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News & Cast Updates(News section last updated February 25, 2020)
Teri Polo Joins ‘The Big Leap’ Fox Dramedy Pilot, Matt Lucas, Ser’Darius Blain & Ray Cham Also Cast(2/25/20) Teri Polo leads a quartet of actors cast in The Big Leap, Fox’s ballet-themed hourlong comedy-drama pilot from The Passage writer/executive producer Liz Heldens. Matt Lucas, Ser’Darius Blain and Ray Cham also are cast in lead roles in the project, inspired by the UK reality series Big Ballet. It is a co-production between 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment.
Written by Heldens, The Big Leap is descried as a funny and contemporary tale about second chances, chasing your dreams and taking back what’s yours. The show centers on a group of diverse underdogs from all different walks of life who compete to be part of a competition reality series that is putting on a modern, hip remake of “Swan Lake.” What they lack in the traditional dancer body type, they make up for with their edge, wit and desire to reimagine an iconic story to fit their own mold. The Big Leap takes us on a journey of self-acceptance, body-positivity and empowerment at any age.
Polo plays Julia Torrence. A beautiful former ballerina, Julia is now a social-media-obsessed mom who focuses more on her Instagram than her moody teenage girls or her distant husband, Kevin. When she sees the chance to audition for The Big Leap, it feels like a chance to fill what feels like a hollow, art-free life.
Cham plays Justin Reyes, Gabby’s adorable high school boyfriend and dance partner, who came out of the closet to nobody’s surprise except Gabby…and his parents, who kicked him out. He works at a big box store to support himself now, but when Gabby shows up and tells him about the dance contest, he catches the spark and gets excited to dance again, too.
Blain is cast as reggie Sadler. A stunning specimen of humanity, Reggie is a gorgeous, famous, athletic, professional football player. He has demonstrated some erratic behavior and needs to take a break from the sport. He decides that some career rehab is in order and finds himself learning to dance so he can audition to be on The Big Leap.
Lucas plays Wayne Sleep, a joyful British fellow who is one of the co-hosts of The Big Leap. He is a former dancer and is entertaining, enthusiastic and encouraging.
Heldens executive produces with Naegle and Peter Dale of UK company Rare Day, which produced the reality series.
Polo, whose recent credits include Freeform’s The Fosters and spinoff Good Trouble and HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, is repped by Gersh and manager Bob McGowan.
Blain, best known for his role as Anthony “Fridge” Johnson in the Dwayne Johnson-Kevin Hart Jumanji franchise, is repped by Paradigm and Grandview
British actor, comedian and writer Lucas is repped by WME. Ray is repped by TalentWorks and Justine Hunt.
Teri Polo, William Baldwin, Mena Suvari, Robert Pine Star In ‘Fourth Grade B’(2/5/20) Teri Polo (The Fosters, Meet The Parents), William Baldwin (Northern Rescue, Sliver), Mena Suvari (American Horror Story, The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson), and Robert Pine (The Last Full Measure, Wish Man) have been tapped to star in Fourth Grade B, a comedy-drama written by Marcelo Galvão. The indie is an American remake of Galvão’s 2005 Brazilian feature Quarta B. It’s described as a satirical portrayal of a private school’s emergency meeting filled with accusations and intrigue, as each parent tries to protect their own child and the uproarious chaos that follows the decision to light up a joint. Pamela Dunlap, Roland Kickinger, Ben Begley, Challen Cates, Taja V. Simpson, Boti Bliss, Rob Norton, Kelli Daniels, Jamison Jones, and Jiu-Jitsu celebrity trainer Rigan Machado co-star. Galvão produced the Wolf in a Pack production pic with Gabriela Kulaif and executive producers Giordano Biagi and Caio Vecchio. Galvão’s credits include the 2012 film Buddies as well as 2017 Netflix western The Killer.
‘Lost’ Alum Elizabeth Mitchell, ‘Hunger Games’ Actress Willow Shields Star In ‘When Time Got Louder’(1/18/20) Emmy-nominee Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost, Once Upon A Time), Willow Shields (The Hunger Games franchise, Spinning Out), and Lochlyn Munro (Riverdale) have signed on to star in When Time Got Louder, a coming-of-age indie drama from first-time feature director Connie Cocchia.
