, and I got 5,000 emails about it, and so did Melissa,” Soleil reports.  “I love Melissa so much, I’m definitely open.”