Tag Archives: A Family Thanksgiving

‘Glory Daze’ Actors Get 80’s Style Frat House Experience

Kelly Blatz, Drew Seeley, Harley Sawyer, Matt Bush TBS photo

Kelly Blatz, Drew Seeley, Harley Sawyer, Matt Bush TBS photo

“Aaron Stone” cutie pie Kelly Blatz is finding a welcome dividend in making TBS’s Nov. 16-debuting  “Glory Daze” series about a group of fraternity pledges in the 1980s.  The 23-year-old actor notes, “I backed out of college before I even went, and even though I visited friends in fraternities a few times, I kind of felt like maybe I missed out.  Pledging this fraternity with these guys, I get to have all the fun and camaraderie without having to do the school work.”

Blatz is part of an ensemble including Tim Meadows and Drew Seeley (with interesting guest stars like Kevin Nealon, Teri Polo and Fred Willard).  He reports that the show’s creators, Walt Becker and Michael LeSleur, informed them “They didn’t want to hit anyone over the head with the 80’s thing — this is inspired by their own college experiences — but they did give us a packet of things to work with.  We do riff a lot, improvise, and we wanted to have a grasp of who the celebrities were at the time, the big athletes, the supermodels, so we’d say the right things.  We wanted to use the right slang, and not talk about cell phones and things like that.”

He adds, “I’m so used to my wardrobe now, it feels like what I’d actually wear.  I’m always wanting to tuck in my shirt.”

Then there’s the music aspect, of vital importance to college students of any generation, of course.  The producers supplied their guys with “like, 12 full CD mixes — R&B, pop, rock.  I definitely have a huge catalogue of 80s music in my brain now,” Blatz says.

As it happens, he’s working on his own music while finishing up the last few episodes of the first season’s worth of “Glory Daze.”  He and his band, Capra have been developing a sound of their own for the last four years, he lets us know, and are now recording an album for Hollywood Records, to debut in 2011.  “When you hear it you’ll understand,” he says.  “It’s a fun, funky hip hop and rock.”

BAD MAMA:  Daphne Zuniga’s been having a blast on “One Tree Hill” of late, what with her character, the notorious Victoria Davis, incarcerated over her dirty business dealings and her recent disowning of her daughter, Brooke (Sophia Bush), over her decision to sell the family company.

“I love the drama they’re bringing, but the possible dissolution of the company is, you know, kind of a big deal.  I’m not sure what they have in mind for us.”  She enjoys the fact the writers “are always surprising me.  I love that they write for Victoria.”  However, she admits, “It’s hard for me to do these scenes where I scream at Sophia.  It’s hard to say these awful things to her face.  We’re good friends.”

In fact, the one-time “Melrose Place” actress credits Sophia and cast mate Austin Nichols with being more open and mature than she was at their age.  She enjoys their company, and, in fact, credits them with helping her get into the Twitter universe.

“I had someone post things for me for an environmental auction I had, but sitting around the set one day, I said, ‘I don’t even know how to tweet myself.  I don’t even know my password.'”  Bush and Nichols helped her out, and now, she says, she tweets them to stay in touch.

Zuniga shows a whole different side — make that two — in her delightful Hallmark Channel movie, “A Family Thanksgiving” that premiered over the weekend and has repeat airings coming up.  The fantasy romantic comedy, also starring Faye Dunaway, has Daphne as a high-powered attorney with a walk-in closet full of designer clothes — who gets the chance to see what her life would have been like had she become an everyday suburban wife and mother.

THE BIG SCREEN SCENE:  Forget those reserved and respectful presidential flicks and get ready for “FDR: American Badass.”  Yes, casting is now underway for a film billed as an action comedy in which the leader of the free world from the Great Depression through World War II will be depicted, according to casting notices, as “a hip, foul-mouthed badass in a customized wheelchair.”   Famous and infamous names from the 1940s — including Eleanor Roosevelt, Mussolini, Hitler, McArthur, Churchill and Eisenhower — are part of the action, along with “a hot nurse.”  However, in this case, FDR is intent upon thwarting “a dastardly plan to take over the world via polio-infected werewolves.”  Well, at least you can say one thing for it: this is not a plot you’ve heard before.