Piper Curda (American Pie Presents Girls Rule, Wretched), Ava Capri (Blast Beat) and newcomer Jonathan Michael Simao also co-star in the film which was written by Cocchia.
It follows Abbie (Shields) as she departs for college, leaving her parents Mark (Munro) and Tish (Mitchell), and her brother Kayden (Simao) who has autism and is non-verbal. As she explores her newfound independence with her roommate Jen (Curda) and falls in love with a girl named Karly (Capri), Abbie is torn between her new life and the guilt of leaving her brother as her family struggles to care for him in her absence.
Cocchia, who has a brother impacted by autism, was passionate about casting the role of Kayden authentically with an actor on the autism spectrum and discovered Simao, who will make his feature film debut. She is producing the project through her production company, Cocchia Productions, alongside Ken Frith and Jason Bourque of Gold Star Productions.
Shields is repped by ICM Partners and Authentic Talent and Literary Management, Mitchell by APA and LINK Entertainment; Munro by Northern Exposure Talent Management Group and Alchemy Entertainment; Curda by Hyperion and Curtis Management; Capri by Gersh and More/Medavoy Management; Simao by RED management.
SAG Awards Nominations(12/12/19) The Screen Actors Guild Award Winners will be revealed in a ceremony January 19 live on TNT and TBS.
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
CHRISTIAN BALE / Ken Miles – “FORD v FERRARI”
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
JAMIE FOXX / Walter McMillian – “JUST MERCY”
Dishing with Digest - 11/22/19 - Amelia Heinle(11/22/19) (Listen / download) Amelia Heinle talks about her road from LOVING’S Steffy to YOUNG AND RESTLESS’s Victoria, weighs in on her soap names, talks about her bond with her Newman co-stars and more with Digest’s Stephanie Sloane and Mara Levinsky. Plus, we talk about the recent DAYS rumors — and pickup.
Peter Facinelli, Teri Polo, Eric Dane Topline ‘The Ravine’ Drama(11/8/19) Peter Facinelli (Supergirl, Escaping the NXIVM Cult, Twilight saga), Teri Polo (The Fosters, Meet the Parents), and Eric Dane (Euphoria, Grey’s Anatomy) are attached to star in The Ravine from writer/director Keoni Waxman.
In the indie drama, a group of friends is blindsided by news that someone they trusted has committed a terrible crime. In their quest for answers they fall on hard times but ultimately must turn toward faith.
The pic is shooting in New Orleans this month. Phil Goldfine, Robert Pascuzzi, and Kelly Pascuzzi are producing.
Facinelli is repped by Mainstay Entertainment and Abrams Artists Agency. Polo is with Gersh and manager Bob McGowan of McGowan Rodriguez Management. Dane is a client of CAA.
Y&R Alum Jessica Collins Stars in Dolly Parton's HEARTSTRINGS(11/1/19) (cbs.soapsindepth.com) Fans of Jessica Collins from THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS will definitely want to check out the new Netflix anthology series DOLLY PARTON’S HEARTSTRINGS, premiering Friday, Nov. 22. The actress is joining fellow Emmy winners Camryn Manheim, Timothy Busfield, and Patricia Wettig as well as Oscar winners Melissa Leo and Ray McKinnon in the cast! “Finally I can share this with all of you!” she exclaimed on Instagram when news of her casting broke. “Beyond grateful and so proud of this project. Thank you, beautiful Dolly and my whole HEARTSTRINGS family. I’ve been floating ever since you welcomed me into your kind and talented world.”
Collins’ episode is titled “Cracker Jack” and also stars Tammy Lynn Michaels (POPULAR) and Parton herself. Collins will be playing the character of Monica. And fellow Y&R alum Scott Reeves (ex-Ryan) will be starring opposite Julianne Hough in the “Jolene” episode.
Each episode will begin with an introduction by Parton as herself talking or singing about the meaning behind each song. She will also appear in some of the stories, each of which will be a stand-alone show with a separate story and cast from the others. The stories, all based on classic Parton songs, will run the gamut from romance to drama to comedy.
Collins got her start in daytime playing Dinah on ABC sudser LOVING from 1991-94 before finding further success in film and primetime. She returned to soaps in 2011 to play Avery Bailey Clark on Y&R, earning a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in 2013 and taking home the trophy in 2016. After leaving Y&R in 2015, Collins appeared on shows like 9-1-1 and GREY’S ANATOMY while also giving birth to her daughter, Jemma, in 2016.
Rena Sofer Couldn't Be Prouder of Daughter Avalon(8/9/19) (cbs.soapsindepth.com) (Photo) While THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL’s Quinn may be masterful in any argument, portrayer Rena Sofer says her daughter, Avalon, 13, is, too! The middle school student and her two teammates recently took first place in a debate competition involving 118 other teams in Southern California. “It was a three-girl vs. a three-boy team, and they destroyed them,” Sofer gleefully reported to Soaps In Depth. “Nothing against the boys, but the girls killed it and I couldn’t be more proud. It was amazing.”
Debate isn’t the only field in which Sofer’s daughter excels. “She’s this incredible over-achiever, whether it be getting black belts or playing on the tennis team or being an honors student. I had nothing to do with it — it’s just who she is, and she amazes me every single day.”
Laura Wright Says She Always Knew Kelly Ripa Would Be a Star(7/28/19) (abc.soapsindepth.com) Since taking over as co-host of what’s now LIVE WITH KELLY AND RYAN in 2001, Kelly Ripa (Hayley, ALL MY CHILDREN) has gone from daytime starlet to morning talk show icon — and the transition was no surprise to GENERAL HOSPITAL’s Laura Wright (Carly). “Kelly’s a friend of mine from when I was [Ally] on LOVING and she was on AMC” in New York during the 1990s. “We were inseparable for the longest time.”
When Kathie Lee Gifford announced that she was leaving what was then LIVE! WITH REGIS & KATHIE LEE, Wright thought her pal would be perfect as Regis Philbin’s new co-host. “I just knew this was Kelly’s job. I had no idea she was even in the running. I was talking with a friend and said Kelly should have the part. There was no one else that quick and funny on the spot.” So when Ripa called to share the big news, Wright could have easily told mutual friends that she’d predicted the casting news. “It’s just so her!”
B&B Rena Sofer Admits She Doesn't Usually Get Recognized By Fans(7/14/19) (cbs.soapsindepth.com) Actress Rena Sofer (Quinn, THE BOLD & THE BEAUTIFUL) has the sort of gorgeous face that truly stands out in a crowd, especially given her various stints in daytime and primetime. “I get recognized for a lot of different things,” she said to Soaps In Depth. “For some people, it’s 24 and FRIENDS, other people remember me [playing Rocky on] LOVING.”
Since joining B&B, a show with a huge international fan base, one might think Sofer is more likely to be mobbed when she travels abroad, but that’s not necessarily the case. “It’s never really a problem,” she admitted. “I don’t typically wear makeup when I travel, and I’m not one of those people who’s like, ‘Do you know who I am?’” Of course, when the actress is traveling to promote the soap she now calls home, it’s a whole different story. “When I went to Australia and Amsterdam, I did a lot of press for the show,” she said, “but otherwise, I’m really just all about being with my family.”
THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS Alum Jessica Collins Teases a Return to "One of My Favorite Roles"(6/27/19) (cbs.soapsindepth.com) An Instagram post has fans hoping it means that Jessica Collins is returning to THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS as Avery Clark! "All smiles today at work, reprising one of my favorite roles!" she shared. "Love reuniting with this cast and crew and can't wait to share the details with all of you. Stay tuned!"
Collins made her debut on Y&R in July of 2011, playing a high-powered attorney who was later revealed to be the sister of Phyllis Summers. She had a history with Dylan McAvoy, and had a romance with Nick Newman. During her four years on the soap, Collins was nominated twice for the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress and took home the trophy in 2016. Dylan's not around, but Nick is, and with Phyllis on the rampage, her sister might be just the person to talk her down!
After getting her big break playing Dinah on the ABC sudser, LOVING, Collins has gone on to appear in numerous television series. However, many of them are no longer on the air. So if she's returning to play one of her "favorite roles" again, it could Y&R, but it might also possibly be something else like IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA, GREY'S ANATOMY or 9-1-1.
Rena Sofer Opens up About Reuniting With Her Ex-Husband(6/21/19) (abc.soapsindepth.com) Following her 2017 divorce from television director Sanford Bookstaver, THE BOLD & THE BEAUTIFUL’s Rena Sofer (Quinn) has found love again… with her ex-husband! You read that right. After ending their 14-year marriage, they are officially back together and newly engaged to be remarried, a fact that the actress acknowledges sounds like a storyline ripped straight out of Ridge and Brooke’s playbook. “Except there is no Bill,” she laughingly clarified to Soaps In Depth. “There was never another person, so it was never that issue. We just needed to figure it out.”
Sofer and Bookstaver had remained friends and co-parents (to daughter Avalon, 13) following their split, but latent sparks were reignited last fall.“He flew in from New York to be at my [December] birthday party for three hours, and then he flew back,” she recalled. “That was a big deal for me, because it kind of answered the question of, ‘Who’s going to have my back for the rest of my life?’ Here’s a guy who [was no longer obligated to] have my back anymore, and he still did!”
Though they had each attempted to move on following their divorce, that task proved easier said than done. “I tried to date, but I ended up just dating dogs more than anything,” joked the pup-loving actress. “I mean literal dogs, although I did date some ‘dogs,’ too!”
Having both come to the conclusion that the most important thing to each of them was still one another, the couple picked up pretty much where they’d left off. “We have not taken it slowly, even though we’ve tried to. That’s what happens when you’ve already been together for 18 years,” she said. “You’re like, ‘I know you! What are we waiting for?’ So we’re back together. He’s not my husband, but it feels too weird to call him my boyfriend, so I still call him my ex-husband, because I think it’s hilarious.”
Getting back to basics and figuring out who (and what) she loves over the past few years has led Sofer to discover something else that brings her great joy: woodworking! “When I got divorced and wasn’t working a lot over the past year and a half, I decided that I needed something for myself,” she explained. “I’ve always been the sort of handy person who can spend hours roaming through Home Depot, and I really liked the idea of working with wood. I just needed to find someone who could teach me.”
The actress signed up for classes at a local workshop, where she continues to drop in frequently to make beautiful artisanal cutting boards and wooden utensils. “It makes me happy to be creative,” she confided. “You’re making it the way people have made these things forever, and that’s interesting and meaningful to me.”
Sofer also found meaning in her life by hosting some houseguests … of the four-legged variety! Already the loving owner of pooches Iggy, Alpha and Mega, Sofer agreed to foster a pregnant dog late last year that was found on the streets. “I thought it would be the coolest thing ever, to watch a dog give birth and play with the puppies and take care of them until they could be given away,” she said.
Though her daughter joked that Sofer would adopt all of the puppies herself, the actress managed to limit herself to keeping just one, whom she named Marceline. The rest of the pups (including the mother) were given happy homes with Sofer’s friends and family members. Though having a house filled with energetic puppies required effort and patience, Sofer is grateful she was able to help. “The world can seem so cruel and unfixable to me,” she said. “It makes me feel powerless sometimes, but I realized all I can do is try to help a small corner of the world — my corner — and hope that light can expand a little bit.” Comic-strip creator Charles M. Schulz may have coined the phrase “Happiness is a warm puppy,” but Sofer’s living proof that it’s actually quite true!
2019 Tony Awards Winners(6/10/19) Best Leading Actor in a Play
Bryan Cranston, Network
Best Revival of a Play
Isabelle Stevenson Award
Bryan Cranston on His Early Roles, Dealing With Rejection and His ‘Erasable Mind(5/26/19) (variety.com/) Following his 2014 Tony Award for best actor as President Lyndon B. Johnson in Robert Schenkkan’s play “All the Way,” Bryan Cranston is looking to add to his trophy collection this year with his performance as Howard Beale in “Network.” The deranged anchorman — who’s famously “mad as hell and not going to take this anymore” — is the latest in a string of iconic roles for the actor, best known for playing chemistry teacher-turned-drug lord Walter White in the AMC series “Breaking Bad” (earning him a Golden Globe and four acting Emmys along the way). On a more lighthearted note, Cranston starred as goofy father Hal in Fox family sitcom “Malcolm in the Middle.” He was first mentioned in Variety in an announcement on Jan. 13, 1982, when he signed with Leonard Grant & Associates for personal management.
Did you have any train-wreck auditions early in your career?
I was 22 years old, and the character was a cocky Southerner. I thought, “I’m just gonna go in character.” The casting director held out his hand, and I pretended I didn’t see it. I crossed my legs and put my boots on top of his desk. At that point he was done with me, and he was right because I was acting like an idiot. He goes, “Get your feet off my desk.” I had a moment of “Are you really this character, or are you going to acquiesce?” I just smirked. He said it again, and I realized we were done. The whole character dropped, and I took my feet off his desk. I said, “It wouldn’t really matter if we read the scene, would it?” He said no, and I left and apologized.
How did you deal with rejection?
I had an epiphany 10 years after that. It changed my life as an actor. I used to think that an audition was a job interview, but I realized I was giving up my power because I was going into an office wanting something from them. Whenever you want something from anyone, you have relinquished your power. Holding on to power in an audition is essential for an actor. You have to be able to do exactly what you want because that’s what’s required of you to impress someone with your uniqueness and what you could bring to a character. I was going in there to present an idea, an option for them. An audition became another opportunity for me to act.
What did you learn from your first major role?
I accepted a role on a soap opera called “Loving” on ABC in 1983. The challenge on a soap opera is how to be authentic with basically no rehearsal. You learn your lines the night before. With that kind of turnover, how do you get to a place that feels honest? That was hard for me. I think soap operas are unfairly judged as less valued acting experiences. They are indeed extremely challenging. It felt like I crossed a threshold from that point on.
Is there a line of dialogue that always sticks with you?
It’s funny; I have an erasable mind. Once I finish something, it pretty much goes. The line from “Breaking Bad” is pretty iconic. “You think you know me. You think that I’m the one who’s in danger. No, I am the danger.” I can’t remember it. Fans quote it back to me, but I don’t know it. They’re shocked. Some have said they’ve watched “Breaking Bad” six times all the way through, and that’s five more than I have.
Kip Niven Dies: ‘Magnum Force’ Rogue Cop & Actor In ‘Alice’, ‘The Waltons’ & Sensurround Films Was 73(5/9/19) Kip Niven (John Neale, Loving/Nat, OLTL), a veteran character actor whose career ranged from early-’70s TV and the first two Sensurround films to regional theater and starring in 2014’s Jayhawkers, has died. He was 73. Local media outlets in his native Kansas City, MO, said Niven died Monday of a heart attack.
Born on May 27, 1945, he got his start with guest roles in such 1970s TV dramas as Night Gallery, Escape and Emergency! before landing a key role in the first Dirty Harry sequel. In 1973’s Magnum Force, Niven played “Red” Astrachan, one of the vigilante rookie cops who terrorize San Francisco’s underworld — and eventually Clint Eastwood, who eventually gets his revenge. Astrachan’s comrades were played by future stars Robert Urich, Tim Matheson and David Soul.
After that, Niven would appear in dozens of TV shows and more than a dozen features including Earthquake (1974) and Midway (1976), the first two movies released in the Sensurround format that made theater seats shake at key moments. He had a key, if brief and ill-fated, role in Earthquake as a scientist who predicts that the Big One will hit Los Angeles within days.
As the “disaster movie” trend swept through Hollywood in the mid-’70s, Niven also would appear in Airport 1975 and The Hindenburg (1977),
He also continued to work on the small screen, appearing in multiple telefilms, miniseries including Blind Ambition and Once an Eagle and such drama series as Marcus Welby, M.D., S.W.A.T. and The Bionic Woman. He also did an arc as Rev. Tom Marshall on The Waltons and returned for the first two post-series telepics.
Niven also did a stint on the long-running CBS sitcom Alice, whose star Linda Lavin he married in 1982. Niven’s character had a key role in the two-part series finale as a country singer who whisks Lavin’s Alice away to Nashville to follow her musical dream.
Niven worked mostly in TV during the 1980s, guesting on shows including Falcon Crest, Hart to Hart, CHiPs, Simon & Simon, T.J. Hooker, Knight Rider, Kate & Allie and Spenser: For Hire and some 1990s series including Law & Order and Walker, Texas Ranger, along with multiple telefilms.
Among his other film credtis are Swashbuckler (1976), Damnation Alley (1977) and playing a masked homicidal maniac in the 1980 slasher pic New Year’s Evil.
He would go on to appear in indie films and shorts through 2018, with his last major as playing legendary University of Kansas basketball coach Forrest “Phog” Allen in Jayhawkers.
Niven also was a regular on the Kansas City theater circuit, where he found the Equity Actors’ Readers’ Theatre.
Luke Perry buried in eco-friendly mushroom 'suit'(5/4/19) Luke Perry was buried in a special eco-friendly suit made from mushrooms, his daughter has revealed.
The Riverdale star passed away on March 4 at the age of 52 following a massive stroke.
And now Luke’s daughter Sophie has revealed that her father – who was passionate about environmental causes – had seen the biodegradable suit months before his death, and requested that he be buried in it when the time came.
“Any explanation i give will not do justice to the genius that is the mushroom burial suit, but it is essentially an eco friendly burial option via mushrooms,” Sophie, 18, wrote on Instagram.
“My dad discovered it, and was more excited by this than I have ever seen him,” she continued. “He was buried in this suit, one of his final wishes. They are truly a beautiful thing for this beautiful planet, and I want to share it with all of you.”
Mushroom suits cost around US$1,500 each and include a button-up fabric with a hood and face cover, according to Coeio.com, the company that designs the special burial outfit.
The suit uses mushrooms and other microorganisms to speed up the decomposition process, while also neutralizing toxins found in the body and transferring the nutrients to plant life.
Earlier this week, Sophie announced she was officially opening her first preschool in Malawi, Africa, which would be named after her late father.
B&B’s Rena Sofer To Re-Wed(4/30/19) Rena Sofer (Quinn, B&B et al) and Sandford Bookstaver are tying the knot — again! The pair first wed in 2003 then quietly split and reconciled. “I have spent almost 19 years of my life with you and am so happy to spend the rest of my remaining years on this earth by your side,” Sofer posted on Instagram today. “While I don’t recommend divorce as a marriage counseling tool, it sure worked for us!” For the rest of the post, click here. Best wishes to the happy couple!
Luke Perry's Life Celebration from Hollywood Set for April(3/30/19) Luke Perry's getting a proper sendoff from Hollywood ... with a celebration of his extraordinary life.
TMZ's obtained the invitation that's been sent to those who worked with Luke during his Hollywood career ... a list boasting hundreds of names. We're told the invitation's gone out to those who worked with him on "Beverly Hills, 90210," "Riverdale" and various other projects.
Our sources say the invite's not limited to stars and execs who run Tinseltown. We're told crew members -- from camera guys and makeup artists to hairstylists and wardrobe folks -- are included on the guest list. The private event is set for April 13 at the Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank.
As we first reported ... Luke's ashes were spread around the place he most cherished ... the Tennessee farm where he lived on and off over the last 20-plus years. TMZ broke the story ... Luke died suddenly this month after suffering a massive stroke.
His death sent shock waves across the world. Luke was an adoring father and was revered just as much in Hollywood, which is why it wants to unite one last time in his honor.
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