Tag Archives: USA Network

‘In Plain Sight’ a Bittersweet Experience for Stephen Lang

Esteemed actor and playwright Stephen Lang admits his experience playing Mary McCormack’s father on “In Plain Sight” was “bittersweet.  It was kind of a poignant thing to do, in a way.  Here they are, having forged their stamp on the show for five seasons and now they’re coming to the end of it.  And I walked right into the myth.  My character is not in any way an ancillary character.  He’s central to the show.  So I was part of the family without ever having been part of the family, and then it was over.”

The “Avatar” actor came aboard the USA Network show – which has its final two episodes tonight (4/27) and next Friday (5/4) — right on the heels of doing Fox’s “Terra Nova.”  That Steven Spielberg production debuted with high hopes and ambitions, but soon wound up succumbing to the cancellation dragon. “There’s no question that I had similar hopes for my own show to have a long life, and that we were in the process of creating a family there as well,” says Lang.  “So, yes, on ‘In Plain Sight’ I got to see an example of what might have been.”

MacCormack told Lang that the question of who would play her estranged, long-on-the-lam dad “had been under discussion for a long, long time.  The fact they wanted me to play it went a long way toward helping me, I think.  But I’m used to playing characters who bring a lot of baggage with them,” notes Lang, whose gallery of characters includes Babe Ruth, Stonewall Jackson and gunslinger Ike Clanton.

Right now, Lang is in Kentucky, playing a high school coach in the indie feature “23 Blast.”  As for what he’d like to do next in a perfect world, he comments, “I enjoyed my last stint in network television.  I love the idea of creating a character over a long period of time.  But I’m a superstitious cat; I don’t like to talk too much about what’s next.  I’m always looking for good projects, and I generate work for myself.”  He laughs, then adds, “If they’d only give me a sitcom.  That’s the best job in television.”

Tia Carrere Finds Tough Broads on Season 5 of ‘Celebrity Apprentice’

Tia Carrere NBC photo

 Season five of “The Celebrity Apprentice” doesn’t debut until Feb. 19, so contestant Tia Carrere has to be circumspect about what she reveals regarding her journey on the show.  But it can’t have been too hard on her — considering that now she’s now contemplating opening her own business back in her native Hawaii.

“The great thing was I found out I’m a really good team player.  I’ve never been in a corporate environment before,” says the actress and Grammy-winning musician who rose to fame in the “Wayne’s World” movies.  “I was pleased that I was able to anticipate people’s needs and be a self-starter.  Most important, I promised myself going in that no matter what, I would maintain my integrity.  There is no reason for being backbiting and manipulative.  Other people are — but I guess that makes good TV, doesn’t it?

“I was surprised.  Some of these broads are tough,” adds Carrere.  She’s part of an eclectic group of 18 including Arsenio Hall, George Takei, Cheryl Tiegs, Penn Jillette, Clay Aiken, Victoria Gotti, Aubrey O’Day, Lisa Lampanelli, Adam Carolla, Victoria Gotti, Lou Ferrigno, Michael Andretti, Debbie Gibson, “Real Housewives of New Jersey’s” Teresa Giudice  and Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider.
 Carrere reports she was a last-minute addition to the cast.  “They had asked me for the past few years, and I’d always kind of shied away from it because I knew it would be difficult.  I was the last one to jump on.  I didn’t have time to think about it.  It was, ‘Let’s just see if make money for my charity,’ which is After-School All-Stars.  It’s a group Arnold Schwarzenegger introduced me to nearly 20 years ago when we did ‘True Lies,’ that provides fitness and enrichment programs for kids all across the country.”

 Even if she’d had the time, however, “You can’t prepare for this.  What I like about the show is that we’re so exhausted and overwhelmed with the tasks we’re asked to do, people’s true personalities come through,” she notes.  “Yeah, people put on this happy face, but when push comes to shove, all that wears off.  I got some interesting insights about people:  ‘Oh, you really went to that place?  How disappointing.”

It’s already a ridiculously busy year for Carrere, who has just started filming her new  recurring role on the USA Network’s “In Plain Sight,” and is also juggling hosting-producing chores on two more shows she says are going into production soon. “One is called ‘Forsaken Places’ and the other is called ‘Street Stars,'” she says.  “I’ve got to go to Vancouver, and Albuquerque — and there’s another movie that I might do that would mean going to Montreal and Louisiana.”

Carrere admits she finds it “very hard” to be away from her six-year-old daughter for long stretches, but credits her ex-husband, British photojournalist Simon Wakelin for stepping up. “Bianca’s daddy is terrific about being right there.”

Will Celeb-Driven ‘Out of Character With Krista Smith’ Become a Late-Nite Regular?

Will “Out of Character with Krista Smith” become a regular late-night offering on the USA Network? Smith, a.k.a.

 

Vanity Fair’s West Coast editor, insists she isn’t thinking beyond the tonight’s (Jan. 11) premiere of her special with Gwyneth Paltrow, Seth MacFarlane and fashion designer Jason Wu. “I just hope people watch it and like it,” says the personable Smith, who has whetted her on-camera interviewing chops on ABC’s Oscar pre-show, as well as VF’s website. “I love doing it, being live in the moment. I talk. That’s what I do,” she adds.

She does acknowledge that network chieftains Chris McCumber and Jeff Wachtel have made it clear they’re interested in opening up that 11 p.m. slot. But whether it will be with an interview show, a comedy or something different remains to be seen.

“Out of Character” attempts a bit of a different approach by getting its subjects out of the studio and into environments where they’re theoretically more themselves. MacFarlane is at his house. Paltrow is cooking in Smith’s own home kitchen. “I didn’t change a thing in my kitchen. I cleaned it up, that’s all. I was really nervous because I’m not that comfortable cooking, and she was showing me how to make a meal for my kids. And by the way, my kitchen is small.”