Daphne Zuniga’s Foray into a Lifestyle She’s Never Tried

Kennedi Clements and Daphne Zuniga Hallmark Channel photo by Katie Yu

When viewers tune into Daphne Zuniga’s “A Family Thanksgiving” Hallmark Channel movie tomorrow (11/6), they’ll be seeing moments out of the actress’ own life as the holiday fantasy tale unfolds.  That’s because Daphne, who was in on the development of the project over four years, invested her heart and humor into it.

The charming fantasy romantic comedy has Daphne as a tough, workaholic attorney who has a great wardrobe and an upscale apartment, but no personal life whatsoever.  Then, thanks to a run-in with a magical lady (Faye Dunaway), she finds herself in an alternative existence — the life she would have been leading had she fallen in love, married and had children.  The movie turned out to be a love letter to Daphne’s sister, niece and nephew, and a foray into a lifestyle Daphne herself has never tried.

“I never wanted kids,” says the dark-haired beauty, whose credits range from “Melrose Place” to “The Sure Thing” to “Spaceballs.”  She’s never married, relishes her professional life and spends much of her off-set hours engaged in environmentalist pursuits.

“My stamina isn’t that high with children.  I tutored them when I was in college and there’s definitely a switch in me that turns off after a certain amount of time.  My boyfriend has three kids,” she adds, “but they’re older, in college.

“I’m that woman who, when my sister Jennifer said, ‘Change her diaper,’ I said, ‘Are you out of your mind?’  I tried.  I’m sure I taped it on wrong.”

And yet, she’s clearly crazy about niece Nellie and nephew Kyle, “who is such a star athlete.  I wanted to make my character’s son a hockey player like him — he’s really good — but it didn’t work out logistically.”  Besides, having a soccer-playing kid is de rigueur for a soccer mom like her character, Claudia.

Cast into the unfamiliar world of car pooling and junior soccer, Claudia quickly faces the consequences of giving her children wa-a-ay too much sugar and of trying to dress up a little girl who despises wearing tights.
Both those sequences were inspired by her relationship with her
real-life niece and nephew.  “I didn’t know that sugar makes kids absolutely
crazy,” she admits, recalling her sister’s kids “acting like maniacs” while she had them out at a store.  And dressing up her niece, well, it sounds as if it’s never gone well.

“She didn’t want anything to do with it.  She’s a funky little kid, not interested pink bows.  Once I was there taking care of them for a couple of days which was, in itself, hilarious.  The first day of school, I put her in orange tights and a Ralph Lauren sweater and a corduroy jumper.  She has this amazing beautiful blond hair.  She looked incredible.  So when I went to pick her up, I asked, ‘So what did the teacher and kids say about your outfit?’  And she said, ‘My teacher said, ‘It’s 90 degrees out there.  Why are you wearing a sweater?'” She laughs.

Daphne, in fact, expects to spend Thanksgiving with Jennifer and her family, who live outside Boston. She’ll likely fly up from North Carolina, where she shoots “One Tree Hill” — as Victoria Davis, the very, very, very bad mother of Sophia Bush.  Daphne’s boyfriend, David Mleczko, will likely meet her there, she says.

“He does marketing for green companies, branding that’s important to both of us,” reports Daphne.

These days, she is deeply involved in the Los Angeles River Revitalization Corporation, having been appointed to the board of that not-for-profit entity last year by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.  The corporation aims to speed up the sustainable development of the river — which is now largely cement — and transform it into lush natural form for the enrichment of the entire community and the growth of green businesses.

That Claudia in “A Family Thanksgiving” is involved in a legal case involving the building of a plant with potentially toxic output close to a neighborhood park also has everything to do with Daphne’s own environmental concerns.

“We were sitting around in meetings and I said I wanted a green message in the movie, and the producers were all very open to that,” she says.

Daphne has seen the negative impact of industrial waste.  “It’s always the poor neighborhoods that are hit, neighborhoods where the people don’t have the resources or the time to fight these companies because they’re so busy scrambling to make ends meet,” she observes.  For example, she notes, near the Port of Los Angeles, a group organized a “Toxic Tour” that provides undeniable views of the effects of illegal dumping on nearby residents.

With her acting work and green activism Daphne doesn’t have much in the way of spare time, but she likes it that way.  “I like to stay busy.  I have a
hard time sitting still,” she admits.  “Having this movie finally come to screen
after four years of development — through the writer’s strike, through a change of regime — it’s really thrilling.”