Tag Archives: Selena Gomez

‘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.”

Hutch Dano Gets a Kick Out of Playing Not-So-Nice

Hutch Dano

Hutch Dano, best known as the first half of “Zeke & Luther” on Disney XD, says he got a real kick out of playing a not-so-nice guy for a change in his “Den Brother” Disney Channel Original Movie, coming up Aug. 13.  In it, he’s a self-absorbed high school hockey player who winds up posing as the den mother – complete in old lady gear — of his little sister’s Bumble Bee troupe.  He then takes advantage of the situation and uses the little girls as his personal servants.  “I read the script and thought, ‘This guy is the worst big brother ever,’” notes Hutch, who has a little sister himself.

He is much nicer in real life, of course, and also as Henry Huggins – the children’s literature character he plays in “Ramona and Beezus,” opening today (7/23).  Dano admits he didn’t know Huggins until prepping for the part.

“I was trying to figure him out, to get as many layers as possible.  Not so much that he’s complex, but I had to find that gentle balance of his fun side and his shy side, and his wanting to be with Beezus,” he says, referring to Selena Gomez’ character in the 20th Century Fox adaptation of the beloved Beverly Cleary book.

“One of the best things about working with Selena is, she’s a very giving actor,” he observes.  “She’ll help other actors with scenes.  I’ve seen her ask, ‘Would you like me to read this a different way?’  It’s really nice.”

With Season 2 of “Zeke & Luther” airing, Dano is awaiting word on Season 3.    “I’ve heard a lot of rumors that it’s happening,” he says of the series, which has performed well with the male kid and tween audience at which it’s aimed.  “But I try not to get too excited about anything until it’s confirmed.  I love doing the show.”

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