Wu, who is best known for designing Michelle Obama’s inauguration dress, gave Smith a tour of his design facilities. “He was so great, really interesting. His mother moved him out of Taipei when she realized he was different and would not be allowed to be who he was. She supported and nurtured his gifts … I’ve been a journalist for a long time, and he just has a great story.”

Phillip Rhys: Grounding of Flights on 9/11 Inspired ‘The Space Between’

Phillip Rhys

Phillip Rhys reports that when he first read the script for “The Space Between” — which is being shown in a special Sept. 11 presentation on USA cable — he had no idea what the movie was about.  “The opening scene has Melissa Leo working in the airport, boarding the plane, then you hear the sound of Islamic prayers, and you see a man and boy praying.  You think, ‘Oh, I know what is going to happen — when in fact, that doesn’t happen at all.”

 “The script was fabulously written by Travis Fine.  He was a successful actor — he was in ‘Girl, Interrrupted,’ ‘The Thin Red Line,’ a host of movies.  Then he left the business and became a commercial airline pilot.  He wasn’t flying the day of 9/11, but he was speaking to his captain about what that day was like, and he said, ‘My God, Travis.  When you’re told that any aircraft flying will be shot down, you can’t believe it.’  Immediately from that, he had a line in his head: ‘Are we in L.A. yet?’  And from that, he wrote the movie.”

Rhys plays the father of the boy who winds up in the care of Leo’s flight attendant character, as they’re stranded in a strange city due to the grounding of all flights.  For the British-born actor, 2011 will go down as a watershed year, professionally, as he also has a role in Steven Spielberg’s “The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn” due for Christmas time release — and is in “Wilde Salome,” a film written and directed by, and starring Al Pacino. 

 “He kind of did something like this with ‘Looking for Richard,’ an examination of the piece,” reports Rhys of Pacino’s experimental documentary, in which Jessica Chastain plays the title character.  “He did ‘Salome’ a number of years ago and recorded the peformances.  Then we were out in the Mojave desert and staged the scenes.  Salome danced, John the Baptist’s head was chopped off.  You know the play was banned in its day.  Oscar Wilde had to write it in French, the Brits were so against all of the stuff in it.  Even for today’s audiecne, it challenges people’s preconceived ideas about sexuality and desires.  It makes for great drama.”

‘White Collar’s’ Tiffani Thiessen: Baby-Centric and Loving It

Matt Bomer, Tiffani Thiessen USA Network photo

While the "White Collar" team is busy creating episodes of their sophisticated crime dramedy, off-camera their set is becoming something of a romper room. At least, that's the feeling one gets listening to Tiffani Thiessen, whose six-month-old daughter, Harper, is the latest addition to the tiny visitor contingent.

"There are a lot of people on our show who have kids. She's definitely the newest one. I think they love having her energy around the set. It's fun. I think we're going to have a little playroom/nursery when we go back into production," says the actress, who plays the smart wife of an FBI man (Tim DeKay) on the popular series that also stars Matt Bomer as a reformed, debonair thief. They'll resume work in March for the show's third season. "White Collar" returns to the USA Network schedule with part two of Season 2 on Jan. 18.

It wasn't easy going back to work six-and-a-half weeks after giving birth, Thiessen admits. "I missed everyone, but I was not real excited about going back. It was definitely challenging. You're kind of like a walking zombie, tired all the time. I'm nursing, so my mom would come to the set and take care of her while I was working. The show has been amazing. They gave me time whenever I had to nurse her. I'm really blessed to have had so much understanding and a lot of great help. I have to give credit where it's due -- I couldn't have done it without help from my mom and my husband (actor Brady Smith)."

Right now, Thiessen's attention is on Harper's first Christmas and "all the things you've got to do -- the cheesy photos with Santa, the Christmas tree," she notes happily. The Smiths will spend "half our Christmas in California with my family, and half in Texas with his," she adds.

There's also Thiessen's new entrepreneurial sideline: Petit Nest, the baby furnishings line, including, she says, "cribs, dressers, chairs, gliders, decorative art and things like bedding and linens."

"When I was designing my own nursery ... I realized there was not a lot out there that appealed to (my) tastes," she says.

All of which might lead one to think the one-time "Saved by the Bell" and "Beverly Hills, 90210" cutie has a baby-centric mindset these days. And that's just fine with her. "She's the light of my life," she says of Harper. "I fall in love with her more every day."

FAMILY TRADITIONS: Speaking of families and holidays, Andy Garcia reports it will be a big family gathering this Christmas for him and his kin. "We take our holidays very seriously. We have 30 people over for Thanksgiving every year, and celebrate Christmas with our extended family members. We have four kids," reminds the actor, whose grown daughters, Dominik and Daniella, have already followed him into the acting realm.

Indeed, acting is quite the family affair in the Garcia clan. Speaking of 19-year-old college student Alessandra and 8-year-old son Andres, he notes, "In school, they always take story theater and that kind of thing. They're exposed to the theater. I think that being comfortable performing in front of people is very good for their self-esteem. My oldest daughters did that from a very early age. Now they're obviously colleagues. We've done two movies together," he says, referring to his "City Island" and "The Lost City."

He adds, "As a proud father, it's always good to look across the dining room table and see your child there is happy and being fulfilled."

PILOT TIME: Interesting that "SHREDD," the proposed series about real-life skateboarders, is being preceded by a pilot that is a mere 11 minutes long. Next thing you know, we'll be seeing two-minute pilots or even 30-second pilots. It's the economy, of course, and heck, wouldn't want anyone to work too hard.

They're rounding out the cast of another pilot, for "Dead Time Stories," an anthology of tales referred to as "cool, creepy and fun" -- but not too horrible for the tween set and older.