Derek Luke is surprised that word has already gotten out about a gay paramedic character being among the personalities on NBC’s soon-due “Trauma” series. He says he doesn’t even know which character it will be.
Could it be Derek’s guy, Boone? “Not that I know of,” says the actor, who’s playing a family man fraught with issues at work and home.
What he does know is, “As actors, we’re excited. We want the show to be sophisticated, not just surface and one-dimensional. I appreciate getting a chance to see different ideas and beliefs, and the effect people have on each other.”
He wants to learn what is going to happen from the scripts alone. “I keep telling them, ‘Wait. I want to have my own reaction.’” As far as the gay character’s reveal, “It’s supposed to be in the next couple of scripts. I’ll have to find out who’s who.”
With a busy career in features – and credits ranging from “Antwone Fisher” and “Glory Road” to this year’s “Notorious” (as P. Diddy) and “Madea Goes to Jail” — Luke wasn’t in the market to do a series when “Trauma” came along. Peter Berg, who directed him in “Friday Night Lights,” is, however, executive producer of the high-octane “Trauma” show about paramedics who are first responders at catastrophes. That made all the difference. Luke recalls that once he met with Berg, he found himself saying, “Dude, I for sure at first was convinced I was not going to do the show….’”
Berg “made me pretty comfortable. You know what? Pete is invested in this. He didn’t steer me wrong in ‘Friday Night Lights.’ He totally had my attention. And, you know, it’s Pete Berg’s style, no matter whether it’s TV or film — it translates.
“Me and my wife kind of deliberated, and I came to a verdict myself,” he says.
Now he’s happily pulling long, grueling days on the San Francisco-set show: “I love my job. I love my life!”
How many episodes have they done? “I thought I shot 13 but I heard we only shot three,” he jokes. “I feel like I shot a season already. We’re starting number four.”
SOURCE OF INSPIRATION: Music is definitely on the front burner for 17-year-old Emily Osment – what with her new “All the Way Up” single out, a video on the way next week, an extended play version of the tune coming up in October, and her first album for Wind-up Records on the way. Wind-up, Emily reminds, is the alt rock-heavy label of “Evanescence and Creed — so I have to keep up that rock image for them…I think I’ve started in a good way.”
Meanwhile, however, fans of her best-known character – Lilly Truscutt of “Hannah Montana” – would no doubt like some reassurance about her acting plans.
“We’re doing season four next year. We’ll get back on our really cool soundstage,” she notes Osment points out that she and Miley Cyrus and the rest of the young cast’s characters are being allowed to grow, “in a good way. This time between seasons allows the writers to see what we’re going through – and then they can parallel it with stories on the show. We give them a lot of good stuff,” she says. Indeed.
TRYING ON A NEW HAT: Voice talent extraordinaire Carolyn Lawrence has performed characters ranging from Cindy Vortex of “Jimmy Neutron” to the so-taboo-even-Adult-Swim-banned-it “Moral Orel” – to Sandy Cheeks, the rootin’ tootin’ Texas-born squirrel buddy of “Spongebob Squarepants.”
Now she’s trying her hand at producing, with a project called “Monstroville.” Lawrence reports that her in-the-works the animated flick is about “your basic hard-working family who happen to be ghouls and monsters.” Her “Spongebob” castmate pals including Tom Kenny have already agreed to lend their voices to the indie.
MEANWHILE: The 2004 “Spongebob Squarepants” feature grossed $141 million on a $30 million budget. So you’d think another “Spongebob” flick would be in the planning. But it’s not. “We wish,” Lawrence says of the cast’s feelings about a follow-up film. “The problem is, because of the way we function, the same team of writers and animators did both the series and the movie – so when we did the production of the movie, we had to stop production of the TV show. It gets kind of complicated.”
With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